Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) - Perseus and Andromeda

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488 – 1576)

Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576)  known in English as Titian, was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near Belluno (in Veneto), in the Republic of Venice. During his lifetime he was often called da Cadore, taken from the place of his birth.

Movements: Renaissance, Naturalism, Classicism, Secularism

[Please note that Titian's paintings contain nudity, if that offends you don't read the article.]

Recognized by his contemporaries as “The Sun Amidst Small Stars” (recalling the famous final line of Dante’s Paradiso), Titian was one of the most versatile of Italian painters, equally adept with portraits, landscape backgrounds, and mythological and religious subjects. His painting methods, particularly in the application and use of color, would exercise a profound influence not only on painters of the Italian Renaissance, but on future generations of Western art.

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Allegory of Time Governed by Prudence

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Allegory of Time Governed by Prudence

During the course of his long life, Titian’s artistic manner changed drastically but he retained a lifelong interest in color. Although his mature works may not contain the vivid, luminous tints of his early pieces, their loose brushwork and subtlety of polychromatic modulations are without precedent in the history of Western art.

The exact date of Titian’s birth is uncertain; when he was an old man he claimed in a letter to Philip II to have been born in 1474, but this seems most unlikely. Other writers contemporary to his old age give figures which would equate to birthdates between 1473 to after 1482, but most modern scholars believe a date nearer 1490 is more likely; the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s timeline supports c.1488, as does the Getty Research Institute.

He was the eldest son of Gregorio Vecelli and his wife Lucia. His father was superintendent of the castle of Pieve di Cadore and managed local mines for their owners. Gregorio was also a distinguished councilor and soldier. Many relatives, including Titian’s grandfather, were notaries, and the family of four were well-established in the area, which was ruled by Venice.

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian The Venus of Urbino 1024x712

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – The Venus of Urbino

A fresco of Hercules on the Morosini Palace is said to have been one of Titian’s earliest works; others were the Bellini-esque so-called Gypsy Madonna in Vienna, and the Visitation of Mary and Elizabeth (from the convent of S. Andrea), now in the Accademia, Venice.

Titian joined Giorgione as an assistant, but many contemporary critics already found his work more impressive, for example in the exterior frescoes (now almost totally destroyed) that they did for the Fondaco dei Tedeschi (state-warehouse for the German merchants), and their relationship evidently had a significant element of rivalry. Distinguishing between their work at this period remains a subject of scholarly controversy, and there has been a substantial movement of attributions from Giorgione to Titian in the 20th century, with little traffic the other way. One of the earliest known works of Titian, Christ Carrying the Cross in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, depicting the Ecce Homo scene, was long regarded as the work of Giorgione.

It took Titian two years (1516–1518) to complete his Assunta, whose dynamic three-tier composition and color scheme established him as the preeminent painter north of Rome.

During this period (1516–1530), which may be called the period of his mastery and maturity, the artist moved on from his early Giorgionesque style, undertook larger and more complex subjects and for the first time attempted a monumental style.

Giorgione died in 1510 and Giovanni Bellini in 1516, leaving Titian unrivaled in the Venetian School. For sixty years he was to be the undisputed master of Venetian painting. In 1516 he completed for the high altar of the church of the Frari, his famous masterpiece, the Assumption of the Virgin, still in situ. This extraordinary piece of colorism, executed on a grand scale rarely before seen in Italy, created a sensation.

The Signoria took note, and observed that Titian was neglecting his work in the hall of the great council, but in 1516 he succeeded his master Giovanni Bellini in receiving a pension from the Senate.

To this period belongs a more extraordinary work, The Death of St. Peter Martyr (1530), formerly in the Dominican Church of San Zanipolo, and destroyed by an Austrian shell in 1867. Only copies and engravings of this proto-Baroque picture remain; it combined extreme violence and a landscape, mostly consisting of a great tree, that pressed into the scene and seems to accentuate the drama in a way that looks forward to the Baroque.
During the next period (1530–1550), Titian developed the style introduced by his dramatic Death of St. Peter Martyr. The Venetian government, dissatisfied with Titian’s neglect of the work for the ducal palace, ordered him in 1538 to refund the money which he had received, and Pordenone, his rival of recent years, was installed in his place. However, at the end of a year Pordenone died, and Titian, who meanwhile applied himself diligently to painting in the hall the Battle of Cadore, was reinstated.

This major battle scene was lost along with so many other major works by Venetian artists by the great fire which destroyed all the old pictures in the great chambers of the Doge’s Palace in 1577. It represented in life-size the moment at which the Venetian general, D’Alviano attacked the enemy with horses and men crashing down into a stream, and was the artist’s most important attempt at a tumultuous and heroic scene of movement to rival Raphael’s Battle of Constantine and the equally ill-fated Battle of Cascina of Michelangelo and The Battle of Anghiari of Leonardo (both unfinished). There remains only a poor, incomplete copy at the Uffizi, and a mediocre engraving by Fontana.

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian The Death of Actaeon

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – The Death of Actaeon

Titian had from the beginning of his career shown himself to be a masterful portrait-painter, in works like La Bella (Eleanora de Gonzaga, Duchess of Urbino, at the Pitti Palace). He painted the likenesses of princes, or Doges, cardinals or monks, and artists or writers. “…no other painter was so successful in extracting from each physiognomy so many traits at once characteristic and beautiful”, according to The Catholic Encyclopedia. Among portrait-painters Titian is compared to Rembrandt and Velázquez, with the interior life of the former, and the clearness, certainty, and obviousness of the latter.

Let’s now enjoy some of his most celebrated works:

 

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Adam and Eve 786x1024

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Adam and Eve

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Portrait of Gerolamo Barbarigo

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Portrait of Gerolamo Barbarigo

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Sacred and Profane Love 1024x351

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) -Sacred and Profane Love

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Venus with a Mirror 859x1024

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Venus with a Mirror

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Venus and Cupid with an Organist 1024x538

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Venus and Cupid with an Organist

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Venus Anadyomene 761x1024

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Venus Anadyomene

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Tityus 896x1024

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Tityus

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian The Worship of Venus 1024x1003

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – The Worship of Venus

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian The Three Ages of Man 1024x608

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – The Three Ages of Man

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian The Rape of Europa 1024x896

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – The Rape of Europa

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian The Birth of Adonis 1024x214

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – The Birth of Adonis

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Spain Succouring Religion

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Spain Succouring Religion

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Philip II Offering Don Fernando to Victory 844x1024

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Philip II Offering Don Fernando to Victory

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Perseus and Andromeda 1024x921

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Perseus and Andromeda

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Orpheus and Eurydice 1024x731

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Orpheus and Eurydice

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Mocking of Christ 896x1024

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Mocking of Christ

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Diana and Callisto 1024x947

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Diana and Callisto

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Danae 1024x724

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Danae

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Bacchanal of the Andrians 1024x895

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Bacchanal of the Andrians

Titian’s unmatched handling of color is exemplified by his Danaë with Nursemaid, one of several mythological paintings, or “poesie” (“poems”) as the painter called them, done for Philip II of Spain. Although Michelangelo adjudged this piece deficient from the point of view of drawing, Titian and his studio produced several versions for other patrons.

Titian was probably in his late eighties when the plague raging in Venice took him on 27 August 1576. He was the only victim of the Venice plague to be given a church burial. He was interred in the Frari (Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari), as at first intended, and his Pietà was finished by Palma the Younger. He lies near his own famous painting, the Madonna di Ca’ Pesaro. No memorial marked his grave, until much later the Austrian rulers of Venice commissioned Canova to provide the large monument.

Immediately after Titian’s own death, his son and assistant Orazio died of the same epidemic. His sumptuous mansion was plundered during the plague by thieves.

 

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Georges de La Tour - Magdalen of Night Light

Life and Paintings of Georges de La Tour (1593 – 1652)

Georges de La Tour (March 13, 1593 – January 30, 1652) was a French Baroque painter, who spent most of his working life in the Duchy of Lorraine, which was temporarily absorbed into France between 1641 and 1648. He painted mostly religious chiaroscuro scenes lit by candlelight.

Movements: Baroque,  Gesturalism, Caravaggism

Georges de La Tour was born in the town of Vic-sur-Seille in the Diocese of Metz, which was technically part of the Holy Roman Empire, but had been ruled by France since 1552. Baptism documentation reveal that he was the son of Jean de La Tour, a baker, and Sybille de La Tour, née Molian. It has been suggested that Sybille came from a partly noble family. His parents had seven children in all, with Georges being the second-born.

Life and Paintings of Georges de La Tour (1593   1652)   Georges de La Tour The Dream of St Joseph

Georges de La Tour – The Dream of St Joseph

La Tour’s educational background remains somewhat unclear, but it is assumed that he travelled either to Italy or the Netherlands early in his career. He may possibly have trained under Jacques Bellange in Nancy, the capital of Lorraine, although their styles are very different. His paintings reflect the Baroque naturalism of Caravaggio, but this probably reached him through the Dutch Caravaggisti of the Utrecht School and other Northern (French and Dutch) contemporaries. In particular, La Tour is often compared to the Dutch painter Hendrick Terbrugghen.

Life and Paintings of Georges de La Tour (1593   1652)   Georges de La Tour Magdalen with the Smoking Flame

Georges de La Tour – Magdalen with the Smoking Flame

In 1617 he married Diane Le Nerf, from a minor noble family, and in 1620 he established his studio in her quiet provincial home-town of Lunéville, part of the independent Duchy of Lorraine which was absorbed into France, during his lifetime, in 1641. He painted mainly religious and some genre scenes. He was given the title “Painter to the King” (of France) in 1638, and he also worked for the Dukes of Lorraine in 1623–4, but the local bourgeoisie provided his main market, and he achieved a certain affluence. He is not recorded in Lunéville in 1639–42, and may have travelled again; Anthony Blunt detected the influence of Gerrit van Honthorst in his paintings after this point. He was involved in a Franciscan-led religious revival in Lorraine, and over the course of his career he moved to painting almost entirely religious subjects, but in treatments with influence from genre painting.

Georges de la Tour and his family died in 1652 in an epidemic in Lunéville. His son Étienne (born 1621) was his pupil.

His early work shows influences from Caravaggio, probably via his Dutch followers, and the genre scenes of cheats—as in The Fortune Teller —and fighting beggars clearly derive from the Dutch Caravaggisti, and probably also his fellow-Lorrainer, Jacques Bellange. These are believed to date from relatively early in his career.

La Tour is best known for the nocturnal light effects which he developed much further than his artistic predecessors had done, and transferred their use in the genre subjects in the paintings of the Dutch Caravaggisti to religious painting in his. Unlike Caravaggio his religious paintings lack dramatic effects. He painted these in a second phase of his style, perhaps beginning in the 1640s, using chiaroscuro, careful geometrical compositions, and very simplified painting of forms. His work moves during his career towards greater simplicity and stillness—taking from Caravaggio very different qualities than Jusepe de Ribera and his Tenebrist followers did.

