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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

Carlo Maratta - Adoration of the Magi in Garland

Life and Paintings of Carlo Maratta (1625 – 1713)

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

Carlo Maratta - Assumption and the doctors of the Church

Carlo Maratta – Assumption and the doctors of the Church

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

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

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

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

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

Carlo Maratta - Madonna and Child Enthroned with Angels and Saints

Carlo Maratta – Madonna and Child Enthroned with Angels and Saints

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

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

Carlo Maratta - Portrait of Pope Clement IX

Carlo Maratta – Portrait of Pope Clement IX

In 1704 Maratta was knighted by Pope Clement XI.

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

 

Carlo Maratta - Apollo Chasing Daphne

Carlo Maratta – Apollo Chasing Daphne

 

Carlo Maratta - Adoration of the Shepherds

Carlo Maratta – Adoration of the Shepherds

 

Carlo Maratta - Adoration of the Magi in Garland

Carlo Maratta – Adoration of the Magi in Garland

 

Carlo Maratta - Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well

Carlo Maratta – Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well

 

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 10/12/2013

Francesco Solimena - Judith with the Head of Holofernes

Life and Paintings of Francesco Solimena (1657 – 1747)

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

Francesco Solimena - The Royal Hunt of Dido and Aeneas

Francesco Solimena – The Royal Hunt of Dido and Aeneas

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

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

Francesco Solimena - The Massacre of the Giustiniani at Chios

Francesco Solimena – The Massacre of the Giustiniani at Chios

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

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

Francesco Solimena - The Martyrdom of Sts Placidus and Flavia

Francesco Solimena – The Martyrdom of Sts Placidus and Flavia

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

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

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

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

 

Francesco Solimena - Saint Cajetan Appeasing Divine Anger

Francesco Solimena – Saint Cajetan Appeasing Divine Anger

 

Francesco Solimena - Rebecca at the Well

Francesco Solimena – Rebecca at the Well

 

Francesco Solimena - Judith with the Head of Holofernes

Francesco Solimena – Judith with the Head of Holofernes

 

Francesco Solimena - Dido Receiving Aeneas and Cupid disguised as Ascanius

Francesco Solimena – Dido Receiving Aeneas and Cupid disguised as Ascanius

 

Francesco Solimena - Allegory of Reign

Francesco Solimena – Allegory of Reign

 

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 16/01/2014

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

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

Caravaggio - St Francis in Meditation

Masters of Art: Caravaggio (1571 – 1610)

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (29 September 1571 – 18 July 1610) was an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1593 and 1610. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on the Baroque school of painting.

Movements: Baroque, Pietism, Realism, Caravaggism

Caravaggio trained as a painter in Milan under Simone Peterzano who had himself trained under Titian. In his early twenties Caravaggio moved to Rome where, during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, many huge new churches and palazzi were being built and paintings were needed to fill them. During the Counter-Reformation the Roman Catholic Church searched for religious art with which to counter the threat of Protestantism, and for this task the artificial conventions of Mannerism, which had ruled art for almost a century, no longer seemed adequate.

Caravaggio - The Seven Acts of Mercy

Caravaggio – The Seven Acts of Mercy

Caravaggio’s novelty was a radical naturalism that combined close physical observation with a dramatic, even theatrical, use of chiaroscuro. This came to be known as Tenebrism, the shift from light to dark with little intermediate value. He burst upon the Rome art scene in 1600 with the success of his first public commissions, the Martyrdom of Saint Matthew and Calling of Saint Matthew.

Caravaggio - The Death of the Virgin

Caravaggio – The Death of the Virgin

Thereafter he never lacked commissions or patrons, yet he handled his success atrociously. He was jailed on several occasions, vandalized his own apartment, and ultimately had a death warrant issued for him by the Pope.

An early published notice on him, dating from 1604 and describing his lifestyle three years previously, tells how “after a fortnight’s work he will swagger about for a month or two with a sword at his side and a servant following him, from one ball-court to the next, ever ready to engage in a fight or an argument, so that it is most awkward to get along with him.

Caravaggio led a tumultuous life. He was notorious for brawling, even in a time and place when such behavior was commonplace, and the transcripts of his police records and trial proceedings fill several pages. On 29 May 1606, he killed, possibly unintentionally, a young man named Ranuccio Tomassoni from Terni (Umbria). The circumstances of the brawl and the death of Ranuccio Tomassoni remain mysterious.

