05 Paintings, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, of the 18th & 19th C., with Footnotes. #24

Franz Xaver Winterhalter, (1805-1873), German

Elisabeth Kaiserin von Österreich, c. 1865

Oil painting on canvas

117 × 158 cm (46.1 × 62.2 in)

Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria

Elisabeth of Bavaria (24 December 1837 – 10 September 1898) was Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, and many others (see Grand title of the Empress of Austria) by marriage to Emperor Franz Joseph I.

Born into the royal Bavarian house of Wittelsbach, Elisabeth enjoyed an informal upbringing before marrying Emperor Franz Joseph I at the age of sixteen. The marriage thrust her into the much more formal Habsburg court life, for which she was unprepared and which she found uncongenial. Early in the marriage she was at odds with her mother-in-law, Archduchess Sophie, who took over the rearing of Elisabeth’s daughters, one of whom, Sophie, died in infancy. The birth of a male heir, Rudolf, improved her standing at court considerably, but her health suffered under the strain, and she would often visit Hungary for its more relaxed environment. She came to develop a deep kinship with Hungary, and helped to bring about the dual monarchy of Austria–Hungary in 1867.

The death of her only son Rudolf, and his mistress Mary Vetsera, in a murder–suicide at his hunting lodge at Mayerling in 1889 was a blow from which Elisabeth never recovered. She withdrew from court duties and travelled widely, unaccompanied by her family. She was obsessively concerned with maintaining her youthful figure and beauty, which were already legendary during her life. While travelling in Geneva in 1898, she was stabbed to death by an Italian anarchist named Luigi Lucheni. Elisabeth was the longest serving Empress of Austria, at 44 years. More on Elisabeth Kaiserin von Österreich

Franz Xaver Winterhalter, (1805-1873), German

Elisabeth, Empress of Austria, c.1864

Oil painting on canvas

Hofburg in Vienna, Austria

Portrait of Elisabeth depicting her long hair, one of two so-called “intimate” portraits of the empress; although its existence was kept a secret from the general public, it was the emperor’s favourite portrait of her and kept opposite his desk in his private study

Franz Xaver Winterhalter (20 April 1805 – 8 July 1873) was born in a small village in Germany’s Black Forest, Franz Xaver Winterhalter left his home to study painting at the academy in Munich. Before becoming court painter to Louis-Philippe, the king of France, he joined a circle of French artists in Rome. In 1835, after he painted the German Grand Duke and Duchess of Baden, Winterhalter’s international career as a court portrait painter was launched. Although he never received high praise for his work in his native Germany, the royal families of England, France, and Belgium all commissioned him to paint portraits. His monumental canvases established a substantial popular reputation, and lithographic copies of the portraits helped to spread his fame. 

Winterhalter’s portraits were prized for their subtle intimacy, but his popularity among patrons came from his ability to create the image his sitters wished or needed to project to their subjects. He was able to capture the moral and political climate of each court, adapting his style to each client until it seemed as if his paintings acted as press releases, issued by a master of public relations. More on Franz Xaver Winterhalter

John Singer Sargent, (American, born Italy, 1856-1925)

Rose Marie Ormond, c. 1912

Oil, canvas

80 x 58.4 cm

Private Collection


Rose-Marie (later Madame Robert André-Michel 1893-1918), was the niece to John Singer Sargent, daughter to Violet Sargent Ormond. Widow of Robert André-Michel  killed at Saint-Gervais, on Good Friday, 1918 by German bombardment. 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.

 

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

John Singer Sargent, (American, born Italy, 1856-1925)

Winifred, Duchess of Portland, 1902

Oil on canvas

Private collection

Winifred Anna Cavendish-Bentinck, Duchess of Portland DBE JP (née Dallas-Yorke; 7 September 1863 – 30 July 1954) was a British humanitarian and animal welfare activist. Born at Murthly Castle, Perthshire. She served as a canopy bearer to HM Queen Alexandra at the 1902 coronation of King Edward VII, and was Mistress of the Robes from 1913 until Alexandra’s death in 1925. She married William John Arthur James Cavendish-Bentinck on 11 June 1889. They had three children.


The Duchess of Portland was a passionate animal lover, who kept stables for old horses and ponies, as well as dogs needing homes. In 1891, she became the first president of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and was vice-president of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She was also president of the ladies committee of the RSPCA.

In 1889, she persuaded the duke to use a large portion of his horseracing winnings to build almshouses at Welbeck. She cared greatly for the local miners and supported them by paying for medical treatments, and organising cooking and sewing classes for their daughters. She also sponsored a miner, with an interest in art, to study in London.


In honor of her support, the Nottinghamshire Miners’ Welfare Association petitioned the king on her behalf; and in 1935 she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire on his silver jubilee. She was also made a Dame of the Order of Queen Maria Luisa in Spain. More on Winifred, Duchess of Portland

John Singer Sargent, (American, born Italy, 1856-1925), see above

Donato Creti, CREMONA 1671 – 1749 BOLOGNA

A SIBYL

Oil on canvas

28 1/4  by 23 1/8  in.; 72.4 by 58.7 cm.

Private Collection

The sibyls were women that the ancient Greeks believed were oracles. The earliest sibyls, according to legend, prophesied at holy sites. Their prophecies were influenced by divine inspiration from a deity; originally at Delphi and Pessinos, the deities were chthonic deities. In Late Antiquity, various writers attested to the existence of sibyls in Greece, Italy, the Levant, and Asia Minor. More on The sibyls

Donato Creti (24 February 1671 – 31 January 1749) was an Italian painter of the Rococo period, active mostly in Bologna.

