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ART “4” “2”-DAY  08 January
^ Born on 08 January 1638: Elisabetta Sirani, Italian Baroque painter, who, on 28 August 1665, died poisoned (according to her father).
— She was the daughter of Giovanni Andrea Sirani [1610–1670], who had been the principal assistant of Guido Reni. Her talent was encouraged by the writer Malvasia, who later wrote an adulatory biography of her in his Felsina Pittrice (1678).
     Her prolific talent, as well as her reputed beauty and modesty, soon brought her European renown. The details of her training are unclear, but as a woman she would not have had access to an academy and (like many other professional women painters prior to the 20th century) she was probably taught by her father. Her sisters Anna Maria [1645–1715] and Barbara (alive in 1678) were also practicing artists and Elisabetta herself is known to have had female students. As women, they could not undertake any formal study of the male nude, and Sirani’s weakness in depicting male anatomy is sometimes clearly detectable in her work (e.g. Saint Jerome in the Wilderness, 1650). Sirani’s drawings employ a highly individual pen-and-wash method, eschewing outline and employing quick, blunt strokes of barely dilute ink to create striking chiaroscuro effects (e.g. Cain Slaying Abel). Her painting style is less distinctive, her fierce chiaroscuro softened by the rich brown shadows favored by her generation of Bolognese painters.
      She was active by 1655, and by 1662 she had recorded about ninety works, executing at least another eighty before she died at the age of 27. None of her portraits has survived but religious, mythological and allegorical subjects were painted in full view of a crowd of admirers. She was buried in Reni's tomb, and her style is close to his - idealized, affecting, sentimental, but with strong chiaroscuro and fine color. Her sisters Anna Maria (1645-1515), and Barbara (alive in 1678) were also painters. Barbara's portrait of Elisabetta is in Bologna.
— Sirani painted a wide range of subjects-portraits, allegories, religious themes- and she painted them fast. She painted so fast that it was commonly believed that she had help painting them. In order to refute the charges dignitaries from all over Europe were invited to watch her paint a portrait in one sitting. She seems to have developed her speed because of pressure from her father to make money(he took all her earnings). Also important as a teacher, she set up a painting school for women.
     In seventeenth-century Bologna, which boasted such well known women artists as Properzia de' Rossi and Lavinia Fontana, Elisabetta Sirani was considered a virtuoso. In Lives of Bolognese Painters, the biographer Carlo Cesare Malavasia praised Sirani for her merit "which in her was of supreme quality." Sirani's work reflects her familiarity with models from antiquity and a profound knowledge of the foremost sixteenth and seventeenth-century Italian painters from Rome, Florence, and Bologna.
      Although Sirani learned to paint in the workshop of her father, Gian Andrea [1610-1670], it is said that he opposed his daughter pursuing a career. A professional painter and engraver by age seventeen, Sirani opened her own studio early in her career, supported chiefly by private commissions. She was so prodigious an artist that by the time of her death at 27, she had completed approximately 170 paintings, 14 etchings, and a number of drawings. Several stories recounted by Malavasia attest to Sirani's rapid working methods, such as when the Grand Duke Cosimo III de Medici visited her studio in 1664. After he watched her work on a portrait of his uncle Prince Leopold, Cosimo ordered a Madonna for himself, which Sirani allegedly painted so quickly that it could dry and be taken home with him.
      A prodigy with a vast oeuvre, Sirani built her reputation on the strength of her painting, which reflects lessons learned from the work of the Bolognese painter Guido Reni. One of the most influential Bolognese artists in the first half of the seventeenth century, Guido Reni was a natural artistic authority for Sirani who emulated the lucid organization and lyrical quality of his work as well as some of his artistic inventions.
      As an example, two paintings by Sirani are, Virgin and Child (1663) and Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy, and two etchings are Madonna and Child with St. John the Baptist and The Holy Family with St. Elizabeth and St. John the Baptist. Executed by Sirani two years before her death for Signor Paolo Poggi, Virgin and Child depicts a sweet and intimate moment when the child has turned to crown his mother playfully with a garland of roses. Sirani subtly differentiates the child's soft pink skin from his mother's olive coloring. The broad, fluid brush strokes used to delineate the mother's bodice and sleeves contrast with the refined patterns of her headdress and loose curls of coarse brown hair. Sirani has effectively used a limited palette of different tones of white, red, and blue to highlight the mother and child against the dark background.
      Virgin and Child was featured on a Christmas stamp issued by the United States Postal Service in 1994. It was the first time that an historical work by a woman artist was depicted on a Christmas stamp. More than 1.1 billion were circulated.
— Elisabetta Sirani was born in Bologna and was primarily a painter of religious and historical themes. Her father Giovanni Andrea Sirani was a painter and Elisabetta demonstrated early in her girlhood that she was gifted not only with artistic talents but those in music and poetry. By the age of seventeen she is reputed to have produced over a190 pieces of art. Sirani died at the age of twenty-seven under mysterious circumstances and a posthumous trial failed to reveal whether there were grounds for the accusation put forth by her father that she had been poisoned.
— Coriolano was a student of Elisabetta Sirani.
Self-Portrait (1660) — Porcia Wounding Her ThighVirgin and Child (1663, 86x70cm)
The Holy Family with Saint Elizabeth and Saint John the Baptist (etching 30x22cm; full size)
Beatrice Cenci (1662, 64x49cm) _ This painting was incorrectly thought to be by Reni. Identified as a portrait of Beatrice Cenci [06 February 1577 – 11 September 1599], it is famous for the tragic story of its subject, a young Roman noblewoman who was immortalized by Stendhal [Les Cenci, 1839, republished in posthumous Chroniques Italiennes, 1855], Dumas père [Les Cenci in Les Crimes Célèbres, 1839], P. B. Shelley (The Cenci, a tragedy in 5 acts, 1819), Alberto Moravia (Beatrice Cenci, 1958), Francesco D. Guerrazzi (novel Beatrice Cenci), Alberto Ginastera (opera Beatrix Cenci), and others. While the canvas is traditionally attributed to Reni, its poor quality in comparison to other works of the master has led many critics not to accept it as an autograph work. Instead, it could be by a painter in the immediate circle of Reni, possibly Elisabetta Sirani, who is known for rendering the master's models in abbreviated and reduced form.
      Beatrice Cenci [biografia], the daughter of the rich and powerful Francesco Cenci [1549-1598], suffered from her father's mistreatment. Violent and dissolute, he imprisoned Beatrice and her stepmother in the Castle of Petrella Salto, near Rieti. With the blessing of her stepmother and two brothers, all of whom shared her exasperation at his continued abuse, Beatrice murdered her father on 09 September 1598. She was apprehended and, after a trial that captured the imagination of all Rome, condemned to death at the order of Pope Clement VIII, who may have been motivated by the hope of confiscating the assets of the family. In the presence of an enormous crowd Beatrice was decapitated in the Ponte Sant'Angelo in September of 1599, instantly becoming a symbol of innocence oppressed. It has been hypothesized that Caravaggio was present at the decapitation and was thus inspired to paint his Judith beheading Holofernes (1598). The precise and realistic rendering of Caravaggio's scene, anatomically and physiologically correct to the minutest details, presupposes the artist's observation of a real decapitation.
^ Died on 08 January 1948: Kurt Schwitters, in England, German Dadaist painter, sculptor, designer, and writer, founder of the Merz Dadaist movement, born on 20 June 1887.
— Kurt Schwitters was born Herman Edward Karl Julius Schwitters, in Hannover. He attended the Kunstgewerbeschule in Hannover from 1908 to 1909 and from 1909 to 1914 studied at the Kunstakademie Dresden. After serving as a draftsman in the military in 1917, Schwitters experimented with Cubist and Expressionist styles. In 1918, he made his first collages and in 1919 invented the term “Merz,” which he was to apply to all his creative activities: poetry as well as collage and constructions. This year also marked the beginning of his friendships with Jean Arp and Raoul Hausmann. Schwitters’s earliest Merzbilder date from 1919, the year of his first exhibition at Der Sturm gallery, Berlin, and the first publication of his writings in the periodical Der Sturm. Schwitters showed at the Société Anonyme in New York in 1920.
      With Arp, Schwitters attended the Kongress der Konstructivisten in Weimar in 1922. There Schwitters met Theo van Doesburg, whose De Stijl principles influenced his work. Schwitters’s Dada activities included his Merz-Matineen and Merz-Abende at which he presented his poetry. From 1923 to 1932, he published the magazine Merz. About 1923, the artist started to make his first Merzbau, a fantastic structure he built over a number of years; the Merzbau grew to occupy much of his Hannover studio. During this period, he also worked in typography. Schwitters was included in the exhibition Abstrakte und surrealistische Malerei und Plastik at the Kunsthaus Zürich in 1929. The artist contributed to the Parisian review Cercle et Carré in 1930. In 1932, he joined the Paris-based Abstraction-Création group and wrote for their organ of the same name. He participated in the Cubism and Abstract Art and Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism exhibitions of 1936 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
      The Nazi regime banned Schwitters’s work as “degenerate art” in 1937. This year, the artist fled to Lysaker, Norway, where he constructed a second Merzbau. After the German invasion of Norway in 1940, Schwitters escaped to Great Britain, where he was interned for over a year. He settled in London following his release, but moved to Little Langdale in the Lake District in 1945. There, helped by a stipend from the Museum of Modern Art, he began work on a third Merzbau in 1947. The project was left unfinished when Schwitters died in Kendal, England.
— Schwitters studied at the Kunstakademie in Dresden (1909–1914) and served as a clerical officer and mechanical draftsman during World War I. At first his painting was naturalistic and then Impressionistic, until he came into contact with Expressionist art, particularly the art associated with Der Sturm, in 1918. He painted mystical and apocalyptic landscapes, such as Mountain Graveyard (1912), and also wrote Expressionist poetry for Der Sturm magazine.
      He became associated with the Dada movement in Berlin after meeting Hans Arp, Raoul Hausmann, Hannah Höch and Richard Huelsenbeck, and he began to make collages that he called Merzbilder. These were made from waste materials picked up in the streets and parks of Hannover, and in them he saw the creation of a fragile new beauty out of the ruins of German culture. Similarly he began to compose his poetry from snatches of overheard conversations and randomly derived phrases from newspapers and magazines. His mock-romantic poem An Anna Blume, published in Der Sturm in August 1919, was a popular success in Germany. From this time ‘Merz’ became the name of Schwitters’s one-man movement and philosophy. The word derives from a fragment of the word Kommerz, used in an early assemblage (Merzbild, 1919; since destroyed), for which Schwitters subsequently gave a number of meanings, the most frequent being that of ‘refuse’ or ‘rejects’. In 1919 he wrote: ‘The word Merz denotes essentially the combination, for artistic purposes, of all conceivable materials, and, technically, the principle of the equal distribution of the individual materials .... A perambulator wheel, wire-netting, string and cotton wool are factors having equal rights with paint’; such materials were indeed incorporated in Schwitters’s large assemblages and painted collages of this period, for example Construction for Noble Ladies (1919).
      Schwitters’s essential aestheticism and formalism alienated him from the political wing of German Dada led by Huelsenbeck, and he was ridiculed as ‘the Caspar David Friedrich of the Dadaist Revolution’. Although his work of this period is full of hints and allusions to contemporary political and cultural conditions, unlike the work of George Grosz or John Heartfield it was not polemical or bitterly satirical. Schwitters’s ironic response to what he saw as Huelsenbeck’s political posturing was the extraordinary absurd story Franz Mullers Drahtfrühling, Ersters Kapitel: Ursachen und Beginn der grossen glorreichen Revolution in Revon published in Der Sturm (xiii/11, 1922), in which an innocent bystander starts a revolution merely by being there. Another more macabre story, Die Zwiebel (Der Sturm, x/7, 1919), underlines Schwitters’s romantic view of the artist as sacrificial victim and spiritual leader, a notion likewise quite antipathetic to Huelsenbeck’s dialectical materialism and scorn of bourgeois categories.
— Florence Henri was a student of Schwitters.

