Treasure trove of high-res images from Nationalmuseum Stockholm

high-resolution painting images from Nationalmuseum Stockholm; Anders Zorn, Oscar Torna, Hanna Pauli, Alfred Thorne, Rembrandt van Rijn, John Bauer, Frits Thaulow, Pieter de Hooch, William Blair Bruce, Egron Lundgren, Carl Wilhelmson, Anthony van Dyck, Gustaf Rydberg, Bernardino Mei, Johan Christoffer Boklund, Laurits Andersen Ring, Jean Simeon Chardin

In a gesture to make up for the inaccessibility of much of the museum’s collections during a major renovation to the building, the Nationalmuseum Stockholm has just released 3000 high resolution public domain art images from its collection to Wikimedia Commons.

There is an article on the museum’s website here.

The images are arranged on the Wikimedia commons site in a special (hidden) category: Media contributed by Nationalmuseum Stockholm: 2016-10, that is arranged for browsing alphabetically (note the “previous page”/”next page” links at the bottom of each page of thumbnails).

I don’t see a way to search specifically within the category, but I suppose you can do a general search for an artist’s name plus “Nationalmuseum” in the Wikimedia search box. Should you want more information about any of the works or the artists, you can switch over to the Nationalmuseum’s collection search.

Most of the images are at least 3,000 to 4,000 pixels wide, certainly large enough to see paint texture and individual brushstrokes in many of the paintings.

Browsing tip: If you click on the image thumbnails on Wikimedia Commons, they will open in a kind of viewer; however, if you click on the text title, you’ll open the image detail page with options to view or download the image at various sizes.

If you want the largest image without the largest file size, note that the last images in the list of available image sizes are TIFF files that are large in file size. You will usually see the next-to last image in the list of sizes is a JPEG image that is the same dimensions as the TIFF, but much smaller in file size. Though JPEG is a “lossy” format (throwing away image data to achieve higher compression) the compression levels are low enough that you won’t see much, if any, difference.

Not only are there beautiful works in this lot from the museum’s deep collection of Swedish and Norwegian artists, like Anders Zorn, Carl Larsson, Carl Fredrik Hill, John Bauer and Frits Thaulow; there are works by greats from elsewhere in Europe, like Rembrandt, François Boucher, Francesco Guardi, Gustave Courbet, Jan Lievens, Pieter de Hooch, Auguste Renoir, Jean Siméon Chardin and many others.

What a great resource.

You may have to dig a bit to find the kind of works you’re most interested in, but if you’re inclined to browse and linger through high-res art images the way I am, I’ll issue my customary time-sink warning, so you don’t inadvertantly wake up with half a day gone.

The release of the images coincides with a new exhibition at the museum that promises to be terrific, featuring more than 160 works of Scandinavian 19th century painting from the collection. Turn-of-the-Century Gems will be on view at the Nationalmuseum Stockholm from 23 June to 24 August, 2017.

(Images above: Anders Zorn, Oscar Törnå, Hanna Pauli, Alfred Thörne, Rembrandt van Rijn, John Bauer, Frits Thaulow, Pieter de Hooch, William Blair Bruce, Egron Lundgren, Carl Wilhelmson, Anthony van Dyck, Gustaf Rydberg, Bernardino Mei, Johan Christoffer Boklund, Laurits Andersen Ring, Jean Siméon Chardin)


Bilquis Evely

Bilquis Evely, comics artist, WonderWoman
Bilquis Evely is a comics artist based in São Paulo, Brazil who is currently the artist on the new Wonder Woman series from DC Comics.

Evely has worked on a number of titles for DC — including Batman, Legends of Tomorrow and the Shadow — as well as titles for for Archie Comics and Dynamite Entertainment. I can’t find much information for work she may have done for Brazilian comic book publishers.

Her fine line and hatching style carries a feeling of the European-influenced Brazilian and Argentinian comics I’ve seen, and is a welcome approach amid the often more heavy-handed styles common in mainstream American comics.

Her work is also grounded on solid draftsmanship and lucid storytelling; the overall feeling is one of crispness and clarity.

Evely doesn’t appear to have a dedicated website, relying instead on her deviantArt gallery, Tumblr blog and social media for her web presence.

I particularly enjoy her Instagram feed, in which she frequently posts work in progress, often with her drawing instruments in the photo to give a feeling of the scale of the original drawing. She also sometimes posts examples of the same drawing in both the pencil and final ink stages.


Emilie Preyer

Emelie Preyer, still life of fruit
Liker her father, Johann Wilhelm Preyer, Emilie Preyer was a noted 19th century German still life artist who devoted much of her career to painting carefully composed arrangements of fruits.

While Preyer senior was an excellent painter, I think Emilie outdid him with her more visceral portrayal of texture and sensitivity to the subtle effects of light.

Emilie Preyer’s work sometimes reminds me of the beautiful way that Henri Fantin-Latour handled fruit in many of his paintings.

Preyer’s compositions frequently contrast dark fruits like plums and black grapes with lighter and more brightly colored ones like peaches and apricots — arranged against dark and sometimes gradated backgrounds to dramatic compositional effect.

Like her father, who I assume was her primary teacher, she often incorporated leaves, nuts, and sometimes glassware into her paintings, as well as a fairly ubiquitous fly on the table — a popular practice of still life painters of the time to add to the sense of realism and detail.

Preyer’s skill at composition leads your eye inexorably around her paintings, her finesse at portraying the tactile surfaces of her subjects inviting you to linger along the way.


Eye Candy for Today: Marie-Denise Villers portrait

Young Woman Drawing, Marie-Denise Villers
Young Woman Drawing, Marie-Denise Villers

In the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

When I first encountered this painting, it was hanging in a gallery at the Met in such a way that those entering the gallery were immediately confronted with it, and couldn’t help but be struck by its presence.

The painting is relatively large, roughly 63 x 50 inches (161 x 129 cm), or just over 5 feet high. It’s difficult not to be entranced by the angelic face of this young woman, who seems to be gazing directly at the viewer as she pauses while drawing on the board propped in her lap, apparently drawing you as you stand before the painting.

As of this writing, the Met lists the tile of this work as Marie Joséphine Charlotte du Val d’Ognes, which indicates it is a portrait of that individual.

I will insist this is incorrect.

I believe that title/subject is just as wrong as their historically incorrect attribution of the work to Jacques Louis David.

That attribution was later called into question when a Louve curator and advisor to the Met insisted that it was the work of one of David’s students, Constance Marie Charpentier.

That was never fully accepted, and the attribution was finally changed again to the current assignment to Marie-Denise Villers, who was a student of one of David’s other students, Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson, called Girodet.

The Met also retitled the piece as Young Woman Drawing (most historical painting titles are assigned after the fact, not by the original artists).

Now, for reasons that are lost on me, they’ve reverted to the original title, used when the painting was assigned to David. Though I’m not an art historian or curator, I’m certain that’s just wrong.

As soon as the attribution to David was removed, I was immediately convinced that this is a self-portrait. Nothing I’ve read or seen, including subsequent visits to the painting, has convinced me otherwise.

Not only does the painting have the appearance of an artist looking into a mirror (giving the viewer the impression that the young artist is drawing them), the work has other classic hallmarks of self-portraits — the drawing hand half-hidden so it could be repositioned without the artist having it for reference in the mirror, and most importantly to me, that “look” in the eyes that I notice in so many acknowledged self-portraits by other artists.

There is look that I see in the eyes of an artist that is drawing or painting I think comes from a shift in state of mind that happens when an artist is looking at their subject. It’s a kind of focused but not quite focused set to the eyes — a dreamy but present look that’s difficult to explain.

I believe it indicative of a slightly altered state of consciousness — a kind of meditative state — or, if you will, a shift from “left-brain” to “right-brain” thinking (or more accurately, from an analytical to perceptual mode of thought) that is a function of the act of drawing.

(It is this same look in the eyes that makes me think that this drawing by Leonardo is a self-portrait.)

That, and the other factors, have me convinced that this is a self-portrait of Villers, calmly enrapt in capturing her own appearance in a mirror.

There are other elements of interest in the painting, the somewhat enigmatic glimpse of a couple seen through the broken pane of glass, but I don’t know if there is any reliable information on the meaning of the background — perhaps reference to an event of personal significance to the artist.

At any rate, it is a stunningly beautiful painting, not to be missed if you have a chance to visit the Met.


Sina Pakzad Kasra

Sina Pakzad Kasra, concept art, illustration, digital painting
Sina Pakzad Kasra is a concept artist and illustrator whose digital painting and drawing styles range from sketch-like to refined and atmospheric.

At times, his textural approach appears nicely painterly, particularly in those images that have more naturalistic environments.

Kasra often uses muted, almost monochromatic palettes to dramatic effect, alternating with brighter palettes in some of his more futuristic themes.


Robert Zünd

Robert Zund, Swiss landscape painter
19th century Swiss painter Robert Zünd studied with several noted Swiss landscape painters, including Alexandre Calame and his teacher, François Diday.

Carrying forward the emphasis on truth to nature of his teachers, Zünd became noted for his richly detailed landscapes, many of which were large in scale. He also was influenced by the study of masterworks by French and Dutch masters like Claude Lorrain and Jacob van Ruisdael that he encountered during a time in Paris, and incorporated their methods of classical composition into his own work.

Zünd is also known for his series of religious themed paintings — such as The Road to Emmaus (images above, fourth down) — that were created during a ten year period in the middle of his career.

Zünd captured the textural and atmospheric character of the woods and fields he portrayed, as well as the play of light through them, creating his studio works from location drawings and oil sketches (images above, fifth down).

One of his most noted paintings, Der Eichenwald (The Oak Forest, images above, top, with detail, large version here), gained him particular attention and the respect of other noted painters when it was exhibited at the National Exhibition in Zurich in 1883.

To me, his work conveys a sense of deep affection for nature and the landscape itself that goes beyond that of many other painters.