ART 4 2-DAY 17 February v.10.10
BIRTH: 1774 PEALE
Died on 17 February 1788: Maurice~Quentin
de la Tour, French Rococo
pastellist born on 05 September 1704. — Not to be confused with Georges
de la Tour [19 Mar 1593 – 30 Jan 1652]
He was, with Perronneau, the most celebrated French pastellist of the 18th century. He was born (and died) in Saint-Quentin and went to Paris as a young man; after visits to London and other places he settled in Paris 1724-84. He soon found that the vogue for pastel portraits started by Rosalba Carriera in 1719/20 was still capable of exploitation and he devoted the rest of his life to it. His portraits are characterized by an extreme vivacity of handling sometimes rather vulgar and a firm grasp of character. As a very old man the study of politics drove him crazy, and he retired to Saint-Quentin, where the largest and best collection of his works is to be found: it includes many studies and sketches which are sometimes superior to the finished portraits.
— Early in his youth La Tour went to Paris, where he entered the studio of the Flemish painter Jacques Spoede. He then went to Reims, Cambrai (1724), and England (1725), returning to Paris to resume his studies in about 1727. In 1737 La Tour exhibited the first of a splendid series of 150 portraits that formed one of the glories of the Salon for the next 37 years. He was able to endow his sitters with a distinctive air of charm and intelligence, and he excelled at capturing the delicate play of facial features. Among his subjects were the writers Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Voltaire, as well as Louis XV and his mistress, Mme. de Pompadour, of whom he did a life-size portrait (1756). In 1746 he was received into the Academy and in 1751 was promoted to councilor. La Tour was made portraitist to the king in 1750, a position he held until 1773, when he suffered a nervous breakdown. La Tour retired at the age of 80 to Saint-Quentin.
— He was one of the greatest pastellists of the 18th century, an equal of Jean-Siméon Chardin and Jean-Baptiste Perronneau. Unlike them, however, he painted no works in oils. Reacting against the stately portraits of preceding generations and against the mythological portraits of many of his contemporaries, La Tour returned to a more realistic and sober style of work. The fundamental quality of his art lies in his ability to suggest the temperament and psychology of his subjects by means of their facial expression, and thereby to translate their fugitive emotions on to paper: ‘I penetrate into the depths of my subjects without their knowing it, and capture them whole’, as he himself put it. His considerable success led to commissions from the royal family, the court, the rich bourgeoisie and from literary, artistic and theatrical circles. While La Tour’s extensive oeuvre (over 1200 pastels and drawings) contains many outstanding pictures and was the result of a remarkable technical mastery, a certain degree of repetitiveness may be discerned occasionally.
— Jacques Neilson was an assistant of de la Tour.
— The students of de la Tour included Giuseppe Baldrighi, Joseph Boze, Joseph Ducreux, Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Katherine Read, Marie-Suzanne Roslin.
— Self-Portrait (1764, 46x38cm; 1080x896pix, 132kb) _ detail (1080x896pix, 132kb)
_ the same in another version, which extends down to the elbows (600x489pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1141pix _ .ZOOM+ to 2483x2024pix; 453kb) _ De La Tour carried the difficult and capricious pastel medium to a point of sheer technical brilliance not reached before or since. His mastery of pastels led not only to imitation but to fears that he would provoke a distaste for oil paint. La Tour was at his best when concentrating on the face alone. There is a suggestion of mobility in the features of his subjects, and the artist himself referred to "un peu d'exagération" that art allowed beyond nature. His self-portrait is marked by characteristics that aptly describe his style: the tremendous handling and technique, the humorous look to the eyes and the slight upturn of the lips, all of which lend a vivid actuality and personality to the sitter.
–- Self~Portrait (1760, 48x33cm; 1367x939pix, 88kb) _ The pseudonymous Mocorn du Rampart has transformed this into the colorful and richly detailed twin abstractions
_ Sail Port Raid (2007; 724x1024pix, 282kb _ ZOOM to 1024x1448pix, 612kb _ ZOOM+ to 2636x3728pix, 4378kb) and
_ Sell Pork Rate (2007; 724x1024pix, 282kb _ ZOOM to 1024x1448pix, 612kb _ ZOOM+ to 2636x3728pix, 4378kb).
