AND IN THE END…

Here are the remaining painting photos we took at the Getty and the de Young museums. The experience was unforgettable and I’m happy to have shared it all with you.  I will see you here again after my workshop (see April 17, 2013 post).

GeorgesDeLaTourTheMusicians'Brawl

The Musicians’ Brawl, about 1625, Georges de La Tour (1593-1652), French, oil on canvas

“In this painting, a brawling musician lifts his hand squeezing lemon juice into the eyes of his supposedly blind opponent. The imposter’s guide gasps with dismay while the two spectators all knowingly laugh at the spectacle of deception revealed. An early work by La Tour, this painting exhibits sharp diagonal rhythms, rapid calligraphic brushwork, and swift modulations in coloring to resonate with the violence of the subject.”

Interestingly, my husband made an important observation in this narrative painting that was not mentioned in the museum placard: the hurdy gurdy has the crank going into the right side of the instrument, yet the figure is holding the crank in his left hand. There is a reason for that–he has a knife in his right hand, prepared to stab the man that has called him out for being a fake. Can you see it?

GuidoReni

The Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist, 1640-42, Italian, Guido Reni (1575-1642) oil on canvas, 68 x 56

“In this depiction of a meeting between the young Christ and Saint John the Baptist, Guido Reni eliminated unnecessary detail and concentrated on the scene’s emotional qualities. The eyes of the two children meet as Mary looks on. The doves that the Christ Child gives to his cousin are an allusion to both Jesus’s future role as the King of Peace as well as his eventual sacrifice. Joseph enters through a doorway in the background.”

“Although using oil, Reni applied his color with the broad brushwork of fresco painting. He outlined important details with dark, jagged strokes. It was once thought that the sketchy appearance of Reni’s late works meant that they were unfinished, but like many aging artists, Reni pared form and color to the bare essentials for purely expressive purposes.”

CornelisBegaTheAlchemist

The Alchemist, 1663, Dutch, Cornelis Bega (1631/32-64), oil on panel, 14 x 12 1/2

CornelisBegaTheAlchemist1

Another view with a better angle, of this tiny painting packed with information and detail, The Alchemist.

“Oblivious to his cluttered surroundings, the unkempt figure of an alchemist sits among a chaotic jumble of paraphernalia. He holds a scale while weighing out a substance for one of his experiments in making gold. By the seventeenth century, alchemy was no longer considered to be a respectable science, and its practitioners were often the subject of ridicule. ”

“In this genre scene, Cornelis Bega commented on time wasted on materialistic and futile pursuits. Like other Dutch artists of his time, Bega was a close observer of natural appearances. Textures and surfaces of the assorted cracked clay and glass vessels are accurately described. Light pouring in through the open window and the harmonious tones of brown, gray, and blue give the painting a cozy warmth.”

CopleyMarySargent

Mrs. Daniel Sargent (Mary Turner Sargent), 1763, John Singleton Copley (1738-1815), oil on canvas, 49 1/2 x 39 1/4

Hovenden ThomasLast MomentsOf JohnBrown

The Last Moments of John Brown, ca. 1884, Thomas Hovenden (1840-1895), oil on canvas

You must go here and learn much about this artist, Thomas Hovenden, who seems to have “slipped through the cracks” of the American artists’ cannon: http://www.tfaoi.com/aa/8aa/8aa547.htm

Note: All text in quotes is taken from the Getty or de Young museum placards posted beside paintings.

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FRANK COVINO WORKSHOP ANNOUNCEMENT!

I know how ridiculously short notice this is, as I didn’t think to use my blog venue to get the word out, but Maestro Frank Covino, my long-time teacher and mentor, is flying to Phoenix from Vermont to teach our one-week workshop. The cost is $675 for five days of the most intense, informative hard work you will ever LOVE! I wrote  about him in earlier posts (See March 5, 8, and 9).

