Saturday, December 31, 2011

Raffaello Sanzio

The Canigiani Madonna
Oil on wood
131 cm × 107 cm (52 in × 42 in)
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (1483 – 1520), better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period. Raphael died on the 6th of April 1520 (on his 37th birthday) and was buried the next day in the Pantheon. His funeral was very well attended attracting large crowds.

The painting's name derives from the Florentine family who owned it before it passed into the Medici collection.
The Virgin and Elizabeth are sitting on the grass with their children, and Joseph is standing over them.
In this work Raphael synthesizes elements drawn from Da Vinci and Michelangelo and compounds them with a decisively Northern landscape and delicate colourist passages dominated by iridescent tones. The pyramid in which the figures are ideally enclosed is still drawn from models provided by Leonardo, but the relationships between the figures, developed through the glances they exchange and through the serene feelings they communicate, carry the composition onto a calmly descriptive plane. The tone of the painting is thus quite different from the tense and restless art of Da Vinci. His unsurpassed descriptive capacity permits Raphael to create an image full of human participation and limpid serenity.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Angelico, Fra

Tempera on wood
150 x 180 cm
Museo Diocesano, Cortona, Italy

Fra Angelico (c. 1395 – 1455) was an Early Italian Renaissance painter described as having "a rare and perfect talent". His skill in creating monumental figures, representing motion, and suggesting deep space through the use of linear perspective mark him as one of the foremost painters of the Renaissance.

Angelico is known in Italy as il Beato Angelico, the term "Il Beato" ("Blessed One") being already in use during his lifetime or shortly thereafter, in reference to his skills in painting religious subjects. He has been seen as 'not an artist properly so-called but an inspired saint'. All of his many paintings were of divine subjects, and it seems that he never altered or retouched them, perhaps from a religious conviction that, because his paintings were divinely inspired, they should retain their original form. He was wont to say that he who illustrates the acts of Christ should be with Christ.
Angelico died in Rome and was buried in the church of S. Maria sopra Minerva, where his tombstone still exists.

Pope John Paul II beatified Fra Angelico in 1982 and declared him patron of Catholic artists in 1984.
Angelico was reported to say "He who does Christ's work must stay with Christ always". This motto earned him the epithet "Blessed Angelico", because of the perfect integrity of his life and the almost divine beauty of the images he painted, to a superlative extent. (Pope John Paul II)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mondrian, Piet

Composition with Yellow, Blue and Red
Oil on canvas
72.5 x 69 cm (28 1/2 x 27 1/8 in.)
Tate Gallery, London

Piet Mondrian (1872 – 1944) was a Dutch painter.
He is recognized as the purest and most methodical of the early abstractionists.
He radically simplified the elements of his artwork in an effort to reflect what he believed to be the order underlying the visible world. His use of asymmetrical balance and a simplified pictorial vocabulary were crucial in the development of modern art.
Abstract artists believed that painters, sculptors and architects must work together to build a new world, where people can live in balance with the laws of the universe. The forms that fit this philosophy had to be clear. Straight lines and corners were used.

The surfaces were painted in the primary colors red, blue and yellow and in the non-colors white, and black. All unnecessary shapes and colors were abolished and the works were limited to planes of basic colors divided by absolute horizontal and vertical lines. This universal vision, based on Mondrian's intuition and insight, gave rise to an orderly and balanced beauty.
Mondrian's iconic abstract works remain influential in design and familiar in popular culture.

A contemporary and disciple of the famous cubists Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, Mondrian challenged the definition of art itself, working with simple lines, right angles, correct geometric figures and pure, primary colors. His work attained a level of abstraction far beyond that of even his most progressive colleagues.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gris, Juan

Still Life with Checked Tablecloth
Oil on canvas
116 x 89 cm (45 5/8 x 35 in.)
Private collection

José Victoriano González-Pérez (1887 – 1927), known as Juan Gris, was a Spanish painter and sculptor who lived and worked in France most of his life. His works, which are closely connected to the emergence of an innovative artistic genre—Cubism, are among the movement's most distinctive.

Though not the inventor of Cubism, he was one of its most able practitioners and evolved a very personal variety of it, combining elements which he had learned from Braque and Picasso with others which were his own personal invention. Typical of his approach was his remark about Cezanne, the universally acknowledged father of Cubism: 'Cezanne made a cylinder out of a bottle. I start from the cylinder to create a special kind of individual object. I make a bottle out of a cylinder.'

Unlike Picasso and Braque, whose Cubist works were monochromatic, Gris painted with bright harmonious colors in daring, novel combinations in the manner of his friend Matisse. His preference for clarity and order made Gris an important exemplar of the post-war "return to order" movement.
He was the Third Musketeer of Cubism, and actually pushed Cubism further to its logical conclusion until his death in 1927 at the age of 39.
He died of renal failure, he was frequently ill with bouts of uremia and cardiac problems, in Boulogne-sur-Seine (Paris) .
Juan Gris had a special sympathy for poets, and collaborated with a number of distinguished writers.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Cezanne, Paul

The Garden at Les Lauves
(possibly from Cezanne's estate in Aix-en-Provence)
c. 1906
Oil on canvas
65.4 x 80.9 cm (25 3/4 x 31 7/8 in)
The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
Cezanne, Paul (1839 - 1906), French painter, one of the greatest of the Postimpressionists, whose works and ideas were influential in the aesthetic development of many 20th-century artists and art movements, especially Cubism. His art grew out of Impressionism and eventually challenged all the conventional values of painting in the 19th century through its insistence on personal expression and on the integrity of the painting itself. He has been called the father of modern painting.

He has given an impulse directly or indirectly to almost every new movement since he died. He realized with equal fullness so many different sides of his art and had a power to excite artists of different tendency and temperament.

In Cezanne we are struck rather by the comprehensive character of his art, although later artists have built on a particular element of his style. In his pictures single patches of the brush reveal themselves as an uncanny choice, deciding the unity of a whole region of forms. His painting is a balanced art, not in the sense that it is stabilized or moderate in its effects, but that opposed qualities are joined in a scrupulously controlled play. He is inventive and perfect in many different aspects of his art.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Leonardo da Vinci

Virgin of the Rocks
Oil on panel
199 x 122 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (1452 - 1519) was one of the great masters of the High Renaissance, who was also celebrated as a painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, and scientist. He has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance Man, a man of "unquenchable curiosity" and "feverishly inventive imagination".

