ART 4 2-DAY 28 September v.9.a0
Born on 28 September 1823: Alexandre
Cabanel, French academic
painter who died on 23 January 1889.
The winner of the Prix de Rome in 1845, he ranked with Bouguereau as one of the most successful and influential academic painters of the period and one of the sternest opponents of the Impressionists. The Birth of Venus (Musee d'Orsay, Paris) is his best-known work and typical of the slick and titillating (but supposedly chaste) nudes at which he excelled. It was the hit of the official Salon of 1863, the year of the Salon des Refuses, and was bought by the emperor Napoleon III, who gave Cabanel several prestigious commissions.
French painter and teacher. His skill in drawing was apparently evident by the age of 11. His father could not afford his training, but in 1839 his département gave him a grant to go to Paris. This enabled him to register at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts the following October as a student of François-Édouard Picot. At his first Salon in 1843 he presented Agony in the Garden and won second place in the Prix de Rome competition (after Léon Bénouville, also a student of Picot) in 1845 with Christ at the Praetorium . Both Cabanel and Bénouville were able to go to Rome, as there was a vacancy from the previous year. Cabanel’s Death of Moses, an academic composition, painted to comply with the regulations of the Ecole de Rome, was exhibited at the Salon of 1852. The pictures he painted for Alfred Bruyas, his chief patron at this time (and, like Cabanel, a native of Montpellier), showed more clearly the direction his art had taken during his stay in Italy. Albaydé, Angel of the Evening, Chiarruccia and Velleda were the first of many mysterious or tragic heroines painted by Cabanel and show his taste for the elegiac types and suave finish of the Florentine Mannerists.
On Cabanel’s return to Paris, the architect Jean-Baptiste Cicéron Lesueur [1794-1883] commissioned him to decorate 12 pendentives in the Salon des Caryatides in the Hôtel de Ville (destroyed in 1871). Several major decorative commissions followed, which included work on the Hôtel Pereire, the Hôtel Say and the Louvre. Much has been destroyed, but the ceiling in the Cabinet des Dessins in the Louvre, The Triumph of Flora, which combines the hard contours and careful finish of Ingres’s school with a composition and color that recalls the ceilings of the French Rococo, is probably typical of Cabanel’s talent for achieving sumptuous effects.
In 1855 Cabanel exhibited Christian Martyr, Glorification of St Louis and Autumn Evening, establishing his academic and official credentials. In 1855 he received the Légion d’honneur and in 1863 he was elected to the Institut and nominated professor (along with Jean-Léon Gérôme and Isidore-Alexandre-Augustin Pils) at the reorganized Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He won the Grande Médaille d’Honneur at the Salons of 1865, 1867 and 1878. His dark-eyed heroines, thinly painted, usually in muted colors, and immaculately drawn, were popular with collectors on both sides of the Atlantic; likewise his mythological paintings, which were a by-product of his decorative works. Nymph Abducted by a Faun (1860) is a solid, decorative group in the manner of Charles Coypel or François Lemoyne. He exhibited the Birth of Venus (1862) in 1863 to widespread acclaim. It is composed like an overdoor by Boucher, although it has been suggested that it was influenced by Ingres’s Odalisque and her Slave (1839). Both paintings were acquired by Napoléon III. In 1867 he painted a huge Paradise Lost for Ludwig II, the King of Bavaria, and in 1868 Ruth for the Empress Eugénie. The full-length portrait of the Emperor that Cabanel painted for the Tuileries in 1865 was liked by critics less than Hippolyte Flandrin’s dreamy portrait exhibited in 1863 (1860), but it was much more popular at court. Cabanel’s portraits were already in demand, and he rivalled Édouard Dubufe and Franz Xavier Winterhalter as portrait painter to the Napoleonic aristocracy. He was elected regularly to the Salon jury, and his students could be counted by the hundred at the Salons. Through them, Cabanel did more than any other artist of his generation to form the character of 'belle époque' French painting. Cabanel’s pictures were always drawn and painted with a high degree of academic virtuosity, combined with an undercurrent of strong feeling, as in the Death of Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta (1870). This made him popular in his lifetime, but it was the wrong combination for the tastes of later generations. After his death his reputation collapsed. .
— Cabanel was a successful teacher. His students (like those of his master, François-Édouard Picot) often won the Prix de Rome. Among them were Henri Regnault, Jules Bastien-Lepage, Fernand Cormon, Édouard Debat-Ponsan, Émile Friant, Henri Gervex, Thomas Hovenden, Eugene Vail [29 Sep 1847 – 28 Dec 1934], Édouard Théophile Blanchard [1844-1879], Lodewijk Royer.
