Category Archives: #FineArtFriday

#FineArtFriday: Rallé: Madonna Without a Child (revisited)

Madonna Without a Child; oil on board by Ralle CC-3.0-SSA

Madonna Without a Child; oil on board by Ralle CC-3.0-SSA

Today I am going back to my first #FineArtFriday post, Madonna Without a Child by Rallé. It was with this original post that I first realized that I could study art and art history, even though I am a middle-aged housewife living in a small town two hours away from the nearest art museum. I can go to the internet and through the wonders of Wikimedia Commons, I have thousands of images of the greatest masterpieces at my viewing pleasure.

I can zoom in to examine the smallest details. I can look up information about the picture itself from both Wikipedia and the worlds finest art museums. If anything is known about the artist I can find that information too.

How fortunate I am to live in a time when a thirst for knowledge can be satisfied so easily.

To all the art historians of the world whose research is out there on the internet, I say thank you. I was unable to study this subject in college, but I am neck deep in it now because of your efforts.

And now, my original post.


(Via Wikipedia) Rallé, also known as Master of the Town of Consuls (MTC), is an American artist whose work has most recently been shown in the Meisel Gallery[1][2] and the Bruce R. Lewin Fine Art[3] in New York City. His paintings have accompanied several articles in the magazine Omni, and appeared as covers of several books. Rallé’s work has also been featured in Time Life Books,[4]Esquire, Penthouse, Gulf-Commentator, Toronto Life, Graphics Annual and American Illustration 3.[5]He published an autobiography in 2003, which won the 2004 Sappi European Printer of the Year gold award.

Viewing art inspires my personal creativity as much as listening to music or reading does. The eye of the artist sees things from a different angle, is inspired by things we might at first see as mundane or inconsequential. This is also true about literature, and music.

For me as an author and would-be poet, the world is comprised of myriad different genres, styles, and interpretations of the diverse forms of art. I think this is because all art, whether created of words, paint, images, or sound is filtered through the mind of the artist, photographer, composer, or author and is interpreted by the mind of the beholder.

Inspired by what I behold, I become a creator.

The late Surrealist Artist, René Magritte, said, “The searching intelligence sharpens when it Sees the meaning in poetic images. This meaning goes with the moral certainty that we  belong to the World. And so, this actual belonging becomes a right to belong. The changing content of these poetic images tallies with the richness of our moral certainty. It does not happen at will, it does not obey any system, whether logical or illogical, rigid or fanciful.”


Quote from Literary Hub:  Poetry is a Pipe: Selected Writings of René Magritte ©  René Magritte September 29, 2016

Selected Writings of René Magritte,  Copyright © 2016 by Kathleen Rooney and Eric Plattner, University of Minnesota Press

Quote from Rallé (Artist) Author: Wikipedia contributors / Publisher: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

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#FineArtFriday: The Proposition by Judith Leyster 1631

What I love about this painting is how honest Judith Leyster is when detailing the realities of life in her time and in her city. Here, a young woman is pressured to enter into a relationship with a man she has no interest in. He clearly feels he has the right to compel her to sell her virtue, and she clearly ignores him.

Male artists of the time, Leyster’s husband, Jan Meinse Molenaer included, rarely painted genre pictures of young women other than in taverns or other low-life situations. Commissioned portraits of noble and merchant class women they painted in great abundance, but simple, modest women of good virtue? Rarely.

Leyster, on the other hand, had both the talent and because she was a woman, she had the freedom to paint whatever she wanted. As long as she managed the house and raised the children, she could paint whatever moved her.

The artistic talent of women has been so disregarded historically that, despite her signature, her art and her talent were attributed (after her death) to her husband and to Franz Hals.

About the Painting (Via Wikipedia):

“The Proposition” is a genre painting of 1631 by Judith Leyster, now in the Mauritshuis in The Hague, who title it “Man offering money to a young woman.” It depicts a woman, sewing by candlelight, as a man leans over her, touching her right shoulder with his left hand. He is offering her coins in his right hand, but she is apparently ignoring the offer and concentrating intently upon her sewing.

The man wears dark clothing, and the dark tones, as well as his shadow cast behind him and across his face from the angle of the candlelight, give him a looming appearance. In contrast, the woman is lit fully in the face by the candlelight and wears a white blouse.

It is an early work by Leyster, who was only 22 years old in 1631.

