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DEATHS: 1721 WATTEAU — 1610 CARAVAGGIO
BIRTH: 1871 BALLABAPTISM: 1659 RIGAUD
^ Died on 18 July 1721: Jean-Antoine Watteau, French painter, baptized as an infant on 10 October 1684.
— Watteau typified the lyrically charming and graceful style of the Rococo. Much of his work reflects the influence of the commedia dell'arte and the opéra ballet (e.g. The French Comedy 1716).
            Watteau was baptized at the church of Saint Jacques in Valenciennes. He was the son of Jean-Philippe Watteau, master roofer and carpenter, who knew how to read and write, and was officially registered as a bourgeois. All we know about Watteau’s mother is the name: Michelle, née Lordenois; of Watteau’s three brothers that they continued his father’s enterprise. It is unknown whether his parents encouraged his artistic vocation. None the less they allowed the boy, on turning fifteen, to get some instruction from Jacques-Albert Gérin, the correct, mediocre official painter of Valenciennes.
            After the death of Gérin (in 1702), Watteau studied under another painter, who specialized in decorating theaters. Watteau accompanied this man to Paris, where he was called to decorate the Opera House. Watteau helped his master for a few months, then moved back to his native town. From this short experience Watteau derived various staging devices, a certain science of costume and setting, and theatrical poses, which lend his pictures the character of pantomime. Later in Paris at the print-shop of Pierre II Mariette and his son Jean, Watteau had ample opportunities to study the great masters in the collection there (Rubens, Titian, Bruegel, Callot and others). He met there (in 1703) Claude Gillot, who asked him to come and lodge together. Gillot had won some recognition with pictures drawn from the performances of the commedia dell’arte. It seems that Watteau borrowed from him the idea of the fêtes galantes. In 1707 Watteau left Gillot for obscure reasons. His new partner was Claude Audran.
            Before or after parting with Audran, at any rate between 1708 and 1711, he left for Valenciennes with some money paid him by the art dealer Sirois, Gersaint’s father-in-law, for a picture. The town was then in a zone of military operations. The warlike bustle and atmosphere inspired him. Such subjects were, in fact, quite current. Watteau did not work on commission but only as it pleased him, which did not prevent his pictures from being purchased. That accounts for the naturalness and vivacity of his military-scene sketches and for the free treatment of his paintings. Like veritable pieces of reportage, the painted scenes do not have usual solemnity of such pictures. Instead of celebrating grandees, they capture the truth of life.
            On his return to Paris Watteau competed for the Prize of Rome, which would have enabled him to go to Italy and study the great masters there. The attempts failed. Watteau was now living in Sirois’ house. He frequented the theatres and, abandoning the military scenes, began to paint fêtes galantes, quasi-pastoral idylls in court dress which became fashionable in high society. Still dreaming of Italy, he submitted a few works (Jealousy, or Pierrot Content, A Party for Four and A Jealous Harlequin) to the Royal Academy of painting, in the same hope of being sent to Rome. Once again he failed, but was asked to join the Academy.
            After 1712 Watteau disappeared for a while and this period is almost totally unknown. In 1717 he joined the Academy of Painting. Of the two versions of the Embarkation for Cythera, one in Berlin and one in the Louvre, the earlier one in Louvre was the enrollment picture which Watteau deposited with the Académie in 1717 – a little belatedly, as he had become an Academician in 1712.
            The tinge of melancholy in Watteau’s work is matched by his life. A lifelong sufferer from tuberculosis he went to London in 1719 partly in hopes that the famous Dr. Mead might cure his consumption, partly, perhaps from desire to extend his sphere of action. He was already, however, fatally ill. On his return to France (in 1720), he painted his last great work, depicting the interior of the shop of his art-dealer friend Gersaint, drawn from nature and intended as a signboard, but in fact the most classical and most perfectly composed of his paintings:
      _ L'Enseigne de Gersaint. As his death approached, he destroyed, being persuaded by the abbot of Carreau Abby, a large number of his more erotic paintings.
            Watteau never had his own house and moved from one friend, or patron, to another. Watteau died in Gersaint’s house on 18 July 1721, in the arms of Gersaint. He was 37.
            During his 15-year artistic career, Watteau tacked a wide variety of genres, subjects and techniques: tapestry cartoons and ceiling decorations, wainscot, fans and harpsichord panels, also allegoric and satirical pictures, genre painting, military, theatrical and religious scenes, landscapes and rustic subjects, character heads and portraits. He gave his full measure, however, in his fêtes galantes. By the specificity he lent this theme, which is now strikingly associated with his name, Watteau succeeded in establishing it as a distinct genre. These fêtes galantes entirely crystallize the spirit of his painting. Essentially aristocratic in conception, Watteau’s paintings fell into disfavor at the Revolution, and it was not until the end of the 19th century that they regained popularity. Watteau is now regarded as a forerunner of the Impressionists in his handling of color and study of nature.
— Watteau was the greatest French painter of his period and one of the key figures of Rococo art. He was born at Valenciennes, which had passed to France from the Spanish Netherlands only six years before his birth, and he was regarded by contemporaries as a Flemish painter. There are indeed strong links with Flanders in his art, but it also has a sophistication that is quintessentially French.
      He moved to Paris in about 1702 and about 1703-1707 he worked with Gillot, who stimulated his interest in theatrical costume and scenes from daily life. Soon afterwards he joined Claude Audran, Keeper of the Luxembourg Palace, and thus had access to Rubens's Marie de Médicis paintings {e.g.
      _ The Happiness of the Regency (1625, 394 x 295 cm)}, which were of enormous influence on him, even though Rubens's robustness was far removed from the fragile delicacy that characterized Watteau's art. Rubens was one of the prime inspirations for the type of picture with which Watteau is most associated, fête galante, in which exquisitely dressed young people idle away their time in a dreamy, romantic, pastoral setting. The tradition of lovers in a parkland setting goes back via Giorgione to the medieval type known as the Garden of Love, but Watteau was the first painter to make the theme his own, and his individuality was recognized by his contemporaries.
      In 1717 he submitted a characteristic work,
      _ The Pilgrimage to the Island of Cythera (there is a slightly later variant), as his belated reception piece to the Academy, and owing to the difficulty of fitting him into recognized categories was received as a 'peintre de fêtes galantes', a title created expressly for him. He was, indeed, a highly independent artist, who did not readily submit to the will of patrons or officialdom, and the novelty and freshness of his work delivered French painting from the yoke of Italianate academicism. creating a truly 'Parisian' outlook that endured until the Neoclassicism of David. Watteau's world is a highly artificial one (apart from scenes of love he took his themes mainly from the theatre), but underlying the frivolity is a feeling of melancholy, reflecting the certain knowledge that all the pleasures of the flesh are transient. This poetic gravity distinguishes him from his imitators, and parallels are often drawn between Watteau's own life and character and the content of his paintings. He was notorious for his irritable and restless temperament and died early of tuberculosis, and it is felt that the constant reminder of his own mortality that his illness entailed 'infected' his pictures with a melancholic mood.
      In 1719 he went to London, almost certainly to consult the celebrated physician Dr. Richard Mead, but the hard English winter worsened his condition. His early death came when he may have been making a new departure in his art, for his last important work combines something of the straightforward naturalism of his early pictures in the Flemish tradition with the exquisite sensitivity of his fêtes galantes: it is a shop sign painted for the picture dealer Edmé Gersaint and known as
      _ L' Enseigne de Gersaint (1721 ).
      Watteau was careless in matters of material technique and many of his paintings are in consequence in a poor state of preservation. A complete picture of his genius depends all the more, then, on his numerous superb drawings {e.g.
      _ Head of a Man (15x13cm)}, many of them scintillating studies from life. He collected his drawings into large bound volumes and used these books as a reference source for his paintings (the same figure often appears in more than one picture). In spite of his difficult temperament, Watteau had many loyal friends and supporters who recognized his genius, and although his reputation suffered with the Revolution and the growth of Neoclassicism, he always had distinguished admirers. It is perhaps as a colorist that he has had the most profound influence. His method of juxtaposing flecks of color on the canvas was carried further by Delacroix and later reduced to a science by Seurat and the Neo-Impressionists. Watteau's principal, but much inferior, followers were Lancret and Pater. He also had a nephew and a great-nephew (father and son) who worked more-or-less in his manner. They are both known as 'Watteau de Lille' after their main place of work - Louis-Joseph Watteau [1731-1798] and François-Louis-Joseph Watteau [1758-1823].
— Watteau is considered the greatest painter of early eighteenth-century France. He went to Paris in 1702 and became acquainted with Pierre Mariette, who enabled him to study the works of such artists as Jacques Callot, Titian, and Rubens. In the studio of Claude Gillot, he learned theatrical themes, and through Claude Audran, concierge of the Luxembourg Palace, he had the revelatory experience of studying Rubens's Marie de Medici cycle. Watteau returned to Valenciennes in 1710, where he produced scenes of military life. Upon arriving again in Paris, he met Pierre Crozat, a wealthy amateur, whose collection of drawings was to prove influential in the perfection of the artist's craR. In 1717 Watteau was elected to membership in the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture with Pilgrimage to the Island of Cythera as a painter of fêtes galantes, a genre created especially for him, and. which he refined and amplified as his own pictorial invention. He went to England in 1719-1720, but poor health brought him back to France, where he died at the age of thirty seven. Watteau's personal style, characterized by a delicate palette and sensitivity to atmosphere, brought him great acclaim during his lifetime.