— Autoportrait (1847, oval 61x49cm)
–- Mrs. Collis Huntington (1882, 216x128cm; 870x557pix, 38kb _ .ZOOM to 1425x835pix, 85kb _ .+ ZOOM + to 2860x1692pix, 636kb _ .++ ZOOM ++ to an overenlarged, blurry 5720x3384pix, 1097kb)
The Birth of Venus (1863, 132x229cm _ ZOOM to 1400x2417pix) _ This painting was exhibited in 1863 and was bought by the Emperor Napoléon III.
— Phèdre (1880)
— La Comtesse de Keller (1873, 99x76cm)
The Death of Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta (1870)
— Eve After the Fall (75x96cm)
— Cleopatra Testing Poisons on Her Lovers (1887)
— Ophelia (1883, 77x117cm; 771x1195pix, 189kb) _ .detail (960x1280pix, 120kb) enlarged close-up of Ophelia as shown here >>>.
— Cincinnatus Receiving Deputies of the Senate
— The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden (122x94cm)
— The Roman Monk
— The Daughter Of Jephthah (1879, 100x65cm)
— John William Mackay [1831-1902] (1878, 129x85cm)
— Young Lady (127x78cm)
Fallen Angel _ In Christianity (as in Judaism and in Islam), the angels of Hell, or dark angels, or demons, or devils, or fallen angels, are the evil counterpart of the heavenly host. The chief of them, Satan (or Lucifer), was cast out of heaven for leading a revolt. They are often viewed as the initiators of evil temptations. Famous literary treatments of angels are those in Paradise Lost of John Milton [1608 – 08 Nov 1674] and in La Divina Commedia of Dante Alighieri [1265-1321].
— Catharine Lorillard Wolfe [1828-1887] (1876, 172x109cm)
— Death of Moses (1851)
— Paradise Lost (1867, 123x93cm)
== Au Panthéon:
— Saint Louis enseigné par sa mère (1878; 994x397pix _ ZOOM to 1400x559pix)
— Saint Louis enfant rendant la justice (1878; 949x357pix _ ZOOM to 1400x527pix)
— Saint Louis prisonnier en Palestine (1878; 955x373pix _ ZOOM to 1400x547pix)
— Saint Louis rendant la justice (1878; 600x218pix _ ZOOM to 1400x509pix _ ZOOM+ to 3849x1399pix)
Died on 28 September 1899: Giovanni
Segantini, Italian Art
Nouveau painter and draftsman born on 15 January 1858. An exponent of
divisionism, he was the only Italian painter of the late 19th century to
have enjoyed an unbroken international reputation, especially in Germany
Segantini was orphaned when he was only eight years old and spent the rest of his childhood with relatives in Milan. As a young man Segantini lived on the proceedings of his decorative work while taking evening class in ornamental and decorative painting. About 1880 he was discovered by the art dealer Vittore Grubicy de Dragon who sponsored his participation in local and international exhibitions. Segantini became particularly well known in Germany and in 1896 had a one-man show in Munich. He was much admired by artists such as Munch, Van Gogh and Ensor. The famous abstract artist Kandinsky characterised Segantini as one of the forerunners of spirituality in art. Segantini's early work comprised of idyllic rural scenes painted outdoors. Later on Segantini was encouraged by Vittore Grubicy to paint with the Divisionist technique. The primary concern of this technique was the question of how the eyes saw light; the separation, juxtaposition and overlaying of colors on the canvas was aimed to reproduce the luminous vibrations of rays which make up light. Like other painters, Segantini used Divisionism to suggest certain mystical qualities and to intensify a spectator's emotional response by enhancing the luminous quality of the scene.
The art critic and dealer Vittore Grubicy worked tirelessly to convince both the public and those in charge of government cultural policy that the artists practicing the Divisionist technique were showing a new direction for art. Divisionism emerged at a time when Italian politics was characterised by an anxiety to promote a new national consciousness. The President of Italy Pasquale Villari, elected in 1896, stressed the importance of a national pride and warned against uncontrolled emigration. Yet the Divisionist technique was met with a degree of scepticism because it contradicted the traditional notions of the representation of the natural world. At the most extreme the paintings produced were considered the product of a diseased retina. The artists who painted in a Divisionist style were viewed as suffering from hysteria as well as diseases of the eye.