Maurice, Comte de Saxe, Maréchal de France (1748, pastel, 60x49cm; 600x476pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1111pix, 236kb) _ Maurice, comte de Saxe (Moritz von Sachsen, 1696-1750) was a general and military theorist who successfully led French armies during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748). The illegitimate son of the elector Frederick Augustus I of Saxony (later also King Augustus II of Poland), young Maurice was sent by his father to serve under Prince Eugene of Savoy against the French in Flanders in 1709-1710. In 1711 he was made Graf von Sachsen (count of Saxony; in French, comte de Saxe). His father bought him a German regiment in the French service in 1719, and Saxe quickly won recognition for his innovations in military training, especially in musketry. Anna Ivanovna, duchess of Courland (later empress of Russia), secured Saxe's election as duke of Courland (a Baltic duchy between Prussia and Latvia) in 1726, but the Russians expelled him from the region in 1727 in order to prevent him from marrying the duchess.
Returning to France, Saxe in 1732 wrote Mes Rêveries (1757), a remarkably original treatise on the science of warfare. He served with distinction in the French army against his own half brother, King August III of Poland, in the War of the Polish Succession (1733-1738) and in 1734 was made a lieutenant general. In November 1741, six months after France joined Prussia against Austria in the War of the Austrian Succession, Saxe invaded Bohemia and captured Prague. Although the British had not yet become involved in the conflict, the French king Louis XV in January 1744 made Saxe commander of a force that was to invade Great Britain on behalf of Charles Edward, the Young Pretender, the Stuart claimant to the British throne. The project was dropped after a storm shattered Saxe's invasion fleet at Dunkirk in March.
Shortly thereafter, Louis formally declared war on Great Britain and promoted Saxe to the rank of marshal. Saxe and the king then invaded the Austrian Netherlands. The king wisely allowed Saxe to give the orders in the ensuing campaign. Their forces surrounded Tournai, and, when allied troops advanced from the east to relieve the siege, Saxe decisively defeated them in the Battle of Fontenoy (11 May 1745). It was France's last great victory before the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789. Saxe then captured Brussels and Antwerp (February 1746). Turning south, he seized Mons and Namur, and on 11 October 1746, he defeated the allies at Raucoux, near Liège, thereby completing the conquest of the Austrian Netherlands. In January 1747 Louis appointed Saxe marshal general of France. In 1747 he invaded Holland, defeated an allied army in the Battle of Lauffeld near Maastricht (02 July), and captured the fortress of Bergen-Op-Zoom. Saxe retired to his château at Chambord, where he died. His grandson was the father of the novelist George Sand.
— Une Dame (1760; 600x489pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1141pix)
— L'Abbé Huber (1742; 600x769pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1794pix, 279kb)
— Le comte de Villars, Gouverneur de Provence (1743; 600x769pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1159pix, 161kb)
— Le Peintre Claude Dupouch (1742; 600x769pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1136pix, 299kb)
— Un Homme (1742; 600x769pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1142pix, 375kb)
Mlle. Ferrand Meditating on Newton (1753, pastel, 73x60cm)
Born on 17 February 1774: Raphaelle
Peale, US painter, specialized in Portraits, Still
Life and Trompe
L'Oeil, who died on 04 (05?) March 1825, eldest surviving son of Charles
Willson Peale, [15 Apr 1741 22 Feb 1827] and Rachel
Brewer Peale [14 May 1744 – 12 Apr 1790]; brother of Rembrandt
Peale [22 Feb 1778 03 Oct 1860], Rubens Peale [04 May 1784
– 17 Jul 1865], Angelica Kauffman Peale [22 Dec 1775 – 08 Aug
1853], Rosalba Carriera Peale [25 Oct 1788–], Sophonisba Angusciola
Peale Sellers [24 Apr 1786 – 26 Oct 1859]; half-brother of Titian
Peale [Nov 1799 – 13 Mar 1885], Charles Linnaeus Peale [20 Mar
1794 – 22 May 1832], and Benjamin Franklin Peale [15 Oct 1795 –
05 May 1870]; nephew of James
Peale [1749 24 May 1831].
— He was taught painting by father, whom he assisted in the art and natural history museum CWP established. Raphaelle began to paint portraits professionally in 1794, but poor patronage in Philadelphia forced him to travel in the South and New England, taking silhouettes with the physiognotrace and painting portraits in oil and miniature. From about 1815 onwards, bouts of alcoholism and gout inhibited his progress. He turned to painting still-lifes, but these sold for small amounts. The need to travel weakened an already debilitated constitution and contributed to his early death, due also to poisoning by heavy metals.
— His father, Charles Willson Peale, was a prominent Philadelphia citizen and something of an eccentric. A painter and naturalist, a friend of Benjamin Rush, and an ardent advocate of temperance and diet ("water and simple foods," including soups, boiled fish and meat, fruit, vegetables), Charles Willson Peale named each of his children for a scientist or painter (except the youngest, Elizabeth Depeyster Peale [16 Apr 1802 – 25 Jul 1857],who was named for her mother, Peale's second wife, Elizabeth De Peyster Peale [10 Jul 1765 – 19 Feb 1804]) and then expected them to emulate, if not, indeed, surpass their namesakes. Raphaelle was the greatest of them all but was in his father's eyes a miserable failure, personally and professionally.
