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.

 

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 10/08/2012

Dimanche by Paul Signac

History of Modern Art: Pointillism

Let’s resume our journey on modern art history by exploring Pointillism. Pointillism is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of pure color are applied in patterns to form an image. Georges Seurat and Paul Signac developed the technique in 1886, branching from Impressionism. So some of these painters we have already met briefly in Impressionism. But today we’ll focus more on their Pointillism works.

The term Pointillism was first coined by art critics in the late 1880s to ridicule the works of these artists, and is now used without its earlier mocking connotation. Neo-impressionism and Divisionism are also terms used to describe this technique of painting.

Le Chahut by George Seurat

Le Chahut by Georges Seurat

The technique relies on the ability of the eye and mind of the viewer to blend the color spots into a fuller range of tones. It is related to Divisionism, a more technical variant of the method. Divisionism is concerned with color theory, whereas pointillism is more focused on the specific style of brushwork used to apply the paint. It is a technique with few serious practitioners today, and is notably seen in the works of Seurat, Signac and Cross.

The practice of Pointillism is in sharp contrast to the traditional methods of blending pigments on a palette. Pointillism is analogous to the four-color CMYK printing process used by some color printers and large presses that place dots of Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow, and Key (black). Televisions and computer monitors use a similar technique to represent image colors using Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) colors.

Lady in White by Van Rysselberghe

Lady in White by Van Rysselberghe

If red, blue, and green light (the additive primaries) are mixed, the result is something close to white light. Painting is inherently subtractive, but pointillist colors often seem brighter than typical mixed subtractive colors. This may be partly because subtractive mixing of the pigments is avoided, and partly because some of the white canvas may be showing between the applied dots. The painting technique used for pointillist color mixing is at the expense of the traditional brushwork used to delineate texture. The majority of pointillism is done in oil paints. Anything may be used in its place, but oils are preferred for their thickness and tendency not to run or bleed.

Recolte des foins by Camille Pissarro

Recolte des foins by Camille Pissarro

 

Notable Pointillism Artists include:

 

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat

 

Feeding the chickens by Charles Angrand

Feeding the chickens by Charles Angrand

Dimanche by Paul Signac

Dimanche by Paul Signac

Children on the farm by Camille Pissarro

Children on the farm by Camille Pissarro

Breakfast by Paul Signac

Breakfast by Paul Signac

Antibes by Henri Edmond Cross

Antibes by Henri Edmond Cross

Bathers by Georges Seurat

Bathers by Georges Seurat

Women at the Well by Paul Signac

Women at the Well by Paul Signac

The Harvesters by Charles Angrand

The Harvesters by Charles Angrand

The Beach at Heist by Georges Lemmen

The Beach at Heist by Georges Lemmen

Self portrait by VanGogh

Self portrait by VanGogh

 

Portrait of Félix Fénéon by Paul Signac

Portrait of Félix Fénéon by Paul Signac

Le-Bois-Annonciade by Henri Edmond Cross

Le-Bois-Annonciade by Henri Edmond Cross

 

Hope you enjoyed our short journey through pointillism and are willing to explore more the individual artists!

In the meantime i’d love to hear what you think of pointillism comparing to the traditional impressionism as a movement, and which of the above artists were the more influential in your opinion?

See you next time!

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

Article publié pour la première fois le 08/12/2012

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.

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 01/11/2012

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!

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 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.

Parmigianino - Pallas Athene

Masters of Art: Parmigianino (1503 – 1540)

Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola (11 January 1503 – 24 August 1540), also known as Francesco Mazzola or more commonly as Parmigianino (a nickname meaning “the little one from Parma”) or sometimes “Parmigiano”, was an Italian Mannerist painter and printmaker active in Florence, Rome, Bologna, and his native city of Parma. His work is characterized by elongation of form and includes Vision of Saint Jerome (1527) and the Madonna with the Long Neck (1534).

Movements: Mannerism

Parmigianino was the eighth child of Filippo Mazzola and one Donatella Abbati. His father died of the plague two years after Parmigianino’s birth, and the children were raised by their uncles, Michele and Pier Ilario, who according to Vasari were modestly talented artists.

Parmigianino - Rest on the Flight to Egypt

Parmigianino – Rest on the Flight to Egypt

In 1515, his uncle received a commission from Nicolò Zangrandi for the decoration of a chapel in San Giovanni Evangelista; a work later completed by a young Parmigianino. By the age of eighteen, he had already completed the Bardi Altarpiece. In 1521, Parmigianino was sent to Viadana (along with painter Girolamo Bedoli who was to marry his cousin) to escape the wars between the French, Imperial, and papal armies.

In Viadana, he painted two panels in tempera, depicting Saint Francis for the church of the Frati de’ Zoccoli, and the Mystical Marriage of Saint Catherine for San Pietro. He also worked in San Giovanni and met Correggio, who was at work on the fresco decorations of the cupola.

In 1524, he traveled to Rome with five small paintings, including the Circumcision of Christ and his Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror, seeking patronage of the Medici pope, Clement VII. Vasari records that in Rome, Parmigianino was “celebrated as a Raphael reborn”. In January 1526, Parmigianino and his uncle, Pier Ilario, agreed with Maria Bufalina from Città di Castello, to decorate the church of San Salvatore in Lauro with an altarpiece of the Vision of Saint Jerome (1526–27, National Gallery, London). Within a year, the Sack of Rome caused Parmigianino, and many other artists, to flee.

He resided in Bologna for nearly three years. In 1528-29, he painted a Madonna with Saint Margaret and Saints (Pinacoteca, Bologna). In 1528, he painted Madonna of the Rosa (Dresden) and Madonna with Saint Zachariah (Uffizi). By 1530 Parmigianino had returned to Parma.

In 1531, Parmigianino received a commission for two altarpieces, depicting Saint Joseph and Saint John the Baptist, from the unfinished church of Santa Maria della Steccata. The brotherhood overseeing the church advanced him salary and promised him the supplies and materials; however, by 1535, the project was unfinished. In December, he nominated Don Nicola Cassola, a Parman cleric at the Roman Curia, to act as his legal representative. Parmigianino authorized him to collect the 50 gold scudi from Bonifazio Gozzadini for the Madonna with St. John the Baptist and St. Zacharias.

In 1534, it was decided that the Madonna dal collo lungo (the Madonna with the Long Neck) would hang in the chapel of the family of Elena Baiardi.

Parmigianino - Madonna dal Collo Lungo (Madonna with Long Neck)

Parmigianino – Madonna dal Collo Lungo (Madonna with Long Neck)

Parmigianino had probably expected to succeed Correggio in the favour of the church. However, in April 1538, the administrative offices commissioned initially Giorgio Gandini del Grano, then Girolamo Bedoli, to decorate the apse and choir of the Parma Cathedral.

