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ART 4 2-DAY 09 April
Died on 09 April 1882: Gabriel
Charles Dante Rossetti,
poet and painter born on 12 May 1828.
Rossetti's father was an Italian patriot exiled to England. The family's household became a center of liberal politics and lively conversation and produced several talented children, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, his sister, poet Christina Rossetti, and his brother, art critic and editor William Rossetti.
Dante Rossetti, put off by his father's passionate politics, came to believe that art and literature should pursue beauty for beauty's sake and not try to be moral, instructive, or politically useful. Rossetti was already writing poetry and translating Italian verse by the time he was 20. He studied art and became a founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, an art group embracing art for art's sake.
Rossetti contributed poems to the group's magazine, The Germ, and published a translation called Early Italian Poems, which brought him modest recognition and success. In 1860, Rossetti married a beautiful model named Elizabeth Siddal. Two years later, she died from an accidental overdose of laudanum. Rossetti, devastated, buried the only complete manuscript of his poetry with her. The manuscript was later unearthed and published during his lifetime. His Ballads and Sonnets (1881) included his sonnet sequence The House of Life.
— Rossetti decided to become an artist before he had any actual experience of painting. He enrolled in the Royal Academy Schools, but did not stay long. He then studied for a short time with Ford Madox Brown [16 April 1821 – 11 Oct 1893], before transferring his allegiance to William Holman Hunt [02 Apr 1827 – 07 Sep 1910]. His friendship with Hunt and subsequent meeting with John Millais [08 Jun 1829 – 13 Aug 1896] were the major factors in the creation of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
During the late 1850s he took to painting in watercolors, in which he felt that his shortcomings of technique were less apparent. Many of his pictures at this time, concerned his lifelong fascination with Dante.
In the early 1850s Rossetti met Elizabeth Siddal, the model for Millais famous picture Ophelia. She became his lover, and after an on-off relationship he married her in 1860, when she was already very ill, probably with tuberculosis. Rossetti made many pencil drawings of Lizzie (such as this one, of 06 Feb 1855), which are extremely beautiful and sensitive. In 1862, after the still birth of their child, Lizzie committed suicide by taking an overdose of laudanum. The grief-stricken Rossetti, had a manuscript version of his poems buried with his wife. In 1862 he produced the famous picture Beata Beatrix [< click image for version 1] nominally a Dantesque picture, but in reality a tribute to his dead wife, who was quite obviously the model for Beatrix. Following this trauma, he moved to a house in Cheyne Walk, where he lived for the most of the rest of his life. He lived in a curious fashion, with a menagerie of wild animals in his garden. His main companion was Fanny Cornforth [1862 portrait 25x10cm — 1868 drawing 50x34cm], a basic cockney girl, and your archetypal “tart with a heart.” In the late 1860s, Rossetti had his wife's body exhumed, to recover his poems. From this unhappy and bizarre event, the mental problems, which ultimately destroyed him, are most likely to have come.
Rossetti became increasingly burdened with an obsession for Jane Morris, née Burden [1860 drawing — 1868 portrait “Aurea Catena” 77x63cm], the wife of his friend William Morris [1834-1896]. For most of the last twenty years of his life, his pictures were of lone women, sumptuously colored, in luxurious, but often claustrophobic surroundings. Most of these pictures had as their model, a stylized Jane Morris. In the 1870s Rossetti became addicted to chloral ( a narcotic) and alcohol. Jane Morris broke with him, as he started to lose his reason. His health broken, he died at Birchington-on-Sea at Easter 1882. His younger brother, William Michael Rossetti [1829-1919] was an art critic, and the main chronicler of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He married the daughter of Ford Madox Brown.
Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti was an English poet, painter and translator. He was born to the family of an Italian political immigrant Gabriel Rossetti, poet, scholar and revolutionary. There were three more children in the family: Maria (1827-76) who became an Anglican nun and author of a literary commentary A Shadow of Dante; William Michael (1829-1919), critic, civil servant and Pre-Raphaelite historian, and Christina Georgina (1830-94), English poet. The household was artistic and more Italian than English.
