Saturday, May 20, 2017

10 Paintings, Olympian deities, by the Old Masters, with footnotes, #9

Simeon Solomon, 1840–1905
Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene, c. 1864
Watercolour on paper
330 x 381 mm
Tate Britain

The picture depicts Sappho embracing her fellow poet Erinna in a garden at Mytilene on the island of Lesbos. Sappho was born at Lesbos in about 612BC. After a period of exile in Sicily she returned to the island and was at the centre of a community of young women devoted to Aphrodite and the Muses. Sappho wrote nine books of poetry, of which only fragments survive. The principal subject of her work is the joy and frustration of love and the most complete surviving poem is an invocation to the goddess Aphrodite to help her in her relationship with a woman. More on Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene

Simeon Solomon (9 October 1840 – 14 August 1905) was an English Pre-Raphaelite painter noted for his depictions of Jewish life and same-sex desire. Born and educated in London, Solomon started receiving lessons in painting from his older brother around 1850. He started attending Carey's Art Academy in 1852. His older sister first exhibited her works at the Royal Academy during the same year.

As a student at the Royal Academy Schools, Solomon was introduced to other members of the Pre-Raphaelite circle. His first exhibition was at the Royal Academy in 1858. He continued to hold exhibitions of his work at the Royal Academy between 1858 and 1872. In addition to the literary paintings favoured by the Pre-Raphaelite school, 

In 1873 his career was cut short when he was arrested and charged with attempting to commit sodomy: he was fined £100. He was arrested again in 1874 in Paris, after which he was sentenced to spend three months in prison.

After his prosecutions he no longer exhibited, but achieved a degree of celebrity amongst those who shared his sensibilities: Oscar Wilde, John Addington Symonds, Count Eric Stenbock, and Walter Pater all collected his works.

In 1884 he was admitted to the workhouse where he continued to produce work, but his life and talent were blighted by alcoholism. Twenty years later in 1905, he died from complications brought on by his alcoholism. More Simeon Solomon 


Adolph Hirémy-Hirschl, 1860 - 1933, HUNGARIAN
THE BIRTH OF VENUS
Oil on canvas
109 by 227cm., 43 by 89¼in.
Private Collection

The Birth of Venus. In Roman mythology, Venus was the goddess of love, sex, beauty, and fertility. She was the Roman counterpart to the Greek Aphrodite. However, Roman Venus had many abilities beyond the Greek Aphrodite; she was a goddess of victory, fertility, and even prostitution. According to Hesiod's Theogony, Aphrodite was born of the foam from the sea after Saturn (Greek Cronus) castrated his father Uranus (Ouranus) and his blood fell to the sea. This latter explanation appears to be more a popular theory due to the countless artworks depicting Venus rising from the sea in a clam. More The Birth of Venus

Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl (1860–1933) was a Hungarian artist known for historical and mythological painting, particularly of subjects pertaining to ancient Rome. Some of his major history paintings have been lost, and many of his smaller works were retained by his heirs until the early 1980s. Although he was one of the most successful artists of fin-de-siècle Vienna, these circumstances, along with the rise of Gustav Klimt and the Vienna Secessionists, put his reputation in eclipse. More on Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl

Follower of Sir Peter Paul Rubens
THE ABDUCTION OF PROSERPINA
oil on panel
24 1/8  by 62 1/2  in.; 61.3 by 158.8 cm.
Private Collection

Persephone's abduction/ The Rape of ProserpinaIn Greek mythology, Persephone (also known as Proserpina) was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter (goddess of agriculture) and was queen of the Underworld. One day while the young maiden was picking flowers, Hades, god of the underworld, kidnapped Persephone and carried her back to the underworld to be his wife.

Demeter begged Zeus to command the release of her daughter, and Persephone was told that she would be released from the underworld, as long as she didn't consume any food while she was there. But when she thought no one was looking, Persephone went into the garden and ate six pomegranate seeds. She was thus doomed to spend six months of the year with Hades, while for the other six months she could return to Earth to see her mother. The myth holds that the months Persephone spends in the underworld leave the earth cold, dark, and wintry, but when she returns, spring and summer accompany her.

