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Joseph Turner - The Grand Canal, Venice

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

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

Movements: Romanticism, Classicism, Impressionism 

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

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

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

Joseph Turner – Self-Portrait

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Masters of Art: Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775   1851)   Joseph Turner The Grand Canal Venice

Joseph Turner – The Grand Canal, Venice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Masters of Art: Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775   1851)   Joseph Turner Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus

Joseph Turner – Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Masters of Art: Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775   1851)   Joseph Turner The Angel Standing in the Sun

Joseph Turner – The Angel Standing in the Sun

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Masters of Art: Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775   1851)   Joseph Turner The Decline of the Carthaginian Empire

Masters of Art: Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775   1851)   Joseph Turner The Fall of an Avalanche in the Grisons

Joseph Turner – The Fall of an Avalanche in the Grisons

Masters of Art: Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775   1851)   Joseph Turner The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her Last Berth to be broken up

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

Masters of Art: Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775   1851)   Joseph Turner Undine Giving the Ring to Massaniello Fisherman of Naples

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

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

Joseph Turner – Campo Santo

Masters of Art: Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775   1851)   Joseph Turner Dutch Boats in a Gale

Joseph Turner – Dutch Boats in a Gale

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

Joseph Turner – Frosty Morning

Masters of Art: Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775   1851)   Joseph Turner Heriots Hospital Edinburgh

Joseph Turner – Heriot’s Hospital, Edinburgh

Masters of Art: Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775   1851)   Joseph Turner Peace Burial at Sea

Joseph Turner – Peace – Burial at Sea

Masters of Art: Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775   1851)   Joseph Turner Peace The Shipwreck

Joseph Turner – Peace – The Shipwreck

Masters of Art: Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775   1851)   Joseph Turner Quillebeuf at the Mouth of Seine

Joseph Turner – Quillebeuf, at the Mouth of Seine

Masters of Art: Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775   1851)   Joseph Turner Rain Steam and Speed The Great Western Railway

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

Masters of Art: Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775   1851)   Joseph Turner San Giorgio Maggiore at Dawn

Joseph Turner – San Giorgio Maggiore at Dawn

 

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

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Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres - Roger Freeing Angelica

Life and Paintings of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780 – 1867)

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (29 August 1780 – 14 January 1867) was a French Neoclassical painter. Although he considered himself to be a painter of history in the tradition of Nicolas Poussin and Jacques-Louis David, by the end of his life it was Ingres’s portraits, both painted and drawn, that were recognized as his greatest legacy.

Movements: Classicism, Neoclassicism, Orientalism

Note: Some of Ingres’ paintings contain nudity. If it offends you, please don’t read the article!

A man profoundly respectful of the past, he assumed the role of a guardian of academic orthodoxy against the ascendant Romantic style represented by his nemesis Eugène Delacroix. His exemplars, he once explained, were “the great masters which flourished in that century of glorious memory when Raphael set the eternal and incontestable bounds of the sublime in art … I am thus a conservator of good doctrine, and not an innovator.”

Life and Paintings of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780   1867)   Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres The Grand Odalisque

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – The Grand Odalisque

Nevertheless, modern opinion has tended to regard Ingres and the other Neoclassicists of his era as embodying the Romantic spirit of his time, while his expressive distortions of form and space make him an important precursor of modern art.

Ingres was born in Montauban, Tarn-et-Garonne, France, the first of seven children (five of whom survived infancy) of Jean-Marie-Joseph Ingres (1755–1814) and his wife Anne Moulet (1758–1817). His father was a successful jack-of-all-trades in the arts, a painter of miniatures, sculptor, decorative stonemason, and amateur musician; his mother was the nearly illiterate daughter of a master wigmaker.

From his father the young Ingres received early encouragement and instruction in drawing and music, and his first known drawing, a study after an antique cast, was made in 1789. Starting in 1786 he attended the local school École des Frères de l’Éducation Chrétienne, but his education was disrupted by the turmoil of the French Revolution, and the closing of the school in 1791 marked the end of his conventional education. The deficiency in his schooling would always remain for him a source of insecurity.

In 1791, Joseph Ingres took his son to Toulouse, where the young Jean-Auguste-Dominique was enrolled in the Académie Royale de Peinture, Sculpture et Architecture. There he studied under the sculptor Jean-Pierre Vigan, the landscape painter Jean Briant, and—most importantly—the painter Joseph Roques, who imparted to the young artist his veneration of Raphael.

Ingres’s musical talent was further developed under the tutelage of the violinist Lejeune. From the ages of thirteen to sixteen he was second violinist in the Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, and he would continue to play the violin as an avocation for the rest of his life.

Having been awarded first prize in drawing by the Academy, in August 1797 he traveled to Paris to study with Jacques-Louis David, France’s—and Europe’s—leading painter during the revolutionary period, in whose studio he remained for four years. Ingres followed his master’s neoclassical example but revealed, according to David, “a tendency toward exaggeration in his studies.”

He was admitted to the Painting Department of the École des Beaux-Arts in October 1799, and won, after tying for second place in 1800, theGrand Prix de Rome in 1801 for his Ambassadors of Agamemnon in the tent of Achilles. His trip to Rome, however, was postponed until 1806, when the financially strained government finally appropriated the travel funds.

Working in Paris alongside several other students of David in a studio provided by the state, he further developed a style that emphasized purity of contour. He found inspiration in the works of Raphael, in Etruscan vase paintings, and in the outline engravings of the English artist John Flaxman.

In 1802 he made his debut at the Salonwith Portrait of a Woman (the current whereabouts of which are unknown). The following year brought a prestigious commission, when Ingres was one of five artists selected (along with Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Robert Lefèvre, Charles Meynier, and Marie-Guillemine Benoist) to paint full-length portraits of Napoleon Bonaparte as First Consul. These were to be distributed to the prefectural towns of Liège, Antwerp, Dunkerque, Brussels, andGhent, all of which were newly ceded to France in the 1801 Treaty of Lunéville. As it is unlikely that Napoleon granted the artists a sitting, Ingres’ meticulously painted portrait of Bonaparte, First Consul appears to be modelled on an image of Napoleon painted by Antoine-Jean Gros in 1802.

In the summer of 1806 Ingres became engaged to Marie-Anne-Julie Forestier, a painter and musician, before leaving for Rome in September.

At the Salon, his paintings—Self-Portrait, portraits of the Rivière family, and Napoleon I on his Imperial Throne—produced a disturbing impression on the public, due to not only Ingres’s stylistic idiosyncrasies but also his adoption of Carolingian imagery in representing Napoleon.David delivered a severe judgement, and the critics were uniformly hostile, finding fault with the strange discordances of colour, the want of sculptural relief, the chilly precision of contour, and the self-consciously archaic quality. Chaussard (Le Pausanias Français, 1806) condemned Ingres’s style as gothic and asked: How, with so much talent, a line so flawless, an attention to detail so thorough, has M. Ingres succeeded in painting a bad picture? The answer is that he wanted to do something singular, something extraordinary … M. Ingres’s intention is nothing less than to make art regress by four centuries, to carry us back to its infancy, to revive the manner of Jean de Bruges.

As art historian Marjorie Cohn has written: “At the time, art history as a scholarly enquiry was brand-new. Artists and critics outdid each other in their attempts to identify, interpret, and exploit what they were just beginning to perceive as historical stylistic developments.”

The Louvre, newly filled with booty seized by Napoleon in his campaigns in Belgium, Holland, and Italy, provided French artists of the early 19th century with an unprecedented opportunity to study, compare, and copy masterworks from antiquity and from the entire history of European painting. From the beginning of his career, Ingres freely borrowed from earlier art, adopting the historical style appropriate to his subject, leading critics to charge him with plundering the past.

Newly arrived in Rome, Ingres read with mounting indignation the relentlessly negative press clippings sent to him from Paris by his friends. In letters to his prospective father-in-law, he expressed his outrage at the critics: “So the Salon is the scene of my disgrace; … The scoundrels, they waited until I was away to assassinate my reputation … I have never been so unhappy.”

He vowed never again to exhibit at the Salon, and his refusal to return to Paris led to the breaking up of his engagement. Julie Forestier, when asked years later why she had never married, responded, “When one has had the honor of being engaged to M. Ingres, one does not marry.”

Installed in a studio on the grounds of the Villa Medici, Ingres continued his studies and, as required of every winner of the Prix, he sent works at regular intervals to Paris so his progress could be judged. As his envoi of 1808 Ingres sent Oedipus and the Sphinx and The Valpinçon Bather (both now in the Louvre), hoping by these two paintings to demonstrate his mastery of the male and female nude, but they were poorly received.

