A Guide to the
Important information about this guide:
1. Paintings are listed by gallery in chronological order (with some exceptions).
2. Use the identification plates by each painting for information about the artist's home, media, and date.
3. Some pictures may not be on display.
4. Other paintings in the collection are referenced in parenthesis ( ).
Comments welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org
This guide was written for all ages and interests. It is a work in progress.
Gallery 2 The Renaissance in Italy
Gallery 3 The Renaissance Outside Italy
Gallery 4 The Renaissance in Italy
Gallery 5 High Renaissance and Mannerism
Gallery 6 1600s: The Baroque Period in France and Italy
Gallery 7 1700 Rococo France & Italy
Gallery 13 1700 and 1800 England
Gallery 14 1600 Dutch and Flemish Baroque
Gallery 15 1600 Dutch and Flemish Baroque
Gallery 16 1700 - 1800 Neoclassic and Romanticism
Gallery 17 1800 Romanticism, Naturalism and Realism
Gallery 18 Realism, Naturalism, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism
Gallery 19 Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Supremitism, Surrealism, Expressionism
GALLERY 2 The Renaissance in Italy
The Renaissance was a time of emerging individuality and humanism. The Catholic Church remained the largest buyer of art. Painting depicted the renewal of rationalism with balance and the acceptance of realism with perspective.
Saint Mary Magdalene, ca. 1320, Ugolino da Siena (1295 - 1339)
-This panel and the panel of Saint Louis (below) were part of a large altarpiece.
-Ugolino da Siena was a follower of Duccio, the leading painter in Siena, Italy during the late 13th century. Duccio preferred a linear style to define space and dimension. Ugolino's most famous work was done in Florence, Siena's rival. Ugolino painted an altarpiece for the famed Florentine church Santa Croce.
-The golden background was painted for two main reasons: 1) out of respect to the Saint, and 2) to reflect candlelight.
-The medium used here was tempera on panel. Tempera is a mixture of pigment and egg yolk. Pigment (color) was obtained from natural sources, like plants and minerals, then ground into a powder and mixed with egg yolk as a binding agent. Panels were usually made of poplar wood and prepared with several coats of filler and primer to give a smooth surface.
-For information on the life of Mary Magdalene, see Gallery 3, pictures by Pieter Cooke van Aelst and the Master of the Roundels.
Saint Louis of Toulouse, ca 1320, Ugolino da Siena (1295 - 1339)
-This panel and the Saint Mary Magdalene panel (above) were part of a large altarpiece.
-For information on the life of Ugolino da Siena, see Saint Mary Magdalene, above.
-Saint Louis (1274 - 97) was the son of Charles II, the Italian King of Naples and the great-nephew of Louis IX of France. St. Louis renounced the throne to become a Franciscan Friar. He is seen here wearing the traditional Franciscan robes and knotted belt. He is usually seen with a Fleur-de-Lys, the symbol of France, but here he carries a crosier topped with a decorative spiral. He died at the young age of 23 years.
-Sienese painters emphasized design over form, as seen by the miter hat with its complex folds and decorative band. They relied on line for the principle effect in painting. The emphasis on design resulted in a flat image.
A Crowned Virgin Martyr (Saint Catherine of Alexandria), ca. 1340, (attributed to) Bernardo Daddi (1290 - 1349)
-Saint Catherine is usually seen with a spiked wheel and a sword (See Gallery 3). The identity of this figure is uncertain; however, Saint Catherine was born into royalty and is commonly seen wearing a crown. She holds a palm leaf in her right hand, a symbol that foretells her martyrdom. The palm leaf was a traditional symbol for death because it was used during funeral services. The closed book in her left hand, like the palm leaf, is a symbol foretelling her martyrdom. The book may also symbolize St. Catherine's reputation as a very learned woman.
-This early portrait has many stylistic characteristics that originated in the Middle Ages. It has a flat appearance. There is very little indication of depth and space. The facial features are formulated, not individualized. Many saints were painted to look alike and could only be identified by their symbolic attributes (the palm leaf, crown, and book).
-This panel was likely part of a large altarpiece that included similar panels of other saints and religious figures.
-Bernardo Daddi was a Florentine and a follower of Giotto, one of the Renaissance's most innovative painters. Daddi did not create images as realistic as those painted by Giotto. However, Florentine painters, like Daddi, emphasized form over design, as seen by the subtle shading of the hands, face, and neck. Compared to painter Ugolino da Siena (above), Daddi's figures have more weight and dimension.
Madonna and Child with Saints, 1350 - 60, Master of S. Lucchese (active mid 14th Century)
-The plague of Europe, called the Black Death, occurred during the mid - 1300s killing thousands of Italians. Historians have mixed opinions about the influence of the plague on art and artists. Many believe artists returned to Gothic conservatism to atone for sins that were thought to have caused the plague.
-This version of the Madonna and child feature traits influenced by the plague. For example, the Madonna and Child appear to be placed on a decorative background. We are not sure if she is sitting on a chair or if she is floating by divine spirit. There is very little indication of her form. Her pose is traditional. Her face is a three - quarter portrait with her head tilted toward the child. The picture is balanced by an equal number of saints. Space and dimension are defined by the overlapping figures on each side of the Madonna; they appear to stand outside the frame. On the left (from front to back) stand St. John the Baptist, a local cleric, and Mary Magdalene. On the right, respectively are St. Peter, a local cleric, and a virgin martyr.
-Look closely, the child is holding a bird in His left hand. The bird symbolizes the soul that flies away after death; in this case, the resurrection.
-There are many versions of the Madonna and child. It is interesting to notice the way artists direct their eyes. Here the Madonna gazes toward the child and the child turns to look at her. In other versions, she may look out at us or stare into space. Part of what makes the Renaissance special is the individuality of each version.
-This was probably a center panel for a small portable triptych. Portable triptychs were popular during the 1300s and used in the home as devotional pieces.
The Crucifixion, ca. 1365, Luca di Tomme (active 1356-90)
-The Crucifixion is one in a series of pictures that chronicles the Passions of Christ.
-The Crucifixion is probably the most important image in Christianity. Painters have produced many versions of this event. Another version, also in gallery 4, is by Matteo di Giovanni, 1490, and is quite different than Tomme's. Both painters worked in Siena, Italy. However, Giovanni's version was painted over one hundred years after Tomme. Take a few minutes to compare the two.
-In this version, the cross is placed in the center of the picture. On Christ's right are his mourners; the Virgin Mary, in blue, swoons and is supported by two assistants. Mary Magdalene, in red, throws her hands up. Saint John the Evangelist folds his hands and preys. On Christ's far left, stand Roman soldiers except for the two men with halos. Wearing blue is Longinus (see Giovanni's version) and in red is Joseph of Arimathaea (see 'Joseph of Arimathaea' in gallery 3). It was customary to place the followers of Christ on his right and the non-believers to his left.
-This early version shows Christ's feet on a separate panel. Later versions show His ankles bound to the cross with one nail fastening both feet. This version does not show the two thieves crucified with Christ, nor does Christ wear a crown of thorns, as mentioned in the Gospels Matthew and Mark. The group of holy women on the far left is mentioned in the Gospels.
-Tomme painted this picture after the Black Death, a plague that killed thousands. Siena was spared the catastrophic effects of the Black Death, which wiped out much of Florence. Because of this, Sienese painters, like Luca, survived the plague and showed improvements in spatial relationships while still using a traditional gold background.
-The bright colors in this picture have aged well, especially the blue dress worn by the Virgin Mary. Blue was expensive to produce and for which many patrons had to pay a premium. Sienese artists, like Tomme, are known for their decorative style that included large areas of bright color.
Madonna and Child, ca 1370, Don Silvestro Dei Gherarducci (1339-99)
-In this version, the Madonna is seated on the ground suckling the infant child with two angels above. In the 14th century, many Italian churches claimed to have some of the virgin's milk, saved as a relic. The book, lower right, represents wisdom - the Madonna being the Mother of Wisdom.
Madonna Enthroned with Kneeling Dominican Monk, 14th - 15th Century, Lorenzo Veneziano (1357-?)
-This version of the Madonna and Child has Byzantine influences. Veneziano's home of Venice was a major trading partner with Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Byzantine art favored patterns and linear designs, as seen in the flowered dress worn by the Madonna.
-A Gothic influence also exists. The elaborate frame and the illusion of looking through a portal were traditional Gothic formulas.
-The goldfinch held by the Virgin, in her right hand, is a symbol of the resurrection. In ancient Greece and Rome, the finch represents the human soul that flies away after death. Here it foretells the Child's destiny of crucifixion and resurrection.
-The Dominican Monk was scaled down to respect the main characters - the Virgin Mary and child.
-Veneziano's composition creates an illusion of depth and dimension. The arms of the throne were angled toward a single vanishing point. The technique, called foreshortening, produces an illusion of three-dimensional forms.
-Veneziano was known most for his religious paintings.
Madonna and Child with Angels, 14th - 15th Century, Bicci di Lorenzo (1373-1452)
-In this version of the Madonna and Child, Renaissance symmetry is seen by the two angels on each side of the Madonna balancing the composition. The angels in the upper left and right corners wear the same colors and hold the virgin's cloth of honor. The two lower angels kneel and play the violin. The depiction of the kneeling angels is an early example of human form emerging behind the folds of clothing. A Gothic influence is seen in the rare full facial pose of the Virgin Mary, the neutral colored background, and the patterned frame.
-The Black Death of the 14th century was a plague striking many parts of Italy killing thousands. The plague was partly responsible for the religious images that dominated the arts. Many artists believed it would atone for the sins that were believed to have caused the plague.
-Bicci was born into a family of artists. He painted and sculpted. He was mainly employed in Florence decorating churches.
Saint John the Baptist and Saint Miniato, 14th - 15th Century, Bicci di Lorenzo (1373-1452)
-Saint John the Baptist (left) was a prophet and a preacher. He lived in the desert as a religious monk. Symbolic of his desert retreat, Saint John is typically seen holding a reed cross and wearing tattered furs. He heard the word of God and the word told him to preach a baptism of forgiveness of sin. He baptized Jesus and referred to Him as a sacrificial "lamb of God" (written on the scroll he carries).
-Saint Miniato (right) was the first Christian martyr of Florence (ca 250). The palm leaf is a symbol of martyrdom. According to legend, Saint Miniato was decapitated by Romans. The saint picked up the head and put it back in place, walked to a cave and died. Today, a church named for the saint stands on the sight of the cave.
-Bicci painted several altarpieces. This panel and the panel of Saint Anthony and Saint Stephen (below) were parts of a large altarpiece. Above Saints John and Miniato is the archangel Gabriel and above Saints Anthony and Stephen is the Virgin, forming a version of the Annunciation.
Saint Anthony and Saint Stephen, 14th - 15th Century, Bicci di Lorenzo (1373 - 1452)
-Saint Anthony (left) lived around the year 300. He gave his belongings to the poor and became a religious hermit. He was one on the first to practice poverty, after Saint John the Baptist. The crutch held in his right hand represents cures for the sick and help for the poor and crippled. It was said that Saint Anthony used pig fat as a medicine (pig in lower left). His picture was a mainstay of many homes in hope that it would bring good health to its occupants.
-Saint Stephen (right) was the first martyr to be stoned to death. He wears two stones on his head and holds a stone in his right hand. He also wears religious dress because he was chosen by the twelve apostles to spread the word of Christ, thus becoming one of the first deacons. Saint Stephen was stoned to death for emotional outbursts in support of Jesus Christ, as written in Acts.
-As mentioned in the previous piece by Bicci (above), this panel and the panel of Saints John and Miniato were originally part of a large altarpiece. Similarities include the green ground, pointed arches, two saints per panel, and termite damage.
Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence, 15th Century, Andrea del Bartolo (1389 - 1428)
-Saint Lawrence was born in Spain. Around 250 AD, he became a deacon and was responsible for the Catholic Church's assets. After the pope was arrested by Roman soldiers, he left instructions for Saint Laurence to give the assets away to the poor. Saint Laurence was subsequently arrested and sentenced to death by burning on a gridiron (seen here). A gridiron is a metal grate. On the right is a beheaded Pope Sixtus, who was killed after being arrested.
-Andrea Del Bartolo was a Seinese painter.
Mass of Saint Gregory, 15th Century, Alonso Carrillo
-Saint Gregory was Pope Gregory I during the 6th Century. He is known for reforming the rules of public worship and chanting (Gregorian Chants). In this version of the Mass of Saint Gregory, Gregory is kneeling (center, in gold robe) saying mass. Above the alter is the image of Christ rising from his tomb. Also shown are many attributes of The Passion: the pillar with ropes that held Jesus while being tortured, a rooster that crowed after Peter denied knowing Jesus, several tools of torture are shown along with the hands that struck Jesus while tied to the pillar.
-The story of the Mass of Gregory is as follows: A woman who often brought bread for communion laughed when Gregory represented the bread as the body of Christ saying "You call this bread, which I made with my hands, the body of Christ". Gregory placed the bread on the alter and prayed. The bread transformed and took the shape and flesh of a finger. Then the finger was changed back to bread and given to the woman as communion.
Saint Paul, Early 15th Century, Lorenzo di Niccolo (1392-1411)
-Saint Paul was a Roman soldier named Saul before following the words of Christ. After witnessing the stoning of Saint Stephen, Paul converted. He set out to spread the word of Jesus in a series of journeys and letters. Paul is typically seen with a book, symbolizing his letters, and a sword, symbolizing his martyrdom. Paul was executed in Rome with a sword.
-Lorenzo di Niccolo died at the young age of 19 years. At a young age, Niccolo had gained exceptional technical skills. This portrait of Saint Paul is very naturalistic, particularly Niccolo's use of shade and color. The detail of the Paul's facial features, hands, and toes is extraordinary. The highly defined folds of Paul's robe allows his human figure to emerge, reinforcing the acceptance and practice of humanism in Florence during the early 1400s.
Madonna and Child, ca. 1400, Taddeo di Bartolo (1362-1422)
-The Madonna and Child are framed under a Gothic arch and sit on a very unusual red throne. It is also unusual to see the Virgin Mary wearing a crown. The crown refers to the Coronation of the Virgin, which is generally associated with the death of the virgin and her journey to heaven. Both Virgin Mary and Child look out at the viewer. The Black Plague of the 1300s killed thousands and was still fresh on the minds of many that believed it was an act of God. In response, Taddeo may have intended the Virgin Mary's stern stare a warning to the viewer not to question or abandon faith. The bird on the Child's shoulder symbolizes the soul's flight and the resurrection. Mary wears a star on her shoulder because her Hebrew name of Marium means star of the sea. The Child's hand grasps the breast of Mary for nourishment.
-Taddeo worked in Siena, Italy and had a large workshop that produced a lot of altarpieces. Sienese artists were known for curvilinear design, as seen in the red throne, the hem of the Madonna's cloak, and the intricate design of the fabric.
The Meeting of Saint Francis and Saint Dominic, ca. 1430, Fra Angelico (1417 - ?)
-Saint Francis and Saint Dominic were founders of the two largest orders of preachers - the Franciscans and the Dominicans. Saint Francis (right) and Saint Dominic shake hands. Saint Francis wears the traditional Franciscan brown robe with a knotted string belt. The star on Saint Dominic's forehead derives from two sources: one story describes how his brow had a glow like a star; another story describes how a star descended onto his forehead during his baptism.
-This scene was probably taken from The Golden Legend. Dominic, while in Rome waiting for approval of his Order, had a vision of Christ and Mother Mary. In the vision, Mary spoke of giving Jesus two servants to help spread His word. Christ requested to see these two servants. Mary presented Dominic and Francis. The following day, in church, Dominic recognized Francis from the vision and embraced.
-This picture was most likely part of a predella. A predella is a series of pictures at the bottom of an altarpiece that usually depicts the story of a saint's life.
-Fra Angelico was a member of the Dominican Order. He painted gentle religious themes that earned him the name Father Angel or Fra Angelico (His given name was Guido di Pietro). His compositions are unusually simple, yet he used the latest techniques of perspective. The receding columns in this picture give the illusion of depth and space. He was also a great colorist and used gradations of color to enhance the illusion of a three dimensional space. He was one of the first painters to use modern techniques and gain acceptance among church leaders. Fra Angelico was one in a generation of artists whose work imitated the natural world. It was the beginning of Realism.
Madonna and Child with Angels, 1430, Giovanni di Marco (1385 - 1437)
-In this version of the Madonna and Child with Angels, the composition has a symmetry that was common in many Renaissance paintings. Four angels, two on each side, gather around the Virgin Mary and child. The two lower angels wear a yellow dress and play music. The two upper angels wear blue and cross their arms to symbolize the crucifixion. The virgin sits on a marble pedestal; she and the Child make eye contact in a moment of tenderness. The child plays with the Virgin's scarf. Mary gently and expressively caresses the child's face. Giovanni's soft colors contribute to the comfort and ease of the scene.
The Annunciation, ca 1445-50, Francesco Pesellino (1422 - 57)
-In the Gospel According to Luke, Archangel Gabriel, God's messenger, announced to the Virgin Mary that she would bear God's Child. Gabriel (left) swiftly enters the courtyard to make his announcement. This is one of the earliest pictures to portray the illusion of a body in movement. The courtyard has all the elements of Renaissance perspective. All of the lines accurately converge on a single vanishing point. Scale, however, is to be a bit off. Gabriel and the Virgin are too large relative to the architecture. The golden rays and the white dove on the left make this picture very special. Not only do they represent the Holy Spirit, but they also offer a single light source. For the first time we see a shadow behind the Virgin, a confirmation of the period's acceptance of humanity and realism in art. Artists of the Renaissance were able to take religious themes and put them in a setting familiar to contemporary society.
-The three lilies are an attribute, or symbol, of the Virgin's purity and the trinity.
Scene from the Life of Saint Thomas Aquinas: The Debate with the Heretic, 1465, Bartolomeo degli Erri (1450 - ?)
-Saint Thomas Aquinas lived from 1225 to 1274. He was a Medieval Theologian and a Dominican known for his strong anti-heretical outlook. Here he stands in the center axis of the picture calm and rational. The heretic raises his hand in disgust. Thomas stands on the side of the altar, where the church is full of light. The heretic is crowded on the left where darkness is but a step away. These are subtle, yet powerful religious symbols.
-Saint Thomas Aquinas is also seen in the background kneeling at an altar in prayer.
-Scale, perspective, and proportion are accurately and skillfully portrayed. (For more Bartolomeo, see 'The Vision of Fra Paolino' below.)
Scene from the Life of Saint Thomas Aquinas: The Vision of Fra Paolino, 1465, Bartolomeo degli Erri (1450 - ?)
-It is uncertain what service is occurring in this picture. Saint Thomas and Fra Paolino appear in the picture several times. It is, none the less, fascinating to observe the proceedings.
-The importance of this picture is the accuracy of scale, proportion, and perspective. The figures are sized correctly in relation to the architecture and to their placement in the picture. The illusion of depth is expertly depicted by a series of overlapping planes. In the plane closest to us, an elder stands with his right hand raised. The next plane contains two columns on the right and left, next is the bench upon which three men sit, then the box on the upper right and so on until we reach the rear wall with two windows.
The Magi Before Herod, ca. 1490, Matteo di Giovanni (1435 - 1495)
-According to the Gospel of Matthew, the Magi were three wise men from the East in search of the king of the Jews (Jesus). The Magi followed a star to seek the newborn child. Herod was king of Judea when Jesus was born and felt threatened by Jesus. He ordered the Magi to bring news of the child. The Magi had a dream of Herod's evil intent and fled before reporting to Herod. Herod became upset and ordered his soldiers to kill hundreds of newborn boys, commonly known as the Massacre of the Innocents. Here the three magi and their entourage stand before Herod, who sits on a throne.
-Matteo worked in Siena. He is probably best known for painting the wings of a triptych, on which the center panel is the baptism of Jesus, by the famous Italian narrative painter Piero Della Francesca.
-This picture may have been part of a series on the life of Jesus that included the crucifixion (see below). Both were painted in the same year and are the same size.
The Crucifixion, ca. 1490, Matteo di Giovanni (1435 - 1495)
-The crucifixion is one of the most important events in Christianity. Painters have produced many versions of this event because each of the four Evangelists wrote different accounts of the crucifixion (See the version by Luca di Tomme, also in gallery 4):
-According to Matthew, Jesus was crucified for being accused of blasphemy. He was crucified on a hill called Golgotha (place of the skull). Soldiers drew lots for Christ's belongings (shown at right). Two thieves were crucified along side Christ. Attending the crucifixion were the Virgin Mary (in dark blue), Mary Magdalene (in red) and other women helpers
-According to Mark, the chief priests accused Christ of blasphemy. Pontius Pilate, Governor of Judea and under pressure from a riotous crowd, condemned Jesus to crucifixion despite any proven wrongdoing. Two robbers were crucified along side Jesus.
-According to Luke, Pontius Pilate discussed the charges against Jesus with Herod. Both found Jesus innocent of any charges. But, the chief priests and a large crowd wanted Jesus crucified. The robber on Christ's right repented (seen with a halo), the robber on His left railed Him.
-According to John, there is no mention of Barabus, a criminal who was set free at the cost of Jesus. Pontius Pilate did not want a problem with Rome, so he released Jesus to the Jews - who called for his crucifixion. The Virgin Mary was present at the crucifixion along with Mary's sister, the wife of Clopas, a disciple (John), and Mary Magdalene. John was the only evangelist that wrote of a Roman soldier who pierced the side of Jesus.
-The soldier, dressed in white, named Longinus, pierced Jesus' rib and, according to legend, was cured of blindness with the blood of the wound. The man in blue, with a red cape, is probably Joseph of Arimathaea (see Gallery 3).
Jesus Christ Appearing to Mary Magdalene, Early 15th Century, Anonymous
-Known as 'Nolo Me Tangere' (Touch me Not).
-According to the Gospels, John describes how Mary Magdalene came to Christ's tomb in the early hours of the morning. She found the tomb empty; His body had risen. She stood by the tomb weeping. Mary turned round and saw Jesus. She first mistook Him as a gardener. Jesus spoke her name, "Mary". "Teacher" she said. Jesus said, "Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father...". Christ's hand gesture helps persuade Mary to stay away.
-Christ holds a crosier, symbol of the church. Attached to the crosier is a banner with a Red Cross, sign of the resurrection. Mary Magdalene is identified by the symbol of a jar (which sits in front of her).
-For more on the life of Mary Magdalene, see 'The Last Communion of Mary Magdalene' and 'Mary Magdalene' by Pieter Coecke van Aelst, both in Gallery 3.
Resurrection, Early 15th Century, Anonymous
-The resurrection of Christ occurred on the third day after his crucifixion. The Gospel's accounts of that day vary. Though the church never officially recognized one account, artist's tried to satisfy both the church and their patron.
Matthew: An angel of the lord descended and rolled back the stone (upper left).
Mark: The stone was rolled back. Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary encountered a man in white (not shown).
Luke: Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary met two men. One of the men told them of Christ's deliverance (not shown).
John: The stone was removed (shown); Mary and two disciples discovered the tomb empty and assumed Christ had risen (not shown).
-Roman soldiers guarding the stone casket had fallen asleep and did not witness Christ's resurrection.
-In many versions of the resurrection, Christ is often seen holding a banner with a Red Cross, sign of the resurrection.
-This composition was an early attempt at perspective. The artist tried, but failed, to align the coffin to its vanishing points and properly proportion and foreshorten the Roman guards.
GALLERY 3 The Renaissance Outside Italy
St. Catherine of Alexandria, ca. 1460, Friedrich Pacher (1435 - 1508)
-Saint Catherine was born into royalty; represented by her crown. When she saw Christians forced to offer sacrifice and worship idols, she grieved. She pleaded with Emperor Maxentius to allow Christians to worship the word of Christ. Maxentius admired her intelligence and was struck by her beauty, but refused to grant Catherine's plea. She persisted to defend her beliefs. Maxentius ordered a group of philosophers to persuade her to change her mind. Catherine was not persuaded. In fact, she convinced the philosophers to convert to Christianity. Maxentius was so upset, he put the group of philosophers to death. Catherine was confined without food for twelve days. She survived. Maxentius built four spiked wheels (one seen at left) to torture her, but they were destroyed by an angel. Catherine was sentenced to death and beheaded with a sword, held in her left hand. She died a virgin martyr.
-Saint Catherine is the patron saint of education. She is remembered as a very learned woman and is sometimes seen holding a book as a symbol of education.
Adoration of the Magi, 1464, Rodrigo De Osona, the Elder
-According to the Gospels, Matthew describes the Magi as three wise men who arrived from the East in search of 'He who has been born King of the Jews ...and are come to adore Him.' They followed a bright star to seek the child and offer gifts of gold and spices. King Herod, ruler of Judea, feared the child would be a threat to his power and ordered the Magi to bring news of the birth. The Magi were warned in a dream of Herod's evil intent and fled. The day the Magi adored Jesus was the date on which four miracles are remembered, also known as the Epiphany.
-The three Magi wear eastern clothing. The eldest Magi kneels; the African Magi and the youngest Magi stand by.
-Kneeling in the lower right corner is the donor. Doners financed the artist and were often included in the picture.
-It is interesting to compare this version, which takes place at night, with the version by Bartolomeo di Giovanni (gallery 4), which occurs during the day. Also, compared to the 'Nativity' by the Master of Retable of Reyes Catolicas (also gallery 3), note the difference in the manger. This one is built of stone; the other is of wood. In both pictures, perspective, proportion, and scale had not been perfected.
The Annunciation, Late 15th Century, Master of the Retable of the Reyes Catolicos
-The Gospel According to Luke describes how Archangel Gabriel, God's messenger, (left, in white) announced to the Virgin Mary that she would bear a child. Gabriel said 'The Lord is with you' (the words are shown in Latin from Gabriel's mouth). A written response on the hem of the Virgin's cloak reads 'I am the maid of the Lord." God (upper left) delivers the Child Jesus (holding a cross) with the Holy Spirit (the white dove). The delivery is made on golden rays. The three form the Trinity. The Trinity (God the father, Jesus the son, and the Holy Spirit) is symbolized by groups of three: the three Gothic arches that form the top of the frame, the three flowerpots, and the three lilies (which also symbolize the Virgin Mary's purity).
-Luke also wrote that the Annunciation occurred in the sixth month - June, which would put the birth of Jesus nine months later, in March, the month Christians originally celebrated Christmas. The sunny landscape and the flowers on the windowsill confirm a summer setting.
-In the 15th Century, artists worked to make settings more realistic by improving perspective and scale. Realism was intended to meld a closer relationship between the viewer and the picture by depicting familiar settings, form and space.
-Spain ruled over the Netherlands and the influence of northern realism is clearly seen. The northern hairstyle of a plucked receding forehead was popular in Spain.
Nativity, ca. 1475 - 1500, Master of Retable of Reyes Catolicos
-The Gospel According to Luke describes how Mary went to a manger to give birth because there was no place for them at the inn. Because Luke never described the manger, artists have exaggerated the event by turning the scene into an extravagant ceremony. Many artists usually included an ox and an ass (left) to reinforce a manger-like setting.
-In this version, Jesus lies on the ground surrounded by the Virgin Mary, Joseph (holding a rod and a lantern), a group of shepherds, and angels. The angels are grouped in threes. The number three is an attribute, or symbol, of the Trinity.
