Theo van Doesburg - Counter-CompositionV (1924)

History of Modern Art: De Stijl

Hello folks, our journey in modern art history resumes, and this time will review the De Stilj (or neoplasticism) movement!

De Stijl, Dutch for “The Style”, also known as neoplasticism, was a Dutch artistic movement founded in 1917. In a narrower sense, the term De Stijl is used to refer to a body of work from 1917 to 1931 founded in the Netherlands.

From the flurry of new art movements that followed the Impressionists’ revolutionary new perception of painting, Cubism arose in the early 20th century as an important and influential new direction. In the Netherlands, too, there was interest in this “new art.”

However, because the Netherlands remained neutral in World War I, Dutch artists were not able to leave the country after 1914 and were thus effectively isolated from the international art world—and in particular, from Paris, which was its centre at that time.

During that period, painter Theo van Doesburg started looking for other artists to set up a journal and start an art movement. Van Doesburg was also a writer, poet, and critic, who had been more successful writing about art than working as an independent artist. Quite adept at making new contacts due to his flamboyant personality and outgoing nature, he had many useful connections in the art world.

The artistic philosophy that formed a basis for the group’s work is known as neoplasticism — the new plastic art (or Nieuwe Beelding in Dutch).

Proponents of De Stijl sought to express a new utopian ideal of spiritual harmony and order. They advocated pure abstraction and universality by a reduction to the essentials of form and colour; they simplified visual compositions to the vertical and horizontal directions, and used only primary colors along with black and white.

Indeed, according to the Tate Gallery’s online article on neoplasticism, Mondrian himself sets forth these delimitations in his essay ‘Neo-Plasticism in Pictorial Art’. He writes,

… this new plastic idea will ignore the particulars of appearance, that is to say, natural form and colour. On the contrary, it should find its expression in the abstraction of form and colour, that is to say, in the straight line and the clearly defined primary colour.

The Tate article further summarizes that this art allows “only primary colours and non-colours, only squares and rectangles, only straight and horizontal or vertical line.

The Guggenheim Museum’s online article on De Stijl summarizes these traits in similar terms:

It [De Stijl] was posited on the fundamental principle of the geometry of the straight line, the square, and the rectangle, combined with a strong asymmetricality; the predominant use of pure primary colors with black and white; and the relationship between positive and negative elements in an arrangement of non-objective forms and lines.

Piet Mondrian - Composition with Yellow, Blue, and Red

Piet Mondrian – Composition with Yellow, Blue, and Red

The name De Stijl is supposedly derived from Gottfried Semper’s Der Stil in den technischen und tektonischen Künsten oder Praktische Ästhetik (1861–3), which Curl suggests was mistakenly believed to advocate materialism and functionalism. In general, De Stijl proposed ultimate simplicity and abstraction, both in architecture and painting, by using only straight horizontal and vertical lines and rectangular forms. Furthermore, their formal vocabulary was limited to the primary colours, red, yellow, and blue, and the three primary values, black, white, and grey. The works avoided symmetry and attained aesthetic balance by the use of opposition. This element of the movement embodies the second meaning of stijl: “a post, jamb or support”; this is best exemplified by the construction of crossing joints, most commonly seen in carpentry.

In many of the group’s three-dimensional works, vertical and horizontal lines are positioned in layers or planes that do not intersect, thereby allowing each element to exist independently and unobstructed by other elements. This feature can be found in the Rietveld Schröder House and the Red and Blue Chair.

De Stijl was influenced by Cubist painting as well as by the mysticism and the ideas about “ideal” geometric forms (such as the “perfect straight line”) in the neoplatonic philosophy of mathematician M.H.J. Schoenmaekers. The works of De Stijl would influence the Bauhaus style and the international style of architecture as well as clothing and interior design.

However, it did not follow the general guidelines of an “ism” (Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism), nor did it adhere to the principles of art schools like the Bauhaus; it was a collective project, a joint enterprise.

In music, De Stijl was an influence only on the work of composer Jakob van Domselaer, a close friend of Mondrian. Between 1913 and 1916, he composed his Proeven van Stijlkunst(Experiments in Artistic Style), inspired mainly by Mondrian’s paintings. This minimalistic—and, at the time, revolutionary—music defined “horizontal” and “vertical” musical elements and aimed at balancing those two principles. Van Domselaer was relatively unknown in his lifetime, and did not play a significant role within the De Stijl group.

Theo van Doesburg - Counter-Composition V (1924)

Theo van Doesburg – Counter-Composition V (1924)


Works by De Stijl members are scattered all over the world, but DeStijl themed exhibitions are organised regularly.

Museums with large De Stijl collections include the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague (which owns the world’s most extensive, although not exclusively De Stijl-related, Mondrian collection) and the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum, where many works by Rietveld and Van Doesburg are on display.

The Centraal Museum of Utrecht has the largest Rietveld collection worldwide; it also owns the Rietveld Schröder House, Rietveld’s adjacent “show house,” and the Rietveld Schröder Archives.

De Stijl Artists

This list is not exhaustive. Because of the loose associations many artists had with De Stijl, it is difficult to get a complete overview of contributors.


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 02/02/2013

Painting by Edward Burne-Jones (14)

Life and Paintings of Edward Burne-Jones (1833 – 1898)

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1st Baronet, A.R.A. (28 August 1833 – 17 June 1898) was a British artist and designer closely associated with the later phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, who worked closely with William Morris on a wide range of decorative arts as a founding partner in Morris, Marshall, Faulkner, and Company.

Painting by Edward Burne-Jones (3)

Painting by Edward Burne-Jones

Burne-Jones was closely involved in the rejuvenation of the tradition of stained glass art in Britain; his stained glass works include the windows of St. Philip’s Cathedral, Birmingham, St Martin in the Bull Ring, Birmingham, Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Square, Chelsea, St Martin’s Church in Brampton, Cumbria (the church designed by Philip Webb), St Michael’s Church, Brighton, All Saints, Jesus Lane, Cambridge, Christ Church, Oxford and in St. Anne’s Church, Brown Edge, Staffordshire Moorlands. Burne-Jones’s early paintings show the heavy inspiration of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, but by the 1860s Burne-Jones was discovering his own artistic “voice”. In 1877, he was persuaded to show eight oil paintings at the Grosvenor Gallery (a new rival to the Royal Academy). These included The Beguiling of Merlin. The timing was right, and he was taken up as a herald and star of the new Aesthetic Movement.

In addition to painting and stained glass, Burne-Jones worked in a variety of crafts; including designing ceramic tiles, jewellery, tapestries, mosaics and book illustration, most famously designing woodcuts for the Kelmscott Press’s Chaucer in 1896.

Edward Coley Burne Jones (the hyphen came later) was born in Birmingham, the son of a Welshman, Edward Richard Jones, a frame-maker at Bennetts Hill, where a blue plaque commemorates the painter’s childhood. His mother Elizabeth Coley Jones died within six days of his birth, and he was raised by his grieving father and the family housekeeper, Ann Sampson, an obsessively affectionate but humorless and unintellectual local girl. He attended Birmingham’s King Edward VI grammar school from 1844 and the Birmingham School of Art from 1848 to 1852, before studying theology at Exeter College, Oxford. At Oxford he became a friend of William Morris as a consequence of a mutual interest in poetry.

The two Exeter undergraduates, together with a small group of Jones’ friends from Birmingham known as the Birmingham Set, speedily formed a very close and intimate society, which they called “The Brotherhood”. The members of the Brotherhood read John Ruskin and Tennyson, visited churches, and worshipped the Middle Ages. At this time Burne-Jones discovered Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur which was to be so influential in his life. At that time neither Burne-Jones nor Morris knew Rossetti personally, but both were much influenced by his works, and met him by recruiting him as a contributor to their Oxford and Cambridge Magazine which Morris founded in 1856 to promote their ideas.

Painting by Edward Burne-Jones (1)

Painting by Edward Burne-Jones

Burne-Jones had intended to become a church minister, but under Rossetti’s influence both he and Morris decided to become artists, and Burne-Jones left college before taking a degree to pursue a career in art. In February 1857, Rossetti wrote to William Bell Scott:

Two young men, projectors of the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, have recently come up to town from Oxford, and are now very intimate friends of mine. Their names are Morris and Jones. They have turned artists instead of taking up any other career to which the university generally leads, and both are men of real genius. Jones’s designs are marvels of finish and imaginative detail, unequalled by anything unless perhaps Albert Dürer’s finest works.

