Tag Archives: Fine Art Friday

#FineArtFriday: The Spirit of War by Jasper Francis Cropsey 1851

The spirit of war

Title: The Spirit of War by Jasper Francis Cropsey  (1823–1900)

Genre: landscape

Date: 1851

Medium: painting

Dimensions: Height: 110.8 cm (43.6 in); Width: 171.6 cm (67.5 in)

Collection: National Gallery of Art

Place of creation: United States of America [1]

What I love about this painting:

The Spirit of War by Jasper Francis Cropsey is one of a two-part fantasy that Cropsey painted in 1851; the other is the Spirit of Peace. During Cropsey’s lifetime, these two paintings were his most celebrated, but now he is known more for his ethereal paintings depicting autumn scenes, several of which I have featured here.

This painting was inspired both by the aftermath of the Mexican-American War and the looming threat of the American Civil War. It shows the young artist’s love of Arthurian tales and demonstrates his ability to deliver a story. His signature luminism is still in its infancy here, yet one can see the seeds of what would become a mastery of light and illumination.

Cropsey contrasts light and shadow as if they were good and evil. He paints godlike mountains that reign over deep valleys and strongholds. In the foreground, a strong fortress represents prosperity, her richly attired knights riding out to do battle. In the distance, a citadel burns, the smoke of raging fires billowing toward the darkening sky.

This is a powerful painting, one that tells a story and shows an entire novel.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Jasper Francis Cropsey (February 18, 1823 – June 22, 1900) was an important American landscape artist of the Hudson River School.

Trained as an architect, he set up his own office in 1843. Cropsey studied watercolor and life drawing at the National Academy of Design under the instruction of Edward Maury and first exhibited there in 1844. A year later he was elected an associate member and turned exclusively to landscape painting; shortly after he was featured in an exhibition entitled “Italian Compositions”.

Cropsy traveled in Europe from 1847–1849, visiting England, France, Switzerland, and Italy. He was elected a full member of the Academy in 1851. Cropsey was a personal friend of Henry Tappan, the president of the University of Michigan from 1852 to 1863. At Tappan’s invitation, he traveled to Ann Arbor in 1855 and produced two paintings, one of the Detroit Observatory, and a landscape of the campus. He went abroad again in 1856, and resided seven years in London, sending his pictures to the Royal Academy and to the International exhibition of 1862.

Returning home, he opened a studio in New York and specialized in autumnal landscape paintings of the northeastern United States, often idealized and with vivid colors. Cropsey co-founded, with ten fellow artists, the American Society of Painters in Water Colors in 1866.

Cropsey’s interest in architecture continued throughout his life and was a strong influence in his painting, most evident in his precise arrangement and outline of forms. But Cropsey was best known for his lavish use of color and, as a first-generation member from the Hudson River School, painted autumn landscapes that startled viewers with their boldness and brilliance. As an artist, he believed landscapes were the highest art form and that nature was a direct manifestation of God. He also felt a patriotic affiliation with nature and saw his paintings as depicting the rugged and unspoiled qualities of America. [2]


Credits and Attributions:

[1] Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:The-spirit-of-war.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:The-spirit-of-war.jpg&oldid=565046310 (accessed June 17, 2021).

[2] Wikipedia contributors, “Jasper Francis Cropsey,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jasper_Francis_Cropsey&oldid=1018920537 (accessed June 17, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: Boulevard de la Madeleine in Paris by Frits Thaulow ca 1897

Frits_Thaulow_-_Boulevard_de_la_Madeleine_à_Paris_(1890s)Title: Boulevard de la Madeleine in Paris by Frits Thaulow

Date: circa 1896-1897

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 88.2 cm (34.7 in); Width: 66.3 cm (26.1 in)

Collection: Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts

Inscriptions: Signature and date bottom right: Frits Thaulow (date is unclear)

What I like about this painting:

This is a street scene viewed from an angle we rarely see in paintings. The people and vehicles are small, insignificant in comparison with the size and grandeur of the buildings.

While Thaulow didn’t enjoy painting cityscapes, I think Boulevard de la Madeleine in Paris is one of the best of that era.

The soot from the chimneys in the distance, the wet street, the muted, watery colors of a rainy spring day, and the God’s-eye view of the busy street—it all comes together to present a powerful statement.