HitlerMerz 410Quadrate — Santa Claus — Das Schwein niest zum Herzen
— Graveyard — Difficult — Rainbow — Cross PHR
— Pino Antonin — (the titles are not descriptive: they are almost all collages).
Merz 1926 Nr. 8 (572x456pix _ ZOOM to 1335x1065pix, 310kb)
Black Collage (1928; 574x474pix _ ZOOM to 1339x1105pix, 336kb)
Carola Gedeon-Welcker, ein fertig gemachter Poët (1947; 891x733pix, 309kb)
Merzbild 5B (Picture-Red-Heart-Church) (26 Apr 1919, 83x60cm)
Merz 163, with Woman Sweating (1920) — Merz 199 (1921)
Maraak, Variation I (Merzbild) (1930)
Composition with head in left profile (1921 lithograph 25x20cm)
click for complete picture (lithograph, 19x11cm) _ not much more than what is shown here in the thumbnail, which click for the complete picture, which includes much blank space. If you are looking for something a little more colorful, you might click on click for WEbS-8 and click for WEbS-9, and admire WEbS~8 (840x1200pix, 429kb) and WEbS~9 (840x1200pix, 481kb), computer images, not by Schwitters of course, but, quite the opposite, by pseudonymous artist Suldran “Turk” Sretti (not related to cyclist Edoardo Sretti).
^ Born on 08 January 1836: Laurens “Lawrence” Alma-Tadema, Dutch English Pre-Raphaelite painter who died on 25 June 1912. (first name also spelled Lorenz, or Lourens). Teacher from 1870 of Laura Theresa Epps [17 Apr 1852 – 15 Aug 1909] who became his second wife in 1871.
— Alma-Tadema, the son of a Dutch notary, studied art at the Antwerp Academy under the Hendrik Leys. A visit to Italy in 1863 shifted Alma-Tadema's interest toward antiquity , and afterward he depicted imagery almost exclusively from Greek, Roman, and Egyptian sources. He became a British citizen in 1873 and was elected a member of the Royal Academy in 1879. He was knighted in 1899.
— The son of a notary, Alma-Tadema demonstrated an early artistic ability. In 1852 he entered the Antwerp Academy, where he studied under Gustaf, Baron Wappers, and Nicaise de Keyser. An important influence at this time was Louis De Taye, Professor of Archaeology at the academy and a practicing artist. Alma-Tadema lived and worked with De Taye from 1857 to 1859 and was encouraged by him to depict subjects from the early history of France and Belgium. This taste for historical themes increased when Alma-Tadema entered Baron Henri Leys’s studio in 1859 and began assisting him with his monumental frescoes for the Antwerp Town Hall. While in Leys’s studio, Alma-Tadema produced several major paintings, for example The Education of the Children of Clovis (1861) and Venantius Fortunatus Reading his Poems to Radagonda (1862), which are characterized by their obscure Merovingian subject-matter, rather sombre coloring and close attention to detail.
—      Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, the painter of "Victorians in togas", was one of the most successful artists of the XIX century. He was internationally famous and so immensely popular that scarcely a middle-class Victorian drawing room was without at least one print of Alma-Tadema's painting. Yet a few years after his death he was all but forgotten.
      Laurens (later he changed to the more English Lawrence) Tadema was born in the small village of Dronrijp, about 5 km west of Leeuwarden, Friesland, Holland. He was the sixth child of Pieter Jiltes Tadema, a notary. It is unclear when and why he affixed the name Alma to his last name, probably it was the name of his godfather. His parents wanted him to become a lawyer and Laurens was enrolled at the gymnasium of Leeuwarden. Although Laurens was a good student, he always wanted to be an artist and, with great enthusiasm he tried to pursue both courses. This caused a significant decline of his health that his doctors even predicted he would die shortly. His mother decided to allow him to spend his remaining days doing what he enjoyed most, to paint. But happily after that he recovered completely. This marked the beginning of a new period of his life. In 1851, he went to Antwerp to study in the Antwerp Academy, where he was taught first by Gustave Wappers and then by Nicaise de Keyser. He left the Academy in 1856 and continued to study art and also took up the history of Germany, early France and Belgium under the guidance of Louis de Taye, the Professor of Archaeology at the Academy of Antwerp. Faust and Marguerite (1857) was painted as a result of these studies. In 1859 Alma-Tadema became a student of Hendrik Leys, joining his studio in Antwerp. In 1861, Tadema's picture The Education of the Children of Clovis (1868) was exhibited and became a success.
     In 1862, Alma-Tadema left Leys's studio and started his own career. The period 1862-1870 is called his Continental period, he established himself as a significant contemporary European artist. His main works were of classical genre, dedicated to Ancient Egypt: An Egyptian Widow (1872) and Greek and Roman history: A Roman Family (1868), An Audience at Agrippa's (1876). In 1870, Alma-Tadema moved to England, where he was to spend the rest of his life. He became one of the most famous and highly paid artists of his time, acknowledged and rewarded by the fellow artists as well as by the governments of the European countries. In 1879, he was elected as a full member of the Royal Academy of Arts and in 1899 was knighted by Queen Victoria. Among his most famous works are An Apodyterium (1886), Spring (1894), The Coliseum (1896), The Baths of Caracalla (1899), Silver Favourites (1903), The Finding of Moses (1904), A Favourite Custom (1909).

