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^ Died on 27 December 1849: Jacques~Laurent Agasse, in London, Swiss English painter specialized in animals; born on 24 March 1767.
— Born into a wealthy and politically influential Huguenot family, Agasse spent his early childhood at the country estate of Crévin, where he may have developed the interest in animals and natural history that was to guide his later career as an artist in England. Agasse was trained first at the École du Colibri in his native Geneva and subsequently in Paris under Jacques-Louis David (beginning in 1787) and possibly under Horace Vernet. His early artistic output consisted chiefly of unpretentious silhouette ‘cut-outs’ in the style of Jean-Daniel Huber. At this time he also undertook a serious study of dissection and veterinary science.

LINKS
White Horse in Pasture (1807)
The Last Stage on the Portsmouth Road (1815)
Landing at Westminster Bridge (1818)
The Flower Seller (1822)
The Playground (1830)
 
^ Died on 27 December 1802: Jørgensen “Jens” Juel, Danish painter born on 12 May 1745. — {Was every one of his paintings a Juel jewel?}
— Noted for his landscapes and portraits, Juel painted compositionally balanced works in a harmonious palette, continuing a classical painterly tradition. The son of a vicar at Gamborg on Funen, Juel went to Hamburg (then under Danish sovereignty), where he studied under the German artist Johann Michael Gehrmann [–1770]. In 1765 Juel briefly returned to Fünen and then to Copenhagen, where he studied at the Kunstakademi until 1771. While at the academy he came under the influence of Carl Gustaf Pilo, a professor there from 1748 and best known for his portraits of the Danish royal family. It was also at the academy that Juel perfected his considerable talent in drawing.
— Among Juel's students there were Caspar David Friedrich, and Philipp Otto Runge.

LINKS
Jean-Armand Tronchin (1779)
Madame de Pragins (1779)
A Strom Brewing behind a Farmhouse in Zealand (1795)
A Noblewoman with her Son (1800)
A Running Boy (1802)
Isabelle de Charrière _ Mme de Charrière [1740-1805] was a writer.
Bernt Anker (1792, oval 64x51 cm; 595x468pix, 23kb) _ Swedish-born Anker was Norway's richest man and a philanthropist.
 
^ Born on 27 (22?) December 1859: Vicente March y Marco, Spanish painter who died on 31 March 1927 (or in 1914?). — {If his name had been Vicente April y Marco, would he have lived one more month?}
— Nace en Valencia y se forma artísticamente en la Escuela de Bellas Artes de San Carlos de esta capital, teniendo como profesores a Gonzalo Salvá y a Francisco Domingo Marqués. En 1876 oposita a una plaza de pensionado en Roma con el lienzo Desembarco en Valencia de Francisco I tras la derrota de Pavía, quedando en segundo lugar, por lo que, alentado por su profesor Francisco Domingo, en 1887 se traslada a Roma por sus propios medios, teniendo como compañero de viaje a Constantino Gómez.
      Una vez en Roma se instala en los talleres del Palazzo Patrizi, situados en el 53-B de la entrañable via Margutta, compartiendo estudio con un numeroso grupo de artistas españoles, casi todos ellos valencianos, entre los que destacan Poveda, Peyró, Puig Roda, Pedro Serrano, Sánchez Barbudo, Manuel Muñoz Casas, y los hermanos Benlliure con quienes le unirá una gran amistad de por vida, completando su formación artística en la academia Chigi. En Italia, durante el verano, pasa largas temporadas en Venecia, en Nápoles, en Asís con los Benlliure, y, sobre todo, en Subiaco, población de aspecto medieval cercana a Anticoli Corrado, residencia permanente esta última de su buen amigo y compañero Mariano Barbasán.
      Influido por el ambiente de los círculos artísticos españoles en Roma, cultiva principalmente los temas costumbristas italianos de los siglos XVII y XVIII . Posteriormente y a raíz de un viaje realizado por Marruecos y Egipto desarrolla una etapa con escenas marroquíes y orientalistas. En 1881 obtiene la medalla de plata de la Exposición Regional valenciana con el lienzo Una visita al estudio. A partir de 1888 expone regularmente en Berlín y Munich, obteniendo diversos premios. En 1893 su acuarela La Hilandera (480x333pix, 32kb) obtiene la medalla de plata en la Exposición Internacional de Roma.
      En 1894 trabaja para los álbumes dedicados a S.M. la Reina de España y a S.A. Imperial de Alemania. En 1.903, a los pocos años de haber contraído matrimonio, deja Roma y fija su residencia en una pequeña población cercana a Xátiva donde reside su hermano Rafael, farmacéutico de profesión, y la familia de su esposa. Allí continua su obra pictórica hasta su fallecimiento.
      Entre sus obras cabe destacar, aparte de las anteriormente citadas y de las cuyos enlaces están al último: Un bautizo en España, Las tres edades,, En el mercado, Plaza del mercado de Subiaco, Riña de gallos en Argel, La egipcia, Lección de música, Visita a la casa del niño, La esclava, Viejo árabe leyendo, El abuelo, El prólogo, La almea, Un labrador de la huerta, Sí vendrá, Mercado de las flores de Valencia. (los enlaces de este párrafo son de fotos en blanco y negro).