Also, From Wikipedia:

(The painting’s) most distinctive feature is how different it is to other contemporary Dutch and Flemmish “sexual proposition” paintings, many falling into the Merry company genre. The convention for the genre, a common one at the time, was for the characters to be bawdy, and clearly both interested in sex, for money. The dress would be provocative, the facial expressions suggestive, and sometimes there would be a third figure of an older woman acting as a procuress. Indeed, in The Procuress by Dirck van Baburen, an example of the genre, that is exactly the case.

In contrast, in The Proposition the woman is depicted not as a whore but as an ordinary housewife, engaged in a simple everyday domestic chore. She isn’t dressed provocatively. She does not display her bosom (but rather her blouse covers her all of the way to her neck). No ankles are visible. And she displays no interest in sex or even in the man at all. Contemporary Dutch literature stated the sort of activity in which she is engaged to be the proper behaviour for virtuous women in idle moments.[2] Kirstin Olsen observed that male art critics “so completely missed the point” that the woman is, in contrast to other works, not welcoming the man’s proposition that they mistakenly named the painting The Tempting Offer.

The foot warmer, whose glowing coals are visible beneath the hem of the woman’s skirt, was a pictorial code of the time, and represented the woman’s marital status. A foot warmer wholly under the skirt indicated a married woman who was unavailable, as it does in The Proposition. A foot warmer projecting halfway out from under the skirt with the woman’s foot visible on it indicated one who might be receptive to a male suitor. And, a foot warmer that is not under the woman at all, and empty of coals, indicated a single woman. This code can also be seen in Vermeer’s The Milkmaid and Dou’s The Young Mother.

About the Artist:

Judith Jans Leyster (also Leijster) (c. July 28, 1609[1]– February 10, 1660) was a Dutch Golden Age painter. She painted genre works, portraits, and still lifes. Her entire oeuvre was attributed to Frans Hals or to her husband, Jan Miense Molenaer, until 1893 when Hofstede de Groot first attributed seven paintings to her, six of which are signed with her distinctive monogram ‘JL*’. Misattribution of her works to Molenaer may have been because after her death many of her paintings were inventoried as “the wife of Molenaer”, not as Judith Leyster.

She signed her works with a monogram of her initials “JL” with a star attached: JL* This was a play on words; “Leister” meant “Lead star” in Dutch and was for Dutch mariners of the time the common name for the North Star. The Leistar was the name of her father’s brewery in Haarlem.

(Only occasionally did she sign her works with her full name.)

She specialized in portrait-like genre scenes of, typically, one to three figures, who generally exude good cheer, and are shown against a plain background. Many are children; others men with drink. Leyster was particularly innovative in her domestic genre scenes. These are quiet scenes of women at home, often with candle- or lamplight, particularly from a woman’s point of view


Sources and Attributions:

Wikipedia contributors, “The Proposition (painting),” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Proposition_(painting)&oldid=851982429 (accessed February 1, 2019).

Wikipedia contributors, “Judith Leyster,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Judith_Leyster&oldid=820769951(accessed February 1, 2019).

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#FineArtFriday: Three Fisher Girls, Tynemouth by Winslow Homer

In Three Fisher Girls, Tynemouth,  Winslow Homer captures the personalities and the youth of the girls who comb the cold beach for shellfish. The viewer wonders, are they good friends, or perhaps sisters? Rain has darkened the day and scarves protect their ears from the wind, yet they’ve rolled their sleeves up and fish in their ordinary work dresses. These hardy young women feed their family, and perhaps they gather enough extra to sell.

About this Image, Via Wikipedia:

Homer spent two years (1881–1882) in the English coastal village of CullercoatsTyne and Wear. Many of the paintings at Cullercoats took as their subjects working men and women and their daily heroism, imbued with a solidity and sobriety which was new to Homer’s art, presaging the direction of his future work. He wrote, “The women are the working bees. Stout hardy creatures.” His works from this period are almost exclusively watercolors. His palette became constrained and sober; his paintings larger, more ambitious, and more deliberately conceived and executed. His subjects more universal and less nationalistic, more heroic by virtue of his unsentimental rendering. Although he moved away from the spontaneity and bright innocence of the American paintings of the 1860s and 1870s, Homer found a new style and vision which carried his talent into new realms.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia

Winslow Homer never taught in a school or privately, as did Thomas Eakins, but his works strongly influenced succeeding generations of American painters for their direct and energetic interpretation of man’s stoic relationship to an often neutral and sometimes harsh wilderness. Robert Henri called Homer’s work an “integrity of nature”.American illustrator and teacher Howard Pyle revered Homer and encouraged his students to study him. His student and fellow illustrator, N. C. Wyeth (and through him Andrew Wyeth and Jamie Wyeth), shared the influence and appreciation, even following Homer to Maine for inspiration.  The elder Wyeth’s respect for his antecedent was “intense and absolute” and can be observed in his early work Mowing (1907). Perhaps Homer’s austere individualism is best captured in his admonition to artists: “Look at nature, work independently, and solve your own problems.”


