Monday, 30 April 2012

Philip Hermogenes Calderon and Broken Vows

'Broken Vows' (1857) by Philip Hermogenes Calderon; Tate Britain, London

Again a painter that I had never heard of before. Philip Hermogenes Calderon, born on 3 May 1833 and died on 30 April 1898, was an English painter of French and Spanish ancestry. When you google his paintings, you can see that he was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite style. His later work was dominated by historical, biblical and literary themes. The painting I chose for today is one of his earlier works and here the influence of the Pre-Raphaelites is very evident in the deep colours of the painting. This is probably his most famous work and is on permanent display in the Tate Britain in London. In this painting a woman is shown in agony while being confronted with her lover's adulterous behaviour behind the fence. The ivy-covered wall may suggest that she thought that their love was everlasting because ivy represents fidelity and wedded love. I think the painting is beautiful and quite sad. It makes you truly sympathise with her.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

'Painting and Drawing Instructing Love' by Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini

'Painting and Drawing Instructing Love' (1733) by Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini; Musée du Louvre, Paris

Today's artist is Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini, born on 29 April 1675, another Italian painter unknown to me. He was a Venetian decorative painter and the most noteworthy thing he has done, in my opinion (because I'm Dutch), is having decorated the ceiling in the Golden Room in the Mauritshuis, The Hague. In 1713, Pellegrini went to Germany and The Netherlands. Apparently he was looking for assignments when he was in The Hague, so he was at the right place at the right time. I tried to find an image of the mentioned ceiling on the internet but was unsuccesful. So now I have to go and see it for myself because I cannot remember having consciously admired the museum's ceiling on my previous visits. About today's painting, I think it's beautiful in colour and with this painting, Pellegrini was admitted to the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in Paris, the most influential academy in Europe at the time.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Giovanni Battista Piazzetta and Saint Teresa in Ecstasy

'Saint Teresa in Ecstasy' (1737) by Giovanni Battista Piazzetta; Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

I'm planning to go to Rome this coming August, for the very first time in my life, and I am so excited with the prospect of being able to see so much art. So I guess it would be nice to do more posts on Italian painters. After already having dismissed various artists for today's post, the final choice was between the Venetian painter Giovanni Battista Piazzetta, born on February 13, 1682 or 1683, and died on April 28, 1754, and the French painter Émile Bernard, who was born on 28 April 1868. Since I couldn't use Bernard anymore for a post on the date of his death (16 April 1941) nor Piazzetta on the date of his birth, it came down to this post. I like Bernard's paintings, which are painted in the post-Impressionist style known as Cloisonnism and bear influences of Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh. You must know by now that I cheat once in a while and don't stick to one painting per post. Click here to see one of Bernard's paintings so I'm not even sticking to one painter today. To come back to Piazzetta, I chose him because of his nationality and because I immediately liked this painting of Saint Teresa. Piazzetta studied under Giuseppe Maria Crespi and although most of his works are of religious subjects, he also took up genre painting influenced by Crespi. Today's painting clearly has a religious subject. Teresa of Ávila was a Spanish mystic who dedicated her life to strict asceticism and spiritual contemplation. Her love of God and the desire to be spiritually united with him found expression in a vision in which an angel pierced her heart with a spear and put her into a trance. The most famous artistic expression of this mystical event is Bernini's life-size marble sculpture but there are many artists who were inspired by this event. For further reading on Saint Teresa, click here and here.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Gerard van Honthorst and The Matchmaker

'The Matchmaker' (1625) by Gerard van Honthorst; Centraal Museum, Utrecht

When I think of Dutch painter Gerard van Honthorst, born on 4 November 1592 and died on 27 April 1656, his painting 'The Matchmaker' immediately comes to mind. I've seen this in real life at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht where it is on permanent display and I think it is beautiful. It is evident that Van Honthorst was greatly influenced by the art of Caravaggio. He had gone to Italy in 1616 and upon returning to The Netherlands around 1620, he set up a school of Dutch artists who used the chiaroscuro style of Caravaggio. The group became known as the Dutch Caravaggisti, mainly active in the city of Utrecht. In this painting, the flute is symbol for the woman's sexual organ and unchastity. The man holds a purse with money in his left hand and is willing to pay. The girl offers to play the flute, or is she offering something else? Many Dutch paintings in the 17th century depict the flute which refers to prostitution. Despite the sexual connotation in this painting, I have always found it an uplifting scene. The girl looks so cheerful and the dramatic use of artificial light is simply beautiful.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Edmund Charles Tarbell and My Three Granddaughters