Self-Portrait of head (480x375pix, 23kb)
Self-Portrait head and shoulders (480x404pix, 12kb)
Self-Portrait half length (480x317pix, 18kb)
–- A Roman Courtyard In Summer (42x27cm; 1000x591pix, 133kb _ .ZOOM to 1500x886pix, 159kb)
Las Tres Edades (445x640pix, 33kb)
El prestidigitador (555x826pix, 69kb)
Vendedora de frutas (491x318pix, 27kb)
La Ciociara (480x296pix, 18kb)
La gallina ciega (414x672pix, 48kb)
El músico de aldea (428x640pix, 55kb)
Campesinos (399x640pix, 47kb)
97 images at Vicente March site
 
^ Died on 27 December 1950: Max Beckmann, German Expressionist painter born on 12 February 1884.
— Beckmann was born into a farming family, which gave up its farm and moved to Leipzig after his birth. Beckmann drew from a young age, and in 1900 entered the Weimar Academy of Arts. He married Minna Tube in 1903, and the two moved to Paris. Beckmann also visited Florence and Geneva, before settling in Berlin in 1904. His earliest paintings show the influence of the impressionsists. His work was popular, and he was able to make a living from his art.
      Beckmann served as a medic in World War I, but was dismissed after he suffered a nervous breakdown. His experiences in the war had a big effect on his art, and were an important factor in pushing his style in a more expressionist direction.
      Beckmann taught art in Frankfurt am Main from 1915, but was dismissed from his post by the Nazi Party in 1933. At the beginning of the 30s, he made visits to Paris to paint, and it was around this time that he began to use the triptych format, influenced in part by Hieronymus Bosch [1450 – 09 Aug 1516].
      His art was included in the notorious traveling exhibition Entartete Kunst of the Nazis, which opened in Munich on 17 July 1937. The next day Beckmann wisely moved to Amsterdam. In 1947, he moved again to the United States, first to Missouri and later to New York City. He died in 1950 of a heart attack while on his way to see an exhibition of his work at the Metropolitan Museum.
      Beckmann painted a number of self-portraits, including Self Portrait in Tuxedo (1927). Many of his other works represent scenes from everyday life. They often show grotesque, mutilated bodies, and are seen as commenting on the wrong-doings of the German government in the 1920s and 1930s as well as harking back to his World War I experiences.
— Beckmann, often hailed as Germany's greatest 20th-century artist, was one of the founders of what we now call modern art.
     In Beckmann's 1939 painting Woman with Large Shell and Wine Glass, the vibrant colors are applied with quick, edgy brushstrokes. This painting is a beautiful example of the joyous aspects of Beckmann's work that began during his Paris years.
     Max Beckmann is not known for his joyousness. Born in Germany (he died in the US) he is famous for brooding, symbol-laden self-portraiture, for his mastery of the morose. Sometimes mythic and always dramatic, Beckmann may well be the epitome of Expressionism, Germany's great contribution to modern art. It's a style critics came to love; Hitler to hate (and even some Hitler-haters concur with Hitler on this one point). But at the start, he was just a gifted, if romantic, realist.
     He was a very fine academic person; he studied the traditions, especially Rembrandt. He was an excellent draftsman; his anatomy was perfect. He had a perfect understanding of human structure.
      Beckmann's canvases grew with his ambition. The Titanic, painted in 1912, is as busy as turbulent, as theatrically tragic as the scene it depicts. But it was World War I that forged Beckmann's famed Expressionism. A medic on the front, the artist faced such brutality that he simply broke down. His post war work is radical, dark, and, above all, personally expressive, as in 1917's Christ Saving an Adulteress From Stoning, a Christ who looks a lot like Max Beckmann.
     Beckmann was one of the great stars in Germany, one of the hottest painters of the time. For what did he need to go to Paris? He wanted to be a cosmopolitan, a painter recognized on the European level such as Picasso, Matisse, and Braque were recognized internationally. In 1929, Beckmann moved to Paris, to exhibit there and get the French art world to take a German as seriously as it did its own.
     In Beckmann's Resting Woman with Carnations, a serene, sensuous figure is set against an intricate, decorative pattern of stylized stripes, tiles, and latticework. This may be compared to Henri Matisse's exotic Odalisque With Green Scarf (or Harem Woman), which was painted in 1926. The model in Beckmann's Resting Woman with Carnations also takes an alluring seated pose. Beckmann's model is his second wife, Quappi. He painted Quappi flamboyantly, dozens of times, in various stages of dress and undress. Part of his new Paris persona: Macho artist with sexy wife.
      Beckmann didn't just challenge Matisse, however, but Picasso as well. An example of Picasso's classical style of the 1920's is a portrait called The Reader. Beckmann's response is a woman reading.
      The German took up specifically French themes as well: The French seaside is serene to Matisse; to Beckmann, it's an occasion for a bizarre bathing scene.
      Rugby teams to France's Robert Delaunay are all color. By contrast, Max Beckmann's tangled web of soccer players by contrast bristles with dark feeling.
      Even Beckmann's still-lifes are emotional. Consider a marine comparison: Picasso's catch of the day, almost funny; Braque's flat, formal, elegant. Beckmann's creatures, however, convey menace and a sense of drama in the composition through these enormous teeth that the fish show, giving it a harshness and a forcefulness that goes away from a purely esthetic rendering of objects or shapes.
      Ultimately, Beckmann was rejected by France, and not long after, the king of German painting was spurned by his own country as well. A surviving photo shows how mildly this painting had begun in 1933: Beckmann, the proud sovereign; Quappi, his young queen. But in 1937, the Nazis had turned on him, confiscating hundreds of his paintings and taunting several in their infamous degenerate art show. Beckmann reworked this painting in 1937 when he was declared degenerate and made it more brooding and less of a self-portrait than almost like a dark and dramatic painting that almost forebodes the terrible things that are going to come.
     Beckmann fled to Holland, safe in part because his son was a surgeon in the Luftwaffe. There, he painted the acrobats. He sees dark things, ugly things. The paintings take on a gloomy look. There's a Roman soldier with a spear that's a thinly disguised Nazi. There's a bellhop coming in. The bellhop in Beckmann's paintings is always a messenger bringing news of various kinds, usually bad. And the acrobats refers to people who make their living by creativity, who are onstage, disguising themselves, taking different roles, like Beckmann himself, who sometimes played the acrobat.
      It was after the war that, fed up with Europe, Beckmann was offered a teaching job in America, at Washington University in St. Louis. There, art student Wally Barker became his assistant. St. Louis was in a sense Beckmann's Paris, but here, he ruled the roost at last. In 1950, receiving an honorary degree from Washington University, he summed up: "Greatness," he said in his speech, "depends alone on the fertile imagination of the individual. If you love nature with all your heart, new and unimaginable things in art will occur to you." New and unimaginable things: It might as well be the motto of modern art. And if Max Beckmann hasn't attained the stature of his French rivals, well, maybe it's because they're more important, or maybe because his nervy, odd imagery is just a bit harder to appreciate.

