Arthub Logo
Medium Well Done: 14 Copper and other sheets
The vast majority of oil paintings have been made on supports of wood or stretched fabric. But over the centuries a wider variety of materials have been used, including sheets of metal, slate and other stone, glass, and most recently elaborately-structured composite materials. They all meet the primary requirement,... Read more
The Divine Comedy: Purgatory 2 The murder of Pia de’ Tolomei
Dante is being led by the ghost of Virgil up the steep crags at the foot of the island mountain of Purgatory. After negotiating their way around sheer cliffs, they come across a group of souls huddling under a large rock: these are the spirits of those who delayed... Read more
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
Pushing it back: depth and repoussoir 1
Repoussoir is a term you’ll see bandied about in writing about art, particularly landscape painting. It’s French for pushing back, and refers to compositional techniques used to make the distant parts of an image look further away and deeper into the picture. In this article and its sequel tomorrow,... Read more
Misfit: Henri Fantin-Latour 1 First flowers
Painters of note in France during the latter half of the nineteenth century are generally quite easy to classify. There were Impressionists, some of whom became Divisionists and/or Post-Impressionists, Realists and Naturalists (whose work I have covered quite extensively here), the Nabis at the end of the century, and... Read more
The Nabis: 1 Beginnings
Over the last few months, I have systematically worked through the careers and work of those painters who have been associated with the Nabis. Viewed individually, it’s hard to assemble a picture of where they came from, what the Nabis were, and where they went. In this and the... Read more
Medium Well Done: 13 Paper and cardboard
The first paper-like sheets were made by the ancient Egyptians from papyrus, but it was the Chinese who discovered how to break plant fibres down to form sheets of what is recognisably paper. This knowledge came to Europe in the Middle Ages, by the eleventh century, and by the... Read more
The Divine Comedy: Purgatory 1 Starting the ascent
Although Heaven and Hell have clear biblical roots, the concept of Purgatory as part of the Christian life after death is more recent. It originated in the early Christian Church, flourished in the Middle Ages, and ripened only in the Catholic Church after the schism of Protestants in the... Read more
Bicentenary of Gustave Courbet, a founding father of modern art
Two hundred years ago today, Gustave Courbet was born in the country town of Ornans in Doubs, in the north-east of France. His paintings were of great influence in the development of art throughout Europe and North America. In my recent series of six articles examining his career and... Read more
The Great Wave 2, Courbet to Gauguin
In the previous of these two articles, I looked at European paintings of near-breaking ‘regular’ or “surfer’s” waves prior to 1850, and the appearance of Katsushika Hokusai’s woodblock print of The Great Wave off Kanagawa, which became so popular in Japan. No one knows when Hokusai’s Great Wave first... Read more