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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.”

Life and Paintings of Artemisia Gentileschi (1593   1652)   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.

Life and Paintings of Artemisia Gentileschi (1593   1652)   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.

Life and Paintings of Artemisia Gentileschi (1593   1652)   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.

Life and Paintings of Artemisia Gentileschi (1593   1652)   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:

Life and Paintings of Artemisia Gentileschi (1593   1652)   Artemisia Gentileschi Danaë

Artemisia Gentileschi – Danaë

Life and Paintings of Artemisia Gentileschi (1593   1652)   Artemisia Gentileschi Clio the Muse of History

Artemisia Gentileschi – Clio, the Muse of History

Life and Paintings of Artemisia Gentileschi (1593   1652)   Artemisia Gentileschi Birth of St John the Baptist

Artemisia Gentileschi – Birth of St John the Baptist

Life and Paintings of Artemisia Gentileschi (1593   1652)   Artemisia Gentileschi St Cecilia Playing a Lute

Artemisia Gentileschi – St Cecilia Playing a Lute

Life and Paintings of Artemisia Gentileschi (1593   1652)   Artemisia Gentileschi St Catherine of Alexandria

Artemisia Gentileschi – St Catherine of Alexandria

Life and Paintings of Artemisia Gentileschi (1593   1652)   Artemisia Gentileschi Portrait of a Condottiero

Artemisia Gentileschi – Portrait of a Condottiero

Life and Paintings of Artemisia Gentileschi (1593   1652)   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!
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.

Georges de La Tour - Magdalen of Night Light

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

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

Movements: Baroque,  Gesturalism, Caravaggism

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

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

Georges de La Tour – The Dream of St Joseph

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

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

Georges de La Tour – Magdalen with the Smoking Flame

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Georges de La Tour – Quarrelling Musicians

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

Georges de La Tour – Peasant Couple Eating

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

Georges de La Tour – Magdalen of Night Light

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

Georges de La Tour – Fortune Teller

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

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

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

Georges de La Tour – Cheater with the Ace of Diamonds

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

Georges de La Tour – Blind Musician

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

Georges de La Tour – Adoration of the Shepherds

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

Georges de La Tour – The Repentant Magdalen

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

Georges de La Tour – The Payment of Dues

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

Georges de La Tour – The New-born

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

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.

Caravaggio - The Cardsharps

16 Great Baroque Painters

The Baroque is a period of artistic style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, architecture, literature, dance and music. The style began around 1600 in Rome, Italy and spread to most of Europe.

The popularity and success of the Baroque style was encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church, which had decided at the time of the Council of Trent, in response to the Protestant Reformation, that the arts should communicate religious themes in direct and emotional involvement.  The aristocracy also saw the dramatic style of Baroque architecture and art as a means of impressing visitors and expressing triumphant power and control. Baroque palaces are built around an entrance of courts, grand staircases and reception rooms of sequentially increasing opulence.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word baroque is derived from the Portuguese word “barroco”, Spanish “barroco”, or French “baroque”, all of which refer to a “rough or imperfect pearl”, though whether it entered those languages via Latin, Arabic, or some other source is uncertain.

A defining statement of what Baroque signifies in painting is provided by the series of paintings executed by Peter Paul Rubens for Marie de Medici at the Luxembourg Palace in Paris (now at the Louvre), in which a Catholic painter satisfied a Catholic patron: Baroque-era conceptions of monarchy, iconography, handling of paint, and compositions as well as the depiction of space and movement.

Baroque style featured “exaggerated lighting, intense emotions, release from restraint, and even a kind of artistic sensationalism”. Baroque art did not really depict the life style of the people at that time; however, “closely tied to the Counter-Reformation, this style melodramatically reaffirmed the emotional depths of the Catholic faith and glorified both church and monarchy” of their power and influence.

There were highly diverse strands of Italian baroque painting, from Caravaggio to Cortona; both approaching emotive dynamism with different styles. Another frequently cited work of Baroque art is Bernini’s Saint Theresa in Ecstasy for the Cornaro chapel in Saint Maria della Vittoria, which brings together architecture, sculpture, and theatre into one grand conceit.

The later Baroque style gradually gave way to a more decorative Rococo.

A rather different art developed out of northern realist traditions in 17th century Dutch Golden Age painting, which had very little religious art, and little history painting, instead playing a crucial part in developing secular genres such as still life, genre paintings of everyday scenes, and landscape painting. While the Baroque nature of Rembrandt’s art is clear, the label is less often used for Vermeer and many other Dutch artists. Flemish Baroque painting shared a part in this trend, while also continuing to produce the traditional categories.

We talked thoroughly about many baroque artists in our masters of art series.  Here is a list of the 16 great baroque artists I personally like the most!

16 Great Baroque Artists
16 Great Baroque Painters   caravaggio st jerome 2 9277999364

16 Great Baroque Painters    16 Great Baroque Artists

Spyros Thalassinos | 16 items | 9626 views

A list with great baroque painters!

Source: http://makeyourideasart.com

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  1. 1. Masters of Art: El Greco (1541 - 1614)

    16 Great Baroque Painters   el greco christ healing the blind1 300x112 185px

    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").

  2. 2. Masters of Art: Annibale Carracci (1560 - 1609)

    16 Great Baroque Painters   annibale carracci the choice of heracles 300x112 185px

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

  3. 3. Masters of Art: Caravaggio (1571 - 1610)

    16 Great Baroque Painters   caravaggio st jerome 300x112 185px

    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.

  4. 4. Masters of Art: Peter Paul Rubens (1577 - 1640)

    16 Great Baroque Painters   peter paul rubens venus and adonis 300x112 185px

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

  5. 5. Masters of Art: Frans Hals the Elder (1580 - 1666)

    16 Great Baroque Painters   frans hals regents of the st elizabeth hospital of haarlem 300x112 185px

    Frans Hals the Elder (c. 1580 – 26 August 1666) was a Dutch Golden Age painter. He is notable for his loose painterly brushwork, and helped introduce this lively style of painting into Dutch art. Hals was also instrumental in the evolution of 17th century group portraiture.

  6. 6. Masters of Art: Georges de La Tour (1593 - 1652)

    16 Great Baroque Painters   georges de la tour the payment of dues1 300x112 185px

    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.

  7. 7. Masters of Art: Artemisia Gentileschi (1593 - 1652)

    16 Great Baroque Painters   artemisia gentileschi bathsheba1 300x112 185px

    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.

  8. 8. Masters of Art: Nicolas Poussin (1594 - 1665)

    16 Great Baroque Painters   nicolas poussin the finding of moses i1 300x112 185px

    Nicolas Poussin (15 June 1594 – 19 November 1665) was a French painter in the classical style. His work predominantly features clarity, logic, and order, and favors line over color. His work serves as an alternative to the dominant Baroque style of the 17th century. Until the 20th century he remained the major inspiration for such classically oriented artists as Jacques-Louis David, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Paul Cézanne.

  9. 9. Masters of Art: Orazio Lomi Gentileschi (1563 - 1639)

    16 Great Baroque Painters   orazio gentileschi finding of moses1 300x112 185px

    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.

  10. 10. Masters of Art: Domenichino (1581 - 1641)

    16 Great Baroque Painters   domenico zampieri domenichino the rest on the flight into egypt1 800x240 185px

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

  11. 11. Masters of Art: Giovanni Lanfranco (1582 - 1647)

    16 Great Baroque Painters   giovanni lanfranco rinaldos farewell to armida1 300x112 185px

    Giovanni Lanfranco (26 January 1582 – 30 November 1647) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period.

  12. 12. Masters of Art: Guercino (1591 - 1666)

    16 Great Baroque Painters   giovanni francesco barbieri guercino samson captured by the philistines1 300x112 185px

    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.

  13. 13. Masters of Art: Jusepe de Ribera (1591 - 1652)

    16 Great Baroque Painters   jusepe de ribera apollo and marsyas1 300x112 185px

    Jusepe de Ribera, probably an italianization of Josep de Ribera (January 12, 1591 – September 2, 1652) was a Spanish Tenebrist painter and printmaker, also known as José de Ribera in Spanish and as Giuseppe Ribera in Italian.

