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Life and Paintings of Guido Reni (1575 – 1642)

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

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

Guido Reni - Charity

Guido Reni – Charity

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

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

Guido Reni - Aurora

Guido Reni – Aurora

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

Guido Reni - The Glory of St. Dominic

Guido Reni – The Glory of St. Dominic

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

Guido Reni - Baptism of Christ

Guido Reni – Baptism of Christ

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

Guido Reni - The Penitent Magdalene

Guido Reni – The Penitent Magdalene

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

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

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

 

Guido Reni - Susanna and the Elders

Guido Reni – Susanna and the Elders

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

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

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

Article publié pour la première fois le 08/11/2013

Caspar David Friedrich - The Wanderer above the Mists

Masters of Art: Caspar David Friedrich (1774 – 1840)

Caspar David Friedrich (September 5, 1774 – May 7, 1840) was a 19th-century German Romantic landscape painter, generally considered the most important German artist of his generation. He is best known for his mid-period allegorical landscapes which typically feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees or Gothic ruins. His primary interest as an artist was the contemplation of nature, and his often symbolic and anti-classical work seeks to convey a subjective, emotional response to the natural world. Friedrich’s paintings characteristically set a human presence in diminished perspective amid expansive landscapes, reducing the figures to a scale that, according to the art historian Christopher John Murray, directs “the viewer’s gaze towards their metaphysical dimension”.

Movements: Romanticism 

Friedrich was born in the Swedish Pomeranian town of Greifswald, where he began his studies in art as a youth. He studied in Copenhagen until 1798, before settling inDresden. He came of age during a period when, across Europe, a growing disillusionment with materialistic society was giving rise to a new appreciation of spirituality. This shift in ideals was often expressed through a reevaluation of the natural world, as artists such as Friedrich, J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851) and John Constable (1776–1837) sought to depict nature as a “divine creation, to be set against the artifice of human civilization”.

Caspar David Friedrich - The Sea of Ice

Caspar David Friedrich – The Sea of Ice

Friedrich’s work brought him renown early in his career, and contemporaries such as the French sculptor David d’Angers (1788–1856) spoke of him as a man who had discovered “the tragedy of landscape”. Nevertheless, his work fell from favour during his later years, and he died in obscurity, and in the words of the art historian Philip Miller, “half mad”.

As Germany moved towards modernisation in the late 19th century, a new sense of urgency characterised its art, and Friedrich’s contemplative depictions of stillness came to be seen as the products of a bygone age. The early 20th century brought a renewed appreciation of his work, beginning in 1906 with an exhibition of thirty-two of his paintings and sculptures in Berlin. By the 1920s his paintings had been discovered by the Expressionists, and in the 1930s and early 1940s Surrealists and Existentialists frequently drew ideas from his work. The rise of Nazism in the early 1930s again saw a resurgence in Friedrich’s popularity, but this was followed by a sharp decline as his paintings were, by association with the Nazi movement, misinterpreted as having a nationalistic aspect.

It was not until the late 1970s that Friedrich regained his reputation as an icon of the German Romantic movement and a painter of international importance.

Friedrich began his formal study of art in 1790 as a private student of artist Johann Gottfried Quistorp at the University of Greifswald in his home city, at which the art department is now named in his honour (Caspar-David-Friedrich-Institut). Quistorp took his students on outdoor drawing excursions; as a result, Friedrich was encouraged to sketch from life at an early age.

Through Quistorp, Friedrich met and was subsequently influenced by the theologian Ludwig Gotthard Kosegarten, who taught that nature was a revelation of God. Quistorp introduced Friedrich to the work of the German 17th-century artist Adam Elsheimer, whose works often included religious subjects dominated by landscape, and nocturnal subjects.

Guido di Pietro (Fra Angelico) - Coronation of the Virgin

Masters of Art: Fra Angelico (1395 – 1455)

Fra Angelico (born Guido di Pietro; c. 1395 – 1455) was an Early Italian Renaissance painter described by Vasari in his Lives of the Artists as having “a rare and perfect talent”. He was known to contemporaries as Fra Giovanni da Fiesole (Brother John of Fiesole) and Fra Giovanni Angelico (Angelic Brother John). In modern Italian he is called il Beato Angelico (Blessed Angelic One);  the common English name Fra Angelico means “Angelic Brother.”

Movements: Renaissance, Naturalism, International Gothicism, Perspectivism

Vasari wrote of Fra Angelico:

But it is impossible to bestow too much praise on this holy father, who was so humble and modest in all that he did and said and whose pictures were painted with such facility and piety.

 Receiving the Stigmata

Receiving the Stigmata

Fra Angelico was born Guido di Pietro at Rupecanina in the Tuscan area of Mugello near Fiesole towards the end of the 14th century. Nothing is known of his parents. He was baptized Guido or Guidolino. The earliest recorded document concerning Fra Angelico dates from October 17, 1417 when he joined a religious confraternity at the Carmine Church, still under the name of Guido di Pietro. This record also reveals that he was already a painter, a fact that is subsequently confirmed by two records of payment to Guido di Pietro in January and February 1418 for work done in the church of Santo Stefano del Ponte.  The first record of Angelico as a friar dates from 1423, when he is first referred to as Fra Giovanni, following the custom of those entering a religious order of taking a new name. According to Vasari, Fra Angelico initially received training as an illuminator, possibly working with his older brother Benedetto who was also a Dominican and an illuminator. San Marco in Florence holds several manuscripts that are thought to be entirely or partly by his hand. The painter Lorenzo Monaco may have contributed to his art training, and the influence of the Sienese school is discernible in his work. He had several important charges in the convents he lived in, but this did not limit his art, which very soon became famous. According to Vasari, the first paintings of this artist were an altarpiece and a painted screen for the Carthusian Monastery of Florence; none such exist there now.