If you are in the Phoenix Metro area and would like to join our small group (the Arizona Renaissance Art Guild) for this workshop, contact me ASAP to reserve your space. As I have said in earlier posts, you will learn more from Frank in one week than in probably all the other workshops you have ever had, put together. Also, our group of artists are extremely friendly and helpful to newcomers–no shyness here–and we do it all with good heart and encouragement. We are all in varying degrees of progress, so don’t feel intimidated and know that none of us will ever try to make you feel that way. Come to the workshop with an open mind, leave your preconceptions at the door, and you will be amazed at what you will accomplish!

Following is our materials list that presumes you are new to painting.

Materials for board preparation and graphing:

Masonite board

renaissance gesso

Golden acrylic matte medium

metal yardstick and ruler

clear 18” triangle

acetate

extra fine and fine Sharpies

General’s charcoal pencils

photo of Old Master painting to work from, 8”x10” one color, one grayscale, glossy photo paper

Materials for sketching and charcoal:

grayscale 8”x10” photo

General’s charcoal pencils

vine charcoal

blending stumps (tortillions)

Exacto knife

India ink and liner sable brush

Drawing and Painting Materials:

pens/pencils

ultra-fine permanent markers, black, blue, green, red

acetate pad

charcoal pencils

vine charcoal

blending stumps

metal yardstick

metal 18” ruler

transparent triangle, 18”

kneaded eraser

India ink

spray workable fixative

Exacto knife

clear tape

artist’s white tape

Golden acrylic matte medium

Masonite or hardwood board

sandpaper very rough #40-60, very smooth #100-200

natural sponge

Knox Gelatin

paint roller for application of gesso

retouch varnish

Liquin

turpentine for brush cleaning

olive oil for brushes, cleaning hands, oiling palette

leak proof turpentine container

easel

plastic wrap

blue paper towels

mahl stick

notebook

palette knives

**Renaissance Gesso

**Covino Controlled Palette

**Covino Medium

Brushes:

bright sable #2, 4, 10

flat bristle #2, 4, 10

round sable #1, 8

round bristle #0, 8

mongoose flat #6

mongoose round #0

mongoose filbert #4, 8

Paint:

*titanium white

*flake white

ivory black

mars black

chromium oxide green

pthalo blue

cadmium yellow light

yellow ochre

raw sienna

raw umber

cadmium orange

burnt sienna

burnt umber

cadmium red light

alizarin crimson permanent

cobalt violet

ultramarine violet

French ultramarine blue

cobalt blue

cerulean blue

viridian green

Shiva cadmium green

Grumbacher pthalo yellow green

Winsor and Newton Winsor orange

Indian yellow

napthol red light

That’s all–enough, right? We hold the workshop in a museum so, once we get set up, we don’t have to pick up our stuff all week–we just lock it up and leave it all there until the next morning.  Also, everyone has their own large 6′ table and the space of a dance hall, so you can dance, or go back 30 feet and walk up on your painting to check your progress.

Needless to say, I will not be posting next week, but I’ll be back ASAP after the workshop.

AN AMAZING ALTARPIECE, MOSAIC, AND WOODEN SCULPTURE

Even though they didn’t fit into my “paintings” category, I just had to show you three unique pieces I saw at the Getty and de Young museums.  The altarpiece room was exceptionally dark, so the following photos are the best I could get. Click on the text photos to make them readable.

The first is the Ecco Homo Altarpiece by Maerten van Heemskerck (1498-1574), Netherlands. About the artist:

HeemskerckNetherlands

About the Ecco Homo Altarpiece:

EccoHomo

EccoHomoAltarpieceHeemskerck

EccoHomo1

EccoHomoRevealed

The central panel:

EccoHomo2

About fading and discoloration:

EccoHomoFadedPaints

The reds:

RedsDiscoloration

The blues:

BluesDiscolorations

The greens:

GreensDiscoloration

When the altarpiece is closed, the following two figures are what you see:

EccoHomoStMargaretVerso

StMargaretOfAntiochHeemskerck

EccoHomoStJohnVerso

StJohnTheEvangelistHeemskerck

Here, you can see another exceptionally worthy altarpiece, the Ghent Altarpiece by Hubert and Jan van Eyck with extreme closeup, X-radiography, infrared macrophotography, infrared reflectography and so much more, at http://closertovaneyck.kikirpa.be/#home/sub=altarpiece

Next, look at the amazing artistry and detail of this mosaic:

PortraitOfCamilloRospigliosi

Portrait of Camillo Rospigliosi, about 1630-40, glass mosaic, by Giovanni Battista Calandra, Italian, 1586-1644

“This mosaic depicts Rospigliosi, brother of Pope Clement IX and Knight Commander of the Order of Santo Stefano, whose cross insignia he wears. Because mosaics are composed of many pieces of small stones, ceramic, or glass tiles, they preserve their color more permanently than paintings–thus making them an appropriate medium for the commemorative art of portraiture. Like the painters of this period, Calandra rendered his subjects with great realism.”

Here are some closeups:

CloseupOfCamilloRospigliosi

CloseupOfCamilloRospigliosi-1

CloseupOfCamilloRospigliosi-2

And finally, this sculpture is made of wood, believe it or not. It is called Saint Gines de La Jara, about 1692, by sculptor Luisa Roldán (aka La Roldana), Spanish, 1650-1706. The one who painted the sculpture (aka polychromer) is Tomas de Los Arcos, Spanish, born 1661.

P1070014

It was so tall that this upward shot was the best I could get. See the hands?

P1070011

And the feet?

P1070013

“Saint Ginés de La Jara exemplifies La Roldana’s artistic talents. The body is relatively straight and self-possessed, while the arms stretch outward. La Roldana masterfully worked the hands and feet, sculpting the veins and bones so that they dramatically push against the taut skin. The painting by her brother-in-law, Tomás de Los Arcos, enhances the carving. The statue displays the realistic expression found in Spanish religious imagery made for churches and convents in the second half of the 1600s.”

Note: All text in quotes is taken from the Getty or de Young museum placards posted beside paintings.

MANIFEST DESTINY AND THE HUDSON RIVER PAINTERS

On our visit to the museums, we saw an exquisite plethora of paintings by the Hudson River School painters. This artist “fraternity” was started by Thomas Cole and continued to grow over the course of about eighty years.

In some ways, the Hudson River School became a response to “Manifest Destiny,” a belief filled with the hubris that white men literally had a God-given right and responsibility to control the land. At first, it inspired these artists and they tried to portray that concept.  But as time passed, they became more and more aware of the true price of Manifest Destiny—how industrialization was polluting, ruining the land, and affecting Native Americans—and began to portray this in their paintings, sensitively leading the way as our nation’s first “environmentalists.” Watch for this as you look at the paintings below, ordered chronologically:

ThomasColeViewNearTheVillageOfCatskilloil on wood, 1827, 24 ½ x 35

View Near the Village of Catskill, 1827, Thomas Cole (1801-48), oil on wood, , 24 ½ x 35

CropseyJasperViewOfGreenwoodLakeNewJersey

View of Greenwood Lake, New Jersey, 1845, Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823-1900), oil on canvas, 30 3/4 x 40 3/4

BinghamBoatmenOnTheMissouri

Boatmen on the Missouri, 1846, George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879), oil on canvas

“In the mid-19th century, the major western rivers of the United States served as interstate highways, with steamboats carrying both passengers and cargo. These steamboats were refueled on the river by “woodhawks,” men in small flatboats loaded with chopped firewood. Missourian George Caleb Bingham presented these boatmen as links between nature, represented by the wooded riverbank in the background, and civilization, symbolized by the advancing steamboat.”

“Bingham’s images of boatmen, now associated with the American Midwest, originally were considered railroad subjects because of their association with the frontier of pioneer settlement. Like the New England Yankee or the Western cowboy, Bingham’s Missouri boatmen were celebrated for their independence and helped to create both a regional and a national sense of identity. Bingham’s idealized depictions of boatmen as free laborers reflected his opposition to slavery and its extension into the western states.”

