Tag Archives: Women in Art History

#FineArtFriday: Old Water Tank by Jaime Prosser

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Title: Old Water Tank

Medium: Oil Painting

Artist: Jaime Prosser

What I love about this painting:

I love the stark realism, the derelict water tower rising from the sea of grass, silhouetted against the blue Australian sky. Prosser’s brush captures the wildness of the scene. There is a serenity to this scene, the sureness of mankind’s creation crumbling, slowly giving way to the inevitable. Nature always wins.

About the Artist:

Jaime Prosser is an Australian artist. Her work can be found at her website, https://jaimeprosserart.com.


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:’OLD WATERTANK’ OIL PAINTING BY JAIME PROSSER.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:%27OLD_WATERTANK%27_OIL_PAINTING_BY_JAIME_PROSSER.jpg&oldid=535927333 (accessed September 9, 2022).

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#FineArtFriday: Landscape, Fruit and Flowers by Frances Flora Bond Palmer 1862

Landscape,_Fruit_and_FlowersArtist: Frances Flora Bond Palmer (1812–1876)

Title: Landscape, Fruit and Flowers

Description: Lithographed and published by Currier & Ives

Date: 1862

Medium: Hand-colored lithograph

Dimensions: height: 19.8 in (50.3 cm); width: 27.5 in (69.8 cm)

Collection: Metropolitan Museum of Art, bequest of Adele S. Colgate, 1962

What I love about this picture:

This is a romantic Victorian image of what a prosperous life might be. Lush, rich, pastoral, and bountiful. The artist created a renaissance-style composition, but with Victorian touches – the hummingbird poised to sip nectar, flowers arranged over ripe fruit, and golden globes (pears?) tucked in amongst strawberries and raspberries. In the background, a farmhouse is situated on a green pasture that stretches to the sea. The fruit and flowers are posed in the front and center, yet they feel organic and natural, as if a picnic were about to occur.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Frances Flora Bond Palmer (July 24, 1812 – August 20, 1876), often referred to as Fanny Palmer, was an English artist who became successful in the United States as a lithographer for Currier and Ives.

In her youth, Palmer, with her sister Maria, attended Miss Linwood’s School for young ladies, a select private school in London run by needlework artist Mary Linwood. There she was instructed in music, literature, and the fine arts.

On July 13, 1832, Frances Flora Bond married Edmund Seymour Palmer. They had a daughter, Frances E. Palmer, in 1833, and a son Edmund Jr., in 1835.

By the year 1841, the Palmers operated a lithography business together with Frances as the artist and Edmund as the printer. The first notice of their work appeared in the Leicester Journal on May 13, 1842. As an artist-printer team, the Palmers began a series of topographical prints under the title of Sketches of Leicestershire. These prints were very well received and often advertised in the Leicester Journal and the Leicester Chronicle amongst enthusiastic reviews.

When the Palmers were unable to secure enough work for themselves, their business failed. Nathaniel Currier then took over their stock and, recognizing Palmer’s talents, hired her to work for his firm.

During Palmer’s association with the printing companies of N. Currier and Currier and Ives, between 1849–1868, she is credited with producing around two hundred lithographs. She participated in every stage of the lithographic printing process in some way and was widely renowned for her technical skills. She is also credited with assisting Nathaniel Currier in the improvement of existing lithographic technology, including Currier’s own lithographic crayon.

Palmer specialized in landscape and genre prints. Among her subjects were rural farm scenes, famous American ships and architecture, hunters, and Western landscapes. A notable example of these prints during her time with Currier and Ives is her highly regarded series of six bird hunting scenes. Palmer sketched these scenes from life using her husband Edmund Palmer, his friends, and their hunting dogs as models. Each medium-folio print is labeled “Drawing from nature and on stone by FF Palmer,” and was priced at two dollars at the time of its publication in 1852.