In later years Ingres painted variants of both compositions; another nude begun in 1807, the Venus Anadyomene, remained in an unfinished state for decades, to be completed forty years later and finally exhibited in 1855.

He produced numerous portraits during this period: Madame Duvauçay, François-Marius Granet, Edme-François-Joseph Bochet, Madame Panckoucke, and that of Madame la Comtesse de Tournon, mother of the prefect of the department of the Tiber. In 1810 Ingres’s pension at the Villa Medici ended, but he decided to stay in Rome and seek patronage from the French occupation government.

Although facing uncertain prospects, in 1813 Ingres married a young woman, Madeleine Chapelle, who had been recommended to him by her friends in Rome. After a courtship carried out through correspondence, he proposed to her without having met her, and she accepted. Their marriage was a happy one, and Madame Ingres acquired a faith in her husband which enabled her to combat with courage and patience the difficulties of their common existence. He continued to suffer the indignity of disparaging reviews, as Don Pedro of Toledo Kissing the Sword of Henry IV, Raphael and the Fornarina (Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University), several portraits, and the Interior of the Sistine Chapel met a generally hostile critical response at the Paris Salon of 1814.

Ingres traveled to Naples in the spring of 1814 to paint Queen Caroline Murat, and the Murat family ordered additional portraits as well as three modestly scaled works: The Betrothal of Raphael, La Grande Odalisque, and Paolo and Francesca. Apart from theBetrothal, however, he never received payment for these paintings, due to the collapse of the Murat regime in 1815.

With the fall of Napoleon’s dynasty, he found himself essentially stranded in Rome without patronage. During this low point of his career, Ingres was forced to depend for his livelihood on the execution, in pencil, of small portrait drawings of the many tourists, in particular the English, passing through postwar Rome. For an artist who aspired to a reputation as a history painter, this seemed menial work, and to the visitors who knocked on his door asking, “Is this where the man who draws the little portraits lives?”, he would answer with irritation, “No, the man who lives here is a painter!”

Nevertheless, the portrait drawings he produced in such profusion during this period are of outstanding quality, and rank today among his most admired works.

Ingres and his wife moved to Florence in 1820 at the urging of the Florentine sculptor Lorenzo Bartolini, an old friend from his years in Paris, who hoped that Ingres would improve his position materially, but Ingres, as before, had to rely on his drawings of tourists and diplomats for support. His friendship with Bartolini, whose worldly success in the intervening years stood in sharp contrast to Ingres’s poverty, quickly became strained, and Ingres found new quarters.

In 1821 he finished a painting commissioned by a childhood friend, Monsieur de Pastoret, the Entry of Charles V into Paris; de Pastoret also ordered a portrait of himself and a religious work (Virgin with the Blue Veil). The major undertaking of this period, however, was a commission obtained in August 1820 with the help of de Pastoret, to paint the Vow of Louis XIII for the Cathedral of Montauban. Recognizing this as an opportunity to establish himself as a painter of history, he spent four diligent years bringing the large canvas to completion, and he travelled to Paris with it in October 1824.

The Vow of Louis XIII, exhibited at the Salon of 1824, finally brought Ingres critical success. Conceived in a Raphaelesque style relatively free of the archaisms for which he had been reproached in the past, it was admired even by strict Davidians. Ingres found himself celebrated throughout France; in January 1825 he was awarded the Cross of the Légion d’honneur, and in June 1825 he was elected to the Institute. His fame was extended further in 1826 by the publication of Sudre’s lithograph of La Grande Odalisque, which, having been scorned by artists and critics alike in 1819, now became widely popular.

A commission from the government called forth the monumental Apotheosis of Homer, which Ingres eagerly finished in a year’s time. From 1826 to 1834 the studio of Ingres was thronged, and he was a recognized chef d’école who taught with authority and wisdom while working steadily. The critics came to regard Ingres as the standard-bearer of classicism against the romantic school — a role he relished. The paintings, primarily portraits, that he sent to the Salon in 1827 and 1833 were well received. The portrait of Louis-François Bertin (1832) was a particular success with the public, who found its realism spellbinding, although some of the critics found its naturalism vulgar and its colouring drab.

The thin-skinned artist was outraged, however, by the criticism of his ambitious canvas of the Martyrdom of Saint Symphorien (cathedral ofAutun), shown in the Salon of 1834. Resentful and disgusted, Ingres resolved never again to work for the public, and gladly availed himself of the opportunity to return to Rome, as director of the École de France, in the room of Horace Vernet. There, although the time he spent in administrative duties slowed the flow of paintings from his brush, he executed Antiochus and Stratonice (executed for Louis-Philippe, duc d’Orléans), Portrait of Luigi Cherubini, and the Odalisque with Slave, among other works.

Life and Paintings of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780   1867)   Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres The Birth of the Last Muse

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – The Birth of the Last Muse

One of only two works sent back to Paris during Ingres’ six year term as Director of the French Academy in Rome, the Stratonice was exhibited for several days in mid-August 1840 in the private apartment of the duc d’Orléans in the Pavilion Marsan of the Palais des Tuileries. While lampooned in Le Corsaire for its lofty subject matter yet extremely modest proportions (less than one metre across), overall the work was warmly received; so much so that on his return to Paris in June 1841, Ingres was received with all the deference that he felt was his due, including being received personally by King Louis-Philippe for a tour around Versailles. One of the first works executed after his return was a portrait of the duc d’Orléans, whose death in a carriage accident just weeks after the completion of the portrait sent the nation into mourning and led to orders for additional copies of the portrait.

The following year Ingres, at seventy-one years of age, married forty-three-year-old Delphine Ramel, a relative of his friend Marcotte d’Argenteuil. This marriage proved as happy as his first, and in the decade that followed Ingres completed several significant works. A major undertaking was the Apotheosis of Napoleon I, painted in 1853 for the ceiling of a hall in the Hôtel de Ville, Paris, and destroyed by fire in theCommune of 1871. The portrait of Princesse Albert de Broglie was also completed in 1853, and Joan of Arc appeared in 1854. The latter was largely the work of assistants, whom Ingres often entrusted with the execution of backgrounds. In 1855 Ingres consented to rescind his resolution, more or less strictly kept since 1834, in favour of the International Exhibition, where a room was reserved for his works.

The last of his important portrait paintings date from this period: Marie-Clothilde-Inés de Foucauld, Madame Moitessier, Seated (1856),Self-Portrait at the Age of Seventy-nine and Madame J.-A.-D. Ingres, née Delphine Ramel, both completed in 1859. The Turkish Bath, finished in a rectangular format in 1859, was revised in 1860 before being turned into a tondo. Ingres signed and dated it in 1862, although he made additional revisions in 1863.

Artistic Style

Ingres’s style was formed early in life and changed comparatively little. His earliest drawings, such as the Portrait of a Man (3 July 1797, now in the Louvre) already show a suavity of outline and an extraordinary control of the parallel hatchings which model the forms. From the first, his paintings are characterized by a firmness of outline reflecting his often-quoted conviction that “drawing is the probity of art”.

He believed colour to be no more than an accessory to drawing, explaining: “Drawing is not just reproducing contours, it is not just the line; drawing is also the expression, the inner form, the composition, the modelling. See what is left after that. Drawing is seven eighths of what makes up painting.”

He abhorred the visible brushstroke and made no recourse to the shifting effects of colour and light on which the Romantic school depended; he preferred local colours only faintly modelled in light by half tones. “Ce que l’on sait,” he would repeat, “il faut le savoir l’épée à la main.” (“Whatever you know, you must know it with sword in hand.”) Ingres thus left himself without the means of producing the necessary unity of effect when dealing with crowded compositions, such as the Apotheosis of Homer and the Martyrdom of Saint Symphorien. Among Ingres’s historical and mythological paintings, the most satisfactory are usually those depicting one or two figures. InOedipus, Half-Length Bather, Odalisque, and The Spring, subjects only animated by the consciousness of perfect physical well-being, we find Ingres at his best.

In Roger Freeing Angelica, the female figure shows the finest qualities of Ingres’s work, while the effigy of Roger flying to the rescue on his hippogriff sounds a jarring note, for Ingres was rarely successful in the depiction of movement and drama. As Sanford Schwartz has noted, the “historical, mythological, and religious pictures bespeak huge amounts of energy and industry, but, conveying little palpable sense of inner tension, are costume dramas … The faces in the history pictures are essentially those of models waiting for the session to be over. When an emotion is to be expressed, it comes across stridently, or woodenly.”