Born in Cremona, he moved to Bologna, where he was a pupil of Lorenzo Pasinelli. He is described by Wittkower as the “Bolognese Marco Benefial”, in that his style was less decorative and edged into a more formal neoclassical style. It is an academicized grand style, that crystallizes into a manneristic neoclassicism, with crisp and frigid modeling of the figures. Among his followers were Aureliano Milani, Francesco Monti, and Ercole Graziani the Younger. Two other pupils were Domenico Maria Fratta and Giuseppe Peroni. More on Donato Creti

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09 Paintings, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, Raphael’s muse Margarita Luti, Part 1, with Footnotes. #22

Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (March 28 or April 6, 1483 – April 6, 1520), known as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form, ease of composition, and visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period.

Raphael, (1483–1520)

“Woman with a veil (La Donna Velata)”, c. 1516

82 by 61 cm (32 by 24 inches)

Galleria Palatina, Florence, Italy

La Donna Velata may not be Raphael’s most famous painting to the layman, but it’s considered to be in par with Leonardo’s Mona Lisa. One of Raphael’s distinctions is his attention to the clothing of the subjects of his portraits, this one depicting opulence. More on this painting


Margarita Luti (also Margherita Luti or La Fornarina, “the baker’s daughter”) was the mistress and model of Raphael. The story of their love has become “the archetypal artist-model relationship of Western tradition”, yet little is known of her life. Of her, Flaubert wrote, in his Dictionary of Received Ideas, “Fornarina. She was a beautiful woman. That is all you need to know.

Raphael, (1483–1520)

Madonna della Seggiola/ Mary with Christ Child and John the Baptist, c. 1513-1514

Oil on panel

Diameter 71 cm

Pitti Palace, Firenze

Painted during his Roman period, this Madonna does not have the strict geometrical form and linear style of his earlier Florentine treatments of the same subject. Instead, the warmer colors seem to suggest the influence of Titian and Raphael’s rival Sebastiano del Piombo. More on this painting
From 1517 until his death, Raphael lived in the Palazzo Caprini in the Borgo, in rather grand style. He never married, but in 1514 became engaged to Maria Bibbiena, Cardinal Medici Bibbiena’s niece; his lack of enthusiasm seems to be shown by the marriage not having taken place before she died in 1520. He is said to have had many affairs, but a permanent fixture in his life in Rome was “La Fornarina”, Margherita Luti, the daughter of a baker from Siena.


She was referred to as La Fornarina. In a letter of 1806, Melchior Missirini recounted the tale of their first meeting, of how Raphael fell in love after watching her as she bathed her feet in the Tiber in the garden beside his house in Trastevere, only to discover that “her mind was as beautiful as her body”

Raphael, (1483–1520)

Madonna di Foligno, c. 1511

Oil on wood, transferred to canvas

320 cm × 194 cm (130 in × 76 in)

Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City


This painting was executed for Sigismondo de’ Conti, chamberlain to Pope Julius II, in 1511. In 1799 it was carried to Paris, France by Napoleon. There, in 1802, the painting was transferred from panel to canvas and restored. In 1815, after the Battle of Waterloo, it was returned to Italy. 


Rather than sitting under a canopy, of the Umbrian or Florentine style, the Virgin is seated on clouds, embracing Jesus, while surrounded by angels. They look down upon Sigismonde de’ Conti, kneeling in a red, fur lined cape. Conti is presented by St. Jerome on the right with his lion, appealing for the Virgin’s protection. More on this painting

Raphael, (1483–1520)

Madonna di Foligno, c. 1511

Detail


Raphael was a “very amorous man and affectionate towards the ladies”. He is said to have painted portraits of his mistress and to have assigned the engraver il Baviera to serve as her page. When commissioned by Agostino Chigi to decorate the Villa Farnesina, he was unable to dedicate himself properly to his work due to his infatuation – until she was allowed to come to live at his side. According to Vasari, it was Raphael’s immoderate indulgence in “amorous pleasures”, one day taken to excess, that brought on the fever which led to the young artist’s death in 1520. On his deathbed he sent his mistress away “with the means to live an honest life”.

Raphael, (1483–1520)

The Transfiguration, c. 1516–20

Tempera on wood

405 cm × 278 cm (159 in × 109 in)

Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City


The Transfiguration is the last painting by Raphael. Commissioned by Cardinal Giulio de Medici, the later Pope Clement VII (1523–1534) and conceived as an altarpiece for the Narbonne Cathedral in France, Raphael worked on it until his death in 1520. The painting exemplifies Raphael’s development as an artist and the culmination of his career. Unusually for a depiction of the Transfiguration of Jesus in Christian art, the subject is combined with an additional episode from the Gospels in the lower part of the painting.

In the first, the Transfiguration of Christ itself, Moses and Elijah appear before the transfigured Christ with Peter, James and John looking on In the lower register, Raphael depicts the Apostles attempting to free the possessed boy of his demonic possession. They are unable to cure the sick child until the arrival of the recently transfigured Christ, who performs a miracle. More on this painting

Raphael, (1483–1520)

The Transfiguration, c. 1516–20

Tempera on wood

Detail, the lower register


Two portraits by Raphael are identified as those of Margarita, La Fornarina (Below), where she is naked from the waist up, and La donna velata (Top). The former was already the subject of several early testimonies before featuring in a 1642 inventory of the Barberini collection. X-ray analysis during restoration work at the beginning of the twenty-first century revealed a ring with a ruby on the third finger of her left hand. She wears a ribbon with the artist’s name; the ring may hint at betrothal and the depth of their bond. The latter work is identified as a portrait of Raphael’s mistress, “whom he loved until he died, and of whom he made a most beautiful portrait, which seems spirited and alive”. She also served as his model for the Virgin and in other religious works: her features have been traced in the Madonna della seggiola (Above), the Madonna di Foligno (Above), the kneeling figure in the Transfiguration (Above), the Stanze di Raffaello (Below), the Ecstasy of St. Cecilia  (Below), and in Galatea (Below)

Raphael,  (1483–1520)

Adam and Eve (ceiling panel), c. 1509 and 1511

Fresco

Height: 120 cm (47.2 in). Width: 105 cm (41.3 in).