Though her work was mainly directed by the type of prints that Currier and Ives wanted to sell or determined by preexisting prints, her few original pieces received praise for their compositional fluidity and technical skill. Her most notable original work is titled Landscape, Fruit, and Flowers, published in 1862. In Still Life Painting in America, Wolfgang Born describes the composition of this work as “flawless.” He also describes the piece as an example of early chromolithography anticipating the impressionist movement. [1]


Credits and Attributions:

Image: Landscape, Fruit and Flowers by Frances Flora Bond Palmer 1862 Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Landscape, Fruit and Flowers.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Landscape,_Fruit_and_Flowers.jpg&oldid=303703279 (accessed August 25, 2022).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Frances Flora Bond Palmer,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Frances_Flora_Bond_Palmer&oldid=1091932065 (accessed August 25, 2022).

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#FineArtFriday: Dunes Under the Sun by Anna Boch

Anna_Boch_006Title: “Dunes Under the Sun”

Artist:  Anna Boch

Medium:  oil on canvas

Dimensions: (62 x 95 cm) by the Belgian painter

Collection: Musée d’Ixelles (Belgium)

What I love about this painting:

Anna Boch painted the dunes on summer day along an ocean strand. The landscape she gives us looks and feels real, as if we were walking through the dunes. She captured the soft grittiness of high-piled sand, and the hardy brown grasses struggling to conquer the dunes and reach the sun. No sooner does the grass emerge from the sand than the wind and waves bury it again. Still, the grass continues its battle. Every tough blade climbing into the sunshine is a win.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Anna Rosalie Boch (10 February 1848 – 25 February 1936) was a Belgian painter, born in Saint-VaastHainaut. Anna Boch died in Ixelles in 1936 and is interred there in the Ixelles CemeteryBrussels, Belgium. She was born into the fifth generation of the Boch family, a wealthy dynasty of manufacturers of fine china and ceramics, still active today under the firm of Villeroy & Boch

Anna Boch participated in the Neo-Impressionist movement. Her early works used a Pointillist technique, but she is best known for her Impressionist style which she adopted for most of her career. A pupil of Isidore Verheyden, she was influenced by Théo van Rysselberghe whom she met in the Groupe des XX.

Besides her own paintings, Boch held one of the most important collections of Impressionist paintings of her time. She promoted many young artists, including Vincent van Gogh, whom she admired for his talent and who was a friend of her brother Eugène BochLa Vigne Rouge (The Red Vineyard), purchased by Anna Boch, was long believed to be the only painting Van Gogh sold during his lifetime. The Anna Boch collection was sold after her death. In her will, she donated the money to pay for the retirement of poor artist friends.

140 of her own paintings were left to her godchild Ida van Haelewijn, the daughter of her gardener. Many of these paintings show Ida van Haelewijn as a little girl in the garden. In 1968, these 140 paintings were purchased by her great nephew Luitwin von Boch, the CEO of Villeroy & Boch Ceramics. The paintings remained in the house of Ida van Haelewijn until her death in 1992. The Anna & Eugène Boch Expo opened 30 March 2011.


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Anna Boch 006.JPG,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository,  https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Anna_Boch_006.JPG&oldid=555267549(accessed July 21, 2022).

Wikipedia contributors, “Anna Boch,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Anna_Boch&oldid=1063159988 (accessed July 21, 2022).

Wikipedia contributors, “Eugène Boch,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Eug%C3%A8ne_Boch&oldid=1088797052 (accessed July 21, 2022).

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#FineArtFriday: Sheep Grazing in the Dunes on an Italian Coast by Edith Corbet

Edith_Corbet_Sheep_Grazing_in_the_Dunes,_on_an_Italian_CoastTitle: Sheep Grazing in the Dunes, on an Italian Coast

Artist: Edith Corbet (1846 – 1920),

Description: Landscape Art

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: 83.5 x 203 cm. (33 x 80 in.)

What I love about this painting:

There is a softness to this image, and yet it feels as if we are there, viewing the beach and the sheep. We know it was painted in late spring, as the sheep have just been shorn, and a few lambs can be seen with their mothers. To the right of the scene, the sky has darkened, and a storm is moving in.

The beach grass, the color of the dunes, and the shades of the water reflecting the ever-changing colors of the sky feel real, perfectly recreated for us by the artist’s hands. She gives us a peaceful serene moment, a chance to just breathe deeply and let go of the stress of our modern lives.

This kind of day is familiar to me, a scene that could be found on many beaches here in my Northwestern part of the world. I love it when a brief storm moves in over the dunes, stirring the waters, and showing how the sky is the most important part of the scene. It’s as if the sky says to the sea, “You may be big and important, but I am larger and more powerful.”

