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ART “4” “2”-DAY  04 April v.10.00
^ Born on 04 April 1780: Edward Hicks, Pennsylvania Folk artist who died on 23 August 1849, specialized in Animals. — Cousin of Thomas Hicks [18 Oct 1823 – 08 Oct 1890] who started out as his sign-painting apprentice from about 1835 to 1839.
— He was raised by a devout Quaker family following his mother’s death. At thirteen he was apprenticed for seven years to a coachmaker, where he developed the techniques of painting and lettering. By 1801 he had gone into business as a coach-, house- and sign-painter, later expanding his trade to include such items as milk-buckets, clockfaces and elaborate fireboards. Profoundly affected by his Quaker upbringing, he began to disapprove of painting as trifling and insubstantial, and in 1812 he became a Quaker minister.
      Hicks received no formal artistic training, and it was not until about 1820 that he began to paint creatively. His paintings are infused with his intense religious conviction, and he reconciled his two vocations by keeping the former ‘within the bounds of innocence and usefulness’ and by creating images of morality. Most of his pictures were variations on Isaiah’s biblical prophecy (Isaiah 11:6–9):
     Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the cobra's den, and the child lay his hand on the adder's lair. There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea.
      Hicks’s Peaceable Kingdom pictures were ‘painted sermons’, done from about 1820 to the time of his death. Allegorical in nature, they depict the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy: benign animals and trusting infants co-exist with equanimity. In most versions, William Penn can be seen far in the background negotiating his famous treaty with the Indians. The Peaceable Kingdom paintings are imaginative in composition, and serene and sincere in mood, although technically unsophisticated. They were generally produced as gifts or commissioned works for relatives and friends. Occasionally Hicks indulged in homily when he lettered rhymed scriptural texts around the border of a picture.

— The Farm of David Twining, 1787 (1846, 69x82cm; 600x705pix, 86kb _ ZOOM to 1722x2024pix, 312kb)
_ The Peaceable Kingdom (1846 83x72cm) with two leopards in left foreground, bird perching on girl's hand, ship on the river. _ It is thought that Edward Hicks painted the theme of The Peaceable Kingdom as many as one hundred times. There are several possible reasons for his attachment to the subject, including his love of children and animals and his devotion to the Bible. A more complex explanation involved the fact that he was a Quaker minister, and Quakers disapproved of nonutilitarian art such as easel painting. However, because Hicks knew no other profitable trade and since Quaker ministers were not permitted salaries, he needed the income from his painting to support his large family. The Peaceable Kingdom, as a religious subject and a kind of visual sermon, perhaps helped Hicks to justify his vocation. The theme comes from the Book of Isaiah, Chapter XI, Verses 6-9, in the Bible, interpreted by Christianity as a prophecy of the coming of Christ and the arrival of a peaceful world, in which all animals and human beings live in harmony and prosperity. The painting follows Isaiah closely in its details, and all of the vignettes described in the Bible passage are included: "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb [center], And the leopard shall lie down with the kid [center foreground]; And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them [lower right corner]. And the cow and the bear shall feed [next to the tree in the upper right];…And the lion shall eat straw like the ox [right center]. And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’s den [lower left]."
      The pairing of animals in this fashion might also refer to a recent divergence within the Quaker religion. One faction focused on the Bible and Christ’s atonement, while Hicks’s faction placed emphasis on the Holy Spirit, which he referred to as the Inner Light. In 1837, he presented a sermon that related the idea of the Inner Light to the animals. He explained that every person belongs to one of the four temperaments, each of which is symbolized by one of the wild animals: melancholy–the wolf; sanguine (cheerful, hopeful)–the leopard; phlegmatic (calm and composed)–the bear; and choleric (angry)–the lion. When these are redeemed by the Inner Light, they become their domestic opposites: the lamb, the kid, the cow, and the ox. The painting could thus reflect the resolution of inner conflicts that are experienced by all individuals and Hicks’s own challenge to Quaker beliefs about art. The image might also reflect hope that the schism in Quakerism could be peacefully resolved, with antagonists existing contentedly side-by-side. Hicks also incorporated a non-Biblical reference into his illustration of Isaiah. In the left background, Quaker William Penn, founder of Hicks’s home state of Pennsylvania, lands in the New World and signs a treaty with Amerindians. Hicks believed that this event was part of the process of achieving the "Peaceable Kingdom" here on earth.
The Peaceable Kingdom (1848, 61x81cm; 600x795pix _ ZOOM not recommended to blurry 1400x1855pix) with large leopard lying in center foreground, few people in background William Penn group, ship on the river.
The Peaceable Kingdom (1834, 74x90cm; 607x725pix, 164kb) with two children in center foreground, next to sleeping leopard in right foreground, no ship on the river. _ In the foreground, indeed taking up the bulk of the space, we have a collection of animals and children. If we look we can see the cow with the bear, the wolf with the sheep, the leopard and the kid, the calf and the lion. Hicks is referring us to Isaiah 11:1-9, which looks forward to the day of the Lord. The presence of these animals together tells us that the Day of the Lord is here in this picture. And what is happening in the rest of the picture is William Penn and the Amerindians making a peaceable agreement with each other - the famous treaty that was never written and never broken. What is being shown is that the two are connected, that those who live in the way of justice and peace are living in the way of God, and that the Day of the Lord, or the kingdom of God as Jesus called it, is present when human beings act in its ways.
The Peaceable Kingdom (1833, 45x61cm; 588x800pix, 203kb) with two children in center foreground, next to wide-eyed leopard in right foreground, no ship on the river.
Noah's Ark (1846; 144kb)
Washington at the Delaware (1849, 71x90cm)
The Falls of Niagara (1825, 80x96cm; 409x500pix frame included, 78kb) _ All around the frame is printed:
(left)      With uproar hideous'first the Falls appear, / The stunning tumult thundering on the ear.
(top)      Above, below, where'er the astonished eye / Turns to behold, new opening wonders lie,
(right)   This great o'erwhelming work of awful Time / In all its dread magnificence sublime,
(bottom) Rises on our view, amid a crashing roar / That bids us kneel, and Time's great God adore.

^ Died on 04 April 1664 (1669?): Adam Willaerts, (or Willers), in Utrecht, Flemish Dutch Baroque marine painter born in 1577 in Antwerp.
— Adam Willaerts was one of the many Protestants who emigrated from Flanders to the northern Netherlands at the end of the 16th century. During his early years in Antwerp he was impressed with the colorful paintings of the Fleming Jan Breughel the elder, but the subject and style of his earliest known picture, Dutch East Indiamen off the West African Coast (1608; 410x630pix, 22kb), presumably painted after the artist’s arrival in Holland, shows the influence of the Dutch marine painter Hendrick Corneliszoon Vroom. In this painting Willaerts adopted Vroom’s austere compositional scheme of an uninterrupted horizontal expanse of water with no framing devices, but he lacked Vroom’s skill in depicting ships.
— Adam Willaerts was one of the followers of Hendrick Vroom who painted historical and quasi-historical maritime events in his style. Born in Antwerp, he settled in Utrecht early in the 17th century and spent the rest of his life there. By the time of his death he had seen what artists of the tonal classical phase of Dutch painting had accomplished. His own works began to show a shift in style with their lower viewpoints and more muted colour harmonies. In addition to the standard repertoire of Vroom's followers his oeuvre includes traditional biblical subjects related to the sea (Jonah and the whale, the miraculous draught of fishes, Christ preaching on the Sea of Galilee), beach scenes with large busy crowds, and views of rocky mountainous shores dotted with pine trees and goats that suggest he had access to works by Roelandt Savery who had settled permanently in Utrecht by 1619.
— Adam Willaerts had three sons who became painters, at least two of whom, Abraham Willaerts [1603 – 18 Oct 1669] and Isaac Willaerts [1620 – 24 Jun 1693], were taught by him and painted marine subjects as well as portraits. Unlike his father and younger brothers, the eldest son Cornelis Willaerts [1600–1666] was a history painter who also painted portraits and landscapes, including Arcadian scenes in the manner of Cornelis van Poelenburch. Of him only one signed work is known, Husband and Wife with Little Daughter before a Landscape.

