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Painting Reality: 8 Outcome
Naturalist painting was only one aspect of Naturalist art in the late nineteenth century. Indeed, mention the movement today and most people think first of literary Naturalism, particularly the novels of Émile Zola. Common to all these was a growing concern over the changes happening in society: rural deprivation... Read more
The Wolf of Gubbio, banknotes, and Surrealism
Around 1206, the small town of Gubbio, perched on the lower slopes of the Apennine Mountains in central Italy, was troubled by a predatory wolf. It was winter, and the wolf was driven by hunger to feed not only from local flocks of sheep, but had started to attack... Read more
The best of this year’s paintings and articles
As today is New Year’s Eve, it is time to look back on some of my favourite paintings which I have featured in articles here over the past year. This is one of my favourite articles to write, because it gives me an excuse to go back and enjoy... Read more
Plutarch’s Lives in Paint: 5a Aristides
Plutarch’s Lives progresses with a Greek hero who was a contemporary of Themistocles: Aristides (sometimes referred to as Aristeides). The two differed in their views over the way the Athenian city-state should be run. Themistocles was a champion of the people, and keen on opening government up democratically. Aristides,... Read more
Painting Truth: When did she emerge from a well?
At the very end of the nineteenth century, there was a sudden rush of paintings depicting the personification of Truth as a nude woman climbing from a well. They came apparently from nowhere, were popular for a decade or so, then vanished. Look back 200-300 years earlier, in the... Read more
Victor Hugo on Canvas: Quasimodo and Esmeralda
Over the last couple of weekends, I have looked at paintings of some fables and legends. When it comes to literary genres such as folk and fairy tales, categories become very blurry. This weekend I am going to start with a look at what began as a novel, but... Read more
Plutarch’s Lives in Paint: From Theseus to Caius Marius
Over the last six months, I have been summarising some of the biographies in Plutarch’s Lives (or Parallel Lives, if you prefer) and showing some of the great paintings which have been made in response. In this and next week’s articles to close this series, I include excerpts which... Read more