Eye Candy for Today: Near Sydenham Hill, Camille Pissarro

Near Sydenham Hill, Camille Pissarro

Near Sydenham Hill, Camille Pissarro (details)

Near Sydenham Hill, Camille Pissarro; oil on canvas, roughy 17 x 21 inches (43 x 53 cm). Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable version on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Kimbell Art Museum.

Camille Pissarro is one of my favorites among the original French Impressionist painters.

I love the sense of atmospheric distance in this painting of the countryside near London, where — following Monet’s lead — the artist moved his family to escape the violence of the Prussian siege of Paris in 1870.

The foreground trees are so roughly indicated they appear to act primarily as a framing device. My eye is immediately drawn to the row of houses in the middleground, and then to the church beyond, all of them seemingly rough smudges of color on close inspection, but resolving to a naturalistic scene from sufficient distance.

A closer look also reveals a lone figure in the left middleground. I didn’t realize until reading the museum’s description of the painting that the white plume in the right middleground is the smoke of a passing train.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: John Martin’s The Great Day of His Wrath

The Great Day of His Wrath, John Martin

The Great Day of His Wrath, John Martin (details)

The Great Day of His Wrath, John Martin

Oil on canvas, roughly 77 x 120 inches (197 x 303 cm); link is to zoomable image on the Google Art Project; downloadable version on Wikimedia Commons, original is in the Tate.

This large painting by the 19th century painter John Martin — who was known for his depictions of monumental and cataclysmic events — is part of a tryptic sometimes known as the “Judgement Series”, along with The Last Judgement and The Plains of Heaven.

It might just as well be interpreted to depict nature’s wrath on a day that sees millions striking for action on climate change, and young people taking the role of the “adults in the room” — reminding us of the folly of turning a blind eye the contribution of human activity to this emergency for the sake of corporate profit.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: The Camp Meeting, Worthington Whittredge

The Camp Meeting, Worthington Whittredge

The Camp Meeting, Worthington Whittredge (details)

The Camp Meeting, Worthington Whittredge, oil on canvas, roughly 16 x 40inches (40 x 103 cm); in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has both a zoomable and downloadable version of the image.

What I love most about this immersive, panoramic painting by Hudson River School artist Worthington Whittredge is his use of contrasts of dark against light and light against dark as your eye moves across the image.

My image crops do not give you the effect of the painting’s scope; take the trouble to go the the Met’s site and view it full screen.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Cornelis Visscher, The Large Cat

Cornelis Visscher, The Large Cat, engraving

Cornelis Visscher, The Large Cat, engraving (details)

The Large Cat (Cat Sleeping), Cornelis Visscher, engraving, roughly 5 x 7 inches (14 x 18 cm)

I admire the way Visscher has varied the direction of his lines to indicate the natural texture of the cat’s fur, and the density of the lines to achieve his subtle variations in value.

The foreground foliage and background wall, indentation and daring little mouse give the composition depth, offsetting the dominance of the large figure of the animal within the frame of the image.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Rembrandt Peale’s portrait of Rubens Peale

Rubens Peale with a Geranium, Rembrandt Peale

Rubens Peale with a Geranium, Rembrandt Peale

Rubens Peale with a Geranium, Rembrandt Peale, oil on Canvas, roughly 28 x 24 inches (71 x 61 cm); in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, DC.

Link is to the NGA page, which has both a zoomable and downloadable version of the image. There is also a zoomable version on the Google Art Project, and a downloadable version on Wikimedia Commons.

The American painter and naturalist Charles Willson Peale named most of his children after noted artists or scientists. Some of them took up the interests of their father, Rembrandt became a noted portrait painter, and Rubens a botanist and later in life a still life painter.

Here, a young Rembrandt Peale paints a portrait of his 17 year old brother Rubens holding his prize specimen of a geranium — at the time an exotic plant, not native to the Americas — supposedly the first grown on the continent. Rembrandt has given the plant a careful and portrait-like treatment to honor his brother’s accomplishment.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Emilio Sanchez-Perrier river landscape

On the Banks of the Guadaíra with a boat, Emilio Sanchez-Perrier, 19th century landscape oil painting

On the Banks of the Guadaíra with a boat, Emilio Sanchez-Perrier, (details)

On the Banks of the Guadaíra with a boat, Emilio Sánchez-Perrier; oil on panel, roughly 12 x 16 inches (32 x 40 cm); in the collection of the Museo CarmenTyssen Málaga. Click on the image on their page for access to zoomable and downloadable versions. There is also a downloadable file of the same image on Wikimedia Commons.

Sánchez-Perrier’s apparent realism is surprisingly painterly when viewed in detail; much of the visually soft quality of the foliage appears to be produced with stipple effects, perhaps by pouncing with the end of a stiff brush.

 
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