ART 4 2-DAY 15 September
DEATH: 1668 MOLENAER
Born on 15 September 1780: Johann Peter Krafft,
in Hanau, Germany, Austrian painter, teacher, and curator, who died in Vienna
on 28 October 1856.
— From the age of ten, Krafft studied at the Hanau Akademie while at the same time continuing his school education in Hanau. In 1799 he went to Vienna with his sister and studied at the Akademie for three years with the history and portrait painter Heinrich Füger. At this time Krafft painted mythological subjects, made copies from older works and produced several self-portraits that already reveal his capacities in this genre, for example Self-portrait (1799). The dream-like atmosphere of total absorption, which Krafft often achieved through his use of the techniques of early German painting, constitutes one of the most striking aspects of his portraits from the turn of the century. From 1802 to 1804 he was in Paris, where he studied under Jacques-Louis David and François Gérard. The work of these two, together with that of Jean-Baptiste Greuze and Antoine-Jean Gros, was to influence Krafft’s later work when he returned to Vienna. David’s realist tendencies in painting had a fundamental effect on Krafft’s artistic output, and it was through Krafft that this realism contributed to a development towards Biedermeier art in Vienna. In 1808 Krafft went on a study trip to Rome; on his return to Vienna he produced numerous portraits, a genre that occupied him for the rest of his career, allowing him to make a handsome living. His portraits are characterized by the emphasis he placed on specific traits of the face of the sitter, by an economy of outline and by the cool, often sharply graduated coloring. The composition is usually either ‘modern’, in the sense that David’s portraits are modern (the subject facing the observer and the background unobtrusive), or it tends more towards a Baroque presentation of the subject (as in the portrait of Franz Wesseley, 1810).
— Count Ferenc Barkóczy (1812, 190x127cm; 792x516pix, 132kb) _ Overdressed count Ferenc Barkóczy was the alderman of Pest County, identified by the inscription on the right side of the painting.
— The Attack of Zrinyi (1825, 455x645cm; 702x998pix, 130kb)
— Oedipe et Antigone (1809, 66x53cm; 512x408pix, 75kb)
Died on 15 September 1668: Jan
Miense Molenaer (buried on 19 September), Dutch Baroque
era genre painter, born in 1610, active from 1629, who married
Judith Leyster [28 Jul 1609 – 10 Feb 1660] in 1636. He spent his
time in Haarlem and Amsterdam and his earlier works, like those of his wife,
are strongly influenced by Frans
Hals [1582-1666] under whom he studied. The later pictures are more
like the genre scenes of Adriaen
van Ostade [1610-1685]. The surprisingly large oeuvre of remarkably
versatile Molenaer displays an inventive symbolism, wit and humor, which
make him the true forerunner of Jan
The Denial by Peter (1636, 100x135cm; 662x886pix, 113kb) _ detail (869x565pix, 106kb) _ Molenaer was a Dutch painter active in his native Haarlem and Amsterdam. In 1636 he married Judith Leyster; both belonged in their youth to the circle of Frans Hals. He and his wife probably collaborated and sometimes it is difficult to differentiate their work. Molenaer specialized in genre scenes, but his range was wide, from pictures of the crude, indecorous activities of peasants to small, exquisitely finished domestic scenes of well-to-do families. He also did portraits and religious scenes. His early works (which are considered his best) have a grey-blond tonalitiy and touches of bright color, but his later ones are darker, in the manner of Brouwer and Ostade. It is hardly recognizable that this genre painting depicts a Biblical scene; it is happening in a Dutch tavern filled with peasants and soldiers. However, this is a dramatic and colorful representation of a theme taken from the gospel. The detail is well observed. We are made to feel Peter's alarmed wish to escape and the scornful superiority of the servant-girl; we see the braggart, the sly informer and the soldiers, drunk and indifferent. It is as if the figures were characters in a biblical play produced to give the episode the tragicomic casualness of everyday life. The style of the painting approaches so near to the developing tradition of contemporary genre that the religious theme is not immediately apparent. This picture exemplifies the moment in the development of the vigorous style of Dutch painting during the late sixteen-twenties and early sixteen-thirties when religious painting came closest to genre; from then onwards the two styles developed in ways that were mutually exclusive. Later, Rembrandt alone was to resolve the contradiction between the two styles, but his contemporaries, including Molenaer, all abandoned the attempt. The painting is signed on the right side, on the back of the chair: M MOLENAER 1636.