Little is known about Edith’s life. She travelled a great deal and loved Italy. I suspect her first marriage, to illustrator Arthur Murch, was difficult, as he was in poor health much of the time. It has been said that while he was talented, he rarely finished a project. His reputation was based on the two illustrations he produced for Dalziels’ Bible Gallery, while Edith’s landscapes had begun to bring her some fame. Murch died in Germany, and most of Edith’s life at that time was in Italy.

By the time she painted this scene, in 1897, Edith and her second husband, Matthew Ridley Corbet, may have been living in England for at least part of the year.

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:

Image: Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Edith Corbet Sheep Grazing in the Dunes, on an Italian Coast.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Edith_Corbet_Sheep_Grazing_in_the_Dunes,_on_an_Italian_Coast.jpg&oldid=617254333 (accessed June 2, 2022).

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#FineArtFriday: Sailboats by Jacoba van Heemskerck

Sailboats by Jacoba van HeemskerckArtist: Jacoba van Heemskerck (1876–1923)

Title: Bild no. 15 (Segelboote) (English: Painting no, 15 – Sailboats)

Date: Circa 1914

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: height: 97.5 cm (38.3 in); width: 113.5 cm (44.6 in)

Collection: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

What I love about this painting:

The sharp corners and geometry of this composition raises the viewer’s eye toward the horizon. It feels cubist, is abstract, and reflects a spiritual connection to her subject. I love the symbolism in this image. The sailboats are souls sailing toward the next life across a deep blue sea and beneath a golden sky. The island temple toward which the boats sail is shaped like a pyramid. The elongated sails of the many boats direct the eye up. Everything, including the island temple, points toward heaven.

In this painting, it is easy to see how she would later become involved in creating stained glass—the sharp black outlines and vivid colors of her paintings are perfect for that medium.

According to the Kunstmuseum Den Haag’s website:

“But whereas Mondrian’s artistic approach eventually became austerely geometrical, Van Heemskerck’s developed as a result of a variety of influences (including anthroposophy) into an open, unconstrained and intuitive style. Throughout her life, she would seek – like Kandinsky – to express spiritual experience. The recurring subjects in her oeuvre are therefore invariably symbolic in nature: sailing ships, bridges and trees, depicted in clear, vibrant colours and with firm outlines. Although she was never to abandon the representation of the real world, Van Heemskerck’s style was eventually so abstract that her subjects became virtually unrecognisable. This approach won her great success, especially in Germany, where she exhibited at the Berlin Expressionist gallery Der Sturm every year from 1913 until her death.” [1]

About the Artist, Via Wikipedia:

Jkvr. Jacoba Berendina van Heemskerck van Beest (1876-1923) was a Dutch painter, stained glass designer and graphic artist who worked in several modern genres. She specialized in landscapes and still-lifes.

Her first contact with Modern art came in Paris, where she took lessons from Eugène Carrière.[2][3] She remained in France until 1904, then went to live with her sister, Lucie, and was introduced to the art collector, Marie Tak van Poortvliet, who became her lifelong friend and later built a studio for her in the garden of her home.[1] After 1906, she spent her Summers in Domburg, where she came into contact with avant-garde painters such as Piet Mondrian[4] and Jan Toorop, who offered her advice. Around 1911, she was briefly interested in Cubism.

Shortly after, she became involved in Anthroposophy, possibly through the influence of her former teacher, Nibbrig, who was a Theosophist. She then became an avid follower of Der Sturm, an avant-garde art magazine founded by Herwarth Walden, and turned increasingly to Abstraction.[1] In 1913, she attended the Erster Deutscher Herbstsalon in Berlin, where she met Walden and started what would be a lifelong correspondence.[3] Thanks to his efforts, her work was popular in Germany, while it remained somewhat ignored in her home country.

After 1916, she developed an interest in stained glass windows, designing them for the naval barracks and the Municipal Health Department building in Amsterdam, as well as private residences.[1] From 1922, she lived in Domburg with her old friend and patron, Tak van Poortvliet.

