ART 4 2-DAY 01 May v.10.40
Died on 01 May 1900: Mihály
Munkácsy von Lieb, Hungarian Realist
painter born on 20 February 1844.
Munkácsy was an outstanding Hungarian realist painter of the 19th century. He started to paint during the years he spent in Arad as a joiner. With the help of patrons he studied at the Viennese, Munich and Düsseldorf academies. Munkácsy painted his first major work, the outstanding The Condemned Cell in Düsseldorf in 1872, then together with his friend László Paál, he moved to Paris, where be lived until the end of his life. Munkácsy painted his genres in the style of realism between 1873 and 1875: Midnight Ramblers, Farewell, Churning Woman, Woman Carrying Brushwood, and Pawnshop were the zenith of his career. He married the widow of Baron de Marches in 1874, and his style changed from that time on. Departing from the typical subjects of realism, be produced colorful salon paintings and still-lifes.
This was the period when be also turned to landscape painting; his growing interest is marked by such great paintings as Dusty Road. Corn Field, and Walking in the Woods. The assimilation of László Paál's style is apparent in the landscapes painted during the 1880s, such as Avenue and Colpach Park. His realist portraits e.g. of Franz Liszt and Cardinal Haynald were also born at about this time, together with his religious paintings, such as Christ before Pilate, Golgotha and later, Ecce homo. Towards the end of his career he painted two monumental works: Hungarian Conquest for the House of Parliament and a fresco entitled Apotheosis of Renaissance, for the ceiling of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
— Self-Portrait (1875, 66x53cm)
— Gypsy Family (1879; 600x756pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1764pix)
— Gypsies Camping in a Forest (1873; 600x980pix _ ZOOM to 1400x2287pix)
Yawning Apprentice (Ásító inas) (1869, 31x24cm)
Woman Churning (Köpülő asszony) (1873, 120x100cm)
Woman Carrying Faggots (Rőzsehordó nő) (1873)
The Pawnbroker's Shop (Zálogház) (1874)
Dusty Road I (Poros út I) (1874)
László Paál (Paál László portréja) (1877, 46x38cm)
— Leading the Horses Home at Sunset (58x89cm)
Cardinal Lajos Haynald (Haynald Lajos arcképe) (1884)
— Christ before Pilate (1881, 417x636cm, 654x1003pix, 148kb) _ Munkácsy saw four huge "passion" pictures of 1566 by Tintoretto [1518 – 31 May 1594] in the Scuola di San Rocco, Venice, for the first time:
_ Christ before Pilate (515x380cm; 928x658pix, 122kb) detail (923x645pix, 137kb)
_ Crowning with Thorns (285x400cm; 674x975pix, 175kb)
_ The Ascent to Calvary (515x390cm; 960x732pix, 154kb)
_ Crucifixion (1224x536cm) detail (686x978pix, 147kb)
Then he arrived to Budapest and spent two weeks in Kalocsa in the residence of Lajos Haynald, archbishop, a sponsor of ecclesiastical art and a friend of Franz Liszt. Munkácsy must have had the idea of painting the trilogy by then. He started to study the works of Rembrandt [15 Jul 1606 – 04 Oct 1669] and Rubens [28 Jun 1577 – 30 May 1640] and after thirty-five studies and sketches in oil, he painted the first composition sketch at the Easter of 1880. The picture was introduced to Karl Sedelmeyer, his sponsor, in Sedelmeyer's palace in Paris. The success which followed the exhibitions in Vienna, Budapest and more than twenty towns in Great Britain was enormous. Sedelmeyer completed the exhibition with sketches, studies, books and cuts. He took the picture to the US in November 1886. Munkácsy spent six weeks in New York, Philadelphia,and Washington and painted portraits. John Wanamaker [11 Jul 1838 – 12 Dec 1922], a millionaire, bought the pictures Christ before Pilate and Golgotha for $120'000 and $100'000 dollars, respectively, in 1887, although some sources claimed that the prices he payed were $175'000 and $160'000 dollars, respectively. Both pictures were borrowed to the World Exhibiton in Paris in 1889 and Wanamaker took them himself to the Chicago Exhibition in 1893. The two pictures were kept in the gallery of his country residence until 1907. When a fire broke out there, the pictures were removed and restored. In 1911-1988 the two pictures faced each other in the gallery of the Wanamaker store on the 8th floor together with pictures by other painters. At the Sotheby's auction in 1988 there was a Canadian man bidding for the picture on the telephone and who bought it in the end. It turned out later that it was Joseph T. Tanenbaum. The picture arrived in Debrecen on 02 February 1995. After restoration by Miklós Szentkirályi, István Lente, and Erzsébet Béres in the spring of 1995, it was exhibited in Hungary on 25 August 1995, 113 years after its first exhibition in Hungary. This was in fact the first time that the complete Christ trilogy was exhibited. Although the enormous trilogy relies on the words of the Bible (John 18 and 19, and Luke 23), yet it condenses them as well. The picture shows a victorious Christ who is standing in the middle with a radiant whiteness and defeats his spiteful enemies and the hesitating Roman governor. Several contemporary artists, Sergey Vasil’yevich Ivanov [16 Jun 1864 – 16 Aug 1910], Mark Matveyevich Antokol'ski [02 Nov 1843 – 09 Jul 1902], and Gustave Doré [06 Jan 1832 – 23 Jan 1883] were engaged in the subject matter of the Passion, but Munkácsy's work is second to none. He did not only prove that he knew the Bible, but he demonstrated his psychological skills, that he knew his age and himself, too. He went through the biblical events in a changing age full of doubts and he used it as an excuse to express his thoughts on and disappointment in the world and ethic.
