Movements that Matter II

Part two of our student-curated online gallery. Enjoy.

This painting of a repentant Mary Magdalene lifting her teary eyes to heaven was meant to inspire a greater spiritual devotion, at a time when Catholicism was being challenged by the Protestant reformation. Owing to the popularity of the subject, Titian and his workshop made at least seven versions of this painting. The subject of the Magdalene as a ********** and fallen woman returned to the path of virtue by Jesus was very popular in the 16th century, allowing artists to create ****** compositions without courting scandal. Titian's version of the subject has a slightly different dimension, however - he shows her at a moment of elation and deep repentance, with tears in her eyes (referring to her washing Jesus' **** with her tears) and her gaze raised heavenwards. This Getty painting is unique because it is the only composition that shows the Magdalene's Bible resting on a cloth-covered support rather than a skull--a symbol used to invite contemplation of death. ****** though it is, upon seeing Titian's conception of Mary Magdalene, the art historian Vasari declared that the picture "profoundly stirs the emotions of all who look at it; and, moreover, although the figure Mary Magdalene is extremely lovely it moves one to thoughts of pity rather than desire." So, even in High Renaissance, he started to get away from very quiet, simple and balance and inspired by physical beauty in sensuality and the contrasting pure colors and light. Minhee Cho John
The portrait of Lady Alethea Talbot, Countess of Arundel by Peter Paul Rubens, oil on canvas, painted in 1620 in Baroque period is my second choice for this week assignment. Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) was a prolific seventeenth-century Flemish Baroque painter, and a promoter of an energetic Baroque style that emphasized movement, color, and sensuality. He is well known for his Counter-Reformation altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects. In 1600 Rubens travelled to Italy to study Greek and Roman classical art. He first visited Venice where he saw works of Veronese and Titian. Their coloring composition had an immediate effect on Rubens and especially Titian profoundly influenced his later ****** style. Since my first choice for this assignment was Titian, Peter Paul Rubens is the reason for my second choice. Countess of Arundel (1585 - 1654), née Lady Alethea Talbot, was the wife of Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel. She was the youngest daughter of Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury and his wife Mary. Both, the Earl and Countess of Arundel had strongly Venetian-inspired artistic ideas. Venetian ideas, on the other hand, were decisive for the development of Rubens's painting style. Increasing conformity to that example is also shown by the splendor, which Rubens from 1620 onwards began to lend with such emphases to his official portraits of foreign princes and aristocrats, thus the Portrait of Lady Arundel is one of the most remarkable examples. The focus of this work is the image of the Lady Arundel. It does not advertise Rubens's invention, figure drawing or story-telling, important elements of his art. Instead these are purely pictorial qualities at their most intense: contrast of light and dark, with shades of deep black and brown and a softly luminous and slightly pink skin to intensify again in her reddened cheeks and sensual lips. Her look is focused directly on the viewer. Her posture is very calm, peaceful and relaxed. The Countess’s beautifully painted jewelry may be the only one distraction however, this could be argued since it forms a part of her overall appearance. As many of his paintings feature full-figured, voluptuous women, the word Rubenesque (meaning plump or fleshy, yet not "fat", and used exclusively to describe women) is derived from his last name and could be applicable to the image of the Lady of Arundel. . “Rubens's style was overwhelming and few contemporary artists withstood its influence, later generations of often very diverse artists derived much from his art and, indeed, a whole style of painting came to bear his name. At a Sotheby's auction on July 10, 2002, Rubens' newly discovered painting Massacre of the Innocents sold for $76 million. It is a current record for an old master painting”. Lioudmila Nasri
The portrait of Jacopo Strada by Titian, oil on canvas, painted in 1567-1568 in period of High Renaissance is my first choice for this week assignment. This classical work is one of Titian’s latest, most famous and dramatic portraits, that I have to confess that I was completely unfamiliar, despite appreciating his work since my adolescence, and decided to find more about. Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 1576) known as Titian, born in the Republic of Venice, was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school and one of the most versatile Italian painters equally skilled with portraits, landscape, backgrounds and mythological and religious subjects. The portrait of the well-known antiquarian Jacopo Strada, one of the most famous of Titian's late portraits, represents an expert of antiquities who demonstrates a well-preserved statuette, a Roman copy of the Aphrodite Pseilumene. Technically, this very high quality painting is a dynamic three-dimensional composition with powerful diagonals, which is painted in energetic dabs of brown and ochre yellow. Strada’s clothing, the black velvet jacket with contrasting pale corral-silk sleeves, the heavy golden chain, the silver fox fur flung over the shoulder and the sword, clearly demonstrate his belonging to the noble and elite society. The scope and variety of Titian’s inventions is astonishing in this composition. It has been known that Titian's portraits combined incisive, sensitive characterizations with an opulent treatment of accessories, eventually developing into the official style that has inspired Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck and many artists of 1800s. Jacopo Strada’s portrait is an excellent representation. There are so many objects in this painting. There are some coins on the table, a letter (addressed to Titian according to historical references), an antique torso, two books on the shelves and the symbol with an inscription behind Strada’s head. Overall, it is a very strong, powerful and dynamic representation of an individual, a superb work of a true master whom I've been admiring for long time.
This red chalk drawing by Raphael from the Italian High Renaissance time period is a study for a portion of the fresco Fire in the Borgo located in the Raphael Rooms (Stanze di Rafaello) in the Vatican. The drawing is of an old man, perhaps weakened by exposure to fire or ***** being carried on the back of a younger man. According to Vasari in his Lives of Artists, this scene may take inspiration from ancient Greek mythology when after the burning of Troy in the Trojan war, an elderly Anchises (mortal lover of Aphrodite) was carried from the flames by Aeneas (son of Aphrodite and Anchises). The drawing gives a realistic and naturalistic impression of the strength and strain present in the younger man’s body and ****** expression as he carries the older more frail looking elderly man on his back. The bulky musculature and anatomy of the younger man is an idealized human form intended to contrast with the older man whose upper back muscles and arms have less bulk and even have some impression of bones beneath skin. The contrast between youth and age is further emphasized by the full head of hair on the younger man and the baldness and wispy hair of the elderly man. This drawing depicts the type of complex poses of humans that Raphael was known for. It may have involved a study of actual human beings in this pose to determine the correct positioning of both men. The old man’s right arm is draped across the younger man’s chest where his wrist is captured by the younger man’s left hand which has reached beneath the older man’s right leg. Interestingly the pose seems almost like a version of the modern day “firemans carry” which is an efficient means for carrying body weight for an extended time period. Shading and shadow are achieved effectively by hatching on different parts of the bodies to emphasize muscle tone and shape. The bodies have strong clear outlines that create a bit of a sculptural feeling in the drawing and may reflect some influence of Michelangelo’s style on Raphael as Michelangelo was working in the Sistine Chapel around the same time as Raphael was working in the Vatican rooms.
This painting by Vermeer is of a young woman standing beside a table and looking at herself in a mirror to adjust her pearl necklace. This painting is typical of the subject matter of almost all of Vermeer’s paintings, namely intimate domestic real life scenes and would be considered a Dutch genre painting. This painting has a feeling almost like a modern day natural snapshot as if the artist has just happened to enter the room and candidly captured the young woman admiring herself. We can almost imagine that in the very next instant the young woman would turn in surprise or perhaps slight embarrassment to greet the artist and then the subject of the painting would be completely different. The room is lit by light coming through the leaded window in particular the far white wall, the young woman’s face and shoulder and the folds of the dark blue cloth and jar sitting on the table. This shows Vermeer’s masterful and sensitive treatment of lighting akin to the Italian chiarasccuro technique. Vermeer is also known for his understanding and use of perspective to enhance his compositions. In this particular painting, the vanishing point is just above the table top and so it is below the artist’s eye-level, our viewer’s eye level and also that of the young woman’s. This unique perspective helps to enhance the candid intimate nature of the painting, almost as if the artist had snuck in and was looking ** at the young woman, slightly “larger than life”. Primary colours are effectively used in the painting with the ******* yellow of the curtain echoing the silk of the young woman’s jacket and contrasting with the dark blue of the fabric and jar on the table. Even the far white wall seems carefully chosen to be as pure a white as possible-not overly yellowish, bluish or grayish in hue. The underlying meaning of the painting still has a few elements of mystery. We can guess that the young woman is likely wealthy as she wears a silk fur trimmed (ermine?) jacket and she wears large dangling pearl earrings as well as the pearl necklace. Her hair is modestly pulled back into her cap but a jaunty red ribbon adorns her cap indicating she is not perhaps as serious or modest as she is trying to appear. The mirror she gazes into can be considered as a traditional symbol of pride or vanity that along with the pearl jewellery, luxurious looking velvet chair in the foreground may represent a moral message to not place excessive value on beauty and worldly possessions. There are also other small domestic items for the young women’s morning “toilet” routine-a powder brush, a small basin and a comb sit on the table implying perhaps as a wealthy young woman she has no pressing domestic duties waiting for her. Leaning against the far wall appears to be some kind of decorative tile with a yellow and blue floral motif and a decorative border. Delft is known for its’ ceramic tiles but this tile does not appear to be of that traditional local type so it’s meaning remains unclear-perhaps it’s is just a decorative feature that repeats the blue and yellow colours elsewhere in the painting. Sandra Pagan
This is an important sculpture of the Italian Baroque period and is sculpted by both Gian Lorenzo Bernini when he was 18 years old and his father. Made of marble it stands h1320 * w736 * d479 mm and is meant to be viewed in the round. Therefore, this picture only showing a single viewing perspective does not do it justice as it only shows one side of the story. It is intended that this piece is to be viewed from all angles, and each side conveys a different story and emotional perspective. Compared to the sculpture of the Renaissance which is quite and restrained this is lively and highly dramatic. The tree is decorated with detailed carvings of fruit such as grapes, grape leaves and what looks like pears or apples. There is a strong use of diagonals illustrated through the trunk of the tree and the ***** males arm that props him ** which carries through ** to the two putti playing in the tree above. The figures faces are highly e*pressive and there is a playful e*change between the putti and the male *****. There is great attention given to the correct anatomy of the bodies and it is very realistic. A te*tural contrast is created between the smooth bodies of the figures and the detailed te*turing of the tree trunk. At the base of the tree there is a lion eating grapes and a lizard depicted. This is a highly charged and dynamic image and what initially attracted me to this sculpture. Anna Migdalski
An Allegory of Prudence was painted by Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio known as Titian was an Italian painter of the 16th Century. On first glance this high renaissance painting there is a strong contrast of light and dark known as chiaroscuro. The image is composed of blacks and browns the only bright colour is the red hat that the older figure wears which appears muted and hazy. This suggests that the surface has been applied with the same a tinted haze varnish that Leonardo used called sfumato. This is a portrait of not just one person but depicts three which signifies the illusion of man. Each figure is different and individual depicting different people and in the far left, in true renaissance style Titian has included himself as an old man; the middle bearded central man has been thought to represent his son Orazio, while the youth may depict his cousin and heir, Marco Vecellio (born 1545). Below is an illustration of a three headed beast – a wolf, a lion and a dog - is a symbol of prudence. Above the portraits a latin inscription reads: EX PRAETERITO PRAESENS PRVDENTER AGIT NI FUTUR- ACTIONE DETVRPET which means “From the past the man of the present acts prudently so as not to imperil the future”. The colours of the portraits seem to mimic the portraits of the beast beneath. Where by the bearded central man and the mane of the lion is black which makes them appear three dimensional and further accentuates them as if they are popping out of the painting. The two outer profile portraits appear lighter which helps them recede into the background and create depth. Titian was one of the most versatile of Italian painters, equally adept with portraits, landscape backgrounds, and mythological and religious subjects. His painting methods, particularly in the application and use of color, would exercise a profound influence not only on painters of the Italian Renaissance, but on future generations of Western art. The image is symmetrical and the faces are very natural. Anna Migdalski
