Tag Archives: Fine Art Friday

#FineArtFriday: The Chess Game, by Sofonisba Anguissola ca. 1555

Title: The Chess Game (Portrait of the artist’s sisters playing chess)

Artist: Sofonisba Anguissola

Date: 1555

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 72 cm (28.3 ″) Width: 97 cm (38.1 ″)


What I love about this painting:

The colors are vibrant,

Because it is a game of war and strategies for winning a war, chess has historically been considered a predominantly male game. That Anguissola’s sisters are playing it at so young an age is a testimony to the atmosphere of education surrounding the home.

Their features are modern in the way they are shown with a roundness that is unusual in early renaissance portraits, which were often so highly formal that they were visually flat. These girls could be my granddaughters.

Anguissola has captured the emotions and happiness of a family at play. Her sisters’ personalities are clearly shown. The older sister has taken a pawn, the younger fears she might lose the game to a more experienced player. The youngest is enjoying the game immensely, seeing the sister who sometimes bosses her around being handed her own medicine.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Sofonisba Anguissola (c. 1532 – 16 November 1625), also known as Sophonisba Angussola or Anguisciola, was an Italian Renaissance painter born in Cremona to a relatively poor noble family. She received a well-rounded education, that included the fine arts, and her apprenticeship with local painters set a precedent for women to be accepted as students of art. As a young woman, Anguissola traveled to Rome where she was introduced to Michelangelo, who immediately recognized her talent, and to Milan, where she painted the Duke of Alba. The Spanish queen, Elizabeth of Valois, was a keen amateur painter and in 1559 Anguissola was recruited to go to Madrid as her tutor, with the rank of lady-in-waiting. She later became an official court painter to the king, Philip II, and adapted her style to the more formal requirements of official portraits for the Spanish court. After the queen’s death, Philip helped arrange an aristocratic marriage for her. She moved to Sicily, and later Pisa and Genoa, where she continued to practice as a leading portrait painter.

On 12 July 1624, Anguissola was visited by the young Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck, who recorded sketches from his visit to her in his sketchbook.[25] Van Dyck, who believed her to be 96 years of age (she was actually about 92) noted that although “her eyesight was weakened”, Anguissola was still mentally alert.[24] Excerpts of the advice she gave him about painting survive from this visit,[26] and he was said to have claimed that their conversation taught him more about the “true principles” of painting than anything else in his life.[1][2] Van Dyck drew her portrait while visiting her.

About this painting, via Wikipedia:

Although Anguissola enjoyed significantly more encouragement and support than the average woman of her day, her social class did not allow her to transcend the constraints of her sex. Without the possibility of studying anatomy or drawing from life (it was considered unacceptable for a lady to view nudes), she could not undertake the complex multi-figure compositions required for large-scale religious or history paintings.

Instead, she experimented with new styles of portraiture, setting subjects informally. Self-portraits and family members were her most frequent subjects, as seen in such paintings as Self-Portrait (1554, Kunsthistoriches Museum, Vienna), Portrait of Amilcare, Minerva and Asdrubale Anguissola (c. 1557–1558, Nivaagaards Malerisambling, Niva, Denmark), and her most famous picture, The Chess Game (1555, Muzeum Narodowe, Poznań), which depicted her sisters Lucia, Minerva and Europa.

Painted when Sofonisba was 23 years old, The Chess Game is an intimate representation of an everyday family scene, combining elaborate formal clothing with very informal facial expressions, which was unusual for Italian art at this time. The Chess Game explored a new kind of genre painting which places her sitters in a domestic setting instead of the formal or allegorical settings that were popular at the time.[17] This painting has been regarded as a conversation piece, which is an informal portrait of a group engaging in lively conversation or some activity .

Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:The Chess Game – Sofonisba Anguissola.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:The_Chess_Game_-_Sofonisba_Anguissola.jpg&oldid=359367567 (accessed September 12, 2019).

