Sunday, 30 September 2012

Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer and Portrait of Mademoiselle Carlier or, The Lady in the Turban

'Portrait of Mademoiselle Carlier or, The Lady in the Turban' (1910) by Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer; Musée d'Orsay, Paris

I absolutely love the painting I have chosen for today. The name of French painter, Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer, born on 30 September 1865, rang a distant bell but I did not really know his work. He was a master of pastels and was one of the most important French Symbolist/Art Nouveau artists, having started his career as a ceramist with frequent exhibitions in Paris. In 1895 he started a career in painting and after a visit to Italy, he got acquainted with Renaissance art. In 1896 he exhibited for the first time at the Galerie Georges Petit with about twenty pastels and paintings. In the early 20th century he departed gradually from Symbolism and dedicated himself more to landscape painting as a result of his travels in Europe and North-Africa. Today's painting is a pastel on paper, pastels being Lévy-Dhurmer's favourite medium. It has a dreamlike quality. I love the colours and the hazy depiction of the woman, like she's wrapped in mystery. The female form became one of the painter's favourite themes, influenced by the art of the Pre-Raphaelites. I think this is so beautiful.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

'Esther before Ahasuerus' by Tintoretto

'Esther before Ahasuerus' (1547-48) by Tintoretto; Royal Collection, Windsor Castle

When you say Tintoretto, the great Italian painter who was born as Jacopo Comin on September 29, 1518, only his dark portraits come to mind and I feel like an art illiterate that I can't really tell you what his great paintings are or what he is known for. Tintoretto was one of the most important painters of the Italian Late Renaissance. His nickname 'Il Tintoretto' means 'the little dyer' and derives from his father's profession of dyer. He is usually described as a Mannerist painter and initally being inspired by the work of Michelangelo, he became increasingly concerned with the maximum use of chiaroscuro. He is said to have briefly studied with Titian but a mutual disliking caused an animosity between them that lasted throughout their careers. Unlike Titian, Tintoretto spent almost all of his life in Venice where his work is still to be seen in churches or other buildings. After Titian's death in 1576, he was one of the leading artists of Venice, together with Paolo Veronese. He was most productive between 1564 and his death in 1594. His most famous works are the pictorial decorations he made for the rooms of La Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice (click here to see one of the paintings on the ceiling, and to see more, click here). Also the four paintings he did for the Scuola Grande di San Marco (his St. Mark paintings) are considered to be masterpieces, click here. The painting I chose for today is a religious one of 'Esther before Ahasuerus', painted at a time that Tintoretto's career was about to take off. The artwork illustrates the Old Testament story of the Jewish heroine Esther who appears, unbidden, before the King Ahasuerus and pleads for her people, breaking court etiquette and risking her life. She had fasted for three days to prepare herself and faints in his presence. She gets her wish granted. I like this painting because of the story and the beautiful depiction and colours. And I love doing this blog because now I know more about the great Tintoretto and will never forget what he is known for.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Alexandre Cabanel and Albaydé

'Albaydé' (1848) by Alexandre Cabanel; Musée Fabre, Montpellier

The choice for French painter Alexandre Cabanel, born on 28 September 1823, was quickly made but to select one painting for today took a bit longer. There are many paintings that I like. I have to tell you that I had never heard of Cabanel but he was apparently a major artist. He painted portraits and historical subjects in the academic tradition and was together with William Adolphe Bouguereau one of the most succesful and influential academic painters of his time. He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and made his debut at the Paris Salon in 1844. He won the Prix de Rome scholarship the following year which enabled him to go to Rome. His painting The Birth of Venus (1863) is one of the most well-known 19th century paintings and his best-known work. It was exhibited at the Salon in 1863 and bought by Napoleon III for his private collection. Cabanel was an opponent of Impressionism and as a member of the Paris Salon, he didn't allow Édouard Manet and many other painters to exhibit their work at the Salon in 1863. This led to the establishment of the Salon des Refusés. Today's painting is the last in a series of three paintings that Cabanel made for his chief patron Alfred Bruyas. 'Albaydé' was inspired by Victor Hugo's poem 'Fragments of a Serpent'. I think it's a beautuful painting and I cannot really tell you why I chose this one over his other paintings other than that the woman's face is captivating. I found a very long article on Cabanel so if you are interested in his life and work, then you should definitely click here.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Edward Okun and The War and Us

