Sunday, January 26, 2020

01 Painting, Olympian deities, with footnotes #40

Ellie Hesse, United Kingdom
AMAZON I
Acrylic, Gesso, Gouache, Ink, Oil on Wood
39.4 W x 39.4 H x 1.6 in

'There is something truly astounding about the way a horse can be transformed from a calm and seemingly domesticated creature, one moment, into an explosion of power and wired emotion, the next. I find this unpredictability and expressiveness, fascinating and a great inspiration in my work. Historical representations of the equine form are another major source of inspiration for me and am particularly interested in the symbolic, mythological and sacred place the horse has held, throughout history.' Ellie Hesse


In Greek mythology, the Amazons were a race of woman warriors.



The legendary Amazons were thought to have lived in Pontus, which is part of modern-day Turkey near the southern shore of the Black Sea. There they formed an independent kingdom under the government of a queen named Hippolyta or Hippolyte. This area is known to have been occupied in the Late Bronze Age by a transhumant group known to the Hittites as the Kaŝka; though they were not directly known to Greeks, modern archaeologists have determined that they finally defeated their enemies, the Hittites, about 1200 BC. According to Plutarch, the Amazons lived in and about the Don river, which the Greeks called the Tanais; but which was called by the Scythians the "Amazon". The Amazons later moved to Terme on the River Thermodon, northern Turkey. More on the Amazons

Ellie Hesse was born in New York in 1972 but spent most of her childhood in the Yorkshire Dales. Travel has always been an important feature of her life since then, exploring Asia and South America, as well as living and working in a number of different European countries.


Entirely self-taught, Ellie is mainly known for her vibrantly coloured townscapes, though in recent years, she has gone on to develop her art to include more figurative work, focusing on the horse in particular. Ellie uses a variety of different media and techniques, depending on the subject matter. The palette knife is her tool of preference for building up layers of texture and depth of colour.


By working intermittently on two very different subjects, Ellie has found that the two approaches seem to cross-pollinate. The looser drawing style of the equine work, feeding into the more structural work of townscapes, bringing new vitality into the painting style as well as composition, with the introduction of figures and animals. The creative tension that arises from contrasting solid, architectural forms with the fluidity of a natural and dynamic subject, creates a certain energy, keeping the painting process always fresh and exciting.. More on Ellie Hesse







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Saturday, January 25, 2020

04 Works, CONTEMPORARY & 20th Century Interpretation of the Bible! With Footnotes - 32

Paul Strand (American, 1890 - 1976)
Oaxaca from The Mexican Portfolio, c. 1933
Photogravure
26.1 x 20.2 cm (10 1/4 x 7 15/16 in.) 
Private collection

This is a depiction of a sculptural work in a Catholic church in Tlacochoaya, Oaxaca, Mexico. In this tableau, the Christ figure is placed in a framed space that recedes behind him. His feet extend outside of the frame, drawing further attention to the three dimensional aspect of the sculpture. The frame is an ornate wood carving, while the figure of Jesus is also carved from wood. He is fully clothed and painted, wearing a crown, and holding a staff between his legs. He rests his head solemnly to the side, leaning on the left wall of the space in which he sits. The walls and ceiling are covered with a floral pattern, while the back wall contains an inscription. More on this work

Paul Strand (American, 1890 - 1976)
Cristo with Thorns, Huexotla, Mexico, c. 1933
Platinum print
24.8 × 19.2 cm (9 3/4 × 7 9/16 in.)
Private collection

Paul Strand's 1940 portfolio, Photographs of Mexico, included this image of a humble, careworn Christ, outfitted with hair and adorned in velvet. Made outside Mexico City, the painted sculpture constituted a sophisticated example of indigenous craftsmanship. For Strand, the deity was alive with the striving faith of the artisans who created the piece. 

By isolating the figure, Strand focused on a topic that was relevant to the contemporary viewer: the working man's daily struggle to attain redemption. More on this work

Ecce homo are the Latin words used by Pontius Pilate in the Vulgate translation of John 19:5, when he presents a scourged Jesus Christ, bound and crowned with thorns, to a hostile crowd shortly before his Crucifixion. The Douay-Rheims Bible translates the phrase into English as "Behold the man!" [John 19:5] The scene has been widely depicted in Christian art. More on Ecce homo

Paul Strand (American, 1890 - 1976)
Cristo, Oaxaca, Mexico, c. 1933
Photogravure. 1933
15 13/16 x 12 5/16 in. (402 x 313 mm)
Private collection

Crucifixion is a historical method of capital punishment in which the victim is tied or nailed to a large wooden beam and left to hang for several days until eventual death from exhaustion and asphyxiation. It is principally known from classical antiquity, but remains in occasional use in some countries. 


The crucifixion of Jesus is a central narrative in Christianity, and the cross (sometimes depicting Jesus nailed onto it) is the main religious symbol for many Christian churches. More Crucifixion

Paul Strand (American, 1890 - 1976)
Calvario, Patzcuaro, Mexico, c. 1933
Photogravure. 1933
15 13/16 x 12 5/16 in. (402 x 313 mm)
Private collection

The Descent from the Cross, or Deposition of Christ, is the scene, as depicted in art, from the Gospels' accounts of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus taking Christ down from the cross after his crucifixion. In Byzantine art the topic became popular in the 9th century, and in the West from the 10th century. The Descent from the Cross is the 13th Station of the Cross.


Other figures not mentioned in the Gospels who are often included in depictions of this subject include St. John the Evangelist, who is sometimes depicted supporting a fainting Mary, and Mary Magdalene. More on the decent from the cross

Paul Strand (October 16, 1890 – March 31, 1976) was an American photographer and filmmaker who, along with fellow modernist photographers like Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston, helped establish photography as an art form in the 20th century. His diverse body of work, spanning six decades, covers numerous genres and subjects throughout the Americas, Europe, and Africa. More on Paul Strand




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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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