Ecce Homo (1896, 403x650cm) _ The second episode in the chonology of the Bible was painted as the third picture of Munkácsy's trilogy. The other two pictures had been in Philadelphia for years when Munkácsy was persuaded by Gábor Kádár, a Hungarian graphic artist and printer, to make the trilogy complete. (In fact, it was Kádár who arranged for the pictures to be taken on tour to exhibit them.) Munkácsy's choice of subject matter was probably influenced by "The Governor of Judaea", a short story by Anatole France and by Munkácsy's impaired health and mental status. All this urged him to paint the second and painful meeting of Christ and Pilate instead of Christ's glorious resurrection or ascension. The portrait of the Saviour reflects Munkácsy's state of mind. Pilate introduces him to his people by saying, “Ecce Homo!”. Christ is not guilty according to the laws of Rome, Pilate says to the people who respond to Pilate's words with gestures. The gestures of men are rude and indicate attack, while those of women are gentle and protective. Munkácsy's contemporaries identified Mary, John, the Evangelist, the penitent Magdalene, Nicodemus, Joseph of Arithea and Judas in the picture. Munkácsy's picture is rather descriptive. The last work of the tired master was taken to the Millenary Exhibition in Budapest by Munkácsy himself. Later, the picture was exhibited in Vienna, Bruxelles, England and Ireland. James Joyce, a young man at the time, saw it in Dublin in 1899. Although Ecce Homo was taken to the US, too, it never met the other two pictures of the trilogy there because first they were in the country residence of Wanamaker and later, in 1907-1911, they were restored. In 1911, a Munkácsy Room was opened in Wanamaker's department store, yet the two journalists who described it never even mentioned Ecce Homo. They went to Philadelphia in order to find out if Wanamaker was willing to give the picture to Hungary as Ecce Homo had been exhibited in Venice and Budapest in 1914. It was suggested that Munkácsy's Trilogy should be placed side by side in a roman catholic cathedral to be built. John Wanamaker was ready to sell the pictures but even the sum of 120'000 crowns required for Ecce Homo by the English and US consortium could never be raised. In the meantime, World War I broke out and nobody cared about culture. Frigyes Déri, a trade counseller who had been living in Vienna, appeared in the right moment to solve the hopeless problem: he bought "Ecce Homo" for 76'000 gold crowns. In his last will, he left the picture together with his art collection to Debrecen. A gallery was built for it with skylights where the picture has been on show since 1930. In 1993 Golgota and in 1995 Christ in Front of Pilate were placed on both sides of Ecce Homo. Thus, efforts to unite the three pictures proved to be successful, although the exhibition of the trilogy is only a temporary one.
— Golgotha (1884, 460x712cm; 614x1000pix, 163kb) _ Munkácsy had been working on the second picture of the trilogy for some time when he had himself put on the cross to feel the pain Christ must have felt. After 15 sketches and studies, the picture was ready by the Easter of 1884. Sedelmeyer had the picture Christ before Pilate brought back from Scotland and he showed both canvasses in the garden of his palace in Paris. Maupassant mentioned them in his novel Bel Ami. Golgotha was first exhibited in the former Art Gallery (now Art School) in Budapest in September 1884. Munkácsy said that he had been thinking of painting a new picture on resurrection to make the trilogy complete. This plan could not be carried out because church leaders failed to raise enough money to keep both pictures in Hungary: Sedelmeyer required too high a sum for Golgotha so it was exhibited in Europe, then in New York, and then it was finally bought by John Wanamaker. Thus, it shared the fate of Christ before Pilate until 1988 when it was bought by Csaba Gyula Bereczki, a gallery owner of Hungarian origin. The picture is now exhibited with his permission. Golgotha was a much more difficult task for Munkácsy than the first or third picture of the trilogy. The latter ones showed scenes indoors, while that of Golgotha in open air on the Hill of the Skulls. Limited space was a major factor in composing both pictures, whereas the huge space of the landscape almost swallows both groups of people: in the one group, Christ and the mourners are portrayed, and in the other a group on-lookers and passers-by can be seen. The most interesting figures are portrayed in this delicately depicted group: an uninterested Jewish joiner, a Jew who is running away and beating his breast, and an Arab rider, a myterious, yet symbolic figure. The merits of the picture lie in expressive colors and the portrayal of landscape. The sky reflects the drama in a threatening way which cannot be helped and of which all evangelists reported briefly. After 107 years, Golgotha arrived to Budapest in the autumn of 1991. After restoration by Miklós Szentkirályi, István Lente and Péter Menráth in 1992-1993, it was exhibited in the Hungarian National Museum, Budapest at Easter 1993 and it has been on show in the Munkácsy Hall, Déri Museum, Debrecen, since 1993.
Baby's Visitors (1879, 110x150cm) _ The year 1874 was a turning point in Munkácsy's life: he married the widow of Baron de Marches, which changed his lifestyle fundamentally. The painter, who had an impoverished childhood and was just as penniless as a young artist, all of a sudden became rich; now he came to live in a luxurious villa and had a busy social life. His new lifestyle soon became apparent in his art, too. Following his wife's advice, he gave up painting realist genre, and started to produce salon pictures, which depicted scenes from the social life of the bourgeoisie. In Baby's Visitors the young mother and her new-born baby are visited by lady friends, but main subject of the picture is the luxurious interior of the bourgeois salon and the elegant dress of the ladies. The wonderful richness of colors is the greatest merit of this painting. From the time of the salon paintings Munkácsy's entire oeuvre was characterized by this brilliance; the grim and dark pictures were replaced by bright and joyful paintings.
— Franz Liszt (1886, 130x98cm; 830x634pix, 62kb) _ The Paris house of Munkácsy was often visited by guests, among them the composer Franz Liszt, when he was in Paris to give a concert. Munkácsy's approach in this portrait was realistic he depicted the elderly master, in Paris for what was probably the last visit of his life, with the symbol of his art, the piano, without embellishment. His posture radiates dignity, self assurance and wisdom. His face grey hair and hands are striking constituents of the depiction of Liszt's personality; they almost glow in front of the dark backdrop. This canvas is a masterpiece of realist portraiture, one of Munkácsy's best. Franz Liszt [22 Oct 1811 – 31 Jul 1886] was a Hungarian piano virtuoso and composer. Among his many notable compositions are his 12 symphonic poems, two completed piano concerti, several sacred choral works, and a great variety of solo piano pieces.
