Category Archives: #FineArtFriday

#FineArtFriday: Harvesters by Anna Ancher, 1905

Anna_Ancher_-_Harvesters_-_Google_Art_ProjectArtist: Anna Ancher  (1859–1935)

Title: Harvesters

Date: 1905

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: w56.2 x h43.4 cm (Without frame)

Collection: Skagens Museum

What I love about this painting:

While she normally painted interiors, Anna Ancher captured a perfect late summer morning beneath blue skies in this painting. One can almost hear the rustling of ripe grain moving with the breeze.

I like the placement of the three figures, two women and a man. Are they husband, wife, and daughter? There is a sense of movement in this painting. They enter the scene from the right, and you feel sure they will exit to the left, where the field that is to be cut that day is.

The man will scythe, the woman who follows third will rake, and the woman in the middle will stack the sheaves.

These are not poor people. These farmers are dressed modestly in clean work clothes that aren’t tattered and patched. They are doing well; the grain is high, and life is good in these years of plenty before the outbreak of WWI.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Anna Ancher (18 August 1859 – 15 April 1935), born Anna Kirstine Brøndum, was born in Skagen, Denmark, was the only one of the Skagen Painters who was born and grew up in Skagen, where her father owned the Brøndums Hotel. The artistic talent of Anna Ancher became obvious at an early age and she became acquainted with pictorial art via the many artists who settled to paint in Skagen, in the north of Jylland.

While she studied drawing for three years at the Vilhelm Kyhn College of Painting in Copenhagen, she developed her own style and was a pioneer in observing the interplay of different colors in natural light. She also studied drawing in Paris at the atelier of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes along with Marie Triepcke, who would marry Peder Severin Krøyer, another Skagen painter.

In 1880 she married fellow painter Michael Ancher, whom she met in Skagen. They had one child, daughter Helga Ancher. Despite pressure from society that married women should devote themselves to household duties, she continued painting after marriage.

Anna Ancher was considered to be one of the great Danish pictorial artists by virtue of her abilities as a character painter and colorist. Her art found its expression in Nordic art’s modern breakthrough toward a more truthful depiction of reality, e.g. in Blue Ane (1882) and The Girl in the Kitchen (1883–1886).

Ancher preferred to paint interiors and simple themes from the everyday lives of the Skagen people, especially fishermen, women, and children. She was intensely preoccupied with exploring light and color, as in Interior with Clematis (1913). She also created more complex compositions such as A Funeral (1891). Anna Ancher’s works often represented Danish art abroad. Ancher has been known for portraying similar civilians from the Skagen art colony in her works, including an old blind woman.


Credits and Attributions:

Harvesters, Anna Ancher, Public domain, via Wikimedia CommonsWikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Anna Ancher – Harvesters – Google Art Project.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Anna_Ancher_-_Harvesters_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg&oldid=371900766 (accessed October 14, 2021).

Wikipedia contributors, “Harvesters (Ancher),” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Harvesters_(Ancher)&oldid=1047378795 (accessed October 14, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: Augustiner Bräu and Mülln Abbey by E. T. Compton

Edward_Theodor_Compton_Augustiner_Bräu_und_Kloster_MüllnPainting: Augustiner Bräu and Mülln Abbey in Salzburg

Artist:  Edward Theodore Compton (1849–1921)

Medium: Watercolor and opaque white on paper, 24,5 x 35,5 cm

Inscription: signed E. T. Compton

Date: by 1921

What I love about this image:

This is a cityscape, a genre which Compton was not famous for painting. The central building is a brewery, and in background rises the steeple of an Augustinian abbey. The day is pleasant, not too bright or warm, but comfortable. People are out without coats, so perhaps it was painted on one of those slightly overcast days in June.

The muted colors and gray skies make this a familiar kind of day to me, as June in the Pacific Northwest is frequently overcast, but pleasant.

Compton is known for his vast mountain-scapes, but this painting shows us that he found the architecture and community of his adopted country interesting too.

