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ART 4 2-DAY 05 September
DEATH: 1569 BRUEGEL
Born on 05 September 1774: Caspar-David
Friedrich, German Romantic painter who died on 07 May 1840.
Caspar David Friedrich was an outstanding 19th-century romantic painter whose awesome landscapes and seascapes are not only meticulous observations of nature but are also allegories. Friedrich was born in Greifswald and studied at the Copenhagen Academy. In 1798 he settled in Dresden, where he became a member of an artistic and literary circle imbued with the ideals of the romantic movement. His early drawings—precisely outlined in pencil or sepia—explored motifs recurrent throughout his work: rocky beaches, flat, barren plains, infinite mountain ranges, and trees reaching toward the sky. Later, his work began to reflect more of his emotional response to natural scenery.
He began to paint in oils in 1807; one of his first canvases, The Cross in the Mountains (1807), is representative of his mature style. A bold break from traditional religious painting, this work is almost pure landscape; the figure of the crucified Christ, seen from behind and silhouetted against a mountain sunset, is almost lost in the natural setting. According to Friedrich's own writings, all the elements in the composition have symbolic meanings. The mountains are allegories of faith; the rays of the setting sun symbolize the end of the pre-Christian world; and the fir trees stand for hope. Friedrich's cold, acid colors, clear lighting, and sharp contours heighten the feeling of melancholy, isolation, and human powerlessness against the ominous forces of nature expressed in his paintings. As a faculty member of the Dresden Academy, Friedrich influenced later German romantic painters. Although his reputation declined after his death, 20th-century viewers are fascinated by his imagery.
The German romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich was one of the greatest exponents in European art of the symbolic landscape. He studied at the Academy in Copenhagen (1794-1798), and subsequently settled in Dresden, often traveling to other parts of Germany. Friedrich's landscapes are based entirely on those of northern Germany and are beautiful renderings of trees, hills, harbors, morning mists, and other light effects based on a close observation of nature. Some of Friedrich's best-known paintings are expressions of a religious mysticism. In 1808 he exhibited one of his most controversial paintings, The Cross in the Mountains , in which for the first time in Christian art an altarpiece was conceived in terms of a pure landscape. The cross, viewed obliquely from behind, is an insignificant element in the composition. More important are the dominant rays of the evening sun, which the artist said depicted the setting of the old, pre~Christian world. The mountain symbolizes an immovable faith, while the fir trees are an allegory of hope. Friedrich painted several other important compositions in which crosses dominate a landscape. Even some of Friedrich's apparently nonsymbolic paintings contain inner meanings, clues to which are provided either by the artist's writings or those of his literary friends. For example, a landscape showing a ruined abbey in the snow, Abbey with Oak Trees (1810), can be appreciated on one level as a bleak, winter scene, but the painter also intended the composition to represent both the church shaken by the Reformation and the transitoriness of earthly things.
