12 Paintings, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, with Footnotes. # 24

Pedro Sáenz y Sáenz

Chrysanthemums/ Madame Butterfly, ca. 1900

Oil on canvas

81 x 55 cm

Propiedad de la Excma. Diputación Provincial de Málaga

Madame Butterfly: In 1904, a U.S. naval officer named Pinkerton rents a house on a hill in Nagasaki, Japan, for himself and his soon-to-be wife, “Butterfly”. Her real name is Ciocio-san. She is a 15-year-old Japanese girl whom he is marrying for convenience, since he intends to leave her once he finds a proper American wife, and since Japanese divorce laws are very lax. The wedding is to take place at the house. Butterfly had been so excited to marry an American that she had earlier secretly converted to Christianity. After the wedding ceremony, her uninvited uncle, a bonze, who has found out about her conversion, comes to the house, curses her and orders all the guests to leave, which they do while renouncing her. Pinkerton and Butterfly sing a love duet and prepare to spend their first night together.

Three years later, Butterfly is still waiting for Pinkerton to return. The American consul, Sharpless, comes to the house with a letter which he has received from Pinkerton which asks him to break some news to Butterfly: that Pinkerton is coming back to Japan, but Sharpless cannot bring himself to finish it because Butterfly becomes very excited to hear that Pinkerton is coming back. Sharpless asks Butterfly what she would do if Pinkerton were not to return. She then reveals that she gave birth to Pinkerton’s son after he had left and asks Sharpless to tell him.

The next morning Sharpless and Pinkerton arrive at the house, along with Pinkerton’s new American wife, Kate. They have come because Kate has agreed to raise the child. But, as Pinkerton sees how Butterfly has decorated the house for his return, he realizes he has made a huge mistake. He admits that he is a coward and cannot face her, leaving Suzuki, Sharpless and Kate to break the news to Butterfly. Agreeing to give up her child if Pinkerton comes himself to see her, she then prays to statues of her ancestral gods, says goodbye to her son, and blindfolds him. She places a small American flag in his hands and goes behind a screen, cutting her throat with her father’s hara-kiri knife. Pinkerton rushes in, but he is too late, and Butterfly dies. More on Madame Butterfly

Pedro Saenz Saenz ( Malaga , 14 as October as 1863 – Malaga , October as January as 1927 ) was a  Raphaelite painter, belonging to the Malaga school of painting . Disciple of Bernardo Ferrándiz , he studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando . 

He completed his training in Rome in 1888, where he met other Spanish painters such as Simonet , Sorolla or Viniegra . At this stage he is also influenced by Art Nouveau and Catalan modernism .

His work can be considered academic , but has a predilection for the themes of romantic symbolism, as in The grave of the poet or Stella Matutina , both at the Museum of Málaga and both made him a medal in 1901. 

Among his works predominate portraits and female nudes, luminous and detailed, and some portraits, such as those of the Town Hall of Malaga . Some other of his paintings to review are: The amateur , Carlota or the Portrait of the Marchioness of Loring. More Pedro Saenz Saenz 

ANDY WARHOL, (1928-1987) 

Hélène Rochas, c. 1974

Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas

101.6 x 101.6 cm. (40 x 40 in.) 

Private collection

Helene Rochas (1921 – 2011). Nelly Brignole studied dance and acting before meeting at 19, the fashion designer Marcel Rochas whom she soon married and became Hélène – much more elegant than Nelly. Beautiful and graceful, she perfectly embodied the Femme Rochas, she was her husband’s ideal muse and model and had to renounce to her acting career even though she was offered a role in Jacques Becker’s Golden Helmet. When her husband died in 1955, she proved she was not only a pretty face and took over his perfume brand and managed to make it become an international flourishing company. His death also helped ‘La Belle Hélène’ grow free of her Pygmalion’s influence and she could finally decide what to wear and developed her own artistic taste – more modernist and subtle. The friend and inspiration of many fashion designers such as Hubert de Givenchy and Yves Saint Laurent, she imprinted contemporary art’s mythology with the portrait Andy Warhol depicted of her in 1975. More Helene Rochas

Andy Warhol (born Andrew Warhola; August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987) was an American artist, director and producer who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture, and advertising that flourished by the 1960s. 

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Warhol initially pursued a successful career as a commercial illustrator. After exhibiting his work in several galleries in the late 1950s, he began to receive recognition as an influential and controversial artist. 

Warhol has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, books, and feature and documentary films. The Andy Warhol Museum in his native city of Pittsburgh, which holds an extensive permanent collection of art and archives. Many of his creations are very collectible and highly valuable. More on Andy Warhol

Anders Zorn, Swedish, 1860-1920

Isabella Stewart Gardner in Venice, c. 1894

Oil on canvas

91 x 66 cm (35 13/16 x 26 in.)

