Category Archives: #FineArtFriday

#FineArtFriday: Peasant Wedding, David Teniers II (revisited)

The Peasant Wedding by David Teniers the Younger  first appeared here on Life in the Realm of Fantasy on Nov 2, 2018. It’s one of my favorite Flemish paintings, because it depicts an event that is intrinsic even in today’s society–the wedding. The families of the bride and groom go all out, and weddings tend to be as big a party as the pair can manage no matter how rich or poor they are.

This painting is full of movement and life, and shows real people having a great party. The musicians are playing, some people are singing, some are talking, and some are dancing. Most are eating and just enjoying themselves. A few of the men are becoming a little familiar with the ladies, who are not really having any, and a few people have indulged a little too much.

Even the dog is having a good time.

Teniers was a prolific and skilled artist, a man remembered today as much for his lofty social ambitions as he is for the quantity and excellence of his work. He wanted to be a nobleman; indeed he once falsely laid claim to being descended from a noble line. Several times he nearly succeeded in this ambition, but nobility was one accolade he never achieved.

About David Teniers II, from Wikipedia:

Teniers married into the famous Brueghel artist family when Anna Brueghel, daughter of Jan Brueghel the Elder, became his wife on 22 July 1637. Rubens, who had been the guardian of Anna Brueghel after her father’s death, was a witness at the wedding.

Through his marriage Teniers was able to cement a close relationship with Rubens who had been a good friend and frequent collaborator with his wife’s father. This is borne out by the fact that at the baptism of the first of the couple’s seven children David Teniers III, Rubens’ second wife, Hélène Fourment was the godmother.

Teniers’ wife died on 11 May 1656. On 21 October of the same year the artist remarried. His second wife was Isabella de Fren, the 32-year-old daughter of Andries de Fren, secretary of the Council of Brabant. It has been suggested that Teniers’ main motive for marrying the ‘spinster’ was her rather elevated position in society. His second wife also brought him a large dowry. The couple had four children, two sons and two daughters. His second wife’s attitude to Teniers’ children from his first marriage would later divide the family in legal battles.

At the behest of his Antwerp colleagues of the Guild of Saint Luke, Teniers became the driving force behind the foundation of the Academy in Antwerp, only the second of such type of institution in Europe after the one in Paris. The artist used his connections and sent his son David to Madrid to assist in the negotiation to successfully obtain the required licence from the Spanish King. There were great celebrations in Antwerp when, on 26 January 1663, Teniers came from Brussels with the royal charter creating the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the existence of which was due entirely to his persistence.

Teniers petitioned the king of Spain to be admitted to the aristocracy but gave up when the condition imposed was that he should give up painting for money.

He was an innovator in a wide range of genres such as history,  genrelandscapeportrait and still life. He is now best remembered as the leading Flemish genre painter of his day

Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:David Teniers de Jonge – Peasant Wedding (1650).jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, (accessed November 2, 2018).

Wikipedia contributors, “David Teniers the Younger,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed November 2, 2018).

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#FineArtFriday: The Way you Hear it is the Way you Sing It by Jan Steen ca. 1665

Artist: Jan Steen  (1625/1626–1679)

Jan Steen: ‘As the Old Sing, So Pipe the Young’

Title: ‘The way you hear it, is the way you sing it’

Genre: genre art

Date: circa 1665

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 134 cm (52.7 in); Width: 163 cm (64.1 in)

About this painting:

Jan Steen’s work The Way you Hear it is the Way you Sing It depicts a Dutch Proverb, As the Old Sing, So Twitter the Young. It shows us a family carousing and overindulging in rich foods. Luxurious fabrics, a foot warmer, and rare birds show off this family’s wealth, which they are spending lavishly as fast as they can.

A young piper, who closely resembles a young Jan Steen (possibly one of his sons?), entertains them. He looks directly at us as if to ask what he’s gotten himself into.

Mother and Father, dressed as the King and Queen, are sumptuously attired, being served wine in an overlarge crystal goblet by the family’s servant. Both are indifferent to the chaos, too sated and drunk to care.