–- Landscape with Horses and Peasant Boy
–- Still Life with Vegetables>(1886)
–- Springtime in the Alps (1897)
–- Punishment of Lust (1891, 99x173cm; 718x1270pix, 88kb — .ZOOM to 1593x2835pix, 3437kb) _ This painting is based on a Buddhist poem about women who reject the duties of motherhood, and is one of a series of disturbing Segantini paintings on this theme. The floating figures represent the souls of women who have had abortions, and are being forced to travel through an icy valley as punishment. Cold temperature suggests the opposite of passion, usually associated with heat. The snowy landscape is based on the Swiss Alps, where Segantini spent much of his life. — Artists have often imagined dramatic, violent weather as a fitting punishment for wrong doing. But here, the Italian artist Giovanni Segantini creates a punitive, purging weather effect that's very unexpected. Inspired by a Buddhist poem describing the passage of dead souls on their way to Nirvana, this image depicts the floating spirits of women who have been guilty of lust. In direct contrast to the heat of their passions during life, the punishment of these spirits is a long passage through a mountain landscape covered with snow, where the weather is still, silent and extremely cold. Segantini's attitude to women was common among men, and even women in his time, who firmly believed that women should stay at home and look after the children. But the profoundly unsettling imagery of this picture, set in the Swiss Alps where Segantini lived, was also informed by a private tragedy. The artist had lost his own mother when he was seven and he later found himself particularly affected and disturbed by the idea of women who abandon their children. Possibly unable to reconcile himself to his own loss, he made a number of works where bad mothers and uncaring women are tormented. In this picture a barren tree has caught the long flowing hair of one of the women in its branches. It's as if even the landscape itself cannot bear to see these unnatural creatures pass without extracting some revenge. — The Punishment of Lust belongs to a series of paintings produced between 1891 and 1896 on the theme of cattive madri. Segantini was inspired by Nirvana, a poem written by the 12th century monk Luigi Illica in imitation of the Indian text Panghiavahli. Illica's poem contained the phrase 'la Mala Madre' (reminiscent of 'la mala femmina' or prostitute) to describe those women who refused the responsibilities of motherhood. The souls of the women are depicted floating against a snowy background based on the Swiss Alps where Segantini spent much of his life. The grandeur and spirituality of the Alps must have been a constant inspiration to Segantini whose last words before he died are recorded to have been: "I want to see my mountains". In the painting the spirits of the women are punished for having committed the sin of abortion consciously or by neglect. Segantini had lost his mother when he was seven years old and was probably passionate to represent the trauma of the mother for the loss of her child. Segantini believed that a woman's role in life was motherhood and that a woman who objects to this role was mean, bad or selfish. His beliefs drew from both religious and metaphysical ideas: the sanctity and motherhood of the Virgin Mary combined with the fertility of nature. The tree in this series of paintings is a religious symbol of the tree of life which, although bare and dead in the winter, will be reborn and blossom in the spring. Segantini came from a country shaped by catholicism. Although in his private life he never conformed to catholic doctrine, for example he refused to marry his partner and mother of his four children, his work was strongly influenced by religious ideas. What may have attracted Segantini to religion may have been the hope for a life after death. Indeed in another painting from the same series, L'Angelo della Vita (1894) the mother has the pose of the Madonna bending lovingly over the baby, while in the mountain landscape the snows have melted and the birch tree is bringing forth young shoots. The painting is connected with the Christian tradition of redemption. The poem Nirvana which inspired the painter also suggests the possibility of regeneration: the bad mother may eventually find her natural instincts blossoming again, just as an apparently dead wintry tree will bring forth leaves as the season moves towards spring. Despite the tragic theme of the painting the overall effect and feeling achieved by the thread-like brushstrokes of Segantini is very atmospheric and dreamy. The mysterious atmosphere set by the painting is in line with the painter's metaphysical views about the connection between human and natural life.
— Ritorno al Paese (600x1129pix, 351kb)
— Shepherdess Knitting Socks (600x1018pix, 190kb _ ZOOM to 1400xpix)
— The Plow (535x995pix, 327kb)
Born on 28 September 1920: Alan Davie,
Scottish painter and printmaker.