— Princess Soutzo (1889) _ There exists letters and telegrams, dated from 1877 to 1890, from Alexandre Dumas fils [27 Jul 1824 – 27 Nov 1895], novelist and playwright, to the Princess Elise Soutzo [1857- 1937] which testify the romance which existed between the young princess and the mature and worldly Dumas. The beautiful 18-year-old daughter of the Romanian aristocracy first met the literary lion of Paris in 1875. The Soutzo family, related to the Khika and Caradja families, were prominent in Romanian social circles. They had been rulers when Roumania was Turkish. Through Colette Dumas, eldest daughter of Dumas, the pretty, witty, and young princess met him and was a constant visitor at his home. Up to 1883 their relations were regarded as admirer and admired, but after that date their intimacies became the talk of Paris. It was in character for Dumas fils who had not learned to lead a moral life from the ruin brought on his father Alexandre Dumas père [24 Jul 1802 – 05 Dec 1870] (of whom he was the illegitimate son) by illicit love affairs, though Dumas fils devoted novels and plays to sermons on the sanctity of the family and of marriage (to be observed by women more than by men). Madame Dumas, the former Russian princess Nadejda Naryschkine (who married Dumas on 26 May 1864 long after their first daughter Marie-Alexandrine-Henriette "Colette" was born on 20 November 1860 while Nadejda was in a previous marriage), closed her eyes to the affair and continued to accept the princess to her salon. Dumas was flattered because he was Elise's first love. He repeatedly said "You tell me that I am your first love -- I tell you that you are my last." That did not turn out to be true, for after Madame Dumas died in April 1895, he married in June 1895 Henriette Régnier de la Brière [1851-1934], daughter of the actor Régnier, with whom he had carried on an affair since 1887. All relations with the Princess Elise Soutzo ceased and the name of Dumas (who died not long afterwards) could not be mentioned in her presence. Many of her letters were destroyed. [more about the complicated love lives of Dumas and forebears, illegitimate from father to son for many generations.]
— Maternal Happiness (1884, 94x142cm)
— A lady seated in an Elegant Interior (115x90cm)
— A Tender Chord (151x121cm)
— A Winter Landscape at Sunset (46x80cm)
— Lady Seated at her Needlework (94x72cm)
— The Fête of the Lady of the Manor (93x142cm)
— Trop de Belle-Mère (104x145cm)
Born on 01 May 1825: George
Innes I, US Hudson
River School painter, specialized in Landscapes,
who died on 03 August 1894.
George Inness, born near Newburgh, New York, was the fifth of thirteen children. His father, a prosperous grocer, tried to make a grocer out of him, but the youth decided instead to become an artist. About 1841, he received a month's instruction from John Jesse Barker, a painter living in Newark, New Jersey, where the Inness family had moved in 1829. From the age of sixteen, Inness served a two-year apprenticeship as an engraver with the New York mapmaking firm of Sherman and Smith. He took some instruction in painting from Régis Gignoux [1816-1882] about 1843, around the time he was studying and being influenced by prints of the paintings of Claude Lorrain and the seventeenth-century Dutch landscape masters. He was also seeing the work of the leading Hudson River School painters - particularly that of Thomas Cole and Asher B. Durand - whose style is recalled in some of his early canvases.
Inness exhibited for the first time at the National Academy of Design in 1844 and continued to exhibit there almost every year until the end of his life. Though he was elected an Associate of the Academy in 1853, he was not made an Academician until 1868. He was one of the important early members of the Society of American Artists, an exhibition organization founded in 1877 to challenge the conservative policies of the Academy.
By the late 1840s, Inness was exhibiting regularly in New York and had attracted a patron, Ogden Haggerty. Inness married Elizabeth Hart in 1850, and the following February the couple departed for a fifteen-month stay in Italy made possible by Haggerry's financial support. On their way home, they stopped in Paris, where Inness visited an exhibition that included work by the Barbizon painter Théodore Rousseau; after a second trip abroad, in 1853-54, the work of Rousseau and other Barbizon painters exerted a strong influence on Inness's art.
Inness and his family left New York in 1860, moving first to Medfield, Massachusetts, and later to an estate near Perth Amboy, New Jersey. In the early 1860s, fellow artist William Page introduced Inness to the theories of Emanuel Swedenborg, which made a deep and lasting impression on him; indeed, became a major force in his intellectual life. Throughout that decade, spent in rural surroundings, he sought to make his paintings convey the profound spiritual meaning he felt the landscape around him possessed.
In 1870, the Innesses moved to Italy for four years, during which time the artist sent back paintings to be sold by the Boston dealers Williams and Everett, receiving in exchange regular monthly payments. Stopping again in Paris on the way back to the United States, in 1874, Inness first saw works by the Impressionists in an exhibition he visited, but he thought little of that new style of painting.
In 1878, Inness's fortunes improved when Thomas B. Clarke, a prominent New York art dealer, became his agent. He took a studio in the New York University Building and bought a house and studio in Montclair, New Jersey. His theories on painting were published in Harper's New Monthly Magazine in 1878 and 1882; in 1882, Charles De Kay, under the pseudonym Henry Eckford, wrote an important critical article about his work. Two years later, a major exhibition of Inness's work was sponsored by John E Sutton, proprietor of the American Art Association, from which the artist emerged as the leading light in American landscape painting, an eminent position he enjoyed for the rest of his career. During the last years of his life, he spent summers traveling and painting in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, California, and Florida. He and his wife returned to Europe in 1894, when Inness once again visited Paris, as well as Baden-Baden and Munich. On his way home, he died of a stroke in the Bridge of Allan, a small Scottish resort village. On 23 August 1894, the National Academy of Design held an impressive funeral service for Inness, who was by then one of its most illustrious members."
