Eye Candy for Today: Frederic Leighton’s Invocation

Invocation, oil painting by Frederic Leighton
Invocation, Frederic Leighton

Link is to Wikimedia Commons, original is in a private collection.

Like the remarkable figure of Perseus in his interpretation of the mythological story of Perseus and Andromeda, Leighton here manages to render the figure as both solid and etherial.

This is partly accomplished with solid draftsmanship, and partly with his superb command of value and edges. I’m struck in particular by the way he has handled the subtle shift in value on the arms, in which the tonal transitions are so delicate as to be almost imperceptible.

The diaphanous gown defines the underlying figure with precision and grace, again by subtle control of value and the draftsmanship in the sweeping folds of fabric.

The small bit of still life adds weight at the bottom of the composition and ties it to the hints of architectural elements that form the background.


Adolf Kauffmann

Adolf Kauffmann, landscape paintings
Adolf Kauffmann was an Austrian painter active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

His emphasis was on landscapes and maritime scenes, though he also painted cityscapes and other subjects. In his landscapes he often painted deep woodlands and closeups of trees, which he approached with highly textural paint effects.

Images of Kaufmann’s work on the web are something of a mixed bag. I believe that — like many art images on the web — a number of his works are often represented with exaggerated chroma, in which someone has turned up the saturation on the colors to make the images “prettier”. Those images of his work I’ve found with more naturalistic color and value relationships suggest to me that he is a more subtle painter than that.

There are a few sources of larger images, but the source I’ve found with the greatest number of his works is Artnet. If you continue to click “load more” at the bottom of the pages, you will be shown over 20 “pages” of images (worth exploring even though many are repeated).


Eye Candy for Today: Carl Wihelm Kolbe etching

Dead Oak Tree, Carl Wihelm Kolbe, etching
A Dead Oak Tree, Carl Wihelm Kolbe

Etching on laid paper, roughly 14 x 20 inches (37 x 52 cm),

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; original is in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, DC, which has a downloadable high-res version of the image.

Kolbe was noted for his intricately detailed portrayals of natural forms, both real and fantastical. What I admire most about this drawing (an etching is essentially a drawing), is the wonderful control of value.

Kolbe has used hatching and stipple to render the foreground form with visceral texture and contrast, but is still able to give the background elements a similar feeling of tactile detail while pushing them back with atmospheric perspective.


Trevor Tennant

Trevor Tennant
Though he also paints still life and architectural subjects, Canadian painter Trevor Tennant focuses primarily on landscape and wildlife art.

His approach to landscape is nicely naturalistic, with restrained colors, controlled values and an eye for atmosphere and texture.

His website includes both originals and prints, and features a step-through process of one of his paintings.


Eye Candy for Today: Alfons Mucha portrait drawing

Jaroslava Mucha, pencil portrait drawing by Alfons Mucha
Jaroslava Mucha, Alfons Mucha

Link is to Wikimedia Commons. Pencil and white (presumably gouache) on toned paper, roughly 13 x 10 inches (33 x 25 cm).

This lively and sensitive drawing by Czech painter, poster artist and decorative designer Alfons (Alphonse) Mucha is a portrait of his daughter, Jaroslava.

The high resolution version available from the Wikimedia Commons page gives us a nice view of his drawing technique. Some of the drawing seems almost casual, but there is wonderful finesse in the delicate lost and found lines with which he’s indicated the nose, the sharply defined eyelids, and the tonal rendering of the lips, hair and garment.

The Wikimedia image is sourced from a Dorotheum auction listing (which no longer appears to be available), so my assumption is that the drawing is currently in a private collection.


Alfred Thörne

Sven Alfred Thorne, Swedish landscape painter
When I came across the work of Swedish painter Sven Alfred Thörne recently, I was surprised that I hadn’t encountered it before, but pleased to have found another Scandinavian landscape painter to add to my list of favorites.

Thörne was active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He studied at the Royal Academy in Stockholm and extended his studies on a traveling scholarship to France, Belgium, Germany and Italy.

He painted with an open, painterly realism and nicely naturalistic palette, with lots of water views and scenes of small cottages and houses. I particularly like his handling of the textures of foliage and rocks.

The largest images I’ve found for Thörne are on the Bukowski’s auction site, along with the Elogio di Michelagnolo blog.