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.

Bartolomé Esteban 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.

Bartolomé Esteban 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.

Bartolomé Esteban 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.

 

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - Virgin and Child with a Rosary

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Virgin and Child with a Rosary

 

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - The Martyrdom of St. Andrew

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – The Martyrdom of St. Andrew

 

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - The Little Fruit Seller

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – The Little Fruit Seller

 

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - The Holy Family (1650)

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – The Holy Family (1650)

 

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - Immaculate Conception (c1678)

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Immaculate Conception (c1678)

 

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - Christ the Good Shepherd

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Christ the Good Shepherd

 

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Article publié pour la première fois le 25/03/2014

Orazio Gentileschi - Finding of Moses

Masters of Art: Orazio Lomi Gentileschi (1563 – 1639)

Orazio Lomi Gentileschi (1563–1639) was an Italian Baroque painter, one of more important painters influenced by Caravaggio (the so-called Caravaggisti). He was the father of the painter Artemisia Gentileschi.

Movements: Baroque, Emotionalism, Caravaggism

Orazio Gentileschi - Sts Cecilia, Valerianus and Tiburtius

Orazio Gentileschi – Sts Cecilia, Valerianus and Tiburtius

In the late 1570s or early 1580s Gentileschi moved to Rome, and was associated with the landscape-painter Agostino Tassi, executing the figures for the landscape backgrounds of this artist in the Palazzo Rospigliosi, and it is said in the great hall of the Quirinal Palace, although by some authorities the figures in the last-named building are ascribed to Giovanni Lanfranco.

He worked also in the churches of Santa Maria Maggiore, San Nicola in Carcere, Santa Maria della Pace and San Giovanni in Laterano.

However, Gentileschi’s main influence starting from the early 17th century was Caravaggio, also in Rome at the time, whose style he was one of the best followers of. Sharing with the former shadowy characteristics, he took part in several adventures in Rome’s streets.

In late August 1603 Giovanni Baglione filed a suit for libel against Caravaggio, Gentileschi, Ottavio Leoni, and Filipo Trisegni in connection with some unflattering poems circulated amongst the artistic community of Rome over the preceding summer.

Caravaggios testimony during the trial as recorded in court documents is one of the few insights into his thoughts about the subject of art and his contemporaries. In 1612 he was again called to the Tribunal of Rome, this time to speak against Tassi, who was charged with the rape of his daughter Artemisia Gentileschi. After Caravaggio’s flight from Rome, Gentileschi developed a more personal Tuscan lyricism, characterized by lighter colours and precision in detail, reminiscent of his Mannerist beginnings.

After a long sojourn in the Marche, in the early 1620s Gentileschi went to Genoa, and then to Paris, at the court of Marie de Medici.

Let’s enjoy his most celebrated works:
Orazio Gentileschi - Joseph and Potiphar's Wife

Orazio Gentileschi – Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife

Orazio Gentileschi - Landscape with St Christopher

Orazio Gentileschi – Landscape with St Christopher

Orazio Gentileschi - Lot and His Daughters

Orazio Gentileschi – Lot and His Daughters

Orazio Gentileschi - The Vision of St Francesca Romana

Orazio Gentileschi – The Vision of St Francesca Romana

Orazio Gentileschi - Two Women with a Mirror

Orazio Gentileschi – Two Women with a Mirror

Orazio Gentileschi - Annunciation

Orazio Gentileschi – Annunciation

Orazio Gentileschi - Cupid and Psyche

Orazio Gentileschi – Cupid and Psyche

In 1626 he left France to work for Charles I of England, where he remained for the rest of his life. His works became increasingly conventional and decorative, but were appreciated by the local aristocracy for their classicism. Van Dyck included him in his portraits of a hundred illustrious men.

Gentileschi died in 1639 in London.

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Article publié pour la première fois le 23/10/2012

William Hogarth - Marriage à la Mode2

Masters of Art: William Hogarth (1697 – 1764)

William Hogarth (10 November 1697 – 26 October 1764) was an English painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, social critic and editorial cartoonist who has been credited with pioneering western sequential art. His work ranged from realistic portraiture to comic strip-like series of pictures called “modern moral subjects”. Knowledge of his work is so pervasive that satirical political illustrations in this style are often referred to as “Hogarthian.”

Movements: Rococo

William Hogarth was born at Bartholomew Close in London to Richard Hogarth, a poor Latin school teacher and textbook writer, and Anne Gibbons. In his youth he was apprenticed to the engraver Ellis Gamble in Leicester Fields, where he learned to engrave trade cards and similar products. Young Hogarth also took a lively interest in the street life of the metropolis and the London fairs, and amused himself by sketching the characters he saw. Around the same time, his father, who had opened an unsuccessful Latin-speaking coffee house at St John’s Gate, was imprisoned for debt in Fleet Prison for five years. Hogarth never spoke of his father’s imprisonment.

He became a member of the Rose and Crown Club, with Peter Tillemans, George Vertue, Michael Dahl, and other artists and connoisseurs.

By April 1720 Hogarth was an engraver in his own right, at first engraving coats of arms, shop bills, and designing plates for booksellers.

William Hogarth - An Election Entertainment

William Hogarth – An Election Entertainment

In 1727, he was hired by Joshua Morris, a tapestry worker, to prepare a design for the Element of Earth. Morris heard that he was “an engraver, and no painter”, and consequently declined the work when completed. Hogarth accordingly sued him for the money in the Westminster Court, where the case was decided in his favour on 28 May 1728. In 1757 he was appointed Serjeant Painter to the King.

Early satirical works included an Emblematical Print on the South Sea Scheme (c.1721), about the disastrous stock market crash of 1720 known as the South Sea Bubble, in which many English people lost a great deal of money. In the bottom left corner, he shows Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish figures gambling, while in the middle there is a huge machine, like a merry-go-round, which people are boarding. At the top is a goat, written below which is “Who’l Ride”. The people are scattered around the picture with a sense of disorder, while the progress of the well dressed people towards the ride in the middle shows the foolishness of the crowd in buying stock in the South Sea Company, which spent more time issuing stock than anything else.

Other early works include The Lottery (1724); The Mystery of Masonry brought to Light by the Gormogons (1724); A Just View of the British Stage (1724); some book illustrations; and the small print, Masquerades and Operas (1724). The latter is a satire on contemporary follies, such as the masquerades of the Swiss impresario John James Heidegger, the popular Italian opera singers, John Rich’s pantomimes at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, and the exaggerated popularity of Lord Burlington’s protégé, the architect and painter William Kent. He continued that theme in 1727, with the Large Masquerade Ticket. In 1726 Hogarth prepared twelve large engravings for Samuel Butler’s Hudibras. These he himself valued highly, and are among his best book illustrations.

In the following years he turned his attention to the production of small “conversation pieces” (i.e., groups in oil of full-length portraits from 12 to 15 in. high). Among his efforts in oil between 1728 and 1732 were The Fountaine Family (c.1730), The Assembly at Wanstead House, The House of Commons examining Bambridge, and several pictures of the chief actors in John Gay’s popular The Beggar’s Opera.

William Hogarth - Before the Seduction and After

William Hogarth – Before the Seduction and After

In 1731, he completed the earliest of the series of moral works which first gave him recognition as a great and original genius. This was A Harlot’s Progress, first as paintings, (now lost), and then published as engravings. In its six scenes, the miserable fate of a country girl who began a prostitution career in town is traced out remorselessly from its starting point, the meeting of a bawd, to its shameful and degraded end, the whore’s death of venereal disease and the following merciless funeral ceremony. The series was an immediate success, and was followed in 1735 by the sequel A Rake’s Progress showing in eight pictures the reckless life of Tom Rakewell, the son of a rich merchant, who wastes all his money on luxurious living, whoring, and gambling, and ultimately finishes his life in Bedlam. The original paintings of A Harlot’s Progress were destroyed in the fire at Fonthill Abbey in 1755; A Rake’s Progress is displayed in the gallery room at Sir John Soane’s Museum, London.

In 1743–1745 Hogarth painted the six pictures of Marriage à-la-mode (National Gallery, London), a pointed skewering of upper class 18th century society. This moralistic warning shows the miserable tragedy of an ill-considered marriage for money. This is regarded by many as his finest project and may be among his best planned story serials.

Marital ethics were the topic of much debate in 18th century Britain. Frequent marriages of convenience and their attendant unhappiness came in for particular criticism, with a variety of authors taking the view that love was a much sounder basis for marriage. Hogarth here painted a satire – a genre that by definition has a moral point to convey – of a conventional marriage within the English upper class. All the paintings were engraved and the series achieved wide circulation in print form. The series, which are set in a Classical interior, shows the story of the fashionable marriage of the son of bankrupt Earl Squanderfield to the daughter of a wealthy but miserly city merchant, starting with the signing of a marriage contract at the Earl’s mansion and ending with the murder of the son by his wife’s lover and the suicide of the daughter after her lover is hanged at Tyburn for murdering her husband.