  14. 14. Masters of Art: Diego de Velázquez (1599 - 1660)

    16 Great Baroque Painters   images 185px

    Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (June 6, 1599 – August 6, 1660) was a Spanish painter who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. He was an individualistic artist of the contemporary Baroque period, important as a portrait artist

  15. 15. Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606 - 1669)

    16 Great Baroque Painters   rembrandt harmenszoon van rijn the nightwatch1 300x112 185px

    Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (15 July 1606 – 4 October 1669) was a Dutch painter and etcher. He is generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art history and the most important in Dutch history.

  16. 16. Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632 - 1675)

    16 Great Baroque Painters   johannes vermeer girl with a pearl earring 185px

    Johannes Vermeer (1632 – December 1675) was a Dutch painter who specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle class life. Vermeer was a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime. He seems never to have been particularly wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death, perhaps because he produced relatively few paintings.

View more lists from Spyros Thalassinos

Feel free to vote for your favourite artists and also add any baroque artists you feel should be there but are not! In the meantime you might want to check out our article about the 16 great painters of renaissance!

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.

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - Children with Shell

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

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

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

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Children with Shell

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

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

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Annunciation

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

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

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

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

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

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Adoration of the Shepherds

Legacy

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

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

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

 

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

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Virgin and Child with a Rosary

 

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

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – The Martyrdom of St. Andrew

 

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

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – The Little Fruit Seller

 

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

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – The Holy Family (1650)

 

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

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Immaculate Conception (c1678)

 

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

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – Christ the Good Shepherd

 

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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.

Life and Paintings of Francesco Solimena (1657 – 1747)    Solimena Francesco 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.

Life and Paintings of Francesco Solimena (1657 – 1747)    SOLIMENA Francesco 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.

Life and Paintings of Francesco Solimena (1657 – 1747)    SOLIMENA Francesco 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.

Life and Paintings of Francesco Solimena (1657 – 1747)    SOLIMENA Francesco St Bonaventura Receiving The Banner Of St Sepulchre From The Madonna

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

 

Life and Paintings of Francesco Solimena (1657 – 1747)    SOLIMENA Francesco Saint Cajetan Appeasing Divine Anger

Francesco Solimena – Saint Cajetan Appeasing Divine Anger

 

Life and Paintings of Francesco Solimena (1657 – 1747)    SOLIMENA Francesco Rebecca At The Well

Francesco Solimena – Rebecca at the Well

 

Life and Paintings of Francesco Solimena (1657 – 1747)    SOLIMENA Francesco Judith With The Head Of Holofernes

Francesco Solimena – Judith with the Head of Holofernes

 

Life and Paintings of Francesco Solimena (1657 – 1747)    SOLIMENA Francesco Dido Receiving Aeneas And Cupid Disguised As Ascanius

Francesco Solimena – Dido Receiving Aeneas and Cupid disguised as Ascanius

 

Life and Paintings of Francesco Solimena (1657 – 1747)    SOLIMENA Francesco Allegory Of Reign

Francesco Solimena – Allegory of Reign

 

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Caravaggio - The Calling of Saint Matthew

What is the Baroque?

The Baroque is a period of artistic style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, architecture, literature, dance, and music.

What is the Baroque?   Caravaggio Judith Beheading Holofernes 1030x764

Caravaggio – Judith Beheading Holofernes

The style began around 1600 in Rome, Italy and spread to most of Europe. The popularity and success of the Baroque style was encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church, which had decided at the time of the Council of Trent, in response to the Protestant Reformation, that the arts should communicate religious themes in direct and emotional involvement. The aristocracy also saw the dramatic style of Baroque architecture and art as a means of impressing visitors and expressing triumph, power and control. Baroque palaces are built around an entrance of courts, grand staircases and reception rooms of sequentially increasing opulence.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word baroque is derived from the Portuguese word “barroco”, Spanish “barroco”, or French “baroque”, all of which refer to a “rough or imperfect pearl”, though whether it entered those languages via Latin, Arabic, or some other source is uncertain. The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica 11th edition, thought the term was derived from the Spanish barrueco, a large, irregularly-shaped pearl, and that it had for a time been confined to the craft of the jeweller. Others derive it from the mnemonic term “Baroco”, a supposedly labored form of syllogism in logical Scholastica. The Latin root can be found in bis-roca.

In informal usage, the word baroque can simply mean that something is “elaborate”, with many details, without reference to the Baroque styles of the 17th and 18th centuries.

What is the Baroque?   Diego Velázquez The Triumph of Bacchus Los Borrachos The Topers 1030x744

Diego Velázquez – The Triumph of Bacchus (Los Borrachos, The Topers)

The word “Baroque”, like most periodic or stylistic designations, was invented by later critics rather than practitioners of the arts in the 17th and early 18th centuries, and was initially used in a derogatory sense, to underline the excesses of its emphasis. In particular, the term was used to describe its eccentric redundancy and noisy abundance of details, which sharply contrasted the clear and sober rationality of the Renaissance. Although it was long thought that the word as a critical term was first applied to architecture, in fact it appears earlier in reference to music, in an anonymous, satirical review of the première in October 1733 of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie, printed in the Mercure de France in May 1734. The critic implied that the novelty in this opera was “du barocque”, complaining that the music lacked coherent melody, was filled with unremitting dissonances, constantly changed key and meter, and speedily ran through every compositional device.

In modern usage, the term “Baroque” may still be used, usually pejoratively, describing works of art, craft, or design that are thought to have excessive ornamentation or complexity of line, or, as a synonym for “Byzantine”, to describe literature, computer software, contracts, or laws that are thought to be excessively complex, indirect, or obscure in language, to the extent of concealing or confusing their meaning.

What is the Baroque?   Jusepe de Ribera Apollo and Marsyas

Jusepe de Ribera – Apollo and Marsyas

The word was first rehabilitated by the Swiss-born art historian, Heinrich Wölfflin (1864–1945) in his Renaissance und Barock (1888); Wölfflin identified the Baroque as “movement imported into mass,” an art antithetic to Renaissance art. He did not make the distinctions between Mannerism and Baroque that modern writers do, and he ignored the later phase, the academic Baroque that lasted into the 18th century. Writers in French and English did not begin to treat Baroque as a respectable study until Wölfflin’s influence had made German scholarship pre-eminent.

The Baroque originated around 1600, several decades after the Council of Trent (1545–63), by which the Roman Catholic Church answered many questions of internal reform, addressed the representational arts by demanding that paintings and sculptures in church contexts should speak to the illiterate rather than to the well-informed. This turn toward a populist conception of the function of ecclesiastical art is seen by many art historians as driving the innovations of Caravaggio, brothers Agostino and Annibale Carracci, all of who were working (and competing for commissions) in Rome around 1600.

What is the Baroque?   Aeneas flees burning Troy Federico Barocci 1598

Aeneas flees burning Troy, Federico Barocci, 1598

The appeal of Baroque style turned consciously from the witty, intellectual qualities of 16th century Mannerist art to a visceral appeal aimed at the senses. It employed an iconography that was direct, simple, obvious, and theatrical. Baroque art drew on certain broad and heroic tendencies in Annibale Carracci and his circle, and found inspiration in other artists like Correggio and Caravaggio and Federico Barocci, nowadays sometimes termed ‘proto-Baroque’. Germinal ideas of the Baroque can also be found in the work of Michelangelo. Some general parallels in music make the expression “Baroque music” useful: there are contrasting phrase lengths, harmony and counterpoint have ousted polyphony, and orchestral color makes a stronger appearance. Even more generalized parallels perceived by some experts in philosophy, prose style and poetry, are harder to pinpoint.

What is the Baroque?   The Church of SantAndrea al Quirinale designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini

The Church of Sant’Andrea al Quirinale, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Though Baroque was superseded in many centers by the Rococo style, beginning in France in the late 1720s, especially for interiors, paintings and the decorative arts, the Baroque style continued to be used in architecture until the advent of Neoclassicism in the later 18th century. See the Neapolitan palace of Caserta, a Baroque palace (though in a chaste exterior) whose construction began in 1752.

