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1432: VAN EYCK'S ADORATION OF THE LAMB
Died on 06 May 1903: Franz
Seraph von Lenbach, German painter born on 13 December
— The son of a master builder, Franz trained for his father’s profession at the Königliche Landwirtschafts- und Gewerbeschule in Landshut, also working from 1851 in the sculpture studio of Anselm Sickinger [1807–1873] in Munich. His elder brother, Karl August Lenbach [1828–1847], had already become involved with painting, and it was through him that Franz Lenbach met Johann Baptist Hofner [1832–1913], an artist who had studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich. They went on sketching expeditions together, and Hofner introduced him to plein-air painting. After spending two semesters at the Polytechnische Schule in Augsburg (1852–1853), and some months in the studio of Albert Gräfle [1807–1889], a portrait painter in Munich, Lenbach entered the Akademie in Munich in 1854. In 1857 he attended the classes of Karl Theodor Piloty [01 Oct 1826 – 21 Jul 1886], who was renowned for his history paintings. Lenbach produced his first important painting, The Angel Appearing to Hagar in the Desert (1858; now destroyed), while in this class, followed by Peasants Trying to Take Shelter from a Thunderstorm in a Chapel (1858; now destroyed; a preparatory oil sketch remains). The sale of this picture, together with a scholarship, enabled him to accompany Piloty on a journey to Rome with Ferdinand von Piloty [1828–1895], Theodor Schüz [1830–1900] and Carl Ebert [1821–85]. In von Lenbach made many oil and pencil sketches that inspired The Arch of Titus (1860) and The Shepherd Boy (1860), both of which were finished after his return to Germany.
— Among von Lembach's pupils were István Nagy, and Thérèse Schwartze.
Marion Lenbach, the Artist's Daughter (age about 12, I guess) (1900, 149x105cm). — A Lady Wearing a Black Coat With Fur Collar (1898, 100x75cm) — An Elegant Lady in Rubenesque Costume (1890, 90x74cm) — A Bearded Gentleman Wearing a Pince~Nez (1888, 101x76cm) — A Lady in Profile (57x49cm) — Furst Otto von Bismarck (85x65cm) — John Acton, 1st Baron Acton (1879)
Born on 06 May 1880: Ernst
Ludwig Kirchner, German Expressionist
painter and sculptor who commited suicide on 15 June 1938 after destroying
much of his artwork, despondent over what the Nazis were doing.
Kirchner entered the Technische Hochschule (Technical College) in Dresden in 1901 to study architecture. In 1903-4 he studied painting in Munich, attending art classes at the school of Wilhelm von Debschitz and Hermann Obrist. His visits to the museums and exhibitions in Munich and a short stay in Nuremberg, where he saw Albrecht Dürer's original woodblocks, made him decide to become a painter. After his return to Dresden he formed Die Brücke on 07 June 1905, with his new friends Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Theirs was a polemical program, calling on all youth to fight for greater artistic freedom against the older, well-established powers.
In November 1905 Die Brücke exhibited their work watercolors, drawings, and woodcuts for the first time as a group. They worked together in rented storefront studios and sought other artistic companions as well as supporters, called "passive members." Emil Nolde joined the group for a short time; among the other artists who joined were Cuno Amiet, Axel Gallen-Kallela, Otto Mueller, and Max Pechstein.
The idealism and enthusiasm of Kirchner and the other young Brucke artists can be measured by their extraordinary production. The rapid development of their personal styles was partly a result of their frenetic activity, including life drawing and painting at the Moritzburg lakes near Dresden, at the island of Fehmarn, and in their studios, as well as the production of woodcuts, lithographs, and an incredible number of drawings. In his search for an increasingly simplified form of expression, Kirchner was strongly influenced, as were his colleagues, by the art of the Oceanic and African peoples. When the group relocated to Berlin in 1910-11, Kirchner 's response to the confrontation with the metropolis resulted in the bold works that epitomize the hectic life in Berlin.
Die Brücke continued to exhibit as a group in the major German cities (Berlin, Darmstadt, Dresden, Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Leipzig) and in traveling exhibitions to smaller communities. The group's fifth annual graphics portfolio (1910) was devoted to Kirchner's work. In 1912 Die Brücke was invited to participate in the Sonderbund Exhibition in Cologne, where Heckel, Kirchner, and Schmidt-Rottluff were also commissioned to create a chapel. In that year they also exhibited in Moscow and Prague, at the second Blaue Reiter (Blue rider) show in Munich, and in Berlin at the Galerie Gurlitt. Kirchner was regarded as the leader of the group, but when in 1913 it was suggested that he compose a history of Die Brücke, the others took offense at his egocentric account, and the group broke up.