Singer and Guitarist (63x46cm; 866x648pix, 89kb) _ In a plainly furnished room a young woman sits behind a table singing while the man sitting in the foreground plays a guitar. The colorful clothing of the music-makers, the still life composed by the objects on the table and the gently melancholic attitudes of the young people closeted together in this intimate corner of the room all contribute to the homely atmosphere of the picture. The painting is signed to the right on the threshold: MOLENAER.
— The Duet (1630, 1060x817pix, 143kb) _ Molenaer has frequently been called Frans Hals's student, but the name of his teacher has not been established. From the beginning he was equally at home depicting scenes illuminated by daylight or artificial light. However, unlike Judith Leyster, his later wife, he made no attempt to imitate Hals's vigorous, detached brushwork. To judge from their surviving works he began to make small pictures of full-length figures in interiors before Leyster did.
Family Playing Music (1635, 63x81cm; 800x1064pix) _ To suggest the continuity of this family through the ages, Molenaer included framed portraits of the deceased ancestors, thereby commenting also on the ability of painting to preserve the memory of persons. The clock and the short-lived bubbles blown by the youngest boy, although plausible elements in a family portrait, allude to the passing of time and life as well.
Painter in his Studio, with Dancing-Dwarf-and-Dog Entertainers (1631, 86x127cm; 838x1198pix) _ Molenaer seems to comment on his own pictorial practice, as he frequently represented musical companies. The comic character of that genre and of this picture is signalled by the dancing dwarf and dog. Many self-portraits and paintings of studios featured musical instruments, as allusions to the inspiring qualities of music. Molenaer had a penchant for painting dwarfs, that in this picture plays a conspicuous role.
— Peasants in the Tavern (30x24cm; 814x657pix, 71kb) _ There is almost no detail depicted in the interior of the tavern where this group of peasants are shown drinking and enjoying themselves. The peasants are colorful, picturesque characters who with their coarse clothes have been grouped to make an effective composition. The painting is signed below on the stone bench: J Molenaer.
— Tavern of the Crescent Moon (88x102cm, 691x801pix, 150kb) _ A family party sit in the open air round a table loaded with food and drink. A piper stands behind the table and plays for them. There is an atmosphere of enjoyment shared by everyone, the artisans and tradesmen, their wives, children and the old folk. The picture is carefully executed but there is a strange contrast between the painting of the figures, which are full of life, and the background of buildings and trees which has something of the unreality of a stage back-cloth. The artist shows more skill in his treatment of interiors. The painting is signed lower left on the fence: J Molenaer.
— Allegory of Vanity (detail) (1633; 816x702pix, 155kb) _ The mellowly colored painting, from which this picture shows the central part, is rich in detail and it is the still-life treatment of a medieval allegory. The female figure personifying all of the temptations and vain pleasures of the world had the globe as her permanent attribute; originally she used to carry it over her head, but in this painting it is present in the form of a world map on the wall behind her. The blond beauty is being combed by a servant. The ring in the woman's hand and the mirror are the symbols of riches and vanity, the latter one also signifying the idea of false appearances. A number of musical instruments appear in this picture and their role is emphasized: a mandolin hanging on the wall, also a violin with a bow, a number of wind instruments, and an open virginal and a cello (not shown on this detail). Their presence may be explained in three different ways. They may represent art as one of the earthly luxuries or they may refer to sensual pleasures, or by invoking the image of fleeting sounds, they may emphasize the idea of morality.
Two Boys and a Girl Playing Music (1629, 68x84cm; 734x910, 154kb)
— Woman at her Toilette (Lady World) (1633; 204kb) — Boys with Dwarfs (1646; 122kb)
Born on 15 September 1737: Jacob
Philipp Hackert, German painter, specialized in
who died on 28 April 1807.
— He was taught first by his father, portrait and animal painter Philipp Hackert [-1768], then from 1755 by Blaise Nicolas Le Sueur* [1716-1783] at the Berlin Akademie. There he encountered, and copied, the landscapes of Dutch artists and of Claude Lorrain. The latter influence shows in two works exhibited in 1761, views of the Lake of Venus in the Berlin Zoological Garden. These much admired paintings retain a rather rigid late Baroque style. Hackert’s main interest in these early works was to arrive at a special understanding of a place through alternate views, with reverse directions of observation. This systematic documentation bears witness to his interest in the study of nature. (*not to be confused with the much better known Eustache Le Sueur [19 Nov 1616 – 30 Apr 1655] nor with the obscure Hubert Le Sueur, Jacques-Philippe Le Sueur, Philippe Le Sueur, Pierre Le Sueur)
Hackert was active in Italy from 1768. He studied in Berlin under the French painter Le Sueur, who taught him in the classical Baroque style of Dutch landscape, but when he moved to Rome he became one of the "Roman Germans" to turn to Poussin and apply the Neoclassical principles to landscape painting. In 1786 he became court painter to Ferdinand IV of Naples. He was a sensitive upholder of the ideal landscape tradition of Claude, which he seasoned with touches of Romanticism. Much of his prolific output was devoted to views of famous sites, which were eagerly sought by foreign visitors to Italy. He came from a family of artists and often collaborated with his brother Johann Gottlieb Hackert [1744-1773]. Goethe met Hackert in 1787 and wrote his biography in 1811.