William Makepeace Thackeray wrote:

This famous set of pictures contains the most important and highly wrought of the Hogarth comedies. The care and method with which the moral grounds of these pictures are laid is as remarkable as the wit and skill of the observing and dexterous artist. He has to describe the negotiations for a marriage pending between the daughter of a rich citizen Alderman and young Lord Viscount Squanderfield, the dissipated son of a gouty old Earl … The dismal end is known. My lord draws upon the counselor, who kills him, and is apprehended while endeavouring to escape. My lady goes back perforce to the Alderman of the City, and faints upon reading Counsellor Silvertongue’s dying speech at Tyburn (place of execution in old London), where the counselor has been executed for sending his lordship out of the world. Moral: don’t listen to evil silver-tongued counselors; don’t marry a man for his rank, or a woman for her money; don’t frequent foolish auctions and masquerade balls unknown to your husband; don’t have wicked companions abroad and neglect your wife, otherwise you will be run through the body, and ruin will ensue, and disgrace, and Tyburn.

Hogarth’s work were a direct influence on John Collier, who was known as the “Lancashire Hogarth”. The spread of Hogarth’s prints throughout Europe, together with the depiction of popular scenes from his prints in faked Hogarth prints, influenced Continental book illustration through the 18th and early 19th century, especially in Germany and France. He also influenced many caricaturists of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Hogarth’s influence lives on today as artists continue to draw inspiration from the artist.

William Hogarth - Marriage à la Mode

William Hogarth – Marriage à la Mode

Hogarth’s paintings and prints have provided the subject matter for several other works. For example, Gavin Gordon’s 1935 ballet The Rake’s Progress, to choreography by Ninette de Valois, was based directly on Hogarth’s series of paintings of that title. Igor Stravinsky’s 1951 opera The Rake’s Progress, with libretto by W. H. Auden, was less literally inspired by the same series. Russell Banks’ short story “Indisposed” is a fictional account of Hogarth’s infidelity as told from the viewpoint of his wife, Jane. Hogarth’s engravings also inspired the BBC radio play “The Midnight House” by Jonathan Hall, based on the M.R. James ghost story “The Mezzotint” and first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2006.

Hogarth’s House in Chiswick, west London, is now a museum; it abuts one of London’s best known road junctions – the Hogarth Roundabout.

Hogarth is played by Toby Jones in the 2006 television film A Harlot’s Progress.

William Hogarth - The Strode Family

William Hogarth – The Strode Family

William Hogarth - Marriage à la Mode2

William Hogarth – Marriage à la Mode2

William Hogarth - Portrait of a Young Woman

William Hogarth – Portrait of a Young Woman

William Hogarth - Portrait of Mary Edwards

William Hogarth – Portrait of Mary Edwards

William Hogarth - Soliciting Votes

William Hogarth – Soliciting Votes

William Hogarth - The Marriage of Stephen Beckingham and Mary Cox

William Hogarth – The Marriage of Stephen Beckingham and Mary Cox

William Hogarth - The Orgy

William Hogarth – The Orgy

William Hogarth - The Shrimp Girl

William Hogarth – The Shrimp Girl

 

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Article publié pour la première fois le 14/05/2014

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - The Death of Hyacinth

Masters of Art: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696 – 1770)

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (March 5, 1696 – March 27, 1770), also known as Gianbattista or Giambattista Tiepolo, was an Italian painter and printmaker from the Republic of Venice. He was prolific, and worked not only in Italy, but also in Germany and Spain.

Movements: Rococo

Born in Venice, Tiepolo was the youngest of six children born to Orsetta, Tiepolo’s mother and his father, Domenico Tiepolo, a sea captain. While the Tiepolo surname belongs to a patrician family, Giambattista’s father did not claim patrician status. The future artist was baptised in his parish church (San Pietro di Castello) as Giovanni Battista, in honour of his godfather, a Venetian nobleman called Giovanni Battista Dorià. His father Domenico died a year after his birth, leaving Orsetta in difficult financial circumstances.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - Queen Zenobia before Emperor Aurelianus

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – Queen Zenobia before Emperor Aurelianus

Giambattista was initially a pupil of Gregorio Lazzarini, but the influences from elder contemporaries such as Sebastiano Ricci and Giovanni Battista Piazzetta are stronger in his work. At 19 years of age, Tiepolo completed his first major commission, the Sacrifice of Isaac (now in the Accademia). He left Lazzarini studio in 1717, and was received into the Fraglia or guild of painters.

In 1719, Tiepolo was married to Maria Cecilia Guardi, sister of two contemporary Venetian painters Francesco and Giovanni Antonio Guardi. Together, Tiepolo and his wife had nine children. Four daughters and three sons survived childhood. Two sons, Domenico and Lorenzo, painted with him as his assistants and achieved some independent recognition. His third son became a priest. Fabio Canal and Francesco Lorenzi were among his pupils.

A patrician from the Friulian town of Udine, Dionisio Delfino, commissioned a fresco decoration of the chapel and palace from the young Tiepolo (completed 1726–1728). Tiepolo’s first masterpieces in Venice were a cycle of enormous canvases painted to decorate a large reception room of Ca’ Dolfin on the Grand Canal of Venice (ca. 1726–1729), depicting ancient battles and triumph.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - Allegory of the Planets and Continents

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – Allegory of the Planets and Continents

These early masterpieces, novel for Venetian frescoes in their luminosity, brought him many commissions. By 1750, Tiepolo’s reputation was firmly established throughout Europe, with the help of his friend Francesco Algarotti, an art dealer, critique and collector. That year, at the behest of Prince Bishop Karl Philip von Greiffenklau, he traveled to Würzburg where he arrived in November 1750. He resided for three years and executed ceiling paintings in the New Residenz palace (completed 1744).

He frescoed the Kaisersaal salon in collaboration with his sons, Giandomenico and Lorenzo and then invited to deliver a design for the grandiose Neumann-designed entrance staircase (Treppenhaus). It is a massive ceiling fresco at 7287 square feet (677 m2), and was completed in November 1753.

His Allegory of the Planets and Continents depicts Apollo embarking on his daily course; deities around him symbolize the planets; allegorical figures (on the cornice) represent the four continents Europe, Asia, Africa and America. He included a self-portrait beside a portrait of his son Giandomenico in the Europe section of this fresco.

Tiepolo returned to Venice in 1753. He was now in demand locally, as well as abroad where he was elected President of the Academy of Padua. He went on to complete theatrical frescoes for churches; the Triumph of Faith for the Chiesa della Pietà; panel frescos for Ca’ Rezzonico (which now also holds his ceiling fresco from the Palazzo Barbarigo); and paintings for patrician villas in the Venetian countryside, such as Villa Valmarana in Vicenza and an elaborate panegyric ceiling for the now nearly-vacant Villa Pisani in Stra.

In celebrated frescoes at the Palazzo Labia, he depicted two frescoes on the life of Cleopatra: Meeting of Anthony and Cleopatra and Banquet of Cleopatra, as well as a central ceiling fresco depicts Triumph of Bellerophon over Time. He collaborated with an expert in perspective, Girolamo Mengozzi Colonna. Colonna who also designed sets for opera highlights the increasing tendency towards composition as a staged fiction in his frescoes. The architecture of the Banquet fresco also recalls Veronese’s Wedding at Cannae. In 1757, he painted the altar piece commissioned by the family Thiene, the work represents the apotheosis of Saint Cajetan, the altar piece is in the church of hamlet of Rampazzo in the Camisano Vicentino.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - The Meeting of Anthony and Cleopatra

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – The Meeting of Anthony and Cleopatra

In 1761, Charles III commissioned Tiepolo to create a ceiling fresco to decorate the throne room of the Royal Palace of Madrid. The panegyric theme is the Apotheosis of Spain and has allegorical depictions recalling the dominance of Spain in the Americas and across the globe. In Spain, he incurred the jealousy and the bitter opposition of the rising champion of Neoclassicism, Anton Raphael Mengs.

Tiepolo died in Madrid on March 27, 1770.

After his death, the rise of stern Neoclassicism and the post-revolutionary decline of royal absolutism led to the slow decline of the Tiepolo style, but had failed to dent his reputation. By 1772, Tiepolo’s son was sufficiently famous to be documented as painter to Doge Giovanni Cornaro, in charge of the decoration of Palazzo Mocenigo a San Polo.

Works of Tiepolo were exhibited between July 26 and September 29 1979 at the Palazzo Ducale Museum in Venice Italy. The exhibition was catalogued and published the same year in the book Tiepolo, Tecnica E immaginazione by George Knox.

In his most fluid elaborations, Tiepolo has closest affinity to Ricci, Piazzetta, and Federico Bencovich. He is a shadowless fresco artist, a sunnier rococo Pietro da Cortona. His sumptuous historical set-pieces are enveloped in a regal luminosity. He is principally known for his fresco work, particularly his panegyric ceilings. These followed the Baroque tradition begun a century before by Pietro da Cortona, converting roof to painted sky, elevating petty aristocrats to divine status, and allowing for vast compositions that merged with the delicate ornamentation of the stucco frames.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - The Death of Hyacinth

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – The Death of Hyacinth

Like Luca Giordano, his palette was muted, almost water-color like. Like Giordano, he was prolific. With an unrivaled Sprezzatura, he painted worlds of fresco, and some such as the walls of Villa Valmarana in Vicenza, not only peer into the mythologic scenes, but are meant to relocate viewers into their midst. The earliest example of this is perhaps his canvases in the Ca’ Dolfin, which allowed Tiepolo to introduce exuberant costumes, classical sculpture, and action that appears to spill from the frames into the room. Originally set into recesses, they were surrounded with frescoed frames.

