Saturday, April 14, 2018

01 Works, RELIGIOUS ART - Interpretation of the Bible! by the Old Masters, With Footnotes - 90

Dutch School, 17th Century
SUSANNA AND THE ELDERS
oil on canvas, unframed
42 1/4  by 36 1/2  in.; 107.3 by 92.7 cm.
Private collection

A fair Hebrew wife named Susanna was falsely accused by lecherous voyeurs. As she bathes in her garden, having sent her attendants away, two lustful elders secretly observe the lovely Susanna. When she makes her way back to her house, they accost her, threatening to claim that she was meeting a young man in the garden unless she agrees to have sex with them.

She refuses to be blackmailed and is arrested and about to be put to death for promiscuity when a young man named Daniel interrupts the proceedings, shouting that the elders should be questioned to prevent the death of an innocent. After being separated, the two men are questioned about details of what they saw, but disagree about the tree under which Susanna supposedly met her lover. In the Greek text, the names of the trees cited by the elders form puns with the sentence given by Daniel. The first says they were under a mastic, and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to cuthim in two. The second says they were under an evergreen oak tree, and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to saw him in two. The great difference in size between a mastic and an oak makes the elders' lie plain to all the observers. The false accusers are put to death, and virtue triumphs. More about Susanna

The Dutch School were painters in the Netherlands from the early Renaissance to the Baroque. It includes Early Netherlandish (1400–1500) and Dutch Renaissance (1500–1584) artists active in the northern Low Countries and, later, Dutch Golden Age painting in the United Provinces.

Many painters, sculptors and architects of the seventeenth century are called "Dutch masters", while earlier artists are generally referred to as part of the "Netherlandish" tradition. Hieronymus Bosch and Geertgen tot Sint Jans are well-known examples of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Dutch painters. Rembrandt van Rijn, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, Jacob van Ruisdael and Jan Steen exemplify art during the seventeenth century. An individual work's being labelled or catalogued as "Dutch School" without further attribution indicates that an individual artist for the work cannot be ascertained.

There was a healthy artistic climate in Dutch cities during the seventeenth century. For example, between 1605 and 1635 over 100,000 paintings were produced in Haarlem. At that time art ownership in the city was 25%, a record high. Not all of these have survived, but more art has survived up to today from that period in Haarlem than from any other Dutch city, thanks mostly to the Schilder-boeck published by Karel van Mander there in 1604. More on The Dutch School


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01 Paintings, Olympian deities, by the Old Masters, with footnotes # 15

Willem Drost, AMSTERDAM 1633 - 1659
FLORA
Oil on canvas
39 by 33 in.; 99 by 84 cm.
Private collection

William Drost’s Flora was painted during the artist’s brief stay in Venice during the 1650s and has hitherto remained unknown to scholars.  The work should be considered one of Drost’s very best paintings, comparable to his undisputed masterpiece, the Bathsheba in the Louvre. It is a remarkable synthesis of the artist’s early training in Amsterdam under Rembrandt and the more mature style he developed in Venice, when he came under the direct spell of Titian, to whom this work is a clear homage. Titian's own Flora is known to have been in Amsterdam in the collection of Alfonso López, a Spaniard in the service of Cardinal Richelieu, but Drost probably did not see it in person. Rembrandt almost certainly did, and Drost would very likely have been aware of the design through drawings and prints of it. It is only once Drost arrived in Venice that he finally would have had direct access to a multitude of works by the Venetian master. Drost's interpretation of the subject thus successfully combines elements from the most important school of painting from the Dutch 17th century with the legacy of Venice's greatest artist. More on this painting

Willem Drost (baptized 19 April 1633 – buried 25 February 1659) was a Dutch Golden Age painter and printmaker of history paintings and portraits who died young, at the age of 25. He is a mysterious figure, closely associated with Rembrandt, with very few paintings attributable to him.


He was presumably born in Amsterdam, in what was then known as the United Provinces of the Netherlands. Around 1650 he became a student of Rembrandt, eventually developing a close working relationship, painting history scenes, biblical compositions, symbolic studies of a solitary figure, as well as portraits. As a student, his 1654 painting titled Bathsheba was inspired by Rembrandt's painting done in the same year on the same subject and given the same title, though their treatments are rather different; both Drost’s and Rembrandt’s paintings are in the Louvre in Paris.


