ART 4 2-DAY 13 May v.7.40
DEATH: 1695 MIGNARD
Born on 13 (12?) May 1867: Sir
Frank William Brangwyn, English painter and graphic artist
who died on 11 June 1956. His students included Karl
Albert Buehr and Bernard Leach.
— Largely self-taught, he helped his father, William Brangwyn, who was an ecclesiastical architect and textile designer in Bruges. After his family moved to England in 1875 Brangwyn entered the South Kensington Art Schools and, from 1882 to 1884, worked for William Morris. Harold Rathbone and Arthur Mackmurdo encouraged him to copy Raphael and Donatello in the Victoria and Albert Museum, complementing his already broad knowledge of Dutch and Flemish art.
Frank Brangwyn, the son of an English architect, was born in Bruges, Belgium. When Frank was ten his family returned to London. He was apprenticed to William Morris for four years and afterwards traveled widely [and wildly?]. As well as working for The Graphic and The Idler, Brangwyn illustrated several books including Collingwood (1891), The Captured Cruiser (1893), The Wreck of the Golden Fleece (1893), Tales of Our Coast (1896), The History of Don Quixote (1898) and A Spiced Yarn (1899). By the early 20th century Brangwyn had a reputation for large pictures painted in a realistic style. He also designed furniture, carpets, textiles, ceramics, stained glass, metalwork and jewellery. During the First World War Brangwyn was an Official War Artist. In 1925 Brangwyn was commissioned to paint a set of wall paintings for the House of Lords. These were competed and rejected in 1930. This included the impressive war picture, Tank in Action. Offers for the murals came from all over the world but they were eventually installed in the Guildhall in Swansea.
— Suzanna and the Elders (120x158cm)
— Le marché aux esclaves (1921)
Tank in Action (1926, 366x376cm) _ The work of Brangwyn is that of an artist who made large formats and brutal realism his personal hallmark. Paying great attention to detail in his skillful stagings of attacks, he composed pictures whose dimensions and composition seek a spectacular effect. In 1924, he was commissioned to do a set of wall paintings for Westminster Palace, including this one, where his expressionism was found unacceptably morbid for the official building it was painted for.
Died on 13 May 1695: Pierre-François
Mignard I le Romain, French Baroque
painter born on 17 November 1612.
— Pierre Mignard, influenced by training in Italy, became the most outstanding portrait painter of his generation; his career was to some extent hampered by the opposition of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in Paris and Charles Le Brun, and reached its high point when he succeeded the latter as Premier Peintre du Roi.
— Pierre Mignard studied first under Jean Boucher in Bourges, then copied the 16th-century decorations at the château of Fontainebleau by Rosso Fiorentino, Francesco Primaticcio and other artists. He later went to Paris, where in 1633 he entered the studio of Simon Vouet, the most prominent representative of the Italian Baroque style in France. There he formed a lasting friendship with the painter and, later, writer Charles-Alphonse Dufresnoy. Towards the end of 1635 Mignard left Paris for Rome, staying in Italy until October 1657. Monville, his first biographer, recorded several portraits painted in Italy, as well as some large religious compositions, including a Saint Charles Giving Communion to the Dying (1677). Only two portraits are known to survive, those of The Ambassador of Malta to the Holy See: Commandeur Des Vieux (1653) and A Man presumed to be Senator Marco Peruta, which was painted during Mignard’s stay in Venice in 1654. Both portraits already show the quality that was to make Mignard one of the outstanding portrait painters of his time: the ability to catch a vivid and natural likeness, in contrast to the stern stiffness of earlier 17th-century French portraiture.
Much better known than his brother Nicolas Mignard “d'Avignon”, [07 Feb 1606 – 20 Mar 1668], Pierre Mignard “le Romain” was the rival of Le Brun but an exponent of the same Academic theories. Like Le Brun he was a student of Vouet, but he went to Rome in 1636 and remained there until 1657, forming his style on the approved models of the Carracci, Domenichino and Poussin. He returned to Paris on the orders of Louis XIV and decorated the dome of the Val-de-Grâce (1663), but his principal importance was as portrait painter to the Court. He revived the earlier Italian type of allegorical portrait, and a good example is the Marquise de Seignelay as Thetis (1691). He was strongly opposed to the Académie Royale, and, in spite of his own stylistic origins, championed the Venetian or 'colorist' school; this, however, was probably only to oppose Le Brun. When Le Brun died in 1690 Mignard was at once made Premier Peintre, and, on the King's orders, the Academy had, in a single sitting, to appoint Mignard Associate, Member, Rector, Director, and Chancellor of the body he had so long opposed.
— Among his students were de Poilly, Jacques-Philippe Ferrand, Nicolas Vleughels.
— Self-Portrait (173kb)
Clio (1689, 144x115cm) _ The Mignards followed the style of the Bolognese painters, especially that of Domenichino. On this painting Clio, the Muse of the historians, is a direct descendant of Domenichino's saints, in a somewhat more theatrical way.
Perseus and Andromeda (1679, 150x198cm) _ Ovid tells how Andromeda, daughter of an Ethiopian king, was chained to a rock by the seashore as a sacrifice to a sea-monster. Perseus (the son of Danaë whom Jupiter caused to conceive after turning himself into a shower of golden rain) flying overhead on Pegasus, the winged horse, fell in love at first sight. He swooped down just in time, slew the monster and released Andromeda. The picture represents the moment following the freeing of Andromeda.