In paintings Baroque gestures are broader than Mannerist gestures: less ambiguous, less arcane and mysterious, more like the stage gestures of opera, a major Baroque art form. Baroque poses depend on contrapposto (“counterpoise”), the tension within the figures that move the planes of shoulders and hips in counterdirections. See Bernini’s David.
The dryer, less dramatic and coloristic, chastened later stages of 18th century Baroque architectural style are often seen as a separate Late Baroque manifestation, for example in buildings by Claude Perrault. Academic characteristics in the neo-Palladian style, epitomized by William Kent, are a parallel development in Britain and the British colonies: within interiors, Kent’s furniture designs are vividly influenced by the Baroque furniture of Rome and Genoa, hierarchical tectonic sculptural elements, meant never to be moved from their positions, completed the wall decoration. Baroque is a style of unity imposed upon rich, heavy detail.

The Baroque was defined by Heinrich Wölfflin as the age where the oval replaced the circle as the center of composition, that centralization replaced balance, and that coloristic and “painterly” effects began to become more prominent. Art historians, often Protestant ones, have traditionally emphasized that the Baroque style evolved during a time in which the Roman Catholic Church had to react against the many revolutionary cultural movements that produced a new science and new forms of religion— Reformation. It has been said that the monumental Baroque is a style that could give the Papacy, like secular absolute monarchies, a formal, imposing way of expression that could restore its prestige, at the point of becoming somehow symbolic of the Counter-Reformation.

Whether this is the case or not, it was successfully developed in Rome, where Baroque architecture widely renewed the central areas with perhaps the most important urbanistic revision.

The Baroque era is sometimes divided into roughly three phases for convenience

  • Early Baroque, c.1590–c.1625
  • High Baroque, c.1625–c.1660
  • Late Baroque, c.1660–c.1725

Late Baroque is also sometimes used synonymously with the succeeding Rococo movement.

Baroque in Painting

What is the Baroque?   Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn The Nightwatch 1030x858

Rembrandt – The Nightwatch

Baroque painting is the painting associated with the Baroque cultural movement. The movement is often identified with Absolutism, the Counter Reformation and Catholic Revival, but the existence of important Baroque art and architecture in non-absolutist and Protestant states throughout Western Europe underscores its widespread popularity.

Baroque painting encompasses a great range of styles, as most important and major painting during the period beginning around 1600 and continuing throughout the 17th century, and into the early 18th century is identified today as Baroque painting. In its most typical manifestations, Baroque art is characterized by great drama, rich, deep colour, and intense light and dark shadows, but the classicism of French Baroque painters like Poussin and Dutch genre painters such as Vermeer are also covered by the term, at least in English. As opposed to Renaissance art, which usually showed the moment before an event took place, Baroque artists chose the most dramatic point, the moment when the action was occurring: Michelangelo, working in the High Renaissance, shows his David composed and still before he battles Goliath; Bernini’s baroque David is caught in the act of hurling the stone at the giant. Baroque art was meant to evoke emotion and passion instead of the calm rationality that had been prized during the Renaissance.

What is the Baroque?   Berninis Ecstasy of St. Teresa

Bernini’s Ecstasy of St. Teresa

Among the greatest painters of the Baroque period are Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Rubens, Velázquez, Poussin, and Vermeer. Caravaggio is an heir of the humanist painting of the High Renaissance. His realistic approach to the human figure, painted directly from life and dramatically spotlit against a dark background, shocked his contemporaries and opened a new chapter in the history of painting. Baroque painting often dramatizes scenes using chiaroscuro light effects; this can be seen in works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Le Nain and La Tour. The Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck developed a graceful but imposing portrait style that was very influential, especially in England.
The prosperity of 17th century Holland led to an enormous production of art by large numbers of painters who were mostly highly specialized and painted only genre scenes, landscapes, Still-lifes, portraits or History paintings. Technical standards were very high, and Dutch Golden Age painting established a new repertoire of subjects that was very influential until the arrival of Modernism.

Baroque in Sculpture

In Baroque sculpture, groups of figures assumed new importance and there was a dynamic movement and energy of human forms— they spiraled around an empty central vortex, or reached outwards into the surrounding space. For the first time, Baroque sculpture often had multiple ideal viewing angles. The characteristic Baroque sculpture added extra-sculptural elements, for example, concealed lighting, or water fountains. Aleijadinho in Brazil was also one of the great names of baroque sculpture, and his master work is the set of statues of the Santuário de Bom Jesus de Matosinhos in Congonhas. The soapstone sculptures of old testament prophets around the terrace are considered amongst his finest work.

What is the Baroque?   Stanislas Kostka on his deathbed by Pierre Le Gros the Younger

Stanislas Kostka on his deathbed by Pierre Le Gros the Younger

The architecture, sculpture and fountains of Bernini (1598–1680) give highly charged characteristics of Baroque style. Bernini was undoubtedly the most important sculptor of the Baroque period. He approached Michelangelo in his omnicompetence: Bernini sculpted, worked as an architect, painted, wrote plays, and staged spectacles. In the late 20th century Bernini was most valued for his sculpture, both for his virtuosity in carving marble and his ability to create figures that combine the physical and the spiritual. He was also a fine sculptor of bust portraits in high demand among the powerful.

Baroque in Architecture

In Baroque architecture, new emphasis was placed on bold massing, colonnades, domes, light-and-shade (chiaroscuro), ‘painterly’ color effects, and the bold play of volume and void. In interiors, Baroque movement around and through a void informed monumental staircases that had no parallel in previous architecture. The other Baroque innovation in worldly interiors was the state apartment, a sequence of increasingly rich interiors that culminated in a presence chamber or throne room or a state bedroom. The sequence of monumental stairs followed by a state apartment was copied in smaller scale everywhere in aristocratic dwellings of any pretensions.

What is the Baroque?   Trevi Fountain in Rome

Trevi Fountain in Rome

Baroque architecture was taken up with enthusiasm in central Germany (see, e.g., Ludwigsburg Palace and Zwinger Dresden), Austria and Russia (see, e.g., Peterhof). In England the culmination of Baroque architecture was embodied in work by Sir Christopher Wren, Sir John Vanbrugh and Nicholas Hawksmoor, from ca. 1660 to ca. 1725. Many examples of Baroque architecture and town planning are found in other European towns, and in Latin America. Town planning of this period featured radiating avenues intersecting in squares, which took cues from Baroque garden plans. In Sicily, Baroque developed new shapes and themes as in Noto, Ragusa and Acireale “Basilica di San Sebastiano”.

Another example of Baroque architecture is the Cathedral of Morelia Michoacan in Mexico. Built in the 17th century by Vincenzo Barrochio, it is one of the many Baroque cathedrals in Mexico. Baroque churches are also seen in the Philippines, which were built during the Spanish period.

Francis Ching described Baroque architecture as “a style of architecture originating in Italy in the early 17th century and variously prevalent in Europe and the New World for a century and a half, characterized by free and sculptural use of the classical orders and ornament, dynamic opposition and interpenetration of spaces, and the dramatic combined effects of architecture, sculpture, painting, and the decorative arts.

Baroque in Theater

In theatre, the elaborate conceits, multiplicity of plot turns and a variety of situations characteristic of Mannerism (Shakespeare’s tragedies, for instance) were superseded by opera, which drew together all the arts into a unified whole.

Theatre evolved in the Baroque era and became a multimedia experience, starting with the actual architectural space. In fact, much of the technology used in current Broadway or commercial plays was invented and developed during this era. The stage could change from a romantic garden to the interior of a palace in a matter of seconds. The entire space became a framed selected area that only allows the users to see a specific action, hiding all the machinery and technology – mostly ropes and pulleys.
This technology affected the content of the narrated or performed pieces, practicing at its best the Deus ex Machina solution. Gods were finally able to come down – literally – from the heavens and rescue the hero in the most extreme and dangerous, even absurd situations.

The term Theatrum Mundi – the world is a stage – was also created. The social and political realm in the real world is manipulated in exactly the same way the actor and the machines are presenting/limiting what is being presented on stage, hiding selectively all the machinery that makes the actions happen.

The films Vatel, Farinelli, and the staging of Monteverdi’s Orpheus at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, give a good idea of the style of productions of the Baroque period. The American musician William Christie and Les Arts Florissants have performed extensive research on all the French Baroque Opera, performing pieces from Charpentier and Lully, among others that are extremely faithful to the original 17th century creations.