LINKS
The Fortune Teller
L'Amour au Théâtre Français _ aka The French Comedy (1714, 37x48cm) _ In 1734 The French Comedy and
      _ The Italian Comedy were reproduced as copper engravings by C. N. Cochin. He named them respectively L'Amour au théâtre français and L'Amour au théâtre italien, thus making the artist's intentions clear.
      A shepherd and shepherdess in a park, surrounded by a company of people, form the focal point of the French Comedy. Bacchus is reclining on a stone bench, drinking to a huntsman, while musicians provide music for the dance. One must not assume that Watteau had any particular play in mind; he was probably aiming to portray the various characters of the Comedy. This does not mean that he never depicted real people or happenings; at all events he will have taken for granted that the observer or his patron would be able to recognize such details. The gentleman in black on the right is in all probability the well-known actor Paul Poisson.
      The theater plays an important part in Watteau's art. His teacher Gillot, with whom the twenty-year-old Flemish-born painter began his work in Paris, appears to have encouraged this interest in the theatre. Watteau's most famous portrait, the Gilles in the Louvre, is the portrayal of a stage character. Stage-play and reality are strangely interwoven, as they are also in his pictures of social occasions, the fêtes galantes, which Watteau originated and executed with such artistry. These gained for him recognition by the French Academy.
–- Une Pause Pendant la Chasse (650x645pix, 60kb _ .ZOOM to 975x967pix, 85kb)
–- Réunion (577x762pix, 80kb _ .ZOOM to 1154x1524pix, 138kb)
–- Pierrot (Gilles) (750x570pix, 48kb _ ZOOM to 1125x855pix, 64kb _ ZOOM+ to 2461x1938pix, 759kb)
–- Pierrot Content (35x31cm; 1000x874pix, 502kb)
–- La Leçon de Musique (553x700pix, 65kb _ .ZOOM to 829x1050pix, 82kb)
–- Seated Woman (800x541pix, 61kb _ .ZOOM to 1200x811pix, 80kb)
–- Seated Woman Holding a Fan (800x484pix, 89kb)
–- 3 studies of a boy's head (brown and black drawing; 592x650pix, 64kb _ ZOOM to 888x975pix, 84kb)
–- La Contredanse (1719, 45x55cm; 892x1090pix, 217kb _ ZOOM to 1784x2180pix, 895kb)
–- La partie carrée (1713, 50x63cm; 1768x2336pix, 766kb)
The Italian Comedy (1714)
Les Charmes de la Vie (1718, 69x90cm; 538x738pix, 64kb) _ detail (694x597pix, 64kb) _ This painting, which shows a family of which only the two men (seen in the detail) seem to be listening to a guitar player next to an unattended cello, inspired the 1957 Les Charmes de la vie Op. 360 (Hommage à Watteau) pour piano ou orchestre by Darius Milhaud [04 Sep 1892 – 22 Jun 1974]
75 ZOOMable images at Wikimedia
—(080717)
^ Died on 18 July 1610: Michelangelo Merisi “Caravaggio”, Italian Baroque era painter born on 28 September 1573. His students included Juan Bautista Mayno.
—      Michelangelo Merisi, called later Caravaggio, was born in either Milan, or the town Caravaggio near Milan, the son of a ducal architect. His early training started in 1584 under Simone Peterzano, a little known student of Titian, and continued till 1588.
     In 1592, Caravaggio went to Rome. His contact with Giuseppe Cesare d’Arpino (1568-1640), the most popular painter and art dealer in Rome at the turn of the century, brought him recognition.  Through the art business Caravaggio met his first patron Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte, who not only held out the possibility of working independently, but also secured for him his first public commission: side paintings in the Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi. For Cardinal’s  Casino dell’Aurora he painted
      _ Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto (1600).
     From then on he was flooded by public commissions. Yet because of his violent temper he was constantly in trouble with the law. Since 1600, he is regularly mentioned in police records, is constantly under accusations of assault, libel and other crimes. In 1606, he became involved in murder and had to flee, finding refuge on the estates of Prince Marzio Colonna, where he painted
      _ Madonna of the Rosary (1607).
      On his wanderings he paused in Naples, painting exclusively religious themes:
      _ Seven Works of Mercy (1607),
      _ The Flagellation of Christ (1607). Not only these, but almost all of Caravaggio’s religious subjects emphasize sadness, suffering, and death.
    In Malta he was housed by the Knights of Saint John and painted several portraits of the
      _ Grand Master, Alof de Wignacourt. The artistically fertile Maltese period brought him the title of a Knight of Saint John of Malta in 1608, but was shortly interrupted by imprisonment for a passionate quarrel with a noble and a renewed flight.
    Going through Syracuse and Messina, where some major late works came into being,
      _ The Raising of Lazarus (1609) Caravaggio went on to Palermo and from there again to Naples. Here the news of the Pope’s pardon reached him but, on arriving at Porto Escole by ship, he was again arrested, though later released. By then the ship had sailed, carrying away all his possessions. Struck down by a fever, he died without setting foot in Rome again.
    Few artists in history have exercised as extraordinary an influence as this tempestuous and short-lived painter. Caravaggio was destined to turn a large part of European art away from the ideal viewpoint of the Renaissance to the concept that simple reality was of primary importance. He was one of the first to paint people as ordinary looking.
^
—      Caravaggio was the byname of Michelangelo Merisi, whose revolutionary technique of tenebrism, or dramatic, selective illumination of form out of deep shadow, became a hallmark of Baroque painting. Scorning the traditional idealized interpretation of religious subjects, he took his models from the streets and painted them realistically. His three paintings of Saint Matthew (1602) caused a sensation and were followed by such masterpieces as
      _ The Supper at Emmaus (1602; ZOOMable) and
      _ Death of the Virgin (1606).
      Caravaggio was the son of Fermo Merisi, steward and architect of the Marquis of Caravaggio. Orphaned at age 11, Caravaggio was apprenticed in the same year to the painter Simone Peterzano of Milan.
      At some time between 1588 and 1592, Caravaggio went to Rome. He was already in possession of the fundamental technical skills of painting and had acquired, with characteristic eagerness, a thorough understanding of the approach of the Lombard and Venetian painters, who, opposed to idealized Florentine painting, had developed a style that was nearer to representing nature and events. Caravaggio arrived in Rome and settled into the cosmopolitan society of the Campo Marzio. This decaying neighborhood of inns, eating houses, temporary shelter, and little picture shops in which Caravaggio came to live suited his circumstances and his temperament. He was virtually without means, and his inclinations were always toward anarchy and against tradition.
      These first five years were an anguishing period of instability and humiliation. According to his biographers, Caravaggio was "needy and stripped of everything" and moved from one unsatisfactory employment to another, working as an assistant to painters of much smaller talent. He earned his living for the most part with hackwork and never stayed more than a few months at any studio. Finally, probably in 1595, he decided to set out on his own and began to sell his pictures through a dealer, a certain Maestro Valentino, who brought Caravaggio's work to the attention of Cardinal Francesco del Monte, a prelate of great influence in the papal court. Caravaggio soon came under the protection of Del Monte and was invited to receive board, lodging, and a pension in the house of the cardinal.
