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DEATHS: 1919 DE MORGAN1519 DA VINCI
BIRTH: 1806 GLEYRE
^ Died on 02 May 1919: Mary Evelyn Pickering De Morgan, English Pre-Raphaelite painter born on 30 August 1855, who in 1887 married potter and novelist William De Morgan [16 Nov 1839 – 15 Jan 1917], an important figure in the Arts and Crafts movement. — {When De Morgan asked her to marry him, did she reply: “May I pick a ring, I Pickering?”?}
— Evelyn Pickering de Morgan was one of the women artists of the Pre-Raphaelite School. She was born into a wealthy family who had hoped she would make a socially prominent marriage. Evelyn, however, aspired to a career in art and she secretly studied art from her uncle the artist John Roddam Spencer-Stanhope. She later attended the Slade School of Art and was able to enjoy a distinguished career. She was married to the potter William de Morgan and was part of the Pre-Raphaelite circle that included Edward Burne-Jones. Morgan's paintings reflect the influence of Jones, but in addition to the Pre-Raphaelite themes and subject, de Morgan also evolved into more allegorical and symbolic themes and subjects. Her painting The Prisoner for instance is a poignant commentary on the status of women during the Victorian and early Edwardian eras.
— Evelyn De Morgan was born in London in 1855, the eldest child of lawyer Percival Pickering QC and niece of the Pre-Raphaelite painter John Roddam Spencer Stanhope. Evelyn began lessons with a drawing master at the age of 15, followed by prize-winning studies at South Kensington and Slade Schools; in 1875 she paid her first visit to Italy. Her exhibition debut in 1876 at the Dudley Gallery with 'St Catherine of Alexandria' was followed by an invitation to show at the Grosvenor Gallery, where she exhibited regularly. In 1887 she married William de Morgan, ceramicist and associate of William Morris, with whom she shared a deep interest in spiritualism. From 1888 to 1901, she became a regular exhibitor at the New Gallery, establishing a reputation as an artist influenced by Burne-Jones. Her preferred subjects included sacred and allegorical figures and scenes, and legends with a moral or social message such as 'The Christian Martyr' and 'The Worship of Mammon', treated in a fashion that exploited her superior drawing skills and design sense, with striking color and billowing draperies, often on a very large scale. From 1890-1914, for the sake of William’s health, the couple divided their time between Chelsea and Florence; together they devised a painting method utilising glycerine which, though too troublesome to pursue, produced the clear, bright tones they sought. In 1916, her horror of the war led her to mount an exhibition of 13 works for the benefit of the Red Cross. De Morgan died in London in 1919, two years after her husband.

