ART 4 2-DAY 25 January v.10.00
Died on 25 January 1632: Abraham
Janssens van Nuyssen, Flemish figure and portrait painter
born in 1775.
Janssens was active mainly in Antwerp. He was in Rome in 1598 and back in Antwerp by 1601. A second visit to Italy seems likely, for although in 1601 he was painting in a Mannerist style (Diana and Callisto), by 1909 (Scaldis and Antwerpia) his work had become much more solid, sober, and classical, suggesting close knowledge of Caravaggio in particular. For the next decade Janssens was one of the most powerful and individual painters in Flanders, but during the 1620s his work became less remarkable as he fell under the all-pervasive influence of Rubens. His students included Gerard Seghers and Theodoor Rombouts.
Scaldis and Antwerpia (1609, 174x308cm; 463x800pix, 85kb _ ZOOM to 750x1338pix, 155kb _ ZOOM+ to 1185x2048pix, 245kb) _ In addition to his favorite allegorical scenes, Abraham Janssens also painted religious and mythological themes. Janssens was slightly younger than Rubens, and for a time was his equal. After his visit to Italy, however, Rubens quickly surpassed him. Janssens painted Scaldis and Antwerpia for the State Room or 'Staetencamer' of Antwerp Town Hall. This decorative, allegorical work, commissioned by the city authorities, originally adorned the mantelpiece, and consists of a paean of praise to the city's main artery, the River Scheldt. The sharp contrast between light and dark recalls Caravaggio, who had a great influence upon many of the artists of the time.
Venus and Adonis (200x240cm; 740x882pix, 158kb) _ Janssens was a contemporary of Rubens. He alloyed the characteristics of the Flemish and Italian painting.
— Pietà (600x572pix)
Born on 25 January 1806: Daniel
Maclise, baptized on 02 February 1806, Irish painter, active
in England, who died on 25 April 1870.
Born in Cork, he made pencil portraits in Cork, and went to London in 1827 where he studied at the school of the Royal Academy. His frescoes in the Royal Gallery of the House of Lords, The Meeting of Wellington and Blücher (1861) and The Death of Nelson (1864) are his most notable works. He was also known as an illustrator of books for Tennyson and Dickens. His sketches of contemporaries in Fraser's Magazine (1830-1838) were published in 1874 and 1883. —He grew up in Cork where his father had set up as a shoemaker after discharge from the British army. In 1822 Maclise went to the Cork Institute where he began to draw from the newly arrived collection of casts made after the antique sculpture in the Vatican, laying the foundation of the strong draftsmanship that characterizes his mature work. Richard Sainthill, antiquary and connoisseur, encouraged Maclise and introduced him to local literary and artistic circles, which were influenced by the Romantic movement and interested in Irish antiquities and oral traditions. Maclise was a central figure in this early phase of the Irish revival, and maintained an interest in Irish subject-matter throughout his career; in 1833 he painted Snap Apple, and in 1841 contributed illustrations to Samuel Carter Halls Ireland: Its Scenery and Character. When Sir Walter Scott visited Cork in 1825, Maclise made a sketch of him that was lithographed, and that inaugurated his public career. He set up a studio in Cork where he specialized in finely penciled portrait drawings. During 1826 he traveled extensively in Co. Wicklow, Co. Tipperary and Co. Kerry, searching out picturesque views, although his landscape drawings were rather linear and old-fashioned, as in Moar Abbey near Cashel (1826).
— A Scene from Undine (1843, 45x61cm; 907x1252pix, 187kb) _ detail (1186x970pix, 194kb) _ The subject is based on a moment in the romantic German novel Undine by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué [12 Feb 1777 – 23 Jan 1843], which was first translated into English in 1818 and became almost as popular with artists in England as Goethe's Faust. The incident painted by Maclise occurs in chapter IX, where the young knight, Huldbrand, accompanies his bride, Undine, back home through the forest. The priest, Father Heilmann, who has just performed the marriage ceremony, follows behind and is visible beneath the branch of the tree. Ahead is the dark and sinister apparition, Kuhleborn, the spirit of the waters and the uncle of Undine. Huldbrand draws his sword on Kuhleborn and then strikes him, whereupon the spirit of the waters is transformed into a waterfall. Clearly the painting illustrates the forces of good, represented by the newly married couple, overcoming the power of evil, symbolised by the looming figure of the water god. The narrative element of the picture is aligned on a diagonal, which is contained within a bower populated by elves, goblins and water-nymphs associated with the surrounding forest.