Credits and Attributions:

Three Fisher Girls, Tynemouth, by Winslow Homer 1881 [Public domain] watercolor over graphite on wove paper, via Wikimedia Commons (accessed January 25, 2019).

Wikipedia contributors, “Winslow Homer,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Winslow_Homer&oldid=877771053 (accessed January 25, 2019).

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#FineArtFriday: Saint George and the Dragon by Paolo Uccello 1470

The above painting by Paolo Uccello, from around 1470,  is a surreal, stylized retelling of the legend of Saint George and the Dragon. The legend tells of the knight slaying a dragon that demanded human sacrifices. With the slaying of the dragon, the hero has saved the princess who was chosen to be the next offering.

Nothing looks real except the dragon. I love how hyper-heroic Uccello portrayed horses. The people are pallid, with no personality to their features. The dragon and the horse are alive, as if the scene is about them only. All the passion of the moment converges in the dragon and the horse.

Done in oil on canvas, the painting was one of the last of Uccello’s creations.

According to Wikipedia, the Fount of All Knowledge: The narrative (of Saint George) has pre-Christian origins (Jason and MedeaPerseus and AndromedaTyphon, etc.),[1] and is recorded in various saints’ lives prior to its attribution to St George specifically. It was particularly attributed to Saint Theodore Tiro in the 9th and 10th centuries, and was first transferred to Saint George in the 11th century. The earliest narrative record of Saint George slaying a dragon is found in a Georgian text of the 11th century.

About the Artist (via Wikipedia)

Born Paolo di Dono, his nickname, Uccello (of the birds), came from his fondness for painting birds. He worked in the Late Gothic tradition, emphasizing colour and pageantry rather than the classical realism that other artists were pioneering. His style is best described as idiosyncratic (eccentric or unique), and he left no school of followers.

With his precise and analytical mind, Paolo Uccello tried to apply a scientific method to depict objects in three-dimensional space. In particular, some of his studies of the perspective foreshortening of the torus are preserved, and one standard display of drawing skill was his depiction of the mazzocchio.[10]

In the words of G. C. Argan: “Paolo’s rigour is similar to the rigour of Cubists in the early 20th century, whose images were more true when they were less true to life. Paolo constructs space through perspective, and historic event through the structure of space; if the resulting image is unnatural and unrealistic, so much the worse for nature and history.”[11]

The perspective in his paintings has influenced many famous painters, such as Piero della FrancescaAlbrecht Dürer and Leonardo da Vinci, to name a few.


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Paolo Uccello 047.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Paolo_Uccello_047.jpg&oldid=308602797  (accessed January 18, 2019).

Wikipedia contributors, “Paolo Uccello,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Paolo_Uccello&oldid=873078862  (accessed January 18, 2019).

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#FineArtFriday: A Guardroom by Abraham Teniers

I have often said that to write about medieval and pre-industrial revolution societies, you must go to art to get the facts. This painting, attributed to Abraham Teniers, is a symbolic piece showing the transience of life and the certainty of death.

He shows us a guardroom. Abraham Teniers served as a captain of the local civil militia of Antwerp and was fond of painting guardroom scenes.

This particular scene is intriguing to me, because of the way the jumble of disjointed metal armor completely dominates the painting. In the foreground, in the light, we see flintlock pistols, muskets, breast plates, leg guards, vambraces, a drum, swords and other steel weaponry, and several helmets—all cast into a corner.

Almost unnoticed in the background, peasant soldiers are shown smoking and drinking before a fireplace. They are deliberately kept in the background of the picture, an allegory for the fleetingness of life.

The armor depicted in the picture was of a style no longer in use at the time it was painted. Metal armor was falling out of use by the time Abraham Teniers was born. Plate had lost its effectiveness as guns became the weaponry of choice. It is the allegory representing death.

Abraham is not the most famous of the Teniers family, but he was a talented and skilled painter. In this scene, he makes good use of chiaroscuro, strong contrasts between light and dark.