He often painted several variations on the same subjects, and his surviving output is relatively small. His son Étienne was his pupil, and distinguishing between their work in versions of La Tour’s compositions is difficult. The version of the Education of the Virgin, in the Frick Collection in New York is an example, as the Museum itself admits. Another group of paintings (example left), of great skill but claimed to be different in style to those of La Tour, have been attributed to an unknown “Hurdy-gurdy Master”. All show older male figures (one group in Malibu includes a female), mostly solitary, either beggars or saints.

Let’s now enjoy some of his most celebrated works:

Life and Paintings of Georges de La Tour (1593   1652)   Georges de La Tour Quarrelling Musicians

Georges de La Tour – Quarrelling Musicians

Life and Paintings of Georges de La Tour (1593   1652)   Georges de La Tour Peasant Couple Eating

Georges de La Tour – Peasant Couple Eating

Life and Paintings of Georges de La Tour (1593   1652)   Georges de La Tour Magdalen of Night Light

Georges de La Tour – Magdalen of Night Light

Life and Paintings of Georges de La Tour (1593   1652)   Georges de La Tour Fortune Teller

Georges de La Tour – Fortune Teller

Life and Paintings of Georges de La Tour (1593   1652)   Georges de La Tour Christ in the Carpenters Shop

Georges de La Tour – Christ in the Carpenter’s Shop

Life and Paintings of Georges de La Tour (1593   1652)   Georges de La Tour Cheater with the Ace of Diamonds

Georges de La Tour – Cheater with the Ace of Diamonds

Life and Paintings of Georges de La Tour (1593   1652)   Georges de La Tour Blind Musician

Georges de La Tour – Blind Musician

Life and Paintings of Georges de La Tour (1593   1652)   Georges de La Tour Adoration of the Shepherds

Georges de La Tour – Adoration of the Shepherds

Life and Paintings of Georges de La Tour (1593   1652)   Georges de La Tour The Repentant Magdalen

Georges de La Tour – The Repentant Magdalen

Life and Paintings of Georges de La Tour (1593   1652)   Georges de La Tour The Payment of Dues

Georges de La Tour – The Payment of Dues

Life and Paintings of Georges de La Tour (1593   1652)   Georges de La Tour The New born

Georges de La Tour – The New-born

After his death at Lunéville in 1652, La Tour’s work was forgotten until rediscovered by Hermann Voss, a German scholar, in 1915; some of La Tour’s work had in fact been confused with Vermeer, when the Dutch artist underwent his own rediscovery in the nineteenth century. In 1935 an exhibition in Paris began the revival in interest among a wider public. In the twentieth century a number of his works were identified once more, and forgers tried to help meet the new demand; many aspects of his œuvre remain controversial among art historian.

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Édouard Manet - At the Cafe (Bock Drinkers)

Life and Paintings of Édouard Manet (1832 – 1883)

Édouard Manet (23 January 1832 – 30 April 1883) was a French painter. One of the first 19th-century artists to approach modern and postmodern-life subjects, he was a pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism.

His early masterworks, The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l’herbe) and Olympia, engendered great controversy and served as rallying points for the young painters who would create Impressionism. Today, these are considered watershed paintings that mark the genesis of modern art.

Life and Paintings of Édouard Manet (1832   1883)   Édouard Manet Luncheon on the Grass 1024x796

Édouard Manet – Luncheon on the Grass

Movements: Realism, Impressionism

Édouard Manet was born in Paris on 23 January 1832, to an affluent and well-connected family. His mother, Eugénie-Desirée Fournier, was the daughter of a diplomat and goddaughter of the Swedish crown prince Charles Bernadotte, from whom the Swedish monarchs are descended. His father, Auguste Manet, was a French judge who expected Édouard to pursue a career in law. His uncle, Edmond Fournier, encouraged him to pursue painting and took young Manet to the Louvre.

In 1841 he enrolled at secondary school, the Collège Rollin. In 1845, at the advice of his uncle, Manet enrolled in a special course of drawing where he met Antonin Proust, future Minister of Fine Arts and subsequent lifelong friend.

At his father’s suggestion, in 1848 he sailed on a training vessel to Rio de Janeiro. After he twice failed the examination to join the Navy,his father relented to his wishes to pursue an art education. From 1850 to 1856, Manet studied under the academic painter Thomas Couture. In his spare time, Manet copied the old masters in the Louvre.

Life and Paintings of Édouard Manet (1832   1883)   Édouard Manet Olympia 1024x695

Édouard Manet – Olympia

From 1853 to 1856 he visited Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, during which time he was influenced by the Dutch painter Frans Hals, and the Spanish artists Diego Velázquez and Francisco José de Goya.

In 1856, Manet opened a studio. His style in this period was characterized by loose brush strokes, simplification of details and the suppression of transitional tones. Adopting the current style of realism initiated by Gustave Courbet, he painted The Absinthe Drinker (1858–59) and other contemporary subjects such as beggars, singers, Gypsies, people in cafés, and bullfights. After his early career, he rarely painted religious, mythological, or historical subjects; examples include his Christ Mocked, now in the Art Institute of Chicago, and Christ with Angels, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Manet had two canvases accepted at the Salon in 1861.

A portrait of his mother and father, who at the time was paralysed and robbed of speech by a stroke, was ill received by critics. The other, The Spanish Singer, was admired by Theophile Gautier, and placed in a more conspicuous location as a result of its popularity with Salon-goers. Manet’s work, which appeared “slightly slapdash” when compared with the meticulous style of so many other Salon paintings, intrigued some young artists. The Spanish Singer, painted in a “strange new fashion caused many painters’ eyes to open and their jaws to drop.”

A major early work is The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l’herbe). The Paris Salon rejected it for exhibition in 1863 but Manet exhibited it at the Salon des Refusés (Salon of the Rejected) later in the year. Emperor Napoleon III had initiated The Salon des Refusés after the Paris Salon rejected more than 4,000 paintings in 1863. Manet employed model Victorine Meurent, his wife Suzanne, future brother-in-law Ferdinand Leenhoff, and one of his brothers to pose. Meurent also posed for several more of Manet’s important paintings including Olympia; and by the mid 1870s she became an accomplished painter in her own right.

John Everett Millais - The Ruling Passion (1885) Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Life and Paintings of John Everett Millais (1829 – 1896)

Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Baronet, ( 8 June 1829 – 13 August 1896) was an English painter and illustrator and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Millais was born in Southampton, England in 1829, of a prominent Jersey-based family.

Movements: Medievalism, Naturalism, Academicism, Pre-Raphaelitism

The author Thackeray once asked him “when England conquered Jersey.” Millais replied “Never! Jersey conquered England.” (cited in Chums annual, 1896, page 213). His prodigious artistic talent won him a place at the Royal Academy schools at the unprecedented age of eleven. While there, he met William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti with whom he formed the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (known as the “PRB”) in September 1848 in his family home on Gower Street, off Bedford Square.

Berthe Morisot - Pasie Sewing in the Garden

Life and Paintings of Berthe Morisot (1841 – 1895)

Berthe Morisot (January 14, 1841 – March 2, 1895) was a painter and a member of the circle of painters in Paris who became known as the Impressionists. She was described by Gustave Geffroy in 1894 as one of “les trois grandes dames” of Impressionism alongside Marie Bracquemond and Mary Cassatt.

Movements: Impressionism

Morisot was born in Bourges, Cher, France, into a successful bourgeois family. According to family tradition, the family had included one of the most prolific Rococo painters of the ancien régime, Fragonard, whose handling of color and expressive, confident brushwork influenced later painters. Both Berthe and her sister, Edma Morisot, chose to become painters.

Berthe Morisot’s family moved to Paris when she was a child. Once Berthe settled on pursuing art, her family did not impede her career. She registered as a copyist at the Louvre. By age twenty, she had met and befriended the important, and pivotal, landscape painter of the Barbizon School, Camille Corot, who excelled in figure painting as well. The older artist instructed Berthe and her sister in painting and introduced them to other artists and teachers. Under Corot’s influence, Morisot took up the plein air method of working.

Morisot’s first appearance in the Salon de Paris came at the age of twenty-three in 1864, with the acceptance of two landscape paintings. She continued to show regularly in the Salon, to generally favorable reviews, until 1873, the year before the first Impressionist exhibition.

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - Children with Shell

Life and Paintings of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617 – 1682)

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (December 1617 – April 3, 1682) was a Spanish Baroque painter. Although he is best known for his religious works, Murillo also produced a considerable number of paintings of contemporary women and children. These lively, realist portraits of flower girls, street urchins, and beggars constitute an extensive and appealing record of the everyday life of his times.

Life and Paintings of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617   1682)   Murillo Children with Shell

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Children with Shell

Murillo was born to Gaspar Esteban and María Pérez Murillo. He may have been born in Seville or in Pilas, a smaller Andalusian town.  It is clear that he was baptized in Seville in 1618, the youngest son in a family of fourteen. His father was a barber and surgeon. His parents died when Murillo was still very young, and the artist was largely brought up by his aunt and uncle. Murillo married Beatriz Cabrera in 1645; their first child, named María, was born shortly after their marriage. The mother and daughter became the subjects of two of his paintings: The Virgin of the Rosary and Madonna and Child.

Life and Paintings of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617   1682)   Murillo Annunciation

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Annunciation

Murillo began his art studies under Juan del Castillo in Seville. Murillo became familiar with Flemish painting; the great commercial importance of Seville at the time ensured that he was also subject to influences from other regions. His first works were influenced by Zurbarán, Jusepe de Ribera and Alonzo Cano, and he shared their strongly realist approach. As his painting developed, his more important works evolved towards the polished style that suited the bourgeois and aristocratic tastes of the time, demonstrated especially in his Roman Catholic religious works.

In 1642, at the age of 26, he moved to Madrid, where he most likely became familiar with the work of Velázquez, and would have seen the work of Venetian and Flemish masters in the royal collections; the rich colors and softly modeled forms of his subsequent work suggest these influences.

He returned to Seville in 1645. In that year, he painted thirteen canvases for the monastery of St. Francisco el Grande in Seville which improved his reputation. Following the completion of a pair of pictures for the Seville Cathedral, he began to specialize in the themes that brought him his greatest successes: the Virgin and Child and the Immaculate Conception.