Romanticism was an early nineteenth-century aesthetic movement encompassing nature, nationalism, and spirituality. In Germany, it found perfect expression in the music of Beethoven, the writings of Goethe, and the art of Caspar David Friedrich. Today, Friedrich is recognised as the quintessential German Romantic painter. In his lifetime, though, he achieved only modest fame, and his talent was cheapened by imitation. His melancholy, sometimes morbid style appealed to Romantic tastes, but fell from favour as the ardour of Romanticism cooled. Born 5 September 1774, Friedrich is often compared to his contemporaries, the landscape painters Turner and Constable. But his paintings are not landscapes; Friedrich never painted from nature. He traveled throughout northern Europe and made detailed sketches of its terrain, but his paintings contain elements of different settings in wholly imagined scenes. Friedrich actually ignores the law of nature for aesthetic impact. In his paintings Friedrich rarely depicts people, except to emphasise nature's vastness. When figures appear in his paintings, they stand with their backs to the viewer, lost in contemplation. Friedrich is primarily a religious artist. The Romantic worship of nature finds literal expression in his work, which articulates the artist's Protestant faith through natural symbolism. On a sensual level, his paintings deliver a frisson of ecstasy or horror. But they also demand intellectual decoding. The transience of human existence, the redemptive powers of nature, man at the mercy of the elements - all are stock themes of Romanticism. For Friedrich, though, they had personal meaning too. At 13, Friedrich fell through the surface of a frozen lake and nearly perished. His brother saved Friedrich's life but drowned in the effort. Friedrich's mother died in 1781, and a sister ten years later. His dark, deeply religious paintings may reflect these childhood tragedies. After studying in Copenhagen, Friedrich left his home, Greifswald, for Dresden, the art capital of Europe in the nineteenth century. He specialised in sepia, watercolors, and topographical drawings, turning to oils by 1808. In 1825, Friedrich suffered a severe illness from which he never fully recovered. A decade later, a stroke left him partially paralysed, and too weak to paint in oils. Instead, he returned to the watercolors and sepias of his youth. But he was a broken, bitter man. He died on 7th May 1840, impoverished and obscure. Friedrich remained shrouded in obscurity until the 1890s, when he was rediscovered by the Symbolists. In 1945, fire gutted the National Gallery, Berlin, destroying many of his masterpieces. The scarcity of Friedrich's paintings heightens their emotive power today.
— Landscape with Solitary Tree (1822, 55x71cm)
Cloister Cemetery in the Snow Large Enclosure
Riesengebirge Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog
Schlafender Knabe (1802, 18x12cm).
Tetscher Altar, Gesamtansicht, Szene: Das Kreuz im Gebirge (1807, 115x110cm; 923x881pix frame excluded, 253kb) This painting was originally intended to be an altarpiece for the Swedish King, Gustav IV Adolf, but it instead came into the possession of Count Franz Anton von Thun-Hohenstein, and was hung in the bedroom of the Count's residence at Schloss Tetschen in northern Bohemia. Friedrich wrote of this painting: "Jesus Christ, nailed to the tree, is turned here towards the sinking sun, the image of the eternal life-giving father. With Jesus's teaching an old world dies — that time when God the Father moved directly on the earth. This sun sank and the earth was not able to grasp the departing light any longer. There shines forth in the gold of the evening light the purest, noblest metal of the Savior's figure on the cross, which thus reflects on earth in a softened glow. The cross stands erected on a rock, unshakeably firm like our faith in Jesus Christ. The firs stand around the cross, evergreen, enduring through all ages, like the hopes of man in Him, the crucified."
— a different Kreuz im Gebirge (1820; 2358x1500pix, 436kb)
— Kreuz und Kathedrale im Gebirge (1812; 600x681pix, 199kb) _ yellowish reproduction
— Kreuz und Kathedrale im Gebirge (1812; 2332x2024pix, 683kb) _ reddish reproduction
— Erinnerung an das Riesengebirge (1837; 1747x2560pix, 545kb)
— Kreidefelsen auf Rügen (1820; 3193x2536pix, 1184kb)
— Der Watzmann (1825; 1967x2536pix, 604kb)
— Wald im Spätherbst (1835; 2037x2536pix, 1012kb)
— Der Morgen (1828x2560pix, 656kb) _ The sun is about to rise and dissipate the mist clinging to the pine trees on a hillside.
— Der Sommer (1807; 1736x2560pix, 618kb)
— Schiffe im Hafen von Greifswald (2589x2024pix, 608kb)
— Morgen (1827x2936pix, 558kb) _ Fishing sailboats set out to sea.
— Die Lebensstufen (1837, 72x68cm; 1985x2536pix, 550kb)
— Wrack im Eismeer (1798; 2075x1576pix, 711kb)
— Das Eismeer (1824; 2375x3176pix, 916kb) _ the wreck of the previous picture has been abandoned and is almost swallowed up by the ice.
