Annibale Carracci - The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine

Masters of Art: Annibale Carracci (1560 – 1609)

Annibale Carracci ( November 3, 1560 – July 15, 1609) was an Italian Baroque painter. Annibale Carracci was born in Bologna, and in all likelihood first apprenticed within his family. In 1582, Annibale, his brother Agostino, and his cousin Ludovico Carracci opened a painters’ studio, initially called by some the Academy of the Desiderosi (desirous of fame and learning) and subsequently the Incamminati (progressives; literally “of those opening a new way”).

Movements: Baroque, Academicism, Classicism

Annibale Carracci - Landscape with the Toilet of Venus

Annibale Carracci – Landscape with the Toilet of Venus

While the Carraccis laid emphasis on the typically Florentine linear draftsmanship, as exemplified by Raphael and Andrea del Sarto, their interest in the glimmering colours and mistier edges of objects derived from the Venetian painters, notably the works of Venetian Oil Painter Titian, which Annibale and Agostino studied during their travels around Italy in 1580-81 at the behest of the elder Caracci Lodovico. This eclecticism was to become the defining trait of the artists of the Baroque Emilian or Bolognese School.In many early Bolognese works by the Carraccis, it is difficult to distinguish the individual contributions made by each.

For example, the frescoes on the story of Jason for Palazzo Fava in Bologna (c. 1583-84) are signed Carracci, which suggests that they all contributed. In 1585, Annibale completed an altarpiece of the Baptism of Christ for the church of San Gregorio in Bologna.

In 1587, he painted the Assumption for the church of San Rocco in Reggio Emilia.The 17th century critic Giovanni Bellori, in his survey titled Idea, praised Carracci as the paragon of Italian painters, who had fostered a “renaissance” of the great tradition of Raphael and Michelangelo. On the other hand, while admitting Caravaggio‘s talents as a painter, Bellori deplored his over-naturalistic style, if not his turbulent morals and persona. He thus viewed the Caravaggisti styles with the same gloomy dismay. Painters were urged to depict the Platonic ideal of beauty, not Roman street-walkers. Yet Carracci and Caravaggio patrons and pupils did not all fall into irreconcilable camps. Contemporary patrons, such as Marquess Vincenzo Giustiniani, found both applied showed excellence in maniera and modeling.

Annibale Carracci - Assumption of the Virgin

Annibale Carracci – Assumption of the Virgin

In our century, observers have warmed to the rebel myth of Caravaggio, and often ignore the profound influence on art that Carracci had. Caravaggio almost never worked in fresco, regarded as the test of a great painter’s mettle. On the other hand, Carracci’s best works are in fresco.

Thus the somber canvases of Caravaggio, with benighted backgrounds, are suited to the contemplative altars, and not to well-lit walls or ceilings such as this one in the Farnese. Wittkower was surprised that a Farnese cardinal surrounded himself with frescoes of libidinous themes, indicative of a “considerable relaxation of counter-reformatory morality”. This thematic choice suggests Carracci may have been more rebellious relative to the often-solemn religious passion of Caravaggio’s canvases. Wittkower states Carracci’s “frescoes convey the impression of a tremendous joie de vivre, a new blossoming of vitality and of an energy long repressed”.

Today, unfortunately, most connoisseurs making the pilgrimage to the Cerasi Chapel in Santa Maria del Popolo would ignore Carracci’s Assumption of the Virgin altarpiece (1600–1601) and focus on the stunning flanking Caravaggio works.It is instructive to compare Carracci’s Assumption with Caravaggio’s Death of the Virgin. Among early contemporaries, Carracci would have been an innovator.

He re-enlivened Michelangelo’s visual fresco vocabulary, and posited a muscular and vivaciously brilliant pictorial landscape, which had been becoming progressively crippled into a Mannerist tangle. While Michelangelo could bend and contort the body into all the possible perspectives, Carracci in the Farnese frescoes had shown how it could dance. The “ceiling”-frontiers, the wide expanses of walls to be frescoed would, for the next decades, be thronged by the monumental brilliance of the Carracci followers, and not Caravaggio’s followers.

Let’s now enjoy his most celebrated works:

 

Annibale Carracci - Two Children Teasing a Cat

Annibale Carracci – Two Children Teasing a Cat

Annibale Carracci - The Temptation of St Anthony Abbot

Annibale Carracci – The Temptation of St Anthony Abbot

Annibale Carracci - The Samaritan Woman at the Well

Annibale Carracci – The Samaritan Woman at the Well

Annibale Carracci - The Penitent Magdalen in a Landscape

Annibale Carracci – The Penitent Magdalen in a Landscape

Annibale Carracci - The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine

Annibale Carracci – The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine

Annibale Carracci - The Choice of Heracles

Annibale Carracci – The Choice of Heracles

Annibale Carracci - The Beaneater

Annibale Carracci – The Beaneater

Annibale Carracci - The Baptism of Christ

Annibale Carracci – The Baptism of Christ

Annibale Carracci - Sleeping Venus

Annibale Carracci – Sleeping Venus

Annibale Carracci - Madonna Enthroned with St Matthew

Annibale Carracci – Madonna Enthroned with St Matthew

Annibale Carracci - Holy Women at Christ' s Tomb

Annibale Carracci – Holy Women at Christ’ s Tomb

Annibale Carracci - Christ in Glory

Annibale Carracci – Christ in Glory

Annibale Carracci - Venus and Adonis

Annibale Carracci – Venus and Adonis

It is not clear how much work Annibale completed after finishing the major gallery in the Palazzo Farnese. In 1606, Annibale signs a Madonna of the bowl. However, in a letter from April 1606, Cardinal Odoardo Farnese bemoans that a “heavy melancholic humor” prevented Annibale from painting for him. Throughout 1607, Annibale is unable to complete a commission for the Duke of Modena of a Nativity. There is a note from 1608, where in Annibale stipulates to a pupil that he will spend at least two hours a day in his studio.

There is little documentation from the man or time to explain why his brush was stilled. Speculation abounds.

In 1609, Annibale died and was buried, according to his wish, near Raphael in the Pantheon of Rome. It is a measure of his achievement that artists as diverse as Bernini, Poussin, and Rubens praised his work. Many of his assistants or pupils in projects at the Palazzo Farnese and Herrera Chapel would become among the pre-eminent artists of the next decades, including Domenichino, Francesco Albani, Giovanni Lanfranco, Domenico Viola, Guido Reni, Sisto Badalocchio, and others.

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Article publié pour la première fois le 19/10/2012

Claude Lorrain - Aeneas Farewell to Dido in Carthago

Life and Paintings of Claude Lorrain (1600 – 1682)

Claude Lorrain ( born Claude Gellée dit le Lorrain; traditionally just Claude in English; c. 1600 – 23 November 1682) was a French painter, draughtsman and engraver of the Baroque era. He spent most of his life in Italy, and is admired for his achievements in landscape painting.

Claude Lorrain - Aeneas Farewell to Dido in Carthago

Claude Lorrain – Aeneas Farewell to Dido in Carthago

The earliest biographies of Claude are found in Joachim von Sandrart’s Teutsche Academie (1675) and Filippo Baldinucci’s Notizie de’ professori del disegno da Cimabue in qua (1682–1728). Both Sandrart and Baldinucci knew the painter personally.  Claude’s tombstone gives 1600 as his year of birth, but contemporary sources indicate a later date, circa 1604 or 1605. He was born in the small village of Chamagne, Vosges, then part of the Duchy of Lorraine. He was the third of five sons of Jean Gellée and Anne Padose. According to Baldinucci, Claude’s parents both died when he was twelve years old, and he then lived at Freiburg with an elder brother (Jean Gellée). Jean was an artist and taught Claude the rudiments of his profession. Claude then travelled to Italy, first working for Goffredo Wals in Naples, then joining the workshop of Agostino Tassi in Rome. Sandrart’s account of Claude’s early years, however, is quite different. According to it, Claude did not do well at the village school and was apprenticed to a pastry baker. With a company of fellow cooks and bakers, Claude travelled to Rome and was eventually employed as servant and cook by Tassi, who at some point taught him drawing and painting. While the details of Claude’s pre-1620s life remain unclear, most modern scholars agree that he was apprenticed to Wals around 1620–22, and to Tassi from circa 1622/23 to 1625. Finally, Baldinucci reports that in 1625 Claude undertook a voyage back to Lorraine to study with Claude Deruet, but left his studio comparatively soon, in 1626 or 1627. He returned to Rome and settled in a house in the Via Margutta, near the Spanish Steps and Trinita dei Monti.

On his travels, Claude briefly stayed in Marseilles, Genoa, and Venice, and had the opportunity to study nature in France, Italy, and Bavaria. Sandrart met Claude in late 1620s and reported that by then the artist had a habit of sketching outdoors, particularly at dawn and at dusk, making oil studies on the spot. The first dated painting by Claude, Landscape with Cattle and Peasants (Philadelphia Museum of Art) from 1629, already shows well-developed style and technique. In the next few years his reputation was growing steadily, as evidenced by commissions from the French ambassador in Rome (1633) and the King of Spain (1634–35). Baldinucci reported that a particularly important commission came from Cardinal Bentivoglio, who was impressed by the two landscapes Claude painted for him, and recommended the artist to Pope Urban VIII. Four paintings were made for the Pope in 1635–38. From this point, Claude’s reputation was secured. He went on to fulfill many important commissions, both Italian and international. In 1636 he started cataloguing his works, making tinted outline drawings in six paper books prepared for this purpose of all pictures sent to different countries, and on the back of each drawing he wrote the name of the purchaser. These volumes Claude named the Liber Veritatis.