It is believed that at this time, he became a devotee of alchemy. Vasari hypothesizes that this was due to his fascination with magic. Scholars now agree that Parmigianino’s scientific interests may have been due to his obsession with trying to find a new medium for his etchings. As a result of his alchemical researches, he completed little work in the church. He was imprisoned for two months for breach of contract after the Confraternita decided unanimously to ban him from continuing in their church. He was replaced between 1539 and 1540 by Giulio Romano, who also promptly withdrew from the contract.

Parmigianino died in Casalmaggiore on the 24 August 1540 at the age of 37 years. He is buried in the church of the Frati de’ Servi “naked with a cross made of cypress wood on his chest”.

Let’s now enjoy his most celebrated works:

Parmigianino - Madonna and Child with Saints

Parmigianino – Madonna and Child with Saints

Parmigianino - Virgin and Child with an Angel

Parmigianino – Virgin and Child with an Angel

Parmigianino - Three Foolish Virgins Flanked by Adam and Eve

Parmigianino – Three Foolish Virgins Flanked by Adam and Eve

Parmigianino - The Vision of St Jerome

Parmigianino – The Vision of St Jerome

Parmigianino - The Conversion of St Paul

Parmigianino – The Conversion of St Paul

Parmigianino - Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror

Parmigianino – Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror

Parmigianino - Portrait of a Young Lady

Parmigianino – Portrait of a Young Lady

Parmigianino - Portrait of a Man

Parmigianino – Portrait of a Man

Parmigianino - Pallas Athene

Parmigianino – Pallas Athene

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 02/10/2012

Jean-Antoine Watteau - The French Comedy

Masters of Art: Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684 – 1721)

Jean-Antoine Watteau ( October 10, 1684 – July 18, 1721) was a French painter whose brief career spurred the revival of interest in colour and movement (in the tradition of Correggio and Rubens). He revitalized the waning Baroque style, and indeed moved it to the less severe, more naturalistic, less formally classical Rococo.

Movements: Baroque, Rococo

Watteau is credited with inventing the genre of fêtes galantes: scenes of bucolic and idyllic charm, suffused with an air of theatricality. Some of his best known subjects were drawn from the world of Italian comedy and ballet.

Watteau was born in the town of Valenciennes, which had recently passed from the Spanish Netherlands to France. His father was a master tiler. Showing an early interest in painting, he was apprenticed to Jacques-Albert Gérin, a local painter. Having little to learn from Gérin, Watteau left for Paris in about 1702. There he found employment in a workshop at Pont Notre-Dame, making copies of popular genre paintings in the Flemish and Dutch tradition; it was in that period that he developed his characteristic sketchlike technique.

Jean-Antoine Watteau - The Embarkation for Cythera

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Embarkation for Cythera

In 1703 he was employed as an assistant by the painter Claude Gillot, whose work represented a reaction against the turgid official art of Louis XIV’s reign. In Gillot’s studio Watteau became acquainted with the characters of the commedia dell’arte (its actors had been expelled from France several years before), a favorite subject of Gillot’s that would become one of Watteau’s lifelong passions. Afterward he moved to the workshop of Claude Audran III, an interior decorator, under whose influence he began to make drawings admired for their consummate elegance. Audran was the curator of the Palais du Luxembourg, where Watteau was able to see the magnificent series of canvases painted by Peter Paul Rubens for Queen Marie de Medici. The Flemish painter would become one of his major influences, together with the Venetian masters he would later study in the collection of his patron and friend, the banker Pierre Crozat.

In 1709 Watteau tried to obtain the Prix de Rome and was rejected by the Academy. In 1712 he tried again and was considered so good that, rather than receiving the one-year stay in Rome for which he had applied, he was accepted as a full member of the Academy. He took five years to deliver the required “reception piece”, but it was one of his masterpieces: the Pilgrimage to Cythera, also called the Embarkation for Cythera.

Interestingly, while Watteau’s paintings seem to epitomize the aristocratic elegance of the Régence (though he actually lived most of his short life under the oppressive climate of Louis XIV’s later reign), he never had aristocratic patrons. His buyers were bourgeois such as bankers and dealers.

Jean-Antoine Watteau - Pierrot

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Pierrot

Although his mature paintings seem to be so many depictions of frivolous fêtes galantes, they in fact display a sober melancholy, a sense of the ultimate futility of life, that makes him, among 18th century painters, one of the closest to modern sensibilities. His many imitators, such as Nicolas Lancret and Jean-Baptiste Pater, borrowed his themes but could not capture his spirit.

Among his most famous paintings, beside the two versions of the Pilgrimage to Cythera (one in the Louvre, the other in the Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin), are Pierrot (long identified as “Gilles”), Fêtes venitiennes, Love in the Italian Theater, Love in the French Theater, “Voulez-vous triompher des belles?” and Mezzetin. The subject of his hallmark painting, Pierrot or Gilles, with his slowly fading smile, seems a confused actor who appears to have forgotten his lines; he has materialized into the fearful reality of existence, sporting as his only armor the pathetic clown costume. The painting may be read as Watteau’s wry comment on his mortal illness.

La Boudeuse from the Hermitage Museum: “Flirting coquettishly yet innocently, the artist’s imaginary heroes – the deliberately indifferent lady and her insistently attentive cavalier – are shown with gentle irony. Their fragile, elegant world is dominated by a lyrical mood with just a touch of elegiac melancholy.”

Watteau’s final masterpiece, the Shop-sign of Gersaint, exits the pastoral forest locale for a mundane urban set of encounters. Painted at Watteau’s own insistence, “to take the chill off his fingers”, this sign for the shop in Paris of the paintings dealer Edme François Gersaint is effectively the final curtain of Watteau’s theatre. It has been described as Watteau’s Las Meninas, in that the theme appears to be the promotion of art. The scene is an art gallery where the façade has magically vanished. The gallery and street in the canvas are fused into one contiguous drama.

Jean-Antoine Watteau - L'Enseigne de Gersaint

Jean-Antoine Watteau – L’Enseigne de Gersaint

Watteau alarmed his friends by a carelessness about his future and financial security, as if foreseeing he would not live for long. In fact he had been sickly and physically fragile since childhood. In 1720, he travelled to London, England, to consult Dr. Richard Mead, one of the most fashionable physicians of his time and an admirer of Watteau’s work. However, London’s damp and smoky air offset any benefits of Dr. Mead’s wholesome food and medicines. Watteau returned to France and spent his last few months on the estate of his patron, Abbé Haranger, where he died in 1721 perhaps from tuberculous laryngitis at the age of 36. The Abbé said Watteau was semi-conscious and mute during his final days, clutching a paint brush and painting imaginary paintings in the air.