Apostolic Palace, Rome

Raphael,  (1483–1520)

The Ecstasy of St. Cecilia/ St. Cecilia Altarpiece, c. 1516–1517

Oil transferred from panel to canvas

220 cm × 136 cm (87 in × 54 in)

Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna


Completed in his later years, around 1516-1517, the painting depicts Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians and Church music, listening to a choir of angels. St. Cecilia’s companions are identified in part by their attributes. Immediately to her right, John the Evangelist has an eagle, his usual symbol, peeking out around his robes. Beside him, Paul leans on the sword with which he had come to be identified in medieval art. Augustine of Hippo holds his crosier. Mary Magdalene holds the alabaster jar by which she is most commonly identified. More on this painting

Raphael,  (1483–1520)

The Triumph of Galatea, c. 1514

Fresco

9′ 8″ x 7′ 5″.

Villa Farnesina, Rome

Galatea; “she who is milk-white”, was a sea-nymph, the fairest and most beloved of the 50 Nereids. In Ovid’s Metamorphoses she appears as the beloved of Acis. When a jealous rival, the Sicilian Cyclops Polyphemus, killed him with a boulder, Galatea then turned his blood into the Sicilian River Acis, of which he became the spirit. According to Athenaeus, the story was first concocted by Philoxenus of Cythera as a political satire against the Sicilian tyrant Dionysius I of Syracuse, whose favourite concubine, Galatea, shared her name with the nymph. Others claim the story was invented to explain the presence of a shrine dedicated to Galatea on Mount Etna. More on Galatea

Raphael did not paint any of the main events of the story. He chose the scene of the nymph’s apotheosis. Galatea appears surrounded by other sea creatures whose forms are somewhat inspired by Michelangelo, whereas the bright colors and decoration are supposed to be inspired by ancient Roman painting. At the left, a Triton abducts a sea nymph; behind them, another Triton uses a shell as a trumpet. Galatea rides a shell-chariot drawn by two dolphins. Galatea was his only major mythology

When asked where he had found a model of such beauty, Raphael reportedly said that he had used “a certain idea” he had formed in his mind.  More on this painting

Acknowledgement: Wikipedia   , and others


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07 Paintings, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, with Footnotes. #20

John Singer Sargent, 1856 – 1925

A Fellah Woman

Oil on canvas

 22 x 18 in

Private collection

Fellah is a farmer or agricultural laborer in the Middle East and North Africa. The word derives from the Arabic word for “ploughman” or “tiller”.

Due to a continuity in beliefs and lifestyle, the fellahin of Egypt have been described as the “true” Egyptians. More on Fallah

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

Elizabeth Gardner Bouguereau, (American, 1837-1922)

La Confidence, ca. 1880

Oil on canvas

68 x 47-1/8 in.

Georgia Museum of Art, Athens

Elizabeth Jane Gardner (October 4, 1837 – January 28, 1922) was an American academic and salon painter, who was born in Exeter, New Hampshire. She was an American expatriate who died in Paris where she had lived most of her life. She studied in Paris under the figurative painter Hugues Merle (1823–1881), the well-known salon painter Jules Joseph Lefebvre (1836–1911), and finally under William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825–1905). After Bouguereau’s wife died, Gardner became his paramour and after the death of his mother, who bitterly opposed the union, she married him in 1896. She adopted his subjects, compositions, and even his smooth facture, channeling his style so successfully that some of her work might be mistaken for his.  More on Elizabeth Jane Gardner

 Head of the ptolemaic queen Berenice II (reign between 246–221 BC).

Glyptothek, Munich

Berenice II (267 or 266 BC – 221 BC) was a ruling queen of Cyrene by birth, and a queen and co-regent of Egypt by marriage to her cousin Ptolemy III Euergetes, the third ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt.

In approximately 249 BC, her father died, making Berenice ruling queen of Cyrene. Soon after Berenice was married to Demetrius the Fair, a Macedonian prince.

After Demetrius came to Cyrene, he became the lover of her mother, Apama. In a dramatic event, Bernice had him killed in Apama’s bedroom. Berenice stood at the door and instructed the hired assassins not to hurt her mother while she attempted to protect her mother’s lover. 

Berenice is said to have participated in the Nemean Games and the Olympic games at some unknown date. She had a strong equestrian background and was accustomed to fighting from horseback. When Berenice’s father Magas, king of Cyrene in modern day Libya, and his troops were routed in battle, Berenice mounted a horse, rallied the remaining forces, killed many of the enemy, and drove the rest to retreat.

After the death of Demetrius, Berenice married Ptolemy III,  the third king of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt..

Bernardo Strozzi,  (1581–1644)

Berenice, before 1644

Oil on canvas

86.5 × 71 cm (34.1 × 28 in)

Private collection

Berenice II, Queen of Egypt, when she cut off her long hair to dedicate it to the goddess Aphrodite in order to ensure the safe return of her husband, Ptolemy III.

Bernardo Strozzi, named il Cappuccino and il Prete Genovese (c. 1581 – 2 August 1644) was an Italian Baroque painter and engraver. A canvas and fresco artist, his wide subject range included history, allegorical, genre and portrait paintings as well as still lifes. Born and initially mainly active in Genoa, he worked in Venice in the latter part of his career. His work exercised considerable influence on artistic developments in both cities. He is considered a principal founder of the Venetian Baroque style. His powerful art stands out by its rich and glowing colour and broad, energetic brushstrokes. More on Bernardo Strozzi

Bernardo Strozzi, (1581–1644)

Berenice, c. 1640

Oil on canvas

El Paso Museum of Art

During her second husband’s absence on an expedition to Syria, she dedicated locks of her hair to Aphrodite for his safe return and victory in the Third Syrian War, and placed the offering in the temple of the goddess at Zephyrium, on the Mediterranean coast of southern Turkey . By some unknown means, the hair offering disappeared when Ptolemy returned to Egypt, Conon of Samos explained the phenomenon in courtly phrase, by saying that it had been carried to the heavens and placed among the stars. The name Coma Berenices or Berenice’s hair, applied to a constellation, commemorates this incident. This made the locks of Berenice the only war trophy in Greco-Roman sky.