LINKS
Night and Sleep (1878; 601x700pix, 141kb _ ZOOM to 1649x2418pix, 627kb)
Earthbound (1878, 61x91cm; 513x700pix, 100kb)
Phosphorus and Hesperus (1881, 59x44cm; 600x437pix, 47kb) {You should see the chemistry betweeen those two. Hesperus might be an alias for Oxygen.}
Hero Holding the Beacon for Leander (1885; 700x339pix, 55kb) {“Give me your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be Leander...”} _ Hero and Leander lived in ancient Greece. Hero was a priestess at the temple of Venus and Leander was her mortal lover. At nights Leander would swim to Hero guided through the waters by the beacon she held. When Leander drowned during a storm, Hero threw herself into the sea, and drowned also.
The Hour Glass (1905, 93x79cm) _ In an ancient chair, inlaid with ivory, a woman is seen seated. Behind her on the wall are glowing tapestries; a gold lamp of medieval design is suspended above her head. Her draperies, in wonderful hues of yellow and russet bronze, are thickly sewn with pearls, the delineation of which in correct perspective constituted a tour de force. Jewels of barbaric design accentuate the richness of her attire and gleam again from her quaint head-dress, beneath which shows the first indication of age, her whitening locks. Meanwhile, with a brooding sorrow, her gaze is fixed upon an hourglass, clasped in her slender fingers, wherein the sands are swiftly running out: at her feet is a dying rose, and close to her lies a book on which are visible the words Mors Janua Vitae. So, too, unheeded by her, outside the open doorway stands the figure of life, the Immortal, piping joyously in the sunlight in robes of azure amid the blossoming flowers of spring. The model was Jane Morris, the widow of William Morris.
Hope in the Prison of Despair (1887, 58x65cm) {This Hope's first name is NOT Bob.}
The Prisoner (1908; 789x591pix, 128kb)
The Little Sea Maid (525x329pix, 21kb) finds its source in the tale of The Little Mermaid (1855) by Hans Christian Andersen [02 Apr 1805 – 04 Aug 1875]. He was also interested in spirituality, as evidenced in several of his tales. Here the Little Mermaid yearns not only to experience human love but also to possess an eternal soul. De Morgan's painting The Sea Maidens (339x650pix,36kb) is a sequel and depicts the mermaid's sisters who later in the story sell their abundant hair to the witch in exchange for a knife with which the Little Mermaid can kill the prince and return to being a mermaid. However she is unable to go through with this and throws herself into the sea.
Life and Thought have Gone Away (375x674pix, 61kb) is based on the metaphorical poem The Deserted House (1830) by Tennyson [06 Aug 1809 – 06 Oct 1892] in which death is described as the soul leaving the earthly prison of the body and moving into the spiritual realm: Life and Thought have gone away / Side by side, / Leaving door and windows wide: / Careless tenants they! // All within is dark as night: / In the windows is no light; / And no murmur at the door, / So frequent on its hinge before.
Lux in Tenebris _ This metaphorically depicts Christ as the Light of God and the World sent as man's redeemer, as in the Gospel of St John, Chapter 1, Verses 1-5. Bearing a laurel branch, the angelic messenger brings peace and the hope of salvation to the dark corners of the earth where evil lurks, here symbolised in the forlm of crocodiles.
Eos _ Eos was the Greek goddess of dawn (known in Roman mythology as Aurora), depicted here watering the earth with dew (following the story told in Ovid's Metamorphoses XIII). She was also the mistress of Tithonius who, at her request, was given immortality by Zeus. However he was not also given perpetual youth and eventually metamorphosed into a cricket. The dew represents the tears shed by Eos for her son Memnon, killed by Achilles in the Trojan War. These tears eventually nourish the earth and bring forth flowers. The birds, or Memnonides, rose from the ashes of Memnon's funeral pyre and are also symbols of rebirth and regeneration.
Medea (1889; 550x309pix, 43kb) _ This painting was exhibited at the New Gallery with a quotation from The Life and Death of Jason by William De Morgan's friend William Morris [24 Mar 1834 – 03 Oct 1896]: Day by day / She saw the happy time fade fast away / And as she fell from out that happiness / Again she grew to be the sorceress / Worker of fearful things, as once she was. In Greek mythology, Medea was an enchantress who helped Jason, leader of the Argonauts, to obtain the Golden Fleece from her father, King Aeetes of Colchis. She was perhaps a goddess and had the gift of prophecy. She married Jason and used her magic powers and advice to help him. The Medea of Euripides [484-406bc] takes up the story at a later stage, after Jason and Medea had fled Colchis with the fleece and had been driven out of Iolcos because of the vengeance taken by Medea on King Pelias of Iolcos (who had sent Jason to fetch the fleece). The play is set during the time that the pair lived in Corinth, when Jason deserted Medea for the daughter of King Creon of Corinth; in revenge, Medea murdered Creon, his daughter, and her own two sons by Jason and took refuge with King Aegeus of Athens. Ovid [20 Mar 43bc – 17ad] in his Metamorphoses carried the story further. After fleeing Corinth, Medea became the wife of Aegeus, who later drove her away after her unsuccessful attempt to poison his son Theseus. The Greek historian Herodotus [484-425bc] related that from Athens Medea went to the region of Asia subsequently called Media, whose inhabitants thereupon changed their name to Medes. Medea also is the heroine of Medea, tragedy by Seneca [4bc-65ad] based on Euripides' drama, plays by Franz Grillparzer [15 Jan 1791 – 21 Jan 1872] and Jean Anouilh [23 Jun 1910 – 03 Oct 1987], and a 1797 opera by Luigi Cherubini [14 Sep 1760 – 15 Mar 1842].
Queen Eleanor and Fair Rosamund (74x65cm, 2052x1708pix, 612kb) _ Rosamond was the mistress of Henry II, who built a house for her at Woodstock in Oxfordshire. Legends say that he tried to keep her safe by installing her in a house called Labyrinthus, which was in effect a maze. But Queen Eleanor found her way through by using a thread and poisoned her. The maze can be seen through the door behind the Queen. The stained glass window above Rosamond shows two lovers in an embrace. The Queen carries a small flask of poison, plus the thread that has led her through the maze. She brings with her shadowy evil forms – dragons, apes, and blood red roses lie at her feet. In contrast, winged cherubs and shadowy doves of peace accompany Rosamund and white roses, symbolising purity and innocence, lie at her feet. Rosamond stares at the flask of poison held by the Queen, recognising her doom.
      This legend makes an attractive picture, but is contradicted by historical fact. Henry imprisoned Queen Eleanor from 1174 to 1189 for supporting the rebellion of two of her sons against their father. Rosamond entered a nunnery in 1174 or 1176, and died there in 1176. At the time of Rosamond’s death, Queen Eleanor was a prisoner in Winchester. Evelyn would have known this, perhaps explaining the jewel-like colors of the robes worn by Queen Eleanor, contradicting her sharp face and anticipatory sneer.
Flora (1894, 2622x1139pix, 466kb) _ Flora is the Roman Goddess of flowers, especially associated with Spring. She is depicted in front of a Nescola or Loquat tree which bears fruit in the spring. Little birds, such as chaffinch and a siskin can be identified within the tree. Flora’s robe is patterned with Florentine flowers and blossoms drop from her clasp and lie scattered in front of her feet. The painting was made entirely in Florence and is a celebration of the city and its Renaissance artists - it is clearly inspired by Botticelli's Primavera. This painting, as well as Cassandra and Helen of Troy, use Jane Hales as the model.
      The influence of Botticelli can be seen in this painting, where Flora holds pink and red roses like the Flora of Botticelli [1445 – 17 May 1510] in
      _ La Primavera, but also resembles his Venus of
      _ The Birth of Venus in her stance and wind-swept hair. Flora's origin is stated on a scroll near her feet at the lower right: 'Io venge da Firenze e sona Flora / Quella citta dai Fior prende Normanza Tia / Fiori son nata ed or cambio dimera / Fra i monte della scozia avio mea stanza / Accoglietemi ben e vi sia caro / Nelle nordiche nebbie il meo Tesoro'.
The parallel with Evelyn is that she had recently started spending half the year in Florence, returning to Great Britain in spring. According to Fasti 5: 195-214 by Ovid, Flora was the Mother of Flowers who was transformed from the nymph Chloris and who enabled the whole earth to blossom in spring:
Chloris eram quae Flora vocor: corrupta Latino
nominis est nostri littera Graeca sono.
Chloris eram, nymphe campi felicis, ubi audis
rem fortunatis ante fuisse viris.
quae fuerit mihi forma, grave est narrare modestae;
sed generum matri repperit illa deum.
ver erat, errabam; Zephyrus conspexit, abibam;
insequitur, fugio: fortior ille fuit.
et dederat fratri Boreas ius omne rapinae,
ausus Erecthea praemia ferre domo.
vim tamen emendat dando mihi nomina nuptae,
inque meo non est ulla querella toro.
[vere fruor semper: semper nitidissimus annus,
arbor habet frondes, pabula semper humus.]
est mihi fecundus dotalibus hortus in agris;
aura fovet, liquidae fonte rigatur aquae:
hunc meus implevit generoso flore maritus,
atque ait “arbitrium tu, dea, floris habe.”
saepe ego digestos volui numerare colores,
nec potui: numero copia maior erat.
roscida cum primum foliis excussa pruina est
et variae radiis intepuere comae,
conveniunt pictis incinctae vestibus Horae,
inque leves calathos munera nostra legunt;
protinus accedunt Charites, nectuntque coronas
sertaque caelestes implicitura comas.
prima per immensas sparsi nova semina gentes:
unius tellus ante coloris erat.
I, called Flora now, was Chloris: the first letter in Greek
Of my name, became corrupted in the Latin language.
I was Chloris, a nymph of those happy fields,
Where, as you’ve heard, fortunate men once lived.
It would be difficult to speak of my form, with modesty,
But it brought my mother a god as son-in-law.
It was spring, I wandered: Zephyrus saw me: I left.
He followed me: I fled: he was the stronger,
And Boreas had given his brother authority for rape
By daring to steal a prize from Erechtheus’ house.
Yet he made amends for his violence, by granting me
The name of bride, and I’ve nothing to complain of in bed.
I enjoy perpetual spring: the season’s always bright,
The trees have leaves: the ground is always green.
I’ve a fruitful garden in the fields that were my dower,
Fanned by the breeze, and watered by a flowing spring.
My husband stocked it with flowers, richly,
And said: “Goddess, be mistress of the flowers.”
I often wished to tally the colors set there,
But I couldn’t, there were too many to count.
As soon as the frosted dew is shaken from the leaves,
And the varied foliage warmed by the sun’s rays,
The Hours gather dressed in colorful clothes,
And collect my gifts in slender baskets.
The Graces, straight away, draw near, and twine
Wreaths and garlands to bind their heavenly hair.
I was first to scatter fresh seeds among countless peoples,
Till then the earth had been a single color.
Cassandra (1898, 102x51cm)
Helen of Troy (1898, 102x51cm)
The Valley of Shadows (1899, 126x193cm; 343x559pix, 51kb) _ The following text is inscribed on a rock in the right foreground: Dark is the Valley of Shadows; / Empty the power of Kings; / Blind is the favour of Fortune; / Hungry the Caverns of Death; / Dim is the Light from Beyond; / Unanswered the Riddle of Life. Alice Macdonald Fleming (the sister of Rudyard Kipling) wrote the following poem in response to this painting: “Dark is the Valley - the Valley of Shadows, / Weary of heart and of life is the King - / He sits among ruins, and thorny the meadows, / The meadows unfruitful, forgotten the Spring. / A green snake is keeping the Palace's portal, / The lizard is warder of desolate halls, / And wine has no savour, and Love the Immortal / Seems dying at even, as fast the light falls. / O, dark is the Valley, the Valley at even, / The King's brow is clouded, the King's heart is black, / His down-gazing eyes raise no glance to the heavens / Where angels are winging their homeward-bound track - / In this hour is disaster, at brink of the grave / The Slave seems the Monarch, the Monarch the Slave.
Our Lady of Peace (1902, 192x97cm; 700x338pix, 85kb)
1914 (1914, 61x79cm; 543x700pix, 104kb)
S.O.S. (1916, 76x48cm; 600x369, 52kb) _ De Morgan takes her title from the Morse Code cry for help that is telegraphed from those who are in imminent danger to those who they hope can rescue them. Such a title lends a dramatic sense of urgency to a work that shows a female figure standing upon a solitary rock of refuge as she is besieged by thundering waves and a myriad of sea serpents. The popular but false etymology of the message ("Save Our Souls") also conveys a sense of what really is at stake when the forces of evil threaten to overcome the innocent and the good. With her hands outstretched and her eyes turned towards heaven, the figure seeks both physical and spiritual deliverance from her plight. Many interpretations of this allegorical figure are possible but all imply her innocence. The artist may have meant this vulnerable figure in her spotless white robe to be emblematic of all the innocent victims of the war, from the beleaguered nations of Europe (such as Serbia or the neutral Belgium) to the inexperienced young soldiers. She may represent civilization under siege by the forces of disorder. Another possibility is that the figure is emblematic of Britain's own loss of innocence during World War I. At the same time that innocence is being sacrificed, De Morgan holds out hope for eventual salvation by placing the biblical symbol of a rainbow in the painting. Just as after the Deluge a rainbow appeared to Noah and his family as a symbol of reassurance from a merciful God, this victim is also offered a sign of eventual deliverance.
     S.O.S.: In 1905, the Morse code SOS was adopted by German ships for signifying distress, not because of any meaning of the initials (Save Our Souls, in German might be: Erretten Sie unsere Seelen) but because of the distinctive code pattern ...---... The British marine, working with Marconi operators, wanted to keep CQD (General Call Disaster which popular etymologist would deform to Come Quick Disaster) as a distress signal. Marconi had first decided to use SOE, but the single dot for E in code could easily be lost in transmission and it was suggested to replace it with an S (three dots), hence SOS, that was adopted at the Berlin Radiotelegraphic Convention in 1906 as the official international standard for distress calls. But Marconi operators were slow to conform, and until 1907 Marconi companies continued to work with the CQD, associated, if necessary, to SOS.
The Red Cross (allegory of Flanders war graves) (1916, 83x57cm)
Aurora Triumphans aka Dawn (1886)
The Crown of Glory (1896)
Cadmus and Harmonia (1877) _ With lambent tongue he kissed her patient face, / Crept in her bosom as his dwelling place, / Entwined her neck, and shared the loved embrace.
Dragon (724kb) _ The panel consists of two tiles surrounded by small green and blue square tiles. The scaled dragon has its head turned backwards, with its tongue sticking out. The dragon is surrounded by green foliage and manganese carnations on a yellow ground. De Morgan often incorporated grotesque or mystical animals in his designs and dragons proved to be a popular source of inspiration.
Bedford Park Daisies (689x669pix, 113kb) _ Consisting of three, symmetrically placed daisies, this six inch tile is one of William De Morgan's earliest designs and strongly influenced by the work of William Morris. The design was normally used in combination with three other designs, Vertical Leaf, Oblique Leaf and Flying Leaf.
Venus and Cupid (1878, 102x51cm) _ Quite unusual in paintings of these two: they are both decently clothed! It must have been a very cold day, notice how the legs of Cupid have a bluish tinge. Also unusual is that Cupid is an adolescent and not a toddler, as he is more frequently pictured.
Clytie (105x44cm; 700x304pix, 51kb) _ She is depicted with her legs rooted among sunflowers and, with the setting of the sun, her head droops with the flowers. This is based on the Greek myth told in Ovid's Metamorphoses IV: 256-270. The jealous Clytie, in love with Helios, deplores that now he only loves Leucothoë and:
Invidit Clytie (neque enim moderatus in illa
Solis amor fuerat) ...
At Clytien, quamvis amor excusare dolorem
indiciumque dolor poterat, non amplius auctor
lucis adit Venerisque modum sibi fecit in illa.
tabuit ex illo dementer amoribus usa;
nympharum inpatiens et sub Iove nocte dieque
sedit humo nuda nudis incompta capillis,
perque novem luces expers undaeque cibique
rore mero lacrimisque suis ieiunia pavit
nec se movit humo; tantum spectabat euntis
ora dei vultusque suos flectebat ad illum.
membra ferunt haesisse solo, partemque coloris
luridus exsangues pallor convertit in herbas;
est in parte rubor violaeque simillimus ora
flos tegit. illa suum, quamvis radice tenetur,
vertitur ad Solem mutataque servat amorem.
Clytie was jealous (there were no bounds to her love for Sol) ...
The god of light no longer visited Clytie, nor found anything to love in her, even though love might have been an excuse for her pain, and her pain for her betrayal. She wasted away, deranged by her experience of love. Impatient of the nymphs, night and day, under the open sky, she sat dishevelled, bareheaded, on the bare earth. Without food or water, fasting, for nine days, she lived only on dew and tears, and did not stir from the ground. She only gazed at the god’s aspect as he passed, and turned her face towards him. They say that her limbs clung to the soil, and that her ghastly pallor changed part of her appearance to that of a bloodless plant: but part was reddened, and a flower like a violet hid her face. She turns, always, towards the sun, though her roots hold her fast, and, altered, loves unaltered.