After another period in Madrid, from 1658 to 1660, he returned to Seville. Here he was one of the founders of the Academia de Bellas Artes (Academy of Art), sharing its direction, in 1660, with the architect Francisco Herrera the Younger. This was his period of greatest activity, and he received numerous important commissions, among them the altarpieces for the Augustinian monastery, the paintings for Santa María la Blanca (completed in 1665), and others. He died in Seville in 1682 at the age of 64.

Life and Paintings of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617   1682)   Murillo Adoration of the Shepherds

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Adoration of the Shepherds

Legacy

Murillo had many pupils and followers. The prolific imitation of his paintings ensured his reputation in Spain and fame throughout Europe, and prior to the 19th century his work was more widely known than that of any other Spanish artist.

His painting Christ on the Cross is at the Timken Museum of Art in San Diego. Two of his paintings are entitled Christ After the Flagellation, and one of these is at the Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL.

His work is also found at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and at the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

 

Life and Paintings of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617   1682)   Murillo Virgin and Child with a Rosary

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Virgin and Child with a Rosary

 

Life and Paintings of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617   1682)   Murillo The Martyrdom of St Andrew

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – The Martyrdom of St. Andrew

 

Life and Paintings of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617   1682)   Murillo The Little Fruit Seller

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – The Little Fruit Seller

 

Life and Paintings of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617   1682)   Murillo The Holy Family 1650

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – The Holy Family (1650)

 

Life and Paintings of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617   1682)   Murillo Immaculate Conception c1678

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Immaculate Conception (c1678)

 

Life and Paintings of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617   1682)   Murillo Christ the Good Shepherd

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Christ the Good Shepherd

 

Hope you enjoyed the article as much as i did compiling the info and the images! See you next time!

Articles’ Images are in the public domain because their copyright has expired or are displayed here under the “ fair use” copyright law, and are available through WikipediaWikimedia.

This Articles’ text is licensed under the Creative Commons BY-SA License since it partially uses material from Wikipedia.

Paul Cézanne - Card Players

Masters of Art: Paul Cézanne (1839 – 1906)

Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th-century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th-century Impressionism and the early 20th century’s new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism. The line attributed to both Matisse and Picasso that Cézanne “is the father of us all” cannot be easily dismissed.

Cézanne’s often repetitive, exploratory brushstrokes are highly characteristic and clearly recognizable. He used planes of colour and small brushstrokes that build up to form complex fields. The paintings convey Cézanne’s intense study of his subjects.

Movements: Post-Impressionism, Modernism 

The Cézannes lived in the town of Cesana now in West Piedmont, and the surname may be of Italian origin. Paul Cézanne was born on 19 January 1839 in Aix-en-Provence, in Provence in the South of France. On 22 February, Paul was baptized in the parish church, with his grandmother and uncle Louis as godparents. His father, Louis-Auguste Cézanne (28 July 1798 – 23 October 1886), was the co-founder of a banking firm that prospered throughout the artist’s life, affording him financial security that was unavailable to most of his contemporaries and eventually resulting in a large inheritance.

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Paul Cézanne – Mardi Gras

On the other hand, his mother, Anne Elisabeth Honorine Aubert (24 September 1814 – 25 October 1897),  was “vivacious and romantic, but quick to take offence”. It was from her that Paul got his conception and vision of life. He also had two younger sisters, Marie and Rose, with whom he went to a primary school every day.

At the age of ten Paul entered the Saint Joseph school in Aix. In 1852 Cézanne entered the Collège Bourbon (now Collège Mignet), where he met and became friends with Émile Zola, who was in a less advanced class, as well as Baptistin Baille—three friends who would come to be known as “les trois inséparables” (the three inseparables).

He stayed there for six years, though in the last two years he was a day scholar. In 1857 he began attending the Free Municipal School of Drawing in Aix, where he studied drawing under Joseph Gibert, a Spanish monk. From 1858 to 1861, complying with his father’s wishes, Cézanne attended the law school of the University of Aix, while also receiving drawing lessons.

Going against the objections of his banker father, he committed himself to pursuing his artistic development and left Aix for Paris in 1861. He was strongly encouraged to make this decision by Zola, who was already living in the capital at the time. Eventually, his father reconciled with Cézanne and supported his choice of career. Cézanne later received an inheritance of 400,000 francs (£218,363.62) from his father, which rid him of all financial worries.

 

In Paris, Cézanne met the Impressionist Camille Pissarro. Initially the friendship formed in the mid-1860s between Pissarro and Cézanne was that of master and disciple, in which Pissarro exerted a formative influence on the younger artist. Over the course of the following decade their landscape painting excursions together, in Louveciennes and Pontoise, led to a collaborative working relationship between equals.

Claude Monet - Woman with a Parasol - Madame Monet and Her Son

Masters of Art: Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

Claude Monet (14 November 1840 – 5 December 1926) was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement’s philosophy of expressing one’s perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting.

The term Impressionism is derived from the title of his painting Impression, Sunrise.

Movements: Impressionism

Claude Monet was born on 14 November 1840 on the 5th floor of 45 rue Laffitte, in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. He was the second son of Claude Adolphe Monet and Louise Justine Aubrée Monet, both of them second-generation Parisians. On 20 May 1841, he was baptized in the local parish church, Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, as Oscar-Claude, but his parents called him simply Oscar. In 1845, his family moved to Le Havre in Normandy. His father wanted him to go into the family grocery business, but Monet wanted to become an artist. His mother was a singer. On 1 April 1851, Monet entered Le Havre secondary school of the arts.

Locals knew him well for his charcoal caricatures, which he would sell for ten to twenty francs. Monet also undertook his first drawing lessons from Jacques-François Ochard, a former student of Jacques-Louis David. On the beaches of Normandy in about 1856/1857, he met fellow artist Eugène Boudin, who became his mentor and taught him to use oil paints. Boudin taught Monet “en plein air” (outdoor) techniques for painting. Both received the influence of Johan Barthold Jongkind. On 28 January 1857, his mother died. At the age of sixteen, he left school and went to live with his widowed childless aunt, Marie-Jeanne Lecadre.

When Monet traveled to Paris to visit the Louvre, he witnessed painters copying from the old masters. Having brought his paints and other tools with him, he would instead go and sit by a window and paint what he saw. Monet was in Paris for several years and met other young painters who would become friends and fellow impressionists; among them was Édouard Manet.

Masters of Art: Claude Monet (1840   1926)   Claude Monet The Picnic 1024x716 Claude Monet – The Picnic

In June 1861, Monet joined the First Regiment of African Light Cavalry in Algeria for a seven-year commitment, but, two years later, after he had contracted typhoid fever, his aunt intervened to get him out of the army if he agreed to complete an art course at an art school. It is possible that the Dutch painter Johan Barthold Jongkind, whom Monet knew, may have prompted his aunt on this matter. Disillusioned with the traditional art taught at art schools, in 1862 Monet became a student of Charles Gleyre in Paris, where he met Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Frédéric Bazille and Alfred Sisley. Together they shared new approaches to art, painting the effects of light en plein air with broken color and rapid brushstrokes, in what later came to be known as Impressionism.

Monet’s Camille or The Woman in the Green Dress (La femme à la robe verte), painted in 1866, brought him recognition and was one of many works featuring his future wife, Camille Doncieux; she was the model for the figures in Women in the Garden of the following year, as well as for On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt, 1868, pictured here. Camille became pregnant and gave birth to their first child, Jean in 1867.

After the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War (19 July 1870), Monet took refuge in England in September 1870, where he studied the works of John Constable and Joseph Mallord William Turner, both of whose landscapes would serve to inspire Monet’s innovations in the study of color. In the spring of 1871, Monet’s works were refused authorisation for inclusion in the Royal Academy exhibition.  In May 1871, he left London to live in Zaandam, in the Netherlands, where he made twenty-five paintings (and the police suspected him of revolutionary activities). He also paid a first visit to nearby Amsterdam. In October or November 1871, he returned to France. Monet lived from December 1871 to 1878 at Argenteuil, a village on the right bank of the Seine river near Paris, and a popular Sunday-outing destination for Parisians, where he painted some of his best known works. In 1874, he briefly returned to Holland.

Masters of Art: Claude Monet (1840   1926)   Claude Monet Impression Sunrise 1024x878 Claude Monet – Impression, Sunrise

In 1872, he painted Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant) depicting a Le Havre port landscape. It hung in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874 and is now displayed in the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris. From the painting’s title, art critic Louis Leroy coined the term “Impressionism”, which he intended as disparagement but which the Impressionists appropriated for themselves.  Also in this exhibition was a painting titled Boulevard des Capucines, a painting of the boulevard done from the photographer Nadar’s apartment at no. 35. There were, however, two paintings by Monet of the boulevard: one is now in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, the other in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. It has never become clear which painting appeared in the groundbreaking 1874 exhibition, though more recently the Moscow picture has been favoured.

Monet and Camille Doncieux had married just before the war (28 June 1870)  and, after their excursion to London and Zaandam, they had moved to Argenteuil, in December 1871. It was during this time that Monet painted various works of modern life. Camille became ill in 1876. They had a second son, Michel, on 17 March 1878, (Jean was born in 1867). This second child weakened her already fading health. In that same year, Monet moved to the village of Vétheuil. On 5 September 1879, Camille Monet died of tuberculosis at the age of thirty-two; Monet painted her on her death bed.

After several difficult months following the death of Camille in September, 1879, a grief-stricken Monet (resolving never to be mired in poverty again) began in earnest to create some of his best paintings of the 19th century. During the early 1880s, Monet painted several groups of landscapes and seascapes in what he considered to be campaigns to document the French countryside. His extensive campaigns evolved into his series’ paintings.

During the 1890s, Monet built a greenhouse and a second studio, a spacious building well lit with skylights. Beginning in the 1880s and 1890s through the end of his life in 1926, Monet worked on “series” paintings, in which a subject was depicted in varying light and weather conditions. His first series exhibited as such was of Haystacks, painted from different points of view and at different times of the day. Fifteen of the paintings were exhibited at the Galerie Durand-Ruel in 1891. He later produced several series of paintings including: Rouen Cathedral, Poplars, the Parliament, Mornings on the Seine, and the Water Lilies that were painted on his property at Giverny.

Masters of Art: Claude Monet (1840   1926)   Claude Monet The Studio Boat 1024x769 Claude Monet – The Studio Boat

Monet was fond of painting controlled nature: his own gardens in Giverny, with its water lilies, pond, and bridge. He also painted up and down the banks of the Seine, producing paintings such as Break-up of the ice on the Seine. He wrote daily instructions to his gardener, precise designs and layouts for plantings, and invoices for his floral purchases and his collection of botany books. As Monet’s wealth grew, his garden evolved. He remained its architect, even after he hired seven gardeners. Between 1883 and 1908, Monet traveled to the Mediterranean, where he painted landmarks, landscapes, and seascapes, such as Bordighera. He painted an important series of paintings in Venice, Italy, and in London he painted two important series—views of Parliament and views of Charing Cross Bridge. His second wife, Alice, died in 1911 and his oldest son Jean, who had married Alice’s daughter Blanche, Monet’s particular favourite, died in 1914. After Alice died, Blanche looked after and cared for Monet. It was during this time that Monet began to develop the first signs of cataracts.

