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).
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?
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.”
The Alchemist, 1663, Dutch, Cornelis Bega
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.”
Mrs. Daniel Sargent (Mary Turner Sargent), 1763, John Singleton Copley (1738-1815), oil on canvas, 49 1/2 x 39 1/4
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.