Claude Lorrain - Seaport with the Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba

Claude Lorrain – Seaport with the Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba

In 1650 Claude moved to a neighboring house in Via Paolina (today Via del Babuino), where he lived until his death. The artist never married, but adopted an orphan child, Agnese, in 1658; she may have been Claude’s own daughter with a servant of the same name. Sons of Claude’s brothers joined the household in 1662 (Jean, son of Denis Gellée) and around 1680 (Joseph, son of Melchior Gellée). In 1663 Claude, who suffered much from gout, fell seriously ill, his condition becoming so serious that he even drafted a last will, but he managed to recover. He was painting less after 1670, but works completed after that date include important pictures such as Coast View with Perseus and the Origin of Coral (1674), painted for the celebrated arts patron Camillo Massimo, and Ascanius Shooting the Stag of Sylvia, Claude’s last painting, commissioned by Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna. The artist died in his house on 23 November 1682. He was originally buried in Trinita dei Monti, but his remains were moved in 1840 to San Luigi dei Francesi.

Critical assessment and legacy

Claude Lorrain - Landscape with Aeneas at Delos

Claude Lorrain – Landscape with Aeneas at Delos

In Rome, it was not until the mid-17th century that landscapes were deemed fit for serious painting. Northern Europeans working there, such as Elsheimer and Brill, had made such views pre-eminent in some of their paintings (as well as Da Vinci in his private drawings  or Baldassarre Peruzzi in his decorative frescoes of vedute); but not until Annibale Carracci and his pupil Domenichino do we see landscape become the focus of a canvas by a major Italian artist. Even with the latter two, as with Claude, the stated themes of the paintings were mythic or religious. Landscape as a subject was distinctly un-classical and secular. The former quality was not consonant with Renaissance art, which boasted its rivalry with the work of the ancients. The second quality had less public patronage in Counter-Reformation Rome, which prized subjects worthy of “high painting,” typically religious or mythic scenes. Pure landscape, like pure still-life or genre painting, reflected an aesthetic viewpoint regarded as lacking in moral seriousness. Rome, the theological and philosophical center of 17th century Italian art, was not quite ready for such a break with tradition.

In this matter of the importance of landscape, Claude was prescient. Living in a pre-Romantic era, he did not depict those uninhabited panoramas that were to be esteemed in later centuries, such as with Salvatore Rosa. He painted a pastoral world of fields and valleys not distant from castles and towns. If the ocean horizon is represented, it is from the setting of a busy port. Perhaps to feed the public need for paintings with noble themes, his pictures include demigods, heroes and saints, even though his abundant drawings and sketchbooks prove that he was more interested in scenography.

Claude Lorrain was described as kind to his pupils and hard-working; keenly observant, but an unlettered man until his death.

John Constable described Claude as “the most perfect landscape painter the world ever saw”, and declared that in Claude’s landscape “all is lovely – all amiable – all is amenity and repose; the calm sunshine of the heart”.

Claude Lorrain - Imaginary View of Tivoli

Claude Lorrain – Imaginary View of Tivoli

 

Claude Lorrain - Embarkation of St. Paula Romana at Ostia

Claude Lorrain – Embarkation of St. Paula Romana at Ostia

 

Claude Lorrain - Port Scene with the Departure of Ulysses from the Land of the Feaci

Claude Lorrain – Port Scene with the Departure of Ulysses from the Land of the Feaci

 

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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 23/11/2013

Rogier van der Weyden - Der hl. Lukas zeichnet die Madonna

Masters of Art: Rogier van der Weyden (1399 – 1464)

Rogier van der Weyden or Roger de la Pasture (1399 – 1464) was an Early Flemish painter. His surviving works consist mainly of religious triptychs, altarpieces and commissioned single and diptych portraits. Although his life was generally uneventful, he was highly successful and internationally famous in his lifetime. His paintings were exported – or taken – to Italy and Spain and he received commissions from, amongst others, Philip the Good, Netherlandish nobility and foreign princes.

Movements: Renaissance, Naturalism

Chroniques de Hainaut

Chroniques de Hainaut

By the latter half of the 15th century, he had eclipsed Jan van Eyck in popularity. However his fame lasted only until the 17th century, and largely due to changing taste, he was almost totally forgotten by the mid 18th century. His reputation was slowly rebuilt during the following 200 years; today he is known, with Robert Campin and van Eyck, as the third (by birth date) of the three great Early Flemish artists (‘Vlaamse Primitieven’), and widely as the most influential Northern painter of the 15th century.

Due to the loss of archives in 1695 and again in 1940, there are few certain facts of van der Weyden’s life. Rogelet de le Pasture (Roger of the Pasture) was born in Tournai (in present-day Belgium) in 1399 or 1400. His parents were Henri de le Pasture and Agnes de Watrélos. He married around 1426, to Elisabeth Goffaert, and was made town painter of Brussels in 1436, and changed his name from the French to the Dutch format, becoming ‘van der Weyden’. What is known of him beyond this has been woven together from secondary sources, and some of it is contestable. However the paintings now attributed to him are generally accepted, despite a tendency in the 19th century to attribute his work to others.

Van der Weyden left no self portraits. Many of his most important works were destroyed during the late 17th century. He is first mentioned in historical records in 1427 when, relatively later in life, he studied painting under Campin during 1427–32, and soon outshone his master and, later, even influenced him. After his apprenticeship he was made master of the Tournai Guild of St Luke. He moved to Brussels in 1435, where he quickly established his reputation for his technical skill and emotional use of line and colour. He completed his Deposition in 1435, which as he had deliberately intended, made him one of the most sought after and influential artists in northern Europe and is still considered his masterpiece.

Deposition

Deposition

Van der Weyden worked from life models, and his observations were acute, yet he often idealised certain elements of his models’ facial features, and they are typically statuesque, especially in his triptychs. All of his forms are rendered with rich, warm colourisation and a sympathetic expression, while he is known for his expressive pathos and naturalism. His portraits tend to be half length and half profile, and he is as sympathetic here as in his religious triptychs. Van der Weyden used an unusually broad range of colours and varied tones; in his finest work the same tone is not repeated in any other area of the canvas; even the whites are varied.

Lets see some of his most famous works:

Der hl. Lukas zeichnet die Madonna

Der hl. Lukas zeichnet die Madonna

Braque Family Triptych Center Pane

Braque Family Triptych Center Pane

A Man Reading (Saint Ivo)

A Man Reading (Saint Ivo)

Virgin and Child

Virgin and Child

Tríptic Abegg

Tríptic Abegg

The Magdalen Reading

The Magdalen Reading

Sts Margaret and Apollonia

Sts Margaret and Apollonia

Saint George and the Dragon

Saint George and the Dragon

Porträt einer Frau

Porträt einer Frau

 Polyptych with the Nativity

Polyptych with the Nativity

Influence

His vigorous, subtle, expressive painting and popular religious conceptions had considerable influence on European painting, not only in France and Germany but also in Italy and in Spain. Hans Memling was his greatest follower, although it is not proven that he studied under Rogier. Van der Weyden had also a large influence on the German painter and engraver Martin Schongauer whose prints were distributed all over Europe from the last decades of the 15th century. Indirectly Schongauer’s prints helped to disseminate van der Weyden’s style.

 

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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 10/08/2012

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) - A Sibyl

Masters of Art: Domenichino (1581 – 1641)

Domenico Zampieri (or Domenichino; October 21, 1581 – April 6, 1641) was an Italian Baroque painter of the Bolognese School, or Carracci School, of painters.

Movements: Baroque

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) - Portrait of Cardinal Agucchi

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) – Portrait of Cardinal Agucchi

Domenichino was born at Bologna, son of a shoemaker, and there initially studied under Denis Calvaert. After quarreling with Calvaert, he left to work in the Accademia degli Incamminati of the Carracci where, because of his small stature, he was nicknamed Domenichino, meaning “little Domenico” in Italian. He left Bologna for Rome in 1602 and became one of the most talented apprentices to emerge from Annibale Carracci’s supervision. As a young artist in Rome he lived with his slightly older Bolognese colleagues Albani and Guido Reni, and worked alongside Lanfranco, who later would become a chief rival.

In addition to assisting Annibale with completion of his frescoes in the Galleria Farnese, including A Virgin with a Unicorn (c. 1604–05), he painted three of his own frescoes in the Loggia del Giardino of the Palazzo Farnese c. 1603–04. With the support of Monsignor Giovanni Battista Agucchi, the maggiordomo to Cardinal Aldobrandini and later Gregory XV, and Giovanni’s brother Cardinal Girolamo Agucchi, Domenichino obtained further commissions in Rome.

His most important project of the first decade was decoration of the Cappella dei Santissimi Fondatori in the medieval basilica of the Abbey of Grottaferrata (1608–10), some 20 kilometers outside Rome, where Odoardo Farnese was the titular abbot. Meanwhile he had completed frescoes c. 1604–05 in the church of Sant’Onofrio, feigned stucco decoration of 1606–07 in the Palazzo Mattei, a large scene of The Flagellation of St. Andrew at San Gregorio Magno, painted in competition with a fresco by Reni that faces it, and a ceiling with Scenes from the Life of Diana, 1609, in the Villa Odescalchi at Bassano di Sutri (today Bassano Romano).

