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DEATH: 1513 PINTURICCHIO
BIRTH: 1599 CODDE
^ Died on 11 December 1513: Bernardino Betti (or Betto) di Biagi “Pinturicchio” “Sordicchio”, Italian painter of decorative frescoes, born in 1454.
— “Pinturicchio” was born in Perugia. It is likely that he served as an assistant to Italian painter Perugino, and worked on the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel at Rome. He then painted frescoes in Santa Maria in Aracoeli in Rome illustrating the life of Saint Bernardino of Siena about 1485. From 1492 to 1494, after executing two works in the cathedral at Orvieto, he painted six frescoes in the Borgia apartments (now the library) of the Vatican. From 1502 to 1507 he painted his last and most important works — the ten frescoes in the Piccolomini Library of the Cathedral of Siena. They depict the Life of Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini (who was elected Pope Pius II on 19 Aug 1458) [18 Oct 1405 – 14 Aug 1464], in brilliant color and realistic detail. Among Pinturicchio's few surviving easel paintings are the Madonna in Glory (1510) and Christ Carrying the Cross (1513). The nickname Pintoricchio (little painter) referred to his small size and not to his artistic reputation. He was considered one the outstanding painters in Italy and worked for popes and their families.
— Pinturicchio's assistants included Amico Aspertini, Tiberio d’Assisi, Eusebio da San Giorgio, Pietro Torrigiani.

LINKS
The Return of Odysseus (1509, 124x146cm) _ The painting represents a scene from the Odyssey in an early Renaissance setting. It is severely damaged.
Portrait of a Boy (1483, 50x36cm) _ The sitter was formerly assumed to be the young Raphael.
Burial of Saint Bernardino of Siena (fresco)
Moses' Voyage to Egypt and the Circumcision of His Son Eliezer (1482, 350x572cm; 720x1109pix, 196kb) _ detail 1 (900x917pix, 187kb) _ detail 2 (738x879pix, 156kb) _ detail 3 (900x1021pix, 188kb) the circumcision _ detail 4 (600x491pix _ ZOOM to 1001x820pix, 173kb _ ZOOM+ to 1400x1145pix) the dance of the shepherds. _ detail 5 (1013x800pix, 179kb) _ The fresco is from the cycle of the life of Moses in the Sistine Chapel. It is located in the first compartment on the south wall. It was painted by Perugino and Pinturicchio, the latter being probably responsible for the landscape and minor scenes. This fresco depicts the story of Moses' journey to Egypt after exile in the land of Midian, when the angel tells him to circumcise his second son. The paintings were to be read in pairs, one from the left and one from the right. Thus the Baptism of Christ by Perugino faces the Circumcision of Moses' Son by Perugino and Pinturicchio. A comparison of the pairs of scenes shows clearly that the principal concern was to show how the new religion of Christ was deeper and more spiritual than the Jewish religion. Thus the pair of frescoes showing the Baptism and the Circumcision emphasize how baptism - prefigured, according to Augustine and many of the Fathers of Church, by circumcision - represents a "spiritual circumcision."
The Madonna and Child With a Cardinal as Donor (1500; 499x389pix _ ZOOM to 1164x907pix, 529kb _ .ZOOM+ to 1554x1235pix, 413kb)
Mary and Child with Saint Jerome (1480, 53x39cm; 745x550pix, 78kb _ ZOOM to 1665x1230pix, 319kb) _ This early work displays the hallmarks of Pintoricchio's style-serene figures, a remarkable play of light on surfaces, and the skillful rendering of such minute details as the hair of the persons. This painting is in excellent condition except for the Virgin's mantle, which has darkened from its original brilliant blue.
Donor Alberto Aringhieri in a Knight of Malta Habit (600x636pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1484pix)
Adoration of the Child, With Saint Jerome (1490; 600x425pix, 142kb _ ZOOM to 1400x989pix)
Adoration by the Shepherds in the Baglioni Chapel (1501; 600x491pix, 162kb _ ZOOM to 1400x1146, 430kb _ .ZOOM+ to 2878x2356, 1678kb)
30 ZOOMable images at Wikimedia
—(061210)
^ Born on 11 December 1599: Pieter-Jacobs Codde (or Kodde, Codden), Dutch artist who died on 12 October 1678. He was a genre painter of small but spirited drinking scenes and conversation pieces.
— The Amsterdam artist, Pieter Codde, was mainly known as a portrait painter, although his indoor scenes were also popular. His family portraits exude the same carefree atmosphere as his brothel scenes. In 1636 Codde was commissioned by an Amsterdam militia company to finish a work which his famous colleague Frans Hals did not want to complete. In the 'Meager Company', as the militia piece is called, the styles of both painters can be recognized. Pieter Codde has tried to blend his style with that of Hals; however his own style remains recognizably smoother. Pieter Codde was buried on 12 October 1678 in Amsterdam.
     In the Late Middle Ages the first militia units were formed. The various companies were named after the weapons they bore: the longbowmen, the crossbowmen and the arquebusiers, named after the 16th-century weapon, the arquebus or 'klover'. Civic guard units were deployed to quell riots and were called up in war. They also patrolled the city. Militiamen supplied their own equipment and uniforms, so they usually came from the wealthier classes. It was customary for companies to commission artists to paint their portraits. In the prosperous 17th century numerous civic guard portraits were painted.
— Genre and portrait painter of the fashionable world and barrack-room life, active in Amsterdam. His best works are usually on a small scale, marked by subtle silvery-gray tonalities, but he achieved one memorable feat on a much larger scale. In 1637 he was called upon to finish the group portrait of the Amsterdam Civic Guards known as The Meager Company that Frans Hals [1583 – 01 Sep 1666] began in 1633 and refused to finish because he would not come to Amsterdam for sittings, and Codde succeeded so well in capturing Hals's spirit and the touch of his brush that experts still disagree where the work of the one ends and the other begins. Codde also wrote poetry.
— Frans Hals was once thought to have been his teacher, but there is no evidence for this. It is possible that Codde studied under a portrait painter, perhaps Barent van Someren [1573–1632] or Cornelis van der Voort [1576–1624], since most of his earliest works, from the period 1623–1627, seem to be portraits. His earliest known dated work is A Young Man (1626), which precedes by a year his earliest dated genre piece, The Dancing Lesson (1627). He was particularly productive in the 1620s and 1630s, painting mainly interior genre scenes. After the mid-1640s only portraits and a few history paintings, such as The Adoration by the Shepherds (1645), are known. It is not known how long he remained active as a painter.
— Willem Duyster was a student of Codde.