While his painting is infused with the Venetian spirit, his luminosity is not seen in the previous masters; however, Tiepolo is considered the last “Olympian” painter of the Venetian Republic. Like Titian before him, Tiepolo was an international star, treasured by royalty far afield for his ability to depict glory in fresco.

His children painted figures with a design similar to that of their father, but with distinctive, including genre, styles.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - The Death of Sophonisba

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – The Death of Sophonisba

 

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - Woman with a Parrot

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – Woman with a Parrot

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - Apollo and Daphne

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – Apollo and Daphne

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - Apollo and Marsyas

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – Apollo and Marsyas

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - Bellerophon on Pegasus

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – Bellerophon on Pegasus

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - Education of the Virgin

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – Education of the Virgin

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - Jupiter and Danaë

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – Jupiter and Danaë

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - Madonna of the Goldfinch

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – Madonna of the Goldfinch

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - Nativity

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – Nativity

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - Rachel Hiding the Idols from her Father Laban

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – Rachel Hiding the Idols from her Father Laban

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - Rinaldo and Armida

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – Rinaldo and Armida

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - Rinaldo's Departure from Armida

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – Rinaldo’s Departure from Armida

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - St James the Greater Conquering the Moors

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – St James the Greater Conquering the Moors

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - Temptations of St Anthony

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – Temptations of St Anthony

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - The Banquet of Cleopatra

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – The Banquet of Cleopatra

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - The Madonna of Carmel and the Souls of the Purgatory

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – The Madonna of Carmel and the Souls of the Purgatory

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - The Virgin with Six Saints

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – The Virgin with Six Saints

 

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Article publié pour la première fois le 13/12/2012

Gustave Courbet - After Dinner at Ornans

Life and Paintings of Gustave Courbet (1819 – 1877)

Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet (10 June 1819 – 31 December 1877) was a French painter who led the Realist movement in 19th-century French painting. The Realist movement bridged the Romantic movement (characterized by the paintings of Théodore Géricault and Eugène Delacroix) with the Barbizon School and the Impressionists. Courbet occupies an important place in 19th century French painting as an innovator and as an artist willing to make bold social commentary in his work.

Movements: Realism, Social Realism

Courbet painted figurative compositions, landscapes, seascapes, and still-lifes. He courted controversy by addressing social issues in his work, and by painting subjects that were considered vulgar, such as the rural bourgeoisie, peasants, and working conditions of the poor. His work belonged neither to the predominant Romantic nor Neoclassical schools. History painting, which the Paris Salon esteemed as a painter’s highest calling, did not interest Courbet, who stated that “the artists of one century [are] basically incapable of reproducing the aspect of a past or future century …” Instead, he believed that the only possible source for a living art is the artist’s own experience.

Gustave Courbet - Young Women from the Village

Gustave Courbet – Young Women from the Village

His work, along with the work of Honoré Daumier and Jean-François Millet, became known as Realism. For Courbet realism dealt not with the perfection of line and form, but entailed spontaneous and rough handling of paint, suggesting direct observation by the artist while portraying the irregularities in nature. He depicted the harshness in life, and in so doing challenged contemporary academic ideas of art.

Courbet was born in 1819 to Régis and Sylvie Oudot Courbet in Ornans (department of Doubs). Though a prosperous farming family, anti-monarchical feelings prevailed in the household. (His maternal grandfather fought in the French Revolution.) Courbet’s sisters, Zoé, Zélie and Juliette, were his first models for drawing and painting. After moving to Paris he returned home to Ornans often to hunt, fish and find inspiration. He went to Paris in 1839 and worked at the studio of Steuben and Hesse. An independent spirit, he soon left, preferring to develop his own style by studying the paintings of Spanish, Flemish and French masters in the Louvre, and painting copies of their work.

His first works were an Odalisque suggested by the writing of Victor Hugo and a Lélia illustrating George Sand, but he soon abandoned literary influences, choosing instead to base his paintings on observed reality. Among his paintings of the early 1840s are several self-portraits, Romantic in conception, in which the artist portrayed himself in various roles. These include Self-Portrait with Black Dog (c. 1842–1844, accepted for exhibition at the 1844 Paris Salon), the theatrical Self-Portrait which is also known as Desperate Man (c. 1843–45), Lovers in the Countryside (1844, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon), The Sculptor (1845), The Wounded Man (1844–1854, Musée d’Orsay, Paris), The Cellist, Self-Portrait (1847, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, shown at the 1848 Salon), and The Man with a Pipe (c. 1848–1849, Musée d’Orsay, Paris).

Trips to the Netherlands and Belgium in 1846–1847 strengthened Courbet’s belief that painters should portray the life around them, as Rembrandt, Hals and other Dutch masters had. By 1848, he had gained supporters among the younger critics, the Neo-romantics and Realists, notably Champfleury.

Courbet achieved greater recognition after the success of his painting After Dinner at Ornans at the Salon of 1849. The work, reminiscent of Chardin and Le Nain, earned Courbet a gold medal and was purchased by the state.[5] The gold medal meant that his works would no longer require jury approval for exhibition at the Salon —an exemption Courbet enjoyed until 1857 when the rule changed).

Gustave Courbet - The Stonebreakers

Gustave Courbet – The Stonebreakers

In 1849 Courbet painted Stone-Breakers (destroyed in the British Bombing of Dresden in 1945), which Proudhon admired as an icon of peasant life; it has been called “the first of his great works”. The painting was inspired by a scene Courbet witnessed on the roadside. He later explained to Champfleury and the writer Francis Wey, “It is not often that one encounters so complete an expression of poverty and so, right then and there I got the idea for a painting. I told them to come to my studio the next morning.”

The Salon of 1850–1851[10] found him triumphant with The Stone Breakers, the Peasants of Flagey and A Burial at Ornans. The Burial, one of Courbet’s most important works, records the funeral of his grand uncle[11] which he attended in September 1848. People who attended the funeral were the models for the painting. Previously, models had been used as actors in historical narratives, but in Burial Courbet said he “painted the very people who had been present at the interment, all the townspeople”. The result is a realistic presentation of them, and of life in Ornans.

The vast painting—it measures 10 by 22 feet (3.1 by 6.6 meters)—drew both praise and fierce denunciations from critics and the public, in part because it upset convention by depicting a prosaic ritual on a scale which previously would have been reserved for a religious or royal subject.

According to art historian Sarah Faunce, “In Paris the Burial was judged as a work that had thrust itself into the grand tradition of history painting, like an upstart in dirty boots crashing a genteel party, and in terms of that tradition it was of course found wanting.”

The painting lacks the sentimental rhetoric that was expected in a genre work: Courbet’s mourners make no theatrical gestures of grief, and their faces seemed more caricatured than ennobled. The critics accused Courbet of a deliberate pursuit of ugliness.

Eventually, the public grew more interested in the new Realist approach, and the lavish, decadent fantasy of Romanticism lost popularity. The artist well understood the importance of the painting. Courbet said of it, “The Burial at Ornans was in reality the burial of Romanticism.”

Courbet became a celebrity, and was spoken of as a genius, a “terrible socialist” and a “savage”. He actively encouraged the public’s perception of him as an unschooled peasant, while his ambition, his bold pronouncements to journalists, and his insistence on depicting his own life in his art gave him a reputation for unbridled vanity.

Gustave Courbet - Three English Girls at a Window

Gustave Courbet – Three English Girls at a Window

Gustave Courbet - Young Ladies by the River Seine

Gustave Courbet – Young Ladies by the River Seine

Gustave Courbet - The Studio of the Painter

Gustave Courbet – The Studio of the Painter

Gustave Courbet - The Sleeping Spinner

Gustave Courbet – The Sleeping Spinner

Gustave Courbet - The Meeting or Bonjour Monsieur Courbet

Gustave Courbet – The Meeting or Bonjour Monsieur Courbet

Gustave Courbet - The Grain Sifters

Gustave Courbet – The Grain Sifters

Gustave Courbet - Firemen Running to a Fire

Gustave Courbet – Firemen Running to a Fire

Gustave Courbet - Burial at Ornans

Gustave Courbet – Burial at Ornans

Gustave Courbet - After Dinner at Ornans

Gustave Courbet – After Dinner at Ornans

Courbet associated his ideas of realism in art with political anarchism, and, having gained an audience, he promoted democratic and socialist ideas by writing politically motivated essays and dissertations. His familiar visage was the object of frequent caricature in the popular French press.

To a friend in 1850 he wrote:

 …in our so very civilized society it is necessary for me to live the life of a savage. I must be free even of governments. The people have my sympathies, I must address myself to them directly.

