Born on 13 January 1596: Jan
Josefszoon van Goyen, Dutch painter who died on 27 April
Dutch landscape painter. He studied in his native city and in Haarlem with the Dutch artist Esaias van de Velde. In about 1631 van Goyen settled at The Hague, where he became head of the painters' guild in 1640. Van Goyen developed a strongly individual manner of treating his subjects, which emphasized perspective and lighting, suffusing his landscapes in a melancholy gray-green atmosphere. Van Goyen was a pioneer in naturalistic landscape painting in 17th-century Holland; his influence on Dutch painting, exercised principally through his pupils and their contemporaries, was considerable. As the leading practitioner of the “tonal” phase of Dutch landscape painting, van Goyen made the nuances of sky and atmosphere his primary concern. More than a thousand of his paintings have been cataloged. Among his better-known paintings are View of Dordrecht (1650) and View of The Hague (1651), painted at the request of The Hague's authorities.
The Thunderstorm at sea by the coast (1641, 138x183cm)
Landscape with Two Oaks (1641) Summer (1625)
Dunes (1629) _ The earliest works of van Goyen are so close to Esaias van der Velde's that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish their hands. Like Esaias, he used both a round and an oblong format for small views of Dutch villages and country roads, crowded with illustrative details. The atmospheric treatment in these colorful early works is insignificant, the foliage is ornamental, and there are glittering highlights reminiscent of the Mannerists. In the late 1620s van Goyen shifted to simpler motifs - a few cottages along a village road or in the dunes, like in this painting - and he achieved unification and depth by a leading diagonal and by a tonal treatment that subdues the local color and is expressive of atmospheric life. His palette turned monochromatic, with browns, pale greens, and yellows.
Marine Landscape with Fishermen 4/5 skyscape (36x32cm) _ Jan van Goyen was the Dutch painter who most effectively captured the water-drenched atmosphere of Dutch seascapes, the daily activities of fishermen on the flat shores of Holland, and the great rolling clouds on its wide, low horizons. The simplicity of composition, the use of near monochrome, for the most part shades of brown and grey and the greyish skies heavy with rain-clouds which play an important part in his seascapes all differentiate van Goyen's paintings from those of his contemporaries who generally preferred to paint stormy seas complete with ships of war, and the buildings of a port in the background. Van .Goyen concentrated on the sea itself and only made use of such subsidiary details-boats, fishermen or seamen-as were absolutely necessary to indicate the environment. The painting is signed as VG on the boat at the left side.
View of Leiden (1643, 40x60cm) _ In the oeuvre of van Goyen a good number of city views occur, and they are set into the wide context of the Dutch countryside, like this beautiful view of Leiden. In this 'capriccio' (the artist placed Leiden's famous St Pancras Church alongside an imaginary wide, winding river) we see how the horizontal begins to dominate over the diagonals at this time. The subdued coloristic touches of yellows, greens, and browns become more luminous, and the sky brightens up.
Village at the River (1636, 40x60cm) _ During the course of the 1630s van Goyen became the leading master of the tonal phase. His technique grew bolder and more vivacious, the space opened up, and atmosphere predominated. Water begins to play a more important role. This picture shows the characteristics of the thirties, and an all-over airiness that grows in transparency towards the far distance, with its brightened horizon.
Beach at Scheveningen (1646, 92x108cm) _ In 1646 van Goyen made numerous drawings of Scheveningen, a fishing town on the North Sea coast, which he then used for paintings. His lively beach painting still offers the impression of spontaneous transcription, but he dramatized his drawings by raising the dunes and accentuating the cloud pattern. Most astounding is the apparent veracity of light filtered through packed clouds. Van Goyen's rather monochrome drawings could only approximate such a life-like atmosphere, and he must have created it in the studio from a remembered, mental image. Such painting, from the mind, was considered at least as important as drawing from life. _ The beach at Scheveningen was also painted by van Goyen in 1634 (96x144rm) and by Willem van de Velde the Younger _ Van Gogh in Calm Weather and in Stormy Weather
Meer (1656, 39x54cm) _ Jan van Goyen was born in Leiden and trained
in the studios of a succession of local artists. His most influential teacher,
however, was Esaias van de Velde in whose Haarlem studio he spent a year
before establishing . himself as an independent painter in his native town.
Subsequently van Goyen worked in The Hague and Haarlem. In his earliest
landscapes - his first dated painting is from 1618 - van Goyen employed
the highly colored, strongly linear technique of Esaias van de Velde, but
progressively his paintings become less colorful and less crowded with figures.