— Few artists enjoyed the success that the Dutch-born painter Lawrence Alma-Tadema achieved in the United Kingdom with his studies of semi-nudes, which were set against a background of daily life in ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt. Born in Dronryp, his art training began at the Antwerp Academy, and was completed with Baron Leys, an historical painter whose careful reconstructions of life in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries made him the ideal teacher for a painter like Alma-Tadema, whose choice of subject-matter had always been similar. But it was left to Ernst Gambert, the Belgian international art dealer to realize that in Alma-Tadema he had found himself a first-class artist. After seeing his work, Gambert immediately commissioned forty-four paintings which were eventually shown in England, where they caused an instant sensation.
      The Victorians had already been conditioned to accept nudes as an art form after Lord Leighton had exhibited his paintings in the 1860s. But Alma-Tadema's paintings went a step further. After painting a number of subjects in which his seminude females were merely decorative adjuncts to his vivid reconstructions of classical history, he overreached himself with his painting A Sculptor's Model (1877). This uncompromising, full-frontal nude of the model deeply offended the prudes and caused something of a furor, and from then Alma-Tadema confined himself to portraying his models semi-draped. His work became enormously popular in the United States, where it did much to forge Hollywood's conception of life in ancient times. His pictures were all numbered with Roman numerals, starting with No I when he was 15, and ending with CCCCVIII.
     A genial and uncomplicated man, Alma-Tadema enjoyed his success and money, living in extravagant lifestyle at Townshend House in Tichfield Terrace, Regent's Park, which he redesigned to resemble a Pompeiian villa. Unfortunately, it was partially destroyed in 1874, when a barge carrying gunpowder on Regent's Canal exploded near the house. After the house was rebuilt, Alma-Tadema moved to a larger house in Saint John's Wood, which had once been owned by the French artist Tissot (1836-1902). Tissot had left England abruptly in 1882 after the tragic death of his mistress and muse, Kathleen Newton.
     Alma-Tadema's life was an enormously successful one in which he was made an RA, knighted and showered with honors from many countries. By 1911, however, his popularity began to wane. Realizing that his work was becoming unfashionable he resigned from the Royal Academy committee, after serving on it for thirty-one years. In the following year he went to take the waters at Wiesbaden, Germany where he was suddenly taken ill and died on 25 June 1912. His body was brought back to England and interred in the crypt of Saint Paul's Cathedral (London), where it lies in the company of fellow artists, Millais, Holman Hunt and Lord Leighton. Like so many artists before him, the grim realities of World War I helped to finish off whatever popularity his work had enjoyed, and it is only recently that his reputation as a major Victorian artist has been restored.
     Alma-Tadema's wife Laura was also a talented artist in her own right, as was their daughter Anna.
      Alma-Tadema's paintings are often criticized as lacking emotion and spirituality. The Art Journal complained that there was 'no spirituality and little intellect in the faces of men and women in his world.' In the 1920s the Bloomsbury Group singled out Alma-Tadema's work as an illustration of all that was wrong with Victorian art, accusing him of wasting his technical skill on subjects so futile, pointless and superficial. However, Alma-Tadema's paintings, like most of his Victorian contemporaries, are now back in fashion again — The Finding of Moses sold for £1.5 million in 1995.
Photo of Alma-Tadema — Etching portrait of Alma-Tadema (half-size _ ZOOM to full size) by Paul Adolphe Rajon [1843-1888]
Self-Portrait 1896, 25.87x20.79 inches / 65.7x52.8cm — Self-Portrait (1852)
Death of the Pharaoh's Firstborn Son (1872, 77x124cm)
Sappho and Alcaeus (1881, 66x122cm) _ Sappho and Alcaeus were ancient Greek poets who lived in Mytilene on the Isle of Lesbos in the 7th century BC.
Anthony and Cleopatra (1883, 65x92cm) _ In this picture Alma-Tadema envisions a meeting between Anthony and Cleopatra. Anthony was a Roman general; Cleopatra was the Queen of Egypt.
The Roses of Heliogabalus (1888, 132x214cm) _ Marcus Aurelius Antonius - better known by his adopted name of Heliogabalus or Elagabalus was one of the most debauched of all the Roman emperors. He ascended the throne in AD 218 and, according to Gibbon, 'abandoned himself to the grossest pleasures with ungoverned fury.' He attempted to introduce the cult of the oriental sun god of Emesa to Rome and ran an oriental style court. His elaborate banquets were said to have included the brains of 600 ostriches, powdered glass and camel dung. He was eventually murdered, at the age of eighteen (10 March 222), by the Praetorian Guard; his body dragged through the streets and flung in the River Tiber. Alma Tadema's painting depicts the emperor's most celebrated practical joke. One of his whims was to have a feast in which his entire court were smothered in a cascade of roses. At a given signal, a canopy above was unleashed, releasing tons of rose petals which suffocated the unwitting guests below. In the painting, Heliogabalus in pontifical robes watches the spectacle from the upper table with his mother and other favorites. Behind him is a statue (now in the Vatican) of Dionysos and a young faun, symbolic of the 'forbidden love' which numbered among the emperor's many excesses. The be-petalled guests look more annoyed than suffocated, although the oil sketch for the painting shows a more constricting view of the incident. Alma Tadema sold the painting to the MP Sir John Aird, for the then enormous sum of £4000. The artist had roses sent weekly from the French Riviera during the four winter months that he worked upon the picture. He was still painting highlights onto the canvas on Varnishing Day when the painting was exhibited at the RA in 1888. The rose petals littered the floor of his studio for many months afterwards.
     The author of over 700 poems and prose poems, Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961) continued into the twentieth century a poetic tradition that Modernist history declared had died with Baudelaire, Verlaine and Swinburne. Distinguished by an exquisite ear for word-melody, a sure and delicate sense of rhythm, and an exotic vocabulary, C.A. Smith was most well-known to the public for his short stories in the genres of fantasy, science-fiction, and horror. In this respect he joins such early twentieth century masters of fantasy as Lord Dunsany, E.R. Eddison, and J.R.R. Tolkien in his polymath literary tendencies; but unlike these goldsmiths of prose, his best work was wrought in verse.
    There was no direct relationship between Smith's poem and Alma-Tadema's masterpiece, but both works were inspired by the same historical figure, the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antonius (better known as Elagabalus or Heliogabalus). Where the Dutch-English master has transformed the somewhat macabre incident (in the Roman account the Emperor actually suffocates his guests in a shower of rose petals) into one of playful luxury, Smith's poem celebrates the Emperor's decadent personality in the tradition of Baudelaire.
Heliogabalus, by Christophe des Laurières (translated by Clark Ashton Smith)
He, the supreme idealist of Sin,
Through scarlet days a white perfection sought —
To make of lyric deed and lyric thought
One music of perverse accord, wherein
The songless blatancy and banal din
Of all the world should perish: he had wrought
From Vice a pure, Pentelic Venus, fraught
With lines of light and terror, that should win
The plaudits of the stars. . . . But prevalent
For him, above the achievable desire,
And Life perfectible by Sin and Art,
Such lusts as leave the Titans impotent
Allured, and Life and Sin, in worlds apart,
Were fair with suns of quintessential fire.