Wikipedia contributors, “Sofonisba Anguissola,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Sofonisba_Anguissola&oldid=908120352 (accessed September 12, 2019).

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#FineArtFriday: Margaret Mill at Husum by Richard von Hagn

Margaret Mill at Husum by Richard von Hagn

What I like about this Painting:
The artist has captured the blustery feel of a fall or spring day—the sort of day where cold rain falls, interspersed with bright sunshine. His sky is perfect.

Artist: Richard von Hagn (1850–1933)
Title :English: Margaret mill Husum
Deutsch: Margaretenmühle vor Husum
Object type painting
Date: 1930
Medium: oil on canvas
Collection: NordseeMuseum Husum

About the Artist via de.Wikipedia (translated page):
“In his old age the following confession was not always easy for him, but he also showed his affection for a new topic in the spirit of the new German nationalism and the passing away of romanticism : “Yes, in my youth it always had to be Venice. Only much later did we realize that our homeland is just as beautiful, and actually much nicer for us. ” [6]

Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:1930 Hagn Margaretenmühle vor Husum anagoria.JPG,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:1930_Hagn_Margaretenm%C3%BChle_vor_Husum_anagoria.JPG&oldid=351391992 (accessed September 6, 2019).
Page “Richard von Hagn”. In: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Processing status: May 10, 2019, 04:04 UTC. URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Richard_von_Hagn&oldid=188410554 (accessed: September 6, 2019, 12:46 UTC)

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#FineArtFriday: The Lady of the Lake by Lancelot Speed 1912

Today’s image is that of The Lady of the Lake, Lancelot Speed‘s illustration for James Thomas Knowles’ The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights (1912), 9th edition. Ed. Sir James Knowles, K. C. V. O. London; New York: Frederick Warne and Co., Publication Date: 1912.

An area of art I intend to explore more thoroughly is that primary reason why I buy books: the illustrations.

The artwork that went into many books in the 19th and early 20th centuries was exquisite, created by masters. Yet, these illustrators remained unknown for the most part and unsung. Books are fragile things that don’t always stand the test of time. They become worn, and their contents become outdated. Younger readers see nothing of value in them and they go to rummage sales, or worse: recycling.

They are rarely passed on from one generation to the next.

Thanks to Wikimedia Commons and all the intrepid contributors who find and upload scanned images into that media repository, the works of many brilliant artists have not been lost. They will be there for us to admire, for as long as we are able to access the internet.

About the artist:

Lancelot Speed (13 June 1860 – 31 December 1931) was a British illustrator of books in the Victorian era, usually showing fantasy or romantic subjects. He is best-known for his illustrations for Andrew Lang‘s fairy story books. Speed is credited as the designer on the 1916 silent movie version of the novel She by H. Rider Haggard, which he had illustrated.

In 1912, he provided twenty illustrations, both color and black-and-white, for a new edition of Sir James Thomas Knowles’s The Story of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table.

Lancelot Speed was also the director of a number of early British silent films. Born into an exceedingly wealthy family, Speed died in 1931, leaving less than £300.

About the Image:

Artist: Lancelot Speed (1860-1931)

Title: The Lady of the Lake

Description: scan of illustration at title page in a book, The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights, 1912., 9th edition. Ed. Sir James Knowles, K. C. V. O. London; New York: Frederick Warne and Co., Publication Date: 1912.

Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:The Lady of the Lake by Speed Lancelot.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository,  https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:The_Lady_of_the_Lake_by_Speed_Lancelot.jpg&oldid=328850056  (accessed August 29, 2019).

Wikipedia contributors, “Lancelot Speed,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lancelot_Speed&oldid=883335674  (accessed August 29, 2019).


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#FineArtFriday: View of Toledo by El Greco, ca. 1599


Title: View of Toledo

  • Artist: El Greco
  • Genre: landscape art
  • Date: between circa 1598 and circa 1599
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 47.7 × 42.7 ″ (121.2 × 108.5 cm)
  • Collection: Metropolitan Museum of Art

About this painting (via Wikipedia):

View of Toledo (c. 1596–1600, oil on canvas, 47.75 × 42.75 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) is one of the two surviving landscapes of Toledo painted by El Greco.