About the artist (from Wikipedia):

Abraham Teniers (1 March 1629 – 26 September 1670) was a Flemish painter and engraver who specialized in genre paintings of villages, inns and monkey scenes. He was a member of artist family Teniers which came to prominence in the 17th century. He was also active as a publisher. He was responsible for the publication of the Theatrum Pictorium (‘Theatre of Paintings’), the project initiated by his brother David to make a set of engravings of the entire art collection of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm.

Like his brother David before him, Abraham found appreciation at the court in Brussels and the art-loving Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria – then the governor of the Southern Netherlands and a resident of Brussels – appointed him as court painter.


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Abraham Teniers – Een wachtlokaal, 1 (Prado).jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Abraham_Teniers_-_Een_wachtlokaal,_1_(Prado).jpg&oldid=267098550 (accessed January 3, 2019).

Wikipedia contributors, “Abraham Teniers,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Abraham_Teniers&oldid=871305163 (accessed January 3, 2019).

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#FineArtFriday: Tavern with a pair of dancers by David Teniers II

About the Artist, from Wikipedia:

David Teniers II was known as a hard worker who was extremely prolific. About two thousand paintings are thought to have been painted by the artist. He was extremely versatile and tried his hand at all the genres then practiced in Flanders including history, genre, landscape, portrait and still life.

Teniers is particularly known for developing the peasant genre, the tavern scene and scenes with alchemists and physicians. He also painted many religious scenes among which stand out his many compositions treating the subjects of the Temptation of St Anthony and hermit saints in grottoes or deserts.

A major influence on David Teniers the Younger’s early work was the work of the Flemish painter Adriaen Brouwer.

The personal style of Teniers was visible from the outset. An important distinction was that, unlike Brouwer who placed these genre scenes mainly indoors, Teniers gradually moved his scenes into the open air and started to give the landscape a major place in his work from the 1640s. This was a common development in Flemish painting at the time. The smoky and monochrome tonality of the interiors from the 1630s was replaced by a luminous, silvery atmosphere, in which the peasants sit at their ease, conversing or playing cards. These paintings show a radical move towards a more positive attitude towards country life and the peasantry than was reflected in his earlier satirical pieces influenced by Brouwer.

In the 18th century, Parisian collectors eagerly competed to lay their hands on Teniers’ works. They knew the artist chiefly for his idealized scenes of rural life, paintings of village feasts, interiors with peasants and guardroom scenes. Teniers’ work was very much admired by French painters of that time.


Credits and Attributions

“Tavern with a pair of dancers” by David Teniers II. Oil on canvas. Munich, Germany. Bavarian State Picture Gallery via Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:David Teniers II Taverna s paroi Tanz (1645).jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:David_Teniers_II_Taverna_s_paroi_Tanz_(1645).jpg&oldid=222921557 (accessed December 28, 2018).

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#FineArtFriday on a Monday: Vintage Christmas Card, by Jenny Nystrom

Merry Christmas from my home to yours! The above image is a quintessential Swedish Christmas card, illustrated by Jenny Nystrom, (1854 – 1946).

Jenny Eugenia Nyström (13 or 15 June 1854 in KalmarSweden – 17 January 1946 in Stockholm) was a painter and illustrator  who is mainly known as the person who created the Swedish image of the jultomte on numerous Christmas cards and magazine covers, thus linking the Swedish version of Santa Claus to the gnomes of Scandinavian folklore. [1]

While in Paris, she discovered the booming postcard market, and tried to persuade the Swedish publishing house Bonnier to start producing postcards, but they declined. Lille Viggs äventyr på julafton (“Little Vigg’s Adventures on Christmas Eve”), written by the author Viktor Rydberg inspired Jenny Nyström. She made drawings accompanying this tale. Viktor Rydberg saw them and suggested the Bonniers publishing company to release the book. After they declined, publisher S. A. Hedlund released it in 1871. The short Christmas tale for all ages was widely printed and has since become a Christmas classic in Sweden. Jenny Nyström eventually became Sweden’s most productive painter and illustrator. For many years, her illustrations were distributed by Strålin & Persson AB in Falun .


Credits and Attributions

Wikipedia contributors, “Jenny Nyström,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jenny_Nystr%C3%B6m&oldid=837676901 (accessed December 24, 2018).

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Nystrom God-Jul 21.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Nystrom_God-Jul_21.jpg&oldid=260790882 (accessed December 24, 2018).

