Sunday, July 9, 2017

10 Paintings, RELIGIOUS ART - Interpretations of the Bible! by The Old Masters, With Footnotes # 53

Florentine School, 17th century
Oil on canvas
71,5 x 149 cm ; 28 by 58 3/4  in
Private Collection

The Queen of Sheba is a Biblical figure. The tale of her visit to King Solomon has undergone extensive Jewish, Arabian and Ethiopian elaborations, and has become the subject of one of the most widespread and fertile cycles of legends in the Orient.
The queen of Sheba came to Jerusalem "with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices, and very much gold, and precious stones"). "Never again came such an abundance of spices" as those which she gave to Solomon. She came "to prove him with hard questions", all of which Solomon answered to her satisfaction. They exchanged gifts, after which she returned to her land. More on The Queen of Sheba

Florentine painting or the Florentine School refers to artists in, from, or influenced by the naturalistic style developed in Florence in the 14th century, largely through the efforts of Giotto di Bondone, and in the 15th century the leading school of Western painting. Some of the best known artists of the Florentine school, including other arts, are Filippo Brunelleschi, Donatello, Michelangelo, Fra Angelico, Botticelli, Filippo Lippi, Ghirlandaio,Masolino, and Masaccio. More on the Florentine painting or the Florentine School 

Pieter Thijs, ANVERS, 1624 - 1677
Oil on its original canvas
122 x 113,5 cm ; 48 by 44 3/4  in
Private Collection

According to the Bible, God commands Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. After Isaac is bound to an altar, the angel of God stops Abraham at the last minute, saying "now I know you fear God." At this point, Abraham sees a ram caught in some nearby bushes and sacrifices the ram instead of Isaac. More on the sacrifice if Isaac

Pieter Thijs, Peter Thijs or Pieter Thys (Antwerp, 1624 – Antwerp, 1677) was a Flemish painter of portraits as well as religious and history paintings. He was a very successful artist who worked for the courts in Brussels and The Hague as well as for many religious institutions. His work was close to the courtly and elegant style of Anthony van Dyck and his followers. More on Pieter Thijs

Marcello Venusti, CÔME VERS 1512 - 1579 ROME
Oil on panel
55 x 40 cm ; 21 1/2  by 15 3/4  in
Private Collection

Jesus came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.. Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.

A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?" Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink', you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." The woman said to him, "Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?" Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life." The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water." More on the Samaritan woman

Marcello Venusti (1512/5 – 15 October 1579) was an Italian Mannerist painter active in Rome in the mid-16th century. He was reputed to have been a pupil of Perino del Vaga. He is known for a scaled copy in oils (now Museo di Capodimonte, Naples) of Michelangelo's Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel, commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, and completed in the master's lifetime and meeting his approval. This is how the looked after many of the nude figures had draperies added in the 1560s,

His painting of Christ in the Garden is in the Galleria Doria Pamphilj. Buonarroti engaged him to paint an Annunciation from his design for the Capella de' Cesi in the church of Santa Maria della Pace. The copy of the Last Judgment is now at Naples. In the Palazzo Borghese there is a Christ bearing His Cross by him, from a design by Michelangelo. A Prayer on the Mount of Olives is in Sant' Ignazio at Viterbo, and a Holy Family, and a Christ expelling the Money-Changers in the National Gallery in London. Alnwick Castle in Northumberland also displays a Holy Family (below). There is also a Christ in Purgatory in Palazzo Colonna in Rome. More on Marcello Venusti 

Marcello Venusti,  (1512/1515–1579)
The Holy Family, c. 1565
Oil on canvas
National Gallery, London

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 

Marcello Venusti  (1512/1515–1579), see above

Milanese school, 17th century
Oil on canvas
98 x 76 cm ; 38 1/2  by 30  in
Private Collection

Charles Borromeo (2 October 1538 – 3 November 1584) was archbishop of Milan from 1564 to 1584 and a cardinal. He was a leading figure of the Counter-Reformation combat against the Protestant Reformation, together with St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Philip Neri. In that role he was responsible for significant reforms in the Catholic Church, including the founding of seminaries for the education of priests. He is honoured as a saint by the Catholic Church, with a feast day on November 4, but is very dimly viewed by protestants. More on Charles Borromeo

Milan's figurative art flourished in the Middle-Ages, and the city became an important centre of Gothic art and architecture. Leonardo worked in Milan from 1482 until 1499.