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

While visiting the Gardners in Boston in February 1894, Anders Zorn made an etching of Mrs. Gardner, which neither of them considered to be a complete success. Later that year Zorn and his wife visited the Gardners in Venice, staying for several weeks as their guests in the Palazzo Barbaro. He attempted again to make a portrait of Mrs. Gardner, but continued to struggle with the task. One evening, Mrs. Gardner stepped out into the balcony to see what was happening outside, and as she came back into the drawing-room, pushing the French windows open, Zorn exclaimed (according to Morris Carter): “Stay just as you are! That is the way I want to paint you.” He went instantly for his materials, and then and there the portrait was begun. More on this painting

Isabella Stewart Gardner (April 14, 1840 – July 17, 1924) was a leading American art collector, philanthropist, and patron of the arts. She founded the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Isabella Stewart Gardner had a zest for life, an energetic intellectual curiosity and a love of travel[citation needed]. She was a friend of noted artists and writers of the day, including John Singer Sargent, James McNeill Whistler, Dennis Miller Bunker, Anders Zorn, Henry James, Okakura Kakuzo and Francis Marion Crawford.

Gardner created much fodder for the gossip columns of the day with her reputation for stylish tastes and unconventional behavior. The Boston society pages called her by many names, including “Belle,” “Donna Isabella,” “Isabella of Boston,” and “Mrs. Jack”. Her surprising appearance at a 1912 concert (at what was then a very formal Boston Symphony Orchestra) wearing a white headband emblazoned with “Oh, you Red Sox” was reported at the time to have “almost caused a panic”, and remains still in Boston one of the most talked about of her eccentricities. More on Isabella Stewart Gardner 

Anders Leonard Zorn (18 February 1860 – 22 August 1920) was one of Sweden’s foremost artists. He obtained international success as a painter, sculptor and etcher. From 1875 to 1880 Zorn studied at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts in Stockholm. Members of Stockholm society approached him with commissions. Zorn traveled extensively to London, Paris, the Balkans, Spain, Italy and the United States, becoming an international success as one of the most acclaimed painters of his era. It was primarily his skill as a portrait painter that gained Zorn international acclaim based principally upon his incisive ability to depict the individual character of his model. At 29, he was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur at the Exposition Universelle 1889 Paris World Fair. More Anders Leonard Zorn

Kerri-Jane Evans, South Africa, born in 1967. 

Winter Portrait

Oil on board

60 x 60 cm

Everard-Read Gallery, Johannesburg

In this age of cybernetics, cynicism and simulacra, there exists the misconception that art should say big things about big issues. It is a discourse driven by ‘the idea’ and lubricated by the nutrients of parody, commentary and critique. The paintings of Kerri-Jane Evans move against this flow. And the term ‘flux’ is central to her vision because, like the constant shifts of light and colour that determine and regulate the cycles of day and night, colour and brushstroke in her paintings ebb and flow, and her forms seem to morph from solid and substantial to the ethereal. It is as though Evans is reluctant to impose too much authority or ownership on the paintings.

She never completes one painting before starting another. She works – or rather reworks – on all simultaneously. Each work in inherently, deliberately incomplete. In places her mark is stylized and linear, only to be subverted by her loose brushstrokes and unpredictable palette. For Evans the greatest challenge is to accept the paradox of incomplete endings. “The image never reaches completion; rather it stops at the point where it is taken away, almost like a small death.” More on Kerri Evans

Jeremy Mann, b. 1979

The Muse, c. 2012

Oil on panel

48 x 48 in.

Private collection

 

“A muse is anything but a paid model. The muse in her purest aspect is the feminine part of the male artist, with which he must have intercourse if he is to bring into being a new work. She is the anima to his animus, the yin to his yang, except that, in a reversal of gender roles, she penetrates or inspires him and he gestates and brings forth, from the womb of the mind. Painters don’t claim muses until painting begins to take itself as seriously as poetry. Andrea del Sarto, an Italian painter born in 1486, was famously married to his muse, Lucrezia, whose features so closely approached his ideal that he made all his female figures in her likeness, at a time when most other painters were building their beautiful female images on the well-loved bodies of boys. Since then, artists as different as Rubens, Bonnard, Renoir, Charles Blackman and Brett Whiteley have painted their wives over and over again, but their wives were their subjects rather than their muses.” More on a muse

Jeremy Mann (American, b.1979) is a painter best known for his moody, dark cityscapes. Mann graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Fine Art painting, and later attended the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

Working on wood panels, Mann employs various techniques when creating his pieces, including staining the surface, wiping away paint with solvents, and applying broad marks with an ink brayer. Mann uses vivid, atmospheric colors, and is often inspired by the city of San Francisco, where he currently lives and works. In addition to his urban scenes, he also paints still lifes, and portraits of young women in his characteristically impressionistic manner. He has exhibited at venues around San Francisco and throughout the United States, at galleries such as John Pence Gallery, the Studio Gallery, Christopher Hill Gallery, and Principle Gallery, among others. More on Jeremy Mann