Judging by the dress of the walkers, I would say this was painted just after WWI. The skirts are not full and are hemmed well-above the ankle, which was not a pre-WWI style at all. The blouses are simple, with no lace or ruffles; the clothes of women who worked both at home and at jobs. After the war, cloth was expensive, and fashions changed accordingly.

About the Artist, Via Wikipedia:

Edward Theodore Compton, usually referred to as E. T. Compton, (29 July 1849 – 22 March 1921) was an English-born, German artist, illustrator, and mountain climber. He is well known for his paintings and drawings of alpine scenery, and as a mountaineer made 300 major ascents including no fewer than 27 first ascents.

Compton was born in Stoke Newington in London, the son of Theodore Compton, an art-loving insurance agent, and grew up in a deeply religious Quaker household. He attended various art schools, including, for a time, the Royal Academy in London, but otherwise he was mainly self-taught in art.

In 1867, wanting the best education for their artistically-talented son, and due to the high cost of schooling in England, the family decided to emigrate to Germany settling in Darmstadt. The city at that time was the seat of the Grand Duchy of Hesse under Grand Duke Ludwig III, and a community of artists had sprung up there. Entries in Compton’s diary show that both he and his father were art teachers – Alice, the Princess of Hesse numbered amongst Edward’s students.

Initially painting in the English romantic tradition, Compton later developed a more realistic representation of nature, being guided by his true artistic ideas while retaining topographical accuracy. Even his early watercolors show the great importance of brightness and light and his work is also remarkable for its portrayal of the elements such as water and air, including ascending mist and fog. He can be regarded as an impressionist.

Although Compton never had much formal art education and did not found a school, he influenced artists such as Ernst Platz and Karl Arnold as well as his son Edward Harrison Compton and daughter Dora Compton. [1]


Credits and Attributions:

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Edward Theodore Compton,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Edward_Theodore_Compton&oldid=1021678754 (accessed September 30, 2021).

Image courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Edward Theodor Compton Augustiner Bräu und Kloster Mülln.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Edward_Theodor_Compton_Augustiner_Br%C3%A4u_und_Kloster_M%C3%BClln.jpg&oldid=331463362 (accessed September 30, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: Self-portrait Hesitating between the Arts of Music and Painting by Angelica Kauffmann 1791

Self-portrait of the Artist hesitating between the Arts of Music and Painting by Angelica Kauffman RA (Chur 1741 ¿ Rome 1807)

Artist: Angelica Kauffmann  (1741–1807)

Title: Self-portrait Hesitating between the Arts of Music and Painting

Date: 1791

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 147 cm (57.8 in); Width: 216 cm (85 in)

Collection: The St Oswald Collection, Nostell Priory. (The National Trust)

What I love about this painting:

Balanced, powerful colors and the soft-brushed, multi-layered style of English portraitists Sir Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough characterize all of Angelica Kauffman’s work. We see sharp clarity and attention to the smallest detail in the setting and the scene. Yet, the faces have a mystical, dreamlike quality.

This painting shows the struggle many artists suffer from, trying to decide which muse to follow. Kauffmann loved music and painting in equal measure. She had a natural soprano of operatic quality, yet she had the kind of artistic talent for painting that rarely comes along.

Art won out. I’m glad because, in those days before recordings, music was ephemeral. It was over when the last bow was taken, and the curtain closed. Only the lucky few in the opera house experienced it.

Artists like Kauffmann, who leave us their great works, bring enjoyment to thousands of people over the course of centuries.

Angelica Kauffmann was a beautiful, extraordinarily talented and well-educated woman in an era when talented, educated women were considered an annoyance. Slut-shaming isn’t a new method of trying to keep a woman down, although social media has made it into a handy weapon. The practice has been around for as long as humans have walked the earth.

Kauffmann’s talent and success, along with her friendship with Sir Joshua Reynolds, so annoyed fellow artist Nathaniel Hone that he went to great lengths to publicly humiliate both her and Reynolds in his painting, The Conjurer.