The composition is a triumph of design with the main elements of the story formed by an ornamental border of considerable intricacy. Maclise used other such borders for several of his book illustrations including those for The Chimes by Charles Dickens of 1844 and Irish Melodies by Thomas Moore of 1845. Maclise has here relied on German sources for the decorative features, and was clearly influenced by German illustrators.
Maclise was of Irish origin and in 1827 he came to London, where he almost immediately gained recognition as a portrait draftsman, drawing numerous likenesses for Eraser's Magazine. He painted historical and literary subjects, several as frescoes for the Palace of Westminster. Maclise formed close friendships with the novelists Charles Dickens and William Makepeace Thackeray as well as his compatriot, the poet Thomas Moore, and the politician Benjamin Disraeli. With all of these he shared an ebullience of character and a sense of humor, but this later gave way to melancholy and pessimism.
— Merry Christmas in the Baron's Hall (1838; 241kb)
— King Cophetua and the Beggarmaid (137kb)
— The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife (171kb)
— Snap-Apple Night (166kb)
— Charles Dickens (1839, 103kb)
— Scene from Twelfth Night (Malvolio and the Countess) (1840, 74x125cm) _ This picture shows an incident in Act 3 scene 4 of Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night. Malvolio is a pompous steward in the household of the rich Countess Olivia. Fed up with his behavior, his colleagues trick him into believing that Olivia is in love with him. A forged letter in Olivia's name leads Malvolio to think that it is his yellow cross-gartered stockings which particularly attract her to him. Thus dressed, Malvolio's ridiculous appearance and behavior while he attempts to court Olivia in her garden leads to him being imprisoned as a madman.
— The Play Scene in Hamlet (1842, 152x274cm) _ At the beginning of Shakespeare's play Hamlet, the ghost of Hamlet's father reveals that he was murdered by his own brother, Claudius, who is now king. Claudius had killed the king by pouring poison into his ear while he was asleep in his garden. Later in the play, Hamlet arranges for some strolling actors to put on a play in which the murder is re-enacted. Maclise shows the scene in the hall of Elsinore Castle during the performance. Claudius is about to leap to his feet and thereby expose his guilt.
— The Faun and the Fairies (412x580pix, 57kb)
Born on 25 January 1585: Hendrick
van Avercamp de Stomme van Kampen, Dutch painter
who died on 15 May 1634.
Active in Kampen, he was the most famous exponent of the winter landscape. He was deaf and dumb and known as the mute of Kampen. His paintings are colorful and lively, with carefully observed skaters, tobogganers, golfers, and pedestrians Avercamp's work enjoyed great popularity and he sold his drawings, many of which are tinted with watercolor, as finished pictures to be pasted into the albums of collectors. His nephew and student Barent Avercamp [1612-1679] carried on his style in an accomplished manner.
–- A Winter Scene with Skaters near a Castle (1609, round 41cm diameter; 900x900pix, 181kb _ .ZOOM to 1350x1350pix, 180kb _ .ZOOM+ to 2700x2700pix, 1427kb) _ Avercamp’s lively picture is typical of his winter scenes in which men and women from every level of society enjoy themselves on the ice. Elegantly designed, the spindly silhouetted tree frames the castle behind, while the distance is lost in a frosty haze. The scene is imagined, no such castle existed, but Avercamp has filled it with carefully observed and witty incident and detail. Smartly dressed couples hold hands and skate into the picture, children play on the left and near the picture’s center a man crashes to the ice while his partner throws up her arms in horror.
Winter Landscape with Ice skaters (1608, 88x132cm) _ Crowds of people are on the ice in a scene that stretches far into the distance. There is considerable variety among the people, both in clothing and in what they are doing. Some of those portrayed are having fun, while others appear to be working. Avercamp has included several daring details, such as the couple making love, bare buttocks, and a man urinating. People are enjoying themselves in different ways. Of course, many are skating, on their own, in rows, or in pairs. Some people are playing kolf (a sport in which a ball is struck with a kolf stick, which is a cross between a golf club and a hockey stick; the object is to hit the poles on the kolf pitch; kolf was played both on land and on ice; for centuries, from the Middle Ages on, it was as popular in the Low Countries as football is today; West Friesland is the only place in which kolf is still played., a game resembling ice hockey). Others are playing with sleighs and sailing on the ice. For some the daily toil never stops. They are shown here engaged in their work. There is a reed cutter carrying a bunch of reeds; the eel fisher carries his trident over his shoulder and the fish in a net. Beside the brewery, recognizable from its signboard, a hole has been made in the ice so that water can be drawn out for brewing beer. A ragged person is begging for bread.