Pieter Bruegel the Elder made this painting in 1556, and it is typical of the XVI century Artworks in Northern Europe. I believe that every single scene of this painting represents a Dutch Proverb. Every character has a specific role and personality. They are all important and entertaining; all proverbs must be seen equally by the viewer and captivate its interest. The painter gives exposure to all details and figures. This may allow the viewer to recognize the proverb easily and smile about it. This is a very amusing artwork: Most of the figures express emotion and this sense of suffering and death, but in an entertaining and caricaturing way. For instance, we can recognize” The fox and the stork” having their dinner, while the fox is suffering of hunger, as he is unable to eat the way the stork is: He does not have a beak. Zooming in, we can see the fine details of the painting. It is an ambitious artwork where all characters and colors are mixed and alive. Julie-Anne Servant
This portrait follows similar characteristics as the Bronzino, Portrait of a young man. It has all the characteristics to pertain to the Mannerism period. He is posing in a very elegant way, maybe with a touch of innocent pride or light arrogance. He is a young man, and shows a bit of insecurity in his eyes, but pride on his pose: his right arm may signify power and strength as it’s higher than his hips and he is holding a fighting lance. His left arm on his hips shows us confidence. His look is very vague, we don’t know if he is looking at the viewer, or far away. His round eyebrows show us insecurity or innocence. His gaze look, his confidence and proud attitude makes him look like a selfish person, with a touch of arrogance for a young man. There is a clear contrast between his innocence as a young man, and the pride he must show on public. The artist used warm colors such as a mustard yellow, and a warm red. Colors are harmonious as well, as his hat has the same color as his pants. This gives us a sense of calmness and stability to this portrait. Julie-Anne Servant
To me, this painting portrays a dramatic compelling story. Rubens’s painting was intended to make an immediate connection with its audience. Though the three saints lived in the early centuries of Christianity, Rubens depicts them as fashionable 17th-century women of the Antwerp court, figures in contemporary dress were less remote. Catherine leaning her head on the Virgin’s knee, Mary gently securing her son on her lap, the gazes of Margaret and Apollonia—makes them seem more human and approachable. The Virgin Mary is seated on an arbor-like throne in an enclosed garden (symbolic of her purity), the infant Jesus on her lap. She wears red to symbolize her suffering at the death of her son and blue for her role as Queen of Heaven. Rubens has a fluid style in which the paint was applied, with delicacy of the flesh tones. The painting originally served as an altarpiece in the church of the Augustinians in Mechelen (Malines), near Antwerp. The altarpiece would have been the focal point for devotion and prayer. Natalie Topham-Smith
This is a three-dimensional masterpiece by Giotto. Giotto was an Italian painter and architect from Florence who specialised in religious subjects. He was known as the pioneer of perspective painting because he overcame the iconographic bonds of Byzantine painting. This scene revolves around Mary and the detail makes the moment very realistic and believable. The two angels are engaged in conversation revealing how casual and natural the occasion is. The body language is casual and care free, thumbs tucked into his belt in a carefree manor. It portrays a relaxed atmosphere. The figures are authentic, round and lifelike. The ****** expressions, especially Jesus' and the man kneeling down to Mary, actually show emotion that we can interpret and connect with. Jesus is almost playful and fidgety. Every fold in the drapery corresponds to the body language of the people. The figures are painted with great naturalness and vivacity. Natalie Topham-Smith
Diego Velazquez was part of the Spanish Baroque period, and became the official painter of Philip the IV. He was known for exceptional rendering of materials, a very precise early brushwork, which would change to a more looser style later in his career, and a naturalistic depiction. He was also influenced by Caravaggio’s tenebrism, and used that strong light and dark contrast to create recession of space. “The Three Musicians,” c. 1616, displays the earlier tendencies of Velazquez; his precise and masterful ability to render life-like qualities, seen especially in the liquid in the clear glass, and the arrangement of food, as well as in the texture of the clothing. There is a Baroque vividness in colors; the harvest gold and black, which are heightened by Velazquez’s use of tenebrism in contrasting the vividness with the muted background. The figures portrayed are rendered with a naturalistic display of emotion; the young boy is seen smiling, while the two older men are playing their instruments, and singing. There is a lack of serene, stillness of the Renaissance period, which has given way to a more lively Baroque sensibility.
This image is the representation of Bacchus, the god of wine. His artist, Caravaggio, was a pioneer of still life painting, which began to emerge as a separate genre during the Renaissance. Here, we see young Bacchus with a basket of fruit and holding an overfull glass of wine. It is really an open invitation to the viewers to join him in the pleasures of the flesh. His fingernails are ***** which is a symbolic warning that the pursuit of pleasure comes at a price. If we observe the basket of fruit, we notice a wormhole in the apple, the pomegranate is overripe and other fruits are bruised or rotten. That is just an allegory of the consequences of overindulgence and of the transience of youthful innocence. Caravaggio was a man of contrasts. His realistic detail contrasts with a theatrical pose. There is a contrast between the model's muscular right arm and his feminine face with its made ** eyebrows and curly black wig. We see light and darkness, good and evil, life and death. His style, the chiaroscuro, plays masterfully with these fundamental realities. Marisol Roman
Vermeer work is full of emblems and allusions relating to contemporary life. The model he represents in this work is Clio, the Muse of History. Her attributes are the wreath of laurel and a book in which she records all heroic deeds. The Muse carries a trumpet in her right hand symbolizing the fame that can be achieved by an artist. Vermeer loved those complex spatial arrangements. He placed human figures and objects in a confine space. Some objects were repeated in his works depending of the themes. Dutch artists like Jan Vermeer developed new subjects for paintings. These subjects ignored the old traditions and history painting. Genre scenes were small scale depictions of domestic interiors with a moral o political message. Marisol Roman
“The Toilet of Venus” is a copy of an original by Titian which is now lost. This provenance is s**ported by two significant details: the pearl bracelet and the ring on Venus’ left little finger, both of which appeared in Titian’s painting. The painting shows Venus watching herself in a mirror held by C**id. C**id is portrayed as a child; however, his muscles seem over proportional. Venus is portrayed vol**tuous, which was Rembrandts trademark. Both the muscularity and vol**tuousness were typical of baroque style. We can also see the typical theatrical effect of the period in both characters, and even though they are standing still, it is a dynamic picture. The use of light is very efficiently making us focus on Venus, who is not fully dressed; however, her clothes are beautifully painted, convincingly showing the texture of various luxurious materials in great detail. A diagonal line can be seen starting at the bottom left by Venus’s knees going ** to above C**id’s head.
This striking piece was painted on canvas that had been attached to a wooden shield. It was commissioned by Cardinal Francisco Maria Del Monte as a gift for the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinando I. The iconography shows a desire to link in to and show knowledge of classical mythology. Traditionally, in Greek art, the head of the Gorgon Medusa was depicted on either the breastplate or shield of the goddess Athena, goddess of wisdom and battle strategy. By choosing this as the subject of his work, Caravaggio is commenting on the military prowess of the Grand Duke. The depiction of Medusa is striking and grotesque – the vivid use of colour adding to the alarming effect. We see her in the very moment that she is decapitated with the blood still spurting from her neck. The expression on her face suggests a mixture of anger and shock. Despite being killed, she is animated. This is the moment between life and death. Interestingly, the gaze is averted. In mythology, looking into Medusa’s eyes would cause her victim to turn to stone. This representation renders Medusa powerless – the viewer can never directly meet her gaze. Kayleigh Ingham
Rome, through the ambitious plans of its Papacy, had by the beginning of the 17th Century established itself as the supreme head of the Catholic Church and an unparalleled architectural and artistic hub for centuries to come. Its large scale building program had led to an abundance of artistic opportunities and a mecca for artists and sculptors. To counter balance the Humanistic intellectual movement that many believed had lead to the Reformation artists were encouraged to depict scenes of religious ******* and transportation that once viewed would reinvigorate the faithful. The quiet dignity of the High Renaissance was replaced by the drama, dynamic energy and theatricality of the Baroque. In Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio’s Sacrifice of Isaac, currently housed at the Uffizi Gallery, we see all three in equal measure. His treatment of the well-known story is compelling to say the least, the scene tense with action and suspense. Abraham, pinning his son down on the sacrificial alter with his body weight, firmly holds him round the neck and head, indents from his fingers visible on Isaac’s cheeks. Tightly gripped in his other hand, white knuckles showing, is the sharp knife. Isaac, terror and agony writ large on his face, lets out a silent scream while the young angel arrives just in time to halt the execution. There is nothing idealized in the manner in which the figures have been depicted. Rather there is a true sense of frank realism that makes the actions more plausible and therefore more shocking to behold. It is not surprising that some of this patrons found his work a little too close to the bone, moving away from the convention that painting was fiction that you could believe and situating it in everyday reality. Juxtaposed with this startling action is Caravaggio’s use of diagonal perspective that creates movement and drama. The technique of tenebrism or exaggerated chiaroscuro, for which he became famous, seen in the shaft of light that falls on the key features of the painting and in the dark shadows, also heightens the psychological drama. All in all it is a marvelous painting and it is not surprising that this new style of realism and drama spawned many followers. Iona Fergusson
I really like the drama and “spooky” atmosphere in this painting. To me it is unique, almost modern, compared to other paintings during the renaissance and baroque periods. The painting presents a panorama of the city Toledo from the north. We see a ****** of buildings descending a steep hill to a bridge. Another cluster of buildings is shown on a cloud like form below the castle. The grey-blue clouds are split by lightning bolts, which vividly highlight the noble buildings of the city. El Greco’s intention was not necessarily to represent it as it actually was. Instead, he chose the most characteristic features and buildings and fitted them in would be in line with Mannerism style. F.eks the cathedral would not have been possible to see from this view, but El Greco painted it in. What is striking about this painting is the use of light, and we can recognize some typical characteristics of baroque style. The use of color is impressive, and there is a sharp contrast between the sky and the hills below. There is also contrasting light adding to the dramatical effect. Annett Abo
Andrei was a monk, and a student of another great artist - Theophanes the Greek. Rublev created his genius works in oppressive time: Mongol's occupation of Russia that lasted 200 years. Certainly, this was a tragic time for Christians. And if you see works of Andrey and compare them with other Early Christian paintings, including those of the Greek, you will see sadness, mourning and grief. At the same time, faces of his saints absolutely aural, luminous. They are heavenly beautiful, especially this figure of divine Archangel Michael For those who liked the painting, I would also love to recommend the film of Tarkovsky Andrey Rublev, Cannes festival winner of 1969. Elena Svobodina