      Despite spiritual and material deprivations, Caravaggio had painted up to the beginning of Del Monte's patronage about 40 works. The subjects of this period are mostly adolescent boys, as in
      _ Boy with a Fruit Basket (1593),
      _ The Young Bacchus (1593), and
      _ The Music Party. These early pictures reveal a fresh, direct, and empirical approach; they were apparently painted directly from life and show almost no trace of the academic Mannerism then prevailing in Rome. The felicitous tone and confident craftsmanship of these early works stand in sharp contrast to the daily quality of Caravaggio's disorderly and dissipated life. In
      _ Basket of Fruit (1596) the fruits, painted with brilliance and vivid realism, are handsomely disposed in a straw basket and form a striking composition in their visual apposition.
      With these works realism won its battle with Mannerism, but it is in the cycle of the life of Saint Matthew in the Contarelli Chapel that Caravaggio's realistic naturalism first fully appears. Probably through the agency of Del Monte, Caravaggio obtained, in 1597, the commission for the decoration of the Contarelli Chapel in the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome. This commission established him, at the age of 24, as a pictor celeberrimus, a "renowned painter," with important protectors and clients. The task was an imposing one. The scheme called for three large paintings of scenes from the saint's life:
      _ Saint Matthew and the Angel,
      _ The Calling of Saint Matthew, and
      _ The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew. The execution (1598-1601) of all three, in which Caravaggio substituted a dramatic contemporary realism for the traditional pictorial formulas used in depicting saints, provoked public astonishment. Perhaps Caravaggio was waiting for this test, on public view at last, to reveal the whole range of his diversity. His novelty in these works not only involves the surface appearance of structure and subject but also the sense of light and even of time. The first version of the canvas that was to go over the altar, Saint Matthew and the Angel, was so offensive to the canons of San Luigi dei Francesi, who had never seen such a representation of a saint, that it had to be redone. In this work the evangelist has the physical features of a plowman or a common laborer. His big feet seem to stick out of the picture, and his posture, legs crossed, is awkward almost to the point of vulgarity. The angel does not stand graciously by but forcefully pushes Matthew's hand over the page of a heavy book, as if he were guiding an illiterate. What the canons did not understand was that Caravaggio, in elevating this humble figure, was copying Christ, who had himself raised Matthew from the street.
      The other two scenes of the Saint Matthew cycle are no less disconcerting in the realism of their drama.
      The Calling of Saint Matthew (1600, 322x340cm; _ ZOOM to 1916x2024pix, 176kb) shows the moment at which two men and two worlds confront each other: Christ, in a burst of light, entering the room of the toll collector, and Matthew, intent on counting coins in the midst of a group of gaily dressed idlers with swords at their sides. In the glance between the two men, Matthew's world is dissolved. On 30 August 2006, Pope Benedict XVI, in an address on Saint Matthew, commented: “To imagine the scene described in Mt 9: 9, it suffices to recall Caravaggio's magnificent canvas.”
     _ The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew the event is captured just at the moment when the executioner is forcing his victim to the ground. The scene is a public street, and, as Matthew's acolyte flees in terror, passersby glance at the act with idle unconcern. The most intriguing aspect of these narratives is that they seem as if they were being performed in thick darkness when a sudden illumination revealed them and fixed them in memory at the instant of their most intense drama.
      Caravaggio's three paintings for the Contarelli Chapel not only caused a sensation in Rome but also marked a radical change in his artistic preoccupation. Henceforth he would devote himself almost entirely to the painting of traditional religious themes, to which, however, he gave a whole new iconography and interpretation. He often chose subjects that are susceptible to a dramatic, violent, or macabre emphasis, and he proceeded to divest them of their idealized associations, taking his models from the streets. Caravaggio may have used a lantern hung to one side in his shuttered studio while painting from his models. The result in his paintings is a harsh, raking light that strikes across the composition, illuminating parts of it while plunging the rest into deep shadow. This dramatic illumination heightens the emotional tension, focuses the details, and isolates the figures, which are usually placed in the foreground of the picture in a deliberately casual grouping. This insistence on clarity and concentration, together with the firm and vigorous drawing of the figures, links Caravaggio's mature Roman works with the classical tradition of Italian painting during the Renaissance.
      The decoration of the Contarelli Chapel was completed by 1602. Caravaggio, though not yet 30, overshadowed all his contemporaries. There was a swarm of orders for his pictures, private and ecclesiastical.
      _ The Crucifixion of Saint Peter (1601) and
      _ The Conversion of Saint Paul,
      _ The Deposition of Christ (1604), and
      _ The Death of the Virgin (1606) are among the monumental works he produced at this time. Some of these paintings, done at the high point of Caravaggio's artistic maturity, provoked violent reaction. The
      _ Madonna with Pilgrims, or Madonna di Loreto (1606), for the Church of San Agostino, was a scandal because of the "dirty feet and torn, filthy cap" of the two old people kneeling in the foreground. The Death of the Virgin was refused by the Carmelites because of the indignity of the Virgin's plebeian features, bared legs, and swollen belly. At the advice of Rubens, the picture was bought by the Duke of Mantua in April 1607 and displayed to the community of painters at Rome for one week before removal to Mantua.
     Artists, men of learning, and enlightened prelates were fascinated by the robust and bewildering art of Caravaggio, but the negative reaction of church officials reflected the self-protective irritation of academic painters and the instinctive resistance of the more conservative clergy and much of the populace. The more brutal aspects of Caravaggio's paintings were condemned partly because Caravaggio's common people bear no relation to the graceful suppliants popular in much of Counter-Reformation art. They are plain working men, muscular, stubborn, and tenacious.
      Criticism did not cloud Caravaggio's success, however. His reputation and income increased, and he began to be envied. The despairing bohemian of the early Roman years had disappeared, but, although he moved in the society of cardinals and princes, the spirit was the same, still given to wrath and riot.