LINKS
Sacred Codde ... oops ... that did not belong here, it is Sacred Cod (1940) by John W. Kelleher
Cape Codde ... this neither ... it really is Cape Cod Afternoon (1936) by Hopper. Now enough of the obsolete spellings, back to the real Codde, whose name has retained its antique form:
Cavaliers and Ladies aka The Return of the Hunters (1633, 54x68cm) _ Gathered in a tall, spacious room is a festively-attired company. A few women are sitting at a table; two men have just entered. The one behind is greeted by one of the women; he proudly holds up a hare. His companion presents two partridges, also shot. This work by Pieter Codde is known as the 'Return of the Hunters'. The men, however, are not dressed as hunters and so the word 'hunting' is clearly intended metaphorically and means the 'pursuit of love'. The erotic implications - of the large bed in the corner, for instance, and the hunters' catch - would immediately have been plain to a seventeenth-century viewer. At the time 'hunting the hare' and 'fowling' were metaphors for making love. The partridge furthermore was regarded as 'the most lascivious of all birds'. In his book Iconologia of uytbeelding des verstands (“The iconography or illustration of reason”) (1644), Cesare Ripa wrote that this bird is supreme in displaying 'unbridled lust and limitless lewdness'. Ripa claimed that 'cock partridges were so frenzied in treading their hens and aroused to such heights of lechery, that they often broke the eggs their hens were laying, since when they were laying them it was impossible to go on mating with them.' As for the hens it was also necessary to repeat the process in order to get more eggs.
     Other details also contribute to the erotic symbolism of this painting. The candle on the edge of the bed and the somewhat grubby-looking dog usually stand for lust and lechery in erotically tinted work like this. On the floor there is a lute and the woman on the left is playing a theorbo, also a sort of lute. In seventeenth-century art the lute often refers to love. Sometimes these instruments referred to 'higher', married love; but in a dubious situation like this one, it is a symbol of lust and sexual love. The women here are only concerned with worldly matters and this too does not argue for a chaste and virtuous life.
     
–- The Family Twent in an Interior (1633, 48x76cm; 630x1000pix, 58kb _ .ZOOM to 905x1810pix, 114kb)
–- The Repentance of Manasseh (1655, 92x152cm; 616x1024pix, 55kb) _ Formerly attributed to Pieter Lastman, this is in fact one of a relatively small number of history paintings by the Codde. Other examples include a Sacrifice of Iphiginea (with Bob Haboldt) and two paintings of The Judgment of Midas. It is possible that the landscape in these works is by a second, as yet unidentified hand. The subject is taken from 2 Chronicles 33:11-16, which relates how Manasseh, King of Judah, as a prisoner of the Assyrians, repented of his having led his kingdom into idolatry and, after his release, 'took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the LORD ... and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city. And he repaired the altar of the LORD ... and commanded Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel.' (estimated at £50'000 for auction on Codde's 403rd birthday).
Young Man with a Pipe = Young Scholar in his Study (1630; 800x530pix, 103kb) _ Pieter Codde painted portraits, history paintings, and high-life scenes as well as military subjects. His small picture of a Young Scholar in his Study, painted in shades of silvery gray and ochers, is a kind of secularization of Dürer's Melancholia. It is more appealing than his more ambitious genre compositions, where he gives way to his preference for rather coarse and plump types, over-glossy textures, and exaggerated highlights. The rooms Codde represents are always of less interest to him than the people he placed in them, and although he lived long enough to see the accomplishments of the great Dutch painters of interiors — he died in 1678, three years after Vermeer — he never attempted to emulate their achievements.
      But he made at least one attempt to make a radical shift in his style. In the half of Frans Hals's “The 'Meager Company” which he completed, he made a concerted effort to emulate Hals's touch (next >>>).