Several contemporary avvisi referred to a quarrel over a gambling debt and a tennis game, and this explanation has become established in the popular imagination. [24] But recent scholarship has made it clear that more was involved. Good modern accounts are to be found in Peter Robb’s “M” and Helen Langdon’s “Caravaggio: A Life“. An interesting theory relating the death to Renaissance notions of honour and symbolic wounding has been advanced by art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon.

Previously his high-placed patrons had protected him from the consequences of his escapades, but this time they could do nothing. Caravaggio, outlawed, fled to Naples. There, outside the jurisdiction of the Roman authorities and protected by the Colonna family, the most famous painter in Rome became the most famous in Naples. His connections with the Colonnas led to a stream of important church commissions, including the Madonna of the Rosary, and The Seven Works of Mercy.

Caravaggio - St John the Baptist

Caravaggio – St John the Baptist

Despite his success in Naples, after only a few months in the city Caravaggio left for Malta, the headquarters of the Knights of Malta, presumably hoping that the patronage of Alof de Wignacourt, Grand Master of the Knights, could help him secure a pardon for Tomassoni’s death. De Wignacourt proved so impressed at having the famous artist as official painter to the Order that he inducted him as a knight, and the early biographer Bellori records that the artist was well pleased with his success. Major works from his Malta period include a huge Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (the only painting to which he put his signature) and a Portrait of Alof de Wignacourt and his Page, as well as portraits of other leading knights. Yet by late August 1608 he was arrested and imprisoned. The circumstances surrounding this abrupt change of fortune have long been a matter of speculation, but recent investigation has revealed it to have been the result of yet another brawl, during which the door of a house was battered down and a knight seriously wounded. He was imprisoned by the knights and managed to escape. By December he had been expelled from the Order “as a foul and rotten member.”

Caravaggio made his way to Sicily where he met his old friend Mario Minniti, who was now married and living in Syracuse. Together they set off on what amounted to a triumphal tour from Syracuse to Messina and, maybe, on to the island capital, Palermo. In Syracuse and Messina Caravaggio continued to win prestigious and well-paid commissions. Among other works from this period are Burial of St. Lucy, The Raising of Lazarus, and Adoration of the Shepherds. His style continued to evolve, showing now friezes of figures isolated against vast empty backgrounds.

“His great Sicilian altarpieces isolate their shadowy, pitifully poor figures in vast areas of darkness; they suggest the desperate fears and frailty of man, and at the same time convey, with a new yet desolate tenderness, the beauty of humility and of the meek, who shall inherit the earth.”

Contemporary reports depict a man whose behaviour was becoming increasingly bizarre, sleeping fully armed and in his clothes, ripping up a painting at a slight word of criticism, mocking the local painters.

Caravaggio - St Jerome 2

Caravaggio – St Jerome 2

After only nine months in Sicily, Caravaggio returned to Naples. According to his earliest biographer he was being pursued by enemies while in Sicily and felt it safest to place himself under the protection of the Colonnas until he could secure his pardon from the pope (now Paul V) and return to Rome. In Naples he painted The Denial of Saint Peter, a final John the Baptist (Borghese), and his last picture, The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula. His style continued to evolve — Saint Ursula is caught in a moment of highest action and drama, as the arrow fired by the king of the Huns strikes her in the breast, unlike earlier paintings which had all the immobility of the posed models. The brushwork was much freer and more impressionistic. Had Caravaggio lived, something new would have come.

In Naples an attempt was made on his life, by persons unknown. At first it was reported in Rome that the “famous artist” Caravaggio was dead, but then it was learned that he was alive, but seriously disfigured in the face. He painted a Salome with the Head of John the Baptist (Madrid), showing his own head on a platter, and sent it to de Wignacourt as a plea for forgiveness. Perhaps at this time he painted also a David with the Head of Goliath, showing the young David with a strangely sorrowful expression gazing on the severed head of the giant, which is again Caravaggio’s. This painting he may have sent to his patron the unscrupulous art-loving Cardinal Scipione Borghese, nephew of the pope, who had the power to grant or withhold pardons.

