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. 

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