From 1408 to 1418 Fra Angelico was at the Dominican friary of Cortona where he painted frescoes, now destroyed, in the Dominican Church and may have been assistant to or follower of Gherardo Starnina. Between 1418 and 1436 he was at the convent of Fiesole where he also executed a number of frescoes for the church, and the Altarpiece, deteriorated but restored. A predella of the Altarpiece remains intact in the National Gallery, London which is a superb example of Fra Angelico’s ability. It shows Christ in Glory, surrounded by more than 250 figures, including beatified Dominicans.

The Story of St Nicholas

The Story of St Nicholas

In 1436 Fra Angelico was one of a number of the friars from Fiesole who moved to the newly-built Friary of San Marco in Florence. This was an important move which put him in the centre of artistic activity of the region and brought about the patronage of one of the wealthiest and most powerful members of the city’s Signoria, Cosimo de’ Medici, who had a large cell (later occupied by Savonarola) reserved for himself at the friary in order that he might retreat from the world. It was, according to Vasari, at Cosimo’s urging that Fra Angelico set about the task of decorating the monastery, including the magnificent Chapter House fresco, the often-reproduced Annunciation at the top of the stairs to the cells, the Maesta with Saints and the many smaller devotional frescoes depicting aspects of the Life of Christ that adorn the walls of each cell.

Tempera on panel

Tempera on panel

In 1439 he completed one of his most famous works, the Altarpiece for St. Marco’s, Florence. The result was unusual for its times. Images of the enthroned Madonna and Child surrounded by saints were common, but they usually depicted a setting that was clearly heavenlike, in which saints and angels hovered about as divine presences rather than people. But in this instance, the saints stand squarely within the space, grouped in a natural way as if they were able to converse about the shared experience of witnessing the Virgin in glory. Paintings such as this, known as Sacred Conversations, were to become the major commissions of Giovanni Bellini, Perugino and Raphael.

In 1445 Pope Eugenius IV summoned him to Rome to paint the frescoes of the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament at St Peter’s, later demolished by Pope Paul III. Vasari claims that at this time Fra Angelico was offered by Pope Nicholas V the Archbishopric of Florence, and that he refused it, recommending another friar for the position. While the story seems possible and even likely, if Vasari’s date is correct, then the pope must have been Eugenius and not Nicholas. In 1447 Fra Angelico was in Orvieto with his pupil, Benozzo Gozzoli, executing works for the Cathedral. Among his other pupils were Zanobi Strozzi.

From 1447 to 1449 he was back at the Vatican, designing the frescoes for the Niccoline Chapel for Nicholas V. The scenes from the lives of the two martyred deacons of the Early Christian Church, St. Stephen and St. Lawrence may have been executed wholly or in part by assistants. The small chapel, with its brightly frescoed walls and gold leaf decorations gives the impression of a jewel box. From 1449 until 1452, Fra Angelico was back at his old convent of Fiesole, where he was the Prior.

In 1455 Fra Angelico died while staying at a Dominican Convent in Rome, perhaps in order to work on Pope Nicholas’ Chapel. He was buried in the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva.

When singing my praise, don’t liken my talents to those of Apelles.
Say, rather, that, in the name of Christ, I gave all I had to the poor.
The deeds that count on Earth are not the ones that count in Heaven.
I, Giovanni, am the flower of Tuscany.

So let’s see some of his most important works:

Saint Lawrence receives the treasures of the Church

Saint Lawrence receives the treasures of the Church

Saint Anthony the Abbot Tempted by a Lump of Gold

Saint Anthony the Abbot Tempted by a Lump of Gold

Massacre of the Innocents

Massacre of the Innocents

Giudizio universale

Giudizio universale

 Entombment of Christ

Entombment of Christ

Deposition from the Cross

Deposition from the Cross

Coronation of the Virgin

Coronation of the Virgin

Circumcision

Circumcision

Annunciation

Annunciation

Artistic legacy

Through Fra Angelico’s pupil Benozzo Gozzoli’s careful portraiture and technical expertise in the art of fresco we see a link to Domenico Ghirlandaio, who in turn painted extensive schemes for the wealthy patrons of Florence, and through Ghirlandaio to his pupil Michelangelo and the High Renaissance.

Apart from the lineal connection, superficially there may seem little to link the humble priest with his sweetly pretty Madonnas and timeless Crucifixions to the dynamic expressions of Michelangelo’s larger-than-life creations. But both these artists received their most important commissions from the wealthiest and most powerful of all patrons, the Vatican.

