Friday, August 29, 2014

Self-portrait (1845)

Jacques Amans: Self-portrait

Here is a very conventional counterpoint to Courbet's wild self-portrait shown earlier. Flemish-born Amans trained and lived in France before moving to New Orleans, Louisiana.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Les Fleurs des Champs (1845)

Louis Janmot: Les Fleurs des Champs

Janmot was born into a very religious family (Catholic) and many of his paintings do have a religious theme. He studied with Ingres. This painting (translation: Flower of the Fields) attracted the attention of Baudelaire and gained him access to the Salon of 1846.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Vicomtesse Othenin d'Haussonville (1845)

Jean-August-Dominique Ingres: Vicomtesse Othenin d'Haussonville

Louise, Princesse de Broglie (1818–82) and granddaughter of Madame de Staël, married at the age of eighteen. Her husband was a diplomat, writer, and member of the French Academy, and she herself published a number of books, including biographies of Robert Emmet and Byron. For her time and her elevated social caste, she was outspokenly independent and liberal. This portrait, begun in 1842, was the fruit of several false starts and a great many preparatory drawings, including full-scale studies of the raised left arm, the head, and its reflection. According to a letter written by the artist, the finished work “aroused a storm of approval among her family and friends.” Ingres appears to have surprised the young lady in the intimacy of her boudoir, where she leans against an upholstered fireplace, having just discarded her evening wrap and opera glasses. [Frick]

The lady's memoirs have some interesting hints as to her character: a well-developed sense of self-regard ("I was destined to beguile, to attract, to seduce, and in the final reckoning to cause suffering to all those who sought their happiness in me.") and calculating approach to marriage ("I wanted to marry young and have a brilliant position in society. And that, basically, is the only reason I wanted to marry him.") [Amy Fine Collins, "Review of Ingres and the 'Comtesse d'Haussonville' by Edgar Munhall," Woman's Art Journal, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 48-51, 1987]

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Self-Portrait (The Desperate Man) (ca. 1845)

Gustave Courbet: Self-Portrait (The Desperate Man)

This is one of those works that confirms my view that Courbet was one of the most creative and inventive painters of 19th century France. Other artists' self-portraits (we'll see one later this week) were usually sedate, matter-of-fact, and perhaps somewhat pompous; only Courbet would come up with something like this. And it was not his only unusual self-portrait, as we shall see...
“…in our so very civilized society it is necessary for me to live the life of a savage. I must be free even of governments. The people have my sympathies, I must address myself to them directly.”
              – Gustave Courbet, 1850

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Sultan of Morocco and his Entourage (1845)

Eugène Delacroix: The Sultan of Morocco and his Entourage

The Sultan of Morocco and his Entourage was intended to immortalize the Comte de Mornay's diplomatic mission, his successful meeting with the Sultan. In fact, Delacroix scorned the opportunity to commemorate an event doomed to oblivion. Instead, he concentrated on creating a spectacular open-air scene in bright light, with vivid colors and monumental protagonists. Exemplifying his orientalist vein, it also exhibits the full wealth of his technical mastery.

A detailed analysis of the painting and the cultural and political milieu in which is was produced is online here.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Portrait of Clémentine (1845)

Henri Lehmann: Portrait of Clémentine (Mrs. Alphonse) Karr

This is certainly one of the most interesting portraits I've seen. You have to wonder if this look is what the lady had in mind when she posed for the portrait. She looks...dangerous.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Portrait of Madame Frederic Reiset and Her Daughter (1844)

Jean-August-Dominique Ingres: Portrait of Madame Frederic Reiset, born Augustine Modeste Hortense Reiset, and Her Daughter Therese Hortense Marie

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Tilling (1844)

Rosa Bonheur: The Tilling

Rosa Bonheur focused on animals and farm labor in her work. If the date on this painting is accurate, she was 22 when it was done. She is considered to be the most famous female painter of the 19th century (at least, by Janson, H. W., Janson, Anthony F. History of Art. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers. 6th edition. ISBN 0-13-182895-9, page 674).

Friday, August 15, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Last Words of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (1844)

Eugène Delacroix: Last Words of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius

This painting depicts the last hours of the life of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, as Delacroix admired the Stoics and particularly Marcus Aurelius. The character is represented in the center of the painting as an old, sick man who grabs the arm of a young man dressed in red, namely his son Commodus (Lucius Aurelius Commodus Antoninus). Commodus seems not to pay attention to what his father wants him to say and has a haughty look. Around them, Marcus Aurelius' philosopher friends who are present around the bed are portrayed as sad men dressed in black.

Thus, the painting represents the end of the Roman Empire. Delacroix, who was fascinated by the red color after his travel to North Africa in 1832, draws the viewer's attention to Commodus by garbing him in bright red. It appears that the painting has no moral aspect, as the message that Delacroix wanted to convey in this work remains unknown. [Wikipedia]

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Envoys of the Senate Offer the Dictatorship to Cincinnatus (1844)

Alexandre Cabanel: Envoys of the Senate Offer the Dictatorship to Cincinnatus

Cabanel was one of the leading exponents of French "Academic" painting. He played a major role in getting the "Salon" to refuse to show the works of Impressionist painters.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Le Chateau de Chenonceau (1843)

 Pierre Justin Ouvrie: Le Chateau de Chenonceau

 This painting is lower resolution than I generally prefer for my postings, but it's so beautiful I had to make an exception. A modern photo of the same scene is below. The chateau was built in the early 1500s.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Palace of Donn'Anna (1843)

Jules Coignet: The Palace of Donn'Anna, Naples

This is a classic view of the unfinished palace designed by Cosimo Fanzago for Anna Carafa, wife of a seventeenth-century Spanish viceroy of Naples. With Vesuvius smoldering in the distance, Castel del’Ovo jutting into the bay, and Neapolitan boatmen plying the water, all the elements of the Picturesque are present in this composition. As if to contravene the scene’s sense of timelessness, Coignet incised the location and date into the still-wet paint at lower left, emphasizing the speed with which he completed the painting. [Metropolitan Museum]

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Two Sisters (1843)

Théodore Chassériau: Two Sisters

Théodore Chassériau was just twenty-four years old when he painted this portrait of his two sisters. The work is widely regarded as one of his masterpieces and was considered by the renowned Impressionist painter Edgar Degas to be one of the most beautiful paintings of the century. Immediately captivating viewers with its charm is a device used by Chassériau to convey his own strong affection for his sisters. The two women stand arm in arm but their identical clothing, jewelry, and hairstyle make them seem even more closely connected—like twins. In reality, Marie-Antoinette on the left, known to the painter as Adèle, was already thirty-three while her sister Geneviève, better known as Aline, was only twenty-one. The exotic overtones present in the dark hair and complexion of the two women, which evoke the family’s Caribbean origins, are heightened by their red shawls with an Indian pattern. The red of these shawls corresponds in turn to the red of their lips and cheeks. Physically, the Chassériau sisters resemble their Creole mother. The young painter borrowed the precise modeling of the fabrics and surfaces and strong chromatic correspondences from his teacher Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. []

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Le Conventionnel Merlin de Thionville (1843)

Nicolas Toussaint Charlet: Le conventionnel Merlin de Thionville à l'armée du Rhin

An attempt at Google-translating this title yields "The Conventional Merlin de Thionville in the Army of the Rhine," which doesn't make much sense. "Conventionnel" must have another meaning that Google doesn't know (thank God they don't know everything yet!).

Is it just me or does this guy have kind of a monkey face?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Siege of Malta (ca. 1843)

Charles-Philippe Larivière: Malta besieged by the Ottoman General Mustapha, September 1565