Category Archives: Eye Candy for Today

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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Eye Candy for Today: Jean-Baptiste Le Prince ink and wash drawing

Imaginary Landscape with Fishermen Pulling in Their Nets, Jean-Baptiste Le Prince ink and wash drawing
Imaginary Landscape with Fishermen Pulling in Their Nets, Jean-Baptiste Le Prince

Pen and black ink with gray wash, roughly 16 x 12 inches (40 x 29 cm); in the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum, NY; use the Download or Zoom links on their page.

Though described as an imaginary landscape, both the landscape elements and the confidently rendered figures have a relaxed naturalism. I like the depth the artist has created with lighter values of wash.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Chardin’s The Scullery Maid

The Scullery Maid, Jean-Siméon Chardin
The Scullery Maid, Jean-Simeon Chardin

In the collection of the National Gallery of Art, DC. Use the Zoom or Download links to the right of the image on their page.

18th century French painter Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin was noted for his wonderful still life paintings (that I think magically hold time still in a way comparable to Vermeer), but he also painted a series of domestic interiors.

Some of these are as much still life as they are a room interior or genre piece. A case in point it this beautiful and deceptively simple scene of a maid washing kitchen utensils. For me, the copper pot — radiant with subtle reflected colors — steals the show, but the pottery piece and barrel are not far behind.

The figure, like those of De Hooch, seems more an object in the room than a person with whom we are meant to connect. As such, she is rendered with the same volumetric and textural presence as the other objects, defining space as well as existing in it.

I love the textural application of paint in her face and cap in particular, and in her clothing in general.

The control of edges throughout, as in all of Chardin’s paintings, is remarkable. Look at the softness of the edges of the barrel hoop (images above, second from bottom), and the way the edges of the crock disappear into the floor and background (images above, bottom).

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Julian Alden Weir’s The Factory Village

The Factory Village,  Julian Alden Weir, American Impressionist painting
The Factory Village, Julian Alden Weir

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

In this late 19th century scene — that makes factory life seem almost idyllic — I love Weir’s textural application of paint and the way he uses it to soften his edges, particularly in the trunk and branches of the tree.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Giacomo Guardi gouache painting of Venice

View of the Rialto Bridge, Giacomo Guardi, gouache on paper
View of the Rialto Bridge, Giacomo Guardi

Gouache on paper, roughly 5 x 9 inches (13 x 24 cm); in the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum.

On the Morgan’s page, you can use the Download link under the image, or the Zoom tab above it. When using the zoom, it’s helpful to know that in the controls under the image, the last one on the right opens the zoomed image full screen.

When viewed in detail, the wonderful economy of Guardi’s notation becomes evident. Abbreviated brush lines delineate the windows, splashes of opaque gouache form heads and bodies, and brief indications of value change give the buildings dimension. Look at the way the reflections are indicated under the buildings at right.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Monet’s Springtime

Springtime, Claude Monet, Impressionist oil painting
Springtime, Claude Monet

Link is to zoomable version on the Google Art Project; downloadable version on Wikipedia; original is in the Walters Art Museum.

In this painting by Monet of his first wife and frequent model, Camille Doncieux, we can see the painter’s fascination with light and color.

The foliage is gesturally indicated, with mere suggestions of leafy texture. The background grass is just brushy patches of color.

Monet’s attention is on Camille’s face, and even more, on her clothing and the dappled sun effects on the dress and foreground grass. Monet has carried the pinks of the dress into the sun splashes in the green grass. Under his guidance, our eye sees it as natural.

The rendering of the dress is more subtle than it first appears, with shifting areas of almost complementary color held in check by careful matching of value.

The variation of color just in the bonnet is remarkable.

 
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