Avercamp has included several anecdotes in his winter landscape. We see a bare behind emerging from a small boat, as well as a man urinating against a tree, another in a ditch, and a couple making love in a hay stack. The way the painter has signed this work is also humorous: on a tumbledown building in the right foreground the name 'Haenricus Av' appears on the wall like graffiti, with a small figure beside it. It has been suggested that fun on the ice refers to the slipperiness of the human condition. This would imply that the painting was meant as a lesson on morality. But whether this was what Avercamp intended is impossible to tell.
Avercamp painted winter scenes throughout the year, partly based on sketches and partly from memory. Like other seventeenth-century artists he did not go outside to paint from nature, but worked indoors in his studio. He combined his sketches to form a single composition with the result that his perspective is not always accurate. In this painting the perspective is not quite right either. The trees in the foreground and the house in the center appear to be at eye level, while the brewery in the foreground is seen from above, from a kind of bird's-eye view. A high view point of this type is characteristic of early seventeenth-century landscapes such as this scene on the ice.
Avercamp's typically Dutch winter scene has Flemish predecessors. This appears from the composition as well as from the bird trap in the foreground. The bird trap with its cage on a small stick is an exact copy of a well-known painting of that time by Pieter Bruegel (Landscape, 1565). Avercamp also appears to have emphasized the Flemish connection by painting the coat of arms of the city of Antwerp on the brewery building. The three-dimensional effect in this picture is remarkable. With its extreme depth Avercamp manages to include countless figures and anecdotal scenes.
The weather is hazy, the light filtered. The colors fade into the distance and shapes become vague. In this 'atmospheric perspective' depth is suggested by change of color. The trees to the left and right of the small boat in the foreground emphasize the sense of depth and form a repoussoir. The viewer's gaze is carried into the distance, along the thickly frozen river. There are occasional red accents of color. In the foreground a small dog appears to be chasing its own shadow. In fact this is the first painted version of the dog that Avercamp apparently placed in the wrong position. Over the years the overpainting has become transparent.
Enjoying the Ice (1634, 25x38cm) _ There are all sorts of things going on in this flooded river landscape. It seems as though everyone is out on the ice in the freezing cold. In the foreground kolf (^) is being played and there are people skating everywhere. At the same time there are also people working: on the right someone is fishing for eels with a long spike and on the left of the foreground a workman is walking with a hay fork and waders over his shoulder. The view of the meadows is framed by buildings. In the distance a sort of fairy-tale castle looms up. On the left is a village and further up a small city can be seen. In the village the Dutch flag is flying on a long flagpole. Is this a celebration?
— Fishermen by Moonlight (1625, 14x19cm) _ In the pale moonlight fishermen are working on a river while fire glows in the distance where boats are being repaired. Hendrick Avercamp has conjured the nocturnal atmosphere with masterly skill. After drawing the design in pen and ink, the artist added body color over the entire surface of the composition. The contours of the figures are clearly outlined: this type of paint cannot be mixed and each brushstroke remains separate, requiring the artist to work with utmost control. Thus the glistening reflection of the moonlight on the water is rendered solely with cross-hatching in white body color. 'Paintings on paper' like this were intended for display as autonomous works of art. They were a cheap alternative to oil paintings.
Avercamp learned his trade from Pieter Isackszoon in Amsterdam. His work also betrays the influence of Flemish landscape painters such as Gillis van Coninxloo. The Flemish tradition is discernable in Avercamp's early work. These are narrative pieces: landscapes with high horizons and staffage. Later, winter landscapes became his specialty. Avercamp's drawings were often intended as preparatory sketches for paintings, although he also produced autonomous works on paper, like this nocturnal scene.
River Landscape (18x28cm) _ After an apprenticeship in Amsterdam with portrait and historical painter Pieter Isackszoon, Hendrick Avercamp began to specialize in painting winter landscapes. In composing these he drew on a large supply of sketches of individual figures drawn from life. These rapid sketches of people going about their daily activities and pastimes on the ice or in the open field also served for composing, back in the studio, more developed, colored drawings such as this River Landscape. His lively pen, the bright color contrasts and the spatial continuity between the foreground and middle ground provide this scene with a freshness characteristic of the innovative middle period of Avercamp's career. The drawing attracts us with its narrative and realistic style. It is also very ingeniously structured, as can be seen in the skilful positioning of the man on the shore in the left-hand foreground, and in the lively interaction between the wind-swelled sails of the smaller and larger ships. The fishermen look on motionless, revealing the sober, at times humorous but never mocking eye that Avercamp casts on his surroundings.