Shipwreck off a Rocky Coast (1614, 65x86cm; oval 1200x1580pix, 214kb) _ As an eastindiaman founders on the rocks, the crew try to save their lives in the longboats. Meanwhile, three other merchantmen are struggling with the elements as the storm rages and a huge sea creature swims among the ships. Although Dutch vessels regularly met with disaster at sea and some never returned to port, this is not a depiction of an actual event. The scene the artist has invented here is the product of a fertile and dramatic imagination. The three listing vessels form a diagonal line in the composition, creating in a perspective effect. The line of successively smaller ships draws the eye into the far distance.
     A characteristic of Flemish landscapes is the use of fantasy and the disregard for realism. This was the style in which Adam Willaerts, a native of Antwerp who settled in Utrecht, painted. The depiction is not the story of a real shipwreck; in fact it is a complete fabrication. Fantasy played a major part in the work of early seventeenth-century Flemish landscape painters as, for another example, River Landscape with Boar Hunt (1610, 121x196cm) by Joos de Momper.
A Seastorm with a Shipwreck (489x799pix)
Coastal Landscape with Ships (1616; 521x799pix, 67kb)
–- Coastal Landscape with a Walled Town and Ships (1617, 67x115cm; 798x1438pix, 136kb _ .ZOOM to 1596x2877pix, 609kb) The ships include fishing boats and men-of-war; fishermen are unloading their catch; a man with four loaded donkeys is approaching the town gate.
Christ preaching from a ship on the Sea of Galilee (138x165cm; 486x600pix, 75kb) _ In the center, Christ is standing on a ship and preaching to the people on the beach of the Sea of Galilee. To the right in the background the Virgin is holding the Child Jesus; above them is the edge of a town, and in the distance behind the ship, more ships on the sea and a castle and another town.
Embarkation Scene _ In the forground, a number of people are getting onto a boat to be taken over to the ship on the right. On the left, a road going into the town in the background, with a man looking after his sheep along side, and another with his horse carrying his wares. In the far distance, the other side of the bay, a castle on the top of a hill with a field below and more buildings.
The Departure of Pilgrims from Delft (1620; 418x630pix, 23kb) about 1/10 of the picture, along its the right-hand edge, is missing from this reproduction _ The “pilgrims” are probably Remonstrants (followers of Jacobus Arminius [10 Oct 1560 – 19 Oct 1609]), who are fleeing the Dutch Republic after the Protestant Synod of Dort (= Dordrecht; 13 Nov 1618 - 09 May 1619) condemned their rejection of the strict Calvinist “decretum horribile” of predestination absolute: salvation and damnation meted out by God without regard to merit or demerit. _ detail (480x700pix, 27kb) extends to the original's right-hand edge, which is missing from the main image.
The Man o'War Amsterdam and other Dutch Ships in Table Bay (1636, 93x132cm; 816x1158pix, 181kb)
^ >Born on 04 April 1876: Maurice de Vlaminck, French Fauvist painter who died on 10 October 1958.
— Vlaminck, with his friend French painter André Derain [10 Jun 1880 – 10 Sep 1954], was part of the group that exhibited at the Salon d'Automne in Paris in 1905 and became known as the Fauves. Born in Paris, Vlaminck was largely self-taught (he once boasted that he had never been inside the Louvre museum in Paris). He was a professional bicyclist and earned his living as a violinist before becoming an artist. Vlaminck's work was greatly influenced by the colors and brushwork of Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, a retrospective of whose work had been shown in Paris in 1901. Painted in pure, intense pigments, Vlaminck's fauvist works such as Red Trees (1906) provide brilliant color contrasts. After the decline of fauvism, about 1908, his work—primarily landscapes—became more subdued in color and composition. Typical of these are The Painter's House at Valmondois (1920) and The Village Road (1935).
— Vlaminck also wrote several novels. Des romans de Vlaminck: D’un Lit dans l’autre — Fausse couleur — Moyen Age sans cathédrale — La haute-Folie — Cartes sur table. Autres livres de Vlaminck (mémoires, pensées): Portraits avant décès — Désobéir — Tournant dangereux — Le Ventre ouvert. — (illustré) Le Boeuf. — (poésies) Histoires et poèmes de mon époque, avec cinq bois gravés de l’auteur.
— Maurice de Vlaminck was born to a Flemish father. His parents moved to the Paris area when he was only three years old. He showed only a slight interest in his studies, beginning the journey of autodidactism that characterized his relations with painting. During his adolescent years, he held all sorts of jobs to escape his poverty and it was not until the age of twenty-three that he turned to painting. He was accompanied in this by Derain, with whom he began to share a studio in Chatou (the Chatou School).
      At the Salon d'automne of 1905 Vlaminck exhibited in the same room as the other fauves, and it was after this exposition that his financial situation began to gradually improve. His first one-artist exhibition took place at the Vollard Gallery in 1907. Immediately following World War I, he retired to the country, where he had always wanted to live because of his love for nature. The Nature morte aux poissons can be approximately dated to 1907-1910.
      Like the other artists who first developed the fauvist technique under the influence of Van Gogh [30 Mar 1853 – 29 Jul 1890] and Gauguin [07 Jun 1848 – 08 May 1903], Vlaminck was strongly marked by Cézanne's work, which he admired at the retrospective presented at the Salon d'automne of 1907. Still life with fish, typical of the end of the fauvist period, reflects the influence of Van Gogh in its aggressive technique, violent colors, and its solid and schematic construction, as well as in the use of pure color.
      After 1910, Vlaminck developed a style similar to Cézanne's, more sober in color as well as in construction. Crossing his brushstrokes, he alternates here a divisionist technique and large colored surfaces. The artist shows, albeit in a common subject, his passionate and instinctual temperament, ignoring classic notions of volume and subject treatment. The avant-garde expressionist power of this work and the absence of references, due to Vlaminck's autodidactism, make him one of the most violent fauvist painters and a precursor of the art of Soutine [1894 – 09 Aug 1943].

