Eye Candy for Today: Fuseli’s Nightmare

The Nightmare, Henru Fuseli
The Nightmare, Henry Fuseli, 1781; The Nightmare, engraving after Fuseli by Thomas Burke; The Nightmare Henri Fuseli, 1791; The Nightmare, engraving after Fuseli by Thomas Halloway

Images are from Wikimedia Commons; original of the first version is in the Detroit Institute of Arts

This 18th century painting by English-Swiss artist Henry Fuseli has become one of those famous and familiar images that is hard to see with fresh eyes — as a painting rather than a cultural icon.

The painting achieved almost immediate notoriety in its time, critics found it scandalous and improper due to the sexual nature of the work. An engraving by Thomas Burke was widely popular, and the image became the subject of cartoons and other mention in popular culture.

Though the painting appears to depict both dream and dreamer, it may be more likely that it is the artist’s nightmare — one of unrequited love, representing a young woman with whom Fuseli was in love and proposed marriage to, but whose father disapproved and who married another not long after. Perhaps the demon is a stand-in for the woman’s eventual husband.

The painting was so popular that Fuseli painted several other versions. The most famous of the three surviving alternative versions was done in 1870 or 1871, for which there was an engraving by Thomas Halloway.

See my post on Henry Fuseli.


Eye Candy for Today: Meryon’s Apsis of Notre Dame

L'abside de Notre-Dame de Paris</a></em> (The Apsis of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris), Charles Meryon, etching”  /><br />
<em><a href=L’abside de Notre-Dame de Paris (The Apsis of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris), Charles Meryon

Etching with engraving and drypoint, state 3 of 9; 6 1/2 x 3 3/4 (16.5x29cm).

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project, original is in the National Gallery of Art, DC, which has downloadable files; but you have to create a (free) account to get the highest-resolution version.

This beautiful mid-19th century etching captures not only the striking presence of the cathedral, but the activity on the quay and the flights of birds across the sky. I love Meryon’s handling of the clouds in particular.

Like most prints of its kind, this image was printed as multiple impressions in multiple states; you will find variations of the print in other collections, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Frick Collection.


Drawings and Prints from the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art: Paolo Pagani, John Singer Sargent, Denijs Calvaert, Jacques Callot, Pierre Paul Prud'hon, Mariano Fortuny
Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Exhibitions subtitled “Selections from the Permanent Collection” never sound dramatic, but shows of master drawings from collections like those of the Met (or the Morgan Library or the National Gallery) are actually rare treasures.

Drawings and prints are considered delicate, subject to light damage and are shown infrequently. Your chances of seeing the same master drawing twice in your lifetime are slim, though it does happen.

The Met and the National Gallery in DC are notable for their efforts to rotate out selections from their superb collections on a regular basis (the Philadelphia Museum of Art was doing this for a while, but sadly seems to have abandoned the practice).

The current selection from the Met will be on display until January 4, 2015, and runs concurrently with About Face: Human Expression on Paper, another exhibition from the permanent collection, that ends on December 13, 2015.

Both have online galleries with links to the individual entries for the works, most of which have download or zoom links to high-res images.

If you have never seen an exhibition of master drawings in person, you should take advantage of the chance if you have it. Drawings and prints, I think, suffer even more in reproduction than paintings, giving up their most sublime characteristics only when confronted in person — not that there isn’t a good deal of enjoyment to be had from web or print images.

(Images above, with details: Paolo Pagani, John Singer Sargent, Denijs Calvaert, Jacques Callot, Pierre Paul Prud’hon, Mariano Fortuny)


Eye Candy for Today: Aegidius Sadeler rhino

Fable of the Rhinoceros and Elephants, Aegidius Sadeler, etching, Rijksmuseum
Fable of the Rhinoceros and Elephants, Aegidius Sadeler

Etching, roughly 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches (96x112mm), 1608. In the Rijksmuseum.

Today — I am informed in a tweet from the Rijksmusem — is World Rhino Day. In celebration they point to a selection of rhino images from their collection, from which I focused on this wonderful etching by Aegidius Sadeler.

Not only is the exotic beast made more so by Sadeler’s marvelously textural line work, the fairly-tale like elephants and elegantly rendered tree are a bonus.


So PineNut

So PineNut, lithographs, illustrations
So PineNut is the name given on his Behance gallery for a Japanese artist and illustrator based in Tokyo.

Beyond that I have little background information. The images on his Behance gallery are often dark, both in emotional tone and subject; and, unfortunately, in the sense that some of the photographs of the work appear to be underexposed. I have not taken the liberty of enhancing any of them.

Several of the projects show works in progress and the impressions being pulled on a series of stone lithographs, in which the artist has lavished lots of textural details. There are also color pieces and sculptural ceramics.

His Behance gallery does not offer a link to another website or blog. I came across this Weibo site, and have no idea if it is officially related or not (use at your own risk).


Michael Parkes

Michael Parkes
Michael Parkes is an American painter, printmaker and sculptor now based in Spain.

Parkes takes inspiration in his affection for a variety of artistic sensibilities, from Renaissance portraits to 19th century academic and Orientalist painters, Symbolists like Gustav Klimt, Art Nouveau posters, Golden Age children’s book illustrators — particularly Maxfield Parrish — and classic pin-up and “good girl” illustration.

Parkes combines these in his fantasy infused blend of Magic Realism, focused largely on young women and animals in often elaborate poses.

I don’t know that he directly accepts illustration commissions, but his work has been used for a number of science fiction and fantasy covers.

Parkes studied graphic art and printmaking at the University of Kansas, carrying forward his interest in stone lithography into his current range of color stone lithographs requiring multiple stones for each impression.

His work is widely available in a variety of reproductions, which makes the official website a bit confusing, and to my mind devalues his stone lithographs by including them amid giclées and commercially printed reproductions; though you can find them grouped with original painting drawing and sulpture on this page.

The michaelparks.com URL points to Steltman Galleries which also has an extensive selection of his work. I’ve listed other galleries below.

[Note: a number of the images on the linked sites should be considered NSFW.]