— He got trained as a painter at Edinburgh College of Art from 1938 to 1940, initially favoring poetic imagery and coming into contact with modernism at London exhibitions of works by Picasso (1945) and Paul Klee (1945). He explored a diverse range of activities, however, before returning to painting: from 1949 to 1953 he earned his living by making jewelry and in 1947 he worked as a jazz musician, an activity he continued in later life. He wrote poetry during the early 1940s.
From 1947 to 1949 Davie traveled extensively in Europe; in Italy he studied pre-Renaissance art and saw a wide range of modern art, including the Peggy Guggenheim collection in Venice, to which he later continued to have access. Among the works owned by Guggenheim were paintings of the early 1940s by Jackson Pollock, which led Davie to adopt mythic imagery and forceful painterly gestures. He also adopted from later Pollock a procedure of painting rapidly with his canvases on the floor. From this time his pictures concentrated on themes of organic generation and sinister ritual, fluctuating between turbulent paintwork, animate presences and more geometric forms, sometimes in the same work, as in Golden Seam (1952).
From 1953 to 1956 Davie taught in London at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, where he became interested in African and Pacific art. Encouraged by his critical and commercial success from the mid-1950s and by the large studio space made available to him during his Gregory Fellowship at Leeds University (1956–9), Davie increased his scale in works such as The Creation of Man, or Marriage Feast (1957, 213×366cm). With its teeming animal, human and pictographic forms, this triptych exemplifies Davie's search for a proliferation of painted signs and images, which bore more of an affinity to artists of the Cobra group such as Asger Jorn than to American Abstract Expressionism. Influenced by his reading of Eugene Herrigel's Zen in the Art of Archery (1953) in 1955, Davie became interested in Zen Buddhism and concluded that conscious decision-making was incompatible with a spiritual quest; as a result he rejected the emphasis on existential choice and immediate emotionalism central to Harold Rosenberg's definition of action painting.
As early as 1958 Davie emphasized the importance in his work of intuition, as expressed in the form of enigmatic signs. During the 1960s, both in paintings and in colored lithographs, he represented such images with increasing clarity at the expense of gestural handling. From 1967 to 1971 he worked intermittently on a Berlin school mural involving an angled wall; he later introduced more representations of room-like spaces with zigzagging walls into his paintings. In 1971 he made his first visit to the island of St. Lucia, where he began to spend half of each year and which brought Caribbean influences to bear on his suggestive imagery, as in Bird Gong No. 10, Opus 730 (1973). Taking on the role of a disinherited shaman, Davie created a synthesis of mythologies from a variety of cultures for a modern civilization devoid of its own village myths.
— Birth of Venus (1955, 160x244cm) _ The artist has written of this work, 'I must make it clear that the titles of my pictures are not meant to be taken literally but are in fact my own poetic interpretation of the work, thought up usually after the work is complete. The Birth of Venus has in its vague evocation a distinct suggestion of the primeval womb, birth place, cavern, source of fruitfulness and love - all ideas which did not suggest themselves to me when I was working. But later, the title suggested itself, as associations presented themselves to me - and more than a static image seemed to be there - truly an image of emergence, of becoming fruitful, of birth, the birth of Venus.' But don't expect anything like
_ The Birth of Venus (665x1057pix, 150kb) by Botticelli, or
_ The Birth of Venus (or whatever) (1636, 97x108cm; 311x400pix, 28kb) by Poussin [1594-1665].
— Entrance for a Red Temple No. 1 (1960, 213x173cm) _ In his early work Davie had accessed a higher level of consciousness through spontaneous or automatic painting. By the 1960s, as in this painting, he referred to this higher state by including emblems and signs associated with Zen Buddhism and magic. This picture went through countless transformations before arriving at its final state. These hidden layers can be seen throughout the picture, perhaps suggesting levels of consciousness. Davie has described the picture as ‘an immobile and timeless frontal object of meditation, or an evocative invitation to enter, like the entrance to a place of worship’.
