ART 4 2-DAY 12 August v.10.00
Died on 12 August 1667: Cornelis van Poelenburgh
(or Poelenborch, Poelenburch, Poelenburg), Utrecht, Netherlands, Baroque
painter and draftsman, mainly of landscapes, born in 1594 (1586?).
— He studied in Utrecht under Bloemaert and from about 1617 to 1625 was in Rome becoming one of the leading members of the first generation of Dutch painters of Italianate landscapes. His paintings are typically small scale (he often painted on copper) with biblical or mythological figures set in Arcadian landscapes, sometimes scattered with antique remnants. They are strongly influenced by Elsheimer, but cooler in color than the German artist's work and without his sense of mystery.
After returning to Utrecht Poelenburgh enjoyed a career of great success. He was Rubens's guide when he visited Utrecht in 1627, was popular in aristocratic and even royal circles (Charles I called him to England in 1637), and was imitated until the early 18th century. Sometimes he collaborated with Jan Both, in whose landscapes he painted the figures.
— He was the most important representative of the first generation of Dutch Italianates. His early work is so similar in style to that of Bartholomeus Breenbergh that their paintings are sometimes difficult to tell apart. Poelenburgh was most famous for his small, charming paintings, on copper or panel, of Italianate landscapes with small figures, sometimes set in biblical or mythological scenes, sometimes in contemporary attire. Throughout his career he enjoyed the support of such noble and royal patrons as Cosimo II de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, Frederick V, Elector Palatine (‘the Winter King’ of Bohemia), Prince Frederick Henry of Orange Nassau, King Charles I of England and the Utrecht collector Willem Vincent, Baron van Wittenhorst [–1674], who was his most important patron.
— Poelenburgh's native town was Utrecht, and, like so many Italianate Dutch painters, he studied there under Bloemaert. During his life he achieved great fame, and he attracted a large number of followers who used his polished style for arcadian landscapes populated with the same satyrs and nude nymphs he favoured, although in their works the nymphs are usually more hefty. In Italy he enjoyed the patronage of leading Roman families and the Medici court in Florence.
He settled in Utrecht after his return from the south and became a leading artist of the city. When Rubens, who owned several of his paintings, went to Utrecht in 1627 he visited his studio. In the same year, when the Province of Utrecht made an official wedding gift of four paintings to Amalia van Solms, bride of Stadholder Frederik Hendrik, it included one of his, a Banquet of the Gods (the other paintings were an animal and bird picture by Roelandt Savery and pendants by Paulus Moreelse of a Shepherd and Shepherdess).
Poelenburgh became a favorite of the court at The Hague and in 1637 he made the first of several trips to London where he worked for Charles I. His most adoring patron in Holland was Willem Vincent Baron van Wyttenhorst whose collection included fifty-five of his paintings. Poelenburgh's reputation as a leading representative of the first generation of Italianate artists rests securely on his meticulously finished paintings, usually in cool color harmonies, of biblical, mythological, historical, and pastoral subjects set in tranquil airy landscapes which make frequent use of classical ruins that help evoke a heroic past.
— Van Poelenburgh's students included Jan Baptist Weenix and Dirck van der Lisse.
Children of Frederick V Prince Elector of Pfalz and King of Bohemia (1628, 38x65cm; 546x926pix, 84kb) _ In addition to Italianate landscapes, Poelenburgh made also portraits, some in Italianate landscapes. This is a good example. The oldest boy and girl are in the role of Meleagros and Atalante, respectively. The ruins in the background represent a motif characteristic of the artist's landscapes, while the hilly landscape on the right side shows the influence of Italian landscape painting. There are several copies of this painting.
Departure of an Oriental Entourage (1659, 123x175 cm; 778x1139pix, 156kb)
Young Girl (21x17cm; 900x649pix, 61kb)
Rest on the Flight into Egypt (1640; 770x1000pix, 98kb) _ The conspicuous foreground fragments of ancient sculpture and architectural remains probably allude to the impending demise of the pagan world and the imminent coming of the New Dispensation.
