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ART “4” “2”-DAY  17 April
^ Born on 17 April 1852: Laura Theresa Epps Alma~Tadema, British painter and illustrator who died on 15 August 1909.
— Born in a family whose friends included such artists as Rossetti and Ford Madox Brown, at an early age she made copies from the Antique in the British Museum, London, and later studied at the British Museum School under William Cave Thomas [1820–1884] and William Bell Scott. In 1870 she began her studies under Lawrence Alma-Tadema [08 Jan 1836 – 28 Jun 1912], whose second wife she became in 1871. The principal subjects of her paintings are children at play, often placed in 17th-century Dutch settings, among Dutch furniture and accessories modeled on those in her husband’s collection. She emphasized everyday scenes in domestic interiors, as seen in Airs and Graces. Although the costumes and setting of this painting, as well as the general composition with the light coming from a window on the right, as in Sunshine, are characteristic of 17th-century Dutch works, the anecdotal sentiment conveyed by the pretty, graceful girls dancing vainly is thoroughly Victorian in feeling. She also painted children in contemporary settings, portraits of children (mainly in pastel), still-lifes (e.g. Still-life with a Self-portrait) and some Classical subjects. From 1873 she exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts and in other galleries in London and elsewhere in Great Britain. She also showed in Berlin and Paris and in 1878 was one of only two women to be invited to participate in the Exposition Universelle in Paris, where she was awarded a silver medal. She also produced illustrations for the English Illustrated Magazine. She went frequently with her husband to Italy, where she made a number of small landscape studies, and to France, Belgium and the Netherlands. As she also signed her canvases L. Alma-Tadema, her paintings are sometimes confused with those of her husband. Her sister Ellen [Nellie] Gosse (fl 1879–1890) and her stepdaughter Anna Alma-Tadema [1865–1943] were also painters.


A Knock at the Door (1897, 64x45cm; 860x596pix, 59kb) _ This domestic interior, in which an elegantly dressed woman stands in front of a mirror, brings to mind similar Dutch scenes painted two centuries earlier. Details, such as the Delft tiles along the floor, the open casement window, and the date of 1684 on the calendar, serve as references to seventeenth-century Holland. Like its predecessors, the painting at first glance appears to be an allegory for domestic diligence, though its full meaning remains vague. As the title indicates, the woman has just heard a knock at the door, possibly from a suitor. She has dropped her embroidery on the chair and hurried to the mirror to check on her appearance.
Sunshine _ a young girl sitting on a window sill, looking out.
Gathering Pansies (33x24cm) — Queen Katherine of France (1888; 386x250pix, 56kb).
^ Died on 17 April (18 October?) 1679: Jan van Kessel II, Antwerp, Flanders, still life and flower Baroque painter and draftsman, baptized as an infant on 05 April 1626, sometimes designated as Jan van Kessel I, because he was the first painter of that name. But the real Jan van Kessel I was his grandfather, a draper. The father of Jan van Kessel II was the painter Hieronymus (= Jeroom) van Kessel [06 Oct 1578 bapt. – 1636+]. David Teniers the Younger [15 Dec 1610 – 25 Apr 1690] was the uncle-in-law of Jan van Kessel II, having married in 1637 his mother's sister Anna Brueghel. The Dutch landscape artist Jan van Kessel [1641 – 24 Dec 1680] was apparently unrelated.
— Jan van Kessel II began his training as a painter in 1635 with Simon de Vos [28 Oct 1603 – 15 Oct 1676] and was also taught by his uncle Jan Breughel II [13 Sep 1601 – 01 Sep 1678]. In 1645 he was registered in the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke as a flower painter, but he also depicted, in both oil and watercolor, animals, birds, fish and insects, as well as a variety of still-life subjects. He continued the traditions of his maternal grandfather, Jan I “Velvet” Brueghel [1568 – 13 Jan 1625], and was also influenced by Daniel Seghers [05 Dec 1590 – 02 Nov 1661]. Van Kessel painted garlands and bouquets of flowers, but is best known for small, jewel-like pictures, often on copper, of insects or shells against a light background, executed with strong color and great exactitude.
     Jan II taught two of his seven sons to paint, Ferdinand van Kessel [07 Apr 1648 – 1696], who painted in the style of his father, and Jan van Kessel III [1654-1708] (aka, erroneously, Jan van Kessel II)., who followed in the portrait tradition of his grandfather.

