Tag Archives: 19th century art

#FineArtFriday: The Gleaners by Jean-François Millet 1857

Title: The Gleaners by Jean-François Millet  (1814–1875)

Genre: genre art

Date: 1857

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 83.5 cm (32.8 in); Width: 110 cm (43.3 in)

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Wikipedia says: Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest.

In nearly all paintings showing this labor, artists painted poor women doing the work of gleaning. Historically, the majority of impoverished families were headed by single, usually widowed, working women, who had few opportunities for employment and were paid less for their labor than men. This trend of lower pay for women overall continues, with the US Census reporting on Sep 10, 2019 that the median income for households maintained by single women  was $45,128,  as compared to households maintained by single men, who had a median income of $61,518 in 2018.

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About the Artist: 

Jean-François Millet (October 4, 1814 – January 20, 1875) was a French artist and one of the founders of the Barbizon school in rural France. Millet is noted for his paintings of peasant farmers and can be categorized as part of the Realism art movement. Toward the end of his career he became increasingly interested in painting pure landscapes. He is known best for his oil paintings but is also noted for his pastels, conte crayon drawings, and etchings.

About The Gleaners (1857) via Wikipedia:

This is one of the most well known of Millet’s paintings. While Millet was walking the fields around Barbizon, one theme returned to his pencil and brush for seven years—gleaning—the centuries-old right of poor women and children to remove the bits of grain left in the fields following the harvest. He found the theme an eternal one, linked to stories from the Old Testament. In 1857, he submitted the painting The Gleaners to the Salon to an unenthusiastic, even hostile, public.

(Earlier versions include a vertical composition painted in 1854, an etching of 1855–56 which directly presaged the horizontal format of the painting now in the Musée d’Orsay.)

A warm golden light suggests something sacred and eternal in this daily scene where the struggle to survive takes place. During his years of preparatory studies, Millet contemplated how best to convey the sense of repetition and fatigue in the peasants’ daily lives. Lines traced over each woman’s back lead to the ground and then back up in a repetitive motion identical to their unending, backbreaking labor. Along the horizon, the setting sun silhouettes the farm with its abundant stacks of grain, in contrast to the large shadowy figures in the foreground. The dark homespun dresses of the gleaners cut robust forms against the golden field, giving each woman a noble, monumental strength.


Credits and Attributions:

The Gleaners, by Jean-François Millet / Public domain. Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Jean-François Millet – Gleaners – Google Art Project 2.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Jean-Fran%C3%A7ois_Millet_-_Gleaners_-_Google_Art_Project_2.jpg&oldid=371550893 (accessed July 31, 2020).

Wikipedia contributors, “Gleaning,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gleaning&oldid=952834082 (accessed July 31, 2020).

Wikipedia contributors, “Jean-François Millet,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia,  https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jean-Fran%C3%A7ois_Millet&oldid=956877005 (accessed July 31, 2020).

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#FineArtFriday: Kidd’s Omnibus outside the Angel Inn, Brentford, c. 1840, by James Pollard

Title: Kidd’s Omnibus Outside the Angel Inn, Brentford

Artist: James Pollard

Genre: Genre Calendar Illustrations

Medium: Aquatint

Date: circa 1840 [1]

Today’s Fine Art Friday offering is Genre Art, a scene originally published in a calendar. In most working class homes, the only secular art that was hung on the walls were prints, many of which originated in calendars, as most people couldn’t afford to buy original art.

Since the mid-1700s, printed wall calendars have historically been a good source of advertising for small to large businesses. To this day, many supermarkets and hardware companies give illustrated wall calendars away for free to customers as promotional merchandise.

About the Artist, via artnet and Wikipedia:

James Pollard was a British painter best known for his depictions of horse-drawn carriages, fox hunting, and other equestrian scenes. Born in 1792 in Islington, United Kingdom to the painter and publisher Robert Pollard the Elder, he went on to work for his father’s firm as a draftsman and engraver. While working for his father, he was commissioned by a print seller named Edward Orme to paint an inn’s signboard, which would depict a mail-coach with horses and passengers. This commission launched the artist’s career, for the signpost was seen by many prospective patrons. Pollard went on to exhibit his work at the Royal Academy and the British Institution in London. Today, his works are in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Tate Gallery in London, and the Denver Art Museum, among others. Pollard died in 1867 in London, United Kingdom. [2]

Between 1821 and 1839, James Pollard exhibited at the Royal Academy. He exhibited at the British Institution in 1824 and 1844. During his career, he also worked with John Frederick Herring, Sr. on several horse racing paintings in which he painted the backgrounds and spectators while Herring painted the horses. [3]

What I like about this image:

This painting of Kidd’s Omnibus was created for a circa 1840 calendar by James Pollard, who was considered an adequate draftsman and illustrator in his day. It was most likely printed in his father, painter and publisher, Robert Pollard’s, printshop, as he was his father’s primary illustrator. [4]

In this illustration, we see the historical origination of urban public transportation – the Horsebus, or Omnibus. We have shortened the term to just ‘bus’ in the context of public transportation. Most  omnibuses were like cabs, in that they were owned by the drivers. However, since the drivers plied their trade on a regular route, they could carry more people. They could charge a lesser fare that the working class could afford, and still make a living.

