Monday, October 30, 2006

Popular Subject

Susanna Fourment and her Daughter, 1621 by Anthony van Dyck, The National Gallery of Art.

A popular subject - Susanna appears again in another 17th century court painting by Anthony van Dyck.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Susanna Fourment, 1622-25 by Peter Paul Rubens, National Gallery, London.

A portrait of Rubens' sister-in-law, who was widowed by the time this was painted. Her sister was Rubens' second wife. Rubens' was the most famous and popular painter of the 17th century. His paintings of full-figured females have spawned the term "rubenisque" to describe voluptuous figures.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The scene so nice, it's painted twice.

The Trappers Return, 1851 by George Caleb Bingham, Detroit Institute of Arts.

Bingham made a living painting portraits early in his career as an artist, but eventually switched to genre paintings like this.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Fur Traders Descending the Missouri, 1845 by George Caleb Bingham, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Bingham studied art in the US and in Europe, he lived in Missouri where his family had moved when he was a child. Bingham eventually took up a life in politics.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Scratching the Surface

The Prison, c. 1760 by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Various Collections.

Piranesi was always very interested in architecture as his etchings prove. He set about recording the many great monuments and the architecture of Rome.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in his Gallery at Brussels, c. 1651 by David Teniers, Gemäldegalerie, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.

We are so used to seeing large expanses of wall surrounding works of art, but that is really only a 20th century method of hanging paintings, for years it was done like the gallery in this painting - floor to ceiling, stacked on top of each other.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A Painting of Painting

Paul Helleu Sketching with his Wife, 1889 by John Singer Sargent, The Brooklyn Museum, New York.

Rather than the more formal portraits for which he is better known, in this piece we see a portrait by Sargent, but in a casual setting.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


The Lamentation by Giotto di Bondone, Scrovegni Chapel, Padua.

The emotion and naturalism found in Giotto's 14th century frescos are among the reasons he is considered one of the founders of modern painting and his style paved the way for the artists of the Renaissance to follow. His understanding of space and the use of the landscape as a means to lead the viewer to the primary action in the scene, was revolutionary.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Symphony in White No.2: Little White Girl by James Abbot McNeill Whistler, Tate Gallery, London.

The Japanese theme in Whistler's art can be seen in the decorations around the figure of the woman. Around the mid 19th century Japanese influences began to appear in Europe and became quite fashionable.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Coming Up Roses

Acrobat and Young Harlequin by Pablo Picasso, The Barnes Foundation.

Painted in 1905 this work is part of Picasso's Rose Period that came after his Blue Period. His subjects during this time often included acrobats dancers and harlequins.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Dragonfly Wallpaper, c.1905 by Zulma Steele, Byrdcliffe Arts and Crafts Colony, Woodstock NY, Private Collection.

Byrdcliffe was a Arts and Crafts Colony started by Jane and Ralph Whitehead as a Utopian community based on the ideals and writings of John Ruskin and William Morris, where like-minded artists, craftspeople, writers and architects could gather, share and practice their crafts.
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