— Frau vor untergehender Sonne (1820, 22x30cm; 1835x2560pix, 693kb)
— Mann und Frau den Mond betrachtend (1835, 34x44cm; 1944x2536pix, 603kb)
— Verschneite Hütte (1829; 3135x2536pix, 1324kb)
— The Tree of Crows (1822) — View from the Painter's Studio (1806)
— Cemetery at Dusk (1826, 143x110cm) — Eldena Ruin (1825, 35x49cm)
— Monastery Graveyard in the Snow (1819, 121x170cm) — On board a Sailing Ship
— Woman on the Beach of Rügen (1818) — City at Moonrise (1817)
— Landscape with Oak Trees and a Hunter (1811) — Abbey in an Oak Forest (1810)
— Evening — Moon rising over Sea (1821)
— Port by Moonlight (1811) — Largeness — Landscape in the Riesengebirge
— 59 smallish images at www.geocities.com/Paris/Arc/5340/friedric.htm (they average about 600x425 pixels, 50KB)
Died on 05 September 1569: Pieter
Bruegel Sr. Le Rustique ou Le
Drôle, Flemish artist born in 1525.
Pieter Bruegel the Elder, nicknamed ‘Peasant Bruegel’ was probably the most significant and exciting painter in the Northern Europe during the middle part of the sixteenth century. His nickname “Peasant Bruegel” indicates to his subjects: peasant life, proverbs and genre scenes, the New Testament topics set among common folks of contemporary Flanders.
The date and place of Bruegel’s birth are uncertain, most of the scholars consider he was born near Breda in the period between 1525- 1530. Until 1559 he spelt his name ‘Brueghel’, then as ‘Bruegel’, the reason for this change is unknown and his sons retained ‘h’ in their names.
Very probably the young Bruegel was apprenticed to Pieter Coecke van Aelst (1502~1550), a leading Antwerp artist, sculptor, architect, and designer of tapestry and stained glass, whose daughter Bruegel would later marry. In 1551 Bruegel became a Master of the Antwerp Guild. In 1552, 1553 and possibly for part of 1554 he traveled abroad. In 1552 he was in the south of Italy, visiting Reggio Calabria, Messina, Palermo and Naples, and in the following year he was in Rome, where he came into contact with a well-known painter and miniaturist of the time, Giulio Clovio, who created a small-scale picture of the Tower of Babel on ivory, and a View of Lyons (France). Both works are now lost. On his return journey to the Netherlands, Bruegel evidently spent some time in Switzerland, where he made many drawings of the Alps.
Back in Antwerp (late 1554-1555) Pieter Bruegel started working for Hieronymus Cock (1510~1570), the Antwerp engraver and publisher of prints. His Alpine sketches formed the basis of a number of elaborate landscape designs (dated from 1555 onwards), which were actually engraved by other artists. Cock was apparently pleased with Bruegel’s work for he was soon employing him on figure compositions as well. Of these, the serious of The Seven Deadly Sins (1556) and the famous Big Fish Eat Little Fish (engraved by Van der Heyden in 1557) are typical early examples. For the rest of his life Bruegel was active as both a painter and designer of prints, and the two activities were closely linked.
In 1563 Bruegel married Mayken, the daughter of Pieter Coeck and Mayken Verhulst Bessemers. His mother-in-law was also a painter, engaged in miniatures. Later, after the death of her son-in-law, she would give the first lessons in painting to his sons, Pieter and Jan. The couple settled in Brussels. In 1564 their first son, future painter Pieter Bruegel the Younger (d. 1638) was born. At that time Bruegel acquired a patron and friend, Nicolaes Jonghelinck, a wealthy Antwerp merchant, who would eventually made a collection of 16 Bruegel’s works. Thus he commissioned a series of the Months, unfortunately only 5 of 12 paintings survived, The Hunters in the Snow (January), The Gloomy Day (February), Haymaking (July), The Corn Harvest (August), The Return of the Herd (November).
In 1568 his second son, Jan, also a future painter, Jan Bruegel the Elder, ‘Velvet’ Bruegel (d.1625) was born.
