Saturday, December 10, 2016

19 Paintings, scenes from the Bible, by The Old Masters, with footnotes # 32

Sir Anthony van Dyck, (1599 – 1641) 
Ecce Homo, 1625-6
Oil on canvas
143.6 x 107.6cm (56 9/16 x 42 3/8in)
Private collection

Previously and mistakenly thought to be a later derivative copy, this important painting by Van Dyck was unknown until it appeared at auction at Christie's in 1990, catalogued as 'follower of Van Dyck'. More

Christ, crowned with thorns, is clothed in a robe of imperial purple in mockery of his description as the King of the Jews.

Sir Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641) 
Man of Sorrows (or Ecce Homo)
An unfinished study, c. 1622-1625
Oil on canvas
113 x 81 cm
The Weiss Gallery

Van Dyck shows Christ as the Man of Sorrows with a single tear running down his face – an image of profound sadness and humility.  The format, with Christ’s body shown close up, confronts us with his human suffering.  More

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

Sir Anthony van Dyck, ( 22 March 1599 – 9 December 1641) was a Flemish Baroque artist who became the leading court painter in England, after enjoying great success in Italy and Flanders. He is most famous for his portraits of Charles I of England and his family and court, painted with a relaxed elegance that was to be the dominant influence on English portrait-painting for the next 150 years. He also painted biblical and mythological subjects, displayed outstanding facility as a draughtsman, and was an important innovator in watercolour and etching. The Van Dyke beard is named after him. More

Johann Friedrich Overbeck
The Banishment of Hagar, c. 1941
oil on panel
39 x 44 ¾ in. (99.1 x 113.6 cm.)
Private collection

Hagar is a biblical person in the Book of Genesis Chapter 16. She was an Egyptian handmaid of Sarah, who gave her to Abraham "to wife" to bear a child. The product of the union was Abraham's firstborn, Ishmael, the progenitor of the Ishmaelites.
After Sarah gave birth to Isaac, and the tension between the women returned. At a celebration after Isaac was weaned, Sarah found the teenage Ishmael mocking her son, and demanded that Abraham send Hagar and her son away. She declared that Ishmael would not share in Isaac's inheritance. Abraham was greatly distressed but God told Abraham to do as his wife commanded because God's promise would be carried out through both Isaac and Ishmael.
The name Hagar originates from the Book of Genesis, and is only alluded to in the Qur'an. She is considered Abraham's second wife in the Islamic faith and acknowledged in all Abrahamic faiths. In mainstream Christianity, she is considered a concubine to Abraham. More

Johann Friedrich Overbeck, (born July 3, 1789, Imperial Free City of Lübeck—died Nov. 12, 1869, Rome) Romantic painter of Christian religious subjects, who was leader of a group of German artists known as the Nazarenes, or Lucas Brotherhood (Lukasbund).

In 1806 Overbeck entered the Academy of Vienna, where, disappointed in the academic approach to teaching, he and Franz Pforr in 1809 founded the Lucas Brotherhood. They sought to revive the medieval artists’ guilds and to renew the arts through Christian faith). For artistic inspiration they turned to Albrecht Dürer and to Italian Renaissance art, particularly the works of Perugino and early Raphael.

In 1810 the Lucas Brotherhood went to Rome. Their style was characterized by precise outlines; clear, bright colours; and an emphasis on Christian symbolism. 

As he advanced in years, Overbeck’s painting became pallid and stereotyped. Yet these late works greatly influenced Christian devotional art of the 19th century and the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. His more vital early pictures and drawings, however, were rediscovered and appreciated early in the 20th century. More

Antwerp School, 16th Century
Judah and Tamar 
oil on panel
92.8 x 77.5cm (36 9/16 x 30 1/2in).
Private collection

In the Book of Genesis, Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah, as well as the mother of two of his children: the twins Perez and Zerah. Tamar is first described as marrying Judah's eldest son, Er. Because of his wickedness, Er was killed by God. By way of a Levirate union, Judah asked his second son, Onan, to provide offspring for Tamar so that the family line might continue. 

Onan's actions were deemed wicked by God and so, like his older brother, he died prematurely. At this point, Judah is portrayed as viewing Tamar to be cursed and therefore as being reluctant to give her his remaining and youngest son Shelah. Rather, he tells Tamar to wait for Shelah. However, even after Shelah has grown up, Judah still does not give Tamar to him in marriage.

