Thursday, January 16, 2020

01 Painting, Olympian deities, by the Old Masters, with footnotes #40

After Tiziano Vecellio, called Titian, 17th Century
Danae
Oil on canvas
108 x 167.8cm (42 1/2 x 66 1/16in)
Private collection

Disappointed by his lack of male heirs, King Acrisius asked the oracle of Delphi if this would change. The oracle announced to him that he would never have a son, but his daughter would, and that he would be killed by his daughter's son. At the time, Danae was childless and, meaning to keep her so, she was imprisoned in a tall brass tower with a single richly adorned chamber, but with no doors or windows, just a sky-light as the source of light and air). However, Zeus, the king of the gods, desired her, and came to her in the form of golden rain which streamed in through the roof of the subterranean chamber and down into her womb. Soon after, their child Perseus was born.

Unwilling to provoke the wrath of the gods or the Furies by killing his offspring and grandchild, King Acrisius cast Danaë and Perseus into the sea in a wooden chest. The sea was calmed by Poseidon and, at the request of Zeus, the pair survived. They were washed ashore on the island of Seriphos, where they were taken in by Dictys – the brother of King Polydectes – who raised Perseus to manhood. The King was charmed by Danaë, but she had no interest in him. Consequently, he agreed not to marry her only if her son would bring him the head of the Gorgon Medusa. Using Athena's shield, Hermes's winged sandals and Hades' helmet of invisibility, Perseus was able to evade Medusa's gaze and decapitate her.


Later, after Perseus brought back Medusa's head and rescued Andromeda, the oracle's prophecy came true. He started for Argos, but learning of the prophecy, instead went to Larissa, where athletic games were being held. By chance, an aging Acrisius was there and Perseus accidentally struck him on the head with his javelin (or discus), fulfilling the prophecy. More on Danaë


Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio, or Titian (1488/1490 – 27 August 1576), was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. 

Recognized by his contemporaries as "The Sun Amidst Small Stars", Titian was one of the most versatile of Italian painters, equally adept with portraits, landscape backgrounds, and mythological and religious subjects. His painting methods, particularly in the application and use of color, would exercise a profound influence not only on painters of the Italian Renaissance, but on future generations of Western art.

During the course of his long life, Titian's artistic manner changed drastically but he retained a lifelong interest in color. Although his mature works may not contain the vivid, luminous tints of his early pieces, their loose brushwork and subtlety of tone are without precedent in the history of Western painting. More Titian




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Thursday, January 9, 2020

01 Painting, and tales of Mermaids, with Footnotes, 10

Zena Holloway, United Kingdom
Sea Selkie, c. 2012
Photography
39.4 W x 44.1 H x 0.1 in

In Scottish mythology, Selkies, meaning "Seal Folk" are mythological beings capable of therianthropy, changing from seal to human form by shedding their skin. They are found in folktales and mythology originating from Orkney and Shetland.

The folk-tales frequently revolve around female selkies being coerced into relationships with humans by someone stealing and hiding their sealskin, thus exhibiting the tale motif of the swan maiden type.

There are counterparts in Faroese and Icelandic folklore that speak of seal-women and seal-skin. In some instances the Irish mermaid (merrow) is regarded as a half-seal, half-human being. More on the Selkie

Zena Holloway (born 1973 in Bahrain) is an underwater photographic artist living in London. Her work deviates from the stereotypical imagery associated with underwater photography. For Holloway the underwater landscape serves as a backdrop, using cinematic drama and painterly aesthetics, she directs her models along themes of universal human experiences: love, loss, intimacy and romance. Her recent work Flowers for Jeju : The Last Mermaids focuses on the historical and spiritual tradition of the Haenyeo of South Korea. Alongside her dedication to long-term personal projects, she is a regular contributor to editorial, for publications such as The Sunday Times Magazine, Paris Match and the FT. Her work is exhibited globally and she has been the recipient of many international photographic and film awards. More on Zena Holloway



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01 Painting, Olympian deities, by the Old Masters, with footnotes #40

