ART 4 2-DAY 28 November v.9.a0
BIRTH: 1757 BLAKE
Buried on 28 November 1652: Bartholomeus Corneliszoon van Bassen,
The Hague Dutch Baroque
painter and architect born in 1590.
— He was the grandson of Bartolt Ernst van Bassen from Arnhem, who was Clerk of the Court of Holland in The Hague. In 1613 van Bassen was admitted to the Guild of Saint Luke in Delft, having come from outside the city. In 1622 he became a member of the Guild in The Hague where he was also municipal architect from 1638 until his death. He married in 1624. In 1651 his son Aernoudt married Adriana, daughter of the Utrecht painter Cornelis van Poelenburgh [1594 – 12 Aug 1667].
— Van Bassen was an architect to the courts of Orange and Bohemia, he had a reputation as one of the most important architectural painter of the first half of the seventeenth century. Nothing is known about his training. The first known document related to him is his registration with the Guild of Saint Luke in Delft in 1613. By 1624 he was a member of the guild at The Hague, of which he became dean in 1627 and headman twice, in 1636 and 1640. He married Aaltgen Pietersdr van Gilst at The Hague in 1624. From 1629 until 1634 he was occupied with commissions from the stadholder Frederick Hendrick for the Honselaarsdijk and Ter Nieuburch palaces near The Hague. In 1630-1631 he worked as the principal architect on the rebuilding of the monastery of Saint Agnes in Rhenen as a residence for Frederick V, Elector Palatine and king of Bohemia, and his wife, Elizabeth Stuart. Van Bassen was also involved in a number of architectural projects at The Hague and elsewhere. Van Bassen died shortly after his wife and was buried in the Jacobskerk at The Hague in 1652.
— Only the architectural painter Gerrit Houckgeest [1600 – Aug 1661] can be identified with some degree of certainty as a student of van Bassen.
— The Tomb of William the Silent in an Imaginary Church (1620, 112x151cm; 816x1050pix, 189kb) _ In this painting an imaginary Gothic church interior is the setting for the tomb monument of William the Silent [1533-1584]. Seen from the choir, whose stalls occupy the left foreground, the monument has been placed in the crossing, partially obscuring the view into the nave, To the right of the tomb the transept open into a side aisle or a chapel. The plain white walls and the absence of any religious imagery suggest that the church is a Protestant one. The man dressed in fine red attire in the foreground faces away from the viewer and toward the tomb, thereby drawing us into the scene, while other expensively dressed people casually walk about and chat. The figures have been attributed to Esaias van de Velde [bap. 17 May 1587 – 18 Nov 1630 bur.], with whom Van Bassen frequently collaborated.
The rendering of the interior - the central perspective, deeply receding space, and detailed description of the architectural details - is reminiscent of the Antwerp tradition of architectural painting as represented by Hans Vredeman de Vries, Hendrick van Steenwyck, and Pieter Neeffs the Elder. Their rigidly constructed interiors often appear to be airless boxes, However. While retaining the single-point perspective favored by his Flemish colleagues, Van Bassen introduces light and atmospheric effects as means to articulate architectural space. Thus, the shadowed area in the foreground serves as a repoussoir to set off the crossing and the tomb, which is bathed in sunlight streaming in from the left transept. The right transept, with its northern light, is more softly lit, in contrast tot the brightly lit chapel or aisle beyond it. In the nave soft yet relatively radiant light counteracts the deep recession of the space.
It has been often observed that Van Bassen's interiors appear more realistic than those of his Flemish predecessors. This is mainly a result of his realization that light and atmosphere are as important as perspectival systems for producing a convincing illusion of a three-dimensional space. The following generation of Delft architectural painters, such as Van Bassen's pupil Gerard Houckgeest as well as Hendrick van Vliet and Emmanuel de Witte, developed this approach more fully after 1650.
The actual setting of the tomb of William the Silent is in the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft, where the monument stands in the choir and the seated effigy of the prince faces the nave. In the present painting Van Bassen has turned the tomb 180 degrees and enlarged it in relation to the church interior, thus making it a more awe-inspiring presence. The tomb has been commissioned by the States General in commemoration of the "Father of the Fatherland", William the Silent, who had been assassinated at his residence, the Prinsenhof, in Delft, in 1584. Work on the mausoleum began in 1614, after designs by the Amsterdam architect Hendrick de Keyser (1565-1621). The tomb was finished only in 1623, by Hendrick's son Pieter (1595-1676), three years after the date of Van Bassen's painting. The picture is the earliest painted rendering of the monument. Since the figures on the top of the monument were never "in situ", Van Bassen probably worked from designs or a model.
— Renaissance Interior with Banqueters (1620, 57x87cm; 780x1111pix, 185kb) _ Van Bassen developed a specialty in lavishly decorated palace interiors with elegant figures. Characteristically, the room here is box-shaped with a tile-floor and coffered ceiling lit by rows of windows along the left wall. The general atmosphere is one of sumptuousness and luxury. Ornamental embellishments and decorative objects abound; hardly any space is left uncovered. There are elaborately carved pieces of furniture and doors, a floral frieze along the top of the walls, two colossal marble columns with composite capitals, and a sideboard with an ostentatious display of precious-metal plates and goblets on a dais beneath a canopy. With the exception of a large triptych with The Adoration of the Shepherds, the paintings - several landscapes and a flower painting reminiscent of those by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder or Balthasar van der Ast - are of a type one would expect in a well-to-do Dutch household. Similar decorative features can ben found in all of Van Bassen's palace interiors. The effect of wealth and luxury is enhanced by the elegantly dressed men and women who seem to enjoy each other's company. These staffage figures have been attributed to Esaias van de Velde [1587-1630]. 28 pictures by Van Bassen with staffage by Van de Velde have been identified, all datable to the first half of the 1620s.