The city of Euesperides was refounded by her and received her name, Berenice (near the location of Benghazi). The asteroid 653 Berenike, discovered in 1907, also is named after Queen Berenice. More on queen Berenice II

Andrew Geddes, ARA (British, 1783-1844)

Portrait of a Lady, reputed to be Charlotte Nasymth 

Oil on canvas

72 x 60 cm. (28 3/8 x 23 5/8 in.)

Private collection

Charlotte Nasmyth (British painter) 1804 – 1884 was a member of a large and gifted family, Charlotte was the sixth daughter of the landscape painter Alexander Nasmyth. All the girls were talented artists, trained to draw and paint by their father so that they could run art classes from their Edinburgh home and eventually support themselves independently. Charlotte painted romantic landscapes which were widely exhibited. More on Charlotte Nasymth

Andrew Geddes ARA (5 April 1783 – 5 May 1844) was a Scottish portrait painter and etcher.

Geddes was born in Edinburgh. After receiving a good education in the high school and in the University of Edinburgh, he was for five years in the excise office, in which his father held the post of deputy auditor.

After the death of his father, who had opposed his desire to become an artist, he went to London and entered the Royal Academy schools. His first contribution to the exhibitions of the Royal Academy, a St John in the Wilderness, appeared at Somerset House in 1806, and from that year onwards Geddes was a fairly constant exhibitor of figure-subjects and portraits. He alternated for some years between London and Edinburgh, with some excursions on the Continent, but in 1831 settled in London, and was elected associate of the Royal Academy in 1832; and he died in London of tuberculosis in 1844. More on Andrew Geddes 


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06 Paintings, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, with Footnotes. #19

Jules Joseph Lefebvre, 1836 – 1912

FATIMA, c. 1883

Oil on canvas

21 3/4 by 18 in., 55.2 by 45.7 cm

Private collection

Jules Joseph Lefebvre (14 March 1834 – 24 February 1912) was a French figure painter, educator and theorist. Lefebvre was born in Tournan-en-Brie, Seine-et-Marne, on 14 March 1834. He entered the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in 1852 and was a pupil of Léon Cogniet.,He won the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1861. Between 1855 and 1898, he exhibited 72 portraits in the Paris Salon. In 1891, he became a member of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts.

He was professor at the Académie Julian in Paris. Lefebvre is chiefly important as an excellent and sympathetic teacher who numbered many Americans among his 1500 or more pupils. Among his famous students were Fernand Khnopff, Kenyon Cox, Félix Vallotton, Ernst Friedrich von Liphart, Georges Rochegrosse, the Scottish-born landscape painter William Hart, Walter Lofthouse Dean, and Edmund C. Tarbell, who became an American Impressionist painter.

Lefebvre died in Paris on 24 February 1912. More on Jules Joseph Lefebvre

John White Alexander, American, 1856-1915 

Woman in Black (Portrait of Mrs. Paul W. Bartlett), c. 1893 

Oil on canvas 

75 1/2 x 36 inches 

Private collection

Emily Montgomery, former wife of the sculptor Paul Wayland Bartlett, wrote of her portrait in a letter dated January 1, 1938: “I knew all the artists of note in Paris and I was the youngest of the artists’ wives so I was rather popular… ” She described the portrait as “one of John Alexander’s earliest portraits, painted in 1894. Exhibited in the Paris salon the following year, with great success, that same year Mr. Alexander was made ‘Hors Concours.’ Her reminiscence of her Parisian sojourn more than forty years earlier sheds a uniquely personal perspective on the close-knit circle of American artists working abroad. More on this painting

John White Alexander (7 October 1856 – 31 May 1915) was an American portrait, figure, and decorative painter and illustrator.

Alexander was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, now a part of Pittsburgh. Orphaned in infancy, he was reared by his grandparents and, at the age of 12, became a telegraph boy. Edward J. Allen became an early supporter and patron of John. His talent at drawing attracted the attention of one of his employers, who assisted him to develop them.

He moved to New York City at the age of eighteen and worked in an office at Harper’s Weekly, where he was an illustrator and political cartoonist. After an apprenticeship of three years, he travelled to Munich for his first formal training. He worked with Frank Duveneck. They travelled to Venice, where he profited by the advice of Whistler, and then he continued his studies in Florence, the Netherlands, and Paris.

His first exhibition in the Paris Salon of 1893 was a brilliant success and was followed by his immediate election to the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts. In 1901 he was named Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, and in 1902 he became a member of the National Academy of Design, where he served as President from 1909-1915. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and President of the National Society of Mural Painters. He served as President of the National Society of Mural Painters from 1914 to 1915. More on John White Alexander

Robert Brackman, American, 1898-1980 

In Abundance Arrangement #2 

Oil on canvas 

35 x 27 7/8 inches 

Private collection

Robert Brackman (September 25, 1898 – July 16, 1980) was an American artist and teacher of Ukrainian origin, best known for large figural works, portraits, and still lifes. Born in Odes’ka Oblast, Ukraine, he emigrated from the Russian Empire in 1908.

Brackman studied at the National Academy of Design from 1919 to 1921, and the Ferrer School in San Francisco. From 1931, he had a long career teaching at the Art Students League of New York where he was a life member. He also taught at the American Art School in New York City, the Brooklyn Museum School, the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, and the Madison Art School in Connecticut. In 1932, Brackman was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member, and became a full member in 1940.

Brackman was married to Rochelle Post; they later divorced. He had two daughters with his second wife. More on Robert Brackman

Queen Kiya, Great Beloved Wife

Second wife of Akhenaten

18th dynasty

Queen Kiya is thought to have been a foreign princess, known originally as Tadukhipa sent from Mitanni to be married to Amenhotep III. Mitanni was a Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and southeast Anatolia from c. 1500–1300 BC. Mitanni kings were Indo-Iranians. Kiya may have been the Mitanni Princess Tadukhepa, daughter of King Tushratta. Kiya died before Akhenaten and was buried with considerable funerary treasure.

