Category Archives: #FineArtFriday

#FineArtFriday: Under flowering trees by Adolf Kaufmann

Adolf_Kaufmann_Under_the_treesjpgArtist: Adolf Kaufmann (1848–1916)

Title: Under flowering trees

Date: before 1916

Medium: oil on canvas

Inscription: signed A. Kaufmann

What I love about this painting:

Kaufmann gives us a beautiful spring day with apple trees and cherry trees in full bloom. The weather is misty, cool and damp the way spring mornings often are here in the Pacific Northwest.

Chickens roam the orchard, and two women are digging, breaking the ground for a spring garden.

To the left is a weathered building. Is it a barn? Is it their home? It’s hidden behind the shrubbery so it’s difficult to tell, but it has no window, so I think it may be a barn.

Nothing is romanticized—we see it the way the artist did on that spring day over a century ago.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Adolf Kaufmann (15 May 1848, in Troppau – 25 November 1916, in Vienna) was an Austrian landscape and marine artist.

He was initially self-taught, but completed his studies with the animal painter, Émile van Marcke, in Paris and undertook several study trips, throughout Europe and the Middle East. His residence alternated between Paris, Berlin, Düsseldorf and Munich.

In 1890, he decided to settle in Vienna and opened a studio in the Wieden district. In 1900, together with Carl von Merode [de] and Heinrich Lefler, he opened an “Art School for Ladies”. He continued to visit Paris frequently and, when he painted there, signed his works with the pseudonym “A. Guyot”. Other names he signed with include “A. Papouschek”, “G. Salvi”, “A. Jarptmann”, “R. Neiber”, “J. Rollin” and “M. Bandouch”. Why he did this is unclear, although his choice of signature often reflects stylistic differences.

His landscapes were influenced by the Barbizon school and the style known as “paysage intime,” both of which he was exposed to in France during the 1870s. (The paysage intimate, French for “familiar landscape,” was a style of painting that dealt with simple, simple landscapes and emerged in the mid-19th century. It was the predecessor of the Impressionist style.) [1]

Credits and Attributions:

IMAGE: Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Adolf Kaufmann Unter blühenden Bäumen.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, (accessed March 23, 2023).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Adolf Kaufmann,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed March 23, 2023).


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#FineArtFriday: Santa Maria della Salute by Eduard Veith


Artist: Eduard Veith  (1858–1925)

Title: Italian: Venezia: Santa Maria della Salute

Date: by 1925

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: height: 39.5 cm (15.5 in); width: 58 cm (22.8 in)

Collection: Private collection

What I love about this painting:

Veith has captured Venice on a beautiful morning. The sun is shining, the sky is blue and the waters of the canal are calm. Colorful sails are being raised as the fishers prepare to head out to San Marco basin for the day.

In the center is the domed basilica of Santa Maria della Salute (in English, Saint Mary of Health).

This is the sort of morning that makes one feel that all is right in the world.

About the Santa Maria della Salute, via Wikipedia:

Santa Maria della Salute (English: Saint Mary of Health), commonly known simply as the Salute, is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica located at Punta della Dogana in the Dorsoduro sestiere of the city of VeniceItaly.

It stands on the narrow finger of Punta della Dogana, between the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Canal, at the Bacino di San Marco, making the church visible when entering the Piazza San Marco from the water. The Salute is part of the parish of the Gesuati and is the most recent of the so-called plague churches.

In 1630, Venice experienced an unusually devastating outbreak of the plague. As a votive offering for the city’s deliverance from the pestilence, the Republic of Venice vowed to build and dedicate a church to Our Lady of Health. The church was designed in the then fashionable Baroque style by Baldassare Longhena, who studied under the architect Vincenzo Scamozzi. Construction began in 1631. Most of the objects of art housed in the church bear references to the Black Death. [1]

About the artist, via Wikipedia:

Eduard Veith (30 March 1858, Neutitschein – 18 March 1925, Vienna) was an Austrian portrait painter and stage designer. Many of his works were influenced by Symbolism. He was born to the decorative painter, Julius Veith (1820–1887), and his wife Susanna, née Schleif (1827–1883).