View of Toledo is among the best known depictions of the sky in Western art, along with Vincent van Gogh‘s The Starry Night and the landscapes of J. M. W. Turner and Claude Monet, among others. Most notable is the distinct color contrast between the dark and somber skies above and the glowing green hills below. While influenced by the Mannerist style, El Greco’s expressive handling of color and form is without parallel in the history of art. In this painting, he takes liberties with the actual layout of Toledo insofar as certain building locations are re-arranged. However, the location of the Castle of San Servando, on the left, is accurately depicted. El Greco’s signature appears in the lower-right corner.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia

Doménikos Theotokópoulos (Greek: Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος [ðoˈminikos θeotoˈkopulos]; October 1541 – 7 April 1614), most widely known as El Greco(“The Greek”), was a Greek painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. “El Greco” was a nickname, a reference to his Greek origin, and the artist normally signed his paintings with his full birth name in Greek letters, Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος, Doménikos Theotokópoulos, often adding the word Κρής KrēsCretan.

El Greco was born in the Kingdom of Candia, which was at that time part of the Republic of Venice, and the center of Post-Byzantine art. He trained and became a master within that tradition before traveling at age 26 to Venice, as other Greek artists had done. In 1570 he moved to Rome, where he opened a workshop and executed a series of works. During his stay in Italy, El Greco enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and of the Venetian Renaissance taken from a number of great artists of the time, notably Tintoretto. In 1577, he moved to Toledo, Spain, where he lived and worked until his death. In Toledo, El Greco received several major commissions and produced his best-known paintings.

El Greco’s dramatic and expressionistic style was met with puzzlement by his contemporaries but found appreciation in the 20th century. El Greco is regarded as a precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism, while his personality and works were a source of inspiration for poets and writers such as Rainer Maria Rilke and Nikos Kazantzakis. El Greco has been characterized by modern scholars as an artist so individual that he belongs to no conventional school. He is best known for tortuously elongated figures and often fantastic or phantasmagorical pigmentation, marrying Byzantine traditions with those of Western painting.

Credits and Attributions:

Wikipedia contributors, “El Greco,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=El_Greco&oldid=911718617 (accessed August 23, 2019).

Wikipedia contributors, “View of Toledo,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=View_of_Toledo&oldid=873435033 (accessed August 23, 2019).


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#FineArtFriday: Spanish Blacksmiths by Ernst Josephson 1882

Spanish Blacksmiths, by Ernst Josephson

  • Date: 1882
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Dimensions : width: 107 x height: 128.5 cm

What I love about this image:

This is a powerful painting. Josephson captures the boundless self-confidence and personalities of these young men. He has managed to portray their cock-of-the-walk swagger, and he has shown us the truth of their craft: that sparks fly and ruin their clothes; that the work is hard and their muscles strong. These men are full of life.

The influence of Josephson’s having studied Rembrandt’s works closely can be seen here in the style with which he has painted their features. He has painted the men with truth—they are not classically handsome, but they are in the prime of life and have immense charisma. They wear their burned and ragged hats with pride. These men are good at what they do, and they know it. Their eyes dance and flirt outrageously with you across the years—they are full to bursting with machismo, daring you to just try to walk past and not notice them.

About the Artist, Via Wikipedia

(Ernst Josephson) was born to a middle-class family of merchants of Jewish ancestry. His uncle, Ludvig O. Josephson (1832-1899) was a dramatist and his uncle Jacob Axel Josephson (1818-1880) was a composer. When he was ten, his father Ferdinand Semy Ferdinand Josephson (1814-1861) left home and he was raised by his mother, Gustafva Jacobsson (1819-1881) and three older sisters.

