Category Archives: Eye Candy for Today

Eye Candy for Today: Ivan Shishkin’s Rye

Rye,  Ivan Shishkin
Rye, Ivan Shishkin

Link is to zoomable version on the Google Art Project, downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

In contrast to his scenes of thick forest groves, Russian landscape master Ivan Shishkin here stands his trees as sentinels above the expanse of a rye field. A dirt track leads us invitingly into the scene, and if we continue to follow its curve, leads our eye back to the two tiny figures that give the scene its sense of scale (at the base of the middle tree in the second detail crop, above).

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Greuze Portrait

Portrait of a Lady in Turkish Fancy Dress, Jean-Baptiste Greuze
Portrait of a Lady in Turkish Fancy Dress, Jean-Baptiste Greuze

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; smaller downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the LACMA.

Greuze continues to delight the eye with his soft edges and delicate rendering, underpinned by his solid draftsmanship and understanding of the geometry of the face and figure.

This appears more likely a genre painting than an actual portrait; the model’s face looks idealized; her eyes appear unfocused, or else inwardly focused on a dream.

Greuze has lavished his attention on her garments, and the array of patterns and textures that show off his skill as a painter.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Kawase Hasui’s The Pond at Benten Shrine in Shiba

The Pond at Benten Shrine in Shiba (Shiba Benten ike), Kawase Hasui
The Pond at Benten Shrine in Shiba (Shiba Benten ike), Kawase Hasui

Woodblock prints, roughly 11 x 16 inches (27 x 40 cm). As with most woodblock prints, there are several different “pulls” from the same block for this beautiful image designed by Japanese Shin hanga artist Kawase Hasui.

I’ve selected two versions to show you here. The first, which is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has more color in the blossoms. The second, which you can see on the Ukiyo-e.org website (larger here), has more definition in the leaves.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: William Strutt pencil drawing

Young Woman Holding a Book, William Strutt, pencil drawing
Young Woman Holding a Book, William Strutt

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Art Gallery of South Australia, which also has an larger version on their site, though not as large as the other two.

Pencil and watercolor on paper. The sheet is roughly 15 x 20 in. (38 x 52 cm), but I’ve taken the liberty of cropping in on the drawing, even in the “full” version at top.

This does not look like a preliminary sketch for another work, but like a finished drawing meant to stand on its own. I love the careful, engraving-like hatching in the modeling of the face and hands, and the contrast between that and the more economical rendering of the texture of the girl’s hair and dress.

Light touches of watercolor enhance the eyes and lips and what looks to me to be a pencil with a holder in her hand — making me think it may be a sheaf of drawing paper she holds rather than a finished book. (If it were writing paper, I would expect her to be holding a pen.)

A drawing of great delicacy and refinement, yet bold in the rendering of the folds of the dress, and powerful in its statement of the appearance of the model. Whether it’s intended to be a portrait or a genre piece, I think we can assume from the character in the girl’s face and the superb level of draftsmanship, that the drawing is an accurate likeness of a real person.

A beautiful drawing in every respect.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Pieter Claesz still life

Still Life, Pieter Claesz
Still Life, Pieter Claesz

In the collection of the Timken Museum of Art (larger version here).

Usually, 17th century Dutch still life paintings like this one are named by modern curators with descriptive titles that include some of the objects pictured.

The Timkin simply calls this one “Still Life”, but they mention in their description that it combines two themes that were common in still life painting at the time: smoking paraphernalia and “breakfast pieces”; the latter meaning a light meal and not necessarily breakfast.

While the fish are certainly recognizable, I don’t know what is in the dish behind them. [Addendum: Mystery solved. See this post’s comments.]

As usual, I love Claesz’s little touches of masterful painting — the reflection of the fish in the metal plate, the texture of the stoneware and the wonderfully subtle backlighting on the tipped-over tankard.

 
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