Insects and FruitInsects (1660; 600x864pix _ ZOOM to 1400x2016pix)
The Animals (1660, 175x123cm) _ This triptychon contains 40 sections (17x23cm each). The animals are placed in a setting (Netherlandish, mountainous, exotic) corresponding to the species. (8 rows of 5 separate pictures each, tiny in the reproduction)
The Mockery of the Owl (170x234cm) _ The fully-fledged animal painting emerged in the late 16th century with the rise of biological research and collections of rare creatures. Jan van Kessel in The Mockery of the Owl demonstrates a thorough knowledge of exotic animals. The artist uses a narrative subject as a vehicle for painting his animals.
Still-Life (42x77cm) _ This Antwerp artist's teacher and uncle was Jan Brueghel the Younger, and therefore he was a direct descendant on his mother's side from Pieter the Elder [1525-1569] and Jan the Elder (“Velvet”). He painted chiefly still-lifes, frequently representing food laid out sumptuously on light-colored tables and depicted with the delicacy of a miniaturist, using lively colors of a predominately red tint laid on with the tip of the brush. The documentary, informative, educational, and communicative function of these richly laid tables, in which the individual objects are simply added on and depicted from a slightly raised viewpoint, is combined with the evident intention of demonstrating the affluence of the wealthy patrons of these works. It is also possible to discern allegorical intentions alluding to the five senses or the four elements, but while such an interpretation is quite plausible, the principal aim is a purely aesthetic one, offering this profusion of beautiful objects, rendered with exquisite skill, as a simple feast for the eyes. There is a companion piece to this painting, a variation on the same theme.
Still Life with Fruit and Shellfish (1653) — Africa (central panel, detail) (1666)
Europe (central panel, detail) (1666) — 6 prints at FAMSF
^ Born on 17 April 1833: George Vicat Cole, English painter who died on 06 April 1893. — {He must have favored Cole colors, especially coal black.}
— The eldest son of the landscape painter George Cole [1810–1883] and Eliza Vicat, he worked in his father’s studio in Portsmouth copying, in black and white, engravings after Turner, Constable and Cox. He accompanied George Cole on sketching tours, visiting the Moselle region in 1851. His work was first exhibited at the British Institution in 1852, and later that year his family moved to London. He married Mary Ann Chignell in 1856. In 1853 two of his works were accepted by the Royal Academy, where he continued to exhibit until 1892. He was a regular exhibitor at the Society of British Artists, of which he became a member in 1858. He was elected ARA in 1870 and RA in 1880.
— George Vicat Cole was born at Portsmouth, son of the landscape painter George Cole, and in his practice he followed his father's lead with marked success. He exhibited at the British Institution at the age of nineteen, and was first represented at the Royal Academy in 1853. His election as an associate of this institution took place in 1870, and he became an Academician ten years later. He died in London. The wide popularity of his work was due partly to the simple directness of his technical method, and partly to his habitual choice of attractive material. Most of his subjects were found in the counties of Surrey and Sussex, and along the banks of the Thames.
Photo of Cole

Autumn MorningOn Holmbury HillOn the Arun (1869, 66x102cm)
Deer in a Woodland Glade (1862, 91x122cm) — A Welsh Landscape (1859, 104x153cm)
The Swan at Pangbourne (57x77cm)
The Pool of London (1888, 1950x305cm)

Died on a 17 April:

^ 1970 Domenico Gnoli, Italian painter and stage designer born on 03 (02?) May 1933. — His interest in art was encouraged by his father, the art historian Umberto Gnoli, and his mother, the painter and ceramicist Annie de Garon, but his only training consisted of lessons in drawing and printmaking from the Italian painter and printmaker Carlo Alberto Petrucci (b 1881). After holding his first one-man exhibition in 1950, he studied stage design briefly in 1952 at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome; he enjoyed immediate success in this field, for example designing a production of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It for the Old Vic Theatre in London in 1955. He then began to live part-time in New York, where he began to work as an illustrator for magazines such as Sports Illustrated. During this period he drew inspiration from earlier art, especially from master printers such as Jacques Callot and Hogarth, from whom he derived his taste for compositions enlivened by large numbers of figures stylized to the point of caricature. In other works he emphasized the patterns of textiles or walls, boldly succumbing to the seduction of manual dexterity and fantasy in a style that was completely out of step with the prevailing trends of the 1950s. — Nato a Roma, Domenico Gnoli comincia giovanissimo la sua carriera come scenografo e illustratore, lavorando per importanti riviste e per l’editoria. In seguito a lunghi soggiorni a Londra, New York, Parigi, dopo il 1955 si dedica alla pittura, iniziando così anche un’intensa attività espositiva in prestigiose gallerie e musei europei e americani. Nel 1962 l’amico Ben Jakober lo convince a trasferirsi nella capitale francese, dove incontra la pittrice Yannick Vu che diventerà sua moglie. Qui ha la possibilità di intrecciare importanti relazioni che lo inseriranno nel circuito del mercato internazionale. Proseguono numerose le mostre che lo portano a viaggiare, soprattutto all’estero, e ad affermarsi come uno dei più ricercati protagonisti dell’arte figurativa degli anni Sessanta. Dopo una breve malattia, muore prematuramente a New York. — Senza Natura Morta n.1 (1966) [a tablecloth covered round table top with nothing on it] — La cravatta (1967) — La melaIl ricciolo.

^ 1824 William Ashford, British painter born in 1746. Although he was later to become one of Ireland’s finest landscape painters, Ashford did not go to Ireland until 1764, when he took up an appointment at the Ordnance Office in Dublin. He worked at the office for over 20 years and traveled widely throughout the country. His earliest known works as a painter date from 1767 when he exhibited two flower pieces at the Dublin Society of Arts. He exhibited his first landscapes in 1772 and was awarded the second premium from the Dublin Society. One of these exhibits, the earliest known example of the country house views for which he later became so celebrated, was a view of Mount Kennedy, General Cunningham’s great house near Dublin (later view of the house, 1785). The next year he exhibited seven further paintings and won the Society’s first prize. In 1775 he made his first appearance at the Royal Academy in London, where at various dates until 1811 he exhibited a total of 25 works, mainly Irish landscapes. He left the Dublin Ordnance Office in about 1788 and traveled to London via North Wales, and for two years his exhibits in London included a number of Welsh views. — The Scalp in the County of Wicklow (38x50cm; 881x1158pix, 69kb) _ featuring a distinctive rock, surrounded by a pastoral romance, goats, sheep, and travelers.

^ 1672 François Garnier, French painter born in 1600. Garnier was first recorded in Paris in 1627. The celebrated Louise Moillon [1610-1696] was his daughter-in-law. His work is careful and realistic, and close to that of Jacques Linard [1600-1645]. His type of realism can be found much later in the century, in the work of the equally obscure Dutch artist, Adriaen Coorte [1660-1707]. — Cherries and Gooseberries on a Table (1644, 24x35 cm, 614x943pix, 89kb) _ ZOOM to 1400x2040pix) _ Garnier comes close to Moillon in this painting, but his sense of the picturesque quality of the fruits and leaves hanging from their branches is obvious, whereas Moillon never allowed such charm to intrude on her distillations of banal subject-matter. — Nature morte au plat de cerises sous des feuilles de châtaigner (31x43cm; 388x500pix, 78kb)

Born on a 17 April:

^ 1862 Arnaldo Ferraguti, Italian artist who died in 1925. — {Was he known as “Iron Guts”?} — He studied in Naples and was a student of D. Morelli.— Alpigiana della Valle dell'Ossola (356x282pix, 13kb)

