Category Archives: High-res Art Images

Eye Candy for Today: Gaston La Touche’s Joyous Festival

The Joyous Festival, Gaston La Touche, 19th century French painting
The Joyous Festival, Gaston La Touche

Link is to a zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Dixon Gallery and Gardens (no images).

In his subject matter and intention, late 19th century French painter Gaston La Touche was more influenced by the Rococo style of the 18th century than by his Impressionist contemporaries, but here he shows the bright colors and free brushwork he adopted in his later career.

I also have to wonder — in his portrayal of the lanterns and the figures lit by them — if hadn’t seen Sargent’s beautiful and influential Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose.


Leonardo da Vinci’s Drawing Materials

Leonardo da Vinci's Drawing Materials
Leonardo da Vinci’s Drawing Materials is a short (5 minute) video in which a conservator from the Royal Collection Trust describes and demonstrates some of the drawing materials available to Leonardo and other Renaissance artists.

It was produced in conjunction with the exhibit “Leonardo da Vinci: Ten Drawings from the Royal Collection” that is on view at the Royal Collection Trust until 24 April 2016, and then travels to several other venues in the UK.


High resolution images of Vermeer’s paintings

High resolution images of Vermeer's paintings
Johannes Vermeer was either a remarkable 17th century Dutch painter or an enchanted sorcerer of light from beyond time and space — sometimes it’s hard to tell — but I find his work particularly entrancing among all painters.

His known existing oeuvre consists of only 36 paintings, each fascinating in their own way.

I have previously recommended the wonderful resource website, Essential Vermeer, maintained by Jonathan Janson, which is the go-to place on the web for information about Vermeer, his work, methods, context and historical background.

Though that site lists and shows all of the master’s paintings, including showing them at their relative sizes (which can sometimes be surprising), it does not itself host high-resolution images of the works; to do so would likely add prohibitive bandwidth costs to an already intense labor of love.

Instead, Janson devotes a page to resources for high-resolution images of Vermeer’s paintings, where possible on the websites of the museums in whose collections they reside. Some are in higher resolution than others, of course, but all let you see some of Vermeer’s extraordinary (and often surprisingly painterly) technique.

In addition, Josh Jones, writing for Open Culture, has assembled a more compact list.

If you have the chance to see Vermeer’s work in person, I highly recommend it. Essential Vermeer lists the paintings by geographic location and collection here.

There are, of course, numerous books on Vermeer. (One I particularly like for its details and context is Vermeer, by Pascal Bonafoux; it’s out of print but available used.)

Janson has a list and reviews of many others here. He has also published his own eBook, Looking Over Vermeer’s Shoulder: Seventeenth – Century Dutch Fine Painting Techniques and Studio Practices With Particular Focus On the Work of Johannes Vermeer, available from LuLu, which I have not yet had the chance to read.

Short of those options, these resources for high-resolution Vermeer images are a good way to view and enjoy some of the most remarkable paintings in the world.

[Topic suggestion courtesy of Eric Lee Smith]


Eye Candy for Today: Ingres graphite portrait of Mme. Lethière

Madame Alexandre Lethiere and Her Daughter Letizia, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, graphite portrait
Madame Alexandre Lethière and Her Daughter Letizia, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

Graphite on paper, roughly 11×9 in (30×22 cm); in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Use the download or zoom icons under the image.

Another of Ingres’ marvelous pencil portraits in which the delicately attentive portrait is set off by his seemingly casual sketch of the figure and drapery.

I never tire of the effect these often create of responding to the subject of the portrait as a person — and simultaneously being reminded that it’s just lines on paper!



Art Renewal Center (update)

Art Renewal Center: Daniel Gerhartz, Jason de Graaf, John Buxton, Geraldo Gilberto, Gavin Glakas, Arantzazu Martinez, Peter Fiore, Tanvi Pathare, Jake Frima, Cornelia Maria Hernes, Kelly Phelps, Jeffery Larsen, Vitaliy Shtanko, Sergio Lopez, Donato Giancoia, Hanwu Shen, Heather Theurer
As I mentioned in my article on the 10 year anniversary of Lines and Colors, my first post was on August 22, 2005. It was about the Art Renewal Center, a long-standing bastion of representational realism on the web. At the time I had both enthusiasm and some reservations for ARC, and I suppose that is still the case.