At first, he received training to follow in his father’s profession. Later, he went to Vienna, where he took classes at the Museum of Applied Arts from Professor Ferdinand Laufberger. He capped off his studies by creating sgraffito for exhibition buildings at the Exposition Universelle in Paris.

He then returned home, where he assisted his father with painting churches, synagogues and other ceremonial buildings. This was followed by several study trips to Italy, Belgium and Tunisia. He finally settled in Vienna; becoming a free-lance artist and working mostly by commission.

From 1890, he was a member of the Vienna Künstlerhaus. In 1896, he received a gold medal at the Große Berliner Kunstausstellung. In 1905, he was appointed a Professor at the University of Technology.  In 1911, he married Bertha Griesbeck (1872–1952), from Augsburg. He later taught at the University of Applied Arts Museum of Applied Arts and became a professor there in 1920. During his years in Vienna, he maintained contact with his home town, and held exhibitions there.

He died shortly before his sixty-seventh birthday. [2]

Credits and Attributions:

Image: Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Eduard Veith – Venezia-Santa Maria della Salute.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, (accessed March 16, 2023).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Santa Maria della Salute,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed March 16, 2023).

[2] Wikipedia contributors, “Eduard Veith,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed March 16, 2023).


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#FineArtFriday: Self Portrait, Rembrandt 1659 (revisited)

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, commonly known simply as Rembrandt, is considered the finest artist of the 17th century. Some art historians consider him the finest artist in the history of art, and the most important artist in Dutch art history.

Speaking strictly as a Rembrandt fangirl and abject admirer, I consider his self-portraits to be more honest than those of any other artist.

Whenever he couldn’t afford to pay a model, he painted himself. And of all his known self-portraits, this is my favorite.

Quote from Wikipedia: His self-portraits form a unique and intimate biography, in which the artist surveyed himself without vanity and with the utmost sincerity.

This honesty comes across in all his works featuring himself as the subject. Each portrait shows an aspect of his personality, his sense of humor, his affection for his first wife, Saskia, who was the love of his life, and his wry acceptance of his own human frailties.

Money was a mystery to Rembrandt. He had no understanding of a budget, mishandled his son’s inheritance, spent far more than he earned, and didn’t pay his taxes. In short, he was always in trouble with the authorities, always skirting the edges of disaster.

Rembrandt knew he was talented but didn’t see himself as a creative genius. He was just a man with a passion for art, who lived beyond his means and died a pauper, as did Mozart, and as do most artists and authors.

I feel I know this man, this tired, stressed, poor old man, more so than I do the person he was in his earlier self-portraits. He’s matured, lost the brashness of his youth. When I observe the man in this self-portrait, painted ten years before his death, I see a good-humored man just trying to live a frequently difficult life as well as he can. His face is lined and blemished, not as handsome as he once was. But his eyes seem both kind and familiar, filled with the understanding that comes from living with all one’s heart and experiencing both great joy and deep sorrow.

The art of Rembrandt van Rijn shows us his world as he saw it. Others may disagree with me, but I feel his greatest gift was the ability to convey personality with each portrait. This gift allowed him to portray every person he painted as they really were, blemished and yet beautiful. This is a gift he taught his students, and they were able to copy his style quite effectively, making discerning his true work difficult even for the experts.

Credits and Attributions:

Wikipedia contributors, “Rembrandt,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, June 8, 2018).

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Rembrandt van Rijn – Self-Portrait – Google Art Project.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, (accessed June 8, 2018).

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#FineArtFriday: The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer (revisited)

What I love about this painting:

It seems like a good time to revisit Vermeer’s famous painting, known as “the Milkmaid.” This is lovely look into the past, a window into daily life of 1657 – 1658. I love the realism, the way the maid carefully pours the milk into the bread.

All of Vermeer’s known works illustrate how the quiet moments in life can be the most profound.

Wikipedia has many things to say about this painting.

About Johannes Vermeer, the Master of Light (from Wikipedia)

Johannes Vermeer (October 1632 – December 1675) was a Dutch painter who specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle-class life. He was a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime but evidently was not wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death, perhaps because he produced relatively few paintings.

Vermeer worked slowly and with great care, and frequently used very expensive pigments. He is particularly renowned for his masterly treatment and use of light in his work.