La Maison Bleue (1906, 55x65cm; 800x972pix, 728kb _ ZOOM to 1836x2230pix, 3665kb)
Paysage de neige (600x731pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1705pix, 671kb)
Nature Morte avec Service de Table (600x720pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1680pix)
Barges on the Seine near Le Pecq (1906, 65x92cm). From the Seine bridge at Chatou the road runs west by way of Le Vésinet to Le Pecq four kilometers away, where it again reaches the Seine, which has made a loop to the south. Here, and not at Chatou, is where the picture was painted, as can be seen by comparison with the picture by Derain bearing the place name Le Pecq. Vlaminck, who called himself a "gentle barbarian", is here more gentle than barbaric. To be sure, the bright brick-red of the tree on the bank flames up announcing itself to the pale-blue, slightly arching sky, but the pale-blue reflecting water, done in vertical brushstrokes, with the moored barge in front and the bridge on the horizon are the contrasting and finally dominant elements of peace; in this connection, the role of the vertical mast in the center of the picture must not be overlooked as a static factor. Moreover, the paint is not applied impasto onto the canvas, but lightly, sweepingly and gaily. We can almost believe in a reflex of the pictures of his friend Derain done when the latter painted in Collioure with Matisse in 1905. And it is not difficult to go back from this picture to those that the Impressionists had painted in 1874 in nearby Argenteuil. It was not without reason that Chatou, where Vlaminck and Derain worked, was called the Argenteuil of Fauvism.
— River (1910) _ detail (700x697pix, 127kb)
— The Factory (1904, 65x80cm) _ Although Vlaminck boasted that he never entered the Louvre, that he despised the artistic tradition and followed only his instinct, his "Factory" is, even so, very much in the tradition. As early as 1870, a generation earlier, Cézanne had painted the Factory in Front of Mont de Cengle [without factory: The Mont de Cengle, 1905] , and we might almost assume that Vlaminck was familiar with it, for the influence is more than obvious. Cézanne, too, had not failed in his landscapes of L’Estaque to incorporate the high smokestacks in the picture as structural elements. [The Bay from L'Estaque (1886) — View of L'Estaque] The "urban dreariness" had long since been discovered; Signac [1863-1935] had painted the gasometers of Clichy in 1886, and van Gogh in the summer of 1887 Bridges Across the Seine at Asnières and Factories at Asnières Seen from the Quay de Clichy, to mention only these. This bleak industrial landscape by the Seine with the red, smoking stack and the red roofs behind the tawny foreground, in addition to the blue of water and sky, is static in effect rather than turbulent, as we might expect from the Fauve Vlaminck; the picture is conceived in breadth with the scene parallel to the surface, this being reinforced by the horizontal brushwork. The painter is only a beginner here, as shown by the otherwise unusual monogram. There is represented a factory on the Seine opposite Chatou, in Nanterre, which he painted again in 1906.
Factory (1930, 42x50cm, another one)
Still Life with Oranges (1907, 45x54cm) Vlaminck is at the height of his powers with this still life done in 1907; the colors are saturated and deeply luminous. They are not applied in patches and do not come trailing out of the tube, but are densely articulated. The deep blue of the two jugs at the right and the shining yellow of the lemons contrast with the vigorous red of the cloth; a patterned tea service mediates between the contrasting colors The objects, however, possess not only luminosity, they also have their weight and volume, thrown into relief by a bright light falling from the left. We know how greatly Vlaminck was impressed at the exhibition at Bernheim Jeune’s in 1901 by van Gogh, how his painting was influenced thereby, but we need only think back to van Gogh’s Still Life: Blue Enamel Coffeepot, Earthenware and Fruit (May 1888, 65x81cm), which is especially comparable with this picture, in order to realize the chromatic restriction to blue and yellow shades there and the chromatic fortissimo here, the effect of compositional distance in van Gogh and the vital clustering of objects here in this painting. The Flemish-French Vlaminck has here succeeded in investing modest everyday things with luminousness and intense life, effects he was never to achieve again later.
–- Le Jardinier (1904, 69x96cm; 900x1259pix, 188kb) _ Le Jardinier displays a coloristic boldness and gestural exuberance that places it amongst Vlaminck’s greatest Fauve works. Executed with expressive brushstrokes of primary tones, this composition displays an explosion of color that earned Vlaminck and his colleagues the name 'Les Fauves'. The dominating and intense palette of yellow, red and pink hues are combined with the cooler green and blue tones towards the edges of the composition. Vlaminck, who later described Fauvism as a ‘manner of being’ rather than an intellectual invention, followed his youthful instincts in applying bold color onto canvas in an almost wild fashion. Fueled by an extraordinary and daring creativity and youthful passion, Vlaminck’s works of this period are amongst the most ground-breaking and revolutionary in early twentieth century art.
      Discussing the early period of his career, the artist himself explained his creative urge and his passion for color: ‘When I had spent a few days without thinking, without doing anything, I would feel a sudden urge to paint. Then I would set up my easel in full sunshine… Vermilion alone could render the brilliant red of the tiles on the opposite slope. The orange of the soil, the harsh crude colors of the walls and greenery, the ultramarine and cobalt of the sky achieved an extreme harmony that was sensually and musically ordered. Only the series of colors on the canvas with all their power and vibrancy could, in combination with each other, render the chromatic feeling of that landscape’ .
      This fascination with brilliant, vibrant colors is beautifully reflected in Le Jardinier, which probably depicts a scene near the island of Chatou on the river Seine, where Vlaminck lived at the time. The artist rarely left this region during his Fauve period, preferring its surroundings along the Seine over the landscapes of the south of France, favored by Matisse, Derain, and Braque. Vlaminck moved to Chatou in 1892, at the age of sixteen, and became deeply attached to this region, where he drew inspiration for most of his early landscapes, many of them characterized by the red-tiled roofs typical of the surrounding villages. It was in Chatou, the birthplace of André Derain, that the two artists met by chance in 1900, and subsequently formed a partnership that became the core of the Fauve movement. Vlaminck and Derain shared a studio, and over the following years painted regularly together, often depicting the same views of the local landscape.
      An expression of his youthful instincts, Vlaminck’s passion for color was, however, not unprecedented. In 1901 he saw the first retrospective exhibition of Van Gogh’s work, held at the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune in Paris, an experience that was to determine his artistic direction. In Le Jardinier, the debt owed to Van Gogh is evident in the choice of palette as well as of subject matter. In spite of all Vlaminck's admiration for all of van Gogh’s paintings, he immediately recognized in him a formidable adversary. Here was a man who had the same aspirations as himself, who had translated in his work the same torments and exaltations, the same visions and impressions with which he was struggling. And he had translated them with pure colors and brushstrokes, so expressive that all his emotions seemed to lay bare his canvases. Compared with the pursuit of delicate light effects characteristic of the Impressionists, whose pictures Vlaminck had seen occasionally in Paris, van Gogh suddenly burst forth with an unprecedented intensity of color and design. Back in Chatou, Vlaminck began to assimilate van Gogh’s lesson.
     _ Since Le Jardinier is mainly a combination of colors areas, neglecting shapes and details, the pseudonymous Mowheat Blahsable has modified colors, added abstract shapes and details, and produced the intricate
      _ Le Jar au Diner aka Reine Nier (2006; screen filling, 293kb _ ZOOM to 1318x1864pix, 1097kb) and
      _ La Jarde du Nez aka Nier Rein (2006; screen filling, 313kb _ ZOOM to 1318x1864pix, 1217kb)
–- Paysage aux Arbres Rouges, Chatou (799x644pix, 71kb) in this image the trees are brown, not red. This, and much more, has been remedied by Blahsable in his
      _ Pays Sage aux Arbres Vraiment Rouges, et, de plus, Symmétriques et Chatouilleux aka Redder (2006; screen filling, 182kb _ ZOOM to 1864x2636pix, 1059kb).
Le Pont de Chatou (1907; 600x792pix)
Paysage (1925; 600x776pix, 237kb)
^ Buried on 04 April 1633: Pieter Pieterszoon Lastman, Amsterdam Dutch painter and draftsman born in 1583. — {When fellow artists were accused of unfaithfulness to the rules of the Guild, was Lastman last man to throw the first stone?} {Did a critic put in doubt the value of this artist's work exhibited at the far end of a gallery, by asking: “Will last man Lastman last, man?”}
— Dutch painter active in Amsterdam and specialized in religious, historical, and mythological scenes. He went to Italy (c. 1604) and was influenced by Caravaggio - which makes him akin to the Utrecht School - and by Elsheimer. His "forte" was small figures in exotic and brightly-colored costumes. He was back in Amsterdam by 1607. His real importance lies in the fact that Jan Lievens was his student in 1617 and Rembrandt in 1624.
— He was the son of the goldsmith Pieter Segerszoon. His older brother Seeger Pieterszoon [Coninck] became a goldsmith like his father, while his younger brother Claes Lastman became an engraver and painter. Pieter was trained as a painter by the Mannerist artist Gerrit Pieterszoon, brother of the composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck. In June 1602 Lastman went to Rome, like so many of his contemporaries. While there, Lastman made two drawings of an Oriental in a Landscape (both 1603), which betray his continuing stylistic dependence on his master (as can also be seen in three drawings made before his trip to Italy). Related to the drawings made in Italy is a series of 12 prints after designs by Lastman of figures in Italian costumes. Lastman also visited Venice, as is documented by a drawing after the Adoration by the Shepherds (this one?) of Veronese in the church of SS Giovanni e Paolo. Lastman was apparently in Italy until March 1607 but thereafter spent the rest of his life in Amsterdam. About 1619 he took on Jan Lievens of Leiden as a student, and for six months in 1624 he trained Lievens’s fellow townsman Rembrandt.

Orestes and Pylades Disputing at the Altar (1614, 83x126cm; 770x1180pix, 175kb _ ZOOM) _ The paintings Lastman made shortly after his return from Italy to Amsterdam in 1607 effectively use landscape to help set a mood. They show the profound influence of Elsheimer. Around 1610 he also began to make history pictures with the landscape subordinated to many figures, a type of painting that became his speciality. At first his crowds were scattered,and it is sometimes difficult to distinguish protagonists from secondary figures; but by the end of the decade he was able to use a crowd to enhance the dramatic action of a story. In this painting Lastman made a definite distinction between the brightly illuminated figures in the foreground, the dimly lit figures in the middle distance and the blue-grey illumination of the group in the background. Most of the light falls on the protagonists, Orestes and Pylades, standing to the left of the altar, discussing which of them will have to sacrifice himself. Here Pieter Lastman portrayed the crucial moment in a classic drama. The Greek writer Euripides [487-406 BC] described how Orestes, son of the hero Agamemnon, travelled to Tauris, together with his faithful friend Pylades, in order to steal the famous cult statue of the goddess Artemis. The priestess of the temple that housed the wooden statue was none other than Iphigenia, Orestes' sister, whom Artemis had secretly brought to Tauris years earlier. Orestes did not know that she was still alive. Before the friends could put their wicked plan into action, however, they were found out and taken prisoner. Orestes and Pylades were led along to the temple, where they were to be sacrificed - the fate of all strangers who set foot on Tauris. Iphigenia took pity on them and decided that one of them would be allowed to live, leaving it to the men to decide who should be sacrificed. Although each wanted to die to save the other, they finally decided that Orestes would be sacrificed. At the moment he was to die, however, Iphigenia recognized her brother. The sacrificial banquet was called off, and Iphigenia and the young men fled to Mycenae, taking the statue of Artemis with them. Lastman portrayed this complicated story in a skilful manner. The illumination and colour scheme were used to set off the protagonists from the dozen of supporting actors. Typical of Lastman's early work is the crowded composition, in which throngs of people can be distinguished far into the background. They form a colourful procession of spectators, winding their way from the temple to the altar, carrying armour, human heads on poles and the wooden statue of Artemis.
Abraham's Journey to Canaan (1614, 72x122cm; 613x957pix, 117kb)