Circle of Giambattista Pittoni, (Venice 1687-1776)
The Sacrifice of Polyxenia
Oil on canvas
58.9 x 78.4cm (23 3/16 x 30 7/8in
Private collection

Polyxena, in Greek mythology, a daughter of Priam, king of Troy, and his wife, Hecuba. After the fall of Troy, she was claimed by the ghost of Achilles, the greatest of the Greek warriors, as his share of the spoils and was therefore put to death at his tomb. In post-Classical times the story was elaborated; it was said that a peace had been arranged and Achilles was to marry Polyxena, but Paris treacherously shot him. More on Polyxena

Giambattista Pittoni or Giovanni Battista Pittoni (6 June 1687 - 6 November 1767) was a Venetian painter of the late Baroque or Rococo period. He was among the founders of the Academy of Fine Arts of Venice , of which in 1758 he became the second president, succeeding Tiepolo.
Pittoni studied under his uncle Francesco Pittoni, a well-known but undistinguished painter of the Venetian Baroque. 
Pittoni joined the Fraglia of the Venetian Painters, the Venetian guild of painters, in 1716. From, probably, the same year until his death he was a member of the College of Painters, of which he became prior in 1729.  He was elected to the Clementine Academy of Bologna in 1727. In 1750 he was one of the forty-six members of the Veneta Publish Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, which later became the Academy of Fine Arts of Venice ; from 1758 to 1760 he succeeded Tiepoloas president of the academy, and was elected for a second term in 1763–64. More on Giambattista Pittoni




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01 Work, Interpretation the bible, With Footnotes - 129

After Tiziano Vecellio, called Titian, 17th Century
The Madonna and Child in a landscape 
Oil on canvas
172.8 x 118.5cm (68 1/16 x 46 5/8in)
Private collection

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

Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio, or Titian (1488/1490 – 27 August 1576), was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. 

Recognized by his contemporaries as "The Sun Amidst Small Stars", Titian was one of the most versatile of Italian painters, equally adept with portraits, landscape backgrounds, and mythological and religious subjects. His painting methods, particularly in the application and use of color, would exercise a profound influence not only on painters of the Italian Renaissance, but on future generations of Western art.

During the course of his long life, Titian's artistic manner changed drastically but he retained a lifelong interest in color. Although his mature works may not contain the vivid, luminous tints of his early pieces, their loose brushwork and subtlety of tone are without precedent in the history of Western painting. More Titian




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Saturday, January 4, 2020

03 Paintings, Olympian deities, King Candaules, with footnotes #38

Jean-Léon Gérôme, (1824–1904)
King Candaules, c. 1859
Oil on canvas
Height: 67 cm (26.3 ″); Width: 100.1 cm (39.4 ″)
Museo de Arte de Ponce

Jean-Léon Gérôme (11 May 1824 – 10 January 1904) was a French painter and sculptor in the style now known as Academicism. The range of his oeuvre included historical painting, Greek mythology, Orientalism, portraits and other subjects, bringing the Academic painting tradition to an artistic climax. He is considered one of the most important painters from this academic period, and in addition to being a painter, he was also a teacher with a long list of students. More on Jean-Léon Gérôme

According to Herodotus, Candaules believed his wife, Nyssia, to be the most beautiful woman on Earth. 
Candaules often told his favourite bodyguard, Gyges, how beautiful the queen was and, thinking Gyges did not believe him, urged Gyges to contrive to see her naked. Gyges initially refused as he did not wish to dishonor the queen. Nevertheless, Candaules was insistent and Gyges had no option but to obey his king. So Gyges hid in Candaules' bedroom and, when the queen entered, watched her undress. As she was getting into bed, he quietly left the room, but the queen saw him and realised what had happened. 