Little known during his lifetime beyond a small circle of his devotees, Watteau “was mentioned but seldom in contemporary art criticism and then usually reprovingly”. Sir Michael Levey once noted that Watteau “created, unwittingly, the concept of the individualistic artist loyal to himself, and himself alone”. If his immediate followers (Lancret and Pater) would depict the unabashed frillery of aristocratic romantic pursuits, Watteau in a few masterpieces anticipates an art about art, the world of art as seen through the eyes of an artist. In contrast to the Rococo whimsicality and licentiousness cultivated by Boucher and Fragonard in the later part of Louis XV’s reign, Watteau’s theatrical panache is usually tinged with a note of sympathy, wistfulness, and sadness at the transience of love and other earthly delights.

Soon after his death a series of engravings was made after his works, The Recueil Jullienne. The quality of the reproductions, using a mixture of engraving and etching following the practice of the Rubens engravers, varied according to the skill of the people employed by Jean de Jullienne, but was often very high. Such a comprehensive record was hitherto unparalleled. This helped disseminate his influence round Europe and into the decorative arts.

Watteau’s influence on the arts (not only painting, but the decorative arts, costume, film, poetry, music) was more extensive than that of almost any other 18th-century artist. According to the 1911 Britannica, “in his treatment of the landscape background and of the atmospheric surroundings of the figures can be found the germs of Impressionism“. The Watteau dress, a long, sacklike dress with loose pleats hanging from the shoulder at the back, similar to those worn by many of the women in his paintings, is named after him. A revived vogue for Watteau began in England during the British Regency, and was later encapsulated by the Goncourt brothers and the World of Art. In 1984 Watteau societies were created in Paris, by Jean Ferré, and London, by Dr. Selby Whittingham. A major exhibition in Paris, Washington and Berlin commemorated the tercentenary of his birth in 1984. Since 2000 a Watteau centre has been established at Valenciennes by Professor Chris Rauseo. A catalogue of his drawings has been compiled by Pierre Rosenberg, replacing the one by Sir Karl Parker, and Alan Wintermute is preparing one for his paintings.

Jean-Antoine Watteau - Fêtes Venitiennes

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Fêtes Venitiennes

 

Jean-Antoine Watteau - The Marriage Contract

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Marriage Contract

Jean-Antoine Watteau - Merry Company in the Open Air

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Merry Company in the Open Air

Jean-Antoine Watteau - The Blunder

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Blunder

Jean-Antoine Watteau - The Dance

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Dance

Jean-Antoine Watteau - The Festival of Love

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Festival of Love

Jean-Antoine Watteau - The Judgment of Paris

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Judgment of Paris

Jean-Antoine Watteau - The Love Song

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Love Song

Jean-Antoine Watteau - The French Comedy

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The French Comedy

Jean-Antoine Watteau - The Italian Comedy

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Italian Comedy

Jean-Antoine Watteau - Italian Comedians

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Italian Comedians

Jean-Antoine Watteau - Diana at her Bath

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Diana at her Bath

Jean-Antoine Watteau - Gathering in a Park

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Gathering in a Park

Jean-Antoine Watteau - Gathering in the Park

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Gathering in the Park

Jean-Antoine Watteau - Harlequin and Columbine

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Harlequin and Columbine

 

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 11/12/2012

August Macke - Kairouan

History of Modern Art: Expressionism

Hello and welcome to the History of modern art series! Today we’ll take a closer look at the Expressionism movement!

Expressionism was a modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas.

Expressionist artists sought to express meaning or emotional experience rather than physical reality. Expressionism was developed as an avant-garde style before the First World War. It remained popular during the Weimar Republic,particularly in Berlin. The style extended to a wide range of the arts, including painting, literature, theatre, dance, film, architecture and music.

August Macke - Blick in eine Gasse

August Macke – Blick in eine Gasse

The term is sometimes suggestive of emotional angst. In a general sense, painters such as Matthias Grünewald and El Greco are sometimes termed expressionist, though in practice the term is applied mainly to 20th-century works.

The Expressionist emphasis on individual perspective has been characterized as a reaction to positivism and other artistic styles such as naturalism and impressionism.

While the word expressionist was used in the modern sense as early as 1850, its origin is sometimes traced to paintings exhibited in 1901 in Paris by an obscure artist Julien-Auguste Hervé, which he called Expressionismes.

Wassily Kandinsky - Composition VI

Wassily Kandinsky – Composition VI

Though an alternate view is that the term was coined by the Czech art historian Antonin Matějček in 1910, as the opposite of impressionism:

An Expressionist wishes, above all, to express himself… (an Expressionist rejects) immediate perception and builds on more complex psychic structures… Impressions and mental images that pass through mental peoples soul as through a filter which rids them of all substantial accretions to produce their clear essence […and] are assimilated and condense into more general forms, into types, which he transcribes through simple short-hand formulae and symbols.

Expressionism is notoriously difficult to define, in part because it “overlapped with other major ‘isms’ of the modernist period: with Futurism, Vorticism, Cubism, Surrealism and Dada.

Franz Marc - Horse in a Landscape

Franz Marc – Horse in a Landscape

Richard Murphy also comments: “the search for an all-inclusive definition is problematic to the extent that the most challenging expressionists such as Kafka, Gottfried Benn and Döblin were simultaneous the most vociferous “anti-expressionists.”

Expressionist artists sought to portray emotions and subjective interpretations. It was not important to reproduce an aesthetically pleasing impression of the artistic subject matter, they felt, but rather to represent vivid emotional reactions by powerful colours and dynamic compositions. Kandinsky, the main artist of Der Blaue Reiter group, believed that with simple colours and shapes the spectator could perceive the moods and feelings in the paintings, a theory that encouraged him towards increased abstraction.

Wassily Kandinsky - Composition VII

Wassily Kandinsky – Composition VII

After World War II, figurative expressionism influenced worldwide a large number of artists and styles. Also the Expressionist movement included other types of culture, including dance, sculpture, cinema and theatre, which are not in the scope of this article!