Modern readers should note that in Bernini's time the word "rape" signified "kidnapping"; thus, the sculpture thus represents the kidnapping of Persephone. More on Persephone's abduction

Sir Peter Paul Rubens (28 June 1577 – 30 May 1640) was a Flemish Baroque painter. A proponent of an extravagant Baroque style that emphasized movement, colour, and sensuality, Rubens is well known for his Counter-Reformation altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects.
In addition to running a large studio in Antwerp that produced paintings popular with nobility and art collectors throughout Europe, Rubens was a classically educated humanist scholar and diplomat who was knighted by both Philip IV of Spain and Charles I of England.  More Sir Peter Paul Rubens

Follower of Sir Peter Paul Rubens
THE ABDUCTION OF PROSERPINA
Detail

Antonio Bellucci, VENICE 1654 - 1726 PIEVE DI SOLIGNO
BACCHUS AND ARIADNE
Oil on canvas
84 x 107 cm.; 33 1/8  x 42 1/8  in.
Private Collection

Ariadne has been left on the island of Naxos, deserted by her lover Theseus. She is discovered on the shore by the god Bacchus. In the sky above the figure of Ariadne is the star constellation Corona Borealis (Northern crown). There are two possible variations of the story both going back to Ovid. In his Metamorphoses, Ovid has Bacchus throw the crown of Ariadne into the sky where it becomes the constellation Northern Crown. In Ars Amatoria, Bacchus promises the entire sky to Ariadne where she then would become the constellation Northern Crown. Falling in love with Ariadne on first sight. The picture shows her initial fear of Bacchus, but he raised her to heaven and turned her into a constellation, represented by the crown above her head.' More BACCHUS AND ARIADNE

Antonio Bellucci (1654–1726) was an Italian soldier who became a painter of the Rococo period and was best known for his work in England, Germany, and Austria. He was one of the many Venetian-trained artists of his time who sought commissions north of Italy, providing patrons with the then-popular Italianate grand-manner frescoes for private palaces.

Born and died in Pieve di Soligo. He initially in Sebenico in the Venetian colony of Dalmatia (now part of Croatia). By 1675, he was working in Venice, painting St Lorenzo Giustiniani praying for the city’s deliverance from the plague of 1447 (c. 1691) for the church of San Pietro di Castello. He painted a Nativity for the church of the Ascension at Venice. Several of the landscapes of Antonio Tempesta are enriched with figures by Bellucci.

In 1692, he completed four altarpieces depicting various saints for the church of Klosterneuburg. From 1695-1700 and 1702- c. 1704, he lived in Vienna. He painted the Triumph of Hercules and other allegorical ceilings at the Palais Liechtenstein for Charles VI. More on Antonio Bellucci 

Antonio Bellucci, VENICE 1654 - 1726 PIEVE DI SOLIGNO
HERCULES AND OMPHALE
Oil on canvas
84 x 107 cm.; 33 1/8  x 42 1/8  in.
Private Collection

Hercules and Omphale. Wishing to expiate the murder of one of his friends, Hercules consulted the oracle of Apollo, who advised him to enter the service of Omphale, Queen of Lydia. Although Hercules was the son of Zeus and was famed for his invincible strength, he submitted to the tasks the queen devised for him to expiate his crime. Omphale fell in love with Hercules for his strength and physical beauty, and the couple married. This tale, found in both Greek and Roman mythology, is told with a number of variations. It proved a great source of inspiration for French and Italian Mannerist painters, as well as the Venetian artists who influenced Lemoyne. François Boucher also painted a version of the same love scene. More on Hercules and Omphale

Antonio Bellucci, VENICE 1654 - 1726 PIEVE DI SOLIGNO, see above

Lambert Sustris, (1515–1591)
Venus and Love/ Venus and Cupid, c. 1550
Oil on canvas
Height: 1.32 m (1.4 yd). Width: 1.84 m (2 yd).
Louvre Museum

Venus and Love/ Venus and Cupid. Different tales exist about the origin of Venus and Cupid. Some say that Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, had a love affair with Mars, the god of war. Out of this relationship, Cupid was born. 