To the right of Father (his left, our right), a younger woman, perhaps an unmarried sister or eldest daughter, is holding the baby but has nodded off, having indulged too freely.

The wasting of money on so much luxury that one can’t consume it all is clearly represented here. Mother raises her glass high to have it refilled, as if it is the most important thing–indeed, the wine cascading down into the crystal goblet is the focal point of the picture.

A bottle of clear liquor (distilled?) and a beaker of ale are set on the windowsill behind Father, and a covered pitcher stands on the floor beside Mother. The table is laden with grapes and oysters, expensive luxuries.

Grandmother is singing from sheet music, leading the song that the family sings. This is the direct allegory for the proverb, as the old sing, so twitter the young.

A youngish man, either the eldest son or the Drunk Uncle (every family has one), finds it hilarious to teach the children to smoke.

Neither the dog nor the piper is impressed with the carrying on, and the servant has no comment, merely serving the wine as required.

In essence, Steen tells us that children learn what they live, so if you want sober, morally upstanding children, you must be a sober, morally upright parent.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Jan Havickszoon Steen (c. 1626 – buried 3 February 1679) was a Dutch Golden Age painter, one of the leading genre painters of the 17th century. His works are known for their psychological insight, sense of humour and abundance of colour.

In 1648 Jan Steen and Gabriël Metsu founded the painters’ Guild of Saint Luke at Leiden. Soon after he became an assistant to the renowned landscape painter Jan van Goyen (1596–1656), and moved into his house on the Bierkade in The Hague. On Oct 3, 1649 he married van Goyen’s daughter Margriet, with whom he would have eight children. Steen worked with his father-in-law until 1654, when he moved to Delft, where he ran the brewery De Slang (“The Snake”) for three years without much success. After the explosion in Delft in 1654 the art market was depressed, but Steen painted A Burgomaster of Delft and his daughter. It does not seem to be clear if this painting should be called a portrait or a genre work.

Steen lived in Warmond, just north of Leiden, from 1656 till 1660 and in Haarlem from 1660 till 1670 and in both periods he was especially productive. In 1670, after the death of his wife in 1669 and his father in 1670, Steen moved back to Leiden, where he stayed the rest of his life. When the art market collapsed in 1672, called the Year of Disaster, Steen opened a tavern. In April 1673 he married Maria van Egmont, who gave him another child. In 1674 he became president of the Saint Lucas Guild. Frans van Mieris (1635- 1681) became one of his drinking companions. He died in Leiden in 1679 and was interred in a family grave in the Pieterskerk.

Daily life was Jan Steen’s main pictorial theme. Many of the genre scenes he portrayed, as in The Feast of Saint Nicholas, are lively to the point of chaos and lustfulness, even so much that “a Jan Steen household”, meaning a messy scene, became a Dutch proverb (een huishouden van Jan Steen). Subtle hints in his paintings seem to suggest that Steen meant to warn the viewer rather than invite him to copy this behaviour. Many of Steen’s paintings bear references to old Dutch proverbs or literature. He often used members of his family as models, and painted quite a few self-portraits in which he showed no tendency of vanity.

Steen did not shy from other themes: he painted historical, mythological and religious scenes, portraits, still lifes and natural scenes. His portraits of children are famous. He is also well known for his mastery of light and attention to detail, most notably in Persian rugs and other textiles.

Steen was prolific, producing about 800 paintings, of which roughly 350 survive. His work was valued much by contemporaries and as a result he was reasonably well paid for his work. He did not have many students—only Richard Brakenburgh is recorded—but his work proved a source of inspiration for many painters.

Credits and Attributions:

The Way you Hear it is the Way you Sing It, Jan Steen, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:The way you hear it.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, (accessed January 8, 2021).

Wikipedia contributors, “Jan Steen,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed January 8, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: Beneath the Snow Encumbered Branches by Joseph Farquharson 1903

Title: Beneath the Snow Encumbered Branches

Publisher: Hallmark Cards

Genre: landscape art

Date: Circa 1903

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: 82 x 119.25 cm. (32 5/16 x 46 15/16 in.