During the last six years of his life Bruegel was much influenced by Italian Renaissance art, whose monumentality of form he found increasingly sympathetic. This influence is evident in The Peasant Wedding, The Peasant Dance and The Peasant and the Birdnester: the figures are now larger in scale and closer to the spectator, the viewpoint is lower and there is less concern with the setting. In spite of these radical developments, however, Bruegel continued to produce paintings in his old style, with tiny figures in a panoramic space.
— Landscape with the Fall of Icarus (1555; 755x1143pix, 162kb) _ this is Breughel's only mythological painting.
— The Parable of the Blind Leading the Blind (1568; 558x1000pix) — The Fight between Carnival and Lent (1559; 730x1000pix) — Children's Games (1560; 724x1000pix)
— Dutch Proverbs (577x800pix)
The Tower of Babel (1563) _ detail
The Adoration by the Kings (1564) _ detail 1 _ detail 2 _ detail 3 _ detail 4
The Procession to Calvary (1564) _ detail 1 _ detail 2 _ detail 3 _ detail 4 _ detail 5
The Last Judgment (1558 engraving, 23x29cm) The Beekeepers (1567 drawing, 21x32cm)
— 35 images at Webshots
Born on 05 September 1704: Maurice~Quentin
de la Tour, French Rococo
pastellist who died on 17 February 1788.
He was, with Perronneau, the most celebrated French pastellist of the 18th century. He was born (and died) in Saint-Quentin and went to Paris as a young man; after visits to London and other places he settled in Paris 1724-84. He soon found that the vogue for pastel portraits started by Rosalba Carriera in 1719/20 was still capable of exploitation and he devoted the rest of his life to it. His portraits are characterized by an extreme vivacity of handling sometimes rather vulgar and a firm grasp of character. As a very old man the study of politics drove him crazy, and he retired to Saint-Quentin, where the largest and best collection of his works is to be found: it includes many studies and sketches which are sometimes superior to the finished portraits.
— He was one of the greatest pastellists of the 18th century, an equal of Jean-Siméon Chardin and Jean-Baptiste Perronneau. Unlike them, however, he painted no works in oils. Reacting against the stately portraits of preceding generations and against the mythological portraits of many of his contemporaries, La Tour returned to a more realistic and sober style of work. The fundamental quality of his art lies in his ability to suggest the temperament and psychology of his subjects by means of their facial expression, and thereby to translate their fugitive emotions on to paper: ‘I penetrate into the depths of my subjects without their knowing it, and capture them whole’, as he himself put it. His considerable success led to commissions from the royal family, the court, the rich bourgeoisie and from literary, artistic and theatrical circles. While La Tour’s extensive oeuvre (over 1200 pastels and drawings) contains many outstanding pictures and was the result of a remarkable technical mastery, a certain degree of repetitiveness may be discerned occasionally.
— Jacques Neilson was an assistant of de la Tour.
— The students of de la Tour included Giuseppe Baldrighi, Joseph Boze, Joseph Ducreux, Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Katherine Read, Marie-Suzanne Roslin.
Self-Portrait (1751) Self~Portrait (1760, 48x33cm)
— Self-Portrait (1764, 46x38cm; 1080x896pix, 132kb) _ detail (1080x896pix, 132kb) _ Another version of the same self-portrait, which extends down to the elbows (2483x2024pix; 799kb) _ Maurice-Quentin de La Tour carried the difficult and capricious pastel medium to a point of sheer technical brilliance not reached before or since. His mastery of pastels led not only to imitation but to fears that he would provoke a distaste for oil paint. La Tour was at his best when concentrating on the face alone. There is a suggestion of mobility in the features of his subjects, and the artist himself referred to "un peu d'exagération" that art allowed beyond nature. His self-portrait is marked by characteristics that aptly describe his style: the tremendous handling and technique, the humorous look to the eyes and the slight upturn of the lips, all of which lend a vivid actuality and personality to the sitter.