After having been given a basic artistic education by his father and uncle, who were both painters, Jakob Philipp Hackert attended the drawing classes of Blaise Nicholas le Sueur [1716-1783], the director of the Berlin Academy, in 1758. With an early interest in landscape painting, Hackert began copying the works of Claude Lorrain (1600-1682) and Dutch seventeenth-century artists. He traveled in northern Germany where he received commissions for decorative cycles in Stralsund and Rügen, and in 1764 he visited Sweden. From 1765 until 1768 Hackert lived in Paris, where he met landscape and marine painter Joseph Vernet [1714-1789] and eventually invited his brother Johann Gottlieb Hackert [1744-1773], also a landscape painter, to join him. In Paris Jakob Philipp's popular paintings, gouaches, and drawings were already being reproduced in print form.
In 1768 the Hackert brothers left for Rome, which would remain their main residence until 1786, although they made countless trips in search of different types of landscape. In 1770 they visited Naples, a city that, with its natural and cultural treasures, was an important destination for any traveler to Italy. In 1771 Jakob Philipp Hackert received an important commission from Catherine II of Russia to paint a series of canvases depicting Russia's sea victory over Turkey, and this truly established his reputation. In 1772 his brothers Carl Ludwig Hackert [1740-1796] and William Hackert [1748-1780] joined him in Rome and his brother Johann Gottlieb traveled to London in order to bring commissioned paintings to British clients; he became ill, however, and died in Bath. Jakob Philipp called another brother, Georg Hackert [1755-1805], to Rome in order for him to engrave his paintings. Hackert's work found many prominent buyers, and he turned down an offer to become court painter in Russia, but William settled in Russia in 1774, as a drawing master. In 1782 Jakob Philipp went to Naples again and was introduced to King Ferdinand IV, who commissioned several works. Four years later Hackert became his court painter. In 1787 he met several times with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe [1749-1832] during the latter's stay in Naples; Goethe recorded their meetings in his Italienische Reise (1817). Goethe admired his works, took painting lessons from him, and it was Goethe who eventually urged Hackert to write his autobiography, which Goethe adapted and published after Hackert's death.
Political unrest caused the royal family to seek refuge in Palermo in 1798, and the arrival of French troops in Naples one year later forced Hackert to leave the city and his comfortable existence at court. After a year in Pisa, Hackert and his brother settled in Florence in 1800. Three years later Hackert bought a nearby estate in San Pietro di Careggi, where he worked and made careful studies of rocks, trees, and plants, which he regarded as the basis of his landscapes. Among a few other works Hackert wrote one short treatise on the use of varnish, Sull'uso della vernice nella pittura (1788), and one on landscape painting, Theoretisch-praktische Anleitung zum richtigen und geschmackvollen Landschafts-Zeichnen nach der Natur.
— Balthazar Anton Dunker was a student of Jakob Philipp Hackert.
— Ideale Landschaft im Abendlicht (1782; 774x1081pix, 70kb — ZOOM to 1162x1621pix, 148kb)
— Küstenlandschaft (1782; pix, kb — ZOOM to 1538x2560pix)
The Waterfalls at Terni (1779, 98x80cm; 1050x844pix, 189kb) _ Hackert's output shows how his landscapes, which initially suggest the Baroque, become increasingly "classical". However, unlike other contemporaries, who dismissed him in contempt as a "veduta painter" and probably also because he made no secret of his commercial success, Hackert remained faithful to topographic accuracy in his landscapes. This greatly appealed to his buyers who wanted to take their experience of Italy home with them. Nevertheless, The Waterfalls at Terni shows that Hackert could master the heroic landscape, too. The relative sizes of the rocks and trees and the depth of perspective are skillfully blurred so that the waterfall, however large it may be in reality, looks imposing. Paintings like this set a new focus in Neoclassical and Romantic painting in Germany: what we call "'heroic" and later "sentimental" landscape painting.
The Excavations of Pompeii (1799) — View of the Gulf of Pozzuoli from Solfatara (119x167cm)