His profound love of knowledge and research was the keynote of both his artistic and scientific endeavors. His innovations in the field of painting influenced the course of Italian art for more than a century after his death, and his scientific studies-particularly in the fields of anatomy, optics, and hydraulics-anticipated many of the developments of modern science.
Although Leonardo produced a relatively small number of paintings, many of which remained unfinished, he was nevertheless an extraordinarily innovative and influential artist.
As a scientist Leonardo towered above all his contemporaries. His scientific theories, like his artistic innovations, were based on careful observation and precise documentation. He understood, better than anyone of his century or the next, the importance of precise scientific observation.

He is considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived. A creator in all branches of art, a discoverer in most branches of science, and an inventor in branches of technology, Leonardo deserves, perhaps more than anyone, the title of Homo Universalis, Universal Man.

Fragonard, Jean-Honoré

The Happy Accidents of the Swing
oil on canvas
81 × 64 cm
Wallace Collection, London

Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732 – 1806) ,French painter, was one of the most prolific artists active in the last decades of the Ancien Régime.
He developed, from his beginnings as a pupil and follower of François Boucher, into the most brilliant and versatile artist in 18th-century France. He wielded brush, chalk and etcher's needle with extraordinary virtuosity, effortlessly varying his touch as he produced a succession of consummate masterpieces on themes from religion, mythology, genre and landscape. Among his most popular works are genre paintings conveying an atmosphere of intimacy and veiled eroticism.
By 1780 Fragonard’s career had passed its peak. Erotic paintings and the exuberant decorative style he was known for had gradually begun to go out of fashion, replaced by Neo-Classicism, which would gain more popularity in the years leading up to the French Revolution. Fragonard died in 1806, almost completely ignored and forgotten. He had little direct influence on French painting, but his oeuvre shows many of the preoccupations of later artists with problems of style, subject-matter and conception.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Corot, Jean-Baptiste-Camille

Thatched Cottage in Normandy
c. 1872
oil on canvas
45.1 x 61.2 cm
Norton Simon Foundation, Pasadena

"In my eyes, nobody taught me anything. When one finds oneself alone confronted by nature, one extricates oneself as best one can, and naturally one invents one's own style." (Corot, Jean-Baptiste-Camille)

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796 – 1875) ,French landscape painter, was the leading painter of the Barbizon school of France in the mid-nineteenth century. He is a pivotal figure in landscape painting and his vast output simultaneously references the Neo-Classical tradition and anticipates the plein-air innovations of Impressionism. Of him Claude Monet exclaimed "There is only one master here—Corot. We are nothing compared to him, nothing." His contributions to figure painting are hardly less important; Degas preferred his figures to his landscapes, and the classical figures of Picasso pay overt homage to Corot's influence.

His reputation was established by the 1850s, which was also the period when his style became softer and his colors more restricted. In his late studio landscapes, which were often peopled with bathers, bacchae and allegorical figures, he employed a small range of colors, often using soft colored greys and blue-greens, with spots of color confined to the clothing of the figures.
His influence on later 19th-century landscape painting, including the Impressionists, was immense, particularly in his portrayal of light on the landscape.
He died in Paris of a stomach disorder and was buried at Père Lachaise.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Mucha, Alfons Maria

Madonna of the Lilies
Oil on canvas
247 x 182 cm
Mucha Museum, Prague, Czech Republic

Alfons Maria Mucha (1860-1939), known in English as Alphonse Mucha, was born in Moravia (now in the Czech Republic, then part of the Austrian Empire). He was a prolific key figure artist of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries who produced a flurry of paintings, posters, and book illustrations, as well as designs for jewellery, wallpaper, theater sets, etc. in what was termed Mucha Style but became known as Art Nouveau. His works frequently featured beautiful healthy young women in flowing vaguely Neoclassical looking robes, surrounded by lush flowers which formed halos behind the women's heads. In contrast with contemporary poster makers he used pale pastel colors.
The Art Nouveau style, however, was one that he attempted to disassociate himself from throughout his life; he always insisted that rather than maintaining any fashionable stylistic form, his paintings were entirely a product of himself and Czech art. He declared that art existed only to communicate a spiritual message, and nothing more.

The rising tide of fascism during the late 1930s resulted in Mucha's works, as well as his Slavic nationalism, being denounced in the press as 'reactionary'. When German troops moved into Czechoslovakia during the spring of 1939, Mucha was among the first persons to be arrested by the Gestapo. During his interrogation, the aging artist became ill with pneumonia. Though released eventually, he died in Prague on 14 July 1939, of a lung infection, and was interred there in the Vyšehrad cemetery.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cowper, Frank Cadogan

Oil on canvas
54 x 37cm (21.26" x 14.57")
Royal Academy of Arts, London, United Kingdom

Frank Cadogan Cowper (1877 – 1958) was an English painter, historical and literary scenes, described as "The last of the Pre-Raphaelites". He worked in both watercolours and oils, and also worked as book illustrator.
This painting "Vanity" was Cowper's diploma work for the Royal Academy, lately graced the front cover of the Royal Academy Magazine. His art was unappreciated in his later days however, in more recent years, his popularity is once again in the ascendant.

He was known to go to extreme lengths for his art. For example, for his early picture of the graveyard scene in Hamlet, he had a grave specially dug, which he said ‘astounded the neighbours very much’, and when he decided to paint a picture of St Francis of Assisi he went to Assisi specifically for the purpose and used a real Bishop as his model.
Cowper had his first picture was hung at the Royal Academy when he was just 22 where continued to exhibit his work as well as and at the Royal Watercolour Society and the Paris Salon, and in Rome and Venice.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kirchner, Ernst Ludwig

Two Women in the Street
Oil on canvas
120.5 x 91 cm
Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf, Germany

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880 – 1938) was a German expressionist painter and one of the founders of the key artists group leading to the foundation of Expressionism in 20th century art.
The group aimed to eschew the prevalent traditional academic style and find a new mode of artistic expression, which would form a bridge between the past and the present. They responded both to past artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Matthias Grünewald and Lucas Cranach the Elder, as well as contemporary international avant-garde movements. As part of the affirmation of their national heritage, they revived older media, particularly woodcut prints.