He was in Amsterdam until 1655 and then travelled to Italy. He influenced the painter Adolf Boy. Sometime in the mid-1650s, the young artist went to Rome, where he collaborated with the German artist Johann Carl Loth on a lost series of the Four Evangelists in Venice. He died in the latter city in 1659. More



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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

03 Paintings, scenes from Olympian Myth, by The Old Masters, with footnotes # 42

Mihail Aleksandrov
Girl with swan
Oil on canvas
22" x 26"
Private collection

Leda, in Greek legend, usually believed to be the daughter of Thestius, king of Aetolia, and wife of Tyndareus, king of Lacedaemon. She was also believed to have been the mother (by Zeus, who had approached and seduced her in the form of a swan) of the other twin, Pollux, and of Helen, both of whom hatched from eggs. Variant legends gave divine parentage to both the twins and possibly also to Clytemnestra, with all three of them having hatched from the eggs of Leda, while yet other legends say that Leda bore the twins to her mortal husband, Tyndareus. Still other variants say that Leda may have hatched out Helen from an egg laid by the goddess Nemesis, who was similarly approached by Zeus in the form of a swan.The divine swan’s encounter with Leda was a subject depicted by both ancient Greek and Italian Renaissance artists; Leonardo da Vinci undertook a painting (now lost) of the theme, and Correggio’s Leda (c. 1530s) is a well-known treatment of the subject. More Leda and The Swan

Mihail Aleksandrov was born in Vilnius, Lithuania in June 1949. He attended the Vilnius Art School classes for five years and then studied at the Vilnius Pedagogical Institute. He received his degree in Russian Language and Literature in 1971.

Following his graduation, Aleksandrov taught Art Technique for five years. While he was continuing to produce artwork during his teaching years, it was not until 1978 that he began selling his paintings through various art dealers networks. In 1979, he emigrated to America and settled in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a year there before moving permanently to New York, NY in 1982.

His works are part of the official collections of the State Russian Museum of Saint Petersburg and the Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art, in Russia. More Mihail Aleksandrov

Attributed to Antonio Balestra Verona, 1666 - 1740 
Vulcan presenting Venus arms of Aeneas 
Oil on canvas
h: 111 w: 116.50 cm
Private collection

In Virgil’s epic Aeneid, Venus seduces Vulcan and persuades him to forge weapons for her son Aeneas. Verona’s painting shows Vulcan offering the goddess armour. To his right is a putti holding a shield. Aeneid laying between them. 

Antonio Balestra (12 August 1666 – 21 April 1740) was an Italian painter of the Rococo period. Born in Verona, he first apprenticed there with Giovanni Zeffio. By 1690 he moved to Venice, where he worked for three years under Antonio Bellucci, then moved to Bologna and then to paint in Carlo Maratta's workshop in Rome. In 1694, he won a prize from the Accademia di San Luca. He later painted both in Verona and Venice; although his influence was stronger in the mainland. More

Paul Elie Ranson, 1861 - 1909
DEUX NYMPHES SURPRISES PAR UN CAVALIER, c. 1905
TWO NYMPHES SURPRISED BY A RIDER
Pastel on canvas
18 1/8 x 21 5/8 in.
Private collection

Paul Elie Ranson (1861-1909) Painter, decorator, tapestry draftsman, engraver, lithographer and illustrator, attended the School of Fine Arts of Limoges, before joining the Académie Julian in Paris. - Close to Maurice Denis, Paul Sérusier or Aristide Maillol, he takes an active role in the creation of the Nabi group. More on Paul Elie Ranson

Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida
Bacante (also known as Bacchante), circa 1880
Oil on canvas
70 cm (27.56 in.), Width: 45 cm (17.72 in.)
Private collection

In Greek mythology, maenads were the female followers of Dionysus and the most significant members of the Thiasus, the god's retinue. Their name literally translates as "raving ones." Maenads were known as Bassarids, Bacchae or Bacchantes in Roman mythology after the penchant of the equivalent Roman god, Bacchus, to wear a bassaris or fox-skin. More Bacante

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (27 February 1863 10 August 1923) was a Spanish painter. Sorolla excelled in the painting of portraits, landscapes, and monumental works of social and historical themes. His most typical works are characterized by a dexterous representation of the people and landscape under the sunlight of his native land. More



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03 Paintings, scenes from the Bible, by The Old Masters, with footnotes # 43

Georges Moreau de Tours (1848-1901)
Une stigmatisée au Moyen-Age, 19e siècl
A stigmatized in the Middle Ages, 19th century
Oil on wood
Museum of Fine Arts of Nantes

Stigmata is a term used by members of the Christian faith to describe body marks, sores, or sensations of pain in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ, such as the hands, wrists, and feet. An individual bearing the wounds of Stigmata is referred to as a Stigmatist or a Stigmatic.