William Etty, (1787–1849)
Candaules, King of Lydia, Shews his Wife by Stealth to Gyges, One of his Ministers, As She Goes to Bed, c. 1830

Oil on canvas
Height: 45.1 cm (17.7 ″); Width: 55.9 cm (22 ″)
Tate Britain
William Etty RA (10 March 1787 – 13 November 1849) was an English artist best known for his history paintings containing nude figures. He was the first significant British painter of nudes and still lifes. Born in York, he left school at the age of 12 to become an apprentice printer in Hull. He completed his apprenticeship seven years later and moved to London, where in 1807 he joined the Royal Academy Schools. There he studied under Thomas Lawrence and trained by copying works by other artists. Etty earned respect at the Royal Academy of Arts for his ability to paint realistic flesh tones, but had little commercial or critical success in his early years in London. More on William Etty

The queen silently swore revenge for her shame. Next day, she summoned Gyges to her chamber. Gyges thought it was a routine request, but she confronted him immediately and presented him with two choices. One was to kill Candaules and seize the throne with Nyssia as his wife. The second was to be executed immediately by her trusted servants.He decided to take the first course of action and assassinate the king. The plan was that he should hide in the royal bedroom as before but this time from the king. After Candaules fell asleep, Gyges crept forward and stabbed him to death.
Giambattista Pittoni,  (1687–1767)
Death of King Candaules, c. 1720
Oil on canvas
Height: 161 cm (63.3 ″); Width: 210 cm (82.6 ″)
Hermitage Museum

Giambattista Pittoni or Giovanni Battista Pittoni (6 June 1687 - 6 November 1767) was a Venetian painter of the late Baroque or Rococo period. He was among the founders of the Academy of Fine Arts of Venice , of which in 1758 he became the second president, succeeding Tiepolo.

Pittoni studied under his uncle Francesco Pittoni, a well-known but undistinguished painter of the Venetian Baroque. 

Pittoni joined the Fraglia of the Venetian Painters, the Venetian guild of painters, in 1716. From, probably, the same year until his death he was a member of the College of Painters, of which he became prior in 1729.  He was elected to the Clementine Academy of Bologna in 1727. In 1750 he was one of the forty-six members of the Veneta Publish Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, which later became the Academy of Fine Arts of Venice ; from 1758 to 1760 he succeeded Tiepoloas president of the academy, and was elected for a second term in 1763–64. More on Giambattista Pittoni

Gyges married the queen as she had insisted but many Lydians did not at first accept him as their ruler. In order to prevent a civil war, Gyges offered to have his position confirmed or refused by the Delphic Oracle. He agreed that he would restore the throne to the Heracleidae if the Oracle declared against him. The Oracle supported him and his dynasty was established. More on Candaules and Nyssia



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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

02 Ivory Carvings, from Bible stories! 17th Century. With Footnote, # 15

17C French Ivory Relief Plaque
Saint Sebastian
Ivory
6-1/4" x 4-1/4"
Private collection

17th century carved ivory relief depicting St. Sebastian being released from the tree. According to tradition, he was rescued by Irene of Rome. In this unusual depiction, he is shown being untied by cherubs. His body shows several puncture marks from the arrows that were shot into him.

French 
Saint Sebastian, 17 C
Ivory Relief Plaque 
6-3/4" x 4"
Private collection

17th century carved ivory relief depicting St. Sebastian tied to a tree, with an arrow in his chest. According to tradition, he was rescued by Irene of Rome (later condemned by Diocletian to be clubbed to death).


Saint Sebastian (died c. 288 AD) was an early Christian saint and martyr. Sebastian had prudently concealed his faith, but in 286 was detected. Diocletian reproached him for his betrayal, and he commanded him to be led to a field and there to be bound to a stake so that archers from Mauritania would shoot arrows at him. "And the archers shot at him till he was as full of arrows as an urchin is full of pricks, and thus left him there for dead." Miraculously, the arrows did not kill him.


