Thursday, January 26, 2017

12 Paintings, scenes from the Bible, by The Old Masters, with footnotes # 30

Egon Schiele, (June 12, 1890 – October 31, 1918)
Cardinal And Nun (Caress), c. 1912
Oil, canvas
Height: 700 mm (27.56 in). Width: 805 mm (31.69 in).
Leopold Museum,  Vienna, Austria,

Schiele’s painting Cardinal and Nun of 1912 is a paraphrase of Gustav Klimt’s Kiss, which had been created five years prior.Everything about Klimt’s painting that was positive, however, is transformed here into its darker manifestation:the gold background is turned black, the gentle embrace has given way the violent clutching of the two delicate, praying hands, and the sensual expression on the face of Klimt’s woman has become a nun’s distraught glance.Schiele called the painting of this strange embrace Liebkosung, or “The Caress”. More

Egon Schiele (German: 12 June 1890 – 31 October 1918) was an Austrian painter. A protégé of Gustav Klimt, Schiele was a major figurative painter of the early 20th century. His work is noted for its intensity and its raw sexuality, and the many self-portraits the artist produced, including naked self-portraits. The twisted body shapes and the expressive line that characterize Schiele's paintings and drawings mark the artist as an early exponent of Expressionism. More

Léon-François Comerre 
The Flight into Egypt
Oil, canvas
Private collection

The flight into Egypt is a biblical event described in the Gospel of Matthew in which Joseph fled to Egypt with Mary and infant son Jesus after a visit by Magi because they learned that King Herod intended to kill the infants of that area. The episode is frequently shown in art, as the final episode of the Nativity of Jesus in art, and was a common component in cycles of the Life of the Virgin as well as the Life of Christ.

When the Magi came in search of Jesus, they go to Herod the Great in Jerusalem and ask where to find the newborn "King of the Jews". Herod becomes paranoid that the child will threaten his throne, and seeks to kill him. Herod initiates the Massacre of the Innocents in hopes of killing the child. But an angel appears to Joseph and warns him to take Jesus and his mother into Egypt.

Egypt was a logical place to find refuge, as it was outside the dominions of King Herod, but both Egypt and Israel were part of the Roman Empire, linked by a coastal road known as "the way of the sea", making travel between them easy and relatively safe. More The flight into Egypt

Léon François Comerre (10 October 1850 – 20 February 1916) was a French academic painter, famous for his portraits of beautiful women. Comerre was born in Trélon, in the Département du Nord, the son of a schoolteacher. He moved to Lille with his family in 1853. From an early age he showed an interest in art and became a student of Alphonse Colas at the École des Beaux-Arts in Lille, winning a gold medal in 1867. From 1868 a grant from the Département du Nord allowed him to continue his studies in Paris at the famous École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in the studio of Alexandre Cabanel. There he came under the influence of orientalism.

Comerre first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1871 and went on to win prizes in 1875 and 1881. In 1875 he won the Grand Prix de Rome. This led to a scholarship at the French Academy in Rome from January 1876 to December 1879. In 1885 he won a prize at the "Exposition Universelle" in Antwerp. He also won prestigious art prizes in the USA (1876) and Australia (1881 and 1897). He became a Knight of the Legion of Honour in 1903. More Léon François Comerre

Antwerp School Entourage  Jan de Beer, (c. 1475 – 1528)
Nativity, c. 1520
Oil on oak panel, a board (fragment) 
26 x 23.50 cm (10.24 x 9.25 in.)
Private Collection

Although it is a fragment, our composition can be considered independently, as an example of Antwerp touching picture of 1520s It differs from other versions: it is the only one where the border of the Virgin's mantle is highlighted by a gold border.

The nativity of Jesus or birth of Jesus is described in the gospels of Luke and Matthew. The two accounts agree that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the time of Herod the Great to a betrothed virgin whose name was Mary. There are, however, major differences. Matthew has no census, annunciation to the shepherds or presentation in the Temple, implies that Jesus's parents' home is Bethlehem, and has him born in a house there, and has an unnamed angel appear to Joseph to announce the birth. In Luke there are no Magi, no flight into Egypt, or Massacre of the Innocents, Joseph is a resident of Nazareth, the birth appears to take place in an inn instead of the family home, and the angel (named as Gabriel) announces the coming birth to Mary. While it is possible that Matthew's account might be based on Luke or Luke's on Matthew, the majority of scholars conclude that the two are independent of each other.