'My Three Granddaughters' (1937) by Edmund Charles Tarbell; Private Collection

I have totally rediscovered Impressionism! I honestly thought that I had sort of outgrown my love for (French) Impressionist painters a long time ago but I discover so many new Impressionist painters that I think I might not have gotten tired of Impressionism itself but probably of the famous painters and their famous paintings. I had a small list of painters to choose from today but the moment that I saw the images of the paintings by American Impressionist Edmund Charles Tarbell, born on April 26, 1862, I knew I had found today's match. I'm really glad to have found another amazing painter unknown to me. Then I had the difficult task to choose only one painting for this post. Tarbell was famous for his elegant interiors and paintings of his family. He painted his wife, their four children, his wife's sisters or his grandchildren. The painting 'In the Orchard' (1891) is considered his masterpiece, a depiction of his wife and her siblings. I chose another painting though, an image of his grandchildren and it's called 'My three granddaughters'. I think it is beautiful and I think it's wonderful as well that Tarbell portrayed his family and thus their lives.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Daniel Maclise and Undine

'Scene from Undine' (detail) (1843) by Daniel Maclise; Royal Collection, Windsor

What a coincidence to find another Irish painter for today's post and how different from the one of yesterday's post! Daniel Maclise, born on 25 January 1806 and died on 25 April 1870, was an Irish illustrator and painter. When Sir Walter Scott visited Maclise's hometown Cork in 1825, he made a sketch of the writer that launched his career. He exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy in 1829 and dedicated himself gradually to paintings with subjects taken from history, tradition, and works of Shakespeare. He also illustrated the works of Charles Dickens with whom he formed a close friendship. The painting of today is based on a scene from the German novel Undine by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, in which the water spirit Undine marries the knight Huldebrand in order to gain a soul. The scene depicted here occurs in chapter IX, where Huldebrand accompanies his bride Undine back home through the forest. They're being followed by the priest, Father Heilmann, who performed the wedding ceremony and is visible beneath the branch of the tree. Ahead is the dark and sinister water god, Kuhleborn, the uncle of Undine (not visible in this detailed scene). Click here for the full painting where you can also see the ornamental border that Maclise painted, containing the main elements of the story. I like this painting very much, also because of the story, but if I wouldn't have found this, I would have posted Madeline after Prayer.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

'In a Dublin Park, Light and Shade' by Walter Frederick Osborne

'In a Dublin Park, light and shade' (c.1895) by Walter Frederick Osborne; National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

Walter Frederick Osborne, born on 17 June 1859 and died on 24 April 1903, was an Irish Impressionist painter. I thought it would be nice to use him for today's post since I haven't done a post on an Irish painter yet. With Impressionist painters, you immediately think of French painters, since the origin of the art movement lies in France. I like to become acquainted with Impressionist painters beyond France (see the Wikipedia page on the art movement and scroll down to 'Beyond France') and have already done posts on American Impressionists. Osborne was a landscape and portrait painter. In the early 1890s, his work began to show the influence of Impressionism. Brighter colours and an increased interest in shadow and sunlight. He portrayed women, children and elderly people. This painting shown here is one of the few paintings that sold instantly when it was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1895. The Impressionist influence of shade and light is evident in this painting but it's not just the visual that Osborne was interested in. The treatment of the figures shows Osborne's empathy with the working class of Dublin. I think it's a beautiful painting. I love the use of shade and light, and my eyes keep being drawn towards the care-worn face of the woman on the bench. I think Osborne captured the look on her face perfectly. For further reading, click here.