Sebastian later stood by a staircase where the emperor was to pass and harangued Diocletian for his cruelties against Christians. This freedom of speech, and from a person whom he supposed to have been dead, greatly astonished the emperor; but, recovering from his surprise, he gave orders for his being seized and beat to death with cudgels, and his body thrown into the common sewer. A pious lady, called Lucina, admonished by the martyr in a vision, got it privately removed, and buried it in the catacombs at the entrance of the cemetery of Calixtus, where now stands the Basilica of St. Sebastian. More St. Sebastian





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02 Works, 20th Century Interpretation of the Bible! With Footnotes - 37

Renato Guttuso, (1912 - 1987)
The Crocifissione/ Crucifixion
Oil on canvas 
200 x 200 cm.
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna and Contemporanea, Rome, Italy

Crocifissione is the painting for which Renato Guttuso is best remembered. At the time it was derided by the clergy, who labelled Guttuso a "pictor diabolicus" ("a devilish painter"). The fascists also denounced it for depicting the horrors of war under a religious cover. Guttuso wrote in his diary: "it is the symbol of all those who endure insults, jail, torture for their ideas". Guttuso also spoke publicly about "The Crocifissione", saying "this is a time of war. I wish to paint the torment of Christ as a contemporary scene... as a symbol of all those who, because of their ideas, endure outrage, imprisonment and torment"

Renato Guttuso (26 December 1912 – 18 January 1987) was an Italian painter. His best-known works include Flight from Etna (1938–39), Crucifixion (1941) and La Vucciria (1974). Guttuso also designed for the theatre and did illustrations for books. Those for Elizabeth David’s Italian Food (1954), introduced him to many in the English-speaking world. A fierce anti-Fascist, "he developed out of Expressionism and the harsh light of his native land to paint landscapes and social commentary."

He was born in Bagheria, near Palermo in Sicily, but from 1937 lived and worked largely in Rome. In his youth he joined the Gruppo universitario fascista, but later he became an anti-fascist and atheist. He joined the banned Italian Communist Party (PCI) in 1940 and left Rome to become an active participant in the partisan struggle from 1943. He was also an opponent to the Mafia. In 1972 Guttuso was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize. In 1976 he was elected to the Italian Senate as a PCI representative for the Sicilian constituency of Sciacca.

Guttuso became a member of an artistic movement named "Corrente". The movement stood for free and open attitudes, in opposition to the official culture, and chose a strong anti-fascist position in thematic choices through the years of the Spanish Civil War.

Mimise Dotti-Guttuso died on 6 October 1986. Guttuso was soon to follow his wife. He died in Rome of lung cancer at the age of 75 on 18 January 1987. On his deathbed, he allegedly embraced again the Christian faith with which he had been critical. However, there are doubts as to what really happened—in his last months, when he was bedridden, a circle of politicians and priests excluded his oldest friends from his villa. He donated many of his works to his hometown Bagheria, which are now housed in the museum of the Villa Cattolica. More on Renato Guttuso

Renato Guttuso " La crocifissione " - Ennio Morricone




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Tuesday, December 24, 2019

01 Work, Interpretation the bible, With Footnotes - 128

Bolognese School, 17th Century 
The Holy Family 
Oil on copper 
7 x 5 1/2 inches (17.8 x 14 cm)
Private collection

The Holy Family consists of the Child Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and Saint Joseph. Veneration of the Holy Family was formally begun in the 17th century by Saint François de Laval, the first bishop of New France, who founded a Confraternity.

Matthew and Luke narrate the episodes from this period of Christ's life, namely his Circumcision and later Presentation, the Flight to Egypt, the return to Nazareth, and the Finding in the Temple.[Joseph and Mary were apparently observant Jews, as Luke narrates that they brought Jesus with them on the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem with other Jewish families. More on The Holy Family 

The Bolognese School or the School of Bologna of painting flourished in Bologna, the capital of Emilia Romagna, between the 16th and 17th centuries in Italy, and rivalled Florence and Rome as the center of painting. Certain artistic conventions, which over time became traditionalist, had been developed in Rome during the first decades of the 16th century. As time passed, some artists sought new approaches to their work that no longer reflected only the Roman manner. The Carracci studio sought innovation or invention, seeking new ways to break away from traditional modes of painting while continuing to look for inspiration from their literary contemporaries. This style was seen as both systematic and imitative, borrowing particular motifs from the past Roman schools of art and innovating a modernistic approach. More on The Bolognese School