      The details of the first Roman years are unknown, but after the time of the Contarelli project Caravaggio had many encounters with the law. In 1600 he was accused of blows by a fellow painter, and the following year he wounded a soldier. In 1603 he was imprisoned on the complaint of another painter and released only through the intercession of the French ambassador. In April 1604 he was accused of throwing a plate of artichokes in the face of a waiter, and in October he was arrested for throwing stones at the Roman Guards. In May 1605 he was seized for misuse of arms, and on29 July he had to flee Rome for a time because he had wounded a man in defense of his mistress. Within a year, on 29 May 1606, again in Rome, during a furious brawl over a disputed score in a game of tennis, Caravaggio killed one Ranuccio Tomassoni.
      In terror of the consequences of his act, Caravaggio, himself wounded and feverish, fled the city and sought refuge on the nearby estate of a relative of the Marquis of Caravaggio. He then moved on to other places of hiding and eventually reached Naples, probably in early 1607. He remained at Naples for a time, painting a
      _ Madonna of the Rosary for the Flemish painter Louis Finson and one of his late masterpieces,
      _ The Seven Works of Mercy, for the Chapel of Monte della Misericordia. It is impossible to ignore the connection between the dark and urgent nature of this painting and what must have been his desperate state of mind. It is also the first indication of a shift in his painting style.
     At the end of 1607 or the beginning of 1608, Caravaggio traveled to Malta, where he was received as a celebrated artist He worked hard, completing several works, the most important of which was
      _ The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist for the cathedral in Valletta. In this scene of martyrdom, shadow, which in earlier paintings stood thick about the figures, is here drawn back, and the infinite space that had been evoked by the huge empty areas of the earlier compositions is replaced by a high, overhanging wall. This high wall, which reappears in later works, can be linked to a consciousness in Caravaggio's mind of condemnation to a limited space, the space between the narrow boundaries of flight and prison. On 14 July 1608, Caravaggio was received into the Order of Malta as a "Knight of Justice"; soon afterward, however, either because word of his crime had reached Malta or because of new misdeeds, he was expelled from the order and imprisoned. He escaped, however.
      Caravaggio took refuge in Sicily, landing at Syracuse in October 1608, restless and fearful of pursuit. Yet his fame accompanied him; at Syracuse he painted his late, tragic masterpiece,
      _ The Burial of Saint Lucy, for the Church of Santa Lucia. In early 1609 he fled to Messina, where he painted
      _ The Resurrection of Lazarus and
      _ The Adoration by the Shepherds, then moved on to Palermo, where he did the
      _ Adoration with Saint Francis and Saint Lawrence for the Oratorio di San Lorenzo. The works of Caravaggio's flight, painted under the most adverse of circumstances, show a subdued tone and a delicacy of emotion that is even more intense than the overt dramatics of his earlier paintings.
      His desperate flight could be ended only with the pope's pardon, and Caravaggio may have known that there were intercessions on his behalf in Rome when he again moved north to Naples in October 1609. Bad luck pursued him, however; at the door of an inn he was attacked and wounded so badly that rumors reached Rome that the "celebrated painter" was dead. After a long convalescence he sailed in July 1610 from Naples to Rome, but he was arrested en route when his boat made a stop at Palo. On his release, he discovered that the boat had already sailed, taking his belongings. Setting out to overtake the vessel, he arrived at Port'Ercole, a Spanish possession within the Papal States, and he died there a few days later, probably of pneumonia. A document granting him clemency arrived from Rome three days after his death.
      The many painters who imitated Caravaggio's style soon became known as Caravaggisti. Caravaggio's influence in Rome itself was remarkable but short-lived, lasting only until the 1620s. His foremost followers elsewhere in Italy were Orazio Gentileschi, Artemisia Gentileschi, and the Spaniard José de Ribera. Outside Italy, the Dutch painters Hendrick Terbrugghen, Gerrit van Honthorst, and Dirck van Baburen made the city of Utrecht the foremost northern center of Caravaggism. The single most important painter in the tradition was the Frenchman Georges de La Tour, though echoes of Caravaggio's style can also be found in the works of such giants as Rembrandt van Rijn and Diego Velázquez.
^
LINKS
The Crowning With Thorns (1604, 127x166cm; 1513x2000pix, 1529kb)
Boy Peeling a Fruit (1593, 75x64cm) _ This is probably a copy from a lost original. There are several other copies, but all of these copies are derived from an original by Caravaggio. In none of them does the boy peel a pear, as sources indicate, but another fruit, perhaps a nectarine; the same fruit lies on the table before the boy. There is a remarkable resemblance between the facial types of these copies and those of the angel in the Saint Francis and the boy on the left in The Musicians at the Metropolitan Museum, New York.
Boy with a Basket of Fruit (1593, 70x67cm) One of the sure signs of an early painting by Caravaggio is the patent influence of northern Italian art. The boy with a fruit basket has analogies with
      _ The Fruitseller (1580: detail) by the Lombard painter Vincenzo Campi, painted about 1580, but Caravaggio is not content to follow the traditions on which he draws. Instead of the young women favored by his predecessors, he has chosen a teenage boy; and he has brought his subject almost to the front of the picture plane, so that the boy seems to offer himself as well as the fruit to the spectator's gaze. There is a sign of uncertainty in the awkward way that the boy's long thick neck rises out of his shoulder blades, yet there is compensation in the poetic device which places his weary eyes partially in the shade. Once again Caravaggio has used the diagonal 'cellar' light which was to become a hallmark of his style. Against a near-blank ground, attention is focused on the right side of the boy's upper body, the classical drapery on his right arm and the marvelously realized fruit, displaying (detail) succulent peaches and bunches of grapes against a near-blank ground.
Ragazzo morso dal ramarro (1594, 66x50cm; 920x681kb, 112kb) This picture is wrongly said by Mancini not to be one of Caravaggio's earliest pictures, and since he also states that the picture was sold for less than Caravaggio expected, it must have been painted as a speculative venture. One of the most effeminate of his boy models, with a rose in his hair, starts back in pain as his right-hand middle finger, which he has put into a cluster of fruit, is bitten by a lizard. The rose behind the ear, the cherries, the third finger and the lizard probably have sexual significance - the boy becomes aware, with a shock, of the pains of physical love. What was novel was not the theme so much as its dramatic treatment, evident in the boy's foreshortened right shoulder, the contrasting gestures of his hands and the leftward sloping light. What lingers most in the memory is found in the foreground: the gleaming glass carafe containing a single overblown rose in water, together with its reflections. _ detail _ To be able to paint light reflecting in glass is one of the hallmarks of a virtuoso still-life artist. Mystically-inclined interpreters see it as a suggestion of supernatural light. As his early biographers commented, Caravaggio's painting of drapery, skin and objects manage without reflected light. This distinguished him from the Mannerist painters of the preceding generation. And it makes it all the more interesting to observe how unusually he renders the round crystal-vase in this picture - he flattens it. In so doing, he inverts the lighting of the whole picture, by concentrating the light areas on the left and the dark ones on the right.