During World War I, in which his younger son Michel served and his friend and admirer Clemenceau led the French nation, Monet painted a series of weeping willow trees as homage to the French fallen soldiers. In 1923, he underwent two operations to remove his cataracts: the paintings done while the cataracts affected his vision have a general reddish tone, which is characteristic of the vision of cataract victims. It may also be that after surgery he was able to see certain ultraviolet wavelengths of light that are normally excluded by the lens of the eye; this may have had an effect on the colors he perceived. After his operations he even repainted some of these paintings, with bluer water lilies than before.

Masters of Art: Claude Monet (1840   1926)   Claude Monet The Picnic 1024x716 Claude Monet – The Picnic

Monet died of lung cancer on 5 December 1926 at the age of 86 and is buried in the Giverny church cemetery. Monet had insisted that the occasion be simple; thus only about fifty people attended the ceremony. His home, garden and waterlily pond were bequeathed by his son Michel, his only heir, to the French Academy of Fine Arts (part of the Institut de France) in 1966.

Masters of Art: Claude Monet (1840   1926)   Claude Monet On the Bank of the Seine Bennecourt 1024x819 Claude Monet – On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt

Through the Foundation Claude Monet, the house and gardens were opened for visits in 1980, following restoration. In addition to souvenirs of Monet and other objects of his life, the house contains his collection of Japanese woodcut prints. The house is one of the two main attractions of Giverny, which hosts tourists from all over the world.

Life and Paintings of Giotto Di Bondone (12)

Life and Paintings of Giotto (1266 – 1337)

Giotto di Bondone (1266/7 – January 8, 1337), better known simply as Giotto, was an Italian painter and architect from Florence in the late Middle Ages. He is generally considered the first in a line of great artists who contributed to the Italian Renaissance.

Giotto’s contemporary, the banker and chronicler Giovanni Villani, wrote that Giotto was “the most sovereign master of painting in his time, who drew all his figures and their postures according to nature. And he was given a salary by the Comune of Florence in virtue of his talent and excellence.”

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Life and Paintings of Giotto Di Bondone

The late-16th century biographer Giorgio Vasari describes Giotto as making a decisive break with the prevalent Byzantine style and as initiating “the great art of painting as we know it today, introducing the technique of drawing accurately from life, which had been neglected for more than two hundred years.”

Giotto’s masterwork is the decoration of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, also known as the Arena Chapel, completed around 1305. This fresco cycle depicts the life of the Virgin and the life of Christ. It is regarded as one of the supreme masterpieces of the Early Renaissance. That Giotto painted the Arena Chapel and that he was chosen by the Comune of Florence in 1334 to design the new campanile (bell tower) of the Florence Cathedral are among the few certainties of his biography. Almost every other aspect of it is subject to controversy: his birthdate, his birthplace, his appearance, his apprenticeship, the order in which he created his works, whether or not he painted the famous frescoes at Assisi, and his burial place.

It has been traditional to hold that Giotto was born in a hilltop farmhouse, perhaps at Colle di Romagnano or Romignano; since 1850 a tower house in nearby Colle Vespignano, a hamlet 35 kilometres north of Florence, has borne a plaque claiming the honour of his birthplace, an assertion commercially publicized. Very recent research, however, has suggested that he was actually born in Florence, the son of a blacksmith. His father’s name was Bondone, described in surviving public records as “a person of good standing”. Most authors accept that Giotto was his real name, but it may have been an abbreviation of Ambrogio (Ambrogiotto) or Angelo (Angelotto).

The year of his birth is calculated from the fact that Antonio Pucci, the town crier of Florence, wrote a poem in Giotto’s honour in which it is stated that he was 70 at the time of his death. However, the word “seventy” fits into the rhyme of the poem better than would have a longer and more complex age, so it is possible that Pucci used artistic license.

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Life and Paintings of Giotto Di Bondone

In his Lives of the Artists, Giorgio Vasari relates that Giotto was a shepherd boy, a merry and intelligent child who was loved by all who knew him. The great Florentine painter Cimabue discovered Giotto drawing pictures of his sheep on a rock. They were so lifelike that Cimabue approached Bondone and asked if he could take the boy as an apprentice. Cimabue was one of the two most highly renowned painters of Tuscany, the other being Duccio, who worked mainly in Siena.

Vasari recounts a number of such stories about Giotto’s skill. He writes that when Cimabue was absent from the workshop, his young apprentice painted such a lifelike fly on the face of the painting that Cimabue was working on, that he tried several times to brush it off. Vasari also relates that when the Pope sent a messenger to Giotto, asking him to send a drawing to demonstrate his skill, Giotto drew, in red paint, a circle so perfect that it seemed as though it was drawn using a compass and instructed the messenger to give that to the Pope.

Many scholars today are uncertain about Giotto’s training, and consider that Vasari’s story that he was Cimabue’s pupil is legendary, citing early sources which suggest that Giotto was not Cimabue’s pupil. Giotto’s art shares many qualities with Roman paintings of the later 13th century. Cimabue may have been working in Rome in this period, and there was an active local school of fresco painters, of whom the most famous was Pietro Cavallini. The famous Florentine sculptor and architect, Arnolfo di Cambio, was then also working in Rome.

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Life and Paintings of Giotto Di Bondone

From Rome, Cimabue went to Assisi to paint several large frescoes at the newly built Basilica of St Francis of Assisi, and it is possible, but not certain, that Giotto went with him. The attribution of the fresco cycle of the Life of St. Francis in the Upper Church has been one of the most hotly disputed in art history. The documents of the Franciscan Friars that relate to artistic commissions during this period were destroyed by Napoleon’s troops, who stabled horses in the Upper Church of the Basilica, and scholars have been divided over whether or not Giotto was responsible for the Francis Cycle. In the absence of documentary evidence to the contrary, it has been convenient to ascribe every fresco in the Upper Church that was not obviously by Cimabue to Giotto, whose prestige has overshadowed that of almost every contemporary. Some of the earliest remaining biographical sources, such as Ghiberti and Riccobaldo Ferrarese, suggest that the fresco cycle of the life of St Francis in the Upper Church was his earliest autonomous work. However, since the idea was put forward by the German art historian, Friedrich Rintelen in 1912,many scholars have expressed doubt that Giotto was in fact the author of the Upper Church frescoes. Without documentation, arguments on the attribution have relied upon connoisseurship, a notoriously unreliable “science.”

However, technical examinations and comparisons of the workshop painting processes at Assisi and Padua in 2002 have provided strong evidence that Giotto did not paint the St. Francis Cycle. There are many differences between the Francis Cycle and the Arena Chapel frescoes that are difficult to account for by the stylistic development of an individual artist. It seems quite possible that several hands painted the Assisi frescoes, and that the artists were probably from Rome. If this is the case, then Giotto’s frescoes at Padua owe much to the naturalism of these painters.

The authorship of a large number of panel paintings ascribed to Giotto by Vasari, among others, is as broadly disputed as the Assisi frescoes. According to Vasari, Giotto’s earliest works were for the Dominicans at Santa Maria Novella. These include a fresco of the Annunciation and the enormous suspended Crucifix, which is about 5 metres high. It has been dated around 1290 and is therefore contemporary with the Assisi frescoes. Other early works are the San Giorgio alla Costa Madonna and Child now in the Diocesan Museum of Santo Stefano al Ponte, Florence, and the signed panel of the Stigmata of St. Francis, once in San Francesco at Pisa, today in the Louvre.

In 1287, at the age of about 20, Giotto married Ricevuta di Lapo del Pela, known as “Ciuta”. The couple had numerous children, (perhaps as many as eight) one of whom, Francesco, became a painter. Giotto worked in Rome in 1297–1300, but few traces of his presence there remain today. The Basilica of St. John Lateran houses a small portion of a fresco cycle, painted for the Jubilee of 1300 called by Boniface VIII. In this period he also painted the Badia Polyptych, now in the Uffizi, Florence.

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Life and Paintings of Giotto Di Bondone

Giotto’s fame as a painter spread. He was called to work in Padua, and also in Rimini, where today only a Crucifix remains in the Church of St. Francis, painted before 1309. This work influenced the rise of the Riminese school of Giovanni and Pietro da Rimini. According to documents of 1301 and 1304, Giotto by this time possessed large estates in Florence, and it is probable that he was already leading a large workshop and receiving commissions from throughout Italy.

Around 1305 Giotto executed his most influential work, the painted decoration of the interior of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua. Enrico degli Scrovegni commissioned the chapel to serve as a family worship and burial space, even though his parish church was nearby; its construction caused some consternation among the clerics at the Eremitani church next door.  It has also been speculated that Enrico commissioned the chapel as a penitence for his sin of usury (i.e. charging interest for lending money), which at the time was considered unjust. In fact, Dante himself accused Enrico’s father of it and condemned him in his Divine Comedy.  The presence of Enrico near the center of The Final Judgement, handing the Arena Chapel to the Three Marys, on the virtuous side of the judgement and not with the other usurers (shown hanging by the strings of their money bags on the opposite side) may also be seen as proof of his repentance. This chapel is externally a very plain building of pink brick which was constructed next to an older palace that Scrovegni was restoring for himself. The palace, now gone, and the chapel were on the site of a Roman arena, for which reason it is commonly known as the Arena Chapel.

The theme is Salvation, and there is an emphasis on the Virgin Mary, as the chapel is dedicated to the Annunciation and to the Virgin of Charity. As is common in the decoration of the medieval period in Italy, the west wall is dominated by the Last Judgement. On either side of the chancel are complementary paintings of the Angel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary, depicting the Annunciation. This scene is incorporated into the cycles of The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary and The Life of Christ. The source for The Life of the Virgin is the Golden Legend of Jacopo da Voragine while The Life of Christ draws upon the Meditations on the Life of Christ by the Pseudo-Bonaventura. The frescoes are more than mere illustrations of familiar texts, however, and scholars have found numerous sources for Giotto’s interpretations of sacred stories.

The cycle is divided into 37 scenes, arranged around the lateral walls in three tiers, starting in the upper register with the story of Joachim and Anna, the parents of the Virgin and continuing with the story of Mary. The life of Jesus occupies two registers. The Last Judgment fills the entire pictorial space of the counter-façade.

The top right hand tier deals with the lives of Mary’s parents, the left of her early life and the middle tier deals with the early life and miracles of Christ.

