ART 4 2-DAY 07 February v.10.10
Died on 07 February 1848: Christen
Schjellerup Købke, Danish Realist
painter born on 26 May 1810.
— He is the most internationally renowned Danish painter and, with his teacher, C. W. Eckersberg, was one of the leading artists of the Danish ‘golden age’ of painting in the 1830s and 1840s. He is most famous for his intimate depictions of familiar landmarks in Copenhagen and North Zealand, notably Frederiksborg Castle, near Hillerød. The skill with which he rendered architectural silhouettes and the light of the Danish sky has won him great acclaim. His charming and intimate portraits of family, fellow artists and friends are among the best examples of Nordic portrait painting.
— Lorenz Frølich was a student of Købke.
The View of the Plaster Cast Collection at Charlottenborg Palace (1830)
Frederik Sødring (1832)
Frederiksborg Castle Seen from the Northwest (1836)
View of Lake Sortedam (1838)
View of Østerbro from Dosseringen (1838)
Born on 07 February 1606:
Nicolas Mignard “d'Avignon”, French painter
who died on 20 March 1668.
He was the elder brother of the much better-known Pierre Mignard [17 Nov 1610 – 13 May 1695] “le Romain”. Nicolas Mignard did much of his work in Provence. His style was colder and drier than that of his brother, but showed the same attention to drawing. His compositions tended to be based on Italian models. After studying painting with a local master in Troyes, France, Nicolas Mignard went to Fontainebleau to copy the chateau's Mannerist frescoes, which influenced his early paintings. He painted his first recorded work in a Provence convent in 1633. Two years later, he went to Rome with the Cardinal Archbishop of Lyon. There for another two years, Mignard probably stayed at the Palazzo Farnese, for he later made a series of etchings based on the frescoes there by Annibale Carracci [03 Nov 1560 – 15 Jul 1609]. Upon his return to Avignon, he continued to paint altarpieces for religious houses and churches. In 1660 the French court visited Avignon, and Mignard was commissioned to paint portraits of various courtiers. King Louis XIV [05 Sep 1638 – 01 Sep 1715] soon brought him to Paris, where he continued with great success as a portrait painter. Mignard also decorated a room in one of the royal palaces. He was accepted by the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture and became a professor there.
— Venus and Adonis (1650, 373x226cm; 960x627pix, 342kb _ ZOOM to 2504x1635pix) _ The story of Venus and Adonis was told by the ancient Roman poet Ovid in his Metamorphoses (Book X). It has attracted not only artists but poets, including Shakespeare. Adonis was the offspring of the incestuous union of King Cinyras of Paphos, in Cyprus, with his daughter Myrrha. His beauty was a byword. Venus conceived a helpless passion for him as a result of a chance graze she received from Cupid's arrow (Met. 10:524-559). Venus cautioned Adonis against the dangers of the hunt, but he ignored her warning and was killed by a wild boar (Met. 10:708-739). Hearing his dying groans as she flew overhead in her chariot, she came down to aid him but was too late. Venus granted Adonis a form of immortality by transforming his blood into anemones, fragile springtime flowers (seen here behind Venus) with a beauty as fleeting as his own. In choosing to illustrate the fateful moment when Adonis departs for the chase with his hounds, Mignard followed the Italian painter Titian. Avoiding the emotive poses some Baroque painters would have used, Mignard carefully balanced and contained the interconnected gestures of the two poised figures. He represented the classicizing pole of 17th-century art: like the Renaissance painters he admired, he sought serenity even in tales of poignant feeling like this one.