Following Annibale Carracci’s death in 1609, Annibale’s Bolognese pupils, foremost Domenichino, Albani, Reni and Lanfranco, became the leading painters in Rome (Caravaggio had left Rome in 1606 and his followers there did not compete successfully with the Bolognese for fresco or altarpiece commissions). One of Domenichino’s masterpieces, his frescoes of Scenes of the Life of Saint Cecilia in the Polet Chapel of San Luigi dei Francesi, was commissioned in 1612 and completed in 1615. Concurrently he painted his first, and most celebrated, altarpiece, The Last Communion of St. Jerome for the church of San Girolamo della Carità (signed and dated, 1614).

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) - Last Communion of St. Jerome

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) – Last Communion of St. Jerome

Domenichino’s work, developed principally from Raphael’s and the Carracci’s examples, mirrors the theoretical ideas of G. B. Agucchi, with whom the painter collaborated on a Treatise on Painting (Domenichino’s portrait of Agucchi in York occasionally has been attributed to Annibale Carracci).

In addition to his interest in the theory of painting (he was well educated and bookish), Domenichino was devoted to music, not as a performer but to the invention of instruments suited to the stile moderno or to what Monteverdi dubbed the seconda pratica. Like Domenichino’s paintings, its sources were in ancient models and aimed at clarity of expression capable of moving its audience. As the Florentine composer Giulio Caccini held and Domenichino surely believed, the aim of the composer/artist was to “move the passion of the mind”. To achieve that goal, Domenichino paid particular attention to expressive gestures. Some 1750 drawings in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle attest to the assiduous study underlying Domenichino’s work—figural, architectural, decorative, landscape, even caricature—and to the painter’s brilliance as a draftsman.

In Roger de Piles’ Balance of 1708, an effort to quantify and compare the greatness of painters in four categories (no artist ever achieved a score above 18 in any category), the French critic awarded Domenichino 17 points for drawing (dessein), 17 for expression, 15 for composition, yet only 9 as a colorist. Domenichino’s composite score of 58 nonetheless was surpassed only by Raphael and Rubens, and it equalled that of the Carracci.

Let’s now enjoy his most celebrated works:

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) - The Rest on the Flight into Egypt

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) – The Rest on the Flight into Egypt

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) - A Sibyl

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) – A Sibyl

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) - Diana and her Nymphs

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) – Diana and her Nymphs

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) - Erminia among the Shepherds

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) – Erminia among the Shepherds

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) - Last Communion of St. Jerome

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) – Last Communion of St. Jerome

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) - Madonna and Child with St Petronius and St John the Evangelist

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) – Madonna and Child with St Petronius and St John the Evangelist

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) - Martyrdom of St. Peter the Martyr

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) – Martyrdom of St. Peter the Martyr

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) - Mary Magdalene Taken up to Heaven

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) – Mary Magdalene Taken up to Heaven

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) - Portrait of Virginio Cesarini

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) – Portrait of Virginio Cesarini

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) - Saint Agnes

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) – Saint Agnes

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) - The Maiden and the Unicorn

Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) – The Maiden and the Unicorn

In spite of his activity in Rome, Domenichino decided to leave the city in 1631 to take up the most prestigious, and very lucrative, commission in Naples, the decoration of the Cappella del Tesoro di San Gennaro of the Naples Cathedral. His Scenes from the Life of San Gennaro occupied him for the rest of his life. He painted four large lunettes, four pendentives, and twelve scenes in the soffits of the arches, all in fresco, plus three large altarpieces in oil on copper. He died, perhaps by poison at the hands of the jealous Neapolitan painters, before completing the fourth altarpiece or the cupola, which was subsequently frescoed by Lanfranco.

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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 01/11/2012

Carlo Maratta - Adoration of the Magi in Garland

Life and Paintings of Carlo Maratta (1625 – 1713)

Carlo Maratta or Maratti (13 May 1625 – 15 December 1713) was an Italian painter, active mostly in Rome, and known principally for his classicizing paintings executed in a Late Baroque Classical manner. Although he is part of the classical tradition stemming from Raphael, he was not exempt from the influence of Baroque painting and particularly in his use of colour. His contemporary and friend, Giovanni Bellori, wrote an early biography on Maratta.

Carlo Maratta - Assumption and the doctors of the Church

Carlo Maratta – Assumption and the doctors of the Church

Born in Camerano (Marche), then part of the Papal States, he went to Rome in 1636, accompanied by, Don Corintio Benicampi, secretary to Taddeo Barberini. He became an apprentice in the studio of Andrea Sacchi. It was at this time that the debate between Sacchi and Pietro da Cortona took place at the Accademia di San Luca, the artists academy in Rome. Sacchi argued that paintings should only have a few figures which should express the narrative whereas Cortona countered that a greater number of figures allowed for the development of sub themes. Maratta’s painting at this time was closely allied with the classicism of Sacchi and was far more restrained and composed than the Baroque exuberance of Pietro da Cortona’s paintings. Like Sacchi, his paintings were inspired by the works of the great painters from Parma and Bologna: Annibale Carracci, Guercino, Guido Reni, Francesco Albani and Giovanni Lanfranco.

He developed a close relationship with Sacchi till the death of his master in 1661. His fresco of ‘Constantine ordering the Destruction of Pagan Idols’ (1648) for the Baptistery of the Lateran, based on designs by Sacchi, gained him attention as an artist but his first prominent independent work was the ‘Adoration of the Shepherds’ (1650) for San Giuseppe di Falegnami. Another major work from this period was ‘The Mystery of the Trinity Revealed to St. Augustine’ (c. 1655) painted for the church of Santa Maria dei Sette Dolori.

Pope Alexander VII (reigned 1655–1667) commissioned many paintings from him including ‘The Visitation’ (1656) for Santa Maria della Pace and the ‘Nativity’ in the gallery of the Quirinal Palace where he worked under the direction of Cortona who selected him for this task. His pictures of the late 1650s exhibit light and movement derived from Roman Baroque painting, combined with classical idealism.

From 1660, he built up a private client base amongst wealthy patrons of Europe, establishing the most prominent art studio in Rome of his time and, after the death of Bernini in 1680, he became the leading artist in Rome.In 1664, Maratta became the director of the Accademia di San Luca and, concerned with elevating the status of artists, promoted the study and drawing of the art of Classical Antiquity. During the 1670s he was commissioned by Pope Clement X to fresco the ceiling of the salone in the Palazzo Altieri; the iconographic programme for ‘The Triumph of Clemency’ was devised by Bellori . Unlike Giovan Battista Gaulli’s nave fresco in the nearby church of the Gesu which was being painted at the same time, Maratta did not employ illusionism; his scene remained within its frame and used few figures.

His major works of this period included: ‘The Appearance of the Virgin to St. Philip Neri’ (c. 1675) now in the Pitti Palace in Florence; ‘The Virgin with Saints Carlo Borromeo and Ignatius of Loyola, and Angels’ (c. 1685) for the church of Santa Maria in Vallicella (c. 1675); and ‘The Assumption of the Virgin with Doctors of the Church’ (1689) for Santa Maria del Popolo. It was not, as his critics claimed, numerous depictions of the Virgin that earned him the nickname Carluccio delle Madonne or ‘Little Carlo of the Madonnas’, but his gifted interpretation of this theme. Other works included an altarpiece, ‘The Death of St Francis Xavier’ (1674–9) in the San Francesco Xavier Chapel in the right transept of the Church of the Gesu.

Carlo Maratta - Madonna and Child Enthroned with Angels and Saints

Carlo Maratta – Madonna and Child Enthroned with Angels and Saints

Maratta was a well known portrait painter.[6] He painted Sacchi (c. 1655, Prado), Cardinal Antonio Barberini (c. 1660 Palazzo Barberini), Pope Clement IX (1669, Vatican Pinacoteca) and a self-portrait (c. 1695, Brussels). He also painted numerous English sitters during their visits to Rome on the Grand Tour, having sketched antiquities for John Evelyn as early as 1645.

In 1679 or 1680, a daughter, Faustina, was born to Maratta by his mistress, Francesca Gommi (or Gomma). He legally recognized her as his daughter in 1698 and upon becoming a widower in 1700, Maratta married the girl’s mother. His daughter’s features were incorporated into a number of Maratta’s late paintings.

Carlo Maratta - Portrait of Pope Clement IX

Carlo Maratta – Portrait of Pope Clement IX

In 1704 Maratta was knighted by Pope Clement XI.

With a general decline in patronage around the beginning of the eighteenth century and largely due to the economic downturn, Maratta turned his hand to painting restoration, including works by Raphael and Carracci. His sculptural designs included figures of the Apostles for San Giovanni in Laterano. He continued to run his studio into old age even when he could no longer paint. Maratta died in 1713 in Rome, and was buried there in Santa Maria degli Angeli.