'The War and Us' (1917-23) by Edward Okun; National Museum, Warsaw

Maybe I wouldn't have chosen Polish Symbolist painter Edward Okun, born on 27 September 1872, if I had more to choose from. But I really like today's painting. I tried to find more information on this painting and its symbolic meaning but I was unsuccesful. Even the information on Okun is limited (the English Wikipedia page doesn't really have content). He studied in Warsaw, Munich and Paris and lived in Rome for a long time. He had exhibitions in Poland, Paris, Berlin and Munich. I like this painting and its composition, the vibrant blue colour and rich decorations. I wish I knew what it meant and what the old woman is doing, lurking behind the couple.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Arthur Bowen Davies and Juno and The Three Graces

'Juno and The Three Graces' (1902) by Arthur Bowen Davies;
Hunter Museum Of American Art, Chattanooga

The choice was a bit meagre today but I'm happy to choose Arthur Bowen Davies, born on 26 September 1863, an American painter unknown to me. Davies studied art in Chicago and moved to New York to study at the Art Students League. He was a member of The Eight, a realist artistic movement of eight American artists who had one show together in 1908 that created a sensation. Davies was influenced by the painters of the Hudson River School and in particular by the dreamlike landscapes of George Innes, a painter whom I got to know while doing this blog and whose work I really like. I think the painting I chose for today has that same dreamlike quality that Innes displays in his work. The subject here is mythological. We see Juno, wife of Jupiter, with The Three Graces in the background. The Three Graces were attendants of Juno (among others) and were usually depicted as nude women dancing in a circle while holding hands (click here if you want to read more). I love the green and the splash of yellow!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Arthur Hacker and Lost Parasol

'Lost Parasol' (1902) by Arthur Hacker; Private Collection

I so love doing this blog! I had never heard of Pre-Raphaelite painter Arthur Hacker, born on 25 September 1858. I just discovered him and am happy to use him for this post. Hacker studied at the Royal Academy schools before going to Paris. There he studied under French painter Léon Bonnat who was well-known for his portraits and a friend of Edgar Degas. Hacker became a painter of portraits and historical and religious scenes. He also painted mythological and allegorical subjects. The Wikipedia page (click on author's name) mentions that Hacker is a Classicist painter but doesn't say anything about him being part of the Pre-Raphaelite circle. I think some of his paintings are very much in the Pre-Raphaelite style like The Temptation of Sir Percival or The Drone, and I found many mentions of him being a Pre-Raphaelite painter (click here for a list of Pre-Raphaelite painters). I chose today's painting because apart from portraits, I also like narrative paintings a lot. Looking at this lighthearted scene, it makes you wonder whether the woman will be able to retrieve the parasol without getting her feet wet and why the man in the background isn't helping her.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Robert Lefèvre and Woman With A Lyre

' Woman With A Lyre' (1808) by Robert Lefèvre; Private Collection?

Sometimes it's not so bad when there's not much to choose from. I found this painting by French painter Robert Lefèvre, born on 24 September 1755, very quickly. Lefèvre worked as a law clerk before turning to painting. He established a reputation quite quickly and made a name with religious and history paintings. He was influenced by Jacques-Louis David, which is evident, and his work was also being compared to David's. Under Napoleon's reign, he became a portrait painter of the Emperor and his family. I really like today's painting and the depiction of the white blouse, the fabric, and the detail of the button on the sleeve. I didn't find the painting's location but in 2008, it had been put up for auction at Christie's, see details here (listed as Portrait of a Lady).

Sunday, 23 September 2012

William Clarke Wontner and Portrait Of A Beauty

'Portrait Of A Beauty' (1918) by William Clarke Wontner; Private Collection?

