Eye Candy for Today: Andrew Wyeth drybrush & watercolor

Flat Boat, Andrew Wyeth, watercolor and drybrush

Flat Boat, Andrew Wyeth, watercolor and drybrush, details

Flat Boat, Andrew Wyeth

Watercolor and drybrush, roughly 22 x 29 inches (56 x 74 cm). Image and link is from a 2013 Christie’s auction sale.

While I don’t always respond as strongly to his more formal and conceptual works, I very much like Andrew Wyeth’s watercolors and drybrush watercolors, in which he is just directly observing from nature and interpreting what he sees in simple, often spare compositions.

This is a combination of both traditional fluid transparent watercolor, and drybrush, in which passages — particularly those involving texture — are built up with short multiple strokes applied with most of the paint wiped from the brush before application.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Chardin’s Young Student Drawing

Young Student Drawing, Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin

Young Student Drawing, Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin

Young Student Drawing, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin

Oil on panel, roughly 8 x 7 inches (21 x 17 cm). Link is to zoomable version on Google Art project; downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth.

French 18th century master Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin was noted for his still life paintings, and also for his genre paintings of figures in interiors (which also included still life objects).

Though not in keeping with the majority of his other work, this subject of a student drawing is a theme Chardin returned to in multiple works.

This painting is small, and in close up detail crops reveals itself as wonderfully painterly.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Carlo Ferrario pencil drawing

A Natural Stone Arch Beside the Sea, Carlo Ferrario pencil drawing

A Natural Stone Arch Beside the Sea, details, Carlo Ferrario pencil drawing

A Natural Stone Arch Beside the Sea, Carlo Ferrario

Pencil on paper; roughly 8 x 12 inches (21 x 31 cm); in the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum, NY.

19th century artist Carlo Ferrario is known for his drawings for the designs of operatic stage sets. This drawing is a natural scene, possibly from life, and was meant to be part of a set of 27 drawings.

I love his confident delineation of the rocky shapes, his alternately bold and sensitive pencil marks and his wonderful control of value.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Abraham Bloemaert’s flute player

The Flute Player, Abraham Bloemaert
The Flute Player, Abraham Bloemaert, details

The Flute Player, Abraham Bloemaert

Roughly 23 x 27 inches (58 x 69 cm), link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project, downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Centraal Museum, Utrecht.

In a composition somewhat similar to those of his contemporary Georges de La Tour, 17th century Dutch painter Abraham Bloemaert has lit his subject by candle or lamplight that is hidden behind a foreground object — in this case a dark vesssel that also serves as a compositional element to hold the left edge of the image, and balance the darkness on the right.

Both the dark object and the dark background serve as contrast to emphasize the illumination of the musician’s face, which has the added interest of being uplit.

The highlights and shadows round the eye, the highlights and darks on the hat as well as the feather and light clothing against the background, form a series of concentric rings of light and dark, a target effect. This was not uncommon among Dutch paintings of the time, and can be seen in the work of Vermeer, among others.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Isaac Levitan Crimean landscape

In the Crimean Mountains, Isaac Ilich Levitan

n the Crimean Mountains, Isaac Ilich Levitan (details)
In the Crimean Mountains, Isaac Ilich Levitan

Oil on canvas, roughly 26 x 14 inches (68 x 36 cm); in the collection of the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

This stunning rocky landscape is part of the superb collection of works in the Tretyakov Gallery by 19th century Russian landscape master Isaac (Isaak) Ilich Levitan.

Here, Levitan give us a tour-de-force of texture, not only in the cascade of strewn boulders in the foreground, but in the trunks of the trees and in the representation of the foliage beyond.

The variation of color in the rocks is remarkable, both between the various rocks and within the painted surface of each individual plane of each rock.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Bernardo Bellotto capriccio

Bernardo Bellotto, Capriccio with a River and Bridge

Bernardo Bellotto, Capriccio with a River and Bridge, details
Capriccio with a River and Bridge, Bernard Bellotto

Oil on canvas, roughly 19 x 29 inches (48 x 73 cm); in the collection of the Museo National Thyssen-Bornemisza. Click on the links to zoom or download the image on the museum’s site.

Bernardo Bellotto was Canaletto’s nephew, as well as his premiere student. This image is a capriccio — an idealized architectural landscape either created of scenes from different locations made into a whole, or just invented, or a combination of both.

In this work from early in his career, Bellotto’s approach is close to that of his mentor, right down to the signature style of representing water with little linear wave forms. The painting is forceful in its underlying geometric solidity, and rich with textural details and areas of deliberate imperfection in the stonework to indicate weathering and age.

I love the little wooden balcony to the right of the structure in front of the tower, with the potted plants on its ledge.

 
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