 

Carlo Maratta - Apollo Chasing Daphne

Carlo Maratta – Apollo Chasing Daphne

 

Carlo Maratta - Adoration of the Shepherds

Carlo Maratta – Adoration of the Shepherds

 

Carlo Maratta - Adoration of the Magi in Garland

Carlo Maratta – Adoration of the Magi in Garland

 

Carlo Maratta - Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well

Carlo Maratta – Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well

 

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Article publié pour la première fois le 10/12/2013

Francesco Solimena - Judith with the Head of Holofernes

Life and Paintings of Francesco Solimena (1657 – 1747)

Francesco Solimena (October 4, 1657 – April 3, 1747) was a prolific Italian painter of the Baroque era, one of an established family of painters and draughtsmen.

Francesco Solimena - The Royal Hunt of Dido and Aeneas

Francesco Solimena – The Royal Hunt of Dido and Aeneas

Francesco Solimena was born in Canale di Serino, near Avellino. He received early training from his father, Angelo Solimena, with whom he executed a Paradise for the cathedral of Nocera (a place where he spent a big part of his life) and a Vision of St. Cyril of Alexandria for the church of San Domenico at Solofra.

He settled in Naples in 1674, there he worked in the studio of Francesco di Maria and later Giacomo del Po. He apparently had taken the clerical orders, but was patronized early on, and encouraged to become an artist by Cardinal Vincenzo Orsini (later Pope Benedict XIII). By the 1680s, he had independent fresco commissions, and his active studio came to dominate Neapolitan painting from the 1690s through the first four decades of the 18th century. He modeled his art—for he was a highly conventional painter—after the Roman Baroque masters, Luca Giordano and Giovanni Lanfranco, and Mattia Preti, whose technique of warm brownish shadowing Solimena emulated. Solimena painted many frescoes in Naples, altarpieces, celebrations of weddings and courtly occasions, mythological subjects, characteristically chosen for their theatrical drama, and portraits. His settings are suggested with a few details—steps, archways, balustrades, columns—concentrating attention on figures and their draperies, caught in pools and shafts of light. Art historians take pleasure in identifying the models he imitated or adapted in his compositions. His numerous preparatory drawings often mix media, combining pen-and-ink, chalk and watercolor washes.

Francesco Solimena - The Massacre of the Giustiniani at Chios

Francesco Solimena – The Massacre of the Giustiniani at Chios

A typical example of the elaborately constructed allegorical “machines” of his early mature style, fully employing his mastery of chiaroscuro, is the Allegory of Rule (1690) from the Stroganoff collection, which has come to the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.

He apparently hoped to see his son Orazio follow a career in the law, for which he received a doctorate (de Domenici), but also became a painter.

Francesco Solimena - The Martyrdom of Sts Placidus and Flavia

Francesco Solimena – The Martyrdom of Sts Placidus and Flavia

His large, efficiently structured atelier became a virtual academy, at the heart of cultural life in Naples. Among his many pupils were Francesco de Mura (1696–1784), Giuseppe Bonito (1707–89), Pietro Capelli, Onofrio Avellino, Scipione Cappella, Giovanni della Camera, Francesco Campora, Gaspare Traversi, and most notably Corrado Giaquinto and Sebastiano Conca. The Scottish portraitist Allan Ramsay spent three years in Solimena’s studio. Solimena amassed a fortune, was made a baron and lived in sumptuous style founded on his success.

Francesco Solimena died at Barra, near Naples, in 1747.

Francesco Solimena - St Bonaventura Receiving the Banner of St Sepulchre from the Madonna

Francesco Solimena – St Bonaventura Receiving the Banner of St Sepulchre from the Madonna

 

Francesco Solimena - Saint Cajetan Appeasing Divine Anger

Francesco Solimena – Saint Cajetan Appeasing Divine Anger

 

Francesco Solimena - Rebecca at the Well

Francesco Solimena – Rebecca at the Well

 

Francesco Solimena - Judith with the Head of Holofernes

Francesco Solimena – Judith with the Head of Holofernes

 

Francesco Solimena - Dido Receiving Aeneas and Cupid disguised as Ascanius

Francesco Solimena – Dido Receiving Aeneas and Cupid disguised as Ascanius

 

Francesco Solimena - Allegory of Reign

Francesco Solimena – Allegory of Reign

 

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Article publié pour la première fois le 16/01/2014

Émile Munier - Deux Filles Avec Un Panier De Chatons

Life and Paintings of Émile Munier (1840 – 1895)

Émile Munier (1840 – 1895) was a French academic artist and student of William-Adolphe Bouguereau. Émile Munier was born in Paris and lived with his family at 66 rue des Fossés, St. Marcel. His father, Pierre François Munier, was an artist upholsterer at the Manufacture Nationale des Gobelins and his mother, Marie Louise Carpentier, was a polisher in a cashmere cloth mill.

Émile Munier - May i have one too

Émile Munier – May i have one too

Émile and his two brothers, François and Florimond, were gifted artists and each spent some time at the Gobelins. During Emile’s training he developed a close relationship with his professor Abel Lucas and his family. He eventually married Abel’s daughter Henriette.

Émile Munier - The Broken Vas

Émile Munier – The Broken Vas

During the 1860s, Munier received three medals at the Beaux-Arts and in 1869 he exhibited at the Paris Salon. He became a great supporter of the Academic ideals and a follower of Bouguereau, whose subject matter would be an important inspiration to the young Munier.

In 1867, Henriette gave birth to a son, Emile Henri. Six weeks after the birth, having contracted severe rheumatism, Henriette died prematurely. In 1871, Munier abandoned his career as an upholsterer and devoted his time solely to painting; he also began teaching classes to adults three nights a week.

Sargine Augrand, a student of Abel Lucas and a close friend of Émile and Henriette (before she died), caught Émile’s eye; they married in 1872 and lived in a small apartment and studio. Munier frequented the studio of Bouguereau, and they became friends.

In 1885 he painted, and exhibited at the Paris Salon, Trois Amis (Three Friends). This painting, representing a chubby girl playing on her bed with a kitten and a dog, was an extremely successful work, being reproduced in many forms and used for publicity posters by Pears Soap.

Émile Munier - Distracting the baby

Émile Munier – Distracting the baby

With this work, Emile asserted himself as one of ‘the’ painters of young children and their pets; it was eventually acquired by an American collector.

Among his many American patrons were Chapman H. Hyams and his wife, who were important collectors of contemporary French paintings during the nineteenth century and favored artists like Henner, Bouguereau, Gérôme, Vinel and Schreyer.

Munier painted their portrait in 1889, and it, along with much of their collection, is now in the New Orleans Museum of Art.

During the 1890s Munier continued to paint peasant, mythological and religious subjects. In 1893 he exhibited L’esprit de la chute d’eau, at the Paris Salon, a nude nymph which is not unlike Naissance de Vénus by Bouguereau.

In 1895 Munier painted La jeune fille et le panier de chatons, but on 29 June, a few weeks after his 55th birthday, he died.

Research on Munier’s life and work is being conducted by Rehs Galleries, Inc., New York City.

 

Émile Munier - Young Girl with Lamb

Émile Munier – Young Girl with Lamb

Émile Munier - Girls Praying

Émile Munier – Girls Praying

Émile Munier - Reading Lesson

Émile Munier – Reading Lesson

Émile Munier - Sugar And Spice

Émile Munier – Sugar And Spice

 

Émile Munier - La Lettre

Émile Munier – La Lettre

 

Émile Munier - La Grande Soeur

Émile Munier – La Grande Soeur

 

Émile Munier - Deux Filles Avec Un Panier De Chatons

Émile Munier – Deux Filles Avec Un Panier De Chatons

 

Émile Munier - A Sprig Of Flowers

Émile Munier – A Sprig Of Flowers

 

Émile Munier - Pardon Mama

Émile Munier – Pardon Mama

 

Émile Munier - Love Disarmed

Émile Munier – Love Disarmed

Émile Munier - Her best friend

Émile Munier – Her best friend

 

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Article publié pour la première fois le 28/01/2014

David Tenniers the Younger - The Archduke Leopold Wilhelm's Studio

Life and Paintings of David Teniers the Younger (1610 – 1690)

David Teniers the Younger (15 December 1610 – 25 April 1690) was a Flemish artist born in Antwerp, the son of David Teniers the Elder. His son David Teniers III and his grandson David Teniers IV were also painters. His wife Anna, née Anna Breughel, was the daughter of Jan Brueghel the Elder and the granddaughter of Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

David Tenniers the Younger - Twelfth Night The King Drinks

David Tenniers the Younger – Twelfth Night The King Drinks

Through his father, he was indirectly influenced by Elsheimer and by Rubens. The influence of Adriaen Brouwer can be traced to the outset of his career. There is no evidence, however, that either Rubens or Brouwer interfered in any way with Teniers’s education, and Smith (Catalogue Raisonné) may be correct in supposing that the admiration which Brouwer’s pictures at one time excited alone suggested to the younger artist his imitation of them. The only trace of personal relations having existed between Teniers and Rubens is the fact that the ward of the latter, Anne Breughel, the daughter of Jan (Velvet) Breughel, married Teniers in 1637.