About the Artist, Via Wikipedia:

Thaulow was one of the earliest artists to paint in Skagen in the north of Jutland, soon to become famous for its Skagen Painters. He arrived there in 1879 with his friend Christian Krohg, who persuaded him to spend the summer and autumn there. They arrived from Norway in Thaulow’s little boat. Thaulow, who had specialized in marine painting, turned to Skagen’s favourite subjects, the fishermen and the boats on the shore.

Thaulow moved to France in 1892, living there until his death in 1906. He soon discovered that the cityscapes of Paris did not suit him. His best paintings were made in small towns such as Montreuil-sur-Mer (1892–94), Dieppe and surrounding villages (1894–98), Quimperle in Brittany (1901) and Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne in the Corrèze département (1903). One of his most famous works once he moved to france was A village street in France. In Dieppe Thaulow and his wife Alexandra made themselves popular: they were friends with artist Charles Conder, and they met Aubrey Beardsley. [1]


Credits and Attributions:

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Frits Thaulow,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Frits_Thaulow&oldid=1026282924 (accessed June 10, 2021).

Boulevard de la Madeleine in Paris, ca 1896-97 by  Frits Thaulow, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Frits Thaulow – Boulevard de la Madeleine à Paris (1890s).jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Frits_Thaulow_-_Boulevard_de_la_Madeleine_%C3%A0_Paris_(1890s).jpg&oldid=566337323 (accessed June 10, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: A London Garden by Edith Corbet 1911

Edith_Corbet_A_London_gardenTitle: A London Garden

Artist: Edith Corbet (1846-1920)

Description: oil on canvas; 62 x 45 cm

Date: 1911

Signed and dated ‘Edith Corbet/1911’ (lower left).

What I love about this painting:

I love the serenity of older, slightly overgrown gardens. This garden is peaceful, with irises blooming, and beyond the gate, a path winds toward a pool ringed by hyacinths. Further beyond, steps lead to a home. Whoever lives here is lucky to have such a garden out their front door.

Birds find mature shrubbery attractive and make their homes there. Several birds are enjoying the birdbath, secure and safe from predators.

About the artist, via Wikipedia:

Edith Corbet née Edenborough (28 December 1846 – 1920) was a Victorian landscape painter, having close associations with the Macchiaioli group (also known as the Tuscans or Etruscans), who, in a break with tradition, painted outdoors in order to capture natural light effects and favoured a panoramic format for their paintings

She married the Victorian painter and illustrator Arthur Murch and moved to Rome, where she painted with Giovanni Costa, leader of the Macchiaioli group. In 1876 they both stayed in Venice. Olivia Rossetti Agresti wrote: Costa had a very high opinion of this artist’s gifts and used to remember with pleasure how on that occasion they used to go out together to paint from nature at Fusino (Agresti, 1904).

She frequently exhibited from 1880 to 1890 at the Grosvenor Gallery and the New Gallery. In 1891, after the death of her first husband, she married Matthew Ridley Corbet, one of the Macchiaioli group’s leading members, after which she exhibited mainly at the Royal Academy, visiting Italy and living in London for the remainder of her life. Corbet exhibited her work at the Palace of Fine Arts at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. She died in Hampstead, north London, in 1920. [1]


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Edith Corbet A London garden.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Edith_Corbet_A_London_garden.jpg&oldid=555317886 (accessed June 3, 2021).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Edith Corbet,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Edith_Corbet&oldid=936468065 (accessed June 3, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: Tokyo by Carl Randall 2011

Carl-randall-tokyo-painting-cityscapeArtist: Carl Randall (1975 – )

Title: Tokyo

Date: 2011

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 150 cm (59 in); Width: 65 cm (25.5 in)

What I love about this image:

This image shows us the artist’s view of modern 21st Century society before the Covid-19 pandemic, painted predominantly in shades of gray. Technology is the all-knowing, ever-watchful god in this world.

Buildings, filled to capacity, loom over streets jammed with people, most talking into devices. Everyone goes forward, each individual focused on their own goal, unaware of the seething ocean of humanity around them, carried along on the currents and the tide.

About the artist (via Wikipedia):

Carl Randall was born in 1975, in the UK. He is a graduate of The Slade School of Fine Art London (BA Fine Art), the Royal Drawing School London (The Drawing Year), and Tokyo University of the Arts Japan (MFA & PhD Fine Art).