 
^ Born on 02 May 1806: Marc-Charles-Gabriel Gleyre, Swiss painter and teacher, active in France, who died on 05 May 1874.
— While many of his pictures appear academic in technique and subject, they often treat subjects that are new or imaginatively selected in a manner that betrays varied artistic influences. With his contemporaries Paul Delaroche and Thomas Couture, he helped to create the juste-milieu compromise style of painting. Adept in classical and biblical subjects, Gleyre also ventured into historical iconography, employing Swiss rather than French historical events, as well as genre motifs and sometimes obscure original themes. His influence was immense through his art and his teaching, which helped to form the Néo-Grec school of the Second Empire.
— Known chiefly for his role as a teacher of the leading Impressionists, Charles Gleyre won great acclaim for his own paintings at home in Switzerland and abroad, eventually gaining recognition as the most eminent Swiss painter. between Fuseli and Hodler. Gleyre can now be seen as a highly original artist working in a late romantic-classical vein.
— Gleyre was born at Chevilly in the canton of Vaud. His father and mother died while he was yet a boy of some eight or nine years of ago; and he was brought up by an uncle at Lyons, who sent him to the industrial school of that city.
      Going up to Paris a lad of seventeen or nineteen, he spent four years in close artistic study — in the studio of Louis Hersent, in Suisse’s academy, in the galleries of the Louvre. To this period of laborious application succeeded four years of meditative inactivity in Italy, where he became acquainted with Horace Vernet and Leopold Robert; and six years more were consumed in adventurous wanderings in Greece, Egypt, Nubia and Syria. At Cairo he was attacked with ophthalmia, and in the Lebanon he was struck down by fever; and he returned to Lyons in shattered health. On his recovery’ he proceeded to Paris, and, fixing his modest studio in the rue de Université, began carefully to work out the conceptions which had been slowly shaping themselves in his mind. Mention is made of two decorative panels — Diana leaving the Bath, and a Young Nubian — as almost the first fruits of his genius; but these did not attract public attention till long after, and the painting by which he practically opened his artistic career was the Apocalyptic Vision of St John, sent to the Salon of 1840. This was followed in 1843 by Evening, which at the time received a medal of the second class, and afterwards became widely popular under the title of the Lost Illusions. It represents a poet seated on the bank of a river, with drooping head and wearied frame, letting his lyre slip from a careless hand, and gazing sadly at a bright company of maidens whose song is slowly dying from his ear as their boat is borne slowly from his sight.
      In spite of the success which attended these first ventures, Gleyre retired from public competition, and spent the rest of his life in quiet devotion to his own artistic ideals, neither seeking the easy applause of the crowd, nor turning his art into a means of aggrandizement; and wealth. After 1845, when he exhibited the Separation of the Apostles, he contributed nothing to the Salon except the Dance of the Bacchantes in 1849.
      Yet he labored steadily and was abundantly productive. He had an infinite capacity of taking pains, and when asked by what method he attained to such marvellous perfection of workmanship, he would reply, “En y pensant toujours.” A long series of years often intervened between the first conception of a piece and its embodiment, and years not unfrequently between the first and the final stage of the embodiment itself. A landscape was apparently finished; even his fellow artists would consider it done; Gleyre alone was conscious that he had not “found his sky.”
      Happily for French art this high-toned laboriousness became influential on a large number of Gleyre’s younger contemporaries; for when Delaroche gave up his studio of instruction he recommended his students to apply to Gleyre, who at once agreed to give them lessons twice a week, and characteristically refused to take any fee or reward. By instinct and principle he was a confirmed celibate: “Fortune, talent, health, —he had everything; but he was married,” was his lamentation over a friend.
      Though Gleyre lived in almost complete retirement from public life, he took a keen interest in politics, and was a voracious reader of political journals. For a time, indeed, under Louis Philippe, his studio had been the rendezvous of a sort of liberal club. To the last — amid all the disasters that befell his country — he was hopeful of the future, “la raison finira bien par avoir raison.”
      It was while on a visit to the Retrospective Exhibition, opened on behalf of the exiles from Alsace and Lorraine, that he died suddenly on the 5th of May 1874. He left unfinished the Paradis Terrestre, a noble picture, a dream of innocence, of happiness and of beauty — Adam and Eve standing in the sublime and joyous landscape of a paradise enclosed in mountains, — a worthy counterpart to the Evening.
      Among the other productions of his genius are the Déluge, which represen.ts two angels speeding above the desolate earth, from which the destroying waters have just begun to retire, leaving visible behind them the ruin they have wrought; the Battle of the Lemanus, a piece of elaborate design, crowded but not cumbered with figures, and giving fine expression to the movements of the various bands of combatants and fugitives; the Prodigal Son, in which the artist’ has ventured to add to the parable the new element of mother’s love, greeting the repentant ‘youth with a welcome that shows that the mother’s heart thinks less of the repentance than of the return; Ruth and Boaz; Ulysses and Nausicaa; Hercules at the feet of Omphale; the Young Athenian, or, as it is popularly called, Sappho; Minerva and the Nymphs; Venus -ithvhrjMos; Daphnis and Chloë; and Love and the Parcae. Nor must it be omitted that he left a considerable number of drawings and watercolors, and that we are indebted to him for a number of portraits, among which is the sad face of Ileine, engraved in the Revue des deux mondes for April 1852. In Clement’s catalogue of his works there are 683 entries, including sketches and studies.
— Gleyre fue uno de los maestros más importantes en el París de la década de 1850. Nacido en Suiza, pronto se trasladó a Francia, iniciando sus lecciones de dibujo con su tío en Lyon. A partir de 1825 estudia con Louis Hersent, en la Escuela de Bellas Artes y en la Académie Suisse. En 1829 se traslada a Roma, donde pasará cinco años, contactando con Leópold Robert, cuyo estilo clasicista influirá en toda la obra de Gleyre. Tras un viaje por Sicilia, Grecia, Egipto y Oriente Próximo gracias a un mecenas norteamericano, se traslada a París, abriendo una de las escuelas más liberales en las que trabajaron Whistler, Monet, Renoir, Bazille, Sisley y otros jóvenes artistas. Problemas de salud le obligaron a cerrar el taller, trasladándose a Fontainebleau en compañía de Sisley, Bazille y Renoir. Interesado por la pintura al aire libre, es más conocido por sus cuadros clasicistas en los que hay cierto poso romántico.
— Gleyre's many students included Jean-Léon Gérôme [11 May 1824 – 10 Jan 1904], Jean-Louis Hamon, Jules Jean Antoine Lecomte du Nouÿ, Edward John Poynter, Oscar-Claude Monet [14 Nov 1840 – 05 Dec 1926], Renoir [25 Feb 1841 – 03 Dec 1919], Jean-Frédéric Bazille [06 Dec 1841 – 28 Nov 1870], Auguste Bazille, Alfred Sisley [30 Oct 1839 – 29 Jan 1899], Daniel Ridgway Knight, Frank B. Mayer, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Samuel Albert Anker, Rodolphe-Auguste Bachelin, François-Louis-David Bocion, George Louis Palmella Busson Du Maurier, Nicolae Grigorescu [15 May 1838 – 21 Jul 1907], Edward Lamson Henry, Charles Hermans, Félix Armand Marie Jobbé-Duval, Francisco Laso de la Vega de los Ríos, Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic, Francisco Oller y Cestero, Henri-Pierre Picou [1824–1895], José Salomé Pina, Valentine Cameron Prinsep, Friedrich Rudolf Simon, Henry Wallis.

LINKS
Les Romains sous le joug (ZOOMable)
Le Coucher de Sapho (ZOOMable)
Le Bain [du bébé] (1868) (ZOOMable)
Diane (ZOOMable)
Le Départ des apôtres allant prêcher l’Évangile (1845 semi-circular
Turcs et Arabes (600x512pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1195pix)
Une Dame Orientale (600x488pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1139pix)
Deux Dames avec un Bouquet (1852 oval; 600x700pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1633pix)
Une Jeune Fille et l'Amour (circular; 472x472pix _ ZOOM to 1100x1100pix)
Tête d'Abyssinien (600x456pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1064pix)
L'Etna (600x468pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1092pix)
Two Ladies With Flowers (1850, oval 58x70cm; 599x711pix, 67kb _ ZOOM to 1682x2000pix, 234kb)
Evening: Lost Illusions (1843)
Three Fellahs (1835; 324x440pix, 28kb) _ The 'fellahs' or farmers were the backbone of Egypt. For thousands of years they tilled the fields that provided the grain that fed the Mediterranean world. When the harvest in Egypt was bad the Roman emperors feared riots in the streets of Rome. Throughout Egypt's history they had been exploited by the powerful. Gleyre was struck by how hard the women worked and how poorly they were treated. An ardent Republican, the political party that had drafted the Rights of Man 46 years earlier, he stood for the common man. In fact when Louis Napoleon swept to power in 1848 he quit exhibiting in the national galleries in protest.