_ See also:
_ Bol: Venus and Adonis (1658, 168x230cm)
_ Heintz: Adonis Parting from Venus
_ Bril: Venus and Adonis
_ Coninxloo: Landscape with Venus and Adonis
_ Verhaecht: Mountainous Landscape with Venus and Adonis
_ Burroughs: Venus and Adonis (1933)
_ Spranger: Venus and Adonis (1587; 1600x1312pix, 306kb)
_ Annibale Carracci: Venus, Adonis, and Cupid (1595, 212x268cm; 630x790pix, 111kb) _ almost identical Venus, Adonis, and Cupid (1595, 217x246cm; 917x975pix, 149kb)
_ Amiconi _ Venus and Adonis (1740, 45x75cm; 680x923, 143kb)
_ Caracciolo: Venus and Adonis (1630)
_ Couwenbergh: Venus and Adonis (1645)
_ Giani: Venus and Adonis
_ Heintz: Venus and Adonis
_ Hoet: Venus and Adonis
_ Janssens: Venus and Adonis
_ Poussin: Venus and Adonis (1629, 99x135cm; 348x475pix, 35kb)
_ Prud'hon: Venus and Adonis
_ Ricci: Venus and Adonis (1706)
_ Rubens: Venus and Adonis (1635, 197x243cm; 480x640pix, 61kb) _ detail (850x543pix, 129kb)
_ Titian, 4 almost identical versions: Venus and Adonis (187x194cm; 913x950pix, 157kb) _ Venus and Adonis (1554, 186x207cm; 760x836pix, 126kb) _ Venus and Adonis (177x187cm; 420x426pix, 45kb) _ Venus and Adonis (1560, 107x136 cm; 390x498pix, 59kb) detail (650x419pix, 91kb)
_ Vouet: Venus and Adonis
Virgin and Child (112x93cm; 1000x828pix, 88kb)
— Ganymede and Eagle (1667 etching, 14x20cm) after etching Ganymede and Eagle by Annibale Carracci _ The Iliad (Book XX, 232-235) of Homer mentions "...Ganymede, handsomest of mortals, whom the gods caught up to pour out drink for Zeus and live amid immortals for his beauty's sake." and says that Tros, king of Troy and Ganymede's father, received in compensation for the loss of his son"under the Dawn and under Helios the finest horses in the world". According to the version favored by artists through the centuries, either Zeus sent an eagle, or else assumed the form of an eagle himself, to carry the young man off to Olympus. Zeus immortalized Ganymede by making him into the constellation Aquarius, next to the constellation Aquila.
_ See instead the pictures:
— by Rubens: The Abduction of Ganymede (1000x453pix, 106kb)
— by Correggio [1490-1534] Ganymede (1531, 163x70cm; 800x331pix, 73kb)
— by Campagnola [1482->1514] Jupiter and Ganymede above an Extensive Landscape (1500 drawing, 15x12cm; 390x306pix, 53kb)
— by Mazza The Abduction of Ganymede (1575; octagonal 800x798pix, 173kb)
— by Michelangelo [1475-1564] The Abduction of Ganymede (1533 drawing, 19x33cm; 529x800pix, 50kb)
— by Rembrandt: The Abduction of Ganymede (1635, 171x130cm; 1090x780ydb. 127kb) _ A mirror-image of most of this picture appears on a postage stamp of Gambia (722x497pix, 98kb)
— by Corinth [1858-1925] Legends of Mythology: Ganymede and the Eagle (1920 color lithograph; 615x728pix, 97kb) from the series The Loves of Zeus.
— by Benoît Louis Henriquez Enlèvement de Ganymède (engraving; 1246x1058pix, 775kb) _ Ganymede is shown as Zeus' cup bearer, holding the cup, and awaiting two winged figures to fill it in. Zeus is shown as the eagle, and one can see the gods' banquet in the background opening of the clouds.
— by Aimee Francesca Cummings: Ganymede and the Eagle (2002; 618x514pix, 85kb)
— Punch 06 Oct 1915 cartoon Ganymede and the German Eagle (etching; 827x600pix, 411kb gif) _ The eagle, wearing a German WWI spiked helmet, is carrying a terrified old mustachioed Turk; the legend reads: Sultan: “Of course I know it's a great honour being ‘taken up’ like this: still, I'm beginning almost to wish the bird had left me alone.” Turkey was allied with Germany in World War I.
— Mosaic in Bignor Roman Villa, Sussex, England: [Ganymede and the Eagle] (227x350pix, 81kb)
— Links to mostly ancient images of Ganymede
Died on 07 February 1749: Jan
van Huysum, Amsterdam Dutch painter born on 15 April 1682.
Van Huysum was, with Rachel Ruysch, the most distinguished flower painter of his day. He had a European reputation and was much imitated. The light colors he used, the even lighter backgrounds, and the openness of his intricate compositions became distinguishing features of 18th century Dutch flower painting. He occasionally painted subjects other than flowers, including a self-portrait. His father, Justus the Elder [08 Jun 1659 – Apr 1716], was a flower and landscape painter and he had three painter brothers: Justus the Younger [1684-1707]; Michiel [–1759]; and Jacob [1687-1740], who worked in England and imitated Jan's style.
