Eye Candy for Today: Tarbell’s Preparing for the Matinee

Preparing for the Matinee, Edmund Charles Tarbell, oil on canvas
Preparing for the Matinee, Edmund Charles Tarbell, oil on canvas

Preparing for the Matinee, Edmund Charles Tarbell; oil on canvas, roughly 45 x 35″ (114 x 89 cm); link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable (very) high resolution file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which also has zoomable and downloadable versions.

Like other members of the early 20th century group of painters known as the Boston School, Edmund Charles Tarbell frequently took as his subjects well-to-do young women quietly engaged in everyday activities. Here, a young woman tends to her appearance in a gilt-edged mirror, barely seen to the left of the composition.

Like most of his fellow Boston School painters, Tarbell combined academic refinement with the loose painterly brush work and clear observation of a scene as light and color championed by Monet and the French Impressionists.

A major influence on the Boston School painters, and Tarbell in particular, was 17th century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer, a corner of whose painting Lady at the Virginal with a Gentleman (“The Music Lesson”) is suggested at the upper right, in much the same way Vermeer himself would reference parts of other paintings at the edges of his composition. (See images above, bottom, in which I’ve inset Vermeer’s painting next to Tarbell’s shadowed homage.)


Edward Ladell

Edward Ladell still life painting\
Edward Ladell still life painting

!9th century English still life painter Edward Ladell was obviously impressed with the still life paintings of the 17th and 18th century Dutch and Flemish masters, and carried forward in a similar style.

Many of his paintings tend to be on the small side, roughly 9 x 12″ or so (23 x 30 cm), and follow a similar motif: various food items, notably fruit and especially beautifully rendered grapes — sometimes laid on with leaves — are set out with vases and other objects, often accompanied with glassware in which two windows (presumably the windows of his studio) are reflected.

It might be formulaic, but it was a successful formula for Ladell. His compositions are filled to the edges with his subjects, giving the impression that the image can barely contain the fulsome bounty they present.

His paintings appear richly tactile, inviting the viewer to reach into the painting and pluck a juicy grape or two.


Eye Candy for Today: Heinrich Reinhold pencil drawing

Heinrich Reinhold pencil landscape drawing: A View of Civitella from the Serpentara next to Olevano
Heinrich Reinhold pencil landscape drawing: A View of Civitella from the Serpentara next to Olevano (details)

A View of Civitella from the Serpentara next to Olevano, graphite on paper, roughly 9 x 12 inches (23 x 30 cm), in the collection of the Getty Museum, additional zoomable image on Google Art Project, downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons.

This drawing by German painter Heinrich Reinhold, who was active in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, gives us a wonderful view of a landscape in Tuscany. I think it demonstrates how effectively graphite can be used to convey the textures and atmospheric effects of a grand landscape.

Look at how subtle but effective the difference in value is between the distant mountain and the foreground rocks and trees. I also admire the way the directional hatching blends into areas of tone, but retains the visual charm of the pencil marks, in much the same was as “painterly” brush strokes can in a printing.


Sija Hong

Sija Hong illustration
Sija Hong illustration

Originally from China and now based in New York, Sija Hong is an illustrator whose clients include Scientific American, Tor, Chronicle Books, Lerner Publishing Group, and Little Brown & Company Books, among others.

Her illustrations are swirling, multilayered cascades of imagery and design elements, shimmering with vibrant color. Hong tames these seemingly wild ingredients with controlled color schemes and underlying patterns to bring them into narrative focus.

She works in a combination of traditional and digital media, starting with the former and bringing her work to a finish digitally.