BinghamGeorgeCalebCountryPolitician

Country Politician, 1849, George Caleb Bingham, oil on canvas

Country Politician, painted soon after George Caleb Bingham was elected a U.S. Congressman for Missouri, depicts American democracy in action. Seated near a stove, a young politician attempts to enlist the support of an older rural farmer, while a businessman–perhaps a local power broker–listens attentively. Bingham’s political subject would have resonated with his fellow Missourians, who participated in the intense debates about slavery that dominated American politics prior to the Civil War.”

“In 1849, the Missouri Senate passed the pro-slavery ‘Jackson Resolutions,’ which asserted that it was unconstitutional for Congress to limit slavery in its new territories. Bingham countered by introducing the ‘Bingham Resolutions,’ which recommended that the issue of slavery in the territories be decided at the state level. Country Politician promotes Bingham’s grassroots view that such difficult questions should be left to the ‘wisdom, intelligence and patriotism of the people of the entire Union.'”

Bierstadt

The Arch of Octavius (Roman Fish Market), 1858, Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), oil on canvas

“Ancient Rome’s Portico of Octavia, built by Emperor Augustus in 23 B.C.E., gradually fell into ruin and became a fish market in the 12th century. By the time Albert Bierstadt traveled to Italy in 1857, Rome was defined largely by its historical roles in the Roman Empire and the Italian Renaissance. It was also the most important destination for wealthy tourists who made the Grand Tour of Europe to view the roots of western civilization.”

“Americans such as the stoic man clutching his red Rome guidebook, accompanied by his wary wife, considered themselves the heirs of ancient Greek and Roman ideals, emulating their democracies and architecture. Yet Bierstadt’s painting documents the decline and fall of ancient Rome’s monuments, while two famous antique statues, the Sleeping Endymion and the Barberini Faun, are reincarnated in a sleeping man and the adjacent street sweeper. The fish-scale and scallop-shell frame motifs offer a playful pun on Bierstadt’s subject.”

At the same time Bierstadt was painting The Arch of Octavius, Asher Durand worked on his “River Landscape”:

AsherDurandARiverLandscape

A River Landscape, 1858, Asher Durand, oil on canvas, 32 x 48

BierstadtSunlightAndShadow

Sunlight and Shadow, 1862, Albert Bierstadt, oil on canvas

“Albert Bierstadt’s view of the Gothic Revival chapel of the Löwenburg Royal Castle near Kassel, Germany, was based on an oil sketch he made in 1855 while a student at the Düsseldorf Academy. Given the religious subject, Bierstadt’s poetic title evokes associations with spiritual enlightenment and darkness. However, he also contrasts the man with a top hat inside the sunlit church with the impoverished woman nursing her infant, who serves as a traditional Christian symbol of charity but is cast in shadow on the steps outside.”

“The oak tree, a symbol of enduring faith in the face of adversity, and also of the cross, crucifixion, and resurrection of the Christian religion, was adopted as the national tree of Germany. Bierstadt incorporated oak branches and leaves into his custom-designed, Gothic Revival frame. This historical style, inspired by medieval precedents, sought to endow many machine-made, mass-produced goods of the industrial era with an aura of spiritual value.”

BierstadtViewOfDonnerLakeCalif

View of Donner Lake, California, 1871-72, Albert Bierstadt, oil on paper mounted on canvas

“Bierstadt made this study for a larger work that depicts a pass through the Sierra Mountains, several hundred feet above the Central Pacific Railroad.”

BierstadtNassauHarbor

Nassau Harbor, ca. 1877, Albert Bierstadt, oil on paper mounted on paperboard

From the Getty Museum Placard: “THE HUDSON RIVER SCHOOL was not a school, but a group of artists who shared the goal of establishing an American landscape painting tradition independent from that of Europe. Despite nationalist motivations, Hudson River School artists were strongly influenced by European aesthetic concepts of the sublime (nature’s awesome power), the beautiful (harmonious and pleasing nature), the picturesque (nature softened by the hand of man), and association (the association of natural sites and human structures with historical events).”

