Sunny Winter Day (Ein sonniger Wintertag), Peder Mørk Mønsted
Link is to image on Wikimedia Commons: I don’t know the location of the original.
Happy Winter Solstice, everyone!
The Yellow Jacket, William McGregor Paxton, oil on canvas, roughly 27 x 22 inches (56 x 69 cm).
Link is to Bonham’s, which auctioned the painting in 2016 and has a zoomable version on the auction detail page. I don’t know the current location; I would assume it’s in a private collection. There is a smaller but reasonably large image online as part of an article about the sale on Antiques and the Arts (click on small image for larger version).
William McGregor Paxton was noted for his serene, contemplative paintings of elegantly dressed women in room interiors. In this beautifully realized example, you can see his fascination with the compositions of Vermeer, an interest he shared with fellow member of the Guild of Boston Painters, Edmund Charles Tarbell.
The rendering of the woman’s face and hair is a wonderful example of Paxton’s command of soft edges, the robe a study in subtle values, and the open book a tribute to the power of suggested detail.
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.
The Great Day of His Wrath, John Martin
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.
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.
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.