-Other sources believe the nativity took place in a cave, then moved to a manger.
-In this picture, the nativity occurs in the spring, not winter. Christmas was originally celebrated in the spring.
-In the background, we can see the Annunciation to the Shepherds.
Virgin & Child: 1475, Dieric Bouts (1415-75)
-This little gem is one of the most tender portraits of the Virgin and Child in existence. There are no symbols of martyrdom, as in many other Virgin and Child portraits. Other pictures by Bouts' contain stiff and lifeless figures; thus, making this portrait very special.
-Bouts is remembered for his attention to detail, not his ability to convey grace and form. Notice the detail of the embroidered background and the texture of the virgin's garments. Few of Bouts' works survived; he produced several life size religious paintings commissioned by Netherlandish municipalities and courts.
-Bouts painted two other portraits of the Virgin and Child, one in the National Gallery in London and the other in the Louvre in Paris.
The Death of the Virgin, late 15th Century, Anonymous
-The Virgin Mary lies on her deathbed surrounded by the twelve Apostles. Mary is still alive (her eyes are open) and she holds a candle, symbolic of Christian faith. St Peter wears bishop's robes (on Mary's left), holds a book, and conducts a service.
-Prior to the Renaissance, when individualism was discouraged, pictures of faces tended to look alike.
In art, individualism was represented by distinct facial features. In this picture, each apostle has a different face and is worthy of notice.
-In the 15th Century, it was common practice for painters not to sign their work, hence the anonymous credit. Artists were considered craftsmen and members of Guilds that controlled the quality and quantity of work.
-The composition is a daring attempt at perspective and space.
The Last Communion of Mary Magdalene, Late 15th Century, Master of the Coburg Roundels
-This scene was taken from The Golden Legend, a book describing the lives of the Saints.
-Mary Magdalene is seen here with Saint Maximin. According to legend, Christ's disciples dispersed from Judea after his crucifixion. Mary Magdalene and Saint Maximin were sent to sea and landed in southern France. There, she preached the word of Christ and Saint Maximin became the Bishop of Aix. Later, Mary decided to live in solitude and devote her life to prayer. A day before her death, she appeared before Saint Maximin, supported by angels (on Mary's right), to receive her final communion. (Communion honors the memory of Christ's Last Supper.)
-Typically, Mary Magdalene symbolizes repentance. According to the Gospel of John, when she met Christ, she was a sinner. She cried at His feet. Her tears fell on the feet of Christ. She wiped His feet with her hair and then she applied ointment to His feet from a jar of alabaster. Jesus forgave her sins. The jar became an attribute, or symbol, for Mary Magdalene.
-The 10 Nuns below - 6 of the Dominican Order (Black hoods) and 5 of the Franciscan Order - were probably the donors who financed the artist. They were included in the picture at a smaller scale out of respect to the main characters.
The Last Judgment, ca. 1500, Anonymous
-The New Testament refers to the Last Judgment as the Second Coming of Christ and His return to judge human charity. The Last Judgment is also a moral theme that suggests the innocent shall be rewarded and the guilty shall be punished. The centerpiece shows Christ in a mandorla, an almond shaped frame, supported by a group of angels. On His right are the innocent, symbolized by the purity of a lily. On His left are the guilty, symbolized by the sword. In the lower left, the Virgin Mary kneels; opposite her is John the Baptist. At the bottom of the picture, the dead are resurrected in order to be judged (lower center). Angels sound their horns to awaken the dead.
-The two top corner pieces show the twelve apostles. The Renaissance spirit of individuality allowed the artist to give a unique face to each apostle. In the lower left corner piece St. Peter greets the innocent as they enter heaven. Heaven is seen as a serene garden-like place. In the lower right corner piece, the guilty are seen entering Hell, a place full of demons and horror.
-This version of the Last Judgment is rare because it is a complete ensemble. In most works of this type, the group is usually separated and each picture is held by a different museum or art collector.
The Vision of St. Eustace, ca. 1500, anonymous
-Eustace was a Roman Officer in Trajan's Army. He was known then as Placidus. While hunting, he came upon a stag. He envisioned a holy cross between its antlers. Christ spoke through the stag's mouth. At first, Placidus was fearful, but soon the vision inspired him. Placidus went to a bishop and was baptized as Eustace.
-Like Job, his faith was tested. He endured hardship and tragedy. He became a Christian martyr when he and his family were burned alive.
-Saint Eustace is predominantly seen in French cathedrals.
-The story of Eustace gave artists the opportunity to paint an outdoor scene. Here the artist painted a landscaped background with wonderful humanlike expressions on the faces of the animals.
Lucretia, 1525, Joos Van Cleve (1485-1540)
-According to Livy's History of Rome, Lucretia was raped by the son of the tyrant Tarquin. Her shame led to suicide by the sword. Lucretia's death prompted Brutus, Tarquin's nephew, to revolt - forcing Tarquin to flee.
-Joos Van Cleve admired Italian art and painted other pictures depicting Roman history. He also painted religious pictures. He was a Master Artist in Antwerp and known for his realism. Other works by Van Cleve are in the Louvre, Paris and the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.
Christ Carrying the Cross, no date, Anonymous
-Christ's final journey before crucifixion is described in the gospels. The gospel's descriptions of this event vary. For example: Matthew wrote that Roman soldiers led Christ (shown on the right pulling the cross), and stripped Christ of his robe (Christ wears a robe in this version). Mark wrote that Simon was ordered by Roman soldiers to carry the cross. Luke wrote that Simon was seized to carry the cross behind Christ (Simon is shown on left assisting Christ) and was followed by a great multitude of people who expressed sadness. In this version we see a group of people lamenting and deriding. John wrote that Christ bore his own cross. Because of the variances, artists have depicted this event in different ways.
-Crucifixion was a Roman punishment. Often, the vertical post was already in place and only the horizontal post was carried by the accused.
-In the background, we see the crucifixion. In a narrative piece, such as this, artists often painted the same character more than once in order to tell a story. Here, the crucifixion is the final act.
-Note: The artist gave Christ six toes on His right foot.
The Adoration of the Shepherds, ca.1530, Anonymous
-The gospel according to Luke briefly describes how the local shepherds celebrated and honored the birth of Jesus. An angel of the Lord (top) announced the news of the birth to the shepherds. They subsequently gathered around the child to adore Him.
-If the date of 1530 is correct, this picture is a precursor of Baroque lighting and perspective. The Baroque period began in the early 1600s (Galleries 7, 14 & 15). Baroque artists practiced a dramatic lighting technique called tenebrism. Sharp contrasts between light and dark created a realistic illusion of depth and dimension.
Portrait of a Lady of the Saxon Court as Judith with the Head of Holofernes, 1537, attributed to Hans Cranach (1503 - 37)
-Judith was a Jewish Heroine and symbolic for overcoming struggle. She infiltrated an Assyrian camp and attracted their leader, Holefernes. Holefernes was planning to attack her tribe. One night when Holefernes became drunk, Judith cut his head off. Judith returned home a heroine.
-Cranach was a court painter to the Electors of Saxony. The attribution to Cranach cannot insure he painted this picture, only a good possibility. Cranach produced many portraits of contemporaries in the role of Mythological or Biblical characters.
The Lamentation, ca 1540, Ambrosius Benson ( ? - 1550)
-The Lamentation is the scene following Christ's descent from the cross. It depicts the mourning over Christ, also known as the Pieta. It is also one of the scenes of the Passion of Christ, which chronicles the suffering of Christ after his entry into Jerusalem.
-In this version, Christ is laid on a shroud and is surrounded by mourners. Joseph of Arimathaea holds Christ's shoulder. The Virgin Mary preys at Christ's side. Mary Magdalene kneels at the feet of Christ. An unknown mourner assists Mary Magdalene by holding her jar of oil used to anoint Christ's feet. John the Evangelist stands behind the Virgin Mary.
-Ambrosius Benson is known for his scenes of the Passions of Christ, religious allegories, and portraits of Saints. His figures are a bit stiff, though he was able to translate emotion by their facial expressions. In this picture, Benson's dark sky and somber background best express the gloom of the scene.
Virgin and Child Enthroned with Angels, 15th - 16th Century, Master of the St. Lucy Legend
-There are thousands of versions of the Virgin and child. It is fun and interesting to look for differences and similarities. In this version, the scene takes place out of doors. In the background, a magnificent landscape is divided by a river. On the left is a natural setting, on the right man-made structures dominate. Two angels balance the composition. One angel holds a bible and the virgin reads it. Another angel hands a rose to Jesus. The rose is a symbol of the blood of Christ foretelling his martyrdom. Jesus holds an apple in his right hand to symbolize knowledge and to affirm His position as redeemer. The baby Jesus has (somewhat) awkward adult facial features and stares into the distance, almost oblivious of His surrounding.
-Great attention was given to the perspective and scale of the throne, the detail of the virgins clothing, and the carpet of flowers. Here, as in many other Renaissance pictures, the composition is well balanced. The Virgin and child are seated along the center axis of the picture under an arch. The two angels wear blue robes that accentuate the traditional red dress of the Virgin. These stylistic components represent logic and reason, two principles forming the foundation of Renaissance arts and letters.
-Typical of the Renaissance style in Flanders are the oval faces, thin necks and little pointed chins.
Two Scenes from the Passion of Christ: The Flagellation and the Crowning of Thorns, early 16th Century, Master of Kappenberg
-The "Passion" series is thirty scenes depicting the suffering of Christ starting with His entry into Jerusalem and ending with the Descent of the Holy Spirit. The scenes are described in the gospels.
-In this picture, the two scenes are separated by a center column. Left of the column is the Flagellation. According to the gospels, Pontious Pilate, Governor of Judea, had Jesus flogged before His crucifixion. On the right, the floggers placed a crown of thorns on the head of Jesus and proclaimed Him King of the Jews. The crown of thorns was intended to mock Jesus. The floggers deride Jesus as a King in shackles. Pontious Pilate watches the crowning (right center) as does a Jewish onlooker (far right doorway) wearing a yellow turban. During the Renaissance, many Jews were required to wear yellow.
Triptych (right wing) Mary Magdelene (left wing) Joseph of Arimathaea, 16th Century, Pieter Coecke van Aelst (1502-50)
-A triptych is a set of three pictures. The outer pictures are called wings. The wings were hinged to a center panel and opened like doors. A triptych was usually placed on an altar.
-Mary Magdelene was a popular symbol of repentance. She was a repented sinner. She cried at the feet of Christ. Her tears fell on Christ's feet. She wiped his feet with her long hair, then anointed his feet with oil. The oil was stored in a jar, which she carried and became an attribute (a symbol) for Mary Magdalene. Christ forgave her. For more on Mary Magdalene, see 'The Last Communion", late 15th century, also in gallery 3.
-Joseph of Arimathaea was a wealthy disciple of Christ. He was allowed to take the body of Christ from the cross and lay Him in a tomb reserved for himself. He is typically seen with the nails of the cross and the crown of thorns worn by Jesus. The white sheet or shroud he carries covered Jesus in the tomb.
-Many Flemish artists, like van Aelst, were known for painting in a realist style.
GALLERY 4 The Renaissance in Italy
Madonna and Child, 1481, Bartolommeo Vivarini (1432 -1499) -By the end of the 1400s, realism was the dominate style in western art. What makes this picture different from the flat images of the early Renaissance? The gradations of color from light to dark create the illusion of shade, depth and dimension. This technique, called chiaroscuro, started in the 1400's. The use of oil paint also added to its realism. Oil paint was easier to control and had a richer tone than tempera.
-In this version of the Madonna and Child, realism combined with a traditional pose produce a naturalistic image of the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus. The child has infant-like features, unlike images prior to this one. Subtle symbols are still present foretelling His martyrdom: the child lies with His eyes closed on what appears to be a wooden member of a cross. The Virgin nods towards the Child in traditional fashion. The Cloth of Honor that hangs behind the Virgin no longer has Byzantine patterns. Instead it is a simple shade of red so more emphasis is placed on the main characters. The background is no longer a field of gold, but rather a natural setting of two windows and a row of trees.
-Vivarini's talent and technical achievement earned him a great number of commissions throughout Venice. Living and working in Venice had its advantages. It was closer to Constantinople, a great trading center; thus art supplies were easier to obtain. Also, Venice was a major trading partner with Northern European cities where oils and canvas were more commonly used.
Madonna and Child with the Infant John the Baptist, 1485, Jacopo del Sellaio (1441 - 1493)
-This picture was produced en tondo (in the round). Saint John kneels at the left; his attributes include the wearing of animal skins and the reed cross. According to Medievil texts (Bonaventura), during the Holy Family's return from Egypt they stayed with Mary's cousin, Elizabeth, and her son, John (the Baptist). The lily on the right is an attribute of the Madonna. The bird and pomegranate left of St. John represent the resurrection -the bird is the soul that has flown away, the pomegranate returns every spring.
-More Jacopo del Sellaio, 'The Legend of Brutus and Portia', Gallery 4.
The Legend of Brutus and Portia, ca. 1485, Jacopo del Sellaio (1441 - 1493)
-Portia was the wife of Marcus Brutus. Brutus conspired against Julius Caeser and was subsequently pursued by the Roman Army (left). Rather than give himself up to sure execution, Brutus committed suicide. According to the Greek historian Plutarch, Portia followed Brutus and committed suicide by eating hot coals (right).
-This picture is a narrative; it tells a story. The first part of the story is told on the left side and shows the pursuing army. The right portion has Portia swallowing burning coals. Portia is seen three times. From left to right, Portia (in light red) is amidst a group of consolers, then the group helps her, finally (far right) she swallows hot coals. The picture is also an allegory, a depiction of human character. Jacapo dramatically portrayed the loyalty Portia paid to her husband. Non-religious and humanistic themes were popular in the 15th and 16th century and a cornerstone of the Renaissance. These themes were inspired by the glory of ancient Rome and Roman history. This is an early attempt to depict facial expressions and Jacapo did a superb job of expressing emotion, particularly on the faces of Portia and her friends.
-Little has been written of Jacapo. He was probably influenced by Piero della Francesco, the master of narrative painting.
The Adoration of the Magi, ca. 1490, Bartolomeo di Giovanni (active 1488 - 1500)
-Another version is in Gallery 3. Also see the 'Nativity' in Gallery 3.
-According to the Gospel of Matthew, the three Magi sought the king of the Jews (Jesus). The Magi were wise men from the East and followed a bright star to find the baby Jesus.
-In this version, the event takes place during the day. The manger is a Roman ruin, symbolic of the decline of the Roman Empire and the rise of Christianity. The three Magi were from Asia, Africa and Europe. They represented the worldly respect and acceptance of Christianity. The peacock on the upper right tends to dominate the picture. A peacock was once believed to live forever and represents Christ's resurrection and immortality. The round frame is a style called 'en tondo' (in a circle).
Madonna Enthroned with Saints and Angels, 1502, Raffaellino del Garbo (1466 - 1524)
-This is a wonderful piece of Renaissance art, with emphasis on 'art'. In the 1500s, pictures still contained icons of the past, but painters were evolving from craftsmen to artists. Guilds, that formerly regulated pictures and sculpture, no longer had full control over content and style. A new generation, including the likes of Michelangelo and Rafael, developed their own style and created a great demand for works of 'art'. The church was still the major patron of artists, but the rising middleclass and aristocracy also became purchasers of artwork.
-This is a version of a Sacred Conversation. The participants are not actually talking with each other; they are figures from different generations gathered together in heaven for symbolic reasons. The patron usually specified whom to include in a picture. Here, the Virgin Mary sits on a throne under a large scallop shell. She holds a lily in her left hand, a symbol of purity. She wears a gold star on her left shoulder because her Hebrew name, Marium, means star of the sea. Two angels stand on each side of Mary, balanced in pose and color, honoring the Virgin and Child. A balanced composition was important during the Renaissance because it was a sign of rationality, synonymous with Renaissance philosophy.
-Kneeling on the left is Saint Jerome, represented by his attributes - the lion, the red cardinal's hat, and the bible lying by his foot. According to a Roman legend, Jerome befriended a lion by removing a thorn from its paw. He was never a cardinal (the post was not established); however he assisted Pope Damasus I, and held similar duties. He was known for his intellect and translated the Bible into Latin. This depiction of Jerome, partially clad with a stone in his right hand and a cross in his left hand, refers to his years of religious retreat in the desert. A stone was heated and pounded against his chest to rid him of sin and fevers.
-Kneeling on the right is Saint Bartholomew. He holds a knife in his right hand because according to legend, he was flayed (skinned to death) in India for trying to spread the word of Christ.
-The Virgin, Child and angels are painted with tenderness, yet Saint Bartholomew is a sad reminder of the child's fate.
-A picture this large was usually painted on canvas. However, this was painted on wood panel, making it very heavy and difficult to move. By the mid-1500s, oil on canvas became the medium of choice.
Madonna and Child, ca. 1504, Giovanni Battista Cima (1459 - 1517)
-The Virgin Mary and Child are portrayed with astounding realism. Cima combined rich color, texture, and variations of light to convey a realistic atmosphere. Notice the cottony clouds, the natural skin tones, the soft fabric, and the small landscape in the background. The Madonna and the child appear fascinated by something below and to the left, outside the picture frame. It is probable that this picture was intended to compliment another piece of art, whereby the Madonna and Child would be looking down on that object.
-Cima was a skillful and popular painter in Venice during the early 1500s. Venetian painters were famous for their use of lustrous color and natural light.
The Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist and Saint George, ca. 1514, Cesare da Sesto, known as Il Milanese (1477 - 1523)
-This version of the Madonna and Child contains a complex mix of religion, history and nature. Cesare placed the Madonna in an Earthly environment with a natural landscape. The religious figures include Saint John the Baptist (left), the Virgin Mary holding Baby Jesus, and Saint George (right). Cesare painted Saint John as a large muscular figure, despite his meager existence. Saint John wears unmatched furs and holds a reed cross to signify his hermetic life. He points at the child to focus our attention on the main character. The Virgin and Child sit on a marble ruin. The broken marble symbolizes the fall of the pagan Roman Empire and the rise of Christianity. Saint George, a warrior martyr, is intended to remind us of Christ's martyrdom. Saint George lived during the 3rd Century and became famous for slaying a dragon. Dragons symbolized evil. According to legend, he killed a dragon with a spear (seen in his right hand). Attached to the spear is a banner with a Red Cross, symbol of Christ's resurrection. Saint George was tortured and eventually beheaded because of his Christian beliefs. Above the Madonna, a child angel holds the cloth of honor that serves as a protective cover.
-In the upper right, a relief carving depicts the Judgment of Soloman, a precursor to the Last Judgment of Christ. The relief is a narrative that tells a story of two women, each claiming the same child. Soloman orders a soldier to cut the child in half and divide the two halves among the women unless one of them confesses and declares the true mother.
Portrait of a Man, ca. 1540, (attributed to) Lorenzo Lotto (1480-1556/7)
-This picture is "attributed to" Lorenzo Lotto, which means that the portrait was probably painted by Lotto, but here is no documented proof.
-Lotto possessed great technical skills. He gave the bearded man a very natural physical appearance. The skin tones are natural and the details of his facial features help convey a true likeness of a real man.
-Lotto was a complex character and painted curious portraits. The Renaissance portraitist experimented in portraying psychological characterizations. The identity of the bearded man is uncertain, as is the purpose of his stare (the bearded man stares to his left). Many of Lotto's portraits contain unusual objects and unexplainable facial expressions. This portrait is no exception.
-Lotto was born in Venice, but painted most of his work elsewhere. Lotto lived into his eighties. His career went through several different artistic phases. He was known as a loner and never followed or clung to one style.
Rest on the Flight into Egypt, ca 1550, Polidoro da Lanciano (1515 - 65)
-In the New Testament (Matt.), Jesus' father, Joseph, had a dream foretelling Herod's (King of Judea) search to kill the infant Jesus. Joseph, Mary and Jesus took flight to Egypt for safety until Herod's death. On the way to Egypt, they stopped to rest. Here we see the Holy Family seated in the foreground. This is more of a narrative, rather than a devotional picture (as it often is portrayed). There are no symbolic attributes; it has a more realistic look and theme. Note their ox and ass in the background, right.
-Polidoro, Italian, is known for informal Holy Family pictures.
GALLERY 5 High Renaissance and Mannerism
Portrait of a Young Man with a Green Book, Early 16th Century, Anonymous
-In the 16th Century, most young men were uneducated and could not read. As books became available to the public, so emerged individual thought. This picture is a supportive response to the acceptance of humanism during the Renaissance. Humanism was a non-religious scholarly movement that started with the study of classic literature then expanded to include an interest in the pursuit of knowledge.
-This is a depiction of a young man with realistic features and proportions that mirror a true likeness. He looks away from his green book in dramatic pose and contemplation. His fine clothing shows that he was probably a member of the rising middle or upper class, wealthy enough to pay for an education, books, and to hire an artist to paint his portrait.
-The unknown painter energized the subject by using dramatic lighting and a slight head turn.
Madonna and Child with Two Angels, ca 1525, Studio of Pontormo
-Pontormo and his studio is associated with the Mannerist movement: the time between the Renaissance and Baroque, ca 1520 - 90. Mannerism is not easily defined. However, can be easily recognized in a general sense: 1) unusual poses, 2) exaggerated and/or distorted muscular and body proportions, 3) main themes moved to the background, 4) unique light and color schemes, 5) crowded space and perspectives.
-In this version of Madonna and Child, there are several characteristics that place this outside classical Renaissance versions: 1) Madonna sheds her traditional blue cape revealing her dress in vivid red, 2) the Child is in an awkward standing pose, 3) the angels are in unusual positions and looking outside the picture frame rather than admiring the child.
Portrait of Elderly Lady, 1540, Agnolo Bronzino (1503 - 72)
-Bronzino was a Florentine painter. He was a student of Pontormo and his adopted son (See 'Madonna and Child with Two Angels', Studio of Pontormo, Gallery 5). Bronzino became the court painter to Cosimo Medici, the first Grand Duke of Tuscany. He is popularly known for his portraits. Studying with Pontormo, Bronzino followed the Mannerist style. Mannerism is more subjective than objective and is conceptual with exaggerated images which lead to the emotive Baroque period.
-Mannerist portraiture differs from classic Renaissance in subtle ways. Art critics differ on Mannerist interpretations. In this portrait, Bronzino depicts the elderly lady with compelling realism, seldom seen in portraits of the early 1500s. Also, the lady's black dress is skillfully painted in order to show a seated figure. Lastly, the background is asymetric, only showing one door or window frame, which was a new concept for that time.
Young Man from the Renialme Family, ca 1547-48, Tintoretto (1518-1594)
-Tintoretto spent most of his career in Venice, where he received commissions for portraits from upper class members of society and city politicians. In this portrait, the young man leans against a table in a posed position. His eyes are focused on us making it hard to determine his character. He appears proud of his family, because the family crest is prominently displayed in the upper right corner. Family portraits functioned mostly as a visual record of likeness.
-Tintoretto's portraits do not show the dramatic styling that made him famous as a Mannerist painter.
-For more Tintoretto, see 'Madonna and Child', 1570, also in gallery 5.
Portrait of a Friend of Titian, ca. 1550, Titian (1477 - 1576)
-During the Renaissance, Titian's home of Venice experienced peace and prosperity. Inhabitants of Venice hired painters to glorify the city's history and beauty. Economic prosperity helped increase the standard of living for the middle and upper class. They were able to afford pictures and portraits. Venetian painting is traditionally recognized for its rich color and texture. In this portrait, Titian does not use the vivid color for which he and Venice were known. However, Titian's delicacy of tone and texture is shown by the variety of shades of black in the gentleman's cape.
-Titian's friend holds a note that says Titian was his friend. By 1550, Titian became a very popular portraitist of the Venetian Court and Central and Northern Italy. He was an expert at portraying a sitter's likeness. His portraits became so popular they achieved reputations as works of art. Collectors purchased portraits of models unknown to the buyer. His popularity was so great that he created a workshop and hired assistants to produce copies, making his originals even more valuable.
Portrait of a Gentleman, ca. 1550, Giovanni Battista Moroni (1520 - 1578)
-It appears we have distracted the gentleman as he turns to confront us. Despite the distraction, a humanist theme prevails. Humanist themes expressed a quest for knowledge and individuality; books were the means to that quest.
-Upon our first impression, the pose of the Gentleman tends to override the valuation of the gentleman's character. But on closer inspection, the humanist theme prevails.
-Non-religious themes surfaced during the Renaissance. Secular portraits emerged as a result of wanting to revisit the humanism of ancient Greece civilization and the Roman Empire.
-It was written that Titian (also gallery 5) referred his Berganese patrons to Moroni. Moroni was a popular portraitist and was also known for religious pictures.
Venus and Cupid, ca 1559, School of Fontainebleau
-This is a great example of the Mannerist style that originated in Italy around 1510. Mannerism was a reaction against realism and a trend toward stylization. Mannerists were greatly influenced by Michelangelo's exaggerated treatment of figure painting. Mannerist painters were more interested in developing a style than simply copying nature.
-Italian painters were the first to exaggerate the human figure with unnatural poses and color, particularly, skin color. The influence of Italian Mannerist art in France started in the 1490s, when France invaded Italy and Francis I requested Italian artists to decorate his chateau in Fontainebleau.
-Here we see Venus, the goddess of love, in an unnatural, almost impossible double-jointed pose. Her enormous thigh is the focal point. Her son, cupid, is posed in an unusually twisted and turned position. The skin tones are pale. Many Mannerist painters believed large proportions and white skin were attractive and stylish.
The Triumph of Chastity, 16th Century, School of Fontainebleau
-This is another wonderful example of the Mannerist style. See Venus and Cupid, above.
-Chastity is seen here in five different poses as the mythical huntress Diana, who typically represents chastity (virginity). Chastity's main opposition is lust and love. Here, Chastity has triumphed over love, represented by the sleeping cupid. Cupid is surrounded and subdued by Diana in a variety of unusual and awkward poses. The scene is a congested web of figures, typical of Mannerist paintings. The tension of the twisting and turning Dianas is slightly relieved by the view through a doorway (left) of a landscape and other outdoor activity.
Madonna and Child, 1570, Tintoretto (1518 - 1594)
-Tintoretto marks the end of the High Renaissance and the beginning of Mannerism. Mannerism was a trend toward stylization and a reaction against realism. Tintoretto worked during the height of the Renaissance and was influenced by the monumental figures of Michelangelo and the colors of Titian. His mannerisms could be found in his biblical scenes (including this one). He clothed his figures in contemporary garb to develop a familiarity between the viewer and the picture. The mannerisms in this picture also include pale skin tones, exaggerated thick limbs, a theatrical setting, and an uncertain light source. Mannerists considered it stylish to idealize their figures with white skin and large proportions.
-In this version of the Madonna and Child, Mary leans over the child and seems to tease Him with a piece of fabric, symbolizing the shroud that will eventually cover the dead Christ. The baby appears limp and lifeless anticipating the Lamentation (also called the Pieta), when Mary mourns over the dead body of Christ.
-The scene occurs in a manger-like setting, but there is an uncertainty of the location or its significance. It is an intimate scene between the mother and child. There are no saints or angels, traditionally present in this theme. We are also unsure if the sun is setting on the Roman Empire or rising on a new Christian era. All of these suppositions are fun to discuss, as Mannerist paintings present many uncertainties.