Ingres’s choice of subjects reflected his literary tastes, which were severely limited: he read and reread Homer, Virgil, Plutarch, Dante, histories, and the lives of the artists. Throughout his life he revisited a small number of favourite themes, and painted multiple versions of many of his major compositions.He did not share his age’s enthusiasm for battle scenes, and generally preferred to depict “moments of revelation or intimate decision manifested by meeting or confrontation, but never by violence.” His numerous odalisque paintings were influenced to a great extent by the writings of Mary Wortley Montagu, the wife of the ambassador to Turkey whose diaries and letters, when published, fascinated European society.

Although capable of painting quickly, he often laboured for years over a painting. The Spring, although dated 1856, was painted in 1821, except for the head and the extremities; those who knew the work in its incomplete state professed that the after-painting, necessary to fuse new and old, lacked the vigour and precision of touch that distinguished the original execution of the torso. Ingres’s pupil Amaury-Duval wrote of him: “With this facility of execution, one has trouble explaining why Ingres’ oeuvre is not still larger, but he scraped out [his work] frequently, never being satisfied … and perhaps this facility itself made him rework whatever dissatisfied him, certain that he had the power to repair the fault, and quickly, too.”

Ingres died of pneumonia on 17 January 1867, at the age of eighty-six, having preserved his faculties to the last. He is interred in thePère Lachaise Cemetery in Paris with a tomb sculpted by his student Jean-Marie Bonnassieux. The contents of his studio, including a number of major paintings, over 4000 drawings, and his violin, were bequeathed by the artist to the city museum of Montauban, now known as the Musée Ingres.

Life and Paintings of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780   1867)   Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres TheTurkish Bath

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – TheTurkish Bath

 

Life and Paintings of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780   1867)   Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres The Apotheosis of Homer

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – The Apotheosis of Homer

Life and Paintings of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780   1867)   Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres Roger Freeing Angelica

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – Roger Freeing Angelica

Life and Paintings of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780   1867)   Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres Paolo and Francesca

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – Paolo and Francesca

Life and Paintings of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780   1867)   Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres Oedipus and the Sphynx

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – Oedipus and the Sphynx

Life and Paintings of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780   1867)   Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres Napoleon I on the Imperial Throne

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – Napoleon I on the Imperial Throne

Life and Paintings of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780   1867)   Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres Monsieur Riviere

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – Monsieur Riviere

Life and Paintings of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780   1867)   Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres Madame Moitessier

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – Madame Moitessier

Life and Paintings of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780   1867)   Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres The Vow of Louis XIII

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – The Vow of Louis XIII

Life and Paintings of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780   1867)   Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres The Source

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – The Source

Life and Paintings of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780   1867)   Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres The Entry of the Future Charles V into Paris in 1358

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – The Entry of the Future Charles V into Paris in 1358

Life and Paintings of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780   1867)   Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres The Dream of Ossian

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres – The Dream of Ossian

 

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

Articles’ Images are in the public domain because their copyright has expired or are displayed here under the “ fair use” copyright law, and are available through WikipediaWikimedia.

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

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

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

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

Movements: Naturalism, Classicism

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

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot Self Portrait

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Self-Portrait

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Poetry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot The Reader Wreathed with Flowers Virgils Muse

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

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot The Coliseum Seen from the Farnese Gardens

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

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot The Cathedral of Chartres

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The Cathedral of Chartres

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot The bridge of Narni

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The bridge of Narni

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot The Artists Studio

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

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot St Sebastian Succoured by Holy Women

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

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

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Agostina

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot Young Woman in Pink Dress

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

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot Young Woman Madame Legois

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

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot Volterra the Citadel

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Volterra, the Citadel

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot Ville dAvray

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Ville d’Avray

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot The Woman with the Pearl

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

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot The Tanneries of Mantes

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – The Tanneries of Mantes

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot The Solitude. Recollection of Vigen Limousin

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

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

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

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

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot Peasants under the Trees at Dawn

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

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

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

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

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

Life and Paintings of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796   1875)   Jean Baptiste Camille Corot Morning at Beauvais

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot – Morning at Beauvais

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

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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.

 

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) - Perseus and Andromeda

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488 – 1576)

Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576)  known in English as Titian, was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near Belluno (in Veneto), in the Republic of Venice. During his lifetime he was often called da Cadore, taken from the place of his birth.

Movements: Renaissance, Naturalism, Classicism, Secularism

[Please note that Titian’s paintings contain nudity, if that offends you don’t read the article.]

Recognized by his contemporaries as “The Sun Amidst Small Stars” (recalling the famous final line of Dante’s Paradiso), Titian was one of the most versatile of Italian painters, equally adept with portraits, landscape backgrounds, and mythological and religious subjects. His painting methods, particularly in the application and use of color, would exercise a profound influence not only on painters of the Italian Renaissance, but on future generations of Western art.

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Allegory of Time Governed by Prudence

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Allegory of Time Governed by Prudence

During the course of his long life, Titian’s artistic manner changed drastically but he retained a lifelong interest in color. Although his mature works may not contain the vivid, luminous tints of his early pieces, their loose brushwork and subtlety of polychromatic modulations are without precedent in the history of Western art.

The exact date of Titian’s birth is uncertain; when he was an old man he claimed in a letter to Philip II to have been born in 1474, but this seems most unlikely. Other writers contemporary to his old age give figures which would equate to birthdates between 1473 to after 1482, but most modern scholars believe a date nearer 1490 is more likely; the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s timeline supports c.1488, as does the Getty Research Institute.

He was the eldest son of Gregorio Vecelli and his wife Lucia. His father was superintendent of the castle of Pieve di Cadore and managed local mines for their owners. Gregorio was also a distinguished councilor and soldier. Many relatives, including Titian’s grandfather, were notaries, and the family of four were well-established in the area, which was ruled by Venice.

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian The Venus of Urbino 1024x712

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – The Venus of Urbino

A fresco of Hercules on the Morosini Palace is said to have been one of Titian’s earliest works; others were the Bellini-esque so-called Gypsy Madonna in Vienna, and the Visitation of Mary and Elizabeth (from the convent of S. Andrea), now in the Accademia, Venice.

Titian joined Giorgione as an assistant, but many contemporary critics already found his work more impressive, for example in the exterior frescoes (now almost totally destroyed) that they did for the Fondaco dei Tedeschi (state-warehouse for the German merchants), and their relationship evidently had a significant element of rivalry. Distinguishing between their work at this period remains a subject of scholarly controversy, and there has been a substantial movement of attributions from Giorgione to Titian in the 20th century, with little traffic the other way. One of the earliest known works of Titian, Christ Carrying the Cross in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, depicting the Ecce Homo scene, was long regarded as the work of Giorgione.

It took Titian two years (1516–1518) to complete his Assunta, whose dynamic three-tier composition and color scheme established him as the preeminent painter north of Rome.

During this period (1516–1530), which may be called the period of his mastery and maturity, the artist moved on from his early Giorgionesque style, undertook larger and more complex subjects and for the first time attempted a monumental style.

Giorgione died in 1510 and Giovanni Bellini in 1516, leaving Titian unrivaled in the Venetian School. For sixty years he was to be the undisputed master of Venetian painting. In 1516 he completed for the high altar of the church of the Frari, his famous masterpiece, the Assumption of the Virgin, still in situ. This extraordinary piece of colorism, executed on a grand scale rarely before seen in Italy, created a sensation.

The Signoria took note, and observed that Titian was neglecting his work in the hall of the great council, but in 1516 he succeeded his master Giovanni Bellini in receiving a pension from the Senate.

To this period belongs a more extraordinary work, The Death of St. Peter Martyr (1530), formerly in the Dominican Church of San Zanipolo, and destroyed by an Austrian shell in 1867. Only copies and engravings of this proto-Baroque picture remain; it combined extreme violence and a landscape, mostly consisting of a great tree, that pressed into the scene and seems to accentuate the drama in a way that looks forward to the Baroque.
During the next period (1530–1550), Titian developed the style introduced by his dramatic Death of St. Peter Martyr. The Venetian government, dissatisfied with Titian’s neglect of the work for the ducal palace, ordered him in 1538 to refund the money which he had received, and Pordenone, his rival of recent years, was installed in his place. However, at the end of a year Pordenone died, and Titian, who meanwhile applied himself diligently to painting in the hall the Battle of Cadore, was reinstated.

