Saturday, February 25, 2017

10 Paintings, scenes from Olympian Myth, by The Old Masters, with footnotes # 41

18th century FRENCH school, workshop of Jean RESTOUT 
Juno (Hera) at Eole 
Oil on canvas
48.5 x 59 cm,  19 X 22 3/4 in 
  Private Collection

Aeneas is empowered by the gods with the task of leading the Trojan refugees from their destroyed city to Italy where they will make the beginning of an empire. Juno loved the city of Carthage and, according to prophecy, her beloved city would one day be destroyed by Rome, the city to be founded by Aeneas, himself a prince of Troy.

Juno made many attempts to stop Aeneas -- on Sicily the Trojan women were persuaded to burn the boats. Next, Juno orders Eole to unleash a storm at sea, created by Juno, failed when Neptune interfered, not for the love of Aeneas, but owing to his irritation at Juno’s interference in his domain. According to Virgil, “Juno’s spell was broken,” and the men safely landed on Italian soil. 

Sir Edward John Poynter, Bt., P.R.A., R.W.S., 1836-1919
ANDROMEDA, c. 1869
Oil on canvas
51 by 36cm.; 20 by 14in.
Private Collection

Andromeda is the daughter of the Aethiopian king Cepheus and his wife Cassiopeia. When Cassiopeia's hubris leads her to boast that Andromeda is more beautiful than the Nereids, Poseidon sends a sea monster, Cetus, to ravage Aethiopia as divine punishment. Andromeda is stripped and chained naked to a rock as a sacrifice to sate the monster, but is saved from death by Perseus.

As a subject, Andromeda has been popular in art since classical times; it is one of several Greek myths of a Greek hero's rescue of the intended victim of an archaic hieros gamos, giving rise to the "princess and dragon" motif. From the Renaissance, interest revived in the original story, typically as derived from Ovid's account. More

Sir Edward John Poynter, 1st Baronet GCVO PRA (20 March 1836 in Paris – 26 July 1919 in London) was an English painter, designer, and draughtsman who served as President of the Royal Academy. Poynter was born in Paris, though his parents returned to Britain soon after. He was educated at Brighton College and Ipswich School, but left school early for reasons of ill health, spending winters in Madeira and Rome. In 1853 he met Frederick Leighton in Rome, who made a great impression on the 17-year-old Poynter. On his return to London he studied at Leigh's academy in Newman Street and the Royal Academy Schools, before going to Paris to study in the studio of the classicist painter Charles Gleyre where James McNeill Whistler and George du Maurier were fellow-students. He became best known for his large historical paintings. More

ANVERSOISE School 1650 
Meleager and Atalanta 
68 x 85.5 cm
Private Collection

Meleager was the son of Althaea and the vintner Oeneus and. When Meleager was born, the the Fates predicted he would only live until a piece of wood, burning in the family hearth, was consumed by fire. Overhearing them, Althaea immediately doused and hid it.

Oeneus sent Meleager to gather up heroes from all over Greece to hunt the Calydonian Boar that had been terrorizing the area and rooting up the vines. In addition to the heroes he required, he chose Atalanta, a fierce huntress, whom he loved.According to one account of the hunt, when Hylaeus and Rhaecus, two centaurs, tried to rape Atalanta, Meleager killed them. Then Atalanta wounded the boar and Meleager killed it. He awarded her the hide since she had drawn the first drop of blood.

Meleager's brother Toxeus, the "archer",and Plexippus (Althaea's brother) grew enraged that the prize was given to a woman. Meleager killed them in the following argument. He also killed Iphicles and Eurypylus for insulting Atalanta. When Althaea found out that Meleager had killed her brother and one of her sons, Althaea placed the piece of wood that she had stolen from the Fates (the one that the Fates predicted, once engulfed with fire, would kill Meleager) upon the fire, thus fulfilling the prophecy and killing Meleager, her own son. The women who mourned his death were turned into guineafowl (Meleagrides). More Meleager and Atalanta 
ANVERSOISE School 1650 
Meleager and Atalanta 

The Antwerp School is a term for the artists active in Antwerp, first during the 16th century when the city was the economic center of the Low Countries, and then during the 17th century when it became the artistic stronghold of the Flemish Baroque under Peter Paul Rubens.

Antwerp took over from Bruges as the main trading and commercial center of the Low Countries around 1500. Painters, artists and craftsmen joined the Guild of Saint Luke, which educated apprentices and guaranteed quality.  More Ecole Anversoise

Sir William Russell Flint, RA, PRWS (British, 1880-1969)
Judgement of Paris 
64 x 89.5cm (25 3/16 x 35 1/4in).
Private Collection
THE JUDGEMENT OF PARIS was a contest between the three most beautiful goddesses of Olympos--Aphrodite, Hera and Athena--for the prize of a golden apple addressed "To the Fairest."

The story began with the wedding of Peleus and Thetis which all the gods had been invited to attend except for Eris, goddess of discord. When Eris appeared at the festivities she was turned away and in her anger cast the golden apple amongst the assembled goddesses addressed "To the Fairest." Three goddesses laid claim to the apple--Aphrodite, Hera and Athena. Zeus was asked to mediate and he commanded Hermes to lead the three goddesses to Paris of Troy to decide the issue. The three goddesses appearing before the shepherd prince, each offering him gifts for favour. He chose Aphrodite, swayed by her promise to bestow upon him Helene, the most beautiful woman, for wife. The subsequent abduction of Helene led directly to the Trojan War and the fall of the city. More THE JUDGEMENT OF PARIS

Sir William Russell Flint (4 April 1880 – 30 December 1969) was a Scottish artist and illustrator who was known especially for his watercolour paintings of women. He also worked in oils, tempera, and printmaking. He was born in Edinburgh then educated at Daniel Stewart's College and Edinburgh Institution. From 1894 to 1900 Flint apprenticed as a lithographic draughtsman while taking classes at the Royal Institute of Art, Edinburgh. From 1900 to 1902 he worked as a medical illustrator in London while studying part-time at Heatherley's Art School. He furthered his art education by studying independently at the British Museum. 

Flint was elected president of Britain’s Royal Society of Painters in Watercolours (now the Royal Watercolour Society) in 1936 to 1956, and knighted in 1947. More William Russell Flint

Frederic, Lord Leighton, P.R.A., 1830-1896
Oil on canvas
80 1/8 by 35 7/8 in., 203 by 91 cm
Private Collection

Framed by Doric columns with a background of azure sea and sky touched by the crimson setting sun, Venus' downward gaze and expanse of exposed, cool-toned skin invites observation as she steps out of a golden sandal while her robe, tangled in upraised arm, further emphasizes the vulnerable moment of undress. 

Venus' pose references the Roman bronze and marble copies of Venus Loosening her Sandal and the Venus de Medici. Ultimately, Venus Disrobing was not intended as a didactic copy of specific antique sculpture nor a narrative, character-driven exercise; instead, it reveals the artist's decision to evoke classical models while suggesting a new experimentation with painterly expression. More

Venus is the Roman goddess whose functions encompassed love, beauty, desire, sex, fertility, prosperity and victory. In Roman mythology, she was the mother of the Roman people through her son, Aeneas, who survived the fall of Troy and fled to Italy. Julius Caesar claimed her as his ancestor. Venus was central to many religious festivals, and was revered in Roman religion under numerous cult titles.

The Romans adapted the myths and iconography of her Greek counterpart Aphrodite for Roman art and Latin literature. In the later classical tradition of the West, Venus becomes one of the most widely referenced deities of Greco-Roman mythology as the embodiment of love and sexuality. More Venus

Frederic Leighton, 1830–1896, British, English. (Born Scarborough, 3 December 1830; died London, 25 January 1896). English painter, draughtsman, and occasional sculptor, one of the dominant figures of late Victorian art. He travelled widely in Europe as a boy and his artistic education was gained principally in Frankfurt, Rome, and Paris. It was not until 1859 that he settled in England, but he had earlier made his name with Cimabue's Celebrated Madonna is Carried in Procession through the Streets of Florence, which he painted in Rome: it was exhibited at the 1855 Royal Academy exhibition and bought by Queen Victoria (it is now on loan from the Royal Collection to the National Gallery, London).

From the mid-1860s he enjoyed a level of worldly success. He became president of the Royal Academy in 1878, was made a baronet in 1886, and a few days before he died was raised to the peerage, the first (and so far only) British artist to be so honoured. 

He is best known for his paintings of classical Greek subjects, the finest of which are distinguished by magnificently opulent colouring as well as splendid draughtsmanship. As a sculptor his output was small. The finished life-size bronze is in Tate Britain and there are various smaller models and versions, including one in Leighton House, the sumptuously decorated house and studio he built in the fashionable Holland Park area of London, now a museum dedicated to him. More Frederic Leighton

Frederic Leighton, (1830–1896)
Perseus and Andromeda, c. 1891
Oil on canvas
Height: 2,350 mm (92.52 in). Width: 1,292 mm (50.87 in).
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Perseus and Andromeda, see above

Frederic Leighton (1830–1896), see above

Schiele, Egon (1907)
Water Spirits I
27.5 x 53.5 cm
Private Collection

From 1907 Schiele had already deduced subjects from the landscapes that Gustav Klimt had painted between 1899 and 1907, but it's in the two versions  of Water spirits, of 1907 and 1908, the artist uses an artistic language openly inspired by Klimt, even if more geometrical and rough, perfectly in line with the Wiener Werkstätte. More 

Schiele, Egon (1907)
Water Spirits I
Oil and gouache
27.5 x 53.5 cm
Private Collection

Schiele, Egon (1908)
Water Elves - Water Sprites
Gouache, crayon, watercolor, white body color and gold paint on paper
27,5 x 53,5 cm (10,8 x 21,1 in)

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 Egon Schiele

Jean Raoux, 1677 - 1734
Vestal Carrying the Sacred Fire, circa 1728-1729
Oil on canvas 
105.5 cm (41.54 in.), Width: 80 cm (31.5 in.)
Musée Fabre  (France - Montpellier)

In ancient Rome, the Vestals or Vestal Virgins (Latin: Vestālēs, singular Vestālis [wɛsˈtaː.lɪs]) were priestesses of Vesta, goddess of the hearth. The College of the Vestals and its well-being were regarded as fundamental to the continuance and security of Rome. They cultivated the sacred fire that was not allowed to go out. The Vestals were freed of the usual social obligations to marry and bear children, and took a vow of chastity in order to devote themselves to the study and correct observance of state rituals that were off-limits to the male colleges of priests. More Vestal Virgins

Jean Raoux (1677 – 10 February 1734), French painter, was born at Montpellier. After the usual course of training he became a member of the Academy in 1717 as an historical painter. His reputation had been previously established by the credit of decorations executed during his three years in Italy on the palace of Giustiniani Solini at Venice, and by some easel paintings. To this latter class of subject Raoux devoted himself, nor did he even paint portraits except in character. The list of his works is a long series of sets of the Seasons, of the Hours, of the Elements, or of those scenes of amusement and gallantry in the representation of which he was immeasurably surpassed by his younger rival Watteau. After his stay in England (1720) he lived much in the Temple, where he decorated several rooms. He died in Paris in 1734. More Jean Raoux

Acknowledgement: Sotheby’sLECLERE - MDV

Images are copyright of their respective owners, assignees or others

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

11 Paintings, scenes from the Bible, by The Old Masters, with footnotes # 40

Henry Nelson O'Neil, ARA (British, 1817-1880)
Esther, c. 1850
Oil on canvas
103.5 x 76.5cm (40 3/4 x 30 1/8in)
Private collection 

And glittering in royal robes...she took two maids with her; and upon one of them she leaned
(Esther 15 v.5-6)

Esther. King Ahasuerus, of Persia sought a new queen who was to be the most beautiful woman in the land. A young Jewish orphan, Esther, was chosen.  She kept her Jewish identity secret. Her cousin Mordecai, a servant of the king, overheard a plot and warned his master through Esther.

Mordecai offended a high court official called Haman, who decided to kill not only Mordecai but all the Jews in the Persian empire (the first recorded pogrom against the Jews). Esther turned the tables on Mordecai. She pleaded with the king, and Haman was hanged on the very gibbet he had built for Mordecai; thereby saving  the Jewish people. 

There was great rejoicing, and an annual festival was celebrated to commemorate the courage of Esther and the deliverance of the Jews. This festival was called Purim.

The names Esther and Mordecai may be related to stories about the Persian deities Ishtar and Marduk.  Ishtar was the Babylonian goddess of love. Marduk was the principal male god of Babylon. More Esther

Henry Nelson O'Neil, ARA (British, 1817-1880)
The Sultana, c. 1854
Oil on panel
30 x 25cm (11 13/16 x 9 13/16in).
Private collection 

Henry Nelson O'Neil ARA (1817 in Russia – 1880) was an historical genre painter and minor Victorian writer. He worked primarily with historical and literary subjects. He also had popular successes with romantic scenes portraying the deaths of Mozart and Raphael.

O'Neil was a member of The Clique, a group of artists in the 1840s who, like the later Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, met regularly to discuss and criticize one another's works. 

O'Neil came to England with his family in 1823. He became a student at the Royal Academy Schools in 1836, and sent his first picture to the Royal Academy exhibition in 1838. He  began to pursue modern­life subjects that had a strong emotional componentHis choice of subjects was considered to be striking, but his composition faulty. Although made an A.R.A. in 1860, O'Neil was never elected an R.A., despite exhibiting nearly one hundred works at the Royal Academy. More Henry Nelson O'Neil 

School of Valencia in 1550, Juan workshop JUANES 
Virgin and Child with St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelis
Poplar panel, boards
61.5 x 52.5 cm 

In Valencia the aesthetic of the Renaissance, spread from about 1472-1481 onwards by the Italians (Francesco Pagano, Pablo de San Leocadio), and was adopted about 1505 by Fernando Yanez and Fernando de los Llanos, who visited Florence and perhaps Venice.

This composition is one of the best known of the workshop Juan de Juanes. It is characterized by the landscape that approximates that of the panel of Venerable Agnesio Virgin, preserved in Valencia Museum. 

Juan de Juanes (c.1475-c.1545), was a Spanish painter, the son of the painter Vicente Macip , who had almost certainly studied in Italy, and probably in Venice. Juanes painted 'ideal' Counter-Reformation images, based on Leonardo's Last Supper and Raphael's Madonnas, but also with some influence from Flanders.

His work is technically less precise than that of his father in the delineation of form; he preferred sfumato effects in modelling, very different from the sharper sculptural outlines of Macip. In colour, Juanes preferred clear, luminous tones with which he achieved a characteristic Mannerist iridescence. His landscapes, too, differ from those of his father, becoming yet another decorative element. They often include classical ruins such as the pyramid of Caius Sextus or Egyptian obelisks, all of which are treated with the same delicacy and grace as his human forms. More Juan de Juanes

Raphael, (1483–1520)
Ezekiel's Vision, circa 1518
Oil on panel 
45 x 32.5 cm
Palazzo Pitti, Florence

Ezekiel's Vision is a c. 1518 painting by Raphael showing the prophet Ezekiel's vision of God in majesty. The work was once considered to be by the hand of Giulio Romano, with Raphael providing only the drawing. However, it has been subsequently assigned to Raphael. More Ezekiel's Vision

In the Book of Ezekiel God approaches Ezekiel as the divine warrior, riding in his battle chariot. The chariot is drawn by four living creatures, each having four faces (those of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle) and four wings. Beside each "living creature" is a "wheel within a wheel", with "tall and awesome" rims full of eyes all around. 

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. 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. More Raffaello

Schiele, Egon (1908)
Mother and Child (also known as Madonna), c. 1908
Sanguine, charcoal and white chalk
60 cm (23.62 in.), 43.5 cm (17.13 in.)
Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum  (Germany - Hanover

In 1908 Egon Schiele painted Madonna and Child. While alive in structure and expression, the dark faced Madonna has hands around her child’s head, almost grabbing his neck. She conveys an ominous, frightening, anti-maternal aura. In contrast, her plump light skinned child looks robust if not especially happy to be trapped in the lap of his eerie, death-giving mother. More Madonna and Child

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 Egon Schiele

James Tissot, (1836–1902)
The Journey of the Magi, c. 1894
Oil on Canvas
Minneapolis Institute

The Magi were, in the Gospel of Matthew and Christian tradition, a group of distinguished foreigners who visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They are regular figures in traditional accounts of the nativity celebrations of Christmas and are an important part of Christian tradition.

According to Matthew, the only one of the four Canonical gospels to mention the Magi, they came "from the east" to worship the "king of the Jews". Although the account does not mention the number of Magi, the three gifts has led to the widespread assumption that there were three men. In Eastern Christianity, especially the Syriac churches, the Magi often number twelve. More on The Magi 

Jacques Joseph Tissot (15 October 1836 – 8 August 1902), Anglicized as James Tissot, was a French painter and illustrator. He was a successful painter of Paris society before moving to London in 1871. He became famous as a genre painter of fashionably dressed women shown in various scenes of everyday life. He also painted scenes and characters from the Bible. More

Master of Peribleptos church in Mistra
Greco-Byzantine Workshop
 The birth of Christ, circa 1348/80
Frescoes in the Peribleptos church in Mistra, 

Mystras or Mistras  is a fortified town and a former municipality in Laconia, Peloponnese, Greece. Situated on Mt. Taygetos, near ancient Sparta, it served as the capital of the Byzantine Despotate of the Morea in the 14th and 15th centuries, experiencing a period of prosperity and cultural flowering. The site remained inhabited throughout the Ottoman period, when it was mistaken by Western travellers for ancient Sparta. In the 1830s, it was abandoned and the new town of Sparti was built, approximately eight kilometres to the east. More Mistra

The extensive frescoes covering the interior of Peribleptos Monastery were created from 1350-1375. These works have been connected with the Cretan and Macedonian art schools. Because of the apse and other surfaces that create dramatic spatial surfaces, the artists' that painted these works had the advantage of displaying New Testament images with a perpetual flow with one fresco leading into another.It unclear who the artists' were. Dedication to the Virgin Mary has been proven as a prominent iconic focus in the religious art in churches and monasteries in Mystras.In Peribleptos Monastery. More Master of Peribleptos

Saint Luzia 
Painted panel
20 x 44 cm
Private collection

The emblem of eyes on a cup or plate apparently reflects popular devotion to her as protector of sight. Lucia (from the Latin word "lux" which means "light"). In paintings St. Lucy is frequently shown holding her eyes on a golden plate. She also holds the palm branch, symbol of victory over evil. More The emblem of eyes

Saint Lucy, Italian Santa Lucia (died 304, Syracuse, Sicily), virgin and martyr who was one of the earliest Christian saints to achieve popularity, having a widespread following before the 5th century. She is the patron saint of the city of Syracuse (Sicily). Because of various traditions associating her name with light, she came to be thought of as the patron of sight.

Lucy came from a wealthy Sicilian family. Spurning marriage and worldly goods, however, she vowed to remain a virgin in the tradition of St. Agatha. An angry suitor reported her to the local Roman authorities, who sentenced her to be removed to a brothel and forced into prostitution. This order was thwarted, according to legend, by divine intervention; Lucy became immovable and could not be carried away. She was next condemned to death by fire, but she proved impervious to the flames. Finally, her neck was pierced by a sword and she died.

Francesco del Cossa, (1436–1487) 
Saint Lucy, c. after 1470
Oil and tempera on panel
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., United States

Lucy was a victim of the wave of persecution of Christians that occurred late in the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian. References to her are found in early Roman sacramentaries and, at Syracuse, in an inscription dating from 400 ce. As evidence of her early fame, two churches are known to have been dedicated to her in Britain before the 8th century, at a time when the land was largely pagan. More Saint Lucy

Francesco del Cossa (c. 1430 – c. 1477) was an Italian Renaissance painter of the School of Ferrara. The son of a stonemason in Ferrara, little is known about his early works, although it is known that he travelled outside of Ferrara in his late twenties or early thirties.

Cossa is best known for his frescoes. One of the first records we have of him is in 1456 when he was an assistant to his father, Cristofano del Cossa, at that time employed in painting the carvings and statues on the high altar in the chapel of the bishop's palace at Ferrara. More Francesco del Cossa

São João Baptista 
Painted panel
18 x 46 cm
Private collection

John the Baptist (sometimes called John in the Wilderness) was the subject of at least eight paintings by the Italian Baroque artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610).

The story of John the Baptist is told in the Gospels. John was the cousin of Jesus, and his calling was to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. He lived in the wilderness of Judea between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, "his raiment of camel's hair, and a leather girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey." He baptised Jesus in the Jordan, and was eventually killed by Herod Antipas when he called upon the king to reform his evil ways. More

Angel's head
Craved and painted wood panel
14 x 43 cm
Private collection

Acknowledgement: Bonhams

Images are copyright of their respective owners, assignees or others