 

John Singer Sargent, American, 1856-1925

Portrait of Isabella Stewart Gardner, c. 1888

Oil on canvas

190 x 80 cm

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Mrs. Gardner sat for Sargent during his visit to Boston in January 1888. He was paid $3000 for the portrait, which was exhibited to great acclaim at Boston’s St. Botolph Club. The work also inspired gossip and legend: someone jokingly titled it “Woman: An Enigma,” while others believed that the sensuous display of flesh deliberately echoed the scandal recently created by Sargent’s Madame X. Mrs. Gardner herself said that she rejected eight renderings of the face until she was satisfied. Jack Gardner seems to have asked his wife not to publicly show the portrait again while he was alive, and indeed the portrait was placed in the Gothic Room, which remained private until Mrs. Gardner’s death. More on this painting

John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was an American artist, considered the “leading portrait painter of his generation” for his evocations of Edwardian era luxury. During his career, he created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings. His oeuvre documents worldwide travel, from Venice to the Tyrol, Corfu, the Middle East, Montana, Maine, and Florida.

He was trained in Paris prior to moving to London. Sargent enjoyed international acclaim as a portrait painter, although not without controversy and some critical reservation; an early submission to the Paris Salon, his “Portrait of Madame X”, was intended to consolidate his position as a society painter, but it resulted in scandal instead. From the beginning his work was characterized by remarkable technical facility, particularly in his ability to draw with a brush, which in later years inspired admiration as well as criticism for a supposed superficiality. His commissioned works were consistent with the grand manner of portraiture, while his informal studies and landscape paintings displayed a familiarity with Impressionism. In later life Sargent expressed ambivalence about the restrictions of formal portrait work, and devoted much of his energy to mural painting and working en plein air. He lived most of his life in Europe. More on John Singer Sargent

John Singer Sargent,  American painter

Caterina Vlasto, (or Catherine), c. 1897

Oil on canvas

148.6 x 85.4 cm (58 1/2 x 33 5/8 in.)

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Caterina (or Catherine) Vlasto, born. 30 July 1875 Londen, UK, the eighth of nine children  and died 3 June 1899 London, UK.  She was the second youngest of her siblings. 

When Sargent painted her she would have been 22. The piano is identified (by Ormond and Kilmurray) as the Bechstein which was in Sargent’s Tite Street studio. 

The ancestors of the Vlasto family have been traced back to the island of Chios (Greece) and Constantinople (Turkey) of the 15th century. They were a noble family but were scatted in the 16th century to escape persecution from the Turks. By the 1800’s they were all over Europe. Although Catherine was born in London, her father — Alexandre (Antoine) Vlasto — was born in Trieste, Italy (1833), and his father was born on the Greek island of Chios (1804). More Caterina Vlasto

John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was an American artist, considered the “leading portrait painter of his generation” for his evocations of Edwardian era luxury. During his career, he created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings. His oeuvre documents worldwide travel, from Venice to the Tyrol, Corfu, the Middle East, Montana, Maine, and Florida.

His parents were American, but he was trained in Paris prior to moving to London. Sargent enjoyed international acclaim as a portrait painter, although not without controversy and some critical reservation; an early submission to the Paris Salon, his “Portrait of Madame X”, was intended to consolidate his position as a society painter, but it resulted in scandal instead. From the beginning his work was characterized by remarkable technical facility, particularly in his ability to draw with a brush, which in later years inspired admiration as well as criticism for a supposed superficiality. His commissioned works were consistent with the grand manner of portraiture, while his informal studies and landscape paintings displayed a familiarity with Impressionism. In later life Sargent expressed ambivalence about the restrictions of formal portrait work, and devoted much of his energy to mural painting and working en plein air. He lived most of his life in Europe. More John Singer Sargent

Georges Moreau de Tours, (1848 – 1901, French)

Blanche de Castille, 19e siècle

Nevers ; musée de la Faïence

Blanche of Castile (Spanish: Blanca; 4 March 1188 – 27 November 1252) was Queen of France by marriage to Louis VIII. She acted as regent twice during the reign of her son, Louis IX: during his minority from 1226 until 1234, and during his absence from 1248 until 1252. She was born in Palencia, Spain, 1188, the third daughter of Alfonso VIII, king of Castile, and Eleanor of England. Eleanor was a daughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Louis VIII and Blanche were crowned on August 6. Upon Louis’ death in November 1226 he left Blanche, by then 38, regent and guardian of his children. Of her children Louis was the heir — afterwards the sainted Louis IX — he was twelve years old. She had him crowned within a month of his father’s death in Reims and forced reluctant barons to swear allegiance to him. St. Louis owed his realm to his mother and remained under her influence for the duration of her life. 