Judah became a widower. After Judah mourned the death of his wife, he planned on going to Timnah to shear his sheep. Upon hearing this news, Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and immediately went to Enaim which was en route to Judah's destination. Upon arriving at Enaim, Judah saw the woman but did not recognize her as Tamar because of the veil she wore over her face. Thinking she was a prostitute, he requested her services. Tamar's plan was to become pregnant by this ruse in order to bear a child in Judah's line, because Judah had not given her to his son Shelah. So she played the part of a prostitute and struck a deal with Judah for a goat with a security deposit of his staff, seal, and cord. When Judah was able to have a goat sent to Enaim, in order to collect his staff and seal, the woman was nowhere to be found and no one knew of any prostitute in Enaim. 

Three months later, Tamar was accused of prostitution on account of her pregnancy. Upon hearing this news, Judah ordered that she be burned to death. Tamar sent the staff, seal, and cord to Judah with a message declaring that the owner of these items was the man who had made her pregnant. Upon recognizing his security deposit, Judah released Tamar from her sentence. Tamar's place in the family and Judah's posterity secured, she gives birth to twins, Perez and Zerah. More

The Antwerp School is a term for the artists active in Antwerp, first during the 16th century when the city was the economic center of the Low Countries, and then during the 17th century when it became the artistic stronghold of the Flemish Baroque under Peter Paul Rubens.

Antwerp took over from Bruges as the main trading and commercial center of the Low Countries around 1500. Painters, artists and craftsmen joined the Guild of Saint Luke, which educated apprentices and guaranteed quality.

The first school of artists that emerged in the city were the Antwerp Mannerists, a group of anonymous late Gothic painters active in the city from about 1500 to 1520. They were followed by Mannerist painters in the Italian tradition that developed at the end of the High Renaissance. Jan Gossaert was a major artist in the city at this time.

The iconoclastic riots of 1566 that preceded the Dutch Revolt resulted in the destruction of many works of religious art, after which time the churches and monasteries had to be refurnished and redecorated. Artists such as Otto van Veen and members of the Francken family, working in a late mannerist style, provided new religious decoration. It also marked a beginning of economic decline in the city, as the Scheldt river was blockaded by the Dutch Republic in 1585 diminishing trade.

The city experienced an artistic renewal in the 17th century. The large workshops of Peter Paul Rubens and Jacob Jordaens, and the influence of Anthony van Dyck, made Antwerp the center of the Flemish Baroque. The city was an internationally significant publishing centre, and had a huge production of old master prints and book illustrations. Many artists joined the Guild of Romanists, a society for which having visited Rome was a condition of membership. But as the economy continued to decline, and the Habsburg Governors and the Church reduced their patronage, many artists trained in Antwerp left for the Netherlands, England, France or elsewhere, and by the end of the 17th century Antwerp was no longer a major centre for art. More

Belgian School, 16th Century
The Conversion of Saint Paul
Oil on canvas
80.2 x 116.2cm (31 9/16 x 45 3/4in)
Private collection

The painting records the moment when Saul of Tarsus, on his way to Damascus to annihilate the Christian community there, is struck blind by a brilliant light and hears the voice of Christ saying, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?...And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid, but they heard not the voice..." (Acts 22:6-11). Elsewhere Paul claims to have seen Christ during the vision, and it is on this basis that he grounds his claim be recognised as an Apostle: "Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?" More

Pieter van Lint, (1609–1690)
David and Bathsheba
Oil on canvas
81.2 x 182.8cm (31 15/16 x 71 15/16in)
Private collection

David and Bathsheba. The story is told that David, while walking on the roof of his palace, saw Bathsheba, who was then the wife of Uriah, having a bath. He immediately desired her and later made her pregnant. In an effort to conceal his sin, and save Bathsheba from punishment for adultery, David summoned her husband, Uriah, and gave the order that Uriah should be placed in the front lines of the battle, where it was the most dangerous, and left to the hands of the enemy. After Uriah was dead, David made the now widowed Bathsheba his wife.

David's action was displeasing to the Lord, who accordingly sent Nathan the prophet to reprove the king. The king at once confessed his sin and expressed sincere repentance. Bathsheba's child by David was struck with a severe illness and died a few days after birth, which the king accepted as his punishment.

