Saturday, January 21, 2017

16 Paintings, scenes from the Bible, by The Old Masters, with footnotes # 37

Antwerp School, circa 1525
Oil on oak panel, with an arched top
29 1/8  by 21 7/8  in.; 74.1 by 55.2 cm.
Private Collection

The elongated figures, their exotic and colorful costumes, as well as the imaginative and ornate architectural elements are all characteristics of this short-lived artistic movement that found its fullest flowering in the economic capital of Northern Europe, but was paralleled in other centers in the Southern and Northern Netherlands, and in France and Germany.

Antwerp School, circa 1525
Detail, Casper, king of India

Two figures in the present painting are of those of Caspar, the kneeling magus in the foreground, and Balthasar, the magus standing at the right and wearing a turban.

Antwerp School, circa 1525
Detail, Balthazar, Balthazar, king of Arabia

Although similar in type and pose, the two figures depicted here are not identical and both the costumes and the form of the jeweled vessels brought as gifts differ from those seen in the Munich panel. The remaining figures and their setting, meanwhile, do not find direct parallels in other works and seem entirely original and of the artist’s own invention. 

Antwerp School, circa 1525
Detail, Melchior, king of Persia

The particularly rich setting of the scene, within an audaciously opulent interior, replete with elaborate columns and intricately carved reliefs, is a far cry from the humble stable of the Nativity but one to which the artist nonetheless alludes with the oxen peering from behind a column and the few stray ears of wheat seen in the foreground beside Balthasar’s meretricious boots. More THE ADORATION OF THE MAGI

Antwerp School, circa 1525

RUBENS, PIETER PAUL, Siegen, Westfalia, 1577 - Amberes, 1640
The Adoration of the Magi, c. 1628 - 1629
Oil on canvas
355.5 x 493 cm.
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

When Rubens visited Madrid on a diplomatic mission in 1628-29 he found this painting, which he himself had executed in 1609 for Antwerp city council, and which now belonged to Philip IV’s collection. He made substantial changes to the composition. He added a strip to the top of the scene and another to the right-hand side and adapted the language of the painting to the style he was then using, which was greatly inspired by Titian. He also included a portrait of himself on horseback with gold chain and sword, conveying his noble status. More

Sano di Pietro, SIENA 1405-1481
Tempera on panel, gold ground
8 1/2  by 10 1/2  in.; 21.6 by 26.8 cm
Private Collection

This depiction of Saint John the Evangelist by Sano di Pietro once formed part of an altarpiece predella, flanking an image of the Crucifixion at the right side, with a depiction of the mourning Virgin at the left.

Sano di Pietro, Sienese, 1405 - 1481
The Crucifixion, c. 1445/1450
Tempera on poplar panel
24.1 x 33.6 cm (9 1/2 x 13 1/4 in.)
National Gallery of Art

The identity of the saint was repeatedly misinterpreted over the course of the painting’s publication.  It was listed as the “Madonna of Humility” but it has also been thought to be Mary Magdalene, on account of the saint’s red robes.  The similarities in the representation of the present figure and the one at the right side of Sano di Pietro’s Man of Sorrows, in the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence (below), suggests this is in fact an image of Saint John the Evangelist.  The flower motif, which perhaps fueled the mystery of the saint’s identification, was likely to have been painted in at a later date.  The vertical line in the figure’s left was intended to represent the crease in the palm formed by the flesh of the thumb.  One hypothesis is that this line was misunderstood by a well-meaning restorer who, assuming something must be missing, added the delicate bloom, transforming the line into the extended stem of a flower. More

Sano di Pietro, SIENA 1405-1481
Pietatis Flanked by the Mourning Virgin and Saint John the Evangelist
Uffizi Gallery, Firenze, Italy

John the Evangelist is the name traditionally given to the author of the Gospel of John. Christians have traditionally identified him with John the Apostle, John of Patmos, and John the Presbyter, though this has been disputed by modern scholars.