Rossetti began his training in 1841 in Sass’s Drawing School; in 1846 he was accepted by the Royal Academy Antique School in London. Then he persuaded Ford Madox Brown to tutor him, but this was short-lived. In 1848, he became a co-founder (with William Holman Hunt and John Millais) of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood; the painters of the trend turned away from neo-classicism and its models of Greco-Roman antiquity and the High Renaissance, and revived interest in the Middle Ages, especially in Gothic art.
Most of Rossetti’s work was produced in the spirit of this movement, despite his leaving it at an early date. Many of his themes were taken from the Old and New Testament, Dante, or the medieval legends about the King Arthur and his knights, Malory's Morte d’Arthur in particular, and treated with strong overtones of symbolism.
In 1850, he met Elisabeth Siddal, who sat for many of his pictures: The First Anniversary of the Death of Beatrice: Dante Drawing the Angel (1853), Dante's Vision of Rachel and Leah (1855), Beata Beatrix (1870) and for some by Hunt and Millais’s Ophelia, and whom he married in 1860 after a fraught and prolonged courtship. Already an invalid, she died in 1862 from an overdose of laudanum. Although it was an accident, the thought that his wife had committed suicide haunted Rossetti for the rest of his life.
He met Ruskin in 1854. Largely because of Ruskin, Rossetti was gaining a reputation as the ‘leader’ of the Pre-Raphaelites. He turned more and more in the direction of poetic painting, which he emphasized by attaching sonnets to the frames of his pictures. In 1861, The Early Italian Poets was published, translations from 60 poets such as Dante and Cavalcanti. Rossetti's Poems appeared in 1870. His wife’s death, however affected him deeply and his work took a taint of pessimism and morbidity. Dante's Dream at the Time of the Death of Beatrice (1871), Proserpine (1874). He fell into depression and attempted suicide in 1872. Nevertheless, Ballads and Sonnets with the sonnet sequence The House of Life and The King’s Tragedy appeared in 1881. In his later years Rossetti concentrated on studies of single, allegorical female figures: Monna Vanna (1866), Mariana (1870), La Ghirlandata (1873, The Day Dream (1880).
At odds with Victorian morality, his work is lush, erotic and medieval, romantic in spirit, and of abiding interest and fascination.
Rossetti died on Easter Sunday, 09 April 1882, of glomerulonephritis (a diffuse inflammation of the kidneys' glomeruli usually brought on by immunological processes; it is also known as Bright’s disease after Dr. Richard Bright [28 Sep 1789 16 Dec 1858]).
The Rossetti Archive
Selected Works and Criticism. The Blessed Damozel The House of Life Jenny Poems (first edition; 1870) (illustrated) translator of Bürger's Lenore
How Sir Galahad, Sir Bors, and Sir Percival were Fed with the Sanc Grael; but Sir Percival's Sister Died by the Way (1864, 29x42cm)
Sybilla Palmifera (1870, 94x83cm)
Venus Verticordia (1868, 98x70cm)
Elizabeth Siddal (02 June 1854) Elizabeth Siddal (1865) A red-haired beauty, she became first Rossetti's model and then his mistress before she became his wife. She was then forced to play the role of an unattainable goddess while Rossetti associated with prostitutes in private. His love for Elizabeth was genuine enough, but it was rooted in a form of high romanticism which had little to do with everyday living. When he confessed to her that the intense love he felt for her would become even stronger if she were to die, she took him at his word. Trapped in an unreal world of romantic passion, she made her escape by taking an overdose of laudanum. She was only 31. Then the intensity that marked so much of Rossetti's work disappeared, and he became a somewhat mechanical painter, although he was still highly successful.