For today I had already drafted this painting by English portrait painter William Clarke Wontner, born on 17 January 1857 and died on 23 September 1930, so no time spent on searching for today's match. Wontner was part of the Neoclassical movement of which Lawrence Alma-Tadema was the foremost leader. I wasn't familiar with Wontner, but I had come across the work of English painter John William Godward while doing this blog. When I saw the images of the paintings by Wontner, they immediately brought back to mind the work of Godward. So it was nice to find out that Wonter worked with Godward while being under the tutelage of his father, and they became lifelong friends. They both worked in a style that became known as the Greco-Roman style. Depictions of beautiful seductive women against oriental marbled backdrops. When you see Wontner's paintings together, you can imagine it's a bit difficult to choose one painting, or simply choose one that stands out because they all look a bit similar. So I cannot really tell you why I singled out this painting because I could also have chosen this one or this one or this one. I just like the colours in this painting very much, the woman's face is beautiful and the scarf is exquisite. I couldn't find its location but found that it had been put up for auction at one point so it might be in private hands.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Herbert James Draper and The Gates of Dawn (detail)

'The Gates of Dawn' (1900) by Herbert James Draper; The Drapers' Company, London

Today's painting is a detail of a painting by English Classicist painter Herbert James Draper, born in 1863 and died on 22 September 1920. The painting is called 'The Gates of Dawn', click here for the full painting. It's not that I don't like the painting in full, nor do I have anything against nudity, but I think the face of the woman is beautiful and you just don't see that when the painting is shown in full (because it simply makes the face smaller and you get distracted by decor and breasts). Draper was a painter of historical subjects and mythological themes from ancient Greece. Today's painting is a portrait of Aurora, the Goddess of Dawn in Roman mythology (in Greek mythology she's called Eos). She is alluring, sexual and powerful. The discarded roses on the floor (only to be seen when you click on the full painting) refer to her insatiable passion. The story goes that one of her mortal lovers, Tithonus, was granted immortality by Jupiter but not eternal youth. When Tithonus grew old, Aurora turned him into a grasshopper. I think Draper captured the 'don't mess with me' look very well. What do you think? Draper was a very succesful painter in his days but is now largely forgotten and seldom seen in auction rooms.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Auguste Toulmouche and The Kiss

'The Kiss' (1886) by Auguste Toulmouche; no location found

When I saw the name of French painter Auguste Toulmouche, born on September 21, 1829, as an option for today, I didn't have to look any further. Doing this blog and browsing through art books and the net, I had come across this painter already numerous times but forgot to look up his dates. So the decision on today's painter was instant but it took me a bit longer to select a painting. Putting his paintings together, you see women in beautiful dresses set in beautiful interiors. Very Alfred Stevens-like. I decided not to choose one of his women portraits. I like them a lot, although they are very sweet and smooth, painted in the French Academic style. I chose a depiction of a man and woman in a private moment. The scene is set in a lush decor and they are both wearing costumes. Maybe they are at a costume ball and slipped away, not being able to restrain their passion any longer. I couldn't find information on this painting other than a subjective article on a personal blog. Click here for an interesting blogpost on Toulmouche's The Reluctant Bride and The Kiss. The blogger describes both paintings as the grit in the licked surface of Toulmouche's paintings. It's not surprising when seeing his paintings (click here and here and here and here, to select a few) that Toulmouche was specialised in costume painting. The phenomenon of costume painting came into view at the height of his career, at a time that people reveled in depictions of sentimental, romantic life. Today's painting is also very romantic and sweet but because it tells the story of stealing a secret kiss (something we can all relate to), it somehow holds more appeal than his women portraits.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Théodore Chassériau and The Two Sisters

'The Two Sisters' (1843) by Théodore Chassériau;
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Although there was not a lot to choose from today, I could have chosen this painting by German Impressionist painter Max Slevogt who had his date of death today. Instead I made a quick decision to do a post on French painter Théodore Chassériau, born on 20 September 1819, because when googling the images of his paintings, I immediately took a liking to this painting of two sisters, better than the paintings I've seen by Slevogt. Born in the Dominican Republic, Chassériau moved to Paris with his family and entered the studio of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres at the age of eleven. He remained there till Ingres left for Rome to head the Académie de France in 1834. He fell under the influence of Eugène Delacroix and attempted to combine Delacroix's romantic colour with Ingres's classical grace. He made his debut at the Paris Salon in 1836 with several portraits and received a third-place medal in the category of history painting. He fell out of favour with Ingres after he met him in Rome in 1840 because Ingres didn't like the direction his student's work was taking. Today's painting is a portrait of Chassériau's two sisters, Adèle and Aline. His relationship with his sisters was so close that it had been described as 'almost amorous'. Click here for further reading on his sisters.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