The bottom tier on both sides is concerned with the Passions of Christ. He is depicted mainly in profile, as is customary, historically, when depicting persons of importance. His eyes point continuously to the right, perhaps to guide the viewer onwards in the episodes. The kiss of Judas near the end of the sequence signals the close of this left-to-right procession.

Much of the blue in the fresco has been worn away by time. This is because Enrico degli Scrovegni ordered that, because of the expense of the pigment ultramarine blue used, it should be painted on top of the already dry fresco stucco fresco to preserve its brilliance. For this reason it has disintegrated faster than the other colors which have been fastened within the plaster of the fresco. An example of this decay can clearly be seen on the robe of Christ as he sits on the donkey.

Between the scenes are quatrefoil paintings of Old Testament scenes, like Jonah and the Whale that allegorically correspond and perhaps foretell the life of Christ.

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Life and Paintings of Giotto Di Bondone

While Cimabue painted in a manner that is clearly Medieval, having aspects of both the Byzantine and the Gothic, Giotto’s style draws on the solid and classicizing sculpture of Arnolfo di Cambio. Unlike those by Cimabue and Duccio, Giotto’s figures are not stylized or elongated and do not follow set Byzantine models. They are solidly three-dimensional, have faces and gestures that are based on close observation, and are clothed not in swirling formalized drapery, but in garments that hang naturally and have form and weight. He also took bold steps in foreshortening and with having character face inwards, with their backs towards the observer creating the illusion of space. however, the Medieval tradition of only representing a few faces is continued in Giotto’s representation of the apostles in the Lamentations seen. Those whose faces can be seen show incredible emotion but the others are refused to the form of a group of background halos. What he did achieve was, regardless, remarkable. Although aspects of this trend in painting had already appeared in Rome in the work of Pietro Cavallini and at Assisi, Giotto took it so much further that he earned the reputation for setting a new standard for representational painting.

The heavily sculptural figures occupy compressed settings with naturalistic elements, often using forced perspective devices so that they resemble stage sets. This similarity is increased by Giotto’s careful arrangement of the figures in such a way that the viewer appears to have a particular place and even an involvement in many of the scenes. This dramatic immediacy was a new feature, which is also seen to some extent in the Upper Church at Assisi.

Famous narratives in the series include the Adoration of the Magi, in which a comet-like Star of Bethlehem streaks across the sky. Giotto is thought to have been inspired by the 1301 appearance of Halley’s comet, which led to the name Giotto being given to a 1986 space probe to the comet. Another famous scene is the Lamentation, in which Giotto adapted the traditional Byzantine iconography of the scene to create an emotional representation that draws the viewer into the sacred narrative.

Giotto’s depiction of the human face and emotion sets his work apart from that of his contemporaries. When the disgraced Joachim returns sadly to the hillside, the two young shepherds look sideways at each other. The soldier who drags a baby from its screaming mother in the Massacre of the Innocents does so with his head hunched into his shoulders and a look of shame on his face. The people on the road to Egypt gossip about Mary and Joseph as they go. Of Giotto’s realism, the 19th-century English critic John Ruskin said “He painted the Madonna and St. Joseph and the Christ, yes, by all means … but essentially Mamma, Papa and Baby.”

Among those frescoes in Padua which have been lost are those in the Basilica of. St. Anthony and the Palazzo della Ragione, which are however from a later sojourn in Padua.

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Life and Paintings of Giotto Di Bondone

Numerous painters from northern Italy were influenced by Giotto’s work in Padua including Guariento, Giusto de’ Menabuoi, Jacopo Avanzi, and Altichiero.

From 1306 to 1311 Giotto was in Assisi, where he painted frescoes in the transept area of the Lower Church, including The Life of Christ, Franciscan Allegories and the Maddalena Chapel, drawing on stories from the Golden Legend and including the portrait of bishop Teobaldo Pontano who commissioned the work. Several assistants are mentioned, including one Palerino di Guido. However, the style demonstrates developments from Giotto’s work at Padua.

In 1311 Giotto returned to Florence. A document from 1313 about his furniture there shows that he had spent a period in Rome some time before. It is now thought that he produced the design for the famous Navicella mosaic for the courtyard of the Old St. Peter’s Basilica in 1310, commissioned by Cardinal Giacomo or Jacopo Stefaneschi and now lost to the Renaissance church, except for some fragments and a Baroque reconstruction. According to the cardinal’s necrology he also at least designed the Stefaneschi Triptych, a double-sided altarpiece for St. Peter’s, now in the Vatican Pinacoteca. But the style seems unlikely for either Giotto or his normal Florentine assistants, so he may have had his design executed by an ad hoc workshop of Romans.

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Life and Paintings of Giotto Di Bondone

In Florence, where documents from 1314–1327 attest to his financial activities, Giotto painted an altarpiece known as the Ognissanti Madonna and now in the Uffizi where it is exhibited beside Cimabue’s Santa Trinita Madonna and Duccio’s Rucellai Madonna. The Ognissanti altarpiece is the only panel painting by Giotto that has been universally accepted by scholars, and this despite the fact that it is undocumented. It was painted for the church of the Ognissanti (all saints) in Florence, which was built by an obscure religious order known as the Humiliati. It is a large painting (325 x 204 cm), and scholars are divided on whether it was made for the main altar of the church, where it would have been viewed primarily by the brothers of the order or for the choir screen, where it would have been more easily seen by a lay audience.

At this time he also painted the Dormition of the Virgin, now in the Berlin Gemäldegalerie and the Crucifix in the Church of Ognissanti.

According to Lorenzo Ghiberti, Giotto painted chapels for four different Florentine families in the church of Santa Croce, although he does not identify which chapels they were. It is only with Vasari that the four chapels are identified: the Bardi Chapel (Life of St. Francis), the Peruzzi Chapel (Life of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, perhaps including a polyptych of Madonna with Saints now in the Museum of Art of Raleigh, North Carolina) and the lost Giugni Chapel (Stories of the Apostles) and the Tosinghi Spinelli Chapel (Stories of the Holy Virgin). As with almost everything in Giotto’s career, the dates of the fresco decorations that survive in Santa Croce are disputed. The Bardi Chapel, immediately to the right of the main chapel of the church, was painted in true fresco, and to some scholars the simplicity of its settings seems relatively close to those of Padua, while the Peruzzi Chapel’s more complex settings suggest a later date. The Peruzzi Chapel is adjacent to the Bardi Chapel and was largely painted a secco. This technique, quicker but less durable than true fresco, has resulted in a fresco decoration that survives in a seriously deteriorated condition. Scholars who date this cycle earlier in Giotto’s career see the growing interest in architectural expansion that it displays as close to the developments of the giottesque frescoes in the Lower Church at Assisi, while the Bardi frescoes have a new softness of color that indicates the artist going in a different direction, probably under the influence of Sienese art, and so must be a later development.

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Life and Paintings of Giotto Di Bondone

The Peruzzi Chapel pairs three frescoes from the life of St. John the Baptist (The Annunciation of John’s Birth to his father Zacharias; The Birth and Naming of John; The Feast of Herod) on the left wall with three scenes from the life of St. John the Evangelist (The Visions of John on Ephesus; The Raising of Drusiana; The Ascension of John) on the right wall. The choice of scenes has been related to both the patrons and the Franciscans.Because of the serious condition of the frescoes, it is difficult to discuss Giotto’s style in the chapel, although the frescoes show signs of his typical interest in controlled naturalism and psychological penetration. The Peruzzi Chapel was especially renowned during Renaissance times. Giotto’s compositions influenced Masaccio’s Brancacci Chapels, and Michelangelo is known to have studied the frescoes.

The Bardi Chapel depicts the life of St. Francis, following a similar iconography to the frescoes in the Upper Church at Assisi, dating from 20–30 years earlier. A comparison makes apparent the greater attention given by Giotto to expression in the human figures and the simpler, better-integrated architectural forms. Giotto represents only 7 scenes from the saint’s life here, and the narrative is arranged somewhat unusually. The story starts on the upper left wall with St. Francis Renounces his Father. It continues across the chapel to the upper right wall with the Approval of the Franciscan Rule, moves down the right wall to the Trial by Fire, across the chapel again to the left wall for the Appearance at Arles, down the left wall to the Death of St. Francis, and across once more to the posthumous Visions of Fra Agostino and the Bishop of Assisi. The Stigmatization of St. Francis, which chronologically belongs between the Appearance at Arles and the Death, is located outside the chapel, above the entrance arch. This arrangement encourages viewers to link scenes together: to pair frescoes across the chapel space or relate triads of frescoes along each wall. These linkings suggest meaningful symbolic relationships between different events in St. Francis’s life.

In 1320 Giotto finished the Stefaneschi Triptych, now in the Vatican Museum, for Cardinal Giacomo (or Jacopo) Gaetano Stefaneschi, who also commissioned him to decorate the apse of St. Peter’s Basilica with a cycle of frescoes that were destroyed during the 16th century renovation. According to Vasari, Giotto remained in Rome for six years, subsequently receiving numerous commissions in Italy and in the Papal seat at Avignon, though some of these works are now recognized to be by other artists.

In 1328 the altarpiece of the Baroncelli Chapel in Santa Croce, Florence was completed. This work, previously ascribed to Giotto, is now believed to be mostly a work by assistants, including Taddeo Gaddi who later frescoed the chapel). Giotto was called by King Robert of Anjou to Naples where he remained with a group of pupils until 1333. Few of Giotto’s Neapolitan works have survived: a fragment of a fresco portraying the Lamentation of Christ in the church of Santa Chiara, and the Illustrious Men painted on the windows of the Santa Barbara Chapel of Castel Nuovo (which are usually attributed to his pupils). In 1332 King Robert named him “first court painter” with a yearly pension.

After Naples Giotto stayed for a while in Bologna, where he painted a Polyptych for the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, and, according to the sources, a lost decoration for the Chapel in the Cardinal Legate’s Castle.

In 1334 Giotto was appointed chief architect to Florence Cathedral, of which the Campanile (founded by him on July 18, 1334) bears his name, but was not completed to his design.

Before 1337 he was in Milan with Azzone Visconti, though no trace of works by him remain in the city. His last known work (with assistants’ help) is the decoration of Podestà Chapel in the Bargello, Florence.

Life and Paintings of Giotto (1266   1337)   giotto13

Life and Paintings of Giotto Di Bondone

In his final years Giotto had become friends with Boccaccio and Sacchetti, who featured him in their stories. In The Divine Comedy, Dante acknowledged the greatness of his living contemporary through the words of a painter in Purgatorio (XI, 94–96): “Cimabue believed that he held the field/In painting, and now Giotto has the cry,/ So the fame of the former is obscure.”