In 1248, Blanche again became regent, during Louis IX’s absence on the Crusade, a project which she had strongly opposed. In the disasters which followed she maintained peace, while draining the land of men and money to aid her son in the East. She fell ill at Melun in November 1252, and was taken to Paris, but lived only a few days. More on Blanche of Castile

Georges Moreau de Tours (4 April 1848, Ivry-sur-Seine – 12 January 1901, Bois-le-Roi) was a French history painter and illustrator. In 1865 he entered the École des Beaux-Arts, where he studied with Alexandre Cabanel. He was a regular exhibitor at the Salon from that time until 1896. In addition to his canvas paintings, he produced three scenes for the wedding chamber at the Town Hall in the Second Arrondissement. More on Georges Moreau de Tours

 

Circle of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (Bruges 1561-1635 London)

Portrait of a lady, traditionally identified as Elizabeth Throckmorton

Oil on panel, trimmed

108.7 x 78.4cm (42 13/16 x 30 7/8in)

Private collection

Elizabeth “Bess” Raleigh, (16 April 1565 – circa 1647), née Throckmorton, was Sir Walter Raleigh’s wife and a Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber to Queen Elizabeth I of England. Their secret marriage precipitated a long period of royal disfavour for both her and her husband.

Queen Elizabeth first became aware in May 1592 of the secret marriage. She first placed Bess and Raleigh under house arrest, then sent them to the Tower of London, in June 1592. Raleigh was released from the Tower in August 1592 and Bess in December 1592. Elizabeth expected the couple to sue for pardon, but they refused to, and Raleigh remained out of favour for five years.

The couple remained devoted to each other. Due to Raleigh’s frequent absences, whether on expeditions, diplomatic duties, or in prison, Bess had to shoulder an unusual level of responsibility for a woman of her time.

The couple’s third son was born in January 1605, by which time Raleigh was a prisoner in the Tower of London. He was christened within the walls of the Tower in the church of St Peter ad Vincula. After Raleigh’s execution in 1618, Bess worked tirelessly to re-establish her late husband’s reputation and, in 1628, saw a Bill of Restitution restore the Raleigh name ‘in blood’, which allowed her one surviving son to inherit.

Bess is said to have had her husband’s head embalmed and to have carried it around with her for the rest of her life. An account from 1740 claims that, after Bess’ death, Raleigh’s head was returned to his tomb in St Margaret’s, Westminster. More on Elizabeth “Bess” Raleigh

Jeanne Fourquet Jeanne Laisné Jeanne Hachette Résistance Beauvais

Watercolor engraving engraved in 1841

26 x 17 cm

Original document of the XIXth century

Jeanne Laisné (born 1456) was a French heroine known as Jeanne Fourquet and nicknamed Jeanne Hachette (‘Joan the Hatchet’). She was the daughter of a peasant.

She is currently known for an act of heroism on 27 June 1472, when she prevented the capture of Beauvais by the troops of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. The town was defended by only 300 men-at-arms, commanded by Louis de Balagny.


Illustration H. Grobet

Jeanne Hachette, heroine of the Siege of Beauvais, 1472

History of France

The Burgundians were making an assault, and one of their number had actually planted a flag upon the battlements, when Jeanne, axe in hand, flung herself upon him, hurled him into the moat, tore down the flag, and revived the drooping courage of the garrison. In gratitude for this heroic deed, Louis XI instituted a procession in Beauvais called the “Procession of the Assault”, and married Jeanne to her chosen lover Colin Pilon, loading them with favours. A statue of her was unveiled on July 6th, 1851. More on Jeanne Laisné

Doreen Southwood, b. 1997

The Dancer, 1997

Bronze, steel, enamel paint and fabric

70 x 45 x 50 cm each

Private collection

Doreen Southwood (born 1974) is a South African artist, designer, and boutique owner based in Cape Town. She works in a wide variety of media in her artwork, producing sculptures, objects, prints, film, and more, which she often bases on personal experiences and self exploration. Her  Afrikaans upbringing inform much of her work.


In 2003, Southwood was named the overall winner of the Brett Kebble Art Awards for her painted bronze sculpture, “The Swimmer.”  (Below) The sculpture featured a young woman gazing blankly ahead as she stands on the end of a diving board. 