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner - Brandenburger Tor

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – Brandenburger Tor

Cawen Alvar - Sokea soittoniekka

Cawen Alvar – Sokea soittoniekka

August Macke - Lady in a Green Jacket

August Macke – Lady in a Green Jacket

August Macke - Kairouan

August Macke – Kairouan

August Macke - Farewell

August Macke – Farewell

Franz Marc - The Fate of the Animals

Franz Marc – The Fate of the Animals

Franz Marc - Rehe im Walde

Franz Marc – Rehe im Walde

Franz Marc - Haystacks in the Snow

Franz Marc – Haystacks in the Snow

Franz Marc - Fighting Forms

Franz Marc – Fighting Forms

Franz Marc - Die großen blauen Pferde

Franz Marc – Die großen blauen Pferde

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner - Nollendorfplatz

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – Nollendorfplatz

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

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Article publié pour la première fois le 22/12/2012

Why you should take Photos in RAW? (Infographic)

Why you should take Photos in RAW? (Infographic)

A very straightforward infographic demystifying why we should prefer capturing our photos in RAW when it is a choice! If you were hearing the term and couldn’t understand why you should care about it, well this infographic is for you!

Hope you found this infographic useful and informative! If you want to know more about designing infographics, check out our past articles: 9 tips for designing awesome infographics & Choosing the right infographic for your business !

Article publié pour la première fois le 28/01/2013

Joseph Turner - The Grand Canal, Venice

Masters of Art: Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775 – 1851)

Joseph Mallord William “J. M. W.” Turner, RA (23 April 1775 – 19 December 1851) was a British Romantic landscape painter, water-colourist, and printmaker. Turner was considered a controversial figure in his day, but is now regarded as the artist who elevated landscape painting to an eminence rivalling history painting. Although renowned for his oil paintings, Turner is also one of the greatest masters of British watercolour landscape painting. He is commonly known as “the painter of light” and his work is regarded as a Romantic preface to Impressionism.

Movements: Romanticism, Classicism, Impressionism 

Joseph Mallord William Turner was born on or around the 23 April 1775 in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London, England. His father, William Turner (1738–7 August 1829), was a barber and wig maker,his mother, Mary Marshall, came from a family of butchers. A younger sister, Mary Ann Turner, was born in September 1778 but died aged four in August 1783.

In 1785, as a result of a “fit of illness” in the family the young Turner was sent to stay with his maternal uncle, Joseph Mallord William Marshall, in Brentford, which was then a small town west of London on the banks of the River Thames. From this period, the earliest known artistic exercise by Turner is found, a series of simple colourings of engraved plates from Henry Boswell’s Picturesque View of the Antiquities of England and Wales.

Joseph Turner - Self-Portrait

Joseph Turner – Self-Portrait

Around 1786, Turner was sent to Margate on the north-east Kent coast. Here Turner produced a series of early drawings of the town and surrounding area foreshadowing his later work. Turner would return to Margate many times in later life. By this time, Turner’s drawings were already being exhibited in his father’s shop window and sold for a few shillings each. His father boasted to the artist Thomas Stothard that: “My son, sir, is going to be a painter”.In 1789 Turner again stayed with his uncle, who by this time had retired to Sunningwell in Oxford. A whole sketchbook of work from his time in Oxford survives, as well as an early watercolour of Oxford. The use of pencil sketches on location as a basis for later finished paintings would form the basis of Turner’s essential working style for his whole career.

Many of the early sketches by Turner were studies of Architecture and/or exercises in perspective and it is known that the young Turner worked for several architects including Thomas Hardwick (junior), James Wyatt and Bonomi the Elder.

By the end of 1789 he had also begun to study under the topographical draughtsman Thomas Malton, whom Turner would later call “My real master”. He entered the Royal Academy of Art schools in 1789, when he was only 14 years old, and was accepted into the academy a year later. Sir Joshua Reynolds, president of the Royal Academy, chaired the panel that admitted him. At first Turner showed a keen interest in architecture but was advised to continue painting by the architect Thomas Hardwick (junior). His first watercolour A View of the Archbishop’s Palace, Lambeth was accepted for the Summer Exhibition of 1790 when Turner was only 15.

As a probationer in the Academy, he was taught drawing (not painting) from plaster casts of antique sculptures and his name appears in the registry of the Academy over a hundred times from July 1790 to October 1793. In June 1792 he was admitted to the life class to learn to draw the human body from nude models.

Turner continued to exhibit watercolours each year at the Academy – travelling in the summer and painting in the winter. He travelled widely throughout Britain, particularly to Wales, and produced a wide range of sketches for working up into studies and watercolours. These particularly focused on architectural work, which utilised his skills as a draughtsman. In 1793, he showed a watercolour with the title The Rising Squall – Hot Wells from St Vincent’s Rock Bristol (now lost) that foreshadowed his later climatic effects.

Cunningham in his obituary of Turner wrote that it was: “recognised by the wiser few as a nobel attempt at lift in landscape art out of the tame insipidities…[and] evinced for the fist time that mastery of effect for which he is now justly celebrated.”

Turner exhibited his first oil painting at the Academy in 1796, Fishermen at Sea. A nocturnal moonlit scene off the Needles, Isle of Wight. The image of boats in peril contrasts the cold light of the moon with the firelight glow of the fishermen’s lantern. Wilton has said that the image: “Is a summary of all that had been said about the sea by the artists of the eighteenth century.” and shows strong influence by artists such as Horace Vernet, Philip James de Loutherbourg and Willem van de Velde the Younger. The image was praised by contemporary critics and would found Turner’s reputation, both as an oil painter and as a painter of maritime scenes.

Turner travelled widely in Europe, starting with France and Switzerland in 1802 and studying in the Louvre in Paris in the same year. He also made many visits toVenice. On a visit to Lyme Regis, in Dorset, England, he painted a stormy scene (now in the Cincinnati Art Museum).

Important support for his work also came from Walter Ramsden Fawkes, of Farnley Hall, near Otley in Yorkshire, who became a close friend of the artist.

Joseph Turner - The Grand Canal, Venice

Joseph Turner – The Grand Canal, Venice

Turner first visited Otley in 1797, aged 22, when commissioned to paint watercolours of the area. He was so attracted to Otley and the surrounding area that he returned to it throughout his career. The stormy backdrop of Hannibal Crossing The Alps is reputed to have been inspired by a storm over Otley’s Chevin while Turner was staying at Farnley Hall.

Turner was also a frequent guest of George O’Brien Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont at Petworth House in West Sussex and painted scenes that Egremont funded taken from the grounds of the house and of the Sussex countryside, including a view of the Chichester Canal. Petworth House still displays a number of paintings.

As he grew older, Turner became more eccentric. He had few close friends except for his father, who lived with him for 30 years, eventually working as his studio assistant. His father’s death in 1829 had a profound effect on him, and thereafter he was subject to bouts of depression. He never married but had a relationship with an older widow, Sarah Danby. He is believed to have been the father of her two daughters born in 1801 and 1811.

He died in the house of his mistress Sophia Caroline Booth in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea on 19 December 1851. He is said to have uttered the last words “The sun is God” before expiring. At his request he was buried in St Paul’s Cathedral, where he lies next to Sir Joshua Reynolds. His last exhibition at the Royal Academy was in 1850.