Elijah Fed by the Ravens, ca. 1590, Paulo Fiammingolor (1540 - 1596)
-According to Kings 1, during the early years of Israel and Judah, Ahab, the king of Israel, sinned. In response, the prophet Elijah warned him of a great drought. Then the Lord ordered Elijah to travel east to the brook Cherith for his drinking water. The Lord also commanded ravens to bring Elijah food. Ahab followed the God of Baal; Elijah was a follower of the God of the Jews. A contest was held on Mount Carmel, pitting Elijah's faith against Ahab's. Elijah won.
-Fiammingo was a common name given to Flemish painters by Italians. Paulo Franceschi, the artist's given name, was born in Antwerp and traveled to Venice, where he settled. He studied Tintoretto's work and also painted landscapes and historical pictures.
-The influence of the mannerists is seen in the unusual green and brown tonality of this picture.
Saint Francis Venerating the Crucifix, 1595, El Greco (1541 - 1614)
-El Greco painted over 50 pictures of Saint Francis. Saint Francis was the founder of the Franciscan Order of Friars. According to legend, he had a vision of Christ and subsequently received the scars of the stigmata. The scars were similar to those Christ received on the cross (scars from the nails through His hands and feet and a laceration on His chest). In this picture, a scare is detectable on Francis' left hand. Saint Francis wore the traditional Franciscan robes with a knotted belt. The knots stood for the three Franciscan beliefs: Chastity, poverty, and obedience. Francis kneels in front of a crucifix. The skull supporting the Crucifix was a reminder of human mortality and death. Mortality was commonly symbolized in pictures during the time of the counter-reformation.
-In the 1600s, the Protestant Reformation was a threat to the Catholic Church. The Protestant movement questioned many of the rules enforced by the Pope. Reformers did not accept the idea of saints as mediators between mortals and God. Pictures of the saints, like this one, were commissioned by the Catholic Church to counter the Reformation and to reinforce the significance of their suffering and devotion. Here, Saint Francis is meditating death, symbolized by the skull and the crucifix. The leaders of Catholic Church believed they were the only ones who could properly administer the last rights into heaven and assure immortality (symbolized by the ivy).
-El Greco's mannerist style is depicted by the elongated fingers of Saint Francis and the elongated body of Christ on the crucifix. The hands of Saint Francis are the focal point of the picture. His hands are so expressive, they alone convey a message of devotion.
-For more El Greco, see 'Saint John the Baptist', 1600, below.
Saint John the Baptist, ca. 1600, El Greco (1541 - 1614)
-Saint John was an apocalyptic preacher, who believed God told him to preach forgiveness. His preaching included a baptism intended to cleanse the soul.
-Saint John the Baptist is typically painted wearing furs and holding a reed cross, symbolic of his life as a desert ascetic (one who lives a simple life for religious reasons). Saint John baptized Jesus. He is usually accompanied by a lamb (lower right) because he referred to Jesus as a sacrificial 'Lamb of God' (written on the banner on lower right) foretelling his martyrdom. The Spanish castle in the background was probably added at the request of the patron (the buyer).
-El Greco (The Greek) was born on the Greek Island of Crete. He trained in Venice, where he studied the coloring of Titian and Tintoretto. He then moved to Rome and studied the figures of Michelangelo. El Greco believed Spain offered opportunity and traveled to Madrid. Spain was the world's economic and military power and King Phillip II was the wealthiest leader in Europe. Phillip disliked El Greco's Mannerist style, so El Greco moved to Toledo where he obtained work from the church.
-Mannerism emerged as a reaction against Realism. Mannerists believed that style was as important as content. They were also influenced by Michalangelo's expressive figure painting. El Greco used distorted forms and unnatural color for mood and emotion. The spectacular cloud formations add to the drama and intensity. For the first time, detectable brush strokes were used as a stylistic statement.
-For more El Greco, see 'Saint Francis Venerating the Crucifix', 1595, above.
Adoration of the Shepherds, ca. 1600, Joachim Wtewael (1566 - 1638)
-The Gospel According to Luke describes how an angel of the Lord appeared to a gathering of shepherds with news of Jesus' birth. The shepherds said to one another, 'Let us go...and see this thing that has happened.' This subject traditionally has a scattering of Roman ruins to represent the end of the pagan empire and the beginning of the Christian era.
-Wtewael was a Dutch Mannerist painter. The Mannerist style exaggerates space, light, form, and color. Mannerism began in the late 1500s as a reaction against realism and a move toward stylization. The first Mannerists were from Italy. Some worked in southern France forming the School of Fontainbleau (See Gallery 5). They believed nature should be studied, not copied. Wtewael worked in the Dutch province of Utrecht where a school of painters were greatly influenced by Italian Mannerists and Caravaggists. Another Dutch painter who practiced a form of Mannerism was Pieter Lastman (Gallery 14, 'The Triumph of Sesostris).
-Wtewael used vivid colors with metallic-like textures in many of his pictures. He is known more for his small format paintings, making this large work very special. The incredible detail is typically Dutch.
GALLERY 6 1600s: The Baroque Period in France and Italy
-In the early 1600s, painters reacted against Mannerism. A Classical revival emerged. Mythological subjects became popular. New secular subjects appeared - Landscape, still life, and genre (scenes of daily life). A diversity of styles arose.
-Dramatic light effects were used to create illusions of reality. Movement was depicted by the use of diagonals. Heightened emotions were portrayed with calculated intentions.
Adoration of the Golden Calf, 16th - 17th Century, (copy after) Nicolas Poussin (1594 - 1665)
-According to the Book of Exodus, while Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments, the people asked his brother, Aaron, to melt down their jewelry and construct a Golden Calf for idol worship. Moses (standing in the background) disapproved of idol worship and instead believed in the word of God.
-Poussin produced a series on the life of Moses. This picture, however, has not been authenticated as an original Poussin.
-Poussin was one of the main proponents of the classic revival in the 1600s. He believed in maintaining tradition with the ancient Greeks and Romans, the source of western art. He used Greek statues as models to depict ideal form. He rejected decorative trends. His work was built on orderly and systematic theory rather than emotional response. He wanted to control nature and define beauty through empirical methods.
-The figures in this picture are wearing classical attire and the group is painted in the style of an ancient bas-relief, a shallow surface carving.
Old Woman & Old Man, ca 1618 - 19, Georges de La Tour (1593 - 1652)
-It is uncertain if these two portraits are of husband and wife or two actors from a stage play. The poses of the Old Woman and Old Man combined with the bright frontal lighting has led some experts to believe these figures were on stage.
-La Tour was a master of light and texture - his rendering of the old woman's dress against a strong light is extraordinary.
-There are less than 50 known works by La Tour. Due to religious wars, caused in part by the Reformation, his studio and many paintings were destroyed. He is famous for 'nocturn' paintings, scenes taking place at night, particularly candle-lit scenes that contain sharp contrasts of light and dark. Tenebrism is the term that describes that style of painting. The Italian painter Caravaggio popularized the tenebrist style. La Tour spent six years in Italy, where he studied Caravaggio's work.
-La Tour's genre pictures (those of everyday life) were the start of a trend toward realism and non-religious images. They are the earliest examples of realist genre since the fall of the Roman Empire. Realists rejected the style of the Mannerists as false (see gallery 5 for Mannerist paintings).
Saint Jerome in His Study, 1620 - 30, (studio of) Claude Vignon (1593 - 1670)
-Saint Jerome was known for his intellect. He translated the bible into Latin, as seen here. He is commonly known for befriending a lion by removing a thorn from its paw. Saint Jerome was typically painted with a red cardinal's hat. Although he was not a cardinal (the post did not exist), he assisted Pope Damasus I by performing duties similar to a cardinal. (See Gallery 4 for another picture of Saint Jerome.)
-In the 1600s, Paris developed into a metropolis and an art center. Vignon studied in Paris, but was influenced by the Italian Mannerists and Chiaroscurists. Chiaroscuro is the technique of using gradations of shades to enhance realism. The Mannerist attributes in this picture include uncommon combination of colors, the visible brush strokes, and unnatural proportions.
The Holy Family with the Infant Saint John the Baptist, 1626, Simon Vouet (1590 - 1649)
-According to the Gospels, Mathew describes how the Holy Family fled Judea upon King Herod's order to search for the child Jesus. They escaped to Egypt and stayed until Herod died, then moved to Nazareth, also home to John the Baptist. John is seen holding a lamb. A lamb is often seen with John. He called Jesus a sacrificial 'Lamb of God' (written on the scroll attached to the cross), in reference to His crucifixion. Joseph sits in the shadow of the house. Joseph never became an important icon like Mary, Jesus and John. Though he was the husband of Mary, he was not the father of Jesus. The broken column in the foreground symbolizes the end of the pagan Roman Empire and the beginning of the Christian era.
-This subject became popular after Leonardo and Raphael painted versions in the late 1500s. Vouet was in Italy when he painted this picture. He and Nicolas Poussin (also gallery 6) shared similar artistic goals. Both believed in classical idealism. Louis XIII requested their return, but Poussin remained in Italy. Vouet returned to France in 1625 and soon became very popular - in part because of Poussin's absence. Vouet was one of the first popular painters of the French Royal Court, before the emergence of Paris as Europe's art center and the establishment of the French Art Academy. After returning to Paris, his style changed and became somewhat decorative. His bright colors displeased the court, leading to the return of Poussin. Poussin stayed for only two years then returned to Italy. Vouet continued to paint for the king.
-Vouet was known for large and small decorative mythological and religious pieces. The round framed format is called 'en tondo' (in a circle).
Woman in Neopolitan Costume, ca. 1635, Massimo Stanzione (1585? - 1656?)
-The symbolism of a woman holding a rooster is difficult to decipher. A rooster is a symbol of jealousy and betrayal; hence the woman may have been jilted. Another interpretation is to assume the woman holds the rooster, tied at the legs, in preparation to kill and cook. The rooster may have sexual connotations; a rooster also symbolizes lust. The artist or patron may have likened the feathers to the woman's costume. Regardless of all the possibilities, the detail and color of the elaborate costume is spectacular.
-Stanzione was a well known painter in Naples, Italy during the 1600s. The sharp contrasts of light and dark were inspired by his admiration of Caravaggio. Caravaggio, an Italian painter, developed a style that used dramatic light effects. The mark on the lower left was given to Stanzione upon knighthood by two different popes.
Sleeping Venus, ca. 1638-39, Eustache Le Sueur, (1617 - 1655)
-Venus, the goddess of love, sleeps. She was caught having an affair with Mars, the god of War. Her husband, Vulcan, lame and unable to please her, was a blacksmith and is seen in the background building a net. Vulcan used the net to trap the lovers.
-Le Sueur never left Paris. In the late 1630s, his style was influenced by the Italian Mannerists, as seen by the unnatural pose of Venus and the pale skin color. The Mannerists considered these characteristics an attractive and ideal representation of the human body.
-See gallery 5 for other Mannerist paintings.
Landscape with Travellers, ca. 1640, Salvator Rosa (1615 - 1673)
-One of the artistic directions during the 1600s was a move toward Realism and a rejection of the rigidity of Classicism. This is one of the earliest Genre pictures showing a common family traveling through a wooded area. Rosa's Naturalistic style is shown in the accuracy and detail of the objects. For example, the clothing of the travelers is true to the period, the items carried by the travelers are meticulously drawn, and the depiction of trees, leaves, and rocks are realistically rendered. Rosa added a flare of drama by exposing the vulnerable travelers to a suspicious roadside group. The young man leading the family risks asking directions.
-In 1639, Rosa moved from Rome to Florence. This picture may have been drawn from that trip. Rosa was a Romantic at heart. He had his own theory of art and expressed his ideas regardless of the consequences. He was also a musician and stage actor.
Peasants Before Their House, 1641, Louis Le Nain (1600 - 48)
-The 1600s, the century known as the Baroque Period of art, was amazingly diverse. Painters of the previous century traditionally produced portraits and religious paintings. A trend towards realism allowed artists to stray from traditional and academic work. More importantly, the aristocracy and the Church were no longer the mainstays of artists. The rising middle class became an interest to artists as subjects, as well as buyers. Here, Le Nain's treatment of the lower class is straightforward and dignified. We see three generations of one family.
-A symmetrical composition, typical of Renaissance painting, was no longer a standard. Diagonal lines replaced vertical lines; color and pose became more natural.
-Louis and his two brothers collaborated on many paintings. Early in their career, they painted history and allegorical pictures, but Simon Vouet (also gallery 6) led the market in history and religious allegory. Louis and his bothers disliked competing with other Academy members, so they turned to pictures of peasant life. It is uncertain who purchased their work. Louis eventually became an Academy member during its foundation.
View of Tivoli, 1642-44, Claude Lorraine (1600 - 1682)
-One-third of French Baroque painting is landscape. In the 1600s, landscape paintings were first sold at shops and fairs. They became popular among nature lovers. Large estate holders found it fashionable to own landscapes of their property.
-Landscapes were not considered important works of art because they were thought to be simple imitations of nature and did not include human expression. History, religion and portraiture ranked higher. Landscapes were considered subjects artists toyed with in their spare time. Claude (and Poussin) thought otherwise. They believed nature was as worthy a subject as history, religion, or portraiture.
-Claude and Nicolas Poussin (also gallery 6) were the most popular landscape painters of the time. One artist described how Claude emphasized 'distant views' and 'variations of light'. Claude's landscapes are some of the first to aptly convey a specific time of day. Often he would work on two pictures of the same view, but at different times of day to capture the essence of atmospheric light.
-Claude spent most of his career in Italy, where he sold most of his work. His admiration of Roman history prompted him to add architecture and figures. He created great set design for his history and mythological pictures.
Allegory of Geometry, 1649, Laurent de la Hyre (1606 - 1656)
-The subject and theme was likely taken from Cesare Ripa's Iconologia, a standard of Baroque pictorial imagery. Here geometry is represented as a seated female in flowing robes holding a compass and ninety degree angle. Other geometric tools and shapes are shown. She expresses a gentle emotion. Baroque painting is known for its emotional expressions and diagonal compositions. Here the expression is subdued and the composition is very horizontal and vertical due in large part to the positioning of geometry's arm and the play of architecture in the background. However, she leans to our right, creating a diagonal that leads our eye to a curious reptilian figure in the background.
-Italian styles of mythological and religious themes were popular during the 1600s. La Hyre never traveled to Italy, although he was a part of a group of painters that established the French Academy of Art and held Italian art with high regard and fascination. As an academy member, La Hyre and other members developed rules that defined the art of French painting. Many of La Hyre's pictures contain figures displaying idealized charm, tenderness and elegance.
Dona Mariana of Austria, Queen of Spain, 1649, (in the manner of) Diego Velazquez (1599 - 1660)
-'In the manner of' suggests a painter (probably an assistant to Velazquez) followed Velazquez' techniques and style very closely.
-As a painter of the Spanish court, Velazquez was assigned to paint King Phillip IV's new bride. In this portrait, Baroque realism disregards the idealism seen in many Renaissance portraits. It reflects the true likeness and actual features of the young Queen rather than presenting an idealistic vision of her. Many portraits by Velazquez did not contain background objects; he wanted to focus attention on the figure without any distractions.
-Velaquez believed and practiced humanist philosophy, perhaps accounting for his realism.
Young Boy Singing, ca. 1620, The Candlelight Master (1620 - ?), attributed to Theophile Bigot
-A young boy sings the words written on a page illuminated by a hidden candle. The painter cleverly hid the candle behind the sheet music. The candlelight creates dramatic lighting effects giving the picture its appeal.
-French painters were greatly influenced by the Italian painter Caravaggio. Caravaggio popularized a style of sharp contrasts between light and dark called tenebrism. His influence migrated by way of the trade routes that ran north from Italy through France to the Netherlands. Utrecht, a city in the Netherlands, formed a school of tenebrists. The school became popular and influential throughout Europe.
Landscape with Venus and Cupid, ca. 1651-54, Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi (1606 - 1680)
-Venus, the goddess of love, and her son cupid, the god of love, enjoy an afternoon in an idyllic classical setting. In this picture, the landscape dominates. Idyllic landscapes did not rely on naturalism or realism. Instead, artists constructed them to represent a perfect setting. This painting was done 'en tondo' (in a circle).
-Grimaldi had a reputation as a competent painter. He studied in Bologna, famous for the school established by the Carracci family, a group instrumental in the classic revival of the 1600s.
The Adoration of the Shepherds, ca. 1655, Valerio Castello (1624 - 1659)
-The Gospel According to Luke briefly describes how a group of shepherds honored and adored the newborn baby Jesus. Though Luke never described the setting, Castello's interpretation of the intimate earthly scene is an exaggerated celebration of angels and shepherds. He turned the manger into a marble palace and transformed the setting from a rural outback into a heavenly landscape.
-Castello made the most of the decorative exuberance that was the Baroque. His career only lasted 10 years, however he exhausted all his energy and movement on pictures like this. Many of his other pictures expressed a similar energy and exhibited loose flurries of brushstrokes.
Still Life with Violin, Ewer, and Bouquet of Flowers, 1657, Jacques-Samuel Bernard (1615 - 1687)
-Artists started painting still life pictures in the 1500s. The typical still life composition consisted of a display of inanimate objects on a table against a dark background. Objects were realistically painted, accurately drawn with sharp edges. A common theme was to depict objects that represented the five senses. In this picture, a violin represents sound, flowers - smell, carpet - touch, fruit - taste, and all things combined - sight. Objects were arranged so the eye would travel diagonally back and forth, as in this picture from the head of the violin to the top of the ewer (pitcher).
-Still lifes were considered a separate category of painting and painters handed the skill down from generation to generation. The traditional still life began in northern Europe around the time of the Reformation. Protestant painters, like Bernard, immigrated to France and were required to renounce their faith in order to produce non-religious pictures. However, some painters depicted objects with symbolic religious references. Ultimately, the aim was to accurately copy an object.
-In France, still life was, at first, considered a low form of art. It wasn't until the eighteenth century that still life was respected as a fine art.
Samson and the Honeycomb, 1657, Guercino (1591 - 1666)
-Samson (right), with long hair, in search of a wife, (Delilah, not shown) was approached by a lion in a vineyard. Samson tore the lion apart. He then ventured to Philistine and found Delilah. He returned to the vineyard to discover a beehive in the lion's carcass. He took the hive from the carcass and shared a honeycomb with his parents to celebrate the finding of a wife.
-Guercino was an illusionist painter. His technical skills, perspective, color and light made his paintings extremely realistic, particularly his wall and ceiling paintings. He was a student of the Carracci, the Italian school that revived the classicist style in the 1600s. As a student, he was an ardent anti-Caravaggist/illusionist. Then, toward the middle of his career, he moved to the Caravaggist/illusionist style (as seen here), then at the end of his career he moved back to a moderate classical style.
Martyrdom of Saint Bartolomeo, 1660, Luca Giordano (1634 - 1705)
-Bartolomeo, or Bartholomew, is mentioned in the New Testament as one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. According to the Golden Legend, Bartolomeo travelled to India, healed some of the sick and converted a regional king to Christianity. The king's brother was angry because the convertion resulted in the destruction of local idols. Bartolomeo was condemned to die. He was crusified upside down, flayed (skinned), then beheaded. His attribute is a knife, seen here in the hand of Bartolomeo.
-Giordano portrays Bartolomeo in a dramatic light prior to his flaying. He is often portrayed without skin or holding his own skin, as seen in the Sistine Chapel.
-Luca Giordano was a Baroque painter from Naples. He was known as Luca 'fa presto', paint quickly, from his training to paint with speed and confidence. He was also known for posessing a talent to paint in a variety of international styles.
Saint John the Baptist Preaching, ca. 1665, Mattia Preti (1613 - 1699)
-Saint John was a prophet and a preacher. He baptized Jesus. John was typically painted holding a reed cross and wearing tattered furs to symbolize his retreat in the desert and hermetic lifestyle. The lamb symbolizes his reference to Jesus as a sacrificial 'lamb of God' (written on the scroll attached to his cross). In this version of Saint John, he is portrayed in dramatic fashion. Preti painted him as a robust muscular man, despite his ascetic life of poverty. We see him preaching as he points to a divine light. The Catholic Church encouraged these dramatically charged and emotional scenes to reinforce Catholic beliefs and to counter the northern reformation that sparked the Protestant movement.
-Baroque illusionist painters, like Preti, composed many pictures in the same scale and perspective as the viewer. Here, he created an illusion of being part of the picture, as if Saint John is preaching to us. We look up at Saint John, like the group painted below him. The picture was intended to be hung at this height so the viewer would feel like a member of the group to which John was preaching. The figures are life size and have natural movement to their poses, making the scene more realistic.
-Compositions of the Baroque period contain diagonals and triangular symmetry, which make the scene appear naturalistic.
-Preti studied under Guercino (also gallery 6), another illusionist painter. He gained a reputation in Venice as a skillful painter and was given commissions throughout Italy and Malta. Preti was known to have a violent personality and was constantly moving from city to city. His pictures have an energy similar to his personality. He reportedly died from a wound inflicted by a barber.
-For more pictures on the life of Saint John, see galleries 3, 4, and 5.
The Adoration of the Lamb, (Modella from the fresco in Il Gesu, Rome), ca. 1680, Giovanni Battista Gaulli called Il Baciccio (1639- 1709)
-This image was taken from The New Testament's Revelation to John. The lamb represents the Second Coming of Christ. John described a vision of a great multitude of people from every nation before the throne of the lamb.
-The mid to late 1600s marks the peak of the Baroque Period. Part of what distinguishes Baroque is a highly decorative style. Baciccio's ornate style is further intensified by the extreme perspective that draws the viewer into the picture.
-A 'modella' is a small version of a finished picture, in this case, a ceiling fresco. The large scaled version, in Rome, was intended to create the illusion of a rising altar on which sits a lamb.
Jacob and Rachel at the Well, ca 1680, Johann Karl Loth (Carlotto) (1632 - 1698)
-According to the Book of Genesis, Jacob (lower left) escaped from his twin brother Esau's threats by leaving home. Jacob's mother sent him to her brother, Laben (far left). On his way, he came upon a group of women with a herd of sheep. Jacob removed a well cover to assist the women. He caught sight of the beautiful Rachel (right center). They eventually married. Jacob travailed through life, but always persevered. His life symbolizes the history of Israel, the name given to Jacob by God.
-The painter Carlotto was the son of a Munich court painter. He traveled to Rome and in 1656 settled in Venice, where he was inspired by warm golden color.
The Month of October, 1699, Pierre Antoine Patel (1648 - 1707)
-Pate leaned to paint from his father Pierre Patel carrying on a family trade of landscape painting. He was born in Paris. Patel practiced a decorative style known as Parisian Atticism, an elegant form of classicism with extreme precision. The detail of the figures in the foreground is quite extraordinary. But it is hard to determine if the scene takes place in the early morning or late afternoon.
The Miracle of Saint Benedict, ca. 1700, (studio of) Pierre Subleyras (1699 - 1749)
-Saint Benedict lived between 480 and 547 and is seen here wearing a white habit. He was born in Italy and founded one of the oldest Christian orders. He believed in chastity, poverty, obedience, and manual labor. Benedict is remembered for his healing powers. This picture shows Saint Benedict, as a young man, reviving a small child. The man in the lower left gestures to the gravedigger on the right to wait, as they witness a miracle.
-The painter Subleyras was born in France. He left Paris at the age of 30 and moved to Rome where he lived the remainder of his life. It is difficult to determine how much involvement Subleyras had in this painting. It is likely he composed it, then his assistants copied it onto canvas and applied the paint.
Soldiers Feasting, ca. 1725, Alessandro Magnasco (1686 - 1749)
-Into the 1700s, Magnasco never abandoned the Baroque trend of tenebrism, the sharp contrasts between light and dark. He distinguished himself by using a technique of rapid, sketch-like, spontaneous brush strokes. His technique gave a rough and unfinished look, yet it created a tension and excitement that accentuated the light effects.
Descent from the Cross, ca. 1750, Giovanni Battista Pittoni (1687 - 1767)
-According to the Gospels Matthew, Mark, and Luke, this event took place in the evening. They also describe how Joseph of Arimathaea, a wealthy disciple (see 'Joseph of Arimathaea' by Pieter Coecke van Aelst in gallery 3), wrapped Christ's body in linen. The Gospel According to John did not describe the time of day; however, he too wrote that Joseph of Arimathaea took away the body of Christ.
-This is a black and white sketch for a final oil painting. In this highly theatrical version, John folds his hand and prays (right), Mary Magdalene swoons (lower left), the Virgin Mary falls with outstretched arms (center), Nicodemus holds Christ's shoulder (left), and Joseph of Arimathaea kneels and accepts the body (lower center). Light is concentrated on the body of Christ from an unknown divine source. The low-angled point of view gives a haunting view of the cross, which looms above.
-Pittoni was from the Venetian School and a contemporary of Tiepolo (Gallery 7). In the 1700s, the desire for grand religious interpretation was fading. Pittoni had to travel outside Italy to find work. Much of his work was criticized for overly bright colors and over-sentimentality.
The Merry Company, ca 1760, Gaspare Traversi (1732 - 1769)
-The theme of The Merry Company may have originated from the Biblical story of the prodigal son, a story about a young man who spent his inheritance on wine and women. In this picture, Traversi included the vices of drink, gambling, smoke, and prostitution. Due, in part, to the popularity of Realism, artists and patrons found the lifestyle of the lower class entertaining. Strongly lit objects against a dark background, a style called tenebrism, was a common style used in the 1600s to dramatize a scene.
-Traversi was famous for pictures of the middle and lower class. He usually depicted them in a psychological or comedic pose, unidealized and realistic. This version of 'The Merry Company' is full of memorable faces.
-An earlier version of 'The Merry Company' is in gallery 15, by Deric Hals.
The Fortune Teller, ca. 1760, Gaspare Traversi (1732 - 1769)
-Like the Merry Company (above), also by Traversi, The Fortune Teller was a popular theme during the 17th and 18th Century. Another version is in gallery 7, by Jean-Antoine Watteau and gallery 16, by Jacque-Louis David. This version features an elderly fortune teller performing a palm reading. Non-religious themes became popular in the late 1600s, as realism and the rising middle class became an integral part of European art and society. Traversi's pictures were usually purchased for their entertainment value. However, it is interesting to note its social value: the acceptance of the lower and middle class into artistic circles.
GALLERY 7 1700 Rococo France & Italy
-The death of Louis XIV resulted in a relaxation of strict standards. Many French painters produced pictures that were mostly decorative in nature.
Portrait of a Gentleman, 1680, Nicholas de Largilliere (1656 - 1746)
-During the early 1700s, Largilliere was one of the leading portrait painters in France. His clients were members of the rising middle and upper class. He also produced religious pictures, landscapes and still lifes.
-This Gentleman wears a full wig and an enormous neckpiece. Many of his portraits have landscaped backgrounds. In this picture, the background is a neutral color (perhaps as a cost savings to the sitter) and placed 'en tondo' (in a circle).
-For more Largilliere, see 'Portrait of a Gentleman' dated 1710, below.