Early work

David Tenniers the Younger - The Gallery Of Archduke Leopold In Brussels (1641)

David Tenniers the Younger – The Gallery Of Archduke Leopold In Brussels (1641)

Admitted as a “master” in the Guild of St Luke in 1632, Teniers had even before this made the public acquainted with his works. The Berlin Museum possesses a group of ladies and gentlemen dated 1630. No special signature positively distinguishes these first productions from those of his father, and we do not think it correct to admit with some writers that he first painted religious subjects. Dr. Bode, in a study of Brouwer and his works, expresses the opinion that Teniers’s earliest pictures are those found under the signature “Tenier.” “Tenier” is a Flemish version of a thoroughly Walloon name, “Taisnier” which the painter’s grandfather, a mercer, brought with him when he came from Ath in 1558; and Dr. Bode’s supposition is greatly strengthened by the circumstance that not only David the elder but his brother Abraham and his four sons were all inscribed as “Tenier” in the ledgers of the Antwerp guild of St Luke.

Some really first-rate works—the Prodigal Son and a group of Topers in the Munich Gallery, as well as a party of gentlemen and ladies at dinner, termed the Five Senses, in the Brussels Museum—with the above signature are evidence of the mastery attained by the artist when he may be supposed to have been scarcely twenty. His touch is of the rarest delicacy, his colour at once gay and harmonious. Waagen and Smith agree that the works painted from 1645 to 1650 testify most highly to the master’s abilities; there is no doubt that a considerable number of earlier productions would have been sufficient to immortalize his name.

He was little over thirty when the Antwerp guild of St. George enabled him to paint the picture which ultimately found its way to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg the Meeting of the Civic Guards. Correct to the minutest detail, yet striking in effect, the scene, under the rays of glorious sunshine, displays an astonishing amount of acquired knowledge and natural good taste. This painting leads us to mention another work of the same year (1643), now in the National Gallery, London, The Village Fete (or La fete aux chaudrons) (No. 952), an equally beautiful repetition of which, dated 1646, belongs to the duke of Bedford.

Truth in physiognomy, distribution of groups, the beautiful effect of light and shade, command our warmest admiration. A work like this, according to Waagen, stamps its author as the greatest among painters of his class. Frankness in expression and freedom in attitude guided his preference in the choice of a model, but we may suppose him occasionally to have exaggerated both. He seems anxious to have it known that, far from indulging in the coarse amusements of the boors he is fond of painting, he himself lives in good style, looks like a gentleman, and behaves as such. He never seems tired of showing the turrets of his chateau of Perck, and in the midst of rustic merry-makings we often see his family and himself received cap in hand by the joyous peasants. We may also observe that he has a certain number of favorite models, the constant recurrence of whom is a special feature of his works. We have even met them in a series of life-size portrait-like figures in the Doria Pamphilj Gallery in Rome.

David Tenniers the Younger - The Gallery Of Archduke Leopold In Brussels (1640)

David Tenniers the Younger – The Gallery Of Archduke Leopold In Brussels (1640)

Maturity

Teniers was chosen by the common council of Antwerp to preside over the guild of painters in 1644. The Archduke Leopold Wilhelm, who had assumed the government of the Spanish Netherlands, being a great lover of art, employed Teniers not only as a painter but as keeper of the collection of pictures he was then forming. With the rank and title of “ayuda de camara,” Teniers took up his abode in Brussels shortly after 1647. Immense sums were spent in the acquisition of paintings for the archduke. A number of valuable works of the Italian masters, now in the Vienna Museum, came from Leopold’s gallery after having belonged to Charles I and the Duke of Buckingham. De Bie (1661) states that Teniers was some time in London, collecting pictures for the Duke of Fuensaldana, then acting as Leopold’s lieutenant in the Netherlands. Paintings in Madrid, Munich, Vienna and Brussels have enabled art critics to form an opinion of what the imperial residence was at the time of Leopold, who is represented as conducted by Teniers and admiring some recent acquisition. No picture in the gallery is omitted, every one being inscribed with a number and the name of its author, so that the ensemble of these paintings might serve as an illustrated inventory of the collection. Still more interesting is a canvas, now in the Munich Gallery, where we see Teniers at work in a room of the palace, with an old peasant as a model and several gentlemen looking on.

David Tenniers the Younger - Temptation Of St Anthony

David Tenniers the Younger – Temptation Of St Anthony

When Leopold returned to Vienna, Teniers’s task ceased; in fact, the pictures also travelled to Austria, and a Flemish priest, himself a first-rate flower painter, Van der Baren, became keeper of the archducal gallery. Teniers nevertheless remained in high favor with the new governor-general, Don Juan of Austria, a natural son of Philip IV of Spain. The prince was his pupil, and de Bie tells us he painted the likeness of the painter’s son.

David Teniers the Younger was honoured as one of the greatest painters in Europe. Shortly after the death of his wife in 1656, he married Isabella de Fren, daughter of the secretary of the council of Brabant, and strove his utmost to prove his right to armorial bearings. In a petition to the king he reminded him that the honour of knighthood had been bestowed upon Rubens and Van Dyck. The king at last declared his readiness to grant the request, but on the express condition that Teniers should give up selling his pictures. The condition was not complied with; but it may perhaps account for his interest in founding an academy in Antwerp strictly limited to painters and sculptors. (The venerable Guild of St. Luke made no difference between art and handicraft: carvers, gilders, bookbinders, stood on an even footing with painters and sculptors: which separation was not made until 1773.) There were great rejoicings in Antwerp when, on 26 January 1663, Teniers came from Brussels with the royal charter creating the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the existence of which was due entirely to his personal initiative.

Death

Teniers died in Brussels on 25 April 1690. The date is often wrongly given as 1694 or 1695. A picture in the Munich Gallery (No. 906), dated 1680, represents him as an alchemist, oppressed with a burden of age beyond his years. From this date, more is documented of his doings as a picture-dealer than as a painter, which most probably gave birth to the legend of his having given himself out as deceased in order to get higher prices for his works. David, his eldest son, a painter of talent and reputation, had died in 1685. One of this third Teniers’s pictures—”St Dominic Kneeling before the Blessed Virgin,” dated 1666—is still to be found in the church at Perck. As well as his father, he contributed many patterns to the celebrated Brussels tapestry looms.

Legacy

Smith’s Catalogue Raisonné gives descriptions of over 900 paintings accepted as original productions of Teniers. Few artists ever worked with greater ease, and some of his smaller pictures, landscapes with figures, have been termed “afternoons”, not from their subjects, but from the time spent in producing them. The museums in Madrid, St Petersburg, Vienna, Munich, Dresden, Paris, London and Brussels have more than 200 pictures by Teniers. In the United Kingdom, 150 may be found in private hands, and many other examples are to be met with in private collections throughout Europe. Although the spirit of many of these works is as a whole marvellous, their conscientiousness must be regarded as questionable. Especially in the later productions, from 1654 onwards we often detect a lack of earnestness and of the calm and concentrated study of nature which alone prevent expression from degenerating into grimace in situations like those generally depicted by Teniers.

David Tenniers the Younger - Kitchen Scene (1644)

David Tenniers the Younger – Kitchen Scene (1644)

Influences

His education, and still more his real and assumed position in society, to a great degree account for this. Brouwer knew more of taverns; Ostade was more thoroughly at home in cottages and humble dwellings; Teniers, throughout, triumphs in broad daylight, and, though many of his interiors may be justly termed masterpieces, they seldom equal his open-air scenes, where he has, without constraint, given full play to the bright resources of his luminous palette. In this respect, he often suggests comparisons with Watteau. But his subjects taken from the Gospels or sacred legend are absurd. An admirable picture in the Louvre shows Peter Denying his Master next to a table where soldiers are smoking and having a game at cards. A similar example is the Deliverance of St Peter from Prison of which two versions, curiously altered, are in the Dresden Gallery and the Wallace Collection. He likes going back to subjects illustrated two centuries before by Hieronymus Bosch—the Temptation of St Anthony, the Rich Man in Hell, incantations and witches for the simple purpose of assembling the most comic apparitions. His villagers drink, play bowls, dance and sing; they seldom quarrel or fight, and, if they do, seem to be shamming. This much may be said of Teniers, that no painter shows a more enviable ability to render a conception to his own and other people’s satisfaction. His works have a technical freshness, a straightforwardness in means and intent, which make the study of them most delightful; as Sir Joshua Reynolds says, they are worthy of the closest attention of any painter who desires to excel in the mechanical knowledge of his art.

David Tenniers the Younger - Flemish Kermess (1640)

David Tenniers the Younger – Flemish Kermess (1640)

More than 500 plates were made from his pictures; and, if it be true that Louis XIV judged his “baboons” (magots) unworthy of a place in the royal collections, they found admirable engravers in France–Le Bas and his scholars—and passionate admirers. The duke of Bedford’s specimen was sold for 18,030 livres (£1860) in 1768. The Prodigal Son, now in the Louvre, fetched 30,000 livres (£3095) in 1776. Smith’s highest estimates have long since been greatly exceeded. The Archers in St Petersburg he gives as worth £2000. The Belgian government gave £5000 in 1867 for the Village Pastoral of 1652, which is now in the Brussels Museum; and a picture of the Prodigal Son, scarcely 16 by 28 inches, fetched £5280 in 1876.

Although van Tilborgh, who was a scholar of Teniers in Brussels, followed his style, and later painters often excelled in figure-painting on a small scale, Teniers cannot be said to have formed a school. Properly speaking, he is the last representative of the great Flemish traditions of the 17th century.