—(060501)
^ Died on 02 May 1519: Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, Florentine painter and inventor born on 15 April 1452. Uncle of Pierino da Vinci [1531-1554]. Studied under Andrea del Verrocchio [1435-1488]. Leonardo's students included Andrea Solario [1470-1520], Bernardino Luini [1475-1532], Cesare da Sesto [1477 – 27 Jul 1523], Francesco Melzi [1493-1570] and Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio [1466-1516].
— Leonardo da Vinci was one of the great masters of the High Renaissance, who was also celebrated as a painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, and scientist. His profound love of knowledge and research was the keynote of both his artistic and scientific endeavors. His innovations in the field of painting influenced the course of Italian art for more than a century after his death, and his scientific studies — particularly in the fields of anatomy, optics, and hydraulics — anticipated many of the developments of modern science.
Early Life in Florence
      Leonardo was born in the small Tuscan town of Vinci, near Florence. He was the son of a wealthy Florentine notary and a peasant woman. In the mid-1460s the family settled in Florence, where Leonardo was given the best education that Florence, the intellectual and artistic center of Italy, could offer. He rapidly advanced socially and intellectually. He was handsome, persuasive in conversation, and a fine musician and improviser. About 1466 he was apprenticed as a garzone (studio boy) to Andrea del Verrocchio, the leading Florentine painter and sculptor of his day. In Verrocchio's workshop Leonardo was introduced to many activities, from the painting of altarpieces and panel pictures to the creation of large sculptural projects in marble and bronze. In 1472 he was entered in the painter's guild of Florence, and in 1476 he is still mentioned as Verrocchio's assistant. In Verrocchio's Baptism of Christ (1470), the kneeling angel at the left of the painting is by Leonardo.
      In 1478 Leonardo became an independent master. His first commission, to paint an altarpiece for the chapel of the Palazzo Vecchio, the Florentine town hall, was never executed. His first large painting, The Adoration by the Magi , left unfinished, was ordered in 1481 for the Monastery of San Donato a Scopeto, Florence. Other works ascribed to his youth are the so-called Benois Madonna (1478), the portrait Ginerva de' Benci (1474), and the unfinished Saint Jerome (1481).
Years in Milan
      About 1482 Leonardo entered the service of the duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, having written the duke an astonishing letter in which he stated that he could build portable bridges; that he knew the techniques of constructing bombardments and of making cannons; that he could build ships as well as armored vehicles, catapults, and other war machines; and that he could execute sculpture in marble, bronze, and clay. He served as principal engineer in the duke's numerous military enterprises and was active also as an architect. In addition, he assisted the Italian mathematician Luca Pacioli in the celebrated work Divina Proportione (1509).
      Evidence indicates that Leonardo had apprentices and students in Milan, for whom he probably wrote the various texts later compiled as Treatise on Painting (1651). The most important of his own paintings during the early Milan period was The Virgin of the Rocks, two versions of which exist (1485 and 1508); he worked on the compositions for a long time, as was his custom, seemingly unwilling to finish what he had begun. From 1495 to 1497 Leonardo labored on his masterpiece, The Last Supper, a mural in the refectory of the Monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan. Unfortunately, his experimental use of oil on dry plaster (on what was the thin outer wall of a space designed for serving food) was technically unsound, and by 1500 its deterioration had begun. Since 1726 attempts have been made, unsuccessfully, to restore it; a concerted restoration and conservation program, making use of the latest technology, was begun in 1977 and is reversing some of the damage. Although much of the original surface is gone, the majesty of the composition and the penetrating characterization of the figures give a fleeting vision of its vanished splendor. During his long stay in Milan, Leonardo also produced other paintings and drawings (most of which have been lost), theater designs, architectural drawings, and models for the dome of Milan Cathedral. His largest commission was for a colossal bronze monument to Francesco Sforza, father of Ludovico, in the courtyard of Castello Sforzesco. In December 1499, however, the Sforza family was driven from Milan by French forces; Leonardo left the statue unfinished (it was destroyed by French archers, who used it as a target) and he returned to Florence in 1500.
Return to Florence
click to ZOOM IN (new window)      In 1502 Leonardo entered the service of Cesare Borgia, duke of Romagna and son and chief general of Pope Alexander VI; in his capacity as the duke's chief architect and engineer, Leonardo supervised work on the fortresses of the papal territories in central Italy. In 1503 he was a member of a commission of artists who were to decide on the proper location for the David (1504), the famous colossal marble statue by Michelangelo, and he also served as an engineer in the war against Pisa. Toward the end of the year Leonardo began to design a decoration for the great hall of the Palazzo Vecchio. The subject was the Battle of Anghiari, a Florentine victory in its war with Pisa. He made many drawings for it and completed a full-size cartoon, or sketch, in 1505, but he never finished the wall painting. The cartoon itself was destroyed in the 17th century, and the composition survives only in copies, of which the most famous is the one by Peter Paul Rubens (1615). During this second Florentine period, Leonardo painted several portraits, but the only one that survives is the famous Mona Lisa (1506). One of the most celebrated portraits ever painted, it is also known as La Gioconda. Leonardo seems to have had a special affection for the picture, for he took it with him on all of his subsequent travels.
Later Travels and Death
      In 1506 Leonardo went again to Milan, at the summons of its French governor, Charles d'Amboise. The following year he was named court painter to King Louis XII of France, who was then residing in Milan. For the next six years Leonardo divided his time between Milan and Florence, where he often visited his half brothers and half sisters and looked after his inheritance. In Milan he continued his engineering projects and worked on an equestrian figure for a monument to Gian Giacomo Trivulzio, commander of the French forces in the city; although the project was not completed, drawings and studies have been preserved. From 1514 to 1516 Leonardo lived in Rome under the patronage of Pope Leo X: he was housed in the Palazzo Belvedere in the Vatican and seems to have been occupied principally with scientific experimentation. In 1516 he traveled to France to enter the service of King Francis I. He spent his last years at the Château de Cloux, near Amboise, where he died.
Paintings
      Although Leonardo produced a relatively small number of paintings, many of which remained unfinished, he was nevertheless an extraordinarily innovative and influential artist. During his early years, his style closely paralleled that of Verrocchio, but he gradually moved away from his teacher's stiff, tight, and somewhat rigid treatment of figures to develop a more evocative and atmospheric handling of composition. The early The Adoration of the Magi introduced a new approach to composition, in which the main figures are grouped in the foreground, while the background consists of distant views of imaginary ruins and battle scenes.
      Leonardo's stylistic innovations are even more apparent in The Last Supper, in which he re-created a traditional theme in an entirely new way. Instead of showing the 12 apostles as individual figures, he grouped them in dynamic compositional units of three, framing the figure of Christ, who is isolated in the center of the picture. Seated before a pale distant landscape seen through a rectangular opening in the wall, Christ — who is about to announce that one of those present will betray him — represents a calm nucleus while the others respond with animated gestures. In the monumentality of the scene and the weightiness of the figures, Leonardo reintroduced a style pioneered more than a generation earlier by Masaccio, the father of Florentine painting.
      The Mona Lisa, Leonardo's most famous work, is as well known for its mastery of technical innovations as for the mysteriousness of its legendary smiling subject. This work is a consummate example of two techniques — sfumato and chiaroscuro — of which Leonardo was one of the first great masters. Sfumato is characterized by subtle, almost infinitesimal transitions between color areas, creating a delicately atmospheric haze or smoky effect; it is especially evident in the delicate gauzy robes worn by the sitter and in her enigmatic smile. Chiaroscuro is the technique of modeling and defining forms through contrasts of light and shadow; the sensitive hands of the sitter are portrayed with a luminous modulation of light and shade, while color contrast is used only sparingly.
      An especially notable characteristic of Leonardo's paintings is his landscape backgrounds, into which he was among the first to introduce atmospheric perspective. The chief masters of the High Renaissance in Florence, including Raphael, Andrea del Sarto, and Fra Bartolommeo, all learned from Leonardo; he completely transformed the school of Milan; and at Parma, Correggio's artistic development was given direction by Leonardo's work.
      Leonardo's many extant drawings reveal his brilliant draftsmanship and his mastery of the anatomy of humans, animals, and plant life. Probably his most famous drawing is the magnificent Self-Portrait (1513).
Sculptural and Architectural Drawings
      Because none of Leonardo's sculptural projects was brought to completion, his approach to three-dimensional art can only be judged from his drawings. The same strictures apply to his architecture; none of his building projects was actually carried out as he devised them. In his architectural drawings, however, he demonstrates mastery in the use of massive forms, a clarity of expression, and especially a deep understanding of ancient Roman sources.
Scientific and Theoretical Projects
      As a scientist Leonardo towered above all his contemporaries. His scientific theories, like his artistic innovations, were based on careful observation and precise documentation. He understood, better than anyone of his century or the next, the importance of precise scientific observation. Unfortunately, just as he frequently failed to bring to conclusion artistic projects, he never completed his planned treatises on a variety of scientific subjects. His theories are contained in numerous notebooks, most of which were written in mirror script. Because they were not easily decipherable, Leonardo's findings were not disseminated in his own lifetime; had they been published, they would have revolutionized the science of the 16th century. Leonardo actually anticipated many discoveries of modern times. In anatomy he studied the circulation of the blood and the action of the eye. He made discoveries in meteorology and geology, learned the effect of the moon on the tides, foreshadowed modern conceptions of continent formation, and surmised the nature of fossil shells. He was among the originators of the science of hydraulics and probably devised the hydrometer; his scheme for the canalization of rivers still has practical value. He invented a large number of ingenious machines, many potentially useful, among them an underwater diving suit. His flying devices, although not practicable, embodied sound principles of aerodynamics.
      A creator in all branches of art, a discoverer in most branches of science, and an inventor in branches of technology, Leonardo deserves, perhaps more than anyone, the title of Homo Universalis, Universal Man.