Gustave Courbet - The Woman in the Waves

Gustave Courbet – The Woman in the Waves

During the Paris Commune in 1871, Courbet proposed that the Vendôme Column be disassembled and re-erected in the Hôtel des Invalides. Courbet argued that:

In as much as the Vendôme Column is a monument devoid of all artistic value, tending to perpetuate by its expression the ideas of war and conquest of the past imperial dynasty, which are reproved by a republican nation’s sentiment, citizen Courbet expresses the wish that the National Defense government will authorise him to disassemble this column.”

This project was not adopted, but on 12 April 1871 the dismantling of the imperial symbol was voted, and the column taken down on 16 May, with no intentions of rebuilding it. The bronze plates were preserved.

For his insistence in executing the Communal decree for the destruction of the Vendôme Column, he was designated as responsible for the act and accordingly sentenced on 2 September 1871 by a Versailles court martial to six months in prison and a fine of 500 francs. During his incarceration, Courbet painted several still-life compositions.

In 1872 he depicted his imprisonment in the Self-Portrait at Ste.-Pélagie. After the assault on the Paris Commune by Adolphe Thiers, head of the new provisional national government, the decision was taken to rebuild the column with its statue of Napoléon. In 1873, the newly elected president Mac-Mahon wanted to resurrect the Column. On his own previous proposition, Gustave Courbet was singled out and condemned to pay the expenses. Unable to pay, Courbet went into a self-imposed exile in Switzerland to avoid bankruptcy. The next years he participated quite actively in some regional and national exhibitions. Observed by the intelligence service, he enjoyed in the small Swiss art world the dubious reputation as head of the “realist school” and inspired younger artists like Auguste Baud-Bovy and Ferdinand Hodler.

From this period date several paintings of trout, “hooked and bleeding from the gills”, that have been interpreted as allegorical self-portraits of the exiled artist.

On 4 May 1877, the estimate of the cost of rebuiling the Vendome Column was finally established: 323,091 francs and 68 centimes. Courbet was “allowed” to pay the fine in yearly installments of 10,000 francs for the next 33 years, until his 91st birthday. On 31 December 1877, a day before the payment of the first installment was due, Courbet died, age 58, in La Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland, of a liver disease aggravated by heavy drinking.

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun - Self-Portrait with Her Daughter, Julie

Masters of Art: Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (1755 – 1842)

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (Marie Élisabeth Louise; 16 April 1755 – 30 March 1842) was a French painter, and is recognized as the most important female painter of the 18th century. Her style is generally considered Rococo and shows interest in the subject of neoclassical painting. Vigée Le Brun cannot be considered a pure Neoclassist, however, in that she creates mostly portraits in Neoclassical dress rather than the History painting. In her choice of color and style while serving as the portrait painter to Marie Antoinette, Vigée Le Brun is purely Rococo.

Movements: Rococo, Neoclassicism

Born in Paris on 16 April 1755, Marie-Louise-Élisabeth Vigée was the daughter of a portraitist and fan painter, Louis Vigée, from whom she received her first instruction. Her mother was a hairdresser.

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun - Self-Portrait

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun – Self-Portrait

She was sent to live with relatives in Épernon until the age of 6 when she entered a convent where she remained for five years. Her father died when she was 12 years old following an infection from surgery to remove a fish bone lodged in his throat. In 1768, her mother married a wealthy jeweler, Jacques-Francois Le Sèvre and the family moved to the rue Saint-Honoré close to the Palais Royal. She was later patronised by the wealthy heiress Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon, wife of Philippe Égalité. During this period Louise Élisabeth benefited by the advice of Gabriel François Doyen, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Joseph Vernet, and other masters of the period.

By the time she was in her early teens, Louise Élisabeth was painting portraits professionally. After her studio was seized, for practising without a license, she applied to the Académie de Saint Luc, which unwittingly exhibited her works in their Salon. On 25 October 1783, she was made a member of the Académie.

On 7 August 1775 she married Jean-Baptiste-Pierre Le Brun, a painter and art dealer. (Her husband’s great uncle was Charles Le Brun, first Director of the French Academy under Louis XIV.) Vigée Le Brun painted portraits of many of the nobility of the day and as her career blossomed, she was invited to the Palace of Versailles to paint Marie Antoinette. So pleased was the queen that during a period of six years, Vigée Le Brun would paint more than thirty portraits of the queen and her family, leading to her being commonly viewed as the official portraitist of Marie Antoinette. Whilst of benefit during the reign of the Bourbon royals, this label was to prove problematic later.

On 12 February 1780, Vigée Le Brun gave birth to a daughter, Jeanne Julie Louise, whom she called “Julie”.

In 1781 she and her husband toured Flanders and the Netherlands where seeing the works of the Flemish masters inspired her to try new techniques. There, she painted portraits of some of the nobility, including the Prince of Nassau.

On 31 May 1783, Vigée Le Brun was accepted as a member of France’s Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. She submitted numerous portraits along with an allegorical history painting which she considered her morceau de réception—La Paix qui ramène l’Abondance (Peace Bringing Back Prosperity). The Academy did not place her work within an academic category of type of painting—history or portraiture.

Adélaïde Labille-Guiard also was admitted on the same day. The admission of Vigée Le Brun was opposed on the grounds that her husband was an art dealer, but eventually they were overruled by an order from Louis XVI because Marie Antoinette put considerable pressure on her husband on behalf of her painter. In 1789, she was succeeded as court painter to Marie Antoinette by Alexander Kucharsky.

After the arrest of the royal family during the French Revolution Vigée Le Brun fled France with her young daughter Julie. She lived and worked for some years in Italy, Austria, and Russia, where her experience in dealing with an aristocratic clientele was still useful. In Rome, her paintings met with great critical acclaim and she was elected to the Roman Accademia di San Luca.

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun - Hubert Robert, Artist

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun – Hubert Robert, Artist

In Russia, she was received by the nobility and painted numerous aristocrats including the last king of Poland Stanisław August Poniatowski and members of the family of Catherine the Great. Although the French aesthetic was widely admired in Russia there remained some cultural differences in what was deemed acceptable. Catherine was not initially happy with Vigée Le Brun’s portrait of her granddaughters, Elena and Alexandra Pavlovna, due to the area of bare skin the short sleeved gowns revealed. In order to please the Empress, Vigée Le Brun added sleeves giving the work its characteristic look. This tactic seemed effective in pleasing Catherine as she agreed to sit herself for Vigée Le Brun (although Catherine died of a stroke before this work was due to begin).

While in Saint Petersburg, Vigée Le Brun was made a member of the Academy of Fine Arts of Saint Petersburg. Much to Vigée Le Brun’s dismay, her daughter Julie married a Russian nobleman.

After a sustained campaign by her ex-husband and other family members to have her name removed from the list of counter-revolutionary émigrés, Vigée Le Brun was finally able to return to France during the reign of Emperor Napoleon I. In spite of being no longer labeled as émigrée, her relationship with the new regime was never totally harmonious, as might be expected given that she was a strong royalist and the former portraitist of Marie Antoinette.

Much in demand by the élite of Europe, she visited England at the beginning of the 19th century and painted the portrait of several British notables including Lord Byron. In 1807 she traveled to Switzerland and was made an honorary member of the Société pour l’Avancement des Beaux-Arts of Geneva.

She published her memoirs in 1835 and 1837, which provide an interesting view of the training of artists at the end of the period dominated by royal academies. Her portrait of fellow neoclassical painter, Hubert Robert, is in Paris at Musée National du Louvre.

Still very active with her painting in her fifties, she purchased a house in Louveciennes, Île-de-France, and lived there until the house was seized by the Prussian Army during the war in 1814. She stayed in Paris until her death on 30 March 1842 when her body was taken back to Louveciennes and buried in the Cimetière de Louveciennes near her old home.

Her tombstone epitaph states:

Ici, enfin, je repose… (Here, at last, I rest…)

Vigée Le Brun left a legacy of 660 portraits and 200 landscapes. In addition to private collections, her works may be found at major museums, such as Hermitage Museum, London’s National Gallery, in Europe and the United States.

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun - Self-Portrait with Her Daughter, Julie

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun – Self-Portrait with Her Daughter, Julie

 

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun - The Daughter Portrait

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun – The Daughter Portrait

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun - The Genius of Alexander

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun – The Genius of Alexander

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun - Madame d'Aguesseau de Fresnes

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun – Madame d’Aguesseau de Fresnes

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun - Marie Antoinette

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun – Marie Antoinette

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun - Portrait of a Young Woman

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun – Portrait of a Young Woman

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun - Portrait of Anna Pitt as Hebe

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun – Portrait of Anna Pitt as Hebe

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun - Portrait of Hyacinthe Gabrielle Roland

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun – Portrait of Hyacinthe Gabrielle Roland

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun - Portrait of Hyacinthe Gabrielle Roland

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun – Portrait of Hyacinthe Gabrielle Roland

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun - Self-Portrait in a Straw Hat

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun – Self-Portrait in a Straw Hat

 

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.