William Dyce and Omnia Vanitas

'Omnia Vanitas' (1848) by William Dyce; Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums, Aberdeen

Today I didn't have to go and search for a painting. My sister had discovered this painting by Scottish painter William Dyce, born on 19 September 1806. I had looked up his dates and drafted him for today. He studied at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh and the Royal Academy Schools in London. Being one of the first British students of early Italian Renaissance painting, he visited Rome for the first time in 1825 and met a group of young German painters, the Nazarenes. He exhibited at the Royal Academy on a regular basis and made portraits for a livelihood. He explored the style of the Pre-Raphaelites as a result of his Italian studies, in a quest for primitive simplicity in his paintings. Later in his career, he took up fresco-painting. Dyce is furthermore known for his significant role in the formation of public art education in the UK. I think today's painting is very beautiful and the woman's face somehow looks very modern to me. Normally I'm not too fond of the depiction of the skull in paintings (also a common feature in paintings of Mary Magdalene) but here I don't even mind it very much. If you want to read more about the skull being a symbol of vanity, click here.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Mauro Gandolfi and Portrait of a Young Girl in Sarafan and Kokoshnik

'Portrait of a Young Girl in Sarafan and Kokoshnik' (1820s) by Mauro Gandolfi;
Museum of Tropinin and His Contemporaries, Moscow

Today I chose a painting of Italian artist Mauro Gandolfi, born on 18 September 1764, son of painter Gaetano Gandolfi. I googled the images of his paintings and I liked this one and Head study of an elderly bearded man. Gandolfi came from a family of artists (his uncle was Ubaldo Gandolfi). The Gandolfi had a period of collective productivity from 1760 till 1820 and produced many paintings and drawings, frescoes and sculptures. Mauro was the eldest of seven children and ran away from home when he was 16 years old to join the French army. He returned to Bologna and studied art. His father was his chief mentor. The decade of the 1790s was Mauro's most productive period on a professional level.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Edgar Maxence and St. Thérèse de Lisieux (detail)

'St. Thérèse de Lisieux' (1931) by Edgar Maxence; no location found

It happens quite often that I struggle to come up with a painting to post one day, and the other day I have problems choosing between two or more painters. On a fortunate day, after having chosen the painter, it can still leave me with some difficulty to choose just one painting. After a couple of days of struggling, today was such a day. I checked out the paintings of the first painter on my list, Edgar Maxence, and immediately liked them a lot. I should have stopped right there but then looked at the paintings of the next painter on my list, Robert Vonnoh, and I liked his paintings as well. To avoid frustration discovering more painters suitable for today, I stopped looking and decided to choose between these two painters. Actually, I felt more like posting a painting by Edgar Maxence because his work is really beautiful. Both painters have their date of birth on the 17th of September. But I couldn't find an exact date of death for Maxence while Vonnoh's is still coming up in December. So I will leave Vonnoh for December and am extremely pleased to introduce you to the art of Edgar Maxence, born on 17 September 1871. He was a French Symbolist painter, a student of Elie Delaunay and Gustave Moreau at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and exhibited regularly at the Paris Salon from 1894. He is a painter of portraits, still lifes and landscapes but perhaps best remembered for his paintings with subjects taken from the bible or ancient legends. His style is influenced by early Italian Renaissance and late Pre-Raphaelite art. He often enriched his work with gold and silver foil. Amongst his best-known paintings are Girl with a Peacock and The Soul of the Forest (which is exquisite!). I struggled with choosing just one painting for today and could have chosen Sérénité or Portrait of a Young Girl or the beautiful The Missal, but I couldn't tear myself away from the painting that I háve chosen. It's a portrait of the Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and I think it's absolutely beautiful. This is a detail, click here for the complete artwork. Unfortunately it's not very large nor clear. Click here for the detail and complete artwork next to each other.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Franz Matsch and Leonardo Da Vinci Playing Chess With His Muse

'Leonardo Da Vinci playing chess with his Muse' (1890-95) by Franz Matsch;
Private Collection?