Hone’s attempt to put her in her place backfired, as rather than cowering in shame, Kauffmann held her head up and fought back, forcing him to remove the nude he’d painted (implying she’d posed for it) from his picture. Her reputation remained untarnished by the defamatory assault, but Hone’s crudely expressed jealousy, both professional and personal, did him no favors among his peers.

From Wikipedia:

Her friendship with Reynolds was criticized in 1775 by fellow Academician Nathaniel Hone, who courted controversy in 1775 with his satirical picture The Conjurer. It was seen to attack the fashion for Italian Renaissance art and to ridicule Sir Joshua Reynolds, leading the Royal Academy to reject the painting. It also originally included a nude caricature of Kauffman in the top left corner, which he painted out after she complained to the academy. The combination of a little girl and an old man has also been seen as symbolic of Kauffman and Reynolds’s closeness, age difference, and rumoured affair. [1]

 

About the Artist (also via Wikipedia):

Maria Anna Angelika Kauffmann RA (30 October 1741 – 5 November 1807), usually known in English as Angelica Kauffman, was a Swiss Neoclassical painter who had a successful career in London and Rome. Remembered primarily as a history painter, Kauffmann was a skilled portraitist, landscape and decoration painter. She was, along with Mary Moser, one of two female painters among the founding members of the Royal Academy in London in 1768.

In 1782, Kauffman’s father died, as did her husband in 1795. In 1794, she painted, Self-Portrait Hesitating Between Painting and Music, in which she emphasizes the difficult choice she had faced in choosing painting as her sole career, in dedication to her mother’s death. She continued at intervals to contribute to the Royal Academy in London, her last exhibit being in 1797. After this she produced little, and in 1807 she died in Rome, being honored by a splendid funeral under the direction of Canova. The entire Academy of St Luke, with numerous ecclesiastics and virtuosi, followed her to her tomb in Sant’Andrea delle Fratte, and, as at the burial of Raphael, two of her best pictures were carried in procession. [1]


Credits and Attributions:

Self-Portrait Hesitating Between the Arts of Music and Painting by Angelica Kauffmann, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Angelica Kauffman. Self-Portrait Hesitating Between the Arts of Music and Painting.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Angelica_Kauffman._Self-Portrait_Hesitating_Between_the_Arts_of_Music_and_Painting.jpg&oldid=527350844 (accessed September 23, 2021).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Angelica Kauffman,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Angelica_Kauffman&oldid=1045596134 (accessed September 23, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: Cider Pressing by George Henry Durrie 1855

George_Henry_Durrie_-_Cider_PressingCider Pressing by George Henry Durrie 1855

Date: 1855

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 22.2 in (56.5 cm); Width: 30.2 in (76.8 cm)

Collection: Private collection (Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Bugbee)

What I love about this painting:

This is a quintessential, slightly romantic, view of history, a window into a New England day in autumn during the 19th century. A farmer leads his ox-drawn cart to the cider press. Is he selling them to the cider-man or just paying to have them juiced? Does he make his own apple jack, or is he a teamster, transporting goods for a fee?

A story can be found here, as in all Durrie’s paintings.

Juicing apples for unfermented ciders juices, jellies, and the highly fermented apple jack was an essential part of bringing in the harvest and preparing for winter, a part of the food chain we who get our food from the supermarket are disconnected from. But this was a scene that played out every fall, in every town and village.

Durrie’s colors are intensely vibrant, deep and rich, and each part of the scene is clear and placed with intent. The air is crisp and cool, but not yet cold. The leaves are turning all shades of red and gold, just as they are doing here today in the Pacific Northwest.

About the Artist, quoted from the National Gallery of Art:

Born in New Haven in 1820, the son of a Connecticut stationer, George Henry Durrie remained in that city virtually his entire life. Married to a choirmaster’s daughter, Sarah Perkins, in 1841, he immersed himself in the quiet pursuits of family and church. While he never achieved the fame of the most renowned nineteenth century American landscape painters, he appears to have had a fulfilling, productive career. His letters show that he never felt the need to move beyond his community, although he once briefly took a studio in New York and exhibited there regularly at the National Academy of Design.