In Christian theology the nativity marks the incarnation of Jesus as the second Adam, in fulfillment of the divine will of God, undoing the damage caused by the fall of the first man, Adam. The artistic depiction of the nativity has been a major subject for Christian artists since the 4th century. Since the 13th century, the nativity scene has emphasized the humility of Jesus and promoted a more tender image of him, as a major turning point from the early "Lord and Master" image, affecting the basic approaches of Christian pastoral ministry. More

Jan de Beer, formerly known as the Master of the Milan Adoration (c. 1475 – 1528) was a Flemish painter, draughtsman and glass designer active in Antwerp at the beginning of the 16th century. He is considered one of the most important members of the loose group of painters active in and around Antwerp in the early 16th century referred to as the Antwerp Mannerists. Highly respected in his time, he operated a large workshop with an important output of religious compositions. More

School of Rimini, 15th Century
Saint Louis of Toulouse 
fresco transferred to panel
51.8 x 44cm (20 3/8 x 17 5/16in).
Private Collection

Saint Louis of Toulouse (9 February 1274 – 19 August 1297) was a cadet of the royal French house of Anjou who was made a Catholic bishop. He was born in Brignoles, Provence. His father was appointed King of Naples by Pope Clement IV, the former secretary to Louis IX of France. 

When Charles II of Naples was taken prisoner in Italy, during the war with King Peter III of Aragon that followed the Sicilian Vespers, he obtained his own freedom by giving over his three sons as hostages. The boys were taken to Catalonia, where they were placed under the care of Franciscan friars for their education and held for seven years. Louis took up the study of philosophy and theology. Though still held in captivity, Louis was made archbishop of Lyon as soon as he reached his majority. When his older brother died of plague in 1295, Louis also became heir to his father's secular titles; however, when he was freed that same year, Louis went to Rome and gave up all claims to his royal inheritance in favor of his brother Robert of Anjou and announced that instead he would take the Franciscan vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

Antonio Vivarini, (1420–1484)
Portrait of St. Louis of Toulouse, circa 1450
18 × 14 in (45.7 × 35.6 cm)
Louvre Museum

On 5 February 1297, Louis was also consecrated Bishop of Toulouse by Boniface VIII. Despite the princely standing that had won him this important appointment at the age of about 22, Louis rapidly gained a reputation for serving the poor, feeding the hungry, and ignoring his own needs. After just six months, however, apparently exhausted by his labors, he abandoned the position of Bishop. Shortly thereafter he died at Brignoles of a fever, possibly typhoid, at age 23. More Saint Louis of Toulouse

Antonio Vivarini (Antonio of Murano) (active ca. 1440 – 1480) was an Italian painter of the early Renaissance-late Gothic period, who worked mostly in the Republic of Venice. He is probably the earliest of a family of painters, which was descended from a family of glassworkers active in Murano. The painting dynasty included his younger brother Bartolomeo and Antonio's son Alvise Vivarini. Antonio initially trained with Andrea da Murano, and his works show the influence of Gentile da Fabriano.

He collaborated with his brother in law, Giovanni d'Alemagna. After 1447 Antonio painted either alone or in combination with his younger brother Bartolommeo. The works of Antonio are well drawn for their epoch, with a certain noticeable degree of softness, and with good flesh and other tints. He was probably influenced by Mantegna, and worked with him in the Ovetari Chapel in 1450-1451. 