He shared this move towards a deliberately restricted palette of blues,
greys, greens and blacks, and simple compositions, with the Haarlem landscape
painters, Pieter Molijn and Salomon van Ruysdael. In the work of all three
painters the sky assumes greater and greater importance, as in this painting
in which it occupies almost three-quarters of the picture surface. The clouds
are painted thinly over the prepared ground of the panel which gives a warm
undertone. In this view of Haarlemer Meer, a vast inland lake which was
not drained until the nineteenth century, the Great Church at Haarlem can
be seen on the horizon in the far right-hand corner. This atmospheric study
of clouds and still water was painted in the last year of the artist's life.
With his linear style it is no surprise to discover that van Goyen was an
indefatigable draughtsman. More than 800 drawings and several sketchbooks,
all in his favourite medium of black chalk and wash, are known today. Many
are quick sketches made from nature during his travels in the north Netherlands
and Germany, which in the studio were transformed into imaginative landscapes.
His rapid painting technique enabled him to be a prolific artist: more than
twelve hundred paintings from his hand survive.
View of The Hague in Winter (1645, 52x70cm) _ In the background the outlines of the large municipal buildings of The Hague (Stadthuis, Groote Kerk and Binnenhof) can be seen. The painting is signed on the boat at the left.
View of Dordrecht (1653, 97x148cm) _ Throughout his career Jan van Goyen combined quality and quantity. Constantly innovating, he provided the basic patterns for a wide variety of realistic landscapes produced by contemporary competitors in 17th century Holland and by several generations of imitators after him. This river landscape is a magnificent example of an oeuvre, catalogued by Hans-Ulrich Beck, of twelve hundred paintings and eight hundred drawings, which together form a milestone in the history of art. The quality of these individual works of art is measured, not by their "uniqueness" but rather by the amount of creative workmanship that they contain. Production-raising and as is sometimes maintained cost-reducing techniques that the artist applied, never led him into the sterile copying of successful scenes. The present view of Dordrecht is not Van Goyen's "standard" view of Dordrecht. It is one of thirty known variants of a river landscape with a named city in the background, "composed" in the artist's studio. Starting with a simple picture-building structure, a view with a strong sense of atmosphere is produced which appears to have been painted from life at a particular point in place and time, though in fact it has been constructed from drawings, combining accurate observation and "dressing up" motifs. Looking out from a vantage point where the Kil and Oude Maas rivers meet, we see on the far side, on a low horizon, the horizontal profile of Dordrecht, identifiable primarily by the Grote Kerk. The illusion of depth is produced by a spit of land in the left foreground where, against the light, a group of people with a dog are watching as a ferry loaded down with cows and passengers is mooring. Whipped-up water, swelling sails on the many small ships and a heavily clouded sky suggest a stiff breeze. Several components in the picture, like the figures, the weather or even the city can perfectly well be replaced by alternatives, without the picture being any less a "face of Holland" that Van Goyen was one the first to model, at times with sky and water only. The painting is signed with monogram and dated on the ferry boat to the left, 1653. Signature and another date can be seen on the ferry boat to the right, 1644.
View of Dordrecht from the Oude Maas (1644 104x134cm) _ The tonal trend of the 1630s continues into the 1640s, bringing still increasing spaciousness and fluidity. Van Goyen's technique often shows an open interplay of over- and underpaint, and the quick, whirling strokes make the vibration of the moist air almost physically felt. Side by side with river scenes, seascapes with choppy little waves appear. Often we meet wide views over the flat country that are lit by streaks of sunlight. A good number of city views occur, and they are set into the wide context of the Dutch countryside. This almost monochrome painting shows the Groote Kerk (Great Church) in the background.
View of Leiden (1650) _ In the 1650s van Goyen did not remain uninfluenced by the new classical trend, but he never moved away from the dominant monochromatic tonality of his middle period. Some tectonic accents, with verticals opposing horizontals, enter his compositions. The clouds become more voluminous and his touch a bit more forceful; now and then his skies include vivid blues. But it is largely the deepening of his tonality that enlivens his late work, by strong contrasts of dark accents in the foreground against the luminous openings in the sky and bright reflections on the surface of water.
Windmill by a River (1642, 29x36cm) _ The tonal style in Dutch landscape painting of the 1630s continued well into the 1640s, while still developing, especially in the hands of Jan van Goyen. The direction in which van Goyen took landscape reveals a considered logic; as tonal painting was a realistic attempt to capture an atmosphere, its consequence was, in the end, to paint the sky over the flat, low land. Thus, in his Windmill by a River, the real subject is the moving skies. Everything is subordinated to the high sky, a sky that seems to take on the color of the vast land stretching to a low, distant horizon: a brownish-green with tinges of blue. Only the sky contains more grey the clouds and is more transparent in its pictorial treatment. Dunes in the foreground, caught in a splash of sunlight, introduce the distance - suggesting a high viewpoint that gives the view naturalness. The windmill, painted in the greyish-brown color of the sky, is a discreet spatial reference point.
