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Showing posts from May, 2013

More Old Master Drawings

There is nothing in all the world more beautiful or significant of the laws of the universe than the nude human body.
Robert Henri








Charles Louis Müller, A Standing Female Nude Leaning Against an Arch, ca.1864

Once again I decided to talk about some Old Master drawings and delve into the thinking behind how these drawings may have been created and the knowledge of the artist. In the above drawing by Müller, done in sanguine with white chalk highlights, the figure is drawn from a low view-point, with her body twisting toward her left side while resting on one knee. Note how Müller alternates the bent right leg with the bent left arm to create dynamic contrast. The right arm is also foreshortened and partially in shadow. Expressing power and femininity, this is a study that is Renaissance in spirit, even Mannerist, revealing the female nude as sculptural yet always graceful.







Anton Raphael Mengs, Seated male nude viewed from the back, 1755

One of several Academic nude studies by Mengs, this …

Master of the Week:
François Lemoyne

Hercules and Omphale, 1724

Born in Paris, 1688, François Lemoyne was a Rococo painter with flowing compositions, dramatic light, beautiful colors and graceful figures. A busy artist who was one of the many First Painters to the King of France, his tenure at Versailles (1736–1737) earned him the nickname of "new Lebrun". After his grievous death in 1737, the position as Premier peintre du Roi (Painter to the King) would be vacant for nine years before being replaced by Charles-Antoine Coypel. Lemoyne's legacy to the Rococo is his strong ties to the Baroque while embracing the sensuality of a new art movement that was unequivocally French.

In Hercules and Omphale, Lemoyne uses body language and symbolic objects to tell the story here. Omphale is standing yet leaning to the right to depict domination while Hercules is seated, his powerful legs apart and at angles that point directly to her. Note the sumptuous skin tones. In the myth, Hercules is punished for killing a prin…