At the outbreak of the First World War Kirchner volunteered for the army, but he could not stand the discipline and constant subordination. He suffered a nervous breakdown and was temporarily furloughed and moved to a sanatorium, where he was able to complete several important paintings and the color woodcuts to illustrate Chamisso's story of Peter Schlemihl (1916). A growing dependency on Veronal (sleeping pills), morphine and alcohol did not hinder him from painting frescoes for the Konigstein Sanatorium and a number of other works.
In 1917 Kirchner moved to Switzerland, where he was supported by the collector Dr. Carl Hagemann, the architect Henri van de Velde, and the family of his physician, Dr. Spengler. He slowly recovered, while continuing to work on paintings and woodcuts. His works were exhibited in Switzerland and Germany. In 1921 he had fifty works on view at the Kronprinzenpalais (Nationalgalerie) in Berlin, which were praised by critics and established his reputation as the leading Expressionist. In 1925-26 he made his first long trip back to Germany. He stayed for a while in Dresden with his biographer, Will Grohmann, and visited the dancer Mary Wigman. His intense work on paintings, woodcuts, and sculpture expanded to include designs for the weaver Lise Guyer and, more importantly, for the decoration of the great hall of the Museum Folkwang in Essen: work never to be completed, since the Nazis seized the museum in 1933.
From 1936 onward Kirchner was increasingly disturbed by news of the Nazis' attack on modern art, occupation of Austria, and ban on the exhibition of his work in Germany. The stress of these circumstances and the onset of illness led him to destroy all of his woodblocks and some of his sculpture and to burn many of his other works.
Selbstbildnis als Soldat Self-Portrait with Model
A Group of Artists: Otto Mueller, Kirchner, Heckel, Schmidt-Rottluff
Girl Under a Japanese Parasol Two Women in the Street
59 prints at FAMSF
Died on 06 May 1642,
Born on 06 May 1581: Frans Francken II, Flemish painter.
The Francken were a family of Flemish painters active during five generations in the 16th and 17th centuries, mainly in Antwerp. The individual contributions of the many artists in the family are often difficult to assess, but the two most distinguished members were Frans Francken I (1542-03 Oct 1616) and his son Frans. The painters in the family include another son, Hieronymus Francken II [1578-1623], and
Franck Hieronymus Francken I [1540-1610], Franck Ambrosius Francken I, [1544 16 Oct 1618], Frans Francken III [1607 04 Sep 1667]
Frans Francken I mainly painted religious and historical compositions. His early works were frequently life-size; the late ones were small, usually done on copper, and crowded with exotic figures and accessories.
Frans II frequently adopted his father's subjects and style, but his range was wider. He painted landscapes and genre scenes as well as historical pictures, and was also one of the first artists to use the interior of a picture gallery as a subject, giving faithful miniature reproductions of the works in the collection. His paintings were even smaller and more crowded than his father's; they were also more colorful. Frans II was frequently employed by his fellow artists in Antwerp to paint the figures in their landscapes and interiors.
Allegory on the Abdication of the Emperor Charles V on 25 October 1555, in Brussels (1620)
Passage of the Children of Israel through the Red Sea (35x45cm)
Worship of the Golden Calf (60x88cm) _ In the same period when the most talented artists in the country had gathered around Rubens in Antwerp, there were also other artists working in Antwerp who still clung to the taste of Rubens' predecessors. One of these was Frans II Francken, who painted Rockox's 'constcamer'. He was a very popular artist in his time, and although he lacked any outstanding imaginative power or great technical skill, his fame rests on his ability to convert monumental subjects from large-scale art works to proportions more suitable for private houses. The Worship of the Golden Calf is a typical example of the many religious and mythological scenes he painted. Feast of Esther (55x69cm) _ A characteristic feature of Francken's painting is the additional episodes in the background including in this case the Triumph of Mordecai and the Execution of Haman.
Jesus among the Doctors (1587, 250x220cm center panel, 250x97cm wings) _ Following the restoration of Spanish rule and Catholic worship in Antwerp in 1585, the city fathers ordered the crafts and guilds to reinstall their altars in the Cathedral. Among the first to respond were the Schoolmasters and the Soap-boilers, who shared an altar in the church. They contracted Frans Francken to paint a triptych showing Jesus among the Doctors. (The left wing depicts St Ambrose Baptising St Augustine, while the right wing the Miracle of the Flowing Oil.) The scenes plainly have most to do with the schoolmasters. The centre panel shows the episode from St Luke's Gospel in which the twelve-year-old Jesus debates theology with the Jewish scribes in the Temple at Jerusalem. His parents, who have found him after a long search, look somewhat dejected. The Temple is represented by a Renaissance church interior with a menorah and the Ark of the Covenant in the background. The left wing shows Ambrose, the patron saint of Antwerp's schoolmasters, baptising St Augustine in the presence of a canon-scholaster and several council members from the Schoolmasters' Guild. The only reference to the Soap-boilers is in the right wing, where the Bible story of the Miracle of the Flowing Oil is depicted. The prophet Elisha helped the widow of Zarephath out of debt by causing her oil jug to continuously replenish itself an appropriate theme, for oil was one of the ingredients used by the soap-boilers. The style of the triptych is sober and didactic, as befits the schoolmasters, if not the soapmakers. The balanced composition with its symmetrically arranged groups and the restrained presentation of the principal theme, without many secondary scenes or symbols, is characteristic of the Italian Renaissance, the latest artistic trend at the time.