“The Meager Company” (Officers of the Company of the Amsterdam Crossbow Civic Guard under Captain Reynier Reael and Lieutenant Cornelis Michielszoon Blaeuw), started by Hals, finished by Codde (1637, 209x429cm; 769x1600pix, 161kb) _ detail 1 left side (1073x940pix, 147kb) _ detail 2 right side (950x946pix, 133kb) _ detail 3 extreme left figure, the only entirely by Hals (1500x541pix, 117kb) _ detail 4 extreme right figure (1578x470pix, 115kb)
_      The group portrait of this crossbowmen's militia has been known for centuries as The Meager Company, the nickname it was given in 1758 by art historian and restorer Jan van Dijk when he wrote: '.. since all of them are wizened and thin, they should properly be called The Meager Company...'.
      Frans Hals was commissioned to paint the portrait of Captain Reynier Reael and Lieutenant Cornelis Michielsz Blaeuw of the Amsterdam crossbowmen's guild together with their militiamen. He was to paint the piece in Amsterdam, where the members of the company lived. For Hals, who lived in Haarlem, this involved regular trips to the capital. In fact he was rarely to make the journey at all. In 1636, three years after receiving the commission, he had still only completed part of the painting. Eventually the militiamen took him to the task. In reply he responded, as the preserved documents state, that it had been agreed he would begin the portraits in Amsterdam and complete them in Haarlem. The representatives of the guild, however, claimed that they had even offered six guilders extra per portrait on the condition that Hals travel to Amsterdam to paint the men's bodies as well as their faces. Hals was to receive 66 guilders per person upon completion of the painting, a total of 1056 guilders for the whole work. Despite the high rate, Hals could no longer be persuaded to make the journey to Amsterdam. He suggested that the unfinished work be brought to Haarlem, where he would complete the sitters' attire. Then he proposed to finish painting the faces, assuming that the militiamen did not object to traveling to Haarlem. By now the dispute had become so heated that the guild decided to ask another artist to complete the painting. The task fell to Pieter Codde, a strange choice since Codde's paintings were usually small and meticulous. Codde lived in Amsterdam, though, and may even have been a member of the militia company. Frans Hals painted the general outlines of the composition and completed some of the faces and hands, but only the ensign on the left, with the shiny satin jacket, is entirely by his hand. Pieter Codde painted the costumes and the portraits which Hals failed to complete.
_  _ 'Just to see that painting would make the journey to Amsterdam worthwhile.' wrote Vincent van Gogh in 1885. He particularly liked the 'fellow in the left corner'  (detail 3), he had 'seldom seen a more divinely beautiful figure' .
     In 1633 Frans Hals was commissioned to paint the portraits of Captain Reynier Reael and Lieutenant Cornelis Michielszoon Blaeuw with their militia unit. He had to paint the picture in Amsterdam, where the militiamen lived. Hals himself lived in Haarlem; which meant that he had to travel back and forth regularly. The Amsterdam civic guard had asked Frans Hals because of his reputation for lively civic guard portraits, and because he avoided staid, formally posed group portraits. But the militiamen could not have taken into account that Hals might start to find commuter travel tedious.
     In the Late Middle Ages the first militia units were formed. The various companies were named after the weapons they bore: the longbowmen, the crossbowmen and the arquebusiers, named after the 16th-century weapon, the arquebus or 'klover'. Civic guard units were deployed to quell riots and were called up in war. They also patrolled the city. Militiamen supplied their own equipment and uniforms, so they usually came from the wealthier classes. It was customary for companies to commission artists to paint their portraits. In the prosperous 17th century numerous civic guard portraits were painted.
     When, after three years, only half the painting was ready, the militiamen demanded that Hals complete the painting in ten days, otherwise he wouldn't receive a cent. Despite the excellent fee - 1,025 guilders - he refused. Let the militiamen come to Haarlem, was Hals's his reply. He had already spent far too much time and money in Amsterdam, without receiving any travel or accommodation expenses. He had 'wasted much in Aemstelredamme in the tavern', as he explained to the crossbowmen in a letter.
     Hals's clients refused to go to Haarlem. They looked for another painter to complete the work and found the Amsterdammer Pieter Codde. Finishing a canvas of this magnitude was no easy task for Codde, who usually worked in small formats with great precision. The left side, up to the figure in light clothes in the center, is by Frans Hals. He also painted most of the hands and faces. The rest is by Pieter Codde.
     Although he tried to adapt to Hals's style, Codde's half is clearly less powerful, it is smoother and more precise and therefore less profound. The rendering of the various textures provides an excellent illustration. While Hals's brushstrokes are clearly defined, Codde's brushwork is hardly visible. This is clear from a comparison of the black in the clothes of two officers, one by Codde and one by Hals.
     Captain Reael's men are wearing all the various fashions of the mid-seventeenth century, from conservative black broadcloth garments (Laken cloth, a fine woolen fabric, made by a lengthy procedure, close-knit, warm and smooth) to bright, light-yellow costumes. Two figures are elegantly portrayed in light, glistening fabrics with a profusion of lace: the ensign on the left (detail 3) and the lieutenant in the center. They are wearing sashes in the 'club colors' of their company: orange. The crossbowmen are also wearing different models of collar: millstone ruffs, simple surreptitious collars and large flat collars. They were made of delicate lace and never lasted very long.
     The millstone ruff is a round collar made of pleated white linen. It was fashionable in Holland from the late 16th century to about 1625. They began small, but became increasing broad until finally resembling millstones. Manufacturing such large ruffs was a complicated and time-consuming task for the specialists who made them - mostly Flemish or Dutch women. A ruff like this required a great deal of material, sometimes as much as 15 meters. Usually cambric was used, a fine linen often decorated with bobbin lace. After washing and starching, it was gathered or pleated and set on a collar and then ironed into circular shapes with 'pipe' irons. These costly collars or ruffs were worn by the well-to-do, both men and women.
  
