Eye Candy for Today: Vigée Le Brun self portrait

Elisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun self portrait
Elisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun self portrait (details) with preliminary sketch and Rubens painting that was her inspiration.

Self portrait in a Straw Hat,, Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun; oil on canvas, roughly 39 x 28 in. (99 x 70 cm); in the collection of the National Gallery, London. There is a high resolution image available from this page on Wikipedia.

Vigée Le Brun was a renowned 18th centry portait painter. Her subjects included the queen, Marie Antoinette, who considered Vigée Le Brun to be her favorite portraitest.

Vigée Le Brun is thought to have flattered her sitters — not uncommon among portrait artists — but whether that was the case here, I don’t know. It was possibly a moot point, as she was reportedly quite beautiful.

I think it’s a wonderful portrait. Look at the delicacy of the modeling, the light under the chin and the greens in the skin tones.

There is a pencil and study for the portrait — with the head in a slightly different position — in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY (images above, second from bottom).

Vigée Le Brun is quoted as saying she was inspired to do a self portrait in this motif after seeing Peter Paul Rubens’ portrait of Susanna Lunden (images above, bottom).


Free Comic Book Day – May 6, 2023

Free Comic Book Day - May 6, 2023
Free Comic Book Day - May 6, 2023

Tomorrow, May 6 is Free Comic Book Day 2023. Stop by your friendly neighborhood comic book shop, who will be even friendlier than usual, to see what’s happening in comics and pick one more (depending on the shop) free comic books created by publishers just for the occasion.

The shops will often have special deals, events and other things going on. If you’re curious about the state of modern comics, this is a good opportunity to check it out.


Aldo Balding

Aldo Balding, oil paintings and portraits
Aldo Balding, oil paintings and portraits

Aldo Balding is a British painter now living in the south of France. He paints portraits and genre scenes, both of which often contain narrative elements — suggesting a story to which we are only privy to a moment, leaving the rest to our imagination.

His lighting is also often theatrically dramatic, pulling your eye invariably to where Balding wants it. This is emphasized by his subtle and restrained use of color.

A portrait artist as well as a gallery artist, his website is divided into portraits and other paintings. The portraits usually feature a bit of context for the sitter — a suggestion of their life and character.


Eye Candy for Today: Chardin still life with coper pot

Chardin still life with coper pot, oil on wood

Chardin still life with coper pot, oil on canvas

Ustensiles de cuisine, chaudron, poêlon et oeufs, Jean baptiste Siméon Chardin, oil on wood, roughly 7×15″ (17 x 38 cm), in the collection of the Louvre.

Another of Chadin’s marvelous little still life paintings, that I find elevate the ordinary to the extraordinary.

I love the way Chardin paints copper. The white markings along the left of the pot may be a damaged area of the painting; I dont know. The Louvre’s page doesn’t mention it.

The page lists the translation of the title as: Kitchen utensils, cauldron, frying pan and eggs, with a former title of: Cauldron of tinned red copper, pepper pot, leek, three eggs and frying pan placed on a table.

The “frying pan” (or “skillet” in Google translation) looks odd to me for that description, but perhaps it was specialized for cooking eggs. My knowledge of 18th century cookware is certainly limited. I’m wondering if the apparently hollow handle served to keep it cool enough to pick up.

The other object, not mentioned in the title, may be a pepper grinder.


Frank Sherwin

Frank Sherwin travel posters
Frank Sherwin travel posters

Frank Sherwin was a British artist active in the early to mid 20th century. He is best known for his delightful travel posters, as well as his traditional watercolors.

He also painted watercolors for a number of “carriage prints” (images above, bottom, with details). These were horizontal format banners displayed in railway cars for the entertainment of passengers, much the way ads are often displayed in a row above the windows in subway trains and busses here in the U.S.