— The Day Dream (1880, 158x93cm) — La Donna della Finestra (1879, 101x74cm) — Pandora (1879) — A Vision of Fiammetta (1878, 146x89cm) — A Sea Spell (1877, 107x89cm) — Astarte Syriaca (1877, 183x107cm) — La Bella Mano (1875, 158x117cm) — The Blessed Damozel (1878, 174x84cm) — Proserpine (1874, 126x61cm) — Sancta Lilias (1874, 48x46cm) — La Ghirlandata (1873, 116x88cm) — Veronica Veronese (1872, 109x89cm)
— Dante's Dream at the Time of the Death of Beatrice (1871, 211x318cm) _ [detail] — The Bower Meadow (1872, 85x67cm) — La Donna della Fiamma (1870, 101x75cm) — La Pia de' Tolomei (1880, 105x121cm) — Lady Lilith (1868, 95x81cm) — Monna Vanna (1866, 89x86cm) — Regina Cordium (1866, 60x50cm) — The Beloved(aka The Bride, 1866, 83x76cm) — Il Ramoscello (1865, 48x39cm) — Beata Beatrix (1870, 87x69cm) — Beata Beatrix(1882, 87x68cm) [< click image for this version] — Morning Music (1864, 30x28cm) — Aurelia (1873, 43x38cm) — Girl at a Lattice (1862, 29x26cm) — Saint George and the Princess Sabra (1862, 52x31cm) — Bocca Baciata (1859, 32x27cm) — Dantis Amore(1860, 75x81cm) — The Salutation of Beatrice (1859, 75x160cm) — Before the Battle(1858, 42x28cm) — The Seed of David (1858, 229x277cm) — The Tune of the Seven Towers (1857, 31x36cm) — The Blue Closet(1856, 34x25cm) — Found (1854, 91x80cm) — The First Anniversary of the Death of Beatrice(1854, 42x61cm) — Ecce Ancilla Domini! (1850, 73x42cm) — The Childhood of Mary Virgin (1849, 83x65cm) — [Memories?] — Proserpine (1882, 79x39cm)
Born on 09 April 1656: Francesco Trevisani,
cavaliere romano, Italian Rococo
Era painter who died on 30 July 1746.
— He studied under Carlo Maratta [1625-1713], Joseph Heintz, and Antonio Zanchi. Antonio Trevisani painted altarpieces and cabinet paintings of biblical and mythological themes in a style that varies between the classicism of Maratti and the softer, sweeter manner of the Barocchetto. His portraits, both of noble Italian patrons and visiting Grand Tourists, are distinguished by their unusual informality and the sense of intimacy between artist and subject.
— The students of Trevisani included Claudio Francesco Beaumont, Carlo Innocenzo Carlone [1685-1775], Andrea Casali, Placido Costanzi, Giorgio Domenico Duprà, Gregorio Guglielmi, Girolamo Pesci, Pietro Antonio Rotari, Francisco Vieira Lusitano.
— Apelles Painting Campaspe (1720, 49x60cm; 1082x868pix, 127kb) _ main detail (1082x868pix, 140kb) _ The story comes from Pliny the Elder, who wrote that Campaspe was the favorite mistress of Alexander the Great and Apelles was his favorite painter. Alexander asks Apelles to paint a full-length portrait of Campaspe nude. In so doing, the painter falls in love with her. Upon seeing this, Alexander gives up his mistress to the painter. The idea behind Alexander's gesture is that love inspired by beauty is most appreciated by the one who discerns it best. This story was embraced by painters because it demonstrated that they were the best judges of beauty.
— Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni (134x98cm) _ Ottoboni, who became a cardinal in 1689, was the most important patron of the arts in early 18th century Rome, gathering about him the most prominent musicians (including the young Handel), writers and artists of his day.
— Festino di Marcantonio e Cleopatra (1702) _ L'opera fu commissionata da Fabrizio Spada e pagata nel 1702. La scena è tratta da Plinio (Hist. Nat. IX,cap. LVIII). Marcantonio, invitato da Cleopatra ad un banchetto, rimase colpito dal grande fasto. Per dimostrare la sua indifferenza alle ricchezze, Cleopatra tolse da un suo orecchino una perla preziosa e la sciolse nel vino. Mentre si accingeva a ripetere il gesto, Marcantonio la fermò, dichiarandosi vinto. Tutt'intorno i servitori che vanno e vengono con cibi e bevande; in primo piano un nano che tiene un cane al guinzaglio. Nell'episodio, descritto con gusto teatrale, trovano posto preziosi particolari che fondono insieme elementi della tradizione veneta cinquecentesca con quelli del classicismo romano.