Unlike several other palace interiors by Van Bassen, this painting seems to be an uncomplicated Merry Company scene. Whether moralizing overtones should be read into it is a matter of debate. While the figures at the table in the left background are engaged in polite conversation, the general atmosphere is one of indulgence and idle pleasure; a wine cooler, richly festooned with wines, is on the right; the dandy in the foreground, clearly inebriated, enjoys the attention of two women; and a cushion and playing cards have been tossed to the floor. The company also includes a dog, a monkey, and a parrot. It has been proposed that these animals, which frequently occur in Van Bassen's palace interiors, carry symbolic significance: among other qualities, loyalty is characteristic of the dog; vanity and lust are associated with the monkey, and an ability to imitate is a talent of the parrot.
— Interior with Distinguished Guests (700x1036pix; 169kb)
— Interior View of a Church (1624; 700x1044pix; 156kb)
>Born on 28 November 1757: William
Blake, English Romantic painter, engraver, and poet, who
died on 12 August 1827.|||
To generalize is to be an idiot.” a generalization by William Blake.
Blake was born in London. From the age of seven he habitually saw a white-bearded God peering in through his window, or angels perching in trees. An admirer of Dürer [21 May 1471 – 06 Apr 1528], Michelangelo and Raphael and a friend of Füssli [ 07 Feb 1741 – 16 Apr 1825], Blake was extremely eccentric. He walked the streets in a Phrygian bonnet. His work, still obscure, suggests a new version of Christianity, whose radicalism lies in its visual Symbolism. He was a precursor of the Pre-Raphaelites and Symbolists.
"I do not behold the outward creation... it is a hindrance and not action." Thus William Blake--painter, engraver, and poet--explained why his work was filled with religious visions rather than with subjects from everyday life. Few people in his time realized that Blake expressed these visions with a talent that approached genius. He lived in near poverty and died unrecognized. Today, however, Blake is acclaimed one of England's great figures of art and literature and one of the most inspired and original painters of his time.
At 25 Blake married Catherine Boucher. He taught her to read and write and to help him in his work. They had no children. They worked together to produce an edition of Blake's poems and drawings, called Songs of Innocence. Blake engraved both words and pictures on copper printing plates. Catherine made the printing impressions, hand-colored the pictures, and bound the books. The books sold slowly, for a few shillings each. Today a single copy is worth many thousands of dollars.
Blake's fame as an artist and engraver rests largely on a set of 21 copperplate etchings to illustrate the Book of Job in the Old Testament. However, he did much work for which other artists and engravers got the credit. Blake was a poor businessman, and he preferred to work on subjects of his own choice rather than on those that publishers assigned him.
A follower of Emanuel Swedenborg, who offered a gentle and mystic interpretation of Christianity, Blake wrote poetry that largely reflects Swedenborgian views. Songs of Innocence (1789) shows life as it seems to innocent children. Songs of Experience (1794) tells of a mature person's realization of pain and terror in the universe. This book contains his famous `Tiger! Tiger! Burning Bright'. Milton (1804-08) and Jerusalem (1804-20) are longer and more obscure works.
William Blake was an English poet, painter, and engraver who created a unique form of illustrated verse; his poetry, inspired by mystical vision, is among the most original lyric and prophetic in the language.
Blake, the son of a hosier, was born in London, where he lived most of his life. William Blake, the third of five children, went to school only long enough to learn to read and write, and then he worked in the shop until he was 14. Largely self-taught, he was, however, widely read, and his poetry shows the influence of the German mystic Jakob Boehme, for example, and of Swedenborgianism. As a child, Blake wanted to become a painter. He was sent to drawing school and at the age of 14 was apprenticed to James Basire, an engraver. After his 7-year term was over, he studied briefly at the Royal Academy, but he rebelled against the aesthetic doctrines of its president, Sir Joshua Reynolds. Blake did, however, later establish friendships with such academicians as John Flaxman and Henry Fuseli, whose work may have influenced him. In 1784 he set up a printshop; although it failed after a few years, for the rest of his life Blake eked out a living as an engraver and illustrator. His wife helped him print the illuminated poetry for which he is remembered today.
Blake began writing poetry at the age of 12, and his first printed work, Poetical Sketches (1783), is a collection of youthful verse. Amid its traditional, derivative elements are hints of his later innovative style and themes. As with all his poetry, this volume reached few contemporary readers. Blake's most popular poems have always been Songs of Innocence (1789). These lyrics–fresh, direct observations–are notable for their eloquence. In 1794, disillusioned with the possibility of human perfection, Blake issued Songs of Experience, employing the same lyric style and much of the same subject matter as in Songs of Innocence. Both series of poems take on deeper resonances when read in conjunction. Innocence and Experience, “the two contrary states of the human soul,” are contrasted in such companion pieces as The Lamb and The Tyger. Blake's subsequent poetry develops the implication that true innocence is impossible without experience, transformed by the creative force of the human imagination.
Blake as Artist
As was to be Blake's custom, he illustrated the Songs with designs that demand an imaginative reading of the complicated dialogue between word and picture. His method of illuminated printing is not completely understood. The most likely explanation is that he wrote the words and drew the pictures for each poem on a copper plate, using some liquid impervious to acid, which when applied left text and illustration in relief. Ink or a color wash was then applied, and the printed picture was finished by hand in watercolors.
Blake has been called a preromantic because he rejected neoclassical literary style and modes of thought. His graphic art too defied 18th-century conventions. Always stressing imagination over reason, he felt that ideal forms should be constructed not from observations of nature but from inner visions. His rhythmically patterned linear style is also a repudiation of the painterly academic style. Blake's attenuated, fantastic figures go back, instead, to the medieval tomb statuary he copied as an apprentice and to Mannerist sources. The influence of Michelangelo is especially evident in the radical foreshortening and exaggerated muscular form in one of his best-known illustrations, popularly known as The Ancient of Days, the frontispiece to his poem Europe, a Prophecy (1794).
Much of Blake's painting was on religious subjects: illustrations for the work of John Milton, his favorite poet (although he rejected Milton's Puritanism), for John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and for the Bible, including 21 illustrations to the Book of Job. Among his secular illustrations were those for an edition of Thomas Gray's poems and the 537 watercolors for Edward Young's Night Thoughts – only 43 of which were published.
