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Pushing it back: depth and repoussoir 2
In the first article of this pair yesterday, I explained and showed how trees to one side of the foreground of a painting strengthen the cues for depth, a compositional technique known as repoussoir, pushing back. This had become quite widely used by the end of the eighteenth century,... Read more
Medium Well Done: 12 Stretched canvas
Linen and silk have been used as a support for paintings since ancient times, particularly in Egypt and China, where fabrics have been in greatest supply. Their first use in modern European painting seems to have been in the late Middle Ages, when painted banners became popular in churches,... Read more
Gustave Courbet 2: The group
Before the young Gustave Courbet (1819–1877) had even completed The Stone Breakers, he had already started work on an even greater masterpiece, A Burial at Ornans, one of the canonical paintings of the century. Gustave Courbet (1819–1877), A Burial at Ornans (1849-50), oil on canvas, 315 x 668 cm,... Read more
Paul Sérusier: 1 The Talisman
One of the Nabis who seems to be remembered for but a single painting is Paul Sérusier (1864–1927), who is also claimed to be a “pioneer of abstract art”. He was certainly unusual among the Nabis for his style, which was closer to that of Gauguin than the rest... Read more
Medium Well Done: 5 Watercolour and gouache
Watercolour is the most inappropriately-named of the popular painting media. Oil paint uses drying oils as its binder, egg tempera uses the yolk of eggs, and glue tempera various types of glue. Water is, of course, not the binder in watercolour, but the diluent, used to turn blocks of... Read more
The beautiful icons of Maurice Denis 2
By the start of the twentieth century, the former Nabi artist Maurice Denis (1870–1943) was firmly in the avant garde, his paintings evolving away from his earlier Nabi style, and making series of prints. He had started serious print-making around 1890, and had made woodblocks for music by Debussy.... Read more
The beautiful icons of Maurice Denis 1
Maurice Denis (1870–1943) was another of the founding members of the Nabis, and the youngest. To put his career into context, he was still an infant of three when the Impressionists held their first exhibition in Paris, and a member of the next and post-Impressionist generation. A Norman by... Read more
Landscape oil sketches from Valenciennes to Pissarro
Yesterday, I commemorated here the anniversary of the death of the landscape painter who made plein air oil sketching a part of standard practice, so paving the way for the transformations which occurred in the nineteenth century and after – Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (1750–1819). This article looks at his... Read more
The last few years have seen a surge in the development of online catalogues raisonnés, in which the complete works of an artist are meticulously documented. Over the last five years or so, Walter Feilchenfeldt, Jayne Warman, David Nash and others have been working on that for Paul Cézanne.... Read more
The devil you know – in paintings 2
After Hieronymus Bosch, the artist who has developed the theme of devils more than any other was the visionary William Blake, who was influenced by Henry Fuseli. William Blake (1757–1827), Satan Exulting over Eve (c 1795), graphite, pen and black ink, and watercolor over colour print, 42 x 53... Read more