— a minutely different Boy Bitten by a Lizard (1594, 66x52; 1000x757kb, 140kb _ ZOOM to 2052x1576pix, 790kb) _ almost identical to the previous one (the rose in the vase is white instead of pink). Their equally high quality suggests that Caravaggio himself painted them both.
Saint Francis in Ecstasy (1595, 92x128cm) This is one of the artist's first works. It has a perfectly Lombard air: the broad lines of the composition recall mannerist motives. But Caravaggio's characteristic approach to reality is already at work, and his brushstroke shows a magic that could be obtained only by a thorough analysis of Venetian painting. _ detail _ The angel comes from the same repertoire as the early pictures of boys. As Cupid, he is familiar from The Musicians. In the Saint Francis scene he forms part of an arrangement set against an almost black background, which may well have been painted direct from life and transmutes the spirit of pictures of boys into the sphere of sacred art.
The Musicians (1596, 92x118cm) _ The two figures seen frontally are undoubtedly portraits, and this fact disorients those who would like to make a conventional reading of the scene and concentrate on the noble, classical character of the composition, organized around the traditional opposition between the figure of the lute player and the corresponding figure whom we see from behind. The face between these two is Caravaggio's; the figure on the left is taken from an earlier composition (Young Peeling a Pear) which we know only from copies.
The Fortune Teller (1596, 115x150cm) _ The youth abandons his reserve, leans over towards the gypsy-woman and looks into her smiling face, as if he idolized her, and as if the woman was enticing a very willing man. We cannot be absolutely sure this picture is an original Caravaggio. Its authenticity has recently been based on two arguments. The genre-scene has been painted over a praying female saint, perhaps the Virgin Mary, and the most likely painter is the Cavaliere d'Arpino. The painting also carries the same indication of provenance from Cardinal del Monte's Collection as the Cardsharps. The same subject-matter recurs in Narcissus. In the case of this not-undisputed picture, the smooth way in which the paint is applied suggests a Caravaggesque artist of some note.
— a different The Fortune Teller (1597, 99x131cm) _ detail 1 _ detail 2
The Cardsharps (1596, 90x112cm) _ The Cardsharps, lost for almost a century, has been found and is now in Texas, and helps to fill in an important stage in the development of Caravaggio's art. Behind a table that protrudes into the spectator's space, a youthful innocent studies his cards, overlooked by a sinister middle-aged man, whose fingers signal to another, younger scoundrel to his right, who holds a five of hearts behind his back. To the left-hand side of the canvas is the object of their conspiracy, a pile of coins. This low-life scene links Caravaggio's discreet dramas to the genre paintings favored by his followers. It was to have many imitators - within a few years of the painter's death an early variant had been painted by the Franco-Roman Valentin de Boulogne - but few equals. Caravaggio was less melodramatic than many of the artists known as the Caravaggisti who painted in his style, and he suggests only enough of the interaction between the three actors to imply the sequel.
The Lute Player #1 (1600, 100x126cm) _ Two pictures (this and the next) of almost the same dimensions depict a boy with soft facial features and unusually thick brown hair, pouting lips, a half-open mouth and a pensive expression beneath sharply-drawn broad eyebrows. His white shirt is open at the front, revealing the artist's intention to paint a nude. This figure has the same dimensions in both pictures, which suggests that Caravaggio traced one on to oil-paper. In this case only one picture was completed from a fresh study of a model.
      A sort of ribbon woven into the figure's hair emphasizes its almost androgynous features. The same applies - in the New York version - to a broad yoke which divides his shirt under his chest like a woman's dress. This is undoubtedly why Bellori saw this as a female lute-player, although recently it has been suggested that the model was a castrato. Light falls from a high window above left, creating a narrow triangle of brightness in the upper right-hand corner. That said, the brightly illuminated figure stands out boldly against the shadowy background.
      The strongly foreshortened lute with its bent key-board demonstrates Caravaggio's virtuoso handling of perspective. Tactile elements project towards the viewer more successfully than in the New York Concert. As in the Uffizi Bacchus, the artist places a broad table-top in front of the figure - in version #2 it is made of marble, and in version #1 covered with an oriental carpet.
      The objects in the picture include an open book of music lying on another which bears the inscription "Bassus" in Gothic script, whilst the body of a violin serves to hold the book open at the right page. In both versions Caravaggio has painted the scores of older compositions clearly enough for us to read them. The music in question is the base voice-part of a popular collection, the "libro primo" of Jacques Arcadelt, which contains other compositions as well as works by this composer. Although the artist has cut off one row of notes, he has reproduced the initial notes so exactly that in version #2 we can recognize the Roman printer, Valerio Dorica, whereas in the version #1 we can see that the book was published in Venice by Antonio Gardane.
      In version #2, the violin bow lies across the strings and the open book of music - a prominent object for the observation of light and shade. In version #1 it is handled in a much less interesting way. Placed underneath the violin scroll, the bow can scarcely be distinguished from the brownish pattern of the carpet. In this version, a stout recorder and a triangular keyboard instrument are the other objects we see. The X-ray picture shows that they were painted over a still-life. The bird-cage motif in the left-hand corner (barely visible on the photo) shows what unusual motifs Caravaggio liked to select - motifs similar to those preferred by Caravaggesque painters in the Netherlands.
      Version #2, on the other hand, plays with the motifs of Caravaggio's other early arrangements of still-life and individual figures. Pieces of fruit lie on the marble slab, extremely brightly colored and brilliantly painted. A crystal vase contains a bunch of flowers, which would have made even Jan Bruegel the Elder jealous. The colors are applied uninhibitedly with a loaded brush - with a richness and precision we do not see elsewhere in Caravaggio's work.
