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ART “4” “2”-DAY  20 April v.9.90
^ Died on 20 April 1743: Alexandre-François Desportes, born on 24 February 1661, he was the most eminent painter of dogs, game, emblems of the hunt, and still-lifes in late 17th- and early 18th-century France. He was the father of Claude-François Desportes [1695 – 31 May 1774], who assisted him in his numerous commissions and gained a reputation for his lectures delivered to the Académie Royale.
— François Desportes was an artist of the late Baroque who was trained in the Flemish tradition of animal painting. After a slow start and a brief trip to Poland, where he painted royal portraits, he became in 1700 the official painter of hunting scenes and animals to Louis XIV. He continued in this role under Louis XV. He also painted a variety of still-lifes and tapestry cartoons for the Gobelins, and he is noted for his landscape studies made directly from nature. He is credited with helping to popularize Flemish art, one of the essential ingredients of the Rococo style in France.
— Born in Champigneulle, France, he died in Paris. Desportes specialized in portraying animals, hunts, and emblems of the chase; he was among the first 18th-century artists to introduce landscape studies using nature as a model.
— In his early career François Desportes worked much as a portraitist, notably in 1695-1696 at the court of Jan Sobieski (John III) in Poland, but on his return to France he took up hunting subjects and won the patronage of Louis XIV and Louis XV. He achieved considerable celebrity (he was well received on a visit to England in 1712) and in his field was rivaled only by Oudry. Although he continued the lavish Flemish tradition exemplified by Snyders, Desportes was among the first artists of the 18th century to make landscape studies from nature for his backgrounds, and because of this he was considered eccentric.

Self-Portrait as a Huntsman (1699, 197x163cm)
Indian Hunter and Fisherman (600x560pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1307pix)
Pheasant and Fruits (600x776pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1811pix)
The Lean Menu (600x772pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1801pix)
River valley (600x1472pix _ ZOOM to 1400x3435pix)
Still life with Partridge Before a Stone Niche (600x492pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1148pix)
Still life with peaches and three partridges (600x768pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1792pix)
Still life with plums and three snipes on a stone table (600x764pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1783pix)
Still life with Cat (600x760pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1773pix)
The Fox HuntThe Wolf Hunt
Stag Driven from Cover (113.5 x 146.1 cm, 1718,; 588x760pix, 39kb)
Dog Guarding Game near a Rosebush (1724) _ a better title: Emaciated Dog Discovering Dead Game Under a Rosebush and Deciding Which to Eat First.
Still Life with Dead Hare and Fruit (1711) _ also 3 or 4 Dead Chickens and a Couple of Dead Partridges which a Very Live Dog Looks Like it's About to Eat, Completely Ignoring the Grapes, Peaches, and Cut Melon.
Still Life with Dog and Game (1710) _ The dog is alive and looks like it can't believe it's eyes at the abundance of assorted dead game birds, and is hesitating at which to taste first.
Still Life (Summer) _ no dog, for a change.
Still Life of Grapes, Peaches in a Blue and White Porcelain Bowl and a Melon, Resting on a Stone Stairway (1726, 89x119cm) _ no dog here either (title already too long?)
^ Died on 20 April 1693: Claudio Coello, Spanish Baroque painter and draftsman born in 1642.
— Together with the court painters Francisco Rizi, Juan Carreño de Miranda, and Francisco de Herrera II, he was one of the foremost exponents of a style of Spanish painting that developed between 1660 and 1700 and was characterized by theatrical compositions and rich colors. The sources of this late Baroque style, which was distinct from that of the previous generation of Spanish Baroque artists, most of whom painted sober, realistic depictions of religious and secular life, lie in the influence exerted by Venetian Renaissance painting and by Italian and Flemish art of the period, examples of which were plentiful in Madrid in royal and aristocratic collections.
— Coello was, like Velázquez, of Portuguese descent. He became the last great painter of the School of Madrid. The principal influences on his work seem to have been Rubens, Van Dyck and Titian - that is, he used his opportunities to study the Spanish Royal collection, which had masterpieces by all of them. He also studied in Italy at some time between 1656 and 1664 and was influenced by contemporaries such as Dolci. He became Painter to the King in 1683, and was promoted Pintor de Cámara in 1686. His pictures tend to be overcrowded and rather complicated, and are reminiscent of Neapolitan Rococo. His masterpiece is Charles II adoring the Blessed Sacrament (1690) in the sacristy of the Escorial, the space of the actual sacristy being continued in the picture, which contains the portraits of many priests and courtiers.
      Coello became a leading exponent of Baroque painting in 17th century Madrid, having assimilated the influence of Carreño and Flemish painting. He marks the end of the school of Madrid of this century. He was a student of Francesco Ricci and an artist with an extraordinary gift for veristic representation. Coello's Baroque complexity, however, is combined with a naturalistic interest in detail that sometimes detracts from the formal hierarchy of his composition. A remarkable portraitist, he has bequeathed a number of pictures of Charles II in which the degeneracy of the last of the Hapsburgs is reflected without the least attempt at mitigation.
— Sebastián Muñoz was an assistant of Coello, whose students included Teodoro Ardemans and Pedro de Villafranca.