— Jan van Huysum lived for his entire life in his native Amsterdam. He was trained by his father Justus, who painted flower pieces and interior decoration. Van Huysum is primarily known as a painter of highly realistic flower still lifes. They are unusual because their composition is generally asymmetrical and the flowers are positioned against a light background. In addition to these still lifes, Van Huysum also painted a number of pastoral landscapes. It was his fame as a still-life painter, however, that won him his international clientele. He was one of the best paid painters of his day. It was said that Van Huysum led a secluded life and never allowed anyone into his studio for fear of plagiarism.
Still Life with Flowers (1723, 81x61cm) _ On a marble plinth is an exuberant bouquet of flowers in a classical garden urn. The urn that is largely concealed by flowers is decorated with putti. Some trees stand out vaguely against the pale background while on the left there is a garden statue. This still life is typical of the work of van Huysum, with its wild and exuberant character. The stalks of the flowers bend in all directions, forming an asymmetrical composition. Each petal is painted with great sophistication, and is deceptively real. The bird's nest to the right is also a fine example of Van Huysum's skilled technique. A butterfly in flight, insects crawling and dewdrops on the petals complete the illusion.
Van Huysum planned his compositions meticulously, first making drawings and studies in oils. In his still lifes he included flowers that bloom in different seasons. He was still painting from nature however; if a certain flower was not available he simply waited till the right season. A letter by Van Huysum has been preserved in which he apologises to a patron, saying that he had not been able to find a certain rose that was essential to the composition, so that he had to delay finishing the painting. Some other seventeenth- and eighteenth-century flower painters did not paint from nature but used drawings as models that had been made earlier.
With his still lifes Van Huysum carried on a seventeenth-century tradition in the eighteenth century. His early work still shows a strong resemblance to Abraham Mignon for example; Van Huysum soon developed a style of his own however, with extravagant compositions against a light background, painted in a precise technique. The light background in particular was an innovation, since seventeenth-century still lifes with flowers usually had a dark background. Van Huysum's contemporary Rachel Ruysch remained faithful to the tradition.
Bouquet of Flowers in an Urn (1724) _ 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. [Do not confuse Amsterdamers with hamster damners, even if a few, a very few, might be both]
Hollyhocks and Other Flowers in a Vase (1710, 62x52cm) _ Dutch painters described the visible world with remarkable precision and one of the forms this description took was the still life. In the earliest years of the seventieth century still-lifes often had a vanitas element. Among the apparently random accumulation of objects were clocks, snuffed-out candles, faded flowers and skulls, reminders of the passage of time and the inevitability of death and decay. As the century progressed these elements dropped away and still-lifes became simply displays of the rare, exotic, expensive and beautiful. Jan van Huysum, whose career spanned the first half of the eighteenth century, was the heir to this great tradition of still-life painting and, as far as floral still-lifes are concerned, its greatest exponent. This painting is undated but must belong to the first half of his career before about 1720, when he began to paint more elaborate and artificial flower pieces, which are light in tone on light backgrounds, in an almost pastel palette. It probably dates from about 1710. Jan van Huysum lived and worked in Amsterdam. He was one of a dynasty of painters, having been trained by his father Justus van Huysum, also a still-life painter, and was later imitated by his younger brother, Jacob.
Vase of Flowers (63x50cm) _ Son of Justus, a decorator of apartments and gardens, Jan van Huysum was one of the most famous Dutch painters of floral still-lifes, establishing himself in a pictorial genre that was already popular and widespread, and taking it to a perfection and virtuosity which was at times even mechanical. However, whereas in French artists, whom the painter was inspired by, ability and technical complexity were also reflected in the sometimes excessive elaboration of the portrayal, van Huysum stayed within the sober Quattrocento Flemish-Dutch tradition, even though he used motifs characteristic of the seventeenth century (the dark background and the presence of rare species of flowers).
Born on 07 February 1741: Johann Heinrich Füssli “Henry Fuseli”,
Swiss British Romantic
painter, draftsman, and writer, active in England who died on 16 April 1825.