What I love about this painting:

There is something haunting, a nostalgic echo of times long gone in this picture. The snow is thick and heavy, and the sheep are fluffy in their long coats. Winter has come and the shadows are long, but the conical haystacks across the lane contain plenty to last through the harshest season. The afternoon light is reflected on the snowy landscape and in the branches, a perfect golden luminosity, the hue that presages imminent dusk. 

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Joseph Farquharson DL RA (4 May 1846 – 15 April 1935) was a Scottish painter, chiefly of landscapes, mostly in Scotland and very often including animals. He is most famous for his snowy winter landscapes, often featuring sheep and often depicting dawn or dusk. The unusual titles of many of Farquharson’s paintings stand out and are sometimes long. Many of them were taken from poems by Burns, Milton, Shakespeare, and Gray. Farquharson was very patriotic and well versed in Scottish literature.

The remarkable realism of Farquharson’s work can be attributed to his desire to work en plein air. This had to be carried out in a unique way which was adapted to the harsh Scottish climate. Farquharson had constructed a painting hut on wheels, complete with a stove and large glass window for observing the landscape. Likewise to achieve as realistic a result as possible when painting the sheep which frequently appear in his snowscapes, he used a flock of “imitation” sheep which could be placed as required in the landscape of his choice. Farquharson painted so many scenes of cattle and sheep in snow he was nicknamed ‘Frozen Mutton Farquharson’.

Farquharson inherited the title of Laird in 1918 after the death of his elder brother Robert, a doctor and MP for West Aberdeenshire.

In 2008 the original of the 1901 painting Beneath the Snow Encumbered Branches came to light, for the first time in 40 years, when the lady owner put her house up for sale. The painting, which she had bought from a Bond Street dealer in the 1960s for £1,450, was expected to fetch up to £70,000 when it was offered for sale by auction at Lyon and Turnbull in Edinburgh. Nick Carnow, a director at the auctioneers, form said that the unnamed seller was moving to a smaller house and would not have room for the painting. In fact it sold for more than twice that estimate to another private collector in Scotland for £147,600.

Credits and Attributions:

Beneath the Snow Encumbered Branches Joseph Farquharson, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Wikipedia contributors, “Joseph Farquharson,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed January 1, 2021).

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:The shortening winter’s day is near a close Farquharson.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, (accessed January 1, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: Winter Landscape with Brabrand Church, by Christian David Gebauer (reprise)

The above painting, Winter Landscape with Brabrand Church, by Christian David Gebauer, is one of my favorites. It is the perfect illustration of a day in the life of a Danish village as captured by the eye of an artist. One of the last paintings made before Gebauer’s death in 1831, it is considered a centerpiece work of the Danish Golden Age, a period of exceptional creative production in Denmark during the first half of the 19th century.

Gebauer was heavily influenced by the works of the Dutch Golden Age, a period in Dutch history roughly spanning the 17th century, during and after the later part of the Eighty Years’ War (1568–1648) for Dutch independence.

Looking at great art inspires my worldbuilding skills. Landscape art is a window into other lives, other times. It shows me how pre-industrial people lived, and loved, and worked, and played.

Life was hard sometimes, but the hard times were balanced by good times. People found time to play, and even when working, they found the time to just enjoy a winter’s day.

If you are writing fantasy, which is often set in rural late-renaissance-era environments, you can find all the details you need in the art of the past.

Artists of this genre painted the truth, sometimes romanticized, but sometimes they laid the truth bare. They captured and recorded details not visible from a distance, but which shape the mood of the piece. They painted not only what they saw, but what they felt.

These artists gave us a historic view of life before the industrial revolution transformed the world into the modern, technologically driven place we see today.

In Winter Landscape with Brabrand Church, Christian David Gebauer shows us villagers dressed for warmth, enjoying themselves on the ice. Other villagers are working, bringing in sledges filled with hay.

A hunter and and his dogs are returning from the forest, perhaps empty handed. A bag hangs at the hunter’s side but isn’t full. The ice-fishermen are having better luck.

A woodcutter admonishes a boy, perhaps his son, to stop fooling around. His machete hangs in his right hand, as he fights what he knows is a losing battle. It’s evening, the day has been long, and children who have worked all day just want to play and have fun.