The Prophetic Books
In his so-called Prophetic Books, a series of longer poems written from 1789 on, Blake created a complex personal mythology and invented his own symbolic characters to reflect his social concerns. A true original in thought and expression, he declared in one of these poems, “I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's.” Blake was a nonconformist radical who numbered among his associates such English freethinkers as Thomas Paine and Mary Wollstonecraft. Poems such as The French Revolution (1791), America, a Prophecy (1793), Visions of the Daughters of Albion (1793), and Europe, a Prophecy (1794) express his condemnation of 18th-century political and social tyranny. Theological tyranny is the subject of The Book of Urizen (1794), and the dreadful cycle set up by the mutual exploitation of the sexes is vividly described in “The Mental Traveller” (circa 1803). Among the Prophetic Books is a prose work, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790-93), which develops Blake's idea that “without Contraries is no progression.” It includes the Proverbs of Hell, such as “The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.”
In 1800 Blake moved to the seacoast town of Felpham, where he lived and worked until 1803 under the patronage of William Hayley. There he experienced profound spiritual insights that prepared him for his mature work, the great visionary epics written and etched between about 1804 and 1820. Milton (1804-08), Vala, or The Four Zoas (that is, aspects of the human soul, 1797; rewritten after 1800), and Jerusalem (1804-20) have neither traditional plot, characters, rhyme, nor meter; the rhetorical free-verse lines demand new modes of reading. They envision a new and higher kind of innocence, the human spirit triumphant over reason.
Blake's writings also include An Island in the Moon (1784), a rollicking satire on events in his early life; a collection of letters; and a notebook containing sketches and some shorter poems dating between 1793 and 1818. It was called the Rossetti Manuscript, because it was acquired in 1847 by the English poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, one of the first to recognize Blake's genius.
Blake's final years, spent in great poverty, were cheered by the admiring friendship of a group of younger artists. He died in London, on 12 August 1827, leaving uncompleted a cycle of drawings inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy.
William Blake (1757-1827) est le point culminant ésoterique de l'art figuré du romantisme anglais. Ses travaux se rapprochent parfois d'une façon très surprenante de ceux de l'Allemand du Nord Runge, de même que ses idées, fécondées par Paracelse, Swedenborg, Lavater et surtout Bohme, offrent plus d'une concordance avec le romantisme primitif allemand. Car Blake n'était pas seulement un artiste. Poète visionnaire, il y avait en lui quelque chose de l'esprit des prophètes et des mystiques. Il se distinguait par la même attitude spéculative et intransigeante. Sa philosophie se fondait sur l'opposition de l'imagination et de la raison, et cette antithèse etait aussi a ses yeux celle du Bien et du Mal. Il n'admettait que l'intuition véritablement divine, qui transcendait la difference entre réalité et surrealité. Dans ses propres écrits poétiques---par exemple le Marriage of Heaven and Hell de 1790-1791, ou les Songs of Innocence and of Experience de 1789-1794---comme dans ses interpretations très personnelles de la Bible, de Dante et de Milton, il donna a ces conceptions une expression aphoristique.
Son activité d'artiste était entièrement au service de la propagation de ses idées. Il s'agit exclusivement d'illustration. Que Blake ait dû s'opposer à l'art officiel et au classicisme des académies va de soi. Plutôt il beneficia de l'influence de Mortimer et de Barry, ainsi que de son ami Fuseli. Ses visions et ses rêves exigeaient néanmoins un idiome technique et stylistique original. Au lieu de l'huile, Blake eut recours à une peinture à tempéra évoquant la fresque, ou prefera l'aquarelle. Mais c'est bien dans la gravure qu'il a donné le meilleur de lui-même. Ce Londonien de naissance, qui ne quitta que très rarement sa ville, avait recu une excellente formation de métier: cinq ans d'école de dessin et sept ans de travail dans un atelier de gravure. Il fallait le noter, car ses feuilles, éxecutées selon un procédé d'eau-forte particulier, le plus souvent coloriées et faisant fréquemment l'effet de gravures sur bois, se situent au-dela de toute convention. Image et verbe se fondent dans une unité qui ne s'était plus vue depuis le Moyen Age. L'ensemble de la composition est determiné par un rythme transcendant, auquel doivent se soumettre la nature representée, les élements, les plantes et les êtres humains. Les corps s'infléchissent dans un tourbillon comme s'ils appartenaient a des créatures astrales, la force expressive étant souvent accentuée par le parallélisme des figures. Ignoré de son vivant, Blake, avec ces moyens, n'a pas seulement recolté l'admiration des pre-raphaelites et anticipe sur des formes essentielles de l'Art Nouveau ou du Jugendstill de l'époque 1900, mais suscité vers le milieu du XXe siècle une nouvelle vague d'enthousiasme auprès des esprits sensibles à son art.
LINKS TO ARTWORK.
Nebuchadnezzar (1795, 43x60cm; 800x1122pix, 814kb _ ZOOM to 1600x2243pix, 3080kb) _ The story of Nebuchadnezzar's dream and madness is one of several moralizing, allegorical interpretations of historical events in the Book of Daniel, written in the 2nd century BC to illustrate the power of God. Although there is no historical proof, it is thought that Nebuchadnezzar may have suffered from a mental illness called Insania Zoanthropia, which causes humans to act like animals.
Although written in the first person, the author of the book of Daniel was actually a pious Jew living under the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, 167-164 BC To encourage his suffering fellow believers, he tells six stories, set in earlier days in Babylon just before and after the Persian conquest, which illustrate how faithful Jews, loyally practicing their religion, were enabled by divine aid to triumph over their enemies. The memory of Nebuchadnezzar was still strong at the time of this writing because he had crushed two Jewish revolts and then had destroyed the temple in Jerusalem in 586 BC
Nebuchadnezzar II ruled over the Babylonian empire from 605 to 562 BC The city of Babylon was located in the Euphrates river in the region of present day Iraq. The kingdom of Juda, in southern Palestine, was caught in a power struggle between the Babylonian empire and imperial Egypt. When in 587-586 BC Nebuchadnezzar attacked and destroyed Jerusalem and its temple, he deported many of its inhabitants to Babylon. During this period, known as the Babylonian Exile (586-539 BC), many Jews prospered economically in Babylon, and not all continued to observe Jewish law faithfully.