Ruins of Ancient Rome (1620, 44x57cm; 690x972pix, 85kb)
>Died on 12 August 1674: Philippe
de Champaigne, Flemish French Baroque
era painter, specialized in Portraits,
born in 1602, uncle of Jean-Baptiste
Philippe de Champaigne was born and trained in Brussels, Belgium. Arriving in Paris in 1621, he collaborated with Nicolas Poussin in decorating the Luxembourg Palace. Champaigne then worked for the queen mother, Marie de Medicis, for Louis XIII, and after 1635 primarily for the king's chief minister, Cardinal Armand Richelieu, for whom he decorated the Palais Royal, the dome of the Sorbonne, and other buildings. Champaigne painted colorful historical and religious scenes influenced by Peter Paul Rubens, and he excelled at portraits in the realistic, perceptive Flemish tradition, as in Cardinal Richelieu (1637). In the 1640s Champaigne became deeply influenced by Jansenism, an austere Roman Catholic reform movement centered at Port-Royal. Thereafter he painted portraits of Jansenist leaders in a cool, restrained, rational French spirit. Outstanding is Ex Voto de 1662 (1662), depicting his daughter, a Jansenist nun, cured of paralysis through prayer.
Apart from Vouet, Champaigne was the most important painter active in Paris in the middle years of the 17th century. He was born and trained in Brussels. He arrived in Paris in 1621. Throughout his career he made many official commissions, for monasteries, for the Church, and for Louis XIII. He collaborated with Nicolas Poussin in decorating the Luxembourg Palace, then worked for the queen mother, Marie de Medicis, for Louis XIII, and after 1635 primarily for the king's chief minister, Cardinal Armand Richelieu, for whom he decorated the Palais Royal, the dome of the Sorbonne, and other buildings. His art has not been studied in depth until recently, and has undergone radical reassessment: instead of being seen as an exponent of dry Classicism, he is now seen to epitomize the whole epoch. As a portraitist, his vivid depictions of Cardinal Richelieu show how he was able to seize on the essential characteristics of the autocrat, while his portraits of other, now unidentifiable contemporaries are much more sympathetic. In the first part of his career, as a painter of religious pictures, he executed a number of large altarpieces that shows his Flemish origin. This is especially true of such Rubens-inspired works as the Adoration of the Shepherds in the Wallace Collection, London. Later in life, Champaigne changed his art dramatically when he came under the influence of the Jansenist movement. His paralysed daughter was miraculously cured in the Jansenist nunnery of Port-Royal, and to mark the event Champaigne painted his celebrated but untypical Ex-Voto. Champaigne's art was much more varied than is usually thought, and his achievement spans almost fifty years, from the mid-1620s to his death in 1674. He was one of the fourteen founder-members of the Academy in 1648.
small Annunciation (1644, 71x73cm; 1580x1600pix, 584kb)
a different small Annunciation (1644, 74x55cm) _ Champaigne was in the habit of producing highly finished small versions of his large pictures, unusually for a French artist of his time. It is not always clear whether these versions were finished modellos in the Italian manner, designed to be shown to the client before the expensive large picture was begun (as was often the custom in Italy) or whether they were replicas painted afterward This is a carefully finished modello for the large picture listed next, which could well have been painted for the Palais Royal in about 1644. In the small small picture the modelling, color and line are precise, but there is a certain sensuality in their treatment, clearly marking the artist's Flemish origins. In the large version in the Wallace Collection all trace of this disappeared and, instead, a grandeur is achieved by a large amount of space in the composition and a treatment of the draperies as if they were metal foil or even sculpture.
big The Annunciation (1645, 334x214cm) _ A masterpiece from Champaigne's early maturity, this picture may have been commissioned for the hôtel de Chavigny where Mansart had built a new chapel in 1642-1643.