This major battle scene was lost along with so many other major works by Venetian artists by the great fire which destroyed all the old pictures in the great chambers of the Doge’s Palace in 1577. It represented in life-size the moment at which the Venetian general, D’Alviano attacked the enemy with horses and men crashing down into a stream, and was the artist’s most important attempt at a tumultuous and heroic scene of movement to rival Raphael’s Battle of Constantine and the equally ill-fated Battle of Cascina of Michelangelo and The Battle of Anghiari of Leonardo (both unfinished). There remains only a poor, incomplete copy at the Uffizi, and a mediocre engraving by Fontana.

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian The Death of Actaeon

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – The Death of Actaeon

Titian had from the beginning of his career shown himself to be a masterful portrait-painter, in works like La Bella (Eleanora de Gonzaga, Duchess of Urbino, at the Pitti Palace). He painted the likenesses of princes, or Doges, cardinals or monks, and artists or writers. “…no other painter was so successful in extracting from each physiognomy so many traits at once characteristic and beautiful”, according to The Catholic Encyclopedia. Among portrait-painters Titian is compared to Rembrandt and Velázquez, with the interior life of the former, and the clearness, certainty, and obviousness of the latter.

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

 

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Adam and Eve 786x1024

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Adam and Eve

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Portrait of Gerolamo Barbarigo

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Portrait of Gerolamo Barbarigo

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Sacred and Profane Love 1024x351

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) -Sacred and Profane Love

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Venus with a Mirror 859x1024

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Venus with a Mirror

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Venus and Cupid with an Organist 1024x538

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Venus and Cupid with an Organist

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Venus Anadyomene 761x1024

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Venus Anadyomene

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Tityus 896x1024

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Tityus

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian The Worship of Venus 1024x1003

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – The Worship of Venus

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian The Three Ages of Man 1024x608

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – The Three Ages of Man

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian The Rape of Europa 1024x896

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – The Rape of Europa

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian The Birth of Adonis 1024x214

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – The Birth of Adonis

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Spain Succouring Religion

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Spain Succouring Religion

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Philip II Offering Don Fernando to Victory 844x1024

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Philip II Offering Don Fernando to Victory

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Perseus and Andromeda 1024x921

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Perseus and Andromeda

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Orpheus and Eurydice 1024x731

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Orpheus and Eurydice

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Mocking of Christ 896x1024

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Mocking of Christ

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Diana and Callisto 1024x947

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Diana and Callisto

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Danae 1024x724

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Danae

Life and Paintings of Titian (1488   1576)   Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore Titian Bacchanal of the Andrians 1024x895

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Bacchanal of the Andrians

Titian’s unmatched handling of color is exemplified by his Danaë with Nursemaid, one of several mythological paintings, or “poesie” (“poems”) as the painter called them, done for Philip II of Spain. Although Michelangelo adjudged this piece deficient from the point of view of drawing, Titian and his studio produced several versions for other patrons.

Titian was probably in his late eighties when the plague raging in Venice took him on 27 August 1576. He was the only victim of the Venice plague to be given a church burial. He was interred in the Frari (Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari), as at first intended, and his Pietà was finished by Palma the Younger. He lies near his own famous painting, the Madonna di Ca’ Pesaro. No memorial marked his grave, until much later the Austrian rulers of Venice commissioned Canova to provide the large monument.

Immediately after Titian’s own death, his son and assistant Orazio died of the same epidemic. His sumptuous mansion was plundered during the plague by thieves.

 

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Raphael Sanzio -The Three Graces

What is Classicism?

Classicism, in the arts, refers generally to a high regard for a classical period, classical antiquity in the Western tradition, as setting standards for taste which the classicists seek to emulate.

The art of classicism typically seeks to be formal and restrained: of the Discobolus Sir Kenneth Clark observed, “if we object to his restraint and compression we are simply objecting to the classicism of classic art. A violent emphasis or a sudden acceleration of rhythmic movement would have destroyed those qualities of balance and completeness through which it retained until the present century its position of authority in the restricted repertoire of visual images.” Classicism, as Clark noted, implies a canon of widely accepted ideal forms, whether in the Western canon that he was examining in The Nude (1956), or the literary Chinese classics or Chinese art, where the revival of classic styles is also recurring feature.

Classicism is a force which is often present in post-medieval European and European influenced traditions; however, some periods felt themselves more connected to the classical ideals than others, particularly the Age of Enlightenment.

Important Classicism Artists

General Term

Classicism is a specific genre of philosophy, expressing itself in literature, architecture, art, and music, which has Ancient Greek and Roman sources and an emphasis on society. It was particularly expressed in the Neoclassicism of the Age of Enlightenment.

What is Classicism?   Delivery of the Keys Perugino

Perugino – Delivery of the Keys

Classicism was a recurrent tendency in the Late Antique period, and had a major revival in Carolingian and Ottonian art. There was another, more durable revival in the Italian renaissance when the fall of Byzantium and rising trade with the Islamic cultures brought a flood of knowledge about, and from, the antiquity of Europe. Until that time the identification with antiquity had been seen as a continuous history of Christendom from the conversion of Roman Emperor Constantine I. Renaissance classicism introduced a host of elements into European culture, including the application of mathematics and empiricism into art, humanism, literary and depictive realism, and formalism. Importantly it also introduced Polytheism, or “paganism”, and the juxtaposition of ancient and modern.

The classicism of the Renaissance led to, and gave way to, a different sense of what was “classical” in the 16th and 17th centuries. In this period classicism took on more overtly structural overtones of orderliness, predictability, the use of geometry and grids, the importance of rigorous discipline and pedagogy, as well as the formation of schools of art and music. The court of Louis XIV was seen as the center of this form of classicism, with its references to the gods of Olympus as a symbolic prop for absolutism, its adherence to axiomatic and deductive reasoning, and its love of order and predictability.
This period sought the revival of classical art forms, including Greek drama and music. Opera, in its modern European form, had its roots in attempts to recreate the combination of singing and dancing with theatre thought to be the Greek norm. Examples of this appeal to classicism included Dante, Petrarch, and Shakespeare in poetry and theatre. Tudor drama, in particular, modeled itself after classical ideals and divided works into Tragedy and Comedy. Studying Ancient Greek became regarded as essential for a well-rounded education in the liberal arts.

What is Classicism?   Raphael Sanzio The Voyage of Galatea 797x1030

Raphael – Voyage of Galatea

The Renaissance also explicitly returned to architectural models and techniques associated with Greek and Roman antiquity, including the golden rectangle as a key proportion for buildings, the classical orders of columns, as well as a host of ornament and detail associated with Greek and Roman architecture. They also began reviving plastic arts such as bronze casting for sculpture, and used the classical naturalism as the foundation of drawing, painting and sculpture.

The Age of Enlightenment identified itself with a vision of antiquity which, while continuous with the classicism of the previous century, was shaken by the physics of Sir Isaac Newton, the improvements in machinery and measurement, and a sense of liberation which they saw as being present in the Greek civilization, particularly in its struggles against the Persian Empire. The ornate, organic, and complexly integrated forms of the baroque were to give way to a series of movements that regarded themselves expressly as “classical” or “neo-classical”, or would rapidly be labelled as such. For example the painting of Jacques-Louis David which was seen as an attempt to return to formal balance, clarity, manliness, and vigor in art.

The 19th century saw the classical age as being the precursor of academicism, including such movements as uniformitarianism in the sciences, and the creation of rigorous categories in artistic fields. Various movements of the romantic period saw themselves as classical revolts against a prevailing trend of emotionalism and irregularity, for example the Pre-Raphaelites. By this point classicism was old enough that previous classical movements received revivals; for example, the Renaissance was seen as a means to combine the organic medieval with the orderly classical. The 19th century continued or extended many classical programs in the sciences, most notably the Newtonian program to account for the movement of energy between bodies by means of exchange of mechanical and thermal energy.

The 20th century saw a number of changes in the arts and sciences. Classicism was used both by those who rejected, or saw as temporary, transfigurations in the political, scientific, and social world and by those who embraced the changes as a means to overthrow the perceived weight of the 19th century. Thus, both pre-20th century disciplines were labelled “classical” and modern movements in art which saw themselves as aligned with light, space, sparseness of texture, and formal coherence.

In the present day philosophy classicism is used as a term particularly in relation to Apollonian over Dionysian impulses in society and art; that is a preference for rationality, or at least rationally guided catharsis, over emotionalism.

Classicism in the Theatre

Classicism in the theatre was developed by 17th century French playwrights from what they judged to be the rules of Greek classical theatre, including the “Classical unities” of time, place and action, found in the Poetics of Aristotle.

  • Unity of time referred to the need for the entire action of the play to take place in a fictional 24-hour period
  • Unity of place meant that the action should unfold in a single location
  • Unity of action meant that the play should be constructed around a single ‘plot-line’, such as a tragic love affair or a conflict between honour and duty.