— a minutely different Lute Player #2 (1596, 94x119cm) This painting, mentioned in Del Monte's inventory, shows a single lutenist singing a love song; and a related 'carafe with flowers' is also listed in the catalogue of the Del Monte sale. From the seventeenth century there have been uncertainties about the gender of the singer. Baglione and the Del Monte inventory call him a boy; Bellori, who knew only a copy, calls him a girl. There are reasons for this confusion. One is the Renaissance fascination with androgyny - the singer is not much older than Shakespeare's Rosalind, who renamed herself Ganymede, and Viola, who renamed herself Cesario - and another is the Italian fashion for castrati. The lutenist, with parted lips, sings of love from the madrigal “Voi sapete ch 'io v'amo” by the Flemish composer Arcadelt. In front of him are a violin and bow which invite the spectator to take part in a duet with him; the fruit and the vegetables, and indeed the music itself, imply the harmony that should exist between lovers. Among the early works this painting must count as a virtuoso performance. The glass carafe and its flowers are painted with assured mastery, and Caravaggio is also aware of the problems of perspective that lutes and violins could cause; and he spotlights the the solo player and his instruments so as to make them the main focus of attention, the carafe of flowers so that they are a secondary focus. One of his most talented followers, Orazio Gentileschi, was to paint a girl
      _ Lute Player (1626) with a more beguiling sense of poetry, but without the sense of immediacy that was the hallmark of his master's craft. _ detail _ The open song book depicts the composition of Jacques (Jacob) Arcadelt, the bass voice of a popular madrigal Voi sapete ch ['io v'amo]. The inscription can be read as "Gallus" or "Bassus".
Bacchus (1596, 95x85cm) In order to understand the historical position of Caravaggio's art, we have to be aware of his peerless and revolutionary handling of subject matter. This is true not only of his religious themes, but also of his secular themes. His Bacchus no longer appears to us like an ancient god, or the Olympian vision of the High Renaissance and Mannerism. Instead, Caravaggio paints a rather vulgar and effeminately preened youth, who turns his plump face towards us and offers us wine from a goblet held by pertly cocked fingers with grimy nails. This is not Bacchus himself, but some perfectly ordinary individual dressed up as Bacchus, who looks at us rather wearily and yet alertly. On the one hand, by turning this heathen figure into a somewhat ambiguous purveyor of pleasures, Caravaggio is certainly the great realist he is always claimed to be. On the other hand, however, the sensual lyricism of his painting is so overwhelming that any suspicion of caricature or travesty would be inappropriate. _ detail 1 (25x20cm) Bacchus offers us wine from a goblet held by pertly cocked fingers with grimy nails. _ detail 2 (25x23cm) _ the glass carafe in the lower left corner.
Bacchino malato (1593, 67x53cm) _ Among Caravaggio's early works, this painting, in which the pose of the arm may recall his debt to the kneeling shepherd in a fresco by Peterzano, belongs to the small group which has always been seen as self-portraits. The livid colors of the subject's face, his teasing smile and the mock seriousness of his mythological dignity all reinforce the attempt to undermine the lofty pretensions of Renaissance artistic traditions. Here is no god, just a sickly young man who may be suffering from the after-effects of a hangover. There is no mistaking the artist's delight in the depiction of the fine peaches and black grapes on the slab, the white grapes in his hand and the vine leaves that crown his hair, but the artist is not content merely to demonstrate his superb technique: he wishes to play an intimate role and only the slab separates him from the viewer. His appearance is striking rather than handsome: he shows both that his face is unhealthy and that his right shoulder is not that of a bronzed Adonis, as convention required, but pale as in the case of any man who normally wears clothes.
Basket of Fruit (1597, 31x47cm) _ Caravaggio is reported to have claimed that he put as much effort into painting a vase of flowers as he did into painting human figures. Such an attitude not only calls into question the hierarchy of pictorial genres that had prevailed since Alberti, but also marks the beginning of a tradition of European still-life painting that was to develop continuously from then on. Whereas, until then, there had only been occasional cases of "pure" object paintings one by Carpaccio, a hunting trophy by Barbari and a message (1506) about one Antonio da Crevalcore, who is said to have made a "painting full of fruit" - from Caravaggio onwards, still-life was to be the most popular of genres. It is a response to the increase of private art collections and their demand for profane and virtuoso painting. Caravaggio compensated for the apparent loss of content gravity in an astonishing way. The basket is at eye level and juts out over the edge of the table into the real space of the spectator. In this formal exaggeration and with a viewpoint liberated from all attributive connotations, the otherwise trivial object takes on an unheard of monumentality that renders the secret lives of objects, the play of light on their surfaces and the variety of their textures worthy of such painting.
      The intensification of agriculture from the early 16th century onwards was accompanied by the promotion of the botanical sciences. These new insights then influenced the 'pater familias' literature, which also included advice on the improvement of fruit farming. It is worth noting that early market, kitchen and pantry paintings (e.g. by Joachim Beuckelaer, Frans Snyders and Adriaen van Utrecht) displayed not only vegetables piled up in baskets, but also fruits of all kinds, bulging out over the edge of the plate. Fruit included everything that grew on trees, such as apples, pears, nuts, cherries, plums, peaches, apricots, quinces, chestnuts, etc., as well as shrub fruit, such as blackberries, raspberries and currants. Fruit was always one of the last courses in a banquet. In the cuisine of the landed gentry and the merchant classes, great emphasis was therefore placed o the more refined fruits: wild fruit from the woods, fields and meadows were considered inferior, as they were smaller and had less taste. Every larger household therefore had an orchard that was laid out and cultivated according to the latest knowledge, where summer and winter fruits were grown that had to be frost-resistant and suitable for longer storage. Similar to nowadays, people valued firmness and a rich, juicy consistency, brought about by hybridization and special methods of cultivation. In earlier still-lifes the different fruits were still neatly separated, and depicted either as market products or freshly harvested and straight from the trees or shrubs, as in Vincenzo Campi's paintings. Later, the motif of the market or pantry with its emphasis on variety was increasingly given up in favor of isolated fruit baskets where different fruits were put together like flower arrangements. One of the first example is Caravaggio's Fruit Basket from about 1596.
Martha and Mary Magdalene (1598) _ This painting has an iconographically very unusual theme. It shows Martha reproaching Mary Magdalene for her vanity, a subject that we know through a series of copies. This version has recently been recognized as the original. The religious theme is treated in a substantially profane manner. It is a pretext for making passages of highly intensive painting and for constructing an image that, seen in the context of the usual dichotomy of Caravaggio's early years, is more of a genre scene than a religious one.