The Triumph of Saint Augustine (1664, 271x203cm) _ Typical in this large work is the diagonal axis of the figures, stressing the dynamic movement of the saint, and the framing elements of classical architecture. The sensual and sumptuous color recalls Rubens, whose pictures in the Royal Collection Coello is known to have studied.
King Charles II (1680, 66x56cm) _ One of the most important tasks of a court painter in the age of absolutism was portraiture, either in the form of an individual, family or group portrait. Most of these commissioned works were sent to other royal houses. Whatever the occasion in each respective case, a portrait of this kind invariably had the primary function of representing the court. Coello's unfinished portrait of King Charles II gives us an opportunity of seeing how the artist worked. The three-quarter profile of the young king is set in a medallion. Coello has concentrated on depicting the brilliance of the shining armour and the rich folds of the bow, using free and spontaneous brush-strokes. Reproductions of a portrait of Charles II from the Städel in Frankfurt, lost in 1945, suggests that Coello toned down these lavish details somewhat in a later version. In comparison to paintings of Alonso Sánchez Coello, who had worked for the Spanish court a hundred years earlier, Claudio Coello's view of the monarch has little of the stringency of courtly ceremony. He is the last major representative of the Spanish tradition of painting that reached its climax in the Mannerism of the 16th century.
Saint Dominic of Guzman (240x160cm) — Saint Dominic (1691, 201x127cm) _ The first has the saint in a painted niche, but otherwise these two paintings are very similar.
Holy Family (248x169cm) _ The somewhat sentimental painting shows the influence of
      _ Murillo (The Holy Family with a Little Bird, 1650)
28 images at Ciudad de la Pintura
^ Died on 20 April 1677: Mathieu Le Nain “le Chevalier”, French Baroque painter born in 1607, younger brother of Antoine Le Nain [1588 – 25 May 1648] and Louis Le Nain [1593 – 23 May 1648]. All three worked together and their individual works cannot be distinguished.
— There were three brothers of this name, all born in Laon. Antoine was in Paris from 1629 and his two brothers Louis and Mathieu from 1630. They had established a common workshop in Paris. They remained unmarried and are traditionally said to have worked in harmony, often collaborating on the same picture. The "Le Nain problem" of determining which of them painted what is complicated because no signed work bears a first initial and no work completed after 1648 is dated. Evaluation of the three personalities early in the 20th century was therefore based on the dubious establishment of three stylistic groups. Art scholars today no longer try to attribute individual works, and the three brothers are treated as a single artist.
— Brothers Antoine, Louis, and Mathieu Le Nain were born at Laon but had all moved to Paris by 1630. The traditional birth-dates for Antoine and Louis are 1588 and 1593, respectively, but it is now thought that they were born shortly before and shortly after 1600, so that all three brothers were of much the same generation. Mathieu was made painter to the city of Paris in 1633, and all three were foundation members of the Academy in 1648. Apart from this, little is known of their careers and the assigning of works to one or the other of them is fraught with difficulty and controversy, for such paintings as are signed bear only their surname, and of those that are dated none is later than 1648, when all were still alive. The finest and most original works associated with the brothers – powerful and dignified genre scenes of peasants – are conventionally given to Louis; Antoine is credited with a group of small-scale and richly colored family scenes, mainly on copper; and in a third group, attributed to Mathieu, are paintings of more eclectic style, chiefly portraits and group portraits in a manner suggesting influence from Holland. The brothers are also said to have collaborated on religious works. In 1978-1979 a major exhibition in Paris brought together most of the pictures associated with the brothers, but it raised as many problems as it solved. It also confirmed the stature of Louis, whose sympathetic and unaffected peasant scenes are the main reason why the Le Nains have attracted so much attention. It has recently been proposed that the traditional description of the figures in these paintings as 'peasants' is a misnomer (they are said to be too well dressed for that) and that in fact they represent members of the bourgeoisie.

