Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from September, 2012

Gaetano Gandolfi

Joseph's Dream, ca.1790



Gaetano Gandolfi belongs to a family of artists from the 18th century that, although not as well known as the Carracci, their artistic influence cannot be understated. Ubaldo, the elder and Gaetano, both brothers, along with Gaetano's young son Mauro formed the second Bolognese trinity, their difference being that the Baroque was coming to an end and being replaced by Neoclassicism. Between these three, a period of a hundred years would reveal the rise and fall of Napoleon right through to the end of great patronage, leading to the beginnings of Romanticism. Gaetano, born August 31, 1734, would be the most prolific of the three, forming a style synthesized by his strong Venetian influences and his Baroque foundations. The commonality that all three exhibit are an eloquence, a sense of poetry and drama that defines the era they lived in.

In Joseph's Dream above, Gaetano uses a cool green palette to create the dream-like mood, emphasizing the two prim…

David

The Intervention of the Sabine Women, 1799

We end our Neoclassical artist "trilogy" with the man who pioneered it and also was the teacher of Ingres, Jacques-Louis David, who was born on August 30 1748. His style is not only Classical and dramatic (to the point of being theatrical at times) but highly patriotic and philosophical, considering the turbulent times he lived in. As a court painter to Napoleon himself and deeply immersed in the French Revolution, David was quite active politically, influencing people and politics with his art. His influence was notable enough to even affect the public opinion of some who were sent to the guillotine, including none other than Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI. One would think that there would be plenty of material here for a very interesting biopic or movie, but it seems that David's reputation as an artist is only as a French symbol of national greatness. Many consider his work formal and stiff, unnatural even though technic…

Ingres

Self-portrait at age 24, 1804

Continuing with the greats of Neoclassicism, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was a giant both of France and Europe in his day. Born on August 29, 1780 his father was also a talented artist who encouraged Jean to pursue his vocation, and ultimately he developed a profound respect for Raphael that would influence both his drawing and painting for the rest of his career. A staunch Neoclassicist, he was very apprehensive of the oncoming wind that would become Romanticism, a reaction to the strictness of order and form that Ingres loved so dearly. Ironically, it is Ingres himself who would subtly distort his own anatomy in such a way that would have a deep influence on Modernism less than fifty years after his death.


Above we see one of the most youthful and inspiring self-portraits of any painter, which shows both Ingres as a handsome young man and a painter already at a level of a master. One can sense a certain vanity that accompanies artists of such calibre …

Clérisseau

Ruin of a Roman Room, 1700's

I first discovered Charles-Louis Clérisseau in Rome two years ago at the Galleria Corsini, and I remember being stunned. It was a painting of the Pantheon. The cool shadows, confident lines, deep textures and thick bright highlights created an impression that was life-like yet those juicy brushstrokes were hypnotic. I had never heard of him before. And it seemed criminal that a great draftsman and artist would remain in obscurity, high on corner wall of a Roman museum that even the taxi driver couldn't remember. At any rate, he's definitely worth studying.

Charles-Louis Clérisseau was born on August 28, 1721. He studied under Pannini and was also a friend of another great architectural draftsman and architect from Scotland, Robert Adam. This style of architectural renderings and paintings formed the basis of Neoclassicism and inspired many Brits to travel across Europe on the "Grand Tour" to experience the wonders of the past. Clériss…