Raphaelle Peale was a painter of still lifes, the first professional still-life painter in the US and still one of its finest. All told, he left some 70 works, many painted under extreme conditions of recurrent acute and chronic illness. Charles Peale, on the other hand, regarded still-life painting as little more than a mechanical skill; he constantly urged his son to abandon it in favor of portrait painting, which was not only a higher calling but more lucrative. In an irrefutable example of parental logic, he reasoned that if Raphaelle spent less time on each individual still life, he could either produce them in greater quantity or produce the same quantity but have time remaining for portraits. Either way, his son's income would be increased. Raphaelle stayed with still lifes.
An especially fine example of Raphaelle's work is Still Life--Strawberries, Nuts, etc. (cover) painted in 1822, three years before his death. It is flawless in composition, meticulous in execution, a gem of porcelain, glass, filberts, almonds, raisins, strawberries, and a single orange. Although he sometimes painted the more mundane foods such as herring, root vegetables, cheese, and meat, Peale preferred the dessert pictures, elegant little compositions of sweets, cakes, jellies, fruit, nuts, and, often, a glass of wine. He was a master of wit. A partially peeled orange was a pun on the family name. A white linen napkin became a painting of another artist's nude. He could also be sober. Strawberries, Nuts, etc. presents an enigma, this time one of science. The painting is no casual arrangement of fruit gathered from the market but is in fact a horticultural painting. To a 20th-century viewer, this would not perhaps be obvious, but to an early 19th-century Philadelphian, the inclusion of spring and autumn and out-of-locale fruits meant that this work was a marvel of science as well as of art. The fruit is not wild. It is the result of one of Charles Willson Peale's scientific endeavors and has been cultivated as carefully as he tilled the soil of his children's lives.
Raphaelle died at the age of 51. The official cause of death was “consumption.” The cause commonly accepted for many years, based on his father's letters to Raphaelle, was alcoholism. It was an easy enough inference: the letters were filled with continual remonstrances and recriminations, urging temperance and blaming his son's gout on self-indulgence. More recently, evidence has surfaced to suggest that Raphaelle died of heavy-metal poisoning, specifically arsenic and mercury poisoning. It was incurred, presumably, over the many years he worked in his father's taxidermy business.
–- Still Life of Blackberries (1813, 18x26cm; 832x1186pix, 74kb)
— Venus Rising from the Sea, a Deception aka After the Bath (1823, 74x61cm; ZOOM to 2459x2024pix, 310kb) a hanging towel
— Lemon and Grapes (1818, 32x43cm)
— A Dessert aka Still Life with Lemons and Oranges (1814, 34x48cm)
— Still Life with Liqueur and Fruit (1814, 33x48cm)
— Cake and Wine (1813, 20x28cm)
— Cheese and Three Crackers (1813, 18x27cm)
— Corn and Cantaloupe (1813, 37x50cm)
— Melons and Morning Glories (1813, 53x66cm)
— Still Life with Strawberries, Nuts, etc. (1822, 42x58cm)
— Blackberries (18x26cm)
— Still Life with Cake (1818, 27x39cm)
— 40 images at the Athenaeum
Died on 17 February 1980: Graham Vivian
Sutherland, English etcher, lithographer, and painter, who
died on 24 August 1903.
— He studied at Goldsmith’s College of Art in London (1921–1926) and began his career as a printmaker, producing small, poetic, densely worked etchings of rural England, thatched cottages and fields with stooks of corn (e.g. Pecken Wood), influenced by the early etchings of Samuel Palmer. Although he gave up etching soon after the collapse of the market for this work in 1930 and turned to painting, he did not begin to find his way as a painter until 1934, when he made his first visit to Pembrokeshire (now Dyfed), Wales. During the difficult transitional period he supported himself partly by designing posters, china, glass and other forms of applied art.
— Descent from the Cross (1946; 600x489pix _ ZOOM not recommended to blurry 1400x1098pix, 197kb)
— Thorn Cross (1954)
— Crucifixion (1946, 91x102cm) _ This is one of a series made by Sutherland in preparation for a larger version commissioned for a church in Northampton. The sources on which he drew indicate the way he saw the theme in terms of past paintings, the individual and recent historical events. His primary reference point was Matthies Grunewald’s famous Issenhiem altarpiece in which Christ is shown anguished and blistered; he drew himself slung from the ceiling; finally, he referred to recently released photographs of dead and starving Concentration Camp victims.