River Landscape with Pellekussenpoort, Utrecht, and Gothic Choir (1643) A Church and a Farm on the Bank of a River (1653) Two Men on a Footbridge over a Stream (1655)
Died on 13 January 1625: Jan
Velvet (or Paradise) Brueghel Sr.
(Bloemenbruegel), Flemish painter born in 1568.
Jan Brueghel Sr., called the "velvet Brueghel," was the second son of Pieter Bruegel (or Brueghel) Sr. (1520-1569) and, like his brother Pieter Brueghel Jr. (1564-1638), made his career in Antwerp. Known for his still lifes of flowers and for his landscapes, he was a friend of Peter Paul Rubens and collaborated with him in paintings such as Adam and Eve in Paradise. He specialized in small wooded scenes that were finely finished and brightly colored. His style was perpetuated by his sons Jan Brueghel Jr. (1601-78) and Ambrosius Brueghel (1617-75), whose sons carried on the tradition into the 18th century. Flemish painter and draughtsman, second son of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. (The father spelled his name Brueghel until 1559, and his sons retained the "h" in the spelling of their names.) Early in his career he visited Cologne and Italy, before settling in Antwerp in 1597. He enjoyed a highly successful and honourable career there, becoming Dean of the Guild, working for the Archduke Albert and the Infanta Isabella, and making frequent visits to Brussels court. His specialities were still-lifes, especially flower paintings, and landscapes, but he worked in entirely different spirit from his father, depicting brilliantly colored, lush woodland scenes, often with mythological figures, in the manner of Coninxloo and Bril. His exquisite flower paintings were rated the finest of the day, and his virtuoso skill at depicting delicate textures earned him the nickname 'Velvet Brueghel'. Often he collaborated with other artists (notably his close friend Rubens), painting backgrounds, animals, or flowers for them. He had considerable influence, notably on his pupil Daniel Seghers, his sons Jan II (1601-78) and Ambrosius (1615-75), and his grandson Jan van Kessel. Further descendants and imitators carried his style into the 18th century.
Latona and the Lycian Peasants (1605) Still Life with Flowers in a Glass Village Scene with Outdoor Theatre Harbor Scene (1603, 27x34cm) Village Scene in the Woods (Farmhouse Inn in a Flemish Village) (52x71cm) Feast of the Gods (1600, 48x68cm) Conflagration - Burning House (17cm diameter) Flowers in a Glass Beaker
Great Fish-Market (1603, 58x91cm) _ Brueghel's Great Fish-Market, dating from the year 1603, contains many elements of Mannerist landscape painting. Rendered in a perspective that is almost a bird's-eye-view, the scene opens up across a downward-sloping foreground teeming with hundreds of figures grouped around the stalls and booths of a fishmarket. The eye is drawn towards the harbour in the background, out across the bay and along the coastline, past entire towns with ruins, piers and fortresses, into the depths of the mountains, whose blue merges with the sea. What we see here is a universal landscape, but one broken down into individual themes that are soon to establish themselves as genres in their own right. Fish-market scenes of this kind were to become an independent subject in Flemish painting, for example in the works of Snyder. Still life paintings of fish, such as that displayed for sale here, would also begin to emerge. Marine painting, ruins, and even pure landscape are all to be found as elements in this painting. We even seem to be able to make out a family portrait: the group at the centre of the foreground is thought to be a self portrait of the painter in the company of his family.
The Original Sin (1616, 52x84cm) _ There is another example of this painting in the Prado, Madrid, and several versions in other museums. The landscape - similar to other landscapes by the artist - represents the Paradise.
Travelers on the Way (22x30cm) _ detail _ Pieter Bruegel had two sons, Pieter the Younger and Jan the Elder, both of whom were painters. Both worked in Antwerp at the turn of the 16th century, but their work is so different from each other that they offer yet another example of the various movements which existed side by side at the time. A number of their father's paintings contain folklore elements which must have interested many collectors and prompted them to purchase such works. This would explain why Pieter the Younger copied or made variations on so many of them. Jan was a far more gifted artist. As was the case with his father, his many years in Italy had little influence on his down-to-earth Flemish art, but he lacked his father's broad, dramatic vision and expressive power. Building on his talent as a miniaturist, he confined himself mainly to small scenes, producing countless views of village streets, canals, resting places in the forest and so on. As in Travelers on the Way, he depicted a variety of human activities drawn from everyday life, with a sharp eye for the most minute details and a great feeling for the subtleties of fine technique. He was also the most important flower painter of his time, and the first to make a painting of a vase of flowers a genre in its own right.
on their Way to Market (1619, 17x28cm) _ Jan Brueghel, the youngest
son of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, was as finely gifted a draftsman as he
was a painter specialising in floral still-lifes and landscapes. Starting
from his father's work he created a number of new types of composition which
herald the realistic landscape style in the Netherlands. The drawing discussed
here, presumably done between 1615 and 1619, represents peasants passing
by on a small hill surrounded by trees, with a spreading landscape to the
back. This structure had already been used much earlier in Flemish art,
but Brueghel gave it a more contemporary expression by harmoniously combining
the motifs of the centrally positioned country road and the distant view.
