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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
Corydon: 2 Shepherds from staffage to social symbol
The first part of this account of shepherds and shepherdesses in paintings looked at their role in stories, from the earliest classical myths to epic English poetry. This second and concluding article looks at paintings of shepherds in landscapes, and in their own right as the motif. Nicolas Poussin,... Read more
More Than Portraits: 9, the revolutionary paintings of Diego Velázquez
Over the last couple of months, I have been exploring the life and paintings of Diego Velázquez beyond the many portraits for which he is usually most famous. In this concluding article to that series, I pick seven of his paintings which I think were revolutionary. 1, early bodegone... Read more
Glaciers: vanishing motifs
If you want to paint a glacier, now may already be too late. Around the world, they’re in retreat, thanks to our changing climate. This article first demonstrates that in paintings and more recent photographs of the Lower Grindelwald Glacier, after which I show some other notable paintings of... Read more
Glaciers and Views of Awe by Caspar Wolf
Well before the famous landscape paintings of Switzerland by Alexandre Calame (1810–1864), one of the pioneers of Alpine views was Caspar Wolf (1735–1783). Wolf was born in the town of Muri in central northern Switzerland. He trained in Konstanz, and during the 1750s worked as a decorative painter in... 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
In Memoriam Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes 2 Oil sketches
Two hundred years ago today, Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, one of the major landscape painters of the Western tradition, died in Paris. Yesterday I showed some of his finished works, which led the evolution from the idealised landscapes of Micolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain to modern views of nature. Valenciennes’... Read more
In Memoriam Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes 1 Finished paintings
Tomorrow will be the two hundredth anniversary of the death of the major French landscape painter, Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (1750–1819). In this article, I will summarise his career with the aid of a small selection of his finished paintings. But his importance in the history of art centres on... Read more
Founders of Modern Landscape Art: Claude Joseph Vernet
Two hundred years ago this weekend, the founding father of modern European landscape painting, Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, died. In this and a subsequent article, I will try to trace the origins of this new form of landscape art, starting here with a brief look at the work of Claude-Joseph... Read more
The only Austrian Impressionist: Theodor von Hörmann
Impressionism reached across the whole world, as far as Japan and Australia, but I can’t think of many Austrian Impressionists. One of the few – perhaps the only one – was Theodor von Hörmann von Hörbach (1840–1895). He didn’t paint seriously until quite late in life: he served his... Read more