In 1648, the year that the Treaty of Münster put an end to the Eighty Years’ war, work started in Amsterdam on the building of a new Town Hall, now the Palace in Dam Square. A considerable sum of money was earmarked for it, in order to make it a really impressive edifice. The town hall was to be an expression of the power of the City of Amsterdam. Great pains were also taken with the interior. The decoration of the gallery around the Burgerzaal was executed at a later date. In 1659 Govert Flinck was contracted to paint twelve works for the gallery, with scenes from the uprising of the Batavians against the Romans. This former pupil of Rembrandt’s was promised the vast sum of 12,000 guilders for the work. Shortly after the commission was awarded, Flinck died. The city council then entrusted the work to several different artists. Rembrandt received one commission, to paint The Conspiracy of the Batavians in the Schakerbos with the one-eyed Julius Civilis, also known as Claudius Civilis. As far as we know, this is the largest painting that Rembrandt ever made. It must have measured at least five and a half metres square. The painting was installed in the town hall in 1662, but was then taken out again. We do not know why. Were the burgomasters dissatisfied because the depiction of the subject was too true to life as some scholars believes? Perhaps, this enigmatic, weird and gruesome scene wouldn't be matched the traditional subject for Dutch hero at the time. The Dutch must have expected the figure who was brave and of dignity against Romans. but instead of it, Rembrandt depicted the figures are ugly, sometimes malformed( the figures of both end-side) barbarian-like. Moreover he gave the dishonorable title "the Conspiracy of the Batavians". Whatever the reason, the painting went back to Rembrandt, who must subsequently have cut the central part out. We see also Rembrandt's style in this paint: the light comes out from the middle of the table and reflects it to each figures through the swords and the thick layer of paint, Impasto. And, in terms of the colour, we might think this paint would be unfinished because of the crudely and rough colors. Minhee Cho John
This painting is one of my favorite images of Madonna with the Baby. It is so different from the iconic paintings of many previous epochs. But it also stands out from many other Titian's works, usually bold and provocative as the life itself of the great Venetian artist. This painting represents late period in Titians's art development. It is still free, maybe, even more, than when he was creating his Venus of Urbino. But this one is no longer provocative, there is no sign of sensuality or nudity. On the contrary, the painting makes us thinking Titian, in the end of his life, started asking himself eternal questions. The image looks slightly fuzzy, no sharp lines, but perfect game of colors. If you zoom in, you will see how one pigment is melting in another. Most colors are diluted, but suddenly we see bright splashes of rose on Madonna's and infants's cheeks and blood-like color on Virgin's shoulder. This late period critics call sometimes 'magic impressionism'. Others say it is more of an abstraction style. One things is clear, Titian was ahead of his time, experimenting with brushes, pigments and forms. That makes a genius. I like Titian's Madonna for certain contradiction of the form and impression I get: I see natural beauty of a real woman, although the image is not sharp and realistic. Her gaze, is warm and concentrated on the Baby's face, although her yeas are not elaborated by Titian. I've been thinking, how do we understand right away that is saint Family, although there is not a single symbol of that -no Halo, no throne, no Lilly etc. I guess this is due to luminous of Madonna's face and impression of serenity of this scene that the artist manages to convey. Elena Svobodina
Titian was a high Renaissance Italian painter, and the most important member of the 16'th century Venetian School. He is a very versatile painter, known for painting, portraits, landscapes, and mythological and religious subjects. In this painting we see Venus, trying to stop her lover Adonis from going to hunt. Though Adonis does not care and is impatient to leave as we can see in his body and even the dogs are impatient to leave. Cupid is in the background sleeping, a symbol of Adonis resisting Venus. The story ends in tragedy and Adonis is killed by a wild boar. The cloudy sky in the painting may be a symbol to the tragedy that is going to take place. This painting has a strong sense of movement and also has strong diagonals which Titian favored. The colors are very rich, and we can see that the flesh of Venus is glowing and almost translucent. Titian was a master of color and the us of color in this painting is exquisite. The red fabric Venus is sitting on is almost glowing. Venus is in an awkward position, showing her even more vulnerable in comparison to Adonis who is strong in his position and his face expression shows that he is not going to listen to Venus and that he is determined to go and hunt. Titian seemed to be inspired by physical beauty and focused on painting the thighs and stomachs of woman which we can see clearly in this painting. This painting is one of Titian’s later paintings where he has developed a looser painting style, his brush strokes are not as tight and the strokes are more energetic. He depicts very well the drama of the story in this painting. Adonis’s right leg is firmly positioned giving a small suggestion he can stay though everything else about him shows his restraint. Seline Sezen
In 1566, at the time Pieter Bruegel was painting the Sermon of Saint John the Baptist, the Reformation had firmly taken root in his home country, The Netherlands. With its emphasis on the personal relationship between the individual worshipper and God, the movement found some of its artistic expression in the inclusion of scenes from everyday life as well as common people. It is not surprising therefore that Bruegel, renowned in his own lifetime for his paintings of peasant life and pastoral scenes, situated this important story from the New Testament in a simple, forest clearing, with a river meandering slowly through the countryside. Contrary to Italian High Renaissance religious art there is nothing grand or monumental about this piece. In a surprising move the main protagonist Saint John, simply attired in a hewn tunic, has been pushed to the middle ground. He is but one aspect of the action. Our attention is equally drawn to the overall vision of the painting; the eclectic crowd that has gathered to listen and to nature. The action in the foreground is also interesting because only the backs of the crowd are visible, an inspired technique that allows the artist to pull the viewer more fully into the narrative. How well the artist understood human psychology. What can be more prone to pique someone’s interest than to know why a crowd has gathered. And we as viewers just join the back of the *****. Bruegel has clearly mastered the illusion of rendering physical reality. His figures occ**y their space very naturally and feel weighty and substantial. His acute powers of observing the human condition are evident in the sheer breadth of different postures, gestures and ****** expressions with which he paints each person. From standing, sitting, crouching, climbing ** a tree, leaning against a branch to yawning, chatting, fortune telling, listening attentively, the artist has truly captured the dynamics of the crowd. It feels alive, coherent and imbued with human emotion. It is a powerful composition, alert to detail but in a move away from the earlier Renaissance painters such a Van Eyck, who recorded minutia, this feels more fluid and impressionistic. A result no doubt of his understanding of atmospheric perspective. His colour palette and use of light perhaps shows the influence of Titian’s Pastoral Concert or Lavinia Fontana’s No Mi Tangere. Earthy tones of brown, russets, reds and greens are pervasive. Iona Fergusson
Unlike Titian's Virgin suckling the Infant Christ, the painting that stands out of all previous works of the Venetian artist, Madonna by Ruben's is very Ruben's one, if I may say so with every distinctive element, that we can expect from this master: stacked, by todays' standards, forms of the Virgin, and a cherubic baby, rich colors, emotional atmosphere. The Mother and the Baby look strikingly alike in every small facial detail, even in the way the look at us direct and straight. Another thing I find interesting is the background. There is a column behind the figures, like the one we expect to see in a church, but its foundation is much higher than it should be, somewhere at the head level of Madonna. And behind the column there is not a door way, but rather a way out from the cave to the outside world. I find this background narrative and symbolic, telling the story of Jesus' birth and foundation of Church. Do you think I may be right? Elena Svobodina
Once again this is a religious piece depicted into a contemporary setting not unlike the previous painting I chose. This one is of Brueghel the elder whose style is unmistakable. It is very much like the Harvest that we studied in class with many scenes in different corners of the painting. The main difference here is that there is one unifying theme. The massacre of the innocent. It is interesting to see how Brueghel has contrasted the peacefulness typically associated with winter against the horror of this massacres. You can read on all the faces despair on the mothers whose children are being taken away to be killed. You can see parents begging the lords and soldiers here to do the deed and you can see some parents trying to hide their children or fleeing and soldiers carefully exploring all buildings and possible hiding places. Surprisingly though there are no children actually appearing as killed in this painting and instead all one can see is animals such as a boar, a turkey and a goose being slaughtered. Reading the commentary I was able to learn that actually this is the result of a subsequent patron, the holy roman emperor Rudoph II, who ordered the actual massacres covered over in such a way that it changed the meaning of the painting. One last point I find arresting and for which I haven’t found an explanation. Looking into the details one can see 2 characters peering over a roof top through the branches in the back on the left. It is not clear whether these are villagers hiding their children or soldiers choosing a vantage point to spot escaping children… I am sure Brueghel would have an answer for that one. Pierre Lorinet
The use of light in this painting is fascinating. Although the scene seems normal at first (forgetting the title for a minute) with a mother showing her new born child with everyone dressed in the garb of the time one quickly realise that it is a religious scene set in a contemporary setting. The light is coming from the baby who can only be Jesus to irradiate in such a fashion. He enlightens the faces of his mother, who wears a content smile, and those of the angels who are smiling broadly. Interestingly behind Mary a bearded character stands in the shadows. This must be Joseph who while the husband of Mary doesn’t bathe in the glory of Jesus like the virgin and the angels. The use of “claire obscure” or tenebrism is applied to enhance the symbolism of the painting and focus the eye of the observer. Pierre Lorinet
This piece by Paulo Veronese is a prime example of the use of nudes within the art of the High Renaissance period. It is not depicting any particular scene from mythology but is showing knowledge of the characters involved. In this scene we see Venus, the goddess of love, alongside her son C**id and lover Mars, god of war, with Venus being the central figure. The viewer’s eye is drawn to Venus as her pale skin contrasts against the dark background. Her nudity – and the haphazard cloth that has been draped over her – makes this painting highly ******ized. Her vol**tuous shape is in keeping with the physical ideal of the age. Therefore the purpose here is titillation wrapped ** in a disguise of respectability and a classical education. Her ****** energy is heightened by the presence of Mars, particularly as he is shown in full armour. This makes the contrast between Mars and Venus all the more marked. It has been suggested that the figure of Mars was a later addition to the painting, which would go some way to explaining both the awkward rendering of his right arm and the fact that Venus’ gaze is on her son, not her lover. We can also see, climbing on the recumbent C**id, a small dog, the Renaissance symbol of fidelity. Kayleigh Ingham
I chose a painting from El Greco’s later works as he was thought to have mastered his ‘style’ towards the end of his life upon his return to Spain where he settled in Toledo before his death in 1614. The subject of the painting is both dark and mysterious which one recognizes as typical of a mannerist work. While the figures are certainly influenced by the Renaissance ideals of man, with their musculature and nudity, the stretched exaggeration of their bodies and lack of naturalism is characteristic of the mannerist style. The figures are expressive, dynamic and in motion as they depict the pain and suffering of Laocoon and his two sons who were killed by serpeants sent from the Gods, after Laocoon mistakenly accused the Greeks of gifting a wooden horse to the Trojans. The pictorial space is quite flat, which emphasizes the lack of naturalism as does the iridescence of the bodies and skin. Also indicating this as a Mannerist work. Evidence of El Greco’s influence by the Venetian ‘school’ is present in the pastoral landscape and town (presumably Troy) seen in the distance. El Greco spent many years studying the old masters in Italy which explains this influence. Alexandra Hutchison
Mathias Stomer was born Holland in 1600 and is considered as one of the best representatives of the Utrecht Caravaggism (most baroque artists in the 17th century were active in the Dutch city of Utrecht). The judgment of Solomon illustrates an episode from the Old Testament in which the King of Israel wisely judged a dispute. Two women had given birth to baby boys at the same time. Shortly after, one of the infants died, but both claimed the living child as their own. Solomon ordered that the boy be cut in half and given to the women. As the sword was raised, the actual mother renounced her claim, to spare her child’s life. Mathias Stomer used oil on canvas for this painting. This scene is theatrical, dramatic, to a certain degree brutal and somehow intimate despite it involves numerous figures. The artist used chiaroscuro lighting effect starting from the center of the painting, vivid colors, and crossing diagonals creating the three dimensional space illusion.