Article publié pour la première fois le 06/06/2014

Leonardo-DaVinci-The-Virgin-and-Child-with-St.-Anne

Masters of Art: Leonardo DaVinci (1452 – 1519)

Leonardo da Vinci born Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519) was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal.

Movements: Renaissance, Secularism, Naturalism, Idealism

Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa

Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance Man, a man of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination.

He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived.  According to art historian Helen Gardner, the scope and depth of his interests were without precedent and “his mind and personality seem to us superhuman, the man himself mysterious and remote”.

Leonardo was and is renowned primarily as a painter. Among his works, the Mona Lisa is the most famous and most parodied portrait and The Last Supper the most reproduced religious painting of all time, with their fame approached only by Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam Leonardo’s drawing of the Vitruvian Man is also regarded as a cultural icon  being reproduced on items as varied as the euro, textbooks, and T-shirts.

Perhaps fifteen of his paintings survive, the small number because of his constant, and frequently disastrous, experimentation with new techniques, and his chronic procrastination.

Nevertheless, these few works, together with his notebooks, which contain drawings, scientific diagrams, and his thoughts on the nature of painting, compose a contribution to later generations of artists rivalled only by that of his contemporary, Michelangelo.

Leonardo is revered for his technological ingenuity. He conceptualised a helicopter, a tank, concentrated solar power, a calculator, and the double hull, and he outlined a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics. Relatively few of his designs were constructed or were even feasible during his lifetime, but some of his smaller inventions, such as an automated bobbin winder and a machine for testing the tensile strength of wire, entered the world of manufacturing unheralded.

 

Annunciation

Annunciation

The Baptism of Christ

The Baptism of Christ

Madonne à l'enfant

Madonne à l’enfant

 Last Supper

Last Supper

 

He made important discoveries in anatomy, civil engineering, optics, and hydrodynamics, but he did not publish his findings and they had no direct influence on later science.

Despite the recent awareness and admiration of Leonardo as a scientist and inventor, for the better part of four hundred years his fame rested on his achievements as a painter and on a handful of works, either authenticated or attributed to him that have been regarded as among the masterpieces.

These paintings are famous for a variety of qualities which have been much imitated by students and discussed at great length by connoisseurs and critics. Among the qualities that make Leonardo’s work unique are the innovative techniques that he used in laying on the paint, his detailed knowledge of anatomy, light, botany and geology, his interest in physiognomy and the way in which humans register emotion in expression and gesture, his innovative use of the human form in figurative composition, and his use of the subtle gradation of tone. All these qualities come together in his most famous painted works, the Mona Lisa, the Last Supper and the Virgin of the Rocks.

Leonardo was not a prolific painter, but he was a most prolific draftsman, keeping journals full of small sketches and detailed drawings recording all manner of things that took his attention. As well as the journals there exist many studies for paintings, some of which can be identified as preparatory to particular works such as The Adoration of the Magi, The Virgin of the Rocks and The Last Supper. His earliest dated drawing is a Landscape of the Arno Valley, 1473, which shows the river, the mountains, Montelupo Castle and the farmlands beyond it in great detail.

Among his famous drawings are the Vitruvian Man, a study of the proportions of the human body, the Head of an Angel, for The Virgin of the Rocks in the Louvre, a botanical study of Star of Bethlehem and a large drawing (160×100 cm) in black chalk on coloured paper of The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and St. John the Baptist in the National Gallery, London.

This drawing employs the subtle sfumato technique of shading, in the manner of the Mona Lisa. It is thought that Leonardo never made a painting from it, the closest similarity being to The Virgin and Child with St. Anne in the Louvre

Other drawings of interest include numerous studies generally referred to as “caricatures” because, although exaggerated, they appear to be based upon observation of live models. Vasari relates that if Leonardo saw a person with an interesting face he would follow them around all day observing them.

There are numerous studies of beautiful young men, often associated with Salai, with the rare and much admired facial feature, the so-called “Grecian profile”. These faces are often contrasted with that of a warrior. Salai is often depicted in fancy-dress costume. Leonardo is known to have designed sets for pageants with which these may be associated. Other, often meticulous, drawings show studies of drapery. A marked development in Leonardo’s ability to draw drapery occurred in his early works. Another often-reproduced drawing is a macabre sketch that was done by Leonardo in Florence in 1479 showing the body of Bernardo Baroncelli, hanged in connection with the murder of Giuliano, brother of Lorenzo de’Medici, in the Pazzi Conspiracy. With dispassionate integrity Leonardo has registered in neat mirror writing the colours of the robes that Baroncelli was wearing when he died.

 

Study of a Tuscan Landscape

Study of a Tuscan Landscape

Views of a Foetus in the Womb

Views of a Foetus in the Womb

The interest in Leonardo’s genius has continued unabated; experts study and translate his writings, analyse his paintings using scientific techniques, argue over attributions and search for works which have been recorded but never found.

Liana Bortolon, writing in 1967, said:

Because of the multiplicity of interests that spurred him to pursue every field of knowledge … Leonardo can be considered, quite rightly, to have been the universal genius par excellence, and with all the disquieting overtones inherent in that term. Man is as uncomfortable today, faced with a genius, as he was in the 16th century.Five centuries have passed, yet we still view Leonardo with awe!

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

Article publié pour la première fois le 28/08/2012

Life and Paintings of Alfred Sisley (29)

Life and Paintings of Alfred Sisley (1839 – 1899)

Alfred Sisley (1839 – 1899) was an Impressionist landscape painter who was born and spent most of his life in France, but retained British citizenship. He was the most consistent of the Impressionists in his dedication to painting landscape en plein air (i.e., outdoors). He never deviated into figure painting and, unlike Renoir and Pissarro, never found that Impressionism did not fulfill his artistic needs.

Among his important works are a series of paintings of the River Thames, mostly around Hampton, executed in 1874, and landscapes depicting places in or near Moret-sur-Loing.

Painting by Alfred Sisley

Painting by Alfred Sisley

Sisley was born on 30 October 1839 in Paris to affluent British parents. His father, William Sisley, was in the silk business, and his mother Felicia Sell was a cultivated music connoisseur.

In 1857 at the age of 18, Sisley was sent to London to study for a career in business, but he abandoned it after four years and returned to Paris in 1861.

From 1862, he studied at the Paris École des Beaux-Arts within the atelier of Swiss artist Marc-Charles-Gabriel Gleyre, where he became acquainted with Frédéric Bazille, Claude Monet, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Together they would paint landscapes en plein air rather than in the studio, in order to realistically capture the transient effects of sunlight.

Painting by Alfred Sisley

Painting by Alfred Sisley

This approach, innovative at the time, resulted in paintings more colorful and more broadly painted than the public was accustomed to seeing. Consequently, Sisley and his friends initially had few opportunities to exhibit or sell their work.

Their works were usually rejected by the jury of the most important art exhibition in France, the annual Salon. During the 1860s, though, Sisley was in a better financial position than some of his fellow artists, as he received an allowance from his father.

In 1866, Sisley began a relationship with Eugénie Lesouezec (1834–1898; also known as Marie Lescouezec), a Breton living in Paris. The couple had two children: son Pierre (born 1867) and daughter Jeanne (1869). At the time, Sisley lived not far from Avenue de Clichy and the Café Guerbois, the gathering-place of many Parisian painters.

In 1868, his paintings were accepted at the Salon, but the exhibition did not bring him financial or critical success; nor did subsequent exhibitions.

Painting by Alfred Sisley

Painting by Alfred Sisley

In 1870 the Franco-Prussian War began, and as a result Sisley’s father’s business failed and the painter’s sole means of support became the sale of his works. For the remainder of his life he would live in poverty, as his paintings did not rise significantly in monetary value until after his death. Occasionally, however, Sisley would be backed by patrons; and this allowed him, among other things, to make a few brief trips to Britain.

Painting by Alfred Sisley

Painting by Alfred Sisley

The first of these occurred in 1874 after the first independent Impressionist exhibition. The result of a few months spent near London was a series of nearly twenty paintings of the Upper Thames near Molesey, which was later described by art historian Kenneth Clark as “a perfect moment of Impressionism.”

Until 1880, Sisley lived and worked in the country west of Paris; then he and his family moved to a small village near Moret-sur-Loing, close to the forest of Fontainebleau, where the painters of the Barbizon school had worked earlier in the century. Here, as art historian Anne Poulet has said, “the gentle landscapes with their constantly changing atmosphere were perfectly attuned to his talents. Unlike Monet, he never sought the drama of the rampaging ocean or the brilliantly colored scenery of the Côte d’Azur.”

Painting by Alfred Sisley

Painting by Alfred Sisley

In 1881 Sisley made a second brief voyage to Britain. In 1897 Sisley and his partner visited Britain again, and were finally married in Cardiff Register Office on 5 August. They stayed at Penarth, where Sisley painted at least six oils of the sea and the cliffs. In mid-August they moved to the Osborne Hotel at Langland Bay on the Gower Peninsula, where he produced at least eleven oil paintings in and around Langland Bay and Rotherslade Bay (then called Lady’s Cove). They returned to France in October. This was Sisley’s last voyage to his ancestral homeland. The National Museum Cardiff possesses two of his oil paintings of Penarth and Langland.