When Michelangelo took up the Sistine Chapel commission, he was working within a space that had already been extensively decorated by other artists. Around the walls the Life of Christ and Life of Moses were depicted by a range of artists including his teacher Ghirlandaio, Raphael’s teacher Perugino and Botticelli. They were works of large scale and exactly the sort of lavish treatment to be expected in a Vatican commission, vying with each other in complexity of design, number of figures, elaboration of detail and skilful use of gold leaf. Above these works stood a row of painted Popes in brilliant brocades and gold tiaras. None of these splendours have any place in the work which Michelangelo created. Michelangelo, when asked by Pope Julius II to ornament the robes of the Apostles in the usual way, responded that they were very poor men.

Within the cells of San’Marco, Fra Angelico had demonstrated that painterly skill and the artist’s personal interpretation were sufficient to create memorable works of art, without the expensive trappings of blue and gold. In the use of the unadorned fresco technique, the clear bright pastel colours, the careful arrangement of a few significant figures and the skilful use of expression, motion and gesture, Michelangelo showed himself to be the artistic descendant of Fra Angelico. Frederick Hartt describes Fra Angelico as “prophetic of the mysticism” of painters such as Rembrandt, El Greco and Zurbarán.

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

Articles’ Images are in the public domain because their copyright has expired, and are available through Wikimedia

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

Article publié pour la première fois le 07/08/2012

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.

Michelangelo - Pietta

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.

 

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.

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.

Michelangelo - The last judgement

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.

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

 

Painting

 

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

Articles’ Images are in the public domain because their copyright has expired, and are available through Wikimedia

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

Article publié pour la première fois le 07/09/2012

Albert Bierstadt - Lake Tahoe, (1868), Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Masters of Art: Albert Bierstadt (1830 – 1902)

Albert Bierstadt (January 7, 1830 – February 18, 1902) was a German-American painter best known for his lavish, sweeping landscapes of the American West. In obtaining the subject matter for these works, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Though not the first artist to record these sites, Bierstadt was the foremost painter of these scenes for the remainder of the 19th century.

Albert Bierstadt - Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California, (1868), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.

Albert Bierstadt – Among the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California, (1868), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.

Bierstadt was part of the Hudson River School, not an institution but rather an informal group of like-minded painters. The Hudson River School style involved carefully detailed paintings with romantic, almost glowing lighting, sometimes called luminism. An important interpreter of the western landscape, Bierstadt, along with Thomas Moran, is also grouped with the Rocky Mountain School.

Bierstadt was born in Solingen, Germany. His family moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1831. He developed a taste for art early and made clever crayon sketches in his youth. In 1851, he began to paint in oils. He studied painting with the members of the Düsseldorf school of painting in Düsseldorf from 1853 to 1857. He taught drawing and painting briefly before devoting himself to painting.

Bierstadt began making paintings in New England and upstate New York. In 1859, he traveled westward in the company of Frederick W. Lander, a land surveyor for the U.S. government, returning with sketches that would result in numerous finished paintings. In 1863 he returned west again, in the company of the author Fitz Hugh Ludlow, whose wife he would later marry. He continued to visit the American West throughout his career.

Though his paintings sold for princely sums, Bierstadt was not held in particularly high esteem by critics of his day. His use of uncommonly large canvases was thought to be an egotistical indulgence, as his paintings would invariably dwarf those of his contemporaries when they were displayed together. The romanticism evident in his choices of subject and in his use of light was felt to be excessive by contemporary critics. His paintings emphasized atmospheric elements like fog, clouds and mist to accentuate and complement the feel of his work. Bierstadt sometimes changed details of the landscape to inspire awe. The colors he used are also not always true. He painted what he believed was the way things should be: water is ultramarine, vegetation is lush and green, etc.

Nonetheless, in 1860 he was elected a member of the National Academy; he received medals in Austria, Bavaria, Belgium, and Germany; and his paintings remain popular.

He was a prolific artist, having completed over 500 (possibly as many as 4000) paintings during his lifetime, most of which have survived. Many are scattered through museums around the United States. Prints are available commercially for many. Original paintings themselves do occasionally come up for sale, at ever increasing prices.

In 1882 his studio at Irvington, New York, was destroyed by fire, with many of his pictures.

Because of Bierstadt’s interest in mountain landscapes, Mount Bierstadt and Bierstadt Lake in Colorado are named in his honor. Bierstadt was probably the first European to visit the summit of Mount Evans in 1863, 1.5 miles from Mount Bierstadt. Bierstadt named it Mount Rosa, a reference to both Monte Rosa above Zermatt and, Rosalie Ludlow, his future wife, but the name was changed from Rosalie to Evans in 1895 in honor of Colorado governor John Evans.

 

Albert Bierstadt - Staubbach Falls, Near Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, 1865

Albert Bierstadt – Staubbach Falls, Near Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, 1865

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

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

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

Article publié pour la première fois le 05/03/2013

Francisco Goya - Dance of the Majos at the Banks of Manzanares

Life and Paintings of Francisco Goya (1746 – 1828)

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (30 March 1746–16 April 1828) was a Spanish romantic painter and printmaker regarded both as the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. Goya was a court painter to the Spanish Crown, and through his works was both a commentator on and chronicler of his era. The subversive and imaginative element in his art, as well as his bold handling of paint, provided a model for the work of later generations of artists, notably Manet, Picasso and Francis Bacon.. In his honour, Spain’s main national film awards are called the Goya Awards.