He was born in Aschaffenburg, Bavaria. At the onset of the First World War in 1914, he volunteered for military service, but soon suffered a nervous breakdown and was discharged. In 1933, he was labelled a "degenerate artist" by the Nazis, over 600 of his works were confiscated from public museums in Germany and were sold or destroyed. In 1938, the psychological trauma of these events, along with the Nazi occupation of Austria, close to his home, led to his suicide.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rossetti, Dante Gabriel

Beata Beatrix
Oil on canvas
864 x 660 mm
Tate Museum, London

Painted as a memorial to Rossetti's wife, Elizabeth Siddal, who died in 1862 (Rossetti modeled Beatrice after his deceased wife and frequent model).
It is one of his most intensely visionary, Symbolist pictures, and marks a new direction in his art. The painting represents the death of Beatrice in Dante's 'Vita Nuova'. Beatrice sits in a death-like trance, while a bird, the messenger of Death, drops a poppy into her hands. In the background the figures of Love and Dante gaze at each other, with the Ponte Vecchio and the Duomo of Florence silhouetted behind them.

In an letter to his friend, Rossetti said he intended the painting "not as a representation of the incident of the death of Beatrice, but as an ideal of the subject, symbolized by a trance or sudden spiritual transfiguration."

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 – 1882) was an English poet, illustrator, painter and translator.
Rossetti's art was characterised by its sensuality and its medieval revivalism. Poetry and image are closely entwined in Rossetti's work; he frequently wrote sonnets to accompany his pictures.
Rossetti's personal life was closely linked to his work, especially his relationships with his models and muses.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kandinsky, Wassily Wassilyevich

Composition X
Oil on canvas
130 x 195 cm (51 1/8 x 76 3/4 in)
Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf

"The term "Composition" can imply a metaphor with music. He was fascinated by music's emotional power. Because music expresses itself through sound and time, it allows the listener a freedom of imagination, interpretation, and emotional response that is not based on the literal or the descriptive, but rather on the abstract quality that painting, still dependent on representing the visible world, could not provide. Music can respond and appeal directly to the artist's "internal element" and express spiritual values, thus for him it is a more advanced art. In his writings Kandinsky emphasizes this superiority in advancing toward what he calls the epoch of the great spiritual.

Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky (1866 – 1944), born in Moscow into a merchant family, was an influential Russian painter and art theorist. He is credited with painting the first purely-abstract works.
He enrolled at the University of Moscow, chose to study law and economics, and after passing his examinations, lectured at the Moscow Faculty of Law. Thus he pursued his academic career but at the same time paid more and more attention to art. Finally he took the post of art director of a publishing house in Moscow, in order to devote himself to the study of painting, refusing an offer from a University to head one of their departments.

Kandinsky continued painting almost until his death in June, 1944. his unrelenting quest for new forms which carried him to the very extremes of geometric abstraction have provided us with an unparalleled collection of abstract art.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ingres, Jean Auguste Dominique

Raphael and the Fornarina
oil on canvas
26 x 21 1/2''
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachussetts, USA

La Fornarina, which means “little baker girl”, is traditionally identified with the fornarina (bakeress) Margherita Luti, Raphael's Roman mistress.

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780 – 1867) was a French Neoclassical painter.
As a man profoundly respectful of the past, he once explained that "the great masters which flourished in that century of glorious memory when Raphael set the eternal and incontestable bounds of the sublime in art ... I am thus a conservator of good doctrine, and not an innovator."
he said paint should be as smooth 'as the skin of an onion'.
As a great calligraphic genius his true successors are Degas and Picasso.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Raffaello Sanzio

Madonna della Seggiola (Sedia)
(Madonna of the Chair)
Oil on wood
diameter 71 cm
Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence

The Madonna della seggiola or Madonna della sedia is a Madonna housed in the Palazzo Pitti collection in Florence depicts Mary embracing the child Christ, while the young John the Baptist devoutly watches. The warmer colors seem to suggest the influence of Titian.

Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (1483 – 1520), better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period.

He was enormously productive, running an unusually large workshop, and despite his death at 37, a large body of his work remains. He was extremely influential in his lifetime. After his death, the influence of his great rival Michelangelo was more widespread until the 18th and 19th centuries, when Raphael's more serene and harmonious qualities were again regarded as the highest models.

Raphael is said to have had many affairs, but he never married.
He died on his 37th birthday and, at his request, he was buried the next day in the Pantheon. The reason of his premature death is unknown.
His funeral was extremely grand, attended by large crowds. The inscription in his marble sarcophagus reads: "Ille hic est Raffael, timuit quo sospite vinci, rerum magna parens et moriente mori." Meaning: "Here lies that famous Raphael by whom Nature feared to be conquered while he lived, and when he was dying, feared herself to die."

"While we may term other works paintings, those of Raphael are living things; the flesh palpitates, the breath comes and goes, every organ lives, life pulsates everywhere." (by Giorgio Vasari in the edition of Lives of the Artists, 1568)

Many of his works are found in the Apostolic Palace of The Vatican, where the frescoed Raphael Rooms were the central, and the largest, work of his career. The best known work is The School of Athens in the Vatican Stanza della Segnatura. After his early years in Rome much of his work was self-designed, but for the most part executed by the workshop from his drawings, with considerable loss of quality.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Leonardo da Vinci

Female head (La Scapigliata)
c. 1508
Oil on panel
27 x 21 cm
Galleria Nazionale, Parma

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (1452 – 1519) was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal.
He was born in the small Tuscan town of Vinci in the region of Florence as the son of a wealthy notary and a peasant woman. He was handsome, persuasive in conversation, and a fine musician and improviser.
He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived.
Renaissance humanism recognized no mutually exclusive polarities between the sciences and the arts, and Leonardo's studies in science and engineering are as impressive and innovative as his artistic work. These studies were recorded in 13,000 pages of notes and drawings, which fuse art and natural philosophy (the forerunner of modern science), made and maintained daily throughout Leonardo's life and travels, as he made continual observations of the world around him.
A creator in all branches of art, a discoverer in most branches of science, and an inventor in branches of technology, Leonardo deserves, perhaps more than anyone, the title of Homo Universalis, Universal Man.

