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Gustave Courbet 1: The Desperate Man
Among the immediate precursors to the great art movements of the late nineteenth century, Naturalism and Impressionism, were Eugène Delacroix, Camille Corot, and Gustave Courbet (1819–1877). In a month’s time, we’ll be celebrating the bicentenary of Courbet’s birth, and I hope that you’ll join me in this short series... Read more
Corydon: 1 Stories of shepherds
However pastoral the landscape looks, life for the shepherd (and shepherdess) is seldom as peaceful as it’s made out to be. This weekend’s two articles look at the depiction of shepherds and shepherdesses in paintings. I start with their role in stories. Ever since the domestication of the sheep... Read more
Medium Well Done: 6 Oils
Since the decline of egg tempera as the preferred medium for easel paintings in the Renaissance, oil paints have dominated those used by professional painters. This is due to their longevity and versatility. When appropriate techniques are used, oil paintings readily survive over five hundred years, and are the... Read more
Painting Reality: 7 Decline
As the nineteenth century drew to a close, Naturalist painting fell from favour. By the opening years of the new century, it was all but dead, and the few remaining Naturalists were shunned and scorned for not moving with the times. This article looks at what happened, and why... Read more
The best of 2018’s paintings and articles 2
Although there remains some uncertainty over the exact year of his birth, modern opinion is that Jacopo Tintoretto was born half a millenium ago, in 1518. I therefore took the opportunity to celebrate this major anniversary; an introduction and contents of the series of articles is here. Tintoretto is... Read more
Alchemy: 9 – Turner and tubes
With artists’ colourmen supplying growing ranges of ready-made oil paints in bladders, it was relatively straightforward for landscape painters like John Constable (1776-1837) to go out in front of the motif and paint en plein air in oils. Neither were artists like Constable reliant on the support of a... Read more
Paintings of Autumn 2: 1898-1931
In this second article, I will complete my survey of some of the best paintings of autumn, from the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century. Ferdinand Hodler (1853–1918), Kastanienallee near Biberist (1898), oil on canvas, 38 × 55 cm, location not known. Wikimedia Commons. Leaffall in the... Read more
The Naturalist Andersens: HA Brendekilde 1883-1889
The more I see of late nineteenth century painting, the more unhappy I become with its popular account in terms of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Wonderful and important though they are, this is grossly oversimplified and omits the rising role of paintings in social change, seen most clearly in the... Read more
The Naturalist Andersens: LA Ring 1882-1889
Hans Andersen Brendekilde’s friend Laurits Andersen Ring (1854–1933) was born to a rural craftsman and farmer’s daughter in the village of Ring in the south of Sjælland (Zealand), Denmark. With his older brother due to take over his father’s wheelmaking and carpentry business, Laurits was indentured as an apprentice... Read more
The Naturalist Andersens: HA Brendekilde 1889-1894
By the end of the 1880s, Hans Andersen Brendekilde (1857–1942) was still a good friend of L A Ring, but the latter spent more of his time with the Wilde family. Brendekilde had also been making good progress exhibiting at Charlottenborg, and 1889 completed what must be his best-known... Read more