 

David Tenniers the Younger - Before The Inn

David Tenniers the Younger – Before The Inn

 

David Tenniers the Younger - Archduke Leopold Wilhelm In His Gallery (1647)

David Tenniers the Younger – Archduke Leopold Wilhelm In His Gallery (1647)

 

David Tenniers the Younger - Peasants Merrymaking Outside An Inn

David Tenniers the Younger – Peasants Merrymaking Outside An Inn

 

David Tenniers the Younger - Apes in the Kitchen

David Tenniers the Younger – Apes in the Kitchen

 

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Article publié pour la première fois le 26/11/2013

Dead Christ Supported by the Madonna and St John (Pietà)

Life and Paintings of Giovanni Bellini (1430 – 1516)

Giovanni Bellini (c. 1430–1516) was an Italian Renaissance painter, probably the best known of the Bellini family of Venetian painters. He is considered to have revolutionized Venetian painting, moving it towards a more sensuous and colouristic style. Through the use of clear, slow-drying oil paints, Giovanni created deep, rich tints and detailed shadings. His sumptuous coloring and fluent, atmospheric landscapes had a great effect on the Venetian painting school, especially on his pupils Giorgione and Titian.

Movements: Renaissance, Naturalism, Perspectivism

Dead Christ Supported by the Madonna and St John (Pietà)

Dead Christ Supported by the Madonna and St John (Pietà)

Giovanni Bellini was born in Venice. He was brought up in his father’s house, and always lived and worked in the closest fraternal relation with his brother Gentile. Up until the age of nearly thirty we find in his work a depth of religious feeling and human pathos which is his own. His paintings from the early period are all executed in the old tempera method; the scene is softened by a new and beautiful effect of romantic sunrise color.

In a somewhat changed and more personal manner, with less harshness of contour and a broader treatment of forms and draperies, but not less force of religious feeling, are the Dead Christ pictures, in these days one of the master’s most frequent themes, (see for example the Pietà: Dead Christ Supported by the Virgin and St. John). Giovanni’s early works have often been linked both compositionally and stylistically to those of his brother-in-law, Andrea Mantegna.

As is the case with a number of his brother, Gentile’s public works of the period, many of Giovanni’s great public works are now lost. The still more famous altar-piece painted in tempera for a chapel in the church of S. Giovanni e Paolo, where it perished along with Titian’s Peter Martyr and Tintoretto’s Crucifixion in the disastrous fire of 1867.

Albrecht Dürer, visiting Venice for a second time in 1506, describes Giovanni Bellini as still the best painter in the city, and as full of all courtesy and generosity towards foreign brethren of the brush.

In 1507 Bellini’s brother Gentile died, and Giovanni completed the picture of the Preaching of St. Mark which he had left unfinished; a task on the fulfillment of which the bequest by the elder brother to the younger of their father’s sketch-book had been made conditional.

Barbarigo Altarpiece

Barbarigo Altarpiece

Both in the artistic and in the worldly sense, the career of Bellini was, on the whole, very prosperous. His long career began with Quattrocento styles but matured into the progressive post-Giorgione Renaissance styles. He lived to see his own school far outshine that of his rivals, the Vivarini of Murano; he embodied, with growing and maturing power, all the devotional gravity and much also of the worldly splendour of the Venice of his time; and he saw his influence propagated by a host of pupils, two of whom at least, Giorgione and Titian, equalled or even surpassed their master. Giorgione he outlived by five years; Titian, as we have seen, challenged him, claiming an equal place beside his teacher.

Let’s see some of his most important works:

Angel of the Annunciation and Virgin Annunciate

Angel of the Annunciation and Virgin Annunciate

Agony in the Garden

Agony in the Garden

San Zaccaria Altarpiece

San Zaccaria Altarpiece

 San Giobbe Altarpiece

San Giobbe Altarpiece

 Polyptych of San Vincenzo Ferreri

Polyptych of San Vincenzo Ferreri

Pesaro Altarpiece

Pesaro Altarpiece

Naked Young Woman in Front of the Mirror

Naked Young Woman in Front of the Mirror

Madonna and Child

Madonna and Child

Madonna and Child with Two Saints (Sacra Conversazione)

Madonna and Child with Two Saints (Sacra Conversazione)

Madonna and Child Blessing

Madonna and Child Blessing

Drunkennes of Noah

Drunkennes of Noah

Dead Christ Supported by the Madonna and St John (Pietà)

Dead Christ Supported by the Madonna and St John (Pietà)

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

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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 24/05/2014

El Greco - St Peter in Penitence

Masters of Art: El Greco (1541 – 1614)

El Greco born Doménikos Theotokópoulos, (1541 – 7 April 1614) was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. “El Greco” (The Greek) was a nickname, a reference to his ethnic Greek origin, and the artist normally signed his paintings with his full birth name in Greek letters, Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος (Doménikos Theotokópoulos), often adding the word Κρής (Krēs, “Cretan”).

Movements: Mannerism, Baroque, Pietism, Sectarianism, Emotionalism, Gesturalism

El Greco was born on Crete, which was at that time part of the Republic of Venice, and the centre of Post-Byzantine art. He trained and became a master within that tradition before travelling at age 26 to Venice, as other Greek artists had done.

El Greco - The Opening of the Fifth Seal (The Vision of St John)

El Greco – The Opening of the Fifth Seal (The Vision of St John)

In 1570 he moved to Rome, where he opened a workshop and executed a series of works. During his stay in Italy, El Greco enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and of the Venetian Renaissance. In 1577, he moved to Toledo, Spain, where he lived and worked until his death. In Toledo, El Greco received several major commissions and produced his best-known paintings.

El Greco’s dramatic and expressionistic style was met with puzzlement by his contemporaries but found appreciation in the 20th century.

El Greco is regarded as a precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism, while his personality and works were a source of inspiration for poets and writers such as Rainer Maria Rilke and Nikos Kazantzakis.

El Greco has been characterized by modern scholars as an artist so individual that he belongs to no conventional school. He is best known for tortuously elongated figures and often fantastic or phantasmagorical pigmentation, marrying Byzantine traditions with those of Western painting.

The primacy of imagination and intuition over the subjective character of creation was a fundamental principle of El Greco’s style. El Greco discarded classicist criteria such as measure and proportion.

He believed that grace is the supreme quest of art, but the painter achieves grace only if he manages to solve the most complex problems with obvious ease.

I hold the imitation of color to be the greatest difficulty of art.

— El Greco, from notes of the painter in one of his commentaries.

El Greco regarded color as the most important and the most ungovernable element of painting, and declared that color had primacy over form.

Francisco Pacheco, a painter and theoretician who visited El Greco in 1611, wrote that the painter liked “the colors crude and unmixed in great blots as a boastful display of his dexterity” and that “he believed in constant repainting and retouching in order to make the broad masses tell flat as in nature”.

El Greco - A Boy Blowing on an Ember to Light a Candle

El Greco – A Boy Blowing on an Ember to Light a Candle

Art historian Max Dvořák was the first scholar to connect El Greco’s art with Mannerism and Antinaturalism.Modern scholars characterize El Greco’s theory as “typically Mannerist” and pinpoint its sources in the Neoplatonism of the Renaissance.

Jonathan Brown believes that El Greco endeavored to create a sophisticated form of art; according to Nicholas Penny “once in Spain, El Greco was able to create a style of his own—one that disavowed most of the descriptive ambitions of painting”.

In his mature works El Greco demonstrated a characteristic tendency to dramatize rather than to describe.  The strong spiritual emotion transfers from painting directly to the audience. According to Pacheco, El Greco’s perturbed, violent and at times seemingly careless-in-execution art was due to a studied effort to acquire a freedom of style. El Greco’s preference for exceptionally tall and slender figures and elongated compositions, which served both his expressive purposes and aesthetic principles, led him to disregard the laws of nature and elongate his compositions to ever greater extents, particularly when they were destined for altarpieces. The anatomy of the human body becomes even more otherworldly in El Greco’s mature works; for The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception El Greco asked to lengthen the altarpiece itself by another 1.5 feet (0.46 m) “because in this way the form will be perfect and not reduced, which is the worst thing that can happen to a figure'”. A significant innovation of El Greco’s mature works is the interweaving between form and space; a reciprocal relationship is developed between the two which completely unifies the painting surface. This interweaving would re-emerge three centuries later in the works of Cézanne and Picasso.

Another characteristic of El Greco’s mature style is the use of light. As Jonathan Brown notes, “each figure seems to carry its own light within or reflects the light that emanates from an unseen source”. Fernando Marias and Agustín Bustamante García, the scholars who transcribed El Greco’s handwritten notes, connect the power that the painter gives to light with the ideas underlying Christian Neo-Platonism.

Modern scholarly research emphasizes the importance of Toledo for the complete development of El Greco’s mature style and stresses the painter’s ability to adjust his style in accordance with his surroundings.

El Greco - A Lady in a Fur Wrap

El Greco – A Lady in a Fur Wrap

Harold Wethey asserts that “although Greek by descent and Italian by artistic preparation, the artist became so immersed in the religious environment of Spain that he became the most vital visual representative of Spanish mysticism”. He believes that in El Greco’s mature works “the devotional intensity of mood reflects the religious spirit of Roman Catholic Spain in the period of the Counter-Reformation”.

El Greco also excelled as a portraitist, able not only to record a sitter’s features but also to convey their character. His portraits are fewer in number than his religious paintings, but are of equally high quality. Wethey says that “by such simple means, the artist created a memorable characterization that places him in the highest rank as a portraitist, along with Titian and Rembrandt“.