^ 1729 Johannes Janson, Dutch artist who died on 01 April 1784. Janson was sent from Indonesia to Holland at the age of eight and apprenticed to the army's engineering section. After resigning his military functions, he settled in Leyden and was listed in its guild in 1761 under the name of Jacobus. Janson is known for his idyllic landscapes filled with animals and village scenes, painted in the style of seventeenth-century Dutch artists such as Paulus Potter, whose paintings he copied. He also often used dramatic receding perspective to create rapid movement into spatial depth. Many of Janson's patrons were members of Leyden's upper middle class who wanted a painted visual record of their formal gardens on canvas. Janson also made landscape etchings after his drawings. — A Formal Garden (1766, 52x72cm; 466x640pix, 81kb) _ Prosperous eighteenth-century Dutch citizens were so proud of their gardens that they hired artists like Johannes Janson to record them for posterity. The estate shown here may have been located in the province of Noordholland, north of Amsterdam. The picture shows the wealth and the sophisticated leisure afforded by the estate: the promenade at left leads to farmland, while the path at right leads to a shipping scene, two primary sources of Holland's prosperity. The flower gardens in the foreground form a broderie parterre, literally "embroidery flower bed"; these gardens were often designed by the same artists who made drawings for bedspreads, bed hangings, and other items. They were not filled with flowers but with a contrasting soil or gravel, neatly framed with small box plants. — A Winter Scene with Figures Skating and Carousing by a Tent in the foreground (27x34cm; 400x500pix, 34kb)

^ 1601 Frans Ykens (or Ijkens), Flemish painter specialized in Still Life, who died on a 27 February before 1693. — In 1613–1614 he was apprenticed to his uncle, the flower and still-life painter Osias Beert I [1580-1624], and he became a Master at Antwerp in 1630. According to his own declaration (1641), Ykens traveled in Provence after his apprenticeship, staying at Aix and Marseille. He married in 1635, purchased a house in 1651, and made a will in 1666. Most of his work is signed. — LINKSFlower Still Life (1644) _ Like so many seventeenth-century still-life specialists, François Ykens studied flowers with a scientific scrutiny and represented them faithfully, yet he was interested in more than simple illustration. In this painting, Ykens drew the varied and intricate shapes with a lively sense of rhythm and movement. To enhance both the illusion of three-dimensional form and the clarity of details, he created a striking contrast between the dark, empty background and the brilliantly colored flowers. Because of its pictorial intensity, theatrical lighting and dynamic movement, the painting is typical of the Baroque period. Ykens's success with elegant floral compositions over an unusually long career made him a well-established figure who had many students. Peter Paul Rubens owned a number of still lifes by his friend Ykens.

^ 1539 Tobias Stimmer, Swiss draftsman, painter, and wood-engraver, who died on 14 (04?) January 1584. His early drawings (1557 and 1558) show surprising self-assurance and by the early 1560s were of extremely high quality, as is shown by Christ on the Cross (1561), Crucifixion (1562) and Squirrel Eating a Nut (1563), a brush drawing with white highlights in watercolor and bodycolor, notable for its naturalistic style and reminiscent of studies of nature by Albrecht Dürer. Stimmer's Self-portrait (1563), a pen and watercolor drawing in brown over a preparatory drawing in chalk, is a striking departure from the norm of self-portrayal: his head is bent down so that his right eye is completely obscured by his nose, a position that could hardly have been seen by looking in the mirror. In a second Self-portrait (1569; Darmstadt, Hess. Landesmus.) a pen drawing with white highlights, Stimmer posed with his head imperiously raised. He also produced a group of drawings for bannerets, for example Banneret of Berne (c. 1569; Zurich, Ksthaus), a pen drawing with white highlights on a red ground. — He was one of the 11 children of schoolmaster/calligrapher/painter Christoph Stimmer I [1490 – 23 Oct 1562], some of whose other sons were calligrapher Christoph Stimmer II [1522 – <Oct 1562), painter/etcher Abel Stimmer [07 Jun 1542 – 1606+], painter Gideon Stimmer [21 Aug 1545 – 1577], pattern-cutter Hans Christoffel Stimmer [17 March 1549 – >18 Jul 1578), painter Josias Stimmer [24 Feb 1555 – 1574+].

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