Portrait of a Gentleman, 1710, Nicholas de Largilliere (1656 - 1746)
-In the 1700s, the rising middle and upper class (the bourgeoisie) became patrons of the arts. They could afford some of he best artists of the time. The Gentleman in this picture was probably wealthy, but not an aristocrat (not part of royalty). He is dressed in contemporary formal wear: frills on his chest, an expensive coat, a luxurious cape, and a full wig. The setting mocks the grandeur of the traditional court pictures of Anthony Van Dyck (Gallery 14) and Sir Peter Lely (Largilliere's teacher) by including drapery and a landscape in the background. The most interesting and puzzling feature of this picture is the right hand of the gentleman. Is he pointing or posing?
-Largilliere earned a decent living painting portraits of the wealthy class. Trained in Antwerp and England, he became an English court painter to the Stuarts, but anti-Catholic feelings forced him to return to Paris.
The Fortune Teller, ca. 1710, Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684 - 1721)
-Watteau's version of The Fortune Teller is one of the first to integrate people of upper and lower classes. It represents the acceptance of the lower and middle class into the circle of artists. Fortune tellers were uneducated, superstitious, and poor; yet confident and proud. The upper class found their service entertaining. Watteau divided the picture with a wall. The fortune-teller remains on the outside; the bourgeois women welcome her, albeit with hesitation as one woman turns her back. A child stands between the two different classes and wonders what fortunes are in his future.
-Watteau was the first modern painter to become successful without depending on patronage from the church, the court, or the Academy. Although he did not attend formal art classes, his skills gained him entry into the salon, France's national art exhibit. His pictures did not contain religious icons. They were poetic and enchanting representations of the visible world.
-For more Watteau, see 'The Foursome', 1713, below.
The Foursome, ca 1713, Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684 - 1721)
-This picture was part of a series called Les Jaloux (jealousy). It is a style called a Conversation Piece, a group portrait in small scale engaged in a common activity. In this picture, a group of theater actors are seen socializing offstage. Watteau offers a backstage view often unseen by the public. The faces of the actors are revealed. One of the actresses removes her mask. We are uncertain what is really happening between the actors. Love may be in the air, because of a statue of Cupid at right. The complexity of Watteau's pictures is extraordinary; interpretation is often difficult. The mystical aura attached to many of Watteau's pictures is also its attraction.
-Watteau was a fan of the theater, and is famous for his paintings of actors and scenes of the theater. He was also known for his 'fancy pictures' of love and enchantment. Watteau, like Louis Le Nain (gallery 6), engaged a class of people in ways never before seen.
-For more Watteau, see 'The Fortune Teller', above.
Diana and Endymion, 1726, Michel-Francois Dandre-Bardon (1700 - 1783)
-Endymion was a mortal shepherd boy. Selene, the moon goddess (played here by Diana) was infatuated by Endymion's beauty and visited him every night. Selene asked Zeus to give him eternal life so she could see him forever. Zeus agreed by putting Endymion into eternal sleep, thereby giving him eternal youth. Selene was in love with Endymion, as Cupid prepares to shoot his arrow. Diana, the virgin huntress, often plays Selene in this mythological story, because it's a virgin's role as long as Endymion sleeps.
-Dandre-Bardon was trained by the Vanloo family (also Gallery 7) and studied for a time in Italy. He admired Italian painters and was inspired by 1600 Baroque mythological painting.
Ruins with Prophet and Ruins with Sibyl, 1731, Giovanni Paulo Panini (1691 - 1765)
-These two pictures are an appropriate set; one displaying a female prophet and the other a male prophet amongst a small group amidst imaginary ruins. The dog in each picture provides levity. In the Sibyl picture, the dog detects a woman on the right, beside a wall as Sibyl points to the statue of herself.
-Panini, born in Piacenza, Northern Italy, is credited as the first to specialize in pictures of imaginary ruins with architectural accuracy. He attended a 1729 celebration of the child king in France and maintained a connection with the French Academy.
-Sibyl is a woman prophet.
Thalia, Muse of Comedy, 1739, Jean-Marc Nattier (1685 - 1766)
-One of the trends during the Rococo Period was to be idealized in a mythological setting. In this painting, Silvia Balletti (?) plays the part of Thalia, the Muse of Comedy. Thalia is typically seen with a mask, an attribute of the theater. There were nine muses, each representing a field of science, history and the arts. The muses were daughters of Jupiter.
-Nattier painted many scenes of fantasy. Decorative tendencies dominated the art world under Louis XV and Madam Pompadour. Rigid controls that were instituted during the reign of Louis XIV were relaxed under Louis XV. Nattier is mostly known for his portraits of high society women.
-For more Nattier, see 'Terpsichore, Muse of Music and Dance', 1739, below.
Terpsichore, Muse of Music and Dance, ca.1739, Jean-Marc Nattier (1685 - 1766)
-Unlike Thalia (above), the real life model is unknown. Terpsichore is the muse of Dance, music and lyric poetry. She is usually seen seated holding a small harp (lyre) in one hand and a pen in the other. In the background is a group of dancers.
-Terpsichore is one of nine muses representing the arts, sciences and history.
The Music Lesson (The Bird Cage), ca.1740 - 45, Pietro Longhi (1702 - 85)
-It is interesting to compare this picture with its neighbor, by Tiepolo (see below). The 1700s was a time of dramatic social change: The American and French Revolutions, the Industrial Revolution, the decline of Monarchial Rule, and the rise of republican governments. Longhi painted pictures depicting contemporary society; Teipolo was the last of the traditional Italian Grand Masters. Both painters were from Venice.
-What Longhi lacked in technique, he made up in human observation. His Venetian patrons enjoyed his quaint studies of social life. Others believed Longhi painted subtle satire aimed at his upper class buyers.
-Critics and art historians disagree whether Longhi painted pictures of realism or satire. On the surface, we see an innocent music lesson. However, on closer inspection, the music teacher leers at his student and appears to have other intentions besides music. The teacher plays a serenade while his student's cello is ignored and off to the side. The bird, trapped in a cage (upper right), may symbolize the predicament of the inexperienced student. The gentleman on the right looks out at us as if asking what is really going on here. The dog, on the left, a symbol of fidelity, appears to have a similar concern.
The Empire of Flora, ca 1743, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696 - 1770)
-Flora is the goddess of flowers. She is usually associated with sexual, erotic, and marital themes because of her reputation for spreading seeds. Her empire is a garden filled with flowers, trees, fountains and many other delights. Males are usually seen bowing and honoring her and trying to please her. She is sometimes depicted as spring, a time of rebirth and fertility. Here, she is accompanied by assistants and pulled in her chariot by putti, little men and messengers of profane love. Note the falling cherubs (center) and the woman behind the chariot looks up at them.
-Tiepolo was the most popular Italian painter of his generation. His vision was one of optimism. His scenes usually occur in bright daylight settings. Women played major roles in most of his pictures.
-Tiepolo was the last of the Grand Italian Masters in an age when realism and naturalism were gaining popularity. The Grand Manner was a style responsible for large ceiling and wall paintings commissioned by European Monarchs and the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, his traditional subjects and style were not popular in his hometown of Venice and he had to travel outside Italy to work. He found work in Germany, Austria and Spain. His work includes some of the most imaginative narrative painting that exists. Tiepolo invented an unseen world of mythological characters with uncanny certainty. His attention to detail was impeccable; observe the hub of the chariot wheels, the statuary, and the poses of the figures. Tiepolo ended an age that started with the great names of the early Renaissance.
The Pate, 1743, Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686 - 1755)
-This is an example of a style called Trompe-l'oeil (fool the eye). It is Realism of such extreme detail, it can 'fool the eye'. Objects are accurately scaled and proportioned.
-As the title suggests, the objects shown in this picture include all the ingredients for pate.
-Oudry was a student of Largillierre (also Gallery 7). Largillierre recognized Oudry's unique talent and recommended Oudry try still life. He worked as a court painter for Louis XV, where he specialized in hunting pictures, in particular, the royal hounds. Oudry also painted for wealthy sportsmen.
Companions of Diana, 1745, Francois Boucher (1703 - 1770)
-Diana played several roles in Greek and Roman mythology. As the goddess of the earth, she protected life. As the virgin huntress, she provided food and nutrition. In this picture, she plays the huntress. After a hunt, she sleeps and is teased by a companion with a long stalk of grass. Freshly caught game birds (left) await preparation for eating.
-Boucher was perhaps the most popular French painter of the 1700s. He is surely the most celebrated decorative painter of all time. Most pictures by Boucher were of women. His wife often modeled for him, which explains why many of his women have similar features. He created a dream world where the mood was pleasant and the atmosphere was untroubled. His pictures were usually set out of doors on a sunny afternoon. This picture, prepared 'en tondo' (in a circle), was most likely purchased to decorate a small apartment.
-Denis Diderot, the leading art critic of the time, persistently criticized Boucher's work. He thought Boucher was wasting his talent. While Boucher believed art should bring pleasure, Diderot condemned artificiality and claimed art should contain messages of morality. Diderot may have prophesized the effects of excess and the advent of the French Revolution.
-Other pictures by Boucher are in gallery 7.
Bacchantes, ca. 1745, Francois Boucher (1703 - 1770)
-Bacchantes were women attracted to the cult of Bacchus, the god of wine and fertility. Bacchantes were often portrayed playing music, particularly the tambourine. They are rarely seen drinking and jugs of wine are often present (right).
-Most pictures by Boucher were of women. He created a dream world where the mood and atmosphere was pleasant and untroubled. His pictures were usually set out of doors and occurred during a sunny afternoon. This picture, prepared 'en tondo' (in a circle), was most likely purchased to decorate a small apartment.
-For more Boucher, see 'Companions of Diana', 1745, above.
Madame Boudrey as a Muse, 1752, (copy after) Jean-Marc Nattier (1685 - 1766)
-The muse Madame Boudrey is portraying is uncertain. She holds a pen in one hand and a tablet on her lap, which are the attributes of Calliope, the muse of epic poetry. There are nine muses in the background, each representing one of the arts, sciences and history. According to Greek mythology, the muses were daughters of Jupiter. The winged horse is Pegasus, which in this case represents fame.
Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, and Music, 1753, Carle Vanloo (1705 - 1765)
-In these pictures, Vanloo painted caricatures of four arts.
-Vanloo also painted portraits, religious allegory, history and mythological allegory. He became painter for Louis XV and was President of the French Academy of Art.
-Despite the cute appearance of these pictures, Vanloo may be the most controversial painter in this gallery. He was a very popular painter among the court and the academy when he was alive, yet most historians believe he lacked style and his work was mediocre, unimaginative, and technically inferior.
Vertumnus and Pomona, 1757, (studio of) Francois Boucher (1703 - 1770)
-Vertumnus, God of Fertility, was in love with Pomona, goddess of fruit and gardens. His first few attempts to attract her were unsuccessful. He decided to dress as a woman to gain her attention. Vertumnus (in red) eventually confessed his scheme. Pomona was flattered and they fell in love. Cupid (upper right) is about to drop his arrow of love.
-Boucher is the artist most associated with the Rococo Period. Much of his popularity derived from his patroness, Madam Pompadour, mistress to King Louis XV. She fostered the arts and chose Boucher to paint several portraits of her. Boucher was a student of Watteau (also Gallery 7) and admired his decorative qualities. He also admired the imaginative work of Teipolo (also Gallery 7). His aim was not to paint heroic images; he believed art need not carry a moral, religious, or serious message. Mythology was a favorite theme of Boucher; he created a fantasy world that was adorned with decoration.
-For more Boucher, see 'Companions of Diana', 1745, also in gallery 7.
The Concert, 1760, Pietro Longhi (1702 - 1785)
-See 'The Music Lesson', 1740, also by Longhi (also Gallery 7)
-As mentioned in 'The Music Lesson', Longhi represents the new age of art in the 1700s. He was one of the first to produce social realist work. His pictures contained subtle satire aimed at the rising middleclass. Longhi saw the same hypocritical acts among the middle and upper class as the aristocracy. Interestingly, his middle and upper class patrons saw his pictures as quaint Conversation Pieces.
-In 'The Concert", ask yourself, is the mandolin player concentrating on music or is he more interested in serenading the woman in the gold dress? His eyes seem to wander in her direction. The gentleman standing behind her looks at us as if asking the same question.
The Good Mother, ca 1762-63, Jean Honore Fragonard (1732 - 1806)
-In this picture, Fragonard painted a tender moment between mother and child. The Mother and Child theme originated from Mary and the Child Jesus. Fragonard admired and borrowed the warm golden tones and strong directional lighting from Rembrandt. Like Boucher (also Gallery 7), Fragonard painted decorative subjects; women were often his main characters, mood was pleasant, and atmosphere was trouble free. Unlike Boucher, many of Fragonard's patrons were middle and upper class.
-Fragonard maintained his independence from the court, the church, and the academy throughout most of his career. Fragonard's popularity derived from his draftsmanship. The academy recognized him more for his landscape drawings than his paintings.
-For more Fragonard, see 'The Useless Resistance', 1770, also in gallery 7.
Virgin and Child, ca 1765 - 70, Francois Boucher (1703 - 1770)
-In this eighteenth century version of the Virgin and Child, Boucher remained true to his decorative style, even as he approached the end of his career. The treatment of the figures and clothing is soft and colorful. Here, Boucher intimately placed the two figures en tondo (in a circle) and omitted a background. The child's face is positioned directly in the center. His eyes focus on a rose held in his right hand. The rose has two meanings; without thorns, it represents the virgin and the color red symbolizes the blood of Christ, a reference to His crucifixion. The virgin, meanwhile, looks down at her hands, occupied in thought, as if knowing the fate of her child.
-Boucher was known more for his ornate and decorative mythological fantasies. See other pictures by Boucher in Gallery 7: 'Companions of Diana', 1745 and 'Vertumnus and Pomona', 1757.
Fox in the Chicken Yard, 1766, Jean-Baptiste Huet, the Elder or Younger
-Huet specialized in animal pictures and landscapes. The Fox in the Chicken Yard may be interpreted in several ways. Allegorically, the fox may be seen as an inept, fumbling Louis XV caught in an act of disgrace. Literally, it is a powerful composition. Huet placed the three main characters - the fox, rooster, and hen along the center axis. The expressive faces of the animals are extraordinary, from the fierce growl of the fox to the fear of the hen to the spooked peahen, at left.
-At the age of twenty, Huet worked with Boucher (also gallery 7) to produce decorative art. His talent for painting animals and landscape shaped his career and in 1794, he became painter to the King.
Charles-Antoine de la Roche-Aymon, Archbishop of Reims, ca 1769, (studio of) Alexandre Roslin (1718 - 1793)
-Roslin was born in Sweden and was popular throughout northern Europe. He was a member of the French Academy. His patronage came from several courts in Europe. His popularity derived mainly from his longevity; he outlived many of his contemporaries. His work is more efficient than evoking, as seen by the **wonderful detail and texture of the Archbishops clothing and the likeness of the facial features. The expression and the stare of the Archbishop are a bit self conscious and posed.
-The credit goes to 'the studio' of Roslin, so the extent of his contribution is uncertain.
The Useless Resistance, ca 1770, Jean Honore Fragonard (1732 - 1806)
-This small-scaled picture shows two playful figures skillfully composed and dramatically lit. It's a wonderful combination of fantasy and reality. Fragonard sold most of his pictures to middle and upper class patrons who enjoyed unserious subjects. He was one of the first independent artists that did not depend on commissions from the court, church or the academy.
-This picture, as does his 'Education of the Virgin', 1773, (also in gallery 7) demonstrates his talent as a draftsman. His touches of color and careful brush control contribute to the success and appeal of his pictures. Fragonard's popularity faded in his late years as the decorative Rococo style ended. The late 1700s saw a serious moralistic tone inclined towards politics and revolution.
Etienne Jeaurat, 1771, (attributed to) Etienne Aubry (1745 - 1781)
-Like Aubry, Jeaurat was a genre painter famous for social realist street scenes. Aubry also painted portraits with astonishing naturalism. Here, the attribution to Aubry captures Jeauat in a candid and relaxed pose.
Education of the Virgin, ca. 1773, Jean Honore Fragonard (1732 - 1806)
-According to The Golden Legend, angels taught Mary to read. Versions of this subject sometimes show Mary's mother, Anne, teaching her to read. In this version, it appears Anne is the teacher. An unknown light source creates a divine glow. The setting is uncertain.
-This picture shows Fragonard's talent as a draftsman. Notice the sketch-like quality, the brush control, and linear characteristics of the figures and the clothing.
-For more Fragonard, see 'The Good Mother', 1762 and 'The Useless Resistance', 1770, also in gallery 7.
Still Life with Plums and a Lemon, 1778, Anne Vallayer-Coster (1744 - 1818)
-Coster's attention to detail and texture is similar to a Dutch still life, as is the symbolism. For example, the dying leaves on the table (left) symbolize mortality. The knife and the lemon placed precariously at the edge of the table represent the fragility of life. The stack of plums along side a full glass of water is a sign of French prosperity.
-Coster was a skillful technician. She was also a respected portrait painter, popular among the upper class. Towards the end of the 1700s, when the Neo-Classic period took hold, she lost much of her popularity. Themes of morality and social values became popular as politics and revolution dominated French culture. Coster was less political than her contemporary, Vigee Le Brun (Gallery 16) and remained in France during the revolution.
Louis-Antoine de Bourbon, Duc of Angouleme, 1785, Joseph Boze (1744 - 1825)
-The Duc was part of the last generation of the Ancient Regime, France's Royal Family. By the turn of the century, the new French Republic became the dominant force in politics. The Duc died in 1844 and may have fought in North America during the Indian Wars.
-During the 1700s, portraiture placed an emphasis on the likeness of features and attention to costume. The young Duc is seen in full uniform and wig. The Duc's pose and slight turn of the head was Boze's attempt at naturalism. Boze was a portraitist and miniaturist. He was also a court painter for Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and painted war pictures for the court.
Bacchante, 1785, (copy after) Elisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun (1755 - 1842)
-A Bacchante was a woman who was attracted to the cult of Bacchus, the god of wine and fertility. Bacchantes were often portrayed playing music, particularly a tambourine. It is rare to see no jugs of wine in the background, as was usually the case when a Bacchante was pictured.
-Le Brun was one of Europe's most successful women painters. She studied under her father. At age 24, Le Brun painted a portrait of Marie Antoinette and they became friends. She became a member of the academy. During the French Revolution she was a loyalist sympathizer. She left France and traveled throughout Europe and Russia, successfully painting portraits.
-See gallery 16 for 'Hyacinthe Roland', 1791, by Le Brun.
Portrait of a Miniaturist, late 18th Century, Anonymous
-A miniaturist is an artist that produces small-scale art. Miniatures are usually highly detailed portraits ranging from one to twelve inches in height. During the 18th Century, miniature work was a popular novelty. This picture is a fascinating study of concentration. The artist chose an interesting point of view of the miniaturist, his foreshortened head, and his tools of the trade.
Landscape with Travelers and a Ruin, Late 18th Century, Jean Baptiste Pillement (1727 - 1808)
-Here we have a decorative Rococo landscape with a skillful portrayal of atmospheric effects. Note the detail in the foreground and the perspective of distance. This small format has extraordinary detail.
-Pillement was born in Lyon, France. Widely traveled. Practiced Rococo style during the latter part of the 18th century, a bit of a late comer. Once was painter to Marie Antoinette. But, died in poverty.
GALLERY 13 1700 and 1800 England
England's tradition of portraiture began when Henry VIII was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. He did not condone religious pictures; hence portraiture and landscape became the mainstay in England.
Alicia Maria Carpenter, Countess of Egremont, 1745, Arthur Devis (1711 - 1787)
-This example of a miniature portrait was a specialty of Devis. His patrons were usually rural northerners (north of London) who were fond of Devis' formality, stiffness, and attention to detail. The small scale made the portraits affordable.
-Devis was a Jacobite sympathizer, a conservative Protestant cause with most of its support in the provincial English countryside. He was England's most popular and successful artist of the miniature genre.
-For more Devis, see 'Earl of Tyrconnel', below.
Earl of Tyrconnel, 1745, Arthur Devis (1711 - 1787)
-Devis wanted to portray rural England as a polite and respectable society. Many of his pictures were unusually formal, a style his customers desired. He lived among the rural society who enjoyed the small-scaled portraits and conversation pieces (group pictures) that made Devis famous.
-For more Devis, see 'Alicia Maria' above.
Samuel Kilderbee, ca 1755, Thomas Gainsborough (1727 - 1788)
-Samuel Kilderbee was a friend of Thomas Gainsborough. Gainsborough's best portraits were those of his friends and those with whom he felt comfortable. He earned a decent living painting portraits and did not have to rely on the court or the academy for commissions. He relied on portraiture to earn a living, in spite of his love for landscape (as seen in his careful rendering and dramatic setting of the background). This life-size portrait was painted during the 1750's, his 'Ipswich Years' (taken from a region in England), a period critics and historians consider his best.
-Gainsborough was mostly self taught. He did not follow the rigid rules and formality of the Academy. He apprenticed under several painters and draftsmen. He eventually became a member of the Academy and a painter for the court. However, he separated himself from the Academy, led by Jashua Reynolds (also Gallery 13), despite their common political affiliation as a Loyalist and supporter of the crown.
-Other pictures by Gainsborough are in gallery 13.
The Rev. William Turner, 1758 (?), Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723 - 1792)
-Reynolds believed in the classic tradition of western art. He used Greek and Roman statues as models. He believed in ideal form. He argued that simply copying the likeness of a sitter was to 'lose more than gain.' During the years 1760 - 90, Reynolds was Britain's leading portraitist. However, the court, ruled by King George III, preferred Ganisborough (also gallery 13) and Ramsay.
-See Reynolds' 'Anne of Townsend', 1780, also in Gallery 13.
Major General Sir William Draper, ca. 1765, Thomas Gainsborough (1727 - 1788)
-Unlike his academic contemporaries, Gainsborough tried a new simplified style that instilled a likeness of the sitter and did not idealize. This style was used in many of is his portraits and appear to lack finish. One can even detect visible brushstrokes. His patrons considered it a bold style and preferred it to his formal style.
Anne, Viscountess, Afterward Marchioness of Townsend, ca 1779-80, Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723 - 1792)
-Viscount Townsend was one of three daughters. Reynolds placed her in a full length, life size classical pose taken from ancient Greek and Roman statues. She leans on a pedestal that contains a relief carving of the Judgment of Paris. Reynolds cleverly put his own twist on the story of Paris. Traditionally, Paris (far left) awards a golden apple to the most beautiful of three goddesses. Here, only two goddesses appear on the carving. Reynolds' intended the viewer to include the Viscount as the third contestant. He insisted she wear a low-cut, full length, dress in the style of the ancients. An exception is her hair, which is a modern style. In 1780, Reynolds paid a visit to Flanders and was influenced by the warm golden colors of Peter Paul Rubens (Gallery 14).
-Reynolds was the leading portrait painter in London. He was a classicist and believed the ancient Greeks and Romans set the standard for western art. He also believed they perfected the ideal figure in the form of statues, which he used as models. Moreover, he believed in the usefulness of an academy and handing down tradition from generation to generation. His aim was to infuse a European tradition into British art. Reynolds was elected the founding President of the British Royal Academy.
Mrs. Fitzherbert, 1784, Thomas Gainsborough (1727 - 1788)
-Mrs. Fitzherbert was reputed to be a mistress of an English politician. The affair was kept secret due to her being Catholic. The politician wooed her by threatening suicide (he once stabbed himself in the leg). They eventually fled to France and were married.
-Gainsborough became an academy member despite not having any formal training. He was a rival of Joshua Reynolds, the academy president (also gallery 13). He painted life-size portraits to earn a decent living, preferring to paint portraits of people he knew. Gainsborough did not believe in idealizing his models. He used an informal technique that allowed for visible brush strokes. The style was considered bold and many buyers desired this unfinished look.
Landscape with Country Carts, ca 1784-85, Thomas Gainsborough (1727 - 1788)
-Gainsborough is best known for his portraits. He earned a good living painting them. However, he desired to be a landscape painter and practiced landscapes in his spare time. He visited several collectors in England who owned Dutch landscapes and particularly admired those of Jacob Ruisdel (Gallery 15). At the start of his career, he was able to sell conversation pieces that combined landscape with figures. In the late 1700s, landscapes were not popular in England and did not sell except to those who wanted paintings of their estate or house. Gainsborough gave away many of his landscapes. He gave this one to his good friend Samuel Kilderbee, whose portrait (dated 1757) also hangs in this gallery.
The Dead Soldier, 1789, Joseph Wright of Derby (1734 - 1797)
-During the period known as the Romantic Era (1750 - 1850), poets greatly influenced the imagery of painters. Wright, inspired by the poem 'The Country Justice' by John Langhorne, painted The Dead Soldier. Romanticism in painting emphasized emotion and the spiritual power of nature. He was particularly moved by several lines of the poem that described a woman's mourning and her fatherless child.
-Wright painted a blanket as a backdrop to attend our focus on the sad event. Selective lighting adds drama and intensity. In the background, the battle continues.
-It was written that this picture brought tears to the eyes of many viewers.
John Tait of Harvieston, 1790s, Sir Henry Raeburn (1756 - 1823)
-Raeburn was a Classicist like Joshua Reynolds (also gallery 13). Raeburn, like Reynolds, idealized his sitters, yet he developed an unorthodox technique that produced visible brush strokes and an unfinished appearance. His brush stokes were thick and his color was rich. He combined this technique with classical and introspective poses. His subjects were usually lit evenly and from above.
-Sir Henry Raeburn was the first Scottish painter to achieve international fame. He was a popular and prolific portraitist, often painting two to three portraits in a day. His rival was Thomas Lawrence (also Gallery 13), who Romanticized his sitters.
Master James Hatch as Marshall's Attendant at the Montem Eton, 1796, Sir William Beechey (1753 - 1839)
-Young Master Hatch is seen here wearing his military uniform. At a young age, boys wore their uniform to prepare for and participate in parades. Hatch is painted in ideal form and pose. The wealthy parents of Master Hatch were fortunate to have the picture. Sadly, the boy died at a young age (in his twenties). Eton was and still is a prestigious school in England and can be seen in the background along side Windsor Castle.
-Sir William Beechey was not a popular portraitist among adults. His output was mainly the children of wealthy parents. He was, however, a court painter to the Queen in the early 1790s. His training was academic and he painted many full-length portraits in the grand manner taught by Joshua Reynolds (also Gallery 13).
The Unpaid Bill (The Dentist Reproving his Son's Prodigality), 1808, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775 - 1851)
-This is an early piece by Turner. It is a retelling of the story of the prodigal son (from the Gospel According to Luke), an allegory of a son's redemption and a father's forgiveness. According to the Gospel, the prodigal (wasteful) son ran away from home and spent his inheritance on wine and women. When the son returned home, he repented and his father graciously forgave him.
-The painters of the Romantic Period (1750 - 1850) played with emotions. Rather than depict the traditional scene of the father forgiving the son, Turner chose to depict the early stage of the drama that lead to the son's redemption. In this version, the scene is brought up to date and occurs in a contemporary setting. The father sits and looks up at his son in disapproval of his unpaid bill.
-During the early part of Turner's career, he studied and copied the great masters. Turner must have been inspired by Rembrandt, who often depicted the theme of the Prodigal son and used similar color schemes of yellow and brown. Most of the room is darkened, except for directional light entering from a window, another compositional element used by Rembrandt.