Caravaggio - The Cardsharps

Caravaggio – The Cardsharps

In the summer of 1610 he took a boat northwards to receive the pardon, which seemed imminent thanks to his powerful Roman friends. With him were three last paintings, gifts for Cardinal Scipione. What happened next is the subject of much confusion and conjecture. The bare facts are that on 28 July an anonymous avviso (private newsletter) from Rome to the ducal court of Urbino reported that Caravaggio was dead. Three days later another avviso said that he had died of fever on his way from Naples to Rome. A poet friend of the artist later gave 18 July as the date of death, and a recent researcher claims to have discovered a death notice showing that the artist died on that day of a fever in Porto Ercole, near Grosseto in Tuscany. Human remains found in a church in Porto Ercole in 2010 are believed to almost certainly belong to Caravaggio. The findings come after a year-long investigation using DNA, carbon dating and other analyses. Some scholars argue that Caravaggio was murdered by the same “enemies” that had been pursuing him since he fled Malta, possibly Wignacourt and/or factions in the Order of St. John. Caravaggio might have died of lead poisoning. Bones with high lead levels were recently found in a grave likely to be Caravaggio’s. Paints used at the time contained high amounts of lead salts. Caravaggio is known to have indulged in violent behavior, as caused by lead poisoning.

Infamous while he lived, Caravaggio was forgotten almost immediately after his death, and it was only in the 20th century that his importance to the development of Western art was rediscovered. Despite this, his influence on the new Baroque style that eventually emerged from the ruins of Mannerism was profound.

Paul Valéry’s secretary, said of him: “What begins in the work of Caravaggio is, quite simply, modern painting.”

Caravaggio’s innovations inspired the Baroque, but the Baroque took the drama of his chiaroscuro without the psychological realism. While he directly influenced the style of the artists mentioned above, and, at a distance, the Frenchmen Georges de La Tour and Simon Vouet, and the Spaniard Giuseppe Ribera, within a few decades his works were being ascribed to less scandalous artists, or simply overlooked. The Baroque, to which he contributed so much, had evolved, and fashions had changed, but perhaps more pertinently Caravaggio never established a workshop as the Carracci did, and thus had no school to spread his techniques. Nor did he ever set out his underlying philosophical approach to art, the psychological realism which can only be deduced from his surviving work.

Caravaggio - The Calling of Saint Matthew

Caravaggio – The Calling of Saint Matthew

Thus his reputation was doubly vulnerable to the critical demolition-jobs done by two of his earliest biographers, Giovanni Baglione, a rival painter with a personal vendetta, and the influential 17th century critic Gian Pietro Bellori, who had not known him but was under the influence of the earlier Giovanni Battista Agucchi and Bellori’s friend Poussin, in preferring the “classical-idealistic” tradition of the Bolognese school led by the Carracci. Baglione, his first biographer, played a considerable part in creating the legend of Caravaggio’s unstable and violent character, as well as his inability to draw.

In the 1920s, art critic Roberto Longhi brought Caravaggio’s name once more to the foreground, and placed him in the European tradition: “Ribera, Vermeer, La Tour and Rembrandt could never have existed without him. And the art of Delacroix, Courbet and Manet would have been utterly different“. The influential Bernard Berenson agreed: “With the exception of Michelangelo, no other Italian painter exercised so great an influence.

Only about 80 paintings by Caravaggio have survived, but some lost works have been found from time to time. One, The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew, was recently authenticated and restored; it had been in storage in Hampton Court, mislabeled as a copy. Richard Francis Burton writes of a “picture of St. Rosario (in the museum of the Grand Duke of Tuscany), showing a circle of thirty men turpiter ligati” which is not known to have survived. The rejected version of The Inspiration of Saint Matthew intended for the Contarelli Chapel in San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome was destroyed during the bombing of Dresden, though black and white photographs of the work exist. In June 2011 it was announced that a previously unknown Caravaggio painting of Saint Augustine dating to about 1600 had been discovered in a private collection in Britain. Called a “significant discovery”, the painting had never been published and is thought to have been commissioned by Vincenzo Giustiniani, a patron of the painter in Rome.

Caravaggio’s epitaph was composed by his friend Marzio Milesi. It reads:

Michelangelo Merisi, son of Fermo di Caravaggio – in painting not equal to a painter, but to Nature itself – died in Port’ Ercole – betaking himself hither from Naples – returning to Rome – 15th calend of August – In the year of our Lord 1610 – He lived thirty-six years nine months and twenty days – Marzio Milesi, Jurisconsult – Dedicated this to a friend of extraordinary genius.