Movements: Romanticism

Hengki Koentjoro→JOURNEY

The amazing BW photography of Hengki Koentjoro

Born in Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia, on March 24, 1963. Hengki Koentjoro is a graduate of the Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara, California, where he majored in video production and minored in the fine art of photography.

Hengki returned to Indonesia to become a freelance videographer/editor, specializing in nature documentaries and corporate profiles, and now lives in Jakarta with his wife Lana and their three children. Hengki is a part time practitioner of the art of black and white photography, which he believes to be his true purpose in life’s journey of expression.

Let’s enjoy his amazing works, and as always you can see more in his Behance portfolio!

Hope you enjoyed today’s article with the stunning works of Hengki Koentjoro! Looking forward to hear your impressions!

See you next time!

(These photographs are presented here because they are licensed as “Creative Commons – Attribution” works and for the sole purpose of promoting photography and the photographer’s work)

Article publié pour la première fois le 28/11/2013

Edwin Lord Weeks - Along The Ghats Mathura

Life and Paintings of Edwin Lord Weeks (1849 -1903)

Edwin Lord Weeks - An Indian Hunting Party

Edwin Lord Weeks – An Indian Hunting Party

Edwin Lord Weeks (1849 – 1903) was an american artist distinguished as a painter of oriental scenesWell he was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1849. Weeks’ parents were affluent spice and tea merchants from Newton, a suburb of Boston and as such they were able to accept, probably encourage, and certainly finance their son’s youthful interest in painting and travelling. As a young man Edwin Lord Weeks visited the Florida Keys to draw and also travelled to Surinam in South America. His earliest known paintings date from 1867 when Weeks was eighteen years old, although it is not until his Landscape with Blue Heron, dated 1871 and painted in the Everglades, that Weeks started to exhibit a dexterity of technique and eye for composition—presumably having taken professional tuition.

He relocated to Europe in 1872, and studied in Paris, where he was a pupil of Léon Bonnat and Jean-Léon Gérôme. He made many voyages to the East, and was distinguished as a painter of oriental scenes.

Edwin Lord Weeks - Moorish Girl Lying on a Couch

Edwin Lord Weeks – Moorish Girl Lying on a Couch

In 1895, he wrote and illustrated a book of travels, From the Black Sea through Persia and India, and two years later he published Episodes of Mountaineering. He died in November 1903. He was a member of the Légion d’honneur, France, an officer of the Order of St. Michael, Germany, and a member of the Secession, Munich.

Let’s enjoy some of his most stunning works.

 

Edwin Lord Weeks - The Return Of The Imperial Court From The Great Mosque At Delhi

Edwin Lord Weeks – The Return Of The Imperial Court From The Great Mosque At Delhi

 

Edwin Lord Weeks - Sketch Two Nautch Girls

Edwin Lord Weeks – Sketch Two Nautch Girls

 

Edwin Lord Weeks - The Last Voyage

 

Edwin Lord Weeks - Interior of the Mosque at Cordova

Edwin Lord Weeks – Interior of the Mosque at Cordova

 

Edwin Lord Weeks - Festival at Fatehpur Sikri

Edwin Lord Weeks – Festival at Fatehpur Sikri

 

Edwin Lord Weeks - Along The Ghats Mathura

Edwin Lord Weeks – Along The Ghats Mathura

 

Edwin Lord Weeks - Two Arabs Reading in a Courtyard

Edwin Lord Weeks – Two Arabs Reading in a Courtyard

 

 

Edwin Lord Weeks - An Open-Air Restaurant Lahore

Edwin Lord Weeks – An Open-Air Restaurant Lahore

 

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Article publié pour la première fois le 20/08/2014

Claude-Joseph Vernet - Shipwreck In a Stormy_Sea by the Coast

Life and Paintings of Claude-Joseph Vernet (1714 – 1789)

Claude-Joseph Vernet (14 August 1714 – 3 December 1789) was a French painter. His son, Antoine Charles Horace Vernet, was also a painter.

Vernet was born in Avignon. By fourteen years of age he aided his father Antoine Vernet (a skilled decorative painter) in the most important parts of his work. The panels of sedan chairs, however, could not satisfy his ambition, and Vernet started for Rome. The sight of the sea at Marseilles and his voyage thence to Civitavecchia (Papal States’ main port on the Tyrrhenian Sea) made a deep impression on him, and immediately after his arrival he entered the studio of a marine painter, Bernardino Fergioni.

Claude-Joseph Vernet - Landscape with Bathers (detail)

Claude-Joseph Vernet – Landscape with Bathers (detail)

Claude-Joseph Vernet - Landscape with Bathers

Claude-Joseph Vernet – Landscape with Bathers

Slowly Vernet attracted notice in the artistic milieu of Rome. With a certain conventionality in design, proper to his day, he allied the results of constant and honest observation of natural effects of atmosphere, which he rendered with unusual pictorial art. Perhaps no painter of landscapes or sea-pieces has ever made the human figure so completely a part of the scene depicted or so important a factor in his design. In this respect he was heavily influenced by Giovanni Paolo Panini, whom he probably met and worked with in Rome. Vernet’s work draws on natural themes, but in a way that is neither sentimental nor emotive. The overall effect of his style is wholly decorative. “Others may know better”, he said, with just pride, “how to paint the sky, the earth, the ocean; no one knows better than I how to paint a picture”. His style remained relatively static throughout his life. His works’ attentiveness to atmospheric effects is combined with a sense of harmony that is reminiscent of Claude Lorrain.