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#FineArtFriday: A Christmas Carol, revisited

Today’s images are two illustrations by John Leech from the first edition of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens,  published in book form in 1843.  The body of this post first appeared here on Dec, 23, 2015. This is the first time I have included the original art of John Leech, which Dickens himself chose to include in the book.

From Wikipedia: John Leech (29 August 1817 – 29 October 1864 in London) was a British caricaturist and illustrator.[1] He is best known for his work for Punch, a humorous magazine for a broad middle-class audience, combining verbal and graphic political satire with light social comedy. Leech catered to contemporary prejudices, such as anti-Americanism and antisemitism and supported acceptable social reforms. Leech’s critical yet humorous cartoons on the Crimean War help shape public attitudes toward heroism, warfare, and Britons’ role in the world.[2][3]

Four of John Leech’s etchings were included in the first edition of A Christmas Carol.


Another Christmas is about to join the Ghosts of Christmas Past–although, until December 26th, it is still the Ghost of Christmas Present. And as always, I want to talk about my favorite Christmas story of all time, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens.

Charles Dickens was a master when it came to creating marvelous hooks and using heavy foreshadowing. Let’s have a look at the first lines of this tale:

“Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a doornail.”

In that first paragraph, Dickens  tosses out the bait, sinking the hook, and landing the fish (the reader) by foreshadowing the first plot point of the story–the visitation by Marley’s ghost. We want to know why Marley’s definite state of decay was so important that the conversation between you the reader, and Dickens the author, was launched with that topic.

He picks it up and does it again several pages later, with the little scene involving the door-knocker, where Scrooge sees the face of his late business partner superimposed over the knocker.

At this point we’ve followed Scrooge through several scenes introducing the subplots. We have met the man who, as yet, is named only as ‘the clerk’ in the original manuscript, but whom we will later know to be Bob Cratchit, and we’ve met Scrooge’s nephew, Fred.

These subplots are critical, as our man Scrooge’s redemption revolves around the ultimate resolution of these two separate mini-stories–he must witness the joy and love in Cratchit’s family, who are suffering but happy in the midst of grinding poverty for which Scrooge bears a responsibility. We see that his nephew, Fred, though orphaned is well off in his own right, but craves a relationship with his uncle with no thought or care of what he might gain from it financially.

All the characters are in place. We’ve seen the city, cold and dark, with danger lurking in the shadows. We’ve observed the way Scrooge interacts with everyone around him, strangers and acquaintances alike. Now we come to the first plot point in Dickens’ story arc–Marley’s visitation. This is where the set-up ends and the story begins to take off.

I love tales of redemption–and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens remains one of the most beloved tales of redemption in the Western canon. Written in  1843 as a serialized novella, A Christmas Carol continues to inspire adaptations, in both movies and books.

This is a short tale, but it is a deeply moving allegory of the Christian concept of redemption that remains pertinent in modern society.

In this tale, Dickens asks you to recognize the plight of those whom the Industrial Revolution has displaced and driven into poverty, and the obligation of society to provide for them humanely. This is a concept our society continues to struggle with, and perhaps will for a long time to come.

It is that deep, underlying call for compassion that resonates down through the centuries, a call that is, unfortunately, timeless.


Credits and Attributions:

The Art of Foreshadowing: Charles Dickens, first appeared here on Life in the Realm of Fantasy, on Dec. 23, 2015.

Wikipedia contributors, “John Leech (caricaturist),” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=John_Leech_(caricaturist)&oldid=871947694 (accessed December 21, 2018).

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Christmascarol1843 — 040.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Christmascarol1843_–_040.jpg&oldid=329166198 (accessed December 21, 2018)

A colourised edit of an engraving of Charles Dickens’ “Ghost of Christmas Present” character, by John Leech in 1843. Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Ghost of Christmas Present John Leech 1843.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Ghost_of_Christmas_Present_John_Leech_1843.jpg&oldid=329172654 (accessed December 21, 2018).

 

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#FineArtFriday: Slindebirken Vinter by J. C. Dahl 1838

Slindebjørka or Slindebirken was a birch tree that stood at Inner Slinde in Sogn, Norway, until it was blown down in a storm in 1874. The tree was beloved, considered a Norwegian national treasure. People came from all over Western Norway to see the tree and picnic beneath its branches.

What I love about this painting is the personality embodied in the birch tree itself as Dahl depicts it. The tree stands proudly, offering a place for birds to rest. It seems to represent the Norwegian spirit of independence, taking what nature throws at it with humor and stoicism.