Almost all of his compositions are relatively small in scale, few exceeding 18 x 24 inches, and his views are quiet and intimate. He knew and admired the works of Thomas Cole, and may have tried to emulate certain aspects of Cole’s style, yet he eschewed the Hudson River School’s compositional complexity and expansiveness. Because his paintings combined extensive genre elements with landscape they had a story-telling content that made them pleasant, accessible images to the average viewer.

The lithographic firm of Currier & Ives successfully reproduced ten of Durrie’s scenes and these, in turn, became popular calendar illustrations in the twentieth century. As a result, Durrie’s depictions of rural life in the mid-nineteenth century are now among the most familiar images in all of American art. As Martha Hutson has noted, however, these printed pictures do not convey the keen sensitivity to and understanding of conditions of atmosphere and light that are so pronounced in Durrie’s paintings. [1]

From Wikipedia:

In his teens the self-taught artist painted portraits in the New Haven area. In 1839 he received artistic instruction from Nathaniel Jocelyn, a local engraver and portrait painter. After 1842 he settled in New Haven, but made painting trips to New Jersey, New York, and Virginia. Around 1850, he began painting genre scenes of rural life, as well as the winter landscapes that became popular when Currier and Ives published them as lithographs. Four prints were published between 1860 and the artist’s death in New Haven in 1863; six additional prints were issued posthumously. The painter Jeanette Shepperd Harrison Loop studied with him. [2]


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:George Henry Durrie – Cider Pressing.JPG,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:George_Henry_Durrie_-_Cider_Pressing.JPG&oldid=369724230 (accessed September 15, 2021).

[1] National Gallery of Art contributors, “George Henry Durrie,” biography, © 2018 – 2021 National Gallery of Art, https://www.nga.gov/collection/artist-info.6397.html

[2] Wikipedia contributors, “George Henry Durrie,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=George_Henry_Durrie&oldid=861433469 (accessed September 15, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: Nighthawks by Edward Hopper 1942

Nighthawks_by_Edward_Hopper_1942Artist: Edward Hopper (1882–1967)

Title: Nighthawks

Genre: genre art

Date: 21 January 1942

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 84.1 cm (33.1 in); Width: 152.4 cm (60 in)

Collection: Art Institute of Chicago

What I love about this painting:

Edward Hopper’s years spent working as an illustrator enabled him to convey mood and emotion with startling clarity. In Nighthawks, the mood is dark and brooding. The emotion is solitariness, the sense of being alone even in the company of others. We (the viewer) stand in the shadows outside the diner, with a cinematic view of the brightly lit interior, its neon cheeriness imposed upon the patrons, who seem oblivious to it. Around us, the street is dark and empty.

Some have ascribed the dark atmosphere of this piece to the fact that Pearl Harbor had just been attacked, and that may have played a role in Hopper’s personal mood as he developed the painting. However, Hopper himself later said, “Nighthawks has more to do with the possibility of predators in the night than with loneliness.” [1]

We who observe through the window are voyeurs, observers only, watching the people who pass the lonely night in the café.

About this painting, via Wikipedia:

Nighthawks is a 1942 oil on canvas painting by Edward Hopper that portrays four people in a downtown diner late at night as viewed through the diner’s large glass window. The light coming from the diner illuminates a darkened and deserted urban streetscape.

It has been described as Hopper’s best-known work and is one of the most recognizable paintings in American art. Within months of its completion, it was sold to the Art Institute of Chicago on May 13, 1942, for $3,000, equivalent to $47,520 in 2020.