| –- The
Presentation at the Temple (1648, 257x197cm) _ At Jerusalem, it had
been revealed to a man named Simeon that he would not see death before he
had seen the Messiah. He therefore came to the Temple, led by the Spirit,
and as his parents brought in the infant Jesus, Simeon took him in his arms
and said: "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace ... for my
eyes have seen thy salvation". There was also a very old woman prophetess,
Anna, who served God day and night in fasting and in prayer. She too gave
thanks to God (Luke 2:25-38). Philippe de Champaigne places the Gospel story
on the Temple steps in front of a portico with Corinthian columns. In the
centre, Simeon carries the Child. The way he looks up to heaven and his
expressive hand movement testify to the old man's emotion and joy. To the
left, Mary and Joseph follow the scene closely, whilst to the right, among
the onlookers, the prophetess Anna, symbolising the Synagogue, points to
the Messiah with her finger. The two monumental groups of figures are balanced
on either side of a central axis, leaving little space for the background
décor. Philippe de Champaigne is concerned for historical accuracy and respectful
of Christian virtues. Nothing is gratuitous for him. The placing of each
figure, the gestures and the color of the garments are governed by a strict
symbolism, learned from reading theologians in the spirit of the Council
of Trent. This large canvas, painted in 1648 for the high altar of the Church
of Saint-Honoré in Paris, is very characteristic of the art of this French
painter. Philippe de Champaigne, who was born in Brussels, effectively took
French nationality in 1629. The painting is from his mature period, when
he had perfectly assimilated the various influences on him. His Flemish
training had provided him with an outstanding and fluid mastery of painting
technique, and a taste for realism - as seen in the facial and hand expressions
- which saved him falling into academism. Indeed, he draws part of his repertory
of gestures and attitudes from the model book of Dutchmen Abraham and Frederik
Bloemaert. Antique art and Raphael, whom he particularly admired, were other
reference points. The clear, light colors are typical of French painting
of the 1640s and 50s.
–- an earlier The Presentation at the Temple (1629) _ Philippe de Champaigne reçoit en 1628-1629 sa première et véritable commande officielle d'une série de six grands tableaux destinés au décor de l'église du Carmel du faubourg Saint-Jacques à Paris. C'est à cet ensemble important qu'appartient La Présentation de l'enfant Jésus au Temple, tableau offert au Carmel par les protecteurs attitrés de l'artiste, Claude Bouthillier - secrétaire d'Etat de Richelieu à l'époque - et son épouse, comme l'atteste la présence du blason azuré à trois losanges dorés. Cette toile ambitieuse illustre les débuts parisiens du jeune Champaigne qui élabore un style à la fois personnel et éclectique
The Supper at Emmaus (217x226cm) _ This Supper at Emmaus has been attributed to Philippe de Champaigne, although some art historians consider it to be the work of his nephew and student Jean-Baptiste de Champaigne (1631-1681 or 1684). Both artists were born in Brussels and settled in Paris. The Rubensian influence in Champaigne's work is tempered by a classical purity informed by both the artistic influence of Nicolas Poussin and de Champaigne's Jansenist beliefs. The artist performed a number of commissions for the Jansenist monastery of Port Royal, near Paris, including a painting of The Supper at Emmaus, possibly the version in Ghent. Jean-Baptiste may have painted the work for his master.
The Marriage of the Virgin (1644, 72x144cm) _ The picture almost certainly was painted for the Oratory of Anne of Austria, widow of Louis XIII in the Palais Royal. The Oratory was dismantled in 1752.
The Penitent Magdalen (115x87cm) _ The painting was probably executed for the convent of the Dames du Saint-Sacrament in the Marais, Paris.
Ex Voto (1662, 165x229cm) _ In the 1640s Champaigne became deeply influenced by Jansenism, an austere Roman Catholic reform movement centered at Port-Royal. Thereafter he painted portraits of Jansenist leaders in a cool, restrained, rational French spirit. This outstanding painting represents Jansenist nuns, Sister Cathérine de Sainte-Suzanne, his daughter, cured of paralysis through prayer, and Mother-Superior Catherine-Agnès Arnauld.