“A sketching tour by Thomas Cole up the Hudson River to the Catskill Mountains in 1825 is usually considered to mark the beginning of the Hudson River School. New York City was the geographical center of the movement, which was also called the ‘native,’ ‘American,’ or ‘New York’ school. Although the artists traveled and worked in Europe, their favored subjects included the Hudson River region, as well as the Catskill, Adirondack, and White Mountains, and coastal New England.”

“Thomas Cole depicted the American landscape as a New World Eden that represented both god’s creation and the nation’s destiny to settle the “wilderness.” Frederic E. Church sought to evoke cosmic truths by blending art and science in large-scale landscapes. Martin Johnson Heade and Sanford Robinson Gifford created light-suffused landscapes that evoked a spiritual presence. Albert Bierstadt’s panoramic landscapes celebrated the grandeur of the American West and its suitability for settlement.”

“The decline of the Hudson River School style was brought about by the Civil War, which permanently altered Americans’ perceptions of their country and its contested landscape, by the growing popularity of European art among American critics and collectors, and by the fulfillment of America’s self-perceived Manifest Destiny to settle the entire continent, an accomplishment that reduced the American landscape’s rhetorical resonance.”

MartinJohnsonHeadeOrchidAndHummingbird

Orchid and Hummingbird, 1885, Martin Johnson Heade, oil on canvas

MoranThomas

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Wyoming, 1906, Thomas Moran (1837-1926), oil on canvas

ThomasMoran

Grand Canyon with Rainbow, 1912, Thomas Moran, oil on canvas

Note: All text in quotes is taken from the Getty or de Young museum placards posted beside paintings.

DUTCH? FLEMISH? MORE DUTCH PAINTINGS

In my feeble attempt to clarify the impossible, a side note is in order here as to why some of these “Golden Age” painters are noted as being “Flemish” as opposed to “Dutch.” There was an area called Flanders just prior to 1800 (whose southern borders were nebulous) that encompassed parts of Belgium, the Netherlands, and France. Most of it became part of Belgium in 1830, but yet Flanders is still referred to as an autonomous area called the Flemish region with their own government including a congress. Ypres, Ghent, and Bruges are included in the area known as Flanders. To this day, some think of Brussels, Belgium as being in Flanders as opposed to Belgium. Also, they refer to part of the area as the Benelux Region (with it’s own flag) that encompasses Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. This area was formed in 1944 to promote free trade between these three countries. I don’t think I would want to be involved in a property rights dispute here. Confusing as all that seems, it must be clear to the millions that live there, although they are in a bit of political upheaval at the moment. If anyone can help describe it more clearly, please jump in and comment. Anyway, here are the last of the Dutch Golden Age paintings that I photographed at the Getty and the de Young:

JanSteenBathshebaAftereTheBath1

Bathsheba after the Bath, About 1665-70, Jan Steen, Dutch, 1626-1679, oil on panel

“Depicted here is the moment from the biblical story when Bathsheba receives a letter of summons from King David. In Steen’s interpretation, Bathsheba is a temptress rather than the innocent victim of the king’s passion. Unconcerned by her partial nudity, she stares brazenly at the viewer while her maidservant cuts her toenails. The shoe in the right foreground is a symbol of wantonness; the fountain probably alludes to fertility.”

JanSteenTheDrawingLesson2

The Drawing Lesson, About 1665, Jan Steen, oil on panel

“In a studio filled with artistic props, a painter corrects a drawing by one of his two pupils, a young boy and a teenage girl. The cool, clear light from the main window of this idealized interior reveals an array of materials and precisely rendered textures, from plaster to satin, fur, glass, and bone. Steen’s unusually refined technique suggests that this work was meant to celebrate the art of painting.”