German Gedovius was an incredibly talented deaf mute who was classically trained in Munich, Germany. He schooled at the Royal Academy of Painting in Munich. Besides his classical German training, he also was interested in Realism and Symbolism. His Baroque **** woman is voluptuous and grand. She wears a delicate veil, suggestive in nature. The background articles offer a calm serenity to the entire aura, with exotic cushions and flowers speaking to the sensual femininity of the subject. Roxanne Trent
While Caravaggio lived a short and tumultuous life, he was a master painter and more so, observer, with a gift for translating what he saw in life, to a painted canvas with an unbelievable sense of realism. Caravaggio is best known for the invention of tenebrism, a form of very high-contrast chiaroscuro, in which there are both light and dark regions in an image but very few mid-tones. The effect is both dramatic and quieting. Caravaggio trained under Simone Peterzano who had himself trained under Titian, whose influence can be seen in Caravaggio’s idealized depiction of Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness (1604). Scholars have also commented that Caravaggio might have borrowed the posture for this image of the adolescent Saint from the famous ceilings painted by another old master, Michaelangelo, in the Sistine Chapel. This painting by Caravaggio is identifiably Baroque in its strong use of chiaroscuro. The expressive face, shoulders and solid weight of The Baptist is illuminated from above. Two very dynamic diagonals exist within the picture plane despite an overall sense of stillness. One is created by the connection made between left knee and right hand, as well as the left upper arm and shoulder hovering above the right foot. The Baptist is holding a red cross, which has a slight lean to it thereby adding another dynamic element. The cross also serves the sole purpose of identifying the figure as Saint John, as Caravaggio famously omitted more well-known iconographic clues to identify him, such as a sheep or halo. The fur on the cloth covering The Baptist; his hair; the shadows and expression of his skin; are rich with fine detail, as is the foliage surrounding the image. This level of detail and the moody and subdued nature of the painting make it easily recognizable as the work of Caravaggio. Alexandra Hutchison
This painting was painted by the French artists Jean-Honore Fragonard (1732 - 1806), in about 1785 and done in true Rococo style. Done in the latter half of the century it is less frivolous then his earlier works and is one of a series of paintings that e*plores the passion of love. It depicts a beautifully illustrated genre scene about the fountain of love. It portrays a young couple emerging from a dark forest into soft amber light. They are rushing eagerly to drink from a fountain, which has the ability to set hearts alight with love and are met by a number of putti, who offers them a gold cup holding the eli*ir of love to drink. Fragonard has created this painting, “…in an e*tremely inventive manner, adding a soft, steamy atmosphere to his cameo-like figures” (painting detail). This haste of the couple matches and is emphasised through Fragonard’s typical painting style. It is painted quickly and in a sketch like technique, their clothing is soft and flowing as if caught in a breeze and they are poised on one foot indicating forward movement and eagerness. The brush work is light, airy graceful and is full of curved lines. The figures are dainty; they are longer, taller and thinner. Pastel colours are used and there is a light hearted mood. Done at the end of the 18th Century this movement was occurring at the same time as the neo–classical period. As a result, Fragonard’s painting is a response to this period, where by he returns this "allegory to its classical origins" (painting detail). We see this return to the classical period through the profile of the lovers heads which are precisely defined like heads on a classical coin. As an interesting side note, there were in fact two of these paintings created. There is the famous painting that we know as well as a lesser known of the two paintings. Using *-ray technology, we see in the lesser known of the two paintings, that Fragonard originally posed the two main figures to look at each other adoringly, but this was later changed to show the two figures both looking at the fountain. This major alteration is known as pentimento. Following this, he painted a copy of this altered painting which we now know as the more famous of the two. The ability to look below the surface of the painting not only allows you to see the artists thought process and paintings progression it also allows you to know more aspects about the painting which gives you an even deeper understanding into the artwork and the artist.
This painting was painted between 1790-1792 by the neo-classical painter Jacque Louis David. This painting depicts the Jeu de Paume Oath a significant event during the first day of the French revolution, which David “recognised in this revolutionary episode an event worthy of the ancient heroes” (Painting detail). Intended for the room where the members of the young National Assembly met it is a huge canvas measuring 6.6meters long and 4 meters high. But political events, the extent of the work involved and financing the work, prevented David from this attempt of painting contemporary history. What initially attracted me to this painting was the unfinished nature of this piece because it enables you to see the artists’ process. Whilst it is only was only started five years after the painting by Fragonard it can be seen from what little there is detailed that it is distinctly different in atmosphere and style. At first glance we see that it is not playful and looks more serious and stately. It is made ** of sharper lines and has a clear rational geometry. The heads that are painted are harsher in colour and true to the neoclassical period there is a return to the classical forms – the muscular definition of the legs of the figures seems exaggerated. Anna Migdalski
Gustave Courbet, a self-thought artist, was known as non-conformist, innovator and free spirited painter, being extensively criticized by the conservative church for his portrayal of ordinary people, disrespect for traditional standards of order and beauty and for his rejection of any beliefs in after death life. “I am fifty years old and I have always lived in freedom; let me end my life free; when I am dead let this be said of me: 'He belonged to no school, to no church, to no institution, to no academy, least of all to any régime except the régime of liberty” he wrote in one of his letters. Courbet developed his own style by studying and copying works of Spanish, Flemish and French artists. His further travels to Belgium and Netherlands reinforced his philosophy on art, such as artists should portray life around them like Rembrandt and other Dutch masters. The artist has been known to paint figurative compositions, landscapes and seascapes. Water is one of the main themes of his works. In his canvas water could be seen in any of its forms namely stagnant, moving, falling, breaking as a wave… Perhaps because the water being a huge part of the real world, one of the four elements of life, and Courbet being a realist painter, just felt this strong connection. Or maybe because it is associated with his birthplace – Ornans near the river valley of the Loue and the cliffs of the French Jura mountains that this particular artistic work also represents. From the first glance at this piece of work I had the impression that it was rather shadowy image regardless of the sunny day but according to the information from the Google site this is because of the new method consisted of painting on a black ground in the new spatula technique developed around 1865, not with the bright colors but constantly quiet shades of blue, green and brown. “You are puzzled that my canvas is black. But nature without the sun is dark and black; I am doing what light does, all I do is lighten everything that stands out and the picture is finished”. Courbet was well respected among the members of artistic society in Europe and was recognized as a hero in the French avant-garde movement. He exercised profound influence on painters like Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, who immortalized the painter in his version of “The luncheon on the grass” 1866, Edward Hopper, James Whistler and Paul Cezanne. Lioudmila Nasri
My first artistic work selection for this week assignment is the Portrait of Elizabeth and Mary Linley by Thomas Gainsborough, one of the England’s greatest portraitist painters, whose portraits are known to convolute very closely with the surrounding landscape painting. Elizabeth and Mary, daughters of composer Tom Linley the younger, were both professional singers. Gainsborough, being a friend of the family, painted numerous portraits of Linley girls and especially incredibly beautiful and talented, world class soprano Elizabeth (standing), whom he firstly painted when she was only 13 years old! This canvas is a great example of Rococo period. Delicacy of style, sensitivity, pastel colors and lightness of Thomas Gainsborough work are all-reflective characteristics of Rococo period at their best, contrary to rigidity, structures and seriousness of precedent grand mannered Baroque art. This work is an observation of nature and human nature. Gainsborough's liking for landscape is shown in the way he merges figures of the portrait with the scenes behind. This painting communicates the character of the young ladies, their love for the nature, for the music and singing, their love for each other... Overall, this composition is very unified and complete. It is a very peaceful image. There is a very strong connection between the selection of colors and the execution of artistic work. On a personal note, I’ve selected Thomas Gainsborough as an artist based on this famous work “Portrait of a Lady in Blue”, which I happened to see long-long time ago and at that time it just blew me away. The portrait is considered to be one of the most successful Gainsborough’s paintings. The refined tonal combinations and the particular of painting - applying very fluid paints in a semi-transparent layer, his rapid strokes made with a fine brush - emphasize the nobility and elegance of the image of the young woman are characteristics of Gainsborough personal style and the Rococo artistic period. The "Portrait of a Lady in Blue” was bequeathed to the Hermitage by Alexei Khitrovo and was given to the museum in 1916. It is the only example of the English artist's work in Russia. Some art historians believe that it is a portrait of the Duchess of Beaufort. Lioudmila Nasri
This painting by Turner is of the view from the Hotel Europa in Venice. Apparently Turner stayed at the Europa Hotel on most of his visits to Venice and made many drawings and watercolours conveying his romantic impressions of this view. This particular painting includes the view of the Punta Della Dogana, on a triangular shaped piece of land that separates the Grand and Giudecca Canals, and three churchs- San Giorgio Maggiore, Santa Maria della Salute and Santa Maria della Presentazione (Citella). Turner may have sketched/painted this view at different times of day to explore different aspects of lighting. The painting is a beautiful example of Turner’s fascination with diffuse light and his skill as a colourist. The objects in the immediate foreground of the painting are quite clear and detailed-for example the two small black and white dogs that seem to be looking out from the landing into the water after their master, two vivid orange and blue and white jars (perhaps from an exotic location) left sitting on the dock and the two gondolas. The reflections of the gondolas in the water are painted by Turner almost as strongly as the actual objects. The Punta dell Dogana is the building closest in the foreground and Turner has painted enough detail for the viewer to observe that the building takes inspiration from Renaissance style architecture with its’ arches and columns. The Dogana was the customs house of Venice and that is why there are so many boats with goods for trading in the vicinity but Turner conveys only a general somewhat abstract impression of the boats, traders and a busy place with orange and yellow hues. As we move further into the background of the painting, the representations become even more subtle and the emphasis is more on the romantic impression of the scene as conveyed by the reflection of the buildings and objects into the water. The sky is quite bright blue but overcast with clouds where Turner appears to have applied the paint more thickly. This gives the impression of light breaking through the clouds in certain places to be reflected glistening in the water. Turner has used a myriad of soft pastel colours to portray the complex reflection of light on water. This fascination by Turner with light and reflection through first hand personal observation seems to foreshadow or perhaps provided an inspiration for the Impressionist period that followed in the later 1800s. Sandra Pagan
This large (52 * 36 in) painting is a portrait of Louise de Broglie, Comtesse D’Haussonville and is currently part of the Frick Collection in New York. The portrait was finally completed by Ingres in 1845 after he worked on it for several years. This lengthy preparation is not entirely surprising as Ingres was known to consider preparatory sketches and drawings as integral to creating the final work of art but one could also imagine that Louise might not have been the kind of woman who wanted to spend a lot of time sitting for her portrait. This portrait displays many of the features of Ingres’ Neoclassical style that he was so well known for. Ingres has rendered the portrait of Louise in such clean precise lines and with so minimal evidence of brushstrokes that the painting seems almost close to photography. The colour palette chosen by Ingres is predominantly blue with complementary accents of gold and a few notes of red in her hair ribbon and the potted rose on the mantel. Louise has been portrayed in a rela*ed non formal pose leaning against a mantel in her boudoir possibly returning from an evening out at the opera as evident by the opera glasses on the mantel. Ingres has portrayed Louise staring out frankly and directly with a hand to chin pose that could be considered either contemplative or flirtatious. Her face is very delicately painted (perhaps recalling Raphael) with a faint flush of pink on her cheeks and lips but Ingres has made her eyes a bit larger than normal probably to emphasize her gaze. As has been observed in other portraits by Ingres, the body proportions are not quite natural or anatomically correct as Louise’s arms seem quite large in comparison to her torso and even with an e*treme slouch it seems unlikely for her right arm to have completely disappeared from view. Indeed if one looks at Louise’s reflection in the mirror both of her shoulders are reasonably level. On the other hand, Ingres has achieved a huge amount of detail elsewhere in the painting particularly in the folds of Louise’s silk gown through the effective use of line and shadow. Louise’s reflection is portrayed with such clarity in the mirror that one can see the individual plaits of her braids and the folds of her hair ribbon. Her jewellry is also rendered in detail so that by zooming in on the portrait one can make out the individual links in the thick gold bracelet and snake-like design of the ring on her right hand. Lastly, Ingres has made a lot of effort to portray all the objects on the mantle in detail- the blue and gold classical style vases, the repeating floral motifs and the letters or notes scattered in a pile. Ingres has signed and dated the painting on the arm of the far white chair. Apparently Ingres did not always enjoy painting portraits and often was self-critical of his own work but the fact that he signed and dated this portrait of Louise suggests Ingres might have been happy with this one. Sandra Pagan
Thomas Gainsborough was an English landscape and Portrait painter. This painting, Diana and Actaeon is the only surviving mythological painting by Gainsborough. It is said to likely be a finished sketch. The story comes from Ovid's Metamorphoses, Actaeon comes across Diana and her nymphs who are bathing *****, Diana upset by his trespass splashes water into his face and he turns into a beast and is hunted to death by his own hounds. When we look at this painting we see nymphs bathing, the figures are not detailed they are all in a state of movement and their positions are graceful, they look almost fluid. The tones in the painting are pastel, a signature rococo style. The brushstrokes are very brushy, we can see this helps to add to the movement and drama in the painting. the trees look like they are swaying in the wind. The painting looks impressionistic and their are touches of white paint which adds light to the painting. When focusing on the figures there is a sensual feeling to the painting. Gainsborough's use of line also adds to the movement, the figures are constructed of a series of curvy lines, a very impressionistic touch. The painting looks like it was painted in a speedy fashion, and Gainsborough was known for the fast way in which he would apply paint. Seline Sezen
He has all of Rococo qualities as we have learned on the video. It is an oil paint but was painted a light brush stroke with a very impressive, splendid and lively Red color. This red color can be also seen on the flushed cheeks. This work is also used vaporous brushing in background. In the 16th and 17th centuries, artists and authors used blind-man's buff as a symbol of the folly of marriage, where on took one's chances in choosing a mate. This painting is very lively somewhat naughty, happy and playful. He painted it instantaneously passing moment. A young man tickles his blindfolded beloved on the cheek with a piece of a straw, an infant in the role of a classical cupid, brushes her hand with the end of the stick to distract her from the object of her desire. the seeing for this courtship game is a terrace surrounded by a low wall which is a reference to enclosed to the garden, traditional symbol of virginity. Learning against the wall is a gate that has fallen off its posts. the ****** symbolism of the gate- not only open but broken off- would have been obvious to 18th century viewers. when the young Fragnard painted this scene, he was still working in the studio of his famous teacher Francois Boucher.
