Eye Candy for Today: Jacob van Walscapelle Still Life with Fruit

 Jacob van Walscapelle oil painting, Still Life with Fruit
Still Life with Fruit, Jacob van Walscapelle

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable high-res file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the National Gallery of Art, DC, which also has zoomable and downloadable versions of the image.

Compared to some of Van Walscapelle’s more elaborate 17th century still life paintings, this one is relatively small (16 x 14 inches, 40 x 35 cm) and the subject matter simple, but it has all the visual punch of his larger compositions.

It’s full of beautiful touches — the delicate rendering of the hazelnut husks, the gentle definition of the wine glass, the rich, dramatic rendering of the pomegranate and grapes, and the wonderfully naturalistic twining of the grape vines.

Look at the drops of water on the stone top to the left of the nuts, and the almost not there rendering of the support under the stone. There are also droplets of water on the pomegranate and the grape leaf.

I love the way the entire composition seems to emerge from darkness, and yet is so bold in its center, without losing the sense that everything is connected and lit by the same light source.

Wonderful.

 
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Inktober

Inktober 2017, Jake Parker, Moemai, Max Dunbar, Meredith Dillman, Abbe Branberg, Camille Marie, Chordephra, Loish, Alyssa Tallent, Jason Chan, Mack Chater, Sweeny Boo, Yuko Shimizu, Paul Heaston, Nick Nikopoulos, Stoaty Weasel, Ian McQue, Ira Sluyterman van Langeweyde
Inktober started as a challenge illustrator and cartoonist Jake Parker set himself in October of 2009, to draw 31 ink drawings in 31 days.

The goal, as in any exercise of this sort, was to get better end develop a more consistent working practice.

He repeated the idea the next year, promoting the notion that others should join him, and since then it has grown into a worldwide endeavor.

If you search on Twitter, Instagram or other social media platforms for #inktober, or #inktober2017, you’ll find the stream of those currently participating.

There is a lot of variation in style and level of ability, from novice to professional, and that’s part of what makes it such a great practice. There is no barrier to entry.

It’s not a contest, there are no real requirements or central authority deciding who can participate.

The rules, such as there are, are simple: do an ink drawing and post it online with the hashtags #inktober and #inktober2017 — repeat every day in October.

Even though this is the fifth day, it’s not too late to join in, I see lots of posts that say “late to the party” or “just joining in”. If you want to, you can throw in a few extra drawings along the way to come up with 31 by the end of the month.

You don’t have to use a dip pen or anything fancy; anything that makes marks in ink counts: ballpoint pens, markers, brush pens, whatever. The drawings don’t have to be elaborate or finished, and you can add color or not as you choose.

If you need suggestions for subject matter, there is an official prompt of 31 subjects on the Inktober website.

You don’t have to follow it, though. Lots of people make their own prompt list, or choose to do a single subject (e.g. cats, cars, portraits or monsters….), or just do whatever comes to you.

You can look through the social media feeds to see what others are doing, or simply for the enjoyment of it.

You will encounter a lot of work by beginners, and this is a Good Thing; part of the value of the practice is encouraging folks to get started. If you’re looking through with the thought of finding professional work, you might do better to seek the more curated experience of following Jake Parker’s Twitter feed, or the @inktober feed.

The images above are just some examples (mostly by professionals) that caught my eye. I particularly enjoy those images in which the artist has included their drawing tools in the photo with the drawing.

(Images above [some of these names are just Twitter handles]: Jake Parker, Moemai, Max Dunbar, Meredith Dillman, Abbe Branberg, Camille Marie, Chordephra, Loish, Alyssa Tallent, Jason Chan, Mack Chater, Sweeny Boo, Yuko Shimizu, Paul Heaston, Nick Nikopoulos, Stoaty Weasel, Ian McQue, Ira Sluyterman van Langeweyde)

 
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Women Painting Women, RJD Gallery 2017

Women Painting Women, RJD Gallery 2017; paintings by: Bryony Bensly, Erin Anderson, Jantina Peperkamp, Rachel Moseley, Sarah Stieber, Dana Hawk, Daggi Wallace, Odile Richer, Margo Selski, Andrea Kowch
Women Painting Women: A Voice with a Vision” is a group show at the RJD Gallery in Bridgehampton, NY (Long Island) that opens this Saturday, October 7, and runs to October 30, 2017.

The title of the show pretty well describes the theme. There is a nice variety of approaches — within the traditions of representational realism.

This is the 5th annual version of the exhibition; I previously covered the 2015 show.

As of this writing, the page for the exhibition on the gallery’s website is out of date, and is still focused on artist submissions rather than promoting the final show to gallery goers.

However, there is an online gallery of nicely zoomable images of work from the show on the gallery’s Artsy page.

(Images above: Bryony Bensly, Erin Anderson, Jantina Peperkamp, Rachel Moseley, Sarah Stieber, Dana Hawk, Daggi Wallace, Odile Richer, Margo Selski, Andrea Kowch)

[Via Karin Jurick]

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Constable’s Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Garden, John Constable, Frick Collection
Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop’s Garden, John Constable

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable version on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Frick Collection, NY.