The term originates from the line at the end of Saint Paul's Letter to the Galatians where he says, "I bear on my body the marks of Jesus." Stigmata is the plural of the Greek word stigma, meaning a mark, tattoo, or brand such as might have been used for identification of an animal or slave.

Stigmata are primarily associated with the Roman Catholic faith. Many reported stigmatics are members of Catholic religious orders. St. Francis of Assisi was the first recorded stigmatic in Christian history. For over fifty years, St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin reported stigmata which were studied by several 20th-century physicians. A high percentage (perhaps over 80%) of all stigmatics are women. More on 

Georges Moreau de Tours, (1848-1901)
Une stigmatisée au Moyen-Age, 19e siècl
A stigmatized in the Middle Ages, 19th century
Detail

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

Franciszek Smuglewicz,  (1745–1807)
Esther before Ahasuerus, c.1778

This painting recounts the story of the Jewish heroine Esther, who appeared before King Ahasuerus to plead for her people. She, thus, broke court etiquette and risked death. She fainted in the king’s presence, but her request found favor

Esther, born Hadassah, is the eponymous heroine of the Book of Esther.

King Ahasuerus (Xerxes I Darius I) held a feast in Susa (Shoushan). He ordered his queen, Vashti, to appear before him and his guests. But Queen Vashti, refused to come. Furious at her refusal to obey, the king deposed of Vashti


Many beautiful maidens were then brought before the king in order that he might choose a successor to Vashti. The King chose Esther. Esther had spent her life among the Jewish exiles in Persia, where she lived under the protection of her cousin Mordecai.

Mordecai became chief minister of Ahasuerus. One day Mordecai overheard a plot of two eunuchs to kill the king. Having informed the king through Esther of the conspiracy, Mordecai brought about the execution of the two conspirators.

The grand vizier, Haman the Agagite, commanded Mordecai to do obeisance to him. Upon Mordecai's refusal to prostrate himself, Haman informed the king that the Jews were a useless and turbulent people and inclined to disloyalty, and he promised to pay 10,000 silver talents into the royal treasury for the permission to pillage and exterminate this alien race. The king then issued a proclamation ordering the confiscation of Jewish property and a general extermination of all the Jews within the empire.

Sheltered in the harem, Esther was unaware of the decree until Mordecai advised her of it. He informed her. At the request of Esther, Mordecai instituted at Susa a general fast for three days.

At the end of the three days, Esther dressed in her royal apparel and went before the king. When the king asked her what her request was, she invited the king and Haman to come to a banquet she had prepared. At the banquet they accepted her invitation to dine with her again on the following day. Haman, carried away by the joy that this honour gave him, issued orders for the erection of a gallows on which he intended to hang the hated Mordecai.

That night the king, being sleepless, ordered the chronicles of the nation to be read to him. Recalling that Mordecai had never been rewarded for his service in revealing the plot of the eunuchs, he asked Haman, the next day, to suggest a suitable reward for one "whom the king desired to honour". Thinking it was himself that the king had in mind, Haman suggested the use of the king's apparel and insignia. These the king ordered to be bestowed on Mordecai.

Only at the second dinner party, when the king was sufficiently beguiled by her charms, did Esther reveal for the first time her identity as a Jew, and accused Haman of the plot to destroy her and her people. The king ordered that Haman should be hanged on the gallows prepared for Mordecai, and, confiscating his property, bestowed it upon the intended victim. The king then appointed Mordecai as his prime minister, and issued a decree authorizing the Jews to defend themselves. More on Esther

Franciszek Smuglewicz, or Pranciškus Smuglevičius, 6 October 1745 – 18 September 1807) was a Polish-Lithuanian draughtsman and painter. Smuglewicz is considered a progenitor of Lithuanian art in the modern era. Franciszek was born in Warsaw into a Polish-Lithuanian family. He journeyed to Rome, where he began the study of fine arts under the tutorship of Anton von Maron. He stayed in Rome for 21 years, where he embraced the Neo-Classical style.

