Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Raphael Painting

Raphael was called “the prince of painters” by Giorgio Vasari, a prominent 16th century biographer of artists (and acclaimed artist in his own right). His works are full of idealistic beauty and human grandeur. He achieved success and fame in his own time and his popularity has continued unabated till today. His portrait of his friend and fellow courtier, Baldassare Castiglione (see image to the right), is by common consent peerless. Titian and Cezanne admired it, and Rembrandt modelled one of his self-portraits on the exact same pose. In his short life-time he managed to achieve much. Besides his skill and genius as a painter, he was a sculptor, architect and poet. In 1514 he was appointed chief architect to the Vatican and the rebuilding of St Peter's (a task carried on by Michelangelo sometime after Raphael's death), yet still

found time to design  a number of other churches, palaces, and mansions. In 1514, Leo X made him director of a project to excavate the antiquities of Rome, for which Raphael made a survey. He created 10 cartoons for tapestries for the Sistine Chapel, ordered by Leo X, 7 of which have survived and are in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. (The tapestries themselves were woven by Pieter van Aelst and are in the Vatican Museum).

Birthplace: Urbino, Duchy of Urbino (Italy) 
Born: 6 April 1483
Died: 6 April 1520
Best Known As: High Renaissance painter of The School of Athens

Wassily Kandinsky paintings

The Russian painter and graphic artist Wassily Kandinsky was one of the great masters of modern art, as well as the outstanding representative of pure abstract painting (using only colors and forms) that dominated the first half of the twentieth century.

Early years in Russia
Wassily Kandinsky was born on December 4, 1866, in Moscow, Russia. His father was a tea merchant. When he was five years old the family moved to Odessa, Russia. The young Kandinsky drew, wrote poems, and played the piano and the cello. Because his family was fond of traveling, Kandinsky got to see the Italian cities of Venice, Rome, and Florence as a young boy. He was also influenced by the imposing Muscovite (from Moscow) buildings such as the Kremlin.

Between 1886 and 1892 Kandinsky studied law and economics at the University of Moscow. In 1889 he was a member of a team formed to study the life of the people in the Vologda district in northwestern Russia. He was highly impressed by their folk art and the interior decorations of the village houses. The use of forms and colors became an influence in his art. In 1893 he accepted a position on the university's law faculty.

Born: December 4, 1866     Moscow, Russia
Died: December 13, 1944    Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

Russian painter and graphic artist

Beginnings as an artist

It was not until 1896, when Kandinsky was thirty years old, that he decided to become an artist. His artistic development was shaped greatly by an exhibition of French impressionist painters that was shown in Moscow in 1895. The impressionists used values of color and light to show their subjects rather than painting in fine detail. The works of Claude Monet (1840–1926) attracted Kandinsky's attention. In Monet's paintings the subject matter played a secondary role to color. It was as though reality and fairy tale were intermixed. That was the secret of Kandinsky's early work, which was based on folk art, and it remained so even as his work became more complex.

The year 1910 was crucial for Kandinsky and for the art world. Kandinsky produced his first abstract watercolor. In that work all elements of representation (the actual look of a subject) seem to have disappeared. In continuing his early abstract works he used strong straight-line strokes combined with powerful patches of color.

Return to Russia

When World War I (1914–18; a war in which Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Japan fought against Great Britain, France, Russia, and the United States) broke out, Kandinsky returned to Russia. In 1917 he married Nina Andreewsky. During the Russian Revolution (1917), which overthrew the czar, the ruler of Russia, the artist held an important post at the Commissariat (government bureau) of Popular Culture and at the Academy in Moscow. He organized twenty-two museums and became the director of the Museum of Pictorial Culture. In 1920 he was appointed professor at the University of Moscow. The following year he founded the Academy of Arts and Sciences and became its vice president. At the end of that year, the Soviet attitude toward art changed, and Kandinsky left Russia.

Years in Germany and France

In 1922 Kandinsky became a professor at the Bauhaus (a school of art, architecture, and design) in Weimar, Germany. His art from about 1920 to 1924 has been called his architectural period because the shapes he used were more precise than before. There are points, straight or broken lines, single or in bunches, and snakelike, radiating segments of circles. The color is cooler, and more subdued (softer, quieter).
Kandinsky became a German citizen in 1928. In 1929 Kandinsky held his first oneman show in Paris, France, and traveled to Belgium and the French Riviera. In 1930 he had another exhibition in Paris. In 1931 he produced wall decorations for a large architectural exhibition that was held in Berlin, Germany. When the Bauhaus closed in 1932, Kandinsky moved to Berlin. A year after that he moved to Paris.
From 1927 to 1933, Kandinsky's paintings were characterized by abundant use of pictorial (like real pictures) signs and softer color. This is called his romantic or concrete period. It led to the last phase of his art, spent in France, which was a synthesis (blending) of his previous periods. The paintings of his Paris period have splendid color, rich invention, and delightful humor. In 1939 Kandinsky became a French citizen. He died on December 13, 1944, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. 
Kandinsky is still greatly admired today for his own paintings and for being the originator of abstract art. He invented a language of abstract forms with which he replaced the forms of nature. He wanted to mirror the universe in his own visionary world. He felt that painting possessed the same power as music and that sign, line, and color ought to correspond to the vibrations of the human soul.

