Saturday, September 23, 2017

08 Paintings, RELIGIOUS ART - Interpretations of the Bible! by The Old Masters, With Footnotes # 58

Domenico Ghirlandaio, (1449–1494)
Visitation, circa 1491
Tempera on wood
Height: 172 cm (67.7 in). Width: 165 cm (65 in).
Louvre Museum

This panel is a fine example of fifteenth-century Florentine painting. Artists of the time followed classical dictates: body proportions were idealised while faces left devoid of expression were expected to convey character. The model has been identified as Giovanna Tornabuoni on the basis of a medallion by Niccolò Fiorentino showing her likeness and her name. More on Florentine painting

This scene portrays the meeting of Mary with the aged Elizabeth. The complex composition includes in the centre the key episode, the relevance of which is strengthened by the converging lines of a wall in perspective and a ravine in the background. Behind Elizabeth are two maidens, while on the two extremities are other groups of women. The group on the right include portraits of contemporaries: the first, in profile, is Giovanna degli Albizzi, who had married Giovanni Tornabuoni's son. Vasari wrongly identified her as Ginevra de' Benci. More on this painting

The Visitation. Mary visits her relative Elizabeth; they are both pregnant. Mary is pregnant with Jesus and Elizabeth is pregnant with John the Baptist. Elizabeth was in the sixth month before Mary came. Mary stayed three months, and most scholars hold she stayed for the birth of John. The apparition of the angel, mentioned in Matthew, may have taken place then to end the tormenting doubts of Joseph regarding Mary's maternity.

In Catholicism, it is held that the purpose of this visit was to bring divine grace to both Elizabeth and her unborn child. Even though he was still in his mother's womb, John became aware of the presence of Christ, and leapt for joy as he was cleansed from original sin and filled with divine grace. Elizabeth also responded and recognised the presence of Jesus, and thus Mary exercised her function as mediatrix between God and man for the first time. More on The Visitation

Domenico Ghirlandaio (2 June 1448 – 11 January 1494) was an Italian Renaissance painter born in Florence. Ghirlandaio was part of the so-called "third generation" of the Florentine Renaissance, along with Verrocchio, the Pollaiolo brothers and Sandro Botticelli. Ghirlandaio led a large and efficient workshop that included his brothers Davide Ghirlandaio and Benedetto Ghirlandaio, his brother-in-law Bastiano Mainardi from San Gimignano, and later his son Ridolfo Ghirlandaio. Many apprentices passed through Ghirlandaio's workshop, including the famous Michelangelo. Ghirlandaio's particular talent lay in his ability to posit depictions of contemporary life and portraits of contemporary people within the context of religious narratives, bringing him great popularity and many large commissions. More on Domenico Ghirlandaio

Jacques Blanchard, PARIS 1600 - 1638
Oil on canvas
82,5 x 69 cm ; 32 1/2  by 27 in
Private collection

The Madonna and Child or The Virgin and Child is often the name of a work of art which shows the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus. The word Madonna means "My Lady" in Italian. Artworks of the Christ Child and his mother Mary are part of the Roman Catholic tradition in many parts of the world including Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, South America and the Philippines. Paintings known as icons are also an important tradition of the Orthodox Church and often show the Mary and the Christ Child. They are found particularly in Eastern Europe, Russia, Egypt, the Middle East and India. More on The Madonna and Child

Jacques Blanchard (1600–1638), also known as Jacques Blanchart, was a French baroque painter who was born in Paris. He was raised and taught by his uncle, the painter Nicolas Bollery (fr) (ca. 1560–1630). Jacques’s brother and son, Jean-Baptiste Blanchard (painter) (fr) (after 1602–1665) and Gabriel Blanchard (1630–1704), respectively were also painters.

Blanchard moved to Rome in 1624. He also worked in Venice and Turin where he was commissioned to paint by the Duke of Savoy. He returned to Paris in 1628 from which year most of his paintings are dated. He developed a style unique in France at the time and reminiscent of both Titian and Tintoretto. More on Blanchard

Ventura Salimbeni, (Italian, 1568-1613),
"Pitta with Two Angels," circa 1604
Oil on canvas, canvas
21"h x 17"w
Private collection

The Pietà is a subject in Christian art depicting the dead body of Jesus, most often found in sculpture. As such, it is a particular form of the Lamentation of Christ, a scene from the Passion of Christ found in cycles of the Life of Christ. When Christ and the Virgin are surrounded by other figures from the New Testament, the subject is strictly called a Lamentation in English, although Pietà is often used for this as well, and is the normal term in Italian. More the Pietà

Ventura di Archangelo Salimbeni (later called Bevilacqua); (20 January 1568 – 1613) was an Italian Counter-Maniera painter and printmaker highly influenced by the vaghezza and sensual reform of Federico Barocci.