It has been suggested that Hopper was inspired by a short story of Ernest Hemingway‘s, either “The Killers.” which Hopper greatly admired, or from the more philosophical “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.” In response to a query on loneliness and emptiness in the painting, Hopper outlined that he “didn’t see it as particularly lonely.” He said, “Unconsciously, probably, I was painting the loneliness of a large city.” [2]

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Always reluctant to discuss himself and his art, Hopper simply said, “The whole answer is there on the canvas.” Hopper was stoic and fatalistic—a quiet introverted man with a gentle sense of humor and a frank manner. Hopper was someone drawn to an emblematic, anti-narrative symbolism,  who painted short, isolated moments of configuration, saturated with suggestion. His silent spaces and uneasy encounters touch us where we are most vulnerable and have a suggestion of melancholy, that melancholy being enacted. His sense of color revealed him as a pure painter as he turned the Puritan into the purist, in his quiet canvasses where blemishes and blessings balance. According to critic Lloyd Goodrich, he was “an eminently native painter, who more than any other was getting more of the quality of America into his canvases.”

Conservative in politics and social matters (Hopper asserted for example that “artists’ lives should be written by people very close to them”), he accepted things as they were and displayed a lack of idealism. Cultured and sophisticated, he was well-read, and many of his paintings show figures reading. He was generally good company and unperturbed by silences, though sometimes taciturn, grumpy, or detached. He was always serious about his art and the art of others, and when asked would return frank opinions.

Though Hopper claimed that he didn’t consciously embed psychological meaning in his paintings, he was deeply interested in Freud and the power of the subconscious mind. He wrote in 1939, “So much of every art is an expression of the subconscious that it seems to me most of all the important qualities are put there unconsciously, and little of importance by the conscious intellect.”


Credits and Attributions:

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Edward Hopper,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Edward_Hopper&oldid=1038646946 (accessed September 9, 2021).

[2] Wikipedia contributors, “Nighthawks (painting),” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Nighthawks_(painting)&oldid=1042829601 (accessed September 9, 2021).

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Nighthawks by Edward Hopper 1942.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Nighthawks_by_Edward_Hopper_1942.jpg&oldid=469227621 (accessed September 9, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: The Chess Game, by Sofonisba Anguissola ca. 1555 (reprise)

Title: The Chess Game (Portrait of the artist’s sisters playing chess)

Artist: Sofonisba Anguissola

Date: 1555

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 72 cm (28.3 ″) Width: 97 cm (38.1 ″)

Today we’re revisiting The Chess Game, which is a portrait of the artist’s sisters playing chess. This post first appeared here on September 13, 2019 and is a wonderful window into the personalities of three girls in an upper class family in the 16th century. Anguissola had a marvelous ability to capture the moods of her subjects.

What I love about this painting:

The colors are vibrant,

Because it is a game of war and strategies for winning a war, chess has historically been considered a predominantly male game. That Anguissola’s sisters are playing it at so young an age is a testimony to the atmosphere of education surrounding the home.

Their features are modern in the way they are shown with a roundness that is unusual in early renaissance portraits, which were often so highly formal that they were visually flat. These girls could be my granddaughters.

Anguissola has captured the emotions and happiness of a family at play. Her sisters’ personalities are clearly shown. The older sister has taken a pawn, the younger fears she might lose the game to a more experienced player. The youngest is enjoying the game immensely, seeing the sister who sometimes bosses her around being handed her own medicine.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Sofonisba Anguissola (c. 1532 – 16 November 1625), also known as Sophonisba Angussola or Anguisciola, was an Italian Renaissance painter born in Cremona to a relatively poor noble family. She received a well-rounded education, that included the fine arts, and her apprenticeship with local painters set a precedent for women to be accepted as students of art. As a young woman, Anguissola traveled to Rome where she was introduced to Michelangelo, who immediately recognized her talent, and to Milan, where she painted the Duke of Alba. The Spanish queen, Elizabeth of Valois, was a keen amateur painter and in 1559 Anguissola was recruited to go to Madrid as her tutor, with the rank of lady-in-waiting. She later became an official court painter to the king, Philip II, and adapted her style to the more formal requirements of official portraits for the Spanish court. After the queen’s death, Philip helped arrange an aristocratic marriage for her. She moved to Sicily, and later Pisa and Genoa, where she continued to practice as a leading portrait painter.