Baroque in Music

What is the Baroque?   Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach, 1748

The term Baroque is also used to designate the style of music composed during a period that overlaps with that of Baroque art, but usually encompasses a slightly later period.
It is a still-debated question as to what extent Baroque music shares aesthetic principles with the visual and literary arts of the Baroque period. A fairly clear, shared element is a love of ornamentation, and it is perhaps significant that the role of ornament was greatly diminished in both music and architecture as the Baroque gave way to the Classical period.

The application of the term “Baroque” to music is a relatively recent development, although it has recently been pointed out that the first use of the word “baroque” in criticism of any of the arts related to music, in an anonymous, satirical review of the première in October 1733 of Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie, printed in the Mercure de France in May 1734. The critic implied that the novelty in this opera was “du barocque,” complaining that the music lacked coherent melody, was filled with unremitting dissonances, constantly changed key and meter, and speedily ran through every compositional device.

However this was an isolated reference, and consistent use was only begun in 1919, by Curt Sachs, and it was not until 1940 that it was first used in English (in an article published by Manfred Bukofzer).

Many musical forms were born in that era, like the concerto and sinfonia. Forms such as the sonata, cantata and oratorio flourished. Also, opera was born out of the experimentation of the Florentine Camerata, the creators of monody, who attempted to recreate the theatrical arts of the Ancient Greeks. An important technique used in baroque music was the use of ground bass, a repeated bass line. Dido’s Lament by Henry Purcell is a famous example of this technique.

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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.

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Alessandro Magnasco - Praying Monks

Life and Paintings of Alessandro Magnasco (1667 – 1749)

Alessandro Magnasco (February 4, 1667 – March 12, 1749), also known as il Lissandrino, was an Italian late-Baroque painter active mostly in Milan and Genoa. He is best known for stylized, fantastic, often phantasmagoric genre or landscape scenes.

Life and Paintings of Alessandro Magnasco (1667 – 1749)   MAGNASCO Alessandro Praying Monks

Alessandro Magnasco – Praying Monks

Born in Genoa to a minor artist, Stefano Magnasco, he apprenticed with Valerio Castello, and finally with Filippo Abbiati (1640–1715) in Milan. Except for 1703–09 (or 1709–11) when working in Florence for the Grand Duke Cosimo III, Magnasco labored in Milan until 1735, when he returned to his native Genoa. Rudolf Wittkower derides him as “solitary, tense, strange, mystic, ecstatic, grotesque, and out of touch with the triumphal course of the Venetian school” from 1710 onward.

Life and Paintings of Alessandro Magnasco (1667 – 1749)   MAGNASCO Alessandro Three Capuchin Friars Meditating in their Hermitage

Alessandro Magnasco – Three Capuchin Friars Meditating in their Hermitage

Nevertheless, Magnasco found contemporary patronage for his work among prominent families and collectors of his time, including the Arese and Casnedi families of Milan.

After 1710, Magnasco excelled in producing small, hypochromatic canvases with eerie and gloomy landscapes and ruins, or crowded interiors peopled with small, often lambent and cartoonishly elongated characters. The people in Magnasco paintings were often nearly liquefacted beggars dressed in tatters, rendered in flickering, nervous brushstrokes. Some of the paintings were completed with the help of Clemente Spera and Antonio Francesco Peruzzini . Often they deal with unusual subjects such as synagogue services, Quaker meetings, robbers’ gatherings, catastrophes, and interrogations by the Inquisition. His sentiments regarding these subjects are generally unclear.

Lanzi describes him as the Cerquozzi of his school; thereby placing him in the circle of the Bamboccianti. He indicates that Magnasco had figures scarcely more than a span large painted with humour and delight, but not if this was the intention of the painter. He indicates these eccentric pieces were a great favorite with the Grand Duke Giovanni Gastone Medici. Magnasco often collaborated with placing figures in the landscapes of Tavella and the ruins of Clemente Spera in Milan.

Magnasco was more esteemed by outsiders than by his own Genoese. “His bold touch, though joined to a noble conception and to correct drawing, did not attract in Genoa, because it is far removed from the finish and union of tints which these masters followed.”

Life and Paintings of Alessandro Magnasco (1667 – 1749)   MAGNASCO Alessandro Bacchanalian Scene

Alessandro Magnasco – Bacchanalian Scene

Origins of his style

The influences on his work are obscure. Some suspect the influence of the loose painterly style of his Venetian contemporary Sebastiano Ricci (1659–1734), the Genoese Domenico Piola (1627–1703) and Gregorio de Ferrari, although the most prominent of the three, Ricci, painted in a more monumental and mythic style, and these artists may in fact have been influenced by Magnasco. Magnasco was likely influenced by Milanese il Morazzone (1573–1626) in the emotional quality of his work. Some of his canvases recall Salvatore Rosa’s romantic sea-lashed landscapes, and his affinity for paintings of brigands. The diminutive scale of Magnasco’s figures relative to the landscape is comparable to Claude Lorraine’s more airy depictions. While his use of figures of ragged beggars has been compared with Giuseppe Maria Crespi’s genre style, Crespi’s figures are larger, more distinct, and individual, and it is possible that Crespi himself may have influenced Magnasco. Others point to the influences of late Baroque Italian genre painters, the Roman Bamboccianti, and in his exotic scenography, the well-disseminated engravings of the Frenchman Callot.

Life and Paintings of Alessandro Magnasco (1667 – 1749)   MAGNASCO Alessandro Christ Adored by Two Nuns

Alessandro Magnasco – Christ Adored by Two Nuns

Legacy of his style

Life and Paintings of Alessandro Magnasco (1667 – 1749)   MAGNASCO Alessandro Entombment of a Soldier

Alessandro Magnasco – Entombment of a Soldier

Magnasco’s style is strikingly original and transcends the provincial but tired Baroque that epitomized much of contemporary Genoese art. In late-baroque and Rococo painting, the loose brush became a tool used for all types of themes, from landscapes to historical painting to decorative frolics, while for Magnasco, it entraps reality in a gloomy cobweb. Ultimately, his work may have influenced Marco Ricci, Giuseppe Bazzani, Francesco Maffei, and the famed painters de tocco (by touch) Gianantonio and Francesco Guardi in Venice.

His depictions of torture in The Inquisition (or perhaps named Interrogations in a Jail) and of other lowpoints of humanity seem to impart a modern perspicacity to his social vision, recalling that expressed by Spanish Goya in his 19th century etchings. And yet, as Wittkower notes, it remains unsolved “how much quietism or criticism or farce went into the making of his pictures”.

It is unknown what his true sentiments about Jews and Quakers were. Were his paintings derogatory of those congregations, or do they express some intellectual fascination with what were considered exotic elements in the Italian mainstream? No clear documentary evidence exists. Magnasco, as an outsider, would have been excluded from a synagogue or Quaker service, and the non-individualized cartoons which populate those canvases can hardly be expected to garner personal sympathy.

Elsewhere Magnasco painted miracles, including one canvas in which the Virgin Mary summons skeletons out of graves to fend off church-robbers. What insight one can garner about Jews or Quakers from Magnasco’s paintings, like Macbeth’s dialogue in the fog-ridden fen with the cauldron-stirring witches, is not clearly intelligible or in focus, being part-prescient and part ghoulishly confused.

 

Life and Paintings of Alessandro Magnasco (1667 – 1749)   MAGNASCO Alessandro The Seashore

Alessandro Magnasco – The Seashore

 

Life and Paintings of Alessandro Magnasco (1667 – 1749)   MAGNASCO Alessandro Sacrilegious Robbery

Alessandro Magnasco – Sacrilegious Robbery

 

Life and Paintings of Alessandro Magnasco (1667 – 1749)   MAGNASCO Alessandro Interrogations in Jail

Alessandro Magnasco – Interrogations in Jail

 

Life and Paintings of Alessandro Magnasco (1667 – 1749)   MAGNASCO Alessandro Halt of the Brigands

Alessandro Magnasco – Halt of the Brigands

 

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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.

Life and Paintings of Carlo Maratta (1625   1713)   MARATTI Carlo 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.