–- Hallucination With Gold Pectoral and Temples (477x600pix, 63kb _ .ZOOM to 1194x1500pix, 192kb)
–- Scribe No.2 (478x600pix, 39kb _ .ZOOM to 1195x1500pix, 159kb)
–- opus 168 Vision for an Inspired Fish (446x600pix, 34kb _ .ZOOM to 1172x1575pix, 135kb)
–- Haloed Box opus 104 (600x462pix, 29kb _ .ZOOM to 1200x925pix, 83kb)
–- Eyes in Search of Adventure opus 23B (452x600pix, 31kb _ .ZOOM to 1186x1575pix, 131kb)
–- Ball Game No.2 (Sep 1960, 102x122cm; 502x600pix, 35kb _ .ZOOM to 1128x1350pix, 118kb) _ The pseudonymous David Alum has metamorphosed this almost abstract painting into not one but a series of twenty-four frankly abstract pictures (all of 660x932pix, 126kb; ZOOMable to 932x1318pix, 217kb, then to 1864x2636pix, 763kb) which are related to each other (you can click instantaneously from anyone of them to the other twenty-three) in the same way as their titles, permutations of the words Art, Beauty, Color, and Design (or any other words with those initials which you may prefer, such as, for example: Atrocious, Beastly, Crazy, and Dumb), represented by their initials in the following table of links:
–- Moon Maiden No.16 (406x600pix, 43kb _ .ZOOM to 1065x1575pix, 133kb)
>Born on 28 September 1855: George
de Forest Brush, US painter who died on 24 April 1941.
— He began his formal training at the National Academy of Design in New York and in 1873 entered the atelier of Jean-Léon Gérôme in Paris, studying there and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts for almost six years. Soon after his return to the USA in 1880, he was elected to the Society of American Artists. Thereafter he spent much time on both sides of the Atlantic, beginning in the US West and including lengthy stays in Paris, Florence, New York, and Dublin NH, where he purchased a farm in 1901.
Although some may think of US painting about 1900 as dominated by Impressionism, this was actually one of the most diverse periods in the history of US art. Realists like Winslow Homer and Thomas Eakins, visionaries like Albert Pinkham Ryder, and a wide variety of still-life and landscape painters all reached the height of their powers at the same time as John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, and the members of The Ten. As US painters matured, so too did US sculptors and architects: Augustus Saint Gaudens, Stanford White, and Louis Sullivan appeared in the same generation, as did Walt Whitman, William Dean Howells, and Henry Adams, giving fresh impetus to US letters. It was thus with reason that, in the decades between the nation's Centennial and 1900, the cultural leaders of the age thought of themselves as participating in an artistic revitalization, as belonging to a US Renaissance.
Within this creative ferment there were some painters who inclined towards a more literal emulation of Italian Renaissance art, as that art was filtered through the academic teaching and example of their mentors at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Among the many young Americans who deliberately sought such instruction was George deForest Brush, the son of a successful Connecticut businessman. Brush first encountered the systematic artistic professionalism of the French Academy through his teacher at the National Academy of Design, Lemuel Wilmarth. In 1874, Brush went to Paris and placed himself under the tutelage of Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824~1904), one of France's most illustrious art teachers, who demanded the close study of the human form and instilled a spirit of romance in his students through his preference for exotic subjects drawn both from the classical past and from the contemporary Near East. After completing his studies and returning to the United States in 1880, Brush began to paint his own exotic romances as he saw them embodied in the anatomical perfection and noble ideals of the Amerindian.
By the late 1880s, Brush began to move away from the Amerindian subjects that had first won him fame towards elegantly composed and painted images of mothers and children, based on the madonnas of the High Renaissance. His wife Mittie and his blond haired brood of one son and six daughters served as his models. In 1898 Brush embarked on the first of a long series of visits to Florence.
One of the products of these stays was
_ Thea (1910, 41x30cm), a portrait of his youngest daughter, born in Florence in 1903. Thea, later Mrs. Thomas Handasyd Cabot, is depicted as a girl of about seven or eight, carefully posed in a fanciful costume completely dominated by a large red hat. Her long, blond tresses fall like watered silk across the front of her green velvet dress, whose lace collar and embroidered sleeves complement the hat's feathery plumes in their delicacy. The painting's oval format and ornately-carved frame suggest the artist's Renaissance preoccupations.
From the time of his first Italian visit, Brush had made a study of Renaissance painting techniques, grinding his own pigments and applying them to carefully prepared gesso grounds to recreate the luxuriant colors of sixteenth and seventeenth century Italian painting. As much as it is a portrait of a disarming young lady, Thea is also an essay in those colors, one whose principal intent is to evoke its Old Master prototypes.
Although George Brush was best known for his sensitive portraits of mothers and children, his paintings of Amerindians helped launch his highly successful career. After studying for six years at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris and with the famed academic painter Jean-Léon Gérôme, Brush traveled extensively in the West between 1881 and 1885.