Three of his principal paintings are the Enthroned Madonna Virgin with the Four Doctors of the Church, the Coronation of the Virgin and Saints Peter and Jerome. More Antonio Vivarini

After Hendrik Goltzius, 17th Century
Noli me tangere, Don't tread on me
oil on copper, stamped with maker's mark 'KW' (on the reverse) 
23.3 x 18.2cm (9 3/16 x 7 3/16in).
Private Collection

The present work is after a print conceived by Hendrick Goltzius and engraved by Jacob Matham in 1602

Noli me tangere, meaning "don't tread on me", is the Latin version of words spoken, according to John 20:17, by Jesus to Mary Magdalene when she recognized him after his resurrection. More

Hendrick Goltzius (January or February 1558 – 1 January 1617), was a German-born Dutch printmaker, draftsman, and painter. He was the leading Dutch engraver of the early Baroque period, or Northern Mannerism, noted for his sophisticated technique and the "exuberance" of his compositions. According to A. Hyatt Mayor, Goltzius "was the last professional engraver who drew with the authority of a good painter and the last who invented many pictures for others to copy". In middle age he also began to produce paintings. More Hendrick Goltzius

After Cornelis van Cleve, 16th Century
The Madonna and Child 
oil on panel
84 x 68.8cm (33 1/16 x 27 1/16in).
Private Collection

The above painting follows van Cleve's original now in the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin-Gemäldegalerie.

Cornelis van Cleve (or van Cleef or Sotte Cleef; 1520 in Antwerp – 1567)[2] was a Netherlandish painter. From a 1604 writing by Karel van Mander, in which he is misnamed Joos van Cleef geheeten den Sotten Cleef, we learn that Sotte Cleef moved to England around 1555, where he managed to get some commission from the royal court. More Cornelis van Cleve

Cornelius van Cleve (1520–after 1594)
Virgin and Child, circa 1550
Oil on panel
height, 27.6, cm, width, 21.6, cm
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK

Follower of Peter de Witte, called Pietro Candido (Bruges circa 1548-1628 Munich)
The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula 
oil on copper
45.6 x 33.8cm (17 15/16 x 13 5/16in).
Private Collection

The present composition is in reverse to that of Pieter de Witte's large painting of the same subject in the church of St. Michael, Munich.

Saint Ursula (Latin for "little female bear") is a Romano-British Christian saint. Because of the lack of definite information about her and the anonymous group of holy virgins who accompanied her and on some uncertain date were killed at Cologne, they were removed from the Roman Martyrology and their commemoration was omitted from the General Roman Calendar when it was revised in 1969.

Her legend, is that she was a princess who, at the request of her father King Dionotus of Dumnonia in south-west Britain, set sail to join her future husband, the pagan governor Conan Meriadoc of Armorica, along with 11,000 virginal handmaidens. After a miraculous storm brought them over the sea in a single day to a Gaulish port, Ursula declared that before her marriage she would undertake a pan-European pilgrimage. She headed for Rome with her followers and persuaded the Pope, Cyriacus, and Sulpicius, bishop of Ravenna, to join them. After setting out for Cologne, which was being besieged by Huns, all the virgins were beheaded in a massacre. The Huns' leader fatally shot Ursula with a bow and arrow in about 383. More Saint Ursula

Peter Candid also known as Peter de Witte (other name variations: Peter de Wit, Pieter de Witte, Peter Candido, Pietro Candido) (c. 1548 – 1628) was a Flemish-born Mannerist painter, tapestry designer and draughtsman active in Italy and Bavaria where he worked for many courts.

The earliest known record of Candid's work as an artist is in relation to payment for a fresco made in Florence in 1569. He is first mentioned as a member of the 'Accademia del Disegno' in 1576. Candid worked on the Sala Regia in the Vatican and on the Florence Cathedral. In the period 1582 - 1583 he worked in Rome at the Sala Regia in the Vatican and then returned to Florence.

By 1586 he became employed at the court of Munich. He was first court painter to Duke William V of Bavaria and later Maximilian I of Bavaria. For the Duke Candid frescoed numerous buildings, including the Munich Residenz and Schleissheim Palace. In the period 1600 to 1628 he was the leading artist in Munich. He was also active as an art dealer.

A segment of Munich’s ring road is named after Candid, as is the metro station Candidplatz. More Pietro Candido

Jan de Beer, (c. 1475 – 1528)
The Nativity, c. 1515-1525
Oil on panel
Height: 137 cm (53.9 in). Width: 137 cm (53.9 in).
Barber Institute of Fine Arts

This panel is painted on both sides and it formed part of an altarpiece or a screen illustrating the life of the Virgin Mary. 

