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Rivera's Middle Years: 1916-1928

In this era, Merle developed his own technical approach that distanced him from Cogniet. He replaced warm colors with a high-contrast, jewel-like palette. His paintings became sparsely populated and the remaining figures grew in proportion to fill the canvas. As the figures grew, they became more idealized with an emphasis on line over color. Like many others, Salon prizes resulted in a lucrative business of painting portraits Brits and Americans. But, it was Merle's work as an interpreter of major literary romantic figures that set him apart. These figures were painted as large as life.

They dominated the canvas. Merle removed all unnecessary narrative devices, relying on his audience's familiarity with the subjects. For the next fifteen years, the French poured over and re-interpreted the Bard's narratives in ballets, operas, sculptures, and paintings.

Here Romeo steals a "pilgrim's kiss" from Juliet who coyly responds "You kiss by the book. The increased sophistication of Merle's subjects was rising mastery of the human form. While his treatment of the clothed figure indicate his skill level, it is in nude that we are able to see an artist's true mastery of the figure. Bougeureau's female nudes leave us in awe of his skill and ensure his immortality.

There are accounts of several painting of nude figures by Hugues Merle that have not surfaced in the art market. For me, this is a major omission in his ouvre and one that will continue to dog him if he is to regain stature. Due to financial troubles, the family was forced to return to Spain in In , at the age of 24, Haes traveled back to Brussels to study Flemish landscapes. There he competed and regularly placed in Belgium's annual Salons. Six years later, Haes returned to Spain.

His international experience carried a great deal of currency in Spanish painting circles, and immediately set him apart from his peers who rarely studied beyond Spain and Italy. His dedication to landscape also changed the Spanish Academy's attitude towards landscape painting. Instead, landscapes were considered a second-rate genre, a necessary part of an artist's education insofar as it related to the composition of history painting.

The award represented a giant leap forward in the estimation of landscape painting as a stand-alone discipline. Shortly afterwards, Haes was made a member of the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernand o, the nation's most prestigious art school. His appointment in to the Academia de San Fernandoand and subsequent teaching there effectively caught Spain up with other schools of landscape painting in Europe.

As a teacher, Haes fathered a dynasty of Spanish landscape artists that continues today. It could be argued that Haes' one of most important contributions to Spanish painting was with non-landscape painters. Through him, history painters, whose work enjoyed the widest attention at the Exposiciones Nacionales, developed a new appreciation and approach to landscapes, arguably bringing it on par with their figural work. In particular, Haes brought to Spain an increased emphasis on three aspects of landscape painting: luminosity, porportion and direct observation from nature.

Object details

Traditionally, Spanish artists favored the use of sandy-colored grounds for use in painting. This created a unifying effect in their works, but resulted in the overall dampening of light. While Haes continued to use sand-colored and reddish grounds in his works, he would incorporate large patches of lead white and subdue the quantity of sandy grounds.

Very few of Haes' works exceed by centimeters. This was at a time when history paintings, often exceeding 6 by 10 meters, were competing for top prizes at Exposiciones Nacionales. Haes' landscapes, though bold in composition and epic in subject matter, maintained comparatively modest proportions. This set a precedent in landscape painting throughout Spain, which more or less continued throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, even when history paintings became more ambitious in size.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, Haes was a proponent of direct observation from nature and led several expeditions. This resulted to an almost nationalistic fervor for Spanish landscape painting, that featured Iberian natural wonders. Today, Carlos de Haes' work can be found in nearly every major Spanish museum. However, the largest body and greatest works from his ouvre are held in the Prado Museum and not currently on display. A new wing of the Prado, dedicated to Spanish nineteenth-century art, is planned to open in Lately, I have been looking at my collection of images by theme, grouping Biblical and mythological subjects in categories.

It becomes helpful to have these groupings, which would normally not be seen in museums, when giving lectures or teaching children. Although I was familiar with Eve's eating of the forbidden fruit and her subsequent expulsion from Eden, I had never considered her feelings and, especially, the moment of realization she must have had after eating the Forbidden Fruit. The sculpture filled me with sympathy for Eve and remorse for my own bad decisions in life.

