Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from April, 2014

Sorolla, the Spanish Storyteller

"When an artist begins to count strokes instead of regarding nature he is lost. This preoccupation with technique, at the expense of truth and sincerity, is the principal fault I find in much of the work of modern painters."Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida




Self Portrait, 1904

Spanish painter Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida was born on February 27, 1863 in Valencia, on the east coast of Spain. Known for various subject matter including landscapes, portraiture, and social themes, the key recurring themes in his body of work would be the ocean, sunlight, and children. Few artists have observed sunlight and innocence in quite the way Sorolla has, with his juicy brushwork and mastery of color blending. Sorolla's use of color in particular, is inspirational in how he creates mood and defines his subject by color. In the following examples we'll explore this motif in his work.

In his Self Portrait above, Sorolla depicts himself with stern honesty. Note the subtle shades of greys, greens …

The Man Before Canaletto

Piazza Navona, Rome 1699

Caspar van Wittel was a Dutch veduta painter born on 1653 in Amersfoort, a medieval city in central Netherlands. He lived most of his life in Italy, specifically in Rome— becoming a member of the Accademia di San Luca— although he travelled all over the country. Wittel is considered among the very first to spur the veduta genre, even before Canaletto and Panini, making detailed studies from nature and pioneering the format we know today as the panorama, or wide-view of scenery. Affectionately known in his day as Gaspare degli Occhiali, (Caspar of the Eyeglasses) his views of the Italian countryside combined with beautiful architecture with local figures helped forge a rich , seductive genre that would have an immense impact on landscape art.

In Piazza Navona above, (painted when Canaletto was about two years old) Wittel offers us a view that, even though we know it well to this day, here it still appears fresh and interesting to us. The contrast of warm sunshin…

Franz Xaver Winterhalter

Portrait of Leonilla, Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, 1843

Born on 20 April, 1805 in the Black Forest region of Germany, Franz Xaver Winterhalter was an aristocratic portrait painter in Europe and Russia. Known for his sensual use of colors and adding gracefulness to his sitters, Winterhalter may not be a household name today but in his day was quite in demand. Critics from his own era sometimes dismissed his style as superficial and sentimental, a sort of Rococo artist with strong Italian Renaissance roots that painted an enormous amount of portraiture, but Winterhalter gave his clients what they wanted, which was elegance and grandeur without being formulaic. Considering the sheer amount of portraits he painted of aristocrats, including Queen Victoria herself, Winterhalter resisted the cliché that affected many British artists of the period who attempted to be Van Dyck or Reynolds but simply were not.

In the Portrait of Leonilla above he graces this beautiful Russian Princess on…