— George Inness, one of the most prominent figures in US art of the 19th century, is best-known today for his poetic and highly expressive approach to landscape painting. He was born in Newburgh, New York, in 1825, the son of a local grocer. While still a youth, he decided to pursue a career as an artist. He initiated his studies during the 1840s, working briefly under John Jesse Barker in Newark, New Jersey. At some point between 1843 and 1845 he was taught by the French-born landscapist, Regis Gignoux, in New York City. During this period, he also spent two years as an apprentice engraver with the New York firm of Sherman and Smith.
Inness began exhibiting his pictures at the National Academy of Design in 1844. His early work, in its emphasis on detail and topographical accuracy, reveals the influence of the prevailing Hudson River School aesthetic as exemplified by such painters as Asher B. Durand. However after making trips to Italy (1851-52) and France (1853-54), he became deeply influenced by the serene, broadly-painted landscapes of Rousseau, Troyen, Daubigny and other members of the French Barbizon School.
In 1860, for reasons of health as well as discouragement with what he felt to be a lack of recognition from local critics and patrons, Inness moved with his family to Medfield, Massachusetts. He remained there for four years and then settled at Eagleswood, an estate near Perth Amboy, New Jersey. It was around this time that he met the painter William Page, who introduced him to the spiritual teachings of the Swedish philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg. Throughout the 1860s, Inness gradually began to abandon many of the precepts associated with the Hudson River style, turning instead to a greater emphasis on mood and poetic effect through the use of rich color and fluid brushwork. One of his major points of divergence involved his vision or concept of the American landscape itself; while the Hudson River painters focused on the untamed wilderness, Inness was drawn to what he once described as the "civilized landscape," where nature was shaped to suit the needs of mankind, a combination of both the real and the ideal.1 In 1870, Inness made another trip to Europe, spending most of his time in Rome. Returning to the United States four years later, he spent a year in Boston before moving back to New York in 1875. In 1878, he bought a home and studio in Montclair, New Jersey, where he would live for the rest of his life. During that same year, he helped to found the Society of American Artists, a group of younger, European influenced artists dissatisfied with the conservative, insular attitude prevailing at the National Academy. In 1882, Inness's work was the subject of a major article by the New York critic Charles De Kay in Century Magazine.2 Two years later, a comprehensive exhibition of his pictures at the American Art Galleries helped further to strengthen his growing reputation. Throughout the 1870s and 1880s, Inness's art moved towards a greater level of individual expression. He continued to explore various aspects of both style and theory, always turning to color for its emotive potential. He also began to incorporate one, sometimes, two figures into his compositions, evident in such works as The Monk (Addison Gallery of American Art) of 1873. Inness produced his most original and his most visionary work during the last decade of his life. In paintings such as Sunrise (Metropolitan Museum of Art), he explored mood and feeling through color, diffused light and a limited number of softly defined forms. Many of his pictures from this period are depictions of forest interiors at dawn or twilight. Although the hazy atmospheric qualities and ethereal nature of Inness's late work has led to comparisons with Impressionism (a movement which did inform his work to some extent), his concept of nature--spiritual, subjective (and thus very modern) -- took him well beyond Impressionism's material and scientific concerns. Indeed, in his emphasis on emotion, his free handling of pigment and in his quiet, harmonious compositions, he was tremendously influential for a younger generation of painters, such as Henry Ward Ranger and Dwight Tryon, whose related aesthetic concerns have since been defined as Tonalism. During his later years, Inness painted in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as well as in California and Florida. He traveled to Europe in 1894, visiting Paris, Munich, and Baden. He died in Bridge-of-Allan in Scotland that same year.
— Louis Comfort Tiffany [1848-1933] was a student of Inness.
— The Coming Storm (41x61cm _ ZOOMable)
— Morning, Catskill Valley (1894; 747x1147pix, 210kb)
The Lackawanna Valley (1855; 754x1152pix, 167kb)
Old Homestead (1877) _ detail
Off the Coast of Cornwall (1887)
— Landscape with Pond (1868, 31x51cm)
— Valley Near Perugia (1867, 63x48cm)
— Autumn (1859, 26x46cm)
— End of Day aka Montclair (1855, 42x30cm)
— Étretat (1874, 24x33cm)
— 110 images at the Athenaeum
Died on 01 May 1875: Alfred George Stevens,
English sculptor, designer, and painter, born on 31 December 1817. —
Not to be confused with Belgian painter Alfred
Stevens [11 May 1823– 24 Aug 1906]
— A. G. Stevens showed precocious talent as a painter (Self-portrait at the Age of 14, 1832, 31x25cm). In 1833 he went to Italy to study Renaissance painting and later received some training at the Accademia in Florence. In 1841–1842 he worked in Rome as an assistant to Bertel Thorvaldsen [1770-1844]. Stevens’s works dating from the early years after his return to England in 1842 owe much to Thorvaldsen. These include four plaster reliefs and drawings of unexecuted doors for the Geological Museum, London (1847). Stevens entered the New Palace of Westminster fresco competition (1843), unsuccessfully, and produced illustrations to Homer before being appointed what he called ‘professor of everything’ at the Government School of Design at Somerset House in 1845. His polymathic qualities made him appear ideally qualified for this position, which involved teaching painting and ornament, but he disagreed with Henry Cole’s belief that design could be taught separately from fine art. Following his resignation in 1847, Stevens concentrated on independent works, such as interior decorations for Deysbrook House, Liverpool (1847; now destroyed), unexecuted designs for the base of the Nelson Memorial, London, and Bible and history illustrations. One of the latter, King Alfred and his Mother, he translated into an unfinished oil painting (1848); modeled on the Doni tondo of The Holy Family (1504), it reflects Stevens’s admiration for Michelangelo.
— Self-Portrait at the Age of 14 (1832, 31x25cm)
— Samuel Pegler (1832, 46x38cm)
— Miss Emma Pegler (1832, 53x43cm)
— A Man (1840, 41x45cm)
— John Morris Moore (1840, 60x48cm)
— An Artist in his Studio (1842, 60x48cm) _ This image of a dashing, even louche, painter in his studio shows one of the new kinds of artistic identity that emerged in the nineteenth century. The artist in this picture is presented as a fashionable and urbane young gentleman, a distinctly modern figure. His foppish persona contrasts with the workshop-like setting. The portrait presents the artist as a man of fashion and wit, rather than an artisan or laborer, or even as a sober professional or an intellectual, roles that had dominated the self-portrait tradition in the past.
— The Hon. and Rev. Samuel Best (1840, 51x48cm)
— Judith (1848, 23x18cm)
Born on 01 May 1827: Jules
Adolphe Aimé Louis Breton, French Realist
painter who died on 05 July 1906.
As one of the primary academic painters of the nineteenth century, Jules Breton evolved a painting style that combined a realist selection of thematic material with an interest in creating figural types that reflected the idealism of the classical traditions. His paintings were often regarded as containing poetic references and his compositions suggest a timeless world where the workers of the field symbolically were linked with literary elegies that evoked their best qualities. Although his works were out of favor for a long period of time, and his compositions were often used as convenient examples of so-called "bad-painting" by supporters of the modernist camp who panned any style whose goal was to portray the trials of the human condition instead of being dedicated to destroying the defining characteristics of great traditional art. Breton's celebration of human values of work, family, home and hearth did not fit into their nihilistic paradigm, despite his poignant and poetic themes painted with a compositional force and sophistication of technique that clearly places him amongst the greatest artists of his time. Breton's paintings have returned to public consciousness through recent exhibitions and an interest in collecting his works by private patrons and museums. He is an artist who has benefitted greatly from the long over due revisionist reappraisal of nineteenth century academic painting.
Jules Breton was from a rural region in the north western part of France. He was born and spent his youth in Courričres, a small village in the Pas-de-Calais; he died in Paris. His father, Marie-Louis Breton worked for a wealthy landowner whose land he supervised. After the death of his mother, when Jules was 4, he was brought up by his father. Others in the family, who lived in the same house, and had a deep influence on the young artist's upbringing, were his maternal grandmother and especially his uncle Boniface Breton. All instilled in the young man a respect for tradition, a love of the land and, especially, for his native region, which remained central to his art throughout his whole life providing the artist with many scenes for his Salon compositions.
He received his first artistic training not far from Courričres at the College St. Bertin near St. Omer. Later (1842) he met the painter Félix de Vigne [1806-1862] who was impressed by his youthful talent and persuaded his family to let him study art. In 1843, Breton left for Ghent (Belgium) where he continued to study art at the Academy of Fine Arts with de Vigne, and an other teacher from the school, the painter Hendrik Van der Haert [1790-1846]. Sometime later (1846), Breton moved to Antwerp where he took lessons with Baron Gustaf Wappers; he also spent much of his time copying the works of Flemish masters. Trained as an academic artist, Breton was well aware of other artistic tendencies such as the role of genre painting. In 1847, Breton finally left for Paris where he hoped to perfect his artistic training at the École des Beaux-Arts.
Once there he studied in the atelier of the genre painter Michel-Martin Drolling [1786-1851]. He also met, and became friends, with several of the Realist painters, including François Bonvin [1817-1887] and Gustave Brion [1824-1877] and his early entries at the Salon reflected not only their influence, but also his concerns for the poor brought to the fore by the events of the 1848 Revolution. His paintings Misery and Despair (1848) shown at the Salon of 1849, and Hunger (1850) shown at the Salon of 1850-1851, are representative of Breton's state of mind at the time and of his artistic preoccupations. Both paintings were destroyed.
After Hunger was successfully shown in Brussels and Ghent, Breton was encouraged to move to Belgium where he met his future wife Elodie. Elodie, who became one of Breton's favorite models, was the daughter of Félix de Vigne, his early teacher; they were married in 1858. Breton returned to France in 1852. In 1853 he exhibited Return of the Reapers, the first of numerous rural peasant scenes based on his awareness of contemporary themes and influenced by the works of the Swiss painter Léopold Robert [1794-1835]. Breton's interest in peasant imagery was, from then on, well-established and what he is best known for today.
In 1854, Breton returned to the village of Courričres where he settled. Once there, he began The Gleaners. This work was inspired by seasonal field labor and the plight of the less fortunate who were left to gather what remained in the field after the harvest. The Gleaners received a third class medal. This award, and the success of the painting among other artists and the public, launched Breton's career; his success continued throughout the Second Empire and beyond. He received commissions from the State and his works were purchased by the French Art Administration and sent to provincial museums. His painting Blessing of the Wheat, Artois, completed in 1857 and exhibited at the Salon of the same year, brought a second class medal and was purchased by M. de Nieuwerkerke for the Imperial Museums.
Many other paintings from the 1850s: Recall of the Gleaners or Dedication of a Calvary, both shown at the 1859 Salon, continued to illustrate his tranquil vision of field labor influenced by the painters of the Italian Renaissance. In 1861, Breton received the Légion d'Honneur for such works as The Colza (1860). The 1860s saw a continuation of Breton's dedication to rural themes, but he moved away from concentrating only on peasant life around Courričres to include views of other French regions such as the south of France in Grape Harvest (Salon of 1864), or Brittany with The Great Pilgrimage, 1869. At the 1867 Universal Exhibition, where ten of his works were on view, Breton received a First Class Medal.