At the age of sixteen, he decided to became an artist and, with his family’s support, enrolled at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts. His primary instructors there were Johan Christoffer Boklund and August Malmström. He was there until 1876, when he received a Royal Medal for painting.

After leaving the Academy, he and his friend and fellow artist Severin Nilsson (1846-1918) visited Italy, Germany and the Netherlands, where they copied the Old Masters. His breakthrough came in Paris, where he was able to study with Jean-Léon Gérôme at the École des Beaux-Arts. He soon began concentrating on portraits, including many of his friends and fellow Swedes in France. For a time, he shared a studio with Hugo Birger (1854–1887). His personal style developed further during a trip to Seville with his friend, Anders Zorn, from 1881 to 1882.

His private life did not go well, however. By his late twenties, he was afflicted with syphilis. His romantic life suffered as a consequence, as he was forced to break off a promising relationship with a young model named Ketty Rindskopf.

Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Ernst Josephson – Spanish Blacksmiths – Google Art Project.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Ernst_Josephson_-_Spanish_Blacksmiths_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg&oldid=354761584 (accessed August 16, 2019).

Wikipedia contributors, “Ernst Josephson,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ernst_Josephson&oldid=888815743 (accessed August 16, 2019).


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#FineArtFriday: the Monarch of the Beach, Haystack Rock

Today I am offering you two images instead of one. The first image was found on Wikimedia Commons, taken in 2013 on a spring day in Cannon Beach Oregon. It is a wonderful shot of what I think of as the Monarch of the Beach, the God-Rock dominating the shores of my favorite beach.

The sky is perfect; an amazing shade of blue with stratus clouds overhead and sea below, all converging on Haystack. The photographer did everything right to capture the beauty of this place.

This town is home to me, although I only live here one week out of the year. On Sundays, the streets of Cannon Beach are crowded with cars and throngs of people. The cafes, galleries, trinket shops, bookstores, wine shop, and bodega—all are jammed, alive with a seething mass of humanity.

On Mondays, it becomes walkable. It’s a place where temporary neighbors become good friends, knowing they will likely not see each other again, but glad to have shared this time, these sunsets.

When I leave our tiny rented cottage and turn to the right, I can walk the few steps to the seawall’s stairs. They are precipitous, and nowadays, they’re sometimes hard for me to negotiate gracefully.

But these stairs are familiar; old friends greeting me in their sand-encrusted steepness, bidding me, “Welcome back, Pilgrim! Welcome home.”

On sunny days here at the north end of the beach, the sandbar between Ecola Creek estuary and the sea is filled with people carrying chairs and chasing children. Excited dogs, all with leashes securely attached to their people, push along toward the waves, dragging tired humans faster than they can comfortably walk.

Other days, when it is cold, foggy, or rainy, I only have to share this beach with the few hardier folks who love the soul of this place as much as they do the sun and sand.

The beach stretches four miles from Ecola Creek to Arch Cape. It’s a sandy shoreline, dotted with sea stacks. Several smaller sea stacks surround the grand master, the Monarch of the Beach who sits near the center, the megalith known as Haystack Rock.

This is the annual Jasperson family pilgrimage to a hallowed place, one that assumes mythic proportions when we are away from it. It is a place of spiritual significance to each of us, reconnecting us to both sides of our extended family through the eternalness of giant rock, immeasurable sea, and large holes dug in the sand by free-range children under the watchful eyes of a multitude of adults.

This is where we each find serenity our own way and become a little less frantic, a little more Zen.

Some years, like this year, not every member of the family can make it. This year only two daughters and their children, and an aunt and uncle made the long journey. But like the seabirds nesting on the sea stacks, we old people return here every year. We come to regain the internal balance that we gradually lose over the course of the year, seeking connectedness.