The contours of the figures are drawn in pen and the intervening space is carefully filled in with water color and body color. Avercamp probably borrowed the use of aquarelle and gouache from Jan Brueghel the Elder and the Flemish emigrants living in Amsterdam, such as Hans Bol, Jacob Savery and David Vinckboons, whose works he had got to know during his apprenticeship with Pieter Isackszoon Avercamp was one of the first Dutch draftsmen who in the early 17th century developed this aquarelle technique specifically as a separate, independent art form. His pen drawings, illuminated with water colors, were so carefully finished and richly detailed that they were highly sought after by connoisseurs and art lovers. Indeed some were not, as was customary, kept in albums, but glued to panels and framed, and hung as a cheap alternative to paintings. Avercamp directed his efforts not only at the local art market in and around Kampen, but also and in particular at that of Amsterdam, where, according to contemporary documents, he was held in high renown.
A Scene on the Ice near a Town (1615, 58x90cm) _ Hendrick Avercamp was known as de stom van Kampen (the mute of Kampen) because he was dumb. He was baptized in the Old Church in Amsterdam on 27 January 1585 but in the following year his parents moved to Kampen where his father was the town apothecary. Avercamp seems to have trained in Amsterdam with Pieter Isackszoon, who was a history painter, portraitist and draftsman in an elegant, late Mannerist style quite unlike that of Avercamp. Avercamp's manner is based in the first place on that of the Flemish followers of Pieter Bruegel the Elder and he presumably came into contact with some of his followers who had settled in Amsterdam, such as David Vinckboons. Avercamp developed the style of Bruegel and Vinckboons in the direction of more decorative effects, creating scenes crammed with small figures and full of incident. He also possessed a refined sense of color, carefully placing pinks, reds, blacks and whites with touches of yellow and green to create delicate and subtle effects. He principally painted winter scenes and made many watercolors of these and of fishermen and peasants: a large group of these watercolors is in the Royal Collection.
There are dated paintings by Avercamp from 1608 until 1632 but they show relatively little development in style: the earlier paintings are more 'Flemish', that is, closer to Bruegel and his followers; but once he had mastered a successful style Avercamp saw little need to change it substantially. The dating of paintings which do not bear a date is therefore difficult but this particular winter landscape appears to be from about 1615. It has been supposed that the building on the right is the Half Moon Brewery at Kampen but only a few barrels outside suggest it is a brewery, and the vaguely indicated town in the distance does not seem to be Kampen. The tower is closer to that of the Sint Cunerakerk in Rhenen. Avercamp was buried in the Sint Nicolaaskerk in Kampen. His nephew, Barent Pieterszoon Avercamp, who also lived and worked for much of his life in Kampen, was a close follower, as was Arent Arentszoon of Amsterdam.
— Winter Landscape with Sledders (1620, 19×36 cm; 400x800pix, 63kb _ ZOOM to 2049x4096pix, 538kb)
— Skaters (1615, 24x38cm; 516x800pix, 94kb _ ZOOM to 2062x3200pix, 595kb)
Winter Scene on a Canal _ Avercamp spent most of his life in the small quiet town of Kampen on the eastern shore of the Zuider Zee. Residence relatively far from the principal artistic centers of the Netherlands helps to explain why this delightful artist, who discovered the pictorial qualities of flat landscapes and was the first to specialize in winter scenes of outdoor sport and leisure, had little influence on the development of Dutch landscape painting.
Avercamp's pictures peopled with motley crowds of all ages and classes skating, sledging, golfing, and fishing on the frozen canals of Holland fascinate social historians as well as art historians. The latter sometimes find him a troublesome painter, because it is difficult to trace his development. The plain fact seems to be that he did not have a marked one. From the very beginning he could paint a landscape with a high horizon, a great accumulation of detail, and a number of light colors, or one with a low horizon, few details, and vivid colors in the foreground which lighten as they recede to the distance. The two possibilities existed simultaneously and could be used at will until the end of his career, depending on either the artist's, or his patron's predilections.
Winter Landscape (1610, 25x34cm) _ Avercamp's early Winter Landscape, with its general view and colorful narrative character, is very much in the tradition of the famous winter landscapes by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. But Avercamp's winter landscapes painted after the 1620s - reflecting the trends of the period - are composed with the now fashionable low horizon and vanishing-point perspective.