His students included George
— The Füssli were a Swiss family of artists and writers. Johann Caspar Füssli [1707-1782], descended from a long-established Zurich family of metalworkers, combined the practice of art with art-historical work in the mid-18th century, being followed in both by his eldest son, Johann Rudolf Füssli, who worked mainly in Austria and Hungary. Johann Caspar’s younger son Johann Heinrich Füssli left Zurich to travel in Germany, England and Italy, calling himself Henry Fuseli after he settled in London in 1779. There, through his strikingly original paintings and drawings and the influence of his teaching and writing, he remained a prominent figure in English art circles until his death in 1825. Johann Caspar’s other children, Hans Caspar Füssli [1743–1786], Elisabeth Füssli [1744–1780] and Anna Füssli [1749–1772], were botanical and entomological illustrators. A later Füssli of Zürich, Wilhelm Heinrich Füssli [1830–1916], also was a painter.
— Johann Heinrich Füssli spent most of his working life in England, where he established himself as the most original history painter and draftsman of his generation. Renowned for his treatment of bizarre and psychologically penetrating subjects, he was also a prolific writer and, from 1779, Professor of Painting at the Royal Academy.
— Born Johann Heinrich Füssli in Zurich, “Henry Fuseli” spent most of his life in England. He studied theology intending to become a priest, but the discovery of Italy, where he spent eight years absorbing the atmosphere of the recently uncovered ruins and the works of Michelangelo, drove him to paint themes which can be described as Romantic, centered around the imaginary, the Gothic and the horrible. He found in the works of Shakespeare, Milton, and Wieland a dream-like universe which suited him. The cold, neo-classical purity to which he aspired does not mask the presence of the uneasy sexuality of the 1800s. He is most at home with the macabre, the realms of the unconscious and Romantic eccentricity, making him one of the great precursors of Symbolism and even of Surrealism.
— Johann Heinrich Füssli was born in Zürich; he moved to England in 1764 and later changed his name to Henry Fuseli. The London theater, and in particular the productions of Shakespeare, charged his imagination and over the years he painted, etched and drew numerous scenes from the plays. He contributed nine paintings in the 1780s to Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery (scenes from Hamlet, Henry IV, Henry V, King Lear, Macbeth, and The Tempest and three scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream). He later painted five pictures for Woodmason's Irish Gallery (1793), an enterprise designed to emulate in Dublin the success of Boydell's exhibition in London. Fuseli turned often to Shakespeare for his inspiration; Füssli pittore di Shakespeare: Pittura e teatro 1775-1825, the catalogue of the 1997 exhibition of Fuseli's Shakespeare paintings in Parma, Italy, lists 85 paintings, drawings, sketches and engravings drawn from the plays. After a prolific and successful career as an artist in England, he died in 1825. Fuseli admired the Romantic poets, and many of his illustrations for Shakespeare and Milton -- as well as a number of other poets and writers -- reveal his love for the grotesque, the sublime, and the fantastic. He is best remembered for his influential painting The Nightmare and his fascination with the realm of the dream-world in his works.
Füssli's works are among the most exotic, original, and sensual pieces of his time. Was raised in an intellectual and artistic environment and initially studied theology. Forced to leave Zürich due to political entanglements, he went first to Berlin, settling in London in 1764. Encouraged to become a painter by Joshua Reynolds, he left England in 1768 to study in Italy until 1778. In Rome he studied the works of Michelangelo and classical art, his major stylistic influences. Subject matter was mostly literary. Famous for his paintings and drawings of nude figures caught in strained and violent poses suggestive of intense emotion. Had a gift for inventing macabre fantasies, such as that in The Nightmare (1781, 127x102cm). Had a noticeable influence on the style of his younger contemporary, William Blake.
— The Dressing Room (32x43cm) _ Fuseli made this portrait of himself as a sculpted faun when he was in Italy during the 1770s. By this time Fuseli already had a reputation for studied eccentricity. As a friend in Rome noted: He is everything in extremes – always an original; His look is lightning, his word a thunderstorm; his jest is death, his revenge, hell. He cannot draw a single mean breath. He never draws portraits, his features are all true, yet at the same time caricature...
— Titania's Awakening (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act IV, scene i) (1789) _ Titania awakes and says, “My Oberon, what visions I have seen! / Methough I was enamored of an ass.” Oberon points to Bottom, sleeping beside her. Like its companion, Titania and Bottom, this painting is busy with detail and invites the viewer to interpret the various figures.