Le Jardinier (1560; 600x786pix, 187kb _ ZOOM to 1400x1834pix, 432kb) not in a garden, but in a room with three children and two women, one of whom is handing to him something (a sprouting tulip bulb? a sitting mouse which he is grabbing by the tail? a twig with a snail?) which he is about to take in his right hand, while holding a spade in his left hand.
Un Jeune Prince (600x530pix, 85kb _ ZOOM to 1400x1237pix)
The Supper at Emmaus (1645, 75x92cm)
Four Figures at Table (1635, 46x55cm) _ The early years of the three Le Nain brothers, Antoine, Louis and Mathieu, are ill-documented, and their individual artistic identities are submerged under the surname with which they signed their works. They were born in Laon between 1600 and 1610 and were working in Paris by 1629; Antoine and Louis died within two days of each other in May 1648 but Mathieu survived until 1677. All three became members of the French Royal Academy at its formation in 1648. In circumstances which have not yet been clarified, Mathieu seems to have enjoyed the personal protection of Louis XIV for 'his services in the armies of the King', and from 1658 aspired to the nobility.
      Although the Le Nain first made their reputation with large-scale mythological and allegorical compositions and altarpieces (many of which were lost during the French Revolution) and continued to receive commissions of this type, they are now chiefly known for their small and striking paintings of 'low-life', especially those depicting peasants. Recent scholarship has associated their new kind of realistic rustic genre, neither romanticising nor satirising country dwellers, with an emergent class of bourgeois landowners whose ideals of the dignity of agricultural labour and of the partnership between owners of land and tenant farmers they seem to reflect.
      Four Figures at Table is one of many 'peasant meals' painted by the Le Nain. The strong light falling from the upper left emphasises the darkness and stillness of the humble but respectable interior - brightened only by the well-washed linen - at the same time as it delineates form, texture and expression. It has been suggested that the picture depicts the Three Ages, the old woman's lined face, marked by resignation, contrasting with the interrogatory glance of the young woman, the wide-eyed eagerness or apprehension of the little girl and the contented indifference of the boy cutting the bread. But an allegorical interpretation seems neither necessary nor probable; the painting speaks to us directly of shared human destiny, borne with dignity.
      What looks like a pentimento, a painter's change of mind, in the face of the little boy has been revealed by X-radiography to be a crimson ornament in the costume of a bust-length portrait of a bearded man painted underneath. This figure is not a sketch, but a finished, or nearly finished, work. He wears a ruff and a grey doublet with cream braiding. Whether the sitter refused the portrait, or was painted in preparation for a larger picture or an engraving, we do not know, but it seems that not long afterwards, and in the same studio, this prosperous citizen was effaced by four country people at their frugal meal.
Venus at the Forge of Vulcan (1641, 150x117cm) _ It is unusual for this often repeated mythological subject to be treated as a genre piece, although this occurs in Velázquez's celebrated
      _ The Forge of Vulcan (1630). The problem of collaboration of the three Le Nain brothers is highlighted in the Venus at the Forge of Vulcan. It is dated 1641 which was during the last period when all three brothers were alive. In this painting the figure of Venus herself seems an uneasy adaptation of a Renaissance model. Perhaps including an obvious quotation was the artist's way of making it plain to the client that the picture had a well-known precedent.
      The rest of the picture, however, reveals great powers of observation. Especially perceptive are the two figures in the background, silhouetted against the light of the furnace. In all the French art of the seventeenth century, this is the first time that a painter has been able to observe nature without adding mannerisms of his own: even Georges de La Tour at his most realistic created an artificial world in which everything was secondary to his fascination with candlelight. Here, the figure on the left glances towards Venus in a completely natural way, and it is this naturalism, which occurs again and again in parts of their pictures, that sets the Le Nain brothers apart from all their French contemporaries.
Blacksmith at His Forge (69x57cm) _ The Venus at the Forge of Vulcan and the Blacksmith at His Forge are close in style, in the latter the artist simply removed Venus and painted a straightforward genre picture in which he could concentrate on the most sympathetic rendering of men working in a forge. The smith himself looks towards the spectator as if he has been disturbed by the artist and asked to hold the pose while a photograph is taken. The other figures look in different directions, exactly as a group of people will do today when caught unawares by the camera. Especially perceptive is the depiction of the seated old man on the right - he is staring into space exactly as many old people tend to do, particularly when they are preoccupied with something which is not part of the event in front of them. The gazes of the three children are alert but lacking the concentration of the adults. Thus the painters of this picture have observed, for the first time in French painting, a 'slice of life'. The depiction of the better-off peasantry is interesting from a sociological point of view because there are so few renderings of that class, but, even more important, it showed that masterpieces could be produced from humble material. This realistic treatment of 'low' subjects was not to be found again in French art until Courbet in the nineteenth century.
Peasants at their Cottage Door (1645, 55x68cm) _ In this painting the approach is unusually stark for the Le Nain brothers. Instead of a landscape background, there is a two-storey house belonging to the peasants, whose relative prosperity is indicated by the glass in the windows (all over Europe at this time many of the poorer classes lived in conditions far more primitive than those recorded by the Le Nain brothers). This unassuming picture is one of the most perceptive paintings to be produced in the 1640s. As in the Forge, the treatment of the low-life subject is given a totally unexpected dignity. The boy on the right and the old man next to him stare through us into space, and together they counterbalance the large area of pale stone of the house behind them. Into their expressions the artist have distilled a timelessness as far removed from anecdote as possible. Whereas in Georges de La Tour this timelessness is easier to understand because of the spiritual content of his subjects, in the depiction of a peasant's face it is rare for the artist not to be interested in telling a story, but simply to be observing what he sees. This approach, which was to preoccupy many of the most important painters of the nineteenth century, from Courbet to the Impressionists, was an anachronism in the seventeenth century and the reason why the Le Nain brothers were so untypical of artists of their time.
Landscape with Peasants and a Chapel (41x55cm) _ Like their peasant scenes, the landscapes of the Le Nain brothers are careful observations of what they saw, rather than derivations from other painters' works. An example is this painting, in which, although figures dominate the foreground, the main effort has been concentrated on the landscape. In the distance there is a large village with traces of its decaying fortifications, and a small Gothic chapel outside its walls. Such a sight may still be seen today, in the remoter parts of northern and eastern France. Again, the Le Nain brothers have told us what the people and the landscape of the time looked like.
Peasant Family (1640, 113x160cm) _ This painting is the collective work of Louis and Antoine Le Nain. The three brothers produced their work collectively. This is supported by the fact that they never used any other form of signature but 'Le Nain', as a kind of studio stamp. It explains the existence of complex pictures where brilliant passages of paintings are to be found alongside mediocre areas executed by assistants or students. But there are also others of a high level where the brothers worked alone or with each other, without help from outsiders. The Louvre has two paintings depicting peasant families by Le Nain, one of them is an austere and virile work. This one, however, strikes a note of profound intimacy, a warmth of spirit, like the atmosphere of a domestic festivity. The general harmony of greys and browns is in keeping with the spirit of austerity reigning in French painting in the time of Louis XIII. Unlike the Flemings, who made their scenes of rustic life an occasion for depicting the unleashing of the coarsest sensual instincts, Louis Le Nain saw in the peasant soul a profound gravity, even solemnity; the expression of a life of toil whose hard realities have bestowed on it a sense of its own dignity. The paint quality is flowing and rich, with touches of impasto used not simply for effect, as in the work of Frans Hals, but giving proof of a sensitive brush, searching out the modelling with attention and feeling. Several early copies give evidence of the paintings reputation.
Peasant Interior (1642, 56x65cm) _ In the pictures of peasant interiors by the Le Nain brothers there is as much diversity as in the exterior scenes, and attempts have een made to group them round each of the brothers. The categories into which they have been divided make sense, even if no name can convincingly attached to each one. Closest to the Dutch models, especially to the art of Jan Miense Molenaer, is the group of peasant scenes painted on a minute scale. One of the best is the Peasant Interior signed 'Lenain fecit' and dated 1642. Although exquisitely painted, the figures seem to be in a very curious spatial relationship with one another; the mother seems far too small and the children far too big. All their expressions are lively and alert and, as usual in Le Nain, they look in different directions, as if caught by surprise.
The Peasant Meal (1642, 97x122cm) _ The Louvre has two paintings depicting peasant families by Le Nain. This one of them is an austere and virile work. The other one, however, strikes a note of profound intimacy, a warmth of spirit, like the atmosphere of a domestic festivity.
Smokers in an Interior (1643, 117x137cm) _ Not all the Le Nain genre scenes depict peasants. Some of them show middle-class sitters, even rarer in art than the depiction of the poor. It is one of these larger 'bourgeois compositions' which admits the Le Nain brothers into that small group of painters capable of creating a masterpiece. This is the Smokers in an Interior in the Louvre, dated 1643. Its technique must have been learned during the painting of the Forge, but the brushwork is far more precise. The composition is much less original, being closer to the type familiar from the Dutch. The figures are grouped round a table illuminated by a solitary candle, and the figure on the left has fallen asleep at the table.
      In this painting it seems that the depiction of low life — here middle-class men smoking in an interior — has risen beyond its normal pictorial limitations to create a masterpiece which is, perforce, unexpected. While Nicolas Poussin was obsessed with the concept of beauty and with the need to be able to paint exactly what he thought, here the painter's desire arises from an opposite need, the need to observe. Each of the models appears to be a portrait, although it is difficult to explain why the sitters should have chosen to be depicted with such casualness.
      There is no clue to the possibility of a confraternity, although the curious emblems on the carpet on the table could be symbols of some secret society. The eerie quality of the picture is emphasized by the fall of the shadows on the faces and by the way in which the figures stare into space just like the peasants in other pictures and the seated figure on the right has all the appearance of being under the influence of some drug. There is no satisfactory explanation for such a picture; it is as if this trio of painters, observers of a small fragment of their times, never intended the meanings of their pictures to be divined. _ detail _ Each of the models appears to be a portrait, although it is difficult to explain why the sitters should have chosen to be depicted with such casualness. There is no clue to the possibility of a confraternity, although the curious emblems on the carpet on the table could be symbols of some secret society. The eerie quality of the picture is emphasized by the fall of the shadows on the faces and by the way in which the figures stare into space just like the peasants in other pictures and the seated figure on the right has all the appearance of being under the influence of some drug.