In 2001 she opened a shop in Cape Town called Mememe, which seeks to make the work of African fashion designers available to the public. Southwood’s own designs have been featured in fashion weeks in Johannesburg and Cape Town  and are known for embodying features of the feminine and nostalgic. More on Doreen Southwood

Doreen Southwood,  b. 1997

The Swimmer, 2003

Painted bronze

175 cm x 42.3cm x 232 cm

Private collection

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11 Paintings, RELIGIOUS ART – Interpretation of the Bible! by The Old Masters, With Footnotes – # 45

Charles Le Brun, Paris, 1619 – 1690 

Saint Mary the Egyptian, c. 1841/1842

Top: Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Bottom: Saint Zosima buried her body with the assistance of a lion

Oil on canvas

Private collection

Mary of Egypt (c. 344 – c. 421) also known as Maria Aegyptica, was born somewhere in Egypt, and at the age of twelve she ran away from her parents to the city of Alexandria. Here she lived an extremely dissolute life. In her Vita it states that she often refused the money offered for her sexual favors, as she was driven “by an insatiable and an irrepressible passion,” and that she mainly lived by begging, supplemented by spinning flax.

After seventeen years of this lifestyle, she traveled to Jerusalem for the Great Feasts of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. She undertook the journey as a sort of “anti-pilgrimage,” stating that she hoped to find in the pilgrim crowds at Jerusalem even more partners in her lust. She paid for her passage by offering sexual favors to other pilgrims. She tried to enter the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for the celebration, she was barred from doing so by an unseen force. Realizing that this was because of her impurity, she was struck with remorse, and upon seeing an icon of the Theotokos (the Virgin Mary) outside the church, she prayed for forgiveness and promised to give up the world (i.e., become an ascetic). Then she attempted again to enter the church, and this time was permitted in. After venerating the relic of the true cross, she returned to the icon to give thanks, and heard a voice telling her, “If you cross the Jordan, you will find glorious rest.” The next morning, she crossed the Jordan and retired to the desert to live the rest of her life as a hermit in penitence.

Approximately one year before her death, she recounted her life to Saint Zosimas of Palestine, who unexpectedly met her in the desert, she was completely naked and almost unrecognizable as human. She narrated her life’s story to him, manifesting marvellous clairvoyance. She asked him to meet her the following year, and bring her Holy Communion. When he fulfilled her wish, she crossed the river to get to him by walking on the surface of the water. The next year, Zosimas travelled to the same spot where he first met her, and found her lying there dead. He buried her body with the assistance of a passing lion. More Mary of Egypt

Théodore Chassériau (September 20, 1819 – October 8, 1856) was a French Romantic painter noted for his portraits, historical and religious paintings, allegorical murals, and Orientalist images inspired by his travels to Algeria.

Chassériau was born in El Limón, Samaná, in the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo (now the Dominican Republic). In December 1820 the family left Santo Domingo for Paris, where the young Chassériau soon showed precocious drawing skills. He was accepted into the studio of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres in 1830, at the age of eleven, and became the favorite pupil of the great classicist, who regarded him as his truest disciple.

After Ingres left Paris in 1834 to become director of the French Academy in Rome, Chassériau fell under the influence of Eugène Delacroix, whose brand of painterly colorism was anathema to Ingres. Chassériau’s art has often been characterized as an attempt to reconcile the classicism of Ingres with the romanticism of Delacroix. He first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1836, and was awarded a third-place medal in the category of history painting. In 1840 Chassériau travelled to Rome and met with Ingres, whose bitterness at the direction his student’s work was taking led to a decisive break.

In 1846 Chassériau made his first trip to Algeria. From sketches made on this and subsequent trips he painted such subjects as Arab Chiefs Visiting Their Vassals and Jewish Women on a Balcony…

After a period of ill health, exacerbated by his exhausting work on commissions for murals to decorate the Churches of Saint-Roch and Saint-Philippe-du-Roule, Chassériau died at the age of 37 in Paris, on October 8, 1856. More

VAROTARI, ALESSANDRO, called PADOVANINO, (Padua 1588 – 1649 Venice)

Madonna and Child with the Holy Magdalene.

Oil on canvas.

99.5 x 80.5 cm.

Private collection

The Madonna and Child or The Virgin and Child is often the name of a work of art which shows the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus. The word Madonna means “My Lady” in Italian. Artworks of the Christ Child and his mother Mary are part of the Roman Catholic tradition in many parts of the world including Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, South America and the Philippines. Paintings known as icons are also an important tradition of the Orthodox Church and often show the Mary and the Christ Child. They are found particularly in Eastern Europe, Russia, Egypt, the Middle East and India. More Madonna and Child

Mary Magdalene,  literally translated as Mary the Magdalene or Mary of Magdala, is a figure in Christianity who, according to the Bible, traveled with Jesus as one of his followers. She is said to have witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Within the four Gospels she is named more than most of the apostles. Based on texts of the early Christian era in the third century, it seems that her status as an “apostle” rivals even Peter’s.

The Gospel of Luke says seven demons had gone out of her. She is most prominent in the narrative of the crucifixion of Jesus, at which she was present. She was also present two days later when, she was, either alone or as a member of a group of women, the first to testify to the resurrection of Jesus. John 20 and Mark 16:9 specifically name her as the first person to see Jesus after his resurrection.