Life and Paintings of Carlo Maratta (1625   1713)   MARATTI Carlo 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.

Life and Paintings of Carlo Maratta (1625   1713)   MARATTI Carlo 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.

 

Life and Paintings of Carlo Maratta (1625   1713)   MARATTI Carlo Apollo Chasing Daphne

Carlo Maratta – Apollo Chasing Daphne

 

Life and Paintings of Carlo Maratta (1625   1713)   MARATTI Carlo Adoration of the Shepherds

Carlo Maratta – Adoration of the Shepherds

 

Life and Paintings of Carlo Maratta (1625   1713)   MARATTI Carlo Adoration of the Magi in Garland

Carlo Maratta – Adoration of the Magi in Garland

 

Life and Paintings of Carlo Maratta (1625   1713)   MARATTI Carlo Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well

Carlo Maratta – Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well

 

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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.

Life and Paintings Domenico Fetti (1589   1623)   FETI 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

Life and Paintings Domenico Fetti (1589   1623)   FETI Domenico Flight To Egypt

Fetti Domenico – Flight To Egypt

 

Life and Paintings Domenico Fetti (1589   1623)   FETI Domenico Ecce Homo

Fetti Domenico – Ecce Homo

 

Life and Paintings Domenico Fetti (1589   1623)   FETI Domenico David With The Head Of Goliath

Fetti Domenico – David With The Head Of Goliath

 

Life and Paintings Domenico Fetti (1589   1623)   FETI Domenico Tobias Healing His Father

Fetti Domenico – Tobias Healing His Father

 

Life and Paintings Domenico Fetti (1589   1623)   FETI Domenico The Repentant St Mary Magdalene

Fetti Domenico – The Repentant St. Mary Magdalene

 

Life and Paintings Domenico Fetti (1589   1623)   FETI Domenico Portrait Of A Scholar

Fetti Domenico – Portrait Of a Scholar

 

Life and Paintings Domenico Fetti (1589   1623)   FETI Domenico Moses Before The Burning Bush

Fetti Domenico – Moses Before The Burning Bush

 

Life and Paintings Domenico Fetti (1589   1623)   FETI Domenico Melancholy 1622

Fetti Domenico – Melancholy (1622)

 

Life and Paintings Domenico Fetti (1589   1623)   FETI Domenico Hero And Leander

Fetti Domenico – Hero And Leander

 

 

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STROZZI_Bernardo_Prophet_Elijah_And_The_Widow_Of_Sarepta

Life and Paintings of Bernardo Strozzi (1581 – 1644)

Bernardo Strozzi (c. 1581 – August 2, 1644) was a prominent and prolific Italian Baroque painter born and active mainly in Genoa, and also active in Venice. Strozzi was born in Genoa. He was probably not related to the Florentine Strozzi family.

Life and Paintings of Bernardo Strozzi (1581   1644)   STROZZI Bernardo Allegory Of Arts

Strozzi Bernardo – Allegory Of Arts

In 1598, at the age of 17, he joined a Capuchin monastery, a reform branch of the Franciscan order. When his father died c1608, he left the order to care for his mother, earning their living with his paintings, which were often influenced by Franciscan teachings, for example his Adoration of the Shepherds (c. 1615). In 1625, he was charged with illegally practicing as a painter. When his mother died c1630, Bernardo was pressured in court by the Capuchins to re-enter the order. He was briefly imprisoned in Genoa, and upon release fled to Venice to avoid confinement in a monastery in 1631. He became nicknamed all his life as il prete Genovese (the Genoa priest).

Early paintings, such as The Ecstasy of St Francis show the dark emotionalism of Caravaggio. But by the second decade of the 17th century, while working in Venice, Strozzi had synthesized a personal style which fused painterly influences of the North (including Rubens and Veronese) with a monumental, realistic starkness.

For example, in the painting The Incredulity of Thomas, the background is muted, yet Jesus’ face, haloed and his outline, misty, in a style atypical of Caravaggio.

Never as dark as the Caravaggisti, Venice infused his painting with a gentler edge, a style more acceptable to the local patronage, and one derived from his precursors in Venice, Jan Lys (died 1629) and Domenico Fetti (died 1626), who had also fused the influence of Caravaggio into Venetian art.

Examples of this style can be found in his Parable of the Wedding Guests (1630),Christ giving keys of Heaven to Saint Peter (1630), Saint Lawrence distributing Alms at San Nicolò da Tolentino, and a Personification of Fame (1635-6).He was also likely influenced by Velázquez (who visited Genoa in 1629-30).

Life and Paintings of Bernardo Strozzi (1581   1644)   STROZZI Bernardo Adoration Of The Shepherds

Strozzi Bernardo – Adoration Of The Shepherds

 

Life and Paintings of Bernardo Strozzi (1581   1644)   STROZZI Bernardo The Charity Of St Lawrence

Strozzi Bernardo – The Charity Of St. Lawrence

 

Life and Paintings of Bernardo Strozzi (1581   1644)   STROZZI Bernardo The Annunciation

Strozzi Bernardo – The Annunciation

 

Life and Paintings of Bernardo Strozzi (1581   1644)   STROZZI Bernardo St maurice And The Angel

Strozzi Bernardo – St. Maurice And The Angel

 

Life and Paintings of Bernardo Strozzi (1581   1644)   STROZZI Bernardo St Augustine Washing The Feet Of Christ

Strozzi Bernardo – St. Augustine Washing The Feet Of Christ

 

Life and Paintings of Bernardo Strozzi (1581   1644)   STROZZI Bernardo Prophet Elijah And The Widow Of Sarepta

Strozzi Bernardo – Prophet Elijah And The Widow Of Sarepta

 

Life and Paintings of Bernardo Strozzi (1581   1644)   STROZZI Bernardo Madonna And Child With The Young St John

Strozzi Bernardo – Madonna And Child With The Young St. John

 

Life and Paintings of Bernardo Strozzi (1581   1644)   STROZZI Bernardo Lamentation Over The Dead Christ

Strozzi Bernardo – Lamentation Over The Dead Christ

 

Life and Paintings of Bernardo Strozzi (1581   1644)   STROZZI Bernardo Christ And The Samaritan Woman

Strozzi Bernardo – Christ And The Samaritan Woman

 

After a commission to paint Claudio Monteverdi his fame grew, and his portrait paintings included many of the leading Venetians. His pupils and other painters strongly influenced by him included Giovanni Andrea de Ferrari (1598–1669), Giovanni Bernardo Carbone, Valerio Castello and, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione.

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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.

Life and Paintings of Guido Reni (1575   1642)   Charity CGF

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.

Life and Paintings of Guido Reni (1575   1642)   Aurora WGA

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.

Life and Paintings of Guido Reni (1575   1642)   The Glory of St Dominic WGA

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.

Life and Paintings of Guido Reni (1575   1642)   Baptism of Christ WGA

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.

Life and Paintings of Guido Reni (1575   1642)   The Penitent Magdalene WGA

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.

 

Life and Paintings of Guido Reni (1575   1642)   Susanna and the Elders WGA

Guido Reni – Susanna and the Elders

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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.

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    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.

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau Pierrot Content

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.

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau LEnseigne 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.

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau Fêtes Venitiennes

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Fêtes Venitiennes

 

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau The Marriage Contract

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Marriage Contract

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau Merry Company in the Open Air

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Merry Company in the Open Air

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau The Blunder

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Blunder

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau The Dance

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Dance

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau The Festival of Love

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Festival of Love

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau The Judgment of Paris

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Judgment of Paris

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau The Love Song

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Love Song

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau The French Comedy

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The French Comedy

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau The Italian Comedy

Jean-Antoine Watteau – The Italian Comedy

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau Italian Comedians

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Italian Comedians

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau Diana at her Bath

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Diana at her Bath

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau Gathering in a Park

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Gathering in a Park

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    Jean Antoine Watteau Gathering in the Park

Jean-Antoine Watteau – Gathering in the Park

Masters of Art: Jean Antoine Watteau (1684   1721)    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.

 

Johannes Vermeer - Girl with a Pearl Earring

Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632 – 1675)

Johannes, Jan or Johan Vermeer (1632 – December 1675) was a Dutch painter who specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle class life. Vermeer was a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime. He seems never to have been particularly wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death, perhaps because he produced relatively few paintings.