LINKS
Selbstbildnis als Krankenpfleger (1915, 55x38cm) _ Beckmann served in the medical services in eastern Prussia, then in Flanders and at Strasbourg. He was a witness to the first mustard gas attacks around Ypres. At Courtrai, he was present at operations that surgeons attempted on the wounded and made detailed drawings of them. His self portrait is built around three elements: the eye that scrutinizes, the hand that draws, and the red cross. There is hardly any color. A few months later, Beckmann was sent home to Germany after suffering a serious mental breakdown. He sought refuge in Frankfurt where he slowly took up painting again.
Self Portrait in Olive and Brown (1945, 62x50cm)
Self Portrait in Bowler Hat (1921 etching, 32x24cm; full size, 1262kb) _ Here Beckmann depicts himself as a dandy with a bowler hat, stiff collar, and cigarette. The profile of a cat sitting on a table behind him to the left and an ashtray and kerosene lamp to his right fill out the tight composition. Beckmann created about eighty self-portraits over a career that spanned virtually half a century. He used his own image and persona to delve into the complexities of the human soul, showing the variety of selves that make up an individual. In Self-Portrait in Bowler Hat Beckmann shows that he is every bit the modern man, confident in his powers of observation and cool, critical detachment.
Self-Portrait (1919 drypoint, 23x19cm; full size, 538kb)
Self-Portrait in Tuxedo (1927; 1104x749pix, 88kb)
Self-Portrait with Horn (666x609pix, 53kb _ ZOOM to 1000x912pix, 85kb)
Self-portrait with red scarf (1917; 636x487pix, 60kb)
Self-Portrait (1911 lithograph, 25x18cm; 878x706pix, 437kb)
The “Circus Beckmann” Crier (Self-Portrait) (1921 etching, 34x26cm; 408x307pix, 28kb)
Christ with a Woman Taken in Adultery (1917, 669x560kb, 158kb) _ Beckmann came out of a war very badly hurt, physically and mentally. In this picture you see this guy with blood all over his hands, the guy who's so superior to the adulteress. What Beckmann is actually saying here is a plea for mercy, protecting someone. Beckmann the painter used various modern devices, seeing his subjects from multiple points of view, for instance. You can look down on the feet of Christ. And about halfway up the picture you're looking straight across at him. And at the top of the picture, you're looking up, like we're seeing the underside of the guy's face. Different perspectives on one scene — it's what French Cubism was known for: Picasso's double faces, seen at once head-on and in profile; Braque's still-lifes, seen both straight ahead — the legs that hold up the table — and from above — the newspaper and the tabletop itself. Playing with perspective intrigued Beckmann, but he was more interested in emotions, in energy.
The Skaters (1932, 128x98cm; 1159x883pix _ ZOOM to 2318x1766pix, 3202kb)
Blind Man's Buff (1945, 206x439cm for 3 panels: 187x102cm left, 207x104cm center, 188x106cm right; 1/12 size _ ZOOM to 1/6 size, 3019kb) This is the most important of the five triptychs created by Max Beckmann while exiled in Holland between 1937 and 1947, a prudent exile considering the Nazi's inclusion of ten of his works in their exhibition of "degenerate art" in 1937. Like much of his art, Blindman's Buff is allusive and symbolic, inviting explication yet resisting explicit interpretation. Yet, the artist's use of the three-paneled format that was traditional to Medieval and Renaissance altarpieces evokes religious associations. Beckmann also drew upon classical sources, calling the figures at center "the gods" and the animal-headed man the "minotaur." Throughout the triptych, figures engage in sensual pleasures in a place where time, represented by a clock without XII or I, has no beginning or end. In sharp contrast on each wing are the blindfolded man and kneeling woman who, like prayerful donors in a Renaissance altarpiece, turn their backs to the confusion behind them.
Family Picture (1920; 650x1000pix, 183kb)
Dancing Bar in Baden Baden (1923; 1000x627pix, 117kb)
— Umberto (1500x638pix, 191kb)
— Afternoon (1946, 90x134cm; 750x1122kb, 168kb)
— The Argonauts (1950 triptych, center panel 80 1/4x48"; side panels each 74 3/8x33", 589x867pix, 101kb) _ The nine triptychs that Beckman created are an incredibly rich and varied repository of pictorial ideas and visions. Their form is a revival of the medieval altarpiece, a shrine whose wings were closed except on holidays when its gospel lore and legends of saints and martyrs were revealed. This historical connotation explains why the wings of Beckmann's triptychs, although they do not close, are usually much narrower than the center panel (see Departure and Temptation).