— Nato a Vinci (Firenze) nel 1452, figlio naturale del notaio Piero e di una contadina, fu accolto in casa del padre che non aveva avuto figli legittimi dai primi due matrimoni. Dal 1467 al 1476 approfondì la sua formazione artistica presso la bottega del Verrocchio a Firenze, interessandosi anche di matematica, meccanica e ingegneria. Nel 1482 fu chiamato a Milano da Ludovico il Moro; durante il soggiorno milanese si occupò degli allestimenti scenici per gli spettacoli teatrali della corte, oltre a dipingere alcuni dei suoi capolavori (la Vergine delle rocce e l’Ultima cena). Dopo la caduta di Ludovico nel 1499, Leonardo lavorò presso varie corti italiane: Mantova, Venezia, Firenze, Roma. Durante questi anni dipinse capolavori come la Gioconda. Nel 1517 accettò l’invito di Francesco I a lavorare per la corte francese. Gli fu assegnato il castello di Cloux vicino alla reggia di Amboise; trascorse gli ultimi anni immerso negli studi, tra gli onori della corte. Morì nel 1519 a Cloux, Amboise. Leonardo amava definirsi “omo sanza lettere”: conosceva superficialmente il latino, ignorava completamente il greco e aveva appreso la maggior parte delle sue cognizioni attraverso i volgarizzamenti delle opere più importanti e attraverso l’aiuto di amici, il matematico e filosofo Pacioli e il medico Marcantonio della Torre. Si interessò soprattutto di meccanica, fisica, anatomia, filosofia naturale e lasciò una enorme quantità di appunti (si calcolano 5000 fogli). Oltre agli appunti tecnici e ai progetti di trattati, Leonardo scrisse anche numerosi apologhi, aforismi e favole che testimoniano un gusto arguto e uno stile vivace. Giunto a noi grazie alla compilazione dell’allievo Francesco Melzi che si basò sui materiali del maestro, il Trattato della pittura è l’unica opera organica; si tratta di un grandioso tentativo di coordinare ogni scienza, ogni filosofia, ogni riflessione sulla scienza e sulla vita all’interno dell’ottica e delle esigenze del pittore.
^
— LEONARDO: RENAISSANCE POLYMATH
     There has never been an artist who was more fittingly, and without qualification, described as a genius. Like Shakespeare, Leonardo came from an insignificant background and rose to universal acclaim. Leonardo was the illegitimate son of a local lawyer in the small town of Vinci in the Tuscan region. His father acknowledged him and paid for his training, but we may wonder whether the strangely self-sufficient tone of Leonardo's mind was not perhaps affected by his early ambiguity of status. The definitive polymath, he had almost too many gifts, including superlative male beauty, a splendid singing voice, magnificent physique, mathematical excellence, scientific daring ... the list is endless. This overabundance of talents caused him to treat his artistry lightly, seldom finishing a picture, and sometimes making rash technical experiments. The Last Supper, (1498, 460x880cm; 600x1046pix, 126kb) in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, for example, has almost vanished, so inadequate were his innovations in fresco preparation.
     Yet the works that we have salvaged remain the most dazzlingly poetic pictures ever created. The Mona Lisa has the innocent disadvantage of being too famous. It can only be seen behind thick glass in a heaving crowd of awe-struck sightseers. It has been reproduced in every conceivable medium; it remains intact in its magic, forever defying the human insistence on comprehending. It is a work that we can only gaze at in silence.
     Leonardo's three great portraits of women all have a secret wistfulness. This quality is at its most appealing in Cecilia Gallarani, at its most enigmatic in the Mona Lisa, and at its most confrontational in Ginevra de' Benci. It is hard to gaze at the Mona Lisa because we have so many expectations of it. Perhaps we can look more truly at a less famous portrait, Ginevra de' Benci. It has that haunting, almost unearthly beauty peculiar to Leonardo da Vinci.
A WITHHELD IDENTITY
     The subject of Ginevra de' Benci has nothing of the Mona Lisa's inward amusement, and also nothing of Cecilia's gentle submissiveness. The young woman looks past us with a wonderful luminous sulkiness. Her mouth is set in an unforgiving line of sensitive disgruntlement, her proud and perfect head is taut above the unyielding column of her neck, and her eyes seem to narrow as she endures the painter and his art. Her ringlets, infinitely subtle, cascade down from the breadth of her gleaming forehead (the forehead, incidentally, of one of the most gifted intellectuals of her time). These delicate ripples are repeated in the spikes of the juniper bush.
     The desolate waters, the mists, the dark trees, the reflected gleams of still waters - all these surround and illuminate the sitter. She is totally fleshly and totally impermeable to the artist. He observes, held rapt by her perfection of form, and shows us the thin veil of her upper bodice and the delicate flushing of her throat. What she is truly like she conceals; what Leonardo reveals to us is precisely this concealment, a self-absorption that spares no outward glance.
INTERIOR DEPTH
     We can always tell a Leonardo work by his treatment of hair, angelic in its fineness, and by the lack of any rigidity of contour. One form glides imperceptibly into another (the Italian term is sfumato), a wonder of glazes creating the most subtle of transitions between tones and shapes. The angel's face in the painting known as the Virgin of the Rocks in London, or the Virgin's face in the Paris version of the same picture, have an interior wisdom, an artistic wisdom that has no pictorial rival.
     This unrivaled quality meant that few artists actually show Leonardo's influence: it is as if he seemed to be in a world apart from them. Indeed he did move apart, accepting the French King Francis I's summons to live in France. Those who did imitate him, like Bernardini Luini of Milan (c. 1485-1532), caught only the outer manner, the half-smile, the mistiness.
     The shadow of a great genius is a peculiar thing. Under Rembrandt's shadow, painters flourished to the extent that we can no longer distinguish their work from his own. But Leonardo's was a chilling shadow, too deep, too dark, too overpowering.
^
—    Leonardo da Vinci was the embodiment of the Renaissance ideal of the universal man, the first artist to attain complete mastery of all branches of art. He was a painter, sculptor, architect and engineer besides being a scholar in the natural sciences, medicine and philosophy.
      Leonardo was born an illegitimate son of the notary Ser Piero di Antonio da Vinci and the peasant woman Caterina in a small town, Vinci, near Empoli, Tuscany. The first four years of his life he spent in a small village near Vinci with his mother. From 1457 he lived in his father's family, which soon moved to Florence. At the age of 15 he became an apprentice of the Florentine painter and sculptor Andrea del Verrocchio [1435-1488] and although in 1472 he entered the San Luca guild of painters in Florence, which would indicate that he had attained a degree of professional independence, he remained with Andrea del Verrocchio until 1480. His first known work, which he painted as an assistant, is the angel, kneeling on the left of the Verrocchio's picture The Baptism of Christ (1475). Verrocchio, it is said, was so impressed by the implications of his student's genius that he gave up painting. Another work of this period The Annunciation (1475, 98x217cm) was attributed to Leonardo, but probably not all the picture was painted by him. However, it is generally accepted that the overall composition, the figure of the angel and the landscape are his. There are several other survived works from this period, such as Madonna with the Carnation (1475), Madonna Benois (or “with flower”) (1478), Portrait of Ginevra de'Benci (1480). Leonardo received a commission to paint an altar piece St. Hieronymus (1482), which was never finished, and for the church in San Donato a Scopeto to create a large panel Adoration of the Magi (1482), which was not finished either. Unfortunately, it was to be repeated with many of his works, many of them were never finished.
      In 1482 Leonardo moved to Milan in hope to obtain the patronage of the ruler of the city Ludovico Sforza, also known as Ludovico Moro for his dark coloring. Leonardo offered his services as a military engineer, sculptor and painter.
In 1483 he was commissioned to make a large altar piece The Virgin of the Rocks (1486) for the Franciscan Confraternity in the Church of S. Francesco Grande. Another version of this picture was created later. Being the court painter, sculptor and engineer he created Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani (Lady with an Ermine) (1490), Portrait of an Unknown Woman (La Belle Ferroniere) (1490), several small Madonnas, such as Madonna Litta (1491, 42x33cm _ detail), worked on the equestrian statue of Francesco Sforza (father of Ludovico Moro), which was created as a huge clay model of the horse, but the project was never cast in bronze. Leonardo painted The Last Supper (1498) for the refectory of the Dominican Monastery Santa Maria delle Grazie, which is considered the first work of High Renaissance. His representation of the theme has become the epitome of all Last Supper compositions. Unfortunately, he experimented with the paint and this led to the damage of the fresco, the paint  began to crumble almost after the fresco was finished. See one of the contemporary copies.
      In the mid to late 1480s, when Leonardo was attempting to establish himself as a court artist, he seemed to have started on his huge range of scientific researches, which included botany, anatomy, medicine, architecture, military engineering, geography etc. We know about his studies by the enormous amount of his drawings which were left. He was writing the Treatise on Painting, a collection of practical and theoretical instructions for painters, all his life.
      In 1499, after the defeat of Ludovico Sforza by French, Leonardo left Milan. After the short travels to Mantua and Venice he returned to Florence. There he was working on a commission for the Servite monastery, which probably was Virgin and Child with Saint Anne (1516). In 1502 he was employed by General Cesare Borgia as an architect and military engineer, with whom he traveled, mainly in Central Italy, studying terrain and preparing maps for Borgia's future military campaigns. Also at that time Madonna of the Yarnwinder (1501) was created.
     In 1503 Leonardo returned to Florence again and, in response to a commission from Francesco del Giocondo, started on a portrait of his wife Lisa del Giocondo Mona Lisa (La Gioconda) (1506), which to become the most famous picture in the world. Although the portrait was not finished in time and never delivered to the client. Leonardo received more important commission, he was to paint the Grand Council Chamber in the Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of government of Florence. The wall-painting, which Leonardo left unfinished in the spring of 1506 and which was destroyed in the middle of the XVI century depicted the Battle of Anghiari of 1440, when Florentine forces, together with their papal allies, defeated their Milanese opponents near the town of Anghiari. At the same time Michelangelo was commissioned to create a painting on the other wall of the same hall (the so-called Battle of Cascina), which was  never finished either.
      In 1506-1512 Leonardo lived mostly in Milan under the patronage of the French Governor of the town Charles d'Amboise. During these years he created The Leda and the Swan (1510), which is known now only through a number of copies, second version of The Virgin of the Rocks (1508), worked on the equestrian statue for General Giangiacomo Trivulzio, which was never realized, continued his anatomical studies. After the death of Charles d'Amboise in 1511, Leonardo accepted the protection of Giuliano de'Medici, brother of the future Pope Leo X, with whom he then traveled to the papal court in Rome. Leonardo, by now 61 years old, apparently hoped to become a court painter. But he never received any major commissions comparable to those already carried out by Raphael and Michelangelo from Leo X. He probably created at this time  Saint John the Baptist (1516), although there is one more John the Baptist (with the attributes of Bacchus) (1516), which is also attributed to Leonardo.
      In 1516 Leonardo received an invitation from French King Francis I to go to the French court, which he accepted. He was given residence in Cloux, not far from the King's residence in Amboise, and was appointed "the first painter, engineer and architect to the King". But his only obligation was to converse with the 22-year old King, who visited him almost daily. Leonardo died in Cloux and was buried in the Church of St. Florentine in Amboise.
      Leonardo's reputation in his lifetime was immense, and it was acknowledged visibly not only in the work of the foremost painters of the time in Florence - Fra Bartolommeo, Andrea del Sarto and, above all, Raphael - but also in Milan and northern Italy - by Correggio in Parma, and by Giorgione in Venice.