In David's old age, Bathsheba secured the succession to the throne of her son Solomon, according to David's earlier promise, instead of David's eldest surviving son Adonijah. More

Pieter van Lint or Peter van Lint (1609–1690) was a Flemish painter, draughtsman and designer of tapestries. He excelled in history paintings, genre scenes and portraits in the Flemish Baroque style with some Classisizing influence. He worked in Antwerp and Italy.

He was born in Antwerp where he trained under Artus Wolffort. During his training he frequently visited Antwerp’s churches to copy the paintings of his contemporaries such as Peter Paul Rubens as well as those of earlier generations such as Marten de Vos and the Francken brothers.

Van Lint become a master in the Guild of Saint Luke in 1633. In that same year he traveled to Rome where he remained until 1640. In Rome he worked for Cardinal Domenico Ginnasi, Bishop of Ostia, who employed him to decorate the local cathedral. Van Lint also frescoed the Cybo family chapel in the Santa Maria del Popolo with the Legend of the True Cross in 1636-40. He spent time in Paris from 1640 to 1641 where he possibly was in contact with Poussin. More

Pieter Lisaert IV, Flemish, 1595-1629
David and Abigail
Oil on panel
22 1/2 x 33 1/2 inches (57 x 85 cm)
Private collection

Abigail is a lesser-known heroine in the Bible, a humble woman who was married to a wealthy scoundrel. Abigail combined her wisdom with her wealth to appear before an approaching enemy to plead for the safety of Nabal's, her husband's, household. 

David became aware that Nabal, a wealthy and influential man from Maon, who was in Carmel for a sheep-shearing festival. David and his men had helped Nabal's shepherds, and so David sought food for his men in exchange. But Nabal was too prideful to acknowledge David, believing his goods were too valuable to give away. David became angry and summoned his men to prepare for vengeance.

David and 400 of his men were on their way to seek vengeance for Nabal's foolish response. But one of Nabal's servants informed Abigail of David's intentions were upon his arrival. Abigail knew who David was and the One that he served. Without hesitation, and without telling her husband, Abigail gathered together food supplies and loaded them on donkeys. Then she headed out to meet the future king of Israel.

When Abigail saw David, she delivered the most humble, heartfelt plea for David to spare her husband's household. She admitted that her husband was a man of bad character, she reminded David that his enemies would be destroyed because of God's justice, and his own house would endure. She only asked in return that, when God had fulfilled everything He had promised, that David remember her.

David heeded Abigail's words. He respected her for the great respect she showed her husband's household, despite his faulty character. He sent her away with a blessing, promising her safe return home and the preservation of the men of Nabal.

Abigail waited until morning to tell Nabal what she had done. Her report to him caused his heart to fail. Only 10 days later, Nabal died.

When David had learned that Nabal was dead, he remembered Abigail and sent for her to become his wife. More

Pieter Lisaert ( Antwerp , 1574-  C. 1630) was a Flemish painter , specializing in historic religious and allegorical paintings.

Poorly known biography has his birth in Antwerp, where he was baptized on June 24, 1574, and his marriage to Suzanne van Horne in 1595. Member of a family of artists and art dealers, his paintings reveal influences of Frans Francken the Elder.

His painting, "the parable of the foolish virgins and wise virgins" ( Matthew 25 : 1-13 was repeated several time. with a version at the Museo del Prado , another in the National Gallery of Finland, while the Museum of Fine Arts in Strasbourg retains a "Triumph of Time". More

Lambert Suavius, (c. 1510 - 1574/1576)
Christ in the house of Simon the Pharisee and other scenes from the Life of Christ
Oil on canvas
66 x 76.5cm (26 x 30 1/8in)
Private collection

Simon the Pharisee mentioned in the Gospel of Luke as the host of a meal, who invited Jesus to eat in his house but failed to show him the usual marks of hospitality offered to visitors - a greeting kiss, water to wash his feet, or oil for his head..

During the meal, a tearful woman identified as a sinner anointed Jesus' feet. He contrasted her faith and care with Simon's failure to show common decency, and accused him of being forgiven little and loving little. More

Lambert Suavius, (c. 1510 - 1574/1576). South Netherlandish printmaker, architect and poet. He was the son of the episcopal goldsmith Henri Zutman (1460–1512). He became a follower of his brother-in-law, Lambert Lombard, with whose work his own was formerly confused. Suavius became an independent master in 1539, when he married and bought a house in Liège. In the same year he purchased a glazier's stylus with a diamond point, which he used in addition to the standard engraver's burin to obtain a wider range of effects in his prints. He travelled to Italy, probably in the 1550s. His updated series of Views of Various Ruins (Hollstein, nos 90–117), including the Colosseum, evidently done in Rome, is executed entirely in etching, while his extensive series of portraits of the Roman emperors is done in a highly original mixture of engraving, drypoint and etching. 