The space is developed in a single movement along the diagonals, provided
by the converging lines of trees, up to the vanishing point. Above it unfolds
an open firmament giving the impression of endless space. The foreground
is enlivened by picturesque and true-to-life scenes: a man feeding hay to
two horses, women carrying baskets and jugs. This snapshot of daily life
in the country is transformed by Brueghel's refined taste into a poetic
mood picture. The coloring of the drawing, with its characteristic combination
of brown and blue ink, certainly helps this process. The outlines of the
figures and the thin tree trunks, weaving their way decoratively into the
sky, are drawn with great delicacy and detail, using sharp pen lines. Subtly
applied blue ink provides colored accents in the tops of the trees and in
the background, which is constructed entirely with a brush tip in broad
lines and small blurred dots, giving the drawing a muffled, refined character
typical of many of Brueghel's miniature pictures. Other signed versions
of the composition are known, directly related to paintings for which they
are probably preparatory studies. This picture may well be such a study.
It could also be an independent work of art, exhibiting a finesse which
would have made it very sought-after by contemporary collectors.
Landscape with Windmills (1607, 34x50cm) _ In the second decade of the century, which marks Brueghel's mature period, we find a number of landscape paintings that differ considerably from his universal landscapes. They show flat land broken by only a few motifs such as windmills or isolated cottages bathed in changing light. There is an increased sense of portraiture and figure genre is used sparingly. As in the landscapes of Rubens, peasants' carts, cutting a diagonal path, give a heightened impression of depth and distance. One of the elements which indicates that this is a Flemish landscape rather than a Dutch one is the fact that the horizon is placed fairly high in the painting.
The Sense of Hearing (1618, 65x107cm) _ The amazing increase in the commercial and agricultural product range caused a complete restructuring of people's perception - a change which can be seen very clearly in the numerous paintings and series of paintings on the subject of the Five Senses. Jan Brueghel the Elder's famous variations on this motif - now in the Prado, Madrid - show a number of settings, each of which is associated with the five senses. The dramatic 'unity of character' has been divided into components of the senses, thus reflecting an increasing compartmentalization of the world into functional spheres - a world which is defined in terms of luxury goods. In Jan Brueghel's paintings, the part of purely passive reception or physical consumption is played by an allegorical female figure. Interestingly, by depicting her naked or semi-naked breasts and sometimes her entire body, the painter emphasizes an element of eroticism. In this way the consumption of luxury goods and an emotional state of ecstasy are recognized as a syndrome.
The Sense of Sight (1617, 65x109cm) _ detail _ Brueghel was the most gifted painter of the Flemish school after Rubens. A painter of small pictures, his curiosity was aroused by a wide variety of natural objects - flowers, fruit, landscapes - and by human activity, ranging from peasants working in the fields to the mania of a collector. In this painting, which belongs to a series representing the Five Senses, Sight is shown in the form of an art and wonder chamber, as a kind of walk through a long gallery flooded by sunlight through its covered skylight windows, so that light is shown as the physical equivalent of visual perception. In the foreground a woman, as an allegory of 'visus' (sight), is sitting at a round table, somnolently looking at a painting. Sight, as one of the five senses, also includes astronomical implements such as the telescope and the astrolabe. The painting is a common work by Jan Bruegel and Rubens.
The Sense of Taste (1618, 64x108cm) _ This painting belongs to a series representing the Five Senses. Many of Brueghel's paintings include a view in the background, through colonnades, of gardens and stately homes, creating the impression of extensive manorial landed property, as in this painting devoted to 'gustus' (taste). Fish, fruit and hunting trophies are piled up in the foreground and behind them, parallel with the top and bottom edges of paintings, we can see a lavishly set table with swan and peacock pies, a bowl of oysters, crayfish and fruit. In front of the table, at an angle, there is a dessert bowl full of sweets. The personification of Taste is being served wine poured from a jug by a Satyr.
Allegory of Smell. (1618).