The architect Philip Hardwick (1792–1870) who was a friend of Turner’s and also the son of the artist’s tutor, Thomas Hardwick, was in charge of making his funeralarrangements and wrote to those who knew Turner to tell them at the time of his death that, “I must inform you, we have lost him.” Other active executors were his cousin and executor, and chief mourner at the funeral, Henry Harpur IV (benefactor of Westminster – now Chelsea & Westminster – Hospital), Revd. Henry Scott Trimmer, George Jones RA and Charles Turner ARA.

Turner’s talent was recognised early in his life. Financial independence allowed Turner to innovate freely; his mature work is characterised by a chromatic palette and broadly applied atmospheric washes of paint. According to David Piper’s The Illustrated History of Art, his later pictures were called “fantastic puzzles.” However, Turner was still recognised as an artistic genius: the influential English art critic John Ruskindescribed Turner as the artist who could most “stirringly and truthfully measure the moods of Nature.” (Piper 321)

Suitable vehicles for Turner’s imagination were to be found in the subjects of shipwrecks, fires (such as the burning of Parliament in 1834, an event which Turner rushed to witness first-hand, and which he transcribed in a series of watercolour sketches), natural catastrophes, and natural phenomena such as sunlight, storm, rain, and fog. He was fascinated by the violent power of the sea, as seen in Dawn after the Wreck (1840) and The Slave Ship (1840).

Turner’s major venture into printmaking was the Liber Studiorum (Book of Studies), a set of seventy prints that the artist worked on from 1806 to 1819. The Liber Studiorum was an expression of his intentions for landscape art. Loosely based on Claude Lorrain’s Liber Veritatis (Book of Truth), the plates were meant to be widely disseminated, and categorised the genre into six types: Marine, Mountainous, Pastoral, Historical, Architectural, and Elevated or Epic Pastoral.His printmaking was a major part of his output, and a whole museum is devoted to it, the Turner Museum in Sarasota, Florida, founded in 1974 by Douglass Montrose-Graem to house his collection of Turner prints.

Joseph Turner - Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus

Joseph Turner – Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus

Turner placed human beings in many of his paintings to indicate his affection for humanity on the one hand (note the frequent scenes of people drinking and merry-making or working in the foreground), but its vulnerability and vulgarity amid the ‘sublime’ nature of the world on the other hand. ‘Sublime’ here means awe-inspiring, savage grandeur, a natural world unmastered by man, evidence of the power of God–a theme that artists and poets were exploring in this period.

The significance of light was to Turner the emanation of God’s spirit and this was why he refined the subject matter of his later paintings by leaving out solid objects and detail, concentrating on the play of light on water, the radiance of skies and fires. Although these late paintings appear to be ‘impressionistic’ and therefore a forerunner of the French school, Turner was striving for expression of spirituality in the world, rather than responding primarily to optical phenomena.

His distinctive style of painting, in which he used watercolour technique with oil paints, created lightness, fluency, and ephemeral atmospheric effects.

One popular story about Turner, though it likely has little basis in reality, states that he even had himself “tied to the mast of a ship in order to experience the drama” of the elements during a storm at sea.

In his later years he used oils ever more transparently, and turned to an evocation of almost pure light by use of shimmering colour. A prime example of his mature style can be seen in Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway, where the objects are barely recognizable. The intensity of hue and interest in evanescent light not only placed Turner’s work in the vanguard of English painting, but later exerted an influence upon art in France, as well; the Impressionists, particularly Claude Monet, carefully studied his techniques.

Turner left a small fortune which he hoped would be used to support what he called “decayed artists”. He planned and designed an almshouse for them at Twickenham with a gallery for some of his works. His will was contested and in 1856, after a court battle, part of his fortune was awarded to his first cousins including Thomas Price Turner.

Another portion of the money went to the Royal Academy of Arts, which occasionally awards students the Turner Medal. His collection of finished paintings was bequeathed to the British nation, and he intended that a special gallery would be built to house them. This did not come to pass owing to a failure to agree on a site, and then to the parsimony of British governments. Twenty-two years after his death, the British Parliament passed an Act allowing his paintings to be lent to museums outside London, and so began the process of scattering the pictures which Turner had wanted to be kept together.

Joseph Turner - The Angel Standing in the Sun

Joseph Turner – The Angel Standing in the Sun

In 1910 the main part of the Turner Bequest, which includes unfinished paintings and drawings, was rehoused in the Duveen Turner Wing at the Tate Gallery. In 1987 a new wing of the Tate, the Clore Gallery, was opened specifically to house the Turner bequest, though some of the most important paintings in it remain in the National Gallery in contravention of Turner’s condition that the finished pictures be kept and shown together.

Increasingly paintings are lent abroad, ignoring Turner’s provision that they be kept “constantly” in Turner’s Gallery. After the Turner content was diminished and diluted in the Clore Gallery from c. 2002, in 2010–12 only two of the nine rooms on the main floor were devoted to Turner. The claim that the Tate was fulfilling Turner’s wishes was dropped in 1995, when the Charity Commission said that the Turner Bequest had been free of Turner’s conditions. This was challenged by Leolin Price QC.

The Turner Society was founded by Selby Whittingham at London and Manchester in 1975. After that endorsed the Tate Gallery’s Clore Gallery wing as the solution (on the lines of the Duveen wing of 1910), to the controversy of what should be done with the Turner Bequest, Selby Whittingham resigned from that and founded the Independent Turner Society.

A prestigious annual art award, the Turner Prize, created in 1984, was named in Turner’s honour, and twenty years later the Winsor & Newton Turner Watercolour Award was founded.

A major exhibition, “Turner’s Britain”, with material (including The Fighting Temeraire) on loan from around the globe, was held at Birmingham Museum & Art Galleryfrom 7 November 2003 to 8 February 2004.

In 2005, Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire was voted Britain’s “greatest painting” in a public poll organised by the BBC.