^ Died on 20 April 1768: Giovanni Antonio Canal “Canaletto”, Italian artist born on 18 October 1697.
—       Giovanni Antonio Canal was born in Venice, where he would also die. He later became known as Canaletto, probably to distinguish him from his father Bernardo Canal, who was also an artist. The professional training Canaletto received from his father, who worked as a designer and scene painter for the theater, and had some success. Canaletto, together with his brother Christoforo, initially followed Bernardo, and was himself employed as a theatrical painter.
      In 1719, he traveled with his father to Rome where he helped with the preparations for two operas by Scarlatti, performed during the carnival in 1720. This trip seems to have marked a turning point for the young artist. In Rome he could have come into contact with artists such as Gian Paolo Pannini [1692-1765], who produced “vedute”, in which Canaletto would later specialize. In Rome, he also made a number of drawn studies of ancient sites, which were used as the basis for later works.
      Within the Italian tradition of vedute (view painting) Canaletto explored different forms. He created “vedute esatte”, and also “vedute ideale”, which are known as “capricci”, in these works Canaletto drew together architectural subjects from different sources and arranged them in an imaginative form to create a very consciously fictional and poetic image. Pictures of this type assume knowledge of their subjects on the part of the viewer, and were designed to appeal to the contemporary taste for ruins and the nostalgia they evoked.
     In 1720, the artist’s name is first recorded in the register of the Venetian painters’ guild. Venice had a tradition of public exhibitions, at which painters, especially beginners, could promote their work. Canaletto is recorded as having hung a view of the church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo (probably
      _ Santi Giovanni e Paolo and the Scuola di San Marco) at the annual display of paintings organized outside the Scuola di San Rocco. His work was said to have ‘made everyone marvel’, and it was purchased by the Imperial Ambassador to Venice. The exhibition itself was later depicted by the artist in the background of his portrayal of the Doge procession
      _ The Doge Visiting the Church and Scuola di San Rocco.
      After his success at the public exhibition, Canaletto was commissioned to paint four works for the merchant Stefano Conti (1725). Patrons such as Conti were important to Canaletto at the outset of his career, but it was English collectors who came to dominate the market for his view paintings. According to the fashion of the time it was considered that an essential part of good education and cultivation for the young English gentleman was to travel to Italy and visit the famous places of Rome, Florence and Venice. Of course, such travel also involved bringing home some refined souvenirs, and Canaletto tried to meet this demand.
      Canaletto’s earliest work for the ‘English market’ came to him as a result of his contact with an Irishman called Owen McSwiney [.1684-1754]. Their acquaintance took place in 1720s, at least the first documentary mention of paintings, commissioned by Owen McSwiney, referred to 1826. McSwiney not only introduced Canaletto to English customers, but seems also to have encouraged the painter to create works which might particularly appeal to them.
      The most important person in Canaletto’s career and his patron was Joseph Smith [.1674-1770], an Englishman, who lived in Venice, and worked as an agent on behalf of British collectors of manuscripts, books and works of art; he also served as British Consul to the Venice Republic (1744-1760; 1766). He had a notable collection of his own. In 1762-1763 this collection was sold to King George III; by that time it included the largest single group of works by Canaletto ever assembled.
      In the 1730s, the demand for Canaletto’s work was so large that Canaletto employed studio assistants. Canaletto’s father probably helped him, and certainly Canaletto’s nephew Bernardo Bellotto [1720-1780], who at the time was trained in his studio. In 1735, a set of engravings was published by Antonio Visentini after Canaletto’s paintings in Smith’s collection, called the Prospectus Magni Canalis Venetiarum, which also included the portrait of the artist, now considered the only reliable one. Canaletto's nephew, Bernardo Bellotto, expertly mimicked his style and even adopted the nickname "Canaletto" for himself. This has made it difficult to attribute individual paintings to one artist or the other.
      In 1741, the War of the Austrian Succession broke out, which consequently undermined the tourist business; this meant that the artist’s was loosing his principal source of patronage. In addition, perhaps for the first time, Canaletto experienced some serious competition. Canaletto tried to expand the variety of his subjects. In 1740-41, he traveled along the Brenta Canal towards Padua, and made a number of drawings, which were to form the basis of etching and paintings. In 1742 Canalletto painted for Smith a series of five large paintings of ancient Roman ruins:
      _ Rome: the Arch of Constantine
      _ Rome: Ruins of the Forum, looking towards the Capitol
      _ Rome: The Arch of Septimius Severus
      _ Rome: The Arch of Titus.

      In 1746 Canaletto arrived in London; he worked in England intermittently until 1755. His first works in England were the views of the Thames and the recently completed Westminster Bridge:
      _ London: Westminster Bridge from the North on Lord Mayor's Day
      _ London: Seen through an Arch of Westminster Bridge.
Canaletto’s loyal agents Smith and McSwiney provided the artist with introduction to important patrons in London. Thus, through Smith’s assistance Canaletto was introduced to the Duke of Richmond, and some of the works Canaletto later painted for this patron:
      _ London: Whitehall and the Privy Garden from Richmond House
      _ London: the Thames and the City of London from Richmond House
are widely considered his greatest achievements while in England. Later Canaletto painted subjects outside London – for example, the country homes of the Duke of Beaufort, the Earl of Warwick and the Duke of Northumberland:
      _ Warwick Castle: the East Front.
      _ London: Northumberland House.
      Canaletto returned briefly to Venice in 1751 (and may also have traveled home again in 1753), but then remained in England up until 1755. Among the important works from this period are a series of capricci for the Lovelace family:
      _ Capriccio: River Landscape with a Column, a Ruined Roman Arch, and Reminiscences of England and a group of 6 pictures, which were painted for Thomas Hollis.