Claude-Joseph Vernet - Shipwreck In a Stormy_Sea by the Coast

Claude-Joseph Vernet – Shipwreck In a Stormy_Sea by the Coast

For twenty years Vernet lived in Rome, producing views of seaports, storms, calms, moonlights, becoming especially popular with English aristocrats, many of whom were on the Grand Tour. In 1745 he married an Englishwoman whom he met in the city. In 1753 he was recalled to Paris: there, by royal command, he executed the series of the seaports of France (now in the Louvre and the Musée national de la Marine) by which he is best known. His The Port of Rochefort (1763, Musée national de la Marine) is particularly notable; in the piece Vernet is able to achieve, according to art historian Michael Levey, one of his most ‘crystalline and atmospherically sensitive skies’. Vernet has attempted to bring the foreground of his work to life through painting a wide array of figures engaging in a variety of activities, endeavouring to convey a sense of the commotion and drama of France’s seaports. Throughout his life Vernet returned to Italian themes, as shown through one of his later works – A Seashore (National Gallery). On his return from Rome he became a member of the academy, but he had previously contributed to the exhibitions of 1746 and following years, and he continued to exhibit, with rare exceptions, down to the date of his death, which took place in his lodgings in the Louvre on the 3rd of December 1789. Amongst the very numerous engravers of his works may be specially cited Le Bas, Cochin, Basan, Duret, Flipart and Le Veau in France, and in England Vivares.

 

Claude-Joseph Vernet - a Seashore

Claude-Joseph Vernet – a Seashore

 

Claude-Joseph Vernet - Storm with a Shipwreck

Claude-Joseph Vernet – Storm with a Shipwreck

 

Claude-Joseph Vernet - Shipwreck

Claude-Joseph Vernet – Shipwreck

 

Claude-Joseph Vernet - Shepherd In the Alps

Claude-Joseph Vernet – Shepherd In the Alps

 

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

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Article publié pour la première fois le 06/01/2014

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) - Susanna and the Elders

Masters of Art: Guercino (1591 – 1666)

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

Movements: Baroque,  Emotionalism, Classicism

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) - Et in Arcadia Ego

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) – Et in Arcadia Ego

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s now enjoy his most celebrated works

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

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

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) - Susanna and the Elders

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) – Susanna and the Elders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) - Madonna of the Swallow

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) – Madonna of the Swallow

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

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

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) -The Toilet of Venus

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (Guercino) -The Toilet of Venus

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

Hope you enjoyed the article as much as i did compiling the info and the images! See you next time!
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This Articles’ text is licensed under the Creative Commons BY-SA License since it partially uses material from Wikipedia.

Article publié pour la première fois le 13/11/2012

Ary Scheffer - Battle

Life and Paintings of Ary Scheffer (1795 – 1858)

Ary Scheffer (10 February 1795 – 15 June 1858), French painter of Dutch and German extraction, was born in Dordrecht.

After the early death of his father Johann Baptist, a poor painter, Ary’s mother Cornelia, herself a painter and daughter of landscapist Arie Lamme, took him to Paris and placed him in the studio of Pierre-Narcisse Guérin. When Scheffer left Guérin’s studio, Romanticism had come into vogue in France, with such painters as Xavier Sigalon, Eugène Delacroix and Théodore Géricault. Scheffer did not show much affinity with their work and developed his own style, which has been called “frigidly classical”.

Ary Scheffer - Self portrait

Ary Scheffer – Self portrait

Scheffer often painted subjects from literature, especially the works of Dante, Byron and Goethe. Two versions of Dante and Beatrice and have been preserved at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, United Kingdom, and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA. Particularly highly praised was his Francesca da Rimini painted in 1836. Ary Sheffer’s popular Faust-themed paintings include Margaret at her wheel; Faust doubting; Margaret at the Sabbat; Margaret leaving church; The garden walk, and Margaret at the well. In 1836, he painted two pictures of Goethe’s character Mignon.

He now turned to religious subjects: Christus Consolator (1836) was followed by Christus Remunerator, The shepherds led by the star (1837), The Magi laying down their crowns, Christ in the Garden of Olives, Christ bearing his Cross, Christ interred (1845), and St Augustine and Monica (1846).

His Christus Consolator, lost for 70 years, was rediscovered in a janitor’s closet in Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Dassel, Minnesota in 2007. It has been restored and is on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Ary Scheffer - The Ghosts of Paolo and Francesca Appear to Dante and Virgil

Ary Scheffer – The Ghosts of Paolo and Francesca Appear to Dante and Virgil

Scheffer was also an accomplished portrait painter. His subjects included composers Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt, the Marquis de la Fayette, Pierre-Jean de Béranger, Alphonse de Lamartine, Charles Dickens, Duchess de Broglie, Talleyrand and Queen Marie Amélie.

After 1846, he ceased to exhibit. His strong ties with the royal family caused him to fall out of favour when, in 1848, the Second Republic came into being. Shut up in his studio, he produced many paintings that were only exhibited after his death, which took place at Argenteuil on the 15th of June 1858. He is buried in the Cimetière de Montmartre.