Maurice, Comte de Saxe, Maréchal de France (1748, pastel, 60x49cm; 1583x1256pix, 236kb) _ Maurice, comte de Saxe (Moritz von Sachsen, 1696-1750) was a general and military theorist who successfully led French armies during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748). The illegitimate son of the elector Frederick Augustus I of Saxony (later also King Augustus II of Poland), young Maurice was sent by his father to serve under Prince Eugene of Savoy against the French in Flanders in 1709-1710. In 1711 he was made Graf von Sachsen (count of Saxony; in French, comte de Saxe). His father bought him a German regiment in the French service in 1719, and Saxe quickly won recognition for his innovations in military training, especially in musketry. Anna Ivanovna, duchess of Courland (later empress of Russia), secured Saxe's election as duke of Courland (a Baltic duchy between Prussia and Latvia) in 1726, but the Russians expelled him from the region in 1727 in order to prevent him from marrying the duchess.
Returning to France, Saxe in 1732 wrote Mes Rêveries (1757), a remarkably original treatise on the science of warfare. He served with distinction in the French army against his own half brother, King August III of Poland, in the War of the Polish Succession (1733-1738) and in 1734 was made a lieutenant general. In November 1741, six months after France joined Prussia against Austria in the War of the Austrian Succession, Saxe invaded Bohemia and captured Prague. Although the British had not yet become involved in the conflict, the French king Louis XV in January 1744 made Saxe commander of a force that was to invade Great Britain on behalf of Charles Edward, the Young Pretender, the Stuart claimant to the British throne. The project was dropped after a storm shattered Saxe's invasion fleet at Dunkirk in March.
Shortly thereafter, Louis formally declared war on Great Britain and promoted Saxe to the rank of marshal. Saxe and the king then invaded the Austrian Netherlands. The king wisely allowed Saxe to give the orders in the ensuing campaign. Their forces surrounded Tournai, and, when allied troops advanced from the east to relieve the siege, Saxe decisively defeated them in the Battle of Fontenoy (11 May 1745). It was France's last great victory before the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789. Saxe then captured Brussels and Antwerp (February 1746). Turning south, he seized Mons and Namur, and on 11 October 1746, he defeated the allies at Raucoux, near Liège, thereby completing the conquest of the Austrian Netherlands. In January 1747 Louis appointed Saxe marshal general of France. In 1747 he invaded Holland, defeated an allied army in the Battle of Lauffeld near Maastricht (02 July), and captured the fortress of Bergen-Op-Zoom. Saxe retired to his château at Chambord, where he died. His grandson was the father of the novelist George Sand.
Mlle Ferrand Meditating on Newton (1753, pastel, 73x60cm)
Born on 05 September 1903: Shiko
Munakata, Japanese printmaker who died on 13 September
— Munakata is one of the most significant modern Japanese artists of the twentieth century. His art work consists of paintings, prints, ceramics and calligraphy. He was born the son of a blacksmith in Aomori Prefecture, located in the North of Japan's main island. He first began to paint in oil as a self-taught artist. Later in 1924 he went to Tokyo to study art.
At the age of 23 Munakata Shiko saw a woodblock print by Sumio Kawakami [1895-1972] and decided to try woodblocks himself. Under the guidance of Unichi Hiratuka he learned the art of making moku-hanga — woodblock prints. Three years later he exhibited 4 woodblocks at the Shunyokai exhibition. From now on Munakata Shiko was a hanga artist — a print artist. He continued to exhibit and by and by his reputation grew. After World War II had ended, the artist became famous outside Japan. Munakata preferred to call his prints banga, which could be translated “picture made from a wooden panel”.
Munakata was a practicing Buddhist. Many of his prints and paintings show religious subjects. Other subjects are taken from Japanese legends or from nature. Munakata's prints are larger than the traditional Japanese oban (25x38cm) size. With his larger-sized prints he followed Western contemporary artist's and the buying habits of Western clients. Japanese homes are usually small and have little wall space to hang art work and therefore Japanese art buyers tend to buy smaller sizes. A Munakata print is usually in black and white. The techniques he used are woodblocks, woodcuts, and lithographs. Shiko Munakata worked spontaneously, fast, and was extremely prolific.