JacobVanRuisdaelBridgeWithASluice

Bridge with a Sluice, About 1648-49, Jacob van Ruisdael, Dutch, 1628/29-1682, oil on panel

“Ruisdael’s ability to create complex, monumental images from humble motifs helps explain why he is considered one of the finest landscape painters of the 1600s. Here a rustic sluice, used to regulate water levels and irrigate farmland, is illuminated by a shaft of sunlight. Although the picture contains only one figure, evidence of human activity dominates the scene. Set against a background of productive pastureland, the sluice testifies to man’s continual struggle to control nature.”

JacobVanRuisdaelTwoWaterMillsAndAnOpenSluice

Two Water Mills and an Open Sluice, 1653, Jacob van Ruisdael, oil on canvas

JanVanHuysumVaseOfFlowers

Vase of Flowers, 1722, Jan van Huysum, Dutch, 1682-1749, oil on panel, 31 1/4 x 24

JanVanHuysumVaseOfFlowersCloseup

Vase of Flowers closeup

“In this work, flowers from all times of year–roses, anemones, hyacinths, and tulips, among others–have been painted directly from life. Van Huysum’s painstaking application of multiple layers of think oil glazes captures the brilliant colors and delicate textures of the petals. His vivid greens, however, were fugitive; here the leaves have faded to blue. Because he insisted on only painting each kind of flower while it was in season, it sometimes took the artist years to complete a picture.” http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=817

JanVanHuysumFruitPiece1

Fruit Piece, 1722, Jan van Huysum, oil on panel, 31 1/4 x 24

JanVanHuysumFruitPieceCloseup

Fruit Piece closeup

“This lavish still life of fruit and flowers combines the lustrous realism of Dutch paitnings of the 1600s with the bright colors and sinuous rhythms characteristic of the Rococo style of the 1700s. The effect is lush and extravagantly varied–van Huysum deftly captured the translucence of overripe fruit, the weight of heavy blooms, the crisp surfaes of leaves, and the wiry tension of vines. The artist jealously guardedd his technical secrets, allowing no one to visit his studio.” http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=818

Oh, if only we knew something about van Huysum’s working methods! We could learn so much from him. These paintings were affected by the skylights so that I had a very difficult time photographing them sans reflections.

Note: All text in quotes is taken from the Getty or de Young museum placards posted beside paintings.

FINISHING UP THE DUTCH/FLEMISH PHOTOS

Today, I am posting a lot of photos I took of Dutch/Flemish works that were on exhibit at the de Young and the Getty museums, beginning with Frans van Mieris the Elder (Dutch, 1635-1681). The first is Pictura (Allegory of Painting), 1661, oil on copper. This one was behind glass so please excuse the reflection.

The caption reads, “The allegorical figure shown here represents the art of painting. She holds a palette,, brushes, and a small plaster sculpture. The mask on a chain may refer to art’s deceptive illusions. Instead of being hung on a wall, a painting of this size, like a precious object, would have been kept in a cabinet for close examination. ”

FransVanMierisOilCopperPicturaAllegoryOfPainting

FransVanMierisTheDoctor'sVisit

The Doctor’s Visit, 1667, oil on panel

“Van Mieris was well known for his finely painted works. Here a young woman faints as a doctor examines a vial of her urine. The ostentatious doctor, whose extravagant clothes suggest that he is a quack, was a stock figure in contemporary theater. The erotic painting over the fireplace hints that the woman suffers from lovesickness, while the burning ribbon held by the crying girl was seen at the time as a sign of pregnancy.”

FransVanMierisAYoungWomanFeedingAParrot

A Young Woman Feeding a Parrot, 1663, oil on panel

Painted in the same year as Vermeer‘s “A Woman Holding a Balance,” Van Mieris’ elegant scene was one of the most celebrated and most copied compositions of the time.

The following two Frans Hals paintings are quite large–larger than life.