Giotto died in January 1337. According to Vasari, Giotto was buried in Santa Maria del Fiore, the Cathedral of Florence, on the left of the entrance and with the spot marked by a white marble plaque. According to other sources, he was buried in the Church of Santa Reparata. These apparently contradictory reports are explained by the fact that the remains of Santa Reparata lie directly beneath the Cathedral and the church continued in use while the construction of the cathedral was proceeding in the early 14th century.

During an excavation in the 1970s bones were discovered beneath the paving of Santa Reparata at a spot close to the location given by Vasari, but unmarked on either level. Forensic examination of the bones by anthropologist Francesco Mallegni and a team of experts in 2000 brought to light some facts that seemed to confirm that they were those of a painter, particularly the range of chemicals, including arsenic and lead, both commonly found in paint, that the bones had absorbed.

The bones were those of a very short man, of little over four feet tall, who may have suffered from a form of congenital dwarfism. This supports a tradition at the Church of Santa Croce that a dwarf who appears in one of the frescoes is a self-portrait of Giotto. On the other hand, a man wearing a white hat who appears in the Last Judgement at Padua is also said to be a portrait of Giotto. The appearance of this man conflicts with the image in Santa Croce.

Vasari, drawing on a description by Boccaccio, who was a friend of Giotto, says of him that “there was no uglier man in the city of Florence” and indicates that his children were also plain in appearance. There is a story that Dante visited Giotto while he was painting the Scrovegni Chapel and, seeing the artist’s children underfoot asked how a man who painted such beautiful pictures could create such plain children, to which Giotto, who according to Vasari was always a wit, replied “I made them in the dark.”

Life and Paintings of Giotto (1266   1337)   giotto12

Life and Paintings of Giotto Di Bondone

Forensic reconstruction of the skeleton at Santa Reperata showed a short man with a very large head, a large hooked nose and one eye more prominent than the other. The bones of the neck indicated that the man spent a lot of time with his head tilted backwards. The front teeth were worn in a way consistent with frequently holding a brush between the teeth. The man was about 70 at the time of death.

While the Italian researchers were convinced that the body belonged to Giotto and it was reburied with honour near the grave of Brunelleschi, others have been highly skeptical.

 

Life and Paintings of Giotto (1266   1337)   giotto10

Life and Paintings of Giotto Di Bondone

 

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Abraham Solomon - A Portrait of Two Girls With Their Governess

Life and Paintings of Abraham Solomon (1824 – 1862)

Abraham Solomon (1823–1862) was an English painter. Born as the second son of Meyer Solomon, a Leghorn hat manufacturer, by his wife Catherine, in Sandys Street, Bishopsgate, London, on the 7 May 1823. His father was one of the first Jews to be admitted to the freedom of the city of London. Two members of the family besides Abraham became artists. His younger brother, Simeon Solomon, acquired much acclaim as a pre-Raphaelite painter and pastellist. His sister, Rebecca Solomon, exhibited domestic subjects at the Royal Academy.

At the age of thirteen Abraham became a pupil in Sass’s school of art in Bloomsbury, and in 1838 gained the Isis silver medal at the Society of Arts for a drawing from a statue. In 1839 he was admitted as a student of the Royal Academy, where he received in the same year a silver medal for drawing from the antique, and in 1843 another for drawing from the life.

His last work, ‘Departure of the Diligence at Biarritz‘ is now at the Royal Holloway College, Egham.

Solomon died at Biarritz, of heart disease, on 19 December 1862. He married, on 10 May 1860, Ella, sister of Dr. Ernest Hart; she survived her husband.

Life and Paintings of Abraham Solomon (1824   1862)   Solomon Abraham The Vicar Of Wakefield

Abraham Solomon – The Vicar Of Wakefield

 

Life and Paintings of Abraham Solomon (1824   1862)   Solomon Abraham The Sixth Age Shifts Into Lean And Slippered Pantaloon With Spectacles On Nose

Abraham Solomon – The Sixth Age Shifts into Lean and Slippered Pantaloon with Spectacles on Nose

 

Life and Paintings of Abraham Solomon (1824   1862)   Solomon Abraham The Bashful Lover

Abraham Solomon – The Bashful Lover

 

Life and Paintings of Abraham Solomon (1824   1862)   Solomon Abraham By the Seaside

Abraham Solomon – By the Seaside

 

Life and Paintings of Abraham Solomon (1824   1862)   Solomon Abraham A Portrait Of Two Girls With Their Governess

Abraham Solomon – A Portrait of Two Girls With Their Governess

 

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Alfred Stevens - Femme a la poupee Japonaise

Life and Paintings of Alfred Stevens (1823 – 1906)

Alfred Émile Léopold Stevens (1823 – 1906) was a Belgian painter born in Brussels. He came from a family involved with the visual arts: his older brother Joseph (1816–1892) and his son Léopold (1866–1935) were painters, while another brother Arthur (1825–99) was an art dealer and critic. His father, who had fought in the Napoleonic wars in the army of William I of the Netherlands, was an art collector who owned several watercolors by Eugène Delacroix, among other artists. His mother’s parents ran Café de l’Amitié in Brussels, a meeting place for politicians, writers, and artists. All the Stevens children benefited from the people they met there, and the social skills they acquired in growing up around important people.

Life and Paintings of Alfred Stevens (1823   1906)   What is Called Vagrancy

Alfred Stevens – What is Called Vagrancy

After the death of his father in 1837, Stevens left middle school to begin study at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, where he knew François Navez, the Neo-Classical painter and former student of Jacques-Louis David who was its director and an old friend of Stevens’s grandfather. Following a traditional curriculum, he drew from casts of classical sculpture for the first two years, and then drew from live models. In 1843, Stevens went to Paris, joining his brother Joseph who already was there. He was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts, the most important art school in Paris. Although it is said that he became a student of its director Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, this is likely not true.

An early picture by Stevens, The Pardon or Absolution (Hermitage, St. Petersburg), signed and dated 1849, shows his mastery of a conventional naturalistic style which owes much to 17th-century Dutch genre painting. Like the Belgian painter and friend with whom he stayed in Paris, Florent Joseph Marie Willems (1823–1905), Stevens carefully studied works by painters such as Gerard ter Borch and Gabriel Metsu.

Stevens’s work was shown publicly for the first time in 1851, when three of his paintings were admitted to the Brussels Salon. He was awarded a third-class medal at the Paris Salon in 1853, and a second-class medal at the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1855. His ‘Ce qu’on appelle le vagabondage‘ [What is called vagrancy] (Musée d’Orsay, Paris) attracted the attention of Napoleon III who, as a result of the scene in the picture, ordered that soldiers no longer be used to pick up the poor from the streets.

Life and Paintings of Alfred Stevens (1823   1906)   Stevens Alfred The Japanese Mask aka Intrigue

Alfred Stevens – The Japanese Mask aka Intrigue

Two other paintings he exhibited at the Salon in Antwerp that year, Chez soi or At Home (present location unknown) and The Painter and his Model (Walters Art Museum, Baltimore), introduced subjects from “la vie moderne” for which he became known: an elegant young woman in contemporary dress and the artist in his studio. In 1857, Stevens made his first important sale to a private collector, when Consolation was bought for a rumored 6,000 francs by the Berlin collector and dealer Ravéné. At the same time, he and his brother were becoming part of the art world of Paris, meeting people such as the Goncourt brothers, Théophile Gautier, and Alexandre Dumas at the salons of Princess Mathilde as well as popular cafés.

In 1858, Stevens married Marie Blanc, who came from a rich Belgian family and old friends of the Stevens’s. Eugène Delacroix was a witness at the ceremony.

During the 1860s, Stevens became an immensely successful painter, known for his paintings of elegant modern women. His exhibits at the Salons in Paris and Brussels attracted favorable critical attention and buyers. An excellent example of his work during this time is La Dame en Rose or Woman in Pink (Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels), painted in 1866, which combines a view of a fashionably dressed woman in an interior with a detailed examination of Japanese objects, a fashionable taste called japonisme of which Stevens was an early enthusiast.

In 1863, he received the Legion of Honor (Chevalier) from the Belgian government. In 1867, he won a first-class medal at the Universal Exposition in Paris, where he and Jan August Hendrik Leys were the stars of the Belgian section, and was promoted to Officer of the Legion of Honor. His friends included Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Charles Baudelaire, Berthe Morisot, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Frédéric Bazille, and Puvis de Chavannes, and he was a regular in the group that gathered at the Café Guerbois in Paris.

Life and Paintings of Alfred Stevens (1823   1906)   The Bath

Alfred Stevens – The Bath

Stevens fought for the French during the siege of Paris in the Franco-Prussian War, but returned to Belgium with his wife and family before the Paris Commune. They returned after the war, and Stevens continued to achieve critical acclaim as well as great success with collectors. In 1875, he bought a grand house and garden in Paris on rue des Martyrs, which appeared in his paintings as well as those of other artists, including Édouard Manet’s The Croquet Party (Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main) from 1873.

Life and Paintings of Alfred Stevens (1823   1906)   Stevens Alfred Preparing For The Ball

Alfred Stevens – Preparing for the Ball

In 1878, he was made a Commander of the Legion of Honor and received another first-class medal at the Salon.
Despite earning a considerable income through the sale of his paintings, Stevens found that a combination of bad investments and excessive spending caused him great financial difficulties during the 1880s. An additional expense came from summers by the sea, which a doctor told Stevens in 1880 were essential for his health. Thus the artist was glad to agree when the Paris dealer Georges Petit offered him 50,000 francs to finance his vacation in exchange for the paintings Stevens produced during that time.

This deal, which lasted for three years, resulted in the sea becoming an important subject for him, and over the rest of his career, he painted hundreds of views of popular resorts along the Normandy coast and the Midi in the south. Many of them are painted in a sketchy style that shows the influence of the Impressionists. Stevens also began to take private students, including Sarah Bernhardt, who became a close personal friend, and William Merritt Chase.

The single most important work from the second half of Stevens’s career is the monumental Panorama du Siècle, 1789–1889, which he painted with Henri Gervex. Stevens painted the women and details and Gervex the men, with the help of fifteen assistants. It was shown to great acclaim at the International Exhibition held in Paris in 1889. He also received several great professional tributes. In 1895, a large exhibition of his work was held in Brussels.

 

Life and Paintings of Alfred Stevens (1823   1906)   Stevens A La Fillette au Canard

Alfred Stevens – A la Fillette au Canard

In 1900, Stevens was honored by the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris with the first retrospective exhibition ever given to a living artist. Supported by patrons led by the Comtesse de Greffulhe, it achieved social cachet as well as popular success. In 1905, he was the only living artist allowed to exhibit in a retrospective show of Belgian art in Brussels. Despite these exhibitions, he was not able to sell enough of his work to manage well financially. Having outlived his brothers and most of his friends, he died in Paris in 1906, living alone in modest rooms.