Painting by Edward Burne-Jones (2)

Painting by Edward Burne-Jones

In 1856 Burne-Jones became engaged to Georgiana “Georgie” MacDonald (1840–1920), one of the MacDonald sisters. She was training to be a painter, and was the sister of Burne-Jones’s old school friend. The couple married in 1860, after which she made her own work in woodcuts and became a close friend of George Eliot. (Another MacDonald sister married the artist Sir Edward Poynter, a further sister married the ironmaster Alfred Baldwin and was the mother of the Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, and yet another sister was the mother of Rudyard Kipling. Kipling and Baldwin were thus Burne-Jones’s nephews by marriage).

Georgiana bore a son, Philip, in 1861. A second son, born in the winter of 1864 while Georgiana was gravely ill with scarlet fever, died soon after birth. The family soon moved to 41 Kensington Square, and their daughter Margaret was born there in 1866.

In 1867 Burne-Jones and his family settled at the Grange, an 18th-century house set in a large garden in North End Road, Fulham, London. For much of the 1870s Burne-Jones did not exhibit, following a spate of bitterly hostile attacks in the press, and a passionate affair (described as the “emotional climax of his life”) with his Greek model Maria Zambaco which ended with her trying to commit suicide by throwing herself in Regent’s Canal.  During these difficult years Georgiana developed a close friendship with Morris, whose wife Jane had fallen in love with Rossetti. Morris and Georgie may have been in love, but if he asked her to leave her husband, she refused. In the end, the Burne-Joneses remained together, as did the Morrises, but Morris and Georgiana were close for the rest of their lives.

Painting by Edward Burne-Jones (4)

Painting by Edward Burne-Jones

In 1880 the Burne-Joneses bought Prospect House in Rottingdean, near Brighton in Sussex, as their holiday home, and soon after the next door Aubrey Cottage to create North End House, reflecting the fact that their Fulham home was in North End Road. (Years later, in 1923, Sir Roderick Jones, head of Reuters, and his wife, playwright and novelist Enid Bagnold, were to add the adjacent Gothic House to the property and which became the inspiration and setting for her play The Chalk Garden).

Painting by Edward Burne-Jones (7)

Painting by Edward Burne-Jones

His troubled son Philip became a successful portrait painter and died in 1926. His adored daughter Margaret (died 1953) married John William Mackail (1850–1945), the friend and biographer of Morris, and Professor of Poetry at Oxford from 1911–1916. Their children were the novelists Angela Thirkell and Denis Mackail. In an edition of the boys’ magazine, Chums (No. 227, Vol. V, 13 January 1897) an article on Burne-Jones stated that:

….his pet grandson used to be punished by being sent to stand in a corner with his face to the wall. One day on being sent there he was delighted to find the wall prettily decorated with fairies, flowers, birds, and bunnies. His indulgent grandfather had utilised his talent to alleviate the tedium of his favourite’s period of penance.

Burne-Jones once admitted that after leaving Oxford he “found himself at five-and-twenty what he ought to have been at fifteen.” He had had no regular training as a draughtsman, and lacked the confidence of science. But his extraordinary faculty of invention as a designer was already ripening; his mind, rich in knowledge of classical story and medieval romance, teemed with pictorial subjects; and he set himself to complete his equipment by resolute labour, witnessed by innumerable drawings. The works of this first period are all more or less tinged by the influence of Rossetti; but they are already differentiated from the elder master’s style by their more facile though less intensely felt elaboration of imaginative detail. Many are pen-and-ink drawings on vellum, exquisitely finished, of which 1856’s Waxen Image is one of the earliest and best examples. Although subject, medium and manner derive from Rossetti’s inspiration, it is not the hand of a pupil merely, but of a potential master. This was recognized by Rossetti himself, who before long avowed that he had nothing more to teach him.

Painting by Edward Burne-Jones (8)

Painting by Edward Burne-Jones

Burne-Jones’s first sketch in oils dates from this same year, 1856; and during 1857 he made for Bradfield College the first of what was to be an immense series of cartoons for stained glass. In 1858 he decorated a cabinet with the Prioress’s Tale from Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, his first direct illustration of the work of a poet whom he especially loved and who inspired him with endless subjects. Thus early, therefore, we see the artist busy in all the various fields in which he was to labour.

Painting by Edward Burne-Jones (9)

Painting by Edward Burne-Jones

In the autumn of 1857 Burne-Jones joined Morris, Valentine Prinsep, J. R. Spencer Stanhope and others in Rossetti’s ill-fated scheme to decorate the walls of the Oxford Union.

None of the painters had mastered the technique of fresco, and their pictures had begun to peel from the walls before they were completed. In 1859 Burne-Jones made his first journey to Italy. He saw Florence, Pisa, Siena, Venice and other places, and appears to have found the gentle and romantic Sienese more attractive than any other school.

Rossetti’s influence still persisted, and is visible, more strongly perhaps than ever before, in the two watercolours of 1860, Sidonia von Bork and Clara von Bork. Both paintings illustrate the 1849 gothic novel Sidonia the Sorceress by Lady Wilde, a translation of Sidonia Von Bork: Die Klosterhexe (1847) by Johann Wilhelm Meinhold.

In 1861, William Morris founded the decorative arts firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. with Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Ford Madox Brown and Philip Webb as partners, together with Charles Faulkner and Peter Paul Marshall, the former of whom was a member of the Oxford Brotherhood, and the latter a friend of Brown and Rossetti. The prospectus set forth that the firm would undertake carving, stained glass, metal-work, paper-hangings, chintzes (printed fabrics), and carpets. The decoration of churches was from the first an important part of the business.

The work shown by the firm at the 1862 International Exhibition attracted much notice, and within a few years it was flourishing. Two significant secular commissions helped establish the firm’s reputation in the late 1860s: a royal project at St. James’s Palace and the “green dining room” at the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert) of 1867 which featured stained glass windows and panel figures by Burne-Jones.

Painting by Edward Burne-Jones (10)

Painting by Edward Burne-Jones

In 1871 Morris & Co. were responsible for the windows at All Saints, designed by Burne-Jones for Alfred Baldwin, his wife’s brother-in-law. The firm was reorganized as Morris & Co. in 1875, and Burne-Jones continued to contribute designs for stained glass, and later tapestries until the end of his career. Stained glass windows in the Christ Church cathedral and other buildings in Oxford are by William Morris & Co. with designs by Burne-Jones. Stanmore Hall was the last major decorating commission executed by Morris & Co. before Morris’s death in 1896. It was also the most extensive commission undertaken by the firm, and included a series of tapestries based on the story of the Holy Grail for the dining room, with figures by Burne-Jones. In 1891 Jones was elected a member of the Art Workers Guild.

Continue on the next page!

Article publié pour la première fois le 04/02/2014

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.

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.

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.


Nicolas Poussin - The Nurture of Bacchus

Nicolas Poussin – The Nurture of Bacchus

Nicolas Poussin - Acis and Galatea

Nicolas Poussin – Acis and Galatea

Nicolas Poussin - Apollo and Daphne

Nicolas Poussin – Apollo and Daphne

Nicolas Poussin - Apollo and the Muses (Parnassus)

Nicolas Poussin – Apollo and the Muses (Parnassus)

Nicolas Poussin - Bacchanal of Putti II

Nicolas Poussin – Bacchanal of Putti II

Nicolas Poussin - Cephalus and Aurora

Nicolas Poussin – Cephalus and Aurora

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

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

Nicolas Poussin - Midas and Bacchus

Nicolas Poussin – Midas and Bacchus

Nicolas Poussin - The Empire of Flora

Nicolas Poussin – The Empire of Flora

Nicolas Poussin - The Finding of Moses I

Nicolas Poussin – The Finding of Moses I


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 27/11/2012

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.

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.

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

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.

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:


Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) - Adam and Eve

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Adam and Eve

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) - Venus Anadyomene

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Venus Anadyomene

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) - Tityus

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Tityus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) - Spain Succouring Religion

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Spain Succouring Religion

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

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

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) - Perseus and Andromeda

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Perseus and Andromeda

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) - Orpheus and Eurydice

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Orpheus and Eurydice

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) - Mocking of Christ

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Mocking of Christ

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) - Diana and Callisto

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Diana and Callisto

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) - Danae

Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore (Titian) – Danae

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

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.


