Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Modern Bathsheba

Bathsheba (1875-77) by the French painter Paul Cézanne (1839-1906).

Cézanne is considered as a Post-Impressionist painter and a kind of bridge between Impressionism and modern art like Cubism. So it’s interesting how he treated here the old traditional subject, which so many artists had depicted before.

There is the nude Bathsheba exposing her body to the sun or to King David, who cannot be seen. But there is the maidservant, probably as a kind of label that this is Bathsheba. Different to nearly all of his colleagues Cézanne refrains from the cheap exploitation of the nude body. He reduces Bathsheba to colour and finally to an icon.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Divine Salvation

Hagar in the Wilderness (1835) by the French painter Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (1796-1875).

Corot was a Realist painter and a leading member of the Barbizon school in mid-nineteenth century France. Therefore he focused normally on landscape painting. The landscape is also dominating this painting, Hagar and her son Ishmael are only little figures in the vast desert. In a central position the rescuing angel is arriving. With all that naturalism Hagar’s theatrical pose annoys a little.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Seduced Lot

Lot and his daughters (1833) by the Italian painter Francesco Hayez (1791-1882).

Hayez did here a very traditional painting. In the back is Sodom burning and the statue of the mother could be seen. He focuses on Lot and his daughters who are all more or less naked. Lot looks very drunk, in front is a (wine-) jug and one of the daughters holds an empty cup. While Lot as the central figure seems nearly helpless, the two daughters are cool watching the effects of their intrigue.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Art Nouveau Salome

Salome (1906) by the Austrian painter Salome and print makers Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980).

Kokoschka started his studies at the Vienna School where he became a close friend of Gustav Klimt. But soon he lost his initial enthusiasm for Art Nouveau, he left Vienna and the and became one of the most important painters of the Expressionist era. But this Salome belongs still to his early Art Nouveau phase. It’s nearly pure ornament and symbol.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Victorian Nude

Frederick Goodall (1822-1904) was like Alma-Tadema an English Victorian painter. He was specialized in orientalist paintings but did also biblical and historical subjects. His Susanna here seems to me as a cheap excuse to paint and sell a nude in Victorian England.

Susanna (1886)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Merry old Egypt

The Finding of Moses by Pharaoh's Daughter (1904).

This idyllic and cheerful painting is by the Dutch-born victorian painter Lawrence Alma-Tadema English Classicist Painter (1836-1912). He specialized in history paintings where he idealized Greek and Roman life. As it was expected from a history painter in this time the painting is rich in historical details, exotic costumes and flowers. It’s very similar to Alma-Tadema usual classical subjects. He hasn’t any real religious purpose at all, the bible only provides him with another historical subject.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Festival of Esther

The Festival of Esther (1865) by the English Victorian era painter Edward Armitage (1817-1896).

Armitage focused on historical, classical and biblical subjects. That explains the good historical decoration of the painting. It’s that kind of "realism" which dominated painting till the end of the century.