Art Room (1636, 74x78cm) _ In the 17th century there were several royal collections in which 'naturalia' - objects found in nature such as pearls and shells - were mixed with 'arteficialia' - precious man-made objects including coins, medals, paintings, sculptures, Nautilus goblets, astronomical gadgetry, etc. Scientific thought in the early modern era was governed by the principle of 'curiositas' (curiosity or inquisitiveness), thus these collections were centres of expansive research. The painting of Frans Francken II shows a good example.
An Antique Dealer's Gallery (1620) This captures the atmosphere of such places at the beginning of the 17th century and shows a large display of paintings hanging in two rows.
Sebastiaan Leerse in his Gallery (77x114cm) _ Apart from paintings dealing with social customs and mores, there was a great demand from contemporary patrons of the arts for decorative canvases. An attractive example is provided by the large number of art gallery paintings, a specialism which arose in the 17th century, in which the patron is portrayed in the midst of his collection, and in which the artist expresses the ideas and attitudes of his time. Frans Francken II, who painted the Antwerp merchant Sebastiaan Leerse in his Gallery together with his second wife and their son, was a master in this field. Paintings of this kind have both aesthetic and documentary value, as the depicted paintings could largely be identified.
Madonna and Child in a Landscape (painted with Abraham Govaerts) An Assembly of Witches Supper at the House of Burgomaster Rockox (1635)
Born on 06 May 1849: John
Melhuish Strudwick, British Pre-Raphaelite
painter who died in 1935 (1937?).
John Strudwick studied at the Royal Academy Schools, where he was not a successful student. Following this, he worked as a studio assistant to Burne-Jones and Stanhope. Initially, Strudwick enjoyed the patronage of wealthy industrialists but his career went into decline when they withdrew their support. He deliberately left his painting When Sorrow comes in Summer Days, Roses Bloom in Vain unfinished — an indication of the disillusionment he felt at the collapse of his career. He painted in a flat linear style, with great attention to detail, especially in the draperies and accessories, using rich and glowing colors. The effect is sometimes rather lifeless and static, but always highly decorative. George Bernard Shaw wrote, in an article about Strudwick for the Art Journal in 1891: ... transcendent expressiveness is the moving quality in all Strudwick's works and persons who are sensitive to it will take almost as a matter of course the charm of the architecture, the bits of landscape, the elaborately beautiful foliage, the ornamental accessories of all sorts, which would distinguish them even in a gallery of early Italian paintings....
— The influence of Burne-Jones is clearly visible in Strudwick's work. He was a highly talented individual in his own right, however, and his paintings may be judged on their own considerable merits. His pictures used a niave, flat perspective, and were much- praised by George Bernard Shaw, who commented on the beauty and accuracy of his depiction of landscape, sky, and foliage. Following developments in the early 20th century the art world had no room for Strudwick and his work, and due to this he was forced to cease painting, he was quite literally shamed into artistic silence. At his death the Times obituarist paid tribute to his charming, kind, and interesting character.
The Madonna and Child with attendant Angels.
Saint Cecilia _ Cecilia lived in Rome around 230 AD. She is famous for taking a lifelong vow of chastity which she kept despite her enforced marriage. She converted her husband to Christianity and both suffered martyrdom. In medieval times, a misreading of her Acts led to her connection with church music and when the Academy of Music was established at Rome in 1584, she was adopted as its patroness. Her saint's day is celebrated on 22 November.
Apollo and Marsyos _ According to legend, Marsyos challenged Apollo to a musical contest, his flute against the god's lyre. The muses awarded the victory to Apollo, who tied Marsyos to a tree and slayed him alive. Strudwick depicted the moment of judgement. The following poem can be found on the back of the painting: Oh Ecstasy / Oh happiness of him who once has heard Apollo singing! / As he sang / I saw the Nine, with lovely pilgrim eyes, / Sing He has conquered / Yet I felt no pang / Of fear only deep joy that I have heard such while I lived, / Even though it brought torture and death. The Epic of Hades by 'A New Writer'
Isabella and the Pot of Basil (1879, 99x59cm) _ This painting is based on Isabella, or the Pot of Basil by John Keats, which had already inspired major paintings by John Everett Millais and others. Derived from Boccaccio, it tells how Isabella falls in love with Lorenzo, an employee of her brothers, who murder him to prevent their marriage. She exhumes his body and buries his head in a pot of basil, which she waters with her tears. The brothers discover and steal it, and she dies of a broken heart. Strudwich shows her bereft as the brothers, having snatched the pot from its elaborate wrought-iron pedestal, make their escape through the streets of Florence outside her window. Compare Isabella and the Pot of Basil by William Holman Hunt _ Isabella and the Pot of Basil (1897; 192x91cm) by John White Alexander [07 October 1856 01 June 1915] _ Isabella and the Pot of Basil (1907) by John William Waterhouse.