Insect (1963, color lithograph 66x50cm)
— Somerset Maugham (1949, 137x63cm) _ This was the first of many portraits by Sutherland, mostly of either friends or distinguished elderly people. He met Maugham, the famous novelist and dramatist, at St Jean Cap Ferrat, and was invited to paint his portrait. Maugham was then aged seventy-five. The bamboo stool and background color, like that of the robes of Buddhist monks, were intended to refer to the setting of many of Maugham's novels and short stories in the Far East. The portrait was painted from drawings made by Sutherland during about ten one hour sittings with Maugham.
— Lord Goodman (1974, 96x96cm) _ At his death, Arnold Goodman was described as ‘for many years... Britain’s most distinguished citizen outside government’. As a lawyer, his work on high-profile libel cases drew him into the affairs of state. In 1965 he was appointed chairman of the Arts Council and made a life peer. This portrait was painted over at least two series of sittings, at Sutherland’s house in the South of France. At this late stage in his career, Sutherland was applying paint with great fluency, but extremely thinly, over his characteristic grid of pencil lines.
Devastation: East End Factory Ventilation Shaft (1941, 67x48cm) _ Born in London, Sutherland originally apprenticed as an engineer, before studying art at Goldsmiths College, London. From 1940 to 1945 he was employed as an official war artist. One of his first tasks was to depict bombing damage in the east end of London. Sutherland described his experiences in his journal: At the beginning I was a bit shy as to where I went. Later I grew bolder and went inside some of the ruins. I remember a factory for making women’s coats. All the floors had gone but the staircase remained, as very often happened. And there were machines, their entrails hanging through the floors, but looking extraordinarily beautiful at the same time. And always there was the terrible smell of sour burning. This picture, like many of Sutherland’s works of this time, makes a powerful visual record of the horror of The Blitz (07 Sep 1940 – 11 May 1941).
— Entrance to a Lane (1939, 61x51cm) _ Though apparently abstract, this painting represents a lane at Sandy Haven, Pembrokeshire. By ‘paraphrasing’ what he observed, Sutherland felt he captured the essence of the landscape. This innovative technique fused the observational powers of John Constable with the daring of Pablo Picasso. The prominent black forms also reflect Sutherland’s debt to the landscape drawings of Samuel Palmer, whose work enjoyed a revival in the 1930s. This painting belongs to a tradition of images of wooded landscapes which seem to enfold the viewer. In 1939, with war looming, such a natural refuge may have had special significance.
— Form over River (1972, 180x174cm) _ This was based on studies made on the banks of Eastern Cleddau, Picton Park, in Pembrokeshire, in the summer of 1971. Sutherland described the making of this picture: 'As with all my other organic forms - especially those deriving from the country here, it was the result of a chance encounter. Always one in a thousand such encounters are meaningful to me or productive, but those which are, have in their structure a movement and an equilibrium which straight away finds a response in my own make up. The color was used to emphasise the mood of the ambience but only in certain aspects was it the actual color of the object'.
— The Scales (1962, 145x123cm)
>Died on 17 February 1854: John “Mad”
Martin, British painter born on 19 July 1789.
John Martin was born at Haydon Bridge, near Hexham, Northumberland. After a struggling youth in London (from 1806) as an heraldric and enamel painter, in 1812 he exhibited at the Royal Academy the first of his grandiose Biblical paintings, such as The Fall of Babylon (1819), Belshazzar's Feast (1821) and The Deluge (1826). The rediscovery of John Martin was launched by two refugees from Nazi Germany, Robert and Charlotte Frank, who set up as dealers in St James's, London.
— Often referred to as ‘Mad Martin’, John Martin was famed for his classical and biblical subjects in which tiny figures were shown overwhelmed by the forces of nature. Martin’s lurid imagination, his dramatic use of perspective and the vast size of his canvases made viewing his pictures a thoroughly theatrical experience. The velvety-black prints he made from his paintings brought his work to an even wider public.
Martin was largely a self-taught artist, who achieved through his vivid imagination and bold, theatrical style an epitome of the romantic sublime in landscape painting that proved highly influential. Born in East Landends near Haydon Bridge on the Tyne River, he moved with his family to Newcastle in 1803 and there received some slight training from the Italian painter Boniface Musso.
In 1806 Martin went to London and during the next five or six years supported himself as a painter on porcelain and glass. His earliest exhibits at the Royal Academy and British Institution in 1812-14, however, marked the emergence of an original talent, and he quickly gained fame for his vast, densely detailed scenes of tumult and disaster. So audacious were some of his visions that he received the nickname "Mad Martin."