During the Middle Ages, Mary Magdalene was regarded in Western Christianity as a repentant prostitute or promiscuous woman, claims not found in any of the four canonical gospels. More Mary Magdalene

Padovanino or Varotari Alessandro Leone (4 April 1588 – 20 July 1649), was an Italian painter of the late-Mannerist and early-Baroque Venetian school, best known for having mentored Pietro Liberi, Giulio Carpioni, and Bartolommeo Scaligero.

Born in Padua, he was the son of the local painter and architect Dario Varotari the Elder, who most probably provided his earliest training. Early paintings show the influence of Titian. He moved to Venice in 1614. He is known to have traveled to Rome, where he was much employed in producing copies of major paintings by major Renaissance artists of the prior generation. In 1619 he worked on the mosaics of the Basilica of San Marcos. In the following years he worked on decorating the interior of the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore. In 1625 he made another trip to Rome. He painted a major battle canvas entitled The victory of the Carnuti (Celts) over the Normans. More Padovanino

 

Charles Le Brun, Paris, 1619 – 1690 

The Descent from the Cross 

Oil on canvas

H: 72 w: 57 cm

Private collection

This painting is a perfect example of the Baroque style that dominated French painting of the seventeenth century. The bright colors slice against the dark background where the silhouettes are scarcely sketched, and the light emphasizing Christ and a group of grieving women. The figure of the Virgin lying on the ground, overwhelmed with grief, responds to the lifeless body of Christ, cautiously descended by Nicodemus and Saint John, aided by a third personage. A Roman soldier imposes himself in an almost menacing way, the horse prancing, the only movement in this scene of frozen in the emotions.  More on this painting

Charles Le Brun (24 February 1619 – 22 February 1690) was a French painter and art theorist. Declared by Louis XIV “the greatest French artist of all time”, he was a dominant figure in 17th-century French art and much influenced by Nicolas Poussin. Born in Paris, he attracted the notice of Chancellor Séguier, who placed him at the age of eleven in the studio of Simon Vouet. He was also a pupil of François Perrier. At fifteen he received commissions from Cardinal Richelieu, in the execution of which he displayed an ability which obtained the generous commendations of Nicolas Poussin, in whose company Le Brun started for Rome in 1642.

On his return to Paris in 1646, Le Brun found numerous patrons, of whom Superintendent Fouquet was the most important, for whom he painted a large portrait of Anne of Austria. Employed at Vaux-le-Vicomte, Le Brun ingratiated himself with Mazarin, then secretly pitting Colbert against Fouquet. Colbert also promptly recognized Le Brun’s powers of organization, and attached him to his interests. Together they took control of the Academy of Painting and Sculpture, and the Academy of France at Rome.

In 1660 they established the Gobelins, a great school for the manufacture of every class of furniture required in the royal palaces. Brun imprinted his own character on all that was produced in France during his lifetime. He was the originator of Louis XIV Style and gave a direction to the national tendencies which endured centuries after his death. More Charles Le Brun

Pieter Brueghel, the Younger (1564–1638) 

Calvary, c. 17th century

Oil on panel

106.8 × 161.5 cm (42 × 63.6 in)

Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp

The painting is deemed to be one of Brueghel the Younger’s best works.  His setting for the biblical scene illustrating Christ’s journey to his own crucifixion atop Mount Calvary is a Flemish landscape and is full of fascinating details. 

Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564–1638) 

Calvary, c. 17th century

Detail

At the right and you can see a troop of soldiers leading the procession up the hill , escorting Christ on his last journey.  The armour depicted of the troops id that of the Spanish army similar to the ones who had sacked Antwerp in November 1576. Ahead of the troops are the two thieves being transported in a cart towards the top.  Unlike the biblical tale, but like how those who were to be executed in Brueghel’s day were moved towards their place of execution.

Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564–1638) 

Calvary, c. 17th century

Detail

Brueghel has depicted Christ, bearing his cross,  as a non-descript figure dressed in grey and hardly stands out from the crowd.  He is not the centre of attention in this sprawling painting and yet he has the leading role in the story.  More The Procession to Calvary by Pieter Brueghel the Younger

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, BRUSSELS 1564 – 1637/8 ANTWERP