 

Joseph Turner - The Fall of an Avalanche in the Grisons

Joseph Turner – The Fall of an Avalanche in the Grisons

Joseph Turner - The 'Fighting Temeraire' tugged to her Last Berth to be broken up

Joseph Turner – The ‘Fighting Temeraire’ tugged to her Last Berth to be broken up

Joseph Turner - Undine Giving the Ring to Massaniello, Fisherman of Naples

Joseph Turner – Undine Giving the Ring to Massaniello, Fisherman of Naples

Joseph Turner - Campo Santo

Joseph Turner – Campo Santo

Joseph Turner - Dutch Boats in a Gale

Joseph Turner – Dutch Boats in a Gale

Joseph Turner - Frosty Morning

Joseph Turner – Frosty Morning

Joseph Turner - Heriot's Hospital, Edinburgh

Joseph Turner – Heriot’s Hospital, Edinburgh

Joseph Turner - Peace - Burial at Sea

Joseph Turner – Peace – Burial at Sea

Joseph Turner - Peace - The Shipwreck

Joseph Turner – Peace – The Shipwreck

Joseph Turner - Quillebeuf, at the Mouth of Seine

Joseph Turner – Quillebeuf, at the Mouth of Seine

Joseph Turner - Rain, Steam and Speed The Great Western Railway

Joseph Turner – Rain, Steam and Speed The Great Western Railway

Joseph Turner - San Giorgio Maggiore at Dawn

Joseph Turner – San Giorgio Maggiore at Dawn

 

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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 04/06/2014

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - The Swing 3

Life and Paintings of Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732 – 1806)

Jean-Honoré Fragonard ( 5 April 1732 – 22 August 1806) was a French painter and printmaker whose late Rococo manner was distinguished by remarkable facility, exuberance, and hedonism. One of the most prolific artists active in the last decades of the Ancien Régime, Fragonard produced more than 550 paintings (not counting drawings and etchings), of which only five are dated. Among his most popular works are genre paintings conveying an atmosphere of intimacy and veiled eroticism.

Movements: Rococo

Jean-Honoré Fragonard was born at Grasse, Alpes-Maritimes, the son of François Fragonard, a glover, and Françoise Petit. He was articled to a Paris notary when his father’s circumstances became strained through unsuccessful speculations, but showed such talent and inclination for art that he was taken at the age of eighteen to François Boucher, who, recognizing the youth’s rare gifts but disinclined to waste his time with one so inexperienced, sent him to Chardin’s atelier. Fragonard studied for six months under the great luminist, then returned more fully equipped to Boucher, whose style he soon acquired so completely that the master entrusted him with the execution of replicas of his paintings.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - Jeroboam Offering Sacrifice for the Idol

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – Jeroboam Offering Sacrifice for the Idol

Though not yet a pupil of the Academy, Fragonard gained the Prix de Rome in 1752 with a painting of “Jeroboam Sacrificing to the Golden Calf”, but before proceeding to Rome he continued to study for three years under Charles-André van Loo. In the year preceding his departure he painted the “Christ washing the Feet of the Apostles” now at Grasse cathedral. On 17 September 1756, he took up his abode at the French Academy in Rome, then presided over by Charles-Joseph Natoire.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - The Swing

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – The Swing

While at Rome, Fragonard contracted a friendship with a fellow painter, Hubert Robert. In 1760, they toured Italy together, executing numerous sketches of local scenery. It was in these romantic gardens, with their fountains, grottos, temples and terraces, that Fragonard conceived the dreams which he was subsequently to render in his art. He also learned to admire the masters of the Dutch and Flemish schools (Rubens, Hals, Rembrandt, Ruisdael), imitating their loose and vigorous brushstrokes. Added to this influence was the deep impression made upon his mind by the florid sumptuousness of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, whose works he had an opportunity to study in Venice before he returned to Paris in 1761.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - The Bathers

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – The Bathers

In 1765, his “Coresus et Callirhoe” secured his admission to the Academy. It was made the subject of a pompous (though not wholly serious) eulogy by Diderot, and was bought by the king, who had it reproduced at the Gobelins factory. Hitherto Fragonard had hesitated between religious, classic and other subjects; but now the demand of the wealthy art patrons of Louis XV‘s pleasure-loving and licentious court turned him definitely towards those scenes of love and voluptuousness with which his name will ever be associated, and which are only made acceptable by the tender beauty of his color and the virtuosity of his facile brushwork; such works include the Blind man’s bluff, Serment d’amour (Love Vow), Le Verrou (The Bolt), La Culbute (The Tumble), La Chemise enlevée (The Shirt Removed), and L’escarpolette (The Swing, Wallace Collection), and his decorations for the apartments of Mme du Barry and the dancer Madeleine Guimard.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - The Swing 2

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – The Swing 2

A lukewarm response to these series of ambitious works induced Fragonard to abandon Rococo and to experiment with Neoclassicism. He married Marie-Anne Gérard, herself a painter of miniatures, (1745–1823) on 17 June 1769 and had a daughter, Rosalie Fragonard (1769–1788), who became one of his favourite models. In October 1773, he again went to Italy with Pierre-Jacques Onézyme Bergeret de Grancourt and his son, Pierre-Jacques Bergeret de Grancourt. In September 1774, he returned through Vienna, Prague, Dresden, Frankfurt and Strasbourg.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - The Musical Contest

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – The Musical Contest

Back in Paris, Marguerite Gérard, his wife’s 14-year-old sister, became his pupil and assistant in 1778. In 1780, he had a son, Alexandre-Évariste Fragonard (1780–1850), who eventually became a talented painter and sculptor. The French Revolution deprived Fragonard of his private patrons: they were either guillotined or exiled. The neglected painter deemed it prudent to leave Paris in 1793 and found shelter in the house of his friend Maubert at Grasse, which he decorated with the series of decorative panels known as the Les progrès de l’amour dans le cœur d’une jeune fille, originally painted for Château du Barry.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - The Swing 3

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – The Swing 3

Jean-Honoré Fragonard returned to Paris early in the nineteenth century, where he died in 1806, almost completely forgotten.

For half a century or more he was so completely ignored that Lübke in his History of Art (1873) omits the very mention of his name. Subsequent re-evaluation has confirmed his position among the all-time masters of French painting. The influence of Fragonard’s handling of local colour and expressive, confident brush-stroke on the Impressionists (particularly his grand niece, Berthe Morisot, and Renoir) cannot be overestimated. Fragonard’s paintings Alongside those of François Boucher, seem to sum up an era.

 

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - The Stolen Kiss

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – The Stolen Kiss

 

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - The Love Letter

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – The Love Letter

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - Psyche Showing Her Sisters Her Gifts from Cupid

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – Psyche Showing Her Sisters Her Gifts from Cupid

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - Progress of Love the pursuit

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – Progress of Love the pursuit

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - Progress of Love The Meeting

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – Progress of Love The Meeting

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - Progress of Love The Lover Crowned

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – Progress of Love The Lover Crowned

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - Progress of Love The Confession of Love

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – Progress of Love The Confession of Love

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - Night Scene

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – Night Scene

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - Music Lesson

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – Music Lesson

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - Diana and Endymion

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – Diana and Endymion

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - Coresus Sacrificing himself to Save Callirhoe

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – Coresus Sacrificing himself to Save Callirhoe

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - Adoration of the Shepherds

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – Adoration of the Shepherds

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - A Young Scholar

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – A Young Scholar

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - A Game of Hot Cockles

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – A Game of Hot Cockles

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - A Game of Horse and Rider

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – A Game of Horse and Rider

Jean-Honoré Fragonard - The Visit to the Nursery

Jean-Honoré Fragonard – The Visit to the Nursery

 

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 09/05/2014

Jean-Baptiste-Camille-Corot---Morning-at-Beauvais

Life and Paintings of Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796 – 1875)

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (July 16, 1796 – February 22, 1875) was a French landscape painter and printmaker in etching. Corot was the leading painter of the Barbizon school of France in the mid-nineteenth century. He is a pivotal figure in landscape painting and his vast output simultaneously references the Neo-Classical tradition and anticipates the plein-air innovations of Impressionism.