Titania Awakening divides into two contrasting parts. On the right are Oberon and Titania, bathed in light; standing between them is a fairy with the herb, "love-in-idleness," that breaks the spell cast by Puck. Surrounding the two are a group of laughing and dancing fairies, accompanied by an elf playing the bagpipe.
On the left, however, we find the shadowed figure of Bottom, with some kind of cloaked and hooded creature crawling from between his legs. The ass's head is held above him by a fairy, and just above his head in Queen Mab and her steed. The allusion is to Romeo and Juliet (I, iv) when Mercutio describes Queen Mab as "the fairies' midwife" who is drawn "Over men's noses as they lie asleep." She gallops by night "Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love." At Bottom's left arm, to complete the sinister aspects of this half of the painting, are a group of witches, one of them clutching to her breast a baby demon. Here Fuseli depicts, as he did in Titania and Bottom, the two aspects of life and love: one light and carefree, the other dark and erotic.
–- Titania and Bottom — Midsummer Night's Dream IV.1 (engraving with hand coloring, 49x63cm; 879x1203pix, 133kb _ .ZOOM to 1904x2408pix, 804kb) _ the original painting (1789, 217x276cm; 26kb) _ Shakespeare's text _ Bottom now wears the ass's head, and Titania says to him: Come, sit thee down upon this flow'ry bed, / While I thy amiable cheeks do coy, / And stick musk-roses in they sleek smooth head, / And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy.
This is one of several illustrations by Fuseli on scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream, a natural source for an artist so often drawn to the subject of dreams and nightmares. The central figure Titania calls on her fairies to wait on the seated Bottom. In Bottom's hand stands Mustardseed, ready to help Peaseblossom, who scratches Bottom's right ear. Cobweb is at the left of the painting, spear poised to kill a bee and to bring the honey-bag to Bottom. At the right is a girl holding the bowl of "dried pease" Bottom has requested. The woman standing behind the girl, looking wantonly from the picture at the viewer, leads a dwarfish old man on a leash. She represents the triumph of youth over age, of the senses over reason -- and, in terms of the imagery established by the play itself, the victory of night over day, the forest of Oberon over the court of Theseus, the world of love and dreams over the rational, workaday world of Athens. In this one allegorical image Fuseli captures the polarity of much of the imagery of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
The two halves of the painting in fact contrast interestingly with one another. On Titania's right hand (our left side of the painting) is a well-lit scene with an attractive grouping of young women and a young girl in the lower-right hand corner. Contrasted to her is the waxen, gnomish little figure sitting in the lap of a hooded figure in the opposite corner. In opposition to the two figures smiling suggestively out at us on the right are the two women with hands outstretched on the left. Immediately to the left and behind Titania is another woman with arms folded, and she is duplicated on the right; the right-hand figure, however, is cast in shadows and her features are partially obscured. Is Fuseli suggesting to us something of the nature of the fairy world, with a lighter and untroubled scene on Titania's right hand and a darker, shadowy scene on her left hand, an iconographical presentation of the two sides of human nature? Again, this symbolic interpretation of the painting reflects some of the themes in Shakespeare's play.
— Fuseli was introduced to Shakespeare's plays during his student days in Zürich with the Swiss scholar Jacob Bodmer. A Midsummer Night's Dream held a special appeal for him, in that it explores the realms of the supernatural.
In the picture Fuseli illustrates a moment from Act IV scene 1, in which Oberon, in order to punish her for her pride, casts a spell on Queen Titania, as a result of which she falls in love with Bottom, whose head has been transformed into that of an ass. In the play she murmurs lovingly to the object of her affections,
Come, sit thee down upon this flowery bed,
While I thy amiable cheeks do coy,
And stick musk roses in thy sleek smooth head,
And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy.
Fuseli's imagination is given free reign in this fantastical scene. Titania calls on her fairies, who are wearing contemporary dress, to attend to Bottom: Pease-blossom scratches his ass's head; Mustard-seed perches on his hand in order to assist; and Cobweb kills a bee and brings him the honey-bag. A leering young woman offers him a basket of dried peas. The young woman leading a dwarf-like creature by a string symbolises the triumph of youth over old age, of the senses over the mind and of woman over man. The hooded old woman on the right is holding a changeling newly formed out of wax. Similarly, on the left of the picture, the group of children are artificial beings created by witches.
