Eye Candy for Today: Caillebotte’s Yerres, Effect of Rain

erres Effect of Rain, Gustave Caillebotte impressionist painting
erres Effect of Rain, Gustave Caillebotte impressionist painting

Yerres, Effect of Rain, Gustave Caillebotte, oil on canvas, roughly 32 x 23 inches (80x 59 cm).

Link is to page on WikiArt, from which you can click “View All Sizes” to get to a larger image. Original is in the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University Bloomington.

I had the pleasure of seeing this in person at an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2009. Most of the images of this painting on the internet, including the museum’s website, are too dark and oversaturated. The one I’m linking to is not bad, though I’ve taken the liberty of lightening is slightly. There is another here on Flickr.

Several of Caillebotte’s works are subtitled with the word “effect” — as in Rooftop View (Effect of snow). Like the other French Impressionists, Caillebotte was concerned with the effects of light and atmosphere under different conditions.

Here, he gives us a perfect evocation of the light and atmosphere of a light rain on a small stream. The Yerres River is a tributary of the Seine, southeast of Paris, near where the artist lived.


Lui Ferreya

Lui Ferreya artwork
Lui Ferreya artwork

Lui Ferreya is a freelance artist based in Denver, Colorado. On his website and in his Behance portfolio you will find drawings and other works in media both tradtional and digital.

Ferreya breaks down forms, whether of landscape, still life or portraiture, into geometric planes, and further subdivides these into smaller planes that he defines with linear patterns of tone and color.

His palette, though often high in chroma, is carefully controlled in terms of value and color relationships, allowing him to work a wide range of colors into small areas that in turn read as larger areas and feel almost naturalistic.

I particularly enjoy the way he approaches faces. With a keen awareness of the planes of the head and face, he marks off discreet areas, but maintains transitions that look soft edged because of the subtlety of the color relationships.

[Via Kottke and Colossal]


Eye Candy for Today: Fragonard’s La Bascule

La Bascule, Jean-Honore Fragonard
La Bascule, Jean-Honore Fragonard (details)

La Bascule (The See-saw), Jean-Honoré Fragonard, oil on canvas, roughly 30 x 39″ (75 x 99 cm), in the collection of the Louvre, currently on display at Musée Fabre, Montpellier. Link is to the Louvre’s page, which has zoomable and downloadable images.

This painting and another by the French Rococo artist were recently acquired by France after having been thought missing for years.

Fragonard is sometimes dissed as frivolous and pandering, but I quite like him — particularly his drawings. Here, though, the elements of his painting style I most admire are present: his soft, atmospheric landscapes, theatrical lighting and playful compositions.


Gradients: Color, Form and Illusion

Gradients: Color, Form and Illusion,
Gradients: Color, Form and Illusion,

I received review copy of Gradients: Color, Form and Illusion, a new instructional video from painter, illustrator, writer and teacher James Gurney.

The concepts behind making gradations of color in visual art can seem as though they should be simple, until you find yourself trying to paint something like different bands of color on a coffee mug as they round the form into shadow, and you suddenly realize you’re in uncharted territory.

In Gradients: Color, Form and Illusion, Gurney takes on the concepts behind achieving gradual transitions in color.

Gradient, is a term that has come into popular use from its prevalence in digital art; it is used here used as a collective term for gradations, gradated washes, and other gradual tone or color changes.

Gurney uses methodical studio demonstrations to set out the concepts and techniques of working with these kind of color transitions, and then shows real world application of them in sequences of on location painting, adding a dimension of understanding that would be difficult to convey in studio demos alone.

Interestingly, Gurney leaves in what otherwise might be outtakes, demonstrating some of the real world problems painters encounter, such as sudden drenching rain, or coming up against the limitations of an experimental technique, like painting in gouache over water soluble printing ink.

He has also interspersed recorded questions from viewers of his other videos or readers of his blog, in which they ask about concepts that relate to the demo or painting that Gurney is working with.

One of the key points he makes is the degree to which our perception of a color is influenced by the surrounding colors. He brings this home in the last segment, in which he demonstrates how to paint one of those optical illusions that show two squares in a checkerboard pattern on a cylinder that look completely different in context, but, when isolated are shown to be the same color and value. It’s one thing to see one of these optical demonstrations, it’s another level of insight to paint one yourself.

In Gradients: Color, Form and Illusion, Gurney has once again demonstrated his ability to take complex or confusing concepts, reduce them to their essential components and lay out a path to understanding with clarity and ease.

Gradients: Color, Form and Illusion is available for download or streaming through Gumroad, and is also available as a DVD. Both are 10% off Saturday and Sunday, September 11th and 12th, 2021.


Vermeer restoration unveiled with revealed Cupid

Vermeer restoration unveiled with revealed Cupid
Vermeer restoration unveiled with revealed Cupid

Johannes Vermeer, the remarkable 17th century painter from the city of Delft in the Netherlands, is revered for his transcendent portrayals of the effects of light and atmosphere in domestic scenes.

He is best known for his series of compositions in which people, predominantly young women, are seen engaged in simple activities in front of a window — always to the viewer’s left. These make up the majority of Vermeer’s oeuvre, and consist of many variations on the theme.

The painting known as Girl Reading a Letter at a Window, which has been a centerpiece of the collection of the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden for over 250 years, is recognized as the first of these.

It has been known since 1979, when an X-ray analysis was made of the painting, that Vermeer had placed a painting within a painting of a large portrayal of Cupid on the wall behind the figure. It was assumed that Vermeer had thought better of his compositional choice and painted over the image of the painting.

However, a restoration was undertaken in May of 2017, in which it was determined by materials analysis that the overpainting of the blank wall had, in fact, been added by another hand after the time of Vermeer’s death.

Given that knowledge, the conservators began to remove the third-hand paint-over, including painted over extensions of the composition at the edges of the canvas, which Vermeer had left blank, perhaps in anticipation of mounting the work in a particular frame.

Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister has now unveiled the restoration, which will be the center of a new exhibition, Johannes Vermeer. On Reflection, that will be on display from 10/9/2021 to 2/1/2022.

The restoration reveals the detailed, large scale painting of Cupid, similar to the painting within a painting of Vermeer’s later work, Lady Standing at a Virginal.

This page on the website of the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister goes into the restoration of the painting at a time when the process was about half way completed.

The Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister has not yet released a high resolution image of the restored painting, so I’m including images of the pre-restoration version — that are available in high resolution on the Google Art Project and Wikipedia — in which you can see a shadowy pentimento of the covered painting.

You can see the pre-restoration version in context, both by date and in size comparison to Vermeer’s other works in this fascinating comparison on the fantastic Essential Vermeer website. (See my post on Essential Vermeer.)

[Via Colossal and Kottke, thanks to Erlc Lee Smith for the suggestion]


Eye Candy for Today: luminous Howard Pyle painting

Why seek ye the living in a place of the dead?, Howard Pyle, illustration
Why seek ye the living in a place of the dead?, Howard Pyle, illustration (details)

Why seek ye the living in a place of the dead?, Howard Pyle

Source for this version of the image is Fleurdulys Tumblr (large image here); original is in the Kelly Collection of American Illustration Art.

This was an illustration for the April 15, 1905 Easter themed issue of Colliers. Whether it accompanied a particular article or story, I don’t know. It was not the cover, as that was done by Maxfield Parrish.

Pyle has controlled the values brilliantly here (in both senses of the word).