The Dancing Lesson (1627; 581x750pix, 109kb)
A Child (53x40cm; 850x639pix, 66kb)
Dancing Party (1633)
Merry Company (1631)
Musical Company (1639, 500x800pix, 70kb)
A Gentleman and a Lady in an Interior (53x43cm; 727x583pix, 94kb)
A Lady Having her Hair Combed (20x25cm; 580x700pix, 232kb)
Violent robbery (28x22cm; 600x797pix, 102kb) _ Style of Codde, but not his technique
 

Died on a 11 December:

2007 Alberto Datas Panero [1935–], Spanish painter.
untitled (2007, 200x200cm; 2176x1944pix, 1225kb)
Cabezas I (2000; 600x393pix, 660kb png) —(081210)

^ 1942 Séraphine Louis “de Senlis”, French painter born on 02 September 1864. She worked as a housekeeper in Senlis for the collector and dealer Wilhelm Uhde, who on discovering in 1912 that she produced vigorous paintings began buying them from her. As a German citizen he was obliged to leave France during World War I, but on his return he purchased her entire production. Motivated by what Uhde referred to as a ‘sacred ardor’, she painted for the Virgin in the middle of the night while singing hymns. Her piety developed into fanaticism, however, and when Uhde suddenly stopped buying her work in about 1930 because of the economic crisis, she developed a strong persecution complex and had to be committed to a psychiatric hospital. After 1934 Uhde regarded her as dead, as her insanity prevented her from painting. — Après avoir été gardienne de moutons, Séraphine Louis devient femme de ménage à Senlis (Oise), où le hasard la met en présence du critique d'art, promoteur des peintres naïfs, W. Uhde, chez qui elle travaille. Celui-ci, après avoir vu ses œuvres, l'encourage à persévérer. Pour cette femme qui n'a jamais appris à peindre, les seules sources d'inspiration sont les vitraux de la cathédrale. Vivant dans un isolement quasi total, elle travaille à la lumière d'une bougie, devant une image de la Vierge. Répétant tous les mêmes motifs décoratifs, les tableaux de Séraphine de Senlis ne sont qu'arabesques, feuilles-plumes, fleurs, fruits paradisiaques, ornés de cils, buissons ardents. Motifs et couleurs intenses traduisent les rêves et les extases de leur auteur, qui perd la raison en 1930 et meurt douze ans plus tard dans un asile d'aliénés.
L'Eden (350x236pix, 33kb)

^ 1738 Johann-Rudolf Byss, Swiss painter, active in Prague and Franconia, born on 11 May 1660. He was taught by his father, Johann Joseph Byss, in Solothurn. In the 1680s he made a study trip to Germany, England, and the Netherlands. From 1689 he was employed by Count Hermann Jakob Cernín [–1710] in Prague as court painter and administrator of the Count’s picture gallery, and that year he also married Maximiliana Wagner, the daughter of one of the Emperor’s clerks. Byss introduced to Prague many of the stylistic tendencies of Netherlandish and Italian classicism: for example in his altar painting of 1691, John of God. A Netherlandish orientation is again seen in the easel painting Vestal Claudia Quinta (1692). In 1692 Byss became a citizen of Prague, and in 1694 he was admitted to the painters’ guild, where he subsequently became a master. His versatility and speed soon brought him a number of commissions. In easel paintings he treated historical themes, and he painted landscapes inspired by the work of the Dutch followers of Nicolaes Berchem. He also painted notable still-lifes, at first following the example of the game-pieces by Jan Baptist Weenix and Willem Gouw Ferguson, for example Shot Partridge (1693; sold Amsterdam, Christie’s, 1985). The Bust of a Child Wreathed with Flowers (1695) reveals a more original approach to still-life, as well as a liking for elaborate detail and paler colors. A companion piece for this work was painted in 1703 by Johann Adalbert Angermeyer [1674–1740], a student of Byss and the first Prague still-life specialist.

