Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Ramon Casas i Carbó and the Young Lady After the Ball

'After the Ball' (1895) by Ramon Casas i Carbó; Museo de la Abadía de Montserrat, Barcelona
Already weeks ago I found out that Ramon Casas i Carbó had died on 29 February 1932, and that I could use him for this post. I had never heard of this painter before I went to the Barcelona exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum some years ago. The poster for the exhibition had an image of the poster Casas had made for an advertisement for Codorniu Champagne. I didn't want to do a post on the poster (although I love it and a small version of it is hanging framed in my kitchen) so to choose something else was quite difficult because there are many paintings that I like. Casas portrayed the Catalan bourgeoisie, mainly women, and also painted bullfights. I chose this painting of a young lady slouched on the sofa because its image features in a book that I have of women reading in art and I have loved this green and black painting ever since. 

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

William Degouve de Nuncques and Nocturne at the Royal Park

'Nocturne at the Royal Park, Brussels' (1897) by William Degouve de Nuncques; Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Yesterday I visited the new exhibition on Symbolism, Dreams of Nature, at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. There were beautiful paintings on display, some with incredible lighting, but I cannot post any of them here today, simply because the date of birth/death of the artists don't match. So I searched for a suitable artist and inspired by yesterday's exhibition, decided to post a painting of Belgian painter William Degouve de Nuncques, born on 28 February 1867. I had never heard of him but apparently the wonderful Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, that I have visited a couple of times, has the best collection of his paintings. He was a Symbolist painter and a major influence on Surrealism. His art is magical and mysterious and bears the influence of Symbolist poetry. I love this painting and I can imagine what it must be like seeing this in real life. Entering a room and being completely drawn in by the incredible light. This image from the internet certainly doesn't do the painting justice but it definitely makes you want to see the real thing.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Carel Fabritius and The Goldfinch

'The Goldfinch' (1654) by Carel Fabritius; Mauritshuis,
The Hague

This is one of the paintings that I come back to every time I visit the Mauritshuis in The Hague. It is small in size, you can easily miss it, but it is beautiful in simplicity and colour. The painter is Carel Fabritius, baptised on the 27th of February, 1622, and a pupil of Rembrandt. He was one of his most promising students and the only one to develop his own style. While other students of Rembrandt applied chiaroscuro, the paintings of Fabritius have an overall brightness. 'The Goldfinch' is a good example of this. Fabritius died at the early age of 32, on 12 October 1654, in a gunpowder explosion in Delft, which destroyed a quarter of the city and many of his paintings. Fabritius was a great influence on Johannes Vermeer.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Pieter Neeffs the Elder and Interior of a Gothic Church

'Interior of a Gothic Church' (1649) by Pieter Neeffs I; State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

I had some problems with finding a painter and painting for today. But now I'm quite satisfied with the Flemish Baroque painter Pieter Neeffs I (the Elder), born in 1578 and died on 26 February 1660. Wikipedia doesn't give any exact dates for birth and death but I found them on Safran-Arts. Pieter Neeffs was one of the most important architectural painters of the first half of the 17th century and was specialised in interiors of churches and cathedrals, mainly the Antwerp cathedral. I like his nocturnal church paintings where beautiful artificial light illuminates the interior.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Suzanne Valadon

'Girl braiding her hair (Suzanne Valadon)' (1885) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir; Private Collection

I think most people must have heard of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, born on 25 February 1841. He was a leading French Impressionist painter, best known for his vibrant colours and pretty scenes of children and lovely women. His early work is in the typical Impressionist tradition, but by the mid 1880s he applied a more formal and disciplined technique and started to emphasize the outlines of figures. He also turned to more timeless subjects, particularly nudes. I chose the painting 'Suzanne Valadon' from his later period because I like it better than his Impressionist images. I love the warm colours in this painting and the portrayal of the woman is beautiful. One of Renoir's sons was the renowned film maker Jean Renoir who wrote a touching biography about his father ('Renoir, my father', 1962).