Examples of classicist playwrights are Pierre Corneille, Jean Racine and Moliere. In the period of Romanticism, Shakespeare, who conformed to none of the classical rules, became the focus of French argument over them, in which the Romantics eventually triumphed; Victor Hugo was among the first French playwrights to break these conventions.

The influence of these French rules on playwrights in other nations is debatable. In the English theatre, Restoration playwrights such as William Wycherly and William Congreve would have been familiar with them. William Shakespeare and his contemporaries did not follow this Classicist philosophy, in particular since they were not French and also because they wrote several decades prior to their establishment. Those of Shakespeare’s plays that seem to display the unities, such as The Tempest, probably indicate a familiarity with actual models from classical antiquity.

Classicism in Architecture

Classicism in architecture developed during the Italian Renaissance, notably in the writings and designs of Leon Battista Alberti and the work of Filippo Brunelleschi. It places emphasis on symmetry, proportion, geometry and the regularity of parts as they are demonstrated in the architecture of Classical antiquity and in particular, the architecture of Ancient Rome, of which many examples remained.

Orderly arrangements of columns, pilasters and lintels, as well as the use of semicircular arches, hemispherical domes, niches and aedicules replaced the more complex proportional systems and irregular profiles of medieval buildings. This style quickly spread to other Italian cities and then to France, Germany, England, Russia and elsewhere.

In the 16th century, Sebastiano Serlio helped codify the classical orders and Palladio’s legacy evolved into the long tradition of Palladian architecture. Building off of these influences, the 17th-century architects Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren firmly established classicism in England.

Classicism in Fine Arts

Italian Renaissance painting and sculpture are marked by their renewal of classical forms, motifs and subjects. In the 15th century Leon Battista Alberti was important in theorizing many of the ideas for painting that came to a fully realised product with Raphael’s School of Athens during the High Renaissance.

The themes continued largely unbroken into the 17th century, when artists such as Nicolas Poussin and Charles Le Brun represented of the more rigid classicism. Like Italian classicizing ideas in the 15th and 16th centuries, it spread through Europe in the mid to late 17th century.

What is Classicism?   Nicolas Poussin The Triumph of Neptune

Nicolas Poussin – The Triumph of Neptune (Neoclassicism Painting)

Later classicism in painting and sculpture from the mid-18th and 19th centuries is generally referred to as Neoclassicism.

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Nicolas Poussin - Acis and Galatea

Masters of Art: Nicolas Poussin (1594 – 1665)

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.

He spent most of his working life in Rome, except for a short period when Cardinal Richelieu ordered him back to France to serve as First Painter to the King.

Please note that Poussin’s paintings are containing nudity and if that offends you don’t read the article!

Movements: Baroque, Classicism

Nicolas Poussin’s early biographer was his friend Giovanni Pietro Bellori, who relates that Poussin was born near Les Andelys in Normandy and that he received an education that included some Latin, which would stand him in good stead. Early sketches attracted the notice of Quentin Varin, a local painter, whose pupil Poussin became, until he ran away to Paris at the age of eighteen. There he entered the studios of the Flemish painter Ferdinand Elle and then of Georges Lallemand, both minor masters now remembered for having tutored Poussin. He found French art in a stage of transition: the old apprenticeship system was disturbed, and the academic training destined to supplant it was not yet established by Simon Vouet; but having met Courtois the mathematician, Poussin was fired by the study of his collection of engravings by Marcantonio Raimondi after Italian masters.

After two abortive attempts to reach Rome, he fell in with Giambattista Marino, the court poet to Marie de Medici, at Lyon. Marino employed him on illustrations to his poem Adone (untraced) and on a series of illustrations for a projected edition of Ovid’s Metamorphoses,  took him into his household, and in 1624 enabled Poussin (who had been detained by commissions in Lyon and Paris) to rejoin him at Rome. It has been suggested that it was this early friendship with Marino, and the commissioning of illustrations of his poetry (which drew on Ovidian themes), that founded, or at least reinforced, the prominent eroticism in Poussin’s early work.

Masters of Art: Nicolas Poussin (1594   1665)    Nicolas Poussin The Triumph of Neptune

Nicolas Poussin – The Triumph of Neptune

Throughout his life Poussin stood apart from the popular tendency toward the decorative in French art of his time. In Poussin’s works a survival of the impulses of the Renaissance is coupled with conscious reference to the art of classical antiquity as the standard of excellence. His goal was clarity of expression achieved by disegno or ‘nobility of design’ in preference to colore or color. Perhaps his concern with disegno can best be seen in the line engraved copies of his works; among the many who reproduced his paintings, some of the most successful are Audran, Claudine Stella, Picart and Pesne.

Themes of tragedy and death are prevalent in Poussin’s work. Et in Arcadia ego, a subject he painted twice (second version is seen at right), exemplifies his cerebral approach. In this composition, idealized shepherds examine a tomb inscribed with the title phrase, which is usually interpreted as a memento mori: “Even in Arcadia I exist”, as if spoken by personified Death. Poussin intended his figures to “display the most distilled and most typical attitude and emotion for the role they were playing”, but he was concerned with emotion “in a generalized and not specific way … Thus in both compositions of Et in Arcadia Ego (Chatsworth and Louvre) the theme is the realization of death in life. The specific models hardly matter. We are not intended to have sympathy with them and instead we are forced by the artist to think on the theme.”

Poussin is an important figure in the development of landscape painting. In his early paintings the landscape usually forms a graceful background for a group of figures; later he progressed to the painting of landscape for its own sake, although the figure is never entirely absent. Examples are Landscape with St. John on Patmos (1640), (Art Institute of Chicago) and Landscape with a Roman Road (1648), (Dulwich Picture Gallery).

The finest collection of Poussin’s paintings is at the Louvre in Paris. Other significant collections are in the National Gallery in London; the National Gallery of Scotland; the Dulwich Picture Gallery; the Musée Condé, Chantilly; the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg; and the Museo del Prado, Madrid.

Initially, Poussin’s genius was recognized only by small circles of collectors. (In the two decades following his death, a particularly large collection of his works was amassed by Louis XIV.) At the same time, it was recognized that he had contributed a new theme of “classical severity” to French art.

Masters of Art: Nicolas Poussin (1594   1665)    Nicolas Poussin Venus and Adonis

Nicolas Poussin – Venus and Adonis

Benjamin West, an American painter of the 18th century who worked in Britain, based his canvas of the death of General Wolfe at Quebec on Poussin’s example. As a result, the image is one in which each character gazes with appropriate seriousness on Wolfe’s death after securing British domination of North America.

Jacques-Louis David resurrected a style already known as “Poussinesque” during the French Revolution in part because the leaders of the Revolution looked to replace the frivolity and oppression of the court with Republican severity and civic-mindedness, most obvious in David’s dramatic canvas of Brutus receiving the bodies of his sons, sacrificed to his own principles, and the famous death of Marat.

Throughout the 19th century, Poussin, available to the ordinary person’s gaze because the Revolution had opened the collections of the Louvre, was inspirational for thoughtful and self-reflexive artists who pondered their own work methods, notably Cézanne, who strove to “recreate Poussin after nature”, and the Post-Impressionists. In addition to formal considerations, also appealing was the eroticism of some of Poussin’s classicizing subjects.

In the twentieth century art critics have suggested that the “analytic Cubist” experiments of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque were founded upon Poussin’s example. In 1963 Picasso based a series of paintings on Poussin’s The Rape of the Sabine Women. The work of Jean Hugo was also influenced by Poussin.

The most famous 20th-century scholar of Poussin was the Englishman Anthony Blunt, Keeper of the Queen’s Pictures, who in 1979 was disgraced by revelations of his complicity with Soviet intelligence.

Today, Poussin’s paintings at the Louvre reside in a gallery dedicated to him.