CALVARY, c. 1615

oil on oak panel

99.9 by 147.5 cm.; 39 3/8  by 58 in

Private collection

In this huge and imposing landscape Pieter Brueghel sets out the scene of Christ’s crucifixion as narrated by the Gospels. The events unfurl on a bumpy plateau, overlooked on the right by a vertiginous series of rocky and forested cliffs, and further back on the left by a cliff top stronghold, while beyond them in the centre can be seen the city of Jerusalem, distinguished by the circular form of the Holy Sepulchre. The scene is viewed from above, the scale of the protagonists deliberately left small to accent their insignificance in the face of nature and the events taking place. Christ and one of the two thieves are already in place upon their crosses, while the soldiers struggle to hoist the third and last cross into place. Behind them in the middle distance a fourth cross still carries the remains of its earlier victim. Behind the right hand cross, almost indistinguishable by their tiny scale, the figures of Mary and her companions can be seen fallen to the ground in their grief. With the exception of a small group of soldiers, who can be seen in the left foreground squabbling and playing dice over Christ’s clothes, all the protagonists have their attention turned away from the spectator and focused upon the figure of Christ. Among them, a curious cowled figure raises the tablets of  the law to the crucified thief above. The soldiers below raise a lance towards Christ, upon which sits a sponge soaked in vinegar, meant to torment the thirst of its victim. All are seemingly oblivious to the great darkening pall which is spreading across the sky from behind the cliffs and towards Calvary and Jerusalem. In the very centre of the picture, the figure of the crucified Christ stands out, pale and isolated against the coming darkness.

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, (1564–1638)

Crucifixion, c. 1617

Oil on panel

Height: 82 cm (32.3 in). Width: 123 cm (48.4 in).

Current location

Museum of Fine Arts (Budapest)

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, (1564 – 1638) was a Flemish painter, known for numerous copies after his father Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s work as well as his original compositions. The large output of his studio, which produced for the local and export market, contributed to the international spread of his father’s imagery.

Pieter was born in Brussels, the oldest son of Netherlandish painter Pieter Brueghel the Elder. His father died in 1569, when Pieter the younger was only five years old. Following the death of his mother in 1578, Pieter, together with his brother Jan Brueghel the Elder and sister Marie, went to live with their grandmother, an artist in her own right, possibly the first teacher of her two grandsons.

The Brueghel family moved to Antwerp sometime after 1578 and Pieter possibly entered the studio of the landscape painter Gillis van Coninxloo (1544–1607). His teacher left Antwerp in 1585 and in the 1584/1585 registers of the Guild of Saint Luke, “Peeter Brugel” is listed as an independent master.

He died in Antwerp, aged 72. More Pieter Brueghel the Younger

 

SCOLAIO DI GIOVANNI, (circa 1386 Florence 1434)

Saint John, Circa 1405 – 1410.

Tempera and gold ground on panel.

73.4 x 28.3 cm

Private collection

John the Apostle ( c. AD 6 – c. 106) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus according to the New Testament. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome. His brother was James, who was another of the Twelve Apostles. Christian tradition holds that he outlived the remaining apostles and that he was the only one not to die a martyr’s death (excluding Judas Iscariot who died by suicide). The Church Fathers considered him the same person as John the Evangelist, John of Patmos, John the Elder and the Beloved Disciple, although modern theologians and scholars have not formed a consensus on the relative identities of these men. The tradition of most Christian denominations holds that John the Apostle is the author of several books of the New Testament. More

Scolaio di Giovanni said Maestro di Borgo alla Collina 1 ( 1370 – 1434 ) was an Italian painter of Florence during the Renaissance; the end of the Trecento and beginning of the Quattrocento . He made his apprenticeship with Agnolo Gaddi and the works of his maturity demonstrate a readiness to the novelties that animate the Florentine painting of the years 1430. Contrary to what is generally affirmed by the critics, the he would not be a disciple nor a follower of Gherardo Starnina, but presumably a close collaborator, a partner in a ”  compagnia “.

According to historical documents, Scolaio di Giovanni would be the same artist as the Maestro di Borgo alla Collina. More Scolaio di Giovanni

French School of the seventeenth century 

The Serpent of brass 

Oil on canvas

h: 46,50 w: 63 cm

Private collection

The English Standard Version of the Bible and the majority of contemporary English translations refer to the serpent as made of ‘bronze’, whereas the King James Version and a number of other versions state ‘brass’.

In the biblical story, following their Exodus from Egypt, the Israelites set out from Mount Hor, where Aaron was buried, to go to the Red Sea. However they had to detour around the land of Edom. Frustrated and impatient, they complained against Yahweh and Moses, and in response God sent “fiery serpents” among them. For the sake of the ones who were repentant, Moses was instructed by God to erect a “serpent of bronze” which was used to heal those who looked upon it. More The Serpent of brass

17th-century French art is generally referred to as Baroque, but from the mid to late 17th century, the style of French art shows a classical adherence to certain rules of proportion and sobriety uncharacteristic of the Baroque as it was practiced in Southern and Eastern Europe during the same period.

In the early part of the 17th century, late mannerist and early Baroque tendencies continued to flourish in the court of Marie de Medici and Louis XIII. Art from this period shows influences from both the north of Europe (Dutch and Flemish schools) and from Roman painters of the Counter-Reformation. Artists in France frequently debated the merits between Peter Paul Rubens (the Flemish baroque) and Nicolas Poussin (rational control, proportion).