In this era and genre, the sky was important, symbolic. It represented God and Gebauer painted it with majesty. It takes up fully half of the painting–the church and the people are small beneath it. Beneath the powerful sky, there is an air of busy enjoyment to the painting. The hilarity of those skaters unable to keep their balance is juxtaposed against the hard-working laborers and the cozy prosperity of horses pulling laden sleds.

The entire story of one winter’s evening in this village lives within this painting, all of it captured by an artist nearly two-hundred years ago.

Is there magic here? Maybe. Is there life and passion? Definitely. There is a story in this image. The details in these amazing works of art that I explore on Fridays always find their way into my work in the form of setting and atmosphere.

Regardless of how I use it, this window opens onto a time I can now visualize more clearly, less blurred by my modern perspective.

Credits and Attributions:

Winter Landscape with Brabrand Church, Christian David Gebauer first appeared here on Life in the Realm of Fantasy in December of 2017, and has been revisited for your pleasure.

Winter Landscape with Brabrand Church, Christian David Gebauer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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#FineArtFriday: In the Woodland Stream by Carl Bögh 1872

Artist: Carl Bögh  (1827–1893)

Title: In the Woodland Stream

Description: Forest landscape with rising haze. Children drive cattle through a ford.

Date: 1872

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 111 cm (43.7 in); Width: 96 cm (37.7 in)

Inscriptions: Signature and date at bottom right: Carl Bögh / 1872

What I love about this painting:

The level of detail here is impressive. The artist has faithfully recorded a perfect morning, the opening of a summer day. It’s all here in perfect historical accuracy, down to the lichen on the smallest of trees. The muddy tracks where the cattle daily walk, the moss on the stones, the reflections on the waters–all are shown with faithful attention to detail. The morning mist is rising, and the day is already beginning to warm.

A breeze gently moves through the branches of the white birch, stirring their shimmering leaves. In the stream below, two children attend the family’s wealth—their cattle. The children are well-behaved and dutifully follow the herd. The water is cool water on their feet as they cross, a slow-moving, gentle stream. Brother carries their midday meal in a covered basket. He keeps the cattle moving and urges his sister to keep up.

The forest is lush with fir, birch, and pine growing, and flowering shrubs. All the low-growing plants are here too—one can almost hear the hum of insects starting their day, and the birds’ gossiping among the branches.  The occasional lowing of the cattle as they head toward their meadow is a counterpoint to the ordinary sounds of the forest, filling the morning air with the promise of a fine summer day.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Carl Henrik Bøgh (3 September 1827, Copenhagen – 19 October 1893, Copenhagen) was a Danish painter; best known for his scenes with animals. After serving as a soldier in the First Schleswig War, he attended the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied with Johan Ludwig Lund, and decided to specialize in animal painting. He first had a showing in 1854, in the Spring Exhibition at Charlottenborg Palace. Three years later was awarded the Neuhausenske Prize [da].

From 1860 to 1861, he made a study trip abroad, with the travel scholarship from Academy; visiting Brussels and Antwerp, but spending most of his time in Paris. In 1870 and 1875, some of his works were purchased by the “Royal Painting Collection” (now the National Gallery of Denmark). In 1873, he became a Professor.

His paintings of deer were among his most popular. He also made painting expeditions to Norway and Sweden.

Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Carl Bøgh – In the Woodland Stream (1872).jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, (accessed December 10, 2020).

Wikipedia contributors, “Carl Bøgh,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed December 10, 2020).


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#FineArtFriday: Hastings: the Front by Theodore Casmir Roussel 1908

Title: Hastings: the Front.

Medium: Watercolor.

Signed and dated: Theodore Roussel 1908.

Dimensions: 6.75×10 inches. Framed: 13.75×16 inches.”

Hastings is a seaside town in East Sussex on the south coast of England, south east of London. In the 19th and early 20th century, when this painting made, the railway enabled ordinary tourists and visitors to reach the town, and it became a popular seaside resort.