 

Masters of Art: Nicolas Poussin (1594   1665)    Nicolas Poussin The Nurture of Bacchus

Nicolas Poussin – The Nurture of Bacchus

Masters of Art: Nicolas Poussin (1594   1665)    Nicolas Poussin Acis and Galatea

Nicolas Poussin – Acis and Galatea

Masters of Art: Nicolas Poussin (1594   1665)    Nicolas Poussin Apollo and Daphne

Nicolas Poussin – Apollo and Daphne

Masters of Art: Nicolas Poussin (1594   1665)    Nicolas Poussin Apollo and the Muses Parnassus

Nicolas Poussin – Apollo and the Muses (Parnassus)

Masters of Art: Nicolas Poussin (1594   1665)    Nicolas Poussin Bacchanal of Putti II

Nicolas Poussin – Bacchanal of Putti II

Masters of Art: Nicolas Poussin (1594   1665)    Nicolas Poussin Cephalus and Aurora

Nicolas Poussin – Cephalus and Aurora

Masters of Art: Nicolas Poussin (1594   1665)    Nicolas Poussin Helios and Phaethon with Saturn and the Four Seasons

Nicolas Poussin – Helios and Phaethon with Saturn and the Four Seasons

Masters of Art: Nicolas Poussin (1594   1665)    Nicolas Poussin Midas and Bacchus

Nicolas Poussin – Midas and Bacchus

Masters of Art: Nicolas Poussin (1594   1665)    Nicolas Poussin The Empire of Flora

Nicolas Poussin – The Empire of Flora

Masters of Art: Nicolas Poussin (1594   1665)    Nicolas Poussin The Finding of Moses I

Nicolas Poussin – The Finding of Moses I

 

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Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) - Susanna and the Elders

Masters of Art: Guercino (1591 – 1666)

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

Movements: Baroque,  Emotionalism, Classicism

Masters of Art: Guercino (1591   1666)   Giovanni Francesco Barbieri Guercino Et in Arcadia Ego

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) – Et in Arcadia Ego

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

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

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

Masters of Art: Guercino (1591   1666)   Giovanni Francesco Barbieri Guercino Angels Weeping over the Dead Christ

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

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

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

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

Masters of Art: Guercino (1591   1666)   Giovanni Francesco Barbieri Guercino Virgin and Child with Four Saints

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

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

Let’s now enjoy his most celebrated works

Masters of Art: Guercino (1591   1666)   Giovanni Francesco Barbieri Guercino The Martyrdom of St Peter

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

Masters of Art: Guercino (1591   1666)   Giovanni Francesco Barbieri Guercino Susanna and the Elders

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) – Susanna and the Elders

Masters of Art: Guercino (1591   1666)   Giovanni Francesco Barbieri Guercino St William of Aquitaine Receiving the Cowl

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

Masters of Art: Guercino (1591   1666)   Giovanni Francesco Barbieri Guercino St Peter Weeping before the Virgin

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

Masters of Art: Guercino (1591   1666)   Giovanni Francesco Barbieri Guercino Semiramis Receiving Word of the Revolt of Babylon

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

Masters of Art: Guercino (1591   1666)   Giovanni Francesco Barbieri Guercino Samson Captured by the Philistines

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

Masters of Art: Guercino (1591   1666)   Giovanni Francesco Barbieri Guercino Madonna of the Swallow

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) – Madonna of the Swallow

Masters of Art: Guercino (1591   1666)   Giovanni Francesco Barbieri Guercino Abraham Casting Out Hagar and Ishmael

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

Masters of Art: Guercino (1591   1666)   Giovanni Francesco Barbieri Guercino The Toilet of Venus

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) -The Toilet of Venus

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

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Annibale Carracci - The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine

Masters of Art: Annibale Carracci (1560 – 1609)

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

Movements: Baroque, Academicism, Classicism

Masters of Art: Annibale Carracci (1560   1609)   Annibale Carracci Landscape with the Toilet of Venus

Annibale Carracci – Landscape with the Toilet of Venus

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

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

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

Masters of Art: Annibale Carracci (1560   1609)   Annibale Carracci Assumption of the Virgin

Annibale Carracci – Assumption of the Virgin

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

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

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

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

Let’s now enjoy his most celebrated works:

 

Masters of Art: Annibale Carracci (1560   1609)   Annibale Carracci Two Children Teasing a Cat

Annibale Carracci – Two Children Teasing a Cat

Masters of Art: Annibale Carracci (1560   1609)   Annibale Carracci The Temptation of St Anthony Abbot

Annibale Carracci – The Temptation of St Anthony Abbot

Masters of Art: Annibale Carracci (1560   1609)   Annibale Carracci The Samaritan Woman at the Well

Annibale Carracci – The Samaritan Woman at the Well

Masters of Art: Annibale Carracci (1560   1609)   Annibale Carracci The Penitent Magdalen in a Landscape

Annibale Carracci – The Penitent Magdalen in a Landscape

Masters of Art: Annibale Carracci (1560   1609)   Annibale Carracci The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine

Annibale Carracci – The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine

Masters of Art: Annibale Carracci (1560   1609)   Annibale Carracci The Choice of Heracles

Annibale Carracci – The Choice of Heracles

Masters of Art: Annibale Carracci (1560   1609)   Annibale Carracci The Beaneater

Annibale Carracci – The Beaneater

Masters of Art: Annibale Carracci (1560   1609)   Annibale Carracci The Baptism of Christ

Annibale Carracci – The Baptism of Christ

Masters of Art: Annibale Carracci (1560   1609)   Annibale Carracci Sleeping Venus

Annibale Carracci – Sleeping Venus

Masters of Art: Annibale Carracci (1560   1609)   Annibale Carracci Madonna Enthroned with St Matthew

Annibale Carracci – Madonna Enthroned with St Matthew

Masters of Art: Annibale Carracci (1560   1609)   Annibale Carracci Holy Women at Christ s Tomb

Annibale Carracci – Holy Women at Christ’ s Tomb

Masters of Art: Annibale Carracci (1560   1609)   Annibale Carracci Christ in Glory

Annibale Carracci – Christ in Glory

Masters of Art: Annibale Carracci (1560   1609)   Annibale Carracci Venus and Adonis

Annibale Carracci – Venus and Adonis

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

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

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

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.

Raphael Sanzio - Woman with a Veil (La Donna Velata)

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483 – 1520)

Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (1483 – 1520), better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur.

Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period.

So grab a coffee and prepare for some heavy scrolling, because we have a lot to see! I promise you, in the end you will find it was worth it!

Movements: Renaissance, Idealism, Classicism

Raphael was enormously productive, running an unusually large workshop, and despite his death at 37, a large body of his work remains. Many of his works are found in the Apostolic Palace of The Vatican, where the frescoed Raphael Rooms were the central, and the largest, work of his career. The best known work is The School of Athens in the Vatican Stanza della Segnatura. After his early years in Rome much of his work was self-designed, but for the most part executed by the workshop from his drawings, with considerable loss of quality.

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio The School of Athens

Raphael Sanzio -The School of Athens

He was extremely influential in his lifetime, though outside Rome his work was mostly known from his collaborative printmaking. After his death, the influence of his great rival Michelangelo was more widespread until the 18th and 19th centuries, when Raphael’s more serene and harmonious qualities were again regarded as the highest models.

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio The Three Graces

Raphael Sanzio -The Three Graces

His career falls naturally into three phases and three styles, first described by Giorgio Vasari: his early years in Umbria, then a period of about four years (from 1504–1508) absorbing the artistic traditions of Florence, followed by his last hectic and triumphant twelve years in Rome, working for two Popes and their close associates.

Raphael was born in the small but artistically significant Central Italian city of Urbino in the Marche region, where his father Giovanni Santi was court painter to the Duke. The reputation of the court had been established by Federico III da Montefeltro, a highly successful condottiere who had been created Duke of Urbino by the Pope—Urbino formed part of the Papal States—and who died the year before Raphael was born.

The emphasis of Federico’s court was rather more literary than artistic, but Giovanni Santi was a poet of sorts as well as a painter, and had written a rhymed chronicle of the life of Federico, and both wrote the texts and produced the decor for masque-like court entertainments. His poem to Federico shows him as keen to show awareness of the most advanced North Italian painters, and Early Netherlandish artists as well.

His mother Màgia died in 1491 when Raphael was eight, followed on August 1, 1494 by his father, who had already remarried. Orphaned at eleven, Raphael’s formal guardian became his only paternal uncle Bartolomeo, a priest, who subsequently engaged in litigation with his stepmother.

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio The Voyage of Galatea

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio The Holy Family

Raphael Sanzio -The Holy Family

His first documented work was the Baronci altarpiece for the church of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino in Città di Castello, a town halfway between Perugia and Urbino. Evangelista da Pian di Meleto, who had worked for his father, was also named in the commission. It was commissioned in 1500 and finished in 1501; now only some cut sections and a preparatory drawing remain.In the following years he painted works for other churches there, including the “Mond Crucifixion” (about 1503) and the Brera Wedding of the Virgin (1504), and for Perugia, such as the Oddi Altarpiece. He very probably also visited Florence in this period.

Raphael led a “nomadic” life, working in various centres in Northern Italy, but spent a good deal of time in Florence, perhaps from about 1504. However, although there is traditional reference to a “Florentine period” of about 1504-8, he was possibly never a continuous resident there.