The visionary poet and artist William Blake despised the emphasis on rational thought so popular in 18th-century England. Sir Isaac Newton's mathematic and scientific discoveries, which proved the existence of universal laws and the value of scientific reasoning, heralded the Age of Enlightenment in Europe. Advancements in areas such as optics, chemistry, and biology encouraged intellectuals to put their trust in nature, as understood by reason, rather than in God. Many people believed that they could rationally unlock nature's secrets to benefit their own lives.
Blake, on the other hand, believed that imagination, not reason, was the dominant force of human nature. He rebelled against the art establishment and created his own artistic vocabulary, often illustrating apocalyptic scenes from the Bible. His bestial images, including his 1795 version of Nebuchadnezzar, illustrated the uncontrollable, irrational side of human beings.4 He apparently intended this image of the mad king to be paired with an image of Newton that represented rational thought.
In this hand-colored print Blake depicts Nebuchadnezzar as part animal and part man. The once-mighty Nebuchadnezzar crawls on his hands and knees, and his feet sport bird's talons as described in the Book of Daniel. His golden hair, which was said to grow like an eagle's feathers, trails down his back and over his thighs. His lengthy beard drags beneath his taut body. Nebuchadnezzar's parted lips, furrowed brow, heavy eyelids, and especially his staring eyes all lend his face an expression of helplessness. The king's strong muscled body, rendered in great detail, seems startlingly at odds with his mental instability.
Nebuchadnezzar's crawling outdoors, nude, leaves no doubt of his madness. The large twisted tree trunks and foliage behind him may refer to the large tree in his dream. The imaginative and emotional tone of Blake's stunning picture of Nebuchadnezzar relates it to works by other artists called Romantics, who reacted against the staid Neoclassical style with dramatic, often apocalyptic images. But the distinctive style of this piece, marked by strong contour lines, is uniquely Blake's.
— The Creation of Adam (or ZOOM to 3119x2281pix, 1146kb)
The Body of Abel Found by Adam and Eve (1825, 32x43cm; 600x814pix, 285kb _ ZOOM to 1105x1500pix, 803kb _ ZOOM++ to 1400x1900pix)
The Book of Urizen: The Web of Religion (1794, 29x23cm) _ The Book of Urizen is Blake's version, or parody, of the biblical Book of Genesis.
Satan Inflicting Boils on Job
–- The Complaint of Job (1786 monochrome, 32x48cm; 931x1396pix, 112kb)
— The Witches of Endor and the Ghost of Samuel (1783, 600x908pix, 218kb _ ZOOM to 2199x3326pix, 1310kb)
–- The Ordeal of Queen Emma (1793, 622x967pix, 110kb _ .ZOOM to 933x1450pix, 246kb _ .ZOOM+ to 1400x2176pix, 667kb _ .ZOOM++ to 2131x3309pix, 1378kb) _ The only serious blot on the life of King Edward, according to his biographers, was his mistreatment of his mother, Queen Emma [982 – 06 Mar 1051]. In 1043, the king, with Earls Godwin, Leofric and Siward, came to Winchester and imprisoned her. Then, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, they “deprived her of all her innumerable treasures, because she had been too strict with the king, her son, in that she had done less for him than he wished, both before his accession and afterwards…” It seems that she was also accused of plotting with King Magnus of Norway. Edward’s suspicions of his mother may have been the result of her close links with Earl Godwin of Wessex, the murderer of his brother Prince Alfred.
However, as Frank Barlow writes, “Emma, when reduced to poverty and despair, had a dream in which [St. Mildred] promised to help her because she, with Cnut, had patronized the translation of St. Mildred from Thanet to St. Augustine’s, Canterbury. Whereupon Emma borrowed 20 shillings, sent them by means of her thegn [retainer], Aethelweard Speaka, to Abbot Aelfstan of St. Augustine’s, and, miraculously, the king’s heart was changed. Edward ‘felt shame for the injury he had done her, the son acknowledged the mother, he restored her to her former dignity and he who had proclaimed her guilty begged her pardon.’ Everything she had possessed was restored to her; her accusers and despoilers were confounded.”
Nor is this the only time that the queen was exonerated through the intercessions of the saints. Thus Canon Busby writes: “She had been accused of unchastity in association with Bishop Alwyn of Winchester. In order to prove her innocence she was obliged to undergo the ordeal of walking over nine red-hot ploughshares placed on the pavement of the nave of the Cathedral. The Cathedral annalist says: ‘The news was spread throughout the Kingdom that the Queen was to undergo this ordeal; and such was the throng of people who flocked to Winchester, that so vast a concourse on one day was never seen before. The King himself, Saint Edward, came to Winchester; nor did a single noble of the Kingdom absent himself, except Archbishop Robert, who feigned illness and, being inimical to the Queen, had poisoned the King’s mind against her, so that if her innocence were proved he might be able to make his escape without difficulty. The pavement of the church being swept, there was placed upon it nine red-hot ploughshares, over which a short prayer was said, and then the Queen’s shoes and stockings were drawn off, and laying aside her mantle and putting on her veil, with her garments girded closely round round her, between two bishops, on either hand, she was conducted to the torture. The bishops who led her wept, and, though they were more terrified than she was, they encouraged her not to be afraid. All persons who were in the church wept and there was a general exclamation “O Saint Swithun, Saint Swithun, help her!” The people cried with great vehemence that Saint Swithun must hasten to the rescue. The Queen prayed: St. Swithun, rescue me from the fire that is prepared for me. Then followed a miracle. Guided by the Bishops she walked over the red-hot ploughshares, she felt neither the naked iron nor the fire.’”
– Oberon, Titania, and Puck, with Dancing Fairies (1785, 48x68cm; 600x865pix, 253kb _ ZOOM to 2173x3132pix, 1291kb)
— A Breach in the City: the Morning After the Battle (1795; 600x938pix, 259kb _ ZOOM to 2173x3397pix, 1196kb)
— Plague (1784; 600x915pix, 268kb _ ZOOM to 2147x3275pix, 1450kb)
— Joseph Lets Simeon Handcuff Him (1795; 600x841pix, 215kb _ ZOOM to 2224x3118pix, 1323kb)
— Joseph Reveals Himself to his Brothers (1795; 600x839pix, 209kb _ ZOOM to 2217x3100pix, 1264kb)
— Bathsheba About to Bathe (1800; 600x850pix, 287kb _ ZOOM to 3893x2591pix, 1291kb) with two children and a woman attendant.
— The Birth of Christ (1800; 600x847pix, 259kb _ ZOOM to 2237x3158pix)
— Mary With the Child Jesus Riding a Lamb and the Child Saint John (1800; 600x880pix, 268kb _ ZOOM to 2208x3237pix, 1402kb)
— Christ Blesses the Little Children (1799; 600x876pix, 215kb _ ZOOM to 2362x3450pix, 1811kb)
— The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed With the Sun (1808, 34x42cm; 600x506pix, 145kb _ ZOOM to 1400x1181pix, 365kb)
— Vala, Hyle, and Skofeld (1820; 600x831pix, 280kb _ ZOOM to 1400x1938pix, 812kb) Plate 51 from Jerusalem
–- Jacob's Ladder (1806, 40x31cm; 1000x787pix, 108kb)
–- Beggar's Opera, Act III "When My Hero in Court Appears, &c." (engraving 45x58cm; 862x1167pix, 139kb _ .ZOOM to 1934x2496pix, 1036kb) _ text of The Beggar's Opera by John Gay [bap. 16 Sep 1685 – 1732]
WRITINGS OF BLAKE ONLINE:
Died on 28 November 1862: Charles (or Karl) Ferdinand Wimar,
of tuberculosis, US painter and photographer, specialized in the US West,
born on 20 (19?) February 1828 in Germany.
— He began drawing at the age of three. By age 10, he was copying the masters. His family, with him, arrived in Saint-Louis in 1843. They apprenticed him to a steamboat painter to learn the craft of painting. From 1846 to 1850 he studied painting under the French émigré Saint-Louis artist Léon de Pomarède . He joined de Pomarède on sketching tours of the upper Mississippi, learning to paint landscapes. In 1852 he continued his studies at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, where he worked with Josef Fay  and Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze until about 1856. All his paintings from that period explore the conflict between Amerindians and pioneers, although he had no direct experience with the subject material. In 1858, having once more based himself in Saint-Louis, he traveled up the Mississippi in order to draw and photograph Indians. Wimar joined a party of the American Fur Trading Company and made several journeys between 1858 and 1860 up the Mississippi, Missouri, and Yellowstone rivers in search of Amerindian subjects. His painting, the Buffalo Hunt (1860), became one of the original works in the collection of the Western Academy of Art. In 1861 Wimar was commissioned to decorate the rotunda of the Saint-Louis Court-house with scenes of the settlement of the West (since mostly destroyed).
–- On the Prairie (lithograph 45x66cm; 683x1323pix, 88kb _ .ZOOM to 1440x2792pix, 893kb) _ Settlers in a wagon train fire at Amerindians who are starting to attack them with arrows and mostly tomahawks. Two Amerindians are collapsing, already shot. On the first wagon a woman swoons.
— Buffaloes Approaching Water Hole (1860, 46x61cm; 400x570pix, 32kb) _ Wimar was a skilled draftsman who was able to turn his finished paintings into scenes of high drama. This detailed pastel lends a mythic cast to the buffaloes of its subject. This painting was completed in 1860, the same year that the Western Academy of Art, of Saint-Louis, opened its first exhibition. Wimar was a member of the Academy.
Died on 28 November 1680: Gian Lorenzo
Bernini, Italy, greatest Baroque sculptor in Italy, also
an architect, painter, and dramatist, the last of Italy's remarkable series
of universal geniuses. He was born on 07 December 1598, son of Pietro
Cet architecte dit "Le Cavalier Bernin " est aussi peintre et sculpteur. On lui doit, sous la Renaissance la grande colonnade de Saint Pierre à Rome (1656-1657). Il fut appelé en France par Louis XIV pour achever le Louvre, mais ses plans furent refusés.
Bernini is the single most important artistic talent of the Italian baroque. Although most significant as a sculptor, he was also highly gifted as an architect; painter; draftsman; designer of stage sets, fireworks displays, and funeral trappings; and playwright. His art is the quintessence of high baroque energy and robustness. In sculpture his ability to suggest textures of skin or cloth as well as to capture emotion and movement was uncanny. Bernini reformed a number of sculptural genres, including the portrait bust, the fountain, and the tomb. His influence was widespread throughout the 17th and 18th centuries and was felt by such masters as Pierre Puget from France, the Italian Pietro Bracci, and the German Andreas Schlüter.
The life of Bernini was dominated by his work, and his biography is defined by the immense number of projects he undertook. His career developed almost entirely in Rome, although he was born in Naples. His father, Pietro Bernini, a talented sculptor of the late Mannerist style, was his son's first teacher. Young Gian Lorenzo soon surpassed his father in excellence, however. Many of Bernini's early sculptures were inspired by Hellenistic art. The Goat Amalthea Nursing the Infant Zeus and a Young Satyr (redated 1609) typifies the classical taste of the youthful sculptor. Group sculptures by earlier masters such as Giambologna were noted for their Mannerist multiple views. Bernini's groups of the 1620s, however, such as the Abduction of Proserpina (1622) present the spectator with a single primary view while sacrificing none of the drama inherent in the scene.
From the 1620s also date Bernini's first architectural projects, the façade for the church of Santa Bibiana (1626), Rome, and the creation of the magnificent baldachin (1633), or altar canopy, over the high altar of Saint Peter's Basilica. The latter commission was given to Bernini by Pope Urban VIII, the first of seven pontiffs for whom he worked. This project, a masterful feat of engineering, architecture, and sculpture, was the first of a number of monumental undertakings for St. Peter's. Bernini later created the tombs of Urban VIII (1647) and Alexander VII (1678) that, in their use of active three-dimensional figures, differ markedly from the purely architectural approach to the sepulchral monument taken by previous artists. Bernini's immense Cathedra Petri (1666), in the apse of St. Peter's, employs marble, gilt bronze, and stucco in a splendid crescendo of motion, made all the more dramatic by the golden oval window in its center that becomes the focal point of the entire basilica.
Bernini was the first sculptor to realize the dramatic potential of light in a sculptural complex. This was even more fully realized in his famous masterpiece Ecstasy of Saint Teresa (1652), in which the sun's rays, coming from an unseen source, illuminate the swooning saint and the smiling angel about to pierce her heart with a golden arrow. Bernini's numerous busts also carry an analogous sense of persuasive dramatic realism, be they allegorical busts such as the Damned Soul and Blessed Soul (both 1619), or portraits such as those of Cardinal Scipione Borghese (1632) or Louis XIV of France (1665).
Bernini's secular architecture included designs for several palaces: Palazzo Ludovisi (now Palazzo Montecitorio, 1650) and Palazzo Chigi (1664), in Rome, and an unexecuted design for the Louvre presented to Louis XIV in 1665, when Bernini spent five months in Paris.
He did not begin to design churches until he was 60 years old, but his three efforts in ecclesiastical architecture are significant. His church at Castelgandolfo (1661) employs a Greek cross, and his church at Ariccia (1664), a circle plan. His third church is his greatest. Sant' Andrea al Quirinale (1670) in Rome was constructed on an oval plan with an ovoid porch extending beyond the facade, echoing the interior rhythms of the building. The interior, decorated with dark, multicolored marble, has a dramatic oval dome of white and gold.
Also dating from the 1660s are the Scala Regia (1666), connecting the papal apartments in the Vatican Palace to St. Peter's, and the magnificent Piazza San Pietro (designed 1667), framing the approach to the basilica in a dynamic ovular space formed by two vast semicircular colonnades. Bernini's most outstanding fountain group is in the spectacular Fountain of the Four Rivers (1651) in the Piazza Navona. Bernini remained a vital and active artist virtually up to the last day of his life. His final work, Bust of the Savior, presents a withdrawn and restrained image of Christ indicative of what is now known to have been Bernini's calm and resigned attitude toward death.
| Bernini was perhaps the greatest
sculptor of the 17th century and an outstanding architect as well. Bernini
created the Baroque
style of sculpture and developed it to such an extent that other artists
are of only minor importance in a discussion of that style.
Bernini's career began under his father, Pietro Bernini, a Florentine sculptor of some talent who ultimately moved to Rome. The young prodigy worked so diligently that he earned the praise of the painter Annibale Carracci and the patronage of Pope Paul V and soon established himself as a wholly independent sculptor. He was strongly influenced by his close study of the antique Greek and Roman marbles in the Vatican, and he also had an intimate knowledge of High Renaissance painting of the early 16th century. His study of Michelangelo is revealed in the Saint Sebastian (1617), carved for Cardinal Maffeo Barberini, who was later Pope Urban VIII and Bernini's greatest patron.
Bernini's early works attracted the attention of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, a member of the reigning papal family. Under his patronage, Bernini carved his first important life-size sculptural groups. The series shows Bernini's progression from the almost haphazard single view of Aeneas, Anchises and Ascanius Fleeing Troy (1619) to strong frontality in Pluto and Proserpina (1622) and then to the hallucinatory vision of Apollo and Daphne (1624), which was intended to be viewed from one spot as if it were a relief. In his David (1624), Bernini depicts the figure casting a stone at an unseen adversary. Several portrait busts that Bernini executed during this period, including that of Cardinal Robert Bellarmine (1624), show a new awareness of the relationship between head and body and display an ability to depict fleeting facial expressions with acute realism. These marble works show an unparalleled virtuosity in carving that obdurate material to achieve the delicate effects usually found only in bronze sculptures. Bernini's sensual awareness of the surface textures of skin and hair and his novel sense of shading broke with the tradition of Michelangelo and marked the emergence of a new period in the history of Western sculpture.
With the pontificate of Urban VIII (1623-44), Bernini entered a period of enormous productivity and artistic development. Urban VIII urged his protégé to paint and to practice architecture. His first architectural work was the remodeled Church of Santa Bibiana in Rome. At the same time, Bernini was commissioned to build a symbolic structure over the tomb of Saint Peter in Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. The result is the famous immense gilt-bronze baldachin executed between 1624 and 1633. Its twisted columns derive from the early Christian columns that had been used in the altar screen of Old Saint Peter's. Bernini's most original contribution to the final work is the upper framework of crowning volutes flanked by four angels that supports the orb and cross. The baldachin is perfectly proportioned to its setting, and one hardly realizes that it is as tall as a four-story building. Its lively outline moving upward to the triumphant crown, its dark color heightened with burning gold, give it the character of a living organism. An unprecedented fusion of sculpture and architecture, the baldachin is the first truly Baroque monument. It ultimately formed the center of a programmatic decoration designed by Bernini for the interior of Saint Peter's.
Bernini next supervised the decoration of the four piers supporting the dome of Saint Peter's with colossal statues, though only one of the latter, Saint Longinus, was designed by him. He also made a series of portrait busts of Urban VIII, but the first bust to achieve the quality of his earlier portraits is that of his great patron, Cardinal Scipione Borghese (1632). The cardinal is shown in the act of speaking and moving, and the action is caught at a moment that seems to reveal all the characteristic qualities of the subject.
Bernini's architectural duties increased after the death of Carlo Maderno in 1629, when Bernini became architect of Saint Peter's and of the Palazzo Barberini. By this time he was not only executing works himself but also having to rely on assistance from others as the number of his commissions grew. He was successful in organizing his studio and planning his work so that sculptures and ornamentations produced by a team actually seem to be all of a piece. Bernini's work, then and always, was also shaped by his fervent Roman Catholicism (he attended mass every day and took communion twice a week). He would agree with the formulations of the Council of Trent (1545-63) that the purpose of religious art was to teach and inspire the faithful and to serve as propaganda for the Roman Catholic church. Religious art should always be intelligible and realistic, and, above all, it should serve as an emotional stimulus to piety. The development of Bernini's religious art was largely determined by his conscientious efforts to conform to those principles.
Under Urban VIII Bernini began to produce new and different kinds of monuments - tombs and fountains. The tomb of Urban VIII (1647) shows the pope seated with his arm raised in a commanding gesture, while below him are two white marble figures representing the Virtues. Bernini also designed a revolutionary series of small tomb memorials, of which the most impressive is that of Maria Raggi (1643). But his fountains are his most obvious contribution to the city of Rome. His first, the Barcaccia in the Piazza di Spagna (1627-29), is analogous to the baldachin in its fusion of sculpture and architecture. The Triton Fountain in the Piazza Barberini (1642-43) is a dramatic transformation of a Roman architectonic fountain - the superposed basins of the traditional geometric piazza fountain appearing to have come alive. Four dolphins raise a huge shell supporting the sea god, who blows water upward out of a conch.
early architectural projects, however, were not invariably successful. In
1637 he began to erect campaniles, or bell towers, over the facade of Saint
Peter's. But, in 1646, when their weight began to crack the building, they
were pulled down, and Bernini was temporarily disgraced. Patronage of Innocent
X and Alexander VII
Bernini's most spectacular public monuments date from the mid-1640s to the 1660s. The Fountain of the Four Rivers in Rome's Piazza Navona (1651) supports an ancient Egyptian obelisk over a hollowed-out rock, surmounted by four marble figures symbolizing four major rivers of the world. This fountain is one of his most spectacular works.
The greatest single example of Bernini's mature art is the Cornaro Chapel in Santa Maria della Vittoria, in Rome, which completes the evolution begun early in his career. The chapel, commissioned by Cardinal Federigo Cornaro, is in a shallow transept in the small church. Its focal point is his sculpture of The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa (1645-52), a depiction of a mystical experience of the great Spanish Carmelite reformer Teresa of Ávila. In representing Teresa's vision, during which an angel pierced her heart with a fiery arrow of divine love, Bernini followed Teresa's own description of the event. The sculptured group, showing the transported saint swooning in the void, covered by cascading drapery, is revealed in celestial light within a niche over the altar, where the architectural and decorative elements are richly joined and articulated. At left and right, in spaces resembling opera boxes, numerous members of the Cornaro family are found in spirited postures of conversation, reading, or prayer. The Cornaro Chapel carries Bernini's ideal of a three-dimensional picture to its apex. The figures of Saint Teresa and the angel are sculptured in white marble, but the viewer cannot tell whether they are in the round or merely in high relief. The natural daylight that falls on the figures from a hidden source above and behind them is part of the group, as are the gilt rays behind. The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa is not sculpture in the conventional sense. Instead, it is a framed pictorial scene made up of sculpture, painting, and light that also includes the worshiper in a religious drama. In his later years, the growing desire to control the environments of his statuary led Bernini to concentrate more and more on architecture. Of the churches he designed after completing the Cornaro Chapel, the most impressive is that of Sant'Andrea al Quirinale (1658-70) in Rome, with its dramatic high altar, soaring dome, and unconventionally sited oval plan. But Bernini's greatest architectural achievement is the colonnade enclosing the piazza before Saint Peter's Basilica. The chief function of the large space was to hold the crowd that gathered for the papal benediction on Easter and other special occasions. Bernini planned a huge oval attached to the church by a trapezoidal forecourt - forms that he compared to the encircling arms of the mother church. The freestanding colonnades were a novel solution to the need for a penetrable enclosure. The piazza guides the visitor toward the church and counterbalances the overly wide facade of Saint Peter's. Bernini's oval encloses a space centred on the Vatican obelisk, which had been moved before the church by Sixtus V in 1586. Bernini moved an older fountain by Maderno into the long axis of the piazza and built a twin on the other side to make a scenographic whole. The analogies to Bernini's oval plan of Sant'Andrea al Quirinale are fascinating, as are the differences in meaning and function.
Bernini's most spectacular religious decoration is the Throne of Saint Peter, or the Cathedra Petri (1666), a gilt-bronze cover for the medieval wooden throne (cathedra) of the pope. Bernini's task was not only to make a decorative cover for the chair but also to create a meaningful goal in the apse of Saint Peter's for the pilgrim's journey through the great church. The seat is seemingly supported by four imposing bronze figures representing theological doctors of the early church: Saints Ambrose, Athanasius, John Chrysostom, and Augustine. Above, a golden glory of angels on clouds and rays of light emanates from the Dove of the Holy Spirit, which is painted on an oval window. The cathedra was produced about the same time as the piazza, and the contrast between these two works shows Bernini's versatility. Both works were done for the Chigi pope, Alexander VII (1655-67), who was one of Bernini's greatest patrons. The tomb that Bernini designed for Alexander VII (1678) was largely executed by his students.
In addition to his large works, Bernini continued to produce a few portrait busts. The first of these, of Francesco I d'Este, duke of Modena (1651), culminates his revolution in portraiture. Much of the freedom and spontaneity of the bust of Cardinal Scipione Borghese is kept, but it is united with a heroic pomp and grandiose movement that portray the ideals of the Baroque age as much as the man.