^ 1737 Nicolas Vleughels (or Wleughels), French painter, administrator and teacher of Flemish origin, born on 06 December 1668. He was trained by his father Philippe Vleughels [1620–1694], a Flemish painter who had moved to Paris in 1642; he was also a student of Pierre Mignard I. In 1694 he came second in the Prix de Rome competition with Lot and his Daughters Leaving Sodom; despite repeated attempts, he failed to win the first prize. He became a close friend of Watteau and was, like him, greatly influenced by Flemish painting, notably that of Rubens. In 1704 Vleughels went to Italy at his own expense. From his base in Rome he made trips to Venice [1707–1709] and Modena [1712–1714] and was much influenced by the work of the Venetian colorists, particularly Veronese, whose works he copied. In 1716, back in Paris, he was approved (agréé) by the Académie Royale and in the same year was received (reçu) on presentation of Apelles Painting Campaspe as his morceau de réception. The influence of Veronese can be seen in the preparatory studies in oil and pastel for his paintings of this period, such as the Studies of a Woman’s Legs for the figure of Campaspe. His close relationship to Watteau’s fêtes galantes can be seen in the Abduction of Helen (1716) — Etienne Jeaurat and Jean-Baptiste Pierre were students of Vleughels.


Born on a 11 December:


1947 Andrés Rábago García, "Ops", "Jonás" y "El Roto", humorista y dibujante español. —(091211)

^ 1904 Felix Nussbaum, Jewish painter who died in early August 1944. He was born in Osnabrük, Germany, studied and exhibited in Hamburg, Berlin and Rome. He fled from Nazi persecution to Belgium in 1934, and from there went to France. In 1940, he was arrested and sent to the camps of Saint Cyprien and Gurs. Nussbaum escaped from these camps several times, and lived in hiding in Brussels until he was caught in 1944 and sent to the Auschwitz death camp, where he died.
— Nussbaum was determined to be an artist as a young teenager and his early artistic efforts feature Eastern European Jewish themes. In the 1920's his father sent him to study art in Hamburg and Berlin and by the end of that decade and the beginning of the next, he enjoyed moderate success with his exhibitions in Berlin. In 1932, in recognition of his work, he was awarded the Villa Massimo scholarship to study at the German Academy in Rome. While he was in Italy, a fire in his Berlin studio destroyed virtually all of his early works. After the Nazi rise to power in 1933, Nussbaum was dismissed from the German Academy in Rome. He remained for a year in Italy with his future wife, Felka Platek, a Polish Jewish painter, before seeking refuge in Belgium, first in Ostend and then in Brussels. In 1936 he sent several paintings to the Free German Art exhibit in Paris, held to protest the Nazi's notorious Entartete Kunst show in Munich, in which his work was included. After the Germans invaded Belgium in 1940, Nussbaum was arrested and interned at the Saint Cyprien camp in southern France. He escaped and in 1942, he and Platek went into hiding in Belgium, where he continued to work underground, painting his experiences in the camps. On 20 June 1944, the couple was arrested by the Gestapo in Brussels (less than a month before the Allies liberated the city) and six weeks later they were deported to Auschwitz, where they both died.
— Born to middleclass parents in the Prussian city of Osnabruck, Nussbaum always meant to be an artist. In 1922 he went to study in Hamburg, then the next year in Berlin, where he met a Polish Jewish painter, Felka Platek, who eventually became his wife. Nussbaum felt the perennial tug between Jewish identity and German assimilation. At age twenty-one he sat himself inside Osnabruck's Romanesque synagogue and painted The Two Jews: an older Cantor alongside the artist wearing a prayer shawl, staring out somewhat defiantly. This painting barely survived the Nazi Kristallnacht pogrom, when the synagogue was burned. After numerous Berlin exhibitions, Nussbaum won a 1932 residency at the German Academy's Villa Massimo in Rome. But that year a fire back in his Berlin studio, of dubious origin, destroyed 150 paintings. In May 1933, while Germans were burning books, Goebbels visited the Villa Massimo, which closed soon afterwards. As anti-Jewish persecution intensified, Felix and Felka wandered to the Italian Riviera (where he painted some warm southern scenes), Switzerland, France, and finally Belgium in 1935.