On 12 July 1624, Anguissola was visited by the young Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck, who recorded sketches from his visit to her in his sketchbook. Van Dyck, who believed her to be 96 years of age (she was actually about 92) noted that although “her eyesight was weakened”, Anguissola was still mentally alert. Excerpts of the advice she gave him about painting survive from this visit, and he was said to have claimed that their conversation taught him more about the “true principles” of painting than anything else in his life. Van Dyck drew her portrait while visiting her.

About this painting, via Wikipedia:

Although Anguissola enjoyed significantly more encouragement and support than the average woman of her day, her social class did not allow her to transcend the constraints of her sex. Without the possibility of studying anatomy or drawing from life (it was considered unacceptable for a lady to view nudes), she could not undertake the complex multi-figure compositions required for large-scale religious or history paintings.

Instead, she experimented with new styles of portraiture, setting subjects informally. Self-portraits and family members were her most frequent subjects, as seen in such paintings as Self-Portrait (1554, Kunsthistoriches Museum, Vienna), Portrait of Amilcare, Minerva and Asdrubale Anguissola (c. 1557–1558, Nivaagaards Malerisambling, Niva, Denmark), and her most famous picture, The Chess Game (1555, Muzeum Narodowe, Poznań), which depicted her sisters Lucia, Minerva and Europa.

Painted when Sofonisba was 23 years old, The Chess Game is an intimate representation of an everyday family scene, combining elaborate formal clothing with very informal facial expressions, which was unusual for Italian art at this time. The Chess Game explored a new kind of genre painting which places her sitters in a domestic setting instead of the formal or allegorical settings that were popular at the time. This painting has been regarded as a conversation piece, which is an informal portrait of a group engaging in lively conversation or some activity .


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:The Chess Game – Sofonisba Anguissola.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:The_Chess_Game_-_Sofonisba_Anguissola.jpg&oldid=359367567 (accessed September 12, 2019).

Wikipedia contributors, “Sofonisba Anguissola,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Sofonisba_Anguissola&oldid=908120352 (accessed September 12, 2019).

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#FineArtFriday: Accident at the Old Pier, by Andreas Achenbach 1863

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Artist: Andreas Achenbach  (1815–1910)

Title: Westphalian Watermill

Genre: landscape art

Date: 1863

Medium: oil on panel

Dimensions: Height: 92.5 cm (36.4 in) Width: 70.8 cm (27.8 in)

Collection: Kunsthalle Bremen 

Object history: 1865: purchased by Kunsthalle Bremen

Inscriptions: Signature and date bottom left: A. Achenbach 1863

What I love about this painting:

The scene depicted here is both historical, and current. It is a scene that plays out in our modern world in the same way as it did in 1863.

No matter what part of the world you live, anyone who lives near the sea will recognize the style of the rickety, weathered pier. Storms and saltwater wreak their will on both the wooden docks and the hubris of those who think to conquer the waves. Wood is no match for the storm; we fish and travel the waters at the mercy of the weather, and if the wind is wrong, approaching the dock can be dicey.

Along the pier, men work to keep the boat from crashing. A ship of that size would take out at least a section of the dock, if not the whole dock.

To this day, there is only one way to fend a boat away from a bad docking if they are at the mercy of the storm, and that is what we see here. Dockworkers push the vessel with poles to hold it off, hoping to reduce its momentum. A timber floats in the waves, as the boat has struck the pier at least once with the full force of the gale winds.

For the crew, disembarking will be a challenge. Should these sailors remain on board or try to jump onto the pier, risking being crushed between the rolling, lurching ship and the waves?