Holy Family (94x72cm) _ The Holy Family leaves us in little doubt as
to why the second son of Pieter Bruegel was given the nickname "Velvet"
Brueghel. It is a masterpiece of "fine" painting in which elements of floral
still-life, landscape painting and devotional painting are combined into
a harmonious whole. A magnificent garland of meticulously painted flowers
and fruits reflecting the diversity of nature frames the idyllic scene like
a triumphal arch. It forms the letter M for Mary, who is seated as in a
"beszlozzenen garten" or hortus conclusus dominating the middle ground with
the Christ child on her knee. Beside her are the angels and the lamb, slightly
behind her is Joseph and in the background is a view of a landscape with
grazing deer. The figures were painted by Pieter van Avont - an excellent
example of the way specific painterly tasks were delegated according to
artists' specializations within Netherlandish painting.
Saint Martin (22x31cm) _ This is a typical example of the miniature painting of Jan Brueghel the Elder.
Bouquet (1603, 125x96cm) _ Unlike Bosschaert, Brueghel did not use landscapes as a background. Rather, protruding upwards from a flower pot, his myriads of flowers are set against a pitch-dark background, so that the contrast gives them a luminous quality. While Bosschaert preferred more cultivated flowers - rather costly at the time - and only depicted a few flowers of the fields and meadows among them, it is precisely these delicate plants that gave Brueghel the idea for 'tapestry' of flowers. Indeed, there is such an abundance of different species that they often defeat identification - over 130 kinds have been counted up to now. It is indeed a tapestry, as all the blossoms seem to crowd towards the front, just as in a two-dimensional space. Brueghel's bouquets always build up from relatively small flowers at the bottom to increasingly larger ones at the top, completely against all our current aesthetic 'laws' of compositional gravity. The picture is dominated by a long-stemmed crown imperial, like a real crown. Below are some blue fleurs-de-lis, flanked by white lilies on the left and the red umbel of a peony. The centre is occupied by various kinds of tulips, which were also given special attention by Bosschaert. Furthermore, Brueghel also included strawberries, raspberries and blackberries in his bouquet. This is because, right until modern times, no fundamental difference was made between decorative flowers and other flowers. Strawberries, for example, which blossom and bear fruit at the same time, were therefore generally included among flowers. Strawberry blossoms were regarded as flowers of paradise, as the food of children who had died prematurely and as symbols of the Virgin Mary. _ The Great Bouquet (1607, 98x73cm) _ This is a smaller version of the painting of 1603.
Flowers (49x39cm) _ The son of Pieter Bruegel the Elder who excelled in landscape and flower painting. He was a friend of Rubens and painted frequently the flowers and girlands on the paintings of Rubens.
Bouquet in a Clay Vase (1607, 51x40cm)
Flowers in a Vase (101x76cm) _ Still life in the 17th century, be it a floral composition, a 'pronkstuk' (or sumptuous still life) or a representation of the vanitas theme, is invariably opulent, ingenious and moralistic. Jan 'Velvet' Breughel's Flowers in a Vase bloom in different seasons, are arranged hierarchically in a rich bouquet, and refer in all their beauty to the transience of life.
Still-Life with Garland of Flowers and Golden Tazza (1618, 48x53cm) _ Jan Brueghel the Elder, the youngest son of the world-famous painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder and court painter to the Archdukes Albrecht and Isabella, truly merited his nickname of "Velvet Brueghel". The precision and virtuosity of his still-lifes are superbly illustrated by the present work with its striking and radiant enamel-like colors. This extremely elegant little panel, which exists in several versions, can probably be counted as one of the jewels of 17th century painting. Against a chased silver-gilt tazza or drinking bowl leans a wreath of spring and summer flowers, made up of carnations, roses, anemones, periwinkles, turban buttercups, lilies of the valley, forget-me-nots and hawthorns, as well as tulips and African marigolds, newly introduced into the Netherlands. From his correspondence we know that Jan Brueghel worked mostly from nature and that such compositions cost him a great deal of effort, because of his concern to execute them with such precision and devotion. On the table lies a jewel box containing a gold ring, coins, a pearl necklace and two identical golden bracelets set with agates. In those days women mostly wore the same bracelets on both wrists. Alongside the box we can make out another three rings set with diamonds, and a pendant with enamel insets, precious stones and tear-shaped pearls. The golden pearl hairpin to the left of the tazza is an ornament that appears only in the Netherlands in the first half of the 17th century. In most cases this pin is placed in the hair next to the head covering. On the marriage day it changes side from left to right, or right to left, depending on the region. The presence of the hairpin and the pearl necklace, pointing to the immaculate marital morality of the wearer, suggests that the panel can perhaps be interpreted as an allegory of marriage. An innovative feature in this still-life is the use of diagonals. Not only the wreath, but also the jewels and the jewel case lie obliquely on the table, in order to produce a stronger effect of depth. Here wealth symbolizes beauty. Both the flowers and the jewels stand out brightly against the neutral background. Brueghel paints with equal affection the humble white carnation and the baroque pendant next to it.