HalsLucasDeClercque

Lucas de Clercq, Dutch, about 1635, Frans Hals, oil on canvas, 49 13/16 x 36 5/8

HalsFeynaVanSteenkiste

Feyna van Steenkiste, Dutch, about 1635, Frans Hals, oil on canvas, 48 7/16 x 36 5/8

HalsFeynaVanSteenkisteHandsCloseup

Closeup of Feyna’s hands

These two paintings came to the Getty as part of the conservation partnership program. For information on the restoration and removal of old varnish on these two paintings as well as stories about Lucas and Feyna’s lives and additional insights into Hals’ working methods, go to http://www.getty.edu/museum/conservation/partnerships/rijksmuseum_hals/index.html

This painting by Anthony van Dyke was huge. I include the first photo to give you an idea of just how large it was:

AnthonyVanDyckPortraitOfAgostinoPallavicini

AnthonyVanDyckPortraitOfAgostinoPallavicini2

Portrait of Agostino Pallavicini, About 1621, oil on canvas, Anthony van Dyck, Flemish, 1599-1641

“This portrait commemorates the sitter’s service as ambassador of the Republic of Genoa to the newly elected Pope Gregory XV. The artist depicted Agostino Pallavicini, the future head of the state of Genoa, in his sumptuous robes of office, seated before a billowing curtain that bears his family’s coat of arms. The elegant formality of the image exemplifies van Dyck’s highly influential approach to portraiture.”

Note: All text in quotes is taken from the Getty or de Young museum placards posted beside paintings.

RUBENS AND BRUGEHEL COLLABORATE

I had an impossible time photographing this painting due to the skylight reflections, a problem I’ve mentioned previously.  I took a general one (had to get my picture beside it :-)), and then I took a few closeups. Here is the painting and the information posted alongside:

RubensBrughelMarsha

The Return from War: Mars Disarmed by Venus, 1610-12, Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish, 1577-1640; Jan Brueghel the Elder, Flemish, 1568-1625, Oil on panel

“In a secluded corner of Vulcan’s forge, Venus disarms her lover Mars, the god of war, with the playful help of her cupids. Love’s victory over Strife was understood in this period as an allegory of peace, and the subject may reflect contemporary hope for concord following the signing of the Twelve-Year Truce that ended the decades-long conflict in the Netherlands. The harmonious combination of reflective armor and creamy flesh resulted from the collaboration of Brueghel, who painted the setting and armaments, and Rubens, who painted the figures.”

Here are some closeups:

RubensBrueghelTheReturnFromWarCloseup

RubensBrueghelTheReturnFromWarCloseup1

RubensBrueghelTheReturnFromWarCloseup2

The Calydonian Boar Hunt, about 1611-12, Peter Paul Rubens, oil on panel

“This recently discovered painting is Ruben’s earliest hunt scene. In the early 1610s Rubens devised new and highly influential imagery of great physicality and emotional intensity–heroic combats between man and beast that transformed Baroque art.”

“The hunt of the Calydonian boar, a terrifying beast sent by the goddess Diana to punish King Oeneus, was a rare subject in painting. Rubens depicts the climax of the myth, when Meleager delivers the mortal thrust of the spear into the boar’s shoulder. The robust figures recall the classical sculpture from which he drew his inspiration. Rubens’ energetic and varied brushwork relates both to his brilliant oil sketches and to his polished cabinet paintings. He may have kept this work in his studio as a source of inspiration.”

RubensTheCalydonianBoarHunt1

A second take:

RubensTheCalydonianBoarHunt2

And some closeups:

RubensTheCalydonianBoarHuntCloseup

RubensTheCalydonianBoarHuntCloseup1

RubensTheCalydonianBoarHuntCloseup2

And lastly for today, a Rubens’ sketch:

The Meeting of King Ferdinand of Hungary and the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Spain at Nordlingen, 1635, Peter Paul Rubens

“This sketch was made for a monumental canvas that decorated a triumphal arch erected for the ceremonial entry into Antwerp by the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Spain. It celebrates an alliance between Catholic rulers shortly before their combined armies scored a victory over Protestant forces in 1634. Rubens’ oil sketches are admired for the spirit and economy with which they present the main elements of his grand compositions.”

RubensSketchTheMeetingOfKingFerdinandOfHungary1

Note: All text in quotes is taken from the Getty or de Young museum placards posted beside paintings.