The picture draws on several artistic sources. Fuseli has adapted Titania's seductive pose from Leonardo da Vinci's Leda (1506). The elves plunging into the calyx on the right are inspired by Botticelli's illustration of Canto XXX of Dante's Paradiso (1469). And the small girl with a butterfly head on the left derives from a type of child portrait developed by Reynolds, whereby the child's features closely resemble a cat, mouse or other small creature posed with her.
Fuseli painted several other scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream, including Titania's Awakening (1790), where the Queen awakes and recounts her 'dream' to Oberon. He was also inspired by other Shakespearean texts and was particularly drawn to the supernatural and irrational elements in such plays as The Tempest, Hamlet and King Lear.
— Titania, Bottom and the Fairies (1794) (169x135cm; 440x350cm) aka Titania Awakes, Surrounded by Attendant Fairies, Clinging Rapturously to Bottom, Still Wearing the Ass's Head; probably erroneously. In the play when Titania awakes, both Oberon and Puck are present, and almost immediately Oberon commands Puck to remove the spell and the ass's head from Bottom. Although Puck appears in the upper right-hand corner, Oberon is absent and Bottom should still be sleeping. The painting is, therefore, probably another version of Titania and Bottom, painted a few years later than the original.
In this later version the fairies wear contemporary dresses, and, besides Peaseblossom scratching Bottom's ears and Cobweb, in armor, killing the bee, we find various fairies making music, in accord with Titania's question in Act IV, scene i, “Wilt thou hear some music, my sweet love?” This version is more sensuous than the earlier one, with a clearly enamoured, even "rapturous," Titania stroking an almost naked and decidedly virile lover.
–- Shakespeare - Second Part of Henry IV - Act II, Scene IV (56x41cm; 1128x830pix, 93kb ) _ Shakespeare's text
— Thor in the Boat of Hymir (1790; 700x465pix, 63kb)
— The Three Witches (1783, 65x92cm; 413x600pix, 33kb) _ The source for the painting is Macbeth, Act I, Scene iii, lines 39-47, when Banquo and Macbeth meet the Weird Sisters on the heath and Banquo says:
. . . What are these,
So wither'd and so wild in their attire,
That look not like th' inhabitants o' the earth,
And yet are on't? Live you? or are you aught
That man may question? You seem to understand me,
By each at once her choppy finger laying
Upon her skinny lips: you should be women,
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
That you are so.
— The Death of Cardinal Beaufort (Henry VI, Part II.3.iii) (1772)
— Lady Constance, Arthur and Salisbury (1783)
— Hamlet and the Ghost (1789)
— Macbeth, Banquo and the Witches on the Heath (1794)
— Ariel (1810)
— Garrick and Mrs. Pritchard in Macbeth (1812, 102x127cm) _ aka Lady Macbeth Seizing the Daggers. The source is Act II, Scene ii of Macbeth:
Lady Macbeth: Go get some water,
And wash this filthy witness from your hand.
Why did you bring these daggers from the place?
They must lie there: go carry them, and smear
The sleepy grooms with blood.
Macbeth: I'll go no more:
I am afraid to think what I have done;
Look on't again I dare not.
Lady Macbeth: Infirm of purpose!
Give me the daggers.
Fuseli saw the play on stage in 1760 with David Garrick playing Macbeth, and he made a watercolor of this scene; the production must have impressed him, for more than 50 years later he executed the painting. The two almost translucent figures vividly capture this particular moment of horror. Macbeth's hair stands on end and, with an expression of terror, he holds the daggers at arm's length as if attempting to distance himself from the assassination. The scene is set against a background of deep, regal purple, reminding us that this is no ordinary murder and that Macbeth has spilled the royal blood of a king:
Confusion now hath made his masterpiece:
Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope
The Lord's anointed temple and stole thence
The life o' th' building!
The source of lighting in this painting is difficult to determine, and Peter Tomory suggests that there may be an obscure force at work in the painting's starkly translucent figures: electricity. Artists and writers were drawn to the idea of electricity as soon as Joseph Priestley's The History of the Idea of Positive and Negative Electricity (1775) was published, and they soon began to experiment with his concepts in their works. The moment of terror, now becomes a violent electrical discharge, with its accompanying light and smell. This observation about artistic experiments with "electricity" and light helps explain the stark, glowing quality of the two figures, especially when the painting is compared with the earlier watercolor, which is much more conventional in the posing of the figures and the prosaic setting.