Hope you enjoyed the article as much as i did compiling the info and the images! See you next time!
Articles’ Images are in the public domain because their copyright has expired, and are available through Wikimedia

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


Article publié pour la première fois le 16/04/2014

Claude Monet - Woman with a Parasol - Madame Monet and Her Son

Masters of Art: Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

Claude Monet (14 November 1840 – 5 December 1926) was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement’s philosophy of expressing one’s perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting.

The term Impressionism is derived from the title of his painting Impression, Sunrise.

Movements: Impressionism

Claude Monet was born on 14 November 1840 on the 5th floor of 45 rue Laffitte, in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. He was the second son of Claude Adolphe Monet and Louise Justine Aubrée Monet, both of them second-generation Parisians. On 20 May 1841, he was baptized in the local parish church, Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, as Oscar-Claude, but his parents called him simply Oscar. In 1845, his family moved to Le Havre in Normandy. His father wanted him to go into the family grocery business, but Monet wanted to become an artist. His mother was a singer. On 1 April 1851, Monet entered Le Havre secondary school of the arts.

Locals knew him well for his charcoal caricatures, which he would sell for ten to twenty francs. Monet also undertook his first drawing lessons from Jacques-François Ochard, a former student of Jacques-Louis David. On the beaches of Normandy in about 1856/1857, he met fellow artist Eugène Boudin, who became his mentor and taught him to use oil paints. Boudin taught Monet “en plein air” (outdoor) techniques for painting. Both received the influence of Johan Barthold Jongkind. On 28 January 1857, his mother died. At the age of sixteen, he left school and went to live with his widowed childless aunt, Marie-Jeanne Lecadre.

When Monet traveled to Paris to visit the Louvre, he witnessed painters copying from the old masters. Having brought his paints and other tools with him, he would instead go and sit by a window and paint what he saw. Monet was in Paris for several years and met other young painters who would become friends and fellow impressionists; among them was Édouard Manet.

Claude Monet - The Picnic Claude Monet – The Picnic

In June 1861, Monet joined the First Regiment of African Light Cavalry in Algeria for a seven-year commitment, but, two years later, after he had contracted typhoid fever, his aunt intervened to get him out of the army if he agreed to complete an art course at an art school. It is possible that the Dutch painter Johan Barthold Jongkind, whom Monet knew, may have prompted his aunt on this matter. Disillusioned with the traditional art taught at art schools, in 1862 Monet became a student of Charles Gleyre in Paris, where he met Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Frédéric Bazille and Alfred Sisley. Together they shared new approaches to art, painting the effects of light en plein air with broken color and rapid brushstrokes, in what later came to be known as Impressionism.

Monet’s Camille or The Woman in the Green Dress (La femme à la robe verte), painted in 1866, brought him recognition and was one of many works featuring his future wife, Camille Doncieux; she was the model for the figures in Women in the Garden of the following year, as well as for On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt, 1868, pictured here. Camille became pregnant and gave birth to their first child, Jean in 1867.

After the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War (19 July 1870), Monet took refuge in England in September 1870, where he studied the works of John Constable and Joseph Mallord William Turner, both of whose landscapes would serve to inspire Monet’s innovations in the study of color. In the spring of 1871, Monet’s works were refused authorisation for inclusion in the Royal Academy exhibition.  In May 1871, he left London to live in Zaandam, in the Netherlands, where he made twenty-five paintings (and the police suspected him of revolutionary activities). He also paid a first visit to nearby Amsterdam. In October or November 1871, he returned to France. Monet lived from December 1871 to 1878 at Argenteuil, a village on the right bank of the Seine river near Paris, and a popular Sunday-outing destination for Parisians, where he painted some of his best known works. In 1874, he briefly returned to Holland.

Claude Monet - Impression, Sunrise Claude Monet – Impression, Sunrise

In 1872, he painted Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant) depicting a Le Havre port landscape. It hung in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874 and is now displayed in the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris. From the painting’s title, art critic Louis Leroy coined the term “Impressionism”, which he intended as disparagement but which the Impressionists appropriated for themselves.  Also in this exhibition was a painting titled Boulevard des Capucines, a painting of the boulevard done from the photographer Nadar’s apartment at no. 35. There were, however, two paintings by Monet of the boulevard: one is now in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, the other in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. It has never become clear which painting appeared in the groundbreaking 1874 exhibition, though more recently the Moscow picture has been favoured.

Monet and Camille Doncieux had married just before the war (28 June 1870)  and, after their excursion to London and Zaandam, they had moved to Argenteuil, in December 1871. It was during this time that Monet painted various works of modern life. Camille became ill in 1876. They had a second son, Michel, on 17 March 1878, (Jean was born in 1867). This second child weakened her already fading health. In that same year, Monet moved to the village of Vétheuil. On 5 September 1879, Camille Monet died of tuberculosis at the age of thirty-two; Monet painted her on her death bed.

After several difficult months following the death of Camille in September, 1879, a grief-stricken Monet (resolving never to be mired in poverty again) began in earnest to create some of his best paintings of the 19th century. During the early 1880s, Monet painted several groups of landscapes and seascapes in what he considered to be campaigns to document the French countryside. His extensive campaigns evolved into his series’ paintings.

During the 1890s, Monet built a greenhouse and a second studio, a spacious building well lit with skylights. Beginning in the 1880s and 1890s through the end of his life in 1926, Monet worked on “series” paintings, in which a subject was depicted in varying light and weather conditions. His first series exhibited as such was of Haystacks, painted from different points of view and at different times of the day. Fifteen of the paintings were exhibited at the Galerie Durand-Ruel in 1891. He later produced several series of paintings including: Rouen Cathedral, Poplars, the Parliament, Mornings on the Seine, and the Water Lilies that were painted on his property at Giverny.

Claude Monet - The Studio Boat Claude Monet – The Studio Boat

Monet was fond of painting controlled nature: his own gardens in Giverny, with its water lilies, pond, and bridge. He also painted up and down the banks of the Seine, producing paintings such as Break-up of the ice on the Seine. He wrote daily instructions to his gardener, precise designs and layouts for plantings, and invoices for his floral purchases and his collection of botany books. As Monet’s wealth grew, his garden evolved. He remained its architect, even after he hired seven gardeners. Between 1883 and 1908, Monet traveled to the Mediterranean, where he painted landmarks, landscapes, and seascapes, such as Bordighera. He painted an important series of paintings in Venice, Italy, and in London he painted two important series—views of Parliament and views of Charing Cross Bridge. His second wife, Alice, died in 1911 and his oldest son Jean, who had married Alice’s daughter Blanche, Monet’s particular favourite, died in 1914. After Alice died, Blanche looked after and cared for Monet. It was during this time that Monet began to develop the first signs of cataracts.

During World War I, in which his younger son Michel served and his friend and admirer Clemenceau led the French nation, Monet painted a series of weeping willow trees as homage to the French fallen soldiers. In 1923, he underwent two operations to remove his cataracts: the paintings done while the cataracts affected his vision have a general reddish tone, which is characteristic of the vision of cataract victims. It may also be that after surgery he was able to see certain ultraviolet wavelengths of light that are normally excluded by the lens of the eye; this may have had an effect on the colors he perceived. After his operations he even repainted some of these paintings, with bluer water lilies than before.

Claude Monet - The Picnic Claude Monet – The Picnic

Monet died of lung cancer on 5 December 1926 at the age of 86 and is buried in the Giverny church cemetery. Monet had insisted that the occasion be simple; thus only about fifty people attended the ceremony. His home, garden and waterlily pond were bequeathed by his son Michel, his only heir, to the French Academy of Fine Arts (part of the Institut de France) in 1966.

Claude Monet - On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt Claude Monet – On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt

Through the Foundation Claude Monet, the house and gardens were opened for visits in 1980, following restoration. In addition to souvenirs of Monet and other objects of his life, the house contains his collection of Japanese woodcut prints. The house is one of the two main attractions of Giverny, which hosts tourists from all over the world.