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Andreas Achenbach (29 September 1815, Kassel – 1 April 1910, Düsseldorf) was a German landscape and seascape painter in the Romantic style. He is considered to be one of the founders of the Düsseldorf School. His brother, Oswald, was also a well known landscape painter. Together, based on their initials, they were known as the “Alpha and Omega” of landscape painters. [1]


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Achenbach Havarie am alten Pier@Albert König Museum20160904.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Achenbach_Havarie_am_alten_Pier@Albert_K%C3%B6nig_Museum20160904.jpg&oldid=526736266 (accessed August 19, 2021).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Andreas Achenbach,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Andreas_Achenbach&oldid=1037476363 (accessed August 19, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: Autumn by František Michl 1949

1949-Autumn

Artist: František Michl

Title:  Autumn, 1949.

Medium: oil on canavas (private collection)

 

What I love about this painting:

This is a powerful, moody piece. It conveys the chill and dampness of a day in late autumn, contrasted against the brilliant blue of the skies between rain squalls. Some trees cling to their leaves, defying the cold breeze while others are bare, mingled among the tall evergreens. The grass is brown, and a solitary hiker takes advantage of the sunshine, making their way over the ridge in solitary peace.

One feels that soon this hillside will be covered with snow.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

[1] František Michl (20 November 1901, – 4 June 1977), Czech academic painter, graphic artist, and original designer of the Škoda Works emblem, the “Winged Arrow”. He was imprisoned in Pankrac Prison, and the concentration camps Terezin and Flossenbürg after his arrest by Nazis for an anti-fascist demonstration at Domažlice. After the war he was arrested in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic for listening to the anticommunist Radio Liberty.

Michl, being a free-minded and anticommunist spirit, was imprisoned in Plzeň Prison in 1961. The trial was based on the accusation that Michl listened to Radio Liberty, which was considered by the totalitarian regime as treason. His name was blacklisted and his family persecuted.

The diminished political pressure in 1967 opened new prospects for Michl’s art in Czechoslovakia and abroad. In March 1968 his paintings were exhibited in Montreal. The Rullos Gallery in New York bought 165 paintings in November 1968. Unfortunately, preparation of Michl’s exhibition in the London National Gallery was interrupted by the Soviet invasion in August 1968.

The time of normalization brought back the ban on Michl’s name. Michl was not allowed to publicly display his art (though several illegal exhibitions, organized by his friends, took place, camouflaged under fake titles, for example “Successes of building socialism”). After his first brain stroke in 1972, which left half of his body paralyzed, Michl kept painting. It was only after his sixth stroke that Michl remained permanently bedridden until his death on June 4, 1977.

In 1991, František Michl’s name was fully politically rehabilitated, and his contribution to the anti-fascist and anticommunist resistance was recognized. Michl’s work, however, is still awaiting public recognition. [1]


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:1949-stromy.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:1949-stromy.jpg&oldid=423191687 (accessed August 13, 2021).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “František Michl,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Franti%C5%A1ek_Michl&oldid=1002262176 (accessed August 13, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: The Hay Harvest by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1565

Haymaking,_Pieter_Brueghel_the_Elder (1)Artist: Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1526/1530–1569)

Title: The Hay Harvest

Genre: genre art

Date: 1565

Medium: oil on panel

Dimensions: Height: 117 cm (46 in) Width: 161 cm (63.3 in)

According to the Web Gallery of Art, Haymaking, also known as The Hay Harvest, belongs to the Series of the Months. All the other panels in this series are dated 1565. July and August are the months when most summer crops are harvested. This painting and the August panel (The Corn Harvest) show the bringing-in of the harvest.

Workers scythe grain in the large field toward the center of the painting. In the foreground, other laborers harvest vegetables and pick berries. Everyone works to bring in the food, men, women, and children, as winter isn’t that far away, and the hay will sustain the draft animals in the long cold months ahead.

While each painting in the series shows the traditional occupation of that month, Bruegel’s real subject is the landscape itself, its ever-changing appearance.

I have always loved Bruegel the Elder’s work because he portrays the gathering of food as a fundamental human activity. He shows us that the quantity of food we have on our tables is determined by the knowledge and labor of others.