Turner’s landscapes depict the unrelenting force of nature as part of the Romantic expression of the Sublime. In, “Fishermen at Sea,” c.1801, the sky is all-encompassing, and the sea seems ready to engulf the small fishing boat. Turner uses a heightened contrast of light and dark, to further add dramatic effect. Turner was a master colorist, and he unconventionally blurred forms to heighten effects of color, movement, and drama. This can especially be seen in his later work, which exhibited even more abstraction. “Fishermen at Sea,” as his first oil painting exhibited at the Royal Academy, is not as abstract, but the emphasis remains on the interplay of light, shadow, and the prominence of the landscape over the figure. The two main sources of light in the painting; the moon, and the lantern in the foreground boat, create focal points within the dark confines of the seascape. Nature is again expressed as master over men, as the lantern pales in significance to the moonlight. The Romantic period was a shift from the reason-influenced period of Neoclassicism. On a technical level, this was expressed through looser brushwork, and a less orderly, more complex, composition. Frances Owen
I find Romantism very appealing. After era of intellectual discoveries, reflected in Renaissance art, irrational feelings and emotionalism took over rationalism. Feelings were strong: white was white and black was very black. Strong emotions were expressed in all genres, even in landscape painting. And of course, what can be more wild and full in emotions than ocean. I chose The Ninth Wave for these strong feelings. Once I watched tsunami in my native port of Vladivostok. I will never forget dramatic, terrifying image of that. And Aivazovsky's Wave causes similar feelings. A remarkable piece of art. I had a chance to see the original last month in St Petersburg. Aivazovsly, possibly, is the best marine painter of all times. Joseph Mallord William Turner himself, being already acknowledged master of marine scenes, when he saw the Ninth Wave was literally overwhelmed. The art of the young Russian marine painter inspired the venerable master to write a poem, in Italian, the last two lines of which are intoned in a panegyric mood: „L?arte tuo ben? e ******* So good and ****** is your art Perche il genio t?inspiró!..? That only genius could have inspired you This painting does not require explanation: the ocean is severe, the nature is so much stronger than people who are totally exhausted, but struggle and hope. We do not see in people emotions other than that, but Ocean, Sky and Sun, the real characters here, are full of contrasting emotions: wildness, cruelty, divine beauty and hope. Aivazovsky is amazing colorist: his sea is transparent and deep at the same time, vaporing and ****. On this painting we see three main point that attract our attention. The first one is white soup peak of the wave, delicate like a lace. The second point is the float with survivors. And the most amazing point is the sun, that blankly comes through the clouds. I is clear that few moments ago it was dark and obscure with no chance for any livings creature to survive, and now, the golden, almost enigmatic light gives hope to the poor. Elena Svobodina
Jean Antoine Watteau was a French artist who was always involved with the theater through out all his career. One of Watteau's favorite theme was about a group of Italian or French actors who entertain the court. Among these actors we see the lovers, the clown, pretty ladies, the musicians and the old man. The main figure is Pierrot, a vulnerable figure standing taller than anyone else, dressed in white. He is motionless, shy, nervous, heraldic and the most human of the comedian characters in this scene. He is trying to win the love of his girl, standing next to him, but he is an unlucky guy. Scaramouche, the braggart, is dressed in gold with black trim. He introduces him while the other characters interact around the strangely still Pierrot. It is said that this painting is maybe a blasphemous echo of Pilate presenting Christ to the mockery of the people. No crowns of thorns, but a crown of flowers lies neglected and rejected on the steps. It is basically an scene mixed of reality and illusion. The artist intention was to evoke a mood, not simply describe a scene. This painting was one of many paintings Watteau did about theater and art. He was always inspired by the performances of the Italian “Commedia dell'arte”. The characters originated in Italy but in French they also became very popular. Marisol Roman
Canova was a leading Neoclassical sculptor. His work was compared to Michelangelo, but there is a Raphael-like sensitivity in the portrayal of the young couple, Cupid and Psyche. There is a similar sweetness in the ****** expressions of Canova’s statue with the expressions of Raphael’s Madonna’s. Cupid leans upon Psyche, as she hands him a butterfly, which was representative of the soul. It seems that the woman, in the position of Cupid leaning upon her, is emblematic both of strength and grace. Neoclassical art tended to have a moralizing strain, which differed from the Rococo, where excess and sensual abandon were favored. The Neoclassical period was a return to classical ideals, which was prompted by the discoveries of Herculaneum and Pompeii, as well as the cultural tradition of the “Grand Tour.” Unlike the previous Rococo period, with its emphasis on aristocratic frivolity, there was a return to a more stately simplicity, a quiet reserve that suited a time of serious social change. Artists expressed this change of priority through a tighter brushwork, a more balanced composition, and a finely polished finish to their work, which polish, sculpturally speaking, can be seen in Canova’s statue. Frances Owen
Johann Gottfried Schadow received the Royal court order to sculpt a figurative group of the two princesses sisters: Louise and Friederike. They were the daughters of the Duke of Mecklenburg- Strelitz. The artist wanted to do for first time a double statue of two individuals that were not rulers or military figures. This work is Neoclassicist and naturalistic in character with a romantic touch. A fraternal hug between two sisters. Gottfried knowing very well the classic rules of beauty gave us something new in the body posture of the models, which achieves more balanced ways. Louise cross the left leg over the right, and rests on the shoulders of his sister. Friederike, in turn, place her left leg forward. Marisol Roman
When I see it at first, it would not match between the title of disaster and the yellowy color which is a symbol of hope. In term of his technical application of the color, Turner was one of the first artists in Britain to use synthetic colors as they gradually became available, with chromium yellow becoming his favorite. The transition from archaic alchemy to modern chemistry during the nineteenth century would mean that new metallic elements, such as Chromium, could be provided a much wider range of colors for artists. Chromium yellow, chromium orange and chromium red etc.. So, he painted it with a amazing beautiful yellow and white color and I can't clearly see his brush stroke, but I think he used in thick work, Impasto especially in the wave. The human destiny ,it should be yield to natural disaster. At that time, there was no developed photo technique, so he tried to go to the sea and took his personal experience. That's why we could feel more dramatic, it's a tragic drama and moreover, It looks as if we can hear the screaming of figures from the painting. This canvas was never exhibited and is probably unfinished, but remains one of Turner's most powerful statement on the Romantic theme of maritime disaster. Its pyramidal composition leaves little doubt that Turner had seen Gericault's Raft of the Medusa (1818-19) described by one critic as ' this tremendous picture of human sufferings' when it was exhibited in London in 1822. Turner's own subject is the wrack of the Amphitrite off Boulogne in 1833. The ship's captain abandoned his cargo of female convicts , claiming that he was only authorized to land them in New South Wales. Minhee Cho John
This is a portrait of David Garrick in one of his most famous roles: “Richard III,” painted by William Hogarth. Garrick was a good friend of Hogarth. The painting shows the king in his tent the night before the Battle of Bosworth, suddenly waking ** from a bad dream. The king is shown in a theatrical pose, and the expression on his face is one of fear and surprise. This is the first major Shakespearian picture. It is not just a portrait, but also a grand history painting in which Hogarth emphasises England's importance. Hogarth believed that an incident from English rather than ancient history could be used to teach a moral lesson. At the time Shakespeare plays were considered rough, unpolished and lacking sophistication. It would then fit in with the rococo style of being less formal and more playful to choose this motive. Hogarth uses the Rococo style of loose strokes in free flowing nature. Annett Abo
Henry Fuseli’s ‘Ariadne watching the struggle of Theseus with the Minotaur’ is an example of art from the Romantic period which legitimized strong emotion as a genuine source of aesthetic appreciation and experience. Painted between 1815-1820, the work reveals the artist’s intention of creating a highly dramatic and emotionally charged scene. What is interesting to note and in a move towards greater empathetic impact, Fuseli takes Ariadne as his main protagonist and shows us the action through her eyes. Standing on a staircase she looks down in a terror of suspense as her lover, Theseus, is engaged in mortal combat with the Minotaur. Reminiscent of the drama of the Baroque, each figure physically engages with the action and lives it through their bodies. For instance we see Ariadne, body thrust forward and arms outstretched, practically throwing herself over the staircase wall onto the scene below; Theseus, body taut and primed, raising both arms above his head to ensure the dagger is driven home with maximum force and impact; and the Minotaur, front legs rearing and back arched, desperately fighting for his life. However what is noteworthy in its deviation from the Baroque is the artist’s depiction of their bodies. Missing are the idealized and exaggerated forms from the earlier period. In their place are more attenuated, amorphous shapes and bodies that lack physical reality. For example Ariadne’s ****, legs, arms and face are singularly lacking in detail. And Theseus, even though his physique is far more developed, still does not manifest a natural physical form as seen in the highly distended rib cage, exaggerated musculature and bonelike, raised left arm. Consistent with the Romantic movement the depiction of emotion has taken the place of reality. The artist’s preoccupation with communicating this emotionality is further enhanced by his painting technique. Loose, brushier strokes and the use of whites and greys for Ariadne convey an eerie feeling of ghostly unreality. The emphasis on dark, earthy shades of brown and the dramatic use of light and dark increase that sense of horror and claustrophobia. Even the location, in a sepulchral chamber with a staircase leading nowhere, big linked chains hanging from a post, makes for nightmarish associations. Iona Fergusson
Ukranian born Ilya Repin visited Italy and Paris on a bursary paid the Russian Imperial Academy between 1873-1876 at a time when Realism was flourishing. Born out of a rejection of the emotionalism of the Romantic period, a refusal to be bound by the rigid artistic conventions taught at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and the growing interest in photography’s direct observation, the movement’s impact on the artist was profound. Once back in Russia he joined the Itinerants, a group of free thinking artists, whose maxim was that art should depict real life, and began his unique interpretation of Realism. In Krestny Khod in Kursk Guberia we see his interest in ordinary people across different social divides and in contemporary events. A religious procession, made up of peasants, priests, the bourgeoisie, the military, men, women and children, is slowly wending its way along a muddy road. The artist has not sought to idealize or glorify the scene in anyway nor has he avoided depicting the harshness of life at that time. For example in the left foreground a poor, disabled boy, crutch under his arm, is being aggressively told to speed up or in the right foreground the glum faces of the reliquary bearers tell a tale of hardship and forbearance. The underlying tension and violence is also evident in the number of aggressively raised sticks poised for action scattered within the crowd. The painting is not without its social and political message. Standing out in the right foreground is the gleaming gold of the reliquary, garlanded with flowers and festooned with ribbons. Catching our eye in the center, set a little apart, is the priest wearing his ornate liturgical vestments while the crowd around him is dressed mainly in simple home spun cloth or dark, sober clothes. The muddy road that the procession is advancing along shows no signs of industrial advancement despite the fact that the hills behind show the decimating impact that industrialization was having on nature. This painting seems to embody the protectionist and reactionary maxim revived by Tsar Alexander III on his ascendancy to the throne of “Autocracy, Orthodoxy and Nationality” first put forward by Tsar Nicholas I about 50 years earlier.