He was awarded The BP Travel Award 2012, for his proposal to walk in the footsteps of the Japanese ukiyo-e printmaker Andō Hiroshige, creating paintings of the people and places of contemporary Japan.  His project involved spending time in Japan resulting in a group of 15 paintings exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London as part of The 2013 BP Portrait Award exhibition, under the title “In the Footsteps of Hiroshige – The Tokaido Highway and Portraits of Modern Japan”. The exhibition subsequently toured to The Aberdeen Art Gallery Scotland, The Wolverhampton Art Gallery England, and then formed his solo exhibition in Japan ‘Portraits from Edo to the Present at The Shizuoka City Tokaido Hiroshige Museum, where the paintings were exhibited alongside Hiroshige’s original The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō woodblock prints. In conjunction with these exhibitions, the book Carl Randall – Japan Portraits was published, illustrating paintings and drawings made in Japan, with a foreword by British author Desmond Morris, and an introduction by the late American writer Donald Richie. A short documentary, Carl Randall – Japan Portraits was also made, showing the artist painting and drawing in Japan His Japan paintings were also the subject of a 2016 ‘World Update’ interview by the BBC World Service (titled ‘Painting the faces in Japan’s crowded cities’), and he was also interviewed by CNN about his Japanese work. [1]

To learn more about Carl Randall and his art, go to Carl Randall – Artist. Contemporary Figurative Painter.

 

Credits and Attributions:

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Carl Randall,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Carl_Randall&oldid=1018005949 (accessed May 27, 2021).

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Carl-randall-tokyo-painting-cityscape.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Carl-randall-tokyo-painting-cityscape.jpg&oldid=504966563 (accessed May 27, 2021). This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International lice

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#FineArtFriday: Bringing down marble from the quarries to Carrara, Sargent 1911 (revisited)

John_Singer_Sargent_-_Bringing_Down_Marble_from_the_Quarries_to_Carrara_(1911)Today we are revisiting a painting I first posted in January of this year,  Bringing down marble from the quarries to Carrara, by John Singer Sargent  (1856–1925). This is a painting that conveys the lives and efforts of quarrymen in the way all of Sargent’s paintings of the working class do. You see the heat they work in, and feel their effort as they go about their tasks in the same way as their fathers did before them, and their grandfathers.

Date: 1911

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 71.4 cm (28.1 in); Width: 91.8 cm (36.1 in)

Collection: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Inscriptions: Signature bottom left: John S. Sargent

What I love about this painting:

This picture details the relentless heat of the day, the back-breaking labor of men cutting marble. This is how quarrying was done prior to World War I, with steam-donkeys and great physical peril. The ropes are huge and heavy, and these men secure the dangerous load with practiced ease.

Carrara Italy is an important center for the extraction and processing of marble. The famous stone is white and exceedingly valuable.

One of Sargent’s great skills was the ability to convey the sensory impressions of an environment, depicting his characters outdoors in all the seasons.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

John Singer Sargent, January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was an American expatriate artist, considered the “leading portrait painter of his generation” for his evocations of Edwardian-era luxury. He created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings. His oeuvre documents worldwide travel, from Venice to the Tyrol, Corfu, the Middle East, Montana, Maine, and Florida.

Born in Florence to American parents, he was trained in Paris before moving to London, living most of his life in Europe. He enjoyed international acclaim as a portrait painter. An early submission to the Paris Salon in the 1880s, his Portrait of Madame X, was intended to consolidate his position as a society painter in Paris, but instead resulted in scandal. During the next year following the scandal, Sargent departed for England where he continued a successful career as a portrait artist.

From the beginning, Sargent’s work is characterized by remarkable technical facility, particularly in his ability to draw with a brush, which in later years inspired admiration as well as criticism for a supposed superficiality. His commissioned works were consistent with the grand manner of portraiture, while his informal studies and landscape paintings displayed a familiarity with Impressionism. In later life Sargent expressed ambivalence about the restrictions of formal portrait work, and devoted much of his energy to mural painting and working en plein air. Art historians generally ignored artists who painted Royalty and “Society” – such as Sargent – until the late 20th century.


CREDITS AND ATTRIBUTIONS

John Singer Sargent, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

“Carrara.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 16, 2021, 12:36 utc. 29 Jan 2021, 03:23 <//en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Carrara&oldid=118022943>.

“File:John Singer Sargent – Bringing Down Marble from the Quarries to Carrara (1911).jpg.” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. 15 Jun 2019, 13:13 UTC. 29 Jan 2021, 03:24 <https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:John_Singer_Sargent_-_Bringing_Down_Marble_from_the_Quarries_to_Carrara_(1911).jpg&oldid=354733943>.