By the end of 1508, he had moved to Rome, where he lived for the rest of his life. He was invited by the new Pope Julius II, perhaps at the suggestion of his architect Donato Bramante, and then engaged on St. Peter’s, who came from just outside Urbino and was distantly related to Raphael. Unlike Michelangelo, who had been kept hanging around in Rome for several months after his first summons,Raphael was immediately commissioned by Julius to fresco what was intended to become the Pope’s private library at the Vatican Palace.

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio The Adoration of the Magi Oddi altar predella

Raphael Sanzio -The Adoration of the Magi (Oddi altar, predella)

Raphael eventually had a workshop of fifty pupils and assistants, many of whom later became significant artists in their own right. This was arguably the largest workshop team assembled under any single old master painter, and much higher than the norm. They included established masters from other parts of Italy, probably working with their own teams as sub-contractors, as well as pupils and journeymen. We have very little evidence of the internal working arrangements of the workshop, apart from the works of art themselves, often very difficult to assign to a particular hand.

Raphael’s premature death on Good Friday (April 6, 1520), which was possibly his 37th birthday, was caused by a night of excessive sex with Luti, after which he fell into a fever and, not telling his doctors that this was its cause, was given the wrong cure, which killed him. Vasari also says that Raphael had also been born on a Good Friday, which in 1483 fell on March 28.

Whatever the cause, in his acute illness, which lasted fifteen days, Raphael was composed enough to receive the last rites, and to put his affairs in order. He dictated his will, in which he left sufficient funds for his mistress’s care, entrusted to his loyal servant Baviera, and left most of his studio contents to Giulio Romano and Penni. At his request, Raphael was buried in the Pantheon.

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio The Entombment

Raphael Sanzio -The Entombment

His funeral was extremely grand, attended by large crowds. The inscription in his marble sarcophagus, an elegiac distich written by Pietro Bembo, reads: “Ille hic est Raffael, timuit quo sospite vinci, rerum magna parens et moriente mori.” Meaning: “Here lies that famous Raphael by whom Nature feared to be conquered while he lived, and when he was dying, feared herself to die.”

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio The Council of Gods

Raphael Sanzio – The Council of Gods

Raphael was highly admired by his contemporaries, although his influence on artistic style in his own century was less than that of Michelangelo. Mannerism, beginning at the time of his death, and later the Baroque, took art “in a direction totally opposed” to Raphael’s qualities; “with Raphael’s death, classic art – the High Renaissance – subsided”, as Walter Friedländer put it.

 Let’s close with some of his other most celebrated works:
Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio The Prophet Isaiah

Raphael Sanzio -The Prophet Isaiah

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio St Michael and the Dragon

Raphael Sanzio -St Michael and the Dragon

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio St George and the Dragon

Raphael Sanzio -St George and the Dragon

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio Sposalizio The Engagement of Virgin Mary

Raphael Sanzio -Sposalizio (The Engagement of Virgin Mary)

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio Pope Leo X with Cardinals Giulio de Medici and Luigi de Rossi

Raphael Sanzio -Pope Leo X with Cardinals Giulio de’ Medici and Luigi

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio Madonna with Beardless St Joseph

Raphael Sanzio -Madonna with Beardless St Joseph

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio Woman with a Veil La Donna Velata

Raphael Sanzio – Woman with a Veil (La Donna Velata)

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio The Judgment of Solomon

Raphael Sanzio – The Judgment of Solomon

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio Allegory The Knights Dream

Raphael Sanzio – Allegory (The Knight’s Dream)

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio Wedding Banquet of Cupid and Psyche

Raphael Sanzio -Wedding Banquet of Cupid and Psyche

 

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio The Granduca Madonna

Raphael Sanzio -The Granduca Madonna

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio The Canigiani Madonna

Raphael Sanzio -The Canigiani Madonna

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio Madonna with Beardless St Joseph

Raphael Sanzio -Madonna with Beardless St Joseph

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio Madonna of Belvedere Madonna del Prato

Raphael Sanzio -Madonna of Belvedere (Madonna del Prato)

 

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio Madonna del Cardellino

Raphael Sanzio -Madonna del Cardellino

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio Madonna del Baldacchino

Raphael Sanzio -Madonna del Baldacchino

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio Madonna and Child The Tempi Madonna

Raphael Sanzio -Madonna and Child (The Tempi Madonna)

Masters of Art: Raphael Sanzio (1483   1520)   Raphael Sanzio Bridgewater Madonna

Raphael Sanzio -Bridgewater Madonna

 

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.

 

 

Michelangelo - Pietta

Masters of Art: Michelangelo (1475 – 1564)

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

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

Movements: Renaissance, Idealism, Classicism, Monumentalism, Humanism

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

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

Masters of Art: Michelangelo (1475   1564)   Michelangelo Pietta 977x1024

Michelangelo – Pietta

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

 

Masters of Art: Michelangelo (1475   1564)   Michelangelo David

Michelangelo – David

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

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

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

Masters of Art: Michelangelo (1475   1564)   Michelangelo The Creation of Adam

Michelangelo – The Creation of Adam

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

Masters of Art: Michelangelo (1475   1564)   Michelangelo The last judgement 852x1024

Michelangelo – The last judgement

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

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

Masters of Art: Michelangelo (1475   1564)   Michelangelo Cristo della Minerva

Michelangelo – Cristo della Minerva

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

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

Lets now enjoy some of his other celebrated works:

 

Sculpting

Masters of Art: Michelangelo (1475   1564)   Michelangelo Tomb of Lorenzo de Medici Masters of Art: Michelangelo (1475   1564)   Michelangelo The Deposition Masters of Art: Michelangelo (1475   1564)   Michelangelo Rebellious Slave Masters of Art: Michelangelo (1475   1564)   Michelangelo Portrait of Giuliano de Medici Masters of Art: Michelangelo (1475   1564)   Michelangelo Madonna of Bruges

 

Painting

Masters of Art: Michelangelo (1475   1564)   Michelangelo First Day of Creation Masters of Art: Michelangelo (1475   1564)   Michelangelo The Torment of Saint Anthony Masters of Art: Michelangelo (1475   1564)   Michelangelo The Crucifixion of St. Peter Masters of Art: Michelangelo (1475   1564)   Michelangelo The Conversion of Saul Masters of Art: Michelangelo (1475   1564)   Michelangelo Prophet Jonah Masters of Art: Michelangelo (1475   1564)   Michelangelo Prophet Isaiah

 

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.

Albrecht-Dürer-Prayer-Hands

Masters of Art: Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528)

Albrecht Dürer (21 May 1471 – 6 April 1528) was a German painter, printmaker, engraver, mathematician, and theorist from Nuremberg. His prints established his reputation across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he has been conventionally regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance ever since.

Movements: Renaissance, Classicism, Idealism, Perspectivism, Naturalism


His vast body of work includes altarpieces and religious works, numerous portraits and self-portraits, and copper engravings. His woodcuts, such as the Apocalypse series (1498), retain a more Gothic flavour than the rest of his work.

His well-known works include the Knight, Death, and the Devil (1513), Saint Jerome in his Study (1514) and Melencolia I (1514), which has been the subject of extensive analysis and interpretation. His watercolours mark him as one of the first European landscape artists, while his ambitious woodcuts revolutionized the potential of that medium.

Dürer was born on 21 May 1471, third child and second son of his parents, who had between fourteen and eighteen children! His father, Albrecht Dürer the Elder was a successful goldsmith, originally named Ajtósi, who in 1455 had moved to Nuremberg from Ajtós, near Gyula in Hungary.

The German name “Dürer” is derived from the Hungarian, “Ajtósi”. Initially, it was “Thürer,” meaning doormaker, which is “ajtós” in Hungarian (from “ajtó”, meaning door). A door is featured in the coat-of-arms the family acquired. Albrecht Dürer the Younger later changed “Türer”, his father’s diction of the family’s surname, to “Dürer”, to adapt to the local Nuremberg dialect. Albrecht Dürer the Elder married Barbara Holper, the daughter of his master, when he himself became a master in 1467.

Because Dürer left autobiographical writings and became very famous by his mid-twenties, his life is well documented by several sources. After a few years of school, Dürer started to learn the basics of goldsmithing and drawing from his father. Though his father wanted him to continue his training as a goldsmith, he showed such a precocious talent in drawing that he started as an apprentice to Michael Wolgemut at the age of fifteen in 1486. A self-portrait, a drawing in silverpoint, is dated 1484 (Albertina, Vienna) “when I was a child,” as his later inscription says. Wolgemut was the leading artist in Nuremberg at the time, with a large workshop producing a variety of works of art, in particular woodcuts for books. Nuremberg was then an important and prosperous city, a centre for publishing and many luxury trades. It had strong links with Italy, especially Venice, a relatively short distance across the Alps.