Movements: Baroque, Allegoricism

Vermeer worked slowly and with great care, using bright colours and sometimes expensive pigments, with a preference for cornflower blue and yellow. He is particularly renowned for his masterly treatment and use of light in his work.

Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632   1675)   Johannes Vermeer Girl with a Pearl Earring

Johannes Vermeer – Girl with a Pearl Earring

Vermeer painted mostly domestic interior scenes. As Koning points out: “Almost all his paintings are apparently set in two smallish rooms in his house in Delft; they show the same furniture and decorations in various arrangements and they often portray the same people, mostly women”.

Recognized during his lifetime in Delft and The Hague, his modest celebrity gave way to obscurity after his death; he was barely mentioned in Arnold Houbraken’s major source book on 17th century Dutch painting (Grand Theatre of Dutch Painters and Women Artists), and was thus omitted from subsequent surveys of Dutch art for nearly two centuries.

In the 19th century Vermeer was rediscovered by Gustav Friedrich Waagen and Théophile Thoré-Bürger, who published an essay attributing sixty-six pictures to him, although only thirty-four paintings are universally attributed to him today. Since that time Vermeer’s reputation has grown, and he is now acknowledged as one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age.

Life

Relatively little is known about Vermeer’s life. He was baptized in Delft on 31 October 1632 as Joannis, and buried in the same city under the name Jan on 15 December 1675. He seems to have been exclusively devoted to his art, living out his life in the city of Delft. The only sources of information are some registers, a few official documents and comments by other artists; it was for this reason that Thoré Bürger named him “The Sphinx of Delft”.

Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632   1675)   Johannes Vermeer The Astronomer

Johannes Vermeer – The Astronomer

On 31 October 1632, Johannes was baptized in the Reformed Church. His father, Reijnier Janszoon, was a middle-class worker of silk or caffa (a mixture of silk and cotton or wool). As an apprentice in Amsterdam, Reijnier lived on fashionable Sint Antoniesbreestraat, then a street with many resident painters. In 1615 he married Digna Baltus. The couple moved to Delft and had a daughter, Gertruy, who was baptized in 1620.

In 1625 Reijnier was involved in a fight with a soldier named Willem van Bylandt, who died from his wounds five months later. Around this time Reijnier began dealing in paintings. In 1631 he leased an inn called “The Flying Fox”. In 1641 he bought a larger inn on the market square, named after the Flemish town “Mechelen”. The acquisition of the inn constituted a considerable financial burden.

When Vermeer’s father died in October 1652, Vermeer assumed operation of the family’s art business.

In April 1653 Johannes Reijniersz Vermeer married a Catholic girl, Catharina Bolenes (Bolnes). The blessing took place in a nearby and quiet village Schipluiden. For the groom it was a good match. His mother-in-law, Maria Thins, was significantly wealthier than he, and it was probably she who insisted Vermeer convert to Catholicism before the marriage on 5 April.

Some scholars doubt that Vermeer became Catholic, but one of his paintings, Allegory of Catholic Faith, made between 1670 and 1672, placed less emphasis on the artists’ usual naturalistic concerns, and more on religious symbolic applications, including the sacrament of the Eucharist, which was scorned by the Protestant order at the time. Walter Liedtke in Dutch Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art suggests it was made for a learned and devout Catholic patron, perhaps for his schuilkerk, or “hidden church.”

So, whether it represents Vermeer’s own beliefs or only those of his patron is left to speculation. At some point the couple moved in with Catharina’s mother, who lived in a rather spacious house at Oude Langendijk, almost next to a hidden Jesuit church.

Here Vermeer lived for the rest of his life, producing paintings in the front room on the second floor. His wife gave birth to 14 children, four of whom were buried before being baptized, but were registered as “child of Johan Vermeer”. From wills written by relatives, the names of ten of Vermeer’s children are known: Maria, Elisabeth, Cornelia, Aleydis, Beatrix, Johannes, Gertruyd, Franciscus, Catharina, and Ignatius. Several of these names carry a religious connotation, and it is likely that the youngest, Ignatius, was named after the founder of the Jesuit order.

It is unclear where and with whom Vermeer apprenticed as a painter. Speculation that Carel Fabritius may have been his teacher is based upon a controversial interpretation of a text written in 1668 by the printer Arnold Bon. Art historians have found no hard evidence to support this.

The local authority, Leonaert Bramer, acted as a friend but their style of painting is rather different.

Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632   1675)   Johannes Vermeer Young Girl with a Flute

Johannes Vermeer – Young Girl with a Flute

Liedtke suggests Vermeer taught himself, using information from one of his father’s connections. Some scholars think Vermeer was trained under the Catholic painter Abraham Bloemaert. Vermeer’s style is similar to that of some of the Utrecht Carravagists, whose works are depicted as paintings-within-paintings in the backgrounds of several of his compositions. In Delft, Vermeer probably competed with Pieter de Hooch and Nicolaes Maes, who produced genre works in a similar style.

On 29 December 1653, Vermeer became a member of the Guild of Saint Luke, a trade association for painters. The guild’s records make clear that Vermeer did not pay the usual admission fee. It was a year of plague, war and economic crisis; Vermeer was not alone in experiencing difficult financial circumstances. In 1654 the city suffered the terrible explosion known as the Delft Thunderclap, which destroyed a large section of the city.

In 1657 he might have found a patron in the local art collector Pieter van Ruijven, who lent him some money. In 1662 Vermeer was elected head of the guild and was reelected in 1663, 1670, and 1671, evidence that he (like Bramer) was considered an established craftsman among his peers. Vermeer worked slowly, probably producing three paintings a year, and on order. When Balthasar de Monconys visited him in 1663 to see some of his work, the diplomat and the two French clergymen who accompanied him were sent to Hendrick van Buyten, a baker, who had a couple of his paintings as collateral.

In 1671 Gerrit van Uylenburgh organised the auction of Gerrit Reynst’s collection and offered thirteen paintings and some sculptures to Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg. Frederick accused them of being counterfeits and had sent twelve back on the advice of Hendrick Fromantiou.

Van Uylenburg then organized a counter-assessment, asking a total of 35 painters to pronounce on their authenticity, including Jan Lievens, Melchior de Hondecoeter, Gerbrand van den Eeckhout and Johannes Vermeer.

In 1672 a severe economic downturn (the “Year of Disaster”) struck the Netherlands, after Louis XIV and a French army invaded the Dutch Republic from the south (known as the Franco-Dutch War). During the Third Anglo-Dutch War an English fleet and two allied German bishops attacked the country from the east causing more destruction. Many people panicked; courts, theaters, shops and schools were closed. Five years passed before circumstances improved. In the summer of 1675 Vermeer borrowed money in Amsterdam, using his mother-in-law as a surety.

In December 1675 Vermeer fell into a frenzy and, within a day and a half, died. He was buried in the Protestant Old Church on 15 December 1675. Catharina Bolnes attributed her husband’s death to the stress of financial pressures. The collapse of the art market damaged Vermeer’s business as both a painter and an art dealer. She, having to raise 11 children, asked the High Court to relieve her of debts owed to Vermeer’s creditors.[Montias 3] The Dutch microscopist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, who worked for the city council as a surveyor, was appointed trustee. The house, with eight rooms on the first floor, was filled with paintings, drawings, clothes, chairs, and beds. In his atelier there were two chairs, two painter’s easels, three palettes, ten canvases, a desk, an oak pull table, a small wooden cupboard with drawers and “rummage not worthy being itemized”.

Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632   1675)   Johannes Vermeer View of Delft

Johannes Vermeer – View of Delft

Nineteen of Vermeer’s paintings were bequeathed to Catharina and her mother. The widow sold two more paintings to Hendrick van Buyten in order to pay off a substantial debt for delivered bread.

Vermeer had been a respected artist in Delft, but almost unknown outside his home town. The fact that a local patron, Pieter van Ruijven, purchased much of his output reduced the possibility of his fame spreading. Several factors contributed to his limited oeuvre. Vermeer never had any pupils and therefore there was no school of Vermeer. His family obligations with so many children may have taken up much of his time as would acting as both an art-dealer and inn-keeper in running the family businesses. His time spent serving as head of the guild and his extraordinary precision as a painter may have also limited his output.