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 15/03/2014

Raphael Sanzio -The Canigiani Madonna

16 Great Artists of the Renaissance

The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned the period roughly from the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. Though availability of paper and the invention of metal movable type sped the dissemination of ideas from the later 15th century, the changes of the Renaissance were not uniformly experienced across Europe.

As a cultural movement, it encompassed innovative flowering of Latin and vernacular literatures, beginning with the 14th-century resurgence of learning based on classical sources, which contemporaries credited to Petrarch, the development of linear perspective and other techniques of rendering a more natural reality in painting, and gradual but widespread educational reform. In politics the Renaissance contributed the development of the conventions of diplomacy, and in science an increased reliance on observation.

16 Great artists of the Renaissance

16 Great artists of the Renaissance

Historians often argue this intellectual transformation was a bridge between the Middle Ages and the Modern era. Although the Renaissance saw revolutions in many intellectual pursuits, as well as social and political upheaval, it is perhaps best known for its artistic developments and the contributions of such polymaths as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, who inspired the term “Renaissance man”.

There is a consensus that the Renaissance began in Florence, Italy, in the 14th century. Various theories have been proposed to account for its origins and characteristics, focusing on a variety of factors including the social and civic peculiarities of Florence at the time; its political structure; the patronage of its dominant family, the Medici; and the migration of Greek scholars and texts to Italy following the Fall of Constantinople at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.

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

Now you might wonder, why instead of just making this list here, i made it on and then embed it here? Well for one you can embed it too if you so wish in your blog! Which would be cool, but most importantly, those artist are ordered by date of birth, so we can have fun together voting for our top renaissance artists, and ordering the list to become a top 16!

So with no further ado enjoy!

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 21/10/2013


Amazing Fantasy Paintings by Jon Foster

Today we have with us some of the amazing fantasy paintings of John Foster. Fantasy meets surrealistic elements in a very beautiful and unique painting style.

Jon Foster would have to be considered one of the top concept artists working today. He has a very strong following among the Sci-fi / Sci-fantasy community. He is a sought out speaker and lecturer on the subject and is a superstar illustrator who has won many of the top honors in the fantasy world, including two silver and three gold awards from Spectrum: The Best of Contemporary Fantastic Art. Jon also was awarded the David P. Usher/Greenwich Workshop Memorial Award in the Society of Illustrators annual 43, has been nominated twice for the Chesley Awards, and was winner of the 2008 Dark Scribe Quill Award for Best Cover.

Jon Foster’s works have appeared in publications such as National Geographic, Universal Orlando, Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics, Tor Books, Simon and Schuster, Harry S. Abrams Books, Boston Globe, Underwood Books, Knopf, Delacorte, Del Rey Books, Scholastic, Fox Atomic, Little Brown, Nightshade books, Subterranean Press. He currently teaches at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design when he is not turning out a award winning illustrations.

Let’s see some of his amazing works, and don’t forget that you can find more in the artist’s portfolio.

Images are displayed here because they are licensed as Creative Commons – Attribution by the artist in his Behance portfolio and for the sole purpose of promoting his work and art.

Article publié pour la première fois le 19/09/2013


Stunning landscape photography

Landscape photography is intended to show different spaces within the world, sometimes vast and unending, but other times microscopic. Photographs typically capture the presence of nature and are often free of man-made obstructions. Landscape photographers often attempt to document the space as well as convey an appreciation of the scenery.

Many landscape photographs show little or no human activity and are created in the pursuit of a pure, unsullied depiction of nature devoid of human influence, instead featuring subjects such as strongly defined landforms, weather, and ambient light. As with most forms of art, the definition of a landscape photograph is broad, and now includes urban settings, industrial areas, and nature photography. Waterfalls, coastlines, seascapes and mountains are especially popular in classic landscape photography. Though most photographs are inspired by traditional landscape painting, the technique can be applied to other subjects; most places and things can be photographed as a landscape, a kitchen, a lamp, a wall, or even the human body.

Notable landscape photographers include Ansel AdamsGalen Rowell and Edward Weston.

Let’s see our today’s selection which come to us by the photographers Jakub Polomski, Jon Reid, Nandakumar Narasimhan, Navid Baraty, Patrick Galibert and Sander Koot!

Hope you enjoyed today’s article! 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 12/09/2012

Giovanni Lanfranco - The Annunciation

Masters of Art: Giovanni Lanfranco (1582 – 1647)

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

Movements: Baroque, Illusionism

Giovanni Gaspare Lanfranco was born in Parma, the third son of Stefano and Cornelia Lanfranchi, and was placed as a page in the household of Count Orazio Scotti.

Giovanni Lanfranco - St Ursula and the Virgins

Giovanni Lanfranco – St Ursula and the Virgins

His talent for drawing allowed him to begin an apprenticeship with the Bolognese artist Agostino Carracci, brother of Annibale Carracci, working alongside fellow Parmese Sisto Badalocchio in the local Farnese palaces. When Agostino died in 1602, both young artists moved to Annibale’s large and prominent Roman workshop, which was then involved in working on the Galleria Farnese in the Palazzo Farnese gallery ceiling.

Lanfranco is considered to have contributed to the panel of Polyphemus and Galatea (replica in Doria Gallery) and some minor works in the room.

Afterwards, while still technically a member of the Carracci studio of Carracci, Lanfranco, along with Guido Reni and Francesco Albani, frescoed the Herrera (San Diego) Chapel in San Giacomo degli Spagnoli (1602–1607). He also participated in the fresco decoration of San Gregorio Magno and of the Cappella Paolina in Santa Maria Maggiore.

By 1605, Lanfranco was obtaining some independent commissions; for example, he contributed paintings to the Camerino degli Eremiti in the Palazzetto Farnese (also known as Casino della Morte), once a low building on the Via Giulia, adjacent to the church of Santa Maria dell’Orazione e Morte. The camerino had been constructed by Cardinal Odoardo Farnese, next to his palace and gardens, and was destroyed in 1734 to allow for the construction of the aforementioned church. Of the canvases and frescoes by Domenichino, Girolamo Pulzone, Paul Bril, and Lanfranco, some are conserved in the new church. Among other works, Lanfranco contributed to this series, the eccentric Translation of the Magdalen.

After the death of Annibale Carracci in 1609, and with the Emilian school of painting temporarily out of favor, Lanfranco returned to his native Parma for two years. There, he met Bartolomeo Schedoni and painted the altarpiece for the Ognissanti church. Lanfranco also produced paintings and altarpieces in Orvieto, Vallerano, Leonessa and Fermo.

Let’s now enjoy his most celebrated works:

Giovanni Lanfranco - Madonna and Child with Sts Anthony Abbot and James the Greater

Giovanni Lanfranco – Madonna and Child with Sts Anthony Abbot and James the Greater

Giovanni Lanfranco - Mary Magdalen Raised by Angels

Giovanni Lanfranco – Mary Magdalen Raised by Angels

Giovanni Lanfranco - Norandino and Lucina Discovered by the Ogre

Giovanni Lanfranco – Norandino and Lucina Discovered by the Ogre

Giovanni Lanfranco - Rinaldo's Farewell to Armida

Giovanni Lanfranco – Rinaldo’s Farewell to Armida

Giovanni Lanfranco - St Andrea Avellino

Giovanni Lanfranco – St Andrea Avellino

Giovanni Lanfranco - St Peter Healing St Agatha

Giovanni Lanfranco – St Peter Healing St Agatha

Giovanni Lanfranco - The Annunciation

Giovanni Lanfranco – The Annunciation

Giovanni Lanfranco - Venus Playing the Harp (Allegory of Music)

Giovanni Lanfranco – Venus Playing the Harp (Allegory of Music)

Giovanni Lanfranco - Angelica and Medoro

Giovanni Lanfranco – Angelica and Medoro

Giovanni Lanfranco - Coronation of the Virgin with St Augustine and St William of Aquitaine

Giovanni Lanfranco – Coronation of the Virgin with St Augustine and St William of Aquitaine

Giovanni Lanfranco - Ecstasy of St Margaret of Cortona

Giovanni Lanfranco – Ecstasy of St Margaret of Cortona

Lanfranco was a versatile and eclectic trainee of the Carracci, and continued their tradition with dramatic flair compared to the often restrained Domenichino, who mimicked mainly Annibale’s grand manner. Lanfranco explored new styles, bridged traditions, painted in both mannerist and baroque styles, using a tenebrist and the colorist palette.

