Eye Candy for Today: Near Sydenham Hill, Camille Pissarro

Near Sydenham Hill, Camille Pissarro

Near Sydenham Hill, Camille Pissarro (details)

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.

 
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John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Charcoal at the Morgan Library

John Singer Sargent charcoal portrait drawings

John Singer Sargent charcoal portrait drawings

John Singer Sargent is known for his bravura society portraits in oil, as well as his masterful watercolors. The latter were painted largely for his own pleasure as he traveled. The former, which were his stock in trade, came to weary him late in his career, and at one point he simply stopped doing formal portraits in oil.

He continued creating portraits, however, but in the form of charcoal drawings. These are wonderfully economical, deceptively simple but insightful and evocative of personality. They are also beautiful examples of the power of charcoal and of chiaroscuro.

The Morgan Library and Museum in New York, which has a history of presenting wonderful shows of drawings, has mounted a show of Sargent’s charcoal portraits drawings in cooperation with the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Charcoal, will be on display at the Morgan Library until January 12, 2020. The exhibition will then move to the National Portrait Gallery, where it will be on display from February 28 to May 31, 2020.

The Morgan Library has a small set of preview images, which I’ve used for my examples, above, and I’ve linked to another source on Wikimedia Commons, though the quality of the reproductions there varies.

There is a catalogue accompanying the exhibition. For those on a budget, there is an unrelated Dover paperback of Sargent Portrait Drawings.

See also my previous post on John Singer Sargent’s portrait drawings.

 
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Hans Guerin

Hans Guerin paintings

Hans Guerin is a painter based in Maryland whose subjects include figures, portraits and still life.

Among them, what I find most compelling are his still life paintings that follow the play of light across the richly colored, textural surfaces of pumpkins and other gourds.

You can find a number of his paintings on his website, which is shared with his wife, painter Beth de Loiselle Guerin.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: John Martin’s The Great Day of His Wrath

The Great Day of His Wrath, John Martin

The Great Day of His Wrath, John Martin (details)

The Great Day of His Wrath, John Martin

Oil on canvas, roughly 77 x 120 inches (197 x 303 cm); link is to zoomable image on the Google Art Project; downloadable version on Wikimedia Commons, original is in the Tate.

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.

 
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Louis Béroud

Louis Beroud

Louis Beroud

Louis Béroud was a French painter active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was known for his views of Paris — often of strikingly complex architectural subjects — and views of ornate interiors, in particular interior views of the Louvre museum.

Béroud was registered as a copyist at the Louvre and did several paintings of other copyists at work, as well as his fanciful interpretation of a painter surprised as his subject comes alive.

It was while painting his copy of Da Vinci’s La Gioconda (The Mona Lisa, image of Béroud’s copy above, bottom) that he came in to the museum one morning to find Da Vinci’s painting gone.

After inquiring of the staff if the painting was out for photography, it was discovered that it had been stolen.

(Yes, the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in 1911. It was subsequently found and restored to its place, but not without some interesting speculation as to the nature of the crime.)

 
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Eye Candy for Today: The Camp Meeting, Worthington Whittredge

The Camp Meeting, Worthington Whittredge

The Camp Meeting, Worthington Whittredge (details)

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.

 
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