Movements: Naturalism, Classicism

Camille Corot was born in Paris in 1796, in a house at 125 Rue du Bac, now demolished. His family were bourgeois people—his father was a wigmaker and his mother a milliner—and unlike the experience of some of his artistic colleagues, throughout his life he never felt the want of money, as his parents made good investments and ran their businesses well.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Self-Portrait

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Self-Portrait

After his parents married, they bought the millinery shop where his mother had worked and his father gave up his career as a wigmaker to run the business side of the shop. The store was a famous destination for fashionable Parisians and earned the family an excellent income. Corot was the second of three children born to the family, who lived above their shop during those years.
Corot received a scholarship to study at the Lycée Pierre-Corneille in Rouen, but left after having scholastic difficulties and entered a boarding school. He “was not a brilliant student, and throughout his entire school career he did not get a single nomination for a prize, not even for the drawing classes.”

Unlike many masters who demonstrated early talent and inclinations toward art, before 1815 Corot showed no such interest. During those years he lived with the Sennegon family, whose patriarch was a friend of Corot’s father and who spent much time with young Corot on nature walks. It was in this region that Corot made his first paintings after nature. At nineteen, Corot was a “big child, shy and awkward. He blushed when spoken to. Before the beautiful ladies who frequented his mother’s salon, he was embarrassed and fled like a wild thing… Emotionally, he was an affectionate and well-behaved son, who adored his mother and trembled when his father spoke.” When Corot’s parents moved into a new residence in 1817, the 21-year-old Corot moved into the dormer-windowed room on the third floor, which became his first studio as well.

With his father’s help he apprenticed to a draper, but he hated commercial life and despised what he called “business tricks”, yet he faithfully remained in the trade until he was 26, when his father consented to his adopting the profession of art. Later Corot stated, “I told my father that business and I were simply incompatible, and that I was getting a divorce.” The business experience proved beneficial, however, by helping him develop an aesthetic sense through his exposure to the colors and textures of the fabrics. Perhaps out of boredom, he turned to oil painting around 1821 and began immediately with landscapes.

Starting in 1822 after the death of his sister, Corot began receiving a yearly allowance of 1500 francs which adequately financed his new career, studio, materials, and travel for the rest of his life. He immediately rented a studio on quai Voltaire.
During the period when Corot acquired the means to devote himself to art, landscape painting was on the upswing and generally divided into two camps: one―historical landscape by Neoclassicists in Southern Europe representing idealized views of real and fancied sites peopled with ancient, mythological, and biblical figures; and two―realistic landscape, more common in Northern Europe, which was largely faithful to actual topography, architecture, and flora, and which often showed figures of peasants. In both approaches, landscape artists would typically begin with outdoor sketching and preliminary painting, with finishing work done indoors.

Highly influential upon French landscape artists in the early 19th century was the work of Englishmen John Constable and J.M.W. Turner, who reinforced the trend in favor of Realism and away from Neoclassicism.

For a short period between 1821–1822, Corot studied with Achille-Etna Michallon, a landscape painter of Corot’s age who was a protégé of the painter David and who was already a well-respected teacher. Michallon had a great influence on Corot’s career. Corot’s drawing lessons included tracing lithographs, copying three-dimensional forms, and making landscape sketches and paintings outdoors, especially in the forests of Fontainebleau, the seaports along Normandy, and the villages west of Paris such as Ville-d’Avray (where his parents had a country house).

Michallon also exposed him to the principles of the French Neoclassic tradition, as espoused in the famous treatise of theorist Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, and exemplified in the works of French Neoclassicists Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin, whose major aim was the representation of ideal Beauty in nature, linked with events in ancient times.

Though this school was on the decline, it still held sway in the Salon, the foremost art exhibition in France attended by thousands at each event. Corot later stated, “I made my first landscape from nature…under the eye of this painter, whose only advice was to render with the greatest scrupulousness everything I saw before me. The lesson worked; since then I have always treasured precision.”

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Poetry

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Poetry

After Michallon’s early death in 1822, Corot studied with Michallon’s teacher, Jean-Victor Bertin, among the best known Neoclassic landscape painters in France, who had Corot draw copies of lithographs of botanical subjects to learn precise organic forms. Though holding Neoclassicists in the highest regard, Corot did not limit his training to their tradition of allegory set in imagined nature. His notebooks reveal precise renderings of tree trunks, rocks, and plants which show the influence of Northern realism. Throughout his career, Corot demonstrated an inclination to apply both traditions in his work, sometimes combining the two.

With his parents’ support, Corot followed the well-established pattern of French painters who went to Italy to study the masters of the Italian Renaissance and to draw the crumbling monuments of Roman antiquity. A condition by his parents before leaving was that he paint a self-portrait for them, his first. Corot’s stay in Italy from 1825 to 1828 was a highly formative and productive one, during which he completed over 200 drawings and 150 paintings.

He worked and traveled with several young French painters also studying abroad who painted together and socialized at night in the cafes, critiquing each other and gossiping. Corot learned little from the Renaissance masters (though later he cited Leonardo da Vinci as his favorite painter) and spent most of his time around Rome and in the Italian countryside.

The Farnese Gardens with its splendid views of the ancient ruins was a frequent destination, and he painted it at three different times of the day. The training was particularly valuable in gaining an understanding of the challenges of both the mid-range and panoramic perspective, and in effectively placing man-made structures in a natural setting.  He also learned how to give buildings and rocks the effect of volume and solidity with proper light and shadow, while using a smooth and thin technique. Furthermore, placing suitable figures in a secular setting was a necessity of good landscape painting, to add human context and scale, and it was even more important in allegorical landscapes. To that end Corot worked on figure studies in native costume as well as nude.

During winter, he spent time in a studio but returned to work outside as quickly as weather permitted. The intense light of Italy posed considerable challenges, “This sun gives off a light that makes me despair. It makes me feel the utter powerlessness of my palette.” He learned to master the light and to paint the stones and sky in subtle and dramatic variation.