There was also a strong Caravaggio school represented in the period by the amazing candle-lit paintings of Georges de La Tour. The wretched and the poor were featured in an almost Dutch manner in the paintings by the three Le Nain brothers. In the paintings of Philippe de Champaigne there are both propagandistic portraits of Louis XIII’ s minister Cardinal Richelieu and other more contemplative portraits of people in the Jansenist sect. More 17th-century French art 

François-André Vincent, Paris, 1746 – 1816 

The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew, of after Mattia Preti 

Oil on canvas

76 w: 76 cm

Private collection

Bartholomew the Apostle was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He has been identified with Nathanael,  although some modern commentators reject the identification of Nathanael with Bartholomew.

Bartholomew was born at Cana of Galilee. Ecclesiastical History  states that after the Ascension, Bartholomew went on a missionary tour to India, where he left behind a copy of the Gospel of Matthew. Other traditions record him as serving as a missionary in Ethiopia, Mesopotamia, Parthia, and Lycaonia. Popular traditions and legends say that Bartholomew preached the Gospel in India, then went to Greater Armenia.

He is said to have been martyred in Albanopolis in Armenia. According to one account, he was beheaded, but a more popular tradition holds that he was flayed alive and crucified, head downward. He is said to have converted Polymius, the king of Armenia, to Christianity. Astyages, Polymius’ brother, consequently ordered Bartholomew’s execution. More Bartholomew

François-André Vincent (30 December 1746 – 4 August 1816) was a French neoclassical painter. He was the son of the miniaturist François-Elie Vincent and studied under Joseph-Marie Vien. François-André Vincent was a pupil of École Royale des Éleves Protégés. From 1771 to 1775 he studied at the Académie de France. He travelled to Rome, where he won the Prix de Rome in 1768, and was when he was installed at the Palais Mancini, Rome, where he painted numerous portraits.

In 1790, Vincent was appointed master of drawings to Louis XVI of France, and in 1792 he became a professor at the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture in Paris. He was a leader of the neoclassical and historical movement in French art. He was influenced by the art of classical antiquity, by the masters of the Italian High Renaissance, especially Raphael. François-André was one of the principal innovators of the subjects and themes in French art of Neoclassical style and his works were of a high standard.

He was one of the founder members of the Académie des beaux-arts — part of the Institut de France and the successor to the Académie royale — in 1795. Towards the end of his life he painted less due to ill health, but he continued to receive official honours. More François-André Vincent 

FLEMISH SCHOOL, 17TH CENTURY

Lot and his daughters

Oil on panel.

11 x 13.5 cm.

Private collection

Lot was a patriarch in the biblical Book of Genesis. Notable episodes in his life include his travels with his uncle Abram (Abraham), his flight from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, during which Lot’s wife became a pillar of salt, and the seduction by his daughters so that they could bear children.

Lot, his wife, and two daughters are saved when God sends two angels to make sure they are out of Sodom before the city is punished for their wicked ways. Lot’s request to have the family flee to the nearby small town of Zoar, instead of the mountains, is granted (Genesis 19:18 – 22). As they came into Zoar, God brought brimstone and fire upon the two sinful cities and totally cleansed the land of their existence. More Lot

Flemish painting flourished from the early 15th century until the 17th century. Flanders delivered the leading painters in Northern Europe and attracted many promising young painters from neighbouring countries. These painters were invited to work at foreign courts and had a Europe-wide influence. Since the end of the Napoleonic era, Flemish painters had again been contributing to a reputation that had been set by the Old Masters. More FLEMISH SCHOOL

CAGNACCI, GUIDO, (Sant’Arcangelo di Romagna 1601 – 1663 Vienna)

Lot and His Daughters.

Oil on canvas.

97 x 114.5 cm.

Private collection

Lot and his two daughters, Genesis 19:30-38,  left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. 31 One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children—as is the custom all over the earth. 32 Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.”

That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today. More Lot and his two daughters

Guido Cagnacci, (January 19, 1601 – 1663) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period, who produced many works characterized by their use of chiaroscuro and their sensual subjects. Cagnacci was born in Santarcangelo di Romagna, near Rimini. He worked in Rimini from 1627 to 1642. After that, he moved to work in Forlì, where he would have been able to observe the paintings of Melozzo.

In Rome he may have had an apprenticeship with the elderly Ludovico Carracci in Bologna. His initial output includes many devotional subjects. But moving to Venice under the name of Guico Baldo Canlassi da Bologna, he dedicated himself to private salon paintings, often depicting sensuous naked women from thigh upwards. In 1658, he traveled to Vienna, where he remained under patronage of the Emperor Leopold I. He died in Vienna in 1663. More Guido Cagnacci 

Acknowledgement: Koller , and others


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