Monday, 23 April 2012

J.M.W. Turner and The Fishermen at Sea

File:Joseph Mallord William Turner - Fishermen at Sea - Google Art Project.jpg
'The Fishermen at Sea' (1796) by J.M.W. Turner; Tate Gallery, London

A long long time ago, when I visited the Tate Britain in London for the very first time, I found many paintings by the English artist Joseph Mallord William Turner. At that time I had never heard of him and his paintings did not impress me much either. Over many years I have grown to appreciate and like landscape paintings. Especially when there is an added element, like incredible light. Turner is probably the best loved English Romantic artist and known as 'the painter of light'. He was influenced by 17th-century Dutch painting, especially artists like Willem van de Velde. He was extremely productive in his life, with over 550 oil paintings, 2,000 watercolours, and 30,000 paper works. Wikipedia has a note on his date of birth, 23 April 1775, the date of St George's Day and the birthday of Shakespeare. Turner was said to be born around the end of April, the beginning of May, 1775, but he himself claimed to be born on the 23rd of April. The claim however had never been verified. 

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Henry Woods and Portia

'Portia' (1887) by Henry Woods; Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle

Henry Woods, born on 22 April 1846, was an English painter who was one of the leaders of the Neo-Venetian School, together with Samuel Luke Fildes. Fildes was married to Fanny Woods, sister of Henry Woods and also an artist. Henry Woods and Fildes both painted Venetian themes, scenes of cheerful groups of girls at canal sides, etc.. Today's painting is a portrait of Portia, the main character of Shakespeare's 'The Merchant of Venice'. Much of the action in the play revolves around letters. Woods lived in Venice from 1876 and the background view in this painting shows Venice. For anyone who lives near Newcastle and is interested, there is an exhibition 'Shakespeare in Art' until the 29th of this month and this painting is on display as well. I like this painting because it reminds me a bit of the Pre-Raphaelites. I feel like reading Shakespeare now!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Petrus van Schendel and A Moonlit Vegetable Market

'A Moonlit Vegetable Market' (no date found) by Petrus van Schendel; Private Collection

If you google Dutch-Belgian artist Petrus van Schendel, born on 21 April 1806, it is immediately evident what he is known for. Van Schendel was influenced by 17th-century Dutch painting and specialised in candlelit genre scenes, of interiors or night markets, in the tradition of Gerard Dou. I like the chiaroscuro effect that his paintings have. Wikipedia doesn't have an English page on this artist but if you read Dutch, then here's the link. In France, Van Schendel was nicknamed 'Monsieur Chandelle' because of his candlelit scenes. 

Friday, 20 April 2012

Franz Xaver Winterhalter and Madame Barbe de Rimsky-Korsakov

'Madame Barbe de Rimsky-Korsakov' (1864) by Franz Xaver Winterhalter; Musée d'Orsay, Paris

It's quite evident why Franz Xaver Winterhalter, born on 20 April 1805, was such a well loved portrait painter, especially at the royal court. One of his most famous portraits is the one of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, whom you might know as Sissi. As you may remember or maybe not, I've already done a post on a painting by Winterhalter but that was a painting of a historical event matching the date of that post. I probably could have chosen another painter for today but I wanted to show you a woman's portrait by Winterhalter, because I love the depiction of the fine details of fabric and hair. Although the serious critics thought his work was superficial and artistically inadequate, his patrons appreciated his work and he got many commissions by royal families to paint portraits. Superficial or not, I think this portrait of Madame Barbe de Rimsky-Korsakov is beautiful, more beautiful than Winterhalter's Sissi.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Eva Gonzalès and Morning Awakening

'Morning Awakening' (1876) by Eva Gonzalès; Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen

Today's painter Eva Gonzalès, born on April 19, 1849, is unknown to me and one of the few female painters who were part of the circle of Impressionists. She was born into a family of artists, her father a writer and her mother a musician. She became Édouard Manet's only formal student and model. Although she never exhibited with the Impressionists in Paris, she is considered to be one of the group because of her painting style. She was strongly influenced by Manet at first, but after 1872, she began to develop her own personal style. There were several paintings that I could have chosen for this post, but this painting of a morning awakening stood out because of the light and the peaceful scene. Gonzalès portrayed her sister Jeanne in this painting, a lovely woman who just woke up and seems to be daydreaming. 