The Pyrrhic Dance (1869; 41x81cm) _ The Pyrrhic Dance was a Spartan war dance, performed at the Spartan and Athenian games. This picture was Alma-Tadema's first picture to be shown at the Royal Academy. It was generally well received. The notable exception was the art critic and champion of the Pre-Raphaelites, John Ruskin, who complained that it was 'a detachment of beetles looking for dead rat'.
A Dedication to Bacchus (1889, 78x178cm) _ Bacchus was the Roman god of wine; the Greek god of wine was Dionysus.
Caracalla and Geta (1909, 123x154cm) _ Caracalla [188-217] was the elder of the two sons of the Roman emperor Septimius Severus. He succeeded in AD 211 and is best-known for arranging the murder of his brother Geta after the two engaged in a power struggle in the months after their father's death. This painting depicts a gala performance in the Coliseum by Septimius Severus on the occasion of bestowing the title of Antonius Caesar on Caracalla.
Caracalla (1902)
The Voice of Spring (1910, 49x115cm)
A World of Their Own (1905, 13x50cm)
Under the Roof of Blue Ionian Weather (1903, 55x121cm) _ detail
A Favourite Custom (1909; 66x45cm _ ZOOM) — A Bath (An Antique Custom) (1876, 28x8cm)
Golden Hour (1897, 33x35cm)
Anna Alma-Tadema (1883, 112x76cm) _ Anna [1867-1943] was the younger daughter of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, and his first wife who died in 1869. She was brought up in London by Tadema, and his second wife Laura, whose marriage was childless. Both Anna, and her elder sister seem to have retained into adult life, the timidity shown in the picture their father painted of them in childhood (next image). This 1883 portrait was used as a showcase for prospective patrons. Neither Anna, or her elder sister Laurence married, and after the death of their father lived in obscurity. In the case of Anna, this was extremely unfortunate, as she had considerable talent in her own right. She painted exceptionally good watercolors, highly detailed and finished.
Laurense and Anna Alma-Tadema aka This is our Corner (1873, 57x47cm)
The Education of the Children of Clovis (1861, 127x177cm; 1/6 size: 832x1129pix, 178 kb)  _ full size detail (68x53cm; 2296x1785pix, 281kb)
Spring (1894, 179x80cm) — A Coign of Vantage (1895, 44x64cm)
The Finding of Moses (1904, 137x213cm) _ detail of the Pharaoh's daughter receiving the baby.
The Women of Amphissa (1887, 122x183cm) — The Vintage Festival (1870, 77x177cm)
A Difference of Opinion (1896, 38x23cm) — The Discourse aka A Chat (40x25cm)
Silver Favourites (1903, 42x69cm) — After the Audience (1879, 66x91cm)
A Sculpture Gallery (1867) — A Kiss (1891, 46x63cm) — The Parting Kiss (1882, 112x73cm)
An Earthly Paradise (1891, 86x165cm)
Phidias Showing the Frieze of the Parthenon to his Friends (1868, 72x110cm)
The Frigidarium (1890, 45x60cm) — The Triumph of Titus (1885)
Vain Courtship (1900, 77x41cm) — The Baths of Caracalla (1899, 152x95cm)
Egyptian Juggler (1870, 45x66cm)
Promise of Spring (1890, 38x22.5cm) — Comparisons (1892, 46x61cm)
Cherries (1873, 79x129cm)
Flora aka Spring in the Gardens of the Villa Borghese (1877, 30x20cm)
Strigils and Sponges (1879, 32x14cm) — In the Tepidarium (1881, 24x33cm) _ detail
Expectations (1885, 66x45cm) — The Favourite Poet (1888, 37x50cm)
Unconscious Rivals (1893, 45x63cm) _ detailAsk me no more (1906, 80x116cm)
A Reading from Homer (1885, 91x184cm)
Preparation in the Coliseum (1912, 154x80cm ) inscribed 'L AIma Tadema op. L=CCCCVIII' _ detail
The Sculpture Gallery (1874, 223x173cm) _ detail
Ninety-four in the Shade (1876, 36x22cm) — A Greek Woman (1869, 67x47cm)
Confidences (1869, 56x38cm)
— A Roman Emperor AD41 (1871, 83.8x174cm) _ detail I most of the picture _ detail II (part of detail I) the statue and the person behind the curtain.
God Speed! (1893, 25x13cm)
A Silent Greeting (1889, 31x23cm) _ The ‘silent greeting’ of the title is the gift of flowers that the young Roman soldier leaves for the sleeping woman. The subject was inspired by Der Besuch, a 1765 poem by the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe [1749–1832]. Alma-Tadema took great pains over the accuracy of his depictions of the ancient world, carefully researching the architecture and interior details. However, the sentimental subject and the contemporary look of the figures – memorably described as ‘Victorians in togas’ – gives the painting the air of a modern costume drama.