Cupid has attributes from both of his parents. Like his mother he is considered to be the god of love, or more precisely, the god of falling in love. He is portrayed as an innocent little child with bow and arrows. He shoots arrows to the heart, and awakening a love that you’re powerless to resist.

Venus and Cupid are often shown in intimate poses, reflecting the unique love between mother and child. More Venus and Love

Lambert Sustris (c. 1515-1520 – c. 1584) was a Dutch painter active mainly in Venice in the Mannerist style. He is also referred to as Alberto de Olanda (Albert of Holland). He was born in Amsterdam, and only came to Venice when over 40 years old. His training is unknown, but he was utilized by the studio of Titian for the depiction of landscapes. He accompanied Titian on his trips to Augsburg in 1548 and 1550–1551, and there executed portraits. Returning to Venice, he was influenced by Parmigianino and Andrea Meldolla. He was a teacher to Girolamo Muziano. His son was Friedrich Sustris. More Lambert Sustris

Ferdinand Humbert, (French, 1842-1934)
The slaying of Nessus, c. 1925
Oil on canvas
57-1/2 x 38 inches (146.1 x 96.5 cm)
Private Collection

NESSOS (Nessus) was one of Thessalian Kentauroi (Centaurs). He fled his homeland after the Lapith war and made his way to the Aitolian river Euenos where he set himself up as a ferryman. When Herakles arrived with his new bride Deianeira, Nessos carried her across the river on his back. The sight of the beautiful woman, however, inflamed him with passion and he attempted to violate her. Herakles heard her cries and slew Nessos with a poisoned arrow. As he was dying the kentauros persuaded Deianeira to take some of his poisoned blood as a love charm should Herakles ever prove unfaithful. This dupe worked and eventually resulted in the hero's death. More Nessus

Ferdinand Humbert, born on 8 October 1842 In Paris , where he died on October 6 , 1934 , was a French painter, and a pupil of Eugène Fromentin and Alexandre Cabanel .

He founded his academy at the end of the 1890s, taking over the former Atelier Cormon, by joining Henri Gervex . He also taught at the Ecole des Beaux - Arts in Paris . More on Ferdinand Humbert

William-Adolphe Bouguereau,  (1825–1905)
The Birth of Venus, c. 1879
Oil on canvas
300 × 218 cm (118.1 × 85.8 in)
Musée d'Orsay

The Birth of Venus. In Roman mythology, Venus was the goddess of love, sex, beauty, and fertility. She was the Roman counterpart to the Greek Aphrodite. However, Roman Venus had many abilities beyond the Greek Aphrodite; she was a goddess of victory, fertility, and even prostitution. According to Hesiod's Theogony, Aphrodite was born of the foam from the sea after Saturn (Greek Cronus) castrated his father Uranus (Ouranus) and his blood fell to the sea. This latter explanation appears to be more a popular theory due to the countless artworks depicting Venus rising from the sea in a clam. More The Birth of Venus

The Birth of Venus was a theme launched by Lorenzo the Great, and it was he who had it set to verse by one of his favorite humanist poets, Angelo Poliziano. This filtered through to Botticelli and he scrupulously followed the text in order to design the artwork.