 

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

Caravaggio - The Taking of Christ

Caravaggio – The Taking of Christ

Caravaggio - Burial of St Lucy

Caravaggio – Burial of St Lucy

Caravaggio - Judith Beheading Holofernes

Caravaggio – Judith Beheading Holofernes

Caravaggio - Madonna dei Palafrenieri

Caravaggio – Madonna dei Palafrenieri

Caravaggio - Madonna del Rosario

Caravaggio – Madonna del Rosario

Caravaggio - Martha and Mary Magdalene

Caravaggio – Martha and Mary Magdalene

Caravaggio - Rest on Flight to Egypt

Caravaggio – Rest on Flight to Egypt

Caravaggio - St Catherine of Alexandria

Caravaggio – St Catherine of Alexandria

Caravaggio - St Francis in Meditation

Caravaggio – St Francis in Meditation

Caravaggio - Supper at Emmaus 2

Caravaggio – Supper at Emmaus 2

Caravaggio - Supper at Emmaus

Caravaggio – Supper at Emmaus

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 26/10/2012

Fetti Domenico - Saint Mary Magdalene Penitent

Life and Paintings Domenico Fetti (1589 – 1623)

Domenico Fetti (also spelled Feti) (c. 1589 – 1623) was an Italian Baroque painter active mainly in Rome, Mantua and Venice.

Born in Rome to a little-known painter, Pietro Fetti, Domenico is said to have apprenticed initially under Ludovico Cigoli, or his pupil Andrea Commodi in Rome from circa 1604–1613. He then worked in Mantua from 1613 to 1622, patronized by the Cardinal, later Duke Ferdinando I Gonzaga. In the Ducal Palace, he painted the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. The series of representations of New Testament parables he carried out for his patron’s studiolo gave rise to a popular specialty, and he and his studio often repeated his compositions.

Fetti Domenico - Saint Mary Magdalene Penitent

Fetti Domenico – Saint Mary Magdalene Penitent

In August or September 1622, his feuds with some prominent Mantuans led him to move to Venice, which for the first few decades of the seventeenth century had persisted in sponsoring Mannerist styles (epitomized by Palma the Younger and the successors of Tintoretto and Veronese). Into this mix, in the 1620s–30s, three “foreigners”—Fetti and his younger contemporaries Bernardo Strozzi and Jan Lys—breathed the first influences of Roman Baroque style. They adapted some of the rich coloration of Venice but adapted it to Caravaggio -influenced realism and monumentality.

In Venice where he remained despite pleas from the Duke to return to Mantua, Fetti changed his style: his formalised painting style became more painterly and colourful. In addition, he devoted attention to smaller cabinet pieces that adapt genre imaging to religious stories. His group of paintings entitled Parables, which represent New Testament scenes, are at the Dresden Gemäldegalerie. He influenced Leonaert Bramer.

His style appears to be influenced by Rubens. He would likely have continued to find excellent patronage in Venice had he not died there in 1623 or 1624. Jan Lys, eight years younger, but who had arrived in Venice nearly contemporaneously, died during the plague of 1629–30. Subsequently, Fetti’s style would influence the Venetians Pietro della Vecchia and Sebastiano Mazzone.

Famous Paintings of Domenico Fetti

Fetti Domenico - Flight To Egypt

Fetti Domenico – Flight To Egypt

 

Fetti Domenico - Ecce Homo

Fetti Domenico – Ecce Homo

 

Fetti Domenico - David With The Head Of Goliath

Fetti Domenico – David With The Head Of Goliath

 

Fetti Domenico - Tobias Healing His Father

Fetti Domenico – Tobias Healing His Father

 

Fetti Domenico - The Repentant St. Mary Magdalene

Fetti Domenico – The Repentant St. Mary Magdalene

 

Fetti Domenico - Portrait Of a Scholar

Fetti Domenico – Portrait Of a Scholar

 

Fetti Domenico - Moses Before The Burning Bush

Fetti Domenico – Moses Before The Burning Bush

 

Fetti Domenico - Melancholy (1622)

Fetti Domenico – Melancholy (1622)

 

Fetti Domenico - Hero And Leander

Fetti Domenico – Hero And Leander

 

 

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Article publié pour la première fois le 19/11/2013