  Der Besuch

Meine Liebste wollt' ich heut beschleichen,
Aber ihre Tuere war verschlossen.
Hab' ich doch den Schluessel in der Tasche!
Oeffn' ich leise die geliebte Tuere!

Auf dem Saale fand ich nicht das Maedchen,
Fand das Maedchen nicht in ihrer Stube,
Endlich, da ich leis' die Kammer oeffne,
Find' ich sie gar zierlich eingeschlafen,
Angekleidet auf dem Sofa liegen.

Bei der Arbeit war sie eingeschlafen;
Das Gestrickte mit den Nadeln ruhte
Zwischen den gefaltnen zarten Haenden;
Und ich setzte mich an ihre Seite,
Ging bei mir zu Rat', ob ich sie weckte.

Da betrachtet' ich den schoenen Frieden,
Der auf ihren Augenlidern ruhte:
Auf den Lippen war die stille Treue,
Auf den Wangen Lieblichkeit zu Hause,
Und die Unschuld eines guten Herzens
Regte sich im Busen hin und wieder.
Jedes ihrer Glieder lag gefaellig
Aufgeloest vom suessen Goetterbalsam.

Freudig sass ich da, und die Betrachtung
Hielte die Begierde, sie zu wecken,
Mit geheimen Banden fest und fester.

O, du Liebe, dacht' ich, kann der Schlummer,
Der Verraeter jedes falschen Zuges,
Kann er dir nicht schaden, nichts entdecken,
Was des Freundes zarte Meinung stoerte?

Deine holden Augen sind geschlossen,
Die mich offen schon allein bezaubern;
Es bewegen deine suessen Lippen
Weder sich zur Rede noch zum Kusse;
Aufgeloest sind diese Zauberbande
Deiner Arme, die mich sonst umschlingen,
Und die Hand, die reizende Gefaehrtin
Suesser Schmeicheleien, unbeweglich.
Waer's ein Irrtum, wie ich von dir denke,
Waer' es Selbstbetrug, wie ich dich liebe,
Muesst' ich's jetzt entdecken, da sich Amor
Ohne Binde neben mich gestellet.

