Portrait Obsession

Jul 6, 2017 at 15:45 o\clock

Titian | The Magic of Titian

The undisputed master of Venetian Renaissance painting for the last sixty years of his life, Titian (1477–1576) counted Europe’s aristocracy and the pope among his patrons. One of the most versatile of all the Italian painters, Titian was equally adept with portraits as with mythological and religious subjects. He was the first of the Venetian painters to reveal the hand of the painter by the development of his own individual brushstroke. Titian’s work stood out among so many talented artists of his day because of his diverse brushwork, use of color and his application of a wide variety of paint, from thin to thick impasto. These innovations had a profound influence on generations of Western artists to come. In 1487, at around the age of ten, Titian began working in the studio of the elderly Gentile Bellini (1429-1507), then transferred to the studio of the more famous Giovanni Bellini (1430-1516), Gentile’s brother. Some scholars believe Titian joined Giorgione (1478-1510) as an assistant around 1505; however the great biographer Giorgio Vasari (1511-1571) wrote that Titian did not work directly under him, but admired Giorgione’s work and copied his techniques.

Read more on https://musings-on-art.org/titian  

Jun 29, 2017 at 15:06 o\clock

Caravaggio's Early Work


One of the finest paintings at the State Hermitage Museum happens to be The Lute Player (1595) by Michelangelo Merissi da Caravaggio (1571-1610). In 1592, when the artist was about twenty years old, he left the Lombard area of Italy and went to Rome. There Caravaggio initially gained employment with the little-known Sicilian painter Lorenzo Carli. Caravaggio quickly moved over to Calvaliere d’Arpino’s workshop, where he was put in charge of painting flowers and fruit. It was here that Caravaggio learned the workings of a large workshop operation and the mechanics of art patronage in Rome. After a couple of years at this workshop Caravaggio started creating paintings of half-length figures to sell on the open market to prove he could do more than paint flowers and fruit. Some of these early paintings include Boy Peeling a Fruit (1593/94), Self-portrait as Bacchus (1594) and Boy Bitten by a Lizard (1594). Of these paintings, Boy Peeling a Fruit is probably the oldest surviving Caravaggio painting in existence today. Though there are several copies of this painting, John T. Spike identified the likely original in a auction in London in 1996; its present location is in the British Royal Collection. In 2014 it was put on display in the Cumberland Gallery in Hampton Court Palace. Caravaggio’s early figurative paintings introduced the Roman public to a new genre that quickly began to attract collectors. The Flute Player is one of the first of these promotional paintings. 

To read more on https://musings-on-art.org/caravaggio-early-work  

Jun 19, 2017 at 14:27 o\clock

Institute of Russian Realist Art

Way outside the city center of Moscow sits a rather modest museum that contains one of the best collections of the Russian realist school of painting of the 20th century. The museum is known as the Institute of Russian Realist Art (IRRA) and it houses three floors of exhibition space, totaling over 4,500 square meters, with approximately 500 works of Russian and Soviet art. The collection begins with Soviet Realism and ends with contemporary work from artists living today. It is an interesting collection that chronicles Russia’s political history with Stalin’s propaganda art, the Great Patriotic War and Khrushchev’s “thaw.” This fabulous collection shows us how these Russian artists interpreted the world in which they lived. 

Soviet Painting from the 1900s to 1960s

This section of the display is devoted to artists active in the first half and middle of the 20th century. Their painting displays unfettered creative endeavor and a figurative, object-centered artistic vision. The style of many of these artists took form well before the revolution; their art is rooted in the traditions of 19th-century painting. The collection of the Institute of Russian Realist Art (IRRA) includes works by outstanding members of the Moscow school of painting such as Arkady Plastov (1893-1972), Sergei Gerasimov (1885-1964), Igor Grabar (1871-1960), Alexander Deineka (1899-1969) and Vasily Svarog (1883-1946), as well as canvases by artists of the St. Petersburg school, such as Ilya Repin’s pupils Isaak Brodsky (1883-1939) and Gavriil Gorelov (1880-1966), and other well-known masters.

The works of Sergei Gerasimov reveal his talent as a Russian Impressionist. Gerasimov’s portraits of his wife and of the artist Vasily Pochitalov, as well as his views of Mozhaisk and the Luzhnetsky Monastery, display different facets of the great painter’s art. A graduate of the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, Arkady Plastov retained a lasting fondness for country views and the rural way of life. His “Village in March, Sheep Grazing”(a version of the well-known work “After the Fascist Air Raid”), and “Summer. New Roof” clearly demonstrate Plastov’s talent as a painter. In the same room viewers will find the landscapes “Birches” and “House Corner in Winter” by another representative of the Moscow school, the Impressionist Igor Grabar. Also here is Vasily Svarog’s “Voroshilov and Gorky at the Red Army Central House Shooting Gallery”, a popular Soviet painting of the 1930s.

Read more on https://musings-on-art.org/institute-of-russian-realist-art

Jun 7, 2017 at 21:17 o\clock

A Portrait Obsession

by: musingsonart   Keywords: literature, art

I have tried to keep my obsession for portraiture in the closet for a long time, but at long last I am going to expose myself. I started studying portraiture seriously in the early 1990s when I was lucky enough to find one of San Francisco’s gems – Bob Gerbracht (1924-2017). Bob, well into his eighties, still continued to teach three classes a week to an eager group of adult students. He certainly puts the “P” in “pickiness” and I remember many portraits that I did in his class where he had me laboring over moving a “perfectly” painted eye or nose one-eighth of an inch to the right or left.  He instilled in me the importance of measuring accurately to achieve a likeness. When it came to color, Bob taught me to paint what I saw by observing the subtle color changes in the face. I learned that the forehead tends to be more yellow, the cheeks more red and the chin more green. Watching Bob paint was the first time I ever noticed how oil paint could look like butter when properly applied. He knows how to lay the paint on the portrait with just the right color and the right stroke, going in just the right direction. Those types of observations are what I look for in a good portrait. I still use Bob’s system of measuring and process for color application today and in fact I teach his method to my students.

Read more on https://musings-on-art.org/a-portrait-obsession-from-sargent-to-repin