In the normal course of events many men and women are born with remarkable talents; but occasionally, in a way that transcends nature, a single person is marvelously endowed by Heaven with beauty, grace and talent in such abundance that he leaves other men far behind, all his actions seem inspired and indeed everything he does clearly comes from God rather than from human skill. Everyone acknowledged that this was true of Leonardo da Vinci, an artist of outstanding physical beauty, who displayed infinite grace in everything that he did and who cultivated his genius so brilliantly that all problems he studied he solved with ease. (by Giorgio Vasari in the edition of Lives of the Artists, 1568)

Thursday, December 15, 2011


The Holy Family with the infant St. John the Baptist (the Doni tondo)
Oil on panel
Diameter 120 cm
Uffizi, Florence

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475 – 1564) was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art.
He was considered the greatest living artist in his lifetime, and ever since then he has been held to be one of the greatest artists of all time. In his lifetime he was also often called Il Divino ("the divine one").

In his personal life, Michelangelo was abstemious. He told his apprentice: "However rich I may have been, I have always lived like a poor man."
It is said he was indifferent to food and drink, eating "more out of necessity than of pleasure" and that he "often slept in his clothes and ... boots."
He was by nature a solitary and melancholy person. His biographer says, "His nature was so rough and uncouth that his domestic habits were incredibly squalid, and deprived posterity of any pupils who might have followed him."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Marc, Franz

The Fate of the Animals (Animal Destinies)
Oil on canvas
196 x 266 cm
Kunstmuseum, Basle

Franz Marc (1880 – 1916) was a German painter, and one of the key figures of the German Expressionist movement.
He was a pioneer in the birth of abstract art at the beginning of the twentieth-century.
His work is characterized by bright primary color, an almost cubist portrayal of animals, stark simplicity and a profound sense of emotion. He gave an emotional meaning or purpose to the colors he used in his work: blue was used for masculinity and spirituality, yellow represented feminine joy, and red encased the sound of violence.
His best-known painting is probably Tierschicksale (also known as Animal Destinies or The Fate of the Animals...this painting), which hangs in the Kunstmuseum Basel. He completed the work in 1913, when "the tension of impending cataclysm had pervaded society". On the rear of the canvas, he wrote, "Und Alles Sein ist flammend Leid" ("And all being is flaming agony"). Conscripted during World War I, he wrote to his wife of this painting, it "is like a premonition of this war--horrible and shattering. I can hardly conceive that I painted it." Tragically, he was killed near Verdun, France while in his military service, on March 4, 1916 at the age of thirty-six.

After the National Socialists took power, they suppressed modern art; in 1936 and 1937, the Nazis condemned Marc as an entarteter Künstler' (degenerate artist), and ordered that approximately 130 of his works be taken from exhibit in German museums.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hasegawa, Tōhaku

Maple Tree
golden vertical rectangular panel (fusuma) : large sliding door where strong, bright, mineral pigments were applied over gold foil backgrounds
172.5×139.5cm (x 4 panels)
Daiho'in Temple, Chishaku'in, Japan

Hasegawa, Tōhaku (1539 - 1610) was a Japanese painter during the Azuchi-Momoyama period of Japanese history. He was born in a town located in the vicinity of present-day Ishikawa prefectures to a noted local family of cloth dyers.
He admired the Japanese monk-painter Sesshū Tōyō (1420-1506) and the works of Sesshū in particular influenced Tōhaku's artistic style. Tōhaku was in fact so much enamored with the techniques of Sesshū that he attempted to claim rights as his fifth successor.
Tohaku received many commissions from major temples and ruling military families such as Hideyoshi Toyotomi, who unified, then ruled Japan and Ieyasu Tokugawa, founder of the Edo government which took over after Hideyoshi. At the age of 67, Tōhaku was summoned from Kyoto to Edo and granted the ecclesiastic painter's title.
He was the first painter to use pine trees exclusively as the subject of a major works.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Rubens, Peter Paul

The Artist and His First Wife, Isabella Brant, in the Honeysuckle Bower
Oil on canvas
178 cm × 136.5 cm (70 in × 53.7 in)
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

The Honeysuckle Bower is a self-portrait of Rubens and his first wife Isabella Brant. They wed on October 3, 1609 in Antwerp. The painting is a full-length double portrait of the couple seated in a bower of honeysuckle. They are surrounded by love and marriage symbolism: the honeysuckle and garden are both traditional symbols of love, and the holding of right hands represents union through marriage. Additionally, Rubens depicts himself as an aristocratic gentleman with his left hand on the hilt of his sword.

Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577 – 1640), Flemish Baroque painter, was a classically educated humanist scholar, art collector, and diplomat who was knighted by both Philip IV, King of Spain, and Charles I, King of England, who was the greatest exponent of Baroque painting's dynamism, vitality, and sensuous exuberance. He was well-known for his altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects. His work is a fusion of the traditions of Flemish realism with the classical tendencies of the Italian Renaissance and is one of the most methodically assimilative and most prodigiously productive of Western artists.

Rubens's influence in 17th-century Flanders was overwhelming, and it was spread elsewhere in Europe by his journeys abroad and by pictures exported from his workshop. He is a central figure in the history of Western art and artists at almost every period have responded to the force of his genius. Perhaps most noticeably in France, where Watteau, Delacroix, and Renoir were among his greatest admirers.

He died from gout on May 30, 1640 and was interred in Saint Jacob's church, Antwerp. He had eight children, three with Isabella and five with Helene (in 1630, four years after the death of his first wife, the 53-year-old painter married 16-year-old Helene Fourment); his youngest child was born eight months after his death. His fondness of painting full-figured women gave rise to the terms 'Rubensian' or 'Rubenesque' for plus-sized women.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Uden, Lucas van

Winter Landscape with Hunters
year unknown
Oil on canvas
65.5 x 40.7cm (16 x 25.8 in)
Private collection

Lucas van Uden (1595 - 1672) was the son of a town painter of Antwerp, and grandson of a  founder of a noted tapestry and silk factory in the city.  He spent most of his career in Antwerp.