Lange sass ich so und freute herzlich
Ihres Wertes mich und meiner Liebe;
Schlafend hatte sie mir so gefallen,
Dass ich mich nicht traute, sie zu wecken.

Leise leg' ich ihr zwei Pomeranzen
Und zwei Rosen auf das Tischchen nieder;
Sachte, sachte schleich' ich meiner Wege.

Oeffnet sie die Augen, meine Gute,
Gleich erblickt sie diese bunte Gabe,
Staunt, wie immer bei verschlossnen Tueren
Dieses freundliche Geschenk sich finde.

Seh' ich diese Nacht den Engel wieder,
O, wie freut sie sich, vergilt mir doppelt
Dieses Opfer meiner zarten Liebe.
The Visit (translation by Edgar Alfred Bowring)

Fain had I to-day surprised my mistress,
But soon found I that her door was fasten'd.
Yet I had the key safe in my pocket,
And the darling door I open'd softly!

In the parlour found I not the maiden,
Found the maiden not within her closet,
Then her chamber-door I gently open'd,
When I found her wrapp'd in pleasing slumbers,
Fully dress'd, and lying on the sofa.

While at work had slumber stolen o'er her;
For her knitting and her needle found I
Resting in her folded bands so tender;
And I placed myself beside her softly,
And held counsel, whether I should wake her.

Then I looked upon the beauteous quiet
That on her sweet eyelids was reposing
On her lips was silent truth depicted,
On her cheeks had loveliness its dwelling,
And the pureness of a heart unsullied
In her bosom evermore was heaving.
All her limbs were gracefully reclining,
Set at rest by sweet and godlike balsam.

Gladly sat I, and the contemplation
Held the strong desire I felt to wake her
Firmer and firmer down, with mystic fetters.

"Oh, thou love," methought, "I see that slumber,
Slumber that betrayeth each false feature,
Cannot injure thee, can nought discover
That could serve to harm thy friend's soft feelings.

"Now thy beauteous eyes are firmly closed,
That, when open, form mine only rapture.
And thy sweet lips are devoid of motion,
Motionless for speaking or for kissing;
Loosen'd are the soft and magic fetters
Of thine arms, so wont to twine around me,
And the hand, the ravishing companion
Of thy sweet caresses, lies unmoving.
Were my thoughts of thee but based on error,
Were the love I bear thee self-deception,
I must now have found it out, since Amor
Is, without his bandage, placed beside me."

Long I sat thus, full of heartfelt pleasure
At my love, and at her matchless merit;
She had so delighted me while slumbering,
That I could not venture to awake her.

Then I on the little table near her
Softly placed two oranges, two roses;
Gently, gently stole I from her chamber.

When her eyes the darling one shall open,
She will straightway spy these colourd presents,
And the friendly gift will view with wonder,
For the door will still remain unopen'd.

If perchance I see to-night the angel,
How will she rejoice,--reward me doubly
For this sacrifice of fond affection!

Between Hope and Fear (1876, 78x128cm)
A Female Figure Resting aka Dolce far Niente (24x16cm) inscribed 'L. Alma Tadema OP(US)CCXLIII'
A Birth Chamber, Seventeenth Century (1868, 49x65cm)
Whispering Noon (1896, 56x39cm) — In My Studio (1893, 62x47cm)
Who is it? (1884, 26x21cm) — Welcome Footsteps (1883, 42x55cm)
Not at Home (1879, 40x31cm) — Poetry (1879, 35x24cm) — Prose (1879, 35x24cm)
The Singer George Henschel (1879, 48x34cm)— A Hearty Welcome (1878, 31x93cm)
In the Time of Constantine (1878, 32x16cm) — Pleading (1876, 40x31cm)
— A Votive Offering (1873, 47x39cm) _ detail
Exhausted Maenides after the Dance (1874, 59x132cm)
Pottery Painting (1871, 39x27cm) — The Epps Family Screen (1871, 183x79cm)
An Exedra (1869, 38x60cm; 1048x1683pix, 165kb) _ Not a Hotel Exedra, but a semicircular stone or marble seat in which disputations of the learned were held among the ancients. And if it gave them headaches (possibly the case for the man sitting in the left foreground), they did not take Excedrin.
Boating (1868, 82x56cm) — Entrance to a Roman Theatre (1866, 70x98cm)
171 images at ARC

166 images at Webshots

Died on a 08 January:

1921 Gérard-Marie-François Girard-Firmin, French artist born on 29 May 1838.

^ 1916 Rembrandt Bugatti, by suicide, Italian sculptor and draftsman, specialized in animals, born on 16 October 1884 (1885?), son of furniture designer Carlo Bugatti [16 Feb 1856 – Apr 1940]. — Rembrandt Bugatti frère du constructeur automobile, sculpteur animalier, se suicide. Ettore Bugatti [15 Sep 1881 – 21 Aug 1947], créa en 1907 à Molsheim (en Alsace), les usines, désormais célèbres, de construction automobile. Il entrait ainsi dans la légende de l’automobile. Son frère, Rembrandt, obtint une grande place dans le tout petit groupe des sculpteurs animaliers européens du début du XXème siècle.
      Autodidacte mais initié à la sculpture par le prince Troubetzkoï, ancien élève de Rodin, le jeune Rembrandt découvrit tout de suite sa voie. En 1901, sa première œuvre fondue est une vache. À Paris, il va être pris en main par Adrien Hébrard qui possède à la fois le journal Le Temps, une fonderie et une galerie rue Royale. Rembrandt accepte de signer un contrat d’exclusivité : il touche un salaire régulier et un droit sur la vente de chaque sculpture.
      Littéralement envoûté par le monde animal, le jeune maître trouve insuffisant le parc zoologique du Jardin des Plantes de Paris. Il part pour Anvers où la direction du zoo se montre très accueillante à l’égard des artistes. Ce sera, de 1907 à 1914, la partie la plus créatrice de sa courte vie : une faune complète sortira de ses mains.
      De retour à Paris, au début de la guerre, Rembrandt se suicide dans son atelier de Montparnasse, le 08 janvier 1916. Ignoré des dictionnaires spécialisés, Rembrandt Bugatti a laissé un bestiaire qui égale celui de Barye ou de Pompon. Entre le réalisme et la stylisation, il y avait place pour une sorte d’impressionnisme sculptural et elle n’a appartenu qu’à lui. Ils étaient tous deux les fils d’un génie créateur des plus singuliers, Carlo Bugatti. — LINKS