      The Argonauts is the most serene of Beckmann's post-Christian altarpieces. The earlier triptychs show many tortured, shackled, and maimed people, as well as some who are deceived, sadistic, and simply foolish. The figures in The Argonauts are healthy, self-reliant, and enterprising. The elements of lust and baseness were required in the earlier works to set off the spheres of the persecuted hero and the confused dreamer; now, in the last work, the hero as a dreamer, or the dreamer as a hero, has conquered the nightmarish aspects of life. Thus, in retrospect, The Argonauts triptych appears as the logical conclusion of Beckmann's lifelong "passing show."
      Beckmann initially called this work The Artists. The bearded, intense, contemporary artist in the left panel, not a self-portrait, was the first figure that Beckmann envisioned. Perhaps he saw this painter as the prime mover of the entire phantasmagoria, in whose mind a modern model is transmuted into the classical figure of Medea. The artist knows that the head on which the woman sits is only a hollow mask, not really a decapitated Greek, and that the sword is but a studio prop. The girl musicians in the right panel are already half-transformed into an antique chorus. In the center panel, the fantasy is victorious; there is no trace of present-day metier left, no smell of studio dust and oil paint, only the clear, salty breeze of antiquity. Art has conquered the prosaic everyday.
      The center panel illustrates, quite faithfully, an episode from Greek mythology. Beckmann had read Goethe's translation of an account by Philostratus from the third century BC concerning the Argonauts' voyage to the Black Sea. The young heroes Orpheus and Jason are shown embarking on their search for the Golden Fleece. Orpheus, by his song, has calmed the wild sea and has put down his lyre on the sand. The ancient sea-god Glaucus emerges from the waves to prophesy the fate of the bold travelers; their magic ship, the Argo, will carry them safely to the mist-darkened kingdom of Colchis where they will "liberate" not only the Golden Fleece but also the king's daughter, Medea. This tale is a reflection of the historical first expeditions of the seafaring Greeks to barbarian lands.
      Beckmann, to heighten the portent of the sea-god's prophecy, shows sun and moon darkened by a miraculous eclipse and new planets being born. The cosmic menace does not distract the keen youths from their purpose, and the ancient prophet points the way to their heroic, and finally tragic, pursuit. Accept your fate, he seems to admonish them, fulfill your task.
      This triptych recalls some of Beckmann's very early pictographs: the darkened sun had already appeared in The Descent from the Cross of 1917. The ladder, one of Beckmann's favorite symbols, led nowhere in the early Dream and thus made cruel fun of a poor mortal searching for an exit from his misery; in The Argonauts the ladder rises out of the primeval ocean straight up into blue eternity: there is a way out, it proclaims.
      But the most touching reminiscence is the reprise of the "golden youths" from Beckmann's first large-scale oil painting, Young Men by the Sea of 1905. This composition owes much to the art student's admiration for Luca Signorelli and Hans von Marees. The maturing Beckmann often came back to the gestalt of the slender, dreamy youths with their unselfconscious charm. The center panel of his last work presents them again: thoughtful, willing to risk much for a great purpose, manly, and radiant with the bloom of youth. Forty-five years of relentless artistic effort resulted in this seemingly spontaneous personification of the elan vital.
      Through much of Beckmann's career, critics objected to two supposed characteristics of his art: brutality and sex. Beckmann never quite knew why they singled him out, for sex and violence seem to pervade the huge battle scenes and the depictions of rape and martyrdom in so many museums of the world. Beckmann used to say, somewhat naively: "Really, I only wanted to paint beautiful pictures." In The Argonauts this intention is undeniably fulfilled. There is no violence here, and sex, too, has disappeared. The center panel is restricted to male figures, the right to females exclusively. This separation of the sexes, very rare in Beckmann's work, gives an atmosphere of otherworldliness to The Argonauts. Eros and aggression, which are the heritage of the human psyche, are sublimated into a spiritual adventure. A glowing love of beauty and harmony prevails in the end.
Departure (1933; 756x1130pix, 207kb) with commentary.
Temptation (709x1202pix, 200kb)
The Sinking of the Titanic (1912, 265x330cm; 514x641pix, 84kb _ ZOOM to 729x978pix, 122kb)
The Night (1919, 133x154cm; 554x646pix, 97kb _ ZOOM to 832x969pix, 111kb)
Hell of the Birds (1938, 120x160cm; 486x652pix, 84kb _ ZOOM to 771x961pix, 97kb)
26 Jun - 29 Sep 2003 MOMA exhibition (PDF)
 