There were many representations of Queen Kiya at Amarna, where she is thought to have held considerable power.  Amarna,  the capital city newly established and built by the Pharaoh Akhenaten of the late Eighteenth Dynasty, and abandoned shortly after his death (1332 BC).

An Amarna relief depicting a woman undergoing a purification ritual

The large earings and style of wig are thought to be representative of Queen Kiya. 18th dynasty, reign of Akhenaten, circa 1353-1336 B.C.

Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In a few reliefs at Amarna, Kiya is shown in the company of a daughter, and some scholars have argued about her giving birth to two sons as well. Many scholars think that Kiya was the mother of Tutankhamun – which was the main reason for her favoured status and her titles. All indication are that Kiya was in favour before Year 9 or 10 of Akhenaten’s reign, but after Year 11 (about the same time as Tutankhamun’s birth) – she disappeared from view.

Kiya disappears from history during the last third of Akhenaten’s reign. Her name and images were erased from monuments and replaced by those of Akhenaten’s daughters. The exact year of her disappearance is unknown. One of the last datable instances of her name is a wine docket from Amarna that mentions Akhenaten’s Year 11, indicating that Kiya’s estate produced a vintage in that year. Whether she died, was exiled, or suffered some other misfortune, Egyptologists have often interpreted the erasure of her name as a sign of disgrace. More on Kiya

Acknowledgement: Mitanni,  AmarnaKiyaKiya Kiya and others

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06 Paintings, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, of the 18th & 19th C., with Footnotes. #18

JOHN SINGER SARGENT (FLORENCE, 1856 – 1925, LONDON)

MADAME GAUTREAU DRINKING A TOAST,  c. 1882-1883

Oil on panel

32 x 41 cm (12 5/8 x 16 1/8 in.)

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Madame Pierre Gautreau, born Virginie Avegno (1859–1915), was Madame X, the statuesque sitter in Sargent’s most notorious portrait (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) (below). Critics considered the portrait in scandalously bad taste, and the sitter’s mother asked Sargent to withdraw the painting from the Salon of 1884, which he refused to do. This much smaller and more intimate painting was done a year earlier, and was given by Sargent to Madame Gautreau’s mother. More on this painting

John Singer Sargent, (American, Florence 1856–1925 London)

Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau), c. 1883–84

Oil on canvas

82 1/8 x 43 1/4in. (208.6 x 109.9cm)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Madame Pierre Gautreau (the Louisiana-born Virginie Amélie Avegno; 1859–1915) was known in Paris for her artful appearance. Sargent hoped to enhance his reputation by painting and exhibiting her portrait. Working without a commission but with his sitter’s complicity, he emphasized her daring personal style, showing the right strap of her gown slipping from her shoulder. At the Salon of 1884, the portrait received more ridicule than praise. Sargent repainted the shoulder strap and kept the work for over thirty years. When, eventually, he sold it to the Metropolitan, he commented, “I suppose it is the best thing I have done,” but asked that the Museum disguise the sitter’s name. More on this painting

Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau (née Avegno, 29 January 1859 – 25 July 1915) was born in New Orleans but grew up from the age of eight in France, where she became a Parisian socialite known for her beauty. She occasionally posed as a model for notable artists. She is most widely known as the subject of John Singer Sargent’s painting Portrait of Madame X (1884). It created a social scandal when shown at the Paris Salon.

Virginie Avegno became one of Paris’s conspicuous beauties. She attracted much admiration due to her elegance and style. She also attracted much amorous attention that she did not discourage, and her extramarital affairs were so well known that they became the subject of tabloid scandal sheets and gossip handbills. One of her lovers was a Dr. Pozzi. Sargent, anxious to popularize himself by capitalizing on Virginie’s notorious reputation, asked Dr. Pozzi to introduce him to Virginie, which the doctor did

Virginie married Pierre Gautreau, a French banker and shipping magnate. She had a daughter named Louise Gautreau (1879–1911).

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

Gustave-Claude-Etienne Courtois, (1852–1923)

Portrait de Madame Gautreau, c. 1891

This work was painted seven years after Sargent’s portrait, and the falling strap and décolletage raised nary an eyebrow.

Gustave-Claude-Étienne Courtois ( 18 May 1852 in Pusey, Haute-Saône – 1923 in Paris) was a French painter, a representative of the academic style of art. Courtois was born to an unwed mother who was devoted to him. Early in life, Courtois revealed an interest in art and entered the École municipale de dessin in Vesoul.

He taught painting at Académie de la Grande Chaumière, Académie Colarossi, Paris. His paintings can be seen in the art galleries of Besançon, Marseille, Bordeaux, and Luxembourg. He was a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. More on Gustave-Claude-Étienne Courtois

José Cruz Herrera, (1890-1972) 

Desdemona, c. 1942

Oil on canvas

136 X 103cm (53 9/16 X 40 9/16 IN.)

Private collection

Desdemona is a character in William Shakespeare’s play Othello (c. 1601–1604). Shakespeare’s Desdemona is a Venetian beauty who enrages and disappoints her father, a Venetian senator, when she elopes with Othello, a black man several years her senior. When her husband is deployed to Cyprus in the service of the Republic of Venice, Desdemona accompanies him. There, her husband is manipulated by his ensign Iago into believing she is an adulteress, and, in the last act, she is murdered by her estranged spouse.

José Cruz Herrera (1 October 1890 – 11 August 1972) was a Spanish painter who concentrated principally on genre works and landscape art. He worked in Spain, Uruguay, Argentina, France and especially Morocco, where he lived for much of his life in Casablanca.