Brush’s first paintings of Amerindians were factual and highly accurate, but by the time he completed
_ The Sculptor and the King (1888, 51x91cm) they had become romantic idealizations. Here he combined Mayan architectural motifs, such as a wall relief, with objects from other Amerindian cultures in other times. The classic composition, subtle tonalities, and meticulous brushwork of The Sculptor and the King won him the coveted Julius Hallgarten Prize in 1888.
— Forest Brush Not Smoking Nor Doing Anything Else, Other Than Sitting and Staring at the Camera (photo, 416x340pix, 29kb).
— To avoid any possible confusion, the pseudonymous S. S. S. S. Gorge has created the paradoxical picture
_ This Forest Brush is NOT Forest Brush (2008; 1175x1704pix, 407kb).
Nancy, the Artist's Daughter [Mrs. Robert Pearmain] (1915)
–- The Indian and the Lily (1887, 53x51cm; 1198x1128pix, 94kb) _ In 1881, young George de Forest Brush traveled west with his brother to the Crow reservation in Montana. While there, Brush documented all aspects of Amerindian life and, according to a first-hand account, immersed himself in Amerindian culture, participating in and at times leading ritualistic ceremonies and dances. Chief Plenty Coups allegedly said that Brush was the “only White man who could walk and think like an Indian.” Based on his four or five year sojourn out west, Brush painted a series of works depicting life on the Crow and other reservations, some of which were featured as illustrations in Harper’s and The Century Magazine. Unlike chroniclers of the US West such as George Catlin and Karl Bodmer, Brush progressively adopted a more idealistic approach. In 1885 the artist wrote, “In choosing Indians as subjects for art, I do not paint from the historian’s or the antiquary’s point of view; I do not care to represent them in any curious habits which could not be comprehended by us; I am interested in those habits and deeds in which we have feelings in common. Therefore, I hesitate to add any interest here to my pictures by supplying historical facts. If I were required to resort to this in order to bring out the poetry, I would drop the subject at once”.
Painted in Florida in 1887 and exhibited at Chicago’s Columbia Exposition in 1893, The Indian and the Lily, which depicts a Seminole, is one of Brush’s most renowned Amerindian paintings and reveals the artist’s unique methodology, which distinguished his work from that of his fellow artists. Brush presented the Amerindian from a viewpoint quite different from any of his predecessors. His paintings were not directly concerned with warfare, ceremonial display or the more sensational aspects of primitive life, but rather they were interpretations of the philosophy of the Amerindian. He was the poet of US Amerindian painters.
Brush’s reputation was rooted in part in his formal artistic training. At the age of nineteen, he won a scholarship to study with Jean-Léon Gérôme at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. Gérôme’s studio, one of two leading schools in Paris at the end of the 19th century, emphasized study of the Old Masters, a careful attention to anatomy, and painstaking preliminary drawing. Armed with this influential artistic training, Brush adopted a classical approach to his Amerindian paintings whose figures of anatomical splendor are often based on the Greek ideal. In addition, Brush, like Gérôme, had a vast collection of costumes, objects and decorations, which he relied upon when he returned east, and which enabled him to paint in exacting detail.
The themes of death and regeneration, symbolized by the swan and the lily, the Seminole’s empathetic gesture and chiseled physique, embody Brush’s iconic blend of stylistic classicism and ideological romanticism. The Seminole’s hand reaching out to the lily lightly quotes the Renaissance iconography of Adam’s hand reaching out to God on Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling; and the nobility of the Seminole as he contemplates the lily evokes not only the profound sympathy for nature Brush observed in his study of native cultures, but also his own mythical and stoic perception of the Amerindian. In these Amerindian pictures, far too few in number, the imagination revealed is deep and elevated, and no one has approached him in the completeness with which he has suggested the solemn romance of these primitive conditions.
About 1890, after painting a very limited number of Amerindian subjects over an approximately ten year period, Brush shifted his focus to domestic portraits of mothers and children based on the traditional religious grouping of the Madonna and Child. While several possibilities for this change in direction have been postured, his daughter, Thea Cabot suggested that her father, true to his character and idealism, stopped representing Amerindians because, “he was heartbroken about how the Indians were treated by the government, how they had been cheated of everything…These Indians were his friends and after seeing what happened to them, he couldn’t paint them anymore” Although Brush never returned to his romantic portrayals of Amerindians, these remain his most renowned and highly sought after paintings.
— The Moose Chase (1888, 96x146cm; 345x528pix, 28kb)
— The Little Cavalier (1904, 25x19cm; 380x290pix, 12kb)