Christian tradition says that John the Evangelist was John the Apostle. A historical figure, one of the "pillars" of the Jerusalem church after Jesus' death. He was one of the original twelve apostles and is thought to be the only one to have lived into old age and not be killed for his faith. John is associated with the city of Ephesus, where he is said to have lived and been buried. Some believe that he was exiled (around 95 AD) to the Aegean island of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. More

He wrote to the seven Christian churches in Asia to warn them of various challenges and temptations that confront them, which have been revealed to him in a vision. He then relates several additional powerful visions concerning the Last Days and the Second Coming of Christ. More

Sano di Pietro or Ansano di Pietro di Mencio (1406–1481) was an Italian painter of the Sienese school of painting. His career spanned from the end of the Trecento period into the Quattrocento period. His contemporaries included Giovanni di Paolo and Sassetta. His name enters the roll of painters in 1428 where it remained until his death in 1481. In addition to his own painting and overseeing the pupils and assistants in his workshop, he was also part of the civic fabric of Siena. There are city records showing his participation. Sano was also employed as an arbitrator; in 1475 he was called upon to settle a dispute between fellow painters Neroccio di Bartolommeo and Francesco di Giorgio Martini.

It was, however, as a painter that he made his living. The workshop he ran produced a huge number of artworks. Sano himself is quite interesting. He wasn't merely a painter of altar pieces. He also produced frescoes, miniatures, and book bindings. Book bindings are exquisite little paintings that went on the spine of a book. After a long and successful career Sano died in 1481. More Sano di Pietro

Netherlandish School, mid-16th Century
Oil on panel
17 3/4  by 21 7/8  in.; 45 by 55.5 cm.
Private Collection

With its myriad of figures, varied topography, and intricate details, this extensive panoramic view relates to the landscape tradition first established in the early sixteenth century by artists such as Joachim Patinir, Herri met de Bles, and Pieter Bruegel the Elder.  The genre remained popular in the Netherlands during the sixteenth century.  Small in size and easily transported, landscapes of this type found a strong market among connoisseurs and collectors throughout Europe from the mid-sixteenth century onward. 

Rendered from a birds-eye perspective, this Landscape unfolds over three registers.  From the dark and crowded foreground, to the crisp detailed rendering of a cityscape and its environs, to the atmospheric mist of the distant mountains.  

Netherlandish School, mid-16th Century
Detail, Owl

A small owl—a motif that appears in many Netherlandish landscapes of the sixteenth century—is perched on a branch in the lower right corner of this composition. 

Netherlandish School, mid-16th Century
Detail, fallen Saul

Behind the rearing horses and the soldiers that surround the fallen Saul who gazes up in awe at a vision of Christ, a seemingly infinite number of battling forces snake along a winding terrain. 

This elevated and darkened outcropping of land overlooks the varied architecture of a city resembling that of Jerusalem, which rises from within a deep valley.  Nearby, a lush forest that rolls gently up to a tranquil harbor and a rocky peak, and beyond the distant blue-toned terrain fades softly towards the horizon.

Netherlandish School, mid-16th Century
Detail, Jerusalem

The cityscape of Jerusalem in the present panel is based on a woodcut depicting a map of the Holy Land in Bernard von Breydenbach’s  Peregrinationes in Terram Sanctam first published 1486.  

Netherlandish School, mid-16th Century

Furthermore, the dynamic grouping of figures in the foreground have roots in a series of prints by Enea Vico after Francesco Salviati, which circulated throughout the Netherlands and were freely adapted by artists, including artists from the second half of the sixteenth century such as Frans Floris and Maerten de Vos. More LANDSCAPE WITH THE CONVERSION OF SAUL

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 Saul of Tarsus

Ansano di Michele Ciampanti, ACTIVE IN LUCCA CIRCA 1480-1532
Tempera on panel, a predella
13 1/4  by 18 1/2  in.; 33.7 by 47 cm.
Private Collection

This painting depicting scenes from the life of Saint Julian and Saint Catherine was accompanied by a second panel from the same predella,  but were later separated and the whereabouts of the companion panel, showing Saint John the Evangelist converting the philosopher Craton and Saint Justus distributing bread to soldiers, remain unknown. 

The panel is divided into two sections by a Solomonic column, with scenes from the lives of Saints Julian and Catherine of Alexandria at either side. 

Ansano di Michele Ciampanti, ACTIVE IN LUCCA CIRCA 1480-1532
Detail, Saint Catherine

The serene Saint Catherine is shown in fervent prayer, kneeling between the wheels of her instrument of torture. Ansano depicts the dramatic moment in which the spiked wheels fracture, leaving the saint unharmed but mortally wounding her executioners. 