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Sir George Clausen and The Stone Pickers

'The Stone Pickers' (1887) by Sir George Clausen; Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne

I got acquainted with the English painter George Clausen, born on April 18, 1852, during the exhibition Illusions of Reality (8 October 2010 - 16 January 2011) at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. See here the painting of Clausen that was on display and is called The girl at the gate. I could have chosen that particular painting for this post because it is beautiful but there is so much more that is worthwhile to show you. It was hard to choose one painting and I would suggest you google his name and images. Since Clausen was a painter of landscapes and peasant life, I want to show you one of his outdoor paintings. I think today's painting is beautiful in colour. It's a depiction of a peasant girl picking up stones from the field in order for it to be sown and harvested more easily. Clausen painted this out in the fields around his Hertfordshire home. I am going to cheat one more time and if you click here, you will see a painting that is entirely different but equally beautiful!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Laura Theresa Alma-Tadema and The Persistent Reader

'The Persistent Reader' (no date found) by Laura Theresa Alma-Tadema; Sotheby's or Private Collection?

Today's painter is unknown to me although the name Alma-Tadema is familiar of course. Apparently, Laura Theresa Alma-Tadema, born on 17 April 1852 (see also here), was the second wife of the Dutch painter Lawrence Alma-Tadema, and a talented painter herself. She began her studies with Lawrence Alma-Tadema in 1870 and became his wife a year later. Her paintings are domestic scenes of everyday life and show that she was strongly influenced by 17th-century Dutch art. Today's painting is a depiction of a well dressed couple seen indoors. The woman is ready to go for a romantic walk, hat in hand, and shows signs of impatience. The man is the persistent reader, not ready yet to give up his reading. The light in this painting is very reminiscent of Johannes Vermeer. Laura would sign her paintings with L. Alma-Tadema and sometimes they would be confused with those of her husband. I like paintings that tell a story and this one makes me smile. I can't find the location of the painting, although it was at one point at Sotheby's. 

Monday, 16 April 2012

Francisco Goya and The Parasol

'The Parasol' (c.1777) by Francisco Goya; Museo del Prado, Madrid

To be honest with you, I am not too fond of Francisco Goya, born on 30 March 1746 and died on 16 April 1828. When I think of Goya, I think immediately of his Black Paintings and a shiver literally runs down my spine. Especially seeing the famous 'Saturn devouring his son'. The painting 'The Parasol', that I have chosen for this post and which I do like, is very different and is actually an oil on linen painting. It is one of a series of paintings especially made to be transformed into tapestries for the walls of the Royal Palace in Madrid. It's not so surprising that the depiction is serene and sweet because the queen wanted to have a cheerful scene (imagine having one of the black paintings as a tapestry on the royal wall!). This gave Goya access to the Royal Court and it set off his career. Amongst his most famous paintings are the two versions of the Majas ('The Nude Maja' and 'The Clothed Maja'), 'The Third of May, 1808', and 'Charles IV of Spain and His Family'. His black paintings were of a later date, likely between 1819 and 1823.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Leonardo da Vinci and The Virgin of the Rocks

'The Virgin of the Rocks' (1495-1508) by Leonardo da Vinci; National Gallery, London

Leonardo da Vinci, born on April 15, 1452, was so much more than 'just' a painter, but it is his 'Mona Lisa' that he is most famous for. I decided not to post it here, not because it's too well-known but I don't think it is his most beautiful work. I have never seen it in real life, so haven't gotten the opportunity yet to fully appreciate it. I have always liked his painting 'The Virgin of the Rocks' or rather details from it, and the London version rather than the Louvre version. Not every detail in the painting I find beautiful. For example, I find John the Baptist (left) and the infant Jesus (right) quite ugly. But the angel (right) and the Virgin Mary (with her hand outstretched in a gesture of blessing) are beautiful. As well as the blue and golden colour shades. This London version is similar to its Louvre version in subject matter and overall composition. But in details, they are different. The London version lacks the colour red but is more defined in detail, less hazy than the Louvre version. The main difference is that in the Louvre version the angel's hand is raised, her/his finger pointing at John the Baptist, while in the London version the angel's hand rests on her/his knee. There is a lot to read about comparisons between the two versions of the painting and also a lot to read about Da Vinci's extraordinary talent and life. I would like to refer you to the links above or simply to the internet.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