After completing his term of apprenticeship, Dürer followed the common German custom of taking Wanderjahre—in effect gap year—in which the apprentice learned skills from artists in other areas; Dürer was to spend about four years away. He left in 1490, possibly to work under Martin Schongauer, the leading engraver of Northern Europe, but who died shortly before Dürer’s arrival at Colmar in 1492. It is unclear where Dürer travelled in the intervening period, though it is likely that he went to Frankfurt and the Netherlands. In Colmar, Dürer was welcomed by Schongauer’s brothers, the goldsmiths Caspar and Paul and the painter Ludwig. In 1493 Dürer went to Strasbourg, where he would have experienced the sculpture of Nikolaus Gerhaert. Dürer’s first painted self-portrait (now in the Louvre) was painted at this time, probably to be sent back to his fiancée in Nuremberg.

In early 1492 Dürer travelled to Basel to stay with another brother of Martin Schongauer, the goldsmith Georg.

Masters of Art:  Albrecht Dürer (1471   1528)   Albrecht Dürer Prayer Hands

Albrecht Dürer – Prayer Hands

Very soon after his return to Nuremberg, on 7 July 1494, at the age of 23, Dürer was married to Agnes Frey following an arrangement made during his absence. Agnes was the daughter of a prominent brass worker (and amateur harpist) in the city. However, no children resulted from the marriage.

Within three months Dürer left for Italy, alone, perhaps stimulated by an outbreak of plague in Nuremberg. He made watercolour sketches as he traveled over the Alps. Some have survived and others may be deduced from accurate landscapes of real places in his later work, for example his engraving Nemesis. These are the first pure landscape studies known in Western art.In Italy, he went to Venice to study its more advanced artistic world. Through Wolgemut’s tutelage, Dürer had learned how to make prints in drypoint and design woodcuts in the German style, based on the works of Martin Schongauer and the Housebook Master.

He also would have had access to some Italian works in Germany, but the two visits he made to Italy had an enormous influence on him. He wrote that Giovanni Bellini was the oldest and still the best of the artists in Venice. His drawings and engravings show the influence of others, notably Antonio Pollaiuolo with his interest in the proportions of the body, Mantegna, Lorenzo di Credi and others. Dürer probably also visited Padua and Mantua on this trip.

On his return to Nuremberg in 1495, Dürer opened his own workshop (being married was a requirement for this). Over the next five years his style increasingly integrated Italian influences into underlying Northern forms. Dürer’s father died in 1502, and his mother died in 1513.His best works in the first years of the workshop were his woodcut prints, mostly religious, but including secular scenes such as The Men’s Bath House (ca. 1496).

Dürer made large numbers of preparatory drawings, especially for his paintings and engravings, and many survive, most famously the Betende Hände (English: Praying Hands, c. 1508 Albertina, Vienna),

Between 1507 and 1511 Dürer worked on some of his most celebrated paintings: Adam and Eve (1507), The Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand (1508, for Frederick of Saxony), Virgin with the Iris (1508), the altarpiece Assumption of the Virgin (1509, for Jacob Heller of Frankfurt), and Adoration of the Trinity (1511, for Matthaeus Landauer).

 

Masters of Art:  Albrecht Dürer (1471   1528)   Albrecht Dürer Adam and Eve

Albrecht Dürer – Adam and Eve

During this period he also completed two woodcut series, the Great Passion and the Life of the Virgin, both published in 1511 together with a second edition of the Apocalypse series. The post-Venetian woodcuts show Dürer’s development of chiaroscuro modelling effects, creating a mid-tone throughout the print to which the highlights and shadows can be contrasted.Dürer died in Nuremberg at the age of 56, leaving an estate valued at 6,874 florins—a considerable sum. His large house (purchased in 1509 from the heirs of the astronomer Bernhard Walther), where his workshop was located and where his widow lived until her death in 1539, remains a prominent Nuremberg landmark and is now a museum. He is buried in the Johannisfriedhof cemetery.

Let’s now see some of his most famous works!
Masters of Art:  Albrecht Dürer (1471   1528)   Albrecht Dürer Vier Apostel 798x1024

Albrecht Dürer -Vier Apostel

Masters of Art:  Albrecht Dürer (1471   1528)   Albrecht Dürer Seven Sorrows Polyptych 715x1024

Albrecht Dürer – Seven Sorrows Polyptych

Masters of Art:  Albrecht Dürer (1471   1528)   Albrecht Dürer Saint Jerome

Albrecht Dürer – Saint Jerome

Masters of Art:  Albrecht Dürer (1471   1528)   Albrecht Dürer Porträt eines bärtigen Mannes mit roter Kappe

Albrecht Dürer – Porträt eines bärtigen Mannes mit roter Kappe

Masters of Art:  Albrecht Dürer (1471   1528)   Albrecht Dürer Portrait of Oswolt Krel

Albrecht Dürer – Portrait of Oswolt Krel

Masters of Art:  Albrecht Dürer (1471   1528)   Albrecht Dürer Maria mit Kind

Albrecht Dürer – Maria mit Kind

Masters of Art:  Albrecht Dürer (1471   1528)   Albrecht Dürer Jesus among the Doctors

Albrecht Dürer – Jesus among the Doctors

Masters of Art:  Albrecht Dürer (1471   1528)   Albrecht Dürer Beweinung Christi

Albrecht Dürer – Beweinung Christi

Masters of Art:  Albrecht Dürer (1471   1528)   Albrecht Dürer Allerheiligenbild

Albrecht Dürer – Allerheiligenbild

Masters of Art:  Albrecht Dürer (1471   1528)   Albrecht Dürer Adorazione dei Magi

Albrecht Dürer – Adorazione dei Magi

Masters of Art:  Albrecht Dürer (1471   1528)   Albrecht Dürer Martyrdom of ten thousand Christians

Albrecht Dürer – Martyrdom of ten thousand Christians

Legacy and influence

Dürer exerted a huge influence on the artists of succeeding generations, especially in printmaking, the medium through which his contemporaries mostly experienced his art, as his paintings were predominately in private collections located in only a few cities. His success in spreading his reputation across Europe through prints were undoubtedly an inspiration for major artists such as Raphael, Titian, and Parmigianino, all of whom collaborated with printmakers in order to promote and distribute their work.

 

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.

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

Masters of Art: Sandro Boticelli (1445 – 1510)

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

Movements: Renaissance, Secularism, Classicism

Masters of Art: Sandro Boticelli (1445   1510)   Botticelli Madonna con Bambino 207x300

Madonna con Bambino

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

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

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

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

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

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

Masters of Art: Sandro Boticelli (1445   1510)   Botticelli Venus

Venus

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

Masters of Art: Sandro Boticelli (1445   1510)   Botticelli primavera

Primavera

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

Let’s see some of his most famous works:

Masters of Art: Sandro Boticelli (1445   1510)   Botticelli Madone de lEucharistie

Madone_de_l’Eucharistie

Masters of Art: Sandro Boticelli (1445   1510)   Botticelli incoronazione della vergine

incoronazione della vergine

Masters of Art: Sandro Boticelli (1445   1510)   Botticelli Descoberta do corpo de Holofernes

Descoberta do corpo de Holofernes

Masters of Art: Sandro Boticelli (1445   1510)   Botticelli Pallasetlecentaure

Pallasetlecentaure

Masters of Art: Sandro Boticelli (1445   1510)   Botticelli Madonna

Madonna

Masters of Art: Sandro Boticelli (1445   1510)   Botticelli The Virgin and Child with Two Angels and the Young St John the Baptist

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

Masters of Art: Sandro Boticelli (1445   1510)   Botticelli Venus and Mars

Venus and Mars

Masters of Art: Sandro Boticelli (1445   1510)   Botticelli pala di santambrogio

Pala di sant’ambrogio

Masters of Art: Sandro Boticelli (1445   1510)   Botticelli Lamentation over the Dead Christ with Saints

Lamentation over the Dead Christ with Saints

Masters of Art: Sandro Boticelli (1445   1510)   Botticelli Adoration of the Magi

Adoration of the Magi

Masters of Art: Sandro Boticelli (1445   1510)   Botticelli Adoration of the Magi 2

Adoration of the Magi

Masters of Art: Sandro Boticelli (1445   1510)   Botticelli The Temptations of Christ

The Temptations of Christ

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

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

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