Friday, December 29, 2017

05 Paintings, RELIGIOUS ART - Interpretations of the Bible! by The Old Masters, With Footnotes # 66

Jacopo Negretti, called Palma il Giovane (Venice circa 1548-1628)
The Marriage of the Virgin 
Oil on canvas
115 x 105cm (45 1/4 x 41 5/16in).
Private collection

The Marriage of the Virgin is the subject in Christian art depicting the marriage of the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph. Unlike many other scenes in Life of the Virgin cycles (like the Nativity of Mary and Presentation of Mary), it is not a feast in the church calendar.

In art the subject could be covered in several different scenes, and the betrothal of Mary, with Joseph's blossoming rod, was often shown, despite its apocryphal origin. Wedding processions are also shown, especially in the Early Medieval period.

The Golden Legend recounts how, when Mary was 14 and living in the Temple, the High Priest gathered all male descendants of David of marriageable age including Saint Joseph (though he was much older than the rest). The High Priest ordered them to each bring a rod; he that owned the rod which would bear flowers was divinely ordained to become Mary's husband. After the Holy Spirit descended as a dove and caused Joseph's rod to blossom, he and Mary were wed according to Jewish custom.  More The Marriage of the Virgin

Palma Vecchio (c. 1480 – July 1528), born Jacopo Palma and also known as Jacopo Negretti, was an Venetian painter of the Italian Renaissance. Palma is first recorded in Venice in 1510, but had probably already been there for some time. Palma came to follow the new style and subjects pioneered by Giorgione and Titian. After the deaths of Bellini and Giorgione, and the removal from Venice of Sebastiano del Piombo, Lorenzo Lotto and Previtali, before long Palma found himself, after Titian, the leading painter in Venice. 

He painted the new pastoral mythologies and half-length portraits, often of idealized beauties who, then as now, were enticingly suspected of being portraits of Venice's famous courtesans. He also painted religious pieces, in particular developing the sacra conversazioned. In other, secular, groups something seems to occurring between the figures, though exactly what is unclear. All these types of painting were patronized by wealthy Venetians for their homes.

He also painted traditional vertical altarpieces for churches inside Venice and around the Venetian territories on the mainland.

Palma's mature work from the 1520s shows a "High Renaissance style, characterized by his mastery of contrapposto, the enrichment of his high-keyed palette and the development of a dignified and diverse repertory of ideal human types in conservative compositions. More on Palma Vecchio

School of the Lower Rhine, circa 1510-15
Oil on oak panel
89.1 x 72.3 cm.; 35 x 28 1/2  in.
Private collection

The kiss of Judas, also known as the Betrayal of Christ, is how Judas identified Jesus to the multitude with swords and clubs who had come from the chief priests and elders of the people to arrest him, according to the Synoptic Gospels. The kiss is given by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane after the Last Supper and leads directly to the arrest of Jesus by the police force of the Sanhedrin.

More broadly, a Judas kiss may refer to "an act appearing to be an act of friendship, which is in fact harmful to the recipient" More on the Betrayal of Christ

Till-Holger Borchert situates this works in the immediate milieu of the workshop of Derick Baegert and his son Jan in Wesel.

Derick Baegert, (?), ca. 1440 - Wesel, ca. 1515was the head of a family of painters who worked in the Rhineland area in Germany during the last third of the 15th century and the first third of the 16th. Baegert organised a productive workshop in Wesel with his son Jan and Jan Joest, who was possibly his nephew. He also worked in Dortmund, Cologne and Kalkar. Stylistic similarities between his work and that of the Utrecht school suggests that he trained there. In 1476 he is recorded in Wesel, a city where his son worked as an independent master in 1490. Father and son travelled together to the Low Countries in 1482, a fact that is crucial for the evolution of their art. Although he borrowed elements from Netherlandish art, Derick’s style always remained close to that of the late Gothic. He tended to locate his figures in a narrow zone that acts as an intermediary point between the foreground and background. More on Derick Baegert

Master of the Female Half-Lengths
Oil on panel
central panel: 68 x 41.5 cm.; 26 3/4  x 16 1/4  in.
wings, each: 72 x 19 cm.; 28 1/4  x 7 1/2  in.
Private collection

The Master of the Female Half-Lengths was a painter, or likely a group of painters of a workshop, active in the sixteenth century. The name was given in the 19th century to identify the maker or makers of a body of work consisting of 67 paintings to which since 40 more have been added.

The works were apparently the product of a large workshop that specialized in small-scale panels depicting aristocratic young ladies at half-length. The ladies are engaging in various activities such as reading, writing, or playing musical instruments and are typically placed in a wood-panelled interior or against a neutral background. Some of the women are represented with an ointment jar, the attribute of Mary Magdalene. To the Master are also attributed a few paintings of mythological subjects and copies of standardized compositions such as the Crucifixion, the Deposition, the Virgin of Sorrows, St Jerome and Lucretia.