He possibly spent some time, in Northern Italy and then moved to Rome in 1588 to work, together with others, on the fresco painting of the Vatican Library under pope Sixtus V. During 1590-1591, he received a commission for paintings in the Roman Jesuit Church of the Gesù and the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. Salimbeni returned to Siena in 1595. Here he persisted in a Reformist or Counter-Maniera style. 

He is known for detailed preparatory drawings, most of which are now in the Uffizi. He continued to create paintings for churches throughout Italy, including Florence. At the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata di Firenze, he frescoed lunettes (1605–1608) illustrating events in the history of the Servite Order. In the Duomo di San Salvatore, he executed a magnificent John the Baptist.

Around 1600, he got an assignment in Assisi for a fresco of the "Resurrection of Christ" and the "Dying Saint Clare is visited by the pope" in the vault of chapel of San Massimo in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli.

In 1603, Salimbeni was commissioned to paint frescoes for the church of Ss Quirico e Giulitta, one of the oldest churches in Siena. This period saw a proliferation of new assignments.  The papal legate, cardinal Bonifazio Bevilacqua (1571–1627), who had commissioned Salimbeni's paintings, was so pleased that he invested Ventura Salimbeni with the Order of the Golden Spur, a very selective papal order. He was even authorized from now on to name himself Cavalieri Bevilacqua. More on Ventura di Archangelo Salimbeni

Harmenszoon van Rijn q:en:Rembrandt, (1606–1669) 
The evangelist Matthew and the angel, c. 1661
Oil on canvas
Height: 96 cm (37.8 in). Width: 81 cm (31.9 in).
Louvre-Lens,  Pas-de-Calais, Northern France

St Matthew is often depicted with an angel-like boy. Contrary to the other evangelists his attribute is not an animal but a human being. That is because his gospel begins with a list of fathers and sons, Jesus' family tree.

Rembrandt has the boy whisper something in Matthew's ear. The boy resembles Rembrandt's son Titus. More on this picture

Matthew the Apostle was, according to the Bible, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and, according to Christian tradition, one of the four Evangelists. Among the early followers and apostles of Jesus, Matthew is mentioned in Matthew 9:9 and Matthew 10:3 as a publican who, while sitting at the "receipt of custom" in Capernaum, was called to follow Jesus. Matthew may have collected taxes from the Hebrew people for Herod Antipas. Matthew is also listed among the twelve, but without identification of his background
Later Church fathers claim that Matthew preached the Gospel to the Jewish community in Judea, before going to other countries. Ancient writers are not agreed as to what these other countries are. The Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church each hold the tradition that Matthew died as a martyr, although this was rejected by the gnostic heretic Heracleon as early as the second century. More on Matthew the Apostle

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (15 July 1606 – 4 October 1669) was a Dutch painter and etcher. He is generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art and the most important in Dutch history. His contributions to art came in a period of great wealth and cultural achievement that historians call the Dutch Golden Age when Dutch Golden Age painting dominated Europe, was extremely prolific and innovative, and gave rise to important new genres in painting.
Having achieved youthful success as a portrait painter, Rembrandt's later years were marked by personal tragedy and financial hardships. Yet his etchings and paintings were popular throughout his lifetime, his reputation as an artist remained high, and for twenty years he taught many important Dutch painters. His self-portraits form a unique and intimate biography, in which the artist surveyed himself without vanity and with the utmost sincerity.
In his paintings and prints he exhibited knowledge of classical iconography, which he molded to fit the requirements of his own experience; thus, the depiction of a biblical scene was informed by Rembrandt's knowledge of the specific text, his assimilation of classical composition, and his observations of Amsterdam's Jewish population. Because of his empathy for the human condition, he has been called "one of the great prophets of civilization. More on Rembrandt

Circle of Bernhard Strigel(circa 1460 Memmingen 1528) 
The apostles Matthew, Judas Thaddäus and Philip. 
Tempera on panel. 
36 x 36 cm. 
Private collection

The apostles Matthew, holding his book. Judas Thaddäus' special attribute is the ax, as a sign of his martyrdom. Philip the Apostle, holding a loaf of bread.

Bernhard Strigel (c. 1461 – May 4, 1528) was a German portrait and historical painter of the Swabian school, the most important of a family of artists established at Memmingen. He was born at Memmingen and was probably a pupil of Zeitblom at Ulm. He stood in high favor with the Emperor Maximilian I, in whose service he repeatedly journeyed to Augsburg, Innsbruck, and Vienna.