As Breton continued to exhibit throughout the 1870s and into the 1880s and 1890s, his reputation was assured during the first thirty years of the Third Republic. Later in his career Breton continued his illustrations of peasant life, but in a manner more attuned to Symbolism than to Realism. His poetic renderings of single peasant female figures in a landscape, posed against the setting sun, remained extremely popular especially among US collectors. For example, his Song of the Lark (1884) is a favorite. Because his works were so popular Breton often had to produce copies of some of his best loved images. Breton was extremely popular in his own time, the numerous compositions he exhibited at the Salons and the fact that they were widely available as engravings, made him one of the best known painters of his period not only in his native country, but also in England and in the United States. He became a member of the Institut de France in 1886. Both his brother Emile (1831-1902), who was an architect by training, and his daughter Virginie (1859-1935), were also painters.
In addition to being a painter, Breton was also a recognized writer who published a volume of poems and several editions of prose related to his life as an artist or to the lives of other artists that he personally knew. Thus, in several ways, Jules Breton, at the time of his death in 1906, was highly regarded as a painter with a personal vision of rural life. His dedication to a section of the French countryside, his absorption of traditional methods of painting, and the creation of a popular style, helped make Jules Breton one of the primary transmiters of the beauty and idyllic vision of rural existence.
— La Bénédiction du Blé en Artois (1879; 600x1526pix _ ZOOM not recommended to terribly blurry 1400x3562pix)
— Retour des Glaneuses (1879; 600x1198pix _ ZOOM to 1040x2076pix _ ZOOM++ to 1400x2795pix)
The Vintage at the Château Lagrange (1864)
La Première Communion (1884; 535x800pix, 141kb)
— Les Communiantes (551x799pix, 313kb)
— The Rest of the Haymakers (1872)
— A la Fontaine
— Le Départ des Champs
— The Last Gleanings
— The Reapers
— La Femme à l'Ombrelle aka Baie De Douarnenez (1871, 65x91cm)
— Evening in a Hamlet of the Finistère (600x800pix, 312kb)
— The Potato Harvest
— Water Carriers
— La Bergère (1905, 25x35cm)
The Song of the Lark (1884)
— Le Pardon De Kergoat (1891, 123x233cm)
— Summer (1891, 75x64cm)
— L'Arc-En-Ciel (1883, 111x156cm)
— Asleep In The Woods (1877, 62x51cm)
— La Jeune Fille Vachère (1872, 47x62cm)
— Afternoon Meal (20x30cm)
— Mise en Tas des Oeillettes (24x 35cm)
— The Water Carrier (82x62cm)
— Les Vendanges à Château-Lagrange (59x49cm)
— La Gleaneuse Fatiguée (1880, 94x64cm) _ Gleaning was usually the job of the poor, especially women and children. Breton shows a single gleaner stretching against a backdrop of the setting sun, while behind her others still labor in the field. Her bare feet and worn, simple clothing immediately identify her as a peasant. At the same time, however, her expansive gesture and the subdued tones of her skin and clothes link her to the surrounding landscape, both visually and symbolically. Thus, this painting not only suggests the hardships of peasant life, but also the grand link between humanity and the land. Like many of his successful contemporaries, Breton met demand for his paintings by copying and making variations of his own works. This picture is similar to a larger, more famous painting that was exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1880. The Cleveland collector Hinman H. Hurlbut, who bought this canvas from the artist, probably commissioned Breton to make this smaller variation of the larger painting.
Died on 01 May 1730: François de Troy,
French portrait painter born on 09 January 1645. Son of of Antoine
the Troy [1608 – 15 Sep 1684] , and brother of Jean de Troy [04 Apr
1638 – 25 Jun 1691], and father of Jean-François
de Troy [27 Jan 1679 26 Jan 1752] — _ Portraiture
flourished in France during the 18th century. Two artists whose work is
transitional mark the opening of this period: Hyacinthe
Rigaud [1659-1743] and Nicolas
de Largilličre [10 Oct 1656 – 20 Mar 1746]. In addition to these
two outstanding portrait painters there are few names worth mentioning,
among them François de Troy.
— François de Troy was taught the rudiments of painting by his father, and probably also by the more accomplished regional painter Antoine Durand. Some time after 1662 he moved to Paris to study under the portrait painter Claude Lefebvre [–1675] and under Nicolas-Pierre Loir [1624 – 06 May 1679], whose sister-in-law, Jeanne Cotelle, he married in 1669. Two years later he was approved (agréé) by the Académie Royale and in 1674 was received (reçu) as a history painter with a morceau de réception that depicted Mercury and Argus. His known works of this period include tapestry designs for Mme de Montespan, mistress of Louis XIV, and several unexceptional religious and mythological paintings (e.g. Susanna and the Elders and Lot and his Daughters).
Early in his career he became friendly with Roger de Piles, who first introduced him to Dutch and Flemish painting. After Lefebvre’s death, de Troy dedicated himself to portraiture in the hope of attracting the same clientèle as his late teacher. In 1679 he received his first important commission, for a portrait of the Swedish ambassador Nils Bielke, and a year later was commissioned for the portrait of Anne-Marie of Bavaria, the bride of the Grand Dauphin. Following these successes, his clients included Mme de Montespan and her descendants, especially her son by Louis XIV, Louis-Auguste de Bourbon, Duc du Maine, and his wife (1694). Henceforward de Troy worked continuously in court circles for nearly five decades and was highly praised for his ability to capture the nobility’s preoccupation with manners, sartorial modes and social position.
Jean de Jullienne (1722, 92x73cm) _ Jean de Jullienne [1686-1766] fit fortune dans le commerce du drap et devint directeur de la Teinturerie des Gobelins mais c'est comme mécčne éclairé qu'il passa ŕ la postérité. Collectionneur, il rassembla un grand nombre d'oeuvres de Watteau. Il publia, entre 1726 et 1735, quatre volumes de gravures qui reproduisaient l'essentiel des dessins et des tableaux de Watteau: le célčbre Recueil Jullienne. Jullienne est ici représenté dans un somptueux négligé, une élégante robe de chambre doublée de satin bleu dont de Troy met en lumičre, au tout premier plan, une importante manche dont les plis et les rehauts brodés constituent un savoureux morceau de peinture. Le modčle tient un porte-crayon et présente un portrait de son ami Watteau dont il est vraisemblablement l'auteur. L'élégance de la pose, l'intelligence du regard du modčle, la sensibilité de l'exécution désignent cette toile comme un chef-d'oeuvre du portrait français. Cette effigie attachante est emblématique du rôle sociologique du portrait ŕ l'époque moderne: contribuer ŕ la notoriété d'un personnage et honorer la mémoire d'un peintre génial.