The variety of foods we have available to us is dictated by the form of the landscape. To carve a living from the earth a farmer must understand and care for the land that sustains them. They must know what areas of soil will be best for each crop and use that knowledge when laying out how the fields will be planted, as each crop has different nutrient requirements. Within one valley, many types of soils will exist, so what serves to grow hay may not work for more delicate vegetables.

In the lush bounty of this painting, Bruegel the Elder shows us the wisdom of farmers, knowledge that sustains us to this day. He illustrates the way all people who grow and gather our food are bound to the land.

In this regard, we who grow food in our back gardens understand and respect the labors of those small farmers who grow produce for our local markets.

About the series, Months of the Year, via Wikipedia:

(Bruegel’s) famous set of landscapes with genre figures depicting the seasons are the culmination of his landscape style; the five surviving paintings use the basic elements of the world landscape (only one lacks craggy mountains) but transform them into his own style. They are larger than most previous works, with a genre scene with several figures in the foreground, and the panoramic view seen past or through trees. Bruegel was also aware of the Danube School‘s landscape style through prints.

The series on the months of the year includes several of Bruegel’s best-known works. In 1565, a wealthy patron in Antwerp, Niclaes Jonghelinck, commissioned him to paint a series of paintings of each month of the year. There has been disagreement among art historians as to whether the series originally included six or twelve works. Today, only five of these paintings survive and some of the months are paired to form a general season. Traditional Flemish luxury books of hours (e.g., the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry; 1416) had calendar pages that included the Labours of the Months, depictions set in landscapes of the agricultural tasks, weather, and social life typical for that month.

Bruegel’s paintings were on a far larger scale than a typical calendar page painting, each one approximately three feet by five feet. For Bruegel, this was a large commission (the size of a commission was based on how large the painting was) and an important one. In 1565, the Calvinist riots began and it was only two years before the Eighty Years’ War broke out. Bruegel may have felt safer with a secular commission so as to not offend Calvinist or Catholic. Some of the most famous paintings from this series included The Hunters in the Snow (December–January) and The Harvesters (August). [1]

About the Artist, Via Wikipedia:

Pieter Bruegel (also Brueghel or Breughelthe Elder c. 1525–1530 – 9 September 1569) was the most significant artist of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting, a painter and printmaker, known for his landscapes and peasant scenes (so-called genre painting); he was a pioneer in making both types of subject the focus in large paintings.

He was a formative influence on Dutch Golden Age painting and later painting in general in his innovative choices of subject matter, as one of the first generation of artists to grow up when religious subjects had ceased to be the natural subject matter of painting. He also painted no portraits, the other mainstay of Netherlandish art. After his training and travels to Italy, he returned in 1555 to settle in Antwerp, where he worked mainly as a prolific designer of prints for the leading publisher of the day. Only towards the end of the decade did he switch to make painting his main medium, and all his famous paintings come from the following period of little more than a decade before his early death, when he was probably in his early forties, and at the height of his powers.

As well as looking forwards, his art reinvigorates medieval subjects such as marginal drolleries of ordinary life in illuminated manuscripts, and the calendar scenes of agricultural labours set in landscape backgrounds, and puts these on a much larger scale than before, and in the expensive medium of oil painting. He does the same with the fantastic and anarchic world developed in Renaissance prints and book illustrations.

He is sometimes referred to as “Peasant Bruegel”, to distinguish him from the many later painters in his family, including his son Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564–1638). From 1559, he dropped the ‘h’ from his name and signed his paintings as Bruegel; his relatives continued to use “Brueghel” or “Breughel”. [2]


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Haymaking, Pieter Brueghel the Elder.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Haymaking,_Pieter_Brueghel_the_Elder.jpg&oldid=431869636 (accessed August 5, 2021).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Pieter Bruegel the Elder,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pieter_Bruegel_the_Elder&oldid=1028859234 (accessed August 5, 2021).

[2] Wikipedia contributors, “Pieter Bruegel the Elder,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pieter_Bruegel_the_Elder&oldid=1028859234 (accessed August 5, 2021).

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