Friday, 24 February 2012

Winslow Homer and Waiting for an Answer

'Waiting for an Answer' (1872) by Winslow Homer; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

It's not that I don't like Winslow Homer, born on the 24th of February, 1836, I think I was sort of indifferent to him. He was one of the most important painters of 19th century America, best known for his maritime and landscape paintings. I know him mainly from his -what I call- 'man in a boat' paintings. I didn't know much of his other work but he also portrayed women. He did both oil paintings and watercolours. There are actually quite some paintings that I could have chosen to post here but I chose the painting 'Waiting for an answer'. I like the fact that it is clearly telling a story. I also like the colours and the play with light and shade. I was wondering whether this courtship scene stood in relation to what was happening in Homer's own life at the time. Apparently in the early 1870s, he was very much attracted to a woman called Helena de Kay, so much that this was reflected in his art. Courtship seemed to be the theme of his paintings during that time. After Helena got married in 1874, Homer lost interest in the courtship theme. He may have had other affairs but he stayed a bachelor all his life.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

George Frederic Watts and Dame Alice Ellen Terry ('Choosing')

'Choosing' (1864) by George Frederic Watts; National Portrait Gallery, London

I know this painting, not by name, and I know George Frederic Watts, born on 23 February 1817, vaguely by name, but never made the connection between the two. Watts was an English Pre-Raphaelite and Symbolist painter and sculptor. In the 1850s, he moved in with the family of Valentine Cameron Prinsep and he dedicated himself to portrait painting. His work showed the influence of the Pre-Raphaelites. His gallery of portraits of eminent Victorians is unsurpassed. One of these paintings portrays a young woman, shown here. Her name was Ellen Terry, an actress, and Watts married her when she was sixteen years old and he was thirty years her senior. The date of the painting is actually unknown but it is said that it was probably painted around the time that Watts married Ellen, thus 1864. The marriage lasted only ten months. In his later paintings he turned to Symbolism and he is probably best remembered for these paintings. For me it was hard to choose between 'Choosing' and the Symbolist painting 'Hope' (1886), both different in style but equally beautiful. You can see the latter in the Tate National Gallery in London or here.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot and Woman Reading a Book

'Woman reading a book (Virgils Muse)' (1845) by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot;
Musée du Louvre, Paris

I know this painting by the French painter Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, born on July 17, 1796, and died on February 22, 1875, from a calendar with paintings of women reading that hung in my hallway last year. This was one of the paintings that I liked very much. Corot was the leading painter of the Barbizon School and was vitally important to landscape painting. When you see his work, it is clear that he went through different phases. Some of his earlier landscapes seem quite 'modern', whereas his work after 1865 had an Impressionist touch. His figure painting was almost as important as his landscapes. I particulary like his paintings of women. Apparently Corot was extremely productive and there is a lot to choose from. He painted over 3,000 paintings and I chose this one!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Gustave Caillebotte and The Floor Scrapers

'The Floor Scrapers' (1875) by Gustave Caillebotte; Musée d'Orsay, Paris

I know the French painter Gustave Caillebotte, born on 19 August 1848 and died on 21 February 1894, mainly from his wonderful painting 'The Floor Scrapers', shown here. Actually, I had thought for a long time that it had been painted by Gustave Courbet but it could be that it was just a confusion about their names that are much alike. Whereas Courbet was a Realist painter, Caillebotte belonged to the group of Impressionists. He distinguished himself by painting in a more realistic manner than his fellow Impressionists. Early on he was also interested in photography as an art form. He made his debut at the second Impressionist exhibition of 1876 at the Paris Salon and showed eight paintings including 'The Floor Scrapers'. It was then already recognised as a masterpiece. At the Paris exhibition a year earlier, the painting had been rejected because critics thought it to be 'vulgar'. They found only portrayals of farmers and peasants acceptable. I love this painting because it is so powerful. But Caillebotte has painted so much more that is truly beautiful. He made everyday life in Paris a recurrent subject of his paintings. The use of light in these paintings is unmistakable, even when the subject matter is a rainy day. To cheat once more, click here.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Mihály Munkácsy and Lady Seated at Her Needlework

'Lady Seated at Her Needlework' (unknown date) by Mihály Munkácsy; Private Collection