His great talent was for observing nature. He habitually rose before dawn to take walks in the country, to study the effects of sunrise and to sketch.
He was strongly influenced by Rubens. He copied numerous Rubens compositions and introduced Rubensian elements into his own landscapes. The wide, horizontal orientation and deep horizons of his landscapes clearly show a debt to Rubens. On the whole, however, he demonstrates a more prosaic mind and more piecemeal approach.
General characteristics are a tonally-green recessive view punctuated by slender trees and populated by incidental pastoral and peasant figures.
Watercolors and etchings, for which Van Uden is most admired, display his refined sense of light and mood.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bronzino, Agnolo

Portrait of Lorenzo Lenzi
Oil on panel
90 x 71 cm
Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco, Milan

Agnolo di Cosimo (1503 – 1572), usually known as Il Bronzino, or Agnolo Bronzino was an Italian Mannerist painter from Florence, the son of a butcher. His sobriquet, Bronzino, in all probability refers to his relatively dark skin.
He was court painter to Duke Cosimo I de Medici for most of his career, and his work influenced the course of European court portraiture for a century. Cold, cultured, and unemotionally analytical, his portraits convey a sense of almost insolent assurance.
He was less successful as a religious painter, his lack of real feeling leading to empty, elegant posturing in which almost every one of the extraordinarily contorted poses can be traced back to Raphael or to Michelangelo, whom Bronzino idolized. He was a much respected figure who took a prominent part in the activities of the Accademia del Disegno, of which he was a founder member in 1563.
Bronzino was also a poet.

Delvaux, Paul

Muchachas desnudas en el campo o Las amigas
(Naked girls on the field or girl friends)
Oil on canvas
143 x 200 cm
other unknown

Paul Delvaux (1897 – 1994) was a Belgian painter, associated with Surrealism, famous for his paintings of female nudes.

He was the son of a lawyer. The young Delvaux took music lessons, studied Greek and Latin, and absorbed the fiction of Jules Verne and the poetry of Homer. All of his work was to be influenced by these readings, starting with his earliest drawings showing mythological scenes.

Delvaux acknowledged his influences, saying of de Chirico, "with him I realized what was possible, the climate that had to be developed, the climate of silent streets with shadows of people who can't be seen, I've never asked myself if it's surrealist or not." He did not consider himself "a Surrealist in the scholastic sense of the word." "Delvaux ... always maintained an intimate and privileged relationship to his childhood, which is the underlying motivation for his work and always manages to surface there. This 'childhood,' existing within him, led him to the poetic dimension in art."

Friday, December 9, 2011

Alexander, John White

A Meadow Flower
Oil on canvas
50 1/2 x 40 1/2 inches (128.27 x 102.87 cm)
Private collection

John White Alexander (1856-1915) was an American (born in Pennsylvania) portrait, figure, and decorative painter and illustrator. Orphaned in infancy, he was reared by his grandparents and at the age of 12 became a telegraph boy in Pittsburgh. His talent at drawing attracted the attention of one of his employers, who assisted him to develop them. He moved to New York at the age of eighteen and worked in an office at Harper's Weekly, where he was an illustrator and political cartoonist. After an apprenticeship of three years, he travelled to Germany, Italy, France, the Netherland, etc.. In 1881 he returned to New York and speedily achieved great success in portraiture. His first exhibition in the Paris Salon of 1893 was a brilliant success. In 1901 he was named Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.
Many of his paintings are in museums and public places in the United States and in Europe, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. In addition, in the entrance hall to the Art Museum of the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, a series of Alexander's murals entitled "Apotheosis of Pittsburgh" (1905–1907) covers the walls of the three-storey atrium area.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Great Bridge, Sudden Shower at "Atake"
woodblock print, "Ukiyo-E"
other unknown

Hiroshige Andō(1797 – 1858) was a Japanese ukiyo-e artist, and one of the last great artists in that tradition. He was also referred to as Hiroshige Utagawa .
He was born in Edo (now Tokyo) and at first, like his father, was a fire warden. The prints of Hokusai are said to have first kindled in him the desire to become an artist. He transmuted everyday landscapes into intimate, lyrical scenes that made him even more successful than his contemporary, Hokusai.

He dominated landscape printmaking with his unique brand of intimate, almost small-scale works compared against the older traditions of landscape painting. The travel prints generally depict travelers along famous routes experiencing the special attractions of various stops along the way. They travel in the rain, in snow, and during all of the seasons. He captured, in a poetic, gentle way that all could understand, the ordinary person's experience of the Japanese landscape as well as the varied moods of memorable places at different times.
His total output was immense, some 5400 prints in all.

Gogh, Vincent van

The Bridge in the Rain (after Hiroshige)
Oil on Canvas
73 x 54 cm
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Hiroshige depicted the many faces of Tokyo: bridges, quays, temples and gardens. He liked to depict his favourite sites under unusual circumstances: in rain, storm, snow or during a fireworks display. European artists were impressed by Hiroshige's bright colors and spectacular compositions.

The Bridge in the Rain illustrates Van Gogh’s interest in Japanese art. He painted this scene after a woodcut by  Hiroshige, which he had in his own collection. The borders are filled with calligraphic figures borrowed from other Japanese prints. Van Gogh made two other paintings in the same fashion. One distinction with regard to the originals is the use of color: Van Gogh used different, brighter colors, or enhanced the color contrasts.
The influence of Japanese prints remains visible in Van Gogh’s later works, especially in his strong outlines and color contrasts, and in the way he cropped his compositions.

Vincent Willem van Gogh (1853 – 1890) was a Dutch post-Impressionist painter whose work, notable for its rough beauty, emotional honesty, and bold color, had a far-reaching influence on 20th-century art.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tang Yin

Lady Pan's Round Fan
Hanging scroll, ink and color on silk
150.4 x 63.6 cm (59.21x25.04 inches)
by Tang Yin(1470-1523), Ming dynasty
National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan

The main figure in this painting is Fair Lady Pan (Pan Chieh-yu, ca. 48-6 BC). Because she had since childhood excelled at poetry and prose, Emperor Ch'eng-ti of the Han (ca. 33-7 BC) chose her as part of his court, initially giving her the rank of Junior Maid. Not long thereafter she was promoted to Chieh-yu ("Lady of Handsome Fairness").

