Eye Candy for Today: Jozef Van Lerius portrait

Portrait of Henriette Mayer van den Berg, Jozef Van Lerius
Portrait of Henriette Mayer van den Berg, Jozef Van Lerius

Portrait of Henriette Mayer van den Bergh, Jozef Van Lerius; oil on canvas, roughly30 x 25 inches (75 x 64 cm), link is to downloadable file page on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Museum Mayer van den Bergh in Antwerp, Belgium.

Jozef Van Lerius was a 19th century Belgian painter who painted biblical and mythological subjects as well as genre paintings and portraits.

In this portrait of art collector and museum founder Henriette Mayer van den Bergh — in whose collection this portrait hangs — Van Lerius demonstrates his command of soft edges, delicate value relationships and restrained color.

Carl Larsson

Carl Larsson
Carl Larsson

Carl Larsson was a Swedish illustrator and gallery artist active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Though he also worked in oil and painted large frescos, Larsson was primarily known for his watercolors.

With a deft hand and a light touch, he depicted family and home in particular. In many cases, he used room interiors designed by his wife, Karin, who was an interior designer, and many of his watercolors take as their subjects his own home and family.

Before devoting himself to his most famous domestic scenes, he worked as an illustrator. Not very successfully at first, but his popularity shot up when magazines started to more regularly feature color illustrations.

For a short while, he painted en plain air in the Forests of Fontainebleau with members of the Barbizan school.

There are a number of his works in the Swedish National Museum of Fine Arts, including frescoes on several walls, but Larsson was disappointed when a painting the museum had commissioned, and for which a particular wall was prepared, was rejected by the museum’s board, apparently a victim of political fighting among various factions of the Swedish art community.

The painting, titled Midvinterblot (Midwinter Sacrifice), was considered by Larsson to be his best work. After refusal by the museum board, it was sold to a Japanese collector, and only a few years ago, was repurchased and permanently hung in its original intended place in the museum.

Eye Candy for Today: Meléndez Melon and Pears

Still life with Melon and Pears, Luis Egidio Melendez
Still life with Melon and Pears, Luis Egidio Melendez

Still life with Melon and Pears, Luis Egidio Meléndez, oil on canvas, roughly 25 x 33 inches (63 x 85 cm). Link is to zoomable image on Google Art Project; downloadable version on Wikimedia Commons, original is in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston..

A wonderfully tactile and sensual still life by the 18th century Spanish master. His command of texture, use of naturalistic color, and remarkable control of value allow us to mentally feel the objects his paintings.

Fred Wessel (update)

Fred Wessel, egg tempera, gold leaf, silverpoint
Fred Wessel, egg tempera, gold leaf, silverpoint

Fred Wessel is a contemporary artist who is inspired by the artists, materials, and techniques of the early Italian Renaissance.

Working in the painstaking medium of egg tempera, Wessel paints jewel-like portraits, primarily of young women in somewhat classical poses. These are set off — as many paintings were in the early Renaissance — by flattened backgrounds incorporating gold, silver, and palladium leaf.

In this respect, he is exploring the aesthetic of the time in which a painting was not simply an image, but a precious object in its own right.

Though the technique is from the Renaissance, and carries the feeling of that approach, Wessel’s paintings simultaneously feel quite contemporary.

The Technique section of his website includes step-throughs of two of his paintings.

One of the galleries on his website is for “Constellations”, which appears to be a major theme in his work (images above, top four). These egg tempera portraits are set against backgrounds of star charts of various constellations done in or embellished with metal leaf.

You will also find galleries of florals and still life, as well as of drawings. Many of his drawings are done using the early Renaissance technique of metal point (images above, bottom), in which lines are drawn on prepared paper with a thin wire of silver or a similar soft metal. These are often set off with metal leaf as well.

See also my previous post on Fred Wessel from 2006.

Eye Candy for Today: Hellen Allingham landscape

The Basket Woman, Hellen Allingham
The Basket Woman, Hellen Allingham (details0

The Basket Woman, Hellen Allingham; watercolor; roughly 14 x 21 inches ( 37 x 55 cm); link is to past auction on Sotheby’s; large image here.

Victorian era English watercolor artist Helen Allingham was noted for her depictions rural life; in particular her paintings of traditional thatched roof cottages, which she idealized a bit by removing modernizations and restoring their appearance to their original state as best she could from available records.

Brian Ajhar

Brian Ajhar
Brian Ajhar

Brian Ajhar is a well known illustrator and character designer whose wonderfully loopy people and animals, both real and imagined, have enlivened the pages of countless periodicals, children books and animations over the past forty years.

His style can look so loose and gestural as to appear casually done, but if you stop an look, it’s clear that it is his training and skill and his foundation of solid draftsmanship that allow it to appear that way.

In a similar way, his colors can appear bright, but on inspection are actually often muted, made to appear brighter by careful juxtaposition.

Ajhar works in digital as well as traditional media, the latter including watercolor, acrylic, pencils and inks.

There is a gallery of his work on his website, and another on the cite of his artist’s representatives, RappArt.

Ajhar’s website also includes videos and interviews.