Died on a 27 December:

^ 2000 Antonio Rodríguez Valdivieso, pintor español. nacido en Granada en 1918. Comenzó a pintar a los 17 años. Ingresó en la Escuela de Artes y Oficios de Granada, pero su trayectoria fue interrumpida por la Guerra Civil que estalló al año siguiente. Tras la contienda, el pintor retoma su actividad artística en 1945. Considerado uno de los grandes exponentes de la pintura figurativa de la segunda mitad del siglo XX, la obra de Rodríguez Valdivieso fue reclamo habitual de la galería Buchholz de Madrid junto a la producción de autores como Lago, Lara, Guerrero y Palazuelo. Su carrera pictórica evolucionó desde el expresionismo de los primeros años hacia la sobriedad y los signos figurativos de su época de madurez. Para la crítica, su principal aportación a la pintura radica en la espontaneidad y la inmediatez de sus pinceladas, en las que utilizó un reducido lenguaje cromático.
(untitled?) (92x73cm; 490x400pix, 30kb)
(untitled?) (1970; 89x116cm; 298x400pix, 17kb) —(071226)

1899 (03 Oct?) Henri-Jacques-Édouard Evenepoel, Belgian painter and printmaker born (main coverage) on 04 October 1872. —(051226)

^ 1940 Louis Hayet, French painter and writer born on 29 August 1864. He was largely self-taught and initially earned his living as an itinerant painter-decorator. In 1881 he met Lucien and Camille Pissarro while painting landscapes near Pontoise and through them met Paul Signac in 1885 and Seurat in 1886. After a year’s military service at Versailles, Hayet moved to Paris in the autumn of 1887. There he began to apply to his paintings Eugène Chevreul’s theories of color contrast with which he had become familiar by 1881. A gifted watercolor painter, he also experimented with the ancient technique of wax encaustic, painting on a prepared cotton that allowed light to filter through. The paint surface of works such as The Grange retains a vivid tonal freshness, while the subject of crowds of peasants gathered before the Paris agricultural market reveals a debt to Pissarro. During the second half of the 1880s he became obsessed with the notion of passage—the problem of the transitional areas between an object in space and the vibrating field that surrounds it. In an attempt to work out systematically all the tonal gradations possible when one color is juxtaposed with another, he made at least eight chromatic circles and fifteen color charts as a guide in his painting.
–- Soleil Couchant (510x749pix, 91kb) pointillist. —(061224)

^ 1936 Leon Wyczólkowski, Polish painter and printmaker who born on 11 April 1852. — {He should have shortened his name to Kowski. That way, in his golden years, people might have called him “wise old Kowski”.}— He studied at the Warsaw Drawing School (1869-1873) under Aleksander Kaminski [1823-1886], Rafal Hadziewicz [1803-1886] and Wojciech Gerson; from 1875 to 1877 he studied at the Munich Kunstakademie under Alexander Wagner [1838-1918], and then at the Kraków School of Fine Arts under Jan Matejko from 1877 to 1879. Most of his early works are technically competent realistic portraits that reveal his sensitivity to color (e.g. The Artist’s Grandmother, Mrs Falinska, 1880) and drawing-room scenes in the Munich tradition of anecdotal realism (e.g. I Once Saw, 1884). From 1883 to 1894 he lived in the Ukraine. During his last years there he produced numerous scenes of peasant and bourgeois life. Such works as Fishermen (1891) and Croquet (1895) were influenced in technique by the Impressionist paintings he had seen while in Paris in 1889, but were still predominantly realist in conception.
6 Self-Portraits at Pinakoteca Zascianek
13 other Portraits at Pinakoteca Zascianek
16 Landscapes at Pinakoteca Zascianek
20 Architecture pictures at Pinakoteca Zascianek
11 Still Lifes at Pinakoteca Zascianek
39 other images at Pinakoteka Zascianek on 3 pages. —(051226)

1921 Daniel Zuloaga Olaya [1852–], Basque painter, mostly on porcelain. Uncle of Ignacio Zuloaga y Zabaleta [26 Jul 1870 – 31Oct 1945].
–- Vista de Segovia (31x32cm round plate; 1310x1342pix, 130kb) —(081229)

^ 1879 Jacob Thompson, British artist born on 28 August 1806. — Relative? of Benjamin Thompson [1753-1814]?
–- Acis and Galatea (826x635pix, 43kb) —(061224)

^ 1805 Jean-Baptiste-Charles Claudot, French painter born in 1733.
–- Pastoral Landscape (765x965pix, 88kb)
–- Le repos des bergers près des ruines antiques (510x486pix, 49kb) —(061225)