— L'enfant Jésus Désignant à la Vierge les Fleurs de la Passion
— Le Christ mort porté par des anges (1710, 34x28cm) _ Reprise d'un grand tableau peut-être peint pour le pape Clément XI. Ignoré des Evangiles, le thème a été développé par les artistes de la Contre-Réforme : les anges semblent offrir le Christ à l'adoration des chrétiens.
Died on 09 April 1588: Paolo
Caliari Veronese, Venetian Mannerist
painter born in Verona in 1528.
Paolo Veronese was an Italian Renaissance painter; one of the great masters of the Venetian school. Originally named Paolo Caliari, he was called Veronese from his native city of Verona. He learned painting in Verona from Antonio Badile, a capable exponent of the conservative local tradition. That tradition remained fundamental to Veronese's style throughout his career, even after he moved to Venice in 1553. His students included Jacopo Ligozzi [1547-1626].
The painters of Verona between about 1510 and 1540 favored firm, regular volumes, strong colors that function largely in terms of contrasts, and conventionalized figures. Veronese combined these elements of the local High Renaissance style with Mannerist elements, including complex compositional schemes that often employ a “worm's-eye view” perspective and Michelangelesque figures in powerful foreshortened or contorted poses. The resulting amalgam was handled with increasing mastery in The Temptation of St. Anthony, done for the Cathedral of Mantua in 1552, and ceiling paintings (1553-1554) for the Palazzo Ducale, Venice.
The first phase of Veronese's artistic maturity, about 1555-65, is well represented by his many canvases for the Church of San Sebastiano in Venice. Their high-keyed interweavings of brilliant, luminous hues are harmonies of contrast in the tradition of Verona rather than Venetian harmonies of tone. The striking compositions often involve multileveled settings and dramatically steep perspectives, especially effective in the ceiling paintings. From this period comes Veronese's fresco decoration (circa 1561) of the Villa Barbaro at Maser, the one such cycle by him to survive. Here he extended the actual architecture of the villa (1555-59) built by Andrea Palladio with painted illusory architecture and populated these illusions with both mythological personages and fictional equivalents of the villa's real inhabitants.
Veronese's growing interest in scenographic architecture, inspired partly by the real architecture of such contemporaries as Palladio and partly by contemporary stage settings, is spectacularly evident in the vast Marriage at Cana (1563), virtually a cityscape with incidental figures. It initiated a series of paintings of biblical feasts, which Veronese represented in terms of opulent Venetian patrician life; actual portraits are included.
The work of Veronese's full maturity, from about 1565 to 1580, is marked by quieter, more classical compositions, an even greater ceremoniousness of tone, and still more dazzling light and color harmonies. This resplendent style is occasionally modulated into a lowered tonality, as when the artist dealt with subjects such as The Crucifixion (1572). Such paintings, in which a new emotional commitment to the subject appears, multiplied toward the end of his career. By about 1583, luminous twilight replaced noonday splendor as the norm, and festivity was replaced by seriousness. The moonlit Pietà (1585) is an extreme example. From this period, however, comes the most overwhelming of his ceilings, The Triumph of Venice in the Palazzo Ducale. Here, Venice, personified, floats on clouds halfway up a towering, two-tiered architectural construction thronged with people, all seen from below in steep perspective against a sapphire sky.
Veronese died in Venice. Although highly successful, he had little immediate influence. To the Flemish baroque master Peter Paul Rubens and to the 18th-century Venetian painters, especially Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, however, Veronese's handling of color and perspective supplied an indispensable point of departure.
