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More Than Portraits: the paintings of Diego Velazquez 7 Late Portraits and Myths
Soon after Diego Velázquez (1599–1660) had painted Las Hilanderas, he was arranging his second visit to Italy. Diego Velázquez (1599–1660), A Country Lass (La Gallega) (1645-50) , oil on canvas, 65 x 51 cm, Private collection. Wikimedia Commons. It is thought that another painting which he started prior to... Read more
The Women in the Life of Jules Joseph LeFebvre 1
Most painters paint women, but I can think of only one artist whose whole career consisted of painting almost exclusively women: Jules LeFebvre (1834–1912). He was also one of the great teachers of the late nineteenth century, perhaps inevitably counting at least two significant women artists among his many... Read more
The best of 2018’s paintings and articles 1
Last year I greatly enjoyed looking at a very wide range of paintings, particularly those from the nineteenth century, and those bearing narrative. In this article and tomorrow’s, I look back at some of the year’s high points which I hope merit revisiting. I stumbled across a most unusual... Read more
Favourite Paintings 18: Sandro Botticelli, Primavera (Spring), c 1482
One of the most famous paintings of the Italian Renaissance, and one of the later huge works in egg tempera, its interpretation remains controversial. Painter Sandro Botticelli (Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi) Painting Primavera (Spring, the Allegory of Spring) Year c 1482 Media tempera grassa on panel Dimensions... Read more
The Story in Paintings: Icarus and his downfall
The tragic death of Icarus is quite a popular story for narrative paintings from classical times onwards. It has also lent itself to contrasting treatments, which make it valuable for gaining insight into the techniques of narrative painting. Myth and legend According to classical Greek legend, Daedalus was a... Read more
Analysing narrative paintings of Icarus and Daedalus
In the previous article, I have written an account of the different approaches used in paintings showing the story of Daedalus and the fall of Icarus, as given in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. As I was completing that, I was also transforming it into a hypertext document using Eastgate Systems‘ Storyspace... Read more
The Story in Paintings: Poussin’s Empire of Flora
Many of the finest paintings by masters of narrative painting are notoriously difficult to read, and remain controversial centuries after they were created. This article looks at one of the most beautiful of these, Nicolas Poussin’s (1594–1665) The Empire of Flora (also known as The Realm of Flora) (1631).... Read more
The Story in Paintings: Philemon and Baucis, virtue rewarded
There is a deep and fundamental difference between the role of the classical Roman and Greek gods, and those of the major monotheistic religions. For the Romans and Greeks, their gods were the means of explaining many of the difficulties in daily life, and a way of blaming forces... Read more
Hesiod’s Brush, the paintings of Gustave Moreau: 13 Jupiter and Semele
Gustave Moreau started work on his last major painting by 1889, and seems to have concentrated on it most in 1894-95. The story at the heart of it is one of the strangest in classical myth, and has not been a particularly popular narrative for paintings. It is drawn,... Read more
Fire, surgery, and surrogate pregnancy: an unpaintable story?
Many classical myths must have seemed far-fetched even to the ancient Greeks and Romans. There is none so extraordinary as that told by Ovid in his Metamorphoses of the love affair between Jupiter and Semele. When I recently wrote about it in my series on Gustave Moreau, I wanted... Read more