Juno Discovering Jupiter with Io (1618, 54x78cm, 750x1092pix, 138kb) _ Lastman was the most important and influential Amsterdam painter of his generation, and his influence persists throughout the work of Rembrandt, the very much greater artist who was his pupil for only six months. After an extended stay in Italy, Lastman returned home to practise 'history painting' - heroic narratives with a moral bias, based mainly on the Bible but occasionally also on classical history and literature, as in this picture. Because he did not rely on commissions he could choose his own subjects and he favoured ones involving conversations and sudden confrontations. Characteristically he has here taken an unusual moment from a famous mythological tale in Ovid's Metamorphoses. As in most of his work, whether on a large or small scale, Lastman has invested the scene with a mixture of Italianate grandeur and a sly humorous realism of Netherlandish extraction.
      Ovid relates that Jupiter, king of the gods, has fallen in love again, this time with the beautiful nymph Io. His wife Juno (=Saturnia), looking down from the heavens, sees the dark cloud he has spread to entrap Io and descends to earth to check on him. Hoping to deceive her, Jupiter turns Io into a beautiful heifer, but Juno makes him give her the beast and despatches hundred-eyed Argus to guard it. On Jupiter's orders Mercury (= Cyllenius) lulls Argus to sleep and kills him. Juno then takes his eyes to decorate her peacocks' tails.
... fugiebat enim. iam pascua Lernae
consitaque arboribus Lyrcea reliquerat arva,
cum deus inducta latas caligine terras
occuluit tenuitque fugam rapuitque pudorem.
Interea medios Iuno despexit in Argos
et noctis faciem nebulas fecisse volucres
sub nitido mirata die, non fluminis illas
esse, nec umenti sensit tellure remitti;
atque suus coniunx ubi sit circumspicit, ut quae
deprensi totiens iam nosset furta mariti.
quem postquam caelo non repperit, 'aut ego fallor
aut ego laedor' ait delapsaque ab aethere summo
constitit in terris nebulasque recedere iussit.
coniugis adventum praesenserat inque nitentem
Inachidos vultus mutaverat ille iuvencam;
bos quoque formosa est. speciem Saturnia vaccae,
quamquam invita, probat nec non, et cuius et unde
quove sit armento, veri quasi nescia quaerit.
Iuppiter e terra genitam mentitur, ut auctor
desinat inquiri: petit hanc Saturnia munus.

quid faciat? crudele suos addicere amores,
non dare suspectum est: Pudor est, qui suadeat illinc,
hinc dissuadet Amor. victus Pudor esset Amore,
sed leve si munus sociae generisque torique
vacca negaretur, poterat non vacca videri!
      Paelice donata non protinus exuit omnem
diva metum timuitque Iovem et fuit anxia furti,
donec Arestoridae servandam tradidit Argo.
centum luminibus cinctum caput Argus habebat
inde suis vicibus capiebant bina quietem,
cetera servabant atque in statione manebant. ...
Nec superum rector mala tanta Phoronidos ultra
ferre potest natumque vocat, quem lucida partu
Pleias enixa est letoque det imperat Argum.
parva mora est alas pedibus virgamque potenti
somniferam sumpsisse manu tegumenque capillis.
haec ubi disposuit, patria Iove natus ab arce
desilit in terras; illic tegumenque removit
et posuit pennas, tantummodo virga retenta est:
hac agit, ut pastor, per devia rura capellas
dum venit abductas, et structis cantat avenis.
voce nova captus custos Iunonius 'at tu,
quisquis es, hoc poteras mecum considere saxo'
Argus ait; 'neque enim pecori fecundior ullo
herba loco est, aptamque vides pastoribus umbram.'
Sedit Atlantiades et euntem multa loquendo
detinuit sermone diem iunctisque canendo
vincere harundinibus servantia lumina temptat.
ille tamen pugnat molles evincere somnos
et, quamvis sopor est oculorum parte receptus,
parte tamen vigilat....
talia dicturus vidit Cyllenius omnes
subcubuisse oculos adopertaque lumina somno;
supprimit extemplo vocem firmatque soporem
languida permulcens medicata lumina virga.
nec mora, falcato nutantem vulnerat ense,
qua collo est confine caput, saxoque cruentum
deicit et maculat praeruptam sanguine rupem.
Arge, iaces, quodque in tot lumina lumen habebas,
exstinctum est, centumque oculos nox occupat una.
Excipit hos volucrisque suae Saturnia pennis
collocat et gemmis caudam stellantibus inplet. ...

      Lastman illustrates the confrontation between deceitful Jupiter and suspicious Juno (Metamorphoses I, 612-616). The peacocks who draw Juno's celestial chariot, their tails still dull in color since Argus has not yet come into the story, are furiously braking their flight. Jupiter, with the aid of winged Love and red-masked Deceit with his attribute of a fox's pelt, two characters not mentioned by Ovid, is trying to conceal the enormous heifer from the goddess. The juxtaposition of heroic nudity with his guilty and rueful expression makes him look foolish. Henpecked husband and domineering wife are old themes of humorous Northern prints and Lastman may have wittily seized this opportunity to graft the native genre onto a Latin tale of adulterous passion among the pagan gods.
 __ See also Mercury, Argus, and Io (1635; 800x763pix, 82kb) by Jacob van Campen [02 Feb 1595 – 13 Sep 1657].
 _ Mercury and Argus with Io as a cow (1638, 63x88cm; 784x958pix, 157kb) by Rubens.