We watch the sea while relaxing in inexpensive, wobbly chairs or on sand-dusted blankets. Picnic lunches and jugs of filtered water sustain us as we wait for the winds to be just right for Grandma’s kite to take off, soaring into the sky. Children squabble, flashes of toddler vs. pre-teen frustration that quickly pass if ignored—unless someone is bleeding. Digging large holes and raising the highest sandcastles requires teamwork, and teamwork forges bonds that stay with cousins forever.

The Needles, those acolyte sea stacks gathered around Haystack’s knees are slowly disintegrating. We see them diminished a little more every year, noticed especially when we compare pictures from one year to another. This next image is one I shot on Monday August 5, 2019. The sky has been this shade of gray for most of our stay and it has been cool. I particularly love the way the tidal pools came out, the green of the sea moss, and the reflection of the spires across the shallow sea.

Pelicans, puffins, terns, seagulls, and rare wide-winged wanderers from far out to sea nest on the Monarch of the Beach, Haystack Rock and his attendants. Tidal pools shelter starfish, anemones, and a multitude of other small creatures. As if enchanted, these tiny water-worlds beguile the children and remind the adults that we are part of something larger.

We come every summer to pay homage to the Monarch and his attendants, to enjoy the familiar sights and to see what has changed since the year before. This year the most visible change was in the Needles—one of the larger ones has been sundered into two spires rising from a common base.

Several large needle rocks and their smaller companions still gather around the Monarch of the Beach, attendants pointing the way to heaven. Or perhaps they mark the way westward to the far east, a sign directing us across the Wild Northern Pacific to Japan.

The sea is ever-changing. Untamed and dangerous one day, it is calm and serene the next. The waters reflect the sky; a sooty gray as the storms roll in or the silvery-blue-ish of a sunny day. This sea always dresses in shades of gray, some more blue than others.

If you are here for the sun, you’ve come to the wrong shore. Sunshine is an afternoon guest, usually staying four out of seven days a week along this rocky northern coast. If you want to be guaranteed sun, go elsewhere.

We humans are not islands—we are part of a world that extends below the surface and conceals secrets and lives we surface dwellers can only dimly imagine.

Above the eternal sea, on the strand below the Great Rock, we remember who we are, and we are made stronger.

Tomorrow after one final breakfast, we return to our ordinary homes. We will arrive tired and glad to be there. But we remain connected by the invisible bonds of sand and sea and family that we create here.

The bonds forged in this hallowed place bind us together. They won’t be broken no matter how far apart we are, or how long we are separated, not even after the Monarch of the Beach crumbles into the sea.


Credits and Attributions:

Haystack Rock, by Tiger635 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

Sentinel, 05 August 2019 (One of the Needles, Cannon Beach) © 2019 by Connie J. Jasperson, All Rights Reserved (author’s own work).


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#FineArtFriday: Shoshone Falls on the Snake River by Thomas Moran 1900

About the Artist, Via Wikipedia:

Thomas Moran (February 12, 1837 – August 25, 1926) was an American painter and printmaker of the Hudson River School in New York whose work often featured the Rocky Mountains. Moran and his family, wife Mary Nimmo Moran and daughter Ruth, took residence in New York where he obtained work as an artist. He was a younger brother of the noted marine artist Edward Moran, with whom he shared a studio. A talented illustrator and exquisite colorist, Thomas Moran was hired as an illustrator at Scribner’s Monthly. During the late 1860s, he was appointed the chief illustrator for the magazine, a position that helped him launch his career as one of the premier painters of the American landscape, in particular, the American West. [1]

Moran, along with Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Hill, and William Keith are sometimes referred to as belonging to the Rocky Mountain School of landscape painters because of all of the Western landscapes made by this group. [1]

Shoshone Falls is a waterfall on the Snake River in southern Idaho, United States, approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) northeast of the city of Twin Falls. Once called the “Niagara of the West,” Shoshone Falls is 212 feet (65 m) high—45 feet (14 m) higher than Niagara Falls—and originally flowed over a rim nearly 1,000 feet (300 m) wide. However, in 1900, Ira Burton Perrine led the drive to divert the Snake River at Caldron Linn, a point approximately 24 miles (39 km) upstream of Shoshone Falls. Now a fraction of its original width and volume, the falls remain a tourist destination.