Louis XIII (1655, 108x86cm) _ Champaigne received patronage from different
types of people, and as a record of the times his portraits of intellectual
bourgeoisie and the many portraits of Cardinal Richelieu are perhaps the
most interesting. His most important sitter was the king, Louis XIII. The
painting was sent to Philip IV of Spain by his sister Anne of Austria, Queen
Cardinal Richelieu (1637, 260x178cm) _ Born in Brussels, Philippe de Champaigne settled in Paris in 1621 and became one of the city's leading artists, painting portraits and religious compositions for the Queen Mother, Marie de' Medici, the court of Louis XIII, the city administration, fashionable congregations and private individuals. Trained in Flanders and influenced by his compatriots Rubens and Van Dyck, he gradually rejected the flamboyance of their style for a more severe and naturalistic idiom. The change is particularly noticeable after 1645 when he became sympathetic to the rigorous doctrines of the Dutch Catholic theologian Cornelis Jansen, practiced at the Paris convent of Port Royal where Champaigne sent both his daughters to school. The sitter for this grandiose portrait, however, is obviously not one of the artist's Jansenist patrons: where they wear sober black, he wears crimson; where they appear against a plain grey background, he stands in a palatial gallery against a great Baroque swathe of curtain, a glimpse of his château gardens behind him. He is Armand-Jean du Plessis, Duc de Richelieu [1585-1642], cardinal, Chief Minister to the King and virtual ruler of France from 1624 until his death. Richelieu consolidated the central powers of the crown and put down the Huguenot rebellion. He created the French merchant navy and effective fighting fleets in both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. On land, he challenged the might of the Habsburg Empire. To readers of Alexandre Dumas, he will always be the haughty antagonist and sometime patron of the (four) Three Musketeers - but then, Dumas had Champaigne's portraits of Richelieu on which to base his unforgettable character. Unable to have himself portrayed as ruler, Richelieu stands in the pose traditionally associated with French monarchs. (It was pointed out how rare it is for a cardinal to be shown standing - 'Like women, they sat'.) Richelieu wears the chivalric Order of the Saint-Esprit, its blue moiré ribbon contrasting with the starched white linen and the crimson satin of his collar and cloak. Instead of a baton or cane, he holds a scarlet biretta in his stiffly extended right hand. This extraordinary object seems to float up to the surface of the canvas in defiance of spatial logic; as it hypnotically draws our glance we become aware of its tacit message. Champaigne has carefully shown its inner lining catching the light, thus drawing attention to our viewpoint from below - an optical fact underscored by the low horizon line beyond. We are gazing upwards at Richelieu, his face the distant apex of an elongated pyramid down which lustrous drapery flows like lava. Although diminished in scale by the distance between us, the face is undistorted by foreshortening like the majestic images of Christ the Ruler in the apses of Byzantine churches. But where these spiritual icons look deep into our eyes, the King's Minister stares haughtily out, allowing us to look at him...as a cat may look at a king.
another version of Cardinal Richelieu (222x155cm) _ Richelieu was painted by Champaigne in several different guises, all of them with unwavering accuracy and concentration, and these portraits are a vivid record of that statesman's determined and brilliant personality. In this full-length portrait, of which there are many versions, all the cardinal's strength of character is revealed, as might be expected in a grand state portrait. His red robes allowed the artist to introduce a richness into an otherwise utterly cold composition. This lack of warmth is one of the reasons why Champaigne has never attracted a popular following.
Triple Portrait of Richelieu _ (1640, 58x72cm) _ Until 1643 he worked exclusively for Marie de Medici, Cardinal Richelieu and King Louis XIII. The triple portrait was a working model for sculptor Francesco Mochi. Later he turned toward religious themes and his style showed the sign of classicism. At the same time he continued to paint portraits for commissons. [Actually, de Champaigne discovered the well-guarded secret of Richelieu's boundless energy: he was really three identical triplets who worked in three shifts round the clock... don't you believe that?]
Portrait of Bishop Jean-Pierre Camus (1643, 73x59cm) _ Philippe de Champaigne's austerity was most effectively deployed in his serious portraits of prominent churchmen and political figures, such as the Portrait of Jean-Pierre Camus, who was a leading bishop and hagiographer.
— Robert Arnauld d'Andilly (1667, 78x64cm) _ brother and follower of the chief Jansenist theologian Antoine Arnauld [06 Feb 1612 – 08 Aug 1694]. Robert Arnauld d'Andilly [1588–1674], the eldest of the Arnauld brothers, pursued a career in government service. In 1620, however, he made the acquaintance of the abbot of Saint-Cyran, Jean Duvergier de Hauranne [1581 – 11 Oct 1643], a founder of the Jansenist movement, and under Saint-Cyran's influence he eventually sought to retire from secular life. In about 1644 Arnauld d'Andilly entered the ascetic religious community established earlier at Port-Royal des Champs by several of his nephews, chiefly Antoine Le Maistre. Because of his connection with the French court, Arnauld d'Andilly was especially important in Jansenist political affairs. He was also a poet, a translator of religious texts, and the editor of Saint-Cyran's Lettres chrétiennes et spirituelles (1645). His Mémoires were published in 1734. Five of Robert Arnauld d'Andilly's daughters became nuns at Port-Royal des Champs.