His religious paintings, which include four altar wings with scenes from the "Life of the Virgin," in the Berlin Gallery, and 10 paintings illustrating the "Genealogy of Christ," in the Germanic Museum, Nuremberg, are historically interesting, but of less artistic value than his portraits, which, though detailed, are ably handled and luminous in color. More on Bernhard Strigel

Lorenzo Sabatini, BOLOGNE VERS 1530-1576 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, was widespread during the 9th century and very common with Lorenzo Sabatini. 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. 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

Saint Catherine of Alexandria is, according to tradition, a Christian saint and virgin, who was martyred in the early 4th century at the hands of the pagan emperor Maxentius. According to her hagiography, she was both a princess and a noted scholar, who became a Christian around the age of fourteen, and converted hundreds of people to Christianity. She was martyred around the age of 18. Over 1,100 years following her martyrdom, St. Joan of Arc identified Catherine as one of the Saints who appeared to her and counselled her.

The Eastern Orthodox Church venerates her as a Great Martyr, and celebrates her feast day on 24 or 25 November (depending on the local tradition). In the Catholic Church she is traditionally revered as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. In 1969 the Catholic Church removed her feast day from the General Roman Calendar;[4] however, she continued to be commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on 25 November. More on Saint Catherine of Alexandria

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 

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

François-Joseph Heim, BELFORT 1787 - 1865 PARIS
Oil on canvas
18,5 x 23,7 cm ; 7 1/4 by 9 1/4 in
Private collection

According to the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, the author relates that after the battle of Raphia Ptolemy Philopator visited Jerusalem and declared that he would enter the Temple. By divine interposition, however, he fell to the ground stunned. When he had returned to Alexandria he caused all the Jews of Alexandria and Egypt to be bound and dragged into the arena to be trampled by his elephants; but the beasts threw themselves upon the king's troops instead. The Jews celebrated their escape by an annual feast-day. More from Jewish Encyclopedia

Ptolemy IV Philopator, (born c. 238 bce—died 205 bce), Macedonian king of Egypt (reigned 221–205 bc), under whose feeble rule, heavily influenced by favourites, much of Ptolemaic Syria was lost and native uprisings began to disturb the internal stability of Egypt.

Ptolemy as a drunken, debauched reveller, completely under the influence of his disreputable associates. At their instigation, Ptolemy arranged the murder of his mother, uncle, and brother.

In 219, Antiochus III, the Syrian Seleucid ruler, captured some of the coastal cities, Sosibius and the Ptolemaic court entered into delaying negotiations with the enemy, while the Ptolemaic army was reorganized and intensively drilled. In 218 Antiochus renewed his advance, overrunning Ptolemy’s forward defenses. In the spring of 217, however, Ptolemy’s army met the Seleucid forces near Raphia in southern Palestine, and was victorious. 

After Raphia, Ptolemy married his sister, Arsinoe, who bore him a successor in 210. The Egyptians, however, sensing their power, rose in a rebellion that Polybius, the Greek historian, describes as guerrilla warfare. By 205 the revolt had spread to Upper Egypt.

Ptolemy refused to become embroiled in the wars of the Greek states. In Syria, also, Ptolemy avoided involvement in local struggles. Ptolemy’s debauched and corrupt character, rather than his diplomatic acumen, kept him clear of foreign involvements. As his reign progressed, he fell increasingly under the influence of his favourites, and around November 205 he died. His clique of favourites kept Ptolemy’s death a secret and about a year later murdered Queen Arsinoe, leaving the young successor at their mercy. More on Ptolemy IV Philopator

François Joseph Heim, Dec 16, 1787 - Sep 29, 1865, was born at Belfort. He early distinguished himself at the École Centrale of Strassburg, and in 1803 entered the studio of Vincent at Paris. He was a fellow student of Horace Vernet. He won the second place in the 1806 Prix de Rome. In 1807 he obtained the first prize, and in 1812 his picture of "The Arrival of Jacob in Mesapotomia" won for him a gold medal of the first class, which he again obtained in 1817.

In 1819 the "Resurrection of Lazarus", the "Martyrdom of St Cyr", and two scenes from the life of Vespasian attracted attention. In 1823 the "Re-erection of the Royal Tombs at St Denis," the "Martyrdom of St Laurence" and several full-length portraits increased the painter's popularity; and in 1824, when he exhibited his great canvas, the "Massacre of the Jews", Heim was rewarded with the Legion of Honour. More on François Joseph Heim

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