What I love about this painting:

I love watercolors. The medium allows for a dreamy atmosphere, and in this case, the artist has presented us with the impression of a sundrenched afternoon at the seashore. Roussel’s work grew more atmospheric as he grew older, but he was known more for his classically depicted nudes than as an impressionist. However, it’s clear he had an eye for impressionism and the ability to show a story with watercolors.

Tourists stroll along the breakwater in front of the hotels, wearing broad hats and coats. Like many days at the beach on the Washington Coast, where I live, even in summer the wind often carries a chill.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Theodore Casimir Roussel (1847–1926) was a French-born English painter and graphic artist, best known for his landscapes and genre scenes. He came to painting late, in 1872, after his military service had ended, and he was entirely self-taught. His earliest works were scenes of daily life, rendered in the style of the Old Masters. In 1878, he moved to London and, two years later, married the widow Frances Amelia Smithson Bull (1844–1909), a distant collateral relative of James Smithson. In 1885, he met James McNeill Whistler, who became a lifelong friend and mentor.

Credits and Attributions:

Hastings: the Front by Théodore Roussel, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Wikipedia contributors, “Theodore Roussel,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed December 3, 2020).

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FineArtFriday: Fruit Piece by Jan van Huysum 1722

Fruit Piece by Jan van Huysum (Dutch, 1682 – 1749)– artist (Dutch)

Genre: still-life

Date: 1722

Medium: oil on panel

Dimensions: Height: 800 mm (31.49 in); Width: 610 mm (24.01 in)

What I love about this painting:

This scene depicts the very essence of abundance and comfort. Every piece of fruit in this image is perfect, begging to be eaten, every flower wishes to be admired. Carnations, grapes, plums, figs, apples, a melon, raspberries, and numerous other fruits occupy the center of the image. Butterflies have found the flowers.

In the background, slightly out of focus as if the centerpiece is seen through a camera lens, we have a lush garden, a fantasy of earthly paradise. Far to the rear of the scene, painted as if they just happened to stray into it, two figures on a low bridge carry on a quiet conversation beneath a graceful statue.

More than any other artist of his time, van Huysum understood how to show the “life” aspect of still-life by combining fantasy with the faithful reproduction of perfect, ripe fruit.

Yesterday, here in the US, we enjoyed our lockdown pandemic version of Thanksgiving. Despite not hosting the large extended family gathering we usually do, we offered our thanks for the abundance in our lives, the multitude of blessings for which we are truly grateful.

This painting celebrates food in plentiful, mouthwatering profusion, a true blessing for which we should all be thankful.

About the Artist: The website at the National Gallery says:

Jan van Huysum (1682 – 1749)  was the last of the distinguished still life painters active in the Northern Netherlands in the 17th and early 18th centuries, and an internationally celebrated artist in his lifetime. Although he specialised in flower still lifes, van Huysum also painted a few landscapes.

His early works are more concentrated in design than his elaborate later paintings, like the Gallery’s Flowers in a Terracotta Vase, with its lighter background and superabundance of detail.

Van Huysum was a native of Amsterdam and was trained, according to Arnold Houbraken, by his father, who was also a still life painter. His first dated work is of 1706.

Van Huysum often travelled to horticultural centres like Haarlem so he could make sketches of rare and unusual flowers. During his lifetime, his flower paintings were sold for as much as 2,000 guilders, and he had famous patrons including the Duc d’Orléans, William VIII, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, and Sir Robert Walpole.

Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Jan van Huysum (Dutch – Fruit Piece – Google Art Project.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, (accessed November 25, 2020).

National Gallery Contributors, Biography of Jan van Huysum (1682 – 1749) | National Gallery, London ©2020 National Gallery, London (accessed November 25, 2020).

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#FineArtFriday: Mountain River Landscape, Jan Brueghel the younger and Joos de Momper the Younger

A collaborative work by:

Jan Brueghel the Younger  (1601–1678)

Joos de Momper the Younger  (1564–1635)

Title:    An extensive mountainous river landscape with travellers near a village

Date:   by 1678

Medium: oil on panel

Dimensions: Height: 46.5 cm (18.3 in); Width: 66 cm (25.9 in)

Collection: Private collection

What I like about this painting:

There is an intensity, a richness of color in the foreground, and a subtle chastisement the subject matter of this picture.