        In 1755 the artist returned to Venice permanently. His last years in Venice from 1756 onwards were not as artistically noteworthy. Many of his later pictures were based on compositional and technical formulae worked out some years before. However, there are a few exceptions deserving attention:
      _ The Grand Canal Looking Down to the Rialto Bridge,
      _ The Campo di Rialto,
      _ The Vigilia di S. Pietro and
      _ The Vigilia di S. Marta, all four works were painted for the German patron Sigmund Streit; and the pair of views of the Piazza San Marco in the National Gallery, London:
      _ Piazza San Marco: Looking East from the North-West Corner;
      _ Piazza San Marco: Looking East from the South-West Corner.
      In 1763 Canaletto was finally elected to the Venetian Academy of Fine Arts. His admission had been rejected previously, probably because view painting was not highly regarded by academicians. The artist’s reception piece
      _ Capriccio of Colonade and the Courtyard of a Palace was completed almost two years later. The very last of Canaletto’s dated works is the drawing
      _ San Marco: the Crossing and North Transept, with Musicians Singing. Canaletto died of a fever.

— From his name you can correctly guess one of his favorite subjects (and I spare you some):
Grand Canal from Palazzo Flangini to Palazzo Bembo (1740, 61x92cm; 796x1200 pix, 582kb — ZOOM to 1327x2000pix, 1756kb) _ Painted from a vantage point near the present-day railroad station, this placid scene shows where the Grand Canal in Venice begins to curve toward the east. Many of the palaces and monuments pictured here still stand, including the Palazzo Flangini (the first building in the left foreground) and the adjacent Scuola dei Morti. Behind them the cupola of the church of San Geremia can be found. The Palazzo Correr Contarini stands midway down the left bank, which is visible as far as the Palazzo Gritti (now a hotel) and concludes with the church of San Marcuola.
Grand Canal: Looking East, from the Campo San Vio (1725)
Grand Canal: Looking North-East from the Palazzo Corner-Spinelli to the Rialto Bridge. (1725)
Entrance to the Grand Canal (1725).
Entrance to the Grand Canal from the Piazzetta (1727)
Grand Canal: the Rialto Bridge from the South (1727)
Grand Canal: The Stonemason's Yard; Santa Maria della Carità from the Campo San Vidal (1728)
The Grand Canal from Campo S. Vio towards the Bacino (1730)
Santa Maria della Salute Seen from the Grand Canal (1730)
A Regatta on the Grand Canal (1732) _ The picture showing traditional Venetian ceremony is from a series of 14 views of the Grand Canal painted by Canaletto and engraved by Antonio Visentini (published in 1735).
The Grand Canal from Campo S. Vio towards the Bacino (1732, 46x78cm)
Grand Canal: from Santa Maria della Carità to the Bacino di San Marco
Entrance of the Grand Canal: from the West End of the Molo (1738)
Grand Canal: Looking South-West from the Chiesa degli Scalzi to the Fondamenta della Croce, with San Simeone Piccolo (1738)
Entrance to the Grand Canal: Looking East (1744)
Grand Canal: Looking South-East from the Campo Santo Sophia to the Rialto Bridge (1756)
The Grand Canal Looking Down to the Rialto Bridge (1761)
Veduta del Canal Grande da palazzo Balbi verso Rialto (1722, 144x207cm) _ Quando, all’inizio del terzo decennio, Canaletto dipinge le prime vedute veneziane è ancora fortemente influenzato dalla lezione di Marco Ricci. Nella veduta del Canal Grande affiorano i toni brunacei della tradizione riccesca; le figurette sono piccole, piuttosto generiche, ma colte in posizioni estremamente vivaci. Memore della sua precedente attività di scenografo, Canaletto si serve di due diverse fonti di luce sul primo piano, al punto che sulle acque del Canal Grande si proiettano contemporaneamente sia le ombre di palazzo Balbi, a sinistra, che quelle delle case dei Mocenigo a destra.
Ingresso del Canal grande (1730, 50x73cm) _ Già alla fine degli anni Venti, Canaletto è ormai il più abile e più pagato pittore di vedute di Venezia, e grazie alla mediazione di Joseph Smith si è conquistato anche la ricca clientela di oltremanica disposta a pagare per un suo quadro qualsiasi cifra di denaro. Egli ha infatti compreso che alle vedute inquiete del primo periodo, il pubblico preferisce vedute di una Venezia luminosa, animata, descritta con lenticolare e minuziosa cura. In questa veduta del Canal Grande Canaletto delinea ogni particolare architettonico, ogni dettaglio delle imbarcazione, animate da figurette intente alla più diverse attività. Per descrivere le prospettive con rigorosa precisione l’artista si serve di uno strumento ottico, la camera oscura, che permette di studiare una veduta inquadrandola con un gioco di lenti. Questa viene utilizzata da Canaletto per eseguire schizzi e disegni che poi il pittore riassembla e rielabora in studio.
Canal grande verso nord con le Fabbriche di Rialto (1727, 45x61cm) _ Il successo arriva improvviso e nel giro di pochi anni il Canaletto diventa il vedutista più ricercato di Venezia, ma la sua definitiva consacrazione avviene quando il pittore entra in contatto con Owen McSwiney, un irlandese riparato nella città lagunare dopo le sue fallimentari attività di impresario teatrale a Londra. Su consiglio di McSwiney collabora con altri pittori a un ciclo di dipinti raffiguranti monumenti funebri immaginari, dedicati a insigni personaggi della storia inglese, per il duca di Richmond. Per lo stesso committente esegue inoltre due piccole vedute su rame, nelle quali il Canaletto abbandona i modi drammatici, fortemente chiaroscurati della fase giovanile, preferendo toni più luminosi che esaltano la resa dei particolari della veduta e delle architetture che la compongono.
The Grand Canal with the Rialto Bridge in the Background (1725, 146x234cm)
The Grand Canal and the Church of the Salute (1730) _ detail
The Grand Canal at the Salute Church (1740, 121x151cm)
Capriccio: the Grand Canal, with an Imaginary Rialto Bridge and Other Buildings (1745)
Venice: the Grand Canal from the Palazzo Foscari to the Carita
The Stonemason's Yard (1728, 124x163cm) _ Giovanni Antonio Canal's popularity with English Grand Tourists - mainly young noblemen completing their education with an extended trip to the Continent - has meant that many more of his pictures can be found in Britain than in his native Venice or even throughout Italy. Trained as a scene painter, by 1725 he was specialising in vedute - more or less topographically exact records of the city, its canals and churches, festivals and ceremonies. He visited England several times, but his English paintings did not please, and he returned home for good in about 1756.
      Although we associate Canaletto for the most part with mass-produced, crystal-clear scenes of celebrated sights, The Stonemason's Yard, his masterpiece, is not of this kind. A comparatively early picture, and almost certainly made to order for a Venetian client, it presents an intimate view of the city, as if from a rear window. The site is not in fact a mason's yard, but the Campo San Vidal during re-building operations on the adjoining church of San Vidal or Vitale. Santa Maria della Carità, now the Accademia di Belle Arti, the main art gallery in Venice, is the church seen across the Grand Canal.The Church of Santa Maria della Carità is still flanked by the slender campanile that collapsed in 1741.
      Canaletto's later works are painted rather tightly on a reflective white ground, but this picture was freely brushed over reddish brown, the technical reason for the warm tonality of the whole. Thundery clouds are gradually clearing, and the sun casts powerful shadows, whose steep diagonals help define the space and articulate the architecture. Not doges and dignitaries but the working people and children of Venice animate the scene and set the scale. In the left foreground a mother has propped up her broom to rush to the aid of her fallen and incontinent toddler, watched by a woman airing the bedding out of the window above and a serious little girl. Stonemasons kneel to their work. A woman sits spinning at her window. The city, weatherbeaten, dilapidated, lives on, and below the high bell-tower of Santa Maria della Carità it is the little shabby house, with a brave red cloth hanging from the window, which catches the brightest of the sunlight.
^ Died on 20 April 1885: Richard Ansdell, British painter born on 11 May 1815.
— He was the son of an artisan and in 1835 entered the Liverpool Academy Schools, where he later became president (1845–6). One of his earliest and largest dated works is the Waterloo Coursing Meeting. This canvas demonstrates his considerable skill as a portrait painter and creates a detailed record of a major sporting event of the period which was attended by many members of the local aristocracy, some of whom, notably the 3rd Earl of Sefton, were his patrons. It was engraved and published in 1843, and other works were similarly popularized. Shooting Party in the Highlands (1840; Liverpool, Walker A.G.) was the first of 149 works exhibited at the Royal Academy. It shows huntsmen with their horses and dogs resting after a good day’s sport, a theme that Ansdell often depicted. He also portrayed other rural scenes such as gamekeepers or shepherds with domestic and wild animals, often in historical settings. All are painted with precision and sensitivity and without sentimentality. Although based in London from 1847 until 1884, Ansdell owned houses in Lancashire and Scotland and found inspiration in northern landscape. He travelled to Spain with the painter John Phillip in 1856 and alone in 1857 and produced several works of Spanish inspiration, for example Feeding Goats in the Alhambra (Preston, Harris Mus. & A.G.). He also collaborated with William Powell Frith and Thomas Creswick in rural genre scenes. Ansdell was commercially successful and was elected ARA in 1861 and RA in 1870. His animal subjects often rival those of Landseer, both in execution and composition, and place him in the forefront of Victorian sporting art. The contents of Ansdell’s studio were sold at Christie’s, London, 19 March 1886.|