     Settling in Ostend, Nussbaum knew the influential James Ensor, whose bitter and cynical mask icons helped him configure his own dismal alienation. The artists strongly reflected or refracted in his work include Dürer, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Rousseau, Ensor, Beckmann, Dix, Hofer, Chirico.Then in 1936 came a rash of self-portraits: Self-portrait with Grimace, Self-portrait with Mask and Paper Horn, Self-portrait with Crazy Laugh, Self-portrait with Green Head Bandage, Self-portrait with Shadow, Self-Portrait Whistling. For the emigrant, the unwanted alien, an insecure, threatened identity demanded recognition--forming, in fact, the painter's only standpoint. Much of what's known about Nussbaum derives from his having registered with the Belgian Police Foreign Nationals Office. The story involves shifting residences, renewing visas, applying futilely for a Belgian identity card. In 1937 he married Felka and they moved to Brussels. That summer the Nazi exhibition Entartete Kunst began traversing Germany, demonstrating the corruptive danger of cultural Bolshevism. A response was organized, entitled Free German Art, for which Nussbaum contributed two melancholy canvases. This Paris exhibition took place in early November 1938, only days before Herschel Grynspan assassinated a German diplomat there, precipitating Kristallnacht. Nussbaum's 1938 Self-Portrait in the Studio shows a closed portfolio beneath a darkened picture on the wall. The artist's right eye looks out wildly, the left is in shadow; one hand claps over his mouth in terror and muteness. Yet he went on painting, experimenting with surreal and grotesque form. In Masquerade (1939), a bunch of revelers are all citations of earlier self-portraits: the grimace, the mask and paper horn, the staring eye and covered mouth. Also from 1939, The Refugee brings on Nussbaum's last phase. Leafless trees and black birds can be seen outside a bare room; inside, a globe of the world rests on an overlong table; at the table's end near his sack and stick a figure huddles, back bent and head sunk in his hands like Van Gogh's despairing old man painted just before he shot himself.
     Now does tracing Felix Nussbaum's career by way of historical circumstance suggest he was more a Jewish victim than a brilliant painter? He was both, the artwork at once reflecting and resisting his destiny. On 01 September 1939 Germany invaded Poland, then Belgium on 10 May 1940. Nussbaum and others, now "hostile aliens," were arrested by the police and deported in cattle cars to St. Cyprien on France's Mediterranean coast below Perpignan, a detention camp originally for Spanish refugees from Franco. As at Gurs in the western Pyrenees, where Charlotte Salomon also was sent in 1940, appalling conditions prevailed under French control. Pablo Casals called St. Cyprien's sun-ridden beach barracks Dante's Inferno, others said "the Pyrenees hellhole," and that acrid tone permeates Nussbaum's 1940 Self-Portrait in the Camp. Again in three-quarter profile a severe countenance, unshaven, its left side in shadow and right side lit, stares sharply out at us. Nussbaum's threadbare work shirt has a patch sewn on where the Jewish star might have been. Bones on the sand behind him lead to a prisoner with his head sunk in his hands and to Bosch-like images of degradation: one man, naked from the waist down, half squats over an excrement-stained gray barrel; another, emaciated white, holds rough bed straw to wipe himself. Then beyond: barbed wire, smoldering dunes, a lowering dark violet sky.
     Nussbaum entrusted his works to a Brussels dentist in 1942, telling him: “If I perish, don't let my paintings die, show them to people.”
— The scion of a rich entrepreneurial family, Felix Nussbaum was born in Osnabrück in 1904. After attending the Hamburg School for the Decorative and Applied Arts in 1922 and 1923, Nussbaum went to Berlin and continued to study at the Lewin-Funke School, a private academy, and at the Vereinigte Staatsschule der Kunstakademie in Berlin. There he was in Hans Meid's master class from 1928 until 1930, subsequently freelancing until 1932. During the late 1920s and early 1930s Nussbaum had successful shows at Berlin art galleries. In 1932 he had a grant for the Villa Massimo in Rome. But the National Socialists set fire to his studio, destroying about one hundred and fifty works. Nussbaum decided not to return to Germany. In 1933 his grant was withdrawn but he stayed on in Italy. In 1935 Felix Nussbaum emigrated to Belgium via France. After German troops invaded Belgium on 10 May 1940, Nussbaum was classified as an 'enemy alien', arrested and interned at the Saint-Cyprien camp in the Pyrenees. Late in August Nussbaum succeeded in fleeing the camp and returning to Belgium. From 1942 to 1944 Nussbaum was hidden in a cramped attic at 22 rue Archimède, Brussels. In order not to betray his whereabouts by the smell of turpentine, Nussbaum painted in the cellar of an art dealer who had befriended him. There Nussbaum painted what is probably his best-known work: 'Selbstbildnis mit Judenpass' ['Self-Portrait with Jewish Passport'] in 1943, It is a moving reflection on Nussbaum's own desolate situation. Nussbaum was denounced on 20 June 1944 and arrested by the German Wehrmacht. Six weeks later he was deported to Auschwitz, where he was murdered early in August at the age of thirty-nine. Until the mid-1950s Nussbaum's work was believed to have been lost. It was not revealed until 1955 that friends of Nussbaum's had safeguarded quite a number of his works. They were presented to the public in 1971 at a memorial exhibition in his native Osnabrück. Thus Nussbaum's wish came to be fulfilled: 'Even though I may perish, don't let my pictures die; show them to posterity!' — 26 June 1942 Photo of Nussbaum (550x377pix, 13kb) — LINKS