I chose this painting by Austrian artist Franz Matsch, born on 16 September 1861, for today because there wasn't much else to choose from. There was actually an artist with a bigger name and reputation available, namely Quentin Matsys, a Flemish painter, but the date of his death was not very clear, somewhere between 13 July and 16 September 1530, and there was more than one spelling for his name. Although I do like his painting of The Moneylender and his Wife, I like the one I picked by Matsch better. And it is nice to discover a small painter who is not very well-known by the public. I have to say though that this was the only painting that stood out for me. I didn't find much else that I really liked. Matsch was a painter and sculptor in the Jugenstil style who studied art in Vienna and collaborated with Gustav Klimt and his brother Ernst Klimt on numerous decorative wall paintings in buildings. He worked also on several private commissions. If you read German, you can click on the painter's name above. There was an English page but with little information. I could not find the location of the painting but found that it sold at Sotheby's in London in 2000 so I think it is in private hands.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

José Júlio de Souza Pinto and Missing Boat

'Missing Boat' (1890) by José Júlio de Souza Pinto; Museu do Chiado, Lisbon

Nothing much to choose from today, like yesterday. I came across Portuguese painter Jose Júlio de Souza Pinto, born on 15 September 1856, and it's my first Portuguese painter on this blog. Wikipedia doesn't have an English page on him. Souza Pinto went to Paris to study at the École des Beaux Arts. Between 1881 and 1912, he regularly exhibited at the Paris Salon and became a member of the jury for selections in 1900. He fell in love with Bretagne and lived there until his death. His work is to be seen in several French museums. Today's painting I didn't find with an English title, only Portuguese and Spanish, but translated it would be 'Missing boat'. In the painting we see a woman crying, presumably the widow of the one who got lost at sea. The other woman must be his mother, I think. I was trying to get some information on this painting but was unsuccesful or maybe didn't browse long enough. This is a very vivid depiction of a woman's grief and I think it's beautiful.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Hilda Fearon and Enchantment

'Enchantment' (1914) by Hilda Fearon; Private Collection?

Today there was not much to choose from but I am happy to have found this painting by English painter Hilda Fearon, born on September 14, 1878. I couldn't find a Wikipedia page on her, nor much information elsewhere, so I guess she must have been a minor painter. Like her contemporary Dorothea Sharp, Fearon liked to paint outdoors and was drawn to Cornwall. She had some of her paintings exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1908 until her death in 1917. Today's painting is probably in private hands. I couldn't find its location but it was put up for auction at Sotheby's in Sussex in 1996. I think the light in this painting is beautiful and it's the first thing that draws you in. The depiction of a mother, presumably, reading to her children is also very sweet and peaceful.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Anna Lea Merritt and Eve

'Eve' (1885) by Anna Lea Merritt; Private Collection

Today's painter is unknown to me and is Anna Lea Merritt, born on 13 September 1844, who strangely enough only has a Polish Wikipedia page. You can use the translate button, or click here or here for an English article. Merritt was an American Pre-Raphaelite female painter who went to Europe to study art. By the mid 1870s, she had regular exhibitions at the London Royal Academy. She married her English teacher Henry Merritt in 1877 and quit her career as a result. After his death only three months later, she resumed painting. Her painting Love Locked Out (1889) became the first work by a woman artist to be purchased by the Tate Gallery in 1890. Today's artwork, also known as 'Eve overcome by remorse', has attracted the most attention of her exhibited paintings. It won accolades at the Chicago exhibition in 1893. I think it's beautiful.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Anselm Feuerbach and Iphigenia

'Iphigenia' (1870) by Anselm Feuerbach; Oskar Reinhart Foundation, Winterthur

Anselm Feuerbach, born on 12 September 1829, was a leading German Classicist painter of the German 19th century school. He studied art in Düsseldorf and Münich, then went to Paris where he worked under Thomas Couture and was influenced by Gustave Courbet and Eugène Delacroix. He lived in Italy for a while and many of his best paintings were produced during this period. He was very much interested in Greek and Roman art and antiquity and Italian High Renaissance painting. He painted two versions of Iphigenia, a Greek mythological figure. The first version dates from 1862 (click here) and the second one from 1871 (click here). Today's painting is neither version, but a study of the head for the second version and dates from 1870.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Giovanni Maria Viani and The Penitent Magdalene

'The Penitent Magdalene' (no date found) by Giovanni Maria Viani; Private Collection?