Michelangelo & His paintings

Although his most famed works are the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City and the Statue of David, Michelangelo started like any other artist of the day, as an apprentice who would learn from great masters. But, these masters saw Michelangelo’s unmistakable genius in various art forms and knew early on that he would become the world’s most famed artists remembered and adored by future generations. Michelangelo wasn’t impoverished. His father was a banker in Florence and made enough to support his family, their upper middle-class livelihoods, and his children’s education. After much debate, Michelangelo’s father allowed him to study art, but only after agreeing that if his first three-year apprenticeship didn’t work out, he would return to study so he could take over the family’s business.

The young Michelangelo first started his studies under Domencio Ghirlandajo. After only six months of study, Domencio stated that Michelangelo had surpassed him in his own art. After only one year, Michelangelo began his tutelage under the supervision of the magnificent Lorenzo de’ Medici, who funded Michelangelo’s pursuits. When de’ Medici was overthrown from government, Michelangelo had to search for other commissions that would financially support him. He had, over the years, been sending home money to his father who constantly asked him for financial help.

Moving to Bologna, he found work finishing the shrine of St. Dominic. Michelangelo’s style was different in regard to the way he chose to finish the shrine – attempting to master the beauty and form of the human body. With the finishing of that project, he was commissioned for several others, which he dedicated much time and energy towards, unlike many artists of the day who left many works unfinished. In the year 1501, he completed the statue of David for the Florence Cathedral and received a large commission. In his other works, such as with Madonna and Child, and Madonna and Child with Infant St. John, Michelangelo displayed the evolution of his unmatched abilities.

Full Name: Mr. Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
Date of Birth: March 6, 1475
Place of Birth: Caprese, Florence, Italy
Died: February 18, 1564
Place of Death: Rome, Italy
Classification: Artists & Entertainers

Michelangelo was greatly affected by another artist of the day, Leonardo da Vinci. The two artists battled for different commissions in the city, but Michelangelo was summoned by the Pope to complete a vast number of projects. None of these were ever completed in their full mastery, as was the Sistine Chapel. In his later years, Michelangelo loathed his frail state; he had been strong and agile as a sculptor. He completed more paintings, sculpted, wrote poetry, and contributed to many architectural projects during his lifetime.

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn Paintings

North-Netherlandish painter, draftsman and etcher. Most sources claim he was born on 15 July 1606, although there is written evidence in which he himself mentions 1607 as his year of birth. Born in Leiden into a middle class family, Rembrandt becomes a pupil of the painter Jacob van Swanenburgh. In 1624, he studies in Amsterdam in the studio of Pieter Lastman, who will greatly influence his artistic development. Some say it is Lastman who illustrates to Rembrandt Caravaggio's use of chiaroscuro – the application of light and darkness to suggest depth.

After returning to Leiden, Rembrandt sets up shop with his friend Jan Lievens. In 1631 he moves to Amsterdam once again. His talent to read faces wins him many portrait assignments. He marries Saskia van Uylenburgh in 1634; her father, a prominent art dealer, secures him even more work.

In 1639 Rembrandt and Saskia move to the Breestraat, a main street bordering on the Jewish neighborhood, where the couple sets up household in the present Rembrandt House Museum. Their new address facilitates Rembrandt's study of Jewish faces, making his biblical work even more striking. All in all, Rembrandt creates over 300 works on biblical subjects; most of them drawings and etchings. More on Rembrandt's biblical work. As in everything he does Rembrandt's biblical work reaches far beyond and above everybody else's when it comes to capturing the decisive moment of a particular episode.

Rembrandt paintings initially are rather baroque but after around 1640 they became more austere. The famous Night Watch (1642) may be considered as one of his last truly baroque works. He now concentrates on showing depth of emotions in his figures. This change may be related to tragic events in his personal life: the early death of three of his children, and of Saskia in 1642. Around 1647 Hendrickje Stoffels moves in with him. They cannot keep up the cost of living. The house is heavily mortgaged and Rembrandt spends large amounts on financing his vast collection of prints by other artists. In 1658 he is forced to move to a smaller house.

In his last years Rembrandt produces several masterpieces, such as David and Saul (1657) and The Jewish Bride (1665). Hendrickje dies in 1663, his son Titus in 1668. Rembrandt dies in 1669 in Amsterdam and is buried in the Westerkerk.
The portrait is part of a self-portrait made in 1640.
Rembrandt had many students. Among them were Ferdinand Bol, Gerard Dou, Carel Fabritius, Govert Flinck, Arent (Aert) de Gelder and Nicolaes Maes.