^ 1745 Johan Anton Richter, Swedish artist born in 1675, give or take 10 years. Johan Richter was a Swedish artist active in Venice by at least 1717 and stayed there until his death. He painted Venetian scenes of the area around St Mark's, like Carlevaris who can be considered to be his master, however, he was more original in his paintings of the lagoon proposing views unprecedented in Venetian painting. He can be seen as the forerunner of a Venetian conception of 'veduta': not as a faithful reproduction of reality, but almost as an assemblage of architectural elements. — LINKS
View of the Giudecca Canal (1735, 60x80cm; 770x1103pix, 118kb) _ detail (851x937pix, 145kb) _ The most original paintings by the Swedish artist depict the Venetian lagoons enlivened by boats. The architecture is represented down to the smallest detail. He frequently used the 'camera obscura' like in the case of this painting.
The Bacino di San Marco (1740, 57x81cm; 605x861pix, 74kb) _ The painting shows the profile of Venice as it appears from the present-day Giardini when approaching the city by boat from the Lido. To the far left is the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, with the church of the same name and the complex of the Benedictine monastery. Just to the right of the island appear the Magazzini del Sal, dazzlingly illuminated, the Dogana and Santa Maria della Salute on the spit of land known as the Dorsoduro. The Campanile of San Marco looms right on the vertical axis, counterbalancing the predominant horizontals. On the right, the Riva degli Schiavoni stretches beyond the church of the Pieta. The glassy green surface of the water with the dark bank in the foreground, the contrasting light on the various buildings and the snow-white clouds lend the painting an atmosphere all its own. The boat and the shadows in the foreground are motifs which also occur in works of late seventeenth-century Dutch painters of harbour views such as Abraham and Johannes Storck, who may have served Richter as a source of inspiration. Typical of Richter's work are the boats in the foreground painted horizontal to the picture plane. The present canvas occupies a special position among Richter's identified works. He usually worked in the style of Carlevaris, whom he imitated deceptively well. However, in this picture Canaletto's spacious views of the Lagoon were his principal source of inspiration. The remarkable color combination, green and black, recalls Canaletto's work of the early 1730s. Richter, who died in 1745, must have painted this view of the Bacino toward the end of his career.
San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice (103x92cm, 900x791pix, 146kb) _ The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore was built by the Veneto's most influential architect, Andrea Palladio.
San Giorgio Maggiore Seen From The South, Venice (57x95cm)
The Grand Canal and Santa Maria Della Salute, Venice (57x95cm)
San Michele, Venice (56x105cm; 600x1193pix, 115kb)
— S*?>/S#*>Venice, View of the Piazetta looking northwards across the Piazza San Marco towards the Torre dell'Orologio (1693, 106x125cm; _ S*?>/S#*>ZOOM to 1380x1168pix, 312kb)
Capriccio With Palazzo Vendramin Calergi, Venice (50x76cm)
Eugène de Beauharnais (1833, 132x102cm; 575x443pix, 91kb) —(061225)

^ 1703 Isaak van Nickelen, Dutch painter specialized in the interior of the Saint-Bavo Church in Haarlem, born in 1635, give or take 5 years. — {His parents were NOT Nick and Helen Nickelen} — The only exception to his specialty (which had the advantage that his palette was limited to browns and tans) is View of a Palace. Although he became a member of the Haarlem Guild of Saint-Luke in 1660, all his dated works are from the the 1690s, with the exception of an Interior of Saint-Bavo's (1681). In style and subject matter Van Nickelen was very much influenced by the work of his fellow-citizen Pieter Janszoon Saenredam [1597-1665]; there are no records which state Van Nickelen to have been his student though. — His surname is not derived from the metal nickel, which was first isolated and named in 1751 by Axel Fredrik Cronstedt [23 Dec 1722 – 19 Aug 1765], who named it after the mineral from which he was trying to extract copper: kupfernickel (“the copper of Nick” the devil, i.e. false copper).
— S*?>/S#*>Haarlem: the Interior of Saint-Bavo's (1693, 106x125cm; _ S*?>/S#*>ZOOM to 1380x1168pix, 312kb)
Haarlem: the Interior of Saint-Bavo's (32x38cm; 382x463pix, 54kb)

^ 1641 Gotthardt (or Goderd, Gottfried von) de Wedig, German still-life and portrait painter born in 1583.
— S*?>/S#*>A Lady aged 26 (1637, 71x60cm; _ S*?>/S#*>ZOOM to 1380x1168pix, 319kb) shown half-length, she wears a black dress with elaborate gold embroidery, gold chains, lace cuffs and collar, pearl jewelry, and bonnet.
Still life with candle
— different Still life with candle (1640, 36x28cm; 545x425pix, 40kb) —(051226)
Still life with a fried chicken, hazelnuts, radish, and a full wine glass (32x51cm; 312x499pix, 22kb) also bread, sliced cucumber, etc.