The Blacksmith's Shop (1858, 103x140cm)
A Ewe with Lambs and a Heron Beside a Loch (1867, 82x112cm)
The Lucky Dogs (1881, 118x161cm)
Goatherds, Gibraltar - Looking Across the Strait Into Africa (1871, 120x189cm)
Rabbiting (1856, 99x180cm)
Good Friends (91x71cm)
Lost in the Storm (82x130cm)
Dog with Wild Duck (36x46cm)
^ Born on 20 April 1894: Enrico Prampolini, Italian Futurist painter, decorative artist, stage designer, architect, sculptor, and writer, who died on 17 June 1956. — {That's Prampolini NOT Trampolini}
— He studied at Lucca, Turin and Rome, where he briefly attended the Accademia di Belle Arti, and his work earned the appreciation of his teacher Duilio Cambellotti (b 1876). In 1912 he joined the studio of Giacomo Balla and belonged to a Futurist art collective through which he met the leaders of the movement. In April and May 1914 he exhibited with other Futurists at the Galleria Sprovieri in Rome and, shortly afterwards, in Prague. Figure+Window (1914) exemplifies the experiments he was carrying out at the time. He was particularly interested in the use of combinations of different materials and in theoretical speculation, writing in 1915 the manifestos Scenografia e coreografia futurista, Scultura dei colori e totale and Architettura futurista.
— Prampolini was a painter and designer, becoming initially associated with the Futurists in 1912. Holding positions in the Futurist magazines "Noi" and "Stile Futurista", he had frequent contact among contemporary international avant-garde art movements - the Bauhaus, the Dadaists and Der Stürm for example. In 1914 he published the manifesto Futurist Atmosphere-Structure. Basis for an Architecture that was to be the Futurists first tentative steps in this discipline. In 1915 he published his manifesto Futurist Scenography in which he called for self-illuminated and luminous scenery in the theatre to replace traditional painted backdrops and ultimately for actors to be replaced by luminous, dynamic actor-gases. "Vibrations, luminous forms (produced by electric currents and colored gases) will wriggle and writhe dynamically, and these authentic actor-gases of an unknown theatre will have to replace living actors."
     During the 1920's Prampolini's design skills as a scenographer were put to frequent use in the Futurist theatre. In 1923 Prampolini co-signed, with Pannaggi and Paladini, the manifesto Mechanical Art . Prampolini designed the Futurist Pavilion for the 1928 exhibition held in the Parco Valentino, Turin. The result, a multi-colored construction of varied planes, shapes and space, was a concrete demonstration of Futurist architectural principles. Marinetti asked Prampolini to design the Como War Memorial. Prampolini's initial designs were not taken through to completion however and the project was handed over to Guiseppe Terragni. Terragni completed the memorial in 1933 after substantially modifying Prampolini's design.

