Friday, April 20, 2018

Three items invented by women

Liquid paper, the dishwasher and the disposable diaper:

Thursday, April 19, 2018

In honor of Paolo Veronese

Self Portrait

Veronese's house in Venice

The Feast in the House of Levi

One of the problems with trying to write a post on an artist's birthday is that we don't HAVE the birthday's for many pre-19th century artists. In Paolo Veronese's case (also known as Palo Callari), we have his date of death which is today, April 19, 1588). Born in Verona in 1528, his father was a stonecutter and apprenticed his son Paolo at the age of 14 to a local artist. Paolo soon began to develop his own style of using lighter colors in a wider range. 

In 1543, he had moved to Mantua and worked on frescos in the city's cathedral. Ten years later he arrived in Venice where he was to produce his most memorable works of art. He specialized in large format paintings of works from mythology and the Bible. He became part of the great artists- Titian, Tintoretto - who dominated 15th century art and that of the late Renaissance. "His most famous works are elaborate narrative cycles, executed in a dramatic and colorful style, full of majestic architectural settings and glittering pageantry. His large paintings of biblical feasts, crowded with figures, painted for the refectories of monasteries in Venice and Verona are especially famous, and he was also the leading Venetian painter of ceilings. Most of these works remain in situ, or at least in Venice, and his representation in most museums is mainly composed of smaller works such as portraits that do not always show him at his best or most typical." Wikipedia

Twenty years after his arrival in Venice, Inquisitors challenged Veronese, asking him to account for the presence of "buffoons, drunkards, dwarfs, Germans, and similar vulgarities" in his painting of the Last Supper for a monastery in Venice. Veronese defended himself by invoking the artist's right to creative freedom. By the end of his life, Veronese's paintings were in such high demand that his brother, two sons, and a nephew had to carry out the remainder of his numerous commissions after his death.

Susannah and the Elders
He has always been appreciated for "the chromatic brilliance of his palette, the splendor and sensibility of his brushwork, the aristocratic elegance of his figures, and the magnificence of his spectacle", but his work has been felt "not to permit expression of the profound, the human, or the sublime", and of the "great trio" he has often been the least appreciated by modern criticism.[ Nonetheless, "many of the greatest artists ... may be counted among his admirers, which include  RubensWatteauTiepoloDelacroix and Renoir".

Monday, April 16, 2018

Frans van Mieris, the elder. Born on this day in 1635

Frans van Mieris, the elder (16 April 1635 – 12 March 1681), was a Dutch Golden Age genre and portrait painter. The leading member of a Leiden family of painters, his sons Jan (1660–1690) and Willem (1662–1747) and his grandson Frans van Mieris the Younger (1689–1763) were also accomplished genre painters.

He belonged to an illustrious family of goldsmiths and painters. After an apprenticeship with his cousin, Van Mieris studied painting with Gerrit Dou, the first and most famous member of the fijnschilders (fine painters) in his native Leiden. Dou called him the "Prince of my Pupils." 

In the style of the fijnschilders--minutely proportioned subjects with bright colors, a shiny finish, and precise attention to detail--Van Mieris painted on wood or copper panels rarely larger than fifteen square inches. He represented common incidents in the lives of the working class as well as the habits and customs of the wealthy. His paintings were highly acclaimed in his lifetime and earned Van Mieris a great deal of money. 

Unfortunately, he wasted his fortune through alcoholism and poor management of his finances. Although contemporaries recognized Van Mieris as one of the leading Dutch artists of the 1600s, his paintings fell into relative obscurity in the 1700s.

Images and information from Wikipedia and The Getty on Line

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Happy birthday to Leonardo da Vinci

Notebook of Leonardo da Vinci ('The Codex Arundel'). A collection of papers written in Italian by Leonardo da Vinci (b. 1452, d. 1519), in his characteristic left-handed mirror-writing (reading from right to left), including diagrams, drawings and brief texts, covering a broad range of topics in science and art, as well as personal notes. The core of the notebook is a collection of materials that Leonardo describes as 'a collection without order, drawn from many papers, which I have copied here, hoping to arrange them later each in its place according to the subjects of which they treat' (f. 1r), a collection he began in the house of Piero di Braccio Martelli in Florence, in 1508. To this notebook has subsequently been added a number of other loose papers containing writing and diagrams produced by Leonardo throughout his career. Decoration: Numerous diagrams.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Thomas Lawrence. (April 13, 1769-January 1, 1830). Pictorial chronicler of the Regency

Lady Peel, 1827

Pinkie. How many of us had this poster on our bedroom walls when we were children? 

Elizabeth Farren, Actress, then Countess of Derby
Thomas Lawrence (Born April 13, 1769) was a child prodigy. His rather ran an inn and the young Thomas sketched all the passengers. By the age of 10, he was supporting his family with his pastel portraits. At eighteen, he went to London and established his reputation by his portrait of Queen Charlotte. Self-taught, he stayed at the top of his profession until his death at the age of 60 (January 1, 1830).

He was the pictorial chronicler of the Regency, the President of the Royal Academy, always popular but always in debt and unhappy in love.

"...Lawrence was painting his own generation, and effectively bringing it on to the stage of history. He supplied them with stormy or melodramatic backgrounds, dashed in with fast, free brushstrokes, as if liberating them from an old world of conventions. In contrast with the previous generation of artists – the smoothness of Reynolds, or the feather-light touch of Gainsborough – he rendered their clothes with thickly applied paint, strongly contrasted colours, and glittering, almost metallic, highlights. With these techniques, Lawrence expressed a new age of patriotism, flamboyance and bold individuality."

Art News Weekly Update

From the Met's new director to who bought the highly controversial Rockwell painting, it's all here: