ART 4 2-DAY 16 November v.7.a0
BIRTH: 1787 NAVEZ
Born on 16 November 1787:
François Joseph Navez, French
painter, specialized in History
Painting, active in Brussels, who died on 12 October 1869.
After studying at the Brussels Académie des Beaux-Arts and winning first prize at the 1812 Ghent Salon, François-Joseph Navez received a grant to visit Paris. He was taught by Neoclassical painter Jacques-Louis David [30 Aug 1748 – 29 Dec 1825] and returned to Brussels when David was exiled there in 1816. In technique and naturalism, Navez's works strongly reflect David's influence. While in Italy from 1817 to 1821, he became a fervent admirer of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres [29 Aug 1780 – 14 Jan 1867], and his portraits began to reflect something of Ingres's combined Neoclassical and Romantic sensibilities.
Upon returning to Brussels, Navez was disappointed to discover he was considered a mere portrait and genre painter rather than a history painter. Being David's heir-apparent also put him out of step with Brussels's new artistic climate, where Romanticism was the fashion. Around 1830 Navez became director of the Brussels Académie. He was able to adopt a sugary Romantic style, but he could not accommodate the vogue for Belgian Realists at the Brussels Salon of 1851. Navez stopped exhibiting but continued painting. He resigned from the directorship of the Académie in 1859. Hard of hearing and blind, he devoted his last years to his correspondence, which is now a rich source of information on mid-nineteenth-century artistic life.
Self Portrait (1826)
–- The Massacre of the Innocents (1824, 117x134 cm). This unusual depiction of the Massacre of the Innocents, signed and dated 1824 on the golden bowl in the foreground, is one of a series of religious paintings which Navez executed following his return from Rome in 1821. Here, the slaughter of the children of Bethlehem of two years old and under, as King Herod sought to rid himself of the Christ Child (Matthew 2:16), is depicted only in a frenzied vignette on the upper left. Rather than mayhem, Navez explored the personal, intensely emotional dimensions of the tragedy. His use of half-length figures close to the picture plane, and of saturated colors reminiscent of 17th-century Flemish traditions, recall the history paintings that David was executing at the same time. The painting moves away from Davidian naturalism, however, towards a more austere purity of line and stylization of form which owe a debt to Ingres, as does the languid arm that the mother in the center folds across her head. The enamel paint surface that Navez achieves is also reminiscent of Ingres. Original to Navez, perhaps, is the anti~clockwise pinwheel movement of the four heads on the right which comes to a halt in the confrontation of profiles on the left.
–- The Gaspard Moeremans Family (1831 and 1833, 223x163cm; 2000x1423pix, 247kb; .ZOOM in on main detail, 2601x1868pix, 299kb) _ Gaspard Moeremans was a successful Belgian banker. When Navez painted this portrait in 1831, Moeremans' wife, Marie Matthieu, was pregnant. The artist left a space in his composition and added the infant son later. He dated the picture for a second time on the hem of the baby's dress.
— The Fortune Teller (1849, 117x133cm)
— A Woman with a Turban (1826, 42x35cm)
— A Lady with a Letter (1827, 71x61cm; 1212x1000pix, 222kb)
— Le Massacre des Innocents (1824, 46x53cm)
— The Nymph Salmacis and Hermaphroditus (1829, 197x147cm)