— Madame Jean de Jullienne (Marie-Louise de Brécey) (1722, 92x73cm) _ Elle épousa Jean de Jullienne en 1720.
— Elisabeth-Charlotte de Bavière, Duchesse d'Orléans, dite la Palatine (1680, 148x177cm)
— Double portrait allégorique: Le jugement de Paris, dit autrefois Mademoiselle de Blois et Le comte de Toulouse en Vertumne et Pomone (1691, 150x120cm)
— Jules-Hardouin Mansart (1699, 131x120cm)
— Portrait d'Homme (91x74cm)
— Portrait d'Homme en Cuirasse (116x90cm)
— M. Le Prestre (1722, 81x65cm)
— Mme Le Prestre (1722, 81x65cm)
— Henri Bachelier, Seigneur de Montcel (1720, 102x82cm)
Born on 01 May 1567:
Michiel Janszoon van Mierevelt, Dutch painter who died on
27 June 1641.
— The son of a Delft goldsmith, he received his first training as a painter under Willem Willemsz. and Augustus, two otherwise unknown masters. In 1581 he continued his training under Anthonie Blocklandt in Utrecht, where he remained for two years. He then returned to Delft where, as early as 1589, he became an officer of the Guild of St Luke. Among his students were Paulus Moreelse, Anthonie Palamedesz., Jan van Ravesteyn, Hendrick van Vliet.
— Miereveld or Mierevelt, Dutch portrait painter, active mainly in his native Delft. In 1625 in The Hague he became Painter of the Princes of Orange. His portraits are mostly small in size, often busts only. They are dull and repetitive, but meticulously crafted and of great value as historical records. He was highly successful and enormously prolific. It is reported that Miereveld himself estimated that he made about 10'000 portraits.
— Van Miereveld was a student of the Utrecht painter Anthonie Blocklandt. After two years of study, he returned to his native Delft. As a portrait painter he received commissions from the court of the Stadholder in The Hague: painting Prince Maurice and members of his family. Soon other well-to-do families and foreign diplomats were requesting his services. To meet the demand, he employed assistants, including his sons Pieter and Jan. Van Miereveld's portraits became even better known when his son-in-law copied them as prints. Eventually, however, his glory faded and the painter Gerrit van Honthorst took the spotlight.
— Johan van Oldenbarneveldt (63x49cm; 1600x1219pix) _ Johan van Oldenbarnevelt [14 Sep 1547 – 13 May 1619] was a lawyer, statesman, and, after William I the Silent, the second founding father of an independent Netherlands. He mobilized Dutch forces under William's son Maurice and devised the anti-Spanish triple alliance with France and England (1596). In the Twelve Years' Truce (1609) he reaffirmed Holland's dominant role in the Dutch republic. He died beheaded. A major political conflict with Prince Maurice cost the 71-year-old Advocate his life. Michiel van Miereveld or one of his students had portrayed him many years previously, at the height of his power. Van Miereveld was a popular portraitist, especially in the stadholder court circles of The Hague. He also painted Prince Maurice.
— Prince Philip William of Orange (142x106cm; 1600x1388pix, 328kb). _ Philip William [1554-1618] was the eldest son of William of Orange. But having been held hostage in Spain since the age of 14, he was passed over in favor of his half-brother of Maurice when the new stadholder was appointed. Philip William had to make do with the title Prince of Orange. Because he had been raised as a Catholic and a Spanish aristocrat the Dutch distrusted the Prince. Michiel van Miereveld portrayed him as a nobleman, dressed in the opulent fashion of a courtier. In contrast, Van Miereveld depicted Maurice, Frederick Henry and Spinola in their armour. A recurring feature in each of these portraits is a plumed helmet on a sidetable. In 1599 Philip William was made a knight in the Order of the Golden Fleece. Since the painting shows the Prince wearing the insignia of the order, it can be dated to after 1599.
— Ambrogio Spinola, Commander of the Spanish troops in the Southern Netherlands (1609, 119x87cm) _ The Spanish army in the Southern Netherlands was under the command of the Italian Ambrogio Spinola [1569-1630]. As a general this opponent of Stadholder Maurice was widely respected. Spinola traveled to The Hague for the negotiations that led to the Twelve-Year Truce. It was during this period that the artist Michiel van Miereveld of Delft painted his portrait, probably commissioned by Maurice for his gallery of paintings of famous heroes. Here Spinola, almost an exact contemporary of Maurice, is shown aged 39. As the Spanish ambassador, Spinola put on a flamboyant show at The Hague. His entourage numbered more than 150 and his residence was lavishly furnished. A silver cooler and huge bottles were displayed in Spinola's diningroom, along with fourteen silver ewer and bowl sets on the table. On the walls of his apartments Spinola had expensive tapestries displayed. And in the afternoons and evenings the house would teem with people who came to watch the general, dressed in cloth of gold and surrounded by his silver, eating his meals served by servants in spectacular livery. In addition to Spinola, Van Miereveld also portrayed his opponent, Maurice. Both are depicted in their armor, with their helmet on a table beside them. Maurice is shown full length against a lavishly furnished background. The table with the helmet is all that can be seen of Spinola's setting.