^ 1874 Eduard Schleich II (d.Ä.), German painter born on 12 October 1812. He studied from 1827 in the history painting class of the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich but soon left to study privately. He was initially drawn towards the late Romantic landscape painting style of Carl Rottmann and Christian Morgenstern, and from about 1830 he had success with mountain landscapes based on sketches made in Upper Bavaria and the Tyrol. In these he relied on studies of 17th-century Dutch landscape painting, especially its treatment of light and skies, to achieve clear and simple images of the Bavarian mountains in varying light conditions (e.g. A Peak, 1865). Schleich was much influenced by Peter Paul Rubens’s landscape paintings, to which he was introduced by the painter Carl Rahl, and which he studied in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich and in the collection at Schloss Weissenstein in Pommersfelden. A visit to the Salon of 1851 in Paris had a strong impression on Schleich, especially the work of the Barbizon school. At the same time he encountered paintings by the English artists John Constable and Richard Parkes Bonington. Schleich’s own work includes both studies of his surroundings, for example Lake Starnberg with Schloss Starnberg (1850), and largely invented scenes based on subjects only fleetingly observed, such as Venice by Moonlight (1860). Though Gusztáv Keleti and Julius Marák were students of Schleich, he was rarely a teacher, but he was seen as a model by many younger Munich landscape painters. The staffage in Schleich’s landscapes was often added by friends, for example the painter Friedrich Voltz {1817–1886]. He was the father of Eduard Schleich II (d.J.) [15 Feb 1853 – 28 Oct 1893] — Women bathing in the sea near Dieppe (1860; 600x1031pix, 227kb _ ZOOM not recommended to fuzzy 1400x2406pix, 532kb) _ How about naming it Deep Dieppe Dip?

1857 Nicholas Condy, British artist born in 1793. — [Qu'est-ce qu'on dit de Condy? Rien dans l'Internet, autant qu'il me soit possible de trouver.]

Born on a 08 January:

^ 1900 Serge Poliakoff, Russian-born French School of Paris abstract painter, who died on 12 October 1969. — Poliakoff, born in Russia and who came to Paris in 1922, met Kandinsky in 1937; from 1946 onwards, he developed a very personal painterly idiom, independent of Mondrian's geometric abstraction, or of Kandinsky's lyrical abstraction. — Poliakoff was born in Russia but left in 1919, becoming a traveling musician. He settled in Paris some years later. Although he began painting in the 1930s he was not able to give up his musical profession for painting until 1952. Poliakoff's technique of dividing the canvas into colored interlocking planes owes much to Cubism. — He arrived in Paris in 1923 and attended several of the Académies Libres. He moved to London in 1935 and attended the Slade School of Fine Arts. His deep interest in painting techniques led him to examine Egyptian sarcophagi in the British Museum; their superimposition of colors, together with the example of Paul Cézanne and that of the Italian primitives in the Louvre, proved of great importance to him on his return to France. Among 20th-century painters he admired the purity and construction of space in the work of Juan Gris and the spirit of Paul Klee’s art. — Born in Moscow, he left Russia in 1919 and, after moving from Constantinople to Sofia, Belgrade, Vienna, and Berlin, settled in Paris in 1923. He began to study painting in 1930 at the Académie Frochot and the Grande Chaumière, supporting himself by playing the guitar in the evenings. He lived from 1935 to 1937 in London, where he studied at the Slade School. He returned to Paris in 1937; met Kandinsky, Sonia and Robert Delaunay, and Freundlich, and in 1938 painted his first abstract pictures. He attained his mature style about 1948, though it was not until 1952 that he was able to give up his career as a professional musician and devote his full time to painting. He designed sets for Roland Petit's ballet Contre-point 1957. He was naturalized French in 1962. He died in Paris. — LINKSComposition (color lithograph, 58x43cm, half size) — Composition abstraite (1954, 116x89cm) — Composition (1956, 134x92cm; 400x535pix, 44kb) _ Poliakoffs paintings are comprised of closed, fairly austere forms that are pressing against each other. Each plane has a single worked-through, obfuscated color; the colors border each other and thus determine the form of each plane. The flat compositions have an air of natural calm. Poliakoff ascribed mainly a cosmic character to the abstract art of this period. 'While figurative art exists within the framework of the painting and remains within it, abstract art goes beyond that framework in order to create a cosmos.'

1881 Henri de Waroquier, French artist who died on 31 December 1970.

1874 Oskar Laske, Austrian artist who died in 1951.

1864 Hugo Darien, French artist who died on 07 January 1926. [Il n'est pas vrai que l'internet ne manque de rien puisqu'il lui manque Darien].

1843 Nathaniel Sichel, German artist who died on 04 December 1907. [Who is it of whom it is said: “She sells Sichel sea-shells by the sea shore”?].

1823 Florent Willems, in Liège, Belgian painter, active in France, where he died in October 1905 in Neuilly-sur-Seine. He was trained at the Academie in Mechelen. He first exhibited in Paris at the Salon of 1840, and in 1844 he settled there, working as both a restorer and a painter. He modeled his work on that of Dutch genre painters of the 17th and 18th centuries. Willems emulated their meticulous technique, as seen especially in his depiction of silks and brocades in The Bride’s Toilette. He also adopted their subject-matter: the majority of his works are genre scenes set in the 16th and 17th centuries, such as The Widow (1850). Willems also painted scenes of contemporary life, for example A Party at the Duchess’s House, in which the furniture and clothing are portrayed with considerable realistic detail. In all Willems’s work the anecdotal element was dominant, and his paintings thus appealed easily to a wide audience. He influenced the work of his pupil and compatriot Alfred Stevens. His son Charles-Henri Willems (fl 1901–1913) was a portrait painter in Paris.