Vermeer painted mostly domestic interior scenes. “Almost all his paintings are apparently set in two smallish rooms in his house in Delft; they show the same furniture and decorations in various arrangements and they often portray the same people, mostly women.”

He was recognized during his lifetime in Delft and The Hague, but his modest celebrity gave way to obscurity after his death. He was barely mentioned in Arnold Houbraken‘s major source book on 17th-century Dutch painting (Grand Theatre of Dutch Painters and Women Artists), and was thus omitted from subsequent surveys of Dutch art for nearly two centuries. In the 19th century, Vermeer was rediscovered by Gustav Friedrich Waagen and Théophile Thoré-Bürger, who published an essay attributing 66 pictures to him, although only 34 paintings are universally attributed to him today. Since that time, Vermeer’s reputation has grown, and he is now acknowledged as one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age. [2]

About the featured painting, The Milkmaid, also from Wikipedia:

Despite its traditional title, the picture clearly shows a kitchen or housemaid, a low-ranking indoor servant, rather than a milkmaid who actually milks the cow, in a plain room carefully pouring milk into a squat earthenware container (now commonly known as a “Dutch oven”) on a table. Also on the table are various types of bread. She is a young, sturdily built woman wearing a crisp linen cap, a blue apron and work sleeves pushed up from thick forearms. A foot warmer is on the floor behind her, near Delft wall tiles depicting Cupid (to the viewer’s left) and a figure with a pole (to the right). Intense light streams from the window on the left side of the canvas.

The painting is strikingly illusionistic, conveying not just details but a sense of the weight of the woman and the table. “The light, though bright, doesn’t wash out the rough texture of the bread crusts or flatten the volumes of the maid’s thick waist and rounded shoulders”, wrote Karen Rosenberg, an art critic for The New York Times. Yet with half of the woman’s face in shadow, it is “impossible to tell whether her downcast eyes and pursed lips express wistfulness or concentration,” she wrote.

“It’s a little bit of a Mona Lisa effect” in modern viewers’ reactions to the painting, according to Walter Liedtke, curator of the department of European paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and organizer of two Vermeer exhibits. “There’s a bit of mystery about her for modern audiences. She is going about her daily task, faintly smiling. And our reaction is ‘What is she thinking?'” [1]

Credits and Attributions:

The Milkmaid, by Johannes (Jan) Vermeer ca. 1658 [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “The Milkmaid (Vermeer),” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed August 31, 2018).

[2] Wikipedia contributors, “Johannes Vermeer,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed August 31, 2018).


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#FineArtFriday: Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (Luncheon on the Grass) by Claude Monet ca. 1865

Monet_dejeunersurlherbeArtist: Claude Monet (1840–1926)

Title: French: Déjeuner sur l’herbe (English: Luncheon on the Grass) Central panel

Depicted people:

Date: between 1865 and 1866

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: height: 248 cm (97.6 in) width: 217 cm (85.4 in)

Collection: Musée d’Orsay

Place of creation: Chailly-en-Bière

What I love about this painting:

This painting may be unfinished, but in this section, the central panel, Monet gives us a beautiful day, sunny and warm. It’s a perfect day for a picnic with friends, to forget the stresses of life and just enjoy the beauty of the world around you. It’s the perfect counterfoil to my often-gloomy Pacific Northwestern winter, the kind of day that gives me hope that a pleasant spring waits just a few weeks away.

Thank you, Monsieur Monet. I needed this glimpse of summer.

About this painting via Wikipedia:

Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (English: Luncheon on the Grass) is an 1865–1866 oil on canvas painting by Claude Monet, produced in response to the 1863 work of the same title by Édouard Manet. It remains unfinished, but two large fragments (central and left panels) are now in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, whilst a smaller 1866 version is now in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow.

Monet included the artist Gustave Courbet in the painting.