Let’s now enjoy some of his most celebrated works

El Greco - The Last Supper

El Greco – The Last Supper

El Greco - The Holy Family

El Greco – The Holy Family

El Greco - The Holy Family with St Mary Magdalen

El Greco – The Holy Family with St Mary Magdalen

El Greco - The Adoration of the Shepherds

El Greco – The Adoration of the Shepherds

El Greco - St Peter in Penitence

El Greco – St Peter in Penitence

El Greco - St Jerome as a Scholar

El Greco – St Jerome as a Scholar

El Greco - Mount Sinai

El Greco – Mount Sinai

El Greco - Christ Healing the Blind

El Greco – Christ Healing the Blind

El Greco - Christ Carrying the Cross

El Greco – Christ Carrying the Cross

El Greco - Annunciation

El Greco – Annunciation

El Greco - An Allegory with a Boy Lighting a Candle in the Company of an Ape and a Fool

El Greco – An Allegory with a Boy Lighting a Candle in the Company of an Ape and a Fool

El Greco - Allegory of the Camaldolese Order

El Greco – Allegory of the Camaldolese Order

Influence on other artists

The Opening of the Fifth Seal (1608–1614, oil, 225 × 193 cm., New York, Metropolitan Museum) has been suggested to be the prime source of inspiration for Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907, oil on canvas, 243.9 × 233.7 cm., New York, Museum of Modern Art) appears to have certain morphological and stylistic similarities with The Opening of the Fifth Seal.

El Greco’s re-evaluation was not limited to scholars. According to Efi Foundoulaki, “painters and theoreticians from the beginning of the 20th century ‘discovered’ a new El Greco but in process they also discovered and revealed their own selves”. His expressiveness and colors influenced Eugène Delacroix and Édouard Manet.

To the Blaue Reiter group in Munich in 1912, El Greco typified that mystical inner construction that it was the task of their generation to rediscover. The first painter who appears to have noticed the structural code in the morphology of the mature El Greco was Paul Cézanne, one of the forerunners of cubism. Comparative morphological analyses of the two painters revealed their common elements, such as the distortion of the human body, the reddish and (in appearance only) unworked backgrounds and the similarities in the rendering of space.  According to Brown, “Cézanne and El Greco are spiritual brothers despite the centuries which separate them”.

Fry observed that Cézanne drew from “his great discovery of the permeation of every part of the design with a uniform and continuous plastic theme”.

The Symbolists, and Pablo Picasso during his Blue Period, drew on the cold tonality of El Greco, utilizing the anatomy of his ascetic figures. While Picasso was working on Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, he visited his friend Ignacio Zuloaga in his studio in Paris and studied El Greco’s Opening of the Fifth Seal (owned by Zuloaga since 1897).

The relation between Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and the Opening of the Fifth Seal was pinpointed in the early 1980s, when the stylistic similarities and the relationship between the motifs of both works were analysed.

In any case, only the execution counts. From this point of view, it is correct to say that Cubism has a Spanish origin and that I invented Cubism. We must look for the Spanish influence in Cézanne. Things themselves necessitate it, the influence of El Greco, a Venetian painter, on him. But his structure is Cubist.

— Picasso, speaking of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon to Dor de la Souchère in Antibes.

The early cubist explorations of Picasso were to uncover other aspects in the work of El Greco: structural analysis of his compositions, multi-faced refraction of form, interweaving of form and space, and special effects of highlights. Several traits of cubism, such as distortions and the materialistic rendering of time, have their analogies in El Greco’s work. According to Picasso, El Greco’s structure is cubist.

On 22 February 1950, Picasso began his series of “paraphrases” of other painters’ works with The Portrait of a Painter after El Greco. Foundoulaki asserts that Picasso “completed … the process for the activation of the painterly values of El Greco which had been started by Manet and carried on by Cézanne“.

The expressionists focused on the expressive distortions of El Greco. According to Franz Marc, one of the principal painters of the German expressionist movement, “we refer with pleasure and with steadfastness to the case of El Greco, because the glory of this painter is closely tied to the evolution of our new perceptions on art”. Jackson Pollock, a major force in the abstract expressionist movement, was also influenced by El Greco. By 1943, Pollock had completed sixty drawing compositions after El Greco and owned three books on the Cretan master.

Contemporary painters are also inspired by El Greco’s art. Kysa Johnson used El Greco’s paintings of the Immaculate Conception as the compositional framework for some of her works, and the master’s anatomical distortions are somewhat reflected in Fritz Chesnut’s portraits.

El Greco’s personality and work were a source of inspiration for poet Rainer Maria Rilke. One set of Rilke’s poems (Himmelfahrt Mariae I.II., 1913) was based directly on El Greco’s Immaculate Conception. Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis, who felt a great spiritual affinity for El Greco, called his autobiography Report to Greco and wrote a tribute to the Cretan-born artist.

In 1998, the Greek electronic composer and artist Vangelis published El Greco, a symphonic album inspired by the artist. This album is an expansion of an earlier album by Vangelis, Foros Timis Ston Greco (A Tribute to El Greco, Φόρος Τιμής Στον Γκρέκο). The life of the Cretan-born artist is the subject of the film El Greco of Greek, Spanish and British production. Directed by Ioannis Smaragdis, the film began shooting in October 2006 on the island of Crete and debuted on the screen one year later; British actor Nick Ashdon has been cast to play El Greco.

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, 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 16/10/2012

Peter Paul Rubens - The Fall of the Damned

Masters of Art: Peter Paul Rubens (1577 – 1640)

Sir Peter Paul Rubens (28 June 1577 – 30 May 1640), was a Flemish Baroque painter, and a proponent of an extravagant Baroque style that emphasized movement, colour, and sensuality. He is well-known for his Counter-Reformation altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects.

Movements: Baroque, Allegoricism, Absolutism, Emotionalism, Gesturalism

Warning: Rubens’ paintings contain nudity. If that offends you, don’t read the article!

Peter Paul Rubens - Self-Portrait

Peter Paul Rubens – Self-Portrait

Rubens was born in Siegen, Westphalia, to Jan Rubens and Maria Pypelincks. His father, a Calvinist, and mother fled Antwerp for Cologne in 1568, after increased religious turmoil and persecution of Protestants during the rule of the Spanish Netherlands by the Duke of Alba. Jan Rubens became the legal advisor (and lover) of Anna of Saxony, the second wife of William I of Orange, and settled at her court in Siegen in 1570. Following Jan Rubens’s imprisonment for the affair, Peter Paul Rubens was born in 1577. The family returned to Cologne the next year.

In 1589, two years after his father’s death, Rubens moved with his mother to Antwerp, where he was raised as a Catholic. Religion figured prominently in much of his work and Rubens later became one of the leading voices of the Catholic Counter-Reformation style of painting (he had said “My passion comes from the heavens, not from earthly musings”).

In Antwerp, Rubens received a humanist education, studying Latin and classical literature. By fourteen he began his artistic apprenticeship with Tobias Verhaeght. Subsequently, he studied under two of the city’s leading painters of the time, the late Mannerist artists Adam van Noort and Otto van Veen.

Much of his earliest training involved copying earlier artists’ works, such as woodcuts by Hans Holbein the Younger and Marcantonio Raimondi’s engravings after Raphael. Rubens completed his education in 1598, at which time he entered the Guild of St. Luke as an independent master.

Rubens was a prolific artist. His commissioned works were mostly religious subjects, “history” paintings, which included mythological subjects, and hunt scenes. He painted portraits, especially of friends, and self-portraits, and in later life painted several landscapes. Rubens designed tapestries and prints, as well as his own house. He also oversaw the ephemeral decorations of the Joyous Entry into Antwerp by the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand in 1635.

His drawings are mostly extremely forceful but not detailed; he also made great use of oil sketches as preparatory studies. He was one of the last major artists to make consistent use of wooden panels as a support medium, even for very large works, but he used canvas as well, especially when the work needed to be sent a long distance. For altarpieces he sometimes painted on slate to reduce reflection problems.

His fondness of painting full-figured women gave rise to the terms ‘Rubensian’ or ‘Rubenesque’ for plus-sized women. The term ‘Rubensiaans’ is also commonly used in Dutch to denote such women.

Peter Paul Rubens - The Judgement of Paris

Peter Paul Rubens – The Judgement of Paris

His paintings can be divided into three categories: those he painted by himself, those he painted in part (mainly hands and faces), and those he only supervised. He had, as was usual at the time, a large workshop with many apprentices and students, some of whom, such as Anthony Van Dyck, became famous in their own right. He also often sub-contracted elements such as animals or still-life in large compositions to specialists such as Frans Snyders, or other artists such as Jacob Jordaens.