Ary Scheffer - Faust and Marguerite in the Garden

Ary Scheffer – Faust and Marguerite in the Garden

The works first exhibited posthumously include Sorrows of the earth, and the Angel announcing the Resurrection, which he had left unfinished. By the time of his death, his reputation was damaged: though his paintings were praised for their charm and facility, they were condemned for poor use of color and vapid sentiment.

Scheffer was married to the widow of General Baudrand. His brother Hendrik, born at the Hague on 27 September 1798, was also a prolific painter. Scheffer was made commander of the Legion of Honour in 1848, that is, after he had wholly withdrawn from the Salon.

 

Ary Scheffer - Margaret at the Fountain

Ary Scheffer – Margaret at the Fountain

 

Ary Scheffer - The Death of Gericault

Ary Scheffer – The Death of Gericault

 

Ary Scheffer - Portrait De Mme Frederick Kent

Ary Scheffer – Portrait De Mme Frederick Kent

 

Ary Scheffer - Macbeth et Les Sorcieres

Ary Scheffer – Macbeth et Les Sorcieres

 

Ary Scheffer - Battle

Ary Scheffer – Battle

 

Ary Scheffer - Santa Monique and Saint Augustin

Ary Scheffer – Santa Monique and Saint Augustin

 

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

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

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

Article publié pour la première fois le 02/01/2014

Jan Van Eyck - Self-portrait

Masters of Art: Jan Van Eyck (1395 – 1441)

Jan van Eyck (or Johannes de Eyck)(c. 1395 –  1441) was a Flemish painter active in Bruges and is generally considered one of the most significant Northern European painters of the 15th century. The few surviving records indicate that he was born around 1390, most likely in Maaseik. Little is known of his early life, but his activities following his appointment to the court of Philip the Good c. 1425 are comparatively well documented.

Movements: Renaissance, Naturalism

Jan Van Eyck - Self-portrait

Jan Van Eyck – Self-portrait

Van Eyck had previously served John of Bavaria-Straubing, then ruler of Holland, Hainault and Zeeburg. By this time van Eyck had assembled a workshop and was involved in redecorating the Binnenhof palace in The Hague. He moved to Bruges sometime around 1425 and there came to the attention of Philip the Good. He served as both court artist and diplomat and became a senior member of the Tournai painters’ guild, where he enjoyed the company of similarly esteemed artists such as Robert Campin and Rogier van der Weyden. Over the following decade van Eyck’s reputation and technical ability grew, mostly from his innovative approaches towards the handling and manipulating of oil paint.

His revolutionary approach to oil was such that a myth, perpetuated by Giorgio Vasari, arose that he had invented oil painting.

It is known from historical record that van Eyck was considered a revolutionary master across northern Europe within his lifetime; his designs and methods were heavily copied and reproduced. His motto, one of the first and still most distinctive signatures in art history, “ALS IK KAN” (“AS I CAN”) first appeared in 1433 on Portrait of a Man in a Turban, which is most likely a self portrait and indicative of his emerging self confidence at the time.

The years between 1434 and 1436 are generally considered his high point when he produced works including the Madonna of Chancellor Rolin, Lucca Madonna and Virgin and Child with Canon van der Paele. That year he married the much younger Margaret. Records from 1437 on suggest that he was held in high esteem by the upper ranks of Burgundian nobility while also accepting many foreign commissions. He died young in July 1441, leaving behind many unfinished works to be completed by workshop journeymen; works that are nevertheless today considered major examples of Early Netherlandish painting. His local and international reputation was aided by his ties to the then political and cultural influence of the Burgundian court.

Lets enjoy some of his most important works:

St Jerome

St Jerome

Madonna mit dem lesenden Kinde

Madonna mit dem lesenden Kinde

Madonna des Kanonikus Georg van der Paele

Madonna des Kanonikus Georg van der Paele

Madonna at the Fountain

Madonna at the Fountain

Die Stigmatisation des Hl. Franziskus

Die Stigmatisation des Hl. Franziskus

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Articles’ Images are in the public domain because their copyright has expired, and are available through Wikimedia

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

Article publié pour la première fois le 03/08/2012

Giorgione - The Three Ages

Masters of Art: Giorgione (1477 – 1510)

Giorgio Barbarelli da Castelfranco;  or simply Giorgione; (c. 1477/8 – 1510) was a Venetian painter of the High Renaissance in Venice, whose career was cut off by his death at a little over thirty.

Giorgione is known for the elusive poetic quality of his work, though only about six surviving paintings are acknowledged for certain to be his work. The resulting uncertainty about the identity and meaning of his art has made Giorgione one of the most mysterious figures in European painting.

Movements: Renaissance, Naturalism, Monumentalism, Secularism

Together with Titian, who was slightly younger, he is the founder of the distinctive Venetian school of Italian Renaissance painting, which achieves much of its effect through colour and mood, and is traditionally contrasted with the reliance on a more linear disegno of Florentine painting.

The painter came from the small town of Castelfranco Veneto, 40 km inland from Venice. How early in boyhood he went to Venice we do not know, but stylistic evidence supports the statement of Carlo Ridolfi that he served his apprenticeship there under Giovanni Bellini; there he settled and made his fame.

Contemporary documents record that his gifts were recognized early. In 1500, when he was only twenty-three, he was chosen to paint portraits of the Doge Agostino Barbarigo and the condottiere Consalvo Ferrante.