Angelo Poliziano's stanzas were based on an ode by Hesiod. In the story we see the aftermath of Venus's creation, pushed along by the Gods of the winds, on the first day of Creation, elevated this shell bearing Venus' triumphant nudity from the unknown depths of the sea. Approaching the earth over which she will assume her true role, she becomes suddenly modest, and notice the stance, which Bouguereau borrowed directly from the beautiful examples of the antique, Venus Pudicae, that were being discovered at that time. More Angelo Poliziano's stanzas

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

Workshop of Sir Peter Paul Rubens, SIEGEN 1577 - 1640 ANTWERP
SATYR AND BACCHANTE
oil on copper
13 1/4  by 17 1/4  in.; 34 by 44 cm.
Private Collection

Sir Peter Paul Rubens, SIEGEN 1577 - 1640 ANTWERP, see above

Kenyon C. Cox, American, 1856-1919 
The Education of Cupid, c. 1917 
Oil on canvas 
23 x 46 3/4 inches 
Private Collection

When exhibited in the 1917 Winter Exhibition at the National Academy of Design, The Education of Cupid was praised by a reviewer from American Art News for being "bright and light-spirited." A critic for The Sun wrote of the work more extensively, "Mr. Cox's effort is The Education of Cupid, in which every touch is worked out with clear, intellectual and perhaps cold precision. Venus, according to Mr. Cox, is an American lady, but Cupid, properly enough, bears a strong facial resemblance to the heroines of Sir Peter Lely, who, if history be credited, did indeed live in a time of instructed Cupids." More The Education of Cupid

Kenyon Cox (October 27, 1856 – March 17, 1919) was an American painter, illustrator, muralist, writer, and teacher. Cox was an influential and important early instructor at the Art Students League of New York.

He was born in Warren, Ohio. As a young adult, Cox studied art at Cincinnati's Art Academy of Cincinnati, but soon became aware of the lack of opportunity and artistic presence in Cincinnati. After visiting the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Kenyon decided that Philadelphia and the art academy there had much more to offer him than Cincinnati did. Kenyon enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts hoping to receive better instruction and eventually secure for himself a way to study in Europe. More Kenyon Cox 













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10 Paintings, RELIGIOUS ART - Interpretations of the Bible! by The Old Masters, With Footnotes # 49

Follower of Hieronymus Bosch, circa 1600
THE MOCKING OF CHRIST
oil on panel
33 1/2  by 24 1/8  in.; 85.1 by 61.3 cm.
Private collection

The composition derives from Hieronymus Bosch's Christ Mocked (circa 1510, National Gallery, London).  Other versions can be found in the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp.

The mocking of Jesus occurred several times, after his trial and before his crucifixion according to the canonical gospels of the New Testament. It is considered part of Jesus' passion.

According to the gospel narratives, Jesus had predicted that he would be mocked. The mocking of Christ took place in three stages: immediately following his trial, immediately following his condemnation by Pontius Pilate, and when he was being crucified.

The New Testament narratives of Jesus being mocked are filled with irony, while the mockery focuses on Jesus' prophetic and kingly roles. More on The mocking of Jesus 

Hieronymus Bosch (1450 – 1516) was an Early Netherlandish painter. His work is known for its fantastic imagery, detailed landscapes, and illustrations of religious concepts and narratives. Within his lifetime his work was collected in the Netherlands, Austria, and Spain, and widely copied, especially his macabre and nightmarish depictions of hell.
Little is known of Bosch's life, though there are some records. He spent most of it in the town of 's-Hertogenbosch, where he was born in his grandfather's house. The roots of his forefathers are in Aachen, in present-day Germany. His pessimistic and fantastical style cast a wide influence on northern art of the 16th century, with Pieter Bruegel the Elder being his best known follower. His paintings have been difficult to translate from a modern point of view; attempts to associate instances of modern sexual imagery with fringe sects or the occult have largely failed. Today he is seen as a hugely individualistic painter with deep insight into man's desires and deepest fears. Attribution has been especially difficult; today only about 25 paintings are confidently given to his hand along with 8 drawings. Approximately another half dozen paintings are confidently attributed to his workshop. His most acclaimed works consist of a few triptych altarpieces, the most outstanding of which is The Garden of Earthly Delights. More