Jean Baptiste Colbert
The Nativity (1643)
Moses with the Ten Commandments
The Last Supper
The Miracles of the Penitent St Mary (1656, 219x336cm)
>Born on 12 August 1849: Abbott Henderson
Thayer, New England painter and naturalist who died on 29
— He spent his youth in rural New England, where his earliest paintings were wildlife subjects, reflecting his interest in hunting and fishing. While in his teens Thayer achieved some success doing portraits of family pets, which he continued after a move to New York. He attended classes at the Brooklyn Art School and National Academy of Design, but in 1875 he settled in Paris, studying under Henri Lehmann and Jean-Léon Gérôme at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. While abroad he produced landscapes in the Barbizon style and genre scenes, but on his return to New York in 1879 he established himself as a portrait painter.
— Thayer was born in Boston, Massachusetts. His study of natural history began early, before he was nine he had begun to paint animals, particularly birds. He painted dogs' and cats' portraits, cattle and landscape. Then Thayer's introduction to the traditions of the Italian Renaissance and its classical ideals began with academic training in Paris under Jean~Léon Gérôme at the École des Beaux Arts with .
Returning to New York in 1879, he established a successful career painting society portraits and beautiful women for which he is best known. His later portraits develop beyond likeness into the psychological examinations that would increasingly occupy him. The Sisters (1884), a double-portrait of Clara and Bessie Stillman, hints at a complex familial relationship in the unusually close placement of their bodies and their pensive expressions.
The illness and death of Thayer's beloved wife, Kate Bloede, inspired a new direction in his art. In the late 1880s, as her tuberculosis and depression worsened, he began painting their three children in classically inspired compositions that depict them as embodiments of perfection.
Thayer's idealism was influenced by Ralph Waldo Emerson's transcendentalist writings and the concept of an ideal world existing beside the material world. Thayer painted the first of his winged protective figures in 1887, Angel, a luminous portrait of his eldest daughter Mary.
In Virgin Enthroned, painted in 1891 after his wife's death, Thayer's daughter appears as a Madonna-like figure watching over her siblings.
Thayer often created large-scale paintings that served symbolically as "guardian angels." His homage to the writer Robert Louis Stevenson, titled Stevenson Memorial (1903), features a pale brooding figure enveloped by darkness, seated on a rock marking Stevenson's grave.
Angel of the Dawn (1919) celebrates the vitality of the New England coast, where Thayer helped establish a bird sanctuary; Monadnock Angel (1920-1921) commemorates his active role in Mount Monadnock's preservation as a state park.
Thayer is a curious double-figure, a man of extremes and contradictions. He embodied elegance and rusticity, enthusiasm and depression. The Stevenson Memorial brings together much of his thinking about the polar extremes of darkness and light symbolizing the coexistence of madness and sanity and good and evil that were found in some of Stevenson's writings.
In 1901, after relocating his family to an artists' colony in Dublin, N.H., Thayer cultivated a rough persona and became disdainful of social conventions. He and his family slept outdoors and kept wild animals as household pets. However, he remained connected to the world of art and ideas, maintaining a lively correspondence with contemporaries such as Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), patron Charles Lang Freer and President Theodore Roosevelt.
While living in New Hampshire, Thayer's interest in the natural world expanded to include scientific observations of animal camouflage, or "protective coloration." Peacock in the Woods (1907) illustrates Thayer's ideas of nature as an artist using color and shadow to disguise animals in the environment. In the early 1890s, Abbott Thayer, best known for his images of idealized winged women and, at the time, one of the finest figure painters in the US, began formulating a comprehensive theory of concealing coloration (how coloring helps animals hide from their predators and prey) and studying how it might be applied to military camouflage.
Thayer's concept was based on his observations of the ways in which nature "obliterates" contrast. One is by blending: the colorations of animals, he said, mimic their environments. The second is by disruption: strong arbitrary patterns of color flatten contours and break up outlines, so creatures either disappear or look to be something other than what they are.
Although many prominent zoologists were receptive to Thayer's ideas, numerous other scientists attacked him. They argued correctly that conspicuous coloring was also designed to warn off a predator or attract a prospective mate. They particularly resented Thayer’s insistence that his theory be accepted all or nothing.
With his son, Gerald, Thayer published his theories in Concealing-Coloration in the Animal Kingdom (1909), and he promoted the idea of camouflage for soldiers and ships in World War I.