Tang Yin (Chinese:1470 – 1523), better known by his courtesy name Tang Bohu, was a Chinese scholar, painter, calligrapher, and poet of the Ming Dynasty period (1368 - 1644) whose life story has become a part of popular lore, who emerged from the vital merchant class of a local province at a very low economic level of the son of a restaurant operator. He is one of the most notable painters in Chinese art history.

Though he was a brilliant student with high hopes for a distinguished governmental civil service career, he was accused of bribing the servant of one of the chief examiners of the National Examinations to give him the examination questions in advance, and then returned to his home village near nowadays Shanghai in disgrace.

In later days of his life, he pursued a life of pleasure and earned a living by selling his paintings.
Even though he was born during Ming Dynasty, Many of his paintings were illustrated with elements from Pre-Tang to Song Dynasty (12th centuries).
While Tang is associated with paintings of feminine beauty, his paintings, especially landscapes, otherwise exhibit the same variety and expression of his peers and reveal a man of both artistic skill and profound insight.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gogh, Vincent van

Self Portrait with felt Hat
oil on canvas
44 × 37,5 cm
Musée van Gogh, Amsterdam

Vincent Willem van Gogh (1853 – 1890), Dutch post-Impressionist painter, loved art from an early age. He began to draw as a child, and he continued making drawings throughout the years leading to his decision to become an artist.
He did not begin painting until his late twenties, completing many of his best-known works during his last two years. In just over a decade, he produced more than 2,100 artworks, consisting of 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolors, drawings, sketches and prints.
His work included self portraits, landscapes, still lifes of flowers, portraits and paintings of cypresses, wheat fields and sunflowers.
After years of painful anxiety and frequent bouts of mental illness, he died at the age of 37 from a gunshot wound, generally accepted to be self-inflicted.
The extent to which his mental health affected his painting has been a subject of speculation since his death. According to an art critic, his late works show an artist at the height of his ability, completely in control and "longing for concision and grace".

Monday, December 5, 2011

Matisse, Henri

Odalisque with Magnolias
Oil on canvas
25 5/8 x 31 7/8" (65 x 81 cm)
Private collection

Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954) was a French artist who was born in the year the Cutty Sark was launched. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter.
Matisse is regarded, along with Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, as one of the three artists who helped to define the revolutionary developments in the plastic arts in the opening decades of the 20th century, responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture.
Although he was initially labeled a Fauve (wild beast), by the 1920s he was increasingly hailed as an upholder of the classical tradition in French painting. His mastery of the expressive language of color and drawing, displayed in a body of work spanning over a half-century, won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art.
"Instinct must be thwarted just as one prunes the branches of a tree so that it will grow better."(Henri Matisse)

Matisse, Henri

Oil on canvas
21 5/8 x 18 1/8 in. (55 x 46 cm)
Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen

Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954) was a French artist, being regarded as the most important French painter of the 20th century. The leader of the Fauvist movement around 1900, Matisse pursued the expressiveness of color throughout his career. His subjects were largely domestic or figurative, and a distinct Mediterranean verve presides in the treatment.
The art of 20th century has been dominated by two men: Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.
Matisse was the elder of the two, but he was a slower and more methodical man by temperament and it was Picasso who initially made the greater splash. Matisse, like Raphael, was a born leader and taught and encouraged other painters, while Picasso, like Michelangelo, inhibited them with his power: he was a natural czar.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Picasso, Pablo

Marie-Therese Walter
Oil on canvas
other: unknown

Pablo Picasso, (1881 – 1973) was a Spanish painter.
This is a painting of Picasso’s earlier portraits of his young mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter.
He met Teresa when she was just seventeen (at the time he was forty-five). Despite the fact his relationship with her was incognito at first they spent many years together and has a daughter Maya Widmaier-Picasso.
Though it ended when Picasso moved on to his next mistress, artist Dora Maar, Picasso supported Marie and Maya financially, but he never married Marie. In 1977, four years after Picasso's death, Marie-Thérèse committed suicide by hanging herself in the garage.

Picasso, Pablo

Self Portrait Facing Death
done at the Mougins (located on the heights of Cannes)
30 June 1972
Pencil and crayon on paper
65.7 x 50.5 cm
Fuji Television Gallery, Tokyo

Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso, known as Pablo Picasso, (1881 – 1973) was a Spanish painter.
Based on sales of his works at auctions, he holds the title of top ranked artist. He was also a prolific artist with estimates of 50,000 works of art production in his lifetime, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, etc..
He worked up until the day he died at age 91; literally painting till 3 am on Sunday, April 8th, which was just hours before his death.
His last well known self-portrait, this exhibited painting,  was done a little less than a year before his death (June 30, 1972).

The painting is done with crayon on paper, taking several months to complete. A friend, Pierre, tells of his memory of a visit to Picasso, "Picasso held the drawing beside his face to show that the expression of fear was a contrivance." Then on another visit 3 months later, Pierre recalled that the harsh colored lines were even deeper, and Pierre writes, "He did not blink. I had the sudden impression that he was staring his own death in the face, like a good Spaniard".
There is much commentary about this painting. People talk about the fear of death Picasso had and how terrified his eyes look. They comment on the deep lines of age, and the work symbolizing Picasso's confrontation of death.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Bonnard, Pierre

Girl Playing with a Dog
oil on canvas
75 x 80 cm (29.53 x 31.5 in.)
Private Collection

Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947) was a French painter. He is known for the intense use of color. His often complex compositions, typically of sunlit interiors of rooms and gardens populated with friends and family members, are both narrative and autobiographical. His wife Marthe was an ever-present subject over the course of several decades. She is seen seated at the kitchen table, with the remnants of a meal; or nude, as in a series of paintings where she reclines in the bathtub.
Bonnard did not paint from life but rather drew his subject, sometimes photographing it as well, and made notes on the colors. He then painted the canvas in his studio from his notes.

Picasso was very critical of Bonnard : “That’s not painting,” Picasso said. “Painting can’t be done that way. Painting isn’t a question of sensibility; it’s a matter of seizing the power, taking over from nature, not expecting her to supply you with information and good advice.” Matisse was supportive, however, remarking : “Yes! I certify that Pierre Bonnard is a great painter, for today and for the future.”