Georges de La Tour - Magdalen of Night Light

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

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

Movements: Baroque,  Gesturalism, Caravaggism

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

Georges de La Tour - The Dream of St Joseph

Georges de La Tour – The Dream of St Joseph

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

Georges de La Tour - Magdalen with the Smoking Flame

Georges de La Tour – Magdalen with the Smoking Flame

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

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

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

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

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

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

Georges de La Tour - Quarrelling Musicians

Georges de La Tour – Quarrelling Musicians

Georges de La Tour - Peasant Couple Eating

Georges de La Tour – Peasant Couple Eating

Georges de La Tour - Magdalen of Night Light

Georges de La Tour – Magdalen of Night Light

Georges de La Tour - Fortune Teller

Georges de La Tour – Fortune Teller

Georges de La Tour - Christ in the Carpenter's Shop

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

Georges de La Tour - Cheater with the Ace of Diamonds

Georges de La Tour – Cheater with the Ace of Diamonds

Georges de La Tour - Blind Musician

Georges de La Tour – Blind Musician

Georges de La Tour - Adoration of the Shepherds

Georges de La Tour – Adoration of the Shepherds

Georges de La Tour - The Repentant Magdalen

Georges de La Tour – The Repentant Magdalen

Georges de La Tour - The Payment of Dues

Georges de La Tour – The Payment of Dues

Georges de La Tour - The New-born

Georges de La Tour – The New-born

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

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Article publié pour la première fois le 15/04/2014

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - Children with Shell

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

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

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - Children with Shell

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Children with Shell

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

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - Annunciation

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Annunciation

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

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

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

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

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - Adoration of the Shepherds

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Adoration of the Shepherds

Legacy

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

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

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

 

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - Virgin and Child with a Rosary

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Virgin and Child with a Rosary

 

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - The Martyrdom of St. Andrew

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – The Martyrdom of St. Andrew

 

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - The Little Fruit Seller

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – The Little Fruit Seller

 

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - The Holy Family (1650)

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – The Holy Family (1650)

 

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - Immaculate Conception (c1678)

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Immaculate Conception (c1678)

 

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - Christ the Good Shepherd

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Christ the Good Shepherd

 

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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 25/03/2014

Orazio Gentileschi - Finding of Moses

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

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

Movements: Baroque, Emotionalism, Caravaggism

Orazio Gentileschi - Sts Cecilia, Valerianus and Tiburtius

Orazio Gentileschi – Sts Cecilia, Valerianus and Tiburtius

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Orazio Gentileschi – Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife

Orazio Gentileschi - Landscape with St Christopher

Orazio Gentileschi – Landscape with St Christopher

Orazio Gentileschi - Lot and His Daughters

Orazio Gentileschi – Lot and His Daughters

Orazio Gentileschi - The Vision of St Francesca Romana

Orazio Gentileschi – The Vision of St Francesca Romana

Orazio Gentileschi - Two Women with a Mirror

Orazio Gentileschi – Two Women with a Mirror

Orazio Gentileschi - Annunciation

Orazio Gentileschi – Annunciation

Orazio Gentileschi - Cupid and Psyche

Orazio Gentileschi – Cupid and Psyche

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

Gentileschi died in 1639 in London.

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

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

Joseph_and_Potiphars_Wife_WGA

Life and Paintings of Guido Reni (1575 – 1642)

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

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

Guido Reni - Charity

Guido Reni – Charity

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

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

Guido Reni - Aurora

Guido Reni – Aurora

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

Guido Reni - The Glory of St. Dominic

Guido Reni – The Glory of St. Dominic

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

Guido Reni - Baptism of Christ

Guido Reni – Baptism of Christ

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

Guido Reni - The Penitent Magdalene

Guido Reni – The Penitent Magdalene

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

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

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

 

Guido Reni - Susanna and the Elders

Guido Reni – Susanna and the Elders

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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 08/11/2013

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) - Susanna and the Elders

Masters of Art: Guercino (1591 – 1666)

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (February 8, 1591 – December 22, 1666), best known as Guercino or Il Guercino, was an Italian Baroque painter and draftsman from the region of Emilia, and active in Rome and Bologna. The vigorous naturalism of his early manner is in contrast to the classical equilibrium of his later works. His many drawings are noted for their luminosity and lively style.

Movements: Baroque,  Emotionalism, Classicism

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) - Et in Arcadia Ego

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) – Et in Arcadia Ego

He was born at Cento, a village between Bologna and Ferrara. At an early age he acquired the nickname Guercino (Italian for ‘squinter’) because he was cross-eyed.

Mainly self-taught, he was apprenticed at the age of 16 to Benedetto Gennari, a painter of the Bolognese School. By 1615 he had moved to Bologna, where his work gained the praise of an elder Ludovico Carracci. Guercino painted two large canvases, Elijah Fed by Ravens and Samson Seized by Philistines, in what appears to be a stark naturalist Caravaggesque style (although it is unlikely he had been able to see any of the Roman Caravaggios first-hand). They were painted for Cardinal Serra, Papal Legate to Ferrara.