In 1765 he received a royal scholarship from the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Lithuania Stanisław August Poniatowski and was admitted into the Saint Lucas Academy. As a colleague of Vincenzo Brenna he participated in cataloging artifacts from Nero's Domus Aurea. In 1784 he returned to Warsaw, where he founded his own school of fine arts, one of the predecessors of the modern Academy of Fine Arts.

 Smuglewicz became a notable representative of historical paintings, a genre that dominated the fine arts of Poland throughout the 19th century. Around 1790 he started working on a series of sketches and lithographies inspired by Adam Naruszewicz's History of the Polish Nation. Although never finished, this series gained him much popularity.

Smuglewicz brought to Lithuania classical ideas and views of enlightened classicism. He painted everyday life, and the architecture of Vilnius in a realistic manner. His works helped with the ongoing reconstruction of the Royal Palace of Lithuania in Vilnius. More on Franciszek Smuglewicz

Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari (Italian, Lucca or Rome 1654–1727 Rome)
Bathsheba at Her Bath, ca. 1700
Oil on canvas
53 1/2 x 38 1/2 in. (135.9 x 97.8 cm)
 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Biblical story of Bathsheba and King David is recounted in 2 Samuel 11. David spied the beautiful Bathsheba from the roof of his palace as she bathed. Although she was married, he seduced her and she became pregnant. David later had her husband, Uriah, killed in battle and made Bathsheba his wife. Although God punished David for his acts with the death of their first child. More on Bathsheba at Her Bath

Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari (10 March 1654 – 8 September 1727), was an Italian painter of the late-Baroque period, active mostly in Rome. Born in Rome, he was one of the main assistants, along with Giuseppe Passeri and Andrea Procaccini. 

By the age of 22, he had frescoed the lateral lunettes (Birth of Virgin and Adoration of Magi) of the Marchionni chapel in the church of Santa Maria del Suffragio. He also painted the ceiling of a chapel in Santa Maria in Cosmedin. He frescoed rooms in the Palazzo Barberini 

He was a teacher of William Kent, Paolo Anesi, and Giovanni Andrea Lazzarini. His studio is described as highly frequented by French artists.He became director or principe of the Accademia di San Luca. More on Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari






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03 Russian Icons from the Bible, with footnotes, #13

 Eastern Europe, Russia, ca. 18th century CE
Egg tempera and gold leaf 
61.625" L x 19.75" H (156.5 cm x 50.2 cm)
Private collection

A portable iconostasis comprised of 15 folding hinged panels including a central double panel with 14 side panels presenting 4 finely painted registers, each icon identified in handwritten Cyrillic. The uppermost register depicts half-length portrayals of patriarchs and prophets surrounding God the Father, and the Son, on the central lunette. Full-length saints engaged in intercessionary prayer Central register of painted icons commemorating feast days. In the lowest register, a central panel depicting Christ the Savior Enthroned holding the gospel on his knees surrounded by a blue mandorla with faint monochromatic. Images of angels and a red rhombus with signs of the 4 evangelists occupying the corners, surrounded by smaller full-length panels depicting the Virgin, various archangels, and saints.


An iconostasis is a wall of icons arranged in tiers according to strict theological and iconographical guidelines that traditionally separates the sanctuary and the nave of a church, symbolizing a visual synthesis of Orthodox Christians' spirituality and faith. More on this iconostasis 


19th C. Russian Icon, Chosen Saints Blessed by Our Lord
Egg tempera and gold leaf 
Size: 14.75" W x 17.5" H (37.5 cm x 44.4 cm)
Private collection

This icon presents an ensemble of blessed saints  - including Ann, Elizabeth, Paraskeva, Eudokia, Gregory of Nazianzus or Gregory of Nyssa, Josef, and Mary of Egypt standing in two rows, each saint identified with a gold on blue banner, all beneath Jesus as he descends from the heavens on billowing clouds donning pastel pink and blue robes. 


