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Showing posts from April, 2015

Paolo Veronese: Grand Poet of Story and Color

Martyrdom of St Justina, 1556


Paolo Caliari, known as Paolo Veronese was born in Verona, the city of his namesake in 1528. Last year at the National Gallery in London there was an exhibit of his work which garnered rave reviews on Twitter and the internet. Known for his incredible use of color and composition, Veronese is a Venetian giant whose work cannot be fully appreciated here online---it was intended to be seen in person. The sheer scale of his work, often life-size figures, fill a wall or room in a way that separates him from many of his contemporaries and indeed many Old Masters. And although some modernists criticize his work for a lack of emotional connection it is the sheer grandeur and drama he portrayed that was all his own. He was a theatrical painter, a master of grand narrative, and not in the dark way that the tenebrists of Caravaggio would convey nearly a century later. His subtle use of color places him in a category that few painters hold, unique even among other V…

The Quirky French Genius of Louis-Léopold Boilly

"Laughing Man" Study for a self portrait. Chalk, early 1800's

Born July 5, 1761 Louis-Léopold Boilly was a prolific French portrait painter and draftsman. If there was ever an artist who whose biography would inspire a truly entertaining movie, Boilly would be the one. His career was active throughout the French Revolution and Napoleon, and yet his keen portrayal of the French middle class has a unique charm that makes him very likeable. As a draftsman, Boilly was one of a kind, probably better than his paintings, and his numerous oil sketches are excellent studies in themselves. Looking at his self-portrait above, you can instantly sense the vivacity and humor of this man without even reading a biography.








Entrance to a free show at the Ambigu-Comique Theatre, 1819

Here we can immediately grasp Boilly's brilliant sense of group composition, action and space. Boilly takes a horizontal arrangement of figures and groups them by foreground, middle and background. The fore…