Born on 13 January 1791 (or 13 February?)
(02 January or February Julian) Sil'vestr Feodosievich Shchedrin
(or Chtchédrine, Chédrine), Russian Romantic painter, specialized
in landscapes, who died on 09 (or 08?) November (28 or 27 October Julian)
He was the son of the sculptor Feodosii Shchedrin, was born in St. Petersburg on 13 February 1791 and died in Sorrento, Italy, on 08 November 1830. He studied at the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg from 1800 to 1811. From 1818 he lived in Italy as a travelling scholar of the Academy of Arts. His early works, such as View of the Tuchkov Bridge and the Vasil'evskii Island from the Petrovskii Island in St. Petersburg, are good examples of academic classicism. When he arrived in Italy, his style changed, as he was influenced by the different light effects and nature he came to study. In his journal where he recorded observations from his travels, he condemned painters who "deal with compositions or paint from drawings." Since the middle of the 1820s, for the first time in Russian painting, he started to make oil studies from nature (en plein air) instead of sketches to be converted into finished compositions in the studio. His more mature landscapes are characterized by rich nuances of light and atmosphere and an impressive artistic unity. Despite his early death, Shchedrin was one of the foremost Russian romantic lanscape painters, and played a decisive role in bringing Russian landscape into the mainstream of European art. _ In Shchedrin's later works, for instance in the Moonlit Night in Naples, it is possible to notice the growing tendency towards Romantic emotionalism and more complex light effects. In this work, Shchedrin continues to explore Italian landscape. In this painting, the elements of the Romantic Movement that characterize western painting of the time are much more evident. The scene is at night with the moon shining through the clouds. Everything is touched by the ethereal light and the water shines brightly. The contours are blurred as in a dream. The only " realistic" element is the presence of some figures in the very left corner. The attention is drawn to the little fire around which the people are gathered, depicted with the only warm tone color of the whole painting. Everywhere else the color scheme is made of cold hues and shadows with the exception of the sections touched by the moonlight. It is a very peaceful scenery, and the night setting probably adds to the sense of calm. Very little space is occupied by actual physical elements, such as the buildings or the boats, while most of the composition is focused on the depiction of the sky and the water. The moon is the main character here. It is the focus of this composition. Its light touches everything as a "wash" given to the whole landscape. To emphasize the importance of the moon, Shchedrin uses lines that point to the moon itself; the clouds are a primary example, but the boats' masts and the position of the building also provide a kind of frame for the main element. Shchedrin seems to maintain once again his tendency to combine the romantic traits such as the natural elements, with the presence of few human figures as if he wanted to include a bit of real life in this predominantly Romantic composition. [S.C.]
Sylvester Shchedrin was born in 1792 in St. Petersburg into the family of a famous sculptor Pheodosiy Shchedrin (1751-1825). His uncle, Semion Shchedrin, a landscape painter, was considered to be the founder of the Russian landscape genre. In 1800, Sylvester Shchedrin entered the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg, in which he specialized in landscape. He graduated with honors and a gold medal, which gave him the right for studies abroad. But he had to wait with his postgraduate studies because of the wars with Napoleon (Napoleon's invasion of Russia started in 1812). Sylvester left for Italy only in 1818.
In Italy, he studied the works of great masters of the past, worked much himself. The biggest achievement of that period is New Rome. The Castle of the Holy Angel (1823). It was a great success and was imitated much. Sylvester himself was commissioned for 8-10 copies of the picture, though he never copied it, but drew different variants changing time, angle of view, details. His pension came to an end in 1823, but he decided to stay in Italy as a freelance painter. His works of the time were already so popular that he had many commissions to support himself. He lived in Rome and Naples, working much out-of-doors, drawing nature, bays and cliffs, views of small towns and fishermen villages. View of Sorrento (1826), A Terrace on a Seashore. A Small Town of Capuccini near Sorrento (1827), A Porch Twined with Vines (1828), Terrace on the Seashore (1828) are the examples of his work. He liked to draw terraces in vines with a view of the sea. In 1825-1828, he drew a lot of “terraces”, which were a great success. For him they embodied the idea of harmony between the lives of people, and nature. At the end of the 1820s, Sylvester Shchedrin started to draw nighttime landscapes full of an uneasy, anxious mood. His sickening might be the reason. After his early death in 1830, his friends tried to bring Shchedrin’s pictures home, to Russia, but failed. Most of his pictures are in private collections all over the world.
| Silvestr Shchedrin,
the greatest Russian landscape-painter of the early nineteenth century,
was the most striking exponent of the realist aspirations of the time. The
Shchedrin family, like the Bryullov and Ivanov families was a kind of an
artistic dynasty. Silvestr Shchedrin was born in St. Petersburg. His father,
Feodosy, was a well-known sculptor, professor and assistant rector of the
Academy of Arts. And his uncle Semyon, a professor of landscape painting,
gave the young Silvestr his first lessons. ‘I remember being taken to the
Hermitage by my uncle when I was still young’, Shchedrin recalled later.