— Maurice Prince of Orange (1618, 222x146cm; 1165x780pix, 188kb _ ZOOM to 1600x1052pix) _ Prince Maurice, the triumphant general, is portrayed here with attributes that reflect his position, such as the magnificently decorated shield. A gauntlet is lying on the table beside a helmet adorned with a plume of feathers. These are part of the unique gilt suit of armor worn by the Prince. Maurice received this as a gift from the States General following his victory at the Battle of Nieuwpoort in 1600. The Prince's collar shows the insignia of the Order of the Garter, conferred on Maurice by the English king in 1613. Michiel van Miereveld probably painted this portrait between 1615 and 1620. The Prince appears to be of the same age here as on a portrait painted in 1617, displayed in the Mauritshuis. This is one of the first full-length state portraits. Maurice probably had his suit of decorative armor made by the jeweler Charles Darterné. During the Dutch Revolt various workplaces were set up in the Republic for the manufacture of high-quality weaponry.
— Maurits, Prince of Orange-Nassau (1607, 110x98cm; 1000x746pix) a slightly different version. _ See also Prince Maurice at the Battle of Nieuwpoort, 2 July 1600 (82x117cm) by Pauwels van Hillegaert
— Hugo de Groot (1631, 63x55cm) _ Hugo de Groot [10 Apr 1583 – 28 Aug 1645] was a Dutch jurist and scholar, whose legal masterpiece, De Jure Belli ac Pacis (1625), was one of the first great contributions to modern international law. De Groot was 48 when van Miereveld painted his portrait. The internationally famous jurist Grotius, the Latin version of the name adopted by De Groot, had returned to the Dutch Republic in the autumn of 1631. After his spectacular escape in 1621 from Loevestein Castle where he had been serving a life sentence since 1619, he had fled to France. Back in the Republic he hoped to be able to continue his life unmolested. However, after half a year, arrest was imminent and once again De Groot fled. This painting is one of several copies of the portrait. The fate of the original is no longer known.
— Jacob Cats, Grand Pensionary of Holland and West Friesland, and Poet (1839, 68x58cm) _ Around this bust of Jacob Cats [10 Nov 1577 – 12 Sep 1660] is an ornate gilt frame showing various classical poets: medallions with portraits of Homer, Virgil, Ovid and Horace. Their names stand in black letters at the top, decorating the corners of the frame. It is the frame that attracts the most attention. At the top is the Cats family coat of arms, flanked by two winged putti , each with an open book in its lap. The book, a symbol of wisdom, is apt for the subject of this portrait: Jacob Cats was a poet. A sample of the work of this seventeenth-century poet can be read on the medallion on the frame - the lines read: Als ick dit beelt aensie en van mijn eerste jaren. Soo leer ick dat de tijt verloopt gelyck de haren (When I see this image of former years, I see how time recedes, just like my hair).
Cats was primarily a writer of poetic emblem books, a type of literature popular in the 17th century that consisted of woodcuts or engravings accompanied by verses pointing a moral. He used this form to express the major ethical concerns of early Dutch Calvinists, especially those dealing with love and marriage. By being the first to combine emblem literature with love poetry, and by his skill as a storyteller, he achieved enormous popularity. The sources on which he draws are chiefly the Bible and the classics and occasionally Boccaccio and Cervantes.
His first book, Sinne- en minnebeelden (1618; “Portaits of Morality and Love”),contained engravings with text in Dutch, Latin, and French. Each picture has a threefold interpretation, expressing what were for Cats the three elements of human life: love, society, and religion. Perhaps his most famous emblem book is Spiegel van den ouden ende nieuwen tijdt (1632; “Mirror of Old and New Times”), many quotations from which have become household sayings. It is written in a more homely style than his earlier works, in popular rather than classical Dutch. Two other works — Houwelyk (1625; “Marriage”) and Trou-ringh (1637; “Wedding Ring”) — are rhymed dissertations on marriage and conjugal fidelity. In one of his last books, Ouderdom, buyten-leven en hof-gedachten (1655; “Old Age, Country Life, and Garden Thoughts”), Cats wrote movingly about old age.
— Frederick Hendrick, Prince of Orange-Nassau (1610, 110x84cm)
— Frederick Hendrick, Prince of Orange-Nassau (1632, oval 44x36cm) _ Prince Maurice, who hated posing, gave the artist just one opportunity in 1607 to paint 'from life'. All subsequent portraits of the Prince are based on the sketches made on that occasion, with Mierevelt adapting the appearance and hairstyle to the subject's actual age. Mierevelt's first portrait of Frederick Henry (1584-1647), youngest son of William of Orange, and brother and successor of Prince Maurice, dates from around 1610. Until about 1637, Mierevelt's studio remained suppliers to the court of state portraits. Later, Gerard van Honthorst and his colleagues took over the position.
This portrait of Frederick Henry is a version of the 1632 painting. The very first of these was probably commissioned by the States of Holland or the municipality of The Hague. Similar three-quarter length portraits are kept at the Upper Chamber of the States General and at the Hague Historical Museum (from the town hall of The Hague).
This painting is a bust of the Prince wearing the order of the Garter. With his robust, blushing face, he turns towards us with serious but lively eyes. It shows why Mierevelt was such a celebrated artist. The head in the portrait is nicely composed and beautifully executed. The hair of the moustache, beard and eyebrows is almost tangibly detached from the skin. While the effect of the shadow is to separate the Stadholder's face from the background. Special attention has been paid to the detail of the fashionable lace collar and the costly items of dress armour, with its copper inlay decoration. The use of color is subtle: the greys of the armor and hair unite the figure, while the ribbon of the Garter provides an attractive color highlight. One modern detail in the painting is the oval stone cartouche with scroll decoration that surrounds the depiction of the Prince. This motif, found originally in prints, has a twofold purpose: it gives the composition depth and it literally creates a framework for the portrait. Gerard van Honthorst turned this kind of oval frame into a highly popular feature in Dutch portraiture.
— Frederick V Elector Palatine And King Of Bohemia (66x55cm)
— Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia (1623; 181kb)
— A Young Lady (587x500pix _ ZOOM to 1370x1166pix)
— A different Young Lady (1630, 70x58cm)
— A Man (72x55cm, 848x646pix, 41kb)