— Born in Aomori City, Shiko was the third son of a blacksmith, Kokichi, and his wife Sada. Shiko entered Nagashima Elementary School in April of 1910. By about the third grade he began to develop an interest in kite art and drew kite pictures for his classmates. On one occasion in sixth grade while running to see an airplane make a crash landing in a rice field, he happened to fall at the edge of a brook. Right in front of him was a white blossom of "Omodaka" and he was struck by its beauty.
After finishing elementary school Shiko joined his elder brother at their father's blacksmith business. At the age of 17 he was employed by the city court and took advantage of his new schedule to visit Gappo Park in the early morning and practise sketching. It was about this time, also, that he was deeply impressed by a reproduction of Van Gogh's Sunflowers, given to him by his teacher, Tadaaki Ono.
In 1924, at the age of 21, Shiko went to Tokyo. While eking out a living by repairing shoes and selling "natto", he continued to study art. In October 1928, after five years in Tokyo, he had his first picture, an oil painting, Zatsuen.
Shiko's interest in woodblock print art began even before his oil painting Zatsuen was accepted for an exhibition. Moved by Sumio Kawakami's Hatsunatsu no kaze,Shiko began his studies of the medium by visiting Un'ichi Hiratuka, who had been introduced to him by Kihachiro Shimozawa, a friend from Shiko's hometown. In 1929, four of Shiko's woodblock works were accepted for the Shunyokai Exhibition and in the following year all four pieces he submitted were accepted for the Kokugakai Exhibition. This convinced Shiko to focus on woodblock print art. In April 1936, his woodblock series Yamato-shi Uruwashi was displayed in the Kokugakai Exhibition and subsequently purchased by the Japan Folk Art Museum, which earned Shiko the acknowedgement of Muneyoshi Yanagi, Kanjiro Kawai, and Shoji Hamada.
In April 1952, Shiko's work was awarded a special prize for excellence at the 2nd International Woodblock Print Exhibition held in Lugano, Switzerland. Entering works such as Shaka Judai Deshi, Shiko took the top prize in July 1955 in San Paulo Biennial. The following June he received the International Woodblock Print Award at the Venice Biennial for works like Ryuryoku Kakosho,thus firmly establishing himself as a world class artist.
Munakata died in Tokyo.
In addition to his woodblock prints, Shiko left many masterpieces of painting, calligraphy, poetry, and the like. He also authored a number of books, such as Munakata Shiko Hanga Taisaku — Bangokudo'hand — Wadaba Gohho ni naru.
Shikô Munakata was once described by the novelist Jun'ichirô Tanizaki as "an impertinent artist who gouges the universe." Today Munakata is recognized internationally as a near-legendary artist of astounding energy and a profound sensitivity.
Munakata's work was influenced by the Buddhist folk tradition of Japan, but his vision was also distilled through his own personal expression of Zen Buddhism and the spirit of 'Shintô'. Mixed with elements of 'mingei' (folk craft). Munakata was moved by what he called the "power of the board"; he even used a different first character when calling his prints "hanga," his version translating into something more like "board picture" than the standard term, which is closer to "print picture." He believed that the artist must succumb to the power of the board.
Munakata worked at great speed as if the form had to be released from within the board before it dissipated, as though he were but a temporary medium through which the design, not really his own, could be revealed. As a result his prints have great spontaneity and a unique spiritual energy.
His first prints were published in 1928 and by 1935 he had become more widely recognized for his unusual talent and personality. Munakata was the first Japanese print artist to win an international honor when he was awarded the "Prize of Excellence" at the Second International Print Exhibition in Lugano, Switzerland in 1952. The Japanese government awarded him its highest honor in the arts, the Order of Culture, in November 1970.
— Barahi no Saku (woodprint)>>>
— Snow in the Mountains (640x578pix, 210kb)
— Woman with Hawk (640x491pix, 133kb)
— Fox and Wolf (640x538pix, 143kb)
— Monjû Bosatsu (640x259pix, 74kb)