In the center we have a beggar on his knees and praying before a cross, with his worldly possessions stacked beside him and his dog patiently waiting. All around him, the world is going about its business. Shepherds are moving their flocks from one field to another, a merchant urges his horse-drawn cart down the hill. Further down the hill, another merchant unloads a wagon. At the right of the beggar, two travelers on horseback ignore the outstretched hand of yet another beggar, this one an old woman.

This painting is relatively less known, a scene composed and executed by two prolific artists, both of whom were the sons of two of the more famous artists of the 17th century.

At first glance this seems like an ordinary bucolic view of a village and surrounding countryside. Yet, I think the lesson they offer us is clear—we go through life relatively comfortably, unaware of the opportunities for charity that are all around us.

Both artists made their livings from their work so there was a market for what they produced. For both Brueghel and de Momper, their fathers (and in Brueghel’s case, his grandfather ) were hard acts to follow.

About the Artists, via Wikipedia:

Joos de Momper the Younger  primarily painted landscapes, the genre for which he was highly regarded during his lifetime. Only a small number of the 500 paintings attributed to de Momper are signed and just one is dated. The large output points to substantial workshop participation. He often collaborated with figure painters such as Frans Francken II, Peter Snayers, Jan Brueghel the Elder and Jan Brueghel the Younger, usually on large, mountainous landscapes, whereby the other painters painted the staffage (people) and de Momper the landscape. His works were often featured in the prestigious gallery paintings of collections (real and imagined) from the early seventeenth century.

Jan Brueghel the Younger was born and died in the 17th century in Antwerp. He was trained by his father and spent his career producing works in a similar style. Along with his brother Ambrosius, he produced landscapes, allegorical scenes and other works of meticulous detail. Brueghel also copied works by his father and sold them with his father’s signature. His work is distinguishable from that of his parent by being less well executed and lighter.

In an episode of BBC’s Britain’s Lost Masterpieces broadcast in November 2019, a very badly damaged picture of a village scene, whose panel has spilt into two pieces, was located at Birmingham Art Gallery. Following a complete restoration by Simon Gillespie, the landscape was attributed to Joos de Momper and the figures were attributed to Jan the Younger.

Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Jan Brueghel II and Joos de Momper II – An extensive mountainous river landscape with travellers near a village.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, (accessed November 19, 2020).

Wikipedia contributors, “Jan Brueghel the Younger,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed November 19, 2020).

Wikipedia contributors, “Joos de Momper,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed November 19, 2020).

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#FineArtFriday: Communion by Steven DaLuz, 2018

Title: Communion by Steven DaLuz, 2018

Medium:  oil, metal leaf on panel

Size: 40″ x 60″

What I love about this painting:

Where do I begin? This simple scene speaks to me on a spiritual level. The calmness and serenity, the intensely rich colors, and the way the sky and water are depicted make this one my favorite contemporary paintings. There is power here, but  it is quiet and doesn’t need to go out of its way to impress the viewer.

I am impressed just by being in its presence. Power lies in the intimacy, the unity and companionship of the two main subjects, split rock spires who lean toward each other. Power also lies in the way light and shadow cloak the surrounding scene and reveal the spires.

DaLuz breathes life into the stone, showing us the living mountains. The use of metal leaf and oil paints to create the light and shadow is a wonderful technique.

About Luminism, via Wikipedia:

Luminism is an American landscape painting style of the 1850s to 1870s, characterized by effects of light in landscape, through the use of aerial perspective and the concealment of visible brushstrokes. Luminist landscapes emphasize tranquility, and often depict calm, reflective water and a soft, hazy sky.

Ingredients of luminism – such as majestic skies, calm waters, rarefied light, and other representations of magnificence – have been also appreciated in contemporary American painting.

About the artist, via Wikipedia:

Steven DaLuz (born 1953) is a contemporary American Neoluminist artist known for using chemically induced patinas on metal leaf and mixed media to produce figurative works and imagined landscapes often reflecting upon the sublime as a pictorial theme.