^ 1631 Jan Symonszoon Pynas (died before this date), Dutch painter born in 1583 or 1584. He came from an aristocratic Catholic family in Alkmaar; his father, Symon Janszoon Brouwer, became a citizen of Amsterdam in 1590. His sister Meynsge married the artist Jan Tengnagel in 1611. By 1618, in a poem eulogizing the city of Amsterdam, Theodore Rodenburgh mentioned an artist Pynas as being celebrated in the city; however, it is not possible to be certain whether he was referring to Jan or to his brother Jacob Symonszoon Pynas [1585-1656]. Until the 1930s the oeuvres of the two brothers were often confused and also generally subsumed in the category of works by followers of Adam Elsheimer.
— Jan Pynas and his brother Jacob were in Rome (1605) and they returned to Holland with a new kind of history painting, much influenced by Italian ideas and also by Elsheimer. The principal importance of the brothers is that they passed these ideas on to Rembrandt, who may have been Jacob's student for a few months.
— About 1605 Jacob, his elder brother Jan Pynas, and Pieter Lastman went to Rome, where they stayed for three years. All three were influenced by Adam Elsheimer, and the Pynas brothers, in particular, by the Venetian painter Carlo Saraceni, who had himself fallen under the Elsheimer spell a year or two earlier. Jan Pynas' precocious Raising of Lazarus (1605), with its theatrical crepuscular lighting, shows how quickly the brothers were able to translate their Roman experience into pictorial experiments. Saraceni's style later developed in a different direction and so, eventually, did that of Jan Pynas, but Jacob continued to paint small pictures on copper, such as Joseph Placed Into the Well, that remain remarkably similar to those of Saraceni, until well into the 1630s. Similar small figures, painted with a loaded brush derived directly from Elsheimer, Italianate architecture, and a somewhat ethereal lighting that could be strong moonlight or muted sunlight, are to be found in other such small pictures on copper by Jacob Pynas, including both treatments of his Moses Meeting Aaron on Mount Horeb (1825), a painting of Hagar in the Wilderness (1626), and another version of Joseph Placed Into the Well (1631).
— In 1605 Pynas went to Italy, returning two years later to Amsterdam, where he made a reputation for himself with history paintings, particularly representations from biblical and ancient history. The painting of Jacob Being Shown Joseph’s Bloodstained Robe (1618) was the inspiration for the play Joseph in Dothan by the poet Joost van den Vondel. In Jan’s early work (e.g. The Raising of Lazarus, 1605; and Moses Turning Water into Blood, 1610) there are signs of the influence of the artists with whose work he had obviously become familiar in Italy, especially Adam Elsheimer and Jacopo Tintoretto. Within a few years he came under the influence of Pieter Lastman and the group of Amsterdam artists known as the Pre-Rembrandtists. In The Dismissal of Hagar (1613) the size and the construction of Pynas’s figures are reminiscent of Lastman’s work. However, Pynas reduced the eloquent gesticulation used by Lastman to restrained gestures, which he then emphasized by depicting his protagonists in profile. In this he represented the opposite pole within the circle of Amsterdam Pre-Rembrandtists to his brother-in-law Tengnagel, who exaggerated the movement of his figures to such an extent that they seem to be dancing. Pynas’s history pictures are generally simple and lacking in ornament, a tendency also cultivated at times by Claes Corneliszoon Moeyaert. A comparison between Pynas’s painting of Joseph Selling Corn in Egypt (1618) and Lastman’s version of the same theme (1612) shows Pynas’s inclination towards simplicity and the reduction of narrative devices. — LINKS
Historical Allegory (1610, 32x52cm;_ ZOOM to 1233x2048pix, 296kb) _ One of the characteristics of the artist is the placing of sketchy, pale figures in the background.The allegory probably symbolizes the 1585 peace treaty with the Ottoman Empire of Murad III [04 Jul 1546 – 16 Jan 1595] by which the Spain of Philip II [21 May 1526 – 13 Sep 1598] prevented Queen Elizabeth I [7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603] of England from getting Ottoman help against the Spanish Armada.
— S*?>/S#*>Joseph Placed Into the Well by his Brothers (1625, 26x28cm; _ S*?>/S#*>ZOOM to 1650x1313pix, 270kb)
The Raising of Lazarus (1615) —(051226)


Born on a 27 December:


^ 1929 Lucio Muñoz Martínez, Madrid Spanish pseudo-painter and printmaker, who died on 24 May 1998.
— He studied drawing at the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid from 1949 to 1954. Freeing himself gradually from academic discipline, he became acquainted with Cubism, Expressionism, abstract art and other modernist tendencies and also experimented with collage. After taking part in a group show in Madrid in 1955 he spent a year in Paris (1955–1956), where he became involved with Art informel and matter painting, taking a particular interest in the textures of his materials. He was particularly innovative in his prints and in works on wood rather than in oil paintings. Far from assigning a merely supportive role to wood, he incorporated it fully into the overall concept of works such as Panel 21 (1959), sometimes scorching it, scratching deep cuts into it or covering it with a thick layer of oil paint into which he mixed marble dust, sawdust and pulverized minerals. He referred to these works by the ironic term Pseudo-paintings, which is half accurate (the pseudo part).
— Estudió en la Escuela de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (1949-1954), donde fue discípulo de Eduardo Chicharro hijo. Allí conoció a los que más tarde serán conocidos como los "realistas madrileños": Antonio López, los hermanos López Hernández, y la que será su mujer, en 1960, Amalia Avia. En 1956 viajó a París, becado por el gobierno francés, en donde conoció la tendencia francesa denominada "Art Autre" y se interesa por la obra de artistas como Wols, Dubuffet, Fautrier o Tàpies. Interesado desde sus comienzos por el realismo, en 1955 su obra se decanta hacia la abstracción. A partir de 1957, preocupado por los valores de la materia, comenzó a utilizar la madera y papeles quemados en obras en relieve, lo que supuso su incorporación a la estética informalista.
      En 1960 es seleccionado en importantes muestras internacionales, como fueron las celebradas en Nueva York, "Before Picasso, after Miró" del Guggenheim Museum y "New Spanish Painting and Sculpture" del MOMA. En 1962 realizó una obra monumental para el ábside de la Basílica de Aránzazu. Su evolución posterior ha pasado por diferentes estados, en donde se dan acercamientos a la estética del objeto, imágenes fantásticas en un mundo imaginario de paisajes, para, después de unos años dedicado a la obra gráfica, retornar al paisaje y a la naturaleza de una manera más lírica. Este pintor se destacó con originalidad en el academizado repertorio de motivos, conceptos y maneras que, salvo excepciones como la suya, caracterizan al arte contemporáneo. La bien definida personalidad de Lucio se distinguió siempre en todas sus etapas. En 1998 Lucio Muñoz, unos meses antes de su muerte, fue contratado por la Asamblea de Madrid para que decorase su nueva sede con un impresionante mural de 138 metros cuadrados.— Nació en Madrid. Al inicio de la guerra civil permaneció en la ciudad, pero pasados pocos meses lo enviaron a Bolarque (Guadalajara) y después al pueblo de su madre, Córcoles. Al terminar la contienda regresó a casa donde comenzó su educación, primero en el colegio de los Agustinos, y después en una Academia paticular, mientras ayudaba en la tienda de comestibles paterna. En el año 1946 acudió a las clases nocturnas del Centro de Instrucción Comercial con el pintor y grabador Eduardo Navarro. Continuó el aprendizaje artístico, pese a las reticencias familiares, con Eduardo Peña donde preparó el ingreso a la Escuela de Bellas Artes, pintando paisajes del Retiro y estatuas en el Casón. Accedió a la Academia de San Fernando, donde permaneció durante cinco años. Allí conoció a los que posteriormente formaron el grupo de los "realistas madrileños": los hermanos López Hernández, y a la que en el año 1960 se convirtió en su mujer, Amalia Avia, con la que tuvo tres hijos. Ya en su juventud mostró un gusto por el viaje. En el año 1953 fue a Inglaterra junto a Joaquín Ramo, y al curso siguiente obtuvo una beca para ir a Italia. De vuelta a Madrid frecuentó el estudio de Eduardo Chicharro hijo. En 1955 gracias a una beca del gobierno francés residió en París hasta finales de 1956. A finales de la década de los cincuenta entró a formar parte de la nómina de artistas con la que González Robles pretendía modernizar, limpiar y promocionar la imagen internacional del país. Comenzó con Madriles (carpeta de xilografías publicadas por José Ayllón) su faceta de grabador, en el taller de su amigo de escuela Dimitri Papageorghiu. A partir del año 1962 su vida laboral se estabilizó.
     Los orígenes artísticos de Lucio Muñoz se remontan a su infancia y a las primeras visitas al Museo del Prado. Al llegar a casa, después de una visita a la Pinacoteca, pintaba lo que recordaba utilizando una mezcla de acuarela y óleo. Ya en la Escuela de Bellas Artes bebió de pintores como Klee, Tamayo y Nicholson, conocidos gracias a las postales enviadas por sus amigos en sus viajes al extranjero, de ahí que sus primeras pinturas adolezcan de una estética postcubista. El viaje a Italia y el conocimiento de artistas contemporáneos como Martini, Marini, Carrá, Sironi y del Trecento y Quattrocento italiano, produjo un cambio hacia trabajos sin figuración de carácter geométrico. Su siguiente viaje a París y la toma de contacto con el informalismo de Wols, Soulanges, Fautrier y Dubuffet, le arrastran a la asunción de la materia como vehículo de expresión, utilizando polvo de mármol, serrín, y otros materiales entonces considerados "antiartísticos". Tomando como referencia la cronología utilizada por el pintor en una conferencia impartida en la Universidad Complutense, desde el año 1958 al 65 incorporó la madera, violentando el material y compaginándolo con colores ocres, negros y azules apagados; con ellos reproducía paisajes de los campos castellanos que desde una perspectiva subjetiva y a partir de la forma tratan de trasmitir sensaciones o conocimientos sin reflejo directo en la realidad objetiva. Él mismo definió esta época como un "paisajismo interior"4. Entre 1966 y 1982 aplicó sus estrategias formales a seres u objetos que captaban su atención. Según trascurría el periodo iba trasciende la oscuridad y el barroquismo tendiendo hacia la luminosidad para así "sacar los fantasmas a pasear a la luz del día". Entre 1983-84 realizó grabados de gran formato continuistas de las preocupaciones expuestas anteriormente, y aplicó soluciones adoptadas en el papel a la madera. Estableció el siguiente corte entre los años 1988 y 1990: Mo y Boek, son los personajes protagonistas de esta época y representan los cánones femenino y masculino. Fue entonces cuando comenzó a mostrar interés por la arquitectura, potenciado en su época posterior (1991-1993) y relacionando su trabajo, con la cultura mediterránea y antigua, con las construcciones, y la arqueología. La Colección Caixa Galicia cuenta en sus fondos con tres obras de este artista fechadas en los años 94/95 y 96 .
     1 En la época que nos atañe representa un papel importante dentro de la vanguardia madrileña. Fué fundador del postismo, retoma el surrealismo (lo descubre en 1928 en París), enlaza con el Dadá y con el humor de Ramón Gómez de la Serna y Jardiel Poncela. 2 Vivía con Joaquín Ramo y Sempere en el Colegio Español de dicha ciudad hasta que son expulsados por descolgar sus cuadros en protesta por el fallo del jurado del concurso en el que participaban (parte del jurado era el cónsul español en París, etc.). 3 Sobre el interés que pudo despertar en él este proyecto comenta el artista: "Había oído hablar del paisaje, de la basílica, de los frailes, también de los problemas artísticos-religiosos de Carlos Pascual de Lara con Roma y sabía que allí habían trabajado Oteiza, Chillida y Sáenz de Oiza. Artísticamente era interesante. ¡Fíjate, un ábside de seiscientos y pico de metros cuadrados!", en Lucio Muñoz. — LINKS
2-85 (1985, 162 x 130 cm; 800x646pix, 111kb) miserably failed attempt at a lakeside landscape?
Collage 12-97 (1997, 162 x 130 cm; 796x577pix, 166kb)
83 images at Ciudad de la Pintura. —(091226)

1900 Stjepan Planic, Croat architect who died on 26 Dec 1980. —(051223)


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