A Golden Thread (1885) _ The Fates, or the Moerae, were invoked at birth to decide a man's destiny. Often depicted as spinners, Clotho, at the right, with a spindle spins out the thread of life, while Lachesis, at the left, measures the length of a life, and Atropos, with the shears, cuts it off. There is another version of this painting at the Galleria del Levante in Munich:
Circe and Scylla (1886) _ The subject is taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses. Scylla, a water nymph, was loved by Glaucus, a sea deity. She rejected his advances, and he turned for aid to Circe, the enchantress. Circe, however, fell in love with Glaucus herself, and to destroy Scylla, her rival, poisoned the stream where the nymph was accustomed to bathe. When Scylla entered the water she was transformed into a hideous monster, whereupon she threw herself into the sea which separates Italy from Sicily and was changed into the rock, so perilous to sailors, which bears her name. Strudwick shows Circe pouring poison into the stream, while Scylla advances unawares to bathe. He must have known Burne-Jones' famous picture The Wine of Circe, exhibited in 1869, but a closer comparison is J W Waterhouse's Circe Invidiosa, shown at the Royal Academy in 1892, which treats the same incident as Strudwick's painting.
"Circe was a sorceress, most famous from Homer's Odyssey where she changed some of Ulysses' crew into swine. The scene for this painting is taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses. Scylla was a beautiful water nymph who was loved by Glaucus, a sea god. When she rejected him he sought help from Circë. However, Circë fell in love with Glaucus herself and resolved to rid herself of her rival. She prepared a potion and poisoned the water where Scylla would regularly bathe. The spell turned Scylla into a sea monster. The painting shows Circë pouring her potion into the stream, with Scylla in the background approaching to bathe. Compare the work to the later, but more famous, Waterhouse picture Circë Invidiosa which shows Circë pouring the potion from a large dish. Around her feet can be seen the fins of the transformed Scylla."
— The Music Of A Bygone Age (1890, 79x61cm)
Died on 06 May 1475: Dieric
(or Dirk, Dirck, Thierri) Bouts the Elder,
Dutch painter born in 1412, father of Dieric
Bouts II and Aelbrecht
Bouts. [They all had their bouts of creativity.]
Bouts came from the Northern Netherlands. He would seem to have been born in Haarlem, but no documentation has survived to prove this. What we do know for certain is that he worked in Louvain and that a certificate issued by that town on 12 July 1476 describes him as being of foreign origin: "nativi ex patriam". We do not know when he was born, only that it must have been some time between 1410 and 1420. Nor do we know who his masters were, though the influence of Rogier Van der Weyden is so clearly visible that it seems likely he may have worked in Rogier's studio in Brussels.
He married Katherina Van der Brugghen, the daughter of a rich Louvain family, no later than 1448. She bore him four children. The two boys, Dieric II and Albert, were later to become painters like their father. The name of Bouts is first recorded in the Louvain archives in 1457. Thenceforward, it reappears in connection both with the purchase or inheritance of property and with commissions for various paintings. From this very first mention, Bouts is described as a painter: "Dieric Bouts schildere" (1457), for example, or "Theodorum Bouts pictor ymaginum " (1458). The fact that nine years elapsed between his marriage and the first mention of his name in the city records at Louvain has led certain historians and biographers to suggest that Bouts returned to Haarlem during this time, where they see him exerting a certain influence on the Northern school of artists.
In late 1468 or early 1469, Bouts was appointed "official painter of the town of Louvain". He was widowed, and remarried in 1473, taking as his second wife one Elisabeth Van Voshem. He died two years later, on 06 May 1475, and was buried in the Minderbroerderkerk, the Franciscan church of Louvain, which stood close by his house. The earliest works to have been attributed to Bouts are the three panels of the Triptych of the Virgin, and various versions of the Virgin and Child. These paintings are very close in style to Rogier Van der Weyden, sometimes so close as to be virtually undistinguishable. It is with the Descent from the Cross, in the cathedral at Granada, that a truly personal style begins to emerge. In the Entombment, Bouts took Van der Weyden's model and totally transformed its meaning.