Ultimately Thayer’s law of obliterative countershading received official acceptance. During World War I, both the Allies and the Germans made use of his theories in their efforts to camouflage military personnel and matériel.
In his mature work, Thayer began exploring less traditional methods, leaving areas of the canvas exposed. Increasingly, he created heavily brushed, almost abstract areas of paint, sometimes using a palette knife. He used unconventional means to manipulate paint including a common broom or applying it directly from the tube. He might work on a single canvas for years, adding paint and scraping it away until he achieved the essence of his subject.
Thayer's deliberately unfinished canvases such as Monadnock Angel allow the viewer to experience the painting's creation. Thayer was working with the modern notion that the key to understanding his paintings is in the process of their creation, much like the Abstract Expressionist ideas in the 1950s.
— Thayer's students included Ben Foster.
— Self-Portrait (538x412pix, 48kb)
–- David (1895, 159x83cm; 1/4 size _ .ZOOM to half~size)
–- Alma Wollerman (1903, 48x40cm; 685x562pix, 25kb _ .ZOOM to 1027x844pix, 57kb _ .ZOOM to 2054x1688pix, 145kb) She is the artist's future daughter-in-law Mrs. Gerald Thayer.
Winged Figure (1889, 131x96cm _ ZOOMable)
A Virgin (1893; 1000x781pix, 316kb _ ZOOM to 2633x2056pix, 1415kb) _ Many of Thayer's works celebrate beauty and purity. A Virgin, painted for his patron Charles Freer, sets the artist's children (Mary leading Gerald and Gladys), draped in classical robes, against winglike clouds.
Roses (1890, 57x80cm _ ZOOMable)
— Caritas (1895, 216x140cm; 719x467pix, 52kb _ ZOOM to 1600x1038pix, 203kb) _ The model for the main figure was Elise Pumpelly, daughter of a well-known Harvard geologist, who also summered in Dublin and posed frequently for Thayer. The artist idealized her by dressing her in a classical Greek chiton, using its long columnar folds to give the impression of stability and strength. The two children, innocent and trustful, seem embodiments of natural purity. The setting is enlivened by Thayer's opalescent strokes of paint, flickers of light green and blue that seem to vibrate with the freshness of spring. An intensely spiritual man, Thayer sought to imbue his paintings with the moral principles of his age, hoping to communicate such abstract ideals as virtue, beauty, and truth. In 1893 (along with Elihu Vedder and John LaFarge), Thayer had been commissioned to paint a mural for the art museum at Bowdoin College, an allegorical composition symbolizing the city of Florence. That mural, depicting a winged woman with outstretched arms that protect two children, may have inspired Caritas. The image was a traditional representation of the virtue Charity, and the title became associated with this painting when it was first exhibited in Philadelphia in 1895. Thayer later asked to change it to Spring or Morning; in 1899 he wrote that he detested the picture. Despite the artist's continued protestations, Caritas was highly admired from the time of its first exhibition and won a large prize in Philadelphia.
— Girl in White (Margaret Greene) (95x75cm; 723x576pix, 44kb _ ZOOM to 1600x1273pix, 203kb)
— Winter Scene (39x31cm; 717x576pix, 75kb _ ZOOM not recommended to 1597x1281pix, 362kb unless you want to see close-up how sloppily it is painted)
— The Angel (97x69cm; 720x514pix _ ZOOM to 1600x1141pix, 210kb)
a different Angel (1889, 92x72cm; 1000x778pix, 172kb) more alert _ The pseudonymous Bishopp Henperson Sayer has transformed Thayer's Angel into an amazing series of nightmarish pictures each evolving into the next one (you can click from one to the next):
_ Anger 0 (2001; 840x1040pix, 208kb)
_ Anger 1 (2001; 840x1040pix, 208kb)
_ Anger 2 (2001; 840x1040pix, 82kb)
_ Anger 3 (2001; 840x1040pix, 216kb)
_ Anger 4 (2001; 840x1040pix, 214kb)
_ Anger 5 (2001; 840x1040pix, 207kb)
_ Anger 6 (2001; 840x1040pix, 210kb)
_ Anger 7 (2001; 840x1040pix, 476kb)
_ Anger 8 (2001; 840x1040pix, 155kb)
_ Anger 9 (2001; 840x1040pix, 272kb)
— Young Boy (43x28cm; 716x467pix, 53kb _ ZOOM to 1600x1043pix, 229kb) _ Some of his hair is green and he has white smears on his face.
