Eye Candy for Today: Emilio Sanchez-Perrier river landscape

On the Banks of the Guadaíra with a boat, Emilio Sanchez-Perrier, 19th century landscape oil painting

On the Banks of the Guadaíra with a boat, Emilio Sanchez-Perrier, (details)

On the Banks of the Guadaíra with a boat, Emilio Sánchez-Perrier; oil on panel, roughly 12 x 16 inches (32 x 40 cm); in the collection of the Museo CarmenTyssen Málaga. Click on the image on their page for access to zoomable and downloadable versions. There is also a downloadable file of the same image on Wikimedia Commons.

Sánchez-Perrier’s apparent realism is surprisingly painterly when viewed in detail; much of the visually soft quality of the foliage appears to be produced with stipple effects, perhaps by pouncing with the end of a stiff brush.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses, John William Waterhouse

Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses, John William Waterhouse

Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses (details), John William Waterhouse

Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses, John William Waterhouse, oil on canvas, roughly 70 x 36 inches ( 175 x 92 cm); with preliminary sketch, both images on Wikimedia Commons; the original painting is in Gallery Oldham, but their website doesn’t offer details about the painting. The sketch is in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

English painter John William Waterhouse — whose later work was much influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite painters — took the mythological character of Circe as his subject for three paintings.

In this one, inspired by the account in Homer’s Odyssey, the sorceress has used her knowledge of herbs and potions to turn Ulysses’ crew into swine, one of whom can be seen at her feet.

A regal Circe, seated on a lions head throne and clad in a diaphanous gown, holds a wand and a cup of the potion, both enticing and daring Ulysses to take what is offered. A wary Ulysses (Odysseus) can be seen in the mirror to our right, his ship to our left.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: William Lathrop etching

An Evening Walk, William Langson Lathrop, etching and drypoint

An Evening Walk, William Langson Lathrop, etching and drypoint

An Evening Walk, William Langson Lathrop

Etching and drypoint, roughly 18 x 15 inches (45 x37 cm), in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, DC, which has both zoomable and downloadable images. There is also a zoomable version on Google Art Project.

Lathrop was one of the group of painters active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in and around New Hope, Pennsylvania, who are often collectively known as the Pennsylvania Impressionists.

Lathrop was also a printmaker, and here uses both etching and drypoint to capture the mood of a quiet evening amid trees.

I particularly admire the way he has used multi-directional hatching to both create the dark values and suggest the textural bark of the trees without actually trying to draw a bark pattern.

 
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Eye Candy for Today; Rembrandt landscape etching of trees, houses and tower

View of some houses with trees and a tower, etching and drypoint, Rembrandt van Rijn

View of some houses with trees and a tower, etching and drypoint (details) Rembrandt van Rijn

View of some houses with trees and a tower, Rembrandt van Rijn

Etching and drypoint, roughly 5 x 12 inches (12 x 32 cm); in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, which has a zoomable image on the website (also downloadble if you sign up for a free Rijksstudio account).

This is one of my favorite landscape etchings by Rembrandt, which, for me, is saying something, because I love them all. This one is just so astonishingly beautiful it boggles my mind.

First, there is the composition, the way your eye is unerringly pulled into the scene and then led through it, delighted with linear and textural effects along the way. Then there is the drama of the values, the dense dark of the trees to the left, balanced by the darks in the primary house, the lighter touches on the path in the foreground and the house to the right, and the echo of darker values on the tower in the background.

Such a feeling of space, texture, time and presence.

An etching, for all of the wonderful characteristics inherent in that medium, is still, first and foremost, a drawing. Unlike Rembrandt’s landscape pen and wash drawings — which as far as can be determined, were done for his own pleasure or practice — his etchings were more formal, intended for multiple reproductions, presumably for sale or at least as gifts for valued patrons.

At their best, Rembrandt’s landscape drawings give me an uncanny feeling of being there — of sitting next to him as he sees and draws his subject — focused, aware and contemplative.

Don’t just take my detail crops as an indication of how wonderful this drawing is, do yourself the favor of going to the Rijksmuseum’s page and zooming in at full screen.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Willem Kalf Still Life with Ewer and Basin, Fruit, Nautilus Cup and other Objects

Willem Kalf, Still Life with Ewer and Basin, Fruit, Nautilus Cup and other Objects

Willem Kalf, Still Life with Ewer and Basin, Fruit, Nautilus Cup and other Objects (details)

Still Life with Ewer and Basin, Fruit, Nautilus Cup and other Objects, Willem Kalf

Oil on canvas, roughly 44 x 33 inches (111 x 84 cm); in the collection of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museo Nacional, Madrid, which has zoomable and downloadable versions of the image on their site.

This is another stunning gem by 17th century Dutch still life master Willem Kalf in the manner known as a “pronk” (ornate or ostentatious) still life — finely crafted objects even more finely painted.

The ewer (a decorative pitcher or jug) and basin are supposedly the focus of the composition; as beautiful as they are, my eye goes quickly to the cup made form the shell of a chambered nautilus, even though it’s in shadow. It’s interesting to compare it with the one in this painting.

The glasses of wine in the background behind the nautilus cup — one red, one white — are just barely discernible in the reproduction.

Not having had the pleasure of seeing the original, I don’t know if the painting is actually that dark. (I’ve noticed that many reproductions of paintings presented by museums on their websites are darker than the actual paintings, for reasons I have yet to understand.)

The museum’s page goes into some interesting background about both the painting and the objects that are its subject.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Sargent charcoal portrait drawing

Portrait of Ernest Schelling. John Singer Sargent, charcoal on paper

Portrait of Ernest Schelling. John Singer Sargent, charcoal on paper (details)

Portrait of Ernest Schelling, John Singer Sargent

Charcoal on paper, roughly 24 x 18 inches (62 x 47 cm); in the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum, NY (use zoom or download links above and below image on their page).

Many people are aware of Sargent’s stunning society portraits and his brilliant personal watercolors, but less well known are the hundreds of charcoal portrait drawings.

Sargent’s charcoal portraits are marvels of economy an draftsmanship.

The Morgan Library in New York is having a show devoted to them in October of this year. In the meanwhile, here is one from their collection.

 
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