Dieric Bouts has sometimes been referred to simply as a portrait painter, so exceptional were his achievements in this genre. His Portrait of a Man (1462) is an absolute masterpiece for example. Besides the remarkable Portrait of a Man, few of Bouts's paintings can be attributed to him or even dated with any great certainty. Of those that can, the three most important pieces are the Triptych of the Martyrdom of St Erasmus, in the collegiate church of St Peter in Louvain, the Altarpiece of the Holy Sacrament, in the same church, and the diptych The Justice of Emperor Otto III. This diptych belongs to the genre of the justice scene. It was painted by Bouts towards the end of his life for the council room in the town hall at Louvain, which had been completed in 1460. His style was highly influential and was continued by his two sons, Dieric the Younger [1448-1490] and Aelbrecht (1455-1549].
Virgin and Child, (1460, 26x20cm) Virgin and Child (22x17cm) _ Born and trained in Haarlem, Dieric Bouts spent most of his life in Leuven working for Flemish aristocrats. The composition of this exquisite painting derives from that of the Cambrai Madonna, a 14th-century Italian copy of a Byzantine icon then thought to be a miraculous image painted by Saint Luke. Because of the heightened realism of Bouts's technique, the figures have a compelling lifelike quality. These two replicas by Bouts himself and several by others, attest the popularity of the image.
a different The Virgin and Child (30x21cm) _ Some doubt persists as to the authorship of the small painting entitled The Virgin and Child. It has been identified as originating from the circle surrounding Dieric Bouts, of whose origins we know little with any certainty. He probably came from Haarlem, and learned his artist's trade in the Southern Netherlands where he was strongly influenced by Rogier van der Weyden. He received major commissions from the civil and ecclesiastical authorities in Louvain. The panel in question was intended to move the viewer to reflection. Mary, the most virtuous of all women, is portrayed here as the incarnation of the contemporary ideal of beauty, with her long, pale face and the raised hair-line. a third variation of Mary and Child (1465, 37x28cm)
Christ in the House of Simon (1445, 40x61cm) _ Dirk Bouts came from Haarlem, where he doubtless received his early training. Later he settled in the university city of Louvain, where his major work can still be seen in the Church of St Peter. When he was appointed City Painter in 1468, he was already over fifty years old. The Berlin panel, as its close likeness to the work of Aelbert Ouwater suggests, must have been one of his earlier works. The story of Jesus's visit to the house of Simon the Pharisee is told in St Luke's Gospel (vii, 36-50). A woman from the city followed Christ there, 'and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.' Simon condemned the attitude of his guest, saying : 'This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him; for she is a sinner.' Christ answered with a parable and the words: 'Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much; but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.' In a narrow, vaulted room, on the left of which is a window providing a glimpse of a landscape, Simon sits with his guests at a table laid for a meal. On the left of the table the sinner bends down to anoint Jesus's feet. The host, the only one present wearing shoes, and Peter beside him, observe the incident with astonishment and disapproval. The youthful John at the head of the table seems to be drawing the attention of the donor, a Dominican monk, to it. The latter kneels with hands raised in prayer and, as if he dare not look, averts his gaze. The arrangement of the figures at a laid table recalls two other themes from the life of Christ, the Last Supper and the Miracle at Emmaus, incidents which were frequently represented in painting and, furthermore, established a pictorial tradition of their own. Here the table is laid with bread, wine and fish, the last of these being an ancient Christian symbol. The composition of the various objects represents one of the most delightful still-lifes in old Netherlandish painting. Among the vessels on the table one can recognize a late medieval form of glass known as a 'cabbage-stalk'.
The Entombment (1450, 90x74cm) _ detail _ One of the leading Netherlandish artists of his time, Bouts lived in Leuven, where he furnished paintings for the town hall, and executed both private devotional pictures and altarpieces. The Entombment is remarkably well preserved considering its fragile technique. The picture was probably part of a series of scenes from the life of Christ forming a large shuttered altarpiece, and may have been painted on a lightweight cloth support, rolled like a carpet for export to Italy, where it was recorded in the nineteenth century. Like many such works, it has painted borders, which would have served as a guide to re-stretching the picture once it reached its destination. The paint layers, composed of pigment mixed in a water-soluble glue medium, were applied directly onto the fabric, so that they sank into it. The retention of moisture by the canvas enabled the painter to blend the brushwork to achieve smooth transitions, an effect which Bouts has used with greatest subtlety in the landscape. Details, however, had to be added with a light touch so as not to redissolve the first paint layers, and the modelling of the faces, for example, is reinforced with rapid hatching. Although the colors would never have had the brilliance of oils, some pigments have discolored: parts of the sky which were protected by an earlier frame can be seen to be more blue than those below, which have accumulated surface grime. The burial of Christ after the crucifixion is described in the Gospels and retold in more pathetic detail in the devotional literature of the time. For greater immediacy, the figures are dressed in contemporary clothes. Bouts carefully differentiates the grief of each one. The three Maries are shown from the front, from the left and from the right, their eyes all downcast. One wipes her tears, another covers her mouth, the third holds Christ's arm to place it gently in the tomb. She is supported by John who casts a lingering last look at his Master. Joseph of Arimathea holds Christ's shoulders, reverently touching the body only through the linen cloth, like a priest at Mass holding up the host. Nicodemus, a secret follower of Jesus, lowers the feet into the tomb, while the repentant sinner, Mary Magdalene, looks up into the face of Christ - the only one of the women to lift her eyes. Christ's body is carefully turned so that we may see the wound in his side and the blood, which also refers to the Eucharist. The artist's intentions are clear. He sought to arouse, in a viewer kneeling at the altar preparing to receive the body of the Savior, those same feelings of grief and wonder which we can still see in the painted figures.