The following year Sisley applied for French citizenship, but was refused. A second application was made and supported by a police report, but illness intervened, and Sisley remained British till his death.

The painter died on 29 January 1899 of throat cancer in Moret-sur-Loing at the age of 59, a few months after the death of his wife.

Painting by Alfred Sisley

Painting by Alfred Sisley

Sisley’s student works are lost. His earliest known work, Lane near a Small Town, is believed to have been painted around 1864. His first landscape paintings are sombre, coloured with dark browns, greens, and pale blues. They were often executed at Marly and Saint-Cloud. Little is known about Sisley’s relationship with the paintings of J. M. W. Turner and John Constable, which he may have seen in London, but some have suggested that these artists may have influenced his development as an Impressionist painter, as may have Gustave Courbet and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot.

Among the Impressionists Sisley has been overshadowed by Monet, although his work most resembles that of Camille Pissarro. Described by art historian Robert Rosenblum as having “almost a generic character, an impersonal textbook idea of a perfect Impressionist painting“, his work strongly invokes atmosphere, and his skies are always impressive. He concentrated on landscape more consistently than any other Impressionist painter.

Among Sisley’s best-known works are Street in Moret and Sand Heaps, both owned by the Art Institute of Chicago, and The Bridge at Moret-sur-Loing, shown at Musée d’Orsay, Paris. Allée des peupliers de Moret (The Lane of Poplars at Moret) has been stolen three times from the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nice – once in 1978 when on loan in Marseilles (recovered a few days later in the city’s sewers), again in 1998 (when the museum’s curator was convicted of the theft and jailed for five years with two accomplices) and finally in August 2007 (on 4 June 2008 French police recovered it and three other stolen paintings from a van in Marseilles).

Painting by Alfred Sisley

Painting by Alfred Sisley

In 1952 Paul Georges sold a painting in New York City putatively by Alfred Sisley (for $2000) to help neighbor Mme. Mac Guffie, a widow from France. Her husband was a dentist from Scotland who traded paintings from his customers who were Impressionist painters.

An amazingly large number of fake Sisleys have been discovered. Sisley produced some 900 oil paintings, some 100 pastels and many other drawings, although he only lived to be 59 years old.

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.

Article publié pour la première fois le 30/01/2014

Joseph_and_Potiphars_Wife_WGA

Life and Paintings of Guido Reni (1575 – 1642)

Guido Reni (4 November 1575 – 18 August 1642) was an Italian painter of high-Baroque style.

Born in Bologna into a family of musicians, Guido Reni was the son of Daniele Reni and Ginevra de’ Pozzi. As a child of nine, he was apprenticed under the Bolognese studio of Denis Calvaert. Soon after, he was joined in that studio by Albani and Domenichino. He may also have trained with a painter by the name of Ferrantini. When Reni was about twenty years old, the three Calvaert pupils migrated to the rising rival studio, named Accademia degli Incamminati (Academy of the “newly embarked”, or progressives), led by Lodovico Carracci. They went on to form the nucleus of a prolific and successful school of Bolognese painters who followed Annibale Carracci to Rome. Like many other Bolognese painters, Reni’s painting was thematic and eclectic in style.

Guido Reni - Charity

Guido Reni – Charity

By late 1601, Reni and Albani had moved to Rome to work with the teams led by Annibale Carracci in fresco decoration of the Farnese Palace. During 1601–1604, his main patron was Cardinal Paolo Emilio Sfondrati. By 1604–1605, he received an independent commission for an altarpiece of the Crucifixion of St. Peter. After a few year sojourn in Bologna, he returned to Rome to become one of the premier painters during the papacy of Paul V (Borghese). From 1607–1614, he was one of the painters patronized by the Borghese family.

Reni’s frescoed ceiling of the large central hall of garden palace, Casino dell’Aurora located in the grounds of the Palazzo Pallavicini-Rospigliosi, is considered his masterpiece. The casino was originally a pavilion commissioned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese; the rear portion overlooks the Piazza Montecavallo and Palazzo del Quirinale. The massive fresco is framed in quadri riportati and depicts Apollo in his Chariot preceded by Dawn (Aurora) bringing light to the world. The work is restrained in classicism, copying poses from Roman sarcophagi, and showing far more simplicity and restraint than Carracci’s riotous Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne in the Farnese. Reni in this painting allies himself more with the sterner Cavaliere d’Arpino, Lanfranco, and Albani “School” of mytho-historic painting, and less with the more crowded frescoes characteristic of Pietro da Cortona. There is little concession to perspective, and the vibrantly colored style is antithetical to the tenebrism of Caravaggio’s followers. Payments showed that he was paid in 247 scudi and 54 baiocchi upon completion on 24 September 1616.

Guido Reni - Aurora

Guido Reni – Aurora

He also frescoed in Paoline Chapel of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome as well as the Aldobrandini wings of the Vatican. According to rumor, the pontifical chapel of Montecavallo (Chapel of the Annuciation) was assigned to Reni to paint. However, because he felt underpaid by the ministers, the artist left for Bologna, leaving the role of the preeminent artist in Rome to Domenichino.

Guido Reni - The Glory of St. Dominic

Guido Reni – The Glory of St. Dominic

In later years, Reni traveled to Naples to complete a commission to paint a ceiling in a chapel of the San Gennaro. However, in Naples, the other local prominent painters, including Corenzio, Caracciolo and Ribera, were vehemently resistant to competitors, and according to rumor, conspired to poison or otherwise harm Reni (as may have befallen Domenichino in Naples after him). He passed briefly by Rome, but left that city abruptly, during the pontificate of Urban VIII, after being reprimanded by Cardinal Spinola.

Guido Reni - Baptism of Christ

Guido Reni – Baptism of Christ

Returning to Bologna, more or less permanently, Reni established a successful and prolific studio. He was commissioned to decorate the cupola of the chapel of Saint Dominic in the Basilica of San Domenico in Bologna, between 1613 and 1615, resulting in the radiant fresco St Dominic’s Glory, a masterpiece that can stand the comparison with the exquisite Arca di San Domenico below. He also contributed to the decoration of the Rosary Chapel in the same church with the Resurrection.

Guido Reni - The Penitent Magdalene

Guido Reni – The Penitent Magdalene

In Ravenna, he painted the chapel in the cathedral with his admired picture of the Israelites gathering Manna. Reni, after departing Rome, alternately painted in a variety of styles, true to the eclectic tastes of many of Carracci trainees. For example, his altarpiece for Samson Victorious formulates stylized poses characteristic of Mannerism. In contrast his Crucifixion and his Atlanta and Hipomenes depict dramatic diagonal movement coupled with the effects of light and shade that portray the influence of Caravaggio. His turbulent and violent Massacre of the Innocents (Pinacoteca, Bologna) is painted in a manner reminiscent of Raphael. In 1625 Prince Władysław Sigismund Vasa of Poland visited the artist workshop in Bologna during his voyage to Western Europe. The close rapport between the painter and the Polish Prince resulted in the acquisitions of drawings and paintings. In 1630, he painted the Pallion del Voto with images of St. Ignatius and Francis Xavier, painted during the plague of 1630 that attacked Bologna.

His most distinguished pupil was Simone Cantarini, named “Il Pesarese”; he painted a portrait of his master, now in the Bolognese Gallery. Other trainees were Domenico Maria Canuti and Giovanni Battista Michelini. The Uffizi Gallery holds a self-portrait. Other pupils were Giacomo Semenza, Francesco Gessi, and Marco Bandinelli. His themes are mostly biblical and mythological in subject. He painted few portraits; those of Sixtus V, Cardinal Bernardino Spada, and the so‑called Beatrice Cenci are among the most noticeable. The identity of the Cenci portrait is very doubtful, since Beatrice Cenci was executed in Rome before Reni ever lived there and so could not have sat for the portrait. Many etchings are attributed to Guido Reni, some after his own paintings and some after other masters. They are spirited, in a light style of delicate lines and dots. Reni’s technique was used by the Bolognese school and was the standard for Italian printmakers of his time.

Reni died in Bologna in 1642. He is buried with Elisabetta Sirani in the Rosary Chapel of the Basilica of San Domenico in Bologna.

 

Guido Reni - Susanna and the Elders

Guido Reni – Susanna and the Elders

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Article publié pour la première fois le 08/11/2013

Caspar David Friedrich - The Wanderer above the Mists

Masters of Art: Caspar David Friedrich (1774 – 1840)

Caspar David Friedrich (September 5, 1774 – May 7, 1840) was a 19th-century German Romantic landscape painter, generally considered the most important German artist of his generation. He is best known for his mid-period allegorical landscapes which typically feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees or Gothic ruins. His primary interest as an artist was the contemplation of nature, and his often symbolic and anti-classical work seeks to convey a subjective, emotional response to the natural world. Friedrich’s paintings characteristically set a human presence in diminished perspective amid expansive landscapes, reducing the figures to a scale that, according to the art historian Christopher John Murray, directs “the viewer’s gaze towards their metaphysical dimension”.