In later years he designed a portion of the Antwerp Stadhuis (1561) and a portal (unexecuted) for the Rathaus of Cologne (1562). More

Spanish School, 16th Century
The Miraculous Mass of Saint Martin of Tours
oil on gold ground panel
81.6 x 54.2cm (32 1/8 x 21 5/16in)
Private collection

Some legendary anecdotes of the missionary journeys of Saint Martin have become so popular in France that they deserve to be recounted, one was that:

On occasions God showed forth the glory of Saint Martin of Tours in a visible way. One day when he was saying Mass in his Cathedral, some of those present saw his arms gleaming with precious jewels. But, if few were favoured with these mysterious visions, no one who came in contact with him could escape the force of spiritual strength which emanated from him. More

Spanish School, 16th Century. In the sixteenth century when Spain became a world power with vast possessions and sources of wealth in the New World, as well as possessions dotted about Europe, it might have been expected that a vigorous national school of painting would emerge, transforming the somewhat tentative or imitative character that painting in Spain had shown up to then. It turned out otherwise. For most of the 16th century, painting remained spiritless. Both the Emperor Charles V and his son Philip II of Spain were patrons with a feeling for art, but the great Venetians, especially Titian, claimed most of their interest. Philip also highly approved of the fantasies of Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516) - although the top Spanish clergy suspected heresy in these strange pictures from the Netherlands. More

John Riley Wilmer, 1883-1941
PICCARDA, c. 1919
Oil on canvas
123 by 192cm., 48½ by 75½in
Private collection

Piccarda is a character from Dante’s Divine Comedy. Sister of Corso Donati and of Dante's friend Forese Donati, she was the first person encountered by Dante in Paradise and the only person he recognised unaided. During her life she lived as a nun in a convent but was forced by her brother into an unhappy marriage with a Florentine man to strengthen her family’s political ambitions. Wilmer depicts her in the convent garden surrounded by monks, nuns and townspeople. More

John Riley Wilmer, (1883 - 1941) was a watercolourist, painter (gouache); of religious subjects, figures, genre scenes.

Four paintings by this artist were exhibited at the 150th Anniversary Exhibition at the RCPS in Falmouth (1983). He is credited with a triptych in the Warrior Chapel of Falmouth Parish church. In September 1900 he exhibited at the RCPS,

John Riley Wilmer studied with Charles Napier Hemy and was in contact with Henry Scott Tuke and Thomas C. Gotch. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1911 to 1926 and apparently lived in Falmouth. More

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt., A.R.A., R.W.S., 1833-1898
The Arming and Departure of the Knights of the Holy Grail, Number 2
 Tapestries Wool and silk on cotton warp
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

"As their meeting began, an elderly knight entered the hall. With him was the young man Lancelot had knighted the evening before. He was Galahad, Lancelot's son by Elaine. He took his rightful place at the Siege Perilous.

Shortly later, an image of the Holy Grail appeared, floating over the table. It was a sign. It was time for Arthur and his knights to seek out the Grail.

In the adventure that followed, Galahad quickly proved himself to be the greatest knight of all time. Whereas his father had been charismatic and charming, Galahad was pure of heart, and refrained from much temptation in order to pursue more heavenly ideals..."

Many of Arthur's knights sought out the Grail, but most returned badly wounded, or worse.   More

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1st Baronet ARA (28 August 1833 – 17 June 1898) was a British artist and designer closely associated with the later phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Burne-Jones was closely involved in the rejuvenation of the tradition of stained glass art in Britain. His early paintings show the heavy inspiration of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, but by the 1860s Burne-Jones was discovering his own artistic "voice". In 1877, he was persuaded to show eight oil paintings at the Grosvenor Gallery (a new rival to the Royal Academy). These included The Beguiling of Merlin. The timing was right, and he was taken up as a herald and star of the new Aesthetic Movement. More

Hans Jordaens III (Antwerp circa 1595-1643)
Saint Martin dividing his cloak 
Oil on copper
48.5 x 60.5cm (19 1/8 x 23 13/16in)
Private collection

St. Martin was born during the reign of the Emperor Constantine the Great, and was the son of a Roman soldier. He himself entered the army at an early age, and was sent into Gaul with a regiment of cavalry. Among his comrades he was loved for his mildness of temper and his generosity.