I still admire what they’ve accomplished in putting the site together, it’s an amazingly extensive resource. However, I no longer include ARC among the online image resources in my article listings for figures from art history, as they have had to institute a policy of restricting access to many images to signed-in members in order to encourage financial support of the site.

Not that I fault them in that policy in any way — it’s expensive to maintain a site at that level — nor do I mean to suggest that membership in ARC is not worthwhile, I have a membership myself; but I also have my own policies for Lines and Colors, one of which is that I do not link to sites that block access to their articles or images.

For this same reason, I do not link to artists’ Facebook pages, Pinterest, New York Times articles, Artist Daily or any of a number of other sites that block or restrict access in some way. I’m not trying to criticize with that policy, my goal is simply to provide Lines and Colors readers with a barrier-free experience when I give them links to art images.

However, I will take this occasion to recommend areas of the ARC site that are not at this point restricted by membership requirements, and are most certainly worthwhile. Specifically this is their coverage of contemporary artists, both in the form of their listing of “ARC Living Masters“, and their yearly ARC Salon competitions.

These are notable both for focusing on artists in the tradition of representational realism, and for featuring high-resolution images of many of the artists’ works, often larger than any images on the artists’ own websites.

The Salon is of particular interest for the variety of genres and the division of them into award categories. Once on the page for a given year, look for the links to the various categories at the bottom of the pages.

To some degree, there is an emphasis on highly refined work, somewhat in the academic tradition, but there are painterly artists, and the roster has expanded over the past decade to include more artists in the fields of illustration and fantasy art (“Imaginative Realism” in their parlance). There is also an emphasis on oil over water media, but they do pay a fair bit of attention to drawing.

I’ve chosen some images above that represent some of their featured artists and Salon winners.

(Images above: Daniel Gerhartz, Jason de Graaf, John Buxton, Geraldo Gilberto, Gavin Glakas, Arantzazu Martinez, Peter Fiore, Tanvi Pathare, Jake Frima, Cornelia Maria Hernes, Kelly Phelps, Jeffery Larsen, Vitaliy Shtanko, Sergio Lopez, Donato Giancoia, Hanwu Shen, Heather Theurer)


Luigi Loir

Luigi Loir, painter of Paris
I’ve written previously about three of the four late 19th and early 20th century painters whose styles are sometimes called “Parisianism”, or more simply “Painters of Paris”, Eugéne Galien Laloue, Edouard-Léon Cortès and Antoine Blanchard.

Never a formal group, these were just painters working in slightly different times, with similar intentions and shared influences. They were noted for their portrayals of the city of light, its boulevards and landmarks, often with the intense yellows and oranges of luminous shop windows set against low chroma backgrounds in complementary blue-grays and earth colors.

(Jean Béraud is often added to that list, but his style was different enough that I don’t generally include him in with the others.)

Though Galien Laloue remains my personal favorite, Luigi Loir is the originator of the characteristic style the others — particularly Cortes and Blanchard — later became known for; he is also arguably the most original and artistically sophisticated of the painters.

Loir sought to capture the streets of Paris in varying conditions of atmosphere and light, but often chose twilight, evening, or overcast days in which the lights of shops and cafes were set aglow against the muted colors of the city’s beautiful monuments and architecture.

Loir and the others populated their streets with throngs of gesturally indicated shoppers, travelers and cafe goers, on foot and in carriages. Though they look romanticized to us (and likely to Cortes and Blanchard), to Loir, these were scenes of contemporary, everyday life — at the time, a novel approach that he shared with the Impressionists.

Loir was also a prolific designer and illustrator, given the distinction of creating official exhibition cover for the 1900 Exposition Universelle (what we now think of as the “Worlds Fair”) in Paris.

Loir was adept with gouache, watercolor and oil, as well as being a pioneer in the use of chromolithography, a process that allowed the wide publication of large scale color images for the first time.

As with Galien Laloue, it is Loir’s gouache paintings that I find most compelling — part painterly, part graphic, alive with vibrant contrasts of chroma, value and delineation.