John Singer Sargent and Madame X

'Madame X' (1884) by John Singer Sargent; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Today I had to choose between two painters that I like. I chose the famous American artist John Singer Sargent, born on January 12, 1856, and died on April 14, 1925. He was competing with the Austro-Hungarian portrait painter Friedrich von Amerling, who had his date of birth today. So they had today's date in common, but since Sargent's date of birth was in January, I had hoped that Von Amerling's date of death still had to come. But as it turned out, that was in January as well. Which made me think already of doing a blog next year on another year of one painting a day. But in case I decide against it, I will give you the link to the painting I would have posted if this was a post on Von Amerling. Now let's go back to Sargent. He was considered to be 'the leading portrait painter of his generation'. He was born in Florence, Italy, to parents who had moved to Europe and travelled extensively. He was raised on a diet of museums and sightseeing. When he dedicated himself to painting, he settled in Paris to study under Carolus-Duran. He became a very succesful portrait painter but also made many watercolours. I like his portraits of women. There are many that I like but Madam X is one of my favourites and one of his most famous ones. The woman's pale skin in contrast with the stylish black dress is simply beautiful. 

Friday, 13 April 2012

William Quiller Orchardson and Dolce Far Niente

'Dolce Far Niente' (1872) by William Quiller Orchardson; The Drambuie Collection, Edinburgh

Scottish painter William Quiller Orchardson, born on 27 March 1832 and died on 13 April 1910, is a painter that I had never heard of before. He is a renowned artist who was knighted at the age of 75. In 1862, he moved to London and a year later he made his debut at the Royal Academy. His early works show the influence of the Pre-Raphaelites. He befriended the artist John Pettie. He reached fame with his Napoleon painting 'On board HMS Bellerophon'. But I didn't like that one. There were a few paintings that I did like (one of them is his perhaps most popular painting Marriage de Convenance) but the painting for today's post is the one that caught my eye right away. I like depictions of women who read or in this case, take a pause during reading. Just a lovely painting with warm colours and a beautiful girl lost in thought. 

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Ferdinand Victor Léon Roybet and The Present

'The Present' (unknown date?) by Ferdinand Victor Léon Roybet; Private Collection?

It took me a long time to select a painting for today. When I came across the French painter Ferdinand Victor Léon Roybet, born on April 12, 1840, I googled his paintings and almost dismissed him. Most of the images Google shows I didn't really like, but then I saw this painting of 'The Present' and immediately liked it. It's such a lovely romantic scene. The man looks so tender at the woman and she is beautiful and happy with the gift. I couldn't find a date for the painting nor its location. I found that it had been auctioned at Sotheby's and sold for $18,000 so I guess it's in private hands. Wikipedia doesn't have a page on this painter but if you want to read about him, click on the link above.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

John Collier and Lady Godiva

'Lady Godiva' (c.1898) by John Collier; Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Jordan Well, Coventry

English artist John Collier, born on 27 January 1850 and died on 11 April 1934, studied under Sir Edward Poynter and later under Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. He also got introduced to the work of John Everett Millais and painted in the Pre-Raphaelite style. He became a popular portrait painter in Victorian and Edwardian England. His primary subjects were beautiful women of myth, legend and literature. I have heard of John Collier but didn't know whether he was a great painter or what paintings he had made. But this painting of Lady Godiva seems familiar. It is beautiful. Great colours, body and hair. If you wonder what the story with Lady Godiva was again, click here.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Jean-Laurent Mosnier and Empress Elizabeth Alexejevna

'Empress Elizabeth Alexejevna' (1807) by Jean-Laurent Mosnier; State Art Museum, 
Nizhni Novgorod, Russia

Today's painter is unknown to me and I did not choose him right away but because I didn't like the other options, I came back to him and chose this painting. The artist's name is Jean-Laurent Mosnier, born in 1743 and died on 10 April 1808. Wikipedia doesn't have an English page on him (or there is one but without content), so I hope you read French. Mosnier was trained in Paris as a miniature painter and fled to London in 1790 after the outbreak of the French Revolution. From London, he went to Hamburg and then to St. Petersburg in 1801. He was accepted into the St. Petersburg Academy in 1802 and became a professor there in 1806. He painted portraits of the imperial family, amongst others this painting of the Empress Elizabeth, wife of the Russian Tsar Alexander I. I love the fine details of the dress and jewelry.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Joseph Karl Stieler and Amalie von Schintling

'Amalie von Schintling' (1831) by Joseph Karl Stieler; Nymphenburg Palace, Munich