Mussolini's Blackshirts, 15 April 1919 (1933; 1032x1329pix, 115kb)
Composition (Figur in Bewegung) (1922)
Figura nello spazio I (organismo nello spazio) (100x79cm)
I funerali del Romanticismo. trasfigurazione estetica (1934, 117x89cm)
Plastic Synthesis of Filippo Thommaso Marinetti (1925)
— Extraterrestrial Spirituality (1932, 48x52cm)
Natura Morta (1916, 100x100cm).
^ Died on 20 April (20 July?) 1554: Pier-Francesco Bissolo (or Bissuolo), Italian painter born in 1470.
— At least eight signed works by Bissolo are known; one of the most important of these, the Coronation of Saint Catherine of Siena (1513), is also documented with a contract. On this basis a considerable number of other altarpieces and devotional half-lengths may be attributed to him with a reasonable degree of confidence. Bissolo is first recorded as an assistant of Giovanni Bellini at the Doge’s Palace, Venice, in 1492, and his works demonstrate a stylistic dependence on his master throughout his long life (apparently spent entirely in Venice). Individual motifs are frequently borrowed directly from Bellini, as with the God the Father of the Coronation. Hallmarks of his own manner include a softness of modelling, tending towards formlessness, and a greater sentimentality of facial expression than usual in the work of Bellini’s other followers.

–- The Madonna and Child with Saint Peter (99x63cm) _ Francesco Bissolo is first recorded in the studio of Giovanni Bellini in circa 1492 and throughout his long career his pictures display a stylistic dependence on his master. The present panel is a relatively early work by the artist: the Madonna and Child depend, in reverse, on a popular type evolved by Bellini, apparently in the 1490s. A version by a studio hand with an ostensibly genuine Bellini signature 'IOHANNES BELLINVS', is the finest extant example of this two-figure composition in which the Child gazes at a bird that has flown away; there are numerous contemporary variants by other hands. Bellini himself added a half-length figure of Saint John the Baptist to a studio version of the Madonna group (executors of the late Lord Wraxall), and the resulting composition was itself copied by Rondinelli in a panel in the Doria Pamphilj collection, Rome. The main group was used for two other compositions with Saint John, but this is the only known instance in which another saint is introduced. The bird perched on the lower bar was perhaps suggested by the swallow in flight of the Bellini design. The present picture is one of at least eight known signed works by the artist and was instrumental in defining his early oeuvre; Coletti referred to it as 'un quadro, finora non conosciuto o non avvertito, che sconvolge questa previsione, e che potrà forse servire a ritrovare altre opere giovanili di questo artista'
The Annunciation (111x100cm) _ Bissolo was a student of Giovanni Bellini. From this master Bissolo learned to describe form with color and light, a-much-celebrated technique of the Venetian School. This soft tonalism is evident in the rich colors of Mary's room, the warm light that bathes her chamber and the early morning landscape. Bissolo has depicted the moment that the Angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will miraculously bear a son. By silhouetting their faces against darker forms, the artist encourages the viewer to meditate on the meaning of the mystery.
The Virgin and Child, Saint Paul and a Female Martyr (78x118cm) _ The group of the Virgin and Child is taken from Giovanni Bellini's altarpiece of 1505 in San Zaccaria, Venice; it occurs in other pictures by Bissolo. Saint Paul carries his attributes of a sword, by which he was martyred, and a book.
The Virgin and Child with Saints Michael and Veronica and Two Donors (1525, 62x84cm) _ The figures of the Virgin and Child are probably from a design by Giovanni Bellini, of about 1500; this design occurs in other paintings by Bissolo. Saint Michael's name is inscribed on his robe. Saint Veronica is identified by the veil she holds.
The Holy Family with a Donor in a Landscape (1523, 80x101cm)

Died on a 20 April:

1920 Briton Rivière, British painter born (full coverage) on 14 August 1840. —(060812)

^ 1845 Thomas Phillips, British artist born on 18 October 1770. [same birth and death dates as Canaletto, 73 and 77 years later respectively] From a respectable but impoverished family, he left school aged 13 to be apprenticed to Francis Eginton of Birmingham, a glass painter and early pioneer in reproduction by a ‘photographic method’. The chiaroscuro effects of this process were a lasting influence on Phillips’s style. In 1790 he moved to London to study at the Royal Academy and simultaneously assisted in Benjamin West’s studio. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1794 to 1844 and was elected ARA in 1804, RA in 1808 and Professor of Painting in succession to Henry Fuseli from 1825 to 1832. As a portrait painter he was often more interested in the mind of his sitters than fashionable exteriors and caught the noble gloom of the romantic pose. — LINKS
Byron in Arnaout Dress (1813, 127x102cm, 400x323pix, 34kb) _ Byron in Arnaout Dress (1835, 77x64cm, 904x752pix, 83kb) _ In this portrait, a copy by the artist from his painting of 1813 shown at the Royal Academy in 1814, the poet George Gordon lord Byron [1788-1824] appears as one of the century's first honorary Orientals, wearing an outfit of the Albanian Arnaout tribe that he had bought in Epirus in 1809.
George O'Brien Wyndham, Third Earl of Egremont (122kb)
Matvei Platov (91x71cm; 575x441pix, 77kb) half-length
Bonaparte (1802; 700x500pix, 24kb) head

^ 1831 Filippo Giuntotardi, Italian artist born in 1768 in Rome. He was initially a sculptor and then studied at the Académie Saint-Luc where he devoted himself to landscape painting and from 1810 he also produced engravings and acquatints. Among some of his known works are Vue du Forum (1805), Vue de Tivoli; illustrations for Antiquités grecques et pélasgiques by Dodwell; twelve acquatints after Poussin's landscapes; Cascades de Tivoli; Le Forum romain.
Vue de la Cascade de Tivoli en dernier plan — Vue Générale des Cascades de Tivoli (1794, two watercolors; each 360x253pix, together 132kb)

Born on a 20 April:

1915 Friedel Dzubas, German-born US painter who died (main coverage) on 10 December 1994. —(060301)

1893 Joàn Mirò Ferra, Catalan painter who died (full coverage) on 25 December 1983. —(061223)

^ 1889 Adolph Hitler, obscure Austrian painter who would be completely forgotten but for the fact that he became the genocidal dictator of Nazi Germany, arch-criminal-against-humanity of all times. He commited suicide on 30 April 1945.
— (mountain river landscape) (642x954pix, 110kb)
— (apartment buildings on an old street in Munich) (638x951pix, 114kb)
— (Vienna Opera House?) (653x898pix, 94kb)
— (Vienna Opera House corner) (30x25cm)
— (castle battlements) (64kb)
— (a church) (842x608pix, 187kb)
— (flowers in a blue vase) (740x591pix, 88kb)
München Altar Hof (424x553pix, 232kb gif)
Farmer's Market at St. Peter's Church in Munich (214kb gif)
— (Nazi banner) (95kb gif) sketch
40 images at Snyder Treasures
Hitler's Art overview with links to many images. —(060927)