Style

Like most painters of his time, Vermeer probably first executed his paintings tonally, using either only shades of gray (“grisaille”), or a limited palette of browns and grays (“dead coloring”), over which more saturated colors (reds, yellows and blues) were applied in the form of glazes. Vermeer produced transparent colours by applying paint to the canvas in loosely granular layers, a technique called pointillé (not to be confused with pointillism). No drawings have been positively attributed to Vermeer, and his paintings offer few clues to preparatory methods. David Hockney, among other historians and advocates of the Hockney–Falco thesis, has speculated that Vermeer used a camera obscura to achieve precise positioning in his compositions, and this view seems to be supported by certain light and perspective effects. The often-discussed sparkling pearly highlights in Vermeer’s paintings have been linked to this possible use of a camera obscura, the primitive lens of which would produce halation. Exaggerated perspective can be seen in Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman (London, Royal Collection). Vermeer’s interest in optics is also attested in this work by the accurately observed mirror reflection above the lady at the virginals.

However, the extent of Vermeer’s dependence upon the camera obscura is disputed by historians. There is no historical evidence. The detailed inventory of the artist’s belongings drawn up after his death does not include a camera obscura or any similar device. Scientific evidence is limited to inference. Philip Steadman has found six Vermeer paintings that are precisely the right size if they were inside a camera obscura where the back wall of his studio was where the images were projected.

Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632   1675)   Johannes Vermeer The Milkmaid

Johannes Vermeer – The Milkmaid

 

Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632   1675)   Johannes Vermeer Diana and her Companions

Johannes Vermeer – Diana and her Companions

Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632   1675)   Johannes Vermeer Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window

Johannes Vermeer – Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window

Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632   1675)   Johannes Vermeer Lady Seated at a Virginal

Johannes Vermeer – Lady Seated at a Virginal

Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632   1675)   Johannes Vermeer Lady Standing at a Virginal

Johannes Vermeer – Lady Standing at a Virginal

Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632   1675)   Johannes Vermeer Lady with Her Maidservant Holding a Letter

Johannes Vermeer – Lady with Her Maidservant Holding a Letter

Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632   1675)   Johannes Vermeer Officer with a Laughing Girl

Johannes Vermeer – Officer with a Laughing Girl

Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632   1675)   Johannes Vermeer The Allegory of the Faith

Johannes Vermeer – The Allegory of the Faith

Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632   1675)   Johannes Vermeer The Art of Painting

Johannes Vermeer – The Art of Painting

Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632   1675)   Johannes Vermeer The Concert

Johannes Vermeer – The Concert

Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632   1675)   Johannes Vermeer The Love Letter

Johannes Vermeer – The Love Letter

Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632   1675)   Johannes Vermeer The Procuress

Johannes Vermeer – The Procuress

Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632   1675)   Johannes Vermeer Woman Holding a Balance

Johannes Vermeer – Woman Holding a Balance

Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632   1675)   Johannes Vermeer A Lady and Two Gentlemen

Johannes Vermeer – A Lady and Two Gentlemen

Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632   1675)   Johannes Vermeer A Lady Writing a Letter

Johannes Vermeer – A Lady Writing a Letter

Masters of Art: Johannes Vermeer (1632   1675)   Johannes Vermeer A Woman Asleep at Table

Johannes Vermeer – A Woman Asleep at Table

Legacy

Upon the rediscovery of Vermeer’s work in the 19th century, several prominent Dutch artists, including Simon Duiker, modelled their style on his work. Salvador Dalí, with great admiration for Vermeer, painted his own version of The Lacemaker and pitted large copies of the original against a rhinoceros in some now-famous surrealist experiments. Dali also immortalized the Dutch Master in The Ghost of Vermeer of Delft Which Can Be Used As a Table, 1934.

A Vermeer painting plays a key part of the dénouement in Agatha Christie’s After the Funeral (1953). Tracy Chevalier’s novel Girl with a Pearl Earring and the film of the same name (2003) are named after the painting; they present a fictional account of its creation by Vermeer and his relationship with the model. The film was nominated for Oscars in cinematography, art direction, and costume design.

Susan Vreeland’s novel Girl in Hyacinthe Blue follows eight individuals with a relationship to a painting of Vermeer. The novel follows a reverse chronology from the current period to the time of Vermeer. And many more.

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.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn - The Nightwatch

Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606 – 1669)

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (15 July 1606  – 4 October 1669) was a Dutch painter and etcher. He is generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art history and the most important in Dutch history.

His contributions to art came in a period of great wealth and cultural achievement that historians call the Dutch Golden Age, when Dutch Golden Age painting, although in many ways antithetical to the Baroque style that dominated Europe, was extremely prolific and innovative.

Movements: Baroque, Pietism, Gesturalism, Emotionalism, Sectarianism

Having achieved youthful success as a portrait painter, Rembrandt’s later years were marked by personal tragedy and financial hardships. Yet his etchings and paintings were popular throughout his lifetime, his reputation as an artist remained high, and for twenty years he taught many important Dutch painters.

Rembrandt’s greatest creative triumphs are exemplified especially in his portraits of his contemporaries, self-portraits and illustrations of scenes from the Bible. His self-portraits form a unique and intimate biography, in which the artist surveyed himself without vanity and with the utmost sincerity.

In his paintings and prints he exhibited knowledge of classical iconography, which he molded to fit the requirements of his own experience; thus, the depiction of a biblical scene was informed by Rembrandt’s knowledge of the specific text, his assimilation of classical composition, and his observations of Amsterdam’s Jewish population. Because of his empathy for the human condition, he has been called “one of the great prophets of civilization.”

Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606   1669)   Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee

Rembrandt – Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee

Life

Rembrandt was born on 15 July 1606 in Leiden, in the Dutch Republic, nowadays the Netherlands. He was the ninth child born to Harmen Gerritszoon van Rijn and Neeltgen Willemsdochter van Zuytbrouck.

His family was quite well-to-do; his father was a miller and his mother was a baker’s daughter. As a boy he attended Latin school and was enrolled at the University of Leiden, although according to a contemporary he had a greater inclination towards painting; he was soon apprenticed to a Leiden history painter, Jacob van Swanenburgh, with whom he spent three years. After a brief but important apprenticeship of six months with the famous painter Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam, Rembrandt opened a studio in Leiden in 1624 or 1625, which he shared with friend and colleague Jan Lievens. In 1627, Rembrandt began to accept students, among them Gerrit Dou.

In 1629, Rembrandt was discovered by the statesman Constantijn Huygens, the father of Christiaan Huygens (a famous Dutch mathematician and physicist), who procured for Rembrandt important commissions from the court of The Hague. As a result of this connection, Prince Frederik Hendrik continued to purchase paintings from Rembrandt until 1646.

At the end of 1631 Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam, then rapidly expanding as the new business capital of the Netherlands, and began to practice as a professional portraitist for the first time, with great success. He initially stayed with an art dealer, Hendrick van Uylenburg, and in 1634, married Hendrick’s cousin, Saskia van Uylenburg.

Saskia came from a good family: her father had been lawyer and burgemeester (mayor) of Leeuwarden. When Saskia, as the youngest daughter, became an orphan, she lived with an older sister in Het Bildt. Rembrandt and Saskia were married in the local church of St. Annaparochie without the presence of Rembrandt’s relatives.

In the same year, Rembrandt became a burgess of Amsterdam and a member of the local guild of painters. He also acquired a number of students, among them Ferdinand Bol and Govert Flinck.

Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606   1669)   Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn Philosopher in Meditation

Rembrandt – Philosopher in Meditation

In 1635 Rembrandt and Saskia moved into their own house, renting in fashionable Nieuwe Doelenstraat. In 1639 they moved to a prominent house (now the Rembrandt House Museum) in the Jodenbreestraat in what was becoming the Jewish quarter; the mortgage to finance the 13,000 guilder purchase would be a primary cause for later financial difficulties.

Rembrandt should easily have been able to pay the house off with his large income, but it appears his spending always kept pace with his income, and he may have made some unsuccessful investments. It was there that Rembrandt frequently sought his Jewish neighbors to model for his Old Testament scenes. Although they were by now affluent, the couple suffered several personal setbacks; their son Rumbartus died two months after his birth in 1635 and their daughter Cornelia died at just three weeks of age in 1638.