He died in Rome in 1647, where his last work was apse of San Carlo ai Catinari.

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 08/11/2012


Masters of Art: Leonardo DaVinci (1452 – 1519)

Leonardo da Vinci born Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519) was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal.

Movements: Renaissance, Secularism, Naturalism, Idealism

Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa

Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance Man, a man of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination.

He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived.  According to art historian Helen Gardner, the scope and depth of his interests were without precedent and “his mind and personality seem to us superhuman, the man himself mysterious and remote”.

Leonardo was and is renowned primarily as a painter. Among his works, the Mona Lisa is the most famous and most parodied portrait and The Last Supper the most reproduced religious painting of all time, with their fame approached only by Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam Leonardo’s drawing of the Vitruvian Man is also regarded as a cultural icon  being reproduced on items as varied as the euro, textbooks, and T-shirts.

Perhaps fifteen of his paintings survive, the small number because of his constant, and frequently disastrous, experimentation with new techniques, and his chronic procrastination.

Nevertheless, these few works, together with his notebooks, which contain drawings, scientific diagrams, and his thoughts on the nature of painting, compose a contribution to later generations of artists rivalled only by that of his contemporary, Michelangelo.

Leonardo is revered for his technological ingenuity. He conceptualised a helicopter, a tank, concentrated solar power, a calculator, and the double hull, and he outlined a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics. Relatively few of his designs were constructed or were even feasible during his lifetime, but some of his smaller inventions, such as an automated bobbin winder and a machine for testing the tensile strength of wire, entered the world of manufacturing unheralded.




The Baptism of Christ

The Baptism of Christ

Madonne à l'enfant

Madonne à l’enfant

 Last Supper

Last Supper


He made important discoveries in anatomy, civil engineering, optics, and hydrodynamics, but he did not publish his findings and they had no direct influence on later science.

Despite the recent awareness and admiration of Leonardo as a scientist and inventor, for the better part of four hundred years his fame rested on his achievements as a painter and on a handful of works, either authenticated or attributed to him that have been regarded as among the masterpieces.

These paintings are famous for a variety of qualities which have been much imitated by students and discussed at great length by connoisseurs and critics. Among the qualities that make Leonardo’s work unique are the innovative techniques that he used in laying on the paint, his detailed knowledge of anatomy, light, botany and geology, his interest in physiognomy and the way in which humans register emotion in expression and gesture, his innovative use of the human form in figurative composition, and his use of the subtle gradation of tone. All these qualities come together in his most famous painted works, the Mona Lisa, the Last Supper and the Virgin of the Rocks.

Leonardo was not a prolific painter, but he was a most prolific draftsman, keeping journals full of small sketches and detailed drawings recording all manner of things that took his attention. As well as the journals there exist many studies for paintings, some of which can be identified as preparatory to particular works such as The Adoration of the Magi, The Virgin of the Rocks and The Last Supper. His earliest dated drawing is a Landscape of the Arno Valley, 1473, which shows the river, the mountains, Montelupo Castle and the farmlands beyond it in great detail.

Among his famous drawings are the Vitruvian Man, a study of the proportions of the human body, the Head of an Angel, for The Virgin of the Rocks in the Louvre, a botanical study of Star of Bethlehem and a large drawing (160×100 cm) in black chalk on coloured paper of The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and St. John the Baptist in the National Gallery, London.

This drawing employs the subtle sfumato technique of shading, in the manner of the Mona Lisa. It is thought that Leonardo never made a painting from it, the closest similarity being to The Virgin and Child with St. Anne in the Louvre

Other drawings of interest include numerous studies generally referred to as “caricatures” because, although exaggerated, they appear to be based upon observation of live models. Vasari relates that if Leonardo saw a person with an interesting face he would follow them around all day observing them.

There are numerous studies of beautiful young men, often associated with Salai, with the rare and much admired facial feature, the so-called “Grecian profile”. These faces are often contrasted with that of a warrior. Salai is often depicted in fancy-dress costume. Leonardo is known to have designed sets for pageants with which these may be associated. Other, often meticulous, drawings show studies of drapery. A marked development in Leonardo’s ability to draw drapery occurred in his early works. Another often-reproduced drawing is a macabre sketch that was done by Leonardo in Florence in 1479 showing the body of Bernardo Baroncelli, hanged in connection with the murder of Giuliano, brother of Lorenzo de’Medici, in the Pazzi Conspiracy. With dispassionate integrity Leonardo has registered in neat mirror writing the colours of the robes that Baroncelli was wearing when he died.


Study of a Tuscan Landscape

Study of a Tuscan Landscape

Views of a Foetus in the Womb

Views of a Foetus in the Womb

The interest in Leonardo’s genius has continued unabated; experts study and translate his writings, analyse his paintings using scientific techniques, argue over attributions and search for works which have been recorded but never found.

Liana Bortolon, writing in 1967, said:

Because of the multiplicity of interests that spurred him to pursue every field of knowledge … Leonardo can be considered, quite rightly, to have been the universal genius par excellence, and with all the disquieting overtones inherent in that term. Man is as uncomfortable today, faced with a genius, as he was in the 16th century.Five centuries have passed, yet we still view Leonardo with awe!

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 28/08/2012


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

Edgar Degas - The Blue Dancers

Life and Paintings of Edgar Degas (1834 – 1917)

Edgar Degas ( born Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas, 19 July 1834 – 27 September 1917), was a French artist famous for his paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings. He is especially identified with the subject of dance; more than half of his works depict dancers.

Movements: Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Modernism 

He is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism, although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist. He was a superb draftsman, and particularly masterful in depicting movement, as can be seen in his renditions of dancers, racecourse subjects and female nudes. His portraits are notable for their psychological complexity and for their portrayal of human isolation.

Edgar Degas - Absinthe Drinkers

Edgar Degas – Absinthe Drinkers

At the beginning of his career, he wanted to be a history painter, a calling for which he was well prepared by his rigorous academic training and close study of classic art. In his early thirties, he changed course, and by bringing the traditional methods of a history painter to bear on contemporary subject matter, he became a classical painter of modern life.

Degas was born in Paris, France, into a moderately wealthy family. He was the oldest of five children of Célestine Musson De Gas, a Creole from New Orleans, and Augustin De Gas, a banker. (His family’s name had originally been spelled “Degas”, and Degas adopted this less grandiose spelling when he became an adult.)  Degas began his schooling at age eleven, enrolling in the Lycée Louis-le-Grand. His mother died when he was thirteen, and his father and grandfather became the main influences on him for the remainder of his youth.

Degas began to paint early in life. By the time he graduated from the Lycée in 1853, at age 18, with a baccalauréat in literature, he had turned a room in his home into an artist’s studio. Upon graduating, he registered as a copyist in the Louvre Museum, but his father expected him to go to law school. Degas duly enrolled at the Faculty of Law of the University of Paris, in November 1853, but applied little effort to his studies. In 1855, Degas met Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, whom he revered, and whose advice he never forgot: “Draw lines, young man, and still more lines, both from life and from memory, and you will become a good artist.”

In April of that year, Degas was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts. He studied drawing there with Louis Lamothe, under whose guidance he flourished, following the style of Ingres.

In July 1856, Degas traveled to Italy, where he would remain for the next three years. In 1858, while staying with his aunt’s family in Naples, he made the first studies for his early masterpiece, The Bellelli Family. He also drew and painted numerous copies of works by Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, and other Renaissance artists, but—contrary to conventional practice—he usually selected from an altarpiece a detail that had caught his attention—a secondary figure, or a head which he treated as a portrait

Upon his return to France in 1859, Degas moved into a Paris studio large enough to permit him to begin painting The Bellelli Family—an imposing canvas he intended for exhibition in the Salon, although it remained unfinished until 1867. He also began work on several history paintings: Alexander and Bucephalus and The Daughter of Jephthah in 1859–60; Sémiramis Building Babylon in 1860; and Young Spartans around 1860.