His talent was soon apparent and he began formal training in Cádiz. He continued his studies at the School of Fine Arts in Madrid before being awarded a grant to study in Paris and Rome in 1915. He subsequently received several more awards. He concentrated on genre works and landscapes, but he is best known as an orientalist painter, with a particular faculty for producing atmospheric depictions of scenes of everyday life in Morocco.

Cruz Herrera travelled to Montevideo in Uruguay and Buenos Aires in Argentina in 1922. He went to Morocco in 1929. He subsequently established a studio at Neuilly-sur-Seine, just outside Paris, and contributed to collective exhibitions in 1934, 1935 and 1936 at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. He also exhibited solo at various times in Madrid, Barcelona and London in 1912, Antwerp in 1931, Casablanca in 1933, and Paris in 1934.

 After the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939, he returned to Morocco. The following year Spain awarded Cruz Herrera a Knight’s Cross in the Order of Isabella the Catholic, followed by a knighthood in the Civil Order of Alfonso X, the Wise in 1958. He died on 11 August 1972 in Casablanca but his remains were transferred back to La Línea to be buried there. More on José Cruz Herrera

COLIN, Alexandre-Marie, (b. 1798, Paris, d. 1873, Paris)

Othello and Desdemona, 1829

Oil on canvas

51 x 61 cm

Private collection

Colin may first have become interested in depicting Shakespearean subjects when he visited London in 1824 in the company of Delacroix and Bonington. The Othello and Desdemona is a bravura work, faithful to the text, and full of energy and colour.

A student of Girodet and a great friend of Delacroix and Bonington, Alexandre-Marie Colin participated in the Paris Salon starting in 1819 until the end of his life, obtaining a second-class medal in 1824 and 1831, and a first-class medal in 1840.


Colin entered the École des Beaux Arts in 1814, first as a pupil of Girodet, but then joining Guérin’s studio in 1816, in which the young Delacroix had also enrolled. He and Delacroix both attracted the attention of their teachers, winning drawing and composition prizes.


Known as a great portraitist, he portrayed well-known figures and also depicted romantic subjects, views of Italy, and scenes illustrating the struggle for independence in Greece. His religious and historical paintings are characterised by a style based on a careful study of the old masters, while his genre pieces are vigorous and lifelike. More on Alexandre-Marie Colin

Antonio Mancini,  (1852–1930)

Resting, circa 1887

60.9 × 100 cm (24 × 39.4 in)

Art Institute of Chicago

Antonio Mancini (14 November 1852 – 28 December 1930) was an Italian painter born in Rome and showed precocious ability as an artist. At the age of twelve, he was admitted to the Institute of Fine Arts in Naples, where he studied under Domenico Morelli, a painter of historical scenes who favored dramatic chiaroscuro and vigorous brushwork, and Filippo Palizzi. Mancini developed quickly under their guidance, and in 1872, he exhibited two paintings at the Paris Salon.

Mancini worked at the forefront of the Verismo movement, an indigenous Italian response to 19th-century Realist aesthetics. His usual subjects included children of the poor, juvenile circus performers, and musicians he observed in the streets of Naples.

In 1881, Mancini suffered a disabling mental illness. He settled in Rome in 1883 for twenty years, then moved to Frascati where he lived until 1918. During this period of Mancini’s life, he was often destitute and relied on the help of friends and art buyers to survive. After the First World War, his living situation stabilized and he achieved a new level of serenity in his work. Mancini died in Rome in 1930 and buried in the Basilica Santi Bonifacio e Alessio on the Aventine Hill. More on Antonio Mancini

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05 Paintings, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, of the 18th & 19th C., with Footnotes. #17

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn,  (1606–1669)

Portrait of a Young Woman (Magdalena van Loo?), 1665

Oil on canvas

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Titus van Rijn was born in Amsterdam on September 22, 1641, the fourth child of the famed artist Rembrandt van Rijn and his wife Saskia van Uylenburgh.

In 1668, Titus married Magdalena van Loo (1641-1669). The couple lived at Magdalena’s mother’s house on the Singel. They had one daughter. Titus van Rijn died in 1668 and was buried in the Westerkerk in Amsterdam. His wife, mother-in-law, and father all died a year later. More on Titus van Rijn

By the end of his long and productive career. This portrait, executed in the last years of the artist’s life, provides an example of his masterful economy. Restricted to a rich range of blacks, loosely applied flesh tones and rough strokes of white, the light is carefully manipulated in the undefined strokes of white. The painting has been reduced in scale at an earlier period in its history, and probably was closer to a half-length portrait with a pendant of the sitter’s husband: a possible candidate that has been proposed by scholars is the portrait of Titus, Rembrandt’s son, at the Louvre. In that case, the woman portrayed in our painting is Magdalena van Loo, and the painting should be dated to 1668, when they married, which is consistent with the style of this fine late portrait by the master. More on this painting

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (15 July 1606 – 4 October 1669) was a Dutch painter and etcher. He is generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art and the most important in Dutch history. His contributions to art came in a period of great wealth and cultural achievement that historians call the Dutch Golden Age when Dutch Golden Age painting dominated Europe, was extremely prolific and innovative, and gave rise to important new genres in painting.

Having achieved youthful success as a portrait painter, Rembrandt’s later years were marked by personal tragedy and financial hardships. Yet his etchings and paintings were popular throughout his lifetime, his reputation as an artist remained high, and for twenty years he taught many important Dutch painters. His self-portraits form a unique and intimate biography, in which the artist surveyed himself without vanity and with the utmost sincerity.

