Category Archives: Eye Candy for Today

Eye Candy for Today: Colin Campbell Cooper’s Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station, Colin Campbell Cooper, oil on canvas, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Grand Central Station, Colin Campbell Cooper

In the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC. Use the “Download” or “Enlarge” links under the image on their site.

“Painterly” may be too mild a word for the wonderful assortment of scrapings, scumbling, smearing and loaded brush dabbing and scrubbing that make this smoky 1909 cityscape by American painter Colin Campbell Cooper such a visual treat.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Rembrandt pen drawing of cottage and fence

Cottage with White Paling among Trees, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, ink and wash
Cottage with White Paling among Trees, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn

Drawing in quill and reed pen in brown ink with brown wash and touches of opaque white and gray wash; roughly 7 x 10 inches (17 x 25 cm); in the collection of the Rijksmuseum. Image is zoomable on their page, you can also download it with the creation of a free “Rijksstudio” account.

The Rijksmuseum describes the gray wash as being added later, along with the framing line. I suspect the opaque white may have been added by a later hand as well, all in an effort to make the drawing more of a salable piece somewhere along the way, but the nature of the original shines through.

I just love Rembrandt’s landscape drawings, and my impression of them has always been that he drew them for his own pleasure, and not as presentation pieces.

Look at the beautiful way his seemingly casual lines indicating the foliage not only give the masses shape and texture, but a sense of motion as well, as if being stirred by wind across the landscape.

The little details like the hay wagon and the man sitting at the edge of the water give the drawing additional life and a sense of place.

The slats of the fence (the “white paling” of the title assigned to the drawing) are a visual treat, their thickly delineated rough edges contrasted by thinner strokes suggesting the wood’s weathered texture. The fence slats, along with some of the shapes of the foliage behind it, are beautifully set off by the tone applied to the cottage and the darker foliage.

Look at the quick indications of flowers in front of the fence — this isn’t just a building, it’s someone’s home.

The reflections in the pond-like depression in front of the fence and the soft indication of the larger body of water and shore and buildings beyond are marvels of suggestion.

I don’t know anyone, with the possible exception of Shakespeare, who can say so much in so few lines.

 
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Eye Candy for today: Aurthur Robinson watercolor of Alfred Gilbert sculpture commission

Aurthur Robinson watercolor of Alfred Gilbert sculpture commission
Drawing for Alfred Gilbert’s project for the tomb of a the Duke of Clarence, Aurthur Robinson

Watercolor, roughly 24 x 35 inches (89 x 61 cm). Link is to zoomable version on the Google Art Project; downloadable version on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Musée d’Orsay.

This is a painting by English painter Aurthur Robinson commissioned by sculptor Alfred Gilbert as part of an album to record an elaborate commission for the tomb a royal. The tomb took longer than expected to complete and the watercolor album was never finished, but we have this beautiful example of Robinson’s work for the project.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Christian Schussele illustration of sea life

Ocean Life, Christian Schussele, watercolor and gouache
Ocean Life, Christian Schussele

Watercolor and gouache, roughly 19 x 28 inches (48 x 70 cm), in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This illustration was painted by 19th century painter Schussele for inclusion in a scientific pamphlet, and likely under the guidance of the pamphlet’s author, James M. Sommerville, an amateur naturalist.

Sommerville was also an artist and was a trustee of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where Schussele was a professor in drawing and painting.

Schussele’s sensitive but bold rendering of the strange undersea life makes for a lively tableaux of complex and colorful forms.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Shitao (Zhu Ruoji) ink painting

Bamboo in Wind and Rain, Shitao (Zhu Ruoji), hanging scroll, ink on paper, Chinese ink painting
Bamboo in Wind and Rain, Shitao (Zhu Ruoji)

Hanging scroll, ink on paper, roughly 88 x 30 inches (223 x 76 cm). In the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

Shitao, who was active in what Europeans would call the 17th century, was known for his paintings of bamboo, and his style was influential on other painters.

It is in exquisitely beautiful and deceptively simple ink paintings like this one that we can see the use of value as a kind of color. Monochromatic ink paintings of this type are sometimes referred to as having “colors”, meaning the tones of the ink.

Each leaf has been painted with exacting care and superb confidence. I love the almost drybrush effects at the base of the culms, and the wonderful shapes of the new shoots behind them.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Homer’s Girl in a Hammock

Girl in a Hammock, Winslow Homer
Girl in a Hammock, Winslow Homer

Link is to a page from which you can access a large image on Wikimedia Commons. Original is in the collection of the Colby Museum of Art, which also has a zoomable version.

I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing the original. The Wikimedia version may be a bit light, but my instincts tell me that the museum’s version is too dark, as are many images that museums post of works in their own collections.

While not the subjects for which Homer is best known, his relaxed, seemingly casual observations of everyday life are often among my favorites.

I love the way he has used halos of light here; not only the light green of the sunlit grass against the dark of the figure and the hammock, but within that, the brighter halo of the almost white dress as it hangs off the edge of the hammock and catches the sun.

 
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