In 1504 he was commissioned to paint an altarpiece in memory of another condottiere, Matteo Costanzo, in the cathedral of his native town, Castelfranco. In 1507 he received at the order of the Council of Ten part payment for a picture (subject not mentioned) on which he was engaged for the Hall of the Audience in the Doge’s Palace.

Giorgione - Portrait of Warrior with his Equerry

Giorgione – Portrait of Warrior with his Equerry

In 1507-1508 he was employed, with other artists of his generation, to decorate with frescoes the exterior of the newly rebuilt Fondaco dei Tedeschi (or German Merchants’ Hall) at Venice, having already done similar work on the exterior of the Casa Soranzo, the Casa Grimani alli Servi and other Venetian palaces. Very little of this work survives today.

Giorgione met with Leonardo da Vinci on the occasion of the Tuscan master’s visit to Venice in 1500. All accounts agree in representing Giorgione as a person of distinguished and romantic charm, a great lover and a musician, given to express in his art the sensuous and imaginative grace, touched with poetic melancholy, of the Venetian existence of his time. They represent him further as having made in Venetian painting an advance analogous to that made in Tuscan painting by Leonardo more than twenty years before; that is, as having released the art from the last shackles of archaic rigidity and placed it in possession of full freedom and the full mastery of its means.

He was very closely associated with Titian; Vasari says Giorgione was Titian’s master, while Ridolfi says they both were pupils of Bellini, and lived in his house. They worked together on the Fondaco dei Tedeschi frescoes, and Titian finished at least some paintings of Giorgione after his death, although which ones remains very controversial.

Giorgione also introduced a new range of subjects. Besides altarpieces and portraits he painted pictures that told no story, whether biblical or classical, or if they professed to tell a story, neglected the action and simply embodied in form and color moods of lyrical or romantic feeling, much as a musician might embody them in sounds. Innovating with the courage and felicity of genius, he had for a time an overwhelming influence on his contemporaries and immediate successors in the Venetian school, including Titian, Sebastiano del Piombo, Palma il Vecchio, il Cariani, Giulio Campagnola (and his brother), and even on his already eminent master, Giovanni Bellini. In the Venetian mainland, Giorgionismo strongly influenced Morto da Feltre, Domenico Capriolo, and Domenico Mancini.

Giorgione died, probably of the plague then raging, by October, 1510. October 1510 is also the date of a letter by Isabella d’Este to a Venetian friend; asking him to buy a painting by Giorgione; in the letter she is aware he is already dead. Significantly, the reply a month later said the painting was not to be had at any price.

Giorgione - Sleeping Venus

Giorgione – Sleeping Venus

His name and work continue to exercise a spell on posterity. But to identify and define, among the relics of his age and school, precisely what that work is, and to distinguish it from the similar work of other men whom his influence inspired, is a very difficult matter.

Though there are no longer any supporters of the “Pan Giorgionismus” which a century ago claimed for Giorgione nearly every painting of the time that at all resembles his manner, there are still, as then, exclusive critics who reduce to half a dozen the list of extant pictures which they will admit to be actually by this master.

Giorgione - The Three Philosophers

Giorgione – The Three Philosophers

The difficulty in making secure attributions of work by Giorgione’s hand dates from soon after his death, when some of his paintings were completed by other artists, and his considerable reputation also led to very early erroneous claims of attribution. The vast bulk of documentation for paintings in this period relates to large commissions for Church or government; the small domestic panels that make up the bulk of Giorgione’s oeuvre are always far less likely to be recorded. Other artists continued to work in his style for some years, and probably by the mid-century deliberately deceptive work had started.

Giorgione - The Three Ages

Giorgione – The Three Ages

Though he died at 33, Giorgione left a lasting legacy to be developed by Titian and 17th-century artists. Giorgione never subordinated line and colour to architecture, nor an artistic effect to a sentimental presentation. He was arguably the first Italian to paint landscapes with figures as movable pictures in their own frames with no devotional, allegorical, or historical purpose — and the first whose colours possessed that ardent, glowing, and melting intensity which was so soon to typify the work of all the Venetian School

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

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Article publié pour la première fois le 11/09/2012

Alfred Stevens - Femme a la poupee Japonaise

Life and Paintings of Alfred Stevens (1823 – 1906)

Alfred Émile Léopold Stevens (1823 – 1906) was a Belgian painter born in Brussels. He came from a family involved with the visual arts: his older brother Joseph (1816–1892) and his son Léopold (1866–1935) were painters, while another brother Arthur (1825–99) was an art dealer and critic. His father, who had fought in the Napoleonic wars in the army of William I of the Netherlands, was an art collector who owned several watercolors by Eugène Delacroix, among other artists. His mother’s parents ran Café de l’Amitié in Brussels, a meeting place for politicians, writers, and artists. All the Stevens children benefited from the people they met there, and the social skills they acquired in growing up around important people.

Alfred Stevens - What is Called Vagrancy

Alfred Stevens – What is Called Vagrancy

After the death of his father in 1837, Stevens left middle school to begin study at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, where he knew François Navez, the Neo-Classical painter and former student of Jacques-Louis David who was its director and an old friend of Stevens’s grandfather. Following a traditional curriculum, he drew from casts of classical sculpture for the first two years, and then drew from live models. In 1843, Stevens went to Paris, joining his brother Joseph who already was there. He was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts, the most important art school in Paris. Although it is said that he became a student of its director Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, this is likely not true.