She died suddenly, from an attack of angina.[3] Both Tak van Poortvliet and Walden mounted exhibitions of her work, in Amsterdam and Berlin respectively. In 2005, a major retrospective was held at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. [2]


Credits and Attributions:

[1] Kunstmuseum Den Haag contributors, “Jacoba van Heemskerck,” Jacoba van Heemskerck A REDISCOVERY, Jacoba van Heemskerck | Kunstmuseum Den Haag (accessed March 31, 2022).

[2]Wikipedia contributors, “Jacoba van Heemskerck,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jacoba_van_Heemskerck&oldid=1078279427 (accessed March 31, 2022).

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#FineArtFriday: The Proposition by Judith Leyster 1631 (revisited)

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. It is as if she refuses to notice 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. They had to sell paintings to feed their families, and then as today, virtue did not sell all that well.

Leyster, on the other hand, had the talent and (because she was a woman) the freedom to paint whatever she wanted. After all, as long as she managed the house, made sure food was served, 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 paintings 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 Flemish “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. 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. 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: Self-portrait Hesitating between the Arts of Music and Painting by Angelica Kauffmann 1791

Self-portrait of the Artist hesitating between the Arts of Music and Painting by Angelica Kauffman RA (Chur 1741 ¿ Rome 1807)

Artist: Angelica Kauffmann  (1741–1807)

Title: Self-portrait Hesitating between the Arts of Music and Painting

Date: 1791

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 147 cm (57.8 in); Width: 216 cm (85 in)

Collection: The St Oswald Collection, Nostell Priory. (The National Trust)

What I love about this painting:

Balanced, powerful colors and the soft-brushed, multi-layered style of English portraitists Sir Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough characterize all of Angelica Kauffman’s work. We see sharp clarity and attention to the smallest detail in the setting and the scene. Yet, the faces have a mystical, dreamlike quality.

This painting shows the struggle many artists suffer from, trying to decide which muse to follow. Kauffmann loved music and painting in equal measure. She had a natural soprano of operatic quality, yet she had the kind of artistic talent for painting that rarely comes along.

Art won out. I’m glad because, in those days before recordings, music was ephemeral. It was over when the last bow was taken, and the curtain closed. Only the lucky few in the opera house experienced it.

Artists like Kauffmann, who leave us their great works, bring enjoyment to thousands of people over the course of centuries.

Angelica Kauffmann was a beautiful, extraordinarily talented and well-educated woman in an era when talented, educated women were considered an annoyance. Slut-shaming isn’t a new method of trying to keep a woman down, although social media has made it into a handy weapon. The practice has been around for as long as humans have walked the earth.

Kauffmann’s talent and success, along with her friendship with Sir Joshua Reynolds, so annoyed fellow artist Nathaniel Hone that he went to great lengths to publicly humiliate both her and Reynolds in his painting, The Conjurer.

Hone’s attempt to put her in her place backfired, as rather than cowering in shame, Kauffmann held her head up and fought back, forcing him to remove the nude he’d painted (implying she’d posed for it) from his picture. Her reputation remained untarnished by the defamatory assault, but Hone’s crudely expressed jealousy, both professional and personal, did him no favors among his peers.

From Wikipedia:

Her friendship with Reynolds was criticized in 1775 by fellow Academician Nathaniel Hone, who courted controversy in 1775 with his satirical picture The Conjurer. It was seen to attack the fashion for Italian Renaissance art and to ridicule Sir Joshua Reynolds, leading the Royal Academy to reject the painting. It also originally included a nude caricature of Kauffman in the top left corner, which he painted out after she complained to the academy. The combination of a little girl and an old man has also been seen as symbolic of Kauffman and Reynolds’s closeness, age difference, and rumoured affair. [1]

 

About the Artist (also via Wikipedia):

Maria Anna Angelika Kauffmann RA (30 October 1741 – 5 November 1807), usually known in English as Angelica Kauffman, was a Swiss Neoclassical painter who had a successful career in London and Rome. Remembered primarily as a history painter, Kauffmann was a skilled portraitist, landscape and decoration painter. She was, along with Mary Moser, one of two female painters among the founding members of the Royal Academy in London in 1768.

