Eye Candy for Today: Peder Mønsted woodland interior

A Woodland Stream, Peder Mork Monsted landscape painting, oil on canvas
A Woodland Stream, Peder Mørk Mønsted

Link is to Wikimedia Commons, which has a high res version of the file. The original was sold through Sotheby’s in 1987 and is presumably still in a private collection.

As far as I can tell, the majority of Mønsted’s paintings seem to be in private collections. He is one of my favorite painters, based solely on seeing images of his work; I’ve never seen an original in person.

If anyone is aware of Peder Mønsted paintings in public collections here in the U.S. (particularly on the mid-Atlantic states), I would love to know about them.

 
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

Eye Candy for Today: Jongkind Laundry Boat on the Seine

Bateau-Lavoir pres du Pont-Neuf, Paris; Johan Jongkind
Bateau-Lavoir prés du Pont-Neuf, Paris; Johan Jongkind

From our vantage point in time, we have a tendency to call paintings like this one — with its loose, painterly brushwork, depiction of everyday events, and contrasting complementary colors — “impressionistic”.

It’s another reminder that the characteristics we associate with French Impressionism were not invented out of whole cloth by Monet, Renoir, Sisley and Bazille, but were in large part a logical progression from painters who immediately preceded them.

Like similar works by Charles-François Daubigny, this was painted several years prior to Monet’s first known painting, let alone the height of the Impressionist style, which came a decade later.

Here, Johan Jongkind, a Dutch painter who worked extensively in Paris, portrays a laundry boat moored in the Siene near the Pont-Neuf.

This is hardly the romantic image we have of the Seine in the 19th century, but that was part of the point of the move toward “Realism” instigated by painters like Courbet and Corot, that the everyday activities or ordinary people were worthy of painting, not just the romanticized and idealized visions of Academic painting.

Jongkind painted at least one other interpretation of this scene — a composition in darker light, with a vantage point closer to the boat and bridge — that is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and was painted perhaps earlier the same year.

The painting shown here is currently in a private collection; it was sold through Sotheby’s auctions in 2011.

Link is to Wikimedia Commons, which has a downloadable version of the image.

 
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

Eye Candy for Today: Marten van Valckenborch Tower of Babel

The Tower of Babel, Marten van Valckenborch the Elder
The Tower of Babel, Marten van Valckenborch the Elder

The link is to a zoomable version of the image on Google Art Project; there is a downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons; the original is in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden State Art Museums.

Flemish Renaissance painter Marten van Valckenborch painted a number of complex compositions depicting the Biblical story of the building of the Tower of Babel (of which you can find some other examples here and here).

I’ve found this one in particular to be striking in its dark, sombre tones, set against a light but clouded sky and framed by a cradle of dark foreground elements.

The repetition of forms and change in size of the elements as the tower ascends has a fascinatingly recursive feel to it.

It’s interesting to compare Van Vlakenborch’s interpretations to that of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, which was undoubtedly a primary influence on them, and on similar takes on the subject by other artists.

The story of the Tower of Babel is a story of hubris, a term we should all have in our awareness as we watch current events unfold.

 
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

Eye Candy for Today: Jacob van Walscapelle Still Life with Fruit

 Jacob van Walscapelle oil painting, Still Life with Fruit
Still Life with Fruit, Jacob van Walscapelle

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable high-res file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the National Gallery of Art, DC, which also has zoomable and downloadable versions of the image.

Compared to some of Van Walscapelle’s more elaborate 17th century still life paintings, this one is relatively small (16 x 14 inches, 40 x 35 cm) and the subject matter simple, but it has all the visual punch of his larger compositions.

It’s full of beautiful touches — the delicate rendering of the hazelnut husks, the gentle definition of the wine glass, the rich, dramatic rendering of the pomegranate and grapes, and the wonderfully naturalistic twining of the grape vines.

Look at the drops of water on the stone top to the left of the nuts, and the almost not there rendering of the support under the stone. There are also droplets of water on the pomegranate and the grape leaf.

I love the way the entire composition seems to emerge from darkness, and yet is so bold in its center, without losing the sense that everything is connected and lit by the same light source.

Wonderful.

 
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

Eye Candy for Today: Constable’s Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Garden, John Constable, Frick Collection
Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop’s Garden, John Constable

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable version on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Frick Collection, NY.

Constable painted the Salisbury Cathedral a number of times, from several different points of view. This view is the most familiar, and is deservedly one of Constable’s best known paintings.

What isn’t as well known is that there are two finished versions of this composition, as well as a full-size preparatory study.

The original version, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, had a darker sky and a vantage point slightly closer to the cathedral. The painting was commissioned by Dr. John Fisher, Bishop of Salisbury, who was a close friend of Constable’s.

Constable described it as one of his most difficult landscapes, citing the structure of the cathedral and the light to dark relationships in particular.

Fisher, however wasn’t fond of that version’s darker, more overcast sky, and Constable painted this second version with a lighter sky and a viewpoint slightly further back, opening up the composition somewhat. The full-size study for this version is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I haven’t seen the V&A version, but in reproduction, it looks as though Constable has made other adjustments to the balance of light and dark in the second painting. In the Frick version, the cathedral seems lighter and the foreground darker, as if to compensate for the lack of the darker sky to highlight the cathedral.

Both paintings also include cows grazing on the Bishop’s grounds, and the Bishop and his wife in the left foreground, pointing to the spire. Farther back along the path is a young woman with an umbrella, presumably one of the Bishop’s daughters.

I had the opportunity to see the original in the Frick Collection over the weekend, and I was again impressed with how modern the painting looks — in its immediacy, the almost impressionistic brush marks in the foliage, and the wonderfully painterly approach to rendering the trunks of the trees. Constable’s white highlights are physically thick and textural; his approach to the trees in many ways anticipates the work of the French Impressionists later in the century, as well as contemporary landscape painting in general.

 
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

Eye Candy for Today: Heinrich Böhmer Landscape with Deer

Landscape with Deer, Heinrich Bohmer
Landscape with Deer, Heinrich Böhmer

Link is to The Greatest of Art blog; there is another copy of the image on The Golden Kite Forum. I don’t know the location of the original.

Turn of the century German landscape painter Heinrich Böhmer had a wonderful touch with atmospheric perspective in his woodland interiors. I love the sense of filtered light dappled across the rocks, stream and forest floor.

 
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin