Saturday, January 13, 2018

05 Paintings, Olympian deities, by the Old Masters, with footnotes # 12

Follower of Michelangelo Merisi called Caravaggio
oil on canvas
29 7/8  by 39 5/8  in.; 75.5 by 100.5 cm.
Private collection

This is a depiction of the craftsman and father adhering ink black shining feathered wings the back of his adolescent son; wings that would ultimately result in the boy's demise.
The theme, as told by Ovid in his Metamorphoses (VIII:183–235), was a rare one in Caravaggesque painting the seventeenth century.

Icarus. In Greek mythology, Icarus is the son of the master craftsman Daedalus, the creator of the Labyrinth. Often depicted in art, Icarus and his father attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax. Icarus' father warns him first of complacency and then of hubris, asking that he fly neither too low nor too high, so the sea's dampness would not clog his wings or the sun's heat melt them. Icarus ignored his father's instructions not to fly too close to the sun; when the wax in his wings melted he tumbled out of the sky and fell into the sea where he drowned. More on Icarus

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. Caravaggio's innovation was a radical naturalism that combined close physical observation with a dramatic 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. 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 on Caravaggio

Gustave Moreau, 1826 - 1898, FRENCH
Gouache and watercolor on paper
52 by 25cm., 20½ by 9¾in.
Private collection

Helen was the daughter of Zeus and Leda, and considered in Greek myth to be the most beautiful woman in the world. She was married to Menelaus, King of Sparta. When the Trojan prince Paris abducted Helen and carried her off to the city of Troy, the Greeks responded by mounting an attack on the city, thus beginning the Trojan War. Agamemnon, king of Mycenae and the brother of Menelaus, led an expedition of Greek troops to Troy and besieged the city for ten years because of Paris's insult. After the deaths of many heroes, including the Greeks Achilles and Ajax, and the Trojans Hector and Paris, the city fell to the ruse of the Trojan Horse. The Greeks slaughtered the Trojans and desecrated the temples More on Helen

Gustave Moreau, 1826 - 1898, FRENCH
Detail at bottom

Gustave Moreau (6 April 1826 – 18 April 1898) was a French Symbolist painter whose main emphasis was the illustration of biblical and mythological figures. Moreau was born in Paris. His father, Louis Jean Marie Moreau, was an architect, who recognized his talent. His first painting was a Pietà which is now located in the cathedral at Angoulême. He showed A Scene from the Song of Songs and The Death of Darius in the Salon of 1853. In 1853 he contributed Athenians with the Minotaur and Moses Putting Off his Sandals within Sight of the Promised Land to the Great Exhibition.

Moreau became a professor at Paris' École des Beaux-Arts in 1891 and among his many students were fauvist painters Henri Matisse and Georges Rouault. Jules Flandrin, Theodor Pallady and Léon Printemps also studied with Moreau.

During his lifetime, Moreau produced more than 8,000 paintings, watercolors and drawings, many of which are on display in Paris' Musée national Gustave Moreau at 14 rue de la Rochefoucauld (9th arrondissement). The museum is in his former workshop, and began operation in 1903. André Breton famously used to "haunt" the museum and regarded Moreau as a precursor of Surrealism. More on Gustave Moreau

Agnolo di Cosimo, 1503 - 1572
Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time (Allegory of the Triumph of Venus), c. 1540s
Oil on panel
57 1/2 × 45 7/10 in, 146 × 116 cm
National Gallery, London

Bronzino made a picture of singular beauty, which was sent to King Francis in France; in which was a nude Venus with Cupid kissing her, and on one side Pleasure and Play with other Loves; and on the other, Fraud, Jealousy, and other passions of love. Venus and Cupid are identifiable by their attributes, as is the old man with wings and an hourglass who must be Time. The identity of the other figures, and the meaning of the picture remain uncertain.

The howling figure on the left has been variously interpreted as Jealousy, Despair and the effects of syphilis; the boy scattering roses and stepping on a thorn as Jest, Folly and Pleasure; the hybrid creature with the face of a girl, as Pleasure and Fraud; and the figure in the top left corner as Fraud and Oblivion. The erotic yet erudite subject matter of the painting was well suited to the tastes of King Francis I of France. It was probably sent to him as a gift from Cosimo I de' Medici, ruler of Florence, by whom Bronzino was employed as court painter. Bronzino was also an accomplished poet. The picture reflects his interest in conventional Petrarchan love lyrics as well as more bawdy poetic genres.  National Gallery, London

Agnolo di Cosimo (November 17, 1503 – November 23, 1572), usually known as Bronzino was a Florentine Mannerist painter. 

He lived all his life in Florence, and from his late 30s was kept busy as the court painter of Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. He was mainly a portraitist but also painted many religious subjects, and a few allegorical subjects, which include what is probably his best known work, Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time, c. 1544–45, now in London (Above). Many portraits of the Medicis exist in several versions with varying degrees of participation by Bronzino himself, as Cosimo was a pioneer of the copied portrait sent as a diplomatic gift.

He trained with Pontormo, the leading Florentine painter of the first generation of Mannerism, and his style was greatly influenced by him, but his elegant and somewhat elongated figures always appear calm and somewhat reserved, lacking the agitation and emotion of those by his teacher. They have often been found cold and artificial, and his reputation suffered from the general critical disfavour attached to Mannerism in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Recent decades have been more appreciative of his art. More on Agnolo di Cosimo 

Louise d’Aussy-Pintaud, 1900-1990 
"CHANSON D'AMOUR", c. 1944
38 X 51.5 INCHES
Private collection

Louise d’Aussy-Pintaud, 1900-1990 was a painter and sculptor. She was born in Bordeaux, France in 1900. Her primary areas of focus were nudes, landscapes, and busts. She exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Français in Paris from 1934.

D’Aussy-Pintaud began painting under the influence of her grandfather, an avid - albeit amateur - painter. She becam a student of sculptor M. A. Seysse, also in Bordeaux. Later, she would study under painter and mentor Biloul while attending the Gustave Moreau School in Paris.

Her earlier work is her best known, for her ability to observe the naked form in a refined and what has been described as an even chaste manner. D’Aussy-Pintaud’s painting of figures is classic and purist, while the very expressive backgrounds and landscapes are handled with expressionistic vigor.

Her work was exhibited in the Salon des Artistes Français between 1934 and 1942. In 1944, D’Aussy-Pintaud would ultimatlely settle with her husband in the city of Ciboure (Lapurdi) until the time of her death in 1990. More on Louise d’Aussy-Pintaud

Hans Rottenhammer the Elder, MUNICH 1564 - 1625 AUGSBURG
Oil on canvas
57 1/2  by 81 3/8  in.; 146.1 by 206.7.
Private collection

Johann Rottenhammer, or Hans Rottenhammer (1564 – 14 August 1625), was a German painter. He specialized in highly finished paintings on a small scale.

He was born in Munich, where he studied until 1588 under Hans Donauer the Elder. In 1593-4 he was in Rome, and he then settled in Venice from 1595-6 to 1606, before returning to Germany and settling in Augsburg, working also in Munich. He died in Augsburg, apparently in some poverty, and according to some sources an alcoholic. More on Johann Rottenhammer

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