There is no agreement on the Master’s identity and the place and period of his activity. Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, Mechelen and the French court have been proposed for the location of his workshop. Estimates for his period of activity vary from the early to the late 16th century. More on The Master of the Female Half-Lengths

Master of the Female Half-Lengths
oil on panel
central panel: 68 x 41.5 cm.; 26 3/4  x 16 1/4  in.
wings, each: 72 x 19 cm.; 28 1/4  x 7 1/2  in.
Private collection

Saint Sebastian (died c. 288 AD) was an early Christian saint and martyr. Sebastian had prudently concealed his faith, but in 286 was detected. Diocletian reproached him for his betrayal, and he commanded him to be led to a field and there to be bound to a stake so that archers from Mauritania would shoot arrows at him. "And the archers shot at him till he was as full of arrows as an urchin is full of pricks, and thus left him there for dead." Miraculously, the arrows did not kill him.

Sebastian later stood by a staircase where the emperor was to pass and harangued Diocletian for his cruelties against Christians. This freedom of speech, and from a person whom he supposed to have been dead, greatly astonished the emperor; but, recovering from his surprise, he gave orders for his being seized and beat to death with cudgels, and his body thrown into the common sewer. A pious lady, called Lucina, admonished by the martyr in a vision, got it privately removed, and buried it in the catacombs at the entrance of the cemetery of Calixtus, where now stands the Basilica of St. Sebastian. More St. Sebastian

SAINT GERTRUDE OF NIVELLES was born at Landen, Belgium in 626 and died at Nivelles, 659. Both her parents, Pepin of Landen and Itta were held to be holy by those who knew them; her sister Begga is numbered among the Saints. On her husband's death in 640, Itta founded a Benedictine monastery at Nivelles, which is near Brussels, and appointed Gertrude its abbess when she reached twenty, tending to her responsibilities well, with her mother's assistance, and following her in giving encouragement and help to monks, particularly Irish ones, to do missionary work in the locale. 

She was known for her hospitality to pilgrims and her aid to missionary monks from Ireland as we indicated above: She gave land to one monk so that he could build a monastery at Fosse. By her early thirties Gertrude had become so weakened by the austerity of abstaining from food and sleep that she had to resign her office, and spent the rest of her days studying Scripture and doing penance. 

Devotion to St. Gertrude became widely spread in the Lowlands and neighboring countries.

Another patronage is to travelers on the high seas. It is held that one sailor, suffering misfortune while under sail, prayed to the Saint and was delivered safely. More on Saint Gertrude

John William Waterhouse, (1849–1917
Saint Cecilia, c. 1895
Oil on canvas
Legion of Honor, San Francisco

Saint Cecilia is the patroness of musicians. It is written that as the musicians played at her wedding she "sang in her heart to the Lord". She is one of seven women, excluding the Blessed Virgin, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.

According to the story, despite her vow of virginity, she was forced by her parents to marry a nobleman named Valerian. During the wedding, Cecilia sat apart singing to God in her heart, and for that she was later declared the saint of musicians. When the time came for her marriage to be consummated, Cecilia told Valerian that she had an angel of the Lord watching over her who would punish him if he dared to violate her virginity but who would love him if he could respect her maidenhood. When Valerian asked to see the angel, Cecilia replied that he would see the angel if he would go to the third milestone on the Via Appia (the Appian Way) and be baptized by Pope Urbanus.] After his baptism, he found an angel standing by the side of Cecilia, and crowning her with a chaplet of roses and lilies.

The martyrdom of Cecilia is said to have followed that of Valerian and his brother by the prefect Turcius Almachius. The legend about Cecilia’s death says that after being struck three times on the neck with a sword, she lived for three days, and asked the pope to convert her home into a church. More on Saint Cecilia

John William Waterhouse (April 6, 1849 – February 10, 1917) was an English painter known for working in the Pre-Raphaelite style. He worked several decades after the breakup of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which had seen its heyday in the mid-nineteenth century, leading to his sobriquet "the modern Pre-Raphaelite". Borrowing stylistic influences not only from the earlier Pre-Raphaelites but also from his contemporaries, the Impressionists, his artworks were known for their depictions of women from both ancient Greek mythology and Arthurian legend.
Born in Italy to English parents who were both painters, he later moved to London, where he enrolled in the Royal Academy of Art. He soon began exhibiting at their annual summer exhibitions, focusing on the creation of large canvas works depicting scenes from the daily life and mythology of ancient Greece. Later on in his career he came to embrace the Pre-Raphaelite style of painting despite the fact that it had gone out of fashion in the British art scene several decades before. More on John William Waterhouse

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