Bruges School, circa 1540-1550
VIRGIN AND CHILD
Oil on panel
13 1/2  by 9 1/4  in.; 34.2 by 23.5 cm.
Private collection

The style and compositional type of this Virgin and Child developed in Bruges amidst a highly developed and collaborative artistic environment. Works such as this were popularized in the early 1500's following the example of Gerard David, whose studio served as the training ground and source of inspiration for a number of painters who form part of a great generation of Bruges artists, including Adriaen Isenbrandt, Ambrosius Benson, Jan Provost, Albrecht Cornelis and Lancelot Blondeel, among others. More Bruges School

The Ghent-Bruges School is a manner or movement of manuscript illumination from about 1475 to about 1550 that developed in southern Netherlands, now Belgium. The term was first used in 1891 by Joseph Destree, author of Recherches sur les elumineurs flamands and art historian Paul Durrieu.

It replaced the "courtly style" of about 1440 to 1474 during the southern Netherlands reigns of Philip the Good and Charles the Bold. That mid-15th-century style consisted of works in primary colors of "wooden, clumsily painted stock figures". 

The Ghent-Bruges School style created illuminated manuscripts with realistic images of people, including half- and full-length portraits, colorful landscapes and the use of bright and pastel colors. More on the Ghent-Bruges school

Castilian School, late 15th Century
STANDING SAINTS HOLDING BOOKS AND CROZIERS, PROBABLY SAINT BENEDICT OF NURSIA AND SAINT BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX 
Oil on panel
Each: 53 1/2  by 25 7/8  in.; 135.9 by 65.7 cm.
Private collection

The two saints depicted are thought to be Benedict of Nursia (in black) and Bernard of Clairvaux (in white).  Saint Benedict was the founder of the Benedictine order, the oldest Western monastic order.  Saint Bernard was a Cistercian monk and theologian.  The Cistercian order was a reformed offshoot of the Benedictines whose goal was to adhere more closely to monastic life as originally dictated by Saint Benedict. More on the two saints

Saint Benedict of Nursia (c. 480 – 543 or 547) is the patron saint of Europe and students. Benedict founded twelve communities for monks at Subiaco, Italy, before moving to Monte Cassino in the mountains of southern Italy. The Order of St Benedict is of later origin and, moreover, not an "order" as commonly understood but merely a confederation of autonomous congregations. 

Benedict's main achievement is his "Rule of Saint Benedict", containing precepts for his monks. It is heavily influenced by the writings of John Cassian, and shows strong affinity with the Rule of the Master. But it also has a unique spirit of balance, moderation and reasonableness, and this persuaded most religious communities founded throughout the Middle Ages to adopt it. As a result, his Rule became one of the most influential religious rules in Western Christendom. For this reason, Benedict is often called the founder of western monasticism. More on Saint Benedict of Nursia