I had never heard of the Hungarian painter Mihály Munkácsy, born on February 20, 1844, and I know I'm not alone in that respect but I'm glad I can use him for the post today. Apparently he was not a minor painter. He gained international acclaim with his painting 'The last day of a condemned man' (1869-72) that won him the Gold Medal at the Paris Salon in 1870. While chosing a painting for today, I found many that I liked but also found that his paintings were so different in theme and colour. Then I read in his biography that at the beginning of his career his paintings were of a realistíc nature, mainly scenes from the daily lives of peasants. After he had been to Paris, he was influenced by the modern French painters and their lighter colour schemes. He turned to colourful salon paintings and still lifes. Although 'Lady seated at her needlework' is of an unknown date, this was probably one of these salon paintings judging by the lighter colours and lighter theme. I find this painting a sweet depiction of homely life, although it's not clear to me what kind of relationship the young woman and man have. 

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Charles-François Daubigny and Harvest

'The Harvest' (1851) by Charles-François Daubigny; Musée d'Orsay, Paris

I really do like landscape paintings and appreciate them more and more. Charles-François Daubigny, born on 15 February 1817 and died on 19 February 1878, was a French landscape painter. Together with Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Jean-François Millet and Théodore Rousseau, he was a leading member of the Barbizon School. It wasn't until 1852 that his work got recognised when his painting 'The Harvest' won the Gold Medal at the Salon in Paris. It became his first great success. After 1856, Daubigny traveled with his boat 'Le Botin' ('Little Box') along the Seine and Oise on several occasions and painted a great number of riverside pictures. I quite like this image, a painter crafting art on a boat that became his studio. I've decided to post 'The Harvest' here because I absolutely love the great bright colours. But I didn't want to keep from you one rather curious detail concerning his riverside paintings: it's been said that if Daubigny liked his painting himself he added another duck or two to the canvas. So look out for the ducks! Here's one.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Anders Zorn and Summer Delight

'Summer Delight' (1886) by Anders Zorn; Private Collection

The name of the Swedish painter Anders Zorn, born on 18 February 1860, rings a distant bell but I don't think I truly know him. Shame on me, since he was one of Sweden's internationally best-known artists. He studied at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts in Stockholm and travelled the world to refine his artistic skills. His portrait painting first gained him international acclaim, and later he became famous for his nude paintings and his depictions of outdoor scenes. He was fascinated by movement of water and the reflection of light on its surface. For this post I have chosen the painting 'Summer delight', because it is beautiful and because it sold at a record price of 26 million kronor ($3.35 million) on June 3, 2010. Click here for the article. The painting is a watercolour on paper and I think it's a lovely happy image. There's more that I like of Zorn's work and you just have to click here to see the painting that I initially wanted to post. So again I've cheated.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Raphaelle Peale and Blackberries

'Blackberries' (1813) by Raphaelle Peale; De Young Museum, San Francisco 

I'm not really fond of still life paintings in general but now and then you see a painting that is so fine in detail and beautiful in colour that it is just difficult to ignore. The painter of this lovely still life scene with blackberries was Raphaelle Peale, born on the 17th of February, 1774, and considered to be the first professional still life painter in the United States and still one of its finest. Most of his paintings are small in scale and depict objects arranged on a table. He was taught painting by his father Charles Willson Peale, a portrait painter, who had named his children after great artists. At first Raphaelle dedicated himself to portrait painting but due to health problems (caused by alcoholism and gout) he turned to still life painting. Many of these still lifes were painted under extreme conditions of chronic illness. His father constantly urged Raphaelle to take up portrait painting since it was more lucrative and more prestigious. But Raphaelle stayed with still lifes and it is for these paintings that he is best known. I'm delighted to make his acquaintance today.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

'Hollow in the Snow' by Armand Guillaumin

'Hollow in the Snow' (1869) by Armand Guillaumin; Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Yesterday I decided not to post a painting of a wintery scene by Karl Friedrich Lessing. But today I found an Impressionist painter, Armand Guillaumin, and this lovely serene painting of a winter landscape. I had never heard of this artist who was born as Jean-Baptiste Armand Guillaumin on February 16, 1841. He was probably one of the least known of French Impressionist painters. In 1861, he enrolled in the Académie Suisse where he became acquainted with Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro and developed a lifelong friendship with both of them. Edgar Degas and Claude Monet were not really impressed by his work that was marked by a passion for colour. Guillaumin became friends with Vincent van Gogh and spent some time in The Netherlands. The painting of today is a bit devoid of colour since the white of the snow is the most dominant feature. But I love the subtle use of sunlight in this painting which makes it a very friendly and serene scene. Where is the woman off to, all by herself, I wonder?