It was not only Italian architecture and light which captured Corot’s attention. The late-blooming Corot was entranced with Italian females as well, “They still have the most beautiful women in the world that I have met….their eyes, their shoulders, their hands are spectacular. In that, they surpass our women, but on the other hand, they are not their equals in grace and kindness…Myself, as a painter I prefer the Italian woman, but I lean toward the French woman when it comes to emotion.”

In spite of his strong attraction to women, he writes of his commitment to painting, “I have only one goal in life that I want to pursue faithfully: to make landscapes. This firm resolution keeps me from a serious attachment. That is to say, in marriage…but my independent nature and my great need for serious study make me take the matter lightly.”

During the six-year period following his first Italian visit and his second, Corot focused on preparing large landscapes for presentation at the Salon. Several of his salon paintings were adaptations of his Italian oil sketches reworked in the studio by adding imagined, formal elements consistent with Neoclassical principles.  An example of this was his first Salon entry, View at Narni (1827), where he took his quick, natural study of a ruin of a Roman aqueduct in dusty bright sun and transformed it into a falsely idyllic pastoral setting with giant shade trees and green lawns, a conversion meant to appeal to the Neoclassical jurors.

Many critics have valued highly his plein-air Italian paintings for their “germ of Impressionism“, their faithfulness to natural light, and their avoidance of academic values, even though they were intended as studies.  Several decades later, Impressionism revolutionized art by a taking a similar approach—quick, spontaneous painting done in the out-of-doors; however, where the Impressionists used rapidly applied, un-mixed colors to capture light and mood, Corot usually mixed and blended his colors to get his dreamy effects.

 

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - The Reader Wreathed with Flowers (Virgil's Muse)

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The Reader Wreathed with Flowers (Virgil’s Muse)

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - The Coliseum Seen from the Farnese Gardens

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The Coliseum Seen from the Farnese Gardens

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - The Cathedral of Chartres

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The Cathedral of Chartres

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - The bridge of Narni

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The bridge of Narni

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - The Artist's Studio

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The Artist’s Studio

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - St Sebastian Succoured by Holy Women

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – St Sebastian Succoured by Holy Women

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Agostina

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Agostina

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Young Woman in Pink Dress

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Young Woman in Pink Dress

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Young Woman (Madame Legois)

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Young Woman (Madame Legois)

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Volterra, the Citadel

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Volterra, the Citadel

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Ville d'Avray

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Ville d’Avray

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - The Woman with the Pearl

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The Woman with the Pearl

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - The Tanneries of Mantes

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The Tanneries of Mantes

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - The Solitude. Recollection of Vigen, Limousin

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The Solitude. Recollection of Vigen, Limousin

Corot was the leading painter of the Barbizon school of France in the mid-nineteenth century. He is a pivotal figure in landscape painting. His work simultaneously references the Neo-Classical tradition and anticipates the plein-air innovations of Impressionism. Of him Claude Monet exclaimed “There is only one master here—Corot. We are nothing compared to him, nothing.” His contributions to figure painting are hardly less important;Degas preferred his figures to his landscapes, and the classical figures of Picasso pay overt homage to Corot’s influence.

When out of the studio, Corot traveled throughout France, mirroring his Italian methods, and concentrated on rustic landscapes. He returned to the Normandy coast and to Rouen, the city he lived in as a youth.  Corot also did some portraits of friends and relatives, and received his first commissions. His sensitive portrait of his niece, Laure Sennegon, dressed in powder blue, was one of his most successful and was later donated to the Louvre.  He typically painted two copies of each family portrait, one for the subject and one for the family, and often made copies of his landscapes as well. Corot exhibited one portrait and several landscapes at the Salon in 1831 and 1833. His reception by the critics at the Salon was cold and Corot decided to return to Italy, having failed to satisfy them with his Neoclassical themes.

During his two return trips to Italy, he visited Northern Italy, Venice, and again the Roman countryside. In 1835, Corot created a sensation at the Salon with his biblical painting Agar dans le desert (Hagar in the Wilderness), which depicted Hagar, Sarah’s handmaiden, and the child Ishmael, dying of thirst in the desert until saved by an angel. The background was likely derived from an Italian study.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Peasants under the Trees at Dawn

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Peasants under the Trees at Dawn

This time, Corot’s unanticipated bold, fresh statement of the Neoclassical ideal succeeded with the critics by demonstrating “the harmony between the setting and the passion or suffering that the painter chooses to depict in it.”
He followed that up with other biblical and mythological subjects, but those paintings did not succeed as well, as the Salon critics found him wanting in comparisons with Poussin.In 1837, he painted his earliest surviving nude, The Nymph of the Seine. Later, he advised his students “The study of the nude, you see, is the best lesson that a landscape painter can have. If someone knows how, without any tricks, to get down a figure, he is able to make a landscape; otherwise he can never do it.”

In the 1860s, Corot was still mixing peasant figures with mythological ones, mixing Neoclassicism with Realism, causing one critic to lament, “If M. Corot would kill, once and for all, the nymphs of his woods and replace them with peasants, I should like him beyond measure.” In reality, in later life his human figures did increase and the nymphs did decrease, but even the human figures were often set in idyllic reveries.

In later life, Corot’s studio was filled with students, models, friends, collectors, and dealers who came and went under the tolerant eye of the master, causing him to quip, “Why is it that there are ten of you around me, and not one of you thinks to relight my pipe.”

Dealers snapped up his works and his prices were often above 4,000 francs per painting.With his success secured, Corot gave generously of his money and time. He became an elder of the artists’ community and would use his influence to gain commissions for other artists. In 1871 he gave £2000 for the poor of Paris, under siege by the Prussians. During the actual Paris Commune, he was at Arras with Alfred Robaut. In 1872 he bought a house in Auvers as a gift for Honoré Daumier, who by then was blind, without resources, and homeless. In 1875 he donated 10.000 francs to the widow of Millet in support of her children. His charity was near proverbial. He also financially supported the upkeep of a day center for children on rue Vandrezanne in Paris. In later life, he remained a humble and modest man, apolitical and happy with his luck in life, and held close the belief that, “men should not puff themselves up with pride, whether they are emperors adding this or that province to their empires or painter who gain a reputation.”

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot - Morning at Beauvais

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Morning at Beauvais

Despite great success and appreciation among artists, collectors, and the more generous critics, his many friends considered, nevertheless, that he was officially neglected, and in 1874, a short time before his death, they presented him with a gold medal.He died in Paris of a stomach disorder aged 78 and was buried at Père Lachaise Cemetery.

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Article publié pour la première fois le 23/04/2014