St. Bernard of Clairvaux,, Abbot and Doctor of the Church St. Bernard was born of noble parentage in Burgundy, France. Under the care of his pious parents he was sent at an early age to a college at Chatillon, where he was conspicuous for his remarkable piety and spirit of recollection. At the same place he entered upon the studies of theology and Holy Scripture. After the death of his mother, fearing the snares and temptations of the world, he resolved to embrace the newly established and very austere institute of the Cistercian Order. His superior soon after, seeing the great progress he had made in the spiritual life, sent him with twelve monks to found a new monastery, which afterward became known as the celebrated Abbey of Clairvaux. St. Bernard was at once appointed Abbot and began that active life which has rendered him the most conspicuous figure in the history of the 12th century. He founded numerous other monasteries, composed a number of works and undertook many journeys for the honor of God. Several Bishoprics were offered him, but he refused them all. He was commissioned by Pope Eugene III to preach the second Crusade. In obedience to the Sovereign Pontiff he traveled through France and Germany, and aroused the greatest enthusiasm for the holy war among the masses of the population. The failure of the expedition raised a great storm against the saint, but he attributed it to the sins of the Crusaders. St. Bernard was eminently endowed with the gift of miracles. He died on August 20, 1153. More on St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Castilian School. In Castile, where the style of the Italian painter Nicolas Florentino (fresco in Salamanca cathedral, c. 1445) was not echoed in local painting, the Flemish influence was predominant. Pictures imported from the Low Countries by the court and by other patrons of art, and Flemish works sold in the fairs of Medina del Campo, helped, as did German prints, to spread the taste for northern art, to which the local workshops now adapted themselves. Jorge Inglés (active 1450) and later Fernando Gallego (Salamanca) and his numerous followers (Master of St Ildefonso, Valladolid) were the most representative of these Hispano-Flemish artists, among whom were the Master of Avila and the Master of La Sisla, influenced, like Gallego, by Schongauer. Pedro Berruguete, who was originally influenced by Flemish artists but later followed the Italian style, was the dominant personality in Castile at the end of the Middle Ages (Burning of the Heretics, scenes from the life of St Peter Martyr, Prado). In Andalusia the Hispano-Flemish tendency had as its principal representatives Juan Sanchez de Castro and Juan Nuñez in Seville and, in Cordova, Pedro de Cordoba. More on the Castilian School, 15th C.

Workshop of Pieter Coecke van Aelst the Elder, AALST 1502 - 1550 BRUSSELS
A TRIPTYCH: CENTRAL PANEL: THE HOLY FAMILY LEFT PANEL: THE ADORATION OF THE SHEPHERDS RIGHT PANEL: THE CIRCUMCISION
Oil on oak panel with shaped tops
central panel: 21 3/4  by 16 1/4  in.; 55.3 by 41.2 cm.
wings (each): 22 5/8  by 7 3/4  in.; 57.5 by 19.5 cm.
Private collection

The Adoration of the Shepherds, in the Nativity of Jesus in art, is a scene in which shepherds are near witnesses to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, arriving soon after the actual birth. It is often combined in art with the Adoration of the Magi, in which case it is typically just referred to by the latter title. The Annunciation to the Shepherds, when they are summoned by an angel to the scene, is a distinct subject. More on The Adoration of the Shepherds

Pieter Coecke van Aelst or Pieter Coecke van Aelst the Elder (Aalst, 14 August 1502 – Brussels, 6 December 1550) was a Flemish painter, sculptor, architect, author and designer of woodcuts, stained glass and tapestries. His principal subjects were Christian religious themes. He worked in Antwerp and Brussels and was appointed court painter to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.

Coecke van Aelst was a polyglot. He published translations of Ancient Roman and modern Italian architectural treatises into Flemish, French and German. These publications played a crucial role in spreading Renaissance ideas to the Low Countries. They contributed to the transition in Northern Europe from the late Gothic style then prevalent towards a modern 'antique-oriented' architecture. More

Workshop of Pieter Coecke van Aelst the Elder, AALST 1502 - 1550 BRUSSELS
A TRIPTYCH
CENTRAL PANEL: THE HOLY FAMILY
Oil on oak panel with shaped tops
Central panel: 21 3/4  by 16 1/4  in.; 55.3 by 41.2 cm.
Detail

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 

Workshop of Pieter Coecke van Aelst the Elder, AALST 1502 - 1550 BRUSSELS
A TRIPTYCH
 LEFT PANEL: THE ADORATION OF THE SHEPHERDS
Oil on oak panel with shaped tops
wings: 22 5/8  by 7 3/4  in.; 57.5 by 19.5 cm.
Detail

The Adoration of the Shepherds, in the Nativity of Jesus in art, is a scene in which shepherds are near witnesses to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, arriving soon after the actual birth. It is often combined in art with the Adoration of the Magi, in which case it is typically just referred to by the latter title. The Annunciation to the Shepherds, when they are summoned by an angel to the scene, is a distinct subject. More on The Adoration of the Shepherds