The painting is showing a scene which Fuseli purely invented. Percivel, - one of King Arthurs’ legendary Knights of the Round Table - seen here as a virile hero, waking from his enchanted sleep, raises his sword to attack a wizard, clasping a chained a women of the name of Belisane by his side. The ghostly heads to the left are presumably lost or trapped souls; the woman’s hand hidden to the right is that of another victim of Urma. Fuseli loved dramatical scenery as he was strongly obsessed by the revival of the Baroque. The invention of a unknown legend gives him the entire palette to give free space to emphazise spectacle and sensation rather then the noble themes and moral lessons from the Antique or other moments in Art History. The painting is ****** and irrational, gestures are highly dramatic and full of emotions. The expression of feelings is more important than rationality, caracteristics which are typical for this period of Romantism. The brushwork is fluid and loose, and the diagonality of the painting as well as the dark coloring are adding to the dramatic energy of Fuseli’s painting. Bettina Rossi
This is a painting by Jean-Francois Millet who was a French painter well known for his paintings of peasants and rural life. The scene shown in this painting can easily be defined as Realism based on the subject matter as it shows normal, common people in an everyday situation. In this painting, we see a man and a woman planting potatoes together. The man is digging and the woman is putting potatoes (as seeds) into the holes. The setting is very idyllic and the landscape around them is pretty. There is a baby sleeping peacefully in a basket under a tree. There is also a donkey under the tree. At the time, potatoes were by many considered unfit food, however the peasants in this painting are planting potatoes for themselves to eat. Although poor, these peasants are portrayed content and dignified, and the atmosphere is one of calm and peace. The peasants blend very naturally in with the landscape because their clothes have the same colors as the landscape around them. This crates harmony in the scene. This is a painting by Jean-Francois Millet who was a French painter well known for his paintings of peasants and rural life. The scene shown in this painting can easily be defined as Realism based on the subject matter as it shows normal, common people in an everyday situation. This is a painting by Jean-Francois Millet who was a French painter well known for his paintings of peasants and rural life. The scene shown in this painting can easily be defined as Realism based on the subject matter as it shows normal, common people in an everyday situation. In this painting, we see a man and a woman planting potatoes together. The man is digging and the woman is putting potatoes (as seeds) into the holes. The setting is very idyllic and the landscape around them is pretty. There is a baby sleeping peacefully in a basket under a tree. There is also a donkey under the tree. At the time, potatoes were by many considered unfit food, however the peasants in this painting are planting potatoes for themselves to eat. Although poor, these peasants are portrayed content and dignified, and the atmosphere is one of calm and peace. The peasants blend very naturally in with the landscape because their clothes have the same colors as the landscape around them. This crates harmony in the scene.
This full-length portrait of the wife of a prominent Perthshire landowner is an excellent example of many of the stylistic techniques of the Rococo period. Firstly, we can see that the figure of Mrs Graham is very slender and attenuated, with an elegant, swan-like neck and the inclusion of both a high coiffure and a feathered hat adding to the sense of verticality. It can also be seen that, while Gainsborough has painted her face and hands in exquisite detail, the dress and the background have a softer, sketchier feel. In fact, Gainsborough has utilised these light, feathery brushstrokes to help create the illusion of different fabrics in Mrs Graham’s dress (which, in keeping with the Rococo style, is in muted/pastel colours). There is a certain element of playfulness to this composition as we see the subject resting her elbow on a plinth on which stands what looks to be an Ionic column; however, this architectural feature does not appear to be attached to a larger building. Indeed, the remainder of the background shows a very natural scene. On top of this, the very classical column is juxtaposed with the contemporary 18th century attire worn by Mrs Graham. It is as though Gainsborough is attempting to tie together several different ideas – Nature and the man-made, ancient and modern. Kayleigh Ingham
This painting was made by the first Rococo artists, Jean Antoine Watteau. As a general feeling, we see every single person is having a peaceful and good time. This is the representation of a day to day happy time. A woman wearing an elegant dark dress is having a glass of wine, so she is enjoying her time with family or friends. Other people are chatting; some are flirting with each other. Children are playing on the floor, dogs are there as well. It is a playful scene. I believe this is the opening dance, as we have two main figures on the center that dance and no one else is. The moment is captured, the moment is instantaneous. All the figures are very elegant, and we see that the painting is done in a sketchy way, as the figures are attenuated and thin, the trees are not very well defined, a bit blurry. It seems to me that Watteau painted the essential of the scene. This painting was made by the first Rococo artists, Jean Antoine Watteau. As a general feeling, we see every single person is having a peaceful and good time. This is the representation of a day to day happy time. A woman wearing an elegant dark dress is having a glass of wine, so she is enjoying her time with family or friends. Other people are chatting; some are flirting with each other. Children are playing on the floor, dogs are there as well. It is a playful scene. Julie-Anne Servant
Paisley born artist John Knox became known as one of Scotland’s leading painters of landscapes and panoramas. In this particular work, the setting is Loch Katrine (to the north of Glasgow), a place that had recently been made famous by Sir Walter Scott as part of a general romanticising of Scotland, her history and landscape. This painting helps to capture this idyllic representation of the area. There is a real sense of the sublime in this painting with the view out over the loch seeming to open out and give a feeling of space. This, coupled with the grandeur of the hills surrounding the water’s edge and the great expanse of sky, helps to create a truly breathtaking vista. This is a dramatic landscape - the clouds in the foreground are dark and ominous, the hills dominate the tourists. The tourists themselves are fishing, carrying picnic baskets and waiting for the boats that will take them to the island in the centre of the loch. What makes this a Romantic Landscape is that it creates a juxtaposition of the dramatic with the tranquil scene while, at the same time, ignoring the realities of the age. Following Scott’s propaganda campaign, places like Loch Katrine had become overrun with tourists visiting, and Knox is choosing here to focus on this picturesque view of Scotland while ignoring the massive industrialisation that was taking place in the towns and cities. Kayleigh Ingham
It’s 6pm; it’s Angelus and prayer time for all Christians. The sun will disappear soon, in a few minutes. Millet captured a realistic moment: The two figures were working planting potatoes, the day is almost finished, they are alone in this rural countryside but still, they find time to pray. We distinguish them very well from the background as the figures look real, are thin, expressive and genuine. Lines are defined and there is expression of commitment in this religious event that happens every day at 6pm. Their outfit colors are blue, red, yellow pastels colors. The background however, is blurry; the village is not perceivable as it is far. It is getting dark, so the light does not allow us to distinguish very well the land. Millet creates a clear contrast of light between the figures and the landscape to enhance the presence of these figures, and highlight the fact that they are far from home, alone and that they had a very **** working day. Colors of the background are not pastels, but dark colors with very little light. This contrasts of colors used reinforce the fact that they are far from home, and dedicated to their prayer. I really feel compassion about them, and admire their dedication to their work and their prayer time. Colors of their outfit may represent the colors of France: Blue, white and red. We have to remember that at that time, France went through a difficult period, especially for the rural inhabitants of France. Maybe the artist wants to show the audience that French people are not only from the royalty, but that we also need to give importance to people who are committed to religion, and work **** to survive and try to eat every day. So he paints common people that have the same rights to be shown to the public: This is another reality of French people at that time. Julie-Anne Servant
Boiserie is a French word to describe intricately carved wooden paneling. The panels as depicted here were removed from the Hotel de Varengeville in Paris in the late 19th century and are now on display in a mocked ** room in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The room has been created and decorated in the Rococo style in keeping with the boiserie. The paneling is highly and ornately decorated with organic patterning which intricately spreads around the walls. If observed closely one can make out swans, fish, putti and flowers. Gilding has been used without abandon to enhance and highlight the intricate and delicate carvings. The room has also been decorated in a similar fashion to the walls, where everything, including the furnishing is highly ornate and intricately decorated and gilded. The marble fireplace has been ornately carved, and is decorated with a flamboyantly gilded clock. This room is typical of the Rococo styling where the verticality, delicacy, refinement, decoration and gilding in the detailing makes this room feel opulent, luxurious and romantic. Sam Bullen
In this scene they say goodbye, an image that David makes so powerful and real with a warm white light that sets their light skin aglow. Telemachus stares straight out at us, his face still babyish and framed by blonde curls, like a lamb who doesn’t know to be scared as it’s naively lead toward slaughter. That’s not what happens in this story though. Telemachus is rewarded for sacrificing in the name of his father, and at the end of the story he learns his mentor has been the goddess of wisdom this whole time and he reaches Ithaca safely and smarter and stronger than ever. Eucharis wraps her arms gently around his neck, leaning her head on his shoulder, eyes downcast because she knows she’s about to be left behind and there’s nothing she can do about it. Telemachus has his right hand placed gently on her leg as a temporary consolation prize, holding his spear in the other hand, fingers spread across it as he leans back and acknowledges the viewer with his sad blue-eyed stare. A skinny ghost of a dog peeks his head out of the darkness in the right-hand corner, staring up at his master as another faithful admirer, but perhaps one that actually gets to come along. This painting currently belongs to the Getty Museum in LA whose website reads, “David painted The Farewell of Telemachus and Eucharis during his exile in Brussels. The use of saturated reds and blues contrasted with flesh-tones and combined with a clarity of line and form typifies the Neoclassical style, which is characteristic of David’s late history paintings. Natalie Topham-Smith
In this idyllic pastoral painting we see a mother and child, gaily going through the country side. While they appear to be peasants, this is positively portrayed by the mother gaily pushing her baby in a rough hewn wooden wheelbarrow. The mother is barefoot, yet appears happy and lighthearted, and she is simply dressed in peasants clothing. The baby is fully swaddled in ample fabric, happily riding in a wooden wheelbarrow, filled with straw for comfort. A surprising note is the lush pink rose garland decorating the side of the wheelbarrow, adding an unexpected elegance to the scene. We are left with a comforting vision of Mother and child, fully enjoying the village life, even while perhaps lacking finery in life. Scenes such as this were popular in 18 th century France. Virtues of motherhood offer an glimpse into the Enlightenment ideal of morality. Roxanne Trent
Elena Svobodina
This ethereal scene depicts the finest of the fine, with the participants, both men and women, enjoying life to the fullest. Reclining in an outdoor setting, rich with foliage and arbor, we see flowing clothing with rich coloring and ruffles, fine footwear and curled hair on both men and women alike. It is interesting to note the hairstyles and colors of both the men and women are nearly identical. We also see a canine enjoying the fine life, appearing to be a calm natured, richly golden coated Golden Retriever. The group is being served wine in fine glassware that appears regal and royal in and of itself. The wine color is a delicate rose', keeping hues in tone with the rest of the woven tapestry color palette. This is an extremely graceful and grand scene, with the participants obviously of a higher echelon, as they have ample time for leisure and fine wine. Roxanne Trent