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Karl Friedrich Lessing and the Mourning Royal Couple

'Mourning Royal Couple' (1830) by Karl Friedrich Lessing; State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

Last week I had already searched for a painter for today and found Karl Friedrich Lessing (15 February 1808 - 4 January 1880). The weather here in Amsterdam was real wintery then, with freezing cold nights and a layer of snow covering the city. The painting I had initially chosen for this post was a wintery scene of a monastery and courtyard covered in snow because I liked the painting. Then I read that Lessing was a German landscape painter who later devoted himself to historical paintings and found out that 'Mourning Royal Couple' is one of his most famous works. So since the snow has melted here and since I like portraits better than landscapes (although 'Monastic yard in the snow' is really beautiful), I have decided to show you a painting of a royal couple mourning the death of their daughter. I did a quick search on the internet in order to find out whether this was indeed a historical couple, but couldn't find anything. 

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Valentine Cameron Prinsep and The Gamekeeper's Daughter

'The Gamekeeper's Daughter' (1875) by Valentine Cameron Prinsep; Museum of Croydon, Croydon

How great is this! To find a painter for a post on Valentine's day whose first name was Valentine. I had never heard of Valentine Cameron Prinsep, born on February 14, 1838, but I am sure I will never forget him now. Not only is his name and date of birth a match for today, I even like his paintings, which is a prerequisite for me. This Indian-born artist was a member of the Pre-Raphaelite school and was intimate friends with John Everett Millais and Edward Burne-Jones. Although there were other paintings that I liked as well, I chose this one because of the colours in her clothing and face. I googled this particular painting and came across a blog on makeup. A makeup-artist talked about giving his models 'a very natural look, windburned, but not a fussy face' and referred to 'The Gamekeeper's Daughter' by Prinsep. 

Monday, 13 February 2012

Vilhelm Hammershøi and Interior with Piano and Woman in Black

'Interior With Piano and Woman in Black (Strandgade 30)' (1901) by Vilhelm
Hammershøi; Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Stuttgart

What a fun thing it is to do this blog! I've already discovered so many painters who would otherwise have stayed unknown to me and today I have discovered another amazing painter. His name is Vilhelm Hammershøi and he was a Danish painter, born on 15 May 1864 and died on 13 February 1916. I saw the images of his paintings on the internet and already love his work. I got to choose from so many wonderful paintings. Hammershøi is well-known for his serene portraits and interiors, all very muted in colour. He never used bright colours, mainly greys and blues. A recurring figure in his paintings is the woman standing with her back to us. She doesn't seem to be engaged in any kind of activity, just absorbed in thought, as if she is part of the furniture. Apparently she was his wife Ida. I suggest you go and have a look on the internet for his other paintings. When you see some of them together, they breathe an air of serenity because of the lack of colour and lack of activity. In a way they remind me a bit of Edward Hopper's paintings although Hopper's paintings are of a more desolate nature and are less serene. Read why Michael Palin became fascinated by the painter and made the documentary 'Michael Palin and the Mystery of Hammershøi'.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Federico de Madrazo and Amalia de Llano

'Doña Amalia de Llano y Dotres, Countess of Vilches' (1853) by
Federico de Madrazo y Kuntz; Museo del Prado, Madrid

I had never heard of the painter Federico de Madrazo y Kuntz, born on 12 February 1815, before I went to visit Museo del Prado in Madrid in May 2009. There was a lot of merchandise in the museum shop with this particular image of the lovely lady in blue and of course I expected to see the painting being displayed in the museum. When I couldn't find it and asked for it, I'd been told that it was not on display but sitting in the storage depot. There were quite some rooms being remodeled and I just searched on the internet to see why the painting was in the depot around that time because I hadn't bothered to ask then. Apparently in the autumn of 2009 the museum opened 12 new rooms dedicated to their collection of the 19th century with 176 works from among others Madrazo. So I definitely have to visit again! This is a portrait of Amalia de Llano, a historical figure. Madrazo dedicated himself to portrait painting and went to Paris to study under Franz Winterhalter (see my earlier post). Federico's father had been a painter as well and the director of Museo del Prado. After his death Federico became the new director of the museum from 1860 till 1868 and again from 1881 till 1894. The museum still houses his greatest paintings.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Ellen Day Hale and Morning News