The painting in its whole form shows twelve people. They are clothed in Parisian clothing which was fashionable at that time. They are having a picnic in near a forest glade. All the people are gathered around a white picnic blanket, where food as fruits, cake or wine is located. The mood in this natural space is primarily created by the play of light and shadow, which is created by deciduous tree above them. [1]

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Oscar-Claude Monet 14 November 1840 – 5 December 1926) was a French painter and founder of impressionist painting who is seen as a key precursor to modernism, especially in his attempts to paint nature as he perceived it. During his long career, he was the most consistent and prolific practitioner of impressionism’s philosophy of expressing one’s perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein air (outdoor) landscape painting. The term “Impressionism” is derived from the title of his painting Impression, soleil levant, exhibited in 1874 (the “exhibition of rejects”) initiated by Monet and his associates as an alternative to the Salon.

His last time exhibiting with the Impressionists was in 1882—four years before the final Impressionist exhibition.

Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Morisot, Cézanne and Sisley proceeded to experiment with new methods of depicting reality. They rejected the dark, contrasting lighting of romantic and realist paintings, in favour of the pale tones of their peers’ paintings such as those by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Boudin. After developing methods for painting transient effects, Monet would go on to seek more demanding subjects, new patrons and collectors; his paintings produced in the early 1870s left a lasting impact on the movement and his peers—many of whom moved to Argenteuil as a result of admiring his depiction. [2]

Credits and Attributions:

IMAGE: Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (Luncheon on the Grass) by Claude Monet ca. 1865 Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Monet dejeunersurlherbe.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, (accessed February 16, 2023).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (Monet, Paris),” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia,,_Paris)&oldid=1134534732 (accessed February 16, 2023).

[2] Wikipedia contributors, “Claude Monet,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed February 16, 2023).


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#FineArtFriday: California Spring by Albert Bierstadt 1875

Albert_Bierstadt_California_SpringArtist: Albert Bierstadt (1830–1902)

Title: California Spring

Genre: landscape art

Date: 1875

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: height: 187.3 cm (73.7 in); width: 264.2 cm (104 in)

Current location: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

What I love about this painting:

I love this composition, the way everything is deliberately placed. Cattle graze on a hilltop beneath a grove of trees, uncaring of the rainstorm sweeping across the valley below, far off in the distance. The immensity of the sky is the focus of this scene, with the sun emerging from the clouds, a brief promise of warmer days. Spring has arrived on this hilltop.

Here at Casa del Jasperson, we’re tired of winter, done with rain and dark days. Albert Bierstadt paints us an idyllic scene of seasonal weather and the harmony of nature. The grass is green, the cattle are happy, and while rain may come, summer is around the corner.

About the artist, via Wikipedia:

Albert Bierstadt (January 7, 1830 – February 18, 1902) was a German American painter best known for his lavish, sweeping landscapes of the American West. He joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion to paint the scenes. He was not the first artist to record the sites, but he was the foremost painter of them for the remainder of the 19th century.

Bierstadt was born in Prussia, but his family moved to the United States when he was one year old. He returned to study painting for several years in Düsseldorf. He became part of the second generation of the Hudson River School in New York, an informal group of like-minded painters who started painting along the Hudson River. Their style was based on carefully detailed paintings with romantic, almost glowing lighting, sometimes called luminism. Bierstadt was an important interpreter of the western landscape, and he is also grouped with the Rocky Mountain School. [1]

Credits and Attributions:

Image: Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Albert Bierstadt California Spring.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, (accessed February 9, 2023).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Albert Bierstadt,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed February 9, 2023).


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

Title: Beneath the Snow Encumbered Branches

Artist: Joseph Farquharson

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:

I first shared this painting in January of 2021. I found a haunting kind of nostalgia in it, an echo of times long gone. Joseph Farquharson perfectly captures the way the setting sun’s rays fall across the snow-covered landscape.

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.

I love how the afternoon light is reflected on the snowy landscape and in the branches. He shows it with 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: View of Dordrecht by Aelbert Cuyp, ca. 1665

View of Dordrecht, by Aelbert Cuyp

View of Dordrecht *oil on canvas *97.8 x 137.8 cm *signed b.r.: A cuyp *circa 1655

Artist: Aelbert Cuyp  (1620–1691)

Title: View of Dordrecht

Date: circa 1665

Genre: marine art

Medium: oil on canvas

Size: 97.8 x 137.8 cm

Inscription: signature, A Cuyp

Collection: Kenwood House

What I love about this painting:

We see history in action, a working harbor alive and bustling with activity beneath a sky larger and more powerful than the sea. The eye is drawn to the center, to the majestic vessel moored in the harbor.