^ 1822 Samuel Bough, English painter, active in Scotland, who died 19 November 1878. Largely self-taught apart from a short period of instruction under the engraver Thomas Allom (1804–72), Bough worked as a theatrical scene-painter in Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh, where he settled in 1855. Initially influenced by Turner and David Cox, he sketched out of doors in his spare time, first exhibiting at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1844. Daniel Macnee encouraged him to devote himself to landscape. In Cadzow Forest near Glasgow he developed methods of working directly from nature, capturing transient effects of weather and atmosphere, as in the oil painting Cadzow Forest (1855). His views of the Clyde, Broomielaw and London ports of the 1850s and 1860s balance Realism with a feeling for the color and drama of natural phenomena and of crowds in movement (e.g. Port Glasgow Harbour, 1853). — LINKSShipyard at Dumbarton (1855, 135x178cm; 524x700pix, 101kb) _ This picture shows iron-framed ships under construction in Archibald McMillan and Son's yard. This firm built some of the large sailing ships on the Clyde. During 1855 two ships, the 'Ardberg', 925 tons, and the 'Jane Jack Mitchell', 980 tons, were launched and may be the ships shown here under construction. Gabbarts are Scottish sailing barges which were also made in this yard. The painting's view is taken from a point opposite Dumbarton Quay. The south-west portion of the quay on the extreme left contains a number of unloaded tree trunks used for ship construction. The dockyard was separated from the burial ground of the parish church by a wall, tree-lined, on the church side. These trees are evident here and through them the steeple of the parish church is discernible. To the left of the stacked timber is the river entrance to the churchyard and the lane leading to the High Street. To the south of the dockyard part of the Victoria shipbuilding yard is visible. Castlegreen House on Castle Rock is sited among the trees to the east of the rock, with a castle at the peak. A number of boats in various stages of progress, together with a carpenter's tools, shavings and so on, dominate the foreground. To the right of a large anchor lying on the shore, children play in the foreground down to the water's edge, where several children sail toy yachts. From the town a stream of women with bundles of washing join those already on the shoreline washing themselves or their laundry. Washing has been strung up to dry and a woman tends a large pot boiling over a fire. The boat to the left has a man on board and the smoke coming from its chimney indicates that he is probably living on it. Amidst the industrial setting of the boatyard, people conduct their daily lives. Along the shore to the left smoke rises from chimneys on boats or factories. Such industry is in marked contrast to the calmer landscape to the right where a rowing boat moves across the river and a paddle steamer approaches in the distance. Bough began life as a shoemaker and lawyer's clerk in Carlisle before becoming an artist and well-known theatre scene-painter in Manchester and Glasgow. This is one of his most ambitious works. It has been signed and dated on the lower left 'Dunbarton Sam Bough 1855' by the artist.

^ 1785 Jean Baptiste de Jonghe, Flemish painter and lithographer who died on 14 October 1844. He was a student at the Courtrai Academie and then at the Antwerp Academie where, under the direction of Balthasar-Paul Ommeganck [1755-1826], he discovered his talent for landscape. In 1812 he received a first prize in Ghent for Approach of a Storm (1812). From then on he assiduously submitted works to all the Salons in the north of France and the Netherlands. Little is known about his travels; he must have been to France, England and Scotland, and probably also Italy. Most of his canvases depict his local landscape, views of Flanders or the Ardennes, and are inspired by the 17th-century Dutch school, elements of which he transformed into a 19th-century language. De Jonghe shared with the 17th-century Brabant landscape painters a predilection for forest scenes, in which he often placed wild and domestic animals and, more rarely, human figures (usually added by Eugène Verboeckhoven). His paintings are particularly reminiscent of the works of Jan van Goyen and Jacob van Ruisdael, but they also express a new perception of nature dictated by a concern for objectivity. In such works as Ardennes Landscape each detail is treated with an almost obsessive meticulousness, quite unlike earlier Dutch landscapes, in which leaves, plants and trees are merged together. About 1823 de Jonghe was involved in illustrating a Collection historique des vues principales des Pays-Bas. Half of the lithographs in this collection are by him and reveal in particular his knowledge of Gothic architecture. At the end of his career he produced more markedly romantic canvases, such as View of the Ruins at Villiers-la-Ville (1834). Other notable paintings by de Jonghe include View from the Outskirts of Tournai (1834) and In the Ardennes. Recognized as a specialist in landscape, in 1826 he was appointed to the teaching staff at the Academie in Courtrai. At this time he published, doubtless with his students in mind, his Principes de paysages dessinés d’après nature et exécutés sur pierre. In 1841 he succeeded Ommeganck as professor at the Academie in Antwerp. — Porte du Maillet à Huy (1823 color lithograph, 16x22cm; 575x800pix, 80kb) d'après le capitaine Roloff — Ruines de Franchimont (1823 color lithograph, 15x21cm; 575x800pix, 75kb) d'après le chevalier de La Barrière.

1712 Gabriel Gaspard Grésely (or Gresly), French artist who died in 1756. — {Du bon Grésely de bon gré se lit n'importe quel renseignement, mais je n'en trouve pas dans l'internet.}

^ 1696 Étienne Parrocel “le Romain”, French artist who died on 13 January 1775. He was the son of Ignace-Jacques Parrocel [1667–1722]. He studied under his uncle Pierre Parrocel [16 March 1670 – 26 Aug 1739]. and the Carthusian Brother Gabriel Imbert [1666–1749]. In 1717 he went to Rome with his uncle, remaining there for the rest of his life and becoming a member of the Accademia di San Luca in 1734. His first patron was Pierre Guérin de Tencin, Bishop of Embrun, who in 1724 commissioned a painting depicting the ceremony of his investiture. Etienne Parrocel was much in demand thereafter, being as familiar with fresco painting as with oils, but he owed his reputation less to his secular, decorative work than to his religious paintings, most of which were intended for the churches of Rome and the surrounding area and for the churches of southern France. Among his numerous religious works are St Gregory at the Table of the Poor (1729), a Nativity (1739), a Trinity (1739), two altarpieces for Carpentras Cathedral (1744; SS Augustine and Bernard, in situ; SS Joseph and Dominic, untraced) and the Incredulity of St Thomas (1758). In 1746 he painted an allegorical fresco depicting literature and philology symbolized by Apollo and Mercury for the library of Cardinal Neri Corsini in the Palazzo Corsini, Rome. The regularity with which Etienne Parrocel received his numerous commissions attests the enduring nature of his popularity, which owed much to the quality of his painting and to the discrete effects of a style that did not preclude originality of composition.

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