— Writings by LEONARDO DA VINCI ONLINE: Aforismi, novelle e profezie (zipped)
LINKS
Self-Portrait (poorly preserved drawing, 1512, 33x21cm) _ A hand-written note from the 16th century titles the drawing "Leonardus Vincius (in red chalk) self-portrait at an advanced age (in charcoal)," so that its interpretation as Leonardo's self-portrait during the last years of his life is generally accepted nowadays. It is reminiscent of Gianpaolo Lomazzo's words from the late 16th century: "Leonardo's hair and beard were so long, and his eyebrows were so bushy, that he appeared to be the sheer idea of noble wisdom." In stylistic terms, however, including the use of parallel hatchings, the drawing could date from before 1500, which would mean that this could not be a self-portrait.
Lady With Ermine
Virgin and Child with Saint Ann
Virgin of the Rocks (London)
La Vierge aux rochers (Paris)
la Cène
The Last Supper (restored)
A Musician (1490, 43x31cm; 1159x808pix, 143kb) _ It was not until 1904 that the hand and sheet of music were discovered underneath overpaintings, and it is these that have given the painting its present title. Since this discovery, efforts have also been made to identify the person depicted. The names of two important court musicians in Milan during that period are known: Franchino Gaffurio [1451-1522] and Josquin des Prés [1445 – 27 Aug 1521]. But there is no clear indication enabling us to identify either of these two in this portrait. The attribution to Leonardo is debated. It would be the only portrait of a man by Leonardo.
Madonna with a Flower (1478, 50x32cm) _ This painting was also called the Madonna Benois because of the family who owned it. This canvas demonstrates the newly developed method of "chiaroscuro" — a lighting/shading technique that made the figures appear three dimensional.
The Madonna of the Carnation (1480, 62x48cm) _ This painting would seem to evoke the sketches of a young Leonardo freed from Verrocchio's tutelage, though nevertheless still affected by a passion and taste for the soft textures and dazzle of solid material (as practiced in the workshop of the Florentine artist). It is a free variant of the Madonna Benois, but more complex in its composition and spatial arrangement, though perhaps somewhat highflown and less spontaneous. After a comprehensible, temporary attribution to Verrocchio or his shop, art critics subsequently almost universally assigned the painting to Leonardo, a judgement backed up by the most recent research. In fact, the richness of the drapery, the vastness of the mountain scenery with purple and gold hues tinging the foothills of peaks that fade into the sky, the vitality of the cut flowers in the crystal vase and the softness of the Child's flesh that foreshadows the tender putti of the Virgin of the Rocks, are elements that show a distancing from the more distinctive Verrocchiesque style and instead assume those formal and chromatic characteristics that would be the mature Leonardo's very own. Moreover there are striking similarities — in facial features and other details — with the Madonna Benois (the gem fastening the Virgin's gown over her breast) and with the Uffizi Annunciation, works that in their figurative and expressive invention quite clearly reveal the genius of Leonardo.
Virgin of the Rocks (1486, 199x122cm) _ detail 2 (1124x804pix, 153kb) _ detail 2 (1076x807pix, 118kb) _ There are two versions of this painting, of which this is the earlier The first work that Leonardo executed in Milan is this so-called Virgin of the Rocks, which actually expresses the theme of the Immaculate Conception. This canvas was to decorate the ancona (a carved wooden altar with frames where paintings were inserted) in the chapel of the Immacolata in the church of San Francesco Grande in Milan. On 25 April 1483, the members of the Confraternity of the Conception assigned the work of the paintings (a Virgin and Child in the center and two Angel-Musicians for the sides), to Leonardo, for the most important part, and the brothers Ambrogio and Evangelista De Predis, for the side panels. Scholars now feel that the two canvases on this same subject, this one of 1486 and that of 1506, are simply two versions of the same painting, with significant variants. This first Virgin of the Rocks, entirely by Leonardo, is the one which first adorned the altar in San Francesco Grande. It may have been given by Leonardo himself to King Louis XII of France, in gratitude for the settlement of the suit between the painters and those who commissioned the works, in dispute over the question of payment. The later painting replaced this one in the ancona.
      For the first time Leonardo could achieve in painting that intellectual program of fusion between human forms and nature which was slowly taking shape in his view of his art. Here there are no thrones or architectural structures to afford a spatial frame for the figures; instead there are the rocks of a grotto, reflected in limpid waters, decorated by leaves of various kinds from different plants while in the distance, as if emerging from a mist composed of very fine droplets and filtered by the golden sunlight, the peaks of those mountains we now know so well reappear. This same light reveals the gentle, mild features of the Madonna, the angel's smiling face, the plump, pink flesh of the two putti. For this work, too, Leonardo made numerous studies, and the figurative expression is slowly adapted to the program of depiction. In fact, the drawing of the face of the angel is, in the sketch, clearly feminine, with a fascination that has nothing ambiguous about it. In the painting, the sex is not defined, and the angel could easily be either a youth or a maiden.
Virgin of the Rocks (1506, 190x120cm; _ ZOOMable) _ This second version was painted to replace the first one in the ancona in the chapel of the Immacolata in the church of San Francesco Grande in Milan. It has distinctly sixteenth-century characteristics: larger figures, made more plastic by a very decided chiaroscuro so unlike Leonardo that scholars were immediately led to consider the work a collaboration. The first version had been given to Louis XII.
      This version shows some details generally neglected by Leonardo in the earlier version: the haloes of the figures, the child Saint John's cross of reeds. Other elements which differ from the 1486 picture are the pose of the angel, who no longer points his finger towards the little Paraclete, and his face, whose gaze no longer seeks out the spectator, but is directed inwards. The drapery, too, which in the 1486 version was heavy and concealed the body, is lighter here, revealing the anatomical structure. Also the rocks seem painted in a more plastic fashion; the light does not glide over them, creating dewy areas of semi-darkness, but leaves strong contrasts of light and dark. The skin of the children here is less tender, and though the shadows are insistent, the children's faces seem flatter and less sweet than those of the two sublime creatures of 1486. The intervention of followers on the painting already sketched by Leonardo has made the portrayal less vibrant, more banal, though it retains a compositional authority and an originality in its variants that make this work not a copy but an autonomous version, of high quality, of the unequaled 1486 masterpiece.
The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne (1510, 168x130cm) _ detail 1 the three heads _ detail 2 Baby Jesus with a lamb. _ The theme of the Christ Child off the knee of the Virgin, who is herself seated on Saint Anne's lap, is fairly rare, but examples of it can be found from the Middle Ages onwards: the stream of life flowing through three generations. Leonardo must have chosen this unusual theme for symbolic reasons, which have been variously interpreted. Sigmund Freud made out the shape of a vulture in the Virgin's garment, and suggested a psychoanalytical explanation: since as a child Leonardo dreamt that he had been attacked in his cradle by a vulture.
      This painting was commissioned by the Servites in Florence. It is unfinished; perhaps it was abandoned because of the artist's sudden interest in mathematics, and his engagement as engineer in the service of Cesare Borgia. Another hand seems to have finished the lamb which he had perhaps only sketched in; the landscape, St Anne, the Virgin and the Child Christ are the work of Leonardo himself. The paint is applied thinly, it is limpid and transparent, so that in some places the underlying sketch is visible. This has become apparent since the very dark varnish was lightened and some overpainting removed in 1953.
Mona Lisa = La Gioconda (1505, 77x53cm; 1184x800pix, 127kb) _ detail 1 (986x809pix, 115kb) head _ detail 2 (426x801pix, 32kb) hands _ detail 3 (770x511pix, 69kb) background landscape _ After the fall of his patron in 1499, Leonardo left Milan to find employment. In April 1500 he stopped in Florence, before working in Central Italy as a mapmaker and military engineer for Cesare Borgia.Traveling back to Florence in 1503, Da Vinci completed several significant projects including the "Mona Lisa." The Mona Lisa, also known as La Gioconda, is a portrait of the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, painted by Leonardo da Vinci between 1503 and 1505. This figure of a woman, dressed in the Florentine fashion of her day and seated in a visionary, mountainous landscape, is a remarkable instance of Leonardo's sfumato technique of soft, heavily shaded modeling. The Mona Lisa's enigmatic expression, which seems both alluring and aloof, has given the portrait universal fame.
      Much has been written about this small masterpiece by Leonardo, and the gentle woman who is its subject has been adapted in turn as an aesthetic, philosophical and advertising symbol, entering eventually into the irreverent parodies of the Dada and Surrealist artists (e.g.
      _ L.H.O.O.Q. by Marcel Duchamp [1867-1968] see computer-law commentary) (Links to 43 commercial and artistic [?] adaptations of Mona Lisa). The history of the panel has been much discussed, although it remains in part uncertain. According to Vasari, the subject is a young Florentine woman, Monna (or Mona) Lisa, who in 1495 married the well-known figure, Francesco del Giocondo, and thus came to be known as La Gioconda. The work should probably be dated during Leonardo's second Florentine period, that is between 1503 and 1505. Leonardo himself loved the portrait, so much so that he always carried it with him until eventually in France it was sold to François I, either by Leonardo or by Melzi.
      From the beginning it was greatly admired and much copied, and it came to be considered the prototype of the Renaissance portrait. It became even more famous in 1911, when it was stolen from the Salon Carré in the Louvre, being rediscovered in a hotel in Florence two years later. It is difficult to discuss such a work briefly because of the complex stylistic motifs which are part of it. In the essay On the perfect beauty of a woman, by the 16th-century writer Firenzuola, we learn that the slight opening of the lips at the corners of the mouth was considered in that period a sign of elegance. Thus Mona Lisa has that slight smile which enters into the gentle, delicate atmosphere pervading the whole painting. To achieve this effect, Leonardo uses the sfumato technique, a gradual dissolving of the forms themselves, continuous interaction between light and shade and an uncertain sense of the time of day.
The Last Supper (600x1046pix)
Mona Lisa
Cecilia Gallarani (1087x797pix)
Ginevra de' Benci
— the angel, kneeling on the left of the Verrocchio's The Baptism of Christ
The Annunciation
Portrait of Ginevra de'Benci
Saint Hieronymus
Adoration by the Magi
The Virgin of the Rocks
Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani (Lady with an Ermine)
Portrait of an Unknown Woman (La Belle Ferroniere)
Madonna Litta
The Last Supper (damaged) _ restaured copies
Virgin and Child with Saint Anne
Madonna of the Yarnwinder
Mona Lisa (La Gioconda)
Battle of Anghiari
Saint John the Baptist — another John the Baptist
60 ZOOMable images at Wikimedia126 images at ARC
^ 02 mai 1519  
Mort de Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, dit Léonard de Vinci