In 1861, Degas visited his childhood friend Paul Valpinçon in Normandy, and made the earliest of his many studies of horses. He exhibited at the Salon for the first time in 1865, when the jury accepted his painting Scene of War in the Middle Ages, which attracted little attention.  Although he exhibited annually in the Salon during the next five years, he submitted no more history paintings, and his Steeplechase—The Fallen Jockey (Salon of 1866) signaled his growing commitment to contemporary subject matter. The change in his art was influenced primarily by the example of Édouard Manet, whom Degas had met in 1864 (while both were copying the same Velázquez portrait in the Louvre, according to a story that may be apocryphal).

Edgar Degas - At the Mirror

Edgar Degas – At the Mirror

Upon the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, Degas enlisted in the National Guard, where his defense of Paris left him little time for painting. During rifle training his eyesight was found to be defective, and for the rest of his life his eye problems were a constant worry to him.

After the war, in 1872, Degas began an extended stay in New Orleans, Louisiana, where his brother René and a number of other relatives lived. Staying at the home of his Creole uncle, Michel Musson, on Esplanade Avenue, Degas produced a number of works, many depicting family members. One of Degas’s New Orleans works, A Cotton Office in New Orleans, garnered favorable attention back in France, and was his only work purchased by a museum (the Pau) during his lifetime.

Degas returned to Paris in 1873, and his father died the following year, whereupon Degas learned that his brother René had amassed enormous business debts. To preserve his family’s reputation, Degas sold his house and an art collection he had inherited, and used the money to pay off his brother’s debts. Dependent for the first time in his life on sales of his artwork for income, he produced much of his greatest work during the decade beginning in 1874. Disenchanted by now with the Salon, he instead joined a group of young artists who were organizing an independent exhibiting society.

The group soon became known as the Impressionists. Between 1874 and 1886, they mounted eight art shows, known as the Impressionist Exhibitions. Degas took a leading role in organizing the exhibitions, and showed his work in all but one of them, despite his persistent conflicts with others in the group. He had little in common with Monet and the other landscape painters in the group, whom he mocked for painting outdoors. Conservative in his social attitudes, he abhorred the scandal created by the exhibitions, as well as the publicity and advertising that his colleagues sought.[1] He also deeply disliked being associated with the term “Impressionist,” which the press had coined and popularized, and insisted on including non-Impressionist artists such as Jean-Louis Forain and Jean-François Raffaëlli in the group’s exhibitions. The resulting rancor within the group contributed to its disbanding in 1886.

As his financial situation improved through sales of his own work, he was able to indulge his passion for collecting works by artists he admired: old masters such as El Greco and such contemporaries as Manet, Pissarro, Cézanne, Gauguin, and Van Gogh. Three artists he idolized, Ingres, Delacroix, and Daumier, were especially well represented in his collection.

In the late 1880s, Degas also developed a passion for photography. He photographed many of his friends, often by lamplight, as in his double portrait of Renoir and Mallarmê. Other photographs, depicting dancers and nudes, were used for reference in some of Degas’s drawings and paintings.

Artistic Style

Degas is often identified as an Impressionist, an understandable but insufficient description. Impressionism originated in the 1860s and 1870s and grew, in part, from the realism of such painters as Courbet and Corot. The Impressionists painted the realities of the world around them using bright, “dazzling” colors, concentrating primarily on the effects of light, and hoping to infuse their scenes with immediacy.

Edgar Degas - Cabaret

Edgar Degas – Cabaret

Technically, Degas differs from the Impressionists in that he “never adopted the Impressionist color fleck”, and he continually belittled their practice of painting en plein air. “He was often as anti-impressionist as the critics who reviewed the shows”, according to art historian Carol Armstrong; as Degas himself explained, “no art was ever less spontaneous than mine. What I do is the result of reflection and of the study of the great masters; of inspiration, spontaneity, temperament, I know nothing.”

Nonetheless, he is described more accurately as an Impressionist than as a member of any other movement. His scenes of Parisian life, his off-center compositions, his experiments with color and form, and his friendship with several key Impressionist artists—most notably Mary Cassatt and Édouard Manet—all relate him intimately to the Impressionist movement.

Degas’s style reflects his deep respect for the old masters (he was an enthusiastic copyist well into middle age) and his great admiration for Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres and Eugène Delacroix. He was also a collector of Japanese prints, whose compositional principles influenced his work, as did the vigorous realism of popular illustrators such as Daumier and Gavarni. Although famous for horses and dancers, Degas began with conventional historical paintings such as The Daughter of Jephthah (c.1859–61) and The Young Spartans (c.1860–62), in which his gradual progress toward a less idealized treatment of the figure is already apparent. During his early career, Degas also painted portraits of individuals and groups; an example of the latter is The Bellelli Family (c.1858–67), a brilliantly composed and psychologically poignant portrayal of his aunt, her husband, and their children. In this painting, as in The Young Spartans and many later works, Degas was drawn to the tensions present between men and women. In his early paintings, Degas already evidenced the mature style that he would later develop more fully by cropping subjects awkwardly and by choosing unusual viewpoints.

By the late 1860s, Degas had shifted from his initial forays into history painting to an original observation of contemporary life. Racecourse scenes provided an opportunity to depict horses and their riders in a modern context. He began to paint women at work, milliners and laundresses. Mlle. Fiocre in the Ballet La Source, exhibited in the Salon of 1868, was his first major work to introduce a subject with which he would become especially identified, dancers.

In many subsequent paintings dancers were shown backstage or in rehearsal, emphasizing their status as professionals doing a job. From 1870 Degas increasingly painted ballet subjects, partly because they sold well and provided him with needed income after his brother’s debts had left the family bankrupt. Degas began to paint café life as well, in works such as L’Absinthe and Singer with a Glove.

As his subject matter changed, so, too, did Degas’s technique. The dark palette that bore the influence of Dutch painting gave way to the use of vivid colors and bold brushstrokes. Paintings such as Place de la Concorde read as “snapshots,” freezing moments of time to portray them accurately, imparting a sense of movement. The lack of color in the 1874 Ballet Rehearsal on Stage and the 1876 The Ballet Instructor can be said to link with his interest in the new technique of photography. The changes to his palette, brushwork, and sense of composition all evidence the influence that both the Impressionist movement and modern photography, with its spontaneous images and off-kilter angles, had on his work.

Edgar Degas - Musicians in the Orchestra

Edgar Degas – Musicians in the Orchestra

Blurring the distinction between portraiture and genre pieces, he painted his bassoonist friend, Désiré Dihau, in The Orchestra of the Opera (1868–69) as one of fourteen musicians in an orchestra pit, viewed as though by a member of the audience. Above the musicians can be seen only the legs and tutus of the dancers onstage, their figures cropped by the edge of the painting. Art historian Charles Stuckey has compared the viewpoint to that of a distracted spectator at a ballet, and says that “it is Degas’ fascination with the depiction of movement, including the movement of a spectator’s eyes as during a random glance, that is properly speaking ‘Impressionist’.

As the years passed, Degas became isolated, due in part to his belief that a painter could have no personal life.

Degas, who believed that “the artist must live alone, and his private life must remain unknown”, lived an outwardly uneventful life. In company he was known for his wit, which could often be cruel. He was characterized as an “old curmudgeon” by the novelist George Moore, and he deliberately cultivated his reputation as a misanthropic bachelor.

Profoundly conservative in his political opinions, he opposed all social reforms and found little to admire in such technological advances as the telephone.