In 1782, Kauffman’s father died, as did her husband in 1795. In 1794, she painted, Self-Portrait Hesitating Between Painting and Music, in which she emphasizes the difficult choice she had faced in choosing painting as her sole career, in dedication to her mother’s death. She continued at intervals to contribute to the Royal Academy in London, her last exhibit being in 1797. After this she produced little, and in 1807 she died in Rome, being honored by a splendid funeral under the direction of Canova. The entire Academy of St Luke, with numerous ecclesiastics and virtuosi, followed her to her tomb in Sant’Andrea delle Fratte, and, as at the burial of Raphael, two of her best pictures were carried in procession. [1]


Credits and Attributions:

Self-Portrait Hesitating Between the Arts of Music and Painting by Angelica Kauffmann, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Angelica Kauffman. Self-Portrait Hesitating Between the Arts of Music and Painting.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Angelica_Kauffman._Self-Portrait_Hesitating_Between_the_Arts_of_Music_and_Painting.jpg&oldid=527350844 (accessed September 23, 2021).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Angelica Kauffman,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Angelica_Kauffman&oldid=1045596134 (accessed September 23, 2021).

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

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 ″)

Today we’re revisiting The Chess Game, which is a portrait of the artist’s sisters playing chess. This post first appeared here on September 13, 2019 and is a wonderful window into the personalities of three girls in an upper class family in the 16th century. Anguissola had a marvelous ability to capture the moods of her subjects.

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. 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. Excerpts of the advice she gave him about painting survive from this visit, 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. 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. 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: 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: Corporal J.D.M Pearson GC (WAAF) by Dame Laura Knight 1940

Corporal_J.D.M_Pearson,_GC,_WAAF_(1940)_(Art._IWM_ART_LD_626)About this image via Wikipedia:

A three- quarters length portrait of Corporal J. D. M. Pearson, GC, WAAF (1940) – shows Corporal Daphne Pearson of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, WAAF, a recipient of the Empire Gallantry Medal, later exchanged for the George Cross. Although Pearson, at Knight’s insistence, sat for the portrait holding a rifle, the finished painting shows her holding a respirator. As WAAF personal were not allowed to carry arms on duty, Knight had to paint over the rifle. [1]

Joan Daphne Mary PearsonGC (25 May 1911 – 25 July 2000) was a Women’s Auxiliary Air Force officer during the Second World War and one of only thirteen women recipients of the George Cross, the highest decoration for gallantry not in the face of an enemy that can, or could, be awarded to a citizen of the United Kingdom or commonwealth.

Pearson joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) as a medical orderly shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.

In the early hours of the morning on 31 May 1940, Avro Anson bomber R3389 of No. 500 Squadron RAF undershot on approach to an airstrip near the WAAF quarters in DetlingKent, crashing into a field. Upon landing, a bomb exploded, killing the navigator instantly, and leaving the pilot seriously injured. Corporal Pearson entered the burning fuselage, released the pilot from his harness and removed him from the immediate area around the aircraft. After she was 27 metres (30 yards) from the aircraft, a bomb exploded. She flung herself on top of the pilot to protect him. After medical staff had removed the pilot, she went back to the plane to look for the fourth crew member, the radio operator. She found him dead. For her deeds, Pearson was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal (EGM). [2]

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Dame Laura Knight, (née Johnson), DBE RA RWS (4 August 1877 – 7 July 1970) was an English artist who worked in oils, watercolors, etching, engraving and drypoint. Knight was a painter in the figurative, realist tradition, who embraced English Impressionism. In her long career, Knight was among the most successful and popular painters in Britain. Her success in the male-dominated British art establishment paved the way for greater status and recognition for women artists.

In 1929 she was created a Dame, and in 1936 became the first woman elected to full membership of the Royal Academy. Her large retrospective exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1965 was the first for a woman. Knight was known for painting amidst the world of the theatre and ballet in London, and for being a war artist during the Second World War. She was also greatly interested in, and inspired by, marginalized communities and individuals, including Gypsies and circus performers. [1]


Credits and Attributions:

File:Corporal J.D.M Pearson, GC, WAAF (1940) (Art. IWM ART LD 626).jpg|

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Laura Knight,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Laura_Knight&oldid=1019091508 (accessed April 29, 2021).

[2] Wikipedia contributors, “Daphne Pearson,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Daphne_Pearson&oldid=1000936279 (accessed April 29, 2021).

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