Magdalene (1597, 122x98cm) _ This picture and The Rest on the Flight into Egypt must have been painted around the same time, for the same girl sat for the Magdalene and the Madonna. On this occasion, however, there are none of the usual signs of a religious scene such as a halo. A young girl, seen from above, is seated on a low stool in one of Caravaggio's favorite cave-like settings, with a triangle of light high up on the wall behind her. Discarded jewelry (detail 36x30cm) — a string of pearls, clasps, a jar (perhaps holding precious ointment) — lies on the floor. The girl's hair is loose, as if it has just been washed. Her costume, consisting of a white-sleeved blouse, a yellow tunic and a flowery skirt, is rich. Bellori, who gives a careful description of this picture, which he came across in the collection of Prince Pamphili, regards its title as an excuse; for him it is just a naturalistic portrayal of a pretty girl. This seems to show a willful failure to understand Caravaggio's intention or the wishes of the man who commissioned it, Monsignor Petrignani. The repentant Mary Magdalene, like the repentant Peter, was a favorite subject of Counter-Reformation art and poetry, which valued the visible expression of the state of contrition 'the gift of tears'. Caravaggio's heroine is sobbing silently to herself and a single tear falls down her cheek. She is, as it were, poised between her past life of luxury and the simple life she will embrace as one of Christ's most faithful followers. It is a sign of the painter's skill that he makes this inner conflict moving at the same time as he makes its representation delectable. Although nothing painted in the sixteenth century is as emotive as the statue in wood of the haggard
      _ Penitent Magdalene carved by Donatello (1456), by the time Titian's bare-breasted
      _ Mary Magdalene of 1533 had become his more modest and affecting
      _ Penitent Saint Mary Magdalene of 1565, there had been a move in religious sensibility towards the humble and pathetic, a change which thirty years later Caravaggio could take for granted.
Rest on Flight to Egypt (1597, 133x166cm) The story of the Holy Family's flight was one of the most popular apocryphal legends which survived the prohibitive decrees of the Council of Trent and often appeared in painting from the end of the sixteenth century. Caravaggio's idyllic painting is an individualistic representation of this. The artist ingeniously uses the figure of an angel playing the violin with his back to the viewer to divide the composition into two parts. On the right, before an autumnal river-front scene, we can see the sleeping Mary with a dozing infant in her left; on the left, a seated Joseph holding the musical score for the angel. The natural surroundings reminds the viewer of the Giorgionesque landscapes of the Cinquecento masters of Northern Italian painting, and it is fully imbued with a degree of nostalgia. Contrasting the unlikelihood of the event is the realistic effect of depiction, the accuracy of details, the trees, the leaves and stones, whereby the total impression becomes astonishingly authentic. The statue-like figure of the angel, with a white robe draped around him, is like a charmingly shaped musical motif, and it provides the basic tone for the composition. It is an interesting contradiction — and at the same time a good example for the adaptability of forms — that this figure of pure classical beauty is a direct descendant of Annibale Carracci's Luxuria from the painting
      _ The Choice of Heracles. It has not been clearly decided what was the textual source for the music-playing angel in the story of the flight into Egypt. Charming is Caravaggio's decision to actively involve Saint Joseph in the music-making. _ detail 1 (61x48cm) _ The composition fans out from an exquisite angel who is playing music. Joseph is wearing clothes of earth-color and is holding a book of music, from which the angel is playing a violin solo, whilst the donkey's large eyes peeps out from under the brown foliage. The Angel is playing a motet in honor of the Madonna, Quam pulchra es..., composed by Noël Bauldewijn to the words of the Song of Songs (7,7) with the dialogue between Groom and Bride (understood in the painting not so much as Joseph and Mary, but as Jesus Christ and the Madonna, i.e. the church): "How fair and pleasant art thou, O love, for delights! This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes." In the Gospel according to the pseudo-Matthew (20,1), significantly dedicated to the Flight into Egypt, the same metaphorical image of the palm tree laden with fruit returns. The principal motif of Caravaggio's Flight into Egypt is that of the music that can be heard on earth, considered by the Fathers of the Church to be a copy of music in heaven. The intermediary between these two worlds is the invisible sound, which in art takes the form of an Angel playing music, a divine messenger that stands at the border between material and spiritual reality. God communicates with men through Angels, who are his go-betweens: "[it is the] Angel who spoke to me," says Zachariah and for Ezekiel, the Angel is "the man dressed in linen," just as Caravaggio depicts him. _ detail 2 (60x48 cm) The golden section splits the composition into two parts: the left-hand one, with Saint Joseph, the donkey, and stones, is dedicated to earthly life, while the right-hand area, which includes the Madonna and Child among living plants, is devoted to the divine world. On this detail we can see before an autumnal river-front scene the sleeping Mary with a dozing infant in her left.
Saint Catherine of Alexandria (1598, 173x133cm) _ Here we see a single female figure in an interior devoid of architectural allusions. The image appears with a boldness and an immediacy that combine the nobility of the subject (Saint Catherine of Alexandria was a king's daughter) with the almost plebeian pride of the model (no doubt a Roman woman of the people, who appears on other paintings of the artist, too). The breadth of conception and realization, and the perfect mastery of a very difficult composition (the figure and objects completely fill the painting, in a subtle play of diagonals) are striking. Caravaggio here chose a "grand" noble approach that heralds the great religious compositions he would soon do for San Luigi dei Francesi. The extraordinary virtuosity in the painting of the large, decorated cloth is absorbed as an integral part of the composition. This is something his followers would not often succeed in doing, for they frequently dealt with the single components of the painting individually, with adverse effects on the unity of the whole.
Medusa (1597, 60x55cm round; 2236x2236pix, 298kb) _ In Greek mythology, Perseus used the severed snake-haired head of the Gorgon Medusa as a shield with which to turn his enemies to stone. By the 16th century Medusa was said to symbolize the triumph of reason over the senses; and this may have been why Caravaggio's patron Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte commissioned him to paint Medusa as the figure on a ceremonial shield presented in 1601 to Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany - Del Monte was the Medici agent in Rome, and the Grand Duke was currently re-organising his personal armory. The poet Giambattista Marino claimed that it symbolized the Duke's courage in defeating his enemies. _ The pseudonymous Gabrielangelo Laclaba Caroviaggio has transformed this into a amazing series of eight interrelated quasi abstract pictures which can be reached by clicks of the mouse from any one of them, for example the asymmetrical:
      _ US Dame (2009; 928x1312pix, 542kb) or the symmetrical
      _ USA Medic (2009; 928x1312pix, 526kb)
83 images at ARC
 