'Morning News' (1905) by Ellen Day Hale; Private Collection

I came across an image of this painting on another art blog, looked up the artist on Wikipedia and saw that she was born and died on the 11th of February (1855-1940), so double perfect for this post. Her name is Ellen Day Hale and she was an American painter who studied in Paris. I could have chosen other artists for this post but I haven't done a post on an American painter yet and I also like to choose paintings by women artists. Nothing much to say, really, other than that I like the painting. You can read her page on Wikipedia.

Friday, 10 February 2012

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

'The Ghosts of Paolo Malatesta and Francesca da Rimini Appear to
Dante and Virgil' (1835) by Ary Scheffer; Wallace Collection, London

I want to start this post by mentioning something that has nothing to do with the painting chosen for today. It is noteworthy news in the art world and I read about it in a feature article in the Dutch newspaper today. It happened a week ago but totally escaped my attention. Remember my post on Cézanne's painting 'The Card Players'? On the 2nd of February the royal family of Qatar purchased one of the five versions of 'The Card Players' for more than $250 million, the biggest sum ever paid for a painting. The version they purchased was the only one still in a private collection (owned by a Greek magnate). So it's not the version that I used on my post because that's in Musée d'Orsay. For more details, click here. Anyway, today's painting will never raise that amount of dollars although it is beautiful. I had never even heard of its painter Ary Scheffer, born on the 10th of February, 1795. He was a Dutch-French painter and was born in Dordrecht. After his father died he moved with his mother to Paris. He was well-known for his paintings depicting subjects drawn from literature and religion. I had no problem choosing a painting because there are many that I like. The one that I chose for this post is probably his most famous work, also known as just Francesca da Rimini. There are three different versions. The version shown here is the first version painted. The second version is in the Hamburger Kunsthalle and the third version is in Musée du Louvre. The Museum of Dordrecht houses the biggest collection of Scheffer's work in The Netherlands. I must go and see it!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Gerard Dou and still life with sleeping dog

'Still life with sleeping dog' (1650) by Gerard Dou; Private Collection

I saw this painting featured in the exhibition Made in Holland at The Mauritshuis in The Hague and it is tiny! And adorable as well so you want to take it home with you but have to settle for the postcard. Although small in size, it's absolutely great in detail. The painter of this lovely portrait of a dog is Gerard Dou, also known as Gerrit Dou, born on April 7, 1613, and died on February 9, 1675. I will call him Gerard. I'm so used to Gerard because of the street named after him in Amsterdam. He was one of the Leiden Fijnschilders (fine-painters) whose aim was to reproduce reality on canvas as detailed as possible. I really love this painting but it was still difficult to chose between this one and the one of the old woman reading, known as Rembrandt's Mother, that's on display at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. It's a little bit like cheating to give you the link here because it feels like posting two paintings now. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

'Christ and The Woman of Samaria' by Guercino

'Christ and The Woman of Samaria' (c.1620) by Guercino;
Kimbell Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas

Guercino, born as Giovanni Francesco Barbieri on February 8, 1591, was an Italian Baroque painter who was extremely productive during his creative years. I don't know him but I'm happy to use him for this post. His work reminds me very much of Caravaggio and also of El Greco. I like the deep and warm colours in this particular painting that dates from his early and most desirable period. Prior to its purchase by the Kimbell Art Museum in 2010, 'Christ and the woman of Samaria' had never been exhibited. Guernico received praise for the emotional power he displayed in his compositions. Besides paintings he also made many drawings. 

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Henry Fuseli and Silence

'Silence' (1799-1801) by Henry Fuseli; Kunsthaus, Zürich

I know a lot of great and famous painters but had never heard of Anglo-Swiss artist Henry Fuseli, born on February 7, 1741. I just read somewhere on the internet that he is in every art history textbook and that his painting The Nightmare is really famous. I decided not to use 'The Nightmare' for this post because I thought it was too eerie. In fact, most of his paintings are a bit eerie. He used the supernatural in his artwork and hardly painted from real life. The painting I chose for this post is 'Silence'. It almost looks like a drawing, but it is oil on canvas. I think it's a beautiful painting. A simple one, but a very strong image. 