Resurrection (1460, 89x72cm) _ detail _ The painting is on of the panels of the Crucifixion Altarpiece, together with the London Entombment. The central panel was probably the Crucifixion in Brussels.
Paradise (1450, 115x70cm) _ A documented work by Bouts, a triptych of the Last Judgment, has unfortunately not survived. Two panels, representing Hell and Paradise, in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lille, were long believed to be part of this work. However, recent research has shown that this is not the case.
Hell (1450, 115x70cm) _ A documented work by Bouts, a triptych of the Last Judgment, has unfortunately not survived. Two panels, representing Hell and Paradise, in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lille, were long believed to be part of this work. However, recent research has shown that this is not the case.
Portrait of a Man (1462, 31x20cm) _ Dieric Bouts has sometimes been referred to simply as a portrait painter, so exceptional were his achievements in this genre. For example, his Portrait of a Man one of the few paintings by Bouts which can be attributed to him or even dated with any great certainty is an absolute masterpiece. Although relying entirely on harmonic variations of brown, incorporating tints of pink or mauve, Bouts here went as far, perhaps, as it is possible to go in the exploration of the human face. His drawing is always rigorous and self assured. Here, he uses it to accentuate the articulation of the hands, emphasizing the veins and lines.
Born on 06 May 1857: Frank Bramley,
English painter who died on 10 (09?) August 1915.
— He attended Lincoln School of Art from 1873 to 1878. He studied from 1879 to 1882 with Charles Verlat at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp, as did other future Newlyn school painters such as Fred Hall [1860–1948], Thomas Cooper Gotch and Norman Garstin. After a period in Venice (1882–1884) Bramley joined the artists’ colony in Newlyn, Cornwall, where he stayed until 1895. The Newlyn School (or British Impressionism) became known for its Cornish [NOT corny] genre scenes and plein-air approach, but Domino (1886) typifies Bramley’s initial interest in interiors with varied natural and artificial light effects, as well as his involvement with tonal harmonies and the surface qualities of the square brush. Bramley was a founder member of the NEAC but resigned in 1890 after a vicious review of his work by Sickert. He was elected a Royal Academician in 1911.
— A Hopeless Dawn (1888, 123x168cm) _ This was painted at Newlyn, Cornwall, and exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1888, with a passage fromThe Harbours of England. of John Ruskin. This dwelt on the effort and sorrow of the lives of fishermen and their families, yet offered consolation in the thought of Christ’s hand being ‘at the helm of every lonely boat, through starless night and hopeless dawn’. An open bible lies on the window seat beside the fisherman’s mother, who is comforting his young wife; both have given up hope of his return after waiting for a day and a night. _ A fisherman’s wife and mother have kept vigil all night, reading the Bible and waiting in vain for his return. Bramley contrasts the bleak early morning light with the flickering candle on the table, while on the window-ledge a candle has gone out, symbolising the fisherman’s death. Outside the window, the restless storm continues mercilessly; the cracked panes of glass suggests humanity’s fragility in contrast to the power and terrible indifference of the raging sea.
— Primrose Day (1885, 50x35cm) _ The title of this picture refers to the annual commemoration on 19 April of the death of the great Conservative statesman Benjamin Disraeli [1804-1881] who was Prime Minister in 1868 and from 1874 to 1880. Primroses were said to be his favorite flower. The girl has been collecting primroses in her hat; others are arranged in a vase on the table, above which is a print of Disraeli. Bramley's picture is also an exercise in the color harmonies of yellow, white and brown. A leading Newlyn painter, he has used the square brush and horizontal strokes for which the Newlyn artists were famous.
— A Truce — Sir Frederick Augustus Abel, Bt (120x99cm)
Died on 06 May 1629: Otto van Veen,
Flemish painter born in 1556. From 1575 to 1580 he was in Italy where he
was a pupil of Federico
Zuccaro [1542-1609], and after working in various places in Germany
and Flanders he settled in Antwerp in 1592. He was an uninspired Mannerist
painter, but he had a successful career by modeling his work on Italian
masters such as Correggio
[1490-1534] and Parmigianino
[1503-1540] (The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine, 1589). His love
of Italian art and his scholarly inclinations (he often Latinized his name
to Octavio Vaenius) must have been appreciated by Rubens
[1577-1640], who had his final training in van Veen's studio. It was also
van Veen who advised Rubens to go to Italy in 1600.