Let’s now enjoy his most celebrated works:
Peter Paul Rubens - The Martyrdom of St Stephen

Peter Paul Rubens – The Martyrdom of St Stephen

Peter Paul Rubens - The Happiness of the Regency

Peter Paul Rubens – The Happiness of the Regency

Peter Paul Rubens - The Fall of the Damned

Peter Paul Rubens – The Fall of the Damned

Peter Paul Rubens - The Fall of Man

Peter Paul Rubens – The Fall of Man

Peter Paul Rubens - The Discovery of the Child Erichthonius

Peter Paul Rubens – The Discovery of the Child Erichthonius

Peter Paul Rubens - The Crowning of St Catherine

Peter Paul Rubens – The Crowning of St Catherine

Peter Paul Rubens - The Battle of the Amazons

Peter Paul Rubens – The Battle of the Amazons

Peter Paul Rubens - Susanna and the Elders

Peter Paul Rubens – Susanna and the Elders

Peter Paul Rubens - Susanna and the Elders 2

Peter Paul Rubens – Susanna and the Elders

Peter Paul Rubens - Rubens, his wife Helene Fourment, and their son Peter Paul

Peter Paul Rubens – Rubens, his wife Helene Fourment, and their son Peter Paul

Peter Paul Rubens - Judith with the Head of Holofernes

Peter Paul Rubens – Judith with the Head of Holofernes

Peter Paul Rubens - Hero and Leander

Peter Paul Rubens – Hero and Leander

Peter Paul Rubens - Diana and her Nymphs Surprised by the Fauns

Peter Paul Rubens – Diana and her Nymphs Surprised by the Fauns

Peter Paul Rubens - Diana and Callisto

Peter Paul Rubens – Diana and Callisto

Peter Paul Rubens - Deborah Kip and her Children

Peter Paul Rubens – Deborah Kip and her Children

Peter Paul Rubens - Christ Triumphant over Sin and Death

Peter Paul Rubens – Christ Triumphant over Sin and Death

Peter Paul Rubens - Allegory on the Blessings of Peace

Peter Paul Rubens – Allegory on the Blessings of Peace

Peter Paul Rubens - The Union of Earth and Water

Peter Paul Rubens – The Union of Earth and Water

Peter Paul Rubens - The Three Graces 2

Peter Paul Rubens – The Three Graces

Rubens died from heart failure, which was a result of his chronic gout on 30 May 1640. He was interred in Saint Jacob’s church, Antwerp. The artist had eight children, three with Isabella and five with Hélène; his youngest child was born eight months after his death.

His paintings are highly valued and at a Sotheby’s auction on 10 July 2002, Rubens’s newly discovered painting Massacre of the Innocents sold for £49.5 million ($76.2 million) to Lord Thomson. It is a current record for an Old Master painting.

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, 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 30/10/2012

John-Henry-Fuseli---The-Nightmare

Masters of Art: John Henry Fuseli (1741 – 1825)

Henry Fuseli (Johann Heinrich Füssli) (February 7, 1741 – April 17, 1825) was born in Zürich, Switzerland, the second of eighteen children. His father was Johann Caspar Füssli, a painter of portraits and landscapes, and author of Lives of the Helvetic Painters. He intended Henry for the church, and sent him to the Caroline college of Zurich, where he received an excellent classical education. One of his schoolmates there was Johann Kaspar Lavater, with whom he became close friends.

Movements: Romanticism

After taking orders in 1761 Fuseli was forced to leave the country as a result of having helped Lavater to expose an unjust magistrate, whose powerful family sought revenge. He first travelled through Germany, and then, in 1765, visited England, where he supported himself for some time by miscellaneous writing. Eventually, he became acquainted with Sir Joshua Reynolds, to whom he showed his drawings. Following Sir Joshua’s advice he devoted himself wholly to art. In 1770 he made an art-pilgrimage to Italy, where he remained till 1778, changing his name from Füssli to Fuseli, because it was more Italian-sounding.

John Henry Fuseli - Lady Macbeth

John Henry Fuseli – Lady Macbeth

Early in 1779 he returned to Britain, taking in Zürich on his way. He found a commission awaiting him from Alderman Boydell, who was then organizing his famous Shakespeare Gallery. Fuseli painted a number of pieces for Boydell, and published an English edition of Lavater’s work on physiognomy. He likewise gave William Cowper some valuable assistance in preparing a translation of Homer. In 1788 Fuseli married Sophia Rawlins (originally one of his models), and he soon after became an associate of the Royal Academy. The early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, whose portrait he had painted, planned a trip with him to Paris, but after Sophia’s intervention the Fuselis door was closed to her forever. Two years later he was promoted to Academician.

In 1799 Fuseli exhibited a series of paintings from subjects furnished by the works of John Milton, with a view to forming a Milton gallery corresponding to Boydell’s Shakespeare gallery. There were 47 Milton paintings, many of them very large; they were completed at intervals in the space of nine years. The exhibition, which closed in 1800, proved a commercial failure. In 1799 Fuseli was also appointed professor of painting to the Academy. Four years afterwards he was chosen as Keeper, and resigned his professorship; but he resumed it in 1810, and continued to hold both offices until his death. In 1805 he brought out an edition of Pilkington’s Lives of the Painters, which did little for his reputation. As Keeper, he was succeeded by Henry Thomson.

Antonio Canova, when on his visit to England, was much taken with Fuseli’s works, and on returning to Rome in 1817 caused him to be elected a member of the first class in the Academy of St Luke. Fuseli, after a life of uninterrupted good health, died at the house of the Countess of Guildford on Putney Hill. At the advanced age of eighty-four he was buried in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral. He was comparatively rich at his death.

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.

Botticelli - The Virgin and Child with Two Angels and the Young St John the Baptist

Masters of Art: Sandro Boticelli (1445 – 1510)

Sandro Botticelli or Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi (c. 1445 – May 17, 1510) was an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance. He belonged to the Florentine school under the patronage of Lorenzo de’ Medici, a movement that Giorgio Vasari would characterize less than a hundred years later as a “golden age”, a thought, suitably enough, he expressed at the head of his Vita of Botticelli.

Movements: Renaissance, Secularism, Classicism

Madonna con Bambino

Madonna con Bambino

Botticelli’s posthumous reputation suffered until the late 19th century; since then his work has been seen to represent the linear grace of Early Renaissance painting. Among his best known works are The Birth of Venus and Primavera.

There are very few details of Botticelli’s life, but it is known that he became an apprentice when he was about fourteen years old, which would indicate that he received a fuller education than other Renaissance artists. He was born in the city of Florence in a house in the Via Nuova, Borg’Ognissanti. Vasari reported that he was initially trained as a goldsmith by his brother Antonio.

Probably by 1462 he was apprenticed to Fra Filippo Lippi many of his early works have been attributed to the elder master, and attributions continue to be uncertain. Influenced also by the monumentality of Masaccio’s painting, it was from Lippi that Botticelli learned a more intimate and detailed manner.

As recently discovered, during this time, Botticelli could have traveled to Hungary, participating in the creation of a fresco in Esztergom, ordered in the workshop of Filippo Lippi by János Vitéz, then archbishop of Hungary.

By 1470, Botticelli had his own workshop. Even at this early date his work was characterized by a conception of the figure as if seen in low relief, drawn with clear contours, and minimizing strong contrasts of light and shadow which would indicate fully modeled forms.

The masterpieces Primavera (c. 1482) and The Birth of Venus (c. 1485) were both seen by Vasari at the villa of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici at Castello in the mid-16th century, and until recently, it was assumed that both works were painted specifically for the villa. Recent scholarship suggests otherwise: the Primavera was painted for Lorenzo’s townhouse in Florence, and The Birth of Venus was commissioned by someone else for a different site. By 1499, both had been installed at Castello.

 Venus

Venus

In these works, the influence of Gothic realism is tempered by Botticelli’s study of the antique. But if the painterly means may be understood, the subjects themselves remain fascinating for their ambiguity. The complex meanings of these paintings continue to receive widespread scholarly attention, mainly focusing on the poetry and philosophy of humanists who were the artist’s contemporaries. The works do not illustrate particular texts; rather, each relies upon several texts for its significance. Of their beauty, characterized by Vasari as exemplifying “grace” and by John Ruskin as possessing linear rhythm, there can be no doubt.

Primavera

Primavera

His later work, especially as seen in a series on the life of St. Zenobius, witnessed a diminution of scale, expressively distorted figures, and a non-naturalistic use of colour reminiscent of the work of Fra Angelico nearly a century earlier.

Let’s see some of his most famous works:

Madone_de_l'Eucharistie

Madone_de_l’Eucharistie

incoronazione della vergine

incoronazione della vergine

Descoberta do corpo de Holofernes

Descoberta do corpo de Holofernes

Pallasetlecentaure

Pallasetlecentaure

Madonna

Madonna

The Virgin and Child with Two Angels and the Young St John the Baptist

The Virgin and Child with Two Angels and the Young St John the Baptist

Venus_and_Mars

Venus and Mars

pala di sant'ambrogio

Pala di sant’ambrogio

Lamentation over the Dead Christ with Saints

Lamentation over the Dead Christ with Saints

Adoration of the Magi

Adoration of the Magi

Adoration of the Magi

Adoration of the Magi

The Temptations of Christ

The Temptations of Christ

After his death his reputation was eclipsed longer and more thoroughly than that of any other major European artist. His paintings remained in the churches and villas for which they had been created, his frescoes in the Sistine Chapel upstaged by Michelangelo’s. British collector William Young Ottley, had however brought Botticelli’s The Mystical Nativity to London with him in 1799 after buying it in Italy. After Ottley’s death its next purchaser, William Fuller-Maitland of Stansted, allowed it to be exhibited in a major art exhibition held in Manchester in 1857, The Art Treasures Exhibition,where amongst many other art works it was viewed by more than a million people.

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, 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 17/08/2012