Giovanni Maria Viani, born on 11 September 1636 in Bologna, was the last painter on my list for today to check for paintings. I had already dismissed all the other options and when I read that Viani was an Italian Baroque painter, I almost knew that I couldn't go wrong. I thought, maybe there is a depiction of The Penitent Magdalene, and voilà, there is. Together with Lorenzo Pasinelli, Viani was a pupil of Flaminio Torre. The first works to be attributed to Viani date from 1677. I couldn't find a date nor location for today's painting but I found that it recently sold at Sotheby's, click here. It was part of a private collection and it changed hands to an anonymous buyer so it's likely to be in private hands still. It sold for 37,250 GPB. There's a catalogue note included which states that this painting has been more recently attributed to Viani because it was formerly believed to be a work by Gian Gioseffo dal Sole. Well, whoever painted this, I think it is beautiful. I particularly love the depiction of the folded hands. For further reading, click here.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Laurits Andersen Ring and At Breakfast

'At Breakfast' (1898) by Laurits Andersen Ring; Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

Today the choice was easy because as soon as I saw this painting while googling the images of the paintings by Danish artist Laurits Andersen Ring, born on 15 August 1854 and died on 10 September 1933 (see the Danish Wikipedia page for the exact date details), I recognised this image from my calendar of women reading in art. The calendar is no longer in use because it's last year's but I have kept it and this is one of the images that I would like to frame and hang in my kitchen. I had never heard of this Danish artist before but Ring was one of the most important Danish Symbolist painters of the turn of the 20th century. He was also a pioneer in social realism in Denmark. He was born in the village Ring and later on adopted the name of his native village to avoid confusion in names when he held an exhibition with his friend Hans Andersen. Having studied at the Danish Academy of Arts and briefly with painter Peder Severin Krøyer, he had his first exhibition in 1882. This was a period of political turmoil in Denmark and Ring began to care deeply for the poor and their social situation. In 1896 he married the painter Sigrid Kähler who had posed for some of his paintings. He was 42 years old at the time and she only 21. They had three children before Kähler died at the age of 49. I think his marriage must have been a happy one. In today's painting, we see a lovely depiction of the artist's wife while sitting and reading the newspaper at the breakfast table. The whole atmosphere of the painting, with the sunlit garden in the background, breathes an air of calm. Ring had obviously wanted to stage such a peaceful scene as a setting for his wife. We see myrtle branches forming a crown above her head. This tree is a symbol of love according to Greek mythology. In Denmark twigs of myrtle are used to adorn the bride at wedding ceremonies. This painting is clearly an indication of the artist's love for his wife. Like this one, called The Artist's Wife. I'm a romantic at heart and like both paintings very much.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Pieter Bruegel the Elder and The Tower of Babel

'The Tower of Babel' (c. 1563) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder;
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

I've seen today's painting The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, born c. 1525 and died on 9 September 1569, at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and it is very small. Although it is impressive (because of all the small details), I was a bit disappointed (because of its size) and didn't know at the time that Bruegel had painted two other versions of 'The Tower of Babel'. The bigger version is to be seen at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (click here). The first version Bruegel painted, a miniature on ivory, is now lost. This famous painting is a depiction of the well-known biblical story of man's hubris and God punishing man for wanting to build a tower that reached to the heavens. Bruegel got the inspiration for the architecture of his Tower of Babel from the Colosseum in Rome. If you want to know more about the artist's life, please click on the painter's name above.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Antoine de Favray and Turkish Women

'Turkish Women' (c.1754) by Antoine de Favray; Musée des Augustins, Toulouse

I had some difficulty choosing a painting today. When I found French painter Antoine Favray, born on 8 September 1706, I didn't like the images of his paintings at first glance but when I looked closer, I decided that I like this painting of Turkish women. I like the depiction of this private chat and love the clothing and jewelry. Favray was a private pupil of Jean-François de Troy and accompanied him to Rome in 1738 where De Troy was the director of the Académie de France. Favray became an official student at the Academy in 1739. He left for Malta in 1744 and stayed there for the rest of his career. He dedicated himself mainly to genre painting and portrait painting. The English Wikipedia page doesn't have a lot of information so I added the link to the French page and hope you read French.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Anna Mary Robertson Moses and Country Fair

'Country Fair' (1950) by Anna Mary Robertson Moses; Private Collection?