Self-Portrait with Mask (1928, 62x50cm; 525x400pix, 265kb) Nussbaum combines here two iconic traditions: the artist who is questioning himself and the sad clown. The young painter is questioning his own artistic abilities. He suffers from depression, but this mood seems to be a coquettish play filled with empty gestures.
Self-Portrait with Tea Towel (1936, 65x50cm; 450x400pix, 207kb) _ The background is a townscape. Nussbaum has one bare shoulder and the other is covered by a tea towel. On his head is perched a funnel-shaped cap. Both of these mocking elements refer to Jewish prayer rituals, and represent outward markers of Jewish identity that the artist, though not an observant Jew, was forced to assume, in the context of German persecution of Jews.
Self-Portrait with Easel (1943, 75x55cm; 564x400pix, 257kb) _ In 1940, Nussbaum returned to Brussels after he had escaped from detention in Bordeaux, France. As German air raids increased, Nussbaum was hidden by the Billestraet family in their apartment. During this time of great danger Nussbaum painted this portrait. In his cramped hiding place he carefully examined his predicament. A white cloth slightly covers his shoulder. The bottles on the table are labeled with the symbol for death, with "Nostalgie" and "Souffrance". The bottle with "Humeur" is pushed to the side. The tragic mask he liked to hide behind now hangs on the wall.
Self-Portrait with Jewish Passport (1943, 56x49cm; 620x520pix, 144kb) _ This picture shows deep despair and fear, as well as solidarity. Under constant air raids in Brussels, Nussbaum found himself in an unbearable situation. His parents and his brother had already been deported. In this picture, he is trapped in a corner, and professes his Judaism, declaring his solidarity with the persecuted and killed. He has the yellow Star of David on his coat, but in reality, he never wore it in public. The passport is also an invention (his real passport does still exist). Nussbaum and his wife had to live many years under these traumatic circumstances. They were always in danger of being found out, and yet they had always managed to escape the imprisonment. One month before Brussels was liberated the couple was denounced and arrested. They were deported to Auschwitz on one of the last transports and died there.
Self-Portrait with Key at Camp St. Cyprien (1941, 47x55cm; 560x400pix, 241kb) the key is hanging on the barbed wire. Imprisonment at St. Cyprien had a deep impact on Nussbaum's life. It was here that he fully realized the dangers of his situation. In despair, he painted this self portrait in front of the barbed wire. In a lamenting gesture, he is hitting his chest. His face is contorted in pain and rage. He wears a medieval Jew cap. Though previously distant from aspects of his Jewish heritage, Nussbaum here assumes the posture and rituals of Jewish prayer. There is the calm face of another man in the picture.
Threesome (Jan 1944, 100x80cm; 695x545pix, 91kb) _ Nussbaum portrays himself as a pious Jew in hiding with his wife Felka and his son Jaqui. The triangular composition is reminiscent of renaissance sacral art. The painter identifies himself fully with the religion to which he was thrown back as a result of the persecution by National Socialism, whereas his wife merely endures the situation. Nussbaum describes here in one of his last pictures the situation of all those persecuted which lies somewhere between fear of death and vague hope.
Secret (1939; 654x775pix, 272kb)
Horn (903x676pix, 295kb)
Laugh (1936; 544x416pix, 156kb)
In the Camp (1940; 652x587pix, 73kb) despair in a concentration camp.
Der Sturm aka Die Vertriebenen (1941; 676x800pix, 66kb)
Belgian Landscape With Houses (1928; 580x447pix, 112kb)
Les squelettes jouent pour la danse (1944; 416x635pix, 99kb)
Sargträger (1930, 49x64cm; )
Refugee (1939; 456x573pix, 32kb)
The Camp Synagogue (1941, 50x65cm; 314x400pix, 122kb) _ After his escape from the camp Saint-Cyprien and his return to Brussels, Nussbaum drew a model for this painting. The drawing gives a detailed account of the situation. The figures in their loose coats present a striking contrast to the shabby surroundings. There is dirt on the ground and the barrack that serves as a synagogue is made of corrugated iron. In the painting, Nussbaum concentrates on the essential: the walk of the Jews to their prayers and the disappearance of these bright figures into the darkness of the barrack. It is a foreshadowing of the traumatic events that lay ahead.—(061210)