Life and Paintings of Alfred Stevens (1823   1906)   Stevens Alfred Lovelorn

Alfred Stevens – Lovelorn

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Life and Paintings of  Domenico Ghirlandaio (19)

Life and Paintings of Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449 – 1494)

Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449 – 1494) was an Italian Renaissance painter from Florence . Among his many apprentices was Michelangelo.

Life and Paintings of Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449   1494)   Life and Paintings of Domenico Ghirlandaio 23

Portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni (1488). Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid; formerly in the Morgan Library.

Giorgio Vasari reported that Domenico was at first apprenticed to a jeweller or a goldsmith ; most likely it was to his own father. The nickname “Il Ghirlandaio” (garland-maker) came to Domenico from his father, a goldsmith who was famed for creating the metallic garland -like necklaces worn by Florentine women. In his father’s shop, Vasari reports, Domenico made portraits of the passers-by and visitors to the shop: “when he painted the country people or anyone who passed through his studio he immediately captured their likeness”. He was eventually apprenticed to Alesso Baldovinetti to study painting and mosaic . According to the art historian Günter Passavent, he was apprenticed in Florence to Andrea del Verrocchio .

He painted frescoes , dated before 1475, for the Santa Fina Chapel in the Tuscan Collegiata di San Gimignano , in an independent commune that had come under the rule of Florence in 1351. In 1480, Ghirlandaio painted the St. Jerome in His Study and other frescoes in the Church of Ognissanti, Florence , and a life-sized Last Supper in its refectory. From 1481 to 1485, he was employed on frescoes in the Sala dell’Orologio of the Palazzo Vecchio ; for its Sala del Giglio he frescoed an Apotheosis of St. Zenobius (1482), an over-life-sized work with an elaborate architectural framework, figures of Roman heroes, and other secular details, striking in its perspective and structural/compositional skill.

In 1483, Ghirlandaio was summoned to Rome by Pope Sixtus IV to paint a wall fresco in the Sistine Chapel , Vocation of the Apostles ; also attributed to him is the Sistine Chapel’s Crossing of the Red Sea , although more likely executed by Cosimo Rosselli or Biagio d’Antonio . Although he is known to have created other works in Rome, they have been for centuries considered lost to history. His future brother-in-law, Sebastiano Mainardi, assisted him with these commissions in Rome and in the early frescoes at San Gimignano.

Life and Paintings of Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449   1494)   Life and Paintings of Domenico Ghirlandaio 22

An Old Man and his Grandson (ca. 1490) Tempera on wood, 62 x 46 cm. Louvre, Paris

Back in Florence in 1485, Ghirlandaio painted fresco cycles in the Sassetti Chapel of Santa Trinita for the donor and banker Francesco Sassetti , the powerful manager of the branch of the Medici bank in Genoa , a position subsequently filled by Giovanni Tornabuoni , Ghirlandaio’s future patron. In the chapel, Ghirlandaio painted six scenes from the life of Saint Francis , including Saint Francis obtaining from Pope Honorius the Approval of the Rules of His Order, the saint’s Death and Obsequies and a Resuscitation by the interposition of the beatified Francis of a child of the Spini family, who had died as a result of a fall from a window. The first work depicts a portrait of Lorenzo de’ Medici , and the third, the painter’s own likeness, which he also included in one of his pictures in the Santa Maria Novella as well as in the Adoration of the Magi in the Florentine orphanage, the Ospedale degli Innocenti . The altarpiece from the Sassetti chapel, the Adoration of the Shepherds, is now in the Florentine Accademia . Immediately after this commission, Ghirlandaio was asked to renew the frescoes in the choir of Santa Maria Novella, which formed the chape l of the Ricci family, but the Tornabuoni and Tornaquinci families, who were much more prominent than the Ricci, undertook the cost of the restoration, with certain contractual conditions. The Tornabuoni Chapel frescoes, by Ghirlandaio and many assistants, were painted in four courses along the three walls, the main subjects being the lives of the Madonna and St. John the Baptist . These works are particularly interesting in that they include many portraits, a genre in which Ghirlandaio was preeminently skilled.

In this cycle, there are no fewer than twenty-one portraits of the Tornabuoni and Tornaquinci families – in the Angel appearing to Zacharias, portraits of Politian, Marsilio Ficino and others; in the Salutation of Anna and Elizabeth, the beautiful Giovanna Tornabuoni (identified (incorrectly) by Giorgio Vasari as Ginevra de Benci ); in the Expulsion of Joachim from the Temple, Sebastiano Mainardi and Alessio Baldovinetti (some art historians have surmised that the latter figure may be the likeness of Ghirlandaio’s father). The Tornabuoni Chapel was completed in 1490; the altarpiece was probably executed with the assistance of Domenico’s brothers, Davide and Benedetto ; the painted window was from Domenico’s own design.

Other distinguished works from Ghirlandaio’s hand are an altarpiece in tempera of the Virgin Adored by Saints Zenobius, Justus and Others, painted for the church of Saint Justus, and considered a remarkable masterpiece—in modern times it has been in the Uffizi gallery. Christ in Glory with Romuald and Other Saints, in the Badia of Volterra ; and the Visitation (Louvre ) which bears the last ascertained date (1491) of all his works. Ghirlandaio did not often attempt the nude—one of his pictures including nudes, Vulcan and His Assistants Forging Thunderbolts, was painted for Lorenzo II de’ Medici , but, as in the case of several others specified by Giorgio Vasari, no longer exists. The mosaics that he produced date before 1491—one, of special note, is the Annunciation, on a portal of the cathedral of Florence.

Life and Paintings of Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449   1494)   Life and Paintings of Domenico Ghirlandaio 2

Ghirlandaio’s Tornabuoni Chapel series on the life of Mary, executed with utmost attention to realistic detail, appears to represent domestic scenes from contemporary life of Florentine nobility, rather than a cosmic event. (1485-90)

Ghirlandaio’s compositional schema were simultaneously grand and decorous, in keeping with 15th century’s restrained and classicizing experimentation. His chiaroscuro , in the sense of realistic shading and three-dimensionalism, was reasonably advanced, as were his perspectives, which he designed on a very elaborate scale by eye alone, without the use of sophisticated mathematics. His color is more open to criticism, but such evaluation applies less to the frescoes than the tempera paintings, which are sometimes too broadly and crudely bright. His frescoes were executed entirely in buon fresco which, in Italian art terminology, refers to abstention from additions in tempera.

A certain hardness of outline may attest to his early training in metal work. Vasari states that Ghirlandaio was the first to abandon, in great part, the use of gilding in his pictures, representing by genuine painting any objects supposed to be gilded; yet this claim is not applicable to his entire oeuvre, since the landscape highlights in, as an example, the Adoration of the Shepherds located, in modern age, at the Florence Academy , were rendered in gold leaf. Those of his drawings and sketches which can be observed and studied at the Uffizi gallery, are considered particularly remarkable for their naturalistic vigor of outline.

One of the great legacies of Ghirlandaio is that he is commonly credited with having given some early art education to Michelangelo, who cannot, however, have remained with him long. Francesco Granacci is another among his best-known pupils.

Ghirlandaio died in 1494 of “pestilential fever” and was buried in Santa Maria Novella. The day and month of his birth remain undocumented, but he is recorded as having died in early January of his forty-fifth year. He had been twice married and left six children. One of his three sons, Ridolfo Ghirlandaio , also became a noted painter. Although he had a long line of descendants, the family died out in the 17th century, when its last members entered monasteries.

Life and Paintings of Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449   1494)   Life and Paintings of Domenico Ghirlandaio 20

Life and Paintings of Domenico Ghirlandaio

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Edwin Longsden Long - To her Listening Ear Responsive Chords of Music came Familia

Life and Paintings of Edwin Longsden Long (1829 – 1891)

Edwin Longsden Long RA (12 July 1829 – 15 May 1891) was an English genre, history, biblical and portrait painter. Long was born in Bath, Somerset, the son of E. Long, an artist (from Kelston in Somerset), and was educated at Dr. Viner’s School in Bath.

Life and Paintings of Edwin Longsden Long (1829   1891)   A Spanish Flower Seller

Edwin Longsden Long – A Spanish Flower Seller

Adopting the profession of a painter, Long came to London and studied in the British Museum. He was subsequently a pupil in the school of James Mathews Leigh in Newman Street London, and practiced first as a portrait artist painting Charles Greville, Lord Ebury and others.

Long made the acquaintance of John Phillip RA, and accompanied him to Spain, where they spent much time. Long was greatly influenced by the paintings of Velasquez and other Spanish masters, and his earlier pictures, such as ‘La Posada’ (1864) and ‘Lazarilla and the blind beggar’ (1870), were painted under Spanish influence.

His first important pictures were ‘The Suppliants’ (1872) and ‘The Babylonian marriage market’ (both subsequently purchased by Thomas Holloway). In 1874, he visited Egypt and Syria, and subsequently his work took a new direction.

Life and Paintings of Edwin Longsden Long (1829   1891)   Long Edwin Longsden An Egyptian Feast

Edwin Longsden Long – The Egyptian Feast

He became thoroughly imbued with middle-eastern archaeology and painted oriental scenes like ‘The Egyptian Feast’ (1877), ‘The Gods and their makers’ (1878) etc.

Long was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1870 and an academician (RA) in 1881. His pictures always attracted attention and his ‘Diana or Christ?’ (1881) greatly enhanced his reputation at the time.

Life and Paintings of Edwin Longsden Long (1829   1891)   Alethe Attendant of the Sacred Ibis in the Temple of Isis at

Edwin Longsden Long – Alethe Attendant of the Sacred Ibis in the Temple of Isis

His pictures suited the taste and appealed to the religious sentiment of a large portion of the public, and their popularity was increased by a wide circulation of engravings.

He consequently determined to exhibit his next pictures in a separate gallery of his own in Bond Street, London and there in 1883, and the following years, his ‘Anno Domini’ and ‘Zeuxis at Crotona’ met with great commercial success.

Long married a daughter of Dr. William Aiton, by whom he left a family, of whom a son, Maurice Long, was killed in a railway accident at Burgos in Spain on 23 September 1891.

Long died from pneumonia resulting from influenza, at his home, “Kelston” in Netherhall Gardens, Hampstead, on 15 May 1891, in his sixty-second year. He was buried in West Hampstead Cemetery. The will signed by him on the day of his death was the subject of a lawsuit, to which his relatives were parties, but the matter in dispute was amicably settled.

Besides the “Edwin Long” Gallery in Old Bond Street, a number of his pictures was collected together after his death, and formed the nucleus of a gallery of Christian Art which replaced the works of Gustave Doré in the well-known gallery in New Bond Street. Long had considerable practice as a portrait painter but his success in that line was not conspicuous, although he obtained high patronage and very large prices.