-Turner was clearly a versatile painter. He displayed sensitivity toward light, subtle changes of color, and attention to detail. Later in Turner's career, his style and subjects changed and he became one of the leading painters of the Romantic period. He is best known for his emotionally charged landscapes and seascapes.
Sir William Napier, ca. 1810, and Sir Duncan Campbell, 1812, Sir Henry Raeburn (1756 - 1823)
-These life size portraits offer rich, bold strokes of color. Sir Napier is idealized in a powerful pose with dramatic lighting in the grand manner of Joshua Reynolds (also Gallery 13). Raeburn was not academically trained, though he exhibited at the Royal Academy. He made one trip to Rome, but returned unimpressed and did nothing to change his style. He developed an unorthodox technique of applying layers of paint directly to the canvas, rather than using the standard academic formula of preparing color gradations on a palette. This would often result in mistakes and corrections creating several thick coats of paint blending into unnatural colors and muddy shades. However, when the technique worked, his spontaneity created some of the best portraits of the time.
Bathsheba and Susanna and the Elders, 1815, David Wilke (1785 - 1841)
-The story of Bathsheba is told in the Old Testament. David was up on his roof and saw Bathsheba bathing and was taken with her beauty. She was married to Uriah, a soldier in David's army. David summoned Bathsheba to his palace, had an affair with her that resulted in her becoming pregnant. David ordered Uriah's unit into battle in hopes he would 'be smitten and die', which happened. David and Bathsheba were married. Unfortunately, their child died as an infant.
-From the Old Testament, Susanna is a fictional heroine whose virtue wins over evil. Susanna was married to a successful husband. She was beautiful and pursued by two old men (elders). The elders hid by her bath until Susanna was naked. They surprised her and threatened to spread lies about her if she wouldn't give herself to them. She refused and the old men carried out their threat by spreading lies that Susanna was an unfaithful wife. Susanna was brought before a judge based on the false charge and was fould guilty and sentenced to death. At the last minute, she was saved by Daniel, who questioned the elders seperately and subsequently proved they gave false testimony. Charges against Susanna were dropped and declared innocent.
-David Wilke was a Scottish Painter. In 1815, when these pictures were painted, he had recently returned from the continent spending time in Paris studying pictures in the Louvre. It is noted that he was impressed with the style of Rubens, which can be seen in the skin tone of his figures. These two biblical pictures are not typical of his subjects. He is known for his genre (everyday life) and historical pictures.
Reclining Female Nude, 1830, William Etty (1787 - 1849)
-Etty was an English painter who dedicated almost all his work to the female nude. He followed the concept of "Ideal Art" which believed the "idea" of art was more important than the material item. Yet, he did produce a few narrative paintings. He was a great studier of the female nude, similar to the style of Rubens. To some, he was regarded a fannatic and immoral due to his obsession with nude females.
Mary, Countess of Plymouth and Other Archer, Earl of Plymouth ca. 1817, Thomas Lawrence (1769 - 1830)
-Romanticism in art is sometimes difficult to define. Contained in these portraits is an indefinable quality, a style and emotional distinction that falls within the Romantic Movement. In the case of Lawrence, his flamboyant personality tended to govern his style. His portraits exhibit a sense and atmosphere of lofty elegance.
-Lawrence was the leading painter in England after the death of Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough (both in gallery 13). He started his career at the early age of 18 by painting portraits of customers at his father's inn. He was not formally trained, but gained a reputation as a good portraitist. At age 20 (1789), he painted an astonishingly realistic portrait of aging Queen Charlotte. Its visual accuracy was criticized for being too realistic and un-idealic. Subsequently, he changed to a more fashionable and romanticized vision, which gained him admiration throughout Europe. His fame earned him an appointment to paint a portrait of Pope Pius VII. Lawrence developed a rivalry with Sir Henry Raeburn (also Gallery 13), whose work was more conservative and in the classic tradition.
A View of Hampstead Heath with Harrow in the Distance, 1821-22, John Constable (1776 - 1837)
-Constable was the 19th century's most influential landscape painter in Europe. Much of his work was shaped by his rural upbringing. He regularly worked out of doors, what artists call 'plein-air' painting. This allowed him to paint scenes of rural England that were topographically correct. Painting out doors allowed him to experience the visible world first hand and not be reliant on sketches brought into the studio.
-Constable was famous for his cloud studies. His paintings of clouds were so accurate, scientists studied them.
-Constable's major contribution to western art was his stunning ability to convey light and atmosphere. He could prepare sketches in several minutes capturing the time of day. His work had a major influence on the Barbizon School and the French Impressionists.
GALLERY 14 1600 Dutch and Flemish Baroque
Sara Breyll, Wife of Rogier Clarisse and Portrait of Rogier Clarisse, ca.1611, Peter Paul Rubens (1577 - 1640)
-The rise of the middle and upper class in Europe during the 1600s cannot be overlooked. That an artist of Rubens' stature was commissioned to paint two portraits of non-religious and non-aristocratic status is significant. Economic freedom in Flanders resulted in prosperity for most classes. The Clarisses were not poor. Their clothing distinguishes them as upper class, as does the family crest in the upper left corner. Their stylish collars are the most striking feature.
-Rubens was known for his realism and his natural color. These portraits are no exception. The likenesses of the Clarisses were probably uncanny. Baroque painters prided themselves on their ability to create the illusion of reality. A characteristic of Baroque Realism was the technique of undetectable brushstrokes.
-For more Rubens, see 'The Tribute Money', 1612, below.
The Tribute Money, ca 1612, Peter Paul Rubens (1577 - 1640)
-According to the Gospels, when Jesus entered Jerusalem, a group of Pharisees tried to entrap Him. They went to Jesus and asked provocative questions that if answered could land Him in Jail. One of them asked if taxes should be paid to Rome. Jesus pointed to God with one hand and to Caesar with the other and said, 'Render onto Caesar what is his and to God what is His.' The Pharisees were shocked by such a wise answer.
-This picture is one of the great masterpieces of the museum. A copy hangs in the Louvre. Rubens was one of the great Baroque painters and is famous for his realism and natural color. Many other painters copied his style and eventually a school of painters established themselves as 'colorists'. A divide between the colorists and 'classicists' (followers of Nicolas Poussin, Gallery 6) lasted for several generations.
-The 'tribute money' theme arose when the Catholic Church was under attack by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V around the time of the Sack of Rome (1527).
The Holy Family, ca. 1614-1617, Jacob Jordaens (1593 - 1678)
-This version of The Holy Family includes Mary (left of center) and the child Jesus, Joseph (far left), Anne (center, wearing a white headscarf), and a guardian angel (perhaps Raphael). Joseph, husband of Mary, is often seen in a minor role and in shadow because of not being the true father of Jesus. Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary is the matriarch of the family. Like Mary, Anne was predestined to conceive a child (Mary) beholden to the Holy Spirit. A guardian angel (right) holds out a bunch of grapes that represent the wine of the Last Supper and the blood of Christ, a reminder of His crucifixion.
-Jordaens painted a scene of casual realism. The Holy Family's pose is relaxed and the setting is comfortable. Its life sized un-idealized portrayals of each family member is meant to be unimposing and familiar.
-Jordaens was an assistant to Peter Paul Rubens (also gallery 14) and became the leading painter in northern Europe after Rubens' death. His work lacked the refined qualities of Rubens; for instance, the foreshortened hands are not as natural as Rubens. The Holy Family was painted early in his career and has a robust energy that was absent in his later work. As a Calvin his colors and movement became more restrained.
Portrait of a Lady, ca. 1620, Anthony van Dyck (1599 - 1641)
-The lady is dressed in formal clothing and is surrounded by many of the objects that became a trademark of the grand manner of portrait painting developed by Van Dyck and copied by many painters. Objects include drapery, architecture, a landscaped background, and other objects of wealth and prestige. Van Dyck is also associated with full-length portraits (see Marie Claire de Troy, 1634, also in gallery 14). Van Dyck was born in Flanders, became an assistant to Rubens, then traveled to England where he gained fame as a court painter to King Charles I.
-Van Dyck often expressed the character of his sitters through his depiction of their hands. Here, the lady appears uncomfortable, not sure where to place her hands. The large stylish collar is the most striking feature in the painting.
The Triumph of Sesostris, 1631, Pieter-Pietersz Lastman (1583 - 1633)
-It is uncertain which Sesostris is depicted in this painting. In 1900 B.C. Sesostris I was an Egytian Pharaoh. He was known for conquering Nubia. One hundred years later, Sesostris III ruled Egypt, fought the Libyans, and improved relations with Syria and Palestine. In this picture, Sesostris sits in his chariot pulled by slaves. He appears to be distracted by a kneeling woman. The identity of this woman and her significance is also uncertain.
-Lastman is remembered for being one of Rembrandt's teachers. He was a history painter and painted small-scaled pictures with colorful and lively figures. His historical scenes are more theatrical than realistic. The figure's have mannered gestures and exaggerated form. Rembrandt borrowed the gestures, but his figures are more natural and realistic. See 'Joris de Caulerii', 1632, by Rembrandt, below.
Joris de Caulerii, 1632, Rembrandt van Rijn (1606 - 1669)
-Rembrandt, without question, is one of the most famous painters of all time. He lived in the Dutch Republic when it fostered freedom and economic prosperity. He was fortunate to have wealthy parents who afforded his training. In the early 1630s, he started as a professional portrait painter. In 1632, he moved to Amsterdam where he received many commissions. His early success gave him overwhelming confidence and soon was signing his pictures with only a first name. He painted this wonderful portrait at the young age of 26 years.
-In this portrait of de Caulerii, Rembrandt conveyed the presence of a young, strong and capable soldier. He used strong directional lighting that focuses on the soldier's face. Rembrandt shows his ability to depict a true likeness while expressing the soldiers pride and character. The soldier's uniform is a masterpiece of detail and tonality.
-Rembrandt possessed so many qualities that it is hard to put them all in perspective. Early in his career, he mastered Baroque realism and painted some of the most convincing illusionist work of the century. Rembrandt's strength was his ability to control light and shade. The Italian chiaroscurists influenced most of Europe's painters during the 1600s, including Rembrandt. They practiced a style called tenebrism, which consisted of sharp contrasts of light and dark, a technique that creates the illusion of depth. Rembrandt was more a tonalist than a colorist. The predominant colors in his pictures are gold, brown, yellow and orange. His portraits were famous for their penetrating revelation of character. Rembrandt's most popular model was himself. His many self-portraits chronicled his life from an energetic young artist to a failing old man. Light and atmosphere combined with psychological drama gave his work a mystique and appeal similar to Leonardo Da Vinci.
Christ at the Column, 1632, Pieter Fransz de Grebber (1600 - 1653)
-After Christ's arrest and flogging, he was left alone, tied and bound to a column. In this version, the evidence of torture remains; His scared body is exposed and a crown of thorns penetrates his brow. A divine light bathes His entire body. Against a dark background, He appears to break through the picture plane. In a candle lit room, (during the 1600s) this near life-sized picture must have looked incredibly realistic.
-Grebber painted several religious pictures during the 1630s and must have been influenced by Italian painting. In this version, Christ is well proportioned, not thin and feeble as in many northern European depictions. Religious pictures in the Northern Provinces were not as popular as in France or Italy. Their reformed beliefs did not condone the typical iconography used in southern Europe. Northern church's were not decorated with frescos and elaborate altar paintings. This is a very expressive and bold painting of Christ, a rarity in the 1600s Dutch portfolio.
The Calling of Saint Matthew, ca. 1629, Matthias Stomer (1600 - 1650)
-Matthew was a tax collector, a position representing materialism and greed. Christ, at left, calls to Matthew, 'Follow me'. Matthew's partners do not see Christ and do not understand what is happening. Matthew followed Christ and became one of the four Evangelists who wrote the Gospels. In this version, the Biblical story of Matthew is placed in a contemporary setting and scaled to life-size proportions. Stomer borrowed the idea from Italian painter Caravaggio. Stomer, like Caravaggio, intended to bring a religious subject into a familiar space of human experience.
-Stomer traveled to Italy in the early 1600s and like many of his contemporaries followed the style and techniques of Caravaggio.
Marie Claire de Croy, Duchess d'Harve and Child, 1634, Anthony van Dyck (1599 - 1641)
-This full-length portrait exhibits an elegance and grace that reinforces Van Dyck's reputation as one of the best portraitists of the 1600s. The duchess was a large woman; her portrait was an opportunity for Van Dyck to use his skill of flattery and likeness while concentrating on the detail of fabric and the delicacy of the woman's hands, features for which Van Dyck was most famous.
-It is uncertain whether the child was her son or daughter because both boys and girls wore similar dress in the 1600s.
-Van Dyck started as an assistant to Peter Paul Rubens (also Gallery 14). When the English Court requested Rubens, he refused due to other commitments and sent his assistant. Van Dyck met the challenge and soon was assigned permanent court painter. He made several trips back to his home in Flanders, one in 1634, the date this portrait was painted. He also made a trip to Italy and was impressed with the full-length portraits by Titian (gallery 5), who became one of his inspirations. Van Dyck started a new tradition of royal portraiture by posing his sitters in a noble and heroic fashion. He also composed his backgrounds with luxurious fabric, marvelous landscapes, sculpture, and architecture of the grand estates of England.
-The portrait is signed Caval A van Dyck. Caval means cavalier or gallant.
-For more Van Dyck, see 'Portrait of a Lady', 1620, also in gallery 14.
Fruit and Game, ca. 1640-50, Jan Fyt (1611 - 1661)
-Jan Fyt was a respected still life painter. His work focuses on the detail, texture, and likeness of an object. Copying nature was a Dutch tradition that Fyt emulated. His work was mostly decorative and did not contain symbolic objects or religious icons. Fyt sold his pictures to wealthy hunters and merchants. European royalty also purchased his work.
-For more Fyt, see 'Hunting Still Life', 1655, also in gallery 14.
The Thunderstorm, 1641, Jan van Goyen (1596 - 1656)
-Dutch painters of the 1600s started a tradition of landscape painting. It began when artists painted pictures to pay tribute to nature and to the land that fed and housed them. By the end of the century, landscape became a fine art. The Dutch were proud of the their land, even before their liberation from Spain in 1648. Their land, low and flat, had been under water until it was exposed after constructing a number of large dykes. Traditional Dutch landscape consists of a low horizon, a strip of land, and a large area of sky with clouds. Also typical of many Dutch landscapes is a diagonal shoreline, intended to lead the viewer through the painting.
-Van Goyan developed a tonal style. Here he convincingly used green and gray to depict the atmospheric effect of a storm. Additionally, he darkened the clouds and added a bolt of lightening for drama and intensity. He was a master at painting distant perspective, atmospheric effects, and water. The rhythm of the waves is amazingly realistic, as are the wind bent trees. Many of his landscapes contain an object weighted on one side of the canvas, in this case, a sailboat. Van Goyan influenced a group of American landscape painters in the 1800s called Tonalists.
River View of Nijmegen with the Valkhof, 1648, Salomon van Ruysdael (1600 - 1670)
-This is one of the earliest landscapes to identify a real location. Nijmegen is a city in Holland and the Valkhof is the fortification seen on the right.
-Ruysdael's composition is cleverly balanced, despite the weight of the castle. The clouds dramatically sweep across the canvas to the castle. The shoreline takes a diagonal path to the horizon and back to the clouds. There is no focal point; Ruysdael created a flow that keeps our eyes moving about the picture.
-Salomon van Ruysdael was the uncle of Jacob van Ruisdael, the artist most associated with Dutch landscapes (gallery 15). Salomon's landscapes were usually set on a river, had a low horizon, and a large area of sky. This was a common device used by Dutch landscape painters.
-Landscapes had a small market during Ruysdael's career. Buyers of these pictures were nature lovers. Large-scale pictures like this were hung in the homes of wealthy merchants and nobility.
-Nature played a religious role in Dutch landscapes. Nature (and the visible world) was God's creation and the Dutch preferred the realism of nature to the symbolic iconography of saints and miracles. Although human activity was often an integral part of the picture, the balance between man and nature usually favored nature.
The Crowning of Mirtillo, 1650, Ferdinand Bol (1616 - 1680)
-This is a scene from the play 'The Faithful Shepherd' by Italian poet Guarini. In this scene, Mirtillo (kneeling at left) disguised himself as a woman to gain access to his love, Amarillis. He participated in a kissing contest and was crowned the winner. Subsequently, he revealed his true identity and they fell in love.
-Bol was a student and follower of Rembrandt (also Gallery 14). Again, we see how the Dutch separated themselves from religious pictures.
Hagar and Ishmael Taking Leave of Abraham, ca. 1650-60, Barent Fabritius (1624 - 1673)
-According to the book of Genesis, Abraham fathered a son named Ishmael with his maid Hagar. When Abraham's wife, Sarah, bore their son Issac, she forced Abraham to banish Hagar and Ishmael. In this picture, Abraham gives bread and water to Hagar and Ishmael before their leave into the desert.
-Fabritius was a follower of Rembrandt (also Gallery 14). It's been said this picture had two forged Rembrandt signatures. Barent, unlike his famous brother Carel, was more a copier of popular trends - not an originator.
Hunting Still Life, 1655, Jan Fyt (1611 - 1661)
-The diagonal position of the rifle divides the picture into two balanced parts. On the right, the rewards of the hunt; on the left, a trustworthy dog stands against a dramatic landscape looking back at its master. Sporting pictures were popular among hunters, dog owners, and wealthy merchants who sold game for food and skins. Many European Courts hired artists specifically for this genre of painting.
-Jan Fyt was an accomplished game animal and still life painter. In some circles, he was considered the best animal painter of his time. Landscape painters would employ Fyt to paint animals in their pictures. He had a great technical ability of conveying the texture of animal fur, feathers, and skins. His pictures also demonstrate his knowledge of animal anatomy.
-For more Fyt, see 'Fruit and Game', 1640-50, also in gallery 14.
Still Life with Peacock, Rabbit and Spaniel, ca. 1660-69, Melchior d'Hontecoeter (1636 - 1695)
-D'Hontecoeter is known for his still lifes of birds. He was the last of a family of bird painters. His pictures contained live and dead birds and like many other animal painters, he had a talent for depicting texture, color and detail. D'Hontecoeter sought commissions from poultry breeders and wealthy businessmen who owned estates with wild birds.
-D'Hontecoeter often painted his objects against a dark background with a strong directional light and used warm colors, an influence of Rembrandt (also gallery 14).
Still Life, 1666, Abraham van Beyeren (1620 - 1690)
-The Dutch started a tradition of still life painting in the 1600s. Dutch still lifes served a worthy purpose in addition to their decorative nature. This picture celebrates the prosperity experienced by the Dutch in the 1600s and contains symbols of morality and of the fragility of success. This picture is called a Banquet Piece, for obvious reasons. The table is covered with delicacies from all over the world and is evidence of the economic prosperity Holland experienced after their freedom from Spain. Despite the prosperity, there are symbols of vice, greed, and vanity. Another name given to these still lifes is 'vanitas'. A few examples of the symbols include: 1) the pocket-watch represents the passing of time and human mortality; 2) the empty glass represents the unfortunate ones who did not share in the prosperity; and 3) the plate that sits precariously at the table's edge is a reminder that success can be short lived.
-Van Beyeren's talent was not recognized during his life.
Susanna and the Elders, 1670, Joan van Noordt (1620 - 75)
-From the Old Testament, Susana is a fictional heroine whose virtue wins over evil.
-Susanna was married to a successful husband. She was beautiful and pursued by two old men (elders). The elders hid by her bath until Susanna was naked. They surprised her and threatened to spread lies about her if she wouldn't give herself to them. She refused and the old men carried out their threat by spreading lies that Susanna was an unfaithful wife. Susanna was brought before a judge based on the false charge and was fould guilty and sentenced to death. At the last minute, she was saved by Daniel, who questioned the elders seperately and subsequently proved they gave false testimony. Charges against Susanna were dropped and declared innocent.
-Van Noordt painted portraits, biblical and historical scenes, mythological figures, and Italianate landscapes.
Still Life, 17th Century , Willem Kalf (1619 - 1693)
-Kalf painted landscapes, kitchen scenes, game animals and 'pronk' still lifes. Pronks were tributes to the skill of humans. Rare and expensive man-made items were depicted. Kalf grew up in a wealthy family. He lived in Paris from 1641 - 1646. He collected art objects and eventually became a dealer of art and antiques. His pictures are a vision of light, detail, and texture. His compositions were made up and not copied from an actual set. He often used the same objects in his pictures; notably, a peeled lemon. Kalf may have been a teacher of Willem van Aelst (Gallery 15), whose work is similar.
Fruit Still Life, 17th Century, (possibly) Adriaen van Utrecht (1599 - 1653)
-Utrecht painted still lifes and animal pictures, particularly of poultry. He painted for the German Royal Court and the King of Spain. His contemporaries considered his style and technique superior and would hire him to paint objects in their pictures. His strength lay in his talent for color and realism.
-Utrecht depicted the variety of fruit available in Europe during the 17th century.
Portrait of a Lady, 1591, Frans Pourbus the Younger (1569 - 1622)
-Pourbus' Portrait of a Lady has a sobering and imposing presence. The rich black patterned dress sided with the white lace bring forth a striking vision. The face of the lady stands more for its symbolic image of conservatism than for the likeness of facial features. Northern European Puritanism did not condone ornate or ostentatious presentations. However, Pourbus subtly exhibited the wealth of the lady without showing off. The lady wore expensive and stylish clothing imported from Spain. She also wore several rings and holds an intricate scarf. For the most part, the lady is portrayed in proper attire against a conservative neutral background. In the upper right corner, Pourbus printed the age of the lady (54). Her controlled and restrained character is counter to the 1600 Baroque movement, which based itself on emotion and movement.
-Pourbus was mainly a history and portrait painter. He was a pupil of his father, Frans Pourbus the Elder. Many considered 'the Younger' a better painter. On a trip to Italy, he stopped in Paris and found it so enjoyable, he stayed. He found work as a court painter to Henry IV and also painted for the Catholic Church.
GALLERY 15 1600 Dutch and Flemish Baroque
Mary Tudor, 1557, Hans Ewoutsz (?-?)
-Mary Tudor was a daughter of Henry VIII. She was the successor to the English throne after Edward VI. Edward surprised England by assigning the crown to a distant relative, Lady Jane Grey. After Mary's marriage to Phillip, Jane was executed, Mary took the crown, and the court returned to Catholicism.
-Ewoutsz was a talented miniature portraitist.
Archduke of Austria, ca. 1600, (attributed to) Frans Pourbus the Younger (1569 - 1622)
-Hapsburg ruler Rudolf II held court in the year 1600. Austria was under the Hapsburg rule. At the time, Austria was to secede and become a part of Bohemia.
-Pourbus was mainly a history and portrait painter. He was a pupil of his father, Frans Pourbus the Elder. Many considered 'the Younger' a better painter. On a trip to Italy, he stopped in Paris and found it so enjoyable, he stayed. He found work as a court painter to Henry IV and painted for the Catholic Church.
-For more Pourbus, see 'Portrait of a Lady', 1591, above.
The Valley, ca. 1600-1610, Josse de Momper the Younger (1564 - 1635) and Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568 - 1625)
-This is one of the earliest pictures to feature nature as the main subject. This is also one of the earliest landscapes that contains the fundamental techniques used to convey atmospheric perspective. Momper divided the picture into three sections. The foreground was highly detailed with brown as the dominant color. The mid-ground consisted of less detail and green was the dominant color. The distant background contained blue-gray hills and valleys. This formula was the basis for the illusion of depth and was used in many early landscapes. It was a forerunner of the great tradition of Dutch landscape painting.
-Momper created what the Romantics of the late 1700s called 'sublime': A picture that could depict nature's power, complexity, and enormity. He also wanted his landscapes to have a pleasant natural setting that would stand on its own as a work of art and not require religious or figurative elements.
-Momper once traveled through the Alps to Italy. It is probable that his travels influenced this picture. Momper painted landscapes and marine pictures. He came from a family of painters that included his father and son. For more on Momper, see 'Mountain Road', 1600, below. Jan Brueghel is believed to haved painted the figures and animals. They are wonderfully detailed and animated.
Mountain Road, ca 1600-1620, Josse de Momper the Younger (1564 - 1635) and Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568 - 1625)
-For more on Momper, see 'The Valley' above.
-Josse de Momper the Younger painted many mountain landscapes. He also painted winter scenes and marine seascapes. Many of his pictures contain figures; Momper usually invited other artists to paint these figures, notably Jan Brueghel (who panted the figures in this picture) and Davd Teniers (also Gallery 15).
Landscape with Pan and Syrinx, 1620, Paul Bril (1556 - 1626)
-Pan was the God of woods and fields, flocks and herds. He often represents lust who attracted nymphs with musical pipes (named after the nymph Syrinx). The god Bacchus gave Pan his goat-like face and legs. Syrinx was a nymph, a beautiful mythological spirit residing near rivers and wooded areas.
-Here we see Pan pursuing Syrinx near the River Ladon. Syrinx trys to escape. In mythology, Syrinx prayed to be rescued from Pan and was changed into reed plants. When Pan tries to grab Syrinx, he is surprised when he is left holding a handful of reed plants. Then the wind blows through the reeds, producing a pleasing sound. Hence a syrinx is also named for a musical instrument made of reed pipes arranged in a row of ascending lengths.
-Paul Bril studied and painted for a time in Rome. He was best known for small pictures painted on copper. Here we have a panoramic and ideallic landscape.
Drunkards in a Tavern, 1640, Adriaen van Ostade (1610 - 85)
-This is a morality piece. Grotesque faces and debauchery symbolize the consequences of ignoring Christian values.
-Ostade was a Haarlem genre painter (some sources believe he was a student of Frans Hal, see 'Portrait of a Gentleman in White' 1635, Frans Hals, Gallery 15). He is known for his peasant scenes, which were quite popular considering he painted over 800 peasant pictures.
Italian Landscape with Horsemen, 1640, Jan Both (1618 - 52)
-Italianate landscapes were popular with Dutch painters in the 1600s. Many of whom visited Italy to study and paint. Here we see an idealic landscape, highly detailed with a skillful display of light. Many Italianate landscapes include a small group of common folk, adding interest to a gentle scene. Jan Both was known for his detailed foregrounds and backgrounds that fade into a distant soft golden haze.
-Jan Both was a leading member of a second generation of Italianate landscape painters. He was from Utrecht and visited Rome around 1638.
Still Life, 1647, Pieter Claesz (1576 - 1660)
-Claesz was known for his still life paintings call "Breakfast Pieces", which were pictures showing a table with a spread of simple food and items of a common household. Simplicity was a symbol of a temporate, or disciplined lifestyle. Although the subjects in the picture are simple, Claesz' skillfull technique shows rich and complex textures and realistic tactile representations. The Breakfast Piece was popular in Haarlem and was often painted in a monochome style using subdued greys, browns and greens.
-Claesz was born in Germany; moved and worked in Haarlem.
Rocky Landscape with Travelers on a Path and Two Horsemen on a Path, 1623, Esias Van de Velde (1587 - 1630)
-Van de Velde painted realistic landscapes, wall paintings and miniatures (as seen here). He also painted battle pictures for the court. At the time this picture was dated, landscapes were painted in a studio, not out of doors. Van de Velde worked to advance landscape as an art by improving atmospheric effects, spatial relationships, and detail. Van de Velde was part of a generation that bridged the gap between the first atmospheric landscapes by Josse de Momper (also Gallery 15) and the High Baroque landscapes of Van Goyan (Gallery 14). Van Goyan was a student of Van de Velde. Van de Velde maintained an interest in nature and landscape throughout his career.