The Triumph of Mordecai (1624; 772x1092pix, 146kb _ ZOOM to 1400x2041pix) _ Lastman is known in the modern literature as the leading member of the group of artists called the pre-Rembrandtist. The group was mainly active in Amsterdam. What they have in common is their dedication to history painting, often employing biblical and mythological subjects that hitherto was rarely depicted by Dutch painters. Their style is derived from sources that Lastman used and all of them borrowed from Lastman, the most influential member of the group. (The group included, besides Lastman Jan Pynas, Jacob Pynas, Jan Tengnagel, Cornelisz Moeyart, and François Venant.) About 1624 Rembrandt spent six months with Lastman, who may have inspired Holland's greatest artist to become a history painter. He certainly influenced his early narrative style and choice of subjects.
Odysseus and Nausicaa (1619, 91x117cm; 806x1020pix, 181kb) _ The fact that Lastman visited Italy and that, while he was there, he was profoundly influenced by Elsheimer, is evident in this painting of the shipwrecked Odysseus found naked by Nausicaa and her entourage. The pictorial structure, the individual gestures and formal pathos are theatrical, and the setting itself is charged with meaning. The artist has taken a highly original approach in placing the figures, with their gestures of surprise and fright and their outstretched arms, against a pale sky - a motif Rembrandt was soon to adopt. One thing, however, is particularly remarkable about this painting, and it foreshadows an element that is to emerge strongly in later Dutch painting: the element of the "portrait historié". We have the impression here that a historic event is being played by specific persons, as though in a theatrical role. History painting and the reality of the protagonists are widely divergent. In this painting, the naked Odysseus not only looks like the great hero of the Trojan war, but he is also caricatured in his all too human role. Lastman increased the figurative detail of his staffage and with that the realism and narrative impact of his work. The young Rembrandt also adopted this sense of tension.
The Angel and Tobias with the Fish (1625, 34x59cm; 589x1010pix, 117kb _ ZOOM to 1400x1867pix, 836kb) _ detail (689x811pix, 86kb) _ Lastman depicts the Biblical story, very popular in the circle of Elsheimer whose influence can be seen on this picture, too. The story is recounted in the Book of Tobit. Tobias was sent by his father Tobit to Media to recover a sum of money he had hidden there earlier. Arcangel Raphael, sent by God to help Tobit and his family, asked Tobit (who did not recognize the angel) whether he may escort his son on his journey and, in company with Tobias' faithful hound, they departed together. They reached the Tigris, where Tobias was attacked by a gigantic fish. The arcangel oredered him to capture it and had him remove anad conserve its gall, heart and liver.
De Kruisiging van Jezus (1623; 600x869pix, 222kb _ ZOOM to 1400x2028pix, 702kb) _ This painting, together with De Bewening van Abel, was stolen from Het Rembrandthuis in Amsterdam in October 1994; the two paintings were recovered in 1998. _ It shows the whole scene on Golgotha, with the two crucified thieves and all the bystanders.
Christ on the Cross, and Mary (1615; 600x429pix, 87kb _ ZOOM to 1400x1001pix, 284kb)
De Bewening van Abel (1623; 600x846pix, 233kb _ ZOOM to 1400x1975pix, 738kb) _ This painting, together with De Kruisiging van Jezus, was stolen from Het Rembrandthuis in Amsterdam in October 1994; the two paintings were recovered in 1998. _ compare
      _ Abel Mourned by his Parents (1628, 67x84cm, 700x741pix, 74kb) by Liss
      _ The Body of Abel Found by Adam and Eve (1825, 32x43cm) by Blake
The Rest on the Flight to Egypt (1623; 600x1008pix, 169kb _ ZOOM to 1400x2352pix, 535kb)
Baptism of the Secretary of the Treasury (1608, 600x900pix, 281kb _ ZOOM to 1400x2100pix, 836kb) _ The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, “Get up and head south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route.” So he got up and set out. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, that is, the queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury, who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home. Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. The Spirit said to Philip, “Go and join up with that chariot.” Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him. This was the scripture passage he was reading: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opened not his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who will tell of his posterity? For his life is taken from the earth.” Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply, “I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this? About himself, or about someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this scripture passage, he proclaimed Jesus to him. As they traveled along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look, there is water. What is to prevent my being baptized?” Then he ordered the chariot to stop, and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water, and he baptized him. (Acts 8:26-38)
 _ Different depiction of the same scene in the engraving
      _ The Baptism of the Black Treasurer by the Apostle Philip (1623, 85x115cm; 1/4 size, 247kb)
      Lastman's painting and engraving inspired
      _ Baptism of the Eunuch (1626, 64x48cm; 690x500pix, 41kb) by Rembrandt. Although the Book of Acts of the Apostles (8:38) says that the deacon Philip and the Treasurer went into the water, as shown in Lastman's painting, Rembrandt follows the opinion of Calvin that sprinkling with water is sufficient for baptism. In the Middle Ages this theme was seldom depicted; under the influence of the Protestantism, which fully recognized only one of the seven Sacraments of the Church, Baptism, it became more popular. Lastman's influence is seen in the use of color in this early work by Rembrandt.
Battle Between Constantine and Maxentius (1613, 162x170cm; 600x636pix, 210kb _ ZOOM to 1400x1484pix) _ The Battle of Milvian Bridge took place on 28 October 312 between the Roman Emperors Constantine I the Great [27 Feb 286 – 22 May 337] and Maxentius. When Constantine emerged victorious, the path of Western civilization as it had been known, was about to be changed forever. The underlying cause of the battle was the five-year-long dispute between Constantine and Maxentius over control of the western half of the empire. Although Constantine was the son of the western emperor Constantius Chlorus, the system in place at the time, the tetrarchy, did not necessarily provide for hereditary succession. After Constantius died on 25 July 306, his troops proclaimed Constantine as Augustus (28 October 306), but in Rome, the favorite was Maxentius, the son of Constantius' predecessor Maximian. Both men continued to claim the title afterwards, although a conference to resolve the dispute in 308 resulted in Maxentius being named a senior emperor along with Galerius. Constantine was allowed to maintain rule of the provinces of Britain and Gaul, but was officially only a "Caesar", or junior emperor. By 312, the two men were engaged in open hostility to one another, although they were brothers-in-law. Much of this was the work of Maxentius' father Maximian, who had been forcibly retired as emperor in 305 by Diocletian. Maximian schemed and double-crossed both his son and Constantine trying to regain power before the latter had him executed in 310. When Galerius died in 311, the power struggle was on. In the summer of 312, Constantine gathered his forces and decided to settle the dispute by force. He easily overran northern Italy, and stood some 15 kilometers from Rome when Maxentius chose to make his stand in front of the Milvian Bridge, a stone bridge (still standing today) which carries the Via Flaminia road across the Tiber River into Rome. Holding it was crucial if Maxentius was to keep his rival out of Rome, where the Senate would surely favor whoever held the city. Constantine, after arriving, realized he had made a miscalculation and that Maxentius had many more soldiers available than he did. Some sources say the advantage was 10-to-1 in Maxentius' favor, but it was probably more like four to one. In any case, Constantine had a tough challenge ahead of him. On the evening of 27 October, with the armies preparing for battle, Constantine reportedly had a vision as he looked toward the setting sun. The Greek letters XP ("Chi-Rho", the first two letters of "Christ") intertwined along with a cross appeared emblazoned on the sun, along with the inscription "in hoc signo vinces." Constantine, who was a pagan at the time, put the symbol on his solders' shields. The next day, the two armies clashed, and Constantine emerged victorious. Already known as a skillful general, Constantine began to push Maxentius' army back toward the Tiber, and Maxentius decided to retreat and make another stand at Rome itself. But there was only one escape route, via the bridge, and Constantine's men inflicted heavy losses on the retreating army. Finally, a bridge of boats set up alongside the Milvian Bridge, over which many of the troops were escaping, collapsed (in Lastman's painting it is the Milvian Bridge itself which, more spectacularly, collapses), and those men stranded on the north bank of the Tiber were either taken prisoner or killed, with Maxentius numbered among the dead. Constantine entered Rome not long afterwards and was acclaimed as sole western Augustus. He credited his victory at Milvian Bridge to the god of the Christians, and ordered the end of any religious persecution within his realm, a step he had already taken in Britain and Gaul in 306. With the emperor as a patron, Christianity, which was already quite common in the empire, exploded in popularity.
Susanna and the Elders (1623; 600x802pix, 242kb _ ZOOM to 1400x1871pix) _ compare
      _ Suzanna in the Bath (1647, 76x91cm; 788x930, 138kb) by Rembrandt
Naomi and Ruth (1623; 600x963pix, 287kb _ ZOOM to 1400x2247pix, 926kb) _ Once in the time of the judges there was a famine in the land; so a man from Bethlehem of Judah departed with his wife and two sons to reside on the plateau of Moab. The man was named Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and his sons Mahlon and Chilion; they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem of Judah. Some time after their arrival on the Moabite plateau, Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons, who married Moabite women, one named Orpah, the other Ruth. When they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Chilion died also, and the woman was left with neither her two sons nor her husband. She then made ready to go back from the plateau of Moab because word reached her there that the LORD had visited his people and given them food. She and her two daughters-in-law left the place where they had been living. Then as they were on the road back to the land of Judah, Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go back, each of you, to your mother's house! May the LORD be kind to you as you were to the departed and to me! May the LORD grant each of you a husband and a home in which you will find rest." She kissed them good-bye, but they wept with loud sobs, and told her they would return with her to her people. "Go back, my daughters!" said Naomi. "Why should you come with me? Have I other sons in my womb who may become your husbands? Go back, my daughters! Go, for I am too old to marry again. And even if I could offer any hopes, or if tonight I had a husband or had borne sons, would you then wait and deprive yourselves of husbands until those sons grew up? No, my daughters! my lot is too bitter for you, because the LORD has extended his hand against me." Again they sobbed aloud and wept; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye, but Ruth stayed with her. (Ruth 1:1-14)
      Lastman depicts the dialogue of Naomi and Ruth just after the departing of Orpah. We can see her as a little figure, far away, at the other side of the bridge, in the richly embellished landscape. In a close-up at the right of the painting the viewer is confronted with the two very colorful protagonists of the story. They have already passed the border river. Naomi on her donkey, ready for her journey to far Bethlehem, energetically waves Ruth back with her hand. The beautiful young Ruth looks and gestures in an imploring manner.
     “See now!” Naomi said, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her god. Go back after your sister-in-law!” But Ruth said, “Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you! for wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Wherever you die I will die, and there be buried. May the LORD do so and so to me, and more besides, if aught but death separates me from you!” Naomi then ceased to urge her, for she saw she was determined to go with her. So they went on together till they reached Bethlehem. (Ruth 1:15-19)
      Lastman gives a fine illustration of the first dramatic happening of the narrative of Ruth and Naomi.
Jesus and the Blind Man (1623; 600x845pix, 243kb _ ZOOM to 1400x1972pix) _ As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed, and came back able to see. (John 9:1-7)
Balaam's Donkey (1623; 600x899pix, 224kb _ ZOOM to 1400x2099pix, 703kb) _ compare
      _ Balaam's Donkey (1626, 63x46cm; 1000x727pix, 203kb) by Rembrandt _ Moab feared the Israelites greatly because of their numbers, and detested them. So Moab said to the elders of Midian, "Soon this horde will devour all the country around us as an ox devours the grass of the field." And Balak, Zippor's son, who was king of Moab at that time, sent messengers to Balaam, son of Beor, at Pethor on the Euphrates, in the land of the Amawites, summoning him with these words, "A people has come here from Egypt who now cover the face of the earth and are settling down opposite us! Please come and curse this people for us; they are stronger than we are. We may then be able to defeat them and drive them out of the country. For I know that whoever you bless is blessed and whoever you curse is cursed." Then the elders of Moab and of Midian left with the divination fee in hand and went to Balaam. When they had given him Balak's message, he said to them in reply, "Stay here overnight, and I will give you whatever answer the LORD gives me." So the princes of Moab lodged with Balaam. Then God came to Balaam and said, "Who are these men visiting you?" Balaam answered God, "Balak, son of Zippor, king of Moab, sent me the message: 'This people that came here from Egypt now cover the face of the earth. Please come and lay a curse on them for us; we may then be able to give them battle and drive them out.'" But God said to Balaam, "Do not go with them and do not curse this people, for they are blessed." The next morning Balaam arose and told the princes of Balak, "Go back to your own country, for the LORD has refused to let me go with you." So the princes of Moab went back to Balak with the report, "Balaam refused to come with us." Balak again sent princes, who were more numerous and more distinguished than the others. On coming to Balaam they told him, "This is what Balak, son of Zippor, has to say: Please do not refuse to come to me. I will reward you very handsomely and will do anything you ask of me. Please come and lay a curse on this people for me." But Balaam replied to Balak's officials, "Even if Balak gave me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything, small or great, contrary to the command of the LORD, my God. But, you too shall stay here overnight, till I learn what else the LORD may tell me." That night God came to Balaam and said to him, "If these men have come to summon you, you may go with them; yet only on the condition that you do exactly as I tell you." So the next morning when Balaam arose, he saddled his donkey, and went off with the princes of Moab. But now the anger of God flared up at him for going, and the angel of the LORD stationed himself on the road to hinder him as he was riding along on his donkey, accompanied by two of his servants. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing on the road with sword drawn, she turned off the road and went into the field, and Balaam had to beat her to bring her back on the road. Then the angel of the LORD took his stand in a narrow lane between vineyards with a stone wall on each side. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD there, she shrank against the wall; and since she squeezed Balaam's leg against it, he beat her again. The angel of the LORD then went ahead, and stopped next in a passage so narrow that there was no room to move either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD there, she cowered under Balaam. So, in anger, he again beat the donkey with his stick. But now the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she asked Balaam, "What have I done to you that you should beat me these three times?" "You have acted so willfully against me," said Balaam to the donkey, "that if I but had a sword at hand, I would kill you here and now." But the donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your own beast, and have you not always ridden upon me until now? Have I been in the habit of treating you this way before?" "No," replied Balaam. Then the LORD removed the veil from Balaam's eyes, so that he too saw the angel of the LORD standing on the road with sword drawn; and he fell on his knees and bowed to the ground. But the angel of the LORD said to him, "Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? It is I who have come armed to hinder you because this rash journey of yours is directly opposed to me. When the donkey saw me, she turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away from me, I would have killed you; her I would have spared." Then Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, "I have sinned. Yet I did not know that you stood against me to oppose my journey. Since it has displeased you, I will go back home." But the angel of the LORD said to Balaam, "Go with the men; but you may say only what I tell you." So Balaam went on with the princes of Balak. (Numbers 22:3-35)
^ Died on 04 April 1758: Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, French Neoclassical painter and draftsman known for his softly modeled, emotionally Romantic style, who died on 16 February 1823.
— 1774 Sent to the Dijon Academy by the bishop of Mâcon / 1777 Marries 1780 Arrives in Paris / 1784 Travels in Italy / 1784 Wins the Dijon prix de Rome / 1791 First exhibit at the Salon / 1801 Receives commissions from Napoleon 1803 Wife dies, he initiates an affair with student Constance Mayer / 1808 Made chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur. / 1810 Appointed drawing master to the Empress Marie-Louise / 1816 Gains membership in the Institute de France. / 26 May 1821 Companion and student Constance Mayer [1775–] commits suicide in his studio
— Prud’hon studied under François Devosges III. He is best known for his allegorical paintings and portraits, most of which were done during the turbulent years of the Revolution (1789–1799) and the heroic years of the First Empire (1804–1815). It is paradoxical that, while actively supporting the rigorous social reforms of the Jacobins and seeking approval in Napoleonic circles, Prud’hon should have produced work that generally shows great charm and sentimental appeal; these qualities distinguish his oeuvre from the more austere Neo-classicism of David and his school and place him historically in close relation to an earlier 18th-century European tradition of sensibilité and to the Anacreontic manner that was fashionable with a number of artists working in Italy when he was there.
      His letters from Rome contain statements of admiration for the noble and graceful forms of ancient statuary and for the work of Raphael; but these are balanced by an equal admiration for the handling of expression by Leonardo da Vinci and Anton Raphael Mengs. Later, in Paris, while he analysed physiognomy and gesture in the work of Poussin, he also studied the subtle chiaroscuro in Correggio’s work and the tenebrist practice of Caravaggio and applied these to his mythological and religious works. Prud’hon’s style is thus characterized by a softer, more lyrical form of Neo-classicism and occasionally by a dark and disquieting Romanticism. His independence from his Parisian contemporaries can be attributed partly to his idiosyncratic choice of models for study and partly to influences from patrons and teachers during his formative years.
— The students of Prud'hon included Jean-Baptiste Mallet, Ary Scheffer, Johann Friedrich Waldeck.

Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck with Wife and Children (1802, 264x200cm; 1131x850pix, 110kb _ ZOOM to 1600x1201pix, 189kb) _ This is an almost life-size portrait of the Schimmelpenninck family. Prud'hon has placed the family in a park. The greenish light filtering through the foliage makes the scene appear somewhat static. A sense of harmony emanates from this poetic portrait. The family's twelve year old daughter, Catharina, is holding a garland of flowers in her hand. Her eight year old brother, Gerrit, is playing with a dog. Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck is sitting with a book in his hand day-dreaming. His wife, Catharina Nahuys, leans towards him. Although Schimmelpenninck was a highly regarded statesman, he has not had himself portrayed here as a diplomat, but rather as a husband and father. This painting of the Schimmelpenninck family was exhibited in the Paris salon of 1802. It was given the name Réunion de famille.
     Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck [31 Oct 1761 – 15 Feb 1825] was a major figure in the Batavian Republic (the Netherlands between 1795 and 1806), which he helped to establish as a militant in the Patriot Party's committee of revolution, which overthrew the Dutch Republic's hereditary stadholder, Prince William V of Orange, in January 1795. Schimmelpenninck occupied several top positions. He was chairman of the National Assembly more than once and was the Dutch ambassador to Paris. Schimmelpennick was also Grand Pensionary - 'head' - of the Republic for one year (appointed by Napoléon). When, in 1806, Louis Bonaparte, brother of the Emperor Napoleon, was crowned king, Schimmelpenninck had to step down. Under William I he was elected to the First Chamber of the Dutch parliament. Schimmelpenninck commissioned this portrait during his first term as ambassador in Paris. In the same period he also commissioned the Dutch painter J.A. Knip [1776-1847] to paint the gardens of his French residences.
     A portrait also exists of Schimmelpenninck by Charles Howard Hodges: a state portrait of Schimmelpenninck as Grand Pensionary. There is a copy of this portrait by Willem Stad. As Grand Pensionary, Schimmelpenninck has adopted a royal pose, very different to his dreamy attitude in the family portrait. He is wearing a velvet cloak and a gleaming sash. On the table lies a plumed hat. Behind him hangs a large curtain. This state portrait is reminiscent of royal portraits made by the Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck in the seventeenth century.
     The Schimmelpenninck family portrait has been painted in a rather smooth way. A silvery grey tone dominates the picture. Pierre-Paul Prud'hon only occasionally added stronger marks of paint, for instance on Schimmelpenninck's standing collar. The figures are slim and elegant, the women are even a little too tall. They are wearing simple dresses with high waists and short sleeves. This fashion was inspired by the dress of Roman times. This was accompanied by simple hair styles: smoothly pulled back with curls over the forehead. Both the clothes and the clear way of painting can be called Neoclassical. Neoclassicism was also known as 'Empire Style', the imperial style of the time of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Justice and Divine Vengeance Pursuing Crime ( _ ZOOMable)
Georges Anthony avec son cheval (600x492pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1148pix)
L'Assomption de la Vierge (1819, 195x157cm)
David Johnston
The Empress Josephine
Innocence Preferring Love to Wealth
Count Alexander Osterman-Tolstoy
Andromache and Astyanax

Died on a 04 April:

1912 Knut Ekwall, Swedish painter born (main coverage) on 03 April 1843. —(100108)

^ 1905 Constantin Emile Meunier, Belgian sculptor and painter, born on 12 April 1831. He was one of the principal social-realist artists of the late19th century in Europe. Meunier began his career as a sculptor, but during the years 1857–1884 he pursued only painting. After visiting some mines and factories, Meunier demonstrated in his paintings a humanitarian interest in laborers, focusing particularly on the miners of the Borinage, dockworkers of Antwerp, metalworkers, and women laborers.
     In 1882, under the sponsorship of the Belgian government, Meunier went to Spain, where he produced paintings primarily on religious subjects. After returning to Belgium, he began to explore in bronze sculpture the social themes that had dominated his earlier paintings. The empathy and respect with which he viewed his subjects (e.g., The Fire-Damp Explosion, 1887) renders Meunier's work universal rather than political. His notable works include The Docker (1905) and a large sculptural group, Monument to Labor, which was installed in the Place de Trooz, Brussels, in 1930. — LINKS
Au Pays Noir (1893, 166kb)
Le Verrier (381x232pix, 24kb)

1904 Frederik Hendrik Kaemmerer (or Kammerer), Dutch artist born in 1839.

1871 Peter Heinrich Lambert von Hess, German painter born (main coverage) on 29 July 1792. —(060328)

=1814 Thomas-Germain-Joseph Duvivier, French painter born on 30 August 1735.