St John the Baptist Preaching (1562) _ The extraordinary beauty of the Venetian fabrics already to be found in the work of Palma il Vecchio is brought to unrivalled perfection by Paolo Veronese. In the St John the Baptist Preaching, which heralds the coming of Christ, the figures are wrapped in magnificent oriental silk robes and three are wearing turbans. Their differing reactions to the sermon are reflected in their facial expressions. The skilful composition of the painting creates a balance between the weight of the group of figures on the right and the perspective on the left.
The Marriage at Cana (1563) _ This immense picture portrays a sumptuous imaginary palace with about a hundred and thirty guests, portraits of celebrities of the period, of Veronese himself and of his friends dressed in richly colored costumes. _ detail 1 _ detail 2 _ detail 3 another The Marriage at Cana (1560, 207x457cm)
The Marriage of St Catherine (1575, 337x241cm) _ In this work, originally the altar-screen of the church of St. Catherine, Veronesian color reaches a peak of richness and splendor. Along the diagonal of the composition which terminates in the drapes billowing around the columns, new chromatic notes are struck; the 'fortissimo' of the steps and figures in the foreground harmonizes with the 'pianissimo' of angels and cherubs which emerge from the grey-gold clouds of the celestial kingdom in the background. Linking the two planes of color are two cherubs holding the martyr's palm and the heavenly crown above the Virgin and St. Catherine while the angel below lifts her head and holds out her arms to receive the sign and the reward of martyrdom. All three are portrayed with Apollonian purity against the intense blue of the sky, an unforgettable example of Veronese's exquisite use of color. It is almost as if the painter to create his effects used gold, pearls and rubies, emeralds sapphires and purest, most perfect diamonds. _ detail
Feast in the House of Levi (1573, 555x1280cm) _ This work, painted for the Dominican order of SS. Giovanni e Paolo to replace an earlier work by Titian destroyed in the fire of 1571, is the last of the grandiose "suppers" painted by Veronese for the refectories of Venetian monasteries. The sumptuous banquet scene is framed by the great arches of a portico. Against the pale green shotsilk effect of the background architecture, the figures on either side of Christ move in a turbulence of polychromatic splendor and interaction of pose and gesture. We seem to see here the sublime notions of form and color of Piero della Francesca. The interaction of form and color is calculated to contain the monumental figuration within the terms of a fascinating and imaginitive decorative painting.
The expressive hedonism so alien to the religious context the subject in fact appears to be a purely pagan one in exaltation of love of life in 16th century Venice aroused the suspicions of the Inquisition. On 18 July 1573 Veronese was summoned by the Holy Office to appear before the Inquisition accused of heresy. If the questions of the inquisitors show the first signs of the rigors of the Counter-reformation, Veronese's answers show clearly his unfailing faith in the creative imagination and artistic freedom. Not wishing to yield to the injunction of the Inquisition to eliminate the details which offended the religious theme of the Last Supper, he changed the title to Feast in the House of Levi, a subject which tolerated the presence of fools and armed men dressed up alla tedesca. _ detail
Born on 09 April 1908: Victor Vasarely,
Hungarian French School of Paris abstract painter and screenprintmaker,
specialized in Optical
Art, who died in 1997.
— He studied in Budapest at the Academy of Painting (1925-1927) and under Sándor Bortnyk [03 Jul 1893 – 03 Dec 1976] at the ‘Mühely’ Academy, also known as the Budapest Bauhaus (1929-1930). In 1930 he moved to Paris and worked as a graphic designer for the next decade. He was thus able to commit himself seriously to the task of devising a new pictorial language only in the period following World War II. After what he regarded as a false start in 1944-1946, he began the process of lengthy and methodical abstraction from particular features of his environment that resulted in his pure and individual style of the 1960s.
Official Vasarely Site
Serigraph in black, blue and grey (45x40cm; 1/3 size sufficient to appreciate _ but, if you insist, ZOOM to 2/3 size)
Sérigraphie Originale. Avec une Etude de Imre Pan (1960) Capella III (1967)
— IX (1966; 572x594pix, _ ZOOM superfluous to slightly blurry 1334x1387pix, 295kb)
Quasart (1966, 60x60cm 1/5 size, 64kb, sufficient to appreciate _ but, if you must see for yourself that there is no more detail to be seen in this quasi-art on a larger scale, ZOOM to 2/5 size, 183kb _ or, worse yet, ZOOM++ to 4/5 size, 655kb)
Died on 09 April 1807: John
Opie, English painter born in May 1761.