Workshop of Pieter Coecke van Aelst the Elder, AALST 1502 - 1550 BRUSSELS
A TRIPTYCH
RIGHT PANEL: THE CIRCUMCISION
Oil on oak panel with shaped tops
wings: 22 5/8  by 7 3/4  in.; 57.5 by 19.5 cm.
Detail

The circumcision of Jesus is an event from the life of Jesus according to the Gospel of Luke, which states that Jesus was circumcised eight days after his birth. This is in keeping with the Jewish law which holds that males should be circumcised eight days after birth during a Brit milah ceremony, at which they are also given their name. The circumcision of Christ became a very common subject in Christian art from the 10th century onwards, one of numerous events in the Life of Christ to be frequently depicted by artists. It was initially seen only as a scene in larger cycles, but by the Renaissance might be treated as an individual subject for a painting, or form the main subject in an altarpiece. More on The circumcision of Jesus

Flemish School, circa 1520
CHRIST AS SALVATOR MUNDI
Oil on panel
27 by 22 5/8  in.; 68.6 by 57.5 cm.
Private collection

Despite the clear derivation of the present work from northern prototypes, there is something unusual, particularly in the physiognomy of Christ, that has led some Northern scholars to speculate a possible Spanish origin for this painting or, at least, possible Spanish influence. The painting is on an oak panel and, therefore, probably of Northern origin, while the embellished gold rays around Christ’s head are more characteristic of works painted for the Spanish market.  The refined painting style and distinctly Flemish landscape within the orb indicate that this Salvator Mundi was probably painted by a Northern artist working in Spain and, therefore, painted more for the tastes of a Spanish clientele. More Salvator Mundi

Flemish art, art of the 15th, 16th, and early 17th centuries in Flanders and in the surrounding regions including Brabant, Hainaut, Picardy, and Artois, known for its vibrant materialism and unsurpassed technical skill. From Hubert and Jan van Eyck through Pieter Bruegel the Elder to Peter Paul Rubens, the Flemish painters were masters of the oil medium and used it primarily to portray a robust and realistically detailed vision of the world around them. Their paintings reflect clearly the changes in fortune of this narrow slice of country between France, Germany, and the Low Countries: first came the peaceful, pious, and prosperous 15th-century reigns of the dukes of Burgundy, then a long confused succession of religious crises and civil wars, and finally the imposition of autocratic rule by the kings of Spain. More on the Flemish art, art of the 15th, 16th, and early 17th

Ambrosius Benson, LOMBARDY 1495-1550 BRUGES
THE CRUCIFIXION, WITH SCENES FROM THE PASSION BEYOND, c. 1528–30
oil on panel, arched top
22 1/4  by 16 in.; 56.7 by 40.5 cm.
Private collection

Christ appears with head slumped onto His right shoulder, knees bent, His right foot placed over His left. Benson used this figure type in another work of the same subject now in the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. Saint John is supporting the fainting Mary. The detailed background landscape is loosely based on Memling’s Passion in Turin. Mary Magdalene praying at the foot of the cross, while a group of figures to the right, fighting over Saint Joseph’s mantle. More on this painting

Ambrosius Benson (c. 1495/1500, in Ferrara or Milan] – 1550, in Flanders) was an Italian painter who became a part of the Northern Renaissance.

While many surviving paintings have been attributed, there is very little known of him from records, and he tended not to sign his work. He is believed to be responsible for mainly religious art, but also painted portraits on commission. He sometime painted from classical sources, often setting the figures in modern-dress, or a contemporary domestic setting. In his lifetime he was successful; he had a large workshop, his work was sold internationally and he was especially popular in Spain.