Constable painted the Salisbury Cathedral a number of times, from several different points of view. This view is the most familiar, and is deservedly one of Constable’s best known paintings.

What isn’t as well known is that there are two finished versions of this composition, as well as a full-size preparatory study.

The original version, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, had a darker sky and a vantage point slightly closer to the cathedral. The painting was commissioned by Dr. John Fisher, Bishop of Salisbury, who was a close friend of Constable’s.

Constable described it as one of his most difficult landscapes, citing the structure of the cathedral and the light to dark relationships in particular.

Fisher, however wasn’t fond of that version’s darker, more overcast sky, and Constable painted this second version with a lighter sky and a viewpoint slightly further back, opening up the composition somewhat. The full-size study for this version is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I haven’t seen the V&A version, but in reproduction, it looks as though Constable has made other adjustments to the balance of light and dark in the second painting. In the Frick version, the cathedral seems lighter and the foreground darker, as if to compensate for the lack of the darker sky to highlight the cathedral.

Both paintings also include cows grazing on the Bishop’s grounds, and the Bishop and his wife in the left foreground, pointing to the spire. Farther back along the path is a young woman with an umbrella, presumably one of the Bishop’s daughters.

I had the opportunity to see the original in the Frick Collection over the weekend, and I was again impressed with how modern the painting looks — in its immediacy, the almost impressionistic brush marks in the foliage, and the wonderfully painterly approach to rendering the trunks of the trees. Constable’s white highlights are physically thick and textural; his approach to the trees in many ways anticipates the work of the French Impressionists later in the century, as well as contemporary landscape painting in general.

 
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The Frick Collection, NYC

The Frick Collection, NYC; Johannes Vermeer, Giovanni Bellini, Hans Holbein, John Constable, James Whistler, Rembrandt van Rijn, Joseph Turner, François Boucher, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Titian, Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Johannes Vermeer

I was in New York over the weekend and I took the opportunity to visit the Frick Collection, which I haven’t been to for a few years (it’s often hard for me to get past the Met and the Morgan Library to other museums when I’m in NYC).

The Frick is based on the collection of Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Clay Frick, and is housed in his mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, at 5th Avenue & 70th, not far from the Met.

Though it’s a pretty large urban mansion, it’s a small museum compared to behemoths like the Met or the Brooklyn Museum, but given its size, I think it has some of the highest “masterpiece density” of world-class works per square foot of major museums (perhaps only beaten out by the Uffzzi).

There are stunning, famous and often reproduced works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Titian, Velazquez, Belinni, Holbein, Constable, Turner, Ingres, Monet, Degas, Whistler and… well, more than I can list here.

If you’re in NYC and want a good dose of masterpieces without dealing with the mind-boggling scale of the Met, the Frick has your number.

Though based on Henry Clay Frick’s collection, the museum is not static, there are changing exhibits, and the museum continues to acquire works for the collection.

The Frick has “pay-what-you-wish” admission on Wednesdays from 2-6 p.m.

Online collection

Though I’m glad the museum has put their collection online in an easily searchable manner with reasonably large images, they have not been as generous as some museums in terms of making high-resolution images of their collection readily available, and photography is not permitted in the museum (you can take your selfies in the central court, but not in the collections).

For those who can’t visit in person, the online gallery can be searched directly or sorted by collection (i.e. paintings, works on paper, sculpture and other decorative objects), and browsed or searched from there.

There is also a collection app, suitable for tablets, though the resolution is not quite as high as the website.

Even for those in NY who can readily visit the museum, it’s worth browsing through the works on paper in particular, as there are numerous objects that can’t be displayed often, and it’s a really nice collection to browse online.

What isn’t obvious when viewing the collection online (and really should be) is the option to use a Mirador IIF pop-up viewer to view an enlarged version of the image in a full-screen window.

Though the resolution of the image isn’t higher than the built into the page enlargement, the latter has to be viewed within the constraints of a window in the page.

The full page viewer is accessed by clicking the enigmatic Miridor IIF icon at the bottom of the right-hand information column for each image. The icon looks like three lower case i’s and an f. Why they can’t also label this link with “full screen viewer” or some other explanatory text is beyond me.

That being said, there are also a few high-resolution images of some of the objects in the Frick Collection from other online sources. You can find some of them in zoomable form on the Google Art Project, and others by using a size-filtered search on Bing Images or Google Images. (Hopefully, these links will work for you, I’ve set them to “Frick Collection paintings” and filtered for 1600 pixels wide or larger).

There is also a selection of images from the Frick Collection on Wikimedia Commons, though only a few of them are higher in resolution than the ones on the Frick Collection website.

(Images above: Johannes Vermeer, Giovanni Bellini, Hans Holbein, John Constable, James Whistler, Rembrandt van Rijn, Joseph Turner, François Boucher, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Titian, Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Johannes Vermeer)

 
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