Senator William A. Clark and others who owned land at Shoshone Falls filed a lawsuit against the Twin Falls Land and Water Company but were defeated in the Idaho Supreme Court in 1904. Despite his efforts, the Milner Dam and the major canals required to deliver water were completed by 1905. [2]

“On March 1, 1905, Frank Buhl gave a ceremonial pull on the wheel on a winch, and the gates of Milner Dam were closed, and the gates to a thousand miles of canal and laterals were opened, and the Snake River was diverted, and that night Shoshone Falls went dry as the water rushed across the desert far above, and Perrine’s vision was realized, and 262,000 acres of desert were shortly transformed.” [3]

Shoshone Falls, Idaho viewed from the northwest 2013 Famartin [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Credits and Attributions:


Shoshone Falls on the Snake River by Thomas Moran 1900 [Public domain]

Shoshone Falls, Idaho viewed from the northwest 2013 Famartin [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Gilcrease – Shenandoah River.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Gilcrease_-_Shenandoah_River.jpg&oldid=354856726 (accessed August 1, 2019). (Shoshone Falls, Snake River, Idaho – original file uploaded by Gilcrease, river mislabeled)


[1]  Wikipedia contributors, “Thomas Moran,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Thomas_Moran&oldid=887900185 (accessed August 1, 2019).

[2] Wikipedia contributors, “Shoshone Falls,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Shoshone_Falls&oldid=904109934 (accessed August 1, 2019).

[3] Yost, Joe. “History of Milner Dam”; Twin Falls Canal Company. Retrieved 2016-06-27.

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#FineArtFriday: Portrait of Madame X by John Singer Sargent 1884

What I love about this Painting:

I love everything–the moody colors and textures–she needs no necklace, no jewels to prove she is someone unforgettable.

Madame X is mysterious; she is a promise unspoken.

She is dangerous the way uncharted seas are.

Her pose, the elegance of the black dress, the turn of her head—this portrait shouts “Here is a woman to be reckoned with.” Everyone who knew Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau said that in this Portrait of Madame X, American expatriate artist  John Singer Sargent captured something real, something true about the woman, something well beyond the unashamed sexuality of the portrait.

About this painting, via Wikipedia:

(John Singer Sargent’s) most controversial work, Portrait of Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau) (1884) is now considered one of his best works, and was the artist’s personal favorite; he stated in 1915, “I suppose it is the best thing I have done.” When unveiled in Paris at the 1884 Salon, it aroused such a negative reaction that it likely prompted Sargent’s move to London. Sargent’s self-confidence had led him to attempt a risqué experiment in portraiture—but this time it unexpectedly backfired. The painting was not commissioned by her and he pursued her for the opportunity, quite unlike most of his portrait work where clients sought him out. Sargent wrote to a common acquaintance:

I have a great desire to paint her portrait and have reason to think she would allow it and is waiting for someone to propose this homage to her beauty. …you might tell her that I am a man of prodigious talent.

It took well over a year to complete the painting. The first version of the portrait of Madame Gautreau, with the famously plunging neckline, white-powdered skin, and arrogantly cocked head, featured an intentionally suggestive off-the-shoulder dress strap, on her right side only, which made the overall effect more daring and sensual. Sargent repainted the strap to its expected over-the-shoulder position to try to dampen the furor, but the damage had been done. French commissions dried up and he told his friend Edmund Gosse in 1885 that he contemplated giving up painting for music or business.

Writing of the reaction of visitors, Judith Gautier observed:

“Is it a woman? a chimera, the figure of a unicorn rearing as on a heraldic coat of arms or perhaps the work of some oriental decorative artist to whom the human form is forbidden and who, wishing to be reminded of woman, has drawn the delicious arabesque? No, it is none of these things, but rather the precise image of a modern woman scrupulously drawn by a painter who is a master of his art.”