Ansano di Michele Ciampanti, ACTIVE IN LUCCA CIRCA 1480-1532
Detail, Saint Julian

In his depiction of Saint Julian, meanwhile, Ansano chooses to represent the grisly episode for which the saint spent the remainder of his life in atonement. According to the Golden Legend, Julian abandoned his home and parents, having discovered he was destined to commit parricide. He later married and settled in a far-off region. Traveling in desperate search of their son, the parents happened upon his castle where, in the absence of her husband, Julian’s wife offered them her chamber as a gesture of hospitality. Upon his return, Julian took the couple for his wife and a lover and, unable to escape his destiny, he slew his parents as they slept.

Michele Ciampanti (active 1463-1510) was an Italian painter active mainly in Lucca. This painter has been identified as matching Berenson's putative Master of Stratonice, and is also called Michele di Michele Ciampanti. Biographical details about the painter were collected in the twentieth century. He seems to have either traveled to Siena or formed contacts with the work of other contemporary Tuscan painters. 

A short biography states that he was the illegitimate son, and likely pupil, of the painter Borghese di Piero Borghese, also known as the Master of the Santi Quirico e Giulitta. Documents state Michele Ciampanti was made heir of the painter in 1463, and attribute his birth to prior to 1447. He has been identified as likely a Michele da Lucca at work in 1467 in the Duomo di Pisa. The cassetoni of Stratonice and others depicting the Myth of Orpheus and Euridice and the Rape of Proserpine are attributed to a Florentine phase in the 1470s. He is said to have collaborated with Matteo Civitali and Baldassare di Biagio around 1476 in Lucca. Ciampanti is said to have painted frescoes in 1485 for the Chapel of San Regolo and in 1486 for the Ospedale di Camaiore in Lucca. His son, Ansano (Maestro di San Filippo) emerges in the late 1490s, and likely collaborated with him in some frescoes in the Baptistry of Lucca. In 1496, he painted for the tribune of the Pietrasanta Cathedral. More Michele Ciampanti

Raphael (Raffaelo Sanzio) 1483-1520
Saint Georges luttant contre le Dragon/ Saint Georges fighting the Dragon, c.  1505

Saint George (circa 275/281 – 23 April 303 AD) was a soldier in the Roman army who later became venerated as a Christian martyr. His parents were Christians of Greek background; his father Gerontius was a Roman army official from Cappadocia and his mother Polychronia was from Lydda, Syria Palaestina. Saint George became an officer in the Roman army in the Guard of Diocletian, who ordered his death for failing to recant his Christian faith.

In the fully developed Western version of the Saint George Legend, a dragon, or crocodile, makes its nest at the spring that provides water for the city of "Silene" (perhaps modern Cyrene in Libya or the city of Lydda in Palistine, depending on the source). Consequently, the citizens have to dislodge the dragon from its nest for a time, to collect water. To do so, each day they offer the dragon at first a sheep, and if no sheep can be found, then a maiden is the best substitute for one. The victim is chosen by drawing lots. One day, this happens to be the princess. The monarch begs for her life to be spared, but to no avail. She is offered to the dragon, but then Saint George appears on his travels. He faces the dragon, protects himself with the sign of the Cross, slays the dragon, and rescues the princess. The citizens abandon their ancestral paganism and convert to Christianity. Mor

Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (April 6 or March 28, 1483 – April 6, 1520), known as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form, ease of composition, and visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period.
Raphael was enormously productive, running an unusually large workshop and, despite his death at 37, leaving a large body of work. Many of his works are found in the Vatican Palace, where the frescoed Raphael Rooms were the central, and the largest, work of his career. The best known work is The School of Athens in the Vatican Stanza della Segnatura. After his early years in Rome much of his work was executed by his workshop from his drawings, with considerable loss of quality. He was extremely influential in his lifetime, though outside Rome his work was mostly known from his collaborative printmaking.
After his death, the influence of his great rival Michelangelo was more widespread until the 18th and 19th centuries, when Raphael's more serene and harmonious qualities were again regarded as the highest models. His career falls naturally into three phases and three styles, first described by Giorgio Vasari: his early years in Umbria, then a period of about four years (1504–1508) absorbing the artistic traditions of Florence, followed by his last hectic and triumphant twelve years in Rome, working for two Popes and their close associates. More

Follower of Guido Reni
Oil on canvas
118.2 x 131.2 cm.; 46 1/2  x 51 5/8  in
Private Collection

After the original painting by Reni in the National Gallery, London.