The Arcadian Shepherds (Et in Arcadia ego) was painted in 1618 contemporary with The Flaying of Marsyas by Apollo in Palazzo Pitti. Its dramatic composition is typical of Guercino’s early works, which are often tumultuous. His first style, he often claimed, was influenced by a canvas of Annibale Carracci in Cento. Some of his later pieces approach rather to the manner of his contemporary Guido Reni, and are painted with more lightness and clearness.

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) - Angels Weeping over the Dead Christ

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) – Angels Weeping over the Dead Christ

He was recommended by Marchese Enzo Bentivoglio to the Bolognese Ludovisi Pope, Pope Gregory XV. The two years he spent in Rome, 1621–23, were very productive. From this period came his frescoes of Aurora at the casino of the Villa Ludovisi and the ceiling in San Crisogono (1622) of San Chrysogonus in Glory; his portrait of Pope Gregory (now in the Getty Museum, and, what is considered his masterpiece, The Burial of Saint Petronilla or St. Petronilla Altarpiece, for the Vatican (now in the Museo Capitolini).

After the death of Gregory XV, Guercino returned to his hometown. In 1626 he began his frescoes in the Duomo of Piacenza. The details of his career after 1629 are well documented in the account book, the Libro dei conti, that Guercino and his brother, Paolo Antonio Barbieri, kept and which has been preserved.

In 1642, following the death of Guido Reni in Bologna, Guercino moved his busy workshop to that city and become its principal painter. The Franciscan order of Reggio in 1655 paid him 300 ducats for the altarpiece of Saint Luke Displaying a Painting of the Madonna and Child (now in Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City). The Corsini also paid him 300 ducats for the Flagellation of Christ painted in 1657.

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) - Virgin and Child with Four Saints

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) – Virgin and Child with Four Saints

He was remarkable for the extreme rapidity of his execution—he completed no fewer than 106 large altar-pieces for churches, and his other paintings amount to about 144. He was a prolific draftsman who made many drawings, usually in ink, ink with wash, or red chalk. Most were made as preparatory studies for his paintings, but for his own enjoyment he also drew landscapes, genre subjects, and caricatures. His drawings are noted for their fluent style in which “rapid, calligraphic pen strokes combined with dots, dashes, and parallel hatching lines describe the forms”.

Let’s now enjoy his most celebrated works

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) - The Martyrdom of St Peter

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) – The Martyrdom of St Peter

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) - Susanna and the Elders

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) – Susanna and the Elders

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) - St William of Aquitaine Receiving the Cowl

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) – St William of Aquitaine Receiving the Cowl

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) - St Peter Weeping before the Virgin

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) – St Peter Weeping before the Virgin

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) - Semiramis Receiving Word of the Revolt of Babylon

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) – Semiramis Receiving Word of the Revolt of Babylon

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) - Samson Captured by the Philistines

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) – Samson Captured by the Philistines

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) - Madonna of the Swallow

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) – Madonna of the Swallow

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) - Abraham Casting Out Hagar and Ishmael

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) – Abraham Casting Out Hagar and Ishmael

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) -The Toilet of Venus

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) -The Toilet of Venus

Guercino continued to paint and teach up to the time of his death in 1666, amassing a notable fortune. As he never married, his estate passed to his nephews, Benedetto Gennari II and Cesare Gennari.

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 13/11/2012

Artemisia Gentileschi - Susanna and the Elders

Life and Paintings of Artemisia Gentileschi (1593 – 1652)

Artemisia Gentileschi (July 8, 1593–1652) was an Italian Baroque painter, today considered one of the most accomplished painters in the generation after Caravaggio. In an era when women painters were not easily accepted by the artistic community or patrons, she was the first female painter to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence.

Movements: Baroque, Caravaggism

She painted many pictures of strong and suffering women from myth and the Bible – victims, suicides, warriors – and made a speciality of the Judith story. Her best-known image, Judith Beheading Holofernes shows the decapitation of Holofernes, a scene of horrific struggle and blood-letting.”

Artemisia Gentileschi - Judith Beheading Holofernes

Artemisia Gentileschi – Judith Beheading Holofernes

That she was a woman painting in the 17th century and that she was raped herself and participated in prosecuting the rapist long overshadowed her achievements as an artist. For many years she was regarded as a curiosity. Today she is regarded as one of the most progressive and expressionist painters of her generation, a major artist in her own right.