Est-il un peintre, un ingénieur, un inventeur ou un philosophe ?
      Né en 1452 dans un petit village de Toscane appelé Vinci, d'où son nom, Léonardo da Vinci était le fils illégitime du notaire du lieu et d'une de ses servantes, Catarina Vacca. Les témoignages sur son physique et sa personnalité diffèrent d'autant plus que la légende s'est installée très tôt dans les récits de sa biographie. On le décrit parfois comme un colosse à la force prodigieuse, capable de tordre un fer à cheval dans ses mains, et souvent comme un jeune adolescent, efféminé et rêveur. On nous le montre tantôt comme un homme aimant les exercices physiques et les sports violents, tantôt comme un adolescent jouant de la lyre et chantant à la perfection. Ses qualités artistiques durent cependant apparaître dès son enfance, puisqu'en 1469, à l'âge de 17 ans, il se trouve déjà depuis trois ans dans l'atelier du peintre et sculpteur florentin, Andrea Verrochio (1435-1488). Dans l'atelier de cet artiste célèbre, aux côtés d'autres peintres importants comme Sandro Botticelli ou Pérugin, il apprend durant treize ans la technique de la peinture et les secrets de l'exécution d'un tableau. Il s'initie également aux disciplines, considérées alors comme indispensables à un créateur : les mathématiques, la perspective, la géométrie et, d'une manière générale, toutes les sciences d'observation et d'étude du milieu naturel. Il s'initie également à l'architecture et à la sculpture.
     Lorsque sa formation fut achevée, il débute sa carrière de peintre par des portraits et des tableaux religieux, grâce à des commandes passées par des notables ou des monastères de Florence. Mais, dès cette époque, il est très difficile -et cela se poursuivra durant toute sa carrière- de savoir avec certitude s'il se considère lui-même comme un peintre, un artiste pluridisciplinaire ou un ingénieur. Les limites entre les métiers ne sont pas alors figées comme aujourd'hui et un homme de talent peut aisément passer d'une fonction à une autre. Alors protégé par le personnnage le plus influent de Florence, Laurent de Médicis, surnommé le Magnifique, homme politique et mécène richissime, qui lui attire de nombreux clients, il est envoyé par ce dernier en 1482 à Milan, afin de servir le duc Sforza. A cette occasion, il écrit au duc de Milan une lettre étonnante, un véritable curriculum vitae, dans lequel il révèle ses ambitions d'ingénieur, d'inventeur et également d'homme de guerre : "Je peux construire des ponts très légers, solides, robustes, facilement transportables, pour poursuivre et, quelquefois fuir l'ennemi [...] J'ai également des moyens pour faire des bombardes, très commodes et faciles à transporter, qui lancent de la pierraille presque comme la tempête, terrorisant l'ennemi par leur fumée [...] En temps de paix, je crois pouvoir donner aussi entière satisfaction que quiconque, soit en architecture, pour la construction d'édifices publics et privés, soit pour conduire l'eau d'un endroit à un autre".
     Plus tard, il mettra ses talents d'ingénieur au service des villes de Pise et de Venise, des souverains de Mantoue, la famille d'Este, et, bien sûr, du roi de France, François 1er, qui l'invitera à venir travailler dans la vallée de la Loire, où le monarque réside alors. Cette rare qualité d'aborder avec talent toutes les disciplines -il sera de son vivant davantage célèbre comme ingénieur hydraulique que comme peintre !- a étonné tous ses contemporains, ainsi que son insatiable curiosité qui lui fit étudier sans se lasser tous les phénomènes naturels : "D'où vient l'urine ? D'où vient le lait ? Comment la nourriture se distribue dans les veines ? D'où vient l'ébriété ? D'où le vommissement ? D'où la gravelle et la pierre ? [...] D'où viennent les larmes ?", confie-t-il aux pages de ses carnets d'études dans une quête constante de réponses à toutes les questions envisageables. Sa connaissance parfaite de l'anatomie, des effets de la lumière et des combinaisons chimiques les plus complexes a évidemment guidé sa carrière de peintre et, dès ses premiers chefs-d'oeuvre -la Vierge aux rochers (Paris, musée du Louvre), commencée en 1483, la Cène (Milan, couvent Sainte-Marie-des-Grâces), qu'il exécute en 1493, ou la Bataille d'Anghiari (tableau disparu) dont il obtient la commande en 1503 après une lutte acharnée avec Michel-Ange-, il montre à quel point ses connaissances scientifiques et technologiques enrichissent l'exécution de ses tableaux.
     Même si ses essais techniques en peinture ne rencontrèrent pas toujours le succès -la Cène et la Bataille d'Anghiari furent ainsi ruinées par des innovations picturales mal maîtrisées, qui lui attirèrent le mépris et les quolibets de certains professionnels-, Léonard de Vinci fut célèbre pour le niveau de perfection inégalée de ses portraits et de certains de ses tableaux religieux, comme Sainte Anne, la Vierge et l'Enfant Jésus (Paris, musée du Louvre).
La technique parfaite de la Joconde
     En effet, la recherche de la perfection est une véritable obsession pour Léonard de Vinci : "Dites-moi, dites-moi, a-t-on jamais terminé quoi que ce soit ?", gémit-il dans ses carnets, dans lesquels il insiste fréquemment sur son désir d'égaler la perfection de la création divine dans ses propres créations artistiques.
     Peinte sur un mince support en bois de peuplier, demeuré très fragile -ce qui explique qu'elle soit aujourd'hui conservée dans une vitrine-, la Joconde est une réalisation exemplaire, grâce aux effets subtils de la lumière sur les chairs et au brio du paysage situé à l'arrière-plan du tableau. Le modelé du visage est étonnamment réaliste. Léonard a exécuté ce tableau avec patience et virtuosité : après avoir préparé son panneau de bois avec plusieurs couches d'enduits, il a d'abord dessiné son motif directement sur le tableau lui-même, avant de le peindre à l'huile, additionnée d'essence très diluée, ce qui lui permet de poser d'innombrables couches de couleurs transparentes -que l'on appelle des glacis- et de revenir indéfiniment sur le modelé du visage. Ces glacis, savamment travaillés, mettant en valeur les effets d'ombre et de lumière sur le visage, constituent ce que Léonard lui-même appelle le "sfumato". Cette technique permet une imitation parfaite des chairs, grâce à un traitement raffiné de la figure humaine plongée dans une demi-obscurité -le clair-obscur-, ce qui permet à Léonard de satisfaire ses préoccupations de réalisme.
     De son vivant, Léonard fut en effet surtout célèbre pour ses capacités évidentes à imiter la nature à la perfection et lorsque son premier biographe, le peintre Vasari a décrit la Joconde, il insistait surtout sur le réalisme de cette oeuvre : "Ses yeux limpides avaient l'éclat de la vie : cernés de nuances rougeâtres et plombées, ils étaient bordés de cils dont le rendu suppose la plus grande délicatesse. Les sourcils avec leur implantation par endroits plus épaisse ou plus rare suivant la disposition des pores, ne pouvaient être plus vrais. Le nez, aux ravissantes narines roses et délicates, étaient la vie même. [...] Au creux de la gorge, le spectateur attentif saisissait le battement des veines." D'autre part, grâce au "sfumato", Léonard peut atteindre un de ses objectifs artistiques prioritaires, en s'intéressant en priorité à la personnalité de son modèle : "Le bon peintre a essentiellement deux choses à représenter : le personnage et l'état de son esprit", disait Léonard. Peindre l'âme plutôt que le physique est en effet la finalité ultime de son oeuvre et le "sfumato", éclairage du portrait par le clair-obscur, accentue de fait les mystères d'une oeuvre : "plonger les choses dans la lumière, c'est les plonger dans l'infini".
—(060501)
^
Died on a 02 May:


1949 Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo, Spanish designer, painter, etcher, photographer, born on 11 May 1871, son of Mariano Fortuny y Marsal [11 Jun 1838 – 21 Nov 1874]. When his father died prematurely, he and his family moved to Paris to join his uncle, the painter Raimundo Madrazo y Garreta. Through him, the young Fortuny met many famous artists and began to paint.

1894 Stanislaw Polian Wolski, Polish artist born on 08 April 1859.

1887 Anton Doll, German artist born on 03 Mar 1826. — {Did he like being called a doll past the age of 2?}

1819 Mary Moser (Mrs. Hugh Lloyd), London painter born on 27 October 1744, daughter of George Michael Moser [1706-1783]. She painted in oil and watercolor and was one of the founder-members of the British Royal Academy. She probably received her early training from her father. In 1758 and 1759 one of her drawings won an award from the Society of Arts, and from 1760 to 1768 she exhibited at the Society of Artists. She exhibited at the Royal Academy in most years from 1769 to 1802. As a woman, she was not expected to take part in the running of the Academy but took an active role in its proceedings, attending the General Assemblies and voting in elections.