But that’s not where the action is.

In the bottom left, a barrel has fallen from a ship, perhaps during unloading, and floats freely. A small boat filled with sailors rows out to retrieve it. Beyond, at the docks, seagulls skim, sailing just above the water.

In the lower right, a raft of logs is guided past a moored ship, a small one perhaps waiting for a berth.

A fishing vessel heads out to sea.

The piers are jammed with ships. Stevedores in browns and dark colors blend into the background as they work the docks. They are laborers without whom the port would grind to a halt. They’re nearly invisible, yet Cuyp paints them with movement, bringing life to their anonymity.

This is a painting with many stories to tell.

About Aelbert Cuyp’s style, via Wikipedia:

Sunlight in his paintings rakes across the panel, accentuating small bits of detail in the golden light. In large, atmospheric panoramas of the countryside, the highlights on a blade of meadow grass, the mane of a tranquil horse, the horn of a dairy cow reclining by a stream, or the tip of a peasant’s hat are all caught in a bath of yellow ocher light. The richly varnished medium refracts the rays of light like a jewel as it dissolves into numerous glazed layers. Cuyp’s landscapes were based on reality and on his own invention of what an enchanting landscape should be.

Cuyp’s drawings reveal him to be a draftsman of superior quality. Light-drenched washes of golden-brown ink depict a distant view of the city of Dordrecht or Utrecht. [1]

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Aelbert Jacobszoon Cuyp (Dutch pronunciation: [kœyp]) (or Cuijp; 20 October 1620 – 15 November 1691) was one of the leading Dutch Golden Age painters, producing mainly landscapes. The most famous of a family of painters, the pupil of his father, Jacob Gerritszoon Cuyp (1594–1651/52), he is especially known for his large views of Dutch riverside scenes in a golden early morning or late afternoon light. Little is known of his life. He was born and died in Dordrecht. [1]

Credits and Attributions:

IMAGE: View of Dordrecht by Aelbert Cuyp, ca. 1665, PD|100.  Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:View of Dordrecht, by Aelbert Cuyp.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository,,_by_Aelbert_Cuyp.jpg&oldid=704142240 (accessed January 19, 2023).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Aelbert Cuyp,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed January 19, 2023).


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#FineArtFriday: The Beeches by Asher Brown Durand 1845

The_Beeches_MET_DT75Artist: Asher Brown Durand  (1796–1886)

Title: The Beeches

Genre: landscape art

Date: 1845

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: 60 3/8 x 48 1/8 in. (153.4 x 122.2 cm)

Collection: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Current location: American Paintings and Sculpture

What I love about this painting:

It’s been storming here on the west coast of the US, dumping rain. California has been hard hit with so much rain the soil can’t absorb it. Yet, though the snowpack will bring relief (if the state doesn’t wash away) the drought is not over. California Storms Help Relieve Drought, But How Much Is in Question – The New York Times (

Here in the Puget Sound area, we’re experiencing the usual wind and rain of a Northwest winter, hopefully a respite from the droughts we’ve suffered in the past decade. So, it’s good time to enjoy the image of sunny day painted in a calmer time.

Asher Brown Durand gives us a summer day on the shore of a large pond, in a grove of beech and birch trees. The large beech tree is magnificent, with its rough, moss-covered bark commanding the center stage. In the distance, as if they were accidentally included, a shepherd leads a flock of sheep, a minor part of the scene as compared to the superb majesty of the beech tree.

Yet, nothing in this painting is accidental. The sheep and their shepherd are painted in exquisite detail, with as much attention as he gives to the texture of the bark and the moss. Each leaf, each blade of grass, each stone—every part of this scene is painted with intention. Each component of this landscape painting is as true and perfect as they were in real life.

I love the natural feeling of the plants, the intense colors of nature, the sense of a place that is vibrant and alive.

This painting is not merely a photographic representation of a summer morning in 1845. It has a life, a sense that you are there. We can almost feel the warming sunshine and slight breeze lifting the morning haze, hear the sheep as they walk to the water, perhaps even catch the earthy scent of the woods around us.