A fair Hebrew wife named Susanna was falsely accused by lecherous voyeurs. As she bathes in her garden, having sent her attendants away, two lustful elders secretly observe the lovely Susanna. When she makes her way back to her house, they accost her, threatening to claim that she was meeting a young man in the garden unless she agrees to have sex with them.
She refuses to be blackmailed and is arrested and about to be put to death for promiscuity when a young man named Daniel interrupts the proceedings, shouting that the elders should be questioned to prevent the death of an innocent. After being separated, the two men are questioned about details of what they saw, but disagree about the tree under which Susanna supposedly met her lover. In the Greek text, the names of the trees cited by the elders form puns with the sentence given by Daniel. The first says they were under a mastic, and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to cuthim in two. The second says they were under an evergreen oak tree, and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to saw him in two. The great difference in size between a mastic and an oak makes the elders' lie plain to all the observers. The false accusers are put to death, and virtue triumphs. More

Guido Reni (4 November 1575 – 18 August 1642) was an Italian painter of high-Baroque style. Born in Bologna into a family of musicians, Guido Reni was the son of Daniele Reni and Ginevra de’ Pozzi. As a child of nine, he was apprenticed under the Bolognese studio of Denis Calvaert. When Reni was about twenty years old he migrated to the rising rival studio, named Accademia degli Incamminati (Academy of the "newly embarked", or progressives), led by Lodovico Carracci. He went on to form the nucleus of a prolific and successful school of Bolognese painters who followed Annibale Carracci to Rome. Like many other Bolognese painters, Reni's painting was thematic and eclectic in style. More Guido Reni 

Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640)
Bathsheba at the Fountain, circa 1635
Oil on oak panel
Height: 175 cm (68.9 in). Width: 126 cm (49.6 in).
Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, Germany

Rubens depicts Bathsheba at her toilet, sitting at a fountain. A messenger is shown arriving with a letter sent by King David who is barely visible at the upper left corner of the painting

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

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 Rubens

After Sir Peter Paul Rubens
oil on slate
78.5 x 59.5 cm.; 30 7/8  x 23 3/8  in.
Private Collection


Sir Peter Paul Rubens (28 June 1577 – 30 May 1640) see above

Sir James Jebusa Shannon (1862–1923)
St. Michael of Belgium, c. 1914

Michael is an archangel in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran traditions, he is called "Saint Michael the Archangel" and "Saint Michael". In the Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox traditions, he is called "Taxiarch Archangel Michael" or simply "Archangel Michael".

Michael is mentioned three times in the Book of Daniel, once as a "great prince who stands up for the children of your people". The idea that Michael was the advocate of the Jews became so prevalent that, in spite of the rabbinical prohibition against appealing to angels as intermediaries between God and his people, Michael came to occupy a certain place in the Jewish liturgy.

In the New Testament Michael leads God's armies against Satan's forces in the Book of Revelation, where during the war in heaven he defeats Satan. In the Epistle of Jude Michael is specifically referred to as "the archangel Michael". Christian sanctuaries to Michael appeared in the 4th century, when he was first seen as a healing angel, and then over time as a protector and the leader of the army of God against the forces of evil. By the 6th century, devotions to Archangel Michael were widespread both in the Eastern and Western Churches. Over time, teachings on Michael began to vary among Christian denominations. More St. Michael 

Sir James Jebusa Shannon RA (1862–1923), Anglo-American artist, was born in Auburn, New York, and at the age of eight was taken by his parents to Canada.
When he was sixteen, he went to England, where he studied at South Kensington, and after three years won the gold medal for figure painting. His portrait of the Hon. Horatia Stopford, one of the queen's maids of honour, attracted attention at the Royal Academy in 1881, and in 1887 his portrait of Henry Vigne in hunting costume was one of the successes of the exhibition, subsequently securing medals for the artist at Paris, Berlin, and Vienna.

He soon became one of the leading portrait painters in London. He was one of the first members of the New English Art Club, a founder member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and in 1897 was elected an associate of the Royal Academy, and RA in 1909. His picture, "The Flower Girl", was bought in 1901 for the National Gallery of British Art. Shannon has paintings in the collection of a several British institutions including Sheffield, Derby Art Gallery, Glasgow Museum and Bradford Museum. More James Jebusa Shanno

Acknowledgement: Sotheby's

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