Bonnard was not a plein air painter like Monet or Cézanne, any more than Picasso was. He made copious drawings and notes that served as designs for more than one painting. Working on unstretched canvas, he developed a complex process of manipulating paint, rather in the way that contemporary painters do in seeking out color and textural possibilities. The format and content of the painting could then be altered by cropping the canvas.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Osman Hamdi Bey

The Musician Girls
detail : unknown

Osman Hamdi Bey (1842 – 1910) was an Ottoman statesman, intellectual, art expert and also a prominent and pioneering Turkish painter. He was also an accomplished archaeologist, and is considered as the pioneer of the museum curator's profession in Turkey. He was the founder of Istanbul Archaeology Museums and of İstanbul Academy of Fine Arts, known today as the Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts.
Throughout his professional career as museum and academy director, Osman Hamdi continued to paint in the style of his teachers, Gérôme and Boulanger.

Altdorfer, Albrecht

Portrait of a Young Woman
c. 1522
Oil on panel
59 x 45 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Albrecht Altdorfer (c. 1480 - 1538) was a German painter and architect of the Renaissance era. His training is unknown, but his early work was influenced by Cranach and Dürer's art too was known to him through the woodcuts and engravings. His most outstanding works are biblical and historical subjects set against highly imaginative and atmospheric landscape backgrounds. He was the first European to paint forests, sunsets, and picturesque ruins, in which he represented man as part of nature, allied with trees, rocks, mountains, and clouds and often resembling them.
From 1526 until his death he was employed as town architect of Regensburg. As the superintendent of the municipal buildings he had overseen the construction of several commercial structures, such as a slaughterhouse and a building for wine storage, possibly even designing them. He was considered to be an outstanding politician of his day.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Defregger, Franz Von

A Young Man in Tyrolean Costume
oil on canvas
76.2 x 63.5 cm (30.0 x 25.0 in)
Private collection

Franz von Defregger (1835 – 1921) was an Austrian artist known mostly for his genre and history paintings.
He was born in Tyrol, the son of a prosperous farmer. In 1860, following his father's death, he sold the family's farm and went to Innsbruck, where he studied with a sculptor. He went to Munich, and then to Paris, where he continued his artistic education autodidactically by a routine of figure drawing and a thorough study of the museums, art collections and studios. In 1865 he returned to Munich, and became a professor of history painting at the Munich Academy. He died in Munich in 1921.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Modigliani, Amedeo

Nude Sitting on a Divan ("La Belle Romaine")
c. 1917
Oil on canvas
100 x 65 cm
Private collection

Amedeo Clemente Modigliani (1884 – 1920), one of the most popular modern-time artists, was an Italian painter and sculptor who was born as the forth and the youngest child in the family, which belonged to the secularized Jewish bourgeoisie. He worked mainly in France.
In 1914, the First World War broke out and he wanted to enlist but was exempted from military service for health reasons. In 1917, he met the 19year old Jeanne Hébuterne (1898-1920), student of the academy and started to live together. “She was gentle, shy, quiet and delicate. A little bit depressive”. She became his major model until his death, he painted her no less than 25 times. In 1918, Modigliani and Jeanne left Paris, which was under the threat of occupation by Germans, and went for the southern coast. In Nice and its environments he produced most of the paintings that would later become his most popular and highest-priced works.
In November, 1918 in Nice, Jeanne  gave birth to a girl. After returning to Paris, by the end of 1919, he became seriously ill with tubercular meningitis, exacerbated by poverty, overwork and addiction to alcohol and narcotics, and he died on January 24, 1920. On the following day the pregnant Jeanne committed suicide. They were buried together in the Père Lachaise cemetery. Their orphan daughter was adopted by Modigliani’s sister in Florence; later she would write an important biography of her father Modigliani : Man and Myth.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

O' Keeffe, Georgia

Light Iris
Oil on Canvas
52" X 38"
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Georgia Totto O'Keeffe (1887 – 1986) was an American artist. She was born in a farmhouse on a large dairy farm in Wisconsin.
She distinguished herself as one of America's most important modern artists, a position she maintained throughout her life. She is chiefly known for paintings of flowers, rocks, shells, animal bones, and landscapes in which she synthesized abstraction and representation. Her paintings present crisply contoured forms that are replete with subtle tonal transitions of varying colors. She often transformed her subject matter into powerful abstract images. New York Times described her paintings as both "bold and hermetic, immediately appealing and unnervingly impassive."
She died in Santa Fe on March 6 at the age of 98. In accordance with her wishes, she was cremated and her ashes were scattered to the wind at the top of the Pedernal Mountain, over her beloved "faraway".

Monday, November 28, 2011


The Straw Manikin
Oil on canvas
267 x 160 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

Goya (full name : Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes ;1746 – 1828) was a Spanish romantic painter regarded both as the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns, but his genius was slow in maturing and he was well into his thirties before he began producing work that set him apart from his contemporaries. He was a court painter to the Spanish Crown, and through his works was both a commentator on and chronicler of his era. The subversive and imaginative element in his art, as well as his bold handling of paint, provided a model for the work of later generations of artists, notably Manet, Picasso.

Goya completed some 500 oil paintings and murals, about 300 etchings and lithographs, and many hundreds of drawings. He was exceptionally versatile and his work expresses a very wide range of emotion. In his own day he was chiefly celebrated for his portraits, of which he painted more than 200; but his fame now rests equally on his other work.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Landscapes of Autumn and Winter
two hanging scrolls
#2 scroll
c. 1470–90
Ink wash painting on paper *
47.7 x 30.2 cm
Tokyo National Museum
National Treasure
*Ink wash painting is an East Asian type of brush painting.
Only black ink (the same as used in East Asian calligraphy) is used, in various concentrations.

Sesshū Tōyō (1420 – 1506) was the most prominent Japanese master of ink and wash painting from the middle Muromachi period. He was born into the samurai family, then brought up and educated to become a Zen Buddhist priest. However, early in life he displayed a talent for visual arts, and eventually became one of the greatest Japanese artists of his time, widely revered throughout Japan and China. In 1468–9 he undertook a voyage to Ming China, where too he was quickly recognized as an outstanding painter. Upon returning to Japan, Sesshū built himself a studio and established a large following, painters that are now referred to as the "School of Sesshū". Although many paintings survive that bear Sesshū's signature or seal, only a few can be securely attributed to him.


Landscapes of Autumn and Winter
two hanging scrolls
#1 scroll
c. 1470–90
Ink wash painting on paper *
47.7 x 30.2 cm
Tokyo National Museum
National Treasure
*Ink wash painting is an East Asian type of brush painting.
Only black ink (the same as used in East Asian calligraphy) is used, in various concentrations.

Sesshū Tōyō (1420 – 1506) was the most prominent Japanese master of ink and wash painting from the middle Muromachi period. He was born into the samurai family, then brought up and educated to become a Zen Buddhist priest. However, early in life he displayed a talent for visual arts, and eventually became one of the greatest Japanese artists of his time, widely revered throughout Japan and China.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


A Sibyl
Oil on canvas, 123 x 89 cm
Galleria Borghese, Rome

Domenico Zampieri (or Domenichino; 1581 – 1641) was an Italian Baroque painter and was one of the finest draughtsmen of his generation and also an excellent portraitist.
His work, developed principally from Raphael's examples, represents what would become known as classic-idealist art, which aims to surpass the imperfections of nature by developing an "Idea of Beauty" through the study and imitation of the best examples of ancient and Renaissance art. The dignified frieze-like composition of the figures reflects his study of Raphael's tapestries.
In the 18th century his reputation was enormous - his Last Communion of St Jerome was generally regarded as one of the greatest pictures ever painted - but he fell from grace in the 19th century.
In addition to his interest in the theory of painting (he was well educated and bookish), he was devoted to music, not as a performer but to the invention of instruments.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Compe, Jan ten

Delft: A View of the Town Hall Seen from the Grote Markt
Oil on panel
29 x 37 cm
Private collection

Dutch painter
Compe, Jan ten (1713 - 1761)
One of the best topographical artists of his generation, he worked in a detailed, controlled and elegant manner.
He painted mostly topographically accurate views, with its impressive town hall building dominating the scene.
The town hall in Delft, as seen in this painting, and which still stands today, is positioned on the Grote Markt opposite the Nieuwe Kerk. It was built in 1620 by the famous architect Hendrick de Keijser (1565-1621).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Leger, Fernand

Still Life with a Beer Mug
Oil on canvas
921 x 600 mm
Tate museum, London

Leger, Fernand (1881 – 1955)
French painter, sculptor, and filmmaker.
In his early works he created a personal form of Cubism which he gradually modified into a more figurative, populist style.
After his experiences in the First World War, Léger became convinced that art should be accessible to all. He moved away from pure abstraction towards the stylised depiction of real objects, laying great emphasis on order, clarity and harmony.
This painting shows a relatively naturalistic still life of a workman's lunch on a table.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ochtervelt, Jacob

Street Musicians at the Doorway of a House
Oil on canvas
Art Museum, Saint Louis

Jacob Ochtervelt (1634 - 1682) was a Dutch genre painter born in Rotterdam and spent the majority of his career there. However, he initially studied in Haarlem under Berchem and towards the end of his life, he moved to Amsterdam.
He was influenced by Pieter de Hooch and through him by Vermeer.
He produced a number of portraits and hunting-party genre scenes, but is mainly remembered for his interior paintings. These works depicted the luxurious living quarters and lifestyle of the upper class. His figures are extremely refined and he showed off a skill in painting silks and satins in elegant upper-class interiors.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Besnard, Paul-Albert

Under the Willows
91 x 61 cm
Oil on Canvas
Private Collection

Paul-Albert Besnard (1849 – 1934) was born in Paris and studied at the École des Beaux-Arts.
Until about 1880 he followed the academic tradition, but then broke away completely, and devoted himself to the study of color and light as conceived by the Impressionists. The realism of this group never appealed to his bold imagination, but he applied their technical method to ideological and decorative works on a large scale.

Marui, Kingei

Gathering In Front Of The Wall Painting
color on paper, four-fold screens
Yanaka M-Louis.(R)/1f, Tokyo

Kingei Marui(1909 - 1979) was born in Japan.
During the social upheavals of wartime (World War 2), he, all of a sudden, stopped painting at the age of 29 (reason still unknown). After the war, he became a teacher of a senior high school to teach the younger generation. His bio is not known in detail.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban

Virgin and Child with St Rosalina of Palermo
c. 1670
Oil on canvas
190 cm (74.8 in) x 147 cm (57.9 in)
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617 - 1682) was born in Seville, Spain, where he lived until his death. He was the youngest son in a family of fourteen and his father was a barber and surgeon (his parents died when he was still very young, and he was largely brought up by his aunt and uncle).
He was the first Spanish painter to achieve renown throughout Europe. In addition to the enormous popularity of his works in Spain, he was much admired in other countries, particularly England. Although he is best known for his religious works, his lively, realist portraits of flower girls and beggars constitute an extensive and appealing record of the everyday life of his times.

He had many pupils and followers. The prolific imitation of his paintings ensured his reputation in Spain and fame throughout Europe, and prior to the 19th century his work was more widely known than that of any other Spanish artist.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Stokes, Marianne Preindelsberger

The Passing Train
oil on canvas
61 x 76.2cm
Private collection

Marianne Prendlsberger Stokes (1855 – 1927) , born in Austria, settled in England after her marriage, was considered one of the leading artists in Victorian England.
She began exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1884. Her figure and "fancy" subjects demonstrated her charm, sensitivity and skill as a painter. She was an Associate of the Royal Society of Painters in Water Colours. She was a pleasant person whose work, with its "curiously subtle appeal, deserves remembrance." Having no children, she regularly travelled abroad with her husband (landscape painter) , frequently to the Tyrol. She had been ill for some time.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Avercamp, Hendrick

Winter Landscape with Skaters
c. 1608
Oil on wood
78 x 132 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The setting may be the quiet village of  northeast of Amsterdam. Very successful financially, Avercamp was called  “the mute of Kampen.” It is known he was deaf throughout his life.

Hendrick Avercamp (1585 - 1634), Dutch painter, was the most famous exponent of the winter landscape. His paintings are colorful and lively, with carefully observed skaters, tobogganers, golfers, and pedestrians.
Avercamp's work enjoyed great popularity and he sold his drawings, many of which are tinted with water-color, as finished pictures to be pasted into the albums of collectors (an outstanding collection is at Windsor Castle).