DaLuz was born in Hanford, California. His works have been published in art periodicals, such as American Art Collector, Fine Art Connoisseur,, The Artist,  Professional ArtistThe Huffington Post  and Poets and Artists magazine, where he received the cover for the Nov 2009 Issue.  Considered “ethereal and transcendent,” his artwork has been said to combine “a spectacular dissertation on light and shadow with a brilliant collection of colors.” DaLuz holds degrees in Social Psychology (BA, Park University 1979), Management ((MA, Central Michigan University, 1981)), Graphic Design (AAS, San Antonio College, 2001), and Fine Arts (BFA, University of Texas at San Antonio, 2003).

He donates works of art and part of the proceeds from the sale of his work in favor of many charitable actions.

Credits and Attributions:

Communion; oil, metal leaf on panel; 40″ x 60″; 2018; by Steven DaLuz

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Communion 40 x 60.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, (accessed November 12, 2020).

Wikipedia contributors, “Luminism (American art style),” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed November 12, 2020).


Sdaluz, CC BY-SA 4.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons

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#FineArtFriday: Utopien 04 by Makis E. Warlamis 2007

Artist: Makis E. Warlamis

Title: Utopien 04

Medium: painting

Collection: Kunstmuseum Waldviertel

Source/Photographer: Own work, Daskunstmuseum, 2007-01-05

About the word “Utopia,” via Wikipedia:

The word utopia was coined from Ancient Greek by Sir Thomas More in 1516. “Utopia” comes from Greek: οὐ (“not”) and τόπος (“place”) which translates as “no-place” and literally means any non-existent society, when ‘described in considerable detail’. However, in standard usage, the word’s meaning has shifted and now usually describes a non-existent society that is intended to be viewed as considerably better than contemporary society.

In his original work, More carefully pointed out the similarity of utopia to eutopia, which is from Greek: εὖ (“good” or “well”) and τόπος (“place”), hence eutopia means “good place”, which ostensibly would be the more appropriate term for the concept the word “utopia” has in modern English. The pronunciations of eutopia and utopia in English are identical, which may have given rise to the change in meaning.

What I love about this painting:

This Utopia is unreachable, as all true Utopias are. It floats high above the mundane world, visible but just out of reach. The colors are intense, vibrantly moody. The landscape above which this perfect island floats is serene, a beautiful place.

Every idea of perfection is different. Warlamis’ Utopia is not the golden city many storytellers and writers of speculative fiction might imagine, but is instead an island of undisturbed landscape, looking almost like the untrammeled headland one might find beside the sea.

His Utopia is a step back to nature, to a simpler time.

In truth, it isn’t too different from the land over which it flies. And, if that is the case, why strive to reach it?

What story lurks within this painting? What a great visual prompt to jumpstart Nation Novel Writing Month.

About the Author via Wikipedia DE:

Efthymios “Makis” Warlamis (also: Efthymis, Efthymios Varlamis; born 1942 in Veria, in Central Macedonia, Greece; died 27 December 2016) was a Greek-Austrian architect, painter, poet, writer, educator and museum founder.

Warlamis was a versatile artist. In addition to his basic profession as an architect, he worked as a sculptor, painter, designer and writer. He had exhibitions in museums and exhibition centres in Europe, USA, Asia and Egypt. His works are represented in international public and private collections such as the Graphic Collection of the Albertina Vienna, Museum moderner Kunst Wien, DAM Deutsches Architekturmuseum Frankfurt, Collection Alexander Jolas, Collection of the State of Austria, Collection Liaunig.

In 1992, together with his wife Heide, he founded the International Center for Art and Design I.DE. A. in Schrems. He planned and built the Kunstmuseum Waldviertel, which opened in Schrems in 2009.

Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:2010 Utopien arche04.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, (accessed October 30, 2020).

Wikipedia contributors, “Utopia,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed October 30, 2020).

Wikipedia DE Contributors, Efthymios Warlamis, Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia, (accessed October 30, 2020).


Filed under #FineArtFriday