Stevenson Memorial (1903, 208x153cm; 416x307pix, 21kb) _ This enigmatic painting is Thayer's tribute to the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson [13 Nov 1850 – 03 Dec 1894], who married (in 1880) divorcee Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne, from the US, in which he traveled extensively, befriending many artists. He eventually moved to Samoa, where he died, and was buried on Mount Vaea. Stevenson's name and coat of arms originally appeared across the top of the canvas, but Thayer painted them out, leaving only the word VAEA on the rock to identify the subject. The angel, poised somewhat nonchalantly, recalls the angels who stood guard over Christ's tomb before His resurrection.
Died on 12 August 1750: Rachel Ruysch
(or Ruisch), Dutch Baroque
era painter born in 1664, specialized in Still
Life and Flowers,
wife of the portraitist Juriaen Pool (1666-1745). She studied under Willem
Dutch still-life painter, with van Huysum the most celebrated exponent of flower pieces of her period The daughter of a botanist and the student of Willem van Aelst, she worked mainly in her native Amsterdam, but also in The Hague (1701-8) and Düsseldorf, where from 1708 to 1716 she was court painter to the Elector Palatine. Her richly devised bouquets were painted in delicate colors with meticulous detail, and their artistry and craftsmanship are worthy of the finest tradition of Dutch flower painting. She continued to use the dark backgrounds characteristic of van Aelst and the older generation long after van Huysum and other contemporaries had gone over to light backgrounds. She often painted her self-portrait within the reflections on objects in her paintings.
Rachel Ruysch's painstaking paintings of flowers are still highly prized for their vivid colors and accurate representation of natural forms. Rachel Ruysch was born in Haarlem in northern Holland, the daughter of professor of anatomy Anthony Frederick Ruysch, who was also a talented painter. She studied with the well-known flower painter Willem von Aelst, who assisted in bringing out her own talent as a skilful painter of flowers. In 1693 she married the painter Juriaen Poole, with whom she had ten children. This did not stop her from painting, however, and in 1708 the couple were appointed court painters to the elector palatine in Dusseldörf. Here they painted exclusively for the prince until his death in 1716, when they returned to Amsterdam. Some 100 of Ruysch's paintings survive, commanding high prices. However, her style has been widely copied, and many flower paintings in ornate frames bearing the legend "Rachel Ruysch" were not created by her.
She was born in Amsterdam [above it says she was born in Haarlem... was her mother traveling while giving birth?]. Her father was a professor of anatomy and botany and an amateur painter, and at the age of 15 she was apprenticed to the leading flower painter Willelm van Aelst (supposedly a rejected suitor of Maria Van Oosterwyck). Her early works, detailed scientific studies of insects and flowers, already had an exotic quality. She began to specialize in flower painting, and continued this work after her marriage in 1701 to the painter Juriaen Pool, although they had ten children. In 1701 they became members of the painters' guild in The Hague. In 1708 Rachel was invited by the Elector Palatine to be painter to his court at Düsseldorf; she returned to Holland in 1716. A slow but relatively prolific worker, she acquired an immense reputation, charging high prices for her works, and giving paintings as dowries to her daughters. Over 100 of her works have survived to demonstrate her sumptuous talent.
Dutch still-life painter, with van Huysum the most celebrated exponent of flower pieces of her period. The daughter of a botanist and the student of Willem van Aelst, she worked mainly in her native Amsterdam, but also in The Hague (1701-08) and Düsseldorf, where from 1708 to 1716 she was court painter to the Elector Palatine. Her richly devised bouquets were painted in delicate colors with meticulous detail, and their artistry and craftsmanship are worthy of the finest tradition of Dutch flower painting. She continued to use the dark backgrounds characteristic of van Aelst and the older generation long after van Huysum and other contemporaries had gone over to light backgrounds. Ruysch lived eighty-six years and her dated works establish that she painted from the time she was a young woman until she was an octogenarian. However, only about a hundred paintings by her are known. Possibly she worked slowly; perhaps her responsibilities as a wife and mother - she had ten children, her husband was the portraitist Juriaen Pool (1666-1745) - slowed her pace.