A lifelong foe of the academy, Martin was one of its most bitter critics in parliamentary hearings on the academy in 1836. In the 1820s, Martin turned his attention to engravings and mezzotints, partly as a way of reaching a larger audience, and his illustrations of Paradise Lost and the Bible proved particularly popular. He also worked as an inventor and pamphleteer and proposed a number of ideas for public works. In France, Martin's name became synonymous with the sublime, and his work formed a direct link to the US landscape tradition of Thomas Cole, Washington Allston, and Frederic Church.
–- The Assuaging of the Waters (1840, 143x218cm; 730x1091pix, 104kb _ .ZOOM to 1468x2188pix, 751kb _ .ZOOM+ 2936x4376pix, 2922kb)
— The Fallen Angels in Hell (1841, 61x76cm; 600x727pix, 80kb _ ZOOM to 1670x2024pix, 384kb)
— Sadak Searching for the Water of Forgetfulness (1812, 76x63cm; 600x494pix, 45kb _ ZOOM to 2456x2024pix, 352kb)
— The Great Day of Godly Anger (1853, 197x303cm; 518x800pix, 72kb _ ZOOM to 1327x2048pix, 222kb)
— Christ Stilleth the Tempest (1852, 51x76cm) _ We feel ourselves sucked into this painting by the tunnel-like effect that Martin creates, leading our eye to the bright city in the background. The scene shows the moment described in the New Testament (Mark 5: 35-41) when Christ, caught in a storm with his disciples, ‘rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace be still.’ The figure of Christ, with arms raised, can be seen in the boat, but Martin is clearly more concerned to render the terror of the storm than its calming. This late work is painted on millboard and is a re-working of a theme Martin had treated more than once before.
— Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (1852, 136x212cm) _ A gaping mouth-like cave of red molten lava, fire and blinding white light illuminates the background of this painting where cities topple and crumble. In the Bible (Genesis 19 verses 1-36) God destroys the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their evil inhabitants. Lot and his family (seen scurrying away on the lower right-hand side) are allowed to escape on the condition that they do not look back. Lot’s wife cannot resist a backward glance and Martin shows her turned to a pillar of salt by a bolt of lightning.
— Macbeth, (50x71cm) _ Highlighted on a mountain summit, Macbeth and Banquo stand apart from their army. At this moment in Shakespeare’s play, the witches (disappearing with a crack of lightning on the left) have just told Macbeth of his future glory. Their prophecies instigate Macbeth’s fatal ambition which leads to murder and tragedy. Martin has set the scene in a fantasy of Scotland’s wilderness while the vortex of threatening clouds suggests impending disasters.
Manfred and the Witch of the Alps (1837, 39x56cm; 697x900pix, 195kb) _ The eponymous hero of Byron's verse drama Manfred (1817) is a Faustian figure who, tormented by guilt for 'some half-maddening sin' and cursed by the spirits of the universe, is denied the oblivion he seeks. After an attempt at suicide illustrated by Martin in a companion watercolor ) Manfred invokes the Witch of the Alps and reveals his sin, his incestuous love for his sister Astarte. The Witch, who 'rises beneath the arch of the rainbow of the torrent', commands him to surrender his soul to her as the price for her assistance: the shadowy apparition to the right in this watercolor is his soul, with which he considers parting, but refuses to do so.
Painted at a time of emotional and financial crisis in Martin's life when he told a friend that he felt a 'ruined, crushed man ... there are no more bright days for me', this watercolor shows both his astonishing technique and his identification with Byron's doomed, romantic hero.
The Great Day of His Wrath (1853)
The Bard (1817, 270x170cm; 1145x920pix, 148kb) _ The Bard by Martin is not to be confused with The Martin by Bard [04 Oct 1815 – 1897] _ The subject of Martin's picture comes from Thomas Gray's poem The Bard (1755) and had been popular throughout the Romantic period, with versions by Thomas Jones, William Blake and Henry Fuseli. Gray [links] tells how Edward I, after his conquest of Wales, ordered all bards to be slaughtered in order to draw the people's cultural and nationalistic sting:
The sole surviving bard here stands:
'On a rock, whose haughty brow
Frowns o'er old Conways foaming flood,
Robed in the sable garb of woe,
With haggard eyes the Poet stood;
(Loose his beard and hoary hair
Stream'd, like a meteor, to the troubled air)
He curses the departing armies:
'Ruin seize thee, ruthless King!
Confusion on thy banners wait'