Lately I only have been doing posts on famous or well-known painters, so I haven't had the chance to discover a new artist. Today I could have done a post on Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the famous Pre-Raphaelite painter, whose date of death was on this day. But I've decided to postpone him till the 12th of May when it's his date of birth. So today I can do a post on an artist unknown to me. His name is Joseph Karl Stieler, born on 1 November 1781 and died on 9 April 1858, and if you google his name and images, you can see why I like his paintings. They're fine portraits and I love portraits, especially female ones. Although I had never heard of Stieler, there is one portrait that is world-famous and male. It is the portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven and it's the most famous representation of the composer. Stieler's most distinguishing feature in doing portraits was his utter focus on the sitter. He didn't pay much attention to the decor as if not to distract the viewer. He was a court painter and is known for his Neoclassical portraits, especially for the Gallery of Beauties in the Nymphenburg Palace, a portrait gallery of 36 portraits of the most beautiful women of nobility and middle classes of Munich. The portraits were commissioned by King Ludwig I of Bavaria. Click here for further reading on the Gallery of Beauties. It was difficult for me to choose one painting for this post because there are so many beautiful ones but by giving you two links to the gallery (I am so cheating!), you can see all 36 paintings. 

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Pablo Picasso and The Tragedy

'The Tragedy' (1903) by Pablo Picasso; National Gallery of Art, Washington 

It's no easy task to choose one painting for today's post on one of the greatest and most versatile artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso, born on 25 October 1881 and died on 8 April 1973. I have never been a great fan of Cubism but have grown to appreciate it more and more. So I could have posted one of Picasso's later works or the famous and great Guernica, but I have always liked his blue and rose period, ever since I was a student and had a postcard of the painting 'The Tragedy' hung in a frame on my wall. This painting so reminds me of my student period in Utrecht. So it's a bit of a nostalgic choice but I still love this painting. Picasso's blue period is famous for its somber paintings. This blue period started after the suicide of his friend Carlos Casagemas. The painting 'The Tragedy' shows a man, woman and child by the sea, but it's not clear what tragedy really occurred. During examination of the painting, it was revealed that Picasso had painted over another image and even later examination showed that the canvas had been used a minimum of four times. If you're interested in reading more about how this painting came about, click here.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

El Greco and Lady in a Fur Wrap

'Lady in a fur wrap' (1577-80) by El Greco; Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow

I think almost everyone has heard of the painter El Greco, born in 1541 and died on April 7, 1614. He was Greek by birth and El Greco ('The Greek') was his nickname. I have seen some of his paintings in real life but I am not familiar with the one that I've chosen for this post. This painting of a lady in a fur wrap is absolutely beautiful, I think, so I had to show it to you because I think many of you have never seen this either and know El Greco only from his religious paintings. The pink colours in this painting are also very different from the colour palette El Greco is famous for. I googled this painting and found an article in the Guardian of 2004. Apparently there was some debate going on whether the 'Lady in a Fur Wrap' was by the hand of El Greco. Click here for a further analysis of this painting. There is much to tell about El Greco's life and his art in style and technique that I simply refer you to the link above. Since this painter is so much linked to Toledo and I love Spain, there is no reason why I should not visit and see more of his work. 

Friday, 6 April 2012

John William Waterhouse and The Lady of Shalott

'The Lady of Shalott' (1888) by John William Waterhouse; Tate Britain, London

I knew that the day that John William Waterhouse was born, 6 April 1849, was coming up (though the English Wikipedia page mentions 6 April as the day he was baptised), and had plenty of time to think about what painting to use for this post. I find so many of his paintings beautiful so it was a bit difficult. I say that of a lot of artists but when I say it's difficult with Waterhouse, then I mean Difficult with a capital D. I already loved his work before having seen an exhibition at the Groninger Museum in Groningen in 2009. It is one of the best oeuvre exhibitions I have ever seen in my life. I have to say that the museum had paid attention to detail. Even the marzipan layer on the cake in the museum's restaurant had the image of one of Waterhouse's paintings on it. Waterhouse was a Pre-Raphaelite painter and depicted mainly women from Greek mythology or Arthurian legend. For this post I chose 'The Lady of Shalott' (see another post on the Lady of Shalott by Holman Hunt). It is beautiful here on screen but in real life it is breathtaking. The colours and details are stunning and the moment depicted here is dramatic. It is the moment that the Lady of Shalott drifts in her boat to Camelot but dies before reaching it. For further reading, see the Tate site.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Jules Dupré and The Sunken Path