In 1640, they had a second daughter, also named Cornelia, who died after living barely over a month. Only their fourth child, Titus, who was born in 1641, survived into adulthood. Saskia died in 1642 soon after Titus’s birth, probably from tuberculosis. Rembrandt’s drawings of her on her sick and death bed are among his most moving works.

During Saskia’s illness, Geertje Dircx was hired as Titus’ caretaker and nurse and also became Rembrandt’s lover. She would later charge Rembrandt with breach of promise and was awarded alimony of 200 guilders a year. Rembrandt worked to have her committed for twelve years to an asylum or poorhouse (called a “bridewell”) at Gouda, after learning she had pawned jewelry that had once belonged to Saskia and that he had given to her.

Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606   1669)   Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn The Anatomy Lecture of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp

Rembrandt – The Anatomy Lecture of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp

In the late 1640s Rembrandt began a relationship with the much younger Hendrickje Stoffels, who had initially been his maid. In 1654 they had a daughter, Cornelia, bringing Hendrickje a summons from the Reformed Church to answer the charge “that she had committed the acts of a whore with Rembrandt the painter”. She admitted this and was banned from receiving communion. Rembrandt was not summoned to appear for the Church council because he was not a member of the Reformed Church.

The two were considered legally wed under common law, but Rembrandt had not married Henrickje, so as not to lose access to a trust set up for Titus in the son’s mother’s will.

Rembrandt lived beyond his means, buying art (including bidding up his own work), prints (often used in his paintings), and rarities, which probably caused a court arrangement to avoid his bankruptcy in 1656, by selling most of his paintings and large collection of antiquities. The sale list survives and gives us a good insight into Rembrandt’s collections, which apart from Old Master paintings and drawings included busts of the Roman Emperors, suits of Japanese armor among many objects from Asia, and collections of natural history and minerals; the prices realized in the sales in 1657 and 1658 were disappointing.

Rembrandt was forced to sell his house and his printing-press and move to more modest accommodation on the Rozengracht in 1660.

The authorities and his creditors were generally accommodating to him, except for the Amsterdam painters’ guild, who introduced a new rule that no one in Rembrandt’s circumstances could trade as a painter. To get round this, Hendrickje and Titus set up a business as art-dealers in 1660, with Rembrandt as an employee.

In 1661 Rembrandt (or rather the new business) was contracted to complete work for the newly built city hall, but only after Govert Flinck, the artist previously commissioned, died without beginning to paint. The resulting work, The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis, was rejected and returned to the painter; the surviving fragment is only a fraction of the whole work.

It was around this time that Rembrandt took on his last apprentice, Aert de Gelder. In 1662 he was still fulfilling major commissions for portraits and other works. When Cosimo III de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany came to Amsterdam in 1667, he visited Rembrandt at his house.

Rembrandt outlived both Hendrickje, who died in 1663, and Titus, who died in 1668, leaving a baby daughter. He died within a year of his son, on October 4, 1669 in Amsterdam, and was buried in an unmarked grave in the Westerkerk.

Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606   1669)   Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn The Risen Christ Appearing to Mary Magdalen

Rembrandt – The Risen Christ Appearing to Mary Magdalen

Themes and styles

Throughout his career Rembrandt took as his primary subjects the themes of portraiture, landscape and narrative painting. For the last, he was especially praised by his contemporaries, who extolled him as a masterly interpreter of biblical stories for his skill in representing emotions and attention to detail.

Stylistically, his paintings progressed from the early “smooth” manner, characterized by fine technique in the portrayal of illusionistic form, to the late “rough” treatment of richly variegated paint surfaces, which allowed for an illusionism of form suggested by the tactile quality of the paint itself.

A parallel development may be seen in Rembrandt’s skill as a printmaker. In the etchings of his maturity, particularly from the late 1640s onward, the freedom and breadth of his drawings and paintings found expression in the print medium as well. The works encompass a wide range of subject matter and technique, sometimes leaving large areas of white paper to suggest space, at other times employing complex webs of line to produce rich dark tones.

It was during Rembrandt’s Leiden period (1625–1631) that Lastman’s influence was most prominent. It is also likely that at this time Lievens had a strong impact on his work as well.

Paintings were rather small, but rich in details (for example, in costumes and jewelry). Religious and allegorical themes were favored, as were tronies.

In 1626 Rembrandt produced his first etchings, the wide dissemination of which would largely account for his international fame. In 1629 he completed Judas Repentant, Returning the Pieces of Silver and The Artist in His Studio, works that evidence his interest in the handling of light and variety of paint application, and constitute the first major progress in his development as a painter.

From 1640 his work became less exuberant and more sober in tone, possibly reflecting personal tragedy. Biblical scenes were now derived more often from the New Testament than the Old Testament, as had been the case before. In 1642 he painted The Night Watch, the most notable of the important group portrait commissions which he received in this period, and through which he sought to find solutions to compositional and narrative problems that had been attempted in previous works.

In the decade following the Night Watch, Rembrandt’s paintings varied greatly in size, subject, and style. The previous tendency to create dramatic effects primarily by strong contrasts of light and shadow gave way to the use of frontal lighting and larger and more saturated areas of color. Simultaneously, figures came to be placed parallel to the picture plane. These changes can be seen as a move toward a classical mode of composition and, considering the more expressive use of brushwork as well, may indicate a familiarity with Venetian art (Susanna and the Elders, 1637–47)

Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606   1669)   Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn The Nightwatch

Rembrandt – The Nightwatch

In the 1650s, Rembrandt’s style changed again. Colors became richer and brush strokes more pronounced. With these changes, Rembrandt distanced himself from earlier work and current fashion, which increasingly inclined toward fine, detailed works. His singular approach to paint application may have been suggested in part by familiarity with the work of Titian, and could be seen in the context of the then current discussion of ‘finish’ and surface quality of paintings. Contemporary accounts sometimes remark disapprovingly of the coarseness of Rembrandt’s brushwork, and the artist himself was said to have dissuaded visitors from looking too closely at his paintings.

The tactile manipulation of paint may hearken to medieval procedures, when mimetic effects of rendering informed a painting’s surface. The end result is a richly varied handling of paint, deeply layered and often apparently haphazard, which suggests form and space in both an illusory and highly individual manner.

In later years biblical themes were still depicted often, but emphasis shifted from dramatic group scenes to intimate portrait-like figures (James the Apostle, 1661). In his last years, Rembrandt painted his most deeply reflective self-portraits (from 1652 to 1669 he painted fifteen), and several moving images of both men and women.

Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606   1669)   Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn Self Portrait

Rembrandt – Self-Portrait

 

Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606   1669)   Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn Two Scholars Disputing

Rembrandt – Two Scholars Disputing

Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606   1669)   Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn Adoration of the Shepherds

Rembrandt – Adoration of the Shepherds

Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606   1669)   Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn Apostle Paul in Prison

Rembrandt – Apostle Paul in Prison

Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606   1669)   Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn Apostle Paul

Rembrandt – Apostle Paul

Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606   1669)   Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn Belshazzars Feast

Rembrandt – Belshazzar’s Feast

Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606   1669)   Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn Christ Driving the Money Changers from the Temple

Rembrandt – Christ Driving the Money-Changers from the Temple

Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606   1669)   Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn Diana Bathing

Rembrandt – Diana Bathing

Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606   1669)   Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn Holy Family

Rembrandt – Holy Family

Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606   1669)   Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn Rembrandt and Saskia in the Scene of the Prodigal Son in the Tavern

Rembrandt – Rembrandt and Saskia in the Scene of the Prodigal Son in the Tavern

Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606   1669)   Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn Sampling Officials of the Drapers Guild

Rembrandt – Sampling Officials of the Drapers’ Guild

Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606   1669)   Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn Samson and Delilah

Rembrandt – Samson and Delilah

Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606   1669)   Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn Susanna and the Elders

Rembrandt – Susanna and the Elders

Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606   1669)   Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn The Conspiration of the Bataves

Rembrandt – The Conspiration of the Bataves

Masters of Art: Rembrandt (1606   1669)   Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn The Raising of Lazarus

Rembrandt -The Raising of Lazarus

 

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