Eye Candy for Today: Joseph DeCamp’s Guitar Player

The Guitar Player, Joseph Rodefer DeCamp

The Guitar Player, Joseph Rodefer DeCamp (details)

The Guitar Player, Joseph Rodefer DeCamp; oil on canvas, roughly 50 x 45 inches (126 x 115 cm); in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which offers a downloadable version of the image.

On closer inspection, this beautiful and serene image by Boston School master Joseph Rodefer DeCamp reveals much less detail than an initial glance might lead you to expect. DeCamp has defined the figure and environment with just enough information to allow your eye to make the image seem complete and immediate.

The feeling of light is almost Vermeer-like, softly suffusing the space with subtle color. Look at the transition from cool to warm within the wall, and the way the colors intermingle in the process.

This is also a beautiful example of the power of soft edges, against which a few harder edges control your eye’s movement within the composition.

I have not seen the original, but it’s on my bucket list.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Theodore Rousseau landscape

The Edge of the Woods at Monts-Girard, Fontainebleau Forest, Théodor Rousseau

The Edge of the Woods at Monts-Girard, Fontainebleau Forest, Théodor Rousseau (details)

The Edge of the Woods at Monts-Girard, Fontainebleau Forest, Théodor Rousseau, oil on wood, roughly 32 x 48 inches, (80 x 122 cm), in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has zoomable and downloadable versions of the high-res image.

Rousseau was one of the primere painters of the Barbizon School, painting in the nearby Forest of Fontainebleau.

This is a prime example of his paintings of the area, a wonderful contrast of light and dark and a beautifully balanced composition. I love in particular the studied variation of cloud types in the sky.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Summer Bloom by Joaquim Vayreda

Summer Bloom by Joaquim Vayreda

Summer Bloom by Joaquim Vayreda (details)

Summer Bloom by Joaquim Vayreda, roughly 52 x 104 inches (130 x 263 cm).

Link is to Google Art Project; downloadable image on Wikimedia Commons, original is in the Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona.

We can start the summer with this beautifully idyllic pastoral scene by 19th century Spanish painter Joaquim Vayreda.

The wide aspect ratio — something we might call “cinematic ” today — adds a sense of grandeur and a feeling of theatre. I like the shape of the water and its surface patterns, as well as Vayreda’s soft touch with the background foliage,

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Henry Tanner’s Flight Into Egypt

Flight Into Egypt, Henry Ossawa Tanner

Flight Into Egypt, Henry Ossawa Tanner (details)

Flight Into Egypt, Henry Ossawa Tanner

Oil on canvas, roughly 29 x 26 inches (74 x 66 cm). Link is to a reasonably large file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Metropolitian Museum of Art

As he did in many of his biblically themed canvasses, Tanner brings to bear his uncanny touch with light and shadow to dramatize this scene from the story of the flight of the Holy Family from the assassins of King Herod.

The Metropolitan Museum’s website points out that the story was a favorite of Tanner’s, who related it to the flight of African Americans from persecution in the South. Tanner himself fled the systematic prejudice he encountered as an African American painter, emigrating to France where he found greater acceptance and respect.

There is so much to admire in this piece — the carefully crafted value statement, the shadows playing against the wall, the striking glow of light from the lantern, the repeated forms of the arches and large shadow form, and the wonderfully tactile nature of the paint surface and brush marks, in particular as they define the hard and soft edges of the forms.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Bierstadt’s Mountain Brook

Mountain Brook, Albert Bierstadt

Mountain Brook, Albert Bierstadt (details)

Mountain Brook, Albert Bierstadt

Oil on canvas, roughly 44 x 36 in (12 x 92 cm), in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, whose site includes both a zoomable and downloadable version of the high-res image.

German-American painter Albert Bierstadt, who is associated with both the Hudson River and Rocky Mountain schools of painting, is known primarily for his grand and dramatic vistas of mountains and related landscape, but I find fascination in his more intimate subjects.

In this one — likely an invented scene culled from his trips through the White Mountains in New England — he gives us a tranquil scene of a mountain brook, but alive with a different kind of drama, one of light, shadow and texture.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Sorolla’s Sewing the Sail

Sewing the Sail, Joaquin Sorolla

Sewing the Sail, Joaquin Sorolla (details)

Sewing the Sail, Joaquin Sorolla

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project, there is a large file email hidden; JavaScript is required">here, as part of this article: https://arthive.com/exhibitions/3512

This beautiful painting by Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla makes it easy to see why he is sometimes referred to as “master of light”.

 
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