Benson became popular as a source for pastiche with 19th-century painters, who are sometimes known as the "followers of Benson". In particular his many variations of the Magdalen and Sibilla Persica were further copied and became popular with contemporary buyers. Many have retained their relative value and held in the National Gallery, London and command high prices at Sotheby's. More on Ambrosius Benson

Ambrosius Benson, LOMBARDY 1495-1550 BRUGES
THE CRUCIFIXION, WITH SCENES FROM THE PASSION BEYOND, c. 1528–30
 Saint John is supporting the fainting Mary
Detail

John the Apostle ( c. AD 6 – c. 106) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus according to the New Testament. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome. His brother was James, who was another of the Twelve Apostles. Christian tradition holds that he outlived the remaining apostles and that he was the only one not to die a martyr's death (excluding Judas Iscariot who died by suicide). The Church Fathers considered him the same person as John the Evangelist, John of Patmos, John the Elder and the Beloved Disciple, although modern theologians and scholars have not formed a consensus on the relative identities of these men. The tradition of most Christian denominations holds that John the Apostle is the author of several books of the New Testament. More

Ambrosius Benson, LOMBARDY 1495-1550 BRUGES
THE CRUCIFIXION, WITH SCENES FROM THE PASSION BEYOND, c. 1528–30
A group of figures to the right, fighting over Saint Joseph’s mantle
Detail

Joseph is a figure in the Gospels, the husband of Mary, mother of Jesus, and is venerated as Saint Joseph. In both Catholic and Protestant traditions, Joseph is regarded as the patron saint of workers and is associated with various feast days. Pope Pius IX declared him to be both the patron and the protector of the Catholic Church, in addition to his patronages of the sick and of a happy death, due to the belief that he died in the presence of Jesus and Mary. In popular piety, Joseph is regarded as a model for fathers and has also become patron of various dioceses and places.

Several notable images of Saint Joseph have been granted a Canonical coronation by a Pope. In popular religious iconography he is associated with lilies or a spikenard. With the present-day growth of Mariology, the theological field of Josephology has also grown and since the 1950s centers for studying it have been formed.

According to the New Testament, Joseph was the father of James, Joses, Jude, Simon, and at least two daughters. More on Saint Joseph

Manner of Johann Carl Loth, (German, 1632-1698) 
St. John the Baptist, 19th-century
47-1/2" x 35-1/8"
Private collection

John the Baptist (sometimes called John in the Wilderness) was the subject of at least eight paintings by the Italian Baroque artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610).

The story of John the Baptist is told in the Gospels. John was the cousin of Jesus, and his calling was to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. He lived in the wilderness of Judea between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, "his raiment of camel's hair, and a leather girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey." He baptised Jesus in the Jordan, and was eventually killed by Herod Antipas when he called upon the king to reform his evil ways. More John the Baptist

Johann Carl Loth (1632 – 6 October 1698) was a German Baroque painter, born in Munich but active most of his life in Venice. He was the son and pupil of Johann Ulrich Loth (1590–1662) and was possibly influenced by Giovan Battista Langetti. He was commissioned to paint for the emperor Leopold I in Vienna. He worked together with Pietro Liberi in Venice, where he was during the years 1663-1698. His brother Franz Loth was also a painter in Venice and Germany. More

Hans Jordaens III, ANTWERP CIRCA 1595 - 1643
ENTRY INTO NOAH'S ARK
oil on panel
30 1/4  by 51 5/8  in.; 76.8 by 131.1 cm.
Private collection

Hans III Jordaens (1590 – 1643), was a Flemish Baroque painter. (his birth year and place is uncertain) He could have been born in Delft as a son of Hans Jordaens, or he may have been born in Antwerp as a relative of Jacob Jordaens. He painted historical allegories, interiors, animals, and art galleries. He also painted staffage for Abraham Govaerts. His works are often confused with works of other painters by the same name.

According to Houbraken, the widow of the lawyer Nicolaas Muys van Holy (1653/54-1717) owned a painting by him of the Pharaoh's army crossing the red sea and drowning with horses and wagons. Houbraken confused him with the painter Hans IV Jordaens of Delft. More on Hans III Jordaens









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