Still Life with Fruit and Flowers, 16th - 17th century, (attributed to) Jacob van Hulsdonck (1582 - 1647)
-Jacob van Hulsdonck is known for his flower and fruit still lifes. He was born and died in Antwerp. In 1609, he became a master in the local guild. The fruit in this picture include lemons, apricots, and plums. Aging fruit is common among Dutch still lifes. Aging fruit symbolizes the passage of time and human mortality. A fly sits on the apricot closest to us. Many still life artists added insects to convey religious messages or to entertain the viewer; in this picture, Hulsdonck chose the latter. On the right is a small vase of flowers consisting of tulips, roses, daffodils, and carnations - all of varying ages, again representing the passage of time. Hulsdonck also painted several sliced portions of fruit that symbolize the presence of humanity. His talent for painting the sliced portions of fruit is effective, but does not equal his skillful rendering of the other objects, including the fly and droplets of water.
The Merry Company, 1626, Dirk Hals (1591 - 1656)
-Merry Company pictures were popular during the 1600s. They are scenes of social gatherings that originated from the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son. In the story, the son received half of his father's inheritance. He immediately left home and squandered it on wine and women. He was forced to earn a living cleaning after animals. With hesitation and shame, he returned home and repented to his father, who forgave him and welcomed him. The Merry Company reminds us how a good time can turn into a sinful indulgence.
-Hals' Marry Company pictures also carry the theme of the Five Senses, a popular theme depicting images of touch, sight, smell, sound, and taste.
-Dirk Hals was the younger brother of Frans Hals (also in gallery 15).
The Music Party, 1634-37, David Teniers the Younger (1610 - 1694)
-Similar to the Merry Company theme (see 'Merry Company' by Deric Hals, also in gallery 15), Teniers depicted a group of musicians at play in a bar or brothel. It also falls under the category of Genre (daily activity) and the Five Senses (the five senses are represented by tangible objects). This picture was painted when religious content was no longer an artistic staple. The market for genre was good. Pictures of this type were painted for entertainment and bought by innkeepers and shopkeepers as decorative pieces. Genre pieces generally contained a moral. The moral of this theme originated from the story of the Prodigal Son, a story about vice, redemption, and forgiveness.
-Teniers the Younger was the second generation of Teniers and most popular of the three: father, son, and grandson. He earned a reputation for bawdy and indecent pictures and painted most of them early in his career. In 1662, Teniers the Younger was a co-founder of the Antwerp Academy.
-For more Teniers, see 'Latona and the Frogs', 1640, also in gallery 15.
Portrait of a Gentleman in White, ca. 1635, Frans Hals (1580? - 1666)
-Hals was instrumental in developing the portrait into a separate genre of fine art. The only known pictures by Hals are portraits. Hals' pictures were unusually lively for their time and appealed to many buyers. He used noticeably short, spontaneous brush strokes that gave his pictures an unfinished look. No preparatory drawings by Hals exist and it is believed he painted directly to canvas.
-Hals' themes conveyed a love for life. His use of bright colors and evenly lit subjects, rather than sharp contrasting chiaroscuro, is consistent with those themes.
-The gentleman in this picture wears white, not the traditional black of most Dutch sitters. His turn of the head and hand on hip expresses a swagger of confidence that most Dutch were not used to. The face of the man was painted with much greater detail than the shirt. Hals probably painted the shirt after the man posed for the picture and was likely painted from Hals imagination. Combinations of neighboring colors give way to an illusion of their mixture, a technique used by the Impressionists in the 1800s.
-Hals is believed to have been born into a Protestant family that moved north after Spain's takeover of Flanders. His early work was traditional and followed the trend of tenebrism, sharp contrasts of light and dark. In the early 1630's, his style changed and his work became lighter, energetic and expressive. His popularity waned after his death, then resurfaced with great appreciation in the 1800s.
Portrait of a Gentleman, ca. 1639, Johannes Cornelius Verspronck (1606 - 1662)
-Verspronck's portraits have a sense of formality and proper restraint. The man wears a traditional black top with white shoulder pieces. The picture plane is smooth and there are no noticeable brush strokes. The background is free of objects placing emphasis on the man.
-Verspronck is noted for his sitter's head turn and being placed slightly off center. Colors do not vary; Verspronck only used black, green, white, flesh tones, and brown. His neutral background color has a gradual intensity from light to dark, consistent with the evenly lit subject.
Portrait of a Gentleman in Black, ca 1639-40, Gerard ter Borch (1617 - 1681)
-Ter Borch was popular for painting scenes of daily life and miniature portraits. This miniature full-length portrait was painted on a copper plate. Many painters used copper to obtain sharp edges and realistic textures. The neutral background places more emphasis on the subject. This small-scaled portrait was popular because of its affordability among the middle class. Many portraits of men show them holding a glove in one hand. Gloves were accessories worn by men of distinction and refinement. The cape, hat, and boots compliment the outfit. Black was the color of choice for most Dutch outfits.
The Annunciation to the Shepherds, ca. 1640, Adam Pynacker (1622 - 1673)
-According to the Gospels, Luke briefly described how an angel of the Lord appeared to a group of shepherds. At first, they were struck with fear. The angel told them not to fear, then announced the birth of Christ. In a burst of light, the sudden appearance of the angel surprises the shepherds and the animals, as seen by their reactions. Pynacker's interpretation of this event is very dramatic.
-Influenced by Italian painting, Pynacker borrowed the tenebrist technique of sharp contrasts between light and dark to create depth and dimension. Pynacker's paintings are known for their silvery tone. He often included trees as prominent objects. He was associated with a group called the 'bamboccianti', a group of Dutch artists that painted in Rome.
Latona and the Frogs, ca 1640-50, David Teniers the Younger (1610 - 1694)
-Latona, as described in Ovid's retelling of Greek Mythology, stopped at a lake during one of her travels. She was thirsty and wanted a drink of water. Peasants working by the lake would not allow her access to water. Latona became angry and turned the peasants into frogs. In this version, Latona is seen with her two children, Apollo and Diana. Teniers places the mythological figures in a contemporary Dutch landscape, as seen by the houses in the background. The theme is a reminder that looks can be deceiving, especially a gentle looking mother walking with her children.
-Teniers had a reputation of painting indecent images that were sometimes banned. He was born into a family of painters and painted all types of pictures.
-For more Teniers, see 'The Music Party', also in gallery 15.
View of the Ponte Molle, Rome, ca. 1645, Jan Asselyn (1610 - 1652)
-This is one of the earliest landscapes to identify a real place. Asselyn painted beautiful misty atmospheric landscapes of Italian ruins. He was another Dutchman associated with the 'bamboccianti', a group of Dutch painters that traveled to Italy. In the early 1600s, Italy was Europe's art center and artists were attracted to Rome, in particular. He produced an amazingly consistent warm golden glow. His scenes are balanced and do not rely on dramatic lighting for appeal. He was in Italy from about 1634 - 44 and created most of his landscapes from his out-door sketches. It is uncertain when each of his Italianate landscapes were completed and are dated based on stylistic content. The harmony of figures, ruins, and landscape make Asselyn's paintings calm and peaceful. His pictures were very popular among the Dutch.
-Asselyn had a deformed hand and was affectionately nicknamed 'little crab'.
Peapods and Insects, ca. 1650, Jan van Kessel (1626 - 1679)
-Van Kessel painted many pictures of small objects against a white background. The objects were scaled to actual size with awesome detail and accuracy. He was often hired by other artists to paint objects in their paintings.
-He devoted many pictures to miscellaneous objects. In this picture, the significance of the peas is uncertain; they probably provided a measure of scale in relation to the size of the other objects.
-Kessel was a keen observer of nature. He also painted still lifes of flowers, fruit, vegetables, animals and insects.
Landscape with Muleteer and Herdsman, 1655, Nicolaes Pietersz Berchem (1620 - 1683)
-Bercham traveled to Italy, as did many Dutch painters, to study the masters. Many buyers respected and preferred artists that made Italy a part of their training because of its classic tradition. Bercham had a long and successful career, producing over 800 paintings. Nature was his dominant theme, even though most of his pictures included people and animals. It is believed his landscapes are partially topographical, since many of the Dutch painted out of doors while in Italy. Bercham probably built his landscapes from out door sketches, then refined them in his studio. His landscapes are idealized, but not in the way Poussin (gallery 6) envisioned classical perfection. Bercham's vision was more of a bucolic harmony that appealed to the Romantic. His pictures were popular in France, and may have influenced Watteau (gallery 7).
-Note: a muleteer is a mule driver.
Portrait of a Youth, ca. 1655-61, Michael Sweerts (1624 - 1664)
-This portrait is a touching depiction of a young man's coming of age. His inquisitive stare and turn of the head leads us outside the picture frame. The source of his distraction is unknown, yet the inquisitiveness of youth is certain. Sweerts captured a moment of genuine emotion and movement.
-Sweerts was born in Flanders and became part of a group of Dutch painters that traveled to Italy. In Italy, he painted many street life scenes with women and children. He returned home around 1655, possibly painting this portrait in Italy. Sweerts used dramatic lighting effects called tenebrism, sharp contrasts between light and dark. This effect was popularized by Italian painter Caravaggio, who influenced a generation of painters.
Woman with Children in an Interior, ca. 1658-60, Pieter de Hooch (1629 - 1684)
-De Hooch produced many pictures revering the humility of household activity. Children played a large role in his pictures, particularly when he wanted to express tenderness. He was a master of light and perspective. Like many other Dutch paintings, the scene is full of symbols: The birdcage (upper center) represents a wife's duties; her daughter copies her mother by feeding the dog, a symbol of fidelity; the orange on the mantel is a sign of prosperity because fruit was expensive. The image of mother and child symbolizes family values and harks back to the Christian icon of the Virgin and Child.
-De Hooch's contemporary, Jan Vermeer became famous for his use of indirect light. De Hooch's pictures exhibit comparable interests in light, particularly the way light touches and reflects off a variety of material, most notably the corner wall's emergence from dark to light. Attention to detail of simple everyday events was the foundation of Dutch painting and the standard from which all other genre, still lifes, and landscapes are measured.
-That De Hooch's pictures have a marvelous sense of tenderness, it is curious he ended his life in an insane asylum.
Woman Playing the Viola da Gamba, 1663, Gabrial Metsu (1629 - 1667)
-Music, a symbol of love, is represented by the woman playing the viola. She appears to be reacting to a distraction, possible the sound of her lover entering the house. The lapdog is a sign of her fidelity.
-This picture is considered a Genre picture; that is, a scene of daily activity. The origin of Genre is uncertain; however, one of its purposes was to convey a moral. The Dutch popularized Genre as a substitute for religious icons. The Protestant Reformation played a role in the popularization of genre.
-Metsu was a technically proficient painter, particularly in portraying the texture of fabric, as seen by the sheen of the woman's dress. A smooth finish and the use of panel were prominent in the last ten years of his life, an influence of Ter Borch (also gallery 15).
Flowers in a Silver Vase, 1663, Willem van Aelst (1625 - 1683)
-The Dutch had a great interest in flowers and horticulture. Flowers represented a large part of the Dutch economy. Flowers traditionally had religious meanings representing purity and the Virgin Mary. Later, they were depicted more for their medicinal purpose. The Dutch painted flowers for their visual appeal. More importantly, flower still lifes usually contained symbols that represented the transience of life and human mortality (also known as a 'vanitas' picture). In this picture, a timepiece represents the passage of time, the dried leaves - a symbol of age. The butterfly is a Christian symbol of rebirth, and the dragonfly is a sign of the devil. The inclusion of insects also adds a sense of naturalism.
-Van Aelst was a student of Willem Kalf (gallery 14) and was known for his still lifes and hunting pictures. His technical skills were exceptional. He usually painted from studies and not from actual flower arrangements, since flowers would die before he could finish a painting.
Saint Peter Healing the Lame, 1667, Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (1621 - 1674)
-Saint Peter gained a reputation of possessing healing powers during his visit to Jerusalem. Some have written that the sick and lame who crossed his cast shadow were miraculously healed. In the Book of Acts, Peter and John walked to the Temple; they came upon a lame man with a bandaged foot. A divine light shone on the poor man as Peter blessed him. The man reached out to Peter. John said, "Look at us." Peter said, "In the name of Jesus Christ, walk". Then he helped the man to his feet. A crowd watched with amazement at what had happened.
-Saint Peter is considered the leader of the apostles and is typically seen wearing a gold robe over a blue or green tunic.
-Eeckhout was a favorite student of Rembrandt and they were good friends. His late style mirrors Rembrandt, particularly his color, lighting effects, and religious themes.
Still Life with Crabs on a Pewter Plate, ca 1669-72, Abraham Mignon (1640 - 1679)
-Mignon was born in Germany. He studied under Dutch artist Jan de Heem. De Heem, like Van Beyeren (Gallery 14) produced 'pronk' still lifes that consisted of luxurious feasts, decorative subjects, and ornamental items. Despite the wealth of items on the table, Northern European pragmatism influenced the picture - there are no Religious icons, only real objects. The Protestant Reformation reinforced the belief that the visible world was as worthy a subject as traditional religious icons (typically seen in French and Italian paintings). Human pursuits were symbolized by manufactured objects, such as the plate, glass and table. This picture also contains symbols similar to the 'vanitas', or mortality themes seen in Dutch still lifes. The plate, for example, is placed precariously of the edge of the table, reminding us that the good things in life can disappear in an instant, if one is not careful.
Peasant Walking, 1670, David Teniers the Younger (1610 - 1694)
-Teniers was one of the earliest painters of Genre (daily activity) that featured the lower class and peasants as a main subject. His pictures became popular among European royalty. His carefree portrayals of peasants were flattering, yet somewhat misleading.
-Note the expressive facial features on the peasant, the detail of the background, particularly the array of birds. Teniers' achievement as a miniaturist was superb.
The Marriage of Tobias and Sarah, ca 1673, Jan Steen (1626 - 1679)
-From the Old Testament, Tobias (center) was sent by his blind father Tobit (far right) to collect a debt. Tobias' guardian angel, Raphael (behind Tobias, with wings) and his dog accompanied him. On their way, Tobias met Sarah, then he stopped to fish. The fish oil was used to cure Sarah of a malady and to restore Tobit's eyesight. Tobias and Sarah fell in love and married.
-Jan Steen was a humorist as well as a painter. He painted himself and family members in many roles. In this picture, he plays no less than four roles: Tobias, Tobit, the lawyer at the table, and a guest disbursing drink. He placed this Biblical story in a contemporary setting with scattered symbols: the orange was a symbol of prosperity (because of their expense), the dog represented the fidelity between husband and wife. The other items are so esoteric, their meaning is uncertain. The items are so numerous; they appear to be in disarray. Many of Steen's pictures are scattered with symbols; hence, a 'Steen household' was a catch phrase to mean a messy house. Many Dutch painters depicted objects representing the five senses. Steen was one of them. In this picture he used food and drink for taste, music for hearing, fabric for touch, the dog for smell, and Tobit for sight. Steen's humor satirized Calvanist prudence and morality. He humanized important events by placing them in contemporary middleclass settings.
Landscape with Huntsman and Dogs, 1673, Jan Wyants (1643 - ?)
-A hunter enjoys a walk in the woods on a nice day. He is accompanied by his dogs, man's best friends. The picture is a happy marriage between man and nature. The gentle rolling hills, light blue sky, and calm lake make for a comfortable and amicable scene. Take note of the dog at the center, Wyants is having fun with the viewers.
-Wyants was a second-generation Dutch painter. He followed the tradition of his fore fathers by his attention to detail, particularly the foreground and trees. This picture was painted after the liberation of the Dutch Republic and exhibits a sense of freedom and celebration of liberty.
The Singel, Amsterdam, 1697, Gerrit Berckheyde (1638 - 1698)
-The Singel is a man-made waterway similar to a canal. Berckheyde specialized in architectural pictures. Many Dutch cityscapes combined visual realism with mannerist imagination. Historians have mixed opinions regarding Berkheyde. Some believe he was true to the topography and architecture, while others believe he practiced 'verduta ideate', what Italians called the ideal landscape. Regardless, his skill resided in his ability to depict directional light and apply attention to detail. This picture was produced in the last year of his life and it is obvious that Berckheyde never lost his skill and dexterity.
Fishing Under the Ice on the Maas, 17th century, Aelbert Cuyp (1620 - 1691)
-The Maas River runs through Cuyp's home of Dordrecht. The fish industry was a mainstay of the Dutch economy. In this picture, ice fisherman work in the cool early hours. Golden sunlight blankets the scene of this winter landscape, adding a touch of Romanticism. Winter landscapes originated in the Middle Ages when the four seasons were depicted in the many versions of the Book of Hours. Typical of Dutch painting, Cuyp inserted subtle symbolic images: the windmill un-mistakenly and proudly identifies the Dutch Republic, the church in the background was a reminder that religion teaches virtue, as does hard work on the ice. Cuyp effectively combined landscape, genre, and morality.
-Cuyp was a talented painter, technically skilled and artistically inclined. He also had a talent for animal pictures; he would place animals in humorous situations to satirize human vanity. His tonal qualities earned him the nickname 'the Dutch Claude Lorrain' (see Claude, 1644, gallery 6).
A Cabin on the Hill, 17th century, Jacob van Ruisdael (1628 - 1682)
-Jacob Ruisdael may have titled this picture 'A Cabin on the Hill', but the trees and plant life tend to dominate the picture. Ruisdael had a great talent for painting trees. His trees had a personality similar to that of people in portrait painting. The tree on the right is the focal point of this picture. It casts its shadow onto the cabin; it twists and struggles to reach above the horizon. The placement of a man-made structure side by side with nature was common in Ruisdael's pictures. Other Baroque painters voiced their expressions through humans, Ruisdael was heard through his depictions of nature.
-Influenced by his uncle, Solomon van Ruysdael (gallery 14), Jacob was known more for his large expansive landscapes. Today he is considered one of the greatest Dutch landscape painters. Ruisdael painted pictures that were dominated by nature, particularly trees. His work usually contains sharp detail. This picture is more rustic than what is typically associated with Ruisdael, and a lot smaller. During his life, he was only moderately successful; his pictures gained appreciation after his death.
GALLERY 16 1700 - 1800 Neoclassic and Romanticism
-Romanticism in art is sometimes hard to define. It denotes a period from 1750 - 1850. It emphasizes the spiritual power of nature, non-conformity, and expressions of emotion and passion.
-Neoclassicism was a reaction against the decorative tendencies of Rococo and the excesses that lead to the French Revolution. Classicists encouraged pictures with messages of morality. An additional impetus came from the discovery of the Herculenium ruins.
Portrait of a Gentleman, ca. 1779-82, Joseph-Sifreid Duplessis (1725 - 1802)
-The gentleman's pose grabs our attention. It is unsettling and somewhat unflattering, but not unkind. Duplessis combined Realism with Romantism. The pose was realist.
-We're ultimately drawn to the sitter's Romantic gaze. Romanticism in the eighteenth century dealt with issues of thought and nature, not sensuality. Duplessis never achieved the ability to translate the Romantic spirit on canvas nor was he able to convey a convincing realistic image. He was, however, able to please the court. He became a painter to Louis XVI before the French Revolution. Duplessis' talent lied in his ability to paint good facial likenesses, settings, and clothing.
Triumph of Amphitrite, ca. 1785 - 99, Louis Leopold Boilly (1761 - 1845)
-Amphitrite was a Nereid, a sea nymph, daughter of Nereus, wife of Neptune. Amphitrite fled from Neptune's advances. But, he sent dolphins to persuade her to become his wife. This monotone picture was probably a template for an architectural frieze, a decorative piece on an interior or exterior wall, often above a door or column.
-Boilly was a French painter mostly appreciated for his genre pictures. Here we see a classic subject with fine detail. His detail almost got him in trouble. In 1793, he was summoned to the Society of Republican Popular Arts and accused of producing immoral and obscene pictures. Boilly called it lighthearted. At that time, photography was becoming a popular art and competed with painting. Boilly's pictures were highy detailed and had a smooth surface, like a photograph.
A Capriccio of Rome with the Finish of a Marathon, 1788, Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (1750 - 1819)
-A capriccio is a painting of architecture or landscape combining real and imaginary objects.
-Valenciennes painted a picture of Rome as he believed it may have looked during its Imperial age. He was part of a French group that transplanted themselves in Italy. They went to Rome to absorb the locality of the classic age.
-During the reign of Napoleon, French culture spread through much of Europe. Parts of rural Italy maintained a character that was believed to hold traits of ancient Rome. Valenciennes believed Rome maintained that character. He developed what he called a 'landscape portrait' in which he painted scenes depicting local customs, architecture and geography.
Flowers Before a Window, 1789, Jan-Frans van Dael (1764 - 1840)
-Van Dael is known for his excellent paintings of fruit and flowers. He was born in Antwerp, then settled in Paris. Van Dael was self-taught and received awards for his work. Flemish painters could not shake the still life tradition. Here, Dael's still life is an explosion of color and detail.
-Try to list all the items: Ivy, tulips, nasturtium, roses, irises, a fly, a ladybug, and a bird's nest with eggs.
Hyacinthe Gabrielle Roland, Marchioness Wellesley, 1791, Elisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun (1755 - 1842)
-Le Brun idealized her sitters. Her models, mostly women, were depicted with exaggerated feminine beauty and extravagant dress. Le Brun was a favorite of Marie Antoinette and an ardent Royalist. She was disgusted by the execution of Loius XVI and fled France during the Revolution. She found court appointments in England and Russia. This portrait is a woman of the English court.
Portrait of Charles de Verinac, 1826, Eugene Delecroix (1798 - 1863)
-Charles de Verninac was a French diplomat. When Delecroix's mother passed away, he was taken in by his sister, mother of de Verinac. Delecroiz became friends with his nephew, Charles. At the time of this portrait, Verninac had returned from an assignment in Chile. Charles died at a young 30 years old of yellow fever, probably contracted during is journey through Panama.
-Eugene Delcroix was a major French painter during the Romantic Period. He was a follower of Theo. Gericault (Gallery 16). Delecroix rejected rigid French classicism and was drawn to colorful and exotic subjects. He is known for his dramatic and highly charged subjects. However, here we see his early talent as a portrait painter.
Citizen Bernard Dubard, 1799, Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725 - 1805)
-Although he is best known for his staged Genre pictures, Greuze's portraits are considered his best work. Greuze's aim was to express psychological insight with moralizing themes. Many critics of his day believed his goals were beyond his reach. Much of his work became overly-sentimental and forced. His popularity suffered and he was ridiculed by the academy. He continued to work from his studio, producing portraits, such as 'Citizen Bernard Dubard'.
Comtesse de Morel-Vinde and her Daughter, 1799, Baron Francois-Pascal-Simon Gerard (1770 - 1837)
-The musical score at the piano is titled "For My Mother". The daughter, after playing the musical piece, turns to her mother for approval. Her mother stands and faces us expressing her pride, tenderly offering her arm to her daughter.
-Gerard painted this neoclassic narrative in an expressive, warm and intimate fashion. The two women wear dresses in the style of ancient Rome, with a high waist and low-neck line. Their hair is in the style of classic sculpture.
Gerard's style was not as rigidly formulated as his neo-classic predecessors. He tended to give way to an emerging trend toward Romantic idealism.
-Gerard was a student of Jacque-Louis David (also gallery 16), the preeminent Neo-Classic painter. His work also included historical paintings commissioned by Napoleon and Louis XVIII.
Don Ramon de Posada y Soto, ca. 1801, Francisco de Goya (1746 - 1828)
-Goya was a multi-talented painter. His career went through several phases, as did his style. Goya was known for his portraits that satirized the aristocracy and the military. As a young man who loved life, his early works were joyous images. Towards the late 1700s, he lost his naivete and produced some bittersweet images of society. He also lost his hearing after suffering an illness. When Napoleon invaded Spain, his series called the Tragedy of War exposed the hypocrisy of government. In 1799, he became a court painter under Charles IV and painted many portraits. In this portrait, what was intended as a flattering rendering, is more a caricature.
-Goya has both Neo-Classic and Romantic traits. His Neo-Classic pictures satirized government in an effort to promote morality. His Romantic images came late in his career when he turned inward and became a hermit, painting for himself.
The Bard, 1806, Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson (1767 - 1824)
-Girodet was born in France and is known for his pictures of Napoleon's family. Girodet was a student of Jaques-Louis David (Gallery 16). His subject matter was much different, often to David's disgust. Girodet did not intend to be subversive; he belived his work to be in line with neo-classic themes. His politics were conservative and he supported the restoration. Bards were considered heroic characters, Girodet used them in several of his pictures, including a scene with Napoleon's Generals. Ironically, the sensation of his pictures influenced the Romantic movement.
Laure-Emilie-Felicite David, 1812, Jacques-Louis David (1748 - 1825)
-David painted his daughter in classical garb. He painted her true likeness, while portraying her like an ancient Roman sculpture. David earned the role as the foremost French Neo-Classic painter by reacting against Rococo decorative art of the 1700s. He believed art should contain ideas, not just pretty images. Gone are most of the Baroque dramatizations of light and exaggerated emotion. David's pictures are rigidly formulated to evoke the idealist spirit of ancient traditions.
-David's career was extraordinary. He painted for the court of Louis XVI. After Louis' execution, he remained in France, changed allegiance, became a republican and supported the revolution. Napoleon recruited David to paint his coronation and several portraits. When Napoleon's reign ended, David was forced to leave the Academy and moved to Belgium.
Venus Bathing, ca. 1814, Pierre-Paul Prud'hon (1758 - 1823)
-This is an unfinished picture (possibly a sketch) of Venus, the Goddess of Love and her son Cupid (left). Venus is seated near a pond washing her hair while Cupid watches and tries to remain occupied. If you look closely, you can see the grid lines that helped the artists attain the proper scale and proportion.
-Prud'hon was not a strict neo-classicist. His themes were often taken from classic mythology; however, they usually did not contain political messages. His colors are soft and his edges are delicate. He supported the revolution and received awards from Napoleon.
A Cloud and Landscape Study by Moonlight, 1822, Johan-Christian-Clausen Dahl (1788 - 1857)
-The study of clouds, Constable (Gallery 13) called it 'skying', was a popular genre among the Romantic school of nature painters. Dahl painted several cloud studies containing a narrow tree line or a small strip of landscape. Most of Dahl's pictures have elements of Romanticism. In this study, he expertly painted the atmospheric effects of the moonlight. A halo of light illuminates the sky; subtle color changes define the sky and clouds. Dahl remarkably painted a large expanse of sky on a small scale (see a similar composition by Lord Leighton in gallery 13).
-Dahl was born in Norway. He spent most of his life in Dresden in the company of the renowned Romantic landscape painter Casper David Friedrich. Their work constituted a move toward Naturalism.
The Fortune Teller, 1824, Jacques-Louis David (1748 - 1825)
-Here we discover a side of David rarely seen. David, who usually painted pictures containing symbolic messages of social and political importance, started a picture that was meant to play with our emotions rather than stimulate our intellect. This picture was painted a year before his death and was never completed. The 'fortune teller' theme is typically a light-hearted subject intended for its entertainment value.