It happened that he was stationed in the city of Amiens, during a winter of unusual severity. There was great suffering among the poor, and many perished with cold and hunger. St. Martin was riding one day through the city gate, when he passed a naked beggar shivering on the pavement. Immediately he drew rein, and spoke pityingly to the poor creature. The young soldier was wearing over his coat of mail a long mantle. Slipping this garment from his shoulders he divided it with his sword, giving half to the beggar. More

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

After Federico Barocci, 17th Century
Saint Francis 
Oil on canvas
35 3/8 x 30 7/8 in. (89.9 x 78.4 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This canvas is conceived as a meditation on Saint Francis of Assisi (1181/82–1226), who is shown in a grotto on Mount La Verna, where he received the stigmata (depicted as protruding nails, in conformity with early Franciscan sources). Barocci was close to the Capuchin order, and this deeply felt work must have been intended for a Capuchin friar or for a supporter of the Franciscan order. More

Federico Barocci (c. 1526 in Urbino – 1612 in Urbino) was born in Urbino in central Italy into a family of artists, who provided his early training: Battista Franco and Bartolomeo Genga, his uncle. Apart from two trips to Rome early in his career was based there all his life, painting numerous altarpieces there and in the surrounding towns.

Barocci acted as the linchpin that joined the great masters of the sixteenth century with the new art, from Carracci to Guido Reni, that was to emerge in the next century. Barocci trained in his native Urbino with its incredible artistic legacy. Around 1550 he visited Rome briefly to discover and study the work of Raphael, also a native of Urbino. He seems to have been particularly conscious of Raphael's contribution to his own style.

Barocci was also strongly influenced by the compositions of other painters: Daniele da Volterra, the Venetians, and specifically Italian painter Correggio who by his painterly approach, which de-emphasized the hard outlines of objects. From his earliest work he incorporated Correggio's sunny grace enriched with his personal and warm taste for Venetian colour. He moved beyond the linear style of his teacher Battista Franco around 1563, when he discovered Correggio's sfumato effects, which made the defining lines of forms appear to dissolve into delicately colored, smoky mists. His works consist mainly of religious paintings, which combine the influence of Correggio and Raphael in a highly individual and sensitive manner.

In 1560 he went again to Rome, to work on a ceiling fresco for Pope Pius IV's Casino in the Vatican gardens. Barocci's decorations for the Casino used Correggio's sfumato technique, and he became so celebrated that they established his reputation as an up-and-coming young painter. But in 1563, before he had finished the project, Barocci fell ill; he is said to have abandoned his frescos for fear that rivals were trying to poison him, and returned to Urbino for good, working only two hours a day due to constant pain. More

Netherlandish School, 16th Century
oil on oak panel
33.7 x 53.5 cm.; 13 1/4  x 21 1/8  in
Private collection

This landscape depicts Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, as recounted in all the Gospels. As well as a vivid testament to the energetic fusion of styles and influences that contributed to the development of World Landscape painting in Antwerp in the first half of the sixteenth century, it also contains an unusually accurate early topographic depiction of the city of Jerusalem. The painting is likely by at least two different artists, the distant landscape closely resembling those of Herri Met de Bles, to whom the panel has long been attributed, and the figure group deriving from an altarpiece by Jan van Scorel. More

Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys, 1832-1904
ST. DOROTHY, c. 1904
Inscribed within the cartouche:
Her face more fair / Than sudden-singing April soft lands: / Eyed like a gracious bird.
coloured chalk on cream paper with watercolour wash
40 by 30.5cm., 15¾ by 12in
Private collection

The model for St Dorothy was the artist's youngest daughter Gertrude, known as 'Girlie' (1886-1920) who was depicted several times by her father, including Iris (sold in these rooms, 14 July 2016, lot 12). The drawing (and two other versions) was inspired by a poem by Sandys' friend Swinburne first published in 1866. It is possible that it was this version of St Dorothy that the artist referred to in a letter to his patron Harold Hartley in April 1904; 'I like it so much myself I should like you to have it. It still has a lot to be done - all over. The dress I shall do from an old one in Kensington Museum. It will occupy me for about a week - especially to finish the roses.' More

Dorothea of Caesarea (died ca. 311) is a 4th-century virgin martyr who was executed at Caesarea Mazaca. Evidence for her actual historical existence or acta is very sparse. She is called a martyr of the Diocletianic Persecution, although her death occurred after the resignation of Diocletian himself. 