19th C. Russian Icon, Chosen Saints Blessed by Our Lord
Detail

In the Eastern Orthodox tradition every individual is named in honor of a specific saint when baptized, and this saint is regarded as a patron for the person's entire life. In addition, there are patron saints of activities and occupations, ailments and dangers, as well as locales. This icon venerates Saint Anne - Ann, Mother of the Virgin and patron saint of childless people, carpenters, grandparents, homemakers, lace makers, lost articles, miners, mothers, poverty, pregnancy, seamstresses, and children; Saint Elizabeth - the mother of John the Baptist, known for tending to the sick, especially those with leprosy and skin diseases; Saint Paraskeva, patron of embroiderers, needle workers, spinners, weavers, and marriage; Saint Eudokia, a wealthy saint who was known for her charitable projects; Saint Gregory, one of the four Latin Fathers of the Church known for establishing Roman liturgy and its music as well as vows of celibacy; Saint Josef, the father of Jesus Christ and spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary regarded as the patron of unborn children, fathers, immigrants, workers, and carpenters; and Mary of Egypt, the patron saint of penitents, chastity, deliverance from demons, fever, and temptations of the flesh. More on this Icon

The Eastern Orthodox Church subscribes to a belief in the intercession of saints. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition every individual is named in honor of a specific saint when baptized, and this saint is regarded as a patron for the person's entire life. In addition, there are patron saints of activities and occupations, ailments and dangers, as well as locales.

Acknowledgement: Artemis Gallery   , and others

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

05 Mexican Carvings & Sculpture from the Bible! 15 & 16th Century. With Footnotes -# 9

SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA
MÆ’XICO, SIGLO XIX
Wood carving with glass eyes. Satin dress. 
Height: 61cm
Private Collection

Saint Anthony of Padua (Portuguese: Santo António), born Fernando Martins de Bulhões (1195 – 13 June 1231), also known as Anthony of Lisbon, was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. He was born and raised by a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal, and died in Padua, Italy. Noted by his contemporaries for his forceful preaching, expert knowledge of scripture, and undying love and devotion to the poor and the sick, he was the second-most-quickly canonized saint after Peter of Verona. He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on 16 January 1946. He is also the patron saint of lost things. More on Saint Anthony of Padua

VIRGIN MARY WITH THE CHILD JESUS
MEXICO, EARLY 19th CENTURY
Wood carving with polychromy, and a metallic sheet halo
Height: 158 cm
Private Collection

The depiction of the Madonna on the crescent is based on the vision of John the Evangelist in chapter 12 of Revelation, the final book of the New Testament (here, the King James version):

1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. More on Madonna on the crescent

OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL
MEXICO, EARLY 20th CENTURY
Alabaster, with polychromy
Height: 32 cm
Private Collection

Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early to mid-13th century. They built in the midst of their hermitages a chapel which they dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, whom they conceived of in chivalric terms as the "Lady of the place." Our Lady of Mount Carmel was adopted in the 19th century as the patron saint of Chile, in South America.

Since the 15th century, popular devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel has centered on the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, also known as the Brown Scapular, a sacramental associated with promises of Mary's special aid for the salvation of the devoted wearer. Traditionally, Mary is said to have given the Scapular to an early Carmelite named Saint Simon Stock. The liturgical feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is celebrated on 16 July. More on Our Lady of Mount Carmel

FRANCISCAN SAINTS
SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI, SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA AND SAINT DIDACUS OF ALCALA
MEXICO, 18th, 19th and 20th CENTURIES
Wood carving with polychromy
Height: 22, 25 and 26.5 cm
Private Collection

Saint Francis of Assisi (1181/1182 – 3 October 1226),[1][3] was an Italian Roman Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men's Order of Friars Minor, the women’s Order of Saint Clare, the Third Order of Saint Francis and the Custody of the Holy Land. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history.
In 1219, he went to Egypt in an attempt to convert the Sultan to put an end to the conflict of the Crusades. By this point, the Franciscan Order had grown to such an extent that its primitive organizational structure was no longer sufficient. He returned to Italy to organize the Order. In 1224, he received the stigmata, during the apparition of Seraphic angels in a religious ecstasy making him the first recorded person to bear the wounds of Christ's Passion. More

SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA, see above

Didacus of Alcalá, also known as Diego de San Nicolás, was a Spanish Franciscan lay brother who served as among the first group of missionaries to the newly conquered Canary Islands. He died at Alcalá de Henares on 12 November 1463 and is now honored by the Catholic Church as a saint.

Didacus was born c. 1400 into a poor but pious family in the small village of San Nicolás del Puerto in the Kingdom of Seville. As a child, he embraced the hermit life and, later, placed himself under the direction of a hermit priest living not far from his native town. He then led the life of a wandering hermit. Feeling called to the religious life, he applied for admission to the Observant branch of the Order of Friars Minor at the friary in Albaida and was sent to the friary in Arruzafa, near Córdoba, where he was received as a lay brother.