-There are two other versions of The Fortune Teller: one in gallery 7 by Jean Watteau and the other in gallery 6 by Traversi.
The Falls at Tivoli & View of Falls at Tivoli, 1826, Louise-Josephine Sarazin de Belmont (1790 - 1870)
-By 1826, when these landscapes were painted, Neo-Classicism had waned. Romanticism and Naturalism emerged as the dominant styles. Italy and France were not swept up in the godliness and sublimity of nature as was Germany and England. However, the forces of nature are the main theme of this Italian landscape, crowned by Roman columns, and painted by a French artist.
Scene of the French Campaign of 1814, 1826, Horace Vernet (1789 - 1863)
-The 1814 campaign was Napoleon's final attempt to make France the master of Europe. In 1804, after Napoleon procaimed himself emperor, other European countries were worried of France's possible expansion beyond its existing borders. In 1805, Napoleon started his military campaigns against Austria and Germany. In, 1806 and 1807, he fought Prussia. Relative peace prevailed from 1808 -10. In 1812, Napoleon invaded Russia and captured Moscow However, due to desertions, casualties, lack of supplies and freezing weather, the French retreated. By 1814, most of Europe was against Napoleon as he was in retreat. France was invaded by Germany and Austria. Eventually, Napoleon lost power and was exiled to the island of Elba.
-Vernet was the third generation of a family of popular French painters. He was known for painting battle scenes. Vernet was a Bonapartist, supporter of the emperor, anti- elitism, and for state, military and authoritarian rule.
Equestrian Portrait of Charles V, ca. 1814-15, Theodore Gericault (1791 - 1824)
-Charles V was a 14th century king. He ruled France during the Hundred Years War and is remembered for reforming the French government in order to help drive the English out of France.
-Gericault admired the work of Anthony Van Dyck (gallery 14) and was influenced by his heroic equestrian portraits of Charles I of England. Gericault's fascination with horses and heroes inspired him to paint several equestrian portraits. His fascination later changed to disillusion after the fall of Napoleon and the return of the Monarchy.
-Gericault reacted against the rigid control of Neo-Classicism. Gone are the sharp edges like those seen in the works of Valenciennes and Gerard (both in gallery 16). Though he had the ability to paint with impressive Realism, this portrait of Charles V was produced in a painterly style; that is, a technique where by sharp outlines were not used and color defined form. A year after this picture was painted, Gericault traveled to Venice. Venice had always been popular among colorist painters. Gericault became the link between the vivid color of the old Grand Masters and the colorists of Modern Art.
-Notice the coastline and ship in the background.
GALLERY 17 1800 Romanticism, Naturalism and Realism
View of Rome: The Bridge and Castel Sant'Angelo with the Cupola of St. Peters, 1826-27, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796 - 1875)
-Corot started painting in his late 20s, relatively late in life. He went to Rome during the first stages of his career, financed by his father. His admiration of Constable (gallery 13) influenced the appearance of his pictures. Like Constable, he painted out of doors in order to capture atmospheric light. His technique was different; he omitted preliminary canvas drawings, instead he overlaid patches of color until a defined object developed. Paul Cezanne (gallery 18) also practiced this technique.
-Corot was a consummate Romantic. He became emotionally attached to his paintings and would not release them for sale. He continued to paint despite the financial risks. Eventually, he sold his pictures and his work became popular. People enjoyed and admired the silvery tone and simplicity of form and composition.
-For more Corot, see 'Banks of the Somme', 1865, also in gallery 17.
The Village of Gloton, 1857, Charles-Francois Daubigny (1817 - 1878)
-After the reign of Napoleon, Europe, for better and for worse, celebrated nationalist pride. French painters expressed their pride of country with landscape. Daubigny was a member of the Barbizon School. Their sentiment was a Romantic reaction against the Revolutionist intellectuals. Nature was simple; there was no need for explanation and reason. They embraced pure emotional reactions from nature. Daubigny chose unidyllic landscapes emphasizing a harmony of the parts: trees, light, water, and sky. He combined all the parts and created a cohesive and unified composition. His pictures closely adhere to the philosophy of Barbizon by successfully conveying the noticeable appearance of atmosphere and the effect of natural light. The Barbizon School encouraged plein-air (out of doors) painting and inspired painters to experience natural light. This picture was probably painted from his houseboat.
-Gloton is a French village on a tributary of the River Seine. Look closely, you will see workers on the shoreline and a barge of cows crossing the river.
Le Pont de la Tournelle, Paris, 1859, Johan Barthold Jongkind (1819 - 91)
-A Dutch landscape painter, Jongkind displays traditional Dutch style, detail, composition, and subject matter. Here, for example, diagonals (roof lines and shorelines) draw the eye to the center of the picture, then out toward the edges.
-The six arch pont, or bridge, as pictured, was demolished in the early 1900s and replaced with a single arch span to provide for improved marine navagtion.
-Jongkind started painting in the Netherlands, but spent about half his career in France and is more a part of French art history due to being credited for his influence over upcoming Impressionist painters by painting the same subject at different times of the day in different light and weather - which had an impact on Claude Monet. He also painted quick watercolor sketches on site with short brush strokes which also had an influence on the Impressionist movement.
The Wave, 1860, Gustave Courbet (1819 - 1877)
-Courbet used a palette knife to apply thick coats of paint. He associated the act of application and the three dimensionality of the thick paint with his self-proclaimed 'realist' art. His legacy was a belief that subjects should be representations of real things and that abstract objects had no place in painting. Many critics wondered if realism could evoke feelings within the confines of the visible world. Courbet believed real objects could be as dramatic as the made-up objects of Romantic painters.
-For more on Courbet, see 'Landscape in the Jura', 1864, below.
Portrait of a Man, 1864, Edgar Degas (1834 - 1917)
-Degas was born in Paris to a wealthy family. His early pictures were mainly portraits (as shown here) and historical scenes which were conventional and traditional academic subjects and themes. He later developed an unconventional contemporary style by painting figures in unusual poses and viewpoints, an influence from Japanese prints. Most of his subjects were figures from the upper class. Degas exhibited his work with the Impressionists, despite his different style, technique and attitude. He focused on the human figure most of his career, not landscapes. His teacher, Jean Ingres, believed the human figure was the perfect subject.
Landscape in the Jura, ca. 1864, Gustave Courbet (1819 - 1877)
-Art is not for art's sake. Courbet may not have said those words, but he believed painting should consist of real things and not abstract objects. He called his art 'realist'. He believed real landscape could be as noble and inspiring as any painting made up by the Romantics.
-Courbet was from the Jura, a region of France near the Swiss boarder. His country upbringing kept him separated from intellectuals and Romantics. The countryside was a hot bed for Republicans. Republicans supported policies that promoted the common man. Courbet was a Republican and his paintings reflected its beliefs. He was a big man, strong, cocky, and confident. He traveled to Paris and became a member of the Commune to fight against the Monarchy. The fight turned bloody and Courbet was arrested. He also fought against the art academy and their Baroque traditions.
-Many consider Courbet the first modern artist because of his concept of what art should be rather than the content of what appeared on his canvas.
-For more on Courbet, see 'Waves', 1860, also in gallery 17.
Banks of the Somme at Picguigny, ca. 1865-70, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796 - 1875)
-Corot painted many small landscapes. A classical balance and idyllic serenity lingers from his early years as a student of classicist landscapes. Here, Corot skillfully balances civilization with nature. Tall trees beautifully frame the river as a church steeple towers above. Corot used subtle shades of green and gray to define the receding row of trees. On the banks of the River Somme (in northern France), Corot enjoyed the sight of a fisherman netting in his catch.
-Toward the end of his career, Corot never lost interest in light and nature. His appreciation for nature was reinforced by his association with the Barbizon, a school of outdoor painters. Buyers of Corot's work enjoyed his silvery tone and simplicity of form.
-For more Corot, see ' View of Rome', 1826, also in gallery 17.
Forest of Fontainebleau, 1867, Narcisse Virgile Diaz de la Pena (1807 - 1876)
-Pena was a member of the Barbizon School. The school was made up of a group of artists that left the city to commune with nature and paint out of doors. Barbizon is a village 30 miles south of Paris. Pena is remembered for group portraits, yet in this piece there are no figures, only nature. His landscapes were often somber, yet lush. They were a change of pace from the bright landscapes of his contemporaries.
-Pena was a dedicated follower of painter Eugene Delecroix. He followed Delecroix's enthusiasm for color. Pena used color to define form. In this composition, small touches of yellow appear as sunlight, while defining the size and shape of the trees.
-For more Pena, see 'Flowers', below.
Flowers, 19th Century, Narcisse Virgile Diaz de la Pena (1807 - 1876)
-Pena painted landscapes, still lifes, and group portraits. He was one of the few Spanish members of the Barbizon school. Pena was a follower of painter Eugene Delecroix and was inspired by his bright colors. His work consists of many decorative lavish period pieces.
-For more on Pena, see 'Wood Interior', 1852, above.
Peasant Girl with Sheep, 19th-20th century, Julien Dupre (1851 - 1910)
-In the noonday sun, objects cast very little shadow, allowing local (true) color to dominate the picture. Green was the most important and most used color by the members of the Barbizon School. In this outdoor scene of a female shepherd tending her flock, Dupre shows is technical skill by using many shades of green to convey depth and texture.
-Naturalist and Realist painters, like Dupre, shared the same ideology with republican forms of government, which had most of its support in the countryside.
-Dupre was a very talented technician. His realism and attention to detail in this picture is marvelous. Dupre, like many of the outdoor painters of the 1800s, was a member of the Barbizon School and tended towards gentle decorative themes.
Scene on the Brittany Coast, 19th-20th century, Louis Carrier-Belleuse (1848 - 1913)
-Realist and naturalist painters of the 1800s painted out of doors to capture atmospheric light at a moment in time. The artist's studio did not offer the effects of atmosphere or a sense of the moment. Thus far, we've seen forests, pastorals, mountains, and cityscapes. In this picture, Carrier-Belleuse has given us an example of a realist seascape. It takes place during the late afternoon when objects cast long shadows and the cool air offshore condenses into fog. In this seaside landscape, the setting sun changes the color of the shore into a golden blanket of sand.
-Brittany is a region in northern France south of the English Channel and north of the Bay of Biscay.
-Belleuse was born into a family of painters. His work included genre and landscape.
A La Fontaine, 19th century, Adolphe Schreyer (1828 - 1899)
-In the mid 1800s, Adolphe Schreyer traveled to eastern Europe, Southern Russia, Syria and Egypt. His travels inspired him to paint a series of pictures that depicted a Romantic view of eastern culture. 'A La Fontaine' (At the Fountain) shows a gathering of Arabian horsemen, in authentic clothing, stopping for water before crossing a mountain ridge. One of the men adjusts his stirrup, as the group moves on to their next destination. Part of the Romanticism is contained in the picture's tonality - Schreyer's use of brown and green gives a mystical aura that instills excitement and curiosity.
-Schreyer was a talented animal painter and had a special love for horses. He included them in many of his paintings. His study of horse anatomy added to their realism and sense of movement.
Still Life with Violin, Sheet Music, and a Rose, 1870, Francois Bonvin (1817 - 1887)
-The traditional Dutch still life survived into the late 19th century. Bonvin, a self-taught painter, was influenced by and studied Dutch still life. Here, he skillfully used dramatic lighting and perspective to attract and draw the viewer into the picture. The 'Five Senses' theme (common in Dutch still life) is also seen here - sound, sight, touch, and smell (taste is not represented). Touch is represented by the sensual color Bonvin used to bring out the texture of the wood of the violin, the paper of the sheet music, and the petals of the rose.
-Bonvin's work also included pictures of the working class in daily activity.
Marie-Anne-Carolus-Duran (Artist's Daughter), 1874, Carolus Duran (1838 - 1917)
-Duran was a French portrait painter and instructor. His most famous student was young eighteen year old American John Singer Sargent, who painted a portrait of Duran.
-Duran's style is known for his visible brush stroke, which at the time was contrary to traditional academic teachings, which preferred a smooth finish with undetectable brush strokes.
The Artist's Daughter, 1878, Thomas Couture (1815 - 1879)
-Painted during the last year of his life, this portrait of Couture's daughter expresses extraordinary tenderness and feeling. Particularly moving is the turn and tilt of her head and the glimmer in her eyes. It is a picture of youthful optimism and promise.
-Couture was immensely popular as a painter and a teacher. During his career, he produced pictures conforming to traditional academic formulas. He produced history paintings and portraits in the grand manner, similar to Italian Renaissance and Baroque painters. Couture underestimated the popularity of realism, naturalism and impressionism, and was unwilling to change with modern trends.
Holy Week in Seville, 1879, Jose Jimenez Y Aranda (1837 - 1903)
-Throughout the 1800s, Spain's government changed many times. In the 1870s, a republican form of government failed; Alphonso XII restored monarchial rule. He instituted liberal reforms, which allowed church gatherings.
-Aranda's realism is arresting and the detail of each face is wonderful. The composition is very effective. In the background stands the enormity of the Catholic Church. The group is gathered with eyes affixed to the preaching monk. One exception is the woman in black (center). Is she glancing at us or has the man behind her caused a distraction?
-Aranda was born and died in Seville, Spain. He studied in Rome and Paris. He was very popular in the United States, where most of his work resides. He painted many 'event' scenes. Aranda was also a popular book illustrator.
The Bath, ca. 1880-85, Jean-Leon Gerome (1824 - 1904)
-Gerome was the most popular salon painter of his generation. The salon was France's government sponsored art exhibition. He was known for his pictures depicting scenes of antiquity. His credibility to replicate historical accuracy has been questioned by art critics and historians. None the less, his technical ability to produce realism, color and detail was certainly extraordinary. In this scene, an African slave girl assists a pearly white bather. The contrast of black against white is striking. The setting is probably meant to be a Turkish bath, considering the turquoise colored tile and Arabic calligraphy.
The Russian Bride, 1889, Konstantin Makovsky (1839 - 1915)
-Makovsky produced a monumental life-size painting that combines fact with fiction. This is believed to be a picture of Tsar Alexis of Russia (upper right, entering the room) and his bride. Be that as it may, Makovsky has also painted a marvelous mixture of culture, design, technique, color, and narrative. The clothing is faithful to Russian custom and tradition. The architecture of the room is true to the period, from the ceiling beams to the beautifully patterned carpet. Makovsky was careful to use indirect light from the window to gently illuminate the room and the figures, allowing for local (true) color.
-Here, Makovsky describes the moment when family and friends help prepare the bride for a wedding. Tsar Alexis is held off by a bride's maid for good luck, a narrative of the superstition that the groom must avoid viewing the bride before the wedding.
-Makovsky left Russia early in his career in reaction against the Russian academy's teaching of classicism. He preferred to practice nationalist themes and went to Paris to study. There, he was free to paint pictures depicting his cultural background.
The Broken Pitcher, 1891, William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825 - 1905)
-A broken pitcher is a symbol of lost virginity. At first glance, the young woman appears to be demure and innocent. However, once the symbolic meaning of the pitcher is discovered, the image of the young woman changes. We tend to look for other symbols and signs that could reveal more of the woman's character.
-Bouguereau was a celebrated French painter that adhered to the traditional rules of the academy. The academy encouraged the use of symbolism (like the broken pitcher) to describe the coming of age of a young woman. Recently, his work has received mixed reviews. Historians describe his pictures as stale, conformist and over sentimental. Bouguereau painted during a period of change. Romanticism and Naturalism were giving way to Impressionism. The academy tried to repress the new trends and retain Baroque traditions.
Third Class Carriage, 1856-58, Honore Daumier (1808 - 1879)
-Daumier combined Realism with Romantic stylization to create sharp satire and messages of morality and conscience. Realism is seen in his depiction of lower-class passengers, their clothing, and the crowded setting of the carriage car. Romanticism is detectable in the exaggerated form, dark outline, and the sense of pity. Daumier was a great draftsman. He started as a political caricaturist and his choice of subject matter was usually politically motivated. In 1852, during the reign of Louis Phillipe, his political ideology landed him in jail.
-Daumier's appeal lay in his ability to produce memorable characters, some real and some imaginary.
Head of Christ, 1865, Edouard Manet (1832 - 1883)
-Christ was arrested for alleged blasphemous statements. He was mocked by Roman soldiers and forced to wear a crown of thorns. Later that day, He was crucified.
-In 1865, Manet painted several religious pictures.
-Most art historians agree that Manet marks the beginning of the modern era. He was a pupil of Couture (gallery 17) and reacted against realism and naturalism and the strict rules of the academy. He believed there should be a new way to capture contemporary scenes. Manet redefined the two-dimensional image. He experimented with traditional subjects and placed more emphasis on the canvas' surface by reducing shadow, flattening objects, and implying form. His brush strokes were short and spontaneous and became standard practice among the next generation of painters, the Impressionists.
-For more Manet, see 'At the Milliners', 1881, in gallery 19.
GALLERY 18 Realism, Naturalism, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism
The Assuaging of the Waters, 1840, John Martin (1789 - 1854)
-The Assuaging (calming) of the Waters is one in a series of three pictures of the Great Flood. This is Martin's interpretation of the moment after the great flood when Noah released a dove to find land. The dove is seen here returning to the ark with an olive branch. The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Martin was a Romantic as well as a moralist who maintained faith in religion.
-Noah's ark can be seen as a tiny white rectangle on the horizon right of the sun. Martin's Romantic tendencies are seen in the atmospheric air of the morning sun. The colors are extraordinary and help express the feeling of calm and relief. Martin's knowledge of geology added to the natural appearance of the seashore. His technique of applying thick paint to depict rocks and waves give a three dimensional effect.
-This series was very popular. The three pictures toured Europe and America for 20 years and were a financial success. Martin never became an academy member, yet the academy took advantage of his popularity and exhibited similar large-scale pieces. Martin's work eventually fell out of favor and his popularity faded in the last years of his life.
The Painters First Work, 1862, Marcus C. Stone (1840 - 1921)
-Stone was born in London. He exhibited at the Royal Academy before age eighteen. Early in his career he was an illustrator and a painter of historical pictures. Later his work became sentimental. He was a follower of French society painter James Tissot.
-In this early work by Stone, he depicts a family scene. It looks like the father figure is not pleased with the youngster. Is the mother entering the room to save the child from a whipping? The youngster may be Stone, himself, as a child who may have painted on the wall without permission of his father.
A Scene from The Vicar of Wakefield, 1863, Charles Robert Leslie (1794 -1859)
-The Vicar of Wakefield was a popular novel, written and published in the 1760s. The novel chronicled the ups and downs of Vicar Primrose and his family. Critics liked the novel but were mixed on its meaning: Some took the novel on face value and belived it expressed the natural goodness in humankind. Other critics liked it as a satire of good nature and that evil and sin has a major influence on human nature.
-Leslie was born in the United States and became popular in England as a Victorian genre painter. He was an art critic and biographer (ex. John Constable). He painted popular portraits known as Keepsake pictures, which were fanciful, elegant and sentimental. Sometimes Keepsake pictures of peasants or lower class subjects were criticized for depicting happy and joyous themes rather than a realistic struggle to meet daily needs. Leslie was a member of a group of painters called the Sketching Society from 1808 - 51.
Love and the Maiden, 1877, John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (1829 - 1908)
-Stanhope was a Victorian Age English painter. He was the second generation of Pre-Rafaelite Brothers who moved away from realism to a more decorative style. He first came to public attention by being persuaded to take part in producing a mural at Oxford in the style of Medievil illumination as part of a Gothic revival.
-Stanhope lived in Florence, Italy for a large part of his life and revived the technique of tempera painting (as used here). Tempera was used primary in 16th century painting but goes back to the ancient Egyptians. Tempera is fast drying paint, usually made from pigment and egg.
-Cupid is ready to strike with an arrow. Note in the background a woman poses as Botticelli's Venus.
Pyramids at Gizah, 1855, Thomas Seddon (1821 - 56)
-Seddon was English and primarily a lanscape painter. He sometimes used photos as models for his paintings. Here he probably used a photo, then enhanced and exagerated color in order to create atmosphere.
-Seddon was part of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. They had no clear aim in style or themes. But their youthful idealism and dislike of the Academy had an influence on many painters of the time. Art critic John Ruskin influenced their acceptence of natural detail (here, the exagerated color may be an exception). The Brotherhood liked early Italian painting, hence the name Pre-Raphaelite.
The Rocks at Kesr-es-Saad, Egypt, 1856, Edward Lear (1812 - 88)
-Lear was born in England and started as a zooligical draftsman before moving to landscapes. He produced watercolors, lithographs and illustrations for travel books. Lear travelled to Italy in the 1840s and returned to England to study at the Royal Academy, even though his fellow students were half his age. In an effort and desire to search for new scenery, Lear travelled to Asia and Africa. Here we see his talent for atmospheric light and color.
Masada on the Dead Sea, 1858, Edward Lear (1812 - 1888)
-Masada is a mountain in Israel where Zealots took refuge from persecution by Roman soldiers. The soldiers eventually built a ramp to the top of the hill only to find all the Zealots had committed suicide. Most historians believe the Zealots (men, women and children) killed themselves before being tortured and executed by the Roman Army.
-During his lifetime, Lear was more famous for writing children's books than painting. He had a Romantic spirit and was interested in foreign lands. Lear traveled to the East and chronicled his journey with hundreds of wonderful drawings. Several of his drawings were turned into paintings. Influenced by John Constable (also in gallery 13), Lear skillfully mastered atmospheric effects, seen here by the long shadows and golden tones, as the sun sits low on the horizon.
-Lear suffered physical and mental maladies. Travel had a soothing effect on him and his drawings and paintings prove it.
Fairies in a Birds Nest, 1860, John Anster Fitzgerald (1823 - 1906)
-Fitzgerald was born in London during the Victorian Age (1800s named for the time Queen Victoria reigned). He was known for Fairy Pictures and had several nicknames: King of the Fairy Pictures and Fairy Fitzgerald. He also painted portraits and genre paintings. Fitzgerald was self taught, yet exhibited at the Royal Academy.
-Fairy pictures were not cute. They usually have currents of darkness, cruelty and the underworld. Some have drug references. Several of the figures seen here have similarities to the hellish figures of Hieronymus Bosch. The frame of this picture is unusually prominent and obviously represents a birds nest (reference to the title). There were several popular Fairy Painters of the Victorian Age. Some of them were influenced by local and foriegn legends, others by literary tales, like the brothers Grimm. The popularity lasted about twenty years.
Coast of Aegina Seascape in earthtones, long coastline, water and mountain range behind, ca 1867, Frederick Leighton (1830 - 1896)
-This miniature landscape captures a huge expanse of land and sea in a wonderfully effective composition.
-Amidst the Victorian Age, when painters mainly depicted group and society pictures, emerged a renewal of classicism. This renewal produced more decorative work than the moralistic pictures of the earlier Neo-Classic period of the late 1700s. Leighton was attracted to ancient Greece culture and in 1867 made his first trip to Greece. The popularity and revival of classicism, at this time, was due, in part, to the discovery of the Ancient Elgin Marbles. Romantic tendencies linger in this poetic landscape.
Self Portrait, ca 1865, James Tissot (1836 - 1902)
-Tissot fled Paris during the Commune, a violent revolt against the French monarchy, and moved to England in the late 1860s. Subsequently, he became popular for pictures of high society gatherings. In this self portrait, Tissot appears uncomfortable and self conscience. Tissot was a controversial figure, moving from France to England and changing his religion.
Meissonier's Studio, ca. 1869, Adolf von Menzel (1815 - 1905)
-Ernest Meissonier was a history and genre painter. He was a friend of Adolf von Menzel. Menzel admired Meissonier's ultra-realism and attention to detail.
-Menzel painted in a style called Naturalism. Naturalism is a style that is difficult to distinguish because it is similar to realism. Naturalism is a form of realism. It tends to contain a lot of unimportant detail and tries not to dwell on ideals and ideas. Naturalism depicts the visible world and does not include staged or artificial effects. Like Impressionism, it often captures a single moment in time.
-Menzel was an accomplished draftsman. As a youngster, he had a penchant to study and draw whatever was around him. He became an illustrator and a leading painter in Germany.
Madame Clemetine Valensi Stora (L'Algerienne), 1870, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841 - 1919)
-Renoir painted an homage to painter Eugene Delecroix. Delecroix was known for his bold use of primary colors. In the 1820s, Delecroix painted a series of colorful Algerian portraits. In 1870, Renoir painted a series of colorful portraits similar to Delecroix's. His 1870 portrait of an odalisque (part of the series) was submitted and accepted by the Salon and now hangs in the National Gallery in Washington D.C. Around 1870, Renoir worked with Claude Monet (also gallery 18). He used Monet's technique of mixing paint directly on canvas rather than a palette. There is no sign of drawing, only color and shadow.
-Renoir believed painting should give visual pleasure and was influenced by the decorative styles of 18th century painters Watteau, Fragonard and Boucher (all three in gallery 7).
The Road Near the Farm, 1871, Camille Jacob Pissarro (1830 - 1903)
-Early in his career, Pissarro was inspired by Corot's (gallery 17) compositions, organization of space and peaceful settings. Pissarro's colors were more natural than the silvery tones of Corot. In 1870, Pissarro and Claude Monet (galleries 18 & 19) moved to England during the Franco - Prussian War. While in England, they developed much of the style and technique we now associate with Impressionism - short strokes of pure color, light captured at a moment in time, and uncommon perspective. Pissarro returned to his farm the following year to find that most of his work destroyed (a casualty of war).
-Pissarro was the oldest of the Impressionists and played the role of patriarch. He participated in all of their exhibits and rallied their cause. He encouraged younger artists and at various times mentored Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Cezanne (both in gallery 18). Influenced by younger artists, Pissarro's style changed several times throughout his career (see his other paintings in this gallery).
Harbor at Bordeaux, 1874, Eugene Louis Boudin (1824 - 1898)
-Boudin was fifty years old when he painted this picture. About fifteen years earlier, Boudin spent many afternoons painting with a young Claude Monet (also gallery 18). Boudin mentored and convinced Monet to join him and paint out of doors. He spoke of retaining the 'force' of the first impression that 'cannot be retouched in the studio.' Boudin studied and painted the effects of daylight on objects. He was also interested in the effects of light on a same object during different times of day and year.
-Boudin was the son of a sailor, which probably contributed to his paintings of port cities, like Bordeaux. He was also known for his seaside and coastal pictures that focused on the quality of daylight, sky and clouds. Boudin exhibited with the Impressionists at their first show in 1874.
-For more Boudin, see 'Dunkirk', 1889, also in gallery 18.
Portrait of Paul Mounet, ca. 1875, Louis-Maurice Boutet de Monvel (1851 - 1913)
-Monvel was a popular illustrator. He gained popularity after illustrating a children's book about Joan of Arc. In this picture, Monvel's draftsmanship is detectable by the dark outline of Mounet's jacket.
-His subject, Paul Mounet, was a French stage actor.
White and Purple Stock, 1877, Ignace-Henri-Jean-Theodore Fantin-Latour (1836 - 1904)
-Latour's still lifes are different in concept than the traditional Dutch still life. He did not try to portray detail and realistic illusion, as did the Dutch. Nor did his still lifes contain symbolic messages of mortality and conscience, also like the Dutch. Latour's emphasis was partly on what his eyes saw and partly on his intellectual vision. His vision, in this still life, can be divided in two parts: 1) detail was based on the actual distance from the flowers to Latour's easel, 2) tone was controlled by the intensity and direction of studio light. For better or worse, Latour's still lifes were staged intellectualisms and made a good argument supporting art for art's sake.