Distribution of herring and White Bread at the Relief of Leiden, 03 October 1574
Batavians Defeating the Romans on the Rhine (1613) _ Batavorum cum Romanis bellum a Cornelio Tacito libro IV. et libro V. historiarum olim descriptum:
Civilis [dux Batavorum] ... Canninefatis, Frisios, Batavos propriis cuneis componit: derecta ex diverso acies haud procul a flumine Rheno et obversis in hostem navibus, quas incensis castellis illuc adpulerant. nec diu certato Tungrorum cohors signa ad Civilem transtulit, perculsique milites improvisa proditione a sociis hostibusque caedebantur. eadem etiam
— Sinite Parvulos (145x118cm) _ It illustrates Matthew 19: 13-15, Mark 10: 13-16, Luke 18: 15-18.
— The Last Supper (1592, 350x2247cm) _ Jesus and his disciples take their meal in a room with columns, oil-lamps, a sofa and an amphora that give it a classical feel. A glowing light in the dark background illuminates the Bible. The artist shows the moment at which Christ blesses the bread and wine before his agitated disciples. Christ has just suggested that one of them would betray him. They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, 'Surely, not I?' To the viewer, however, it is clear that the man who turns away from the group as his wine is poured and who secretively clutches a purse is the traitor Judas. The painting originally served as an altarpiece in a chapel devoted to the Eucharist. It is considered to be one of Van Veen masterpieces.
— Nicolaas Rockox (26x35cm)_ Nicolaas Rockox [1560-1640] was the burgomaster (mayor) of Antwerp. His fame is largely attributed to his friendship to Rubens and the commissions he gave to this artist. His 17th-century patrician is housing a fine collection of Flemish art.
— Death with the three orders of Church, State and People (diameter 29 cm) _ In this painting Death hovers over the Pope, the Emperor, and the Peasant standing in a landscape. A lettered banner is by each one: 'I pray for you all' ( the pope); 'I rule you all' (the Emperor); 'I feed you all' (the peasant). 'a bitter unavoidable end comes, common to all' (Death).
— Zeuxis Painting Helen of Troy (rough sketch) _ This drawing was made on paper prepared with a warm, orange-brown wash. The artist sketched his composition in dark brown oil paints, then added highlights in opaque white. The white was sometimes mixed with small amounts of brown to create creamy skin tones. In many places, the orange-brown color of the paper is left bare. The subject of this oil sketch is an anecdote from the Pliny's Natural History. According to legend, the great painter Zeuxis was commissioned to paint an image of Helen of Troy. The artist asked the five most beautiful women in the city of Cronos to come to his studio and model for the figure. He selected the most beautiful characteristics of each woman, combining their qualities to create an image of "perfect" beauty. In the drawing, van Veen displays the various women's beautiful features (backside, profile, torso, etc.), exhibiting his skill at portraying the nude form. In the Renaissance and Baroque eras the story of Zeuxis Painting Helen of Troy was thought to illustrate the importance of good judgement for artists. The scene sometimes decorated artists' homes, and a 1570 painting in the Florentine residence of the Italian artist/biographer Giorgio Vasari may have served as a prototype for van Veen's composition. The drawing is of special historical importance because it may be the only surviving document recording the composition of a lost van Veen painting mentioned in Carel van Mander's Shilderboek of 1604 (a Zeus (Zeuxis?) with Five Nude Female Figures). The painting is thought to have served as a model for Rubens's later representation of the subject in a cycle of paintings decorating the exterior of his home.
1432: The Adoration of the Lamb
Flemish artist Jan van Eyck [1370 buried 09 Jul 1441] finishes his greatest masterpiece: the Adoration of the Lamb altarpiece (350x461rm) for Saint John's Church in Ghent, Belgium. Van Eyck's work is noted for its descriptive realism and intensive color.
The most famous work of Jan van Eyck is a huge altarpiece with many scenes in the city of Ghent. It is said to have been begun by Jan's elder brother Hubert, of whom little is known, and was completed by Jan in 1432. In the past, art historians, for various reasons, have sometimes cast doubt on the existence of Hubert Van Eyck. Today, however, no one still seriously claims that the elder brother of Jan, Lambert and Margareta Van Eyck never existed. He was born at Maeseyck, near Mons, though the date of his birth is unknown. The name Hubert itself, which was not common in Ghent, may well indicate his foreign origin. A few facts can be gleaned from his tombstone, which is now in the Lapidary Museum in Saint Bavo's Abbey. An inscription engraved on a copper plate which has since disappeared but which was once affixed to the stone, recorded 18 September 1426 as the date of his death. However, the most crucial piece of information to have come down to us is the quatrain inscribed on the frame of the Adoration of the Lamb, the Van Eyck brothers' most celebrated work. The verse was placed there when the altarpiece was installed on 06 May 1432. It states that the polyptych was begun by Pictor Hubertus Eyck, and finished by his brother Jan, at the request of Jodocus Vijd, deputy burgomaster of Ghent, warden of the church of St John, and of his wife, Elisabeth Borluut, who commissioned it.
