Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot: Venice, the Piazetta, View from the Riva degli Schiavoni
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Jean-Baptiste Mauzaisse: Battle of Valmy, 20th September 1792
The Battle of Valmy was a victory by French Revolutionary forces over the Prussians. Though a relatively small engagement, the French victory gave a significant psychological boost to the forces of the Revolution.
Monday, April 28, 2014
Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot: Hagar in the Wilderness
This picture, shown at the Salon of 1835, is the earliest of four large ambitious biblical paintings that Corot exhibited in the 1830s and 1840s. Like the Museum's Destruction of Sodom (1843–44; 29.100.18), it illustrates the story of the family of Abraham, the father of Israel. Hagar, the servant of Abraham's wife Sarah, bore Abraham's son Ishmael. Later, when Isaac was born to Sarah, she drove Hagar and Ishmael into the desert of Beersheba. For this painting, Corot chose the moment of divine salvation of the mother and child (Genesis 21:15–17). Following an old pictorial tradition, Corot has included the angel from an earlier episode in which the pregnant Hagar, expelled by Sarah, was sent back to her by an angel (Genesis 16:7–9). [Metropolitan Museum]
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Hippolyte Lecomte: Ambulance Tending Wounded French Troops, 1792 (detail)
The depicted scene dates from the early period of the French Revolutionary Wars, in particular, the Campaigns of 1792. During this year the French fought against Austrians, Prussians and other allied powers. The main points of Franco-Austrian conflict were Siege of Lille and the Battle of Jemappes near Mons (in modern Belgium) on 6th November 1792. A village inn building typical for Belgian architecture is on the right, Flemish-looking locals, army officers autumnally dressed in "redingotes" by the column and, before all the same landscape in the background - all these hints allow us to maintain that we are dealing here exactly with this event. The painting shows a square of a small village not far from Jemappes adapted to serve as a French combat support hospital ("Ambulance") on November 6th 1792. [Boris Wilnitsky Fine Art]
Friday, April 25, 2014
Théodore Chassériau: The Ghost of Banquo
Théodore Chassériau was a Romantic painter who specialized in portraits, history and religious paintings, and Orientalist works. As demonstrated by this painting (and numerous others), he had a fondness for depicting Shakespearean scenes.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Paul Delaroche: The Assassination of the Duc de Guise in the Château of Blois in 1588
Another gloomy death scene from Delaroche - it seems to have been his specialty.
The Duke of Orléans, elder brother of the Duke of Aumale, commissioned this painting. It is inspired by the opera of Scribe and Meyerbeer, The Huguenots; hence the reason why the protagonists are lined up as if standing on a theater stage. The romantics loved to get inspiration from dramatic episodes of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The painting of Delaroche represents the moment when Henri III appears from behind the curtain where he was hiding to witness the death of his enemy; around him, the conspirators are rushing, every member of the Forty Five, the King's personal guard, while the corpse of the Duke of Guise occupies all of stage right. The atmosphere is dark and gloomy, in keeping with the represented subject. The historical details strive for authenticity; the opera's setting, Dieterle, is said to have contributed to the architectural part. The painting, commissioned in 1833, was delivered in May 1834 and exhibited at the Salon of 1835. [Domaine de Chantilly]
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Eugène Delacroix: Women of Algiers in their Apartment
This painting is Delacroix's first foray into Orientalism; it resulted from his trip to North Africa in 1832 - a trip which clearly influenced the remainder of his artistic career.
More about this painting can be found at Wikipedia and Artble.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
François Dubois: Allegories of the Four Continents - Africa
François Dubois: Allegories of the Four Continents - America
François Dubois: Allegories of the Four Continents - Asia
François Dubois: Allegories of the Four Continents - Europe
Believed to have been commissioned for a French country estate, Dubois' Allegories of the Four Continents are more than interior decoration; the quartet reflects wealthy Europeans’ global influence and fascination with exploration, conquest, and colonization. Before the sixteenth century, the world was pictured as a great circle divided in half: one part represented by Europe and Africa while the other Asia. Dramatically expanding worldviews in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries further divided the circle into four quarters, introducing the Americas and allowing Asia and Africa each a distinct visual identity. By the nineteenth century the four Allegories were immediately recognizable on maps, in history books, popular newspapers, architecture, and the impressive paintings of Salon and Academy artists. Celebrated for his historical and mythological subjects, Dubois follows contemporary conventions by depicting Europe as a woman warrior, an Artemis or Amazon queen with Western weapons of conquest: a horse, sword, rifle and cannon. In contrast to Europe’s armor, her fellow Allegories of more exotic lands are nearly nude with only loosely draped cloth accentuating their curves. Asia is the most modest of the three, her back to the viewer, revealing her creamy skin in an odalisque pose, holding a peacock feather fan and joined by a finely crafted incense burner and domesticated camel. Reflecting the alluring mystery of more unknown lands, the Americas and Africa hold tomahawk and hunting arrows respectively, companioned with equally emblematic animals—a lizard and parrot and a resting lion. Both are equal parts Classical queen and “real” native, with ethnographic features, dressed in tribal feathers or crafted jewelry as described by travelers to foreign lands. Significantly, the Americas and Africa each look toward the right, toward the other half of the room from where the panels of Europe and Asia were most likely positioned. Looking across at one another, each of these Allegories represent the belief that the undeveloped frontiers of the Americas and Africa were yet unspoiled by modern life but needed the cultured touch of more "accomplished" civilizations. In the end, however, these figures are a pastiche of the real and imagined qualities of each Continent's people - linked by a shared appreciation of the universal beauty of women. [Sotheby's Auction Catalog, 25 October 2005, Lot 52 (pdf file)]
Friday, April 18, 2014
Sunday, April 13, 2014
Paul Delaroche: The Execution of Lady Jane Grey
This execution scene is one of Delaroche's most celebrated canvases. Although he took some artistic license (the execution actually took place outdoors rather than in a gloomy dungeon), it remains one of the most poignant depictions of a historical event ever made.
More about this painting is here.
Friday, April 11, 2014
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Philippe-Auguste Jeanron: Scène de Paris
In Scene in Paris, children dominate the composition. Two boys and a girl surround a poor wretch, presumably their father. Two of them have closed eyes , but unlike the "little patriot" they were not asleep, late at night, the sleep of the just. Without roof for shelter, they sleep in the daytime, leaning against the stone parapet along the Seine. The tricolor on the hat, the dressing that exceeds the cap ... everything reminds us that the man was one of the rioters of July 1830. But if the bourgeois of 1830 do not appear on the barricades alongside the humble, those of 1833 boldly despise the poor who fought for them. A wealthy couple walks away without looking for this needy family. [L'Histoire par L'Image]