^ 1759 Christophe Huet
, French artist born on 22 Jun 1700 (or in 1694?). — Christophe Huet was a painter appreciated by his 18th-century contemporaries for his animal pictures, but he is now best known for his decorative schemes in the manner of Watteau. His brother Nicolas Huet [1718–1788+], a student of Jean-Baptiste Oudry, specialized in paintings of flowers and fruit. Nicolas’s son Jean-Baptiste-Marie Huet I [15 Oct 1745 – 27 Jan 1811] was an animal [DON'T pause for breath ... or for any other reason ... right here!] painter of some distinction, whose three sons Nicolas Huet II (b Paris, 1770; fl 1788–1827), François Huet [14 Jan 1772 – 28 July 1813] and Jean-Baptiste Huet II [29 Dec 1772–] were painters and engravers.
     In 1734 Christophe Huet was admitted to the Académie de Saint-Luc; he later exhibited in the first Salons that this Académie mounted, in 1751, 1752 and 1756, showing animal paintings. In his own lifetime he was known chiefly as an animal painter, but few works by him in this genre have been identified, probably because they have been confused with those of his nephew Jean-Baptiste Huet. However, his Dog Pointing at Partridges (1740) shows the influence of François Desportes. Huet’s reputation now rests entirely on the attractive interiors that he designed for various houses in and around Paris. He was responsible for the décor of a salon in the château of Champs (Seine-et-Marne), which he painted for Mme de Pompadour, and the ‘Cabinet des Singes’ at the Hôtel de Rohan, Paris. In 1733 he worked with Claude Audran III on the décor of the château of Anet for the Duchesse du Maine (a gilded salon, destr.). Huet is also credited with two rooms decorated with painted singeries in the château of Chantilly (for illustration see SINGERIE), which Edmond de Goncourt attributed to Antoine Watteau. In all these décors Huet featured conventional Chinese characters busily engaged in very Occidental pastimes and accompanied by monkeys imitating men. These witty scenes, painted in an alert style, without constraint and with great elegance, put Huet in the ranks of the best ornamental painters of the first half of the 18th century.

^ 1714 Gennaro Greco “Mascacotta”
, Napolitan painter born in 1663. — {¿Tenía el más caco Mascacotta mascota?}— He started his career as a painter of ornament, but after studying Andrea Pozzo’s treatise Perspectiva pictorum et architectorum (1693–1700) he began to produce easel paintings of imaginary views (vedute ideate), referred to by his biographer de Dominici as ‘crumbling architectural ruins ... magnificent buildings ... marvellous underground places ... and wonderful bizarre prisons’. He may also have created temporary decorations for religious celebrations. The sources claim that he worked as a specialist in perspective with decorative artists such as Francesco Solimena and Paolo De Matteis. He is thought to have created the gilded surrounds of De Matteis’s frescoes (1696–1698) in San Francesco Saverio (now known as San Ferdinando) in Naples. Voss rediscovered Greco when he found his signature on an architectural view that, with its pendant, came on to the Berlin art market in 1923. To these Voss added two canvases that appeared in London, attributed to Giovanni Ghisolfi, and two tondi attributed to Pannini. There are also two signed paintings. These few works suggest a gifted artist, who played a major role in the development of the Neapolitan veduta ideata: his airy and theatrical architectural scenes transformed the 17th-century tradition of Viviano Codazzi and Codazzi’s student, Ascanio Luciani [–1706]. Often viewed from an angle and constructed with consummate perspective skill, Greco’s works reflect his gifts as a stage designer; in their fluent and brilliant designs, and pale greens, greys and blues, they are truly akin to 18th-century capriccios. His art is close to that of Pietro Capelli [–1724], whose style is only slightly more ornate and sumptuous. The quietly decorative tone of Greco’s work contrasts with the visionary and dramatic art of Leonardo Coccorante [1680–1750]. It has been suggested that the stylistically diverse figures in Greco’s paintings were executed by collaborators. A spatially daring perspective decoration in S Pietro at Cava dei Tirreni is attributed to him and dated to 1709 by Borelli. Greco died from falling from the scaffolding while frescoing the vault of an unspecified church in Nola. One of his sons, Vincenzo Greco [–1737], became a painter.

^ 1430 (buried) Giovanni di Francesco Toscani
(or Tossicani), Italian painter born in 1372. He matriculated in the Florentine Compagnia di S Luca in 1424, but it seems that already in 1420 he was inscribed on the rolls of the company. In 1423 and 1424 he received payments for decorating the Ardinghelli Chapel in Santa Trìnita, Florence (Milanesi). In the catasto (land registry declaration) of 1427, Toscani described himself as a cofanaio (cassone painter).
Cassone con scene narrative ispirate da Boccaccio (Decameron, storia di Zinevra)
Virgin and Child (B&W image unfortunately)
[All 3 of the following images area riduculously tiny, but that is all I could find]
Madonna and Child
The Adoration by the Magi (1426)
The Race of the Palio in the Streets of Florence (1418, 47x144cm) _ The scene depicts the end of the Palio, a horse race held in the streets of Florence on the feast of John the Baptist. The panel was originally one side of a large chest called a cassone. The other side showed the procession of the Palii banners before the race (now in the Bargello Museum, Florence). The cassone commemorates a wedding between members of the Fini and Aldobrandini families in 1418
The following is not by Giovanni Toscani, but by an anonymous earlier Tuscan painter:
Crucifixion (1340, 63x42cm)


Born on a 02 May:


^ >1904 Maurice Estève, French painter, draftsman and lithographer who died on 27 (21?) June 2001, the last member of the School of Paris, which had emerged between the two World Wars. Like Jean Bazaine [21 Dec 1904 – 2001] and Charles Lapicque [1898-1988], Estève belongs to the generation whose early work was influenced by late Cubism. He particularly admired Fernand Léger [1881-1955], under whose influence he developed a tendency which exploited the discoveries of cubism and the constructive power of color. Estève became aware of his vocation extremely early in life and had already begun to paint when he arrived in Paris at the age of 15. He familiarized himself with art in the Louvre by discovering Primitive painters, such as Ucello and Fouquet, and Paul Cézanne. Except for some studies in the Academies of Montparnasse, he was self-educated. Extreme attention to technique, already evident in early paintings such as Still-life with Basket of Eggs (1927), was to characterize all his work. Gradually Estève abandoned post-Cubist rigor and the sharp, flat color that he used until the early 1930s in works such as First Steps (1930); he began to follow Pierre Bonnard’s example, working towards softened forms enriched by a profusion of color, as in The Meal (1937). In 1937, he collaborated with Robert Delaunay (1885-1941) on decorations for the Air and Railways pavilions at the Exposition Universelle. Nevertheless, his life was difficult, and he planned to abandon painting and to embark on cinema. For several years, he continues to explore cubism through still-lifes, interiors or landscapes, with some frequent returns to the example of Cézanne, who was his permanent reference. He gradually developed towards a colorful abstraction of semi-geometrical forms. By the 1950s he was recognized as an outstanding representative of the school of Tachism whose members derived their abstractions from natural appearances in the manner taught by Roger Bissière [1888-1964]. His color remained always both subtle and bold. The problem of subject-matter concerned Estève increasingly as abstraction came to dominate the post-war period. In his paintings the powerful presence of color invading the entire composition made the subject less and less legible, as in Sicilian Chair (1953). Estève was not, however, convinced of the validity of abstract painting; in his view the external world had to be taken into account and to be filtered through the artist’s sensibility.
— Maurice Estève was born in Culan (département Cher), France.. In 1913 he moved with his parents to Paris, where he soon began to form himself artistically. During his visits to the Louvre in the 1920s Estève was specially impressed by the painters Jean Fouquet and Paolo Uccello. Among the modern artists he was particularly influenced by Cèzanne. Estève was mainly an autodidact and merely attended the free studio at the Acadèmie Colarossi in 1924 and he tried to achieve a Constructivist realisation of his motifs after the role-models George Braques and Fernand Leger. Estève's extensive work not only included painting but also successful attempts at collages, textile design and even murals. Even though he avoided the extravert circle of the avant-garde, Estève can be considered one of the generation of artists who revived the "Ècole de Paris" after 1945. In 1954 he participated in the Biennale in Venice. Estève's oeuvre, together with that of Riopelle and Bazaine, introduced a new image language, a lyrical abstraction with the aim to depict forms and colors is a nearly poetic attitude.
LINKS
–- Beurdinu (1068x1336pix, 145kb)
–- Vigourou (1179x937pix, 132kb)
–- Grisbleu (1956; 1094x1322pix, 116kb)
–- Pichetroué (1130x1350pix, 110kb)
–- Pilotis (1957; 1005x1575pix, 154kb)
–- Les Goudes (1954; 1180x1556pix, 122kb)
–- 108-D (1125x1522pix,134 kb) _ The pseudonymous E. Steve Maucorn has combined this abstraction and the preceding one, and thoroughly transformed them into the symmetrical super-abstraction
      _ The Good Gourds Are in Apartment 108-D aka Gab Bag (2006; screen filling, 201kb _ ZOOM to 1864x2636pix, 1878kb).
–- Favorite (1954; 900x633pix, 92kb) _ This and five other pictures of Estève have been harmoniously combined and transformed into the stunning
      _ Favorite Supper Butter in a Vigorously Perforated Pitcher on Blue-Gray Pilings aka Est-Sud-Est (2006; screen filling, 175kb _ ZOOM to 1864x2636pix, 1198kb) and its symmetrical version
      _ Favorite Supper Butter in a Vigorously Perforated Pitcher on Blue-Gray Pilings under a Pitcher Vigorously Perforated With Butter for the Supper of the Favorite aka Steve Vets (2006; screen filling, 189kb _ ZOOM to 1864x2636pix, 1075kb).
–- Composition (854x640pix, 42kb) _ One year later Maucorn has surpassed himself with the stunning metamorphosis of at least seven Estève pictures into the twin abstractions
      _ East Eave (2007; 775x1096pix, 220kb _ ZOOM to 1096x1550pix, 446kb _ ZOOM+ to 1700x2404pix, 1194kb _ ZOOM++ to 2636x3728pix, 2762kb) and
      _ Eave East (2007; 775x1096pix, 220kb _ ZOOM to 1096x1550pix, 446kb _ ZOOM+ to 1700x2404pix, 1194kb _ ZOOM++ to 2636x3728pix, 2762kb).
–- Vallier (color lithograph; 977x796pix, 47kb)
A la loupe (450x351pix, 29kb) —(070430)


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