Didacus was sent to the Order in Arrecife on the island of Lanzarote, part of the Canary Islands, which was still in the process of introducing the native people to Christianity. In 1445, Didacus was appointed as Guardian of the Franciscan community on the island of Fuerteventura.

In 1450, Diego went to Rome to be share in the Jubilee Year proclaimed by Pope Nicholas V, and to be present at the canonization of Bernardine of Siena in 1450. An epidemic broke out in the city. Didacus spent three months caring for the sick. His biographers record the miraculous cure of many whom he attended, through his pious intercession.

He was then recalled again to Spain and was sent by his superiors to the Friary of Santa María de Jesús in Alcalá, where he spent the remaining years of his life in penance, solitude, and the delights of contemplation. There he died on 12 November 1463 due to an abscess. More on Didacus of Alcalá

SAINT ANNE
MEXICO, EARLY 20th CENTURY
Wood carving
Height: 79 cm
Private Collection

Saint Anne (also known as Ann or Anna) of David's house and line, was the mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus Christ, according to apocryphal Christian and Islamic tradition. Mary's mother is not named in the canonical gospels, nor in the Qur'an. Anne's name and that of her husband Joachim come only from New Testament apocrypha, of which the Protoevangelium of James (written perhaps around 150) seems to be the earliest that mentions them. More on Saint Anne






Acknowledgement: Morton Subastas

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Saturday, April 7, 2018

01 Works, RELIGIOUS ART - Interpretation of the Bible! from the SPANISH GOLDEN AGE, With Footnotes - 89

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, SEVILLE 1617 - 1682
ECCE HOMO
Oil on canvas
63.7 x 53.3 cm.; 25 1/8  x 21 in.
Private collection

Murillo’s greatest achievement lies in his ability to portray individuals as convincing human beings and to express their emotional state. In this late work Murillo creates a powerful image of great psychological and painterly subtlety. In his interpretation of the Ecce Homo the Sevillian master pays homage to Titian, while at the same time producing an invention that is profoundly original. More on this painting


Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (born late December 1617, baptized January 1, 1618 – April 3, 1682) was a Spanish Baroque painter. Although he is best known for his religious works, Murillo also produced a considerable number of paintings of contemporary women and children. These lively, realist portraits of flower girls, street urchins, and beggars constitute an extensive and appealing record of the everyday life of his times. More on Bartolomé Esteban Murillo


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Thursday, March 29, 2018

01 Paintings, scenes from the Bible, Table of the Seven Deadly Sins,, with footnotes # 38

Hieronymus Bosch, 
S'Hertogenbosch (Holanda), 1450 - S'Hertogenbosch (Holanda), 1516
Table of the Seven Deadly Sins, c. 1505 - 1510
Oil on poplar panel
119.5 x 139.5 cm
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

Two banderoles (flags), one above and the other below the central circle, contain Latin texts from Deuteronomy (32: 28-29 and 20), warning against the wages of sin. 

The upper banderole,

The upper banderole, between the tondos of Death and the Last Judgment, reads: For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them. O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!

The lower banderole

The lower banderole, set between Hell and Glory, reads: I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be. 

Christ, portrayed in the innermost ring

Man, bereft of reason, seems to have set out in unbridled pursuit of the Seven Deadly Sins. Yet all is not lost: Christ, portrayed in the innermost ring of the large central roundel, is ever alert. According to the Latin inscription beneath him: Beware, beware, the Lord is watching. 

These three texts link God’s omnipresence with man’s freedom and the fruits of sin. As in The Haywain, the dismantled Pilgrimage of Life triptych and The Garden of Earthly Delights, the message conveyed by the Table of the Seven Deadly Sins is that Hell awaits those who stray from God’s path.

Christ rising from his tomb

Bosch represents the message in five circles. At the centre of the largest, central circle, which resembles a huge eye or a concave mirror, Christ is shown rising from his tomb as the Man of Sorrows, displaying the wound in his side.  It is an appeal to the faithful, urging them to follow the path that Jesus has shown them and to meditate on his death on the cross for the forgiveness of man’s sins. 

The  innermost circle is surrounded by gilded rays stretching to the outer ring,divided into seven segments each depicting one of the seven Deadly Sins,

This innermost circle or pupil is surrounded by gilded rays stretching to the outer ring, which is divided into seven segments of varying size, each depicting one of the seven Deadly Sins, identified by an inscription. Bosch conveyed this moral teaching through everyday situations involving people from different social classes, observed by the all-seeing eye of God. Yet, regardless of the message, some of the scenes -particularly Gluttony- mark him out as a pioneer in genre painting, which was later to acquire such importance.