The city was affected by the Baroque in the 17th and 18th centuries, and hosted numerous formidable artists, architects and painters of that period, such as Caravaggio and Francesco Hayez, which several important works are hosted in Brera Academy. More on the Milanese school

Penitent Magdalene
Oil on panel.
65 x 57,5 cm.
Private Collection

A sinner, perhaps a courtesan, Mary Magdalen was a witness of Christ who renounced the pleasures of the flesh for a life of penance and contemplation. Penitent Magdalene or Penitent Magdalen refers to a post-biblical period in the life of Mary Magdalene, according to medieval legend. 

Giampietrino, probably Giovanni Pietro Rizzoli (active 1495–1549), was a north Italian painter of the Lombard school and Leonardo's circle. Giampietrino was a very productive painter of large altarpieces, Madonnas, holy women in half figure, and mythological women.
Giampietrino has been regarded as a talented painter who contributed substantially to the distribution of the late style of Leonardo da Vinci. He copied numerous masterpieces by Leonardo, as well as leaving behind numerous capable original compositions of his own. Many of his works are preserved in multiple versions of the same subject. More Giampietrino
Lorenzo Sabatini, BOLOGNE VERS1530-1576 ROME
Oil on panel
107 x 82,5 cm ; 42 1/4  by 32 1/2  in
Private Collection
The bride of Christ being Saint Catherine, the subject of this painting, was widespread during the 9th century and very common with Lorenzo Sabatini. The theme can be found in his works at the Museum of Fine Arts in Bordeaux, the Staatliche Gemäldegalerie in Dresden, and the Louvre. The patron saint of young ladies unites herself here to Christ the child in His mother's arms, and wears the crown of martyrdom, a testimony of her decapitation by the Emperor Maxentius, whom she refused to marry. The Virgin Mary's gentle face is typical of the Bolognese painter who worked for Pope Gregory XIII and alongside Vasari in Rome, and was the master of Denys Calvaert, who before Carracci, was one of the pioneers of the Bolognese school. More on this painting

Lorenzo Sabbatini or Sabatini, Sabattini or Sabadini (c. 1530–1576), sometimes referred to as Lorenzino da Bologna, was an Italian painter of the Mannerist period from Bologna.  His style was also influenced by Giorgio Vasari and the Emilian mannerism of Parmigianino.

By 1565 he was working with the studio of Giorgio Vasari in Florence, where he was elected member of the Academy. Between 1566 and 1573 he was in Bologna, where he decorated the walls of several churches, including Santa Maria delle Grazie, Chiesa della Morte, San Martino Maggiore, and San Giacomo Maggiore.

In 1573 he moved to Rome to work under Vasari in the Cappella Paolina, where he adopted many of the stylistic traits of Raphael's school and produced perhaps his most famous painting, The Triumph of Faith over Infidelity. After Vasari's death in 1574, Gregory XIII appointed Sabatini superintendent of works in the Vatican, a post he retained until his own premature death.

Sabbatini died in Rome in 1577. His students included the engraver Giulio di Antonio Bonasone and the painter of Flemish origin, Denis Calvaert. More on Lorenzo Sabbatini 
Attributed to Otto Venius, LEYDE 1556 - 1629 BRUXELLES
Oil on panel
Private Collection

Jesus and the woman taken in adultery is a famous passage found in the Gospel of John 7:53-8:11, that has been the subject of much scholarly discussion. In the passage, Jesus has sat down in the temple to teach some of the people. A group of scribes and Pharisees confront Jesus, interrupting his teaching session. They bring in an adulteress, and invite Jesus to pass judgment upon her: should she be stoned, as Moses taught, or not? Jesus first ignores the interruption, and writes on the ground as though he does not hear them. But after the religious leaders continue their challenge, he states that the one who is without sin is the one who should cast the first stone. The religious leaders depart, leaving Jesus and the woman in the midst of the crowd. Jesus then asks the woman if anyone has condemned her. When she answers that no one has condemned her, Jesus says that he, too, does not condemn her, and tells her to go and sin no more. More on Jesus and the woman taken in adultery

Otto van Veen, also known by his Latinized name Otto Venius or Octavius Vaenius, (c.1556 – 6 May 1629) was a painter, draughtsman, and humanist active primarily in Antwerp and Brussels in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century. He is known for running a large studio in Antwerp, producing several emblem books, and for being, from 1594 or 1595 until 1598, Peter Paul Rubens's teacher. His role as a classically educated humanist artist (a pictor doctus), reflected in the Latin name by which he is often known, Octavius Vaenius, was influential on the young Rubens, who would take on that role himself. More on Otto van Veen,

"Virgin with Child surrounded by angels" Circa 1482-1485
Tempera and oil with gilded stucco on pine panel. 
179 x 88 cm.
Private Collection

Fragment of an altarpiece, central panel, originally from Barbastro, possibly from Saint Francisco Monastery.