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Saturday, December 21, 2019

01 Work, Interpretation of the bible, With Footnotes - 184

Austrian School, circa 1480
The Adoration of the Magi
oil on panel
131.5 x 99.2cm (51 3/4 x 39 1/16in).
Private collection

The Adoration of the Magi (anglicized from the Matthean Vulgate Latin section title: A Magis adoratur) is the name traditionally given to the subject in the Nativity of Jesus in art in which the three Magi, represented as kings, especially in the West, having found Jesus by following a star, lay before him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and worship him. The Adoration of the Magi

North of the European Alps an artistic, literary, and philosophical movement grew that was influenced by the spread of the Italian Renaissance's art and ideas.

The present altarpiece is very close in style to the so-called Master of the Habsburgs. 

From around 1803 due to widespread secularization large numbers of German monasteries lost thousands of altarpieces, stained glass and sculptures which were confiscated and then disposed of by local dukes and kings. More on Austrian School, circa 1480




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Thursday, December 19, 2019

01 Work, Interpretation the bible, With Footnotes - 127

Hans Baldung Grien, (c. 1484 – September 1545)
Lot and his daughters
Oil on panel, in three parts
37 5/8 x 63 3/8 in. (95.6 x 158.4 cm.)
Private collection

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


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

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

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

Hans Baldung Grien or Grün (c. 1484 – September 1545) was a German artist in painting and printmaking who was considered the most gifted student of Albrecht Dürer. Throughout his lifetime, Baldung developed a distinctive style, full of color, expression and imagination. His talents were varied, and he produced a great and extensive variety of work including portraits, woodcuts, altarpieces, drawings, tapestries, allegories and mythological motifs.

Beginning in 1503, Baldung was an apprentice for the most well renowned German artist of the day: Albrecht Dürer. In 1509, when Baldung’s apprenticeship was complete, he moved back to Strasbourg, opened a workshop, and began signing his works with the HGB monogram that he used for the rest of his career. His style also became much more deliberately individual, a tendency some art historians have termed "mannerist."

His most characteristic paintings are small in scale; a series of puzzling, often erotic allegories and mythological works. The number of Hans Baldung's religious works diminished with the Protestant Reformation, which generally repudiated church art as either wasteful or idolatrous. More on Hans Baldung




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Sunday, December 15, 2019

01 Work, RELIGIOUS ART - Interpretation the bible, With Footnotes - 126

Italian master of the 17th century
THE DAUGHTER OF LOT WITH WINE CRACK
Oil on canvas
162 x 92 cm.
Private collection

In the background you can see both the burning city and the frozen wife of Lot. In the center is one of the daughters with a naked breast and white and blue robe, her right arm placed over a golden wine carafe. On the floor a red cloth on which a plate lies. The young pretty woman in a seductive pose with the wine, with which she later drank and seduced her father. More on this painting

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

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

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

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

Painting in 17th-century Italy was an international endeavor. Large numbers of artists traveled to Rome, especially, to work and study. They sought not only the many commissions being extended by the Church but also the chance to learn from past masters. Most of the century was dominated by the baroque style, whose expressive power was well suited to the needs of the Counter-Reformation Church for affecting images.

The drama and movement that characterized the baroque—in sculpture and architecture as well as painting—can be first seen, perhaps, in the work of Caravaggio, who died in 1610. His strong contrasts of light and dark and unblinking realism were taken up by many artists, including the Italian Orazio Gentileschi, the Spaniard Jusepe de Ribera, and the Frenchmen Valentin de Boulogne and Simon Vouet, all of whom worked in Italy. Other artists carried Caravaggio’s so-called tenebrist style to northern Europe.

The more classical approach of the Carracci and their students Guercino and Domenichino was also an important force in 17th-century painting. It provided a foundation for the rational clarity that structured the work of French artists Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain, both of whom worked in Rome for most of their lives. More on the ITALIAN SCHOOL, (17th century)




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