The Nativity, see above

Jan de Beer, (c. 1475 – 1528), see above

Caravaggio School 1640
Oil on canvas 
180 x 125 cm; 70 7/8 by 49 1/4 in
Private Collection

The Adoration/ Worship of the Shepherds, see above

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (29 September 1571 in Caravaggio – 18 July 1610) was an Italian painter active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1592 and 1610. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on Baroque painting.
Caravaggio trained as a painter in Milan under Simone Peterzano who had himself trained under Titian. In his twenties Caravaggio moved to Rome where there was a demand for paintings to fill the many huge new churches and palazzos being built at the time. It was also a period when the Church was searching for a stylistic alternative to Mannerism in religious art that was tasked to counter the threat of Protestantism. Caravaggio's innovation was a radical naturalism that combined close physical observation with a dramatic, even theatrical, use of chiaroscuro which came to be known as tenebrism (the shift from light to dark with little intermediate value).

He gained attention in the art scene of Rome in 1600 with the success of his first public commissions, the Martyrdom of Saint Matthew and Calling of Saint Matthew. Thereafter he never lacked commissions or patrons, yet he handled his success poorly. He was jailed on several occasions, vandalized his own apartment, and ultimately had a death sentence pronounced against him by the Pope after killing a young man, possibly unintentionally, on May 29, 1606. He fled from Rome with a price on his head. He was involved in a brawl in Malta in 1608, and another in Naples in 1609, possibly a deliberate attempt on his life by unidentified enemies. This encounter left him severely injured. A year later, at the age of 38, he died under mysterious circumstances in Porto Ercole in Tuscany, reportedly from a fever while on his way to Rome to receive a pardon.

Famous while he lived, Caravaggio was forgotten almost immediately after his death, and it was only in the 20th century that his importance to the development of Western art was rediscovered. More

Follower of Louis de Caullery (Cambrai 1580-1621 Antwerp)
The Crucifixion 
oil on panel
49.5 x 35.6cm (19 1/2 x 14in)
Private Collection

Crucifixion is a historical method of capital punishment in which the victim is tied or nailed to a large wooden beam and left to hang for several days until eventual death from exhaustion and asphyxiation. It is principally known from classical antiquity, but remains in occasional use in some countries. 

The crucifixion of Jesus is a central narrative in Christianity, and the cross (sometimes depicting Jesus nailed onto it) is the main religious symbol for many Christian churches. More Crucifixion

Louis de Caullery (ca.1580–1621) was one of the pioneers of the art genre of courtly gatherings in Flemish painting of the 17th century. He was born in Caulery, which is a small town near Cambrai. In 1594 he became the pupil of Joos de Momper. In 1621 his death duties were paid by the Antwerp Guild of St. Luke, where he had become a master in 1602. He was a follower of Paul Vredeman de Vries known for his architectural pieces. The RKD does not mention a trip to Italy, though his contemporary Vincent Malo from Cambrai did make such a trip and by that time it was considered an important rite of passage for serious painters.

The date he went to Italy cannot be determined; his works prove that he did however reside in Venice, Florence and Rome. Caullery was inclined toward genre painting and dealt with a highly variety of scenes: carnivals on ice, fireworks, bull-fights, open-air collections, allegories of the five senses and meetings painted in the spirit of the Fontainebleau School. The tallness of his characters, their exquisite postures, smooth faces and bare foreheads characterize his style. His colours are highly sophisticated. Under the influence of the Italian Masters, his palette proved to be an innovation in Flanders: half tones, ocher-yellow, Veronese green and Burgundy red. His depiction of buildings shows him to be concerned with fine precision, while being very skillful at presenting perspective." He died in Antwerp. More Louis de Caullery

Frans Francken II and Antwerp collaborator 1581 - 1642 
The preaching/predictions of John the Baptist 
Oil on copper 
35.50 x 28.50 cm (13.98 x 11.22 in.)
Private Collection

John the Baptist, known as the prophet Yahya in the Qur'an, was a Jewish itinerant preacher in the early first century AD. John is revered as a major religious figure in Christianity, Islam, the Bahá'í Faith, and Mandaeism. He is called a prophet by all of these traditions, and honoured as a saint in many Christian traditions.

John used baptism as the central sacrament of his messianic movement.[ Most scholars agree that John baptized Jesus. Scholars generally believe Jesus was a follower or disciple of John and several New Testament accounts report that some of Jesus' early followers had previously been followers of John. John the Baptist is also mentioned by the Jewish historian Josephus. Some scholars maintain that John was influenced by the semi-ascetic Essenes, who expected an apocalypse and practiced rituals corresponding strongly with baptism, although no direct evidence substantiates this.

According to the New Testament, John anticipated a messianic figure greater than himself, and Jesus was the one whose coming John foretold. Christians commonly refer to John as the precursor or forerunner of Jesus, since John announces Jesus' coming. John is also identified with the prophet Elijah. More

Frans Francken the Younger (Antwerp, 1581 – Antwerp, 6 May 1642) was a Flemish painter and the best-known member of the large Francken family of artists. He played an important role in the development of Flemish art in the first half of the 17th century through his innovations in genre painting and introduction of new subject matter.

Francken was born in Antwerp where he trained with his father Frans Francken the Elder. He may also have trained with his uncle Hieronymus Francken I in Paris, together with his brother Hieronymus Francken II. He became a master in the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke in 1605 and was deacon of the Guild in 1616.

Francken was a very successful artist and operated a large workshop which made many copies of his original compositions. More

Acknowledgement: Sotheby's, Bonhams

Images are copyright of their respective owners, assignees or others

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

10 Paintings, Olympian deities in classical Hellenic Mythology, by the Old Masters, with footnotes #8

Jan Brueghel (I),
Latona and the Lycian Peasants c. 1605
Oil on panel, 
h 37cm × w 56cm

In Greek mythology, Leto is a daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe, the sister of Asteria, and the mother, by Zeus, of Apollo and Artemis.

The island of Kos is claimed as her birthplace. In the Olympian scheme, Zeus is the father of her twins, Apollo and Artemis, the Letoides, which Leto conceived after her hidden beauty accidentally caught the eyes of Zeus. Classical Greek myths record little about Leto other than her pregnancy and her search for a place where she could give birth to Apollo and Artemis, since Hera in her jealousy had caused all lands to shun her. Finally, she finds an island that is not attached to the ocean floor so it is not considered land and she can give birth.

Jan Brueghel (I),
Latona and the Lycian Peasants c. 1605
Detail, Latona tired and parched

When Leto was wandering the earth after giving birth to Apollo and Artemis; tired and parched, Latona halts to quench her thirst at a pond. The peasants there refused to allow her to do so by stirring the mud at the bottom of the pond. Leto turned them into frogs for their inhospitality, forever doomed to swim in the murky waters of ponds and rivers. Two peasants already have a frog’s head.

Jan Brueghel (I),
Latona and the Lycian Peasants c. 1605
Detail, Two peasants already have a frog’s head

Jan Brueghel the Younger, ANTWERP 1601 - 1678
Oil on panel
15 by 22 in.; 38.1 by 55.8 cm. 
Private Collection

Jan Brueghel the Younger (13 September 1601 – 1 September 1678) was a Flemish Baroque painter, and the son of Jan Brueghel the Elder. He was trained by his father and spent his career producing works in a similar style. Along with his brother Ambrosius, he produced landscapes, allegorical scenes and other works of meticulous detail. Brueghel also copied works by his father and sold them with his father's signature. His work is distinguishable from that of his parent by being less well executed and lighter.

Jan the Younger was traveling in Italy when his father died of cholera, and swiftly returned to take control of the Antwerp studio. After the death of his father he changed his signature from 'Brueghel' to 'Breughel'. He soon established himself and was made dean of the Guild of Saint Luke in 1630. That same year he was commissioned by the French court to paint Adam Cycle. In the following years, he also produced paintings for the Austrian court, and worked independently in Paris, before returning to Antwerp in 1657. He collaborated with a number of prominent artists. More Jan Brueghel 

Claude Vignon, (Paris 1593-1670) 
Persephone's abduction/ The Rape of Proserpina
Oil on canvas
63 x 77cm - 24 3/4 X 30 1/4 IN. 
Private Collection

Persephone's abduction/ The Rape of Proserpina. In Greek mythology, Persephone (also known as Proserpina) was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter (goddess of agriculture) and was queen of the Underworld. One day while the young maiden was picking flowers, Hades, god of the underworld, kidnapped Persephone and carried her back to the underworld to be his wife.

Demeter begged Zeus to command the release of her daughter, and Persephone was told that she would be released from the underworld, as long as she didn't consume any food while she was there. But when she thought no one was looking, Persephone went into the garden and ate six pomegranate seeds. She was thus doomed to spend six months of the year with Hades, while for the other six months she could return to Earth to see her mother. The myth holds that the months Persephone spends in the underworld leave the earth cold, dark, and wintry, but when she returns, spring and summer accompany her.

Modern readers should note that in Bernini's time the word "rape" signified "kidnapping"; thus, the sculpture thus represents the kidnapping of Persephone. More

Claude-Joseph Vernet (born Aug. 14, 1714, Avignon, France—died Dec. 3, 1789, Paris) was a French landscape and marine painter whose finest works, the series of 15 Ports of France (1754–65), constitute a remarkable record of 18th-century life.

The son of a decorative painter, Vernet worked in Rome (1734–53), finding inspiration both in the expansive, luminous art of the 17th-century French master Claude Lorrain and in the dramatic and picturesque work of the 17th-century Italian painter Salvator Rosa. Vernet’s shipwrecks, sunsets, and conflagrations reveal an unusually subtle observation of light and atmosphere. With his compatriot Hubert Robert, he catered to a new taste for idealized, somewhat sentimentalized landscapes. After returning to Paris he became a member of the French Royal Academy and was commissioned by King Louis XV to paint the port series. The decline in his later work is attributed to overproduction. The family tradition of painting was maintained by his son Carle Vernet and his grandson Horace Vernet. More

Giovanni Battista Langetti, GENOA 1635 - 1676 VENICE
Oil on canvas
194.8 x 274.2 cm.; 76 5/8  x 108 in.
Private Collection

In Greek mythology, Hector was a Trojan prince and the greatest fighter for Troy in the Trojan War. As the first-born son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba. He was a prince of the royal house and the heir apparent to his father's throne. Homer places Hector as peace-loving, thoughtful as well as bold, a good son, husband and father. More

Achilles’ most notable feat during the Trojan War was the slaying of Hector outside the gates of Troy. Priam (hector's father) himself goes to claim his son's body, and Hermes grants him safe passage by casting a charm that will make anyone who looks at him fall asleep. More

Giovanni Battista Langetti (1625–1676), also known as Giambattista Langetti, was an Italian late-Baroque painter. He was active in his native Genoa, then Rome, and finally for the longest period in Venice.

He first trained with Assereto, then Pietro da Cortona, but afterwards studied under Giovanni Francesco Cassana, appeared in Venice by the 1650s where he worked in a striking Caravaggesque style. He is thought to have influenced Johann Karl Loth and Antonio Zanchi. He painted many historical busts for private patrons in the Venetian territory and in Lombardy. He died at Venice in 1676. More

Jacques-Louis David, (1748–1825)
Andromache Mourning Over Body of Hector, c. 1783
275 × 203 cm (108.3 × 79.9 in)
Louvre Museum

Andromache Mourning Hector is a 1783 oil painting by Jacques-Louis David. The painting depicts an image from Homer's Iliad, showing Andromache, comforted by her son, mourning over her husband Hector, who has been killed by Achilles.[1] This painting, presented on 23 August 1783, brought David election to the Académie Royale in 1784. More Andromache

Jacques-Louis David (30 August 1748 – 29 December 1825) was a French painter in the Neoclassical style, considered to be the preeminent painter of the era. In the 1780s his cerebral brand of history painting marked a change in taste away from Rococo frivolity toward a classical austerity and severity, heightened feeling harmonizing with the moral climate of the final years of the Ancien Régime.

David later became an active supporter of the French Revolution and friend of Maximilien Robespierre (1758–1794), and was effectively a dictator of the arts under the French Republic. Imprisoned after Robespierre's fall from power, he aligned himself with yet another political regime upon his release: that of Napoleon, The First Consul of France. At this time he developed his Empire style, notable for its use of warm Venetian colours. After Napoleon's fall from Imperial power and the Bourbon revival, David exiled himself to Brussels, then in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, where he remained until his death. David had a large number of pupils, making him the strongest influence in French art of the early 19th century, especially academic Salon painting. More

Studio of Francesco Solimena, CANALE DI SERINO, 1657 - 1747 BARRA
Oil on canvas
58.8 x 73.7 cm.; 23 1/8  x 29 in.
Private Collection

Io was, in Greek mythology, one of the mortal lovers of Zeus. She was an ancestor of many kings and heroes such as: Perseus, Cadmus, Heracles, Minos, Lynceus, Cepheus, and Danaus. The astronomer Simon Marius conceived a name for one of Jupiter's moons after Io in 1614, coming into use later.

Io was a priestess of the Goddess Hera in Argos, whose cult her father Inachus was supposed to have introduced to Argos. Zeus noticed Io, a mortal woman, and lusted after her. In the version of the myth told in Prometheus Bound she initially rejected Zeus' advances, until her father threw her out of his house on the advice of oracles. According to some stories, Zeus then turned Io into a heifer in order to hide her from his wife; others maintain that Hera herself transformed Io.

In the version of the story in which Zeus transformed Io, the deception failed, and Hera begged Zeus to give her the heifer as a present, which, having no reason to refuse, he did. Hera then sent Argus Panoptes, who had 100 eyes, to watch Io and prevent Zeus from visiting her, and so Zeus sent Hermes to distract and eventually slay Argus. According to Ovid, he did so by first lulling him to sleep by playing the panpipes and telling stories. Zeus freed Io, still in the form of a heifer.

In order to exact her revenge, Hera sent a gadfly to sting Io continuously, driving her to wander the world without rest. Io eventually crossed the path between the Propontis and the Black Sea, which thus acquired the name Bosporus (meaning ox passage), where she met Prometheus, who had been chained on Mt. Caucasus by Zeus. Prometheus comforted Io with the information that she would be restored to human form and become the ancestress of the greatest of all heroes, Heracles (Hercules). Io escaped across the Ionian Sea to Egypt, where she was restored to human form by Zeus. There, she gave birth to Zeus's son Epaphus, and a daughter as well, Keroessa. She later married Egyptian king Telegonus. Their grandson, Danaos, eventually returned to Greece with his fifty daughters (the Danaids), as recalled in Aeschylus' play The Suppliants. More Io

Francesco Solimena (October 4, 1657 – April 3, 1747) was a prolific Italian painter of the Baroque era, one of an established family of painters and draughtsmen. He received early training from his father, Angelo Solimena, with whom he executed a Paradise for the cathedral of Nocera and a Vision of St. Cyril of Alexandria for the church of San Domenico at Solofra.

He settled in Naples in 1674, there he worked in the studio of Francesco di Maria and later Giacomo del Po. He apparently had taken the clerical orders, but was patronized early on, and encouraged to become an artist by Cardinal Vincenzo Orsini (later Pope Benedict XIII). By the 1680s, he had independent fresco commissions, and his active studio came to dominate Neapolitan painting from the 1690s through the first four decades of the 18th century. He modeled his art—for he was a highly conventional painter—after the Roman Baroque masters. Solimena painted many frescoes in Naples, altarpieces, celebrations of weddings and courtly occasions, mythological subjects, characteristically chosen for their theatrical drama, and portraits. His settings are suggested with a few details—steps, archways, balustrades, columns—concentrating attention on figures and their draperies, caught in pools and shafts of light. Art historians take pleasure in identifying the models he imitated or adapted in his compositions. His numerous preparatory drawings often mix media, combining pen-and-ink, chalk and watercolor washes. More

Ferdinand Leeke (April 7, 1859 - 1923)
Bacchante, 1895 
Oil on canvas
Private Collection

In Greek mythology, maenads were the female followers of Dionysus and the most significant members of the Thiasus, the god's retinue. Their name literally translates as "raving ones." Maenads were known as Bassarids, Bacchae or Bacchantes in Roman mythology, after the penchant of the equivalent Roman god, Bacchus, to wear a bassaris or fox-skin.