An early picture by Stevens, The Pardon or Absolution (Hermitage, St. Petersburg), signed and dated 1849, shows his mastery of a conventional naturalistic style which owes much to 17th-century Dutch genre painting. Like the Belgian painter and friend with whom he stayed in Paris, Florent Joseph Marie Willems (1823–1905), Stevens carefully studied works by painters such as Gerard ter Borch and Gabriel Metsu.

Stevens’s work was shown publicly for the first time in 1851, when three of his paintings were admitted to the Brussels Salon. He was awarded a third-class medal at the Paris Salon in 1853, and a second-class medal at the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1855. His ‘Ce qu’on appelle le vagabondage‘ [What is called vagrancy] (Musée d’Orsay, Paris) attracted the attention of Napoleon III who, as a result of the scene in the picture, ordered that soldiers no longer be used to pick up the poor from the streets.

Alfred Stevens - The Japanese Mask aka Intrigue

Alfred Stevens – The Japanese Mask aka Intrigue

Two other paintings he exhibited at the Salon in Antwerp that year, Chez soi or At Home (present location unknown) and The Painter and his Model (Walters Art Museum, Baltimore), introduced subjects from “la vie moderne” for which he became known: an elegant young woman in contemporary dress and the artist in his studio. In 1857, Stevens made his first important sale to a private collector, when Consolation was bought for a rumored 6,000 francs by the Berlin collector and dealer Ravéné. At the same time, he and his brother were becoming part of the art world of Paris, meeting people such as the Goncourt brothers, Théophile Gautier, and Alexandre Dumas at the salons of Princess Mathilde as well as popular cafés.

In 1858, Stevens married Marie Blanc, who came from a rich Belgian family and old friends of the Stevens’s. Eugène Delacroix was a witness at the ceremony.

During the 1860s, Stevens became an immensely successful painter, known for his paintings of elegant modern women. His exhibits at the Salons in Paris and Brussels attracted favorable critical attention and buyers. An excellent example of his work during this time is La Dame en Rose or Woman in Pink (Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels), painted in 1866, which combines a view of a fashionably dressed woman in an interior with a detailed examination of Japanese objects, a fashionable taste called japonisme of which Stevens was an early enthusiast.

In 1863, he received the Legion of Honor (Chevalier) from the Belgian government. In 1867, he won a first-class medal at the Universal Exposition in Paris, where he and Jan August Hendrik Leys were the stars of the Belgian section, and was promoted to Officer of the Legion of Honor. His friends included Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Charles Baudelaire, Berthe Morisot, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Frédéric Bazille, and Puvis de Chavannes, and he was a regular in the group that gathered at the Café Guerbois in Paris.

Alfred Stevens - The Bath

Alfred Stevens – The Bath

Stevens fought for the French during the siege of Paris in the Franco-Prussian War, but returned to Belgium with his wife and family before the Paris Commune. They returned after the war, and Stevens continued to achieve critical acclaim as well as great success with collectors. In 1875, he bought a grand house and garden in Paris on rue des Martyrs, which appeared in his paintings as well as those of other artists, including Édouard Manet’s The Croquet Party (Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main) from 1873.

Alfred Stevens - Preparing for the Ball

Alfred Stevens – Preparing for the Ball

In 1878, he was made a Commander of the Legion of Honor and received another first-class medal at the Salon.
Despite earning a considerable income through the sale of his paintings, Stevens found that a combination of bad investments and excessive spending caused him great financial difficulties during the 1880s. An additional expense came from summers by the sea, which a doctor told Stevens in 1880 were essential for his health. Thus the artist was glad to agree when the Paris dealer Georges Petit offered him 50,000 francs to finance his vacation in exchange for the paintings Stevens produced during that time.

This deal, which lasted for three years, resulted in the sea becoming an important subject for him, and over the rest of his career, he painted hundreds of views of popular resorts along the Normandy coast and the Midi in the south. Many of them are painted in a sketchy style that shows the influence of the Impressionists. Stevens also began to take private students, including Sarah Bernhardt, who became a close personal friend, and William Merritt Chase.

The single most important work from the second half of Stevens’s career is the monumental Panorama du Siècle, 1789–1889, which he painted with Henri Gervex. Stevens painted the women and details and Gervex the men, with the help of fifteen assistants. It was shown to great acclaim at the International Exhibition held in Paris in 1889. He also received several great professional tributes. In 1895, a large exhibition of his work was held in Brussels.

 

Alfred Stevens - A la Fillette au Canard

Alfred Stevens – A la Fillette au Canard

In 1900, Stevens was honored by the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris with the first retrospective exhibition ever given to a living artist. Supported by patrons led by the Comtesse de Greffulhe, it achieved social cachet as well as popular success. In 1905, he was the only living artist allowed to exhibit in a retrospective show of Belgian art in Brussels. Despite these exhibitions, he was not able to sell enough of his work to manage well financially. Having outlived his brothers and most of his friends, he died in Paris in 1906, living alone in modest rooms.

Alfred Stevens - Lovelorn

Alfred Stevens – Lovelorn

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Article publié pour la première fois le 20/02/2014