Bernini went to Paris in 1665, in what was his only prolonged absence from Rome. The trip was made in response to invitations that for many years had been extended to him by King Louis XIV, and the purpose was the design of a new French royal residence. By this time, Bernini was so famous that crowds lined the streets of each city along the route to watch him pass. His initial reception in Paris was equally triumphant, but he soon offended his sensitive hosts by imperiously praising the art and architecture of Italy at the expense of that of France. His statements made him unpopular at the French court and were to some degree responsible for the rejection of his designs for the Louvre. The only relic of Bernini's visit to France is his great bust of Louis XIV, a linear, vertical, and stable portrait, in which the Sun King gazes out with godlike authority. The image set a standard for royal portraits that lasted 100 years.
late works in sculpture are inevitably overshadowed by his grandiose projects
for Saint Peter's, but a few of them are of outstanding interest. For the
Chigi Chapel in the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome, he carved
two groups, Daniel in the Lions' Den and Habakkuk and the Angel (1655-61).
These works show the beginnings of his late style: elongation of the body,
expressive gesture, and simplified yet emphatic emotional expression. The
same characteristics are already found in the figures supporting the Throne
of Saint Peter and culminate in the moving Angels for the Sant'Angelo Bridge
in Rome, which Bernini redecorated with the help of assistants between 1667
and 1671. Pope Clement IX (1667-69) so prized the Angels carved by Bernini
that they were never set up on the bridge and are now in the church of Sant'Andrea
delle Fratte in Rome.
The redecorated Sant'Angelo Bridge leading across the Tiber forms an introduction to the Vatican, and Bernini's other works - the piazza, Scala Regia, and the baldachin and cathedra within Saint Peter's - form progressively more powerful expressions of papal power to support and inspire Roman Catholic pilgrims to the site. Bernini completed one more decoration in Saint Peter's in his last years: the altar of the Santissimo Sacramento Chapel (1674). The pliant, human adoration of the angels contrasts with the timeless architecture of the bronze tabernacle that they flank and typifies Bernini's late style. In his last years he seems to have found the inexorable laws of architecture a consoling antithesis to the transitory human state.
Bernini's greatest late work is the simple Altieri Chapel in San Francesco a Ripa (1674) in Rome. The relatively deep space above the altar reveals a statue representing the death of the Blessed Ludovica Albertoni. Bernini consciously separated architecture, sculpture, and painting for different roles, reversing the process that culminated in the Cornaro Chapel. In that sense, the Altieri Chapel is more traditional, a variation on his church interiors of the preceding years. Instead of filling the arched opening, the sculpted figure of Ludovica lies at the bottom of a large volume of space, and is illuminated by a heavenly light that plays on the drapery gathered over her recumbent figure. Her hands weakly clutching her breast make explicit her painful death.
Bernini died at the age of 81, after having served eight popes, and when he died he was widely considered not only Europe's greatest artist but also one of its greatest men. He was the last of Italy's remarkable series of universal geniuses, and the Baroque style he helped create was the last Italian style to become an international standard. His death marked the end of Italy's artistic hegemony in Europe. The style he evolved was carried on for two more generations in various parts of Europe by the architects Mattia de' Rossi and Carlo Fontana in Rome, J.B. Fischer von Erlach in Austria, and the brothers Cosmas and Egid Quirin Asam in Bavaria, among others.
Self-Portrait as a Young Man (1623, 1231x802pix) _ This self-portrait was painted when the artist was about twenty-five years old, when he sculpted the David, and Apollo and Daphne. This particular painting is of paramount importance to any attempt to reconstruct the young Bernini's oeuvre of paintings. The nervous rapidity of the brushstrokes and quick flash of his eyes reveal his desire to capture expression in an instant. He did this systematically in his sculpted portraits.
David with the Head of Goliath (1625, 75x65cm) _ The painting has been identified as a youthful self-portrait of Bernini, dating to 1625 and connected to the painted self portrait listed above. The iconographic choice of self-portrayal in the guise of David is interesting: self-identification with the biblical hero is both a recurring motif in Bernini's art and a theme in the poetry and image-making of his great patron, Pope Urban VIII. The painting technique is dashing and fast, with strongly visible brushstrokes and luminous touches. The treatment of physiognomy seems idealized when compared to the drawing with analogous iconography listed next.
Self-Portrait as a Mature Man (1635) _ In this self-portrait Bernini painted himself with a fiery expression, circa 1630-1635, four years after executing the bust of Scipione Borghese, which is exhibited in the same room of the Borghese Gallery. This portrait is part of a double portrait with Costanza Bonarelli, which was described in Bernini's will as having already been cut in two.
Portrait of a young man (formerly Self-Portrait) (1618, 57x42cm) _ Fewer than twenty paintings by Bernini have been securely attributed to him. The small number of paintings by Bernini is something of a hindrance to definitive statements on attribution of this work. Some scholars have proposed a number of artists as the likely author of this work, ranging from other Italian painters to possibly a Spaniard from the circle of Velasquez. The loose brushstroke and lack of detail outside the face indicate that it may be a highly detailed sketch rather than a fully worked, finished painting, which adds to the difficulty of attributing the work. These same qualities have also contributed to the notion that it is a self-portrait. The attribution to Bernini was made in the 1970s, and is supported by some scholars and challenged by others.
Portrait of a Boy (1638) _ The portrait of a youth with impressive features is an unusual interpretation of childhood. It belongs to the works in which the brushwork becomes increasingly spontaneous and seems to model the forms like a chisel sculpting marble.
Saint Andrew and Saint Thomas (1627, 59x76cm) _ One of the few paintings of Bernini. He despised painting, he regarded it as deception and lie in contrast with sculpture which is the truth. He painted only five self-portraits and a few pictures representing saints.
Pope Urban VIII (1632, 67x50cm) _ The unfinished picture, formerly attributed to Sacchi, depicts the pope with an immediacy and expressive force that is manifested in the rapid brushstrokes. The composition, datable to 1632, is directly related to Bernini's drawing for the engraved portrait of the pope on the frontispiece of Urban VIII's Poemata (engraved by C. Mellan in 1631). The inventories of the Barberini collection indicate the presence of other portraits that Bernini painted of the pope. A slightly later example, of strong expressive force and originally in the Barberini collection, recently reappeared in a private collection. Another similar portrait, now lost, was once in the Palazzo Colonna at Marino. Other portraits of the pope, with various attributions, bear similarities to this autograph canvas.