Eye Candy for Today: Rembrandt riverfront drawing

View over the Amstel from the Rampart,  Rembrandt van Rijn, ink and wash drawing
View over the Amstel from the Rampart, Rembrandt van Rijn

Brown ink and wash, roughly 3 1/2 x 7 inches (9 x 18 cm); in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, DC.

Though a number of Rembrandt’s drawings, particularly those of figures or religious scenes, can be identified as preliminary to particular paintings of graphic works, his landscape drawings seem to have been done for their own sake.

No one can say with certainty what Rembrandt’s intention or state of mind was in regard to a particularly drawing, of course, but I can’t look at a drawing like this without thinking that it was done purely for the pleasure of drawing.

This feels to me like the work of someone who could take up pen and paper and let the burdens of the world fade into the distance while focused on the scene in front of him.

There is evidence throughout of keen, clear observation (like the blades of the multiple windmills), yet Rembrandt in his mastery makes the notation seem casual and relaxed.

I love the effect of distance he achieved by using thicker, heavier strokes (perhaps with a different instrument or ink) in the foreground.

Though the term would have been meaningless in Rembrandt’s time, to our modern sensibilities, the aspect ratio of the image could be described as cinematic — capturing a panorama of riverfront structures and activity in addition to the city beyond.

Don’t take my detail crops above be the only view you get of the image at a large size. Go to the Google Art Project or National Gallery page and view the drawing zoomed in at full screen. Perhaps, like me, you can project yourself onto the bank at Rembrandt’s side, and feel the wind push the sails of the ships along the river as his pen captures the moment.

 
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Byam Shaw

John Byam Liston Shaw, Victorian painter in the Pre-Raphaelite tradition
John Byam Liston Shaw, more commonly known as Byam Shaw, was a British painter and illustrator active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Shaw was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite painters who preceded him by a generation, and was one of the last hold-outs to carry their traditions on in the face of waning popularity. Many of his subjects were literary, and some were taken from the poetry of Pre-Raphaelite leader Dante Gabriel Rosetti.

In his later career Shaw turned to teaching, establishing the Byam Shaw and Vicat Cole School of Art with Rex Vicat Cole (later called simply the Byam Shaw School of Art). One of the instructors was Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale, another Pre-Raphaelite influenced artist and illustrator who had a long association with Shaw.

See also my previous Eye Candy post on this beautiful painting by Byam Shaw.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: William Wyld watercolor

St. Mark's Square, Venice, with Loggetta, William Wyld, ink and watercolor
St. Mark’s Square, Venice, with Loggetta; William Wyld

Watercolor and ink, roughly 10 x 7 inches (25 x 18 cm); in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Use the Download or Enlarge links under the image on their page.

I love this beautiful ink and watercolor rendering, not just for its wonderful combination of precision and sketch-like freedom, but for its unusual view of St. Mark’s Square. There are dozens, if not hundreds of beautifully rendered paintings and drawings of that most famous of Venice’s public squares, but most are from the far end, looking down the full length of the plaza.

Here, Wyld gives us a much more intimate view, the kind you might encounter as you walked about the edges of the square, and with a daring composition as well. The dark, shadowed foreground presents the primary figures almost in silhouette against the lighter base of the campanile.

The differently colored tiles in the paving lead us back to the distant group of figures, and the angled view of the Loggetta brings us back out to more shadowed foreground.

 
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Leonard Campbell Taylor

Leonard Campbell Taylor, British painter, portraits and figures in interiors
Leonard Campbell Taylor was a British painter active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He is know for his portraits and in particular for his interiors with figures, many of which are also portraits.

He was a war artist during WWI, and also did some illustration.

Many of his portraits and figures are beautifully refined, some with an academic naturalism, some showing the influence of Impressionism.

 
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Luke Buck

Luke Buck, landscapes in acrylic, watercolor and gouache
Luke Buck is an Indiana native who paints crisp, bright landscapes in acrylic, watercolor and gouache.

In addition to painting subjects in his home state, Buck is working on a project to paint in every state of the union.

You will find both original paintings and limited edition reproductions on his website.

Many of his paintings have a compositional device in which the primary image is in a crisp rectangle, created by setting off the image with tape, from which key elements extend outside of that area, often with the addition of drip effects at the bottom.

Buck has a step-through demonstration of his process here. He also conducts workshops, demonstrations and art talks, both in Indiana and other states.

His website also has a listing of shows and plein air events in which he is participating.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Ignacio Zuloaga portrait

Portrait of the Countess Mathieu de Noailles, Ignacio Zuloaga, oil on canvas, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum
Portrait of the Countess Mathieu de Noailles (Anna Elisabeth de Brancovan), Ignacio Zuloaga y Zabaleta

Link is to page with high resolution image on Wikimedia Commons. Original is in the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum.

Spanish painter Ignacio Zuloaga, who was active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, brings together the traditions of Spanish painting from preceding centuries and the Post-Impressionist flavor of his time in this beautiful reclining portrait of a well known Parisian poet and novelist Anna de Noailles, who was the subject of portraits by a number of other artists.

Zuloaga’s portrait is dramatically theatrical, not just in the curtain-framed setting, but in the striking warm light that sweeps across her face, shoulders and gown. The face is framed by the sitter’s shock of dark hair, which is echoed in the dark tones in the cover of the setee.

 
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