Life and Paintings of Edwin Longsden Long (1829   1891)   Anno Domini

Edwin Longsden Long – Anno Domini

He painted for the Baroness Burdett Coutts (his chief patron) portraits of herself, her friend Mrs. Brown, and Henry Irving. Among other portraits of his latter years were a memorial portrait of the Earl of Iddesleigh, of which he painted a replica for the National Portrait Gallery, portraits of Cardinal Manning (perhaps his best effort in this line), Samuel Cousins, Sir Edmund Henderson and others.

According to art historian Lionel Cust, “In his earlier works Long showed great power and thoroughly deserved his success and popularity“, but added that his later works “suffered from a continual repetition of types which resulted in monotony“.

Life and Paintings of Edwin Longsden Long (1829   1891)   The Date Seller

Edwin Longsden Long – The Date Seller

 

Life and Paintings of Edwin Longsden Long (1829   1891)   Long Love s Labour Lost

Edwin Longsden Long – Love’s Labour Lost

 

Life and Paintings of Edwin Longsden Long (1829   1891)   Long Edwin The Approval

Edwin Longsden Long – The Approval

 

Life and Paintings of Edwin Longsden Long (1829   1891)   Long Edwin Preparing For The Festival Of Anubis

Edwin Longsden Long – Preparing For The Festival Of Anubis

 

Life and Paintings of Edwin Longsden Long (1829   1891)   A Spanish Flower Seller

Edwin Longsden Long – A Spanish Flower Seller

 

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Painting by Camille Pissarro (13)

Life and Paintings of Camille Pissarro (1830 – 1903)

Camille Pissarro (10 July 1830 – 13 November 1903) was a Danish-French Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist painter born on the island of St Thomas (now in the US Virgin Islands, but then in the Danish West Indies). His importance resides in his contributions to both Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Pissarro studied from great forerunners, including Gustave Courbet and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. He later studied and worked alongside Georges Seurat and Paul Signac when he took on the Neo-Impressionist style at the age of 54.

Life and Paintings of Camille Pissarro (1830   1903)   Pissarro La Cote des Boeufs the Hermitage

Painting by Camille Pissarro

In 1873 he helped establish a collective society of fifteen aspiring artists, becoming the “pivotal” figure in holding the group together and encouraging the other members. Art historian John Rewald called Pissarro the “dean of the Impressionist painters“, not only because he was the oldest of the group, but also “by virtue of his wisdom and his balanced, kind, and warmhearted personality”. Cézanne said “he was a father for me. A man to consult and a little like the good Lord,” and he was also one of Gauguin’s masters. Renoir referred to his work as “revolutionary”, through his artistic portrayals of the “common man”, as Pissarro insisted on painting individuals in natural settings without “artifice or grandeur”.
Pissarro is the only artist to have shown his work at all eight Paris Impressionist exhibitions, from 1874 to 1886. He “acted as a father figure not only to the Impressionists” but to all four of the major Post-Impressionists, including Georges Seurat, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin.

Jacob Abraham Camille Pissarro was born on 10 July 1830 on the island of St. Thomas to Frederick and Rachel Pissarro. His father, who was of Portuguese Jewish descent, held French nationality and his mother was native Creole. His father was a merchant who came to the island from France to deal with the business affairs of a deceased uncle, and married his widow. The marriage, however, caused a stir within St. Thomas’ small Jewish community, either because Rachel was outside the faith or because she was previously married to Frederick’s uncle, and in subsequent years his four children were forced to attend the all-black primary school. Upon his death, his will specified that his estate be split equally between the synagogue and St. Thomas’ Protestant church.

When Camille was twelve his father sent him to boarding school in France. He studied at the Savary Academy in Passy near Paris. While a young student, he developed an early appreciation of the French art masters. Monsieur Savary himself gave him a strong grounding in drawing and painting and suggested he draw from nature when he returned to St. Thomas, which he did when he was seventeen. However, his father preferred he work in his business, giving him a job working as a cargo clerk. He took every opportunity during those next five years at the job to practice drawing during breaks and after work.

Life and Paintings of Camille Pissarro (1830   1903)   Pissarro Camille Place Du Theatre Francais

Painting by Camille Pissarro

When he turned twenty-one, Danish artist Fritz Melbye, then living on St. Thomas, inspired Pissarro to take on painting as a full-time profession, becoming his teacher and friend. Pissarro then chose to leave his family and job and live in Venezuela, where he and Melbye spent the next two years working as artists in Caracas. He drew everything he could, including landscapes, village scenes, and numerous sketches, enough to fill up multiple sketchbooks. In 1855 he moved back to Paris where he began working as assistant to Anton Melbye, Fritz Melbye’s brother.

Life and Paintings of Camille Pissarro (1830   1903)   pissarro20

Painting by Camille Pissarro

In Paris he worked as assistant to Danish painter Anton Melbye. He also studied paintings by other artists whose style impressed him: Courbet, Charles-François Daubigny, Jean-François Millet, and Corot. He also enrolled in various classes taught by masters, at schools such as École des Beaux-Arts and Académie Suisse. But Pissarro eventually found their teaching methods “stifling,” states art historian John Rewald. This prompted him to search for alternative instruction, which he requested and received from Corot.

His initial paintings were in accord with the standards at the time to be displayed at the Paris Salon, the official body whose academic traditions dictated the kind of art that was acceptable. The Salon’s annual exhibition was essentially the only marketplace for young artists to gain exposure. As a result, Pissarro worked in the traditional and prescribed manner to satisfy the tastes of its official committee.

In 1859 his first painting was accepted and exhibited. His other paintings during that period were influenced by Camille Corot, who tutored him. He and Corot both shared a love of rural scenes painted from nature. It was from Corot that Pissarro was inspired to paint outdoors, also called “plein air” painting. Pissarro found Corot, along with the work of Gustave Courbet, to be “statements of pictorial truth,” writes Rewald. He discussed their work often. Jean-François Millet was another whose work he admired, especially his “sentimental renditions of rural life“.

Life and Paintings of Camille Pissarro (1830   1903)   pissarro16

Painting by Camille Pissarro

During this period Pissarro began to understand and appreciate the importance of expressing on canvas the beauties of nature without adulteration. After a year in Paris, he therefore began to leave the city and paint scenes in the countryside to capture the daily reality of village life. He found the French countryside to be “picturesque,” and worthy of being painted. It was still mostly agricultural and sometimes called the “golden age of the peasantry“. Pissarro later explained the technique of painting outdoors to a student:

Work at the same time upon sky, water, branches, ground, keeping everything going on and equal basis and unceasingly rework until you have got it. Paint generously and unhesitatingly, for it is best not to lose the first impression.

Life and Paintings of Camille Pissarro (1830   1903)   Pissarro The Railway Bridge at Pontoise

Painting by Camille Pissarro

Corot, however, would complete his own scenic paintings back in his studio where they would often be revised to his preconceptions. Pissarro, on the other hand, preferred to finish his paintings outdoors, often at one sitting, which gave his work a more realistic feel. As a result, his art was sometimes criticised as being “vulgar,” because he painted what he saw: “rutted and edged hodgepodge of bushes, mounds of earth, and trees in various stages of development.” According to one source, details such as those were equivalent to today’s art showing garbage cans or beer bottles on the side of a street scene. This difference in style created disagreements between Pissarro and Corot.

In 1859, while attending the free school, the Académie Suisse, Pissarro became friends with a number of younger artists who likewise chose to paint in the more realistic style. Among them were Claude Monet, Armand Guillaumin and Paul Cézanne. What they shared in common was their dissatisfaction with the dictates of the Salon. Cézanne’s work had been mocked at the time by the others in the school, and, writes Rewald, in his later years Cézanne “never forgot the sympathy and understanding with which Pissarro encouraged him.” As a part of the group, Pissarro was comforted from knowing he was not alone, and that others similarly struggled with their art.

Life and Paintings of Camille Pissarro (1830   1903)   Pissarro The Old Market at Rouen 1898

Painting by Camille Pissarro

Pissarro agreed with the group about the importance of portraying individuals in natural settings, and expressed his dislike of any artifice or grandeur in his works, despite what the Salon demanded for its exhibits. In 1863 almost all of the group’s paintings were rejected by the Salon, and French Emperor Napoleon III instead decided to place their paintings in a separate exhibit hall, the Salon des Refusés. However, only works of Pissarro and Cézanne were included, and the separate exhibit brought a hostile response from both the officials of the Salon and the public.

In subsequent Salon exhibits of 1865 and 1866, Pissarro acknowledged his influences from Melbye and Corot, whom he listed as his masters in the catalogue. But in the exhibition of 1868 he no longer credited other artists as an influence, in effect declaring his independence as a painter. This was noted at the time by art critic and author Émile Zola, who offered his opinion:

Camille Pissarro is one of the three or four true painters of this day … I have rarely encountered a technique that is so sure.

Another writer tries to describe elements of Pissarro’s style:

The brightness of his palette envelops objects in atmosphere … He paints the smell of the earth.

And though, on orders from the hanging Committee and the Marquis de Chennevières, Pissarro’s paintings of Pontoise for example had been skyed, hung near the ceiling, this did not prevent Jules-Antoine Castagnary from noting that the qualities of his paintings had been observed by art lovers.[13] At the age of thirty-eight, Pissarro had begun to win himself a reputation as a landscapist to rival Corot and Daubigny.

Life and Paintings of Camille Pissarro (1830   1903)   Pissarro The Hermitage at Pontoise

Painting by Camille Pissarro

In the late 1860s or early 1870s, Pissarro became fascinated with Japanese prints, which influenced his desire to experiment in new compositions. He described the art to his son Lucien:
It is marvelous. This is what I see in the art of this astonishing people … nothing that leaps to the eye, a calm, a grandeur, an extraordinary unity, a rather subdued radiance …

Life and Paintings of Camille Pissarro (1830   1903)   Pissarro The Artist s Garden at Eragny 1898

Painting by Camille Pissarro

In 1871 he married his mother’s maid, Julie Vellay, a vineyard grower’s daughter, with whom he would later have seven children. They lived outside of Paris in Pontoise and later in Louveciennes, both of which places inspired many of his paintings including scenes of village life, along with rivers, woods, and people at work. He also kept in touch with the other artists of his earlier group, especially Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, and Frédéric Bazille.

After the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, having only Danish nationality and being unable to join the army, he moved his family to Norwood, then a village on the edge of London. However, his style of painting, which was a forerunner of what was later called “Impressionism“, did not do well. He writes to his friend, Theodore Duret, that “my painting doesn’t catch on, not at all …”

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