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#FineArtFriday: Twilight Confidences by Cecilia Beaux 1888

Twilight_Confidences_by_Cecilia_BeauxTwilight Confidences by Cecilia Beaux  (1855–1942)

Date: 1888

Medium:  oil on canvas

Dimensions: 23 1/2 x 28 inches, 59.7 x 71.1 cm

Inscriptions: Signed and dated: Cecilia Beaux

About this painting via Wikimedia Commons:  

Cecilia Beaux was a leading figure and portrait painter and one of the few distinguished and highly recognized women artists of her time in America. Her figures are frequently compared to Sargent’s, but her style relates also to other international leaders of late-19th Century portraiture, including Anders Zorn, Giuseppe Boldini, Carolus-Duran and William Merritt Chase. She was born and lived mostly in Philadelphia, traveling frequently to Europe, especially France from a young age, and exhibited widely in Paris, Philadelphia, New York and elsewhere. Her first acclaimed work, Les Derniers jours d’enfance, a mother and child composition, was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1887, and Beaux followed it there the next year, spending the summer of 1888 at the art colony at Concarneau in Brittany. Here she painted her remarkable Twilight Confidences of 1888, preceded by numerous studies, which are in the collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Lost for many years, this much admired canvas is Beaux’s first major exercise in plein-air painting, in which the figures and the seascape are artfully and exquisitely juxtaposed, and sunlight permeates the whole composition.


Credits and Attributions:

Twilight Confidences, Cecilia Beaux, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Twilight Confidences by Cecilia Beaux.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Twilight_Confidences_by_Cecilia_Beaux.jpg&oldid=355146645 (accessed April 16, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: Le repos à Pont-Aven (La gardeuse d’Oise) by Émile Bernard

Émile_Bernard_-_Le_repos_à_Pont-Aven

Artist: Émile Bernard  (1868–1941)

Title: Le repos à Pont-Aven (La gardeuse d’Oise) [English: Rest in Pont-Aven (The Keeper of Oise)]

Medium: oil on canvas mounted on cardboard

Dimensions: Height: 85.1 cm (33.5 in); Width: 110 cm (43.3 in)

Inscriptions    Signature bottom right: Emile Bernard

What I love about this painting:

Whoever this woman is, she is determined to enjoy the day. The geese don’t mind, and spring is in full swing. The tree (an apple tree?) leans sharply above as if to shade her. Why shouldn’t a hard-working woman take a well-deserved rest?

The style is intriguing, straight lines of the church against the round lines of the landscape, the woman, and the geese.

About the Artist, Via Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia:

Émile Henri Bernard (28 April 1868 – 16 April 1941) was a French Post-Impressionist painter and writer, who had artistic friendships with Vincent van GoghPaul Gauguin and Eugène Boch, and at a later time, Paul Cézanne. Most of his notable work was accomplished at a young age, in the years 1886 through 1897. He is also associated with Cloisonnism and Synthetism, two late 19th-century art movements. Less known is Bernard’s literary work, comprising plays, poetry, and art criticism as well as art historical statements that contain first-hand information on the crucial period of modern art to which Bernard had contributed.


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Émile Bernard – Le repos à Pont-Aven.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:%C3%89mile_Bernard_-_Le_repos_%C3%A0_Pont-Aven.jpg&oldid=292287019 (accessed April 1, 2021).

Émile Bernard, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Wikipedia contributors, “Émile Bernard,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=%C3%89mile_Bernard&oldid=1014462432 (accessed April 1, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: Self-Portrait as a Distressed Poet by Augustus Leopold Egg

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Leopold Augustus Egg was born to Joseph and Ann Egg, and baptised in St James’s Church, Piccadilly, on 30 May 1816. He had an elder brother, George Hine Egg.

His father Joseph Egg was a wealthy gunsmith from the distinguished gun making family, who immigrated to London from Huningue, Alsace. Egg was educated in the schools of the Royal Academy, beginning in 1836. Egg was a member of The Clique, a group of artists founded by Richard Dadd and others in the late 1830s (c. 1837). Egg sought to combine popularity with moral and social activism, in line with the literary work of his friend Charles Dickens. With Dickens he set up the “Guild of Literature and Art”, a philanthropic organisation intended to provide welfare payments to struggling artists and writers. He acted the lead role in “Not So Bad As We Seem,” a play written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton to raise funds for the organization. His self-portrait in the role is in Hospitalfield House in Arbroath.