Monday, 6 February 2012

Gustav Klimt and The Kiss

'The Kiss' (1907-08) by Gustav Klimt; Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna

Most people will know Austrian Symbolist painter Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862 - 6 February, 1918) because of his golden paintings. Probably most famous is 'The Kiss'. I have a reproduction myself. It's hanging in a big golden frame in my kitchen. It's so beautiful that I never get tired of it. The colours are stunning and I think it's magical. Klimt used gold leaf for the paintings from his 'golden phase'. His father was a gold engraver by trade so that could have had something to do with it. 'The Kiss' was already popular in Klimt's time and hasn't lost in beauty till this day.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Anton Mauve In The Vegetable Garden

'In the vegetable garden' (1887) by Anton Mauve; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

There are so many beautiful paintings by Anton Mauve, born on 18 September 1838 and died on 5 February 1888. He was a Realist painter of mainly depictions of fields with animals and people. His sheep herding scenes are quite famous. He is also well-known for his connection with Vincent van Gogh. He was married to Vincent's cousin and became his teacher. During the three weeks that Vincent stayed in Anton's studio in 1881, Vincent made his first paintings. Mauve had moved from Haarlem to The Hague in 1872 and became a leading member of the Hague School. The painting for this post has more colour than his former ones that were mainly made of grey and brown shades. Mauve painted this towards the end of his life when he lived in Laren and had discovered a different colour palette.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Pompeo Batoni and Madonna with Child

'Madonna and Child' (c.1742) by Pompeo Batoni; Galleria Borghese, Rome

I love paintings portraying Madonna and child and luckily there are so many of them. Most of the time Madonna is beautiful and the child is quite ugly. But in this painting by the Italian artist Pompeo Batoni, born on 25 January 1708 and died on 4 February 1787, the son doesn't look too bad. This painting looks very much like the one that my elder sister has a reproduction of and that I have always liked a lot. 

Friday, 3 February 2012

Jan Steen and Woman at her Toilet

'Woman at her Toilet' (c.1661-65) by Jan Steen; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Dutch painter Jan Steen was buried on February 3, 1679, and the moment I knew I could use him for this date, I was also a bit at a loss. Because I don't particularly like his paintings depicting chaotic household scenes. Those are the paintings that first come to mind when you think of Jan Steen. Then a friend of mine reminded me of the painting of the girl with the red stocking that is part of the collection of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, and I had totally forgotten about that one. I like this painting. It's a depiction of an everyday act, a young woman who is putting on her red stocking. But there might be more than meets the eye. If you want an explanation on the symbolism in this painting, click here.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Queen Victoria in her Coronation Robes by Charles Robert Leslie

'Queen Victoria in Her Coronation Robes' (1838) by Charles Robert
Leslie; Victoria & Albert Museum, London

I had already chosen a historical event for today, together with a painting, so I didn't have to go and search for an artist. On Saturday 2nd of February, 1901, the funeral of Queen Victoria was held in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, following the instructions she had written down in 1897. She wanted her funeral to be military and white instead of black. She was put in her coffin dressed in a white dress with her wedding veil. If you are interested in reading about Queen Victoria, the longest-reigning monarch in the history of Britain, click here. Numerous portraits have been made of the Queen and I chose her in her beautiful coronation robes, portrayed by the English painter Charles Robert Leslie.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Piet Mondriaan and the Farmyard with the Blue Gate

'Farmyard with Blue Gate' (c.1898) by Piet Mondriaan; Tate Gallery, London

Dutch painter Piet Mondriaan (March 7, 1872 - February 1, 1944) was most famous for his geometric abstract art, paintings of white ground with black vertical and horizontal lines and the three primary colours. He was one of the major contributors to the magazine and art movement 'De Stijl'. I'm not really fond of abstract art so I will post here one of his early paintings, 'Farmyard with Blue Gate'. His early work consisted largely of landscapes, in the style of the Dutch Impressionists of the Hague School. I would never have guessed this was a Mondriaan. It's quite pretty, isn't it?
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