The Marquise de Seignelay and Two of her Children (1691, 194x155cm) _ Pierre Mignard, known in his native France as Le Romain, lived in Rome from 1636 (visiting Venice and other northern Italian cities in 1654-5) until summoned home by King Louis XIV in 1657. His style was largely based on Annibale Carracci, Domenichino and Poussin. However, he pretended allegiance to Titian and Venetian colorism on his return to France, mainly to oppose his rival Lebrun, whom he succeeded in 1690 as First Painter to the King and Director of the Royal Academy. Despite all his years abroad, his work looks to us unmistakably French, at least as relating to the France of the Sun King's court: calculated and grand. Hogarth's xenophobic English judgment, half a century later, might apply to this superb portrait: 'insolence with an affectation of politeness'. But Mignard was doing no more than following the wishes of his sitter, the widow of Jean-Baptiste Colbert de Seignelay, Minister for the Navy.
Catherine-Thérèse de Matignon, Marquise de Lonray, veuve de Seignelay, instructed Mignard to portray her as the sea-nymph Thetis, to whom was said (according to Ovid's Metamorphoses XI, 221-3): 'O goddess of the waves, conceive: thou shalt be the mother of a youth who, when to manhood grown, shall outdo his father's deeds and shall be called greater than he.' Past writers have attributed Mme de Seignelay's transformation into a sea goddess to her husband's office, but it was shown that this passage from Ovid is the key to the portrait. Like Thetis, Mlle de Matignon, of old Norman nobility, had been married off against her will to a social inferior: Colbert, her husband's father and the great Minister of the King, was the son of a draper. The goddess's husband, Peleus, had to rape Thetis to 'beget on her the great Achilles', the most celebrated Greek hero of the Trojan War. 'The hero's mother, goddess of the sea, was ambitious for her son' and by descending into the fiery crater of Etna, the volcano seen here smoking in the background, obtained for him armor made by Vulcan, the blacksmith god. This is the armor, 'work of heavenly art', worn in the guise of Achilles by Marie-Jean-Baptiste de Seignelay, the eldest son for whom Mme de Seignelay had just bought a military commission.
The painting's brilliant effect depends in large measure on the vast expanse of Thetis' best ultramarine-blue cloak, contrasting wonderfully with the coral and pearls in her hair, and the mauves and greens of Achilles' garments. Ultramarine was the costliest of pigments, more expensive than gold itself and for that reason seldom used by this date, and never in such quantities. Thus did Mme de Seignelay confound the rumors put about by 'mauvaises langues' that she was bankrupt. And there is more: other rumors circulated that the noble widow either was, or wished to be, mistress to the king. The Cupid proffering a precious nautilus shell brimming over with a king's ransom in jewels publicizes the liaison as a fait accompli. Thus might a classical education, and the talents of a Roman-trained and responsive artist, be put to insolent use 'with an affectation of politeness'.
The Heavenly Glory (1663) _ The Val-de-Grâce is one of the most important Baroque churches in Paris. It was designed by François Mansart, its dome follows the example of the Saint-Peter's in Rome. The circular fresco of the dome depicts the Trinity in Glory surrounded by saints, martyrs, and illustrious personalities. There are more then 200 figures in the composition including Queen Anne of Austria (the wife of Louis XIII), founder of the church.
Vierge à la Grappe (1645, 121x94cm) _ Compare
_ Madonna and Child with Grapes (1537) by Lucas Cranach the Elder.
— The Mystical Marriage of Saint Catherine (1669; 233kb)
— A Young Lady (1680; 178kb)
Girl Blowing Soap Bubbles (1674, 132x96cm)
Born on 13 May 1855:
Ludwig Deutsch, Austrian French academic
painter who died in 1935, specialized in Orientalism.
— Deutsch, a painter of incredible skill is much more appreciated now than he was in his own lifetime. He studied first in Vienna and then, under Jean-Paul Laurens, in Paris, becoming a citizen of France in 1919. He made numerous trips to the Middle East and spent some time in Cairo. He painted scenes of both ordinary and religious life.
— Deutsch, né autrichien, sera naturalisé français en 1919. Il étudie la peinture d'histoire auprès de Feuerbach. Il tente en 1877 d'entrer dans la classe de Leopold Carl Müller qui le refuse. Il rejoint alors à Paris d'autres peintres de sa génération comme Rudolf Ernst. Il rompt alors tout contact avec l'Autriche. Il étudie avec Laurens et participe au Salon de 1879. Vers 1885 il possède plusieurs ateliers à Paris. Sa production est intense. Il peint aussi bien des sujets de groupe que des personnages isolés dans la manière naturaliste. Médaille d'Or au Salon de 1900, il accumule les récompenses. Il n'a quasiment pour seul ami que Rudolf Ernst auquel, dit-on, il rend visite chaque jour jusqu'à la mort de Ernst. Il fait plusieurs voyages en Egypte en 1886, 1890 et 1898 dont les scènes quotidiennes l'inspirent presque exclusivement pour ses tableaux orientalistes mais il en a probablement effectué d'autres, peut-être pendant la première guerre mondiale, époque pendant laquelle il disparaît de Paris. Ses tableaux montrent une minutie dans les détails (décors, costumes, tissus, etc...) particulièrement poussée, il s'aide en cela de photographies réalisées par des ateliers établis au Caire.
— Jeu d'échecs (1896, 55x42cm _ ZOOMable)
— Le garde du palais (1892, 133x84cm _ _ ZOOMable) _ detail ( _ ZOOMable) _ auctioned at Christie's in New York on 01 November 1999 for $3'192'500. _ Un tel tableau, peint à la croisée de l’orientalisme et du style pompier, n’aurait valu que quelques centaines de milliers de francs une vingtaine d’années plus tôt.
— Le garde Nubien (1895, 50x33cm)
— Le musicien (55x39cm)
— The Prayer at the Tomb (1898). _ This image attests to Deutsch's beautiful color palette and attention to detail. The setting is a tomb within the Blue Mosque in Cairo, dating back to 1346. As with many of the Orientalists Deutsch recorded the beautiful architecture of the Middle East.