In his paintings and prints he exhibited knowledge of classical iconography, which he molded to fit the requirements of his own experience; thus, the depiction of a biblical scene was informed by Rembrandt’s knowledge of the specific text, his assimilation of classical composition, and his observations of Amsterdam’s Jewish population. Because of his empathy for the human condition, he has been called “one of the great prophets of civilization. More on Rembrandt

Jan Frederik Pieter Portielje, (1829-1895) 

JEUNE FEMME À LA RICHE COIFFE ROUGE 

YOUNG LADY WITH A RICH RED SCARF 

Oil on panel

60 X 48cm (23 5/8 x 18 7/8 IN.)

Private collection

Jan Frederik Pieter Portielje (Amsterdam, 1829 – 1908) was a Dutch-Belgian painter. He was the tenth child by Gerrit Portielje, bookseller and publisher in Amsterdam, and Jacoba Zeegers. He studied at the Academy of Amsterdam from 1842 to 1849 with, among others, Valentine Bing and Jan von Braet Uberfeldt. Between 1851 and 1853 he stayed several times for extended periods of time in Paris, possibly during the summer months when the Academy was closed due to holidays. He also worked as a portraitist and as such had a growing clientele in Brussels and Antwerp.

His oeuvre includes portraits, scenes of elegant ladies in gardens, parks, or luxurious interiors. The interiors are either heavy or elegant neo-Baroque Napoleon III. He painted Western and Southern or Oriental women, often adorned with jewels. His painting are realistic, with an eye for detail and texture, intended as an elegant genre painting without much depth.

On some paintings he collaborated with another artist. There are paintings known, together with Frans Lebret (1820-1909) and Eugène Remy Maes (1849-1931).

After his studies Portielje remained in Antwerp. He married there in 1853. More on Jan Frederik Pieter Portielje

 

William-Adolphe Bouguereau, (1825–1905)

Berceuse (Le coucher), c. 1873

oil on canvas

112 x 86.5 cm

Private collection

Starting in 1865, Bouguereau became enamored with the theme of mothers and children and began a series of paintings dedicated to this subject matter. 

Berceuse (Le coucher) was painted in the artist’s Paris studio in 1873. In the present painting, a young Roman mother holds a naked infant and is gently moving him into his cradle. The central group is framed by the draped cradle to the left of the composition and the large stone fireplace that dominates the background. The figures, clearly a secularized interpretation of a Virgin and Child. More on this painting

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (November 30, 1825 – August 19, 1905) was a French academic painter and traditionalist. In his realistic genre paintings he used mythological themes, making modern interpretations of classical subjects, with an emphasis on the female human body. During his life he enjoyed significant popularity in France and the United States, was given numerous official honors, and received top prices for his work. As the quintessential salon painter of his generation, he was reviled by the Impressionist avant-garde. By the early twentieth century, Bouguereau and his art fell out of favor with the public, due in part to changing tastes. In the 1980s, a revival of interest in figure painting led to a rediscovery of Bouguereau and his work. Throughout the course of his life, Bouguereau executed 822 known finished paintings, although the whereabouts of many are still unknown. More William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Roberto Manetta, Italy

Mother nature

Photography

39.4 H x 27.6 W x 15.7 in

Private collection

Mother Nature (sometimes known as Mother Earth or the Earth-Mother) is a common personification of nature that focuses on the life-giving and nurturing aspects of nature by embodying it, in the form of the mother.

The earliest written usage is in Mycenaean Greek, “Mother Gaia”,  (13th or 12th century BC). The various myths of nature goddesses such as Inanna/Ishtar show that the personification of the creative and nurturing sides of nature as female deities. Later medieval Christian thinkers did not see nature as inclusive of everything, but thought that she had been created by God; her place lay on earth, below the unchanging heavens and moon. Nature lay somewhere in the center, with agents above her (angels), and below her (demons and hell). For the medieval mind she was only a personification, not a goddess. More on Mother nature

Roberto Manetta is a traveling freelance photographer, Film and digital photography, since 1999. “No digital manipulation,only photography My passion comes from nature, adventure stories, fantasy films that have contributed phenomenally to my project ideas and the major part of my photographs. I am always very attentive, in all of my movements, in everything surrounding me. I often dream about adventures, fairy tales and mythological women. I look around at the objects surrounding me, with attention, searching for a link between a nude body more than a face. Geometric lines and original compositions are always at the centre of my attention when I launch upon a new project. I don’t really like the classic approach to nude photography. During the years I tried to maintain in all my productions a quality that re-conducted to classical photography, the one which is created without the need of much digital elaboration” More on Roberto Manetta

Eugène Delacroix,  (1798–1863)

Mademoiselle Rose, c. 1817-1824

Oil on canvas

81 × 65 cm (31.9 × 25.6 in)

Louvre Museum

Mademoiselle Rose, an artists’ model who according to Delacroix’s biographer, posed several times for him and for Richard Parkes Bonington, and who perhaps distributed her favours impartially between the two artists.

The upward trend of his work, clearly seen in this painting, brings its date to the period 1820-1822, but cannot be fixed precisely. However, the nude has not only a pictorial interest: Delacroix brings to the painting an emotion which is firmly rooted in Romanticism. Moreover, the slight timidity of the attitude, the somewhat anxious expression of the face, give to this life-class painting a quality of humanity that is purely French Romantic. More on Mademoiselle Rose

Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix (26 April 1798 – 13 August 1863) was a French Romantic artist regarded from the outset of his career as the leader of the French Romantic school.

As a painter and muralist, Delacroix’s use of expressive brushstrokes and his study of the optical effects of colour profoundly shaped the work of the Impressionists, while his passion for the exotic inspired the artists of the Symbolist movement. A fine lithographer, Delacroix illustrated various works of William Shakespeare, the Scottish author Walter Scott and the German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Delacroix took for his inspiration the art of Rubens and painters of the Venetian Renaissance, with an attendant emphasis on colour and movement rather than clarity of outline and carefully modelled form. Dramatic and romantic content characterized the central themes of his maturity, and led him not to the classical models of Greek and Roman art, but to travel in North Africa, in search of the exotic. Friend and spiritual heir to Théodore Géricault, Delacroix was also inspired by Lord Byron, with whom he shared a strong identification with the “forces of the sublime”, of nature in often violent action.