Often the maenads were portrayed as inspired by Dionysus into a state of ecstatic frenzy through a combination of dancing and intoxication. During these rites, the maenads would dress in fawn skins and carry a thyrsus, a long stick wrapped in ivy or vine leaves and tipped with a pine cone. They would weave ivy-wreaths around their heads or wear a bull helmet in honor of their god, and often handle or wear snakes. More Bacchante

Ferdinand Leeke (April 7, 1859 - 1923) was a German Painter, famous for his depictions of scenes from Wagnerian Operas. A native of Burg bei Magdeburg, Germany, he studied at the Munich Academy under Johann Herterich (1843-1905), a genre and historical painter, and with Alexander von Wagner (1838-1919), a Hungarian genre and landscape painter. More.

Peter Paul Rubens
Venus Frigida, 1614
Oil on panel,
145.1 x 185.6 x 3.8 cm
Photograph: Hugo Maertens
Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp

Venus is a Mediterranean goddess. Her enchanted home is the isle of Cyprus. This classical deity personifies not only Love, but Love in a warm climate, with grapes, wine and nudity. So what happens when she travels north? Rubens portrays her shivering with cold in a glowering landscape, her nudity exposed to the wintry north. His painting illustrates a classical adage that says: ‘Without Bacchus and Ceres, Venus freezes.’ Love in winter, in other words, needs good food, good booze and a cosy bedroom. 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 Sir Peter Paul Rubens

Follower of Reverend Matthew William Peters, R.A.
Oil on canvas
65.5 x 54 cm.; 25 3/4  x 21 1/4  in.
Private Collection

Miss Mortimer was the sister of the artist John Hamilton Mortimer, a close friend of Peters' who had studied with him in Hudson's studio. The daughter of Zeus and the Greek goddess of youth, Hebe was a popular subject in art in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, particularly as a female personification in portraiture, and even some of the most aristocratic of models allowed for a degree of nudity, such as the exposing of a single breast. Here Miss Mortimer has allowed herself to be portrayed with both breasts exposed, feeding her father Zeus in the guise of an eagle - a representation of eternal youth. In classical mythology the eagle, like the phoenix, was believed to have the ability to renew itself to a youthful state. More

Honoré Daumier
Women Pursued by Satyrs, c.  1879
Oil on canvas
132 x 98 cm
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal

Honoré-Victorin Daumier (February 26, 1808 – February 10, 1879) was a French printmaker, caricaturist, painter, and sculptor, whose many works offer commentary on social and political life in France in the 19th century.

Daumier produced over 500 paintings, 4000 lithographs, 1000 wood engravings, 1000 drawings and 100 sculptures. A prolific draughtsman, he was perhaps best known for his caricatures of political figures and satires on the behavior of his countrymen, although posthumously the value of his painting has also been recognized.

Daumier was born in Marseille. His father Jean-Baptiste was a glazier whose literary aspirations led him to move to Paris in 1814, seeking to be published as a poet. In 1816 the young Daumier and his mother followed Jean-Baptiste to Paris. Daumier showed in his youth an irresistible inclination towards the artistic profession, which his father vainly tried to check by placing him first with a huissier. In 1822 he became protégé to Alexandre Lenoir, a friend of Daumier's father who was an artist and archaeologist. The following year Daumier entered the Académie Suisse. He also worked for a lithographer and publisher named Belliard, and made his first attempts at lithography.

Having mastered the techniques of lithography, Daumier began his artistic career by producing plates for music publishers, and illustrations for advertisements. This was followed by anonymous work for publishers, in which he emulated the style of Charlet and displayed considerable enthusiasm for the Napoleonic legend. After the revolution of 1830 he created art which expressed his political beliefs. Daumier was almost blind by 1873. More Honoré-Victorin Daumier

Allan Douglas Davidson
A woodland nymph
Oil on board
26.6 x 26.6cm (10 1/2 x 10 1/2in)
Private Collection

Allan Douglas Davidson, R.B.A., R.O.I., R.M.S. (1873–1932) was an English painter who predominantly worked in oils and specialized in female nudes.  He was born in London on 14 May 1873. His father was the historical painter Thomas Davidson (1842–1919). Allan studied art at the Royal Academy Schools in London, where he won a medal and the Armitage Prize, he also studied at the Académie Julian in Paris. He was elected to the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 1921 and was also a member of the Langham Sketching Club. 

He lived the majority of his life in London before retiring to Walberswick in Suffolk. He died on 19 April 1932 More Allan Douglas Davidson

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