She was brought before the prefect Sapricius, tried, tortured, and sentenced to death. On her way to the place of execution the pagan lawyer Theophilus said to her in mockery: "Bride of Christ, send me some fruits from your bridegroom's garden." Before she was executed, she sent him, by a six-year-old boy, her headdress which was found to be filled with a heavenly fragrance of roses and fruits. Theophilus at once confessed himself a Christian, was put on the rack, and suffered death. This is the oldest version of the legend, which was later variously enlarged. More

She should not be confused with another 4th-century saint, Dorothea of Alexandria.

Saint Dorothea of Alexandria (died c. 320) is venerated as a virgin martyr. Her legend states that she was courted by the Emperor Maximinus. She rejected his suit in favor of her adherence to Christianity and her commitment to virginity, and he had her beheaded c. 320.

Maximinus conceived an insane passion for a girl of noble birth noted for her wealth, education, and virginity. She fled to Arabia. More

Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys, 1832-1904
Mary Magdalene, circa 1859
Oil on wood panel
13.25 × 11 in (33.7 × 27.9 cm)
Delaware Art Museum

Mary Magdalene is a Pre-Raphaelite painting by Frederick Sandys. Mary Magdalene was the only figure from the Bible that Sandys ever painted. Mary is depicted in front of a patterned forest-green damask. She holds an alabaster ointment cup, a traditional attribute which associates her with the unnamed sinful woman who anointed Jesus' feet in Luke 7:37. Like other Pre-Raphaelite painters, Frederick Sandys gave Magdalene a sensual look.

Dante Rossetti accused Sandys of plagiarism, because of the resemblance to his Mary Magdalene Leaving the House of Feasting, but when Rossetti came to paint Magdalene some twenty years later, it was his painting that resembled Sandys (below).

Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys (born Antonio Frederic Augustus Sands) (Norwich 1 May 1829 – 25 June 1904 London), but usually known as Frederick Sandys, was an English Pre-Raphaelite painter, illustrator and draughtsman, of the Victorian era. He was born in Norwich, and received his earliest lessons in art from his father, Anthony Sands, who was himself a painter. His early studies show that he had a natural gift for careful and beautiful drawing. He was educated at Norwich School and later attended the Norwich School of Design in 1846. In the same and next year his talent was recognized by the Royal Society of Arts. More

He began his career as a portrait painter and antiquarian illustrator, exhibiting at the Norwich Art Union even as a boy. He moved to London in 1851 and worked as a draughtsman for wood engravers. Sandys was one of a group of high-calibre artists, known as the "Illustrators of the 60s". 

His carefree bohemian lifestyle saddled him with endless debt. He abandoned his first wife, had a brief flirtation with a gypsy girl and a long-term relationship with a young actress who bore him nine children. More

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, (1828 – 1882)
Mary Magdalene leaving the house of feasting
Watercolour on paper, dated 1857
35.6 x 20.6
Tate’s collection

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, (1828 – 1882)
Mary Magdalene leaving the house of feasting

This was made as a companion picture for 'Mary Nazarene', contrasting the penitent Magdalene with the purity of the Virgin (below). The Magdalene holds the jar of ointment that she used to anoint Christ's feet. Her hair is traditionally shown long and loose, both for its erotic associations and because she used it to wipe Christ's feet. Her robe is red, symbolising passion. Christ is shown as a minute figure in the distance.

The simplified geometrical form of the steps, the well and buildings in the background appears to be based on the study of medieval manuscript illumination. Here, though, Rossetti has shown the steps covered in moss. More

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (12 May 1828 – 9 April 1882) was an English poet, illustrator, painter and translator. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais. Rossetti was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement. His work also influenced the European Symbolists and was a major precursor of the Aesthetic movement.

Rossetti's personal life was closely linked to his work, especially his relationships with his models and muses Elizabeth Siddal, Fanny Cornforth and Jane Morris. More

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, (1828 – 1882)
Mary Nazarene, c. 1857
Watercolour on paper
343 x 197 mm
Tate’s collection

Acknowledgement: Bonhams

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