Monday, February 28, 2011

Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1785 (April 5, 1732 – August 22, 1806)

The Swing

Fragonard was one of the finest Rococo painters, who fell into near-complete obscurity in his later life, and it took many long years to pass, well after the artist's death, before his greatness was recognized again. I find that to be such an unfortunate circumstance that seems to affect so many artists, whom we now are completely enamored with. And Fragonard was such a wonderful Rococo artist in every aspect of painting, how could he be forgotten? 

The White Bull

The Bathers

The Little Park

The Fountain of Love

Sunday, February 27, 2011

John Everett Millais (June 8, 1829 – August 13, 1896)

A Huguenot, on St. Bartholomew's Day, Refusing to Shield Himself from Danger

Millais is one of the most important founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite movement and his paintings are the most iconic of the movement, after Rossetti's. Gifted from youth, Millais joined the Royal Academy schools at the age of 11, and went on to win all the academy prizes. It was in the Academy that he met both Rossetti and Hunt. As a painter, he was known for using religion in controversial ways, as in the painting above, Millais exposes love breaking as a Catholic token is refused a French Protestant. Millais's art's beauty lay in his ability to display in a romantic background emotions as complex as disappointment; I think that ability makes his fanciful images seem very possible.



The Knight Errant

Mariana in the Moated Grange

Joan of Arc

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lorenzo Monaco (c. 1370 - 1424)


Monaco (birth name: Piero di Giovanni) was a marvelous Gothic Artist. And, as most artists from that long bygone time, we know very little about him. Though we do know that as he aged the Early Renaissance style began to emerge, which he to some extent rejected, never utilizing the rising-in-popularity linear perspective. His paintings are full of vivid characterizations and that wonderfully strange and potent symbolism  that defined, to some extent, Gothic Art.

The Beheading of St. Catherine of Alexandria

Diptych: St. Jerome

Coronation of the Virgin and Adoring Saints

The Meeting Between St. James the Major and Hermogenes 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (January 1, 1798 - April 14, 1861)

Takiyasha the Witch and the Skeleton Specter 

I think it would be a bit unfair of me to comment on Kuniyoshi, since, honestly, I don't know very much about the artist (please feel free to ridicule and inform me in the comments section). As for Ukiyo-e, which was a type of woodblock print created in Japan in the 17th century. As the prints were imported to Europe, they had a strong influence on the Impressionists onwards, such as on Degas, van Gogh, MonetToulouse-LautrecWhistler, etcetera. Despite my ignorance concerning the artist, I do find his prints to be absolutely wonderful, with an amazing sense of design and very beautiful flourishes of the macabre. 

On the Banks of the Sumida in Mimayagashi

Ayus Swimming Upstream with Hagi Branch

Ichikawa Danjuro VII and Iwai Hanshiro VI

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Edvard Munch (December 12, 1863 – January 23, 1944)


What a grand, revolutionary man Edvard Munch was. And what a strange man he was as well. Rather tragically, his reputation was slightly marred at death, as Munch was labeled a Nazi-sympathizer postmortem, because his funeral service was conducted by Nazis in pompyet the truth was that he was earlier labeled as a Degenerate Artist by the Nazi movement, and lived in constant fear that his works would be destroyed by themthe funeral was nothing more than puff. 

As for his art, Munch was well known for creating multiple versions of a painting, which is why I've included two versions of his work Madonna, below, just as an illustration of his evolution. (I think that the model from the Madonnas is the the same as the one in The Day After, but that's a bit of conjecture on my part).

By the waythis is a terrible asidebut as I'm writing this I'm listening to Edvard Grieg. Since they're both rather famous Norwegians who lived in the 19th century and carried over to the 20th, both named Edvard (I think the last is probably the weakest connection); and since they are my favorite Norwegian Edvards, I thought, "Why not include a link to Grieg's beautiful piece?" So, here it is


Loving Woman (Madonna)

The Dead Mother

The Beast

The Day After

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

James Abbott McNeill Whistler (July 10, 1834 – July 17, 1903)

Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother

Whistler, as so many painters are, is singled out for a single piece: the above posted, and colloquially named, Whistler's Mother. And Whistler, through such paintings, often has his works labeled under Aestheticism, which certain other painters are often included in, such as Beardsley and Rossetti; though, perhaps you could more clearly associate the movement with a writer, such as Oscar Wilde, who was for a certain stroke of time a good friend of Whistler. Personally, I think the label is either weak or misplaced in Whistler's case, since it depends, not on the artwork, which is in the Realist mode, but on the artist's personal philosophy, which was for a lengthy period Aesthetic. If you can connect Whistler with a nascent movement, I would place him in Tonalism, which was a form of landscape painting that employed soft lights and shadows, such as in the painting directly below this paragraph. Terminology aside, Whistler was an amazing painter, who threw himself into all sorts of styles and concepts. 

Nocturne: Blue and Gold – Old Battersea Bridge

Symphony in White, No. 3

The Gold Scab

The Thames in Ice

The Little Rose of Lyme Regis

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Clyfford Still (November 30, 1904 – June 23, 1980)

July 1945-R

Still was one of the first Abstract Expressionists and much admired by the group as a whole. For instance, Still's above work presages Pollock's very similar composition (it's located at the top of the post). In fact, Pollock said that "Still makes the rest of us look academic." And he was a rather poetic artist, who had once said, "It's intolerable to be stopped by a frame's edge," which I think is a beautiful statement on the limitations of painting.

1944-N No. 2


1951-T No. 3

1965 (PH-578)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Paul Signac (November 11, 1863 – August 15, 1935)

Port of La Rochelle

Early in life Signac came into contact with Monet and Seurat, and his art, which before 1884 was mostly streaming towards Impressionism (as the piece below shows), took a rapid turn into Pointillism (obviously influenced more by Seurat than Monet). And, later in life, Signac used his influence to push for the appreciation of Cubism and Fauvism. As some of you may recall (a very few some, perhaps), I lightly criticized Pointillism in an earlier post on Seurat; I take it back. I suppose then, as to some extent now, I link Pointillism almost singularly with Seurat, who, as I said in the post, I am more fond of as a Realist and Impressionist. This indelible link is probably caused from my childhood encounter with Seurat's paintings, which were the first Pointillist pieces I came across, and I cannot, as best as I try, shake it form myself. Despite all of what I've said, I love Signac's works, which I think are absolutely wonderful, especially the later works that through their experimentation with colors and form created something absolutely unique and fantastical. 

Pine, St. Tropez

A Clipper, Asnieres

Portrait of M. Félix Fénéon in 1890

Cap d'Antibes

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Albrecht Dürer (May 21, 1471 – April 6, 1528)


I usually try to post a limited number of an artists works (I do this for a lot of reasons, which, if I feel like boring you into a strong sleep, I'll one day enumerate), but I couldn't really help breaking that rule with Dürer. And I don't know why I have. I certainly love Dürer and all of his works, yet even among the group of Northern Renaissance painters, I've never preferred him to van Eyck or Bosch. Perhaps, when I was a child, and fond of drawing (or, if honesty is a virtue, doodling), glimpsing Dürer's amazing drawings and etchings had somehow convinced me of a greater art possible in my pen. 

Christ On The Mount Of Olives

Man in Armor on Horseback

Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand


The Women's Bath

Portrait of Elsbeth Tucher

Apollo with the Solar Disc and Diana Trying to Shield Herself from the Rays with Her Uplifted Hand 

Lamentation for Christ

St. Eustace