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Medium Well Done: 8 Crayons, oil pastels, and more
Professional painters have long used brushes to apply paint for their finished work, but many used hand-held sticks of pigment only when sketching in preparation. Charcoal was widely used at first, with metal wire in silverpoint an alternative. In the sixteenth century, large deposits of graphite were discovered in... Read more
Circus: Performers
In the previous article, I looked at the spectacle of the circus, as seen mainly during the late nineteenth century. Even in circuses which worked year-round in their own permanent buildings, performers were notoriously itinerant. And in those circuses which travelled around and operated under tentage, the life of... Read more
Circus: Spectacle
Each Spring, travelling circuses around the world break out of their winter quarters and migrate to cities to bring entertainment to their masses. Much-changed now from their form in their heyday in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, they were among the earliest forms of mass entertainment, long before... Read more
Favourite Paintings 10: Paul Signac, Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde (La Bonne-Mère), Marseille, 1905-6
A luminous painting of the port of Marseille in dawn light, looking up towards the ‘Good Mother’ church, marks the height of both Neo-Impressionism and Fauvism. Painter Paul Victor Jules Signac Painting Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde (La Bonne-Mère), Marseille Year 1905-6 Media oil on canvas Dimensions 88.9 x 116.2 cm (35 x... Read more
Beyond the French Impressionists: 7 Belgium, Théo van Rysselberghe
Théophile (Théo) van Rysselberghe (1862-1926) Born in Ghent, Belgium, he showed early aptitude for painting, and initially studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent, before moving to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels in 1879. Realism to 1886 His early paintings were realist, in rather... Read more
Book Review: Georges Seurat The Art of Vision, Michelle Foa
“Georges Seurat: The Art of Vision” Michelle Foa Yale UP, 2 June 2015 Hardback, 21.3 x 26.2 cm (8.4 x 10.3 in), 235 pp., £45.00/$65.00 ISBN 978 0 300 20835 1 Not available for Kindle nor in the iTunes Store. As the originator of Neo-Impressionism and its Divisionist or... Read more
Beyond the French Impressionists: 24 Australia, Roberts, Streeton, Conder
In the late 1880s, several painters started to work in the rural area of Heidelberg, east of Melbourne, adopting a style which later became known as Australian Impressionism. They came together in a momentous exhibition in the history of Australian art, the 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition, in Melbourne,... Read more
Landscape Visions: 1 What’s in your landscape?
Although not one of the more valued genres, landscape painting became enormously popular in the nineteenth century, both among artists and their public. The Impressionists were, first and foremost, landscape painters; even Renoir, purveyor of protruberant nudes to the trendier gentry, felt it necessary to paint dozens of canvases... Read more
Landscape Visions: 2 Landscape contained
Long before painters in Europe dared to produce ‘pure’ landscape paintings, they were showing cameo appearances of countryside views in the background. These typically appeared through windows, either behind or to the side of the portrait(s) which were the main subject of the painting. These first came to prominence... Read more
Landscape Visions: 6 figures, staffage, and Advent Calendars
With their Renaissance roots as cameos or backgrounds to figurative paintings, landscapes slowly evolved to be ‘pure’ and unpopulated. What started as figures (+ miniature landscape) became figures in a landscape, then a landscape with figures, and finally just a landscape. From the left: Rogier van der Weyden (1450);... Read more