'The Sunken Path' (1833) by Jules Dupré; Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Today's painting is a painting that I've seen more than once in real life. It's on permanent display at the Van Gogh Museum and was painted by the French artist Jules Dupré, born on 5 April 1811. You will notice the painting instantly when you enter the room because the blue sky and the beautiful light draw you in. Dupré was a landscape painter and a member of the Barbizon School. He is known for his dramatic sunset effects and other dramatic aspects of nature. He was the son of a porcelain manufacturer and started off painting porcelain at his uncle's china factory. He was influenced by 17th-century Dutch landscape painting and by the English artist John Constable. I love this painting, every time a little bit more!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Pierre-Paul Prud'hon and Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck with his family

'Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck with his family' (c.1801-02) by Pierre-Paul Prud'hon; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, born on April 4, 1758, was a French painter who was both influenced by Neoclassicism and Romanticism. He gained the favour of Napoleon and became the portraitist of Josephine, the empress. He was famous for his allegories and portraits. Whereas the approach of the Neoclassicist Jacques-Louis David, who influenced his work, was academic and cold, Prud'hon used soft forms and soft light (in this respect influenced by Correggio). The painting shown here is a portrait of Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck and his family. Schimmelpenninck played an important role in Dutch politics during the 19th century but Prud'hon has chosen to depict him here as a father and husband rather than as a statesman. I think it's a lovely portrait, with beautiful warm and soft colours, but cannot remember having seen it while visiting the Rijksmuseum. Anyway, it's now in storage and hopefully will be on display again when renovations are finished in 2013. 

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Melchior de Hondecoeter and Palace of Amsterdam with Exotic Birds

'Palace of Amsterdam with exotic birds' (1670) by Melchior de Hondecoeter; Private Collection

I think I probably wouldn't have done a post on Melchior de Hondecoeter, born c. 1636 and died on 3 April 1695, if I hadn't seen a small exhibition dedicated to him some years ago at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Because seeing images of his paintings on the internet, mainly of birds, doesn't make my heart beat any faster. Having said that, in real life his paintings, often large-scale, do make an impact. I recall having stood in front of his paintings, taking in all the details and marvelling about his craftmanship. I can't remember having seen this one live, but I think on screen it's one of his lovelier ones. A peaceful scene with beautiful colours! If you want to know more about the painter, please click on the link above.

Monday, 2 April 2012

William Holman Hunt and The Lady of Shalott

'The Lady of Shalott' (1886-1905) by William Holman Hunt; The Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford

Tennyson's poem, The Lady of Shalott, has inspired many artists but particularly the artists of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. They shared Tennyson's interest in the Arthurian subject. I love the painting of the Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse (I will do a post on him on the 6th of April!) but I am not familiar with this depiction by William Holman Hunt, born on 2 April 1827. Hunt was one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelites. In the beginning he had to endure a lot of criticism, for his work was considered to be ugly and clumsy. Later on he dedicated himself more to religious paintings (after various visits to the Holy Land) and achieved fame. To tell you honestly, I think he is my least favourite Pre-Raphaelite artist (I love Millais and Waterhouse!) but I do like this painting. I like the colours and the many details. And I love the story of the Lady of Shalott! This painting was first exhibited in 1905 and the last of Hunt's works. The moment depicted here is the fateful climax in Tennyson's poem when the Lady of Shalott, while weaving the tapestry, turns to see the image of Lancelot in the mirror. She looks out of the tower's forbidden window and thus causes the curse to descend upon her. Hunt painted this work shortly before his death and needed assistance to complete it since he was too frail to do it alone. 

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Franz Eybl and The Reading Girl

'Reading Girl' (1850) by Franz Eybl; Österreichische Galerie im Belvedere, Vienna

I love this painting! It's in my book of women and reading in art. I had already looked up the dates of birth/death of the artist and had made a note. So the artist's name is Franz Eybl and his date of birth is April 1, 1806. This Austrian painter, who never left his birthplace Vienna, was very succesful with his genre paintings and portraits. Today's painting of a girl reading dates from 1850. The innocent face of the girl and her total absorption in the book lends infinite charm to this painting. I think it's pure and lovely.
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