Dahl’s portrayal is powerful, showing the bent and bowed branches held high despite the barrenness of winter. The image shows a tree that intends to be there when spring comes, as do the people of the village it overlooks.

About the Artist (from Wikipedia)

Johan Christian Claussen Dahl (24 February 1788 – 14 October 1857), often known as J. C. Dahl or I. C. Dahl, was a Norwegian artist who is considered the first great romantic painter in Norway, the founder of the “golden age” of Norwegian painting, and one of the greatest European artists of all time.[1] He is often described as “the father of Norwegian landscape painting”[2] and is regarded as the first Norwegian Painter ever to reach a level of artistic accomplishment comparable to that attained by the greatest European artists of his day. He was also the first to acquire genuine fame and cultural renown abroad.[3] As one critic has put it, “J.C. Dahl occupies a central position in Norwegian artistic life of the first half of the 19th century.[4]

As a boy, Dahl was educated by a sympathetic mentor at the Bergen Cathedral who at first thought that this bright student would make a good priest, but then, recognizing his remarkably precocious artistic ability, arranged for him to be trained as an artist. From 1803 to 1809 Dahl studied with the painter Johan Georg Müller [no], whose workshop was the most important one in Bergen at the time. Still, Dahl looked back on his teacher as having kept him in ignorance in order to exploit him, putting him to work painting theatrical sets, portraits, and views of Bergen and its surroundings. Another mentor, Lyder Sagen, showed the aspiring artist books about art and awakened his interest in historical and patriotic subjects. It was also Sagen who took up a collection that made it possible for Dahl to go to Copenhagen in 1811 to complete his education at the academy there.

As important as Dahl’s studies at the academy in Copenhagen were his experiences in the surrounding countryside and in the city’s art collections. In 1812 he wrote to Sagen that the landscape artists he most wished to emulate were Ruisdahl and Everdingen, and for that reason he was studying “nature above all,” Dahl’s artistic program was, then, already in place: he would become a part of the great landscape tradition, but he would also be as faithful as possible to nature itself.


Credits and Attributions:

Slindebirken, Vinter by Johan Christian Dahl 1838 [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons

Wikipedia contributors, “Johan Christian Dahl,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Johan_Christian_Dahl&oldid=866337453 (accessed December 14, 2018).

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#FineArtFriday: Romantic Winter Landscape with Ice Skaters by a Castle, by Albert Bredow

I love the dreamscape quality of this painting – it’s practically a Christmas card. Peasants, ordinary people living in the shadow of the ruined castle, freely enjoying the day. To look at this picture is to see a fairy tale that wants to be told. Who are these people and why do they live there? What is their connection to the ruined castle? And what is their connection to each other?

The trees, the ice, the snow–the detail is all there, even the warmth of the peasant’s hut. It’s a comforting picture, a moment of contentment.

About the Artist:

Little is known of Albert Bredow’s life. Born Apr 23, 1828 in Germany, and died May 5, 1899 in Moscow, he was well known as a landscape painter, lithographer and stage designer.

From this painting, which is dated near the end of his life, we know he was a romantic, fond of fantasy and fairy tales.

His birthplace in Germany and where he first studied art and set design are unknown. Records do show that he lived and worked in Riga as a stage designer from around 1852 and then in Tallinn. In 1856 he went to Moscow at the invitation of the Directorate of the Imperial Theater. He worked from 1856 to 1862 as a set designer for the Moscow Theater and from 1862 to 1871 the Petersburg Theater.

He is known for his ethereal landscape paintings, which may have been a hobby he pursued more intently later in life since he was actively employed in the theater during his working years. His style of landscape painting must have produced some amazing backdrops for the sets he designed.

In 1863, illustrations of his stage sets for Glinka’s opera “A Life for the Tsar” were considered worthy enough to be published as an album. In 1868 he began his studies at the Petersburg Imperial Art Academy. At the Academy’s art exhibitions, he exhibited his landscapes from Germany and Russia.

The designs of Albert Bredow’s stage sets are in the collection of the Moscow Bachruschin Theater Museum.


Credits and Attributions

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Albert Bredow – Romantic Winter Landscape with Ice Skaters by a Castle.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Albert_Bredow_-_Romantic_Winter_Landscape_with_Ice_Skaters_by_a_Castle.jpg&oldid=282656583 (accessed December 7, 2018).

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