Monday, November 30, 2009

The End of Sodom

Lot Fleeing with His Daughters from Sodom by the German painter Johann Georg Trautmann (1713–1769).

Trautmann was fascinated by the dramatic effects of light, especially red light. So he painted gypsies and robbers by their campfires, burning cities and historical or legendary disasters like the burning Troy. Here he dedicated all his skills to the destruction of Sodom. Lot is fleeing with his daughters and the statue of the mother is left behind. But they are more an excuse to paint the burning Sodom.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Renaissance Architecture

Susanna at Her Bath (1526) by the German Renaissance Painter Albrecht Altdorfer (c.1480–1538).

Just as most of his contemporaries Altdorfer painted normally religious scenes, but probably he was much more interested in landscapes which in many cases dominated his compositions.

This painting is similar, there is an impressive castle and big trees and a turbulent sky. The figures seemed to be toys. In the foreground there is Susanna washing her feet. And on the left hidden in the bushes are the two elders peeping. So the whole story is present, but the real interesting things are without any doubt the castle and the sky.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Triumphant Herodias

Herodias (1886) by the Russian painter Iwan Nikolajewitsch Kramskoj (1837-1887).

Kramskoj depicts here Herodias the mother of Salome who was the mastermind behind the intrigue against John the Baptist. But in legend and in art she is frequently mixed up with Salome.
Anyway, the woman here is looking triumphantly at the head of her adversary. It seems that she’s talking to him.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Oriental Nudes

The finding of Moses (1886) by the English painter Edwin Longsden Long (1829-1891).

Long was primarily an Orientalist painter. He had travelled to Spain, Egypt and Syria to provide himself with inspirations for his lucrative paintings. The biblical subject is here a minor matter, it’s more a pretext to show some exotic nudes in a likewise exotic scenery.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Esther before the King

Esther before Ahasuerus (1738-40) by the Italian painter Pompeo Girolamo Batoni (1708-1787).

It’s a typical classicist painting. The scenery is well known – Esther is losing consciousness before the great King. The architecture and the dresses are taken from the time of the painting.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Judith as Femme Fatale

Judith and Holofernes (1901) by the Austrian Symbolist and Art Nouveau painter Gustav Klimt (1862-1918).

Judith is lasciviously caressing the head of Holofernes. There is nothing historical in this painting - Judith is a modern woman, her hairstyle is that of the fin-de-siècle.
But real interesting is, that Klimt is mixing Judith and Salome. This woman showing the head as her trophy could be Salome as well. Both together become the symbol of the modern femme fatale.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Academic Delilah

Samson and Delilah (1878) by the French Academic Painter Alexandre Cabanel (1823-1889).

Cabanel was the preferred painter of Napoleon III and one of the leading representatives of the so called “L'art pompier”. He and William-Adolphe Bouguereau formed the strongest resistance against any modern art movement in the final decades of the 19th century.
His Delilah may serve as a good example for that pseudo-realistic art which is technically perfectly done and formed the culmination of academic art.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pre-Raphaelite Jephthah

Jephthah (1867) by the English Pre-Raphaelite Painter John Everett Millais (1829–1896).

Millais focuses on the despair of the father. His daughter is seating on his lap. Gazing into the void she is trying to comfort her father. The whole picture is a mournfully scenery of desperation.

Nevertheless it’s interesting to observe the work which Millais invested in the exotic and historical details: the weapons, the furs, the music instruments and the dresses. So it’s a religious subject presented as a history painting.