Anger or Wrath (ira)

Anger or Wrath (ira), placed in a privileged position with regard to the banderoles and the figure of Christ, occupies the space traditionally held by Pride and Envy as the sources of all human sin. Here, it is depicted in the form of a drunken brawl outside a tavern. 

A woman preening herself in a mirror

Lust shows two courtly couples dallying in a tent, with entertainment provided by a jester.

Sloth is personified by a man asleep by the fire, unwilling to devote himself to prayer

The family embodying Gluttony gorge themselves with food and drink

Greed is conveyed by a magistrate accepting a bribe

Envy a couple clearly covet the falcon being shown off by a rich man, whilst two dogs fight over a bone.

Moving anticlockwise, the next segment represents Pride, as a woman preening herself in a mirror held up by a devil. Lust shows two courtly couples dallying in a tent, with entertainment provided by a jester. Sloth is personified by a man asleep by the fire, unwilling to devote himself to prayer. The family embodying Gluttony gorge themselves with food and drink. Greed is conveyed by a magistrate accepting a bribe, and in 

At the corners of the Table, four smaller circles contain representations of the Last Things:

The protagonist is receiving the last rites

The Last Judgment

Glory, Saint Peter welcomes the souls of the blessed to Heaven

Hell, with sinners receiving the punishments they deserve

At the corners of the Table, four smaller circles contain representations of the Last Things, Death, the Last Judgment, Hell and Glory. The scene in the Death tondo closely resembles that depicted in Death and the Miser in Washington, but here the protagonist is receiving the last rites, and the angel has clearly won the contest. Bosch’s treatment of the Last Judgment echoes the tradition of Rogier van der Weyden, with the dead rising from their tombs. In Glory, Saint Peter welcomes the souls of the blessed to Heaven, represented as a Gothic building with a shining gold background. Bosch offers a more personal view of Hell, with sinners receiving the punishments they deserve.

Poplar wood cannot be dated dendrochronologically, so it is impossible to fix a terminus post quem for this panel. However, the style and some of the costumes -particularly the hats- suggest that it was probably painted in around 1505-10, that is, late in Bosch’s career. Most of the scholars who reject Bosch’s authorship of this panel take as their starting-point a passage in Felipe de Guevara’s Comentario de la pintura, written in around 1560 and first published by Antonio Ponz in 1788, in which it seems to suggest that the Table of the Seven Deadly Sins was the work of an unnamed gifted follower of Bosch. In my view, however, the passage is ambiguous and, rather than a possible connection between this follower and the work in the Prado, it would seem to refer to the genre of painting to which it corresponds. It seems unlikely that Felipe de Guevara would tell Philip II, albeit indirectly in the form of a book (unpublished until 1788), that the panel of which he was so fond was not in fact by Bosch. Indeed, the king still regarded it as an original when he sent it to El Escorial in 1574, and throughout the time it hung in his private apartment, that is, until his death. Moreover, at that point Felipe de Guevara could no longer distinguish between Bosch originals and copies; he thought, for example, that the version of The Haywain sold by his heirs to Philip II in 1570 was by the master’s own hand; technical analysis has since revealed that it is a copy of the original in the Museo del Prado. The king sent it to El Escorial in 1574, and it remains there today.

The Table of the Seven Deadly Sins is signed by Bosch, and there is no evidence to suggest that the signature is apocryphal. Certain features of the underdrawing -including the wide range of kinds of strokes also found in The Haywain- are found in other late Bosch works, which also share a similar approach to the execution of the painting stage. If this were not enough to confirm Bosch’s authorship, the highly original design of the composition -a truly inventive forerunner to genre painting- could hardly be the work of some nameless follower. Perhaps the only other painter capable of such inventiveness was the second Bosch, Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525/30-1569). As for its provenance, nothing is known of the painting’s first owner, its destination or its purpose. According to Felipe de Guevara’s Comentario de la pintura, it was in Philip II’s possession before 1560. We do not know how it came into his hands, but we may assume either that he acquired it during his time in Flanders or that he ordered it to be purchased there. Nor do we know where it hung before the king sent it to El Escorial in 1574 (Text drawn from Silva, P.: Bosch. The 5th Centenary Exhibition, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2016, pp. 302-312). More Hieronymus Bosch,







Acknowledgement: Museo Nacional del Prado


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