Eye Candy for Today: Cornelis Visscher, The Large Cat

Cornelis Visscher, The Large Cat, engraving

Cornelis Visscher, The Large Cat, engraving (details)

The Large Cat (Cat Sleeping), Cornelis Visscher, engraving, roughly 5 x 7 inches (14 x 18 cm)

I admire the way Visscher has varied the direction of his lines to indicate the natural texture of the cat’s fur, and the density of the lines to achieve his subtle variations in value.

The foreground foliage and background wall, indentation and daring little mouse give the composition depth, offsetting the dominance of the large figure of the animal within the frame of the image.

 
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Martin Lewis

Martin Lewis, etching

Martin Lewis, etchings, drypoint, aquatint and engraving

Martin Lewis was an Australian/American printmaker, illustrator and painter active in the first half of the 20th century.

He is known primarily for his etchings of wonderfully evocative scenes of urban life, often focusing on the effects of artificial light in nighttime scenes.

In much of his work, shadows and areas absent of light play a role as important as objects and areas of light. The balance and play between them give his compositions a dynamic and visceral feeling of atmosphere and place.

Among his friends was Edward Hopper, who asked Lewis to teach him the fundamentals of etching.

[Via William Wray]

 
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Eye Candy for Today: William Lathrop etching

An Evening Walk, William Langson Lathrop, etching and drypoint

An Evening Walk, William Langson Lathrop, etching and drypoint

An Evening Walk, William Langson Lathrop

Etching and drypoint, roughly 18 x 15 inches (45 x37 cm), in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, DC, which has both zoomable and downloadable images. There is also a zoomable version on Google Art Project.

Lathrop was one of the group of painters active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in and around New Hope, Pennsylvania, who are often collectively known as the Pennsylvania Impressionists.

Lathrop was also a printmaker, and here uses both etching and drypoint to capture the mood of a quiet evening amid trees.

I particularly admire the way he has used multi-directional hatching to both create the dark values and suggest the textural bark of the trees without actually trying to draw a bark pattern.

 
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Eye Candy for Today; Rembrandt landscape etching of trees, houses and tower

View of some houses with trees and a tower, etching and drypoint, Rembrandt van Rijn

View of some houses with trees and a tower, etching and drypoint (details) Rembrandt van Rijn

View of some houses with trees and a tower, Rembrandt van Rijn

Etching and drypoint, roughly 5 x 12 inches (12 x 32 cm); in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, which has a zoomable image on the website (also downloadble if you sign up for a free Rijksstudio account).

This is one of my favorite landscape etchings by Rembrandt, which, for me, is saying something, because I love them all. This one is just so astonishingly beautiful it boggles my mind.

First, there is the composition, the way your eye is unerringly pulled into the scene and then led through it, delighted with linear and textural effects along the way. Then there is the drama of the values, the dense dark of the trees to the left, balanced by the darks in the primary house, the lighter touches on the path in the foreground and the house to the right, and the echo of darker values on the tower in the background.

Such a feeling of space, texture, time and presence.

An etching, for all of the wonderful characteristics inherent in that medium, is still, first and foremost, a drawing. Unlike Rembrandt’s landscape pen and wash drawings — which as far as can be determined, were done for his own pleasure or practice — his etchings were more formal, intended for multiple reproductions, presumably for sale or at least as gifts for valued patrons.

At their best, Rembrandt’s landscape drawings give me an uncanny feeling of being there — of sitting next to him as he sees and draws his subject — focused, aware and contemplative.

Don’t just take my detail crops as an indication of how wonderful this drawing is, do yourself the favor of going to the Rijksmuseum’s page and zooming in at full screen.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Anders Zorn etched portrait of Augustus Saint Gaudens

Augustus Saint Gaudens II (Saint Gaudens and his Model), Anders Zorn, etching

Augustus Saint Gaudens II (Saint Gaudens and his Model), Anders Zorn, etching (details)
Augustus Saint Gaudens II (Saint Gaudens and his Model), Anders Zorn

Etching and drypoint, roughly 5 x 8 inches (14 x 20 cm); in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; downloadable large image on Wikimedia Commons

Zorn is one of my favorite etchers (after only Rembrandt and Whistler), and his mastery shows here in his portrait of his friend, Irish/American sculptor Augustus Saint Gaudens.

In a tour-de-force of etching chiaroscuro, Saint Gaudens’ face is revealed in half light, and the figure of his model emerges gradually from the background darkness. Zorn’s seemingly casual lines sweep across the figures in sections that vary in direction and textural effect.

Zorn has not used aquatint here, the gray tones appear to be achieved by the way the print was inked and wiped.

For more, see my post on Anders Zorn’s etchings.

 
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Joseph Mugniani

Joseph Mugniani, science fiction illustration, Ray Bradbury

Joseph Mugniani, science fiction illustration, Ray Bradbury

Joseph Mugniani was an Italian/American artist, printmaker and illustrator active in the 20th century.

He is best known for his illustrations for the works of Ray Bradbury, who was also his longtime friend. Mugniani was also the author of several books on drawing and painting (Amazon link).

I particularly enjoy his darkly textural lithographs.

The best source I’ve seen for images of Mugniani’s work is this article on Monster Brains.

 
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