Egg’s early paintings were generally illustrations of literary subjects. Like other members of The Clique, he saw himself as a follower of Hogarth. His interest in Hogarthian moral themes is evidenced in his paired paintings The Life and Death of Buckingham, depicting the dissolute life and sordid death of the Restoration rake George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham. Yet his paintings often took a humorous look at their subjects, as in his Queen Elizabeth Discovers she is no longer Young (1848).

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Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Self Portrait as a Distressed Poet Augustus Leopold Egg (1816–1863) Hospitalfield.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Self_Portrait_as_a_Distressed_Poet_Augustus_Leopold_Egg_(1816%E2%80%931863)_Hospitalfield.jpg&oldid=530289957 (accessed March 26, 2021).

Wikipedia contributors, “Augustus Egg,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia,https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Augustus_Egg&oldid=1005078766 (accessed March 26, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: View to a Clearing by Albert Bierstadt

Title: View to a Clearing by Albert Bierstadt

Medium: oil on paper mounted on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 14 in (35.5 cm); Width: 19 in (48.2 cm)

Inscriptions: Signature bottom left: ABierstadt

What I love about this painting:

I love the serenity of this scene, one of Bierstadt’s quieter paintings.  The muted colors, the rising mist, the filtered light, and the cattle grazing show us a hazy afternoon. It was perfect for a picnic, for mind-wandering, and a good day for painting.

Bierstadt is one of my favorite artists because he was often over the top, a little fantastic, and usually epic. He saw drama in nature and painted it, and like every good storyteller, his imagination filled in the blanks with with powerful imagery.

About the artist, via Wikipedia:

Despite his popular success, Bierstadt was criticized by some contemporaries for the romanticism evident in his choices of subject and his use of light was felt to be excessive. Some critics objected to Bierstadt’s paintings of Native Americans on the grounds that Indians “marred” the “impression of solitary grandeur.”

Interest in Bierstadt’s work was renewed in the 1960s with the exhibition of his small oil studies.  Modern opinions of Bierstadt have been divided. Some critics have regarded his work as gaudy, oversized, extravagant champions of Manifest Destiny. Others have noted that his landscapes helped create support for the conservation movement and the establishment of Yellowstone National Park. Subsequent reassessment of his work has placed it in a favorable context, as stated in 1987:

The temptation (to criticize him) should be steadfastly resisted. Bierstadt’s theatrical art, fervent sociability, international outlook, and unquenchable personal energy reflected the epic expansion in every facet of western civilization during the second half of the nineteenth century.

Bierstadt was a prolific artist, having completed over 500 paintings during his lifetime.


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Albert Bierstadt – View to a Clearing.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Albert_Bierstadt_-_View_to_a_Clearing.jpg&oldid=343092014 (accessed March 5, 2021).

Wikipedia contributors, “Albert Bierstadt,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Albert_Bierstadt&oldid=1009967730 (accessed March 5, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: Self-portrait, Paul Bril ca. 1595-1600

Artist: Paul Bril (circa 1553/1554–1626)

Title: Self-portrait

Genre: self-portrait

Date: between 1595 and 1600

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 71 cm (27.9 in); Width: 78 cm (30.7 in)

About this painting, via Wikipedia:

The painting portrays the artist, elegantly dressed and holding a lute, sitting before his palette and easel, on which a landscape painting sits.

Bril is seen from the back, and is turning towards the viewer. He grasps the lute firmly, with active and jointed fingers. The landscape painting sitting on the easel is typical of Bril’s early work which is characterized by small figures, deep and shaded foregrounds and masses of silvery foliage, attributes that [Bril] shared with other Flemish painters. This has helped with the dating of the work to ca. 1595 – 1600. [1]

What I love about this image:

In this self-portrait Bril shows the viewer who he is and what he cares about, art and music. He is relaxed, at peace and sharing his two passions with us.


Credits and Attributions:

Paul Brill, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Self-Portrait (Paul Bril),” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Self-Portrait_(Paul_Bril)&oldid=1008810469 (accessed February 26, 2021).

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Bril, Paul – Self-Portrait – 1595-1600.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Bril,_Paul_-_Self-Portrait_-_1595-1600.jpg&oldid=527757876 (accessed February 26, 2021).

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