Artemisia Gentileschi was born in Rome on 8 July 1593, the eldest child of the Tuscan painter Orazio Gentileschi. Artemisia was introduced to painting in her father’s workshop, showing much more talent than her brothers, who worked alongside her. She learned drawing, how to mix color and how to paint. Since her father’s style took inspiration from Caravaggio during that period, her style was just as heavily influenced in turn. But her approach to subject matter was different from her father’s, as her paintings are highly naturalistic, where Orazio’s are idealized. Orazio was a great encouragement to his daughter since, during the 17th century, women were considered not to have the intelligence to work.

At the same time, Artemisia had to resist the “traditional attitude and psychological submission to this brainwashing and jealousy of her obvious talent” (Bissell, 113). By doing so, she gained great respect and recognition for her work.

Artemisia Gentileschi - Susanna and the Elders

Artemisia Gentileschi – Susanna and the Elders

The first work of the young 17-year-old Artemisia (some at the time suspected that she was helped by her father) was the Susanna e i Vecchioni (Susanna and the Elders) (1610, Schönborn collection in Pommersfelden). The picture shows how Artemisia assimilated the realism of Caravaggio without being indifferent to the language of the Bologna school (which had Annibale Carracci among its major artists). It is one of the few Susanna paintings showing the sexual assault by the two Elders as a traumatic event.

In 1611, her father was working with Agostino Tassi to decorate the vaults of Casino della Rose inside the Pallavicini Rospigliosi Palace in Rome, so Orazio hired the painter to tutor his daughter privately.

During this tutelage, Tassi raped Artemisia. Another man, Cosimo Quorlis had helped Tassi with the rape. After the initial rape, Artemisia continued to have sexual relations with Tassi, with the expectation that they were going to be married. However, Tassi reneged on his promise to marry Artemisia after he heard the rumour that she was having an affair with another man. Orazio pressed charges against Tassi after he learned that Artemisia and Tassi were not going to be married (nine months after the rape). Orazio also claimed that Tassi stole a painting of Judith from the Gentileschi household. The major issue of this trial was the fact that Tassi had deflowered Artemisia. If Artemisia had not been a virgin before Tassi raped her, the Gentileschis would not have been able to press charges. In the ensuing seven-month trial, it was discovered that Tassi had planned to murder his wife, had enjoined in adultery with his sister-in-law and planned to steal some of Orazio’s paintings. During the trial, Artemisia was given a gynecological examination and was tortured using thumbscrews.

At the end of the trial Tassi was sentenced to imprisonment for one year, although he never served the time. The trial has influenced the feminist view of Artemisia Gentileschi during the late 20th century.

The painting Giuditta che decapita Oloferne (Judith beheading Holofernes) (1612–1613), displayed in the Capodimonte Museum of Naples, is striking for the violence portrayed. A month later, Orazio arranged for his daughter to marry Pierantonio Stiattesi, a modest artist from Florence. Shortly afterwards the couple moved to Florence, where Artemisia received a commission for a painting at Casa Buonarroti and became a successful court painter, enjoying the patronage of the Medici family and Charles I. It has been proposed that during this period Artemisia also painted the Madonna col Bambino (The Virgin and Child), currently in the Spada Gallery, Rome.

Artemisia Gentileschi - Judith Beheading Holofernes 2

Artemisia Gentileschi – Judith Beheading Holofernes 2

In Florence, Artemisia enjoyed huge success. She was the first woman accepted into the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno (Academy of the Arts of Drawing). She maintained good relations with the most respected artists of her time, such as Cristofano Allori, and was able to garner the favours and the protection of influential people, starting with Granduke Cosimo II de’ Medici and especially of the Granduchess Cristina. She had a good relationship with Galileo Galilei with whom she remained in epistolary contact for a long time. She was esteemed by Michelangelo Buonarroti the younger (nephew of the great Michelangelo): busy with construction of Casa Buonarroti to celebrate his notable relative, he asked Artemisia to produce a painting to decorate the ceiling of the gallery of paintings.

Artemisia arrived in Rome the same year her father Orazio departed for Genoa. Some believe that Artemisia followed her father there; while there is not enough evidence for this, this time together would have accentuated the similarity of their styles, which makes it often difficult today to determine which of the two painted certain works. Most of the evidence supports the notion that Artemisia remained in Rome, trying to find a home and raise her daughters. In addition to Prudenzia (born from the marriage with Pierantonio Stiattesi) she had another natural daughter, probably born in 1627. Artemisia tried, with almost no success, to teach them the art of painting.