Edgar Degas - Dancers in the Wings

Edgar Degas – Dancers in the Wings


Edgar Degas - Woman in Bath

Edgar Degas – Woman in Bath

Edgar Degas - Woman Combing Her Hair

Edgar Degas – Woman Combing Her Hair

Edgar Degas - Two Laundresses

Edgar Degas – Two Laundresses

Edgar Degas - The Sufferings of the City of New Orleans

Edgar Degas – The Sufferings of the City of New Orleans

Edgar Degas - The Green Dancers

Edgar Degas – The Green Dancers

Edgar Degas - The Foyer of the Opera at Rue Le Peletier

Edgar Degas – The Foyer of the Opera at Rue Le Peletier

Edgar Degas - The Dancing Class

Edgar Degas – The Dancing Class

Edgar Degas - The Dance Class

Edgar Degas – The Dance Class

Edgar Degas - The Cotton Exchange in New Orleans

Edgar Degas – The Cotton Exchange in New Orleans

Edgar Degas - The Blue Dancers

Edgar Degas – The Blue Dancers

Edgar Degas - The Ballet Scene from Meyerbeer's Opera 'Robert le Diable'

Edgar Degas – The Ballet Scene from Meyerbeer’s Opera ‘Robert le Diable’

Edgar Degas - Six Friends of the Artist

Edgar Degas – Six Friends of the Artist

Edgar Degas - Self-Portrait

Edgar Degas – Self-Portrait

Edgar Degas - Portraits of Lorenzo Pagans and Auguste Degas

Edgar Degas – Portraits of Lorenzo Pagans and Auguste Degas

Edgar Degas - Monsieur and Madame Edmondo Morbilli

Edgar Degas – Monsieur and Madame Edmondo Morbilli

Edgar Degas - Mademoiselle Dihau at the Piano

Edgar Degas – Mademoiselle Dihau at the Piano

Edgar Degas - Jephthah's Daughter

Edgar Degas – Jephthah’s Daughter

Edgar Degas - Hilaire de Gas

Edgar Degas – Hilaire de Gas

Edgar Degas - Four Dancers

Edgar Degas – Four Dancers

Edgar Degas - Edmond Duranty

Edgar Degas – Edmond Duranty

Although he is known to have been working in pastel as late as the end of 1907, and is believed to have continued making sculpture as late as 1910, he apparently ceased working in 1912, when the impending demolition of his longtime residence on the rue Victor Massé forced him to move to quarters on the boulevard de Clichy. He never married and spent the last years of his life, nearly blind, restlessly wandering the streets of Paris before dying in September 1917.

Recognized as an important artist in his lifetime, Degas is now considered “one of the founders of Impressionism”. Though his work crossed many stylistic boundaries, his involvement with the other major figures of Impressionism and their exhibitions, his dynamic paintings and sketches of everyday life and activities, and his bold color experiments, served to finally tie him to the Impressionist movement as one of its greatest artists.

His paintings, pastels, drawings, and sculptures are on prominent display in many museums.

And although Degas had no formal pupils, he greatly influenced several important painters, most notably Jean-Louis Forain, Mary Cassatt, and Walter Sickert; his greatest admirer may have been Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

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 19/04/2014

Diego Velázquez - Las Meninas or The Family of Philip IV

Masters of Art: Diego de Velázquez (1599 – 1660)

Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (June 6, 1599 – August 6, 1660) was a Spanish painter who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. He was an individualistic artist of the contemporary Baroque period, important as a portrait artist. In addition to numerous renditions of scenes of historical and cultural significance, he painted scores of portraits of the Spanish royal family, other notable European figures, and commoners, culminating in the production of his masterpiece Las Meninas (1656).

Movements: Baroque, Realism, Absolutism, Pietism, Gesturalism, Emotionalism, Sectarianism

From the first quarter of the nineteenth century, Velázquez’s artwork was a model for the realist and impressionist painters, in particular Édouard Manet. Since that time, more modern artists, including Spain’s Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, as well as the Anglo-Irish painter Francis Bacon, have paid tribute to Velázquez by recreating several of his most famous works.

Born in Seville, Andalusia, Spain, Diego, the first child of Juan Rodríguez de Silva and Jerónima Velázquez, was baptized at the church of St Peter in Seville on Sunday, June 6, 1599. This christening must have followed the baby’s birth by no more than a few weeks, or perhaps only a few days. Velázquez’s paternal grandparents, Diego da Silva and Maria Rodrigues, had moved to Seville from their native Porto, Portugal decades earlier. As for Juan Rodríguez de Silva and his wife, both were born in Seville, and were married, also at the church of St Peter, on December 28, 1597. They came from the lesser nobility and were accorded the privileges generally enjoyed by the gentry.

Velázquez was educated by his parents to fear God and, intended for a learned profession, received good training in languages and philosophy. Influenced by many artists he showed an early gift for art; consequently, he began to study under Francisco de Herrera, a vigorous painter who disregarded the Italian influence of the early Seville school. Velázquez remained with him for one year. It was probably from Herrera that he learned to use brushes with long bristles.

Diego Velázquez - Las Meninas or The Family of Philip IV

Diego Velázquez – Las Meninas or The Family of Philip IV

After leaving Herrera’s studio when he was 12 years old, Velázquez began to serve as an apprentice under Francisco Pacheco, an artist and teacher in Seville. Though considered a generally dull, undistinguished painter, Pacheco sometimes expressed a simple, direct realism in contradiction to the style of Raphael that he was taught. Velázquez remained in Pacheco’s school for five years, studying proportion and perspective and witnessing the trends in the literary and artistic circles of Seville.

Besides the forty portraits of Philip by Velázquez, he painted portraits of other members of the royal family: Philip’s first wife, Elisabeth of Bourbon, and her children, especially her eldest son, Don Baltasar Carlos, of whom there is a beautiful full-length in a private room at Buckingham Palace. Cavaliers, soldiers, churchmen, and the poet Francisco de Quevedo (now at Apsley House), sat for Velázquez.

Velázquez also painted several buffoons and dwarfs in Philip’s court, often with respect and sympathetically, as in The Favorite (1644), whose intelligent face and huge folio with ink-bottle and pen by his side show him to be a wiser and better-educated man than many of the gallants of the court. Pablo de Valladolid (1635), a buffoon evidently acting a part, and The Buffoon of Coria (1639) belong to this middle period.

The greatest of the religious paintings by Velázquez also belongs to this middle period, the Christ Crucified (1632). It is a work of tremendous originality, depicting Christ immediately after death. The Savior’s head hangs on his breast and a mass of dark tangled hair conceals part of the face. The figure stands alone. The picture was lengthened to suit its place in an oratory, but this addition has since been removed. Some believe that the man in this painting is his uncle.

Velázquez’s son-in-law Juan Bautista Martinez del Mazo had succeeded him as usher in 1634, and Mazo himself had received a steady promotion in the royal household. Mazo received a pension of 500 ducats in 1640, increased to 700 in 1648, for portraits painted and to be painted, and was appointed inspector of works in the palace in 1647.

Diego Velázquez - The Surrender of Breda (Las Lanzas)

Diego Velázquez – The Surrender of Breda (Las Lanzas)

Philip now entrusted Velázquez with carrying out a design on which he had long set his heart: the founding of an academy of art in Spain. Rich in pictures, Spain was weak in statuary, and Velázquez was commissioned once again to proceed to Italy to make purchases.

In 1660 a peace treaty between France and Spain was consummated by the marriage of Maria Theresa with Louis XIV, and the ceremony took place on the Island of Pheasants, a small swampy island in the Bidassoa. Velázquez was charged with the decoration of the Spanish pavilion and with the entire scenic display. He attracted much attention from the nobility of his bearing and the splendor of his costume. On June 26 he returned to Madrid, and on July 31 he was stricken with fever. Feeling his end approaching, he signed his will, appointing as his sole executors his wife and his firm friend named Fuensalida, keeper of the royal records. He died on August 6, 1660. He was buried in the Fuensalida vault of the church of San Juan Bautista, and within eight days his wife Juana was buried beside him. Unfortunately, this church was destroyed by the French in 1811, so his place of interment is now unknown.

The importance of Velázquez’s art even today is evident in considering the respect with which twentieth century painters regard his work.

Until the nineteenth century, little was known outside of Spain of Velázquez’s work. His paintings mostly escaped being stolen by the French marshals during the Peninsular War. In 1828 Sir David Wilkie wrote from Madrid that he felt himself in the presence of a new power in art as he looked at the works of Velázquez, and at the same time found a wonderful affinity between this artist and the British school of portrait painters, especially Henry Raeburn. He was struck by the modern impression pervading Velázquez’s work in both landscape and portraiture. Presently, his technique and individuality have earned Velázquez a prominent position in the annals of European art, and he is often considered a father of the Spanish school of art. Although acquainted with all the Italian schools and a friend of the foremost painters of his day, he was strong enough to withstand external influences and work out for himself the development of his own nature and his own principles of art.

Diego Velázquez - Venus at her Mirror (The Rokeby Venus)

Diego Velázquez – Venus at her Mirror (The Rokeby Venus)

Velázquez is often cited as a key influence on the art of Édouard Manet, important when considering that Manet is often cited as the bridge between realism and impressionism. Calling Velázquez the “painter of painters”, Manet admired Velázquez’s use of vivid brushwork in the midst of the baroque academic style of his contemporaries and built upon Velázquez’s motifs in his own art.

