Romanticism

Romanticism began in the same time as neoclassicism but its approach was very different. It was about wildness and expression rather than control. Romantic artists had no fixed
laws relating to beauty and properties of subject matter. Instead, Romanticism was a creative
outlook, a way of life.

In this work, Antonio María Esquivel, one of the most renowned Romantic painters, presents a new twist on religious art. The focus on a moment of great dramatic tension—the agony and passing of the Saints—rather than martyrdom, provides a glimpse of the subtle changes that were to occur in religious painting in the second half of the 19th century.
This work is characterised by the careful description of the children's clothes and toys and by the way of depicting them so naturally, which is hard to put on canvas. It also reflects a certain influence of the English painting he saw in Seville, his hometown.
The "beautiful Irishwoman" depicted in this painting is Joanna Hiffernan (born 1842/43), mistress and model of the artist James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903), and perhaps subsequently Courbet’s lover. Although dated 1866, the picture was likely undertaken in 1865, when the two men painted together at the French seaside resort of Trouville; Courbet wrote of "the beauty of a superb redhead whose portrait I have begun." He would paint three repetitions with minor variations
In this painting, intense colors and sweeping strokes of the palette knife evoke the hues and textures of individual blooms. Instead of a formal bouquet, armfuls of blossoms spill casually across a tabletop, suggesting a lighthearted sensuality beneath the surface image of a young woman as a flower amid flowers.
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