Movements: Romanticism 

Friedrich was born in the Swedish Pomeranian town of Greifswald, where he began his studies in art as a youth. He studied in Copenhagen until 1798, before settling inDresden. He came of age during a period when, across Europe, a growing disillusionment with materialistic society was giving rise to a new appreciation of spirituality. This shift in ideals was often expressed through a reevaluation of the natural world, as artists such as Friedrich, J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851) and John Constable (1776–1837) sought to depict nature as a “divine creation, to be set against the artifice of human civilization”.

Caspar David Friedrich - The Sea of Ice

Caspar David Friedrich – The Sea of Ice

Friedrich’s work brought him renown early in his career, and contemporaries such as the French sculptor David d’Angers (1788–1856) spoke of him as a man who had discovered “the tragedy of landscape”. Nevertheless, his work fell from favour during his later years, and he died in obscurity, and in the words of the art historian Philip Miller, “half mad”.

As Germany moved towards modernisation in the late 19th century, a new sense of urgency characterised its art, and Friedrich’s contemplative depictions of stillness came to be seen as the products of a bygone age. The early 20th century brought a renewed appreciation of his work, beginning in 1906 with an exhibition of thirty-two of his paintings and sculptures in Berlin. By the 1920s his paintings had been discovered by the Expressionists, and in the 1930s and early 1940s Surrealists and Existentialists frequently drew ideas from his work. The rise of Nazism in the early 1930s again saw a resurgence in Friedrich’s popularity, but this was followed by a sharp decline as his paintings were, by association with the Nazi movement, misinterpreted as having a nationalistic aspect.

It was not until the late 1970s that Friedrich regained his reputation as an icon of the German Romantic movement and a painter of international importance.

Friedrich began his formal study of art in 1790 as a private student of artist Johann Gottfried Quistorp at the University of Greifswald in his home city, at which the art department is now named in his honour (Caspar-David-Friedrich-Institut). Quistorp took his students on outdoor drawing excursions; as a result, Friedrich was encouraged to sketch from life at an early age.

Through Quistorp, Friedrich met and was subsequently influenced by the theologian Ludwig Gotthard Kosegarten, who taught that nature was a revelation of God. Quistorp introduced Friedrich to the work of the German 17th-century artist Adam Elsheimer, whose works often included religious subjects dominated by landscape, and nocturnal subjects.

Guido di Pietro (Fra Angelico) - Coronation of the Virgin

Masters of Art: Fra Angelico (1395 – 1455)

Fra Angelico (born Guido di Pietro; c. 1395 – 1455) was an Early Italian Renaissance painter described by Vasari in his Lives of the Artists as having “a rare and perfect talent”. He was known to contemporaries as Fra Giovanni da Fiesole (Brother John of Fiesole) and Fra Giovanni Angelico (Angelic Brother John). In modern Italian he is called il Beato Angelico (Blessed Angelic One);  the common English name Fra Angelico means “Angelic Brother.”

Movements: Renaissance, Naturalism, International Gothicism, Perspectivism

Vasari wrote of Fra Angelico:

But it is impossible to bestow too much praise on this holy father, who was so humble and modest in all that he did and said and whose pictures were painted with such facility and piety.

 Receiving the Stigmata

Receiving the Stigmata

Fra Angelico was born Guido di Pietro at Rupecanina in the Tuscan area of Mugello near Fiesole towards the end of the 14th century. Nothing is known of his parents. He was baptized Guido or Guidolino. The earliest recorded document concerning Fra Angelico dates from October 17, 1417 when he joined a religious confraternity at the Carmine Church, still under the name of Guido di Pietro. This record also reveals that he was already a painter, a fact that is subsequently confirmed by two records of payment to Guido di Pietro in January and February 1418 for work done in the church of Santo Stefano del Ponte.  The first record of Angelico as a friar dates from 1423, when he is first referred to as Fra Giovanni, following the custom of those entering a religious order of taking a new name. According to Vasari, Fra Angelico initially received training as an illuminator, possibly working with his older brother Benedetto who was also a Dominican and an illuminator. San Marco in Florence holds several manuscripts that are thought to be entirely or partly by his hand. The painter Lorenzo Monaco may have contributed to his art training, and the influence of the Sienese school is discernible in his work. He had several important charges in the convents he lived in, but this did not limit his art, which very soon became famous. According to Vasari, the first paintings of this artist were an altarpiece and a painted screen for the Carthusian Monastery of Florence; none such exist there now.

From 1408 to 1418 Fra Angelico was at the Dominican friary of Cortona where he painted frescoes, now destroyed, in the Dominican Church and may have been assistant to or follower of Gherardo Starnina. Between 1418 and 1436 he was at the convent of Fiesole where he also executed a number of frescoes for the church, and the Altarpiece, deteriorated but restored. A predella of the Altarpiece remains intact in the National Gallery, London which is a superb example of Fra Angelico’s ability. It shows Christ in Glory, surrounded by more than 250 figures, including beatified Dominicans.

The Story of St Nicholas

The Story of St Nicholas

In 1436 Fra Angelico was one of a number of the friars from Fiesole who moved to the newly-built Friary of San Marco in Florence. This was an important move which put him in the centre of artistic activity of the region and brought about the patronage of one of the wealthiest and most powerful members of the city’s Signoria, Cosimo de’ Medici, who had a large cell (later occupied by Savonarola) reserved for himself at the friary in order that he might retreat from the world. It was, according to Vasari, at Cosimo’s urging that Fra Angelico set about the task of decorating the monastery, including the magnificent Chapter House fresco, the often-reproduced Annunciation at the top of the stairs to the cells, the Maesta with Saints and the many smaller devotional frescoes depicting aspects of the Life of Christ that adorn the walls of each cell.

Tempera on panel

Tempera on panel

In 1439 he completed one of his most famous works, the Altarpiece for St. Marco’s, Florence. The result was unusual for its times. Images of the enthroned Madonna and Child surrounded by saints were common, but they usually depicted a setting that was clearly heavenlike, in which saints and angels hovered about as divine presences rather than people. But in this instance, the saints stand squarely within the space, grouped in a natural way as if they were able to converse about the shared experience of witnessing the Virgin in glory. Paintings such as this, known as Sacred Conversations, were to become the major commissions of Giovanni Bellini, Perugino and Raphael.

In 1445 Pope Eugenius IV summoned him to Rome to paint the frescoes of the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament at St Peter’s, later demolished by Pope Paul III. Vasari claims that at this time Fra Angelico was offered by Pope Nicholas V the Archbishopric of Florence, and that he refused it, recommending another friar for the position. While the story seems possible and even likely, if Vasari’s date is correct, then the pope must have been Eugenius and not Nicholas. In 1447 Fra Angelico was in Orvieto with his pupil, Benozzo Gozzoli, executing works for the Cathedral. Among his other pupils were Zanobi Strozzi.

From 1447 to 1449 he was back at the Vatican, designing the frescoes for the Niccoline Chapel for Nicholas V. The scenes from the lives of the two martyred deacons of the Early Christian Church, St. Stephen and St. Lawrence may have been executed wholly or in part by assistants. The small chapel, with its brightly frescoed walls and gold leaf decorations gives the impression of a jewel box. From 1449 until 1452, Fra Angelico was back at his old convent of Fiesole, where he was the Prior.

In 1455 Fra Angelico died while staying at a Dominican Convent in Rome, perhaps in order to work on Pope Nicholas’ Chapel. He was buried in the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva.

When singing my praise, don’t liken my talents to those of Apelles.
Say, rather, that, in the name of Christ, I gave all I had to the poor.
The deeds that count on Earth are not the ones that count in Heaven.
I, Giovanni, am the flower of Tuscany.

So let’s see some of his most important works:

Saint Lawrence receives the treasures of the Church

Saint Lawrence receives the treasures of the Church

Saint Anthony the Abbot Tempted by a Lump of Gold

Saint Anthony the Abbot Tempted by a Lump of Gold

Massacre of the Innocents

Massacre of the Innocents

Giudizio universale

Giudizio universale

 Entombment of Christ

Entombment of Christ

Deposition from the Cross

Deposition from the Cross

Coronation of the Virgin

Coronation of the Virgin

Circumcision

Circumcision

Annunciation

Annunciation

Artistic legacy

Through Fra Angelico’s pupil Benozzo Gozzoli’s careful portraiture and technical expertise in the art of fresco we see a link to Domenico Ghirlandaio, who in turn painted extensive schemes for the wealthy patrons of Florence, and through Ghirlandaio to his pupil Michelangelo and the High Renaissance.

Apart from the lineal connection, superficially there may seem little to link the humble priest with his sweetly pretty Madonnas and timeless Crucifixions to the dynamic expressions of Michelangelo’s larger-than-life creations. But both these artists received their most important commissions from the wealthiest and most powerful of all patrons, the Vatican.