Durand was a master in the Hudson River School, a group of artists who believed that nature in the form of the American landscape was a reflection of God. Durand himself wrote, “The true province of Landscape Art is the representation of the work of God in the visible creation.” [1] This painting demonstrates that conviction.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Asher Brown Durand (August 21, 1796, – September 17, 1886). (He) was an American painter of the Hudson River School. was born in, and eventually died in, Maplewood, New Jersey (then called Jefferson Village). He was the eighth of eleven children. Durand’s father was a watchmaker and a silversmith.

Durand was apprenticed to an engraver from 1812 to 1817 and later entered into a partnership with the owner of the company, Charles Cushing Wright (1796–1854), who asked him to manage the company’s New York office. He engraved Declaration of Independence for John Trumbull during 1823, which established Durand’s reputation as one of the country’s finest engravers. Durand helped organize the New York Drawing Association in 1825, which would become the National Academy of Design; he would serve the organization as president from 1845 to 1861.

Asher’s engravings on bank notes were used as the portraits for America’s first postage stamps, the 1847 series. Along with his brother Cyrus he also engraved some of the succeeding 1851 issues.

Durand’s main interest changed from engraving to oil painting about 1830 with the encouragement of his patron, Luman Reed. In 1837, he accompanied his friend Thomas Cole on a sketching expedition to Schroon Lake in the Adirondacks Mountains, and soon after he began to concentrate on landscape painting. He spent summers sketching in the Catskills, Adirondacks, and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, making hundreds of drawings and oil sketches that were later incorporated into finished academy pieces which helped to define the Hudson River School.

Durand is remembered particularly for his detailed portrayals of trees, rocks, and foliage. He was an advocate for drawing directly from nature with as much realism as possible. [1]

Credits and Attributions:

Image:  The Beeches by Asher Brown Durand, PD|100. Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:The Beeches MET DT75.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, (accessed January 12, 2023).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Asher Brown Durand,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed January 12, 2023).


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#FineArtFriday: Wanderer in the Storm by Carl Julius von Leypold 1835

Karl_Julius_von_Leypold_-_Wanderer_im_SturmArtist: Carl Julius von Leypold  (1806–1874)

Title: Wanderer in the Storm

Date: 1835

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: height: 42.5 cm (16.7 in); width: 56.5 cm (22.2 in)

Collection: Metropolitan Museum of Art

What I love about this painting:

This painting completely describes the weather we’re experiencing this week in the cold, dark, and stormy Pacific Northwest—wind and rain and rain and wind. Winter is in full swing. Hopefully, we will avoid having more snow and ice, but it’s only January. Anything can be lurking around the corner.

I love the dark and moody sky that von Leypold paints for us. It has movement, a sense of life, of wind and rain gathering momentum, a small pause while it builds toward a tantrum of the wintery kind.

One can almost hear the water lapping at the shore. Beyond the muddy lane, the trees are like me, old but strong, holding their barren branches defiant before the storm. They seem to shout, “We will bend but never break!” and by bending with the winds, those trees will survive to see yet another blossoming of spring.

The ancient stone wall stands firm, still doing its duty despite being long neglected and left to ruin. It refuses to abandon its purpose, although it no longer remembers what that might be.

The man trudges purposefully, despite the wind that whips at his long coat. Does he feel the cold, or is he walking quickly enough that he is warm? And where is he going? Who is he so intent upon seeing that he would brave the storm on foot?

There is a story in this painting.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Carl Julius von Leypold (1806–1874) was a German Romantic landscape painter known for his painting, “Wanderer in the Storm.”

Von Leypold studied landscape painting with Johan Christian Dahl at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts between 1820 and 1829. From 1826 onwards, Caspar David Friedrich influenced his choice of subjects and painting style. His landscapes are characterized by “a painterly, but at the same time sharp-brushed style, in which high painting culture is combined with Biedermeier objectivity.”

On March 5, 1857, he became an honorary member of the Dresden Art Academy. [1]

Credits and Attributions:

Image: Wanderer in the Storm by Carl Julius von Leypold PD|100. Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Karl Julius von Leypold – Wanderer im Sturm.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, (accessed January 5, 2023).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Carl Julius von Leypold,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed January 5, 2023).


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