Eye Candy for Today: Constable graphite drawing

View of Cat Hanger, John Constable landscape pencil drawing

View of Cat Hanger, John Constable landscape pencil drawing

View of Cat Hanger, John Constable

Graphite on paper, roughly 8 x 14″ (20 x35 cm), in the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum.

Drawn on two sheets of a sketchbook, this scene is of a farm on an estate in West Sussex, England. Constable’s nuanced command of tones and delicate indications of clouds and textures makes the drawing feel remarkably complete.

 
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J.C. Leyendecker cover illustration for American Weekly

Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, Cover illustration for American Weekly, December 19, 1948; J.C. Leyendecker

Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, Cover illustration for American Weekly, December 19, 1948; J.C. Leyendecker (details)

Cover illustration for American Weekly, December 19, 1948; J.C. Leyendecker

Link is to Heritage Auctions sold lots. Accessing the full high-res image requires a free account, but there is a somewhat smaller version on Tumblr here.

At first I thought that this was Leyendecker’s take on the popular song, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”, but the illustration was published in 1948, and the song was apparently first recorded and released in 1952.

Whether the magazine cover influenced the writing of the song is difficult to say, but it seems to me a likely scenario.

This feels like it was quickly realized by the standard of many of Leyendecker’s other illustrations, but is still shows his superb draftsmanship, and characteristic stylized fabric folds and rendering of hair.

 
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Peder Mønsted winter landscape

Snowy Forest Road in Sunlight, Peder Mork Monsted

Snowy Forest Road in Sunlight, Peder Mork Monsted, details

Snowy Forest Road in Sunlight, Peder Mørk Mønsted

The link is to a page on Wikimedia Commons from which you can download a high-resolution image. The original is in a private collection.

A beautiful evocation of winter to mark the Winter Solstice. I love how much green and red Monsted has worked into the painting. He has kept the chroma muted and relied on the effects of simultaneous contrast of the complementary colors to make them feel vibrant.

For more, see my previous posts on Peder Mønsted.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Horace Vernet landscape

Departure for the Hunt in the Pontine Marshes, Horace Vernet, oil on canvas, 1833

Departure for the Hunt in the Pontine Marshes, Horace Vernet, oil on canvas, 1833  (details)

Departure for the Hunt in the Pontine Marshes, Horace Vernet

Oil on canvas, roughly 40 x 60 inches ( 100 x 150 cm); in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

Vernet was a French painter active in the early 19th century, and his subjects included battles and historic events, portraits and Orientalist themes.

Here, he is fascinated with the landscape, even if the subject is ostensibly the hunters depicted as small figures in the shadows at middle right, behind the second foreground tree.

When I first visited the National Gallery, years ago — even among the stunning masterpieces in the collection — this and another Vernet painting of a similar subject caught my attention.

In this painting, it’s his use of value relationships that make the painting so striking for me — the contrast of the layers of dark and light, foreground to middle ground to background.

Another element of contrast is the wonderful difference in the texture of the three primary trees, two standing and one fallern.

I also love the dark mass of trees, punctuated with light, to the right of the composition, that lead our eye back into the painting.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Charles Gifford Dyer still life

Seventeenth-Century Interior, Charles Gifford Dyer

Seventeenth-Century Interior, Charles Gifford Dyer (details)

Seventeenth-Century Interior, Charles Gifford Dyer

Oil on canvas, roughly 37 x 28 inches (94 x 71 cm), in the collection of the Art Institute Chicago

This is a nineteenth century American artist painting a still life in the manner of seventeenth century Dutch still life — and doing a bang up job of it.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Nicolas Delaunay engraving after Fragonard

The Happy Accident of the Swing, Nicolas Delaunay, engraving after Fragonard

The Happy Accident of the Swing, Nicolas Delaunay, engraving after Fragonard (details)

The Happy Accident of the Swing, Nicolas Delaunay

Engraving, roughly 20 x 16″ (51 x 42 cm); in the collection of the Art Institute Chicago

This wonderfully lush and textural engraving by Nicolas Delaunay is a copy of a famous painting by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. It was not uncommon for painters to have printmakers create copies of their most popular works, if they weren’t inclined to do it themselves.

Here the image (reversed, of course, because it’s a print) becomes a fascinating study in controlling value relationships with deeply textural line and hatching. Look at the range of values, from the dark leaves and branches to the delicate rendering of the tree in the distance to the bright sheen of the dress.

 
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