—(090304)

Died on a 18 July:


1944 Thomas Sturge Moore [04 Mar 1870–], English wood engraver, art critic, poet, and author. —(080717)

1894 Jan Bedys Tom, Dutch painter born (main coverage) on 04 March 1813. —(090717)

^ 1760 Pierre-Philippe Mercier, French painter and etcher, active in England, born in Berlin in 1689, son of Huguenot tapestry-worker Pierre Mercier [–1729]. Philippe Mercier studied painting at the Berlin Akademie and under Antoine Pesne, who had arrived in Berlin in 1710, and afterwards he traveled in Italy and France before arriving in London, recommended by the Court at Hannover, probably in 1716. He married in London in 1719 and lived in Leicester Fields, whence he sold some pictures in 1724 which he had collected abroad. — LINKS
Le Jeune Dégustateur (955x1333pix, 162kb)
The Belton Conversation Piece (733x897pix, 197kb)
Frederick, Prince of Wales and his Sisters at Kew
School for Boys (1738)
–- Two Intimate Couples Conversing (22x18cm; 795x656pix, 71kb)
–- A Boy (1745, 92x71cm; 1200x927pix, 89kb) _ three-quarter length, in a reddish brown suit and feathered blue cap, seated by a column in a wooded landscape.
–- The Young Artists (1745, 75x62cm; 892x740pix, 50kb) _ This was painted in York where the artist had settled in 1739, concentrating his efforts on fancy pictures. Mercier's stay in York was particularly successful since he attracted important local patrons such as the Duke of Leeds, Sir Robert Hildyard and Thomas Worsley, and was able to take 'a convenient sash'd house with a large garden, Coach-house, and Stable' within the precincts of York Cathedral. _ The pseudonymous Cayou Nommercy claims to have seen and photographed an earlier version of this picture which he says Mercier painted while drunk. More likely is that it is Nommercy who was drunk. Judge for yourself:
      _ The Young Artists (1st version?) (1744?, 75x62cm?; 892x740pix, 55kb) —(080717)

^ 1638 Odoardo Fialetti (“Édouard Viallet”), Italian painter and printmaker born in 1573 {or born on 18 July 1573, died in 1638?). He was apprenticed in his native Bologna to Giovanni Battista Cremonini [–1610] and after a short period in Rome moved to Venice, where he entered Tintoretto’s workshop. By 1596 he was listed as a printmaker and from 1604 to 1612 is recorded as a member of the Venetian Fraglia dei Pittori. His work, although it reveals hints of the Carracci and the influence of Flemish art, remains within the tradition of late Mannerism. His works for Italian churches include Saint Agnes and scenes from the Life of Saint Dominic, which can be dated to the first decade of the 17th century. Four portraits of doges and a picture of the Sala del Collegio, which shows a session of the Doge’s council, demonstrate Fialetti’s interest in portraiture and in combining vedute with elements of genre. — Marco Boschini was a student of Fialetti.
–- The Wedding Feast at Cana (1612 etching, 36x44cm; 2/5 size, 106 kb _ .ZOOM to 4/5 size, 436kb) after the Marriage at Cana (1561; 850x1205pix, 165kb) by Tintoretto [1518 – 31 May 1594].
–- The Doge Marcantonio Memmo (1612 etching, 14x24cm; full size, 131kb _ .ZOOM to double size, 436kb) The Doge, head and shoulders in the central medallion, is surrounded by allegorical figures of Piety and Mercy.
–- Frieze With a Young Hero Seated Before an Old Man and an Old Woman (etching 6x26cm; 5/6 size, 56 kb _ .ZOOM to 5/3 size, 203kb) from the series Friezes With Trophies after Polidoro da Caravaggio [1499-1543].
Man with open abdomen (1627; 667x400pix, 105kb _ ZOOM to 2001x1200pix, 288kb) anatomical drawing engraved (by Francesco Valesio [1560–]) for Tabulae Anatomicae by the anatomist Giulio Casserio [1552-1616]
Man with skinned back (1627; 667x400pix, 105kb _ ZOOM to 1957x1200pix, 353kb)
Pregnant woman with open womb (1627; 637x400pix, 102kb _ ZOOM to 1911x1200pix, 311kb)
–- Venus Covering Sleeping Cupid (1617 etching; 14x9cm; 2/3 size, 35kb _ .ZOOM to 4/3 size, 134kb) from the series Scherzi d'Amore
–- Venus Observing Cupid, Who is Cutting a Bow (1617 etching; 15x9cm; 2/3 size, 38kb _ .ZOOM to 4/3 size, 142kb) from the series Scherzi d'Amore
–- Venus Seated, Blindfolding Cupid (1617 etching; 17x9cm; 2/3 size, 29kb _ .ZOOM to 4/3 size, 109kb) from the series Scherzi d'Amore


Born on a 18 July:


1955 Bernd Fasching, Austrian painter and sculptor.
Ohne Titel (100x71cm; 480x335pix, 47kb) a worthless faint, scribbled over image of a man.
Vienna Pillow 2 (569x340pix, 115kb) a poorly painted, mostly red face. —(080717)

1955 Lorenzo Antognetti, Italian painter. –(050913)

1871 Giacomo Balla, Italian painter who died (full coverage) on 01 March 1958.

^ 1868 Thorvald Erichsen, Norwegian painter who died on 23 December 1939. He began his studies in 1888 at the painting school of Knud Bergslien [1827–1908] in Kristiania (now Oslo); at the same time he attended the Royal School of Design there. In 1892 he studied for a few months under Kristian Zahrtmann in Copenhagen and the next year under Fernand Cormon in Paris. Erichsen's paintings from the 1890s show how his naturalism yielded to more synthetic and symbolic tendencies, in keeping with the general trend. The summer landscape From Telemark (1900) marked a turning-point in his career and introduced a new era in Norwegian art. The subject is a typical Norwegian valley with wooded hillsides and cultivated patches between scattered farm buildings. In the background can be seen bluish mountains under a lightly clouded sky. With its forms tending towards abstraction, conveyed with paint-laden brushstrokes in a wide range of colors, the landscape shimmers with light and warmth. Here Erichsen’s earlier experiences, including that of Impressionism and of Cézanne, are fused into a coherent unity.
From Uskedalen, Stavanger (1913, 95x78cm; 512x421pix, 73kb)
From Holmsbu (1917, 43x53cm; 417x512pix, 52kb)
From Holmsbu (1918, 46x55cm; 444x512pix, 73kb)

^ 1741 Johann-Jakob Dorner I, German painter who died on 22 May 1813. He became a student of the Freiburg painter Franz Joseph Rösch [1724–1777] in 1753. In 1759 Dorner moved to Augsburg to learn fresco painting from Joseph Bauer, then went to Venice. In 1760 Dorner worked with Joseph Mages [1728–1769] in Augsburg as a façade painter and in 1761 went to Munich, where he was employed copying the Dutch paintings at Schloss Schleissheim. Following his portrait of Elector Max III Joseph at the Lathe with Graf Salern (1765), he was appointed a court painter in 1765. Between 1766 and 1769 he visited Düsseldorf and the Netherlands. After nine months at the Antwerp academy he was awarded first prize in history and genre painting. He also studied etching (1769) in Paris under Jean-Georges Wille. He was presumably the father (or uncle?) of Johann-Jakob Dorner II [07 Jul 1775– 14 Dec 1852].
The Hard Landlady (1787; 312x400pix, 29kb)

1659 Hyacinthe “Rigaud”, French painter who died (full coverage) on 29 December 1743. —(061226)


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