An additional argument for the existence of Hubert is provided by a stylistic analysis of the painting, in which the work of two different hands can be clearly discerned. The overall conception of the altarpiece is certainly the work of Hubert, along with the execution of certain parts, such as the panels in the lower tier. Here, the manner is archaic, and reflects the continuing dominance of the international style that was practised by Broederlam. The composition is typically unoriginal: the landscape is still conceived as a distant background, with which the figures at the front have no organic relation, an effect that is reinforced by the bird's eye point of view.
This polyptych is mystical, not to say esoteric, in intention, and is imbued throughout with both spiritual and intellectual signification. When opened, it represents the communion of saints, which is "the new heaven and the new earth", in the words of the Revelation of St John. Thus the central panel of the lower tier portrays the saints symbolizing the eight Beatitudes gathered round the altar where the sacrifice of the Lamb is taking place, at the centre of the heavenly garden which has sprung from His blood.
To left and right, in the foreground, are two processions facing one another. One of these is made up of the Old Testament patriarchs and prophets, and the other of figures from the New Testament. Some of them are kneeling, barefoot. Behind them is assembled the hierarchy of the Church popes, deacons and bishops, wearing sumptuous jewelry and clothes in the bright red of martyrdom. In the background are two further groups, facing each other as if they had just emerged from the surrounding shrubbery. These are, on one side, the Confessors of the Faith, tightly packed together and almost all dressed in blue; and on the other side, the Virgin Martyrs, holding out palm fronds and wearing in their hair crowns of flowers of a kind traditionally worn by young girls at certain holy ceremonies. In the middle of the panel, around the altar where the Lamb spills forth his blood, angels kneel, holding the emblems of His Passion. Grace is symbolized by a radiant dove hovering in the sky, and eternal life is represented by a fountain in the foreground. A paradisiacal landscape runs across all five lower panels, uniting them in a single composition. It is strewn with plants from different countries and flowers of different seasons. The central panel is vibrant with green, while those to the sides are more arid and rocky. The horizon sits high in the frame and is closed off by groves of trees, behind which clusters of fairy-tale buildings can be made out, representing the heavenly Jerusalem.
The community of saints also extends onto the side panels. Magnificently arrayed horsemen, representing the Soldiers of Christ, are followed by the Just Judges. Opposite them are the Holy Hermits who have renounced the world, and the Pilgrim Saints, who were favourite figures of identification throughout the Middle Ages. They are led by a giant of a man, St Christopher. Many later commentators have suggested that his great height would have reminded the contemporary viewer of Jodocus Vijd's brother, also called Christopher. In the middle of the upper tier is God Almighty, the Word, essence and origin of the universe. He is dressed in red and is crowned with a magnificent tiara. On his left is Mary and on his right, St John the Baptist. These central figures are surrounded by angels who are singing or playing instruments. At the far right and left of the composition respectively are the figures of Adam and Eve. They were painted by Jan Van Eyck, and are set into trompe-l'oeil niches. Light and shadow play delicately over their forms which stand out as though they had been sculpted in the round.
The Ghent Altarpiece wings closed (350x223cm) _ The realism of the figures of Adam and Eve at the far right and left on the open altarpiece struck contemporary viewers forcefully, and this style continues on the outside of the panels when the altarpiece is closed. The external decoration shows the Erithraean and Cumaean Sibyls, Prophets Zacharias and Micheas, the figures of Jodocus Vyd, the donor, and his wife Isabelle Borluut kneeling on either side of two grisaille (painted in gray to resemble statuary) representations of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, and the Annunciation with the angel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary. The angel and the Virgin of the Annunciation are separated by two small panels, one with the representation of an arched window looking out upon a city square, and the other with a wash basin and ewer set into a niche and a white towel hanging from a rail beside it. A striking feature is the disparity in the scale of the various figures: no less than four changes of scale exist of the outside of the wings. There are also disparities in approach; some parts are almost prosaically factual, others almost visionary in approach. Three orders of reality are present: a narrative representation of a sacred subject (the Annunciation), two highly factual donor portraits and two simulated sculptures. Yet there is a strong attempt to impose a uniform framework on these disparate elements through the governing factor of the light, which falls uniformly in all the panels from the right, and also through the use in the upper panels of a beamed ceiling running through the whole scene, and, in the lower panels, of the same cusped trefoil arches to frame the figures.