^ 1803 (22 Aug?) Jacques-Henri Sablet “du Soleil”, Swiss French painter, draftsman, and printmaker, born on 28 January 1749, son of the painter and picture dealer Jacob Sablet [1720–1798] and brother of Jean-François Sablet [23 Nov 1745 — 24 Feb 1819], with whose works the attribution of those of Jacques has frequently been confused, although their careers did not follow a similar course. Jacques Sablet was trained as a decorative painter in Lyon before studying at the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in Paris as a student of Joseph-Marie Vien. Thanks to a grant from the State of Berne, he was able to go to Rome. In 1778 he received a first prize at the Accademia in Parma for La Mort de Pallas. In 1781, after painting an Allegorie de la Republique de Berne Protectices des Arts, he abandoned history painting for genre scenes; the touching sensibility of such paintings as A Father’s Devotion (1784) and the First Steps of Childhood (1789) is derived from the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Salomon Gessner. He collaborated with Abraham-Louis-Rodolphe Ducros on the publication of a series of Italian costumes in aquatint, providing the drawings from which Ducros made the plates, and himself made in 1786 a series of etchings of popular characters. Such paintings as Popular Entertainments in Naples and Colin-Maillard, remarkable for their lifelike expression, luminosity and vivacious coloring, also exemplify his interest in the newly developing taste for such subjects.
The Death Of Pallas (48x36cm; 1000x739pix, 533kb)
La Tarantelle (155x212cm; 376x512pix, 48kb) _ the picture depicts an idyllic scene of Neapolitan peasants dancing the Tarantella before a harbor with a castle reminiscent of the Castel Nuovo, Naples, above and beyond the fortress of Gaeta. The Tarantella was a lively dance, performed to the accompaniment of tambourines, a guitar, or sometimes, as here, a lute. It is commonly believed to be named after the tarantula spider which was (incorrectly) thought to cause tarantism, a form of hysteria that was at one time endemic to the southern Italian town of Taranto, and the cure for which was thought to involve wild dancing. The same dance is surely being performed in Sablet's Danse napolitaine (99x137cm.), commissioned by Gustav III of Sweden in 1784, from which composition the three main groups of musicians to the right in the present work, the dancing couple in the center, and the drinking couple to the left, have clearly evolved. _ Auctioned at Christie's on 22 April 2005, estimated at about £250'000.
La joueuse de harpe (63x75cm; 402x474pix, 36kb)
Le repas des fiançailles (477x600pix, 33kb)

^ >1794 Henri-Joseph Antonissen, Flemish artist born on 09 June 1737. — {Is it true that Anthony sends Antonissens out of New York state to avoid the sales tax?}
–- Peasants With Cattle in an Open Landscape (641x900pix, 55kb)
–- Landscape with Farm Animals and Church (594x800pix, 47kb) —(070403)

^ 1566 Daniele Ricciarelli da Volterra, Italian Mannerist painter and sculptor, born in 1509 in Volterra, Republic of Florence. He is noted for his finely drawn, highly idealized figures done in the style of Michelangelo. He studied under the Sienese painter Sodoma, and in about 1538 he moved to Rome, where he became a student and a close friend of Michelangelo. The latter's influence is already apparent in the exaggerated musculature and strong linear rhythms of the figures in Volterra's fresco freize (1541) in the Massimi Palace depicting the story of Fabius Maxiumus. In that same year Volterra painted his most famous work, the Descent from the Cross in the Church of Trinità de' Monti, Rome. The dynamically posed, monumental figures in this powerful and agitated composition make it one of the most important works done by the younger generation of Mannerist painters in Rome. Volterra's other major paintings include Massacre of the Innocents and David Killing Goliath.
     In 1559 Pope Paul IV assigned Volterra the task of painting in draperies to cover the nudity of the figures in Michelangelo's Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel. For his performance of this task Volterra earned the nickname Il Braghetone (“The Breeches Maker”), as well as an undeserved posthumous reputation as a prude. Volterra's last work was a bronze portrait bust of Michelangelo based on the latter's death mask. The bust is the finest surviving representation of that great artist.
— As a boy, he entered the studios of Bazzi (Il Sodoma) and of Baldassare Peruzzi at Siena, but he was not well received and left for Rome, where he found his earliest employment. He formed a friendship with Michelangelo, who assisted whim with commissions, and with ideas and suggestions, especially for his series of paintings in one of the chapels of the Trinita dei Monti. By an excess of praise, his greatest picture, the Descent from the Cross, was at one time grouped with the Transfiguration of Raphael and the Last Communion of Domenichino, as the most famous pictures in Rome. His principal work was the Massacre of the Innocents, which he painted for the Church of St. Peter at Volterra now in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence. Volterra was commissioned by Paul III to complete the decoration of the Sala Regia. On the death of the pope (1549) he lost his position as superintendent of the works of the Vatican and the pension to which it entitled him. He then devoted himself chiefly to sculpture. Commissioned by Paul IV to supply draperies to some of the nude figures in the magnificent Last Judgment by Michelangelo, he thus obtained the opprobrious nickname "Breeches Maker" or "Il Bragghetone". His Victory of David over Goliath now in the Louvre, is so good that for years it was attributed to Michelangelo. His work is distinguished by beauty of colouring, clearness, excellent composition, vigorous truth, and curiously strange oppositions of light and shade. Where he approaches closely to Michelangelo, he is an artist of great importance; where he partakes of the sweetness of Sodoma, he becomes full of mannerisms, and possesses a certain exaggerated prettiness. Much of the fascination of his career resides in the development of his style from provincial origins to a highly sophisticated manner, combining the most accomplished elements of the art of Michelangelo, Raphael and their Mannerist followers in a distinctive and highly original way. He provided an influential model for numerous later artists in Rome.
The Massacre of the Innocents (676x672pix, 127kb)

Born on a 04 April:

^ 1883 Albert Servaes, Belgian painter who died on 19 April 1966. He took evening classes at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Ghent (1901–1902), but he was mainly self-taught. In 1905 he settled in Laethem-Saint-Martin and painted landscapes, farmers, harvests and biblical scenes. During his formative years he was influenced by Gustave Van de Woestyne, Eugène Laermans and Jakob Smits. In The Potato Planters (1909) the characteristics of Flemish Expressionism can be seen for the first time in the boldness of his painting, the monumental schematized figures and dark colors. From 1916 Servaes started to work in series, for example The Life of the Peasant (1920), which was awarded a prize at the Venice Biennale in 1920, The Stations of the Cross and The Life of the Virgin. Servaes was responsible for a renewed interest in ecclesiastical art in Belgium. His Stations of the Cross of Luithagen (1919) consists of 14 charcoal drawings on white paper; the skeleton-like figures are boldly sketched and harrowing in their expressiveness. Yet this Expressionist style was misunderstood and was condemned by the Roman Catholic Church in 1921, and as a result most of Servaes’s religious works were removed from Belgian churches. Servaes was also an important landscape painter, notably of harvest and snow scenes, which were widely imitated in the first half of the 20th century. In 1944 he moved to Switzerland, where he produced numerous mountain scenes, as well as portraits and religious subjects, executed primarily in pastel and in an Expressionist style. The illustrations from C. F. Ramuz’s Jean-Luc persécuté (1951) and Stations of the Cross for Afsnee are among his best works of this period.
The face of Christ - Fifth Station of the Cross (380x256pix, 35kb gif)

^1882 Emil Filla, Czech painter, printmaker, sculptor, writer, and collector, who died on 07 (06?) October 1953. After a short period at a business school and in an insurance office in Brno, he became a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (1903). In 1904 he won the Academy’s first prize. At the end of the year he set out on a lengthy journey to Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Italy. He became absorbed in the Old Masters, especially Rembrandt. His own style passed from Post-Impressionism to a more expressive dominance of color. In 1907 he took part in the first exhibition of The Eight with a program painting, The Reader of Dostoyevsky, partly influenced by the Munch exhibition in Prague in 1905. At the same time the picture is a very personal manifesto reflecting the Angst and scepticism of his generation. At the second exhibition of The Eight in 1908, he included paintings of the country around Dubrovnik. He moved to Prague, and in 1909, the year he visited Paris, he painted his expressive Red Ace, on the strength of which he was admitted to the Mánes Union of Artists. In 1911 he edited several issues of Volné smery, in which he promoted Cubism and published reproductions of Picasso’s works that he had seen in Paris. Following negative reaction from his readers and from the leaders of the association he and various of his friends withdrew from Mánes and founded the Group of Plastic Artists in May of that year, oriented primarily towards Cubism. He did not himself produce genuinely Cubist work until the end of 1912, when he somewhat arbitrarily combined various phases of Cubism as he had observed them in the work of Picasso, Braque and others (e.g. Two Women, 1912). In 1913 he created his first Cubist sculptures (e.g. Head, bronze, 37cm high).
Fight of Two Dogs (1908, 39x49 cm; 523x670pix, 86kb)
Red Fox (1946 monotype, 15x10cm; 998x610pix, 164kb) with, on the same page, 3 details: 1: (554x610pix, 141kb); 2: (554x610pix, 142kb); 3: (554x610pix 136kb)