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the Old Masters and Their Pictures, for the Use of Schools and Learners in Art

Only great art can do that. Delaplanche studied under the neoclassical sculptor Francisque Joseph Duret French, In , Delaplanche was awarded the Prix de Rome and, subsequently, went to Italy where he studied Greco-Roman works and the sculptures of Michaelangelo and Bernini. He returned to Paris with an approach his work that combined classical idealism with natural forms. The result in Eve After the Fal l , done shortly after returning from Rome, is almost Hellenistic, but much larger in scale than most Greek statues. Eve is beautiful, yet forceful.

Her features are idealized, yet her figure, almost drawn into a fetal position from horror, is sinuous, organic. All of the elements of the story are here: the discarded, bitten fruit from the Tree o Life, the serpent coiled around the tree, and Eve, full of horror and realization of her transgression. Delaplanche went on to do a number of works and recieved a number of prizes. Unfortunately, like many of his contemporary sculptors and unlike many contemporary painters, little has been written about his work and life.

The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.


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The Tsar's Emancipation Manifesto of was an acknowledgement of democratic changes in Western governments. The decree changed the political and economic landscape of Russia, forcing landowning aristocrats to pay for labor and contributing to a rising middle class. Art academies in St. Petersburg and Moscow catered to the classical tastes of old Russia, represented by the aristrocracy.

Shortly after the emancipation of the serfs, a group of artists, named Peredvizhniki, or The Wanderers , believed it was time "take art to the people. They painted earthy, everyday peasants and took their exhibitions to rural areas of the country where a wider public could appreciate it. Polenov was an adopted as a member of The Wanderers, yet maintained his ties with the Russian Academy. He studied in the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg from Polenov was perhaps the most traveled Russian artist of his generation.

During his studies, he was pensioned in Italy and France, where he experienced first hand the contemporary movements of Realism and Impressionism. He returned with a love of plein air , and was one of the first to introduce the approach to other Russian painters.


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Using the technique he created numerous landscapes of his native countryside. From , Polenov served as a military artist in the Russo-Turkish war. Shortly thereafter, he dedicated his work to religious scenes, especially from the New Testament. His painting, Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery a.

Catalog Record: The old masters and their pictures, for the | HathiTrust Digital Library

It is drawn from the Gospel of John, Chapter 8, verses , where a woman caught in the act of adultery is taken to Christ. Hoping trick Christ, a group of his enemies brought the woman to him:. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. In preparation for the painting, Polenov had made sketches of people, architecture, and landscape in the Middle East and Greece, where he travelled from During his lifetime, Polenov was widely acclaimed for his work by both the Russian Academy and those that had broken from it.

In , he was made a fellow of the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg, and taught at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture until his death in Today, Polenov's home in Borok, near Moscow, has been made a museum and placed in the national trust. Portrait of Adolf von Menzel a. Photographer Paul Thompson. Oil on paper. Kunsthalle, Hamburg. Short biography Menzel was born in Breslau, Poland. In , his father moved the family to Berlin and founded a lithgraphy business, in which Menzel worked from the age of fourteen.

Oskar Reinhart Foundation, Winterthur. Shortly after moving to Berlin, Menzel's father died unexpectedly leaving a young Menzel as the sole provider for the family. Eventually, Menzel was able to involve other members of the family in the business and pursue an education and career in art. Oil on canvas. Private collection. He accepted at the prestigious Royal Academy of Art, where he was discovered by a wallpaper magnate, Carl Heinrich Arnold, who would be become Menzel's patron, promoter, and friend. His graduation from the Academy was followed by a series of lithographic commissions, including works by Goethe and a history of the Frederick the Great.

In , Menzel traveled to Paris for the first time.

The occasion was most likely the influential Paris Exposition Universelle, with thousands of artists' works on display in series of pavilions organized by nationality.