‘I walked past most of the pictures and only stopped to look at Canaletto.’
Shchedrin’s first successful art lessons in the family were soon backed
up by training at the Academy. From 1800 his teachers were M.M. Ivanov,
F.Ya. Alexeyev, whose main interest at that time was in painting views of
St. Petersburg, and the architect Thomas de Thomon, who taught him the laws
of perspective. In 1811 Shchedrin graduated with a gold medal. His graduation
piece was the landscape View from Petrovsky Island in St. Petersburg,
which conformed totally to the classical spirit. However, the young artist’s
interest in depicting concrete, rather than ‘invented’ views soon asserted
itself in his first large-scale works: View
of Tuchkov Bridge From Petrovsky Island (1815) and View of
the Stock Exchange From the Bank of the Neva (1817).
In 1818 Shchedrin was among the first four pioneers to be sent to Italy. His travel notes and his letters home, written with gentle humor, reveal the artist’s lively mind and powers of observation. Having settled in Rome, Shchedrin set about painting views of the city. He was attracted by the Coliseum, his approach to which was far from classic. ‘Shchedrin wrote, ‘ordered me to paint its portrait of a building’ the real-life ‘model’, with its powerful architectural forms and distinctive stonework, was excellently conveyed. In the picture New Rome. Holy Angel Castle (1825) the artist reveals the beauty in simple and ordinary things. The grand structures of the Holy Angel Castle and St. Peter's Cathedral become part of the general city scene. Shchedrin tried to convey the play of light on the rocks and walls, on the greenery and the boats light which united all these objects, sometimes making them shine or sparkle, sometimes concealing or emphasizing their contours. He softened the highlights on the water and made the shadows transparent and airy. The buildings give the impression of being wrapped in air. In this painting Shchedrin passed from heavy, dark-brown shades to light silvery-greys. 'with great difficulty I have extricated myself from these dark shades,' he wrote to the sculptor S. Galberg. In a small, iridescent landscape Lake Albano in the Outskirts of Rome (1824), the water gleams with silver, while the verdure seems airy and suffused with pink sunlight. Light acts like a magician, transforming everything. This painting is one of Shchedrin's masterpieces.
The artist's seascapes are particularly poetic. He was enraptured by Naples and its surroundings. On his first trip there from Rome, which lasted from June 1819 to the spring of 1821, Shchedrin lovingly described the colorful life on the seafronts, the merry-making and carnivals, and the scenery of southern Italy... '...Once again I am staying on the Santa Lucia Embankment the best spot in the whole of Naples. The view from my window is magnificent: Vesuvius a stone's throw away, the sea, mountains, picturesquely situated buildings, people constantly in motion, walking and working - what better place for a landscape painter!' In View of Naples (1819) Shchedrin depicted himself among the townsfolk on the busy embankment. The artist was often to be seen with the fishermen and peasants in the coastal villages. A jolly, sociable person, he was on amicable terms with local population, and portrayed them in numerous pictures.' ... Within a few days I acquired a host of friends - farmers, retired soldiers and others ... these people were so fond of me that having discovered when I usually arrived they came ahead of time not to miss me...'
At this time Shchedrin made friends with Karl Bryullov and Konstantin Batyushkov it was with the latter that he stayed while in Naples. Together with Orest Kiprensky he began work on a portrait of A.M. Golitsyn. Having ultimately settled in Naples in June 1825, Shchedrin undertook trips to Sorrento, Capri, Vigo and Amalfi. His landscapes and seascapes ranked among the finest plein air paintings anywhere at that time, especially the series which included On the Island of Capri (1826), The Small Harbor at Sorrento (1826) and The Large Harbor at Sorrento (1827). Nature here accords with man, whose natural and contemplative life takes its course in the 'happy moments of being'. About Covered with Vines (1828) and Grotto at Sorrento (1829) rely on the contrasts between the shaded area and the sunlit open countryside. The midday sun penetrates the dense greenery of the olives and grapevines, picking out the people's figures and patches of vegetation amid the shadow. In his later period, Shchedrin moved away from chiaroscuro tonal painting in favour of heightened color range, as is clearly illustrated by Small Harbour in Sorrento. Evening (1826) and Moonlit Night at Naples (1828). Shchedrin gained popularity in Italy and his landscapes sold well. Meanwhile the dates of his stay abroad had long since expired. He was put off by the thought of a future in the formal atmosphere of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. But he did not entirely abandon thoughts of the returning home: 'I am most displeased by your advice not to go to Russia,' he wrote to S Galberg. Despite a serious, progressing illness, the artist did not lose his joie de vivre and sense of humor. His last letters from Italy were full of hopes for a recovery and for a return home. But he never did return to his native country. In October 1830 he died, and a monument by S. Galberg was erected on his grave in Sorrento. Silvestr Shchedrin gave his own lyrical interpretation of the scenery of Italy something that eluded many of his contemporary Italians. His landscapes contained that poetic affirmation of the beauty of simple things which was so characteristic of Russian portraiture and genre-painting of the first half of the nineteenth century.
Portrait of Shchedrin by Karl Bruloff
New Rome. Castel Sant'Angelo (1823) View of Sorrento (1826) Grotto in Florence (1826) A Terrace on a Seashore A Porch Twined with Vines (1828) Terrace on the Seashore (1828) Coastal Scene.
Died on 13 January 1699: Mattia
Preti il Cavaliere Calabrese, Italian painter
born in 1613. [He always painted Preti pictures.]
Preti was born in Taverna, a town in Calabria then part of the kingdom of Naples. The young Preti joined his brother Gregorio, also a painter, in Rome around 1630. Between that time and 1653, when he moved to Naples, Preti traveled widely throughout northern Italy. During this period his initial Caravaggism, evident in both style and subject matter, was increasingly tempered by classicizing elements derived from Domenichino, Giovanni Lanfranco, Pier Francesco Mola, Pietro Testa, and Guercino, among others. Most important in Preti's new, more sensuous palette was the influence of the Venetian High Renaissance, reflecting a general neo-Venetianism that characterized much Italian baroque painting at midcentury. In 1641 or 1642, while in Rome, Preti was created a knight in the Order of Saint John of Malta; thus he was called il Cavaliere Calabrese.
Preti arrived in Naples in 1653, during the great plague, which by 1656 had killed about one half of the city's population, including many of her artists. Preti quickly established himself as the leading painter, a position vigorously challenged by the younger Luca Giordano. These two artists created the Neapolitan high baroque. In 1656 Preti was commissioned by the city administrators to paint a series of frescoes on the seven city gates, seeking divine protection from further ravages of the plague and ensuing famine. Continuing to work in Naples until he returned briefly to Rome in 1660 and then moving permanently to Malta in 1661, Preti carried out numerous public and private commissions. He worked prodigiously on the island for forty years. In addition, his enormous output included important fresco cycles in Rome, Modena, Naples, Valmontone, and Valletta, and numerous altarpieces fill the churches of Malta, Naples, and Taverna, his native town, where he sent many paintings.
Preti was in Rome by 1633 but had presumably already absorbed the influence of Caravaggio in Naples, since he came from Calabria. He also visited Venice and Emilia, where he was influenced by Guercino and Lanfranco. His easel pictures are more Caravaggesque than his frescoes in Rome (1650-51) and Modena, which show the influence of Guercino and Lanfranco. He was in Naples 1656-60 and spent most of the rest of his life in Malta, where he went in 1661 to decorate St John's in Valletta, being made a Knight of Malta in the same year.
Saint John the Baptist Preaching (1665, 217x170cm)
Christ in Glory (1660, 220x253cm) _ Preti, a pupil of Guercino, became the leader of the Naples school of painting after Ribera.
Concert (1637, 110x147cm) _ This painting, and its companion-piece depicting players, was executed during the artist's stay in Rome. _ detail
Tribute Money (1640, 193x143cm) This work was painted in Malta, where the painter had traveled in 1660 as a Knight of Malta in order to work on the decoration of the cathedral of San Giovanni. The painting is of particular interest in view of Preti's encounter with the works of Caravaggio who had executed some important paintings in Malta after 1607. The theme treated here is the biblical tale culminating in Christ's fateful words: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." (St Matthew, 22:21) In the dark brown tones of the painting, we can barely make out the six figures half illuminated by a light from some indiscernible source. The tax collector pauses in his writing as Peter hands him the coin. Only this pause indicates the miracle that has just occurred: Peter found the coin in a fish he had caught at the command of Christ (St Matthew 17:24). The turban of a man, a hand holding a pen, another holding a coin, a face in profile with a deeply lined forehead, turned towards another face of which we can recognize only the temple and the nose, a bald head, a little red fabric and the heavy folds of a rough brown cloth are the scattered but not unconnected fragments from which our gaze wanders to and fro, reconstructing the narrative.
Salome with the head of St John the Baptist Pilate Washing his Hands (1663)