^ 1829 Jan Frederik Pieter Portielje, Dutch artist who died on 06 February 1908. He studied under Valentijn Bing [1812–1895] in Amsterdam and later under Jan Braet von Uberveldt [1807–1894]. In 1849 he went to the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp, where he received lessons from J.-L. Dyckmans [1811–1888]. After this period of training he spent two years in Paris and traveled in France and Germany. Settling in Brussels, he made a name for himself as a portrait painter, especially in English circles. He also received commissions from Dutch and US patrons. Between 1857 and 1884 he took part in exhibitions in Amsterdam and The Hague. He painted genre scenes and portraits (Gypsy Woman, 1873). He also worked with Frans Lebret [1820–1909] and Eugène R. Maes (1849–1931). His sons Edward Portielje [1861–1949] and Gérard Portielje [1856–1929] were also painters of whom he was the first art teacher.
A Moment by the Fire (77x60cm _ ZOOMable)
The Jewel Case (109x83cm _ ZOOMable)
Admiring her Jewels (112x85cm)
The Butterfly (77x60cm)
Memories (76x61cm; 480x345pix, 31kb)
The Love letter (454x373pix, 27kb)

1806 Franz Xavier Winterhalter, German painter who died (full coverage) on 09 July 1873. —(060812)

>1782 Johann Georg Sauter III, German artist who died on 21 October 1856. — {Il semble que la plupart de ceux qui décident de quels artistes représenter dans l'internet, ont décidé de sauter Sauter.}
7 small images (250pix width, 10kb or less each) —(060419)

^ 1762 Philippe-Auguste Hennequin, French painter who died on 12 May 1833. He was precociously talented and by the age of 15 had been Donat Nonnotte’s student at the Académie des Beaux-Arts at Lyon and had arrived in Paris. There he worked for a time in Jacques-Louis David’s studio, from which he was expelled after being accused of theft. He completed his studies at the Académie Royale de Peinture in 1784 and visited Rome at the expense of an English patron named Mills. Because of masonic connections he was forced to flee in 1789, returning to Lyon. His politics tended towards Jacobinism, and during the Revolution he was appointed to a commission entrusted with saving works of art. After the fall of Robespierre in 1794 he fled to Paris, where he suffered imprisonment and narrowly avoided the guillotine. — LINKS
L’Hercule Français (1800 octagonal ceiling fresco; 490x555pix, 41kb _ ZOOM to 1236x1400pix, 229kb) _ Le tableau d’Hennequin, artiste jacobin élève de David et qui avait été proche des milieux babouvistes, fut réalisé en 1800 pour achever le décor du Muséum central des arts, installé au Louvre. Il représente Hercule (figurant le Peuple), accompagné de Minerve (l’Assemblée), terrassant la Discorde et la Guerre. La figure d’Hercule, très calme, se trouve dans la partie supérieure de la composition, qui comporte deux registres.
     La Révolution avait imaginé de nouvelles figures allégoriques pour matérialiser le pouvoir souverain du Peuple conquis en 1789, tel Hercule. Minerve quant à elle représentait l’Assemblée nationale, pouvoir délégué de la nation. Durant la Convention et le Directoire, Hercule se trouvait toujours dans la partie supérieure des tableaux. Avec le Consulat, Bonaparte ayant pris le pouvoir en son nom propre, Hercule fut relégué dans la partie inférieure des compositions comme c’est le cas chez Callet, le Premier consul ayant pris sa place en haut. Devenu dans le discours allégorique un héros antique, il fut très souvent représenté nu, se substituant ainsi à Hercule / le Peuple. Les Jacobins acceptèrent très difficilement cette évolution de la République vers un pouvoir personnalisé, comme on le voit chez Hennequin : pour lui, c’est toujours le Peuple / Hercule qui règne sur la France dans le haut de la composition.
     Cette différence de conception picturale tenait au fait que le gouvernement consulaire était en lui-même ambigu : le Consulat était la République, mais le Peuple n’avait plus son mot à dire, Bonaparte décidant en son nom sans recourir à lui. L’évolution vers l’Empire se fit aussi en grande partie pour résoudre cette difficulté : il fallait que la France fût un régime démocratique ou monarchique.
     La peinture allégorique ne plaisait pas à Bonaparte. Désireux avant tout d’imposer son régime et son image, de se présenter comme le sauveur de la France, il estmait que le langage obscur de l’allégorie ne pouvait pas dans ce contexte être immédiatement compris par tous. D’autre part, l’allégorie permettait aux artistes opposants comme Hennequin de la manipuler à leur convenance et de tirer profit des ambiguïtés du pouvoir. Ce fut l’une des grandes raisons de son échec au concours de 1802. En outre, le Premier consul trouvait « chose ridicule et bizarre » de vêtir ses contemporains à l’antique, quand ils n’étaient pas nus. C’est pourquoi dès qu’il fut devenu empereur, Bonaparte s’attacha à imposer par l’intermédiaire de Denon, directeur du Louvre et véritable dictateur des arts, l’imagerie des grands événements de son règne, évidemment plus facile à décrypter pour le grand public.
La Bataille de Quiberon (1804, 391x708cm; 375x679pix, 98kb gif) _ This battle took place on 21 July 1795; at the head of the republican army, Hoche [1768-1797] repelled a disembarkation attempt by royalist émigrés led by Charles Virot de Sombreuil, Hervilly, and Joseph de Puisaye, and helped by the British fleet. More than seven hundred émigrés were taken prisoner and shot at the end of the battle. The long description of this painting in the Salon handbook seems like pure anti-English propaganda, in preparation for to the continental blockade: “ Tout le monde connaît le motif de cette expédition anglicane, la perversité qui la dirigea et l'affreuse trahison qui y mit un cachet d'opprobre éternel pour le cabinet britannique [...] Dans cette expédition, l'unique objet de l'Angleterre fut de faire égorger des Français par des Français...” _ See also
      _ Soir de Bataille: Episode de la Bataille de Quiberon, le 21 Juillet 1795 (149x236cm) by Jules Girardet [1856-1938]
Les martyrs de Prairial (1795 drawing; 412x645pix, 42kb)
La Leçon de Musique (1825 engraving; 513x640pix, 132kb)
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