When Michelangelo took up the Sistine Chapel commission, he was working within a space that had already been extensively decorated by other artists. Around the walls the Life of Christ and Life of Moses were depicted by a range of artists including his teacher Ghirlandaio, Raphael’s teacher Perugino and Botticelli. They were works of large scale and exactly the sort of lavish treatment to be expected in a Vatican commission, vying with each other in complexity of design, number of figures, elaboration of detail and skilful use of gold leaf. Above these works stood a row of painted Popes in brilliant brocades and gold tiaras. None of these splendours have any place in the work which Michelangelo created. Michelangelo, when asked by Pope Julius II to ornament the robes of the Apostles in the usual way, responded that they were very poor men.

Within the cells of San’Marco, Fra Angelico had demonstrated that painterly skill and the artist’s personal interpretation were sufficient to create memorable works of art, without the expensive trappings of blue and gold. In the use of the unadorned fresco technique, the clear bright pastel colours, the careful arrangement of a few significant figures and the skilful use of expression, motion and gesture, Michelangelo showed himself to be the artistic descendant of Fra Angelico. Frederick Hartt describes Fra Angelico as “prophetic of the mysticism” of painters such as Rembrandt, El Greco and Zurbarán.

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Articles’ Images are in the public domain because their copyright has expired, and are available through Wikimedia

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

Article publié pour la première fois le 07/08/2012

Michelangelo - Pietta

Masters of Art: Michelangelo (1475 – 1564)

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564), commonly known as Michelangelo , was an Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art.

Despite making few forays beyond the arts, his versatility in the disciplines he took up was of such a high order that he is often considered a contender for the title of the archetypal Renaissance man, along with fellow Italian Leonardo da Vinci.

Movements: Renaissance, Idealism, Classicism, Monumentalism, Humanism

Michelangelo was considered the greatest living artist in his lifetime, and ever since then he has been held to be one of the greatest artists of all time.

A number of his works in painting, sculpture, and architecture rank among the most famous in existence. His output in every field during his long life was prodigious; when the sheer volume of correspondence, sketches, and reminiscences that survive is also taken into account, he is the best-documented artist of the 16th century.

Michelangelo - Pietta

Michelangelo – Pietta

Two of his best-known works, the Pietà and David, were sculpted before he turned thirty. Despite his low opinion of painting, Michelangelo also created two of the most influential works in fresco in the history of Western art: the scenes from Genesis on the ceiling and The Last Judgment on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. As an architect, Michelangelo pioneered the Mannerist style at the Laurentian Library. At 74 he succeeded Antonio da Sangallo the Younger as the architect of St. Peter’s Basilica. Michelangelo transformed the plan, the western end being finished to Michelangelo’s design, the dome being completed after his death with some modification.

 

Michelangelo - David

Michelangelo – David

In a demonstration of Michelangelo’s unique standing, he was the first Western artist whose biography was published while he was alive.

Two biographies were published of him during his lifetime; one of them, by Giorgio Vasari, proposed that he was the pinnacle of all artistic achievement since the beginning of the Renaissance, a viewpoint that continued to have currency in art history for centuries. In his lifetime he was also often called Il Divino (“the divine one”).

One of the qualities most admired by his contemporaries was his terribilità, a sense of awe-inspiring grandeur, and it was the attempts of subsequent artists to imitate Michelangelo’s impassioned and highly personal style that resulted in Mannerism, the next major movement in Western art after the High Renaissance.

Michelangelo - The Creation of Adam

Michelangelo – The Creation of Adam

The fresco of The Last Judgment on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel was commissioned by Pope Clement VII, who died shortly after assigning the commission. Paul III was instrumental in seeing that Michelangelo began and completed the project. Michelangelo labored on the project from 1534 to October 1541. The work is massive and spans the entire wall behind the altar of the Sistine Chapel.

Michelangelo - The last judgement

Michelangelo – The last judgement

The Last Judgment is a depiction of the second coming of Christ and the apocalypse; where the souls of humanity rise and are assigned to their various fates, as judged by Christ, surrounded by the Saints. In that work, the position of the figure of Christ appears to pay tribute to that of Melozzo’s Christ in the Ascension of our Lord, once in the Santi Apostoli, now in the Quirinal Palace.

Censorship always followed Michelangelo, The infamous “fig-leaf campaign” of the Counter-Reformation, aiming to cover all representations of human genitals in paintings and sculptures, started with Michelangelo’s works. To give two examples, the marble statue of Cristo della Minerva (church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome) was covered by added drapery, as it remains today, and the statue of the naked child Jesus in Madonna of Bruges (The Church of Our Lady in Bruges, Belgium) remained covered for several decades. Also, the plaster copy of the David in the Cast Courts (Victoria and Albert Museum) in London, has a fig leaf in a box at the back of the statue. It was there to be placed over the statue’s genitals so that they would not upset visiting female royalty.

Michelangelo - Cristo della Minerva

Michelangelo – Cristo della Minerva

In 1546, Michelangelo was appointed architect of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, and designed its dome. As St. Peter’s was progressing there was concern that Michelangelo would pass away before the dome was finished. However, once building commenced on the lower part of the dome, the supporting ring, the completion of the design was inevitable. Michelangelo died in Rome at the age of 88 (three weeks before his 89th birthday).

His body was brought back from Rome for interment at the Basilica of Santa Croce, fulfilling the maestro’s last request to be buried in his beloved Tuscany.

Lets now enjoy some of his other celebrated works:

 

Sculpting

 

Painting

 

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Articles’ Images are in the public domain because their copyright has expired, and are available through Wikimedia

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

Article publié pour la première fois le 07/09/2012

Albert Bierstadt - Lake Tahoe, (1868), Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Masters of Art: Albert Bierstadt (1830 – 1902)

Albert Bierstadt (January 7, 1830 – February 18, 1902) was a German-American painter best known for his lavish, sweeping landscapes of the American West. In obtaining the subject matter for these works, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Though not the first artist to record these sites, Bierstadt was the foremost painter of these scenes for the remainder of the 19th century.

Albert Bierstadt - Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California, (1868), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.

Albert Bierstadt – Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California, (1868), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.

Bierstadt was part of the Hudson River School, not an institution but rather an informal group of like-minded painters. The Hudson River School style involved carefully detailed paintings with romantic, almost glowing lighting, sometimes called luminism. An important interpreter of the western landscape, Bierstadt, along with Thomas Moran, is also grouped with the Rocky Mountain School.

Bierstadt was born in Solingen, Germany. His family moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1831. He developed a taste for art early and made clever crayon sketches in his youth. In 1851, he began to paint in oils. He studied painting with the members of the Düsseldorf school of painting in Düsseldorf from 1853 to 1857. He taught drawing and painting briefly before devoting himself to painting.

Bierstadt began making paintings in New England and upstate New York. In 1859, he traveled westward in the company of Frederick W. Lander, a land surveyor for the U.S. government, returning with sketches that would result in numerous finished paintings. In 1863 he returned west again, in the company of the author Fitz Hugh Ludlow, whose wife he would later marry. He continued to visit the American West throughout his career.

Though his paintings sold for princely sums, Bierstadt was not held in particularly high esteem by critics of his day. His use of uncommonly large canvases was thought to be an egotistical indulgence, as his paintings would invariably dwarf those of his contemporaries when they were displayed together. The romanticism evident in his choices of subject and in his use of light was felt to be excessive by contemporary critics. His paintings emphasized atmospheric elements like fog, clouds and mist to accentuate and complement the feel of his work. Bierstadt sometimes changed details of the landscape to inspire awe. The colors he used are also not always true. He painted what he believed was the way things should be: water is ultramarine, vegetation is lush and green, etc.

Nonetheless, in 1860 he was elected a member of the National Academy; he received medals in Austria, Bavaria, Belgium, and Germany; and his paintings remain popular.

He was a prolific artist, having completed over 500 (possibly as many as 4000) paintings during his lifetime, most of which have survived. Many are scattered through museums around the United States. Prints are available commercially for many. Original paintings themselves do occasionally come up for sale, at ever increasing prices.

In 1882 his studio at Irvington, New York, was destroyed by fire, with many of his pictures.

Because of Bierstadt’s interest in mountain landscapes, Mount Bierstadt and Bierstadt Lake in Colorado are named in his honor. Bierstadt was probably the first European to visit the summit of Mount Evans in 1863, 1.5 miles from Mount Bierstadt. Bierstadt named it Mount Rosa, a reference to both Monte Rosa above Zermatt and, Rosalie Ludlow, his future wife, but the name was changed from Rosalie to Evans in 1895 in honor of Colorado governor John Evans.

 

Albert Bierstadt - Staubbach Falls, Near Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, 1865

Albert Bierstadt – Staubbach Falls, Near Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, 1865

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.

Article publié pour la première fois le 05/03/2013

Francisco Goya - Dance of the Majos at the Banks of Manzanares

Life and Paintings of Francisco Goya (1746 – 1828)

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (30 March 1746–16 April 1828) was a Spanish romantic painter and printmaker regarded both as the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. Goya was a court painter to the Spanish Crown, and through his works was both a commentator on and chronicler of his era. The subversive and imaginative element in his art, as well as his bold handling of paint, provided a model for the work of later generations of artists, notably Manet, Picasso and Francis Bacon.. In his honour, Spain’s main national film awards are called the Goya Awards.

Movements: Romanticism