Eye Candy for Today: Hans Hoffmann watercolor and gouache hedgehog

A Hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus), Hans Hoffmann,
A Hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus), Hans Hoffmann

Watercolor and gouache on vellum; roughly 8 x 12 inches ( 21 x 31 cm). In the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

16th century German artist Hans Hoffman was noted for his detailed paintings of animals and other natural forms. He was tremendously influenced by the watercolor and gouache nature studies of Albrecht Düer, and that influence is evident in this wonderful study of a hedgehog.


Rob Gonsalves (1959 – 2017)

Rob Gonsalves, magic realist painting
Robert “Rob” Gonsalves was a Canadian painter adept at crafting images in which reality appears to bend back on itself, connecting with a twist in a kind of mental Möbius strip.

Though some would inaccurately consider his work to be Surrealism (which is specifically supposed to be derived from the unconscious mind or dreams), it would be better classed as the more loosely defined “Magic Realism”, which is the term usually applied to Gonsalves’ paintings.

I’ve always found his work to be particularly delightful, both in the fascinating juxtapositions of viewpoints and the whimsy that pervades them. Gonsalves revisits some of his themes multiple times, but finds amusing variations in additional subjects.

Rob Gonsalves died in June of this year at the age of 58.

I don’t think there is an official site for Rob Gonsalves, but I believe Huckleberry Fine Art is his primary gallery representation. Unfortunately, the images on their site are inexplicably small.

You may find it easier to view larger images of his work on sites like Tutt’Art, and some of the blog and web magazine posts I list below.

See also my previous posts on Rob Gonsalves, (and here).

There are several collections of his work, some still in print, others available only through used book sources.

These appear to be available (Amazon links):
Imagine a World (2015)
Master Of Illusion: The Art Of Rob Gonsalves 2018 Wall Calendar
Master of Illusion 2017 Wall Calendar
Masters of Deception: Escher, Dalí & the Artists of Optical Illusion (Gonsalves included with others)

These are available from Amazon through secondary sellers:
Imagine a Place (2008)
Imagine a Day (2005)
Imagine a Night (2003)

[Thanks to Thorin for suggesting the update on Rob Gonsalves.]


Eye Candy for Today: Melendez Still Life with Cucumbers and Tomatoes

Still Life with Cucumbers and Tomatoes, Luis Egidio Melendez
Still Life with Cucumbers and Tomatoes, Luis Egidio Meléndez

The Prado website has both a zoomable and downloadable version of the image. (Click the image and look for the download icon at the lower right. Click “Uso personal” and then “Descargar Imagen”.) There is also a downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons, though it is sonewhat smaller.

It’s that time of year here in the Mid-Atlantic coast of the US when the work we’ve put into our gardens pays us back with a bounty of vegetables that are not only delicious, but beautiful to look at.

Here, 18th century Spanish still life master Luis Meléndez celebrates the simple beauty of such a harvest, with a table full of beautiful green cucumbers, their bumpy texture almost palpable, and wonderfully gnarly tomatoes, set against crockery rendered with his signature attention to surface characteristics.

I love the way Meléndez has handled highlights here, with seemingly casual wavy streaks along the cucumbers and quickly noted touches on the tomatoes, matched in simplicity by the highlights on the crockery and metal.


Leo (L.J.) Jordaan

Leo (L.J.) Jordaan, anti-fascist art, andi-nazi art
Leo (L.J.) Jordaan was a Dutch anti-fascist artist and political cartoonist who was living and woking in Amsterdm at the time of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in 1940.

Prior to the invasion, Jordaan has been working for the magazine Green. The Nazi occupiers shut down the magazine, along with most of what could be called a free press — always an enemy to fascists — and Jordaan took his work to underground publications.

Jordaan had a powerful graphic style, emphasized by his use of both dark and light hatching. He showed the Nazis a bringers of death, terror and pestilence to his beloved Netherlands, and was particularly harsh on Dutch fascist sympathizers, who he portrayed as shooting loyal Dutch in the back.

His most famous image was “De Robot” (images above, third from the bottom), which portrayed the Nazi war machine as an unstoppable robot trampling Dutch soldiers beneath its metal boots. It was published in the underground newspaper De Groene Amsterdamme (“The Green Amsterdamer”) during the occupation.

His portrayal of Hitler as a brooding Lucifer (above, second from bottom) seems to give a nod to Gustave Doré’s image of the Ninth Circle of Hell. The image of Christ in thorns above him refers to an image I’ve seen before, but I don’t actually know its origin. It may be a Gothic or early Renaissance icon.

In the image above, bottom, we find Jordaan mocking the Nazis’ attempt to appropriate Dutch culture — and Rembrandt in particular — as part of “Aryan Heritage”.

Jordaan survived the occupation, and after the war became a noted film critic.

The best source for images of Jordaan’s work is the Illustration Art blog, which has comments under some of the images that put them in context. Also good is this post on Dr. Tenge whhich features large images.


Frederico Zuccaro brown ink drawing of his brother drawing antique sculptures

Taddeo Drawing after the Antique; In the Background Copying a Facade by Polidoro, Frederico Zuccaro brown ink drawing of his brother drawing antique sculptures
Taddeo Drawing after the Antique; In the Background Copying a Facade by Polidoro, Federico Zuccaro

Pen and brown ink, brush with brown wash, roughly 17 x 7 inches (42 x 18 cm); in the collection of the Getty Museum, which has both a zoomable and downloadable version of the image.

There is also a somewhat warmer (more reddish brown) reproduction of the drawing available as a zoomable image on the Google Art Project, and a downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons.

It is the second, warmer version of the image that I’ve used above. Not having see the original, I don’t know which is more accurate (museums are not always accurate in the posting of images of work in their collections), so I’ve simply gone with the version I like better.

This is another in a wonderful series of drawings by 16th century artist Frederico Zuccaro of his elder brother Taddeo drawing from ancient statues in Rome. This was common practice in the way that artists trained, and continues to this day in those art schools and ateliers that hew to the classic or academic training the preceded the advent of modernist doctrine.

I’ve previously featured two other drawings from this series, here and here, also from the collection of the Getty Museum.


Raoul Vitale

Raoul Vitale, fantasy art, concept art, gaming illustration
Raoul Vitale is a fantasy artist, illustrator and concept artist who appears to work primarily in oil.

His illustration clients include “Magic the Gathering” art for Wizards of the Coast, and his private commissions often focus on scenes from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Vitale frequently works with a controlled palette, allowing the wonderful textural qualities of his work come to the fore. This is particularly effective in hie portrayal of dragons, rocky landscapes and gnarled, ancient trees (or Ents, for that matter).

He also takes on subjects from literature, such as his interpretation of “The Lady of Shalott” (above, second from bottom).