Modigliani was influenced in sculpting by Constantin Brancusi, who exhibited at the Armory show in New York. The Armory show was an exhibition with the purpose of bringing modern art to America. Modigliani, in his sculpture, was part of that new sense of modernism that Brancusi displayed in his work. There is an ancient Egyptian and Cycladic influence to the sculpture, that moves away from the classical Greek influence. The incised lines at the base are almost reminiscent of the intertwined animal heads on the Egyptian Narmer palette. The elongated proportions of the woman, seen in the long neck, which was part of the Modigliani style, also bears comparison with the statue of Nefertiti. The Cycladic-like nose adds to the overall sense of elongation. The material is limestone, and there is a rough quality to the statue, which showed the returning trend to a simpler, more primitive artistic treatment. Modigliani, in this work, seems to combine historic stylistic devices into an uncluttered modern statement. Frances Owen
I selected this painting since I happened to see it several times and constantly admire it. Edgar Degas, French painter, sculptor and printmaker, was member of Impressionist group and very well known for his representation of Parisian life. Interestingly Degas always remained a fateful Parisian, living and working in the same area of Paris during his whole active life. During his adolescence he spent a few years in Italy, where he studied sculpture of antiquity and works of major masters of Italian Renaissance, namely Giotto, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Titian and lately works of Northern artists Anthony Van Dyck and Frans Snyder. Degas chose the human figure and especially female figure as principal subject of his work. Ballet dancers especially would preoccupy him throughout his whole career. He actually happened to be called at some point as “painter of dancers”. Most of Degas artistic works are colored, but this work, being a colorless painting, differs drastically from numerous and multicolored paintings of ballet dancers. The only explanation to that may be that this painting was meant to be a model for an engraver or may actually be a drawing and not a painting. Degas’ drawings include examples in pen, ink, pencil, chalk, pastel, charcoal, and oil on paper, often in combination with each other, while his paintings were carried out in watercolour, gouache, distemper, metallic pigments, and oils, on surfaces including card, silk, ceramic, tile, and wood panel, as well as widely varied textures of canvas. That is what makes this Ballet Rehearsal so unique and differentiates it from the rest of Degas’ work. Speaking of the composition we see that two groups of dancers are very different. The elegant dancing ballerinas appear to be very comfortable and relaxed enjoying their performance, whereas the other group of equally elegant dancers, waiting to perform, seems to be very tense, anxiously waiting for their participation. There is a presence of only one man, maybe a family member of one of the dancers, far right in this composition. This painting, first presented in 1874, was momentarily noticed because of its unique grey shades, milky tone invented by the artist and skillfully applied stage lightning. I believe that this is the reason of my own admiration for and attraction to this particular artistic work. Lioudmila Nasri
I selected this painting by Egon Schiele because I always thought of this artist‘s work being very unique and intense. When I look at his paintings I don’t have to guess who’s work it would be, since I find it being extremely individual, holding very distinctive style… indeed Egon Schiele’s style…those twisted lines that he uses to paint portraits or anything else are non-comparable to any other artist. From the early years Schiele was very strongly influenced by artistic works of his compatriots Gustav Klimt and Oscar Kokoschka and even tried to imitate them. This influence is visible in artist’s very first canvas and drawings. However, older he gets more his work differentiates becoming more thematic and complicated. It has been known that main theme of Schiele’s work, besides life topics (nature, birth and death) are female nudes. At some point Schiele’s work is treated as bizarre, ugly, pornographic, erotic… and those are just a few negative labels. Unfortunately, Egon Schiele did not live long and died very young, at 28 years of age however, he had a chance to meet a young lady, his neighbor Edith Harms in the Viennese suburb of Heitzing, the daughter of factory floor worker. Sadly their marriage did not succeed because Edith died three years after their marriage and Egon followed only three days later of the same mortal disease, the Spanish flu . Sketches of Edith just before her death remain last works of Egon Schiele. In this canvas there is a young lady, his wife Edith, obviously posing for the painter. She looks like a mannequin in this painting. Her pose is still so does the expression of her face, except her luminous eyes, which are focused on the viewers. Her hands are motionless, yet very sensitive and the way they are painted lets knowledgeable viewers recognize right away that this is non-comparable Schiele’s work. Her dress with these lovely colors-twisted lines, although made from curtains in Schiele’s studio, is just outstanding. Overall I would say it is a happy painting. It was done in 1915 just when he just married Edith, precisely two months after the wedding. He has dated and signed this work at the bottom right side of this canvas. Lioudmila Nasri
Hope II was painted in 1907 – 1908 by Gustav Klimt, the Austrian symbolist and art nouveau painter. Though images of women and children are depicted frequently, this image is different as it represents a woman who is pregnant. He depicts a narrative of a women standing with her head bowed towards a swollen belly, a skull rests on her chest and three women’s faces below also bow their heads - in prayer or sorrow? The background is patterned with gold leaf reminiscent of paintings, manuscripts and mosaics of the medieval period. “Klimt's use of gold was inspired by a trip he had made to Italy in 1903. When he visited Ravenna he saw the Byzantine mosaics in the Church of San Vitale. For Klimt the flatness of the mosaics and their lack of perspective and depth only enhanced their golden brilliance, and he started to make unprecedented use of gold and silver leaf in his own work” (Wikipedia). The motifs on the cloak that hangs around her shoulders and surrounds the three women’s heads are highly decorative and similar to the art of the Bronze Age. Klimt also seems to be influenced by Japanese prints, which is indicated both in the simplicity of the image and the fact that the pregnant woman’s head is painted close to the top of the canvas. Despite the elaborate decoration this painting is typical to the modernist paintings of the time, whereby there is an underlying message portraying the dangers of pregnancy. Additionally, both Klimt and Sigmund Freud lived and worked in Vienna at the turn of the century and as a result Klimt’s exploration of death in this painting parallels Freud’s exploration of the psyche. Anna Migdalski
Anna Migdalski
The Olive Trees was painted by van Gogh in the last year of his life in the summer of 1889. The painting follows after the time period van Gogh spent together with Gauguin in Arles which lead to van Gogh’s breakdown and his voluntary entry into an asylum at Saint Remy. It is a visually arresting and intense painting but it raises an interesting question-if the painting is an expression of van Gogh’s inner mental torment, how should the viewer approach it and can and should we enjoy it? In the end, after I chose this painting I found it somewhat depressing to understand that some of van Gogh’s most famous and popular paintings arise from his personal torment and that his genius as an artist was not recognized until after he killed himself. The Olive Trees is best classed as a painting belonging to the category of Expressionism rather than Post Impressionism. van Gogh’s heightened inner emotions are portrayed through the use of distorted form, and saturated colour such as the intense green-blue swirling tops of the olive trees, the twisted grey-blue tree trunks and the vaguely menacing mountain foothills in vibrant blues. The image although a real and typical landscape view of Provence is not naturalistic and is more representational and symbolic as van Gogh’s typically wished his paintings to be. Many of the elements (tree trunks, mountain foothills) are clearly accentuated with dark outlines to emphasize their form. The painting seems to me to be predominantly blue in colour. Blue is sometimes connected to spirituality or the divine and this may represent van Gogh’s search for inner or spiritual peace. Visible application of paint in thick lines in the ground detail and the bulbous swirling cloud is typical of van Gogh’s impasto painting technique at this period of his life. van Gogh painted this painting at the same time and place as his more famous “Starry Night” painting and his own letters to his brother Theo described the Olive Trees as the daytime complement to Starry Night (MoMA Highlights). Sandra Pagan
Sandra Pagan
Bettina Rossi
Minhee Cho John
"Interior of a Forest", is a pure landscape oil on canvas painting created by Cezanne in 1898/99. Nature was of a great importance to Cezanne as he was Christian and nature being the creation of God, he depicts it as a vibrant message to his viewer. He although saw in nature, living most of the time in the Provence region of France, the possibility of escaping the stressful modern life of Paris. Cezanne’s depiction of the forest demonstrates this deep respect for nature due to the subtle play of light on dark and the harmonious quality created by his small brushstrokes. The deep landscape consists of tall, though not thick trees overlapping one another. When viewing the piece, the viewer is placed in front of a narrow, closed path. By observing the painting it becomes very obvious that form and structure were more important to Cezanne than pure atmosphere, the « merging shape with other shape effect » is realized by his small patchwork of colored green-brownish brushstrokes. The painting seems to be flat at some parts, deep and three dimensional in others. Cezanne plays with the light and with the two and three dimensional aspects of its rendering. He offers us and plays a scene that is at once close and deep. Cezanne’s Credo to treat nature by : "the cylinder, the sphere, the cone " is successfully demonstrated in this painting and places him to the predecessor of 20th century modern painting.. Bettina Rossi
It looks being in very good order, so I can feel less vibration and instability than his other paintings. And it is quite simple unlike other his still-life paintings. He did not paint the object itself as a photo, but he painted it from the slightly different positions, so he took a shifting perspective.The kettle was painted from the front position and the vase was painted from the upper position. Because, as we can see it , it is a bit inclined at front . In terms of colors he used, he did not paint it with many colors, just with white, black, gray and brown etc.. like Edouard Manet often did. Especially, the white towel on the table attracts our attention from other darker objects. The dark outline in every objects can be distinguished into the gray background. A light comes from left side and makes a dark shadow. So, as we have learned this week, Paul Cezanne tried that it was not about a reproducing of objects, it was a recreating and a restructuring the nature itself. Minhee Cho John
Jawlensky was born in Russia, but later moved to Germany, where he became part of “The Blue Rider” group. The “Blue Rider” group focused on the power of color and its symbolism to convey meaning. Jawlensky, like the German Expressionists, was influenced by Matisse and his use of nonrepresentational colors in the Fauvist movement. There is clearly the Fauvist influence in color. Instead of natural flesh color, there are dabs of green and sulfuric yellow that create shading of the skin and hair. There is a contemplative mood to the work that the nonrepresentational colors convey, in the concentration of blue tones in the background, as well as the thoughtful pose of the girl with her expressively elongated hand to her mouth. The brush strokes are broad and stylistically Expressive with heavy impasto, and create movement in the background, while the figure remains flat, giving a feeling of stability. The red skirt acts as a visual break in the painting, adding a counterpoint to the preponderance of blue tones. There is an underlying harmony to the work, where stability and movement, color harmony and discord, interact with one another to create a whole. Frances Owen