For today I chose a remarkable American female painter, unknown to me, but very well-known in her home country. She is Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as Grandma Moses, born on 7 September 1860. She made her first painting when she was 76 years old. When she died at the age of 101, she had made around 1500 paintings in three decades. Without any formal education, she started painting when she couldn't hold an embroidery needle anymore due to arthritis. A paintbrush was easier to hold. Her paintings are portrayals of homely farm life. Having worked as a hired help herself, she painted from memory and experience. She also painted wintery scenes of ice-skating in the tradition of Dutch and Flemish genre painting. I just read about her life and she must have been a great woman. Lively, witty and sharp-tongued, she remained observant even in her last years. Her joy of painting and her vision of the world is reflected in her work. Until her 101st and last birthday, she still managed to do a little painting almost every day. Credit is due to the art collector, Louis Caldor, who saw her art work in a drugstore and bought all of her paintings as well as the ones that she had finished at home. He recognised her talent, and the next year three of her paintings were included in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. I want to show you a photo of this remarkable woman, click here. Don't you think she really looks like the world's favourite granny? I really like her paintings. They remind me of the work of Chagall. I also read somewhere that she painted from the top down. First the sky, then the mountains and the trees, then the houses and the cattle, and the people came last. I love her simple reality and the vibrant colours. Very uplifting art.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Julius LeBlanc Stewart and Woman In An Interior

'Woman In An Interior' (1895) by Julius LeBlanc Stewart; Private Collection

Today I could choose between two great painters unknown to me, John Atkinson Grimshaw (6 September 1836 - 13 October 1893) and Julius LeBlanc Stewart, born on 6 September 1855 and died on 5 January 1919. I can still use Grimshaw for the 13th of October so I'm doing a post on Stewart today. Stewart was an American artist who had both his education and career in Europe, mainly in France. He came from a wealthy family and had access to the homes of rich American people who lived abroad. He specialised in large scale paintings and multi-figured compositions. Here are some of the multi-figured paintings that I like (click here and here). If you google his paintings, you see images of society portraits, single portraits and also sensuous nudes (click here and here). Stewart's success took off in 1878 when he had his first exhibition at the Paris Salon and continued till the end of the century. I had many paintings to choose from that I like, and I chose this one of a woman in an interior.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Maurice Quentin de La Tour and Head of A Young Girl

'Head of A Young Girl' (no exact date found; early 18th century) by Maurice Quentin
de La Tour; Musée Antoine Lécuyer, Saint-Quentin

Today's choice was poorly and I had already decided to do a post on Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder but Wikipedia mentions the 9th of September, 1569, as the day of his death. I was confused because there was a couple of sources saying that the day of his death was 5 September 1569 and even some mention that he died between the 5th and the 9th. Anyway, the confusion was short-lived and replaced by a slight annoyance that I had to search for another painter because I want to stick to the Wikipedia date this time. I found French painter Maurice Quentin de La Tour, born on 5 September 1704, but didn't really like his work. He is a Rococo painter and he worked mainly with pastels. Fortunately I found today's painting. It's beautiful in colour and I like the white lacy scarf wrapped around the girl's shoulders. There is actually another pastel portrait that I came across and like so if I wouldn't have chosen 'Head of A Young Girl', I would have used this painting instead. La Tour was one of the most celebrated pastellists of the 18th century and worked as a painter at the court of Louis XV of France. His legacy of many pastels was given to his native city, Saint-Quentin, and is to be seen in Musée Antoine Lécuyer.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Lorenzo Pasinelli and Erythraean Sibyl

'Erythraean Sibyl' (no date found ) by Lorenzo Pasinelli; Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome

Today's painter was quickly chosen but it took me somewhat longer to choose the painting because there are many that I like. The artist is Lorenzo Pasinelli, an Italian Baroque painter, born on September 4, 1629. He trained with Guido Reni's most talented pupil Simone Cantarini and after Cantarini's sudden death in 1648 he continued his studies with Cantarini's pupil Flaminio Torre. With the latter he worked briefly and unsatisfactory and there remains some difficulty in attributing the paintings of this period to his name. To read more about Erythraean Sibyl (because I did not remember who she was, despite my classical high school background), please click on the link. If you want to see more of Pasinelli's paintings, visit his Wikipedia page and there's also more here and here and here.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Joseph Wright of Derby and An Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump

'An Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump' (1768) by Joseph Wright of Derby; National Gallery, London

Today's painting has always captivated me, not in the least because I could never remember its title nor its painter. Just the image of a dark painting with lots of people in it and something to do with a bird stuck to mind. Well, the artist is Joseph Wright of Derby, born on 3 September 1734, and he made today's choice easy. Wright was known for his use of chiaroscuro and for his paintings of candlelit subjects. He was trained as a portrait painter by Thomas Hudson. He was in close contact with members of the Lunar Society, an informal learned society of prominent figures in the Midlands consisting of industrialists, intellectuals and natural philosophers. Many of Wright's paintings were inspired by Lunar Society gatherings. Wikipedia dedicates an entire page on today's painting (click here). It's a depiction of a group of people observing an experiment in which a bird is deprived of air. Everybody reacts differently but their concern for the bird's well-being is surpassed by their scientific curiosity. I think it's a fascinating work of art because of its subject choice and use of dramatic light.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Arthur Ernest Streeton and Autumn

'Autumn' (1889) by Arthur Ernest Streeton; Art Gallery of Ballarat, Ballarat, Australia

I had an extremely difficult time finding a painting for today. I decided to use Australian landscape painter Arthur Streeton, even though the Wikipedia page says that his date of death is 1 September 1943. I usually rely on Wikipedia but Safran-Arts mentions September 2, 1943, and that is good enough for me. Otherwise I might have ended up with a painting by an artist that I didn't like at all. In any case, I like this painting and the brightness of the colours. The Wikipedia page shows more of Streeton's paintings and I like these too. I had never heard of this painter but he appears to be no minor artist. His paintings are amongst the most collectible of Australian painters. Streeton was one of the founders of the Heidelberg School, an Australian art movement that has been described as Australian Impressionism. By looking at today's painting, you can see why. The painting 'Autumn' was purchased by the Art Gallery of Ballarat in 1948, and prior to its acquisition, the canvas was cut into two smaller scenes. Eventually they decided against making two paintings out of one. I have no idea why they were even contemplating making two paintings out of one. It must have something to do with size. Anyway, this is one of Streeton's early works and it is one of the few paintings in which he depicts a woman at work. He sometimes named his paintings after works by his favourite poets and this painting is probably named after Keats' ode 'To Autumn'. I like this painting because it is a bit vague in form and there's no uniformity in the depiction of the trees. It gives a sense of a warm day in late summer turning into autumn. Just like the weather here in Amsterdam.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Edmund Blair Leighton and God Speed!

'God Speed!' (1900) by Edmund Blair Leighton; Private Collection

Today I can do a post on British painter, Edmund Blair Leighton, born on 21 September 1852 and died on 1 September 1922. I don't think that he was officially a Pre-Raphaelite painter but he was associated with the Brotherhood and his paintings are also medieval and Arthurian in theme. Today's painting looks definitely Pre-Raphaelite in style and colour to me. I wasn't familiar with this painter or his work and his name is not commonly known but apparently his paintings 'God Speed!' and The Accolade are amongst the most widely recognised paintings of the period. I absolutely love both this painting and 'The Accolade'. 'God Speed!' is a depiction of a romantic scene between the beautiful maiden and her knight in shining armour. We feel the immediate danger and even hope for his safe return. Leighton also specialised in Regency paintings, like this one and this one. They are lovely but maybe a bit too sentimental and sweet. I do like his Pre-Raphaelite paintings much better with the Arthurian theme and vivid colours. To see more, click here and here and here.
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