^ 1878 Marie Isidore Henri Liénard de Saint-Délis, French painter who died on 15 November 1949; brother of René Liénard de Saint-Délis [1876-1958]. — {Comment un délit peut-il être saint?}— Henri Liénard de Saint-Delis est né le 4 avril 1878 à Marconne dans le Pas de Calais. Au Lycée du Havre, lors de leurs études secondaires, le professeur de dessin relève les talents peu communs des frères de Saint-Delis et d'Othon Friesz. Le passage de Henri à l'École Municipale des Beaux Arts du Havre sous l'autorité clémente et éclairée de Charles Lhullier le marquera bien plus que son séjour inassidu à l'Académie Jullian de Paris. Il revient d'ailleurs le plus souvent possible au Havre pour y peindre les bassins, les quais et les jetées à toutes les heures du jour. Sa personnalité indépendante fait qu'il n'adhère pas intégralement au fauvisme. Malgré l'effet d'entraînement de Dufy, Friesz et Marquet, il cherche un art de synthèse et crée une écriture propre, fauve, baroque et poétique. En 1908, sa santé le conduit à Leysin en Suisse ; son non-conformisme de style se trouvera renforcé par ce nécessaire isolement. Il donnera surtout durant cette longue période d'exil - qui durera jusqu'en 1920 - des neiges d'une rare authenticité. À son retour, il se fixe à Honfleur, se consacrant à la peinture et surtout à l'aquarelle, dans le cadre d'une vie plutôt ascétique. Il représente inlassablement le Vieux Bassin et la Côte de Grâce, l'estuaire et les bateaux, la plage et les fêtes, des tempêtes furieuses et des natures mortes sereines, avec - chaque fois qu'il le peut - des drapeaux colorés. Il compte quelques amis peintres : Othon Friesz qui est revenu à Honfleur, Henri Malançon, Raymond Bigot et Paul Élie Gernez; il a aussi une petite cohorte de fidèles élèves. Les privations de la guerre finiront de l'épuiser et sa production des dernières années est assez piètre. Lors des bombardements du Havre, une partie non négligeable de son oeuvre est détruite, ce qui l'affecte considérablement. Il s'éteint à Honfleur le 15 novembre 1949.
— Au Lycée du Havre il était dans la même classe que Friesz, leur amitié devait durer toute leur vie. Il retrouva ensuite Friesz à l'École des Beaux-Arts de la ville, où ils étaient élèves de Charles Lhullier. Il y connut aussi Dufy, Braque, Lecourt, et Copieux. Ils créent en 1905 le Cercle de l'Art Moderne destiné à promouvoir l'art, la musique et la poésie. De 1906 à 1916 il séjourna en Suisse; la plus part des oeuvres de l'époque furent détruites au Havre lors du bombardement de la ville en 1944.
     Peu avant 1920, il quitta le Havre et s'installa définitivement à Honfleur, où il accomplit l'essentiel de son oeuvre, quelques portraits, quelques natures mortes, mais surtout des paysages de la côte, de la campagne, et du port, et une multitude d'aquarelles. Il est regrettable que la production de Suisse ait été presque entièrement détruite. La couleur y est vive et le dessin synthétisé en larges arabesques. La production de Honfleur est alerte et franche; le dessin en est volontairement sommaire. On pourrait comparer ce qu'il fut pour Honfleur à ce qu'un Mathieu Verdilhan fut pour la côte Marseillaise. Chez les deux, on retrouve l'écho assourdi du fauvisme.
— Henri de Saint-Délis est un ami de Friesz et Dufy Jeunes gens, ils franchissent l'estuaire et viennent se divertir à Honfleur. Saint-Délis suit un chemin modeste écarté des routes parisiennes de la gloire. Son dessin reste plus naïf mais sa peinture, où l'humour perce, est tout aussi éclatante que celle de ses amis. Qui sait mieux que lui évoquer les barques honfleurais à moustaches d'écume, les nuages pommelés “ces nuages qui donnent de l'intérêt à une toile et l'empêchent de basculer en arrière par le haut” (disait-il), les processions de communiantes, les fêtes, la plage de Honfleur.
     Dans l'atelier de Jean-Paul Laurens à l'Académie Julian en 1899, Henri de Saint-Délis fréquente les peintres des États-Unis, de l'école de Paris, à Montparnasse. George-Charles Aid [1872-1938] et Richard Emil Miller [1875-1943]
     Le peintre honfleurais Gervais Leterreux, donné comme le dernier élève de Saint-Délis est décédé en mai 2003.
La Dent du Midi (Suisse) (249x300pix, 54kb)

1858 Jan Styka, Polish painter who died (main coverage) on 11 April 1925. —(060410)

^ 1777 Antoine Patrice Guyot, French artist who died in 1845.
Tombeau de l'abbé Delille (drawing; 438x648pix, 81kb)

1758 John Hoppner, English painter who died (full coverage) on 23 January 1810. —(070122)

^ 1664 Gaspar Peeter Verbruggen II, Antwerp Flemish artist who died on 14 March 1730. He and his father, Gaspar Peeter Verbruggen the Elder, were both renowned flower and still-life painters. After being taught by his father, he became a master in the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke in 1677. From 1680 onwards, he taught several students including Peter-Franz Casteels, Jacobus Melchoir van Herck, and Balthazar Hyacinthe. In 1691 he was elected dean of the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke. In 1703 he went to Holland and settled in the Hague. In 1708 he became a member of Pictura, an artistic circle formed by painters in The Hague. He returned to Antwerp by 1723 where he collaborated with Kaspar Jacob van Opstal II as well as with his father.
Flowers in a Sculpted Urn on a Pedestal (114x79cm; 600x413pix, 114kb).

1638 Jean de Troy, French painter who died on 25 June 1691. Son of Antoine the Troy [1608 – 15 Sep 1684] and brother of François de Troy [09 Jan 1645 – 01 May 1730]. Jean de Troy established an academy of art in Montpellier. He was long known only as an academic history painter, but 20th-century research has identified several fine portraits by him on the basis of style, of which the most remarkable is that of Jeanne de Juliard, Dame de Mondonville (1680).
Gate of Kiev
^ 1623 (baptism) Gillis Neyts (or Nyts), Flemish draftsman, painter, and etcher, who died in 1687 in Antwerp. Born in Ghent, he was in Antwerp by 1643, the year of his marriage, and became a master in the city’s Guild of Saint Luke in 1647. Neyts is known principally for his landscape drawings, of which a substantial number survive. Most are small, sometimes on vellum, and drawn in brown or black ink with a fine nib; they are usually signed. Their penwork is delicate and idiosyncratic, with numerous dots and short strokes of the pen, sometimes accompanied by long sinuous meandering lines. In some cases Neyts added grey wash or watercolor. His subject-matter is conventional, largely consisting of idealized Flemish landscapes and topographical views of Flemish towns and villages, the latter recording his numerous journeys throughout the southern Netherlands. As with Jan Breughel the elder, some of the imaginary scenes incorporate distant views of Antwerp’s church spires. Neyts seems to have been influenced by Wenceslaus Hollar and the calligraphic style of Jacques Callot. In both cases Neyts is likely to have seen prints of these artists’ work, rather than their drawings. Neyts was probably also influenced by his contemporary Lucas van Uden, whose penwork is similar, and whose highly distinctive use of watercolor was adopted by Neyts in a few drawings.
Landscape with people (19x25cm; 500x635pix, 48kb)

^ Happened on a 04 April:

2001 Experts add to the list of paintings no longer thought to be from Goya [30 Mar 1746 – 16 Apr 1828]
.El Coloso and
.La Lechera de Burdeos.

1866 In Kiev, Tsar Alexander II [29 Apr 1818 – 13 Mar 1881] narrowly escapes an assassination attempt by the young revolutionary Dmitry Karakozov. To commemorate the “miraculous” event, a competition would be opened for the design of a great gate, and later cancelled, but not before artist and architect Victor Hartmann (= Viktor Gartman) [1834-1873] had produced what he considered his greatest masterpiece, The Great Gate of Kiev [>>>], one of the 10 out of 400 pictures at an exhibition of Hartmann's work that his friend Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky [21 March 1839 – 28 March 1881] would commemorate in a famous piano suite.

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