Credits and Attributions:

Wikipedia contributors, “John Singer Sargent,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=John_Singer_Sargent&oldid=904608954 (accessed July 25, 2019).

Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau), by John Singer Sargent, 1884 PD|100

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau), John Singer Sargent, 1884 (unfree frame crop).jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Madame_X_(Madame_Pierre_Gautreau),_John_Singer_Sargent,_1884_(unfree_frame_crop).jpg&oldid=358225955 (accessed July 25, 2019).

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#FineArtFriday: The Huis Kostverloren on the Amstel by Jacob van Ruisdael ca.1660

About the Artist Via Wikipedia:

Ruisdael and his art should not be considered apart from the context of the incredible wealth and significant changes to the land that occurred during the Dutch Golden Age. In his study on 17th-century Dutch art and culture, Simon Schama remarks that “it can never be overemphasized that the period between 1550 and 1650, when the political identity of an independent Netherlands nation was being established, was also a time of dramatic physical alteration of its landscape”. Ruisdael’s depiction of nature and emergent Dutch technology are wrapped up in this. Christopher Joby places Ruisdael in the religious context of the Calvinism of the Dutch Republic. He states that landscape painting does conform to Calvin’s requirement that only what is visible may be depicted in art, and that landscape paintings such as those of Ruisdael have an epistemological value which provides further support for their use within Reformed Churches.

The art historian Yuri Kuznetsov places Ruisdael’s art in the context of the war of independence against Spain. Dutch landscape painters “were called upon to make a portrait of their homeland, twice re-won by the Dutch people – first from the sea and later from foreign invaders”. Jonathan Israel, in his study of the Dutch Republic, calls the period between 1647 and 1672 the third phase of Dutch Golden Age art, in which wealthy merchants wanted large, opulent and refined paintings, and civic leaders filled their town halls with grand displays containing republican messages.


Artist: Jacob van Ruisdael  (1628/1629–1682)

Title: English: The Huis Kostverloren on the Amstel

Date: between 1660 and 1664

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 63 cm (24.8 ″); Width: 75.5 cm (29.7 ″)

Current Location: Amsterdam Museum

Credits and Attributions:

The Huis Kostverloren on the Amstel by Jacob van Ruisdael [Public domain]

Wikipedia contributors, “Jacob van Ruisdael,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jacob_van_Ruisdael&oldid=905931531 (accessed July 19, 2019).

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:SA 38217-Het Huis Kostverloren aan de Amstel2.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:SA_38217-Het_Huis_Kostverloren_aan_de_Amstel2.jpg&oldid=326210473 (accessed July 19, 2019).


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#FineArtFriday: Peter Purves Smith: New York, 1936, and Rickett’s Point, 1937

Usually, in literature, surrealism is shown through the thought processes of the characters rather than in alterations of the environment. On the surface, you believe what they say they think, but their perception of the world is skewed toward a hallucinogenic feel.

In art, the surface, the visual layer is what it is all about. Everything is displayed for you to view and interpret as you will.

Sometimes surrealism asks you to think deeper. Other times, surrealism says “enjoy the moment.” In “New York” Peter Purves Smith asks you to think deeper about our mania for building densely and tall. Skyscrapers grow like weeds, springing from the earth like dandelions in the lawn. What other concepts does he ask us to consider?

Progress and impermanence. Beauty versus utilitarian requirements. He asks us to think deeply.

In Ricketts Point, he asks you to just enjoy a sunny day at the beach.

Credits and Attributions

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Peter Purves Smith – New York, 1936.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Peter_Purves_Smith_-_New_York,_1936.jpg&oldid=149235926 (accessed July 4, 2019).

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Peter Purves Smith – Ricketts Point, 1937.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Peter_Purves_Smith_-_Ricketts_Point,_1937.jpg&oldid=296570789 (accessed July 4, 2019).

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Filed under #FineArtFriday