Still Life with Flowers on a Marble Tabletop (with insects) (1716)
on a Tree Trunk (93x74cm) _ Rachel Ruysch, closely following Otto Marseus
van Schrieck, also painted forest still-lifes. This painting is a particularly
good example. As in van Schrieck's still-lifes, we look at dark undergrowth,
dried stump with knotholes surrounded by toadstools and moss underneath
stones. Winding around the dead tree trunks are brightly colored flowers
of all kinds, including roses, lilies and bindweed. They have a luminous
quality which seems to come from within them. Insects, reptiles, and amphibians
such as snakes, toads and small lizards, are partly fighting one another
and partly destroying the plants together. On the left a toad and a small
snake are attacking one another, on the right a fire-breathing (!) toad
with red flames darting from its mouth is trying to hold a small lizard
in check. Opposing the world of half-dead, flowerless plants and minerals,
the glowing colors of the flowers add an element of vitality. These must
be understood with a view to the Christian doctrine of salvation, symbolizing
the purity of the Virgin Mary as well as Christian virtues or fruit of the
Holy Spirit. This is also the context for the butterflies settling on the
unopened blossom of a lily - undoubtedly an allusion to the immaculate conception
of the Virgin Mary, as the lily had been a fixed attribute of the Mother
of God since the late Middle Ages. Other insects, by contrast, are interpreted
in a negative way. The locust climbing from the dead tree trunk to the red
rose in order to destroy it, together with the stag beetle on the branch
above it, just below the upper frame must be seen as an allusion to biblical
text: 'He spoke and the locusts came, locusts and beetles without number...'.
Still-Life with Bouquet of Flowers and Plums (92x70cm) _ Unlike that of most 17th and 18th century female artists, Rachel Ruysch's work has never sunk into obscurity. She also enjoyed public recognition of her talent during her lifetime: in 1701, three years before painting this particularly charming bouquet, she was the first woman to be admitted to the Confrerie Pictura in The Hague, and in 1708 Johann Wilhelm, the Elector of the Palatinate, appointed her to the position of court painter. The artist's specialities were compositions with fruit, flowers and woodlands. Within this genre she was never a real innovator, but she perfectly assimilated the work of others, equalling them in terms of her painting technique. At least for certain partial aspects of flower painting she sought her own solutions, thereby imposing her own stamp on her creations. During the final decade of the 17th century we can observe the influence in particular of her teacher, Willem van Aelst, and that of Simon Pieterszoon Verelst. From the beginning of the 18th century she was inspired by Jan Davidszoon de Heem and Abraham Mignon. The use of a dark background for a bouquet is a tried and tested way of bringing colors and shapes to their own. The fact that very few flowers in the bouquet cross also shows that the painter wished to present the various species in a way that made them clearly recognizable. This almost scientific trait is certainly due, in Ruysch's case, to her father's position as a professor of botany. Typical for this period is the adding of insects and fruit of every kind, here a branch of plums. This fruit with its characteristic matt, bluish tint, which is so difficult to reproduce, appears to have been chosen by painters precisely in order to demonstrate their technical skill. One striking feature of this sumptuous bouquet is the S-shapes in the composition, with which Ruysch seeks a more natural-looking structure in contrast to the strong diagonals found in her earlier work. Rachel Ruysch's personality also speaks to our imagination: although building a professional career was something unusual for a woman at that time, she was simultaneously a "normal" woman of her time, as she bore ten children.
A Vase of Flowers (1706, 100x81cm) _ The main line of eighteenth-century Dutch still-life painting is represented by the Amsterdamers Rachel Ruysch and Jan van Huysum, who both specialized in elaborate flower and fruit pictures. They were the most popular still-life painters of the period; their works commanded high prices and were found in famous collections throughout Europe, and their colorful paintings still have wide appeal. The status they were accorded in their time indicates there were powerful patrons and collectors who took exception to the teachings of academic theorists who minimized the significance of still-lifes by placing them at the lower end of the hierarchy of kinds of painting. In the hands of Rachel Ruysch and Jan van Huysum Dutch flower pieces brighten up again. Their technical perfection and love of minute detail recall the still-lifes painted a century earlier by Bosschaert and his followers, and like their predecessors they did not hesitate to include flowers of different seasons in their arrangements. However, neither Ruysch nor van Huysum arranges blooms into evenly lit symmetrical bunches in the way that early-seventeenth-century painters did, and their lively chiaroscuro effects and delightful ornateness show an unmistakable affinity with Late Baroque and Rococo art.