According to Wikipedia:

horse-bus or horse-drawn omnibus was a large, enclosed and sprung horse-drawn vehicle used for passenger transport before the introduction of motor vehicles. It was mainly used in the late 19th century in both the United States and Europe and was one of the most common means of transportation in cities. In a typical arrangement, two wooden benches along the sides of the passenger cabin held several sitting passengers facing each other. The driver sat on a separate, front-facing bench, typically in an elevated position outside the passengers’ enclosed cabin. In the main age of horse buses, many of them were double-decker buses. On the upper deck, which was uncovered, the longitudinal benches were arranged back to back. [5]


Credits and Attributions

[1] Kidd’s Omnibus outside the Angel Inn, Brentford, c. 1840, by James Pollard, via Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Kidd’s Omnibus outside the Angel Inn, Brentford, c. 1840, by James Pollard.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Kidd%27s_Omnibus_outside_the_Angel_Inn,_Brentford,_c._1840,_by_James_Pollard.jpg&oldid=195379488 (accessed July 23, 2020).

James Pollard (Life time: (1792–1867) – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons. (Original text: Original publication: UK Immediate source: Sammlung Fane de Salis: ephemera, from an old calendar.) This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1925.

[2] James Pollard, Biography, artnet contributor, via artnet: http://www.artnet.com/artists/james-pollard/ accessed 23 July 2020.

[3] James Pollard, Wikipedia contributors, “James Pollard,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=James_Pollard&oldid=838787787 (accessed July 23, 2020).

[4] Wikipedia contributors, “Robert Pollard (engraver),” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Robert_Pollard_(engraver)&oldid=918903796 (accessed July 23, 2020).

[5] Wikipedia contributors, “Horsebus,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Horsebus&oldid=956355839 (accessed July 23, 2020).

 

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#FineArtFriday: Hope by George Frederic Watts 1886

Title: Hope, by George Frederic Watts

Date: 1886

Genre: allegory

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions Height: 142.2 cm (55.9 in); Width: 111.8 cm (44 in)

Collection:  Tate Britain

Notes: Presented by George Frederic Watts 1897

What I love about this painting:

This painting strikes home with me. Hope is blindfolded, battered, dressed in rags, and cast adrift in the universe. She clings to a lyre upon which only one string remains—yet Hope turns her head to hear the sound of that one string. The lone star in the sky is nearly invisible, yet it is there, deliberately placed. Watts’s choice of symbols for this allegory and the stark layout of the composition combine to create a powerful idea—Hope makes music with one string when nothing else remains.

About this painting (via Wikipedia):

Hope is a Symbolist oil painting by the English painter George Frederic Watts, who completed the first two versions in 1886. Radically different from previous treatments of the subject, it shows a lone blindfolded female figure sitting on a globe, playing a lyre that has only a single string remaining. The background is almost blank, its only visible feature a single star. Watts intentionally used symbolism not traditionally associated with hope to make the painting’s meaning ambiguous. While his use of colour in Hope was greatly admired, at the time of its exhibition many critics disliked the painting. Hope proved popular with the Aesthetic Movement, who considered beauty the primary purpose of art and were unconcerned by the ambiguity of its message. Reproductions in platinotype, and later cheap carbon prints, soon began to be sold.

Although Watts received many offers to buy the painting, he had agreed to donate his most important works to the nation and felt it would be inappropriate not to include Hope. Consequently, later in 1886 Watts and his assistant Cecil Schott painted a second version. On its completion Watts sold the original and donated the copy to the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum); thus, this second version is better known than the original. He painted at least two further versions for private sale.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

George Frederic Watts OM RA (23 February 1817, in London – 1 July 1904) was a British painter and sculptor associated with the Symbolist movement. He said “I paint ideas, not things.” Watts became famous in his lifetime for his allegorical works, such as Hope and Love and Life. These paintings were intended to form part of an epic symbolic cycle called the “House of Life”, in which the emotions and aspirations of life would all be represented in a universal symbolic language.


Credits and Attributions:

Hope, by George Frederic Watts 1885. Wikipedia contributors, “Hope (painting),” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hope_(painting)&oldid=946584185 (accessed March 27, 2020).

Wikipedia contributors, “Hope (painting),” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hope_(painting)&oldid=946584185 (accessed March 27, 2020).

Wikipedia contributors, “George Frederic Watts,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=George_Frederic_Watts&oldid=947120342 (accessed March 27, 2020).

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#FineArtFriday: Street Scene on a Rainy Day by Francesco Miralles Galup (ca. 1891)

What I love about this painting:

We see a perfect rainy spring afternoon in a busy cosmopolitan city. It could have been any large city at the end of the 19th century. The street is busy, full of carriages, and pedestrians must be careful where they step.

A cart full of flowers passes in the background, headed for the market. Two well-dressed ladies dodge puddles in their effort to cross the street. Around them, shoppers gossip and umbrellas abound.

Like every chihuahua I’ve ever known, the little dog is miserable, unhappy with the damp.

 

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Francisco Miralles Galup was born Francesc Miralles i Galaup (6 April 1848, Valencia – 30 October 1901, Barcelona). He was a Catalan painter, best known for his realistic scenes of bourgeois life and high society.

When he turned eighteen, he received parental permission (and financial support) to study in Paris, where he would remain until 1893, with occasional visits home. During his first years there, he copied masterworks at the Louvre and may have worked briefly with Alexandre Cabanel. He eventually had several small studios in Montmartre and on the Rue Laffitte.

He exhibited regularly at the Salon and the Sala Parés, back home in Barcelona. He also became a client of the well-known art dealership Goupil & Cie, attracting wealthy buyers throughout Europe and America. This was a relief to his family, who had initially been concerned that they might have to support him indefinitely. Their ability to do so had been compromised as they had lost much of their fortune in the Panic of 1866 and were losing more of it as they paid off their debts. In fact, they eventually moved to Paris so he could help support them.


Credits and Attributions:

Escena de carrer c1891, Francisco Miralles Galup / Public domain

Wikipedia contributors, “Francesc Miralles i Galaup,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Francesc_Miralles_i_Galaup&oldid=894995022 (accessed February 28, 2020).

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