1890 Mark Tobey, US painter who died (main coverage) on 24 April 1946. —(051111)

1890 Pierre de Belay, French artist who died in 1947.

1876 Ricardo Canals y Llambi, Spanish artist who died in 1931.

1856 Frank Pieters, British artist who died in 1932.

1852 Alfred Zoff, Austrian artist who died on 12 August 1927.

^ >1845 Roger Joseph Jourdain, French painter who died on 19 August 1918.
–- L'entrepôt à bateaux (81x111cm; 614x852pix, 78kb _ .ZOOM to 921x1078pix, 103kb)
–- Feeding the Swans (44x61cm; 510x723pix, 63kb) the swans are arriving expectantly, but the woman doesn't seem to have anything to feed them other than a pinch of something between her thumb and forefinger. —(061210)

^ >1841 Antonio Matteo Montemezzo, Italian painter who died on 11 September 1898 in Germany. {he did not change his surname to Mittelberg.).
–- La Contadinella (1888, 61x50cm; 895x729pix, 83kb)
–- Herding the Geese (22x33cm; 610x900pix, 64kb) —(061210)

^ 1668 Domenico Maria Viani, Italian painter who died on 01 October 1711, son of Giovanni Maria Viani [11 Sep 1636 – 1700]. He was trained by his father and in 1691 he made a visit to Venice, which, though lasting less than a year, was of enduring importance. Viani was profoundly influenced by the great masters of the 16th century, notably Tintoretto and Veronese, and by his contemporaries, especially the tenebrosi Antonio Zanchi and Antonio Molinari. During the 1690s Viani worked principally for the Servite Fathers, first in Bologna, where he frescoed one of the lunettes in the portico of their church on the Strada Maggiore, and later at Imola, where he made a number of paintings. In about 1700 he painted a large altarpiece of The Miracle of Saint Anthony of Padua for the church of San Spirito at Bergamo, shortly after which he returned to Bologna. His main work there was Christ at the Pool of Bethsaida (1705). This imposing picture shows well the muscularity and turbulent movement of Viani’s forms, combining the academic Bolognese tradition of the Carracci and Guercino with the expressive color of the Venetians. Viani also undertook secular commissions, including a Jupiter and Ceres for the Marchese Ratta, of which a copy was made for Cardinal d’Adda. In 1705 he developed a malignant illness, probably tuberculosis, which prevented him from working. His last painting, Saint Pellegrino Laziosi, was completed by his student Pier Francesco Cavazza [1677–1733].
Giove innamorato di Cerere (196x305cm; 394x600pix, 51kb) _ A questo capolavoro le fonti settecentesche riservarono apprezzamenti davvero lusinghieri. Afferma L. Crespi (1769): "Fece tosto un gran quadro per la casa Ratta esprimendovi Giove innamorato di Cerere, e talmente lo fece studiato, grandioso, caratterizzato, che gran nome gli diede, ed è la più bell'opera che abbia mai fatta"; prima ancora lo Zanotti (1739) ne aveva osservato il "disegno forte, massiccio, e singularmente nella figura del Giove, essendo quella di Cerere venusta, e graziosa" ed il "colorito ancora vario, e morbido, tratto dalla scuola veneta", oltre che l'impianto neocarraccesco nella costruzione solenne dell'immagine. La notorietà dell'opera, eseguita per il senatore Ratta subito dopo il rientro dell'artista a Bologna avvenuto nel 1700, ebbe tale risonanza che "non passò … gran personaggio per Bologna, che non fosse condotto a vedere il quadro del Giove" (Zanotti, 1739). Lo stesso cardinale d'Adda ne richiese una replica su rame (ora presso il museo dell'Ermitage). —(051210)

^ >1656 Johann Michael Rottmayr [–25 October 1730], Austrian Baroque painter. — wikibio (in German) — LINKS
Charles Borromeo supported by the Virgin Mary (1714; 2175x3616pix, 1716kb) detail of a ceiling painting
Blessed Benno (1702, 118x100cm; 2399x2024pix, 428kb)
— (Triumph of a Monk) (1721; 836x2604pix, 1418 kb) detail of a ceiling fresco. The monk's victory in the battle for virtue is symbolized by the palm he holds and by the crewn of laurels brought to him by an angel. Other angels (putti) carry him aloft on a cloud, and others are around it and the circle in which is represented the Holy Trinity.
St. Benedict's triumphal ascent to heaven (2302x3455pix, 1507kb) a ceiling fresco.
Cephalos and Prokis (1706, 145x121cm; 1385x1155pix, 728kb)
— Türkenstechen (Angriffe auf Türkenpuppen) (1690, approx. 600sq.m. fresco) _ detail 1 (2148x3264pix, 3968kb) _ detail 2 (2448x2611pix, 4024kb) _ detail 3 (2448x3264pix, 4002kb) _ detail 4 (2448x3264pix, 3984kb) _ detail 5 (2448x3264pix, 3996kb) _ detail 6 (2388x3264pix, 3958kb) _ detail 7 (2448x3264pix, 3942kb) _ painted with the collaboration of Rottmayr's student Christoph Lederwasch [1651 – Dec 1705]; yellowed by age. —(091208)

Happened on a 11 December:

1986 Denunciado a la policía el robo de cinco grabados de Pablo Picasso del Museo español de arte contemporáneo.


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