Artemisia Gentileschi - Bathsheba

Artemisia Gentileschi – Bathsheba

Caravaggio’s style, though the master had been dead over a decade, was still highly influential and converted many painters to his style (the so-called Caravaggisti) such as Artemisia’s father Orazio, Carlo Saraceni (who returned to Venice 1620), Bartolomeo Manfredi, and Simon Vouet. However, painting styles in Rome during the early 17th century were diverse, a more classic manner of the Bolognese disciples of the Carracci and the baroque style of Pietro da Cortona.

It appears that Artemisia was also associated the Academy of the Desiosi. She was celebrated with a portrait carrying the inscription “Pincturare miraculum invidendum facilius quam imitandum”. In the same period she became friends with Cassiano dal Pozzo, a humanist, collector and lover of arts. However, despite her artistic reputation, her strong personality and her numerous good relationships, Rome was not as lucrative as she hoped. Her style and tone of defiance and strength relaxed: she painted more relaxing and feminine works. For instance, her second version of Susanna and the Elders (1622)

The appreciation of her art was narrowed down to portraits and to her ability with biblical heroines: she received none of the lucrative commissions for altarpieces. The absence of sufficient documentation makes it difficult to follow Artemisia’s movements in this period. It is certain that between 1627 and as late as 1630 she moved to Venice, perhaps in search of richer commissions, as verses and letters were composed in appreciation of her and her works in Venice.

In 1638 Artemisia joined her father in London at the court of Charles I of England, where Orazio became court painter and received the important job of decorating a ceiling (allegory of Trionfo della pace e delle Arti (Triumph of the peace and the Arts) in the Casa delle Delizie of Queen Henrietta Maria of France in Greenwich). Father and daughter were once again working together, although helping her father was probably not her only reason for travelling to London: Charles I had convoked her in his court, and it was not possible to refuse. Charles I was a fanatical collector, willing to ruin public finances to follow his artistic wishes. The fame of Artemisia probably intrigued him, and it is not a coincidence that his collection included a painting of great suggestion, the Autoritratto in veste di Pittura (“Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting.”).

Orazio suddenly died in 1639. Artemisia had her own commissions to fulfill after her father’s death, although there are no known works assignable with certainty to this period. It is known that Artemisia had already left England by 1642, when the civil war was just starting. Nothing much is known about her subsequent movements. Historians know that in 1649 she was in Naples again, corresponding with Don Antonio Ruffo of Sicily who became her mentor and good commitment during this second Neapolitan period. The last known letter to her mentor is dated 1650 and makes clear that she was still fully active. Artemisia was once thought to have died in 1652/1653. Recent evidence, however, has shown that she was still accepting commissions in 1654—though increasingly dependent on her assistant, Onofrio Palumbo. Thus it might be speculated that she died in the devastating plague that swept Naples in 1656 and virtually wiped out an entire generation of Neapolitan artists.

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

Artemisia Gentileschi - Danaë

Artemisia Gentileschi – Danaë

Artemisia Gentileschi - Clio, the Muse of History

Artemisia Gentileschi – Clio, the Muse of History

Artemisia Gentileschi - Birth of St John the Baptist

Artemisia Gentileschi – Birth of St John the Baptist

Artemisia Gentileschi - St Cecilia Playing a Lute

Artemisia Gentileschi – St Cecilia Playing a Lute

Artemisia Gentileschi - St Catherine of Alexandria

Artemisia Gentileschi – St Catherine of Alexandria

Artemisia Gentileschi - Portrait of a Condottiero

Artemisia Gentileschi – Portrait of a Condottiero

Artemisia Gentileschi - Judith and Her Maidservant

Artemisia Gentileschi – Judith and Her Maidservant

For a woman at the beginning of the 17th century, being a painter like Artemisia represented an uncommon and difficult choice, but not an exceptional one. Before Artemisia, between the end of the 1500 and the beginning of 1600 other female painters had successful careers, including Sofonisba Anguissola (Born in Cremona around 1530 – Palermo around 1625), was called into Spain by King Philip II and Lavinia Fontana (Bologna, 1552 – Rome 1614) departed for Rome by invitation of Pope Clement VIII. Later Fede Galizia (Milano or Trento, 1578 – Milano 1630) painted still lifes and a Judith with the head of Holofernes.

Other female painters began their career while Artemisia was alive. Judged on their artistic merits, Longhi’s statement that Artemisia was “the only woman in Italy who ever knew about painting” may be questioned, but there is no doubt that Artemisia continues to be among the most highly regarded of female artists, and has finally taken her place among the great artists of the Baroque.

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