Mary is enthroned with the Christ Child on her knees, surrounded by angels. One of these offers Mary a plate of fruit, Jesus is holding a piece of fruit from another plate and offering it to His mother. At their feet a quarter waxing moon evokes the astral attributes that often accompany the Virgin. As Albert Velasco points out: “The throne has a complex structure with base and uprights topped with a bed-canopy shaped structure… Four angels dressed as deacons are placed around the throne, two are standing holding the trays of fruits, and two more at the back are playing musical instruments.”

Two panels from the same altarpiece, “Saint Gregory the Great” and “Saint Michael Archangel” can currently be found in the Diocesan Museum of Barbastro-Monzón. More on this painting

Pedro Garcia Benavarre, or Benabarre (Benabarre, Huesca 1445-1485) was a Spanish-Flemish Gothic painter active in Aragon and Catalonia. Garcia was documented in 1445 in Zaragoza in Blasco union Grañén painter, who could be his teacher and with whom he collaborated as an assistant between 1445 and 1447. This Zaragoza highlights the execution stage of the altarpiece of Villarroya of Campo. The two partners also worked at painting altarpieces for the church of the monastery of San Pedro de Siresa in Jacetania.

In 1452 he was established in Benabarre and worked on his own. From there he moved to Barcelona in 1455, hired by the widow and son of Bernat Martorell, with whom he pledged to finalize unfinished works by the master.

It is likely that the terms of the contract signed with the Martorell were not met in full. Benabarre then worked at various nearby locations. At this stage, he had contracted to paint numerous altarpieces, including his most famous works: the Virgin enthroned and four angels or Virgen de Bellcaire, from the parish church of Bellcaire d'Urgell, now at the National Museum Art de Catalunya.

By 1481 he settled in Barbastro, painting the altarpiece at the church of the convent of San Francisco 

More than forty works have been attributed Pedro Garcia de Benabarre. More on Pedro Garcia de Benabarre

Saint Gregory the Great
Fresco with touches of tempera
124 x 74 cm.
Private Collection

The saint is depicted with the customary papal attributes. 

Pope Saint Gregory I (c. 540 – 12 March 604), commonly known as Saint Gregory the Great, was pope of the Catholic Church from 3 September 590 to his death in 604. Gregory is famous for instigating the first recorded large-scale mission from Rome to convert a pagan people to Christianity. Gregory is also well known for his writings, which were more prolific than those of any of his predecessors as pope. He is also known as the Great Visionary of Modern Educational System, for his writings and contribution to the school system of education instead of apprenticeships based learning. The epithet Saint Gregory the Dialogist has been attached to him in Eastern Christianity because of his Dialogues. For this reason, English translations of Eastern texts will sometimes list him as Gregory "Dialogos" or the Latinized equivalent "Dialogus".

Although he was the first pope from a monastic background, his prior political experiences may have helped him to be a talented administrator, who successfully established papal supremacy. During his papacy he greatly surpassed with his administration the emperors in improving the welfare of the people of Rome. Gregory regained papal authority in Spain and France, and sent missionaries to England. The realignment of barbarian allegiance to Rome from their Arian Christian alliances shaped medieval Europe. Gregory saw Franks, Lombards, and Visigoths align with Rome in religion. More Pope Saint Gregory I

Tempera, oils and pricked gold on board
Originally from an altarpiece
93 x 80,5 cm.
Private Collection

The painting depicts the episode from the Passion of Christ according to the Gospel of Saint Luke, the prayer in the olive grove which occurred after the last supper, and before His arrest in Gethsemane. In the centre of the scene Christ is kneeling in prayer. On his left are eight apostles in a cave and in the foreground on a diagonal are Peter, John and James. While the disciples sleep, Jesus prays, and an angel appears to comfort him carrying a chalice, symbol of the Passion. At the back, in perspective, a group of soldiers appears, headed by Judas coming from Jerusalem to seize Him. More on this painting

Juan Rexach, (fl. 1431-1482) was a Spanish painter and miniaturist. His date of birth is not known. Most of his life is scarcely documented. He studied with Jacomart, in whose studio he worked, and after a period of time Rexach succeeded his master. He completed some altarpieces left incomplete by Jacomart, and worked with him on certain commissions, so sometimes attributions can be difficult. Rexach opted for large formats and monumental treatment of the figures.

Rexach was an eminent painter in Valencia during the 15th century. Although his works are markedly Spanish, they also reflect influences of other European artistic style, especially Flanders. More on Juan Rexach

Acknowledgement: Conde de Salvatierra, Sotheby's and others

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