Pablo Picasso presented the most durable homages to Velázquez in 1957 when he recreated Las Meninas in 58 variations, in his characteristically cubist form. Although Picasso was concerned that his reinterpretations of Velázquez’s painting would be seen merely as copies rather than unique representations, the enormous works—including the largest he had produced since Guernica in 1937—earned a position of relevance in the Spanish canon of art. Picasso retained the general form and positioning of the original in the framework of his avant-garde cubist style.

Salvador Dalí, as with Picasso in anticipation of the tercentennial of Velázquez’s death, created in 1958 a work entitled Velázquez Painting the Infanta Margarita With the Lights and Shadows of His Own Glory. The color scheme shows Dalí’s serious tribute to Velázquez; the work also functioned, as in Picasso’s case, as a vehicle for the presentation of newer theories in art and thought—nuclear mysticism, in Dalí’s case.

The Anglo-Irish painter Francis Bacon found Velázquez’s portrait of Pope Innocent X to be one of the greatest portraits ever made. He created several expressionist variations of this piece in the 1950s; however, Bacon’s paintings presented a more gruesome image of the pope, who had now been dead for centuries. One such famous variation, entitled Figure with Meat (1954), shows the pope between two halves of a bisected cow.

Diego Velázquez - Self-Portrait

Diego Velázquez – Self-Portrait


Diego Velázquez - The Waterseller of Seville

Diego Velázquez – The Waterseller of Seville

Diego Velázquez - Arachne

Diego Velázquez – Arachne

Diego Velázquez - Breakfast

Diego Velázquez – Breakfast

Diego Velázquez - Joseph's Bloody Coat Brought to Jacob

Diego Velázquez – Joseph’s Bloody Coat Brought to Jacob

Diego Velázquez - King Philip IV as a Huntsman

Diego Velázquez – King Philip IV as a Huntsman

Diego Velázquez - Lady with a Fan

Diego Velázquez – Lady with a Fan

Diego Velázquez - Portrait of a Knight of the Order of Santiago

Diego Velázquez – Portrait of a Knight of the Order of Santiago

Diego Velázquez - Queen Isabel, Standing

Diego Velázquez – Queen Isabel, Standing

Diego Velázquez - The Adoration of the Magi

Diego Velázquez – The Adoration of the Magi

Diego Velázquez - The Fable of Arachne (Las Hilanderas)

Diego Velázquez – The Fable of Arachne (Las Hilanderas)

Diego Velázquez - The Immaculate Conception

Diego Velázquez – The Immaculate Conception

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

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


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 29/11/2012

Paul Gauguin - Tahitian Women on the Beach

History of Modern Art: Post-Impressionism

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

Post-Impressionism is the term coined by the British artist and art critic Roger Fry in 1910 to describe the development of French art since Manet. Fry used the term when he organized the 1910 exhibition Manet and the Post-Impressionists.

Post-Impressionists extended Impressionism while rejecting its limitations: they continued using vivid colours, thick application of paint, distinctive brush strokes, and real-life subject matter, but they were more inclined to emphasize geometric forms, to distort form for expressive effect, and to use unnatural or arbitrary colour.

The Post-Impressionists were dissatisfied with the triviality of subject matter and the loss of structure in Impressionist paintings, though they did not agree on the way forward.

Paul Cezanne - Les joueurs de carte

Paul Cezanne – Les joueurs de carte

Georges Seurat and his followers concerned themselves with Pointillism, the systematic use of tiny dots of colour (we’ll examine Pointillism in the upcoming article of the series). Paul Cézanne set out to restore a sense of order and structure to painting, to “make of Impressionism something solid and durable, like the art of the museums”.

He achieved this by reducing objects to their basic shapes while retaining the bright fresh colours of Impressionism. The Impressionist Camille Pissarro experimented with Neo-Impressionist ideas between the mid 1880s and the early 1890s.

Discontented with what he referred to as romantic Impressionism, he investigated Pointillism which he called scientific Impressionism before returning to a purer Impressionism in the last decade of his life.

Vincent van Gogh used colour and vibrant swirling brush strokes to convey his feelings and his state of mind. Although they often exhibited together, Post-Impressionist artists were not in agreement concerning a cohesive movement. Younger painters during the 1890s and early 20th century worked in geographically disparate regions and in various stylistic categories, such as Fauvism and Cubism.

Vincent Willem van Gogh - Cafe Terrace at Night

Vincent Willem van Gogh – Cafe Terrace at Night

Fry later explained: “For purposes of convenience, it was necessary to give these artists a name, and I chose, as being the vaguest and most non-committal, the name of Post-Impressionism. This merely stated their position in time relatively to the Impressionist movement.”

John Rewald, one of the first professional art historians to focus on the birth of early modern art, limited the scope to the years between 1886 and 1892 in his pioneering publication on Post-Impressionism: From Van Gogh to Gauguin (1956): Rewald considered it to continue his History of Impressionism (1946), and pointed out that a “subsequent volume dedicated to the second half of the post-impressionist period”.  Post-Impressionism: From Gauguin to Matisse—was to follow, extending the period covered to other artistic movements derived from Impressionism and confined to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Rewald focused on outstanding early Post-Impressionists active in France: on Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, Redon, and their relations as well as the artistic circles they frequented (or they were in opposition to):

Neo-Impressionism: ridiculed by contemporary art critics as well as artists as Pointillism; Seurat and Signac would have preferred other terms: Divisionism for example.

Cloisonnism: a short-lived term introduced in 1888 by the art critic Édouard Dujardin, was to promote the work of Louis Anquetin, and was later also applied to contemporary works of his friend Émile Bernard

Synthetism: another short-lived term coined in 1889 to distinguish recent works of Gauguin and Bernard from that of more traditional Impressionists exhibiting with them at the Café Volpini.

Pont-Aven School: implying little more than that the artists involved had been working for a while in Pont-Aven or elsewhere in Brittany.

Symbolism: a term highly welcomed by vanguard critics in 1891, when Gauguin dropped Synthetism as soon as he was acclaimed to be the leader of Symbolism in painting.

Furthermore, in his introduction to Post-Impressionism, Rewald opted for a second volume featuring Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri Rousseau “le Douanier”, Les Nabis and Cézanne as well as the Fauves, the young Picasso and Gauguin’s last trip to the South-Sea; it was to expand the period covered at least into the first decade of the 20th century—yet this second volume remained unfinished.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - Equestrienne

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – Equestrienne

According to the present state of discussion, Post-Impressionism is a term best used within Rewald’s definition in a strictly historical manner, concentrating on French art between 1886 and 1914, and re-considering the altered positions of impressionist painters like Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir, and others—as well as all new brands at the turn of the century: from Cloisonnism to Cubism. The declarations of war, in July/August 1914, indicate probably far more than the beginning of a World War—they signal a major break in European cultural history, too.

Henri Rousseau - La zingara addormentata

Henri Rousseau – La zingara addormentata


Édouard Vuillard - Le Corsage rayé

Édouard Vuillard – Le Corsage rayé

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - Der Salon in der Rue des Moulins

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – Der Salon in der Rue des Moulins

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - La Goulue arrivant au Moulin Rouge

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – La Goulue arrivant au Moulin Rouge

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - The Bed

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – The Bed

Henri Rousseau - A Carnival Evening

Henri Rousseau – A Carnival Evening

Henri Rousseau - Fight Between a Tiger and a Buffalo

Henri Rousseau – Fight Between a Tiger and a Buffalo

Henri Rousseau - The Football Players

Henri Rousseau – The Football Players

Paul Cezanne - The Overture to Tannhauser

Paul Cezanne – The Overture to Tannhauser

Paul Gauguin -  The Siesta

Paul Gauguin – The Siesta

Paul Gauguin - Tahitian Women on the Beach

Paul Gauguin – Tahitian Women on the Beach

Paul Gauguin - The Swineherd, Brittany

Paul Gauguin – The Swineherd, Brittany

Vincent Willem van Gogh - Kornfeld mit Zypressen

Vincent Willem van Gogh – Kornfeld mit Zypressen


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

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Article publié pour la première fois le 01/12/2012