La Belle Heaulmiere' by Rodin, also known as 'She who was once the Helmet-Makers Beautiful Wife,' or 'The Old Courtesan.' This title taken from the poem "Les Regrets de la Belle Heaulmière" by François Villon (1431–ca. 1463). This sculpture derives from a bas-relief on the lower part of the left pilaster of The Gates of Hell. It's symbolizing mankind's life as it spans birth, youth and the decline into old age.The subject for this figure was an Italian woman who had once been a professional model. Rodin used her aged body for several studies and for groups of figures, as well as for this starkly realistic sculpture. We might see this work by Rodin and ask, "Why the ugliness? Who would want to look at that old crone?" I found a quote about it. An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl she used to be. A great artist can look at an old woman, portray her exactly as she is... and force the viewer to see the pretty girl she used to be... more than that, he can make anyone with the sensitivity of an armadillo see that this lovely young girl is still alive, prisoned inside her ruined body. --R. Heinlein via Jubal Harshaw, on 'La Belle Heaulmiere' by Rodin, Minhee Cho John
Kayleigh Ingham
Kayleigh Ingham
Seline Sezen
Paul Gauguin, yet another artist escaping the modern world. He left Paris for Tahiti, to find inspiration. He thought it would be a primitive land, not ye spoiled by modernity,though he was wrong. Tahiti was also going through the same changes, though Gauguin decided to ignore it and painted Tahiti how he wanted to see it. He, like Cezanne was disappointed with impressionist painting. He felt that impressionist paintings lacked symbolic depth and feeling.To Gauguin the art of Africa and Asia seemed full of symbolism and vigor. Japanese prints were among his inspirations. In this painting we see a group of women worshiping Hina, the Goddess of the moon. There are woman dancing around their idol, and 2 women in the foreground are playing the flute. The painting is split by the large tree trunk in the middle, separating the painting in two parts. The painting is primitive, and he is not concerned with naturalistic and academic conventions of art. The painting is flat, which shows his inspiration from Japanese prints. His use of color is beautiful. The colors are bright, exotic and also flat. There are strong contrasts of cold and *** colors. His painting his harmonious and happy. There is no sign of modernity, a connecting theme that went throughout the impressionistic period. Even the title of this painting, In the Olden Times, reflects his longing for life that is un-disturbed or un-spoiled, that is simple, happy, and primitive. there is no clear distinction of foreground and background or perspective, the colors in the background are as strong as the colors in the foreground. Seline Sezen
This painting was the most significant in the realistic impressionist period done by Renoir. It has been said that is the most beautiful picture of the nineteenth century. In the 70s, Le Moulin de la Galette was a dance for the petty bourgeoisie and unpretentious bohemian. Renoir executed his large canvas in the garden, among the tables, where people drank on summer evenings, danced and flirted. This composition give us the feeling that Renoir had become close friends with all the figures. The first impression from this painting is a tremendous mess happening in a dusty atmosphere covering all figures side faces. Renoir made a stronger composition by placing figures in a classic pyramidal group of three figures, and a system of vertical and horizontal lines. Marisol Roman
This is one of the typical lonely images of Hopper's paintings. It reflects both the artist's pessimistic personality and the times in which he grew to maturity. Many of his most haunting works feature isolated people in anonymous spaces, such as restaurants, hotel rooms and offices. It is never clear why they are there or what their relationship is. The principal mood is one of transience as if people doesn't belong to the setting where they are depicted. There is always a sense of something being wrong in the picture. None of his pictures, as this example, tells a story. Each one is like a single frame from a movie. It suggests us that at any moment the scene will move on and the meaning will become clear. Hopper uses heavy angles, contrast of light and shade and few colors in this particular composition. That empty street signifies the loneliness of a large city. The odd viewpoint separate a corner of a street and isolate the figures giving the viewer the sense of being an outsider excluded from the world depicted in the scene. Marisol Roman
By the time that Degas was painting this piece, he no longer had to rely on the sales of his paintings, thanks to his earlier success. I think this helps to explain why this painting feels more stylistically risky than his prior works. Gone are the soft, muted tones of some of his more iconic pieces, replaced by bold, dramatic colours. Both the figures and setting are blurred and lack definition. The effect of this is a flattening of the perspective – there is no feeling of the depth of the stage. As well as this, the dancers preparing for their performance either have their face turned away or their features blurred. They have also been placed at the back of the stage, emphasising a feeling of emotional detachment between the dancers and the viewer. We also see different style of composition in this piece. On the left hand side of the piece, we see the arm and part of the torso and tutu of another dancer in a darker dress; however, she has been cut off. It could be argued that this may have been due to Degas’ increasing interest in the emergent art of photography and the effect that this would have on notions of composition. One final thing I would like to point out it the way in which Degas has rendered the brighter orange tutus of the two dancers on the right. Although this piece is painted in oil on paper laid on canvas, Degas has used his brushwork to mimic the smudged quality of pastels. This not only harks back to some of his earlier works but it also helps to create a feeling of the fabric/texture that the dancers are wearing. Kayleigh Ingham
The painting, “Vampire” by Edvard Munch portraits a woman/vampire with striking red hair holding her hands around a man. The man is resting his head in the woman’s bosom. Even though it may appear as though the woman is sucking blood out of the man’s neck, there is tenderness and intimacy in the painting and the man is not struggling to get away. One can instantly feel the emotion in this picture as typical for many of Munch’s paintings. Munch himself was a very troubled man and as an expressionist painter, I think he was incredibly convincing at expressing emotions. One of the themes Munch’s repetitively painted was the hopelessness of love. To me it could seem like Munch was trying to show us that love is painful in this painting as suggested by the original title “Love and Pain.” Annett Abo
The whole painting is a very precise and detailed sketch. We just see the lines, main lines that define poppy flowers, ladies, and the landscape. There are no more details about the figures themselves, but just the main important lines and shades. Despite this is a quality sketch, we can feel movement in this picture: the flowers have shadows and are in movement, the outfits he figures wear are blown by the wind. Same effect for her umbrella. From far, the painting look a bit blurry, but we can distinguish the day to day scene. However, when we zoom in, we can see some detailed brushed lines on the outline of the umbrella, hats and on some trees on the background. The traditional characteristics remain in the perspective of the sketch. We see a clear and coherent perspective where figures are descending a mountain. Julie-Anne Servant
This painting from Munch reminds me the landscape of the Scream painting. It is like these figures are walking on the same scene. The sky and the landscape have the same colors and shapes. We can notice that colors are more fluid and warm in the Anxiety painting rather than the Scream. Like the Scream, this is a morbid theme, it is a disturbing work: The negative reality here is that people are going to a funeral. Their faces look morbid and dead. Their skin color is not pink or even white, but green which makes them even more dead and scary. Every figure has a different expression. As this is a funereal, or a sad event we would expect everyone to show sadness. Only the woman looks sad, the rest of the men are scary. They do not express any feeling of sadness. The scariness of this painting, this reality where the artist is in is enhanced by the red sky, the green expressions of the figures, and the ignorance of men in this painting. Julie-Anne Servant
In this painting we see ballet dancers chatting casually in a rehearsal room. They are, however, standing in ballet positions. As typical of such a room there is a mirror and we can see the reflection of one of the dancers in the mirror. They are all wearing white ballet dresses and of course pointe shoes. It is interesting to notice that the skin color of the dancers is also almost white. The whole image seems a bit blurry looking closely at it because the walls and floor have the same greenish colour. Edgar Degas has used very broad brush strokes. Even though Degas’ painting style was not considered to be typical of the impressionists, his scenes were. The scene in this painting will easily fit into a typical impressionist scene which were scenes of everyday life and contemporary people at work and play. It is interesting to notice that the view is a bit cropped. The group of dancers is placed to the right in the picture, cutting of part of the arm and skirt of one of the dancers. Annett Abo
This piece by Paul Gauguin is an excellent example of post-impressionism. We can see a return of solidity of form in the three figures and a much more natural rendering of the female faces. As well as this, we can see that there is a mixture of styles - naturalism in the figures, which stand out in contrast to the brightly coloured, more abstract background. We can also see a flattened perspective – it is impossible to gauge the depth of field here. How close is the central male figure to the female figures? How open is the space that they are standing in? In this work, Gauguin has placed a common European allegory in a more exotic location. The woman on the left is dressed in red and is holding an apple, whereas the woman on the right is dressed in white and is holding flowers. (Having the symbol of evil on the left ties in with the ancient idea that the left hand side is evil. Indeed the word for the left in Latin is sinister.) This is symbolic of the struggle between good and evil and the temptation of humankind. From my reading of this painting, I imagine that the central male figure’s face is hidden from view to allow the viewers to place themselves in his position. That the man has turned his head towards the left, may be Gauguin commenting on a human predilection towards evil. Kayleigh Ingham
Natalie Topham-Smith
Early 20th Century Paris was a place of radical experimentation in the field of visual arts. Out of a desire to sabotage the established stylistic conventions of the time, painters and sculptors were trying out new methods of perspective, form and color. In Still Life by an Open Window, Rue Ravignan, Juan Gris breaks free from single point and linear perspectives. Instead objects, interior and exterior expanses are analyzed from multiple viewpoints, twisted and turned to give a sense of three dimensional space. And in a fundamental move away from natural and real representations, objects are fractured into simple geometric shapes or shards and reassembled in abstracted forms on a flat plane. We can work out that placed on the table are a bottle of wine, a glass, a book and a newspaper and that the view from the window looks onto shutters, a bright curtain, a tree-lined street and a lamp post. What sets this painting apart from the work of his fellow Cubist artists, Picasso and Braque, is his interesting use of colour. Gone are the somber earth tones and in their place, mixed in with the black and brown, we see soft blues, pinks and greens, as well as more dramatic oranges, turquoise and deep green. The combination of the fractured and splintered perspective with the diverse colour palette also allows the artist to explore how the still life and room react with the passage of time. We can imagine the scene as easily at first light, during the strong midday sun as at night. Iona Fergusson
The despair and hopeless drudgery in the faces of the men in Edvard Munch’s Workers On Their Way Home is palpable and reveals the artist’s desire to show the psychological impact that Industrialization was having on blue-collar workers in Norway. Munch, known for his emotionally charged work, did not shy away from showing the bleakness of life and the workers’ harrowed faces, drooping shoulders and empty gazes are a testament to this. The two main figures walk in the middle of the street as if their lifeblood has been sucked out of them. The central figure appears to fall forward or stumble into the viewer. His ashen white face and hollow black dots for eyes seem death-like, as if he is but a walking corpse. Equally the eyes of his co-workers, to the left and behind him, stare back at us with a mad intensity. Munch has been careful to highlight the eyes of these three protagonists. They are the only ones visible in the painting despite many people being present. We feel horror and pity at the same time. The emotional impact of the work is increased by his use of colour, his strong use of line and his loose and rapid brushwork. For instance the white face of the central figure juxtaposed with the ruddiness of his companion’s increases the impact of both. And the sketchy use of paint on the legs of the main, left figure gives them an insubstantial quality as if his very body is wasting away. Iona Fergusson
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