-For more on Latour, see 'White Rockets and Fruit', 1869, also in gallery 18.
Sarah Bernhardt, 1873, Jules Bastian-LePage (1848 - 84)
-Sarah Bernhardt was a popular actress of stage and screen in the 1800s. Born in Paris, she became internationally reknown and has a star on Hollywood Boulevard. LePage and Bernhardt were friends and he painted several portraits of her.
-LePage was a French painter. He was brought up in lower class surroundings which are recurring themes in many of his paintings. His work was accepted by the French Salon. Most of his pictures were portraits, however LePage is mostly remembered for his genre paintings.
Girl in the Window, ca. 1880, Giacomo Favretto (1849 - 1887)
-Favretto was close to an Italian group of artists called the Macchiaioli. They were opposed to convention and not affected by the realist movement. Their aim was to produce various qualities of light and form. The group split in the 1880s, yet Favretto retained their spirit with an addition of vivid color.
Flowers in a Vase, 1882, Henri Fantin-Latour (1836 - 1904)
-See 'White and Purple Stock', 1877, also in gallery 18
Snow Scene at Eragny, 1884, Camille Jacob Pissarro (1830 - 1903)
-The early to mid-1800s was probably the weakest period of Pissarro's career. He struggled between a natural style and wanting to keep stride with the changing trends of the Post Impressionists, like Georges Seurat and Paul Cezanne (both in gallery 18). Winter scenes were also a struggle. Painting out of doors in the cold snow was difficult and uncomfortable.
-Most of Pissarro's landscapes do not cover large areas. Pissaro chose to paint 'corners' of the countryside and the city.
The Pier: A Grey Note, 1884, James Abbott McNiell Whistler (1834 - 1903)
-Whistler was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. He is known most for his 'Arrangement in Black and Grey" which shows his mother seated in profile. Many of his pictures have colors in the title (as seen here). Hence, his pictures have a tonal quality that focus on color and mood. In this seascape the colors schemes of grey and brown offer a unique quality, since greys and brown are often used in landscapes.
-Whistler flunked out of West Point in 1855 and became a naval cartographer and learned the art of etching. He went to Paris in 1855 to study painting, travelled throughout Europe where he lived most of his life. In 1884, he joined the Society of British Artists.
Café Scene, ca. 1887, Giovanni Boldini (1845 - 1931)
-During the last thirty years of the Third French Republic (1870-1914), France experienced a period of economic growth. Socially and politically, the middle and upper class established a foothold. Most painters and subjects were members of those classes.
-Boldini was born in Italy. Around 1872, he set up a studio in Paris, where he remained until his death. Boldini painted life-style pictures and portraits of upper class socialites.
Dunkirk, 1889, Eugene Louis Boudin (1824 - 1898)
-For several years, Boudin painted seascapes with wealthy beach goers. After 1870, he felt 'ashamed to paint these idlers.' So, he decided to change his subject to harbors and the shipping industry. Unfortunately, he lost buyers but gained a healthy reputation as one of the first conscientious artists of the modern era.
-Dunkirk is located in northern France, close to the Belgian border.
-For more Boudin, see 'Harbor at Bordeaux', 1874, also in gallery 18.
Mrs. Robert S. Cassatt, The Artist's Mother (Katherine Kelso Johnson Casssatt), ca. 1889, Mary Cassatt (1844 - 1926)
-One of Cassatt's favorite themes was the relationship between mother and child. This picture is special because it offers a glimpse of Cassatt's mother. Her mother looks troubled and vulnerable. She sits with a painful expression while her right hand clutches a handkerchief.
-Cassatt was born into a wealthy Pennsylvania family. Her conservative upbringing did not keep her from living a bohemian life. She studied under a traditional academic teacher, but 'hated convention' and after seeing pictures by Eduard Manet (also gallery 18) and Gustave Courbet (gallery 17), she 'began to live.' Edgar Degas (gallery 18) took her under his wing and invited her to join the Impressionist shows. She, like Degas, never adopted the typical Impressionist technique of short brushstrokes. She preferred a linear style - a remnant of Jean Ingres' influence over Degas. Cassatt was responsible for convincing many rich Americans to purchase Impressionist paintings.
Springtime in the Alps, 1897, Giovanni Segantini (1858 - 1899)
-Segantini painted many Alpine landscapes. In the high Alps, the air is thin and clear. Light is bright and harsh. Segantini painted a wonderful depiction of atmospheric light effects. He amazingly captured outdoor light while painting in his studio, indoors. He used small dabs of paint, similar in style to Pointillism. Segantini's technique, combined with the monumental size of 'Springtime in the Alps', tends to take attention away from the subject.
GALLERY 19 Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Supremitism, Surrealism, Expressionism
White Rockets and Fruit, 1869, Ignace-Henri-Jean-Theodore Fantin-Latour (1836 - 1904)
-Latour's work borders on Romanticism and Realism. His still lifes have a realist edge. Unlike Dutch still lifes, Latour's have no symbolic messages of mortality. For the most part, Latour painted what he saw. However, the controlled studio lighting and dark background were elements of idealism and ultimately brought out the Romanticism in his work.
Still Life, 1880 - 5, Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 90)
-This still life was recently confirmed to be a genuine Van Gogh after years in storage and uncertainty. It has some of the earmarks considered to be stylistic of van Gogh - mostly in the vivid colors. But his trademark short brush strokes and thick paint are not seen here. This still life seems more like a study in form and gravity.
-Van Gogh was born in the Netherlands. For a short time, he worked with his brother Theo (an art dealer). Then he studied religion and became a missionary in a poor coal mining town in Belgium. After being dismissed by the church, he decided to teach himself how to paint. Through his brother, he learned of the Impressionists and met several painters. He joined Paul Gauguin in Arles, France. By 1888, he was in and out of mental asylums from suffering mental breakdowns. There is uncertainty of the cause of his death. He was shot; some believe it was self inflicted, others believe he was accidentally shot by an aquaintance.
-See more Van Gogh, 'Shelter on Montmarte', Gallery19.
The Absinthe Drinkers, 1881, Jean Francois Raffaelli (1850 - 1924)
-Raffaelli was born in Paris with grand parents from Tuscany, Italy. He studied with Gerome (See 'The Bath', Gallery 17). In the mid 1870s, Raffaelli began to paint lowerclass society in a realist way.
-In this large format, we see the underworld of Parisian society. In the happy world of the Impressionist, this is unusual. The subject and technique is not typically Impressionist. Edgar Degas (Gallery 19) painted a well known picture titled 'L'Absinthe' and championed Raffaelli by inviting him to exhibit with the Impressionists, at the disgust of Monet and other Impressionist painters.
-Absinthe is an anise/licorice flavored alcoholic drink that is green or colorless and was popular in France in the late 1800s.
Sunflowers Along the Seine, 1885/6, Gustave Caillebotte (1848 - 94)
-Caillebotte was born into a wealthy Parisian family. He became an engineer and painted as a hobby. He was a neighbor of Claude Monet, which probably helped elevate him from a hobbyist to an Impressionist painter. Caillebotte is probably known more for supporting other Impressionist painters by buying a large collection of their paintings and bequesting them to museums.
Vase of Flowers, 1901, Odilon Redon (1840 - 1916)
-Redon is known for having two styles: 1) Impressionist vases and flowers; 2) Dreamlike images. He is also known as a symbolist: Primarily a literary movement that represented ideas with a material objects. They believed in subjectivity over objectivity. A quote from art critic Albert Aurier: 'Nature was to be observed by way of the dream.' Here we see a vase of flowers that appears to be floating in space.
Portrait of Madame X, 1907, Giovanni Boldini (1824 - 98)
-Madame X was a Paris socialite with a lascivious reputation. She was an American expariate married to a wealthy French banker. A famous portrait of her was painted by John Singer Sargent.
-Boldini was born in Italy. He lived in London for a time then set up a studio in Paris in 1872, where he remained until his death. Boldini primarily painted upper class life-style pictures and portraits of upper class socialites.
Musicians in the Orchestra, ca 1870, Edgar Degas (1834 - 1917)
-Degas painted a series called 'Musicians of the Orchestra' that concentrated on individual musicians. In this oil sketch, an oboe player is in mid-performance. The final oil painting, titled 'The Orchestra of the Opera', is at the Musee D'orsay, in Paris. Degas was at his best when his subject was in action. He was one of the best painters to capture movement.
-Degas was a pupil of Jean Ingres, a champion of draftsmanship, which explains why Degas' pictures have more detail and sharp edges than his contemporaries. He came from a rich aristocratic family and distanced himself from the Impressionists - most Impressionists were Republicans. Degas never considered himself an Impressionist, despite the fact that his work is usually associated with them. His paintings have many of the same characteristics - unusual poses and perspectives, contemporary subject matter, and urban settings.
Sailboats on the Seine, 1874, Claude Monet (1840 - 1926)
-Monet was a master of atmospheric light. He combined atmospheric light with composition to produce this wonderful picture. Monet painted a gray sky; objects cast no shadows, light is evenly distributed, and colors are muted. An array of boats recede toward the left vanishing point near a house onshore. In the distance, amidst the masts, a factory (right) with a colonnade of smokestacks emits a dark cloud of smoke. Monet made a subtle statement regarding the industrial takeover of the French landscape.
-This picture is special because it contains what Monet did best: paint impressions reflected on water.
The Impresario, ca. 1877, Edgar Degas (1834 - 1917)
-The candidness and spontaneity of photography influenced Degas' choice of perspective and point of view. He also admired Japanese prints for their unusual perspectives and angles of view. The neutral background flattens space and brings attention to the picture surface, a painterly trend started by Manet (also gallery 18). The action pose of the Impresario shows Degas' talent for depicting body movement.
-Degas came from an aristocratic background and many of his pictures contained scenes that reflected his life style. An Impresario is an opera director. During this period, he painted several pictures of the opera, ballet, symphony, and the racetrack.
-For more on Degas, see 'Musicians in the Orchestra', 1870, also in gallery 19.
Landscape at Pontoise with a Hunter, 1879, Camille Jacob Pissarro (1830 - 1903)
-The English translation of the title is 'Landscape of Pontoise with a Hunter'.
-Pissarro adopted techniques and styles from other painters with whom he worked. In the 1870s, he resided in Pontoise, a city located about twenty-five miles north of Paris. He lived in several houses owned and rented by his family. Pissarro was a champion of the laborer, particularly the field laborer. Many of his pictures are peopled by lower and middle class farmers and workers.
At the Milliner's, 1881, Eduard Manet (1832 - 1883)
-After the brutality of the Paris Commune, people slowly returned to the city. Manet painted many pictures of city life. 'At the Milliner's' (a milliner is a hat maker) shows a women posed in profile trying on hats. Hats were a part of everyday attire at the turn of the century.
-With Manet comes our first look at Modernism. Manet was a pupil of Thomas Couture (gallery 17), a traditional academic. Manet reacted against academic teaching by rejecting traditional Baroque chiaroscuro (gradual shading) and movement. Realism and Naturalism did not appeal to him. He emphasized technique and design. In doing so, he broke tradition with the academy. His subjects were contemporary, form was implied, his figures appeared flat and his brushstrokes were visible. Manet's pictures brought attention to the physical act of painting by placing importance on the picture surface. He redefined the concept of subject and content, thus changing how painting was perceived by both viewer and artist.
-Manet placed equal emphasis on all objects. The bourgeoisie were shocked and confused by Manet's unnatural images. Yet, he remained true to his beliefs throughout is career. This picture was painted only two years before his death.
-For more on Manet, see 'Head of Christ', 1865, in gallery 17.
Shelter on Montmartre, ca. 1886, Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890)
-In 1886, van Gogh was 33 years old and arrived in Paris for the first time. He had little knowledge of the Impressionists. At the time, Van Gogh was a follower of colorist painters Eugene Delecroix and Peter Paul Rubens (gallery 14). Color had always been the most important part of his art. As the public accepted the work of the Impressionists, Van Gogh felt free to use bright primary colors in ways never before used. He met and painted with Impressionist painters, particularly Pissarro (also gallery 18). He began using their technique of small brushstrokes. His brushstrokes were thicker and his colors were brighter; that is, closer to primary colors red, yellow, and blue.
-Van Gogh was known to be excitable and emotional. He was particularly infamous for cutting off his ear after an argument with fellow painter Paul Gauguin. Subsequently, he spent time in a mental ward before committing suicide. Van Gogh's uncontrollable emotions made him a social outcast, but gave him artistic strength. His work greatly influenced the next generation of artists called Expressionists, whereby color and emotion ruled.
Eiffel Tower, ca. 1889, Georges Seurat (1859 - 1891)
-The Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 Expo Universelle, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. In 1889, it was the tallest man-made structure in the world and one of the first structures engineered with steel. When Seurat painted this, the top of the tower was still under construction, which explains why we don't see the top if the tower in this picture. The tower was symbolic of the modern age. It stood for change and progress. With change, came controversy - as did the tower's cost of fifteen million francs.
-Seurat called himself a Neo-Impressionist. He took a scientific approach to painting. He developed a technique called Pointillism, also called Divisionism. It was an objective way to paint, consisting of rules pertaining to the use of small dots of color. It was highly controversial and sparked arguments affecting the future of modern art.
Landscape at Beaulieu, 1893, Auguste Renoir (1841 - 1919)
-By 1893, after years of struggle and controversy, Renoir and the other Impressionists gained acceptance from the art buying public. His paintings sold well and he was able to choose his subjects. Renoir usually spent his winters in Paris and summers on the north coast. However, in 1893, he traveled south to Beaulieu in search of soft light. Beaulieu is located about 250 miles south of Paris.
-Renoir's 'Landscape at Beaulieu' is an explosion of color. This picture embodies much of what defined Impressionism: Painting out of doors, bright primary colors, short brushstrokes, contemporary settings, and a view of the artist's first impression. Renoir's pictures were celebrations of life.
-For more Renoir, see 'Madame Clemintine', 1870 and 'Mother and Child', 1895, also gallery 19.
Banks of the Loing, 1891, Alfred Sisley (1839 - 1899)
-The 'Banks of the Loing' is an extraordinary rendering of a sunny day. The Loing is a tributary that feeds the Seine about sixty miles south of Paris. Sisley emphasized color and atmosphere. He mastered the art of painting the changing effects of weather conditions.
-Sisley devoted his entire career to painting landscapes. Finances dictated his work. When his father died, he lost a major source of income. Sisley was forced to paint landscapes because they sold better than other types of pictures. His style did not change much throughout his career. His landscapes were usually dominated by the colors green, gray, and brown. His late works, like this one, were brighter and contain more yellow. Sisley was one of the few Impressionists who remained true to plein-air (out of doors) painting.
Mother and Child, 1895, Auguste Renoir (1841 - 1919)
-This picture may actually be Renoir's son and his son's nanny. It is a wonderfully warm portrayal of a child's curiosity. 'Mother and Child' was painted during Renoir's 'dry' or 'sour' period. Renoir periodically had self doubts about Impressionism, which lead him toward a classic style where form had defined edges and traditional modeling. He maintained a colorful palette throughout his career, as seen by the exaggerated skin tones.
-For more Renoir, see 'Madame Clemintine',1870 and 'Landscape at Beaulieu', 1893, also in gallery 19.
Forest Interior, 1898, Paul Cezanne (1839 - 1906)
-In 1897, a year before this picture was painted, the death of Cezanne's mother caused a great deal of grief. He was no longer comfortable living in the house of his mother. He sold it and rented a house near the Park of the Chateau Noir. The park is located in southern France.
-Paul Cezanne and Eduard Manet (also gallery 18) have been recognized as the fathers of modern art. Unlike the Impressionist's emphasis on light, Cezanne emphasized form and composition.
-Cezanne admired Manet. Like Manet, he maintained representational form and likeness; yet, light and shadow virtually disappear. Cezanne wanted to experience a pure painting 'sensation' of shape and color. To Cezanne, art was more a concept than simply copying nature. Objects border on the edge of reality and abstract design. The next generation of painters borrowed from Cezanne to develop Cubism, an abstract linear style of painting.
Harbor at Dieppe, 1902, Camille Jacob Pissarro (1830 - 1903)
-Dieppe is a French coastal town and beach resort on the English Channel. During Pissarro's last years, he spent most of his time indoors looking out. He suffered from an eye ailment that hampered his ability to walk out of doors. It is curiously ironic that some of Pissarro's best work was done during this period, despite his allegiance to outdoor painting. It is also ironic that Pissarro changed his style over a period of twenty years and eventually returned and perfected the style with which he started.
The Grand Canal, Venice, 1908, Claude Monet (1840 - 1926)
-In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Monet embarked on a number of trips and painted some of his most memorable work. Monet wanted to acknowledge Europe's acceptance of Impressionism and modernism.
He produced several series of pictures that featured the same object in different light. The projects included a series of haystacks, the Thames River and London, Rouen Cathedral, Venice, and the lily pond at his studio in Giverny. These projects emphasized the effects of atmospheric light at different times of day.
-Around 1880, Monet's wife died, which perhaps prompted him to travel.
Waves Breaking, 1881, Claude Monet (1840 - 1926)
-Many of Monet's paintings depict the changing character of water. This canvas is filled with swirls of blue, white, and green to show the action of the ocean as it meets the shore. Monet devoted a third of the picture to paint a blue sky with cotton ball clouds. This picture appears to have been painted in a very short time.
-This was not one of Monet's best efforts. However, in fairness to Monet, this picture was painted around the time of his wife's death.
Interior with Mother and Child, ca. 1899-1900, & Madame Hessel Reclining on a Sofa, 1909, Eduard Vuillard (1868 - 1940)
-Vuillard painted silent and private interiors that were intimate and familiar. Here, the figures are faceless and tend to blend into the interior. Vuillard lived alone, which may have contributed to the empty and vacant feeling.
-He was a member of a group called the Nabi. Nabi is Hebrew for Prophet. Their trademark was the manipulation of natural color and representation. They were influenced by the flat color fields of Paul Gauguin and Edgar Degas (gallery 18). Vuillard had a particular interest in patterns, which he learned from working his mother's textile and wallpaper design shop.
Faith, the Model, 1901, Henri Mattise (1869 - 1954)
-See 'Faith, the Model' and 'Young Woman in Pink', 1923, by Henri Mattisse, gallery 19.
Young Girl on a Hill, 1904, Emile Bernard (1868 - 1941)
-Bernard became influenced by Paul Cezanne (gallery 18) after receiving a letter citing Cezanne's now famous reference that nature can be represented by 'the cylinder, the sphere, the cone'. This picture combines much of Cezanne's geometry with atmospheric light similar to Jean Corot (gallery 17).
-Bernard started his career as a Pointillist, a technique developed and made famous by Georges Seurat (gallery 18). Later, he became a follower of Paul Gauguin and a member of the Pont-Avon group that admired the Syntheticism associated with Gauguin. Syntheticism is a theory that appreciates nature, asserting that artists must dominate nature, not submit to it.
On the Beach, 1908, Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (1863 - 1923)
-Sorolla used the cool colors of blue and green to create a warm and tender scene of a mother with her children playing at the beach. In this picture, he painted with a flurry of brushstokes, a technique borrowed from the Impressionists.
-Sorolla's early work tended to be serious, somber, and thought provoking. He is remembered more for his sunny landscapes of Spain, painted later in his career. Sorolla's pictures were popular in the United States. One of his most famous pictures is a portrait of President Howard Taft.
Sewing Party at Loctudy, 1912, Edouard Vuillard, (1868 - 1940)
-The Sewing Party is an Impressionist painting. However, it differs from the norm by depicting an interior scene, known as Intimisme. Vuillard used the Impressionist technique of quick sketches and short brush strokes.
-Vuillard was part of a group called the Nabis, which means 'prophet' in Hebrew. The Nabis were a small group of French painters who, for a short time (1890s), followed Paul Gauguin's use of space, color and dimension. The style and philosophy can be considered a precurser to a modern credo emphasizing painting as a flat two-dimensional medium. After 1899, most of the Nabis turned to Intimisme, which used Impressionist techniques, but depicted interior/domestic subjects rather than landscape and outdoor scenes.
Sewing Party at Loctudy, 1912, Edouard Vuillard, (1868 - 1940)
Water Lilies, ca. 1914 - 17, Claude Monet (1840 - 1926)
-Monet and a crew of gardeners constructed a garden at his home in Giverney to be used as an outdoor studio. The garden sparked controversy among locals. When Monet damed the River Seine to create a lily pond, neighbors downstream complained of not having enough water to do laundry.
-Monet's 'Water Lilies' may be his most popular series of paintings. Approximately, one-hundred pictures make up the series. The series was painted during the last twenty years of his life. In this picture, Monet's composition is set below the horizon and puts us very close to the pond's surface.
Bathers, 1917, Max Pechstein (1881 - 1955)
-Pechstein belonged to a small group of German artists who were disgusted with the military build up and industrialization of Europe. They called themselves Die Brucke (The Bridge) and preferred the primitive nature that existed in Germany's colonies. They were influenced by the work and life of French painter Paul Gauguin, who traveled to Tahiti to paint. The members of Die Brucke tried to live like primitives - free and easy - without leaving Europe. They used crude techniques and bright colors to represent the spontaneity and directness of primitive culture. Die Brucke paved the way for the next generation of German painters called Expressionists. German Expressionism was known for its dark themes. Die Brucke was closer to the French Expressionists called Fauves, which painted subjects that were usually bright and pleasant.
Faith, the Model, 1901 & Young Woman in Pink, 1923, Henri Matisse (1869 - 1954)
-Matisse started his career spending afternoons at the Louvre copying the great masters. He gradually came to believe that 'accuracy is not true'. He used color where other artists used shade (seen in 'Faith, the Model') and felt free to use vivid pinks and purples, as seen in 'Young Woman in Pink'. Freedom to use color in order to evoke emotion started with Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh (gallery 18).
-Matisse was the undeclared leader of a group of French artists called Fauves (wild ones). The term Fauve was coined by an art critic in response to the group's use of vivid color.
-German and northern European Expressionists used color in the same way. However, a major difference between the Fauves and the Expressionists was their subject matter. Northern Expressionism usually depicted themes of struggle between mind and body; whereas French Fauvism enjoyed landscapes, portraits, and the decorative warmth of southern Europe.
Still Life with Bananas, 1924, Georges Braque (1882 - 1963)
-Between the years 1908 and 1912, Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso (also gallery 19) developed Analytical Cubism, an abstract style that viewed objects from multiple angles, then represented them on a two dimensional surface.
-By 1924, when this picture was painted, Braque's cubism relaxed and became more representational and curvilinear. His style of cubism was decorative, therefore joining a line of artists that drew on a French tradition of decorative and non-political painting starting in the 1700s with Jean Watteau and Francois Boucher (both in gallery 7).
Suprematist Composition, 1924, Anna Kogan (1902 - 1974)
-The abstract shapes of Suprematist painting derived from Cubism. Suprematist theory believed that all feeling derives from color, not form - and feeling is most important.
-Suprematism was developed in Russia before World War I. It fostered the Constructivist movement, which recruited craftsmen from all branches of the arts to incorporate abstract design in everyday life. They designed and produced products that ranged from floor tiles and kitchen appliances to building design. After the war, their concepts migrated westward and influenced the famous Bauhaus school of art and architecture.
Opera House, 1924, Oscar Kokoschka (1886 - 1980)
-Kokoschka was always known as a rebel. He was a member of the Sesession, a group of northern European artists that reacted against academic traditions. In 1924, Kokoschka visited Paris. This picture is unusual because the Paris Opera House was considered a symbol of conformity. However, he may have intended to paint the Opera House as a traditional subject but give it a new look. In this picture, Kokoschka has given us an interesting top-floor point of view of the Opera House (left) and devoted the entire right side of the canvas to a neighboring part of the city.
-Kokoschka was greatly influenced by Vincent Van Gogh's (gallery 18) use of color, distortion, and nervous brush stroke. This picture cannot be classified as decorative; it typifies the Gothic emotion of northern European Expressionism, as seen here by his use of cool colors (purple and blue) and loose brushstrokes.
-World War II affected Kokoschka significantly. After the war, he secluded himself and remained a loner until his death in 1980.
Still Life with Book, 1925, Juan Gris (1887 - 1927)
-Gris' form of cubism was more representational than analytical cubism. It is easy to make out the book, knife, fruit bowl, and table clothe. The objects in this still life are fairly recognizable despite their distorted perspectives. His style was tame, balanced and non-threatening. His compositions usually consisted of vivid colors and decorative objects.
-'Still Life with Book' has a somewhat traditional arrangement that goes back to the first Dutch still lifes - it displays inanimate objects on a table. In Gris' words, he wanted to '...create new combinations of known elements.'
Still Life with Skull, Leeks, and Pitcher, March 14, 1945, 20th century, Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973)
-In 1945, Picasso painted this still life to commemorate the end of World War II (see the date '14-3-45' painted in the upper left corner). Picasso combined Cubism with elements of Surrealism. He painted objects that had symbolic and personal meaning. He said '...painting is not done to decorate apartments.'
-The leeks act as cross bones, but are green and fresh, representing renewed life. A white triangular sun shines its rays on the table and represents a new light - after years of war and darkness. Throughout Picasso's career, he painted recurring images that represented life and death, appropriate for this theme. The pitcher on the right represents sustenance (life), the skull on the left symbolizes mortality and death.
Dorothy Sprekels Munn, 1942, Salvador Dali (1904 - 1989)
-Dorothy Spreckels Munn was an heir to the Spreckels Sugar Company. She was a daughter of Adolph and Alma Spreckels, who were responsible for financing the construction of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor and giving it to the City of San Francisco. Gallery 5 is named for Dorothy Spreckels Munn.
-Like the birth of Venus, the goddess of love, Dorothy, wearing a scant outfit and seated in a provocative position, rises from the sea.
-For more Dali, see 'Enid Haldorn', 1948, also in gallery 19.
From One Night to Another, 1947, Yves Tanguy (1900 - 1955)
-Tanguy was a self taught Surrealist who painted what could be called dreamscapes.
-Surrealism originated from two sources. One source was a reaction against the flat abstraction of Cubism. More importantly, it was a reaction against conscious intellectualism. Sigmund Freud's theory of psychoanalysis and the subconscious influenced and encouraged artists to produce images from dreams and streams of uncontrolled thought, a technique called Automatism. The method was also used by American Abstract Expressionists, but with very different results.
-Tanguy's style did not change throughout his career. He painted many variations of this theme. Tanguy's aim was to create unreal objects and make them look real by giving them form, detail, and dimension.
Enid Haldorn, 1948, Salvador Dali (1904 - 1989)
-Dali was a popular figure in the area of Surrealist painting. By the late 1940s, Surrealism lost much of its credibility by trying to force images from the subconscious. The true intention of the Surrealist was to draw ideas from the subconscious in a stream of uncontrolled thought, a technique called Automatism. Their inspiration came from Freud's study of psychoanalysis and dreams.
-Dali was a brilliant technician. His ability to paint with astonishing precision is why his pictures are so visually fascinating. Unfortunately, the content of much of his work did not satisfy many of the ideas that define Surrealism, particularly his staged promotions. His antics earned him a celebrity status.