In the first years when Shakespeare subjects began to be painted in some quantity (the 1780's), a distinction was made between paintings derived from the literary text and those that originated in the theatre. The former bore the more honored credentials. The distinction can be applied to Fuseli's works; the 1812 painting is so much more powerful and suggestive of the moment of horror than the earlier watercolor. Although they are superficially similar, the painting finally has much more to do with a particularly frightening moment in Macbeth that with either David Garrick or Mrs. Pritchard.
— The Shepherd's Dream, from Paradise Lost (1793) _ Fuseli was introduced to the poetry of John Milton [1608-1674] during his student days in Zürich with the Swiss scholar Jacob Bodmer. Paradise Lost held a special appeal for him, and other Romantic artists, in that it explores the realms of the imagination, dreams and the supernatural.
The picture illustrates a moment in Milton's poem where he compares the fallen angels in the Hall of Pandemonium in Hell to the fairies who bewitch a passing peasant with the sound of their music and dancing:
Whose midnight revels by a forest side
Or fountain some belated peasant sees,
Or dreams he sees, while over head the moon
Sits arbitress, and nearer to the earth
Wheels her pale course, they on their mirth and dance
Intent, with jocund music charm his ear;
At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.
Instead of depicting the fairies as they appear in traditional woodcuts, dancing in a magic circle on the ground, Fuseli shows them linking arms and swirling, as in a dream or vision, above the sleeping shepherd. Emerging from the darkness they form a vortex of light above his head, which one fairy touches with a dream-inducing wand. Fuseli draws on his imagination for the supernatural creatures that populate the picture. In the bottom left-hand corner a crouching witch has just pulled a flower-headed mandrake out of the ground. In the opposite corner, seated on large stone steps, is Queen Mabs, the bringer of nightmares. Attached to her by a chain is a monster child, the demonic incubus, who points at the sleeping man. Farther up the steps behind them, a naked fairy combing her hair derives from Shropshire folklore. According to legend, these naked creatures entice unsuspecting travellers, overpower them and steal all their clothes. The building on the right possibly represents the Temple of Diana, since according to Medieval folklore Diana was transformed into a demon and led an army of witches through the sky by night. Alternatively, Fuseli may have intended it to represent the ivory portal, described by Homer and Virgil, through which delusive dreams emerge. The picture is based on a more detailed drawing in pencil, red chalk and wash.
— Man Attacked by a Lyon (600x472pix)
— Loneliness in Morning Twilight (600x636pix)
— A Lawyer (600x464pix)
— The Apotheosis of Penelope Boothby (1791; 500x314pix, 27kb) _ Penelope Susanah Boothby died on 20 March 1791, at age 5. She was the only child of Sir Brooke Boothby [1743 – 13 Feb 1824] of Ashbourne Hall, Derbyshire. The death of this little girl was to affect the lives of many. Already at the age of 3 she touched the heart strings of many of her parents' friends, one of the most famous of whom was Joshua Reynolds, who would let her play in his studio, where she learned to paint. He painted her portrait, sometimes calledSimplicity or The Little Girl in the Mob-cap (probably by a confusion with Reynolds' portrait of another little girl dressed very similarly, A#?>Simplicity Dawson). On the day of her funeral it rained, so six little girls carried her coffin and six little boys carried umbrellas. The parents were devastated, each blamed the other, and after the funeral they parted, the mother walking away from the graveside and returning to her own family home. Sir Brooke who was a minor poet, wrote poems about her in Sorrows. Sacred to the Memory of Penelope (1796). He seemed to find comfort in his London friends, one of which was Thomas Banks [29 Dec 1735 – 02 Feb 1805] (also a close friend of Fuseli), who in 1793 sculpted her sarcophagus to be placed in Ashbourne Church. Out of a block of Carrara marble he fashioned Penelope lying on her side with her cheek resting on her hands, seemingly asleep rather than dead. The delicate details of her little hands and feet are most moving. The sash round her waist feels like velvet, while the dress feels like silk. The mattress is quilted, and one foot rests on the other. Banks, in a letter to his daughter, wrote that Sir Brooke would come into his studio, kneel at the half-finished monument and burst into tears, completely breaking the sculptor's concentration. The Monument to Penelope Boothby has been called the first truly Romantic work of art by an English sculptor.