However, Delacroix was given to neither sentimentality nor bombast, and his Romanticism was that of an individualist. In the words of Baudelaire, “Delacroix was passionately in love with passion, but coldly determined to express passion as clearly as possible.” MoreFerdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix

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07 Paintings, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, of the 18th & 19th C., with Footnotes. #15

Ismail Gulgee, 1926 – 2007, PAKISTANI

UNTITLED (DANCING WOMAN), c. 1967

Oil on canvas

120 by 90 cm.; 47 1/4 by 35 3/8 in.

Private collection

This large-scale work of a dancing woman is an excellent example of Ismail Gulgee’s early painterly style, highlighting the artist’s sensitive treatment of colour. The rendition of the jewellery and the human form itself, as well as the manner in which he captures her graceful movements are all testaments to his talent. More on this painting

Ismail Gulgee – The Gulgeez (25 October 1926 – 16 December 2007) was an award-winning, globally famous Pakistani artist born in Peshawar. He was a qualified engineer in the US and self-taught abstract painter and portrait painter. Before 1959, as portraitist, he painted the entire Afghan Royal Family. From about 1960 on, he was noted as an abstract painter influenced by the tradition of Islamic calligraphy and by the American “action painting” idiom. More on Ismail Gulgee

Adrien Thevenot, (French, 1889-1922)

The surprised bather (Baigneuse surprise) 

Oil on canvas

143 x 99cm (56 5/16 x 39in).

Private collection

Henri Adrien Tanoux ( Marseille , 18 October as as 1865 – Paris , 1923 ) was a French painter. He dedicated himself to landscapes , nudes and oriental scenes .

He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris where he was a pupil of Léon Bonnat . He exhibited his works regularly at the Paris Salon and received an honorable mention at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1889. More on Henri Adrien Tanoux 

Léon-François Comerre, (1850 – 1916)

A Star, c. 1882

Oil on canvas 

Height: 180 cm (70.87 in.), Width: 130.2 cm (51.26 in.)

Private collection

M. Comerre’s painting, exhibited at the Salon of 1882. . A dancer sits on a narrow blue satin stool. She has her arms outstretched, her fists fixed on her hips. The right leg crosses over the knee of the left leg, leaving her shape to be drawn in the fabric of a pink jersey.

The dancer has the physiognomy of her profession. The features of the face denote courage and boldness. If the painter gave all his work an unbearable accent of licentiousness. But she is conscious of nothing but the free way in which she abandons herself in her strength to enjoy a moment’s repose. This picture also has the merit of the difficulty overcome. More on this painting

Léon François Comerre (10 October 1850 – 20 February 1916) was a French academic painter, famous for his portraits of beautiful women. Comerre was born in Trélon, in the Département du Nord, the son of a schoolteacher. He moved to Lille with his family in 1853. From an early age he showed an interest in art and became a student of Alphonse Colas at the École des Beaux-Arts in Lille, winning a gold medal in 1867. From 1868 a grant from the Département du Nord allowed him to continue his studies in Paris at the famous École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in the studio of Alexandre Cabanel. There he came under the influence of orientalism.

Comerre first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1871 and went on to win prizes in 1875 and 1881. In 1875 he won the Grand Prix de Rome. This led to a scholarship at the French Academy in Rome from January 1876 to December 1879. In 1885 he won a prize at the “Exposition Universelle” in Antwerp. He also won prestigious art prizes in the USA (1876) and Australia (1881 and 1897). He became a Knight of the Legion of Honour in 1903.  More Léon Comerre

Arthur Melville, A.R.S.A., R.S.W. A.R.S., 1858-1904

OLD ENEMIES, c. 1880

Oil on canvas

165 by 112cm., 65 by 40in.

Private collection

Depicting a protective mother comforting her children from an inquisitive rafter of turkeys, this picture was probably based upon sketches made in the market at Granville on the French coast in the summer of 1878. The naturalism of the costumes and setting is combined with the sentiment and drama of the scene, reflecting the influence of the plein air painters that Melville would have encountered during his time at the artist’s colony at Grez-sur-Loing in 1880. More on this painting

Arthur Melville (1858–1904) was a Scottish painter, best remembered for his Orientalist subjects. He was born in Guthrie, Angus in 1858 and brought up in East Lothian. He attended the Royal Scottish Academy Schools before studying in Paris and Greece. The colour-sense which is so notable a feature of his work developed during his travels in Persia, Egypt and Turkey between 1880 and 1882. To convey strong Middle Eastern light, he developed a technique of using watercolour on a base of wet paper with gouache applied to it.

Melville, little known during his lifetime, was one of the most powerful influences in the contemporary art of his day, especially in his broad decorative treatment with water-colour, which influenced the Glasgow Boys. Though his vivid impressions of color and movement are apparently recorded with feverish haste, they are the result of careful deliberation and selection. He was at his best in his watercolors of Eastern life and colour and his Venetian scenes, but he also painted several striking portraits in oils. More on Arthur Melville

John Singer Sargent, American, 1856-1925

Madame Paul Escudier (Louise Lefevre), 1882

Oil on canvas

129.5 x 91.4 cm (51 x 36 in.)

Art institute of Chicago

John Singer Sargent painted at least two portraits of Louise Escudier  (see below). He may have met her through her husband, a lawyer who sometimes worked on behalf of artists. This picture grew out of a series of freely rendered views of women in darkened interiors that the artist produced in Venice between 1880 and 1882. It combines the Impressionists’ loose brushwork with a heightened chiaroscuro drawn from Spanish Old Masters such as Diego Velázquez. These portraits helped to establish Sargent’s reputation in Paris as an exciting and original painter. More on this painting

John Singer Sargent, American, 1856-1925

Madame Paul Escudier, c. 1882-1884

Oil on canvas

73.2 x 59.5 cm (28 3/4 x 23 1/2 in.)

Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts 

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

John Singer Sargent, American, 1856-1925

Nude Egyptian Girl, c. 1891

Oil, canvas

58.42 x 185.42 cm

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, US

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