Eye Candy for Today: T.C. Steele’s Bloom of the Grape

The Bloom of the Grape, Theodore Clement Steele
The Bloom of the Grape, Theodore Clement Steele

The Bloom of the Grape, Theodore Clement Steele

Oil on canvas, roughly 30 x 40″ (76 x 100 cm). Link is to zoomable image on Google Art Project; high-res downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

If, like me, you’re wondering why you don’t see any grape vines in Steele’s wonderfully painterly evocation of the late fall landscape, here is a line from the museum’s gallery label:

“The title refers to a white, gauzy veil known as the ‘bloom’ that covers grapes at harvest time. Steele said the hazy, frosty days of late October and early November reminded him of the bloom of the grape.”

 
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Chen Yanning

Chen Yanning
Chen Yanning

Originally from Guangzhou in China, Chen Yanning studied at the Guangdong Academy of Fine Art. He became a U.S. citizen and now lives and works in New Jersey.

Yanning takes as his primary subject portraits of young women, some formally posed and surrounded by still life objects, other more casually depicted in various activities.

Though the faces in his painting have the look of distinct individuals, I don’t know if they are portraits in the sense of being commissioned, or models posed to create interesting genre subjects. I suspect it’s mostly the latter, although he does so formal portrait commissions, including members of the English royal family.

His draftsmanship is precise, and at first glance, one might be tempted to think of his rendering style as photorealism; but in those few images of his work online that are relatively large, I see indications that his work is more painterly than first impressions would suggest.

I find his compositions bold, many of them utilizing chiarlscuro, others with softer value contrasts.

As far as I can determine, Chen Yanning does not have a dedicated website, nor can I find a gallery that claims to be his primary representative. The best single selection of images of his work I can find is this Russian art blog. I’ve listed a few other sources below.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Botticelli’s Madonna of the Pomegranate

Madonna of the Pomegranate, Sandro Botticelli
Madonna of the Pomegranate, Sandro Botticelli

Madonna of the Pomegranate, Sandro Botticelli; egg tempera on wood panel, roughly 56 inches (144 cm) in diameter; link is to the file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, which does not appear to have a reproduction of the painting on its website.

15th century Florentine master Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, known as Sandro Botticelli, is most famous for his large, stunningly beautiful paintings of mythological scenes, particularly The Birth of Venus and La Primavera, but the majority of his oeuvre was of Christian religious subjects.

While his mythological and religious subjects were composed quite differently, one thing I find consistent, and consistently engaging, are Botticelli’s faces.

Stylized, often idealized and at times bearing the hallmarks of actual portraiture, Botticelli’s faces are always entrancing; handled with a grace and subtlety that draws you in for repeated gazing.

In his edges that resolve into darks that are effectively outlines, Botticelli captures the combined visual appeal of rendered form and linear drawing.

In Madonna of the Pomegranate we find the mother and child surrounded by wonderful Botticelli faces, rendered in the painstaking medium of egg tempera.

It was not an unusual subject in Renaissance painting to show the Madonna with the Christ child holding a pomegranate, a precursory symbol of the future Passion and Resurrection.

 
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Gilbert Gorski

Gilbert Gorski
Gilbert Gorski

Gilbert Gorski is a Pennsylvania based artist who is also a practicing architect. Gorski’s paintings diverge from his architectural background and focus on natural subjects.

His approach is a fascinating variation on techniques employed by the impressionist and Post-Impressionist Pointillist painters, using thousands of tiny daubs of paint that blend visually to create images that appear naturalistic from a normal viewing distance.

Within this technique Gorski employs appealing variations in color, while keeping his value masses intact; the effect is a wonderful combination of broken color and visual texture.

On his website, you can find examples of his landscape paintings, as well as sections devoted to book illustration and watercolors that show his architectural background. There is also figurative work and a section for drawings and prints that focus on cityscapes, both real and invented, and explorations of imagined geometric structures.

Gorski is also the author of a book titled Hybrid Drawing Techniques: Design Process and Presentation (Bookshop.org link).

Gilbert Gorski’s paintings are currently on view in a solo exhibition at Principle Gallery, Alexandria titled “The Memory of Trees”.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Lars Hertervig landscape

The Tarn, Lars Hertervig, oil on canvas, roughly 25 x 18 inches (63 x 46 cm); link is to zoomable image on Google Art Project; downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons, original is in the National Museum, Oslo.

19th century Norwegian painter Lars Hertervig portrays the landscape surrouding a “tarn” (a glacially formed lake) in a manner somewhere between realism and fantastical art.

His spooky, atmospheric presentation of the landscape makes it look almost primordial.

 
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Artists’ views of Venice #2

JWM Turner Venice

Artists views of Venice: Turner, Sargent, Anna Richards Brewster, Whistler, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Moran

This is a follow up to my previous article on Artists’ views of Venice, just to add more artists without an ungainly long string of images. It could have been five times as long.

[Images above (links to my articles): JMW Turner (with detail), John Singer Sargent, Anna Richards Brewster, James Whistler, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Moran (with detail)]

 
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