Gothic Landscape, 1961
Lee Krasner (1908-1984) was an American abstract expressionist painter and a member of the American Abstract Artists organisation. She was the wife of Jackson Pollock, and was played by the actress Marcia Gay Harden in the 2000 film Pollock, which featured Ed Harris in the title role (Harden won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress playing Krasner.)
I’ve always been very drawn to Krasner’s self-portrait. I think it is because the style is so very different to the work she is well-known for (which is, detrimentally I’d say, the work that is most similar to her husband’s.) If anyone knows of any good online resources where I can view more of Krasner’s earlier works, I’d seriously appreciate hearing about them!
Boulevard Montmartre, 1897
Pont Boïeldieu in Rouen, Rainy Weather, 1896
I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for Camille Pissarro (1830-1903); he always seems to get eclipsed by his peers Monet, Renoir and Cézanne, when it comes to contemporary interest. This is despite him being a huge influence to later post-Impressionists, such as Van Gogh and Gauguin.
Pissarro was born in the Danish West Indies (now the US Virgin Islands). After studying there in his youth, Pissarro moved to France in his mid-twenties and exhibited at the Paris Salon. Whilst living in the city, Pissarro frequently painted the famous Boulevard Montmartre at different times of the day and the year. This series is probably what the artist eventually became best known for.
Self Portrait, after 1633
Triple Portrait of Charles I, c.1636-37
Amor and Psyche, c.1638
Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) was a Flemish painter who is probably best known today for his portraits of Charles I, painted whilst he was working as a prominent court artist in Stuart England. His triple portrait of the king, shown above, is currently on display at the ‘In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion’ exhibition in The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace (I’ll be reviewing this show very soon!) You might also have heard the term ‘Van Dyck’ used to describe both the shape of facial hair favoured by the artist, and a specific style of very fancy male clothing (the latter gets depicted quite often in 18th century British portraiture, with the works of artists such as Gainsborough and Zoffany).
The Ambassadors, 1533
The Artist’s Family, 1528
Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543) was a German painter of the Northern Renaissance, who worked primarily in England at the court of Henry VIII. He is best known for his royal portraits, though his earlier work also involved religious scenes. Despite his nationality, Holbein is often regarded as the first great artist working in England. However, after the death of Thomas Cromwell in 1540, Holbein fell somewhat out of favour at court, and his career never really recovered to its former glory. The artist died in 1543, supposedly from the plague.
Apart from his numerous portraits of Henry VIII, Holbein’s most famous work is probably The Ambassadors, a double portrait of the French diplomats Jean de Dinteville and Georges de Selve. The painting is filled with various cultural and symbolic objects, but it is perhaps best known for the trompe l’œil skull in the composition’s foreground.
Self Portrait, 1506
The Alba Madonna, 1511
The School of Athens, 1508-11
Along with Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, Raffaello Sanzio (1483-1520) was one of the ‘big three’ artists of the High Renaissance. Raphael was born in Urbino, Marche, and trained under the great Pietro Perugino. His father, Giovanni Santi, was also a painter, but died just a few years after Raphael’s mother passed away when Raphael was just a boy. He worked partly in Florence and partly in Umbria, but his major works can be found in Rome and the Vatican. In fact, if you want to see a large amount of Raphael paintings in one place, then there is only one real solution: the Raphael rooms, or Stanze di Raffaello, in the Palazzi Pontifici in the Vatican City is home to some of the artist’s biggest frescoes, including The School of Athens. His tapestries are also held in the Vatican Museums. However, if you want something closer to home, the V&A Museum in London has a room dedicated to Raphael’s cartoons.
I can’t blog anything about Raphael without mentioning his version of The Three Graces, which is one of my all-time favourite paintings (and it was the avatar image for ArtMastered until quite recently!) For me, everything about this painting is perfect; from the porcelain skin of the female figures, softened with a hint of sfumato, to the composed balance of the composition, this painting epitomises the ‘search for perfection’ that was so distinct to the High Renaissance period.
The Three Graces, 1504-05