He was born in St. Agnes, in a tin-mining district of Cornwall, where his father was a mine carpenter. He had a natural talent for drawing and was taken up by an itinerant doctor, John Wolcot (the poet Peter Pindar, 1738–1819), who was an amateur artist and had a number of well-connected friends. Wolcot taught Opie the rudiments of drawing and painting, providing engravings for him to copy and gaining him access to country-house collections. Opie’s early portraits, such as Dolly Pentreath (1777), are the work of a competent provincial painter and owe much to his study of engravings after portraits by Rembrandt.
His attempts at chiaroscuro and impasto in Rembrandt’s manner gave his pictures a maturity that clearly startled contemporary audiences expecting to see works by an untutored artist. Thus in 1780, when a picture by him was exhibited in London at the Society of Artists with the description A Boy’s Head, an Instance of Genius, not having ever seen a picture, Opie was hailed as “the Cornish Wonder”. When he himself arrived in London, where he was promoted by Wolcot and his paintings were exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1781 and 1782, he was seen as a phenomenon, impressing even Joshua Reynolds [1723-1792], who is reputed to have said that Opie was like Caravaggio [1571-1610] and Velásquez [1599-1660] in one. Opie was greatly influenced by Reynolds, and even more by Gainsborough [1727-1788], whose “fancy pictures” of idealized rustic characters were universally admired.
Opie died in London.
— Self~Portrait (1790, 41x33)
— Henry and Emma _ A printed engraving by F. Bartolozzi was accompanied by this verse: “A shepherd now along the plain he roves: / And, with his jolly pipe, delights the groves, / The neighbouring swains around the stranger throng, / Or to admire, or emulate his song: / While with soft sorrow he renews his lays, / Nor heedful of their envy, nor their praise. / But, soon as Emma's eyes adorn the plain, / His notes he raises to a nobler strain, / With dutiful respect and studious fear: / Lest any careless sound offend her ear.”
— Mary Wollstonecraft (1791, 76x64cm) _ Mary Wollstonecraft (1797, 77x64cm) _ Mary Wollstonecraft [27 Apr 1759 – 10 Sep 1797] was born in London. In 1784 she set up a school in Newington Green. Here she met Richard Price, a leading political reformer and supporter of the Americans in their war of independence against Britain. Contact with Dissenters gave Mary a clear sense that the lot of individuals could be improved and that women were certainly not inferior to men. Her most famous book is A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792). Before this she wrote Original Stories and a defense of the French Revolution. Her publisher was the radical Joseph Johnson for whom Blake also worked in the 1780s and 90s. She became the lover of diarist, novelist (Things as They Are, or The Adventures of Caleb Williams, 26 May 1794), and philosopher William Godwin [03 Mar 1756 – 07 Apr 1836] on 21 August 1796 and, after becoming pregnant, married him in 1797 but died of an infection contracted when she gave birth to their daughter, the future Mary Shelley [31 Aug 1797 – 01 Feb 1851], author of Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus (11 March 1818). The 1797 portrait of Wollstonecraft was painted during her pregnancy.
— The Peasant's Family (1785, 154x184cm) _ This work of Opie's early London years is perhaps his masterpiece, and clearly shows his debt to Gainsborough. His strong eye for character is much in evidence, even in portraits of children, and preserves this serene composition from any hint of sentimentality. In spite of the generalized title, the children retain their individuality, reflecting Opie's abilities as a portrait painter.
— Master William Opie (1788, 52x42cm) — The Artist's Mother (1791, 77x64cm)
— The Shepherd Boy (126x95cm) _ The boy is sitting, frowning, looking upset, a dead lamb at his feet.