Tag Archives: Painting

Video of the Week: Gustav Klimt


I was going to write an article for ARHtistic License about Gustav Klimt, but you know what? This video says it all.

Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) was a French Post-Impressionist painter. He is credited with having influenced the transition from impressionism to early 20th century cubism.

The Artist’s Father, Reading “L’Événement” (1866) by Paul Cézanne

Paul’s father was a very successful banker who hoped his son would follow in his footsteps. He sent him to law school, but Paul was more enthusiastic about poetry and art. Paul’s friend Émile Zola invited him to come to Paris, which he did in 1861, planning to study. He applied to the famous École des Beaux Arts, but was turned down, so he attended the Académie Suisse, where he met Camille Pissarro, who became his mentor. He also became acquainted with Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. He often spent time in the Louvre, where he copied works of masters such as Michelangelo, Rubens, and Titian.

Madame Cézanne
Madame Cézanne in a Red Dress (1888-1890) by Paul Cézanne

In 1869, Cézanne met Marie-Hortense Fiquet. They had a son, Paul, in 1872, but did not marry until much later. Cézanne kept their relationship a secret from his father, who gave him a monthly allowance that Paul was afraid he’d withhold if he knew the truth. His fear was well-founded, because when his father found out about his mistress and illegitimate child in 1878, he cut his allowance in half, sending him into great financial difficulty. (Six months later, he increased the allowance substantially.)

Portrait of Ambroise Vollard (1899) by Paul Cézanne

When Cézanne finally married Marie-Hortense in 1886, it was to legitimize their son Paul; Cézanne and Fiquet’s relationship had deteriorated long before. Cézanne was socially awkward, shy, moody, irritable, and prone to depression; at least two of his good friends called him “strange.” Yet, Marie-Hortense was his most frequent model for portraits, not that any of them were particularly flattering.

Portrait of Victor Chocquet (1876-1877) by Paul Cézanne
Young Italian Woman at a Table (1894-1900) by Paul Cézanne. This is my favorite of his portraits. It seems to me that he really tried to make her beautiful.

Cézanne bucked Paris’ strict standards for art; he’d not been admitted to the École des Beaux Arts despite applying twice; both the Salon de Paris and the Salon des Refusés refused to display his paintings. He was having very limited success, but he insisted on developing his own style. Pissarro instructed him in impressionistic techniques, but Cézanne’s interpretations were not well-received. Influenced by Gustave Courbet and Eugène Delacroix, he abandoned impressionism and pursued an everyday realism that was free of prettiness or customary symbolism.

Montagne Sainte-Victoire (1904) by Paul Cézanne. This is my favorite landscape of his. I love the cubist feel of this.

I particularly like Cézanne’s landscapes and still lives. His portraits have a roughness that I find unpleasant.

Still Life with a Curtain (1895) by Paul Cézanne

Cézanne’s reputation took off around 1895 with the first solo show of his paintings. Other artists, such as Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Pissarro, purchased his work, and his prices skyrocketed.

Still Life with an Open Drawer (1867–1869) by Paul Cézanne

In 1886, Cézanne’s father died, leaving his estate to Cézanne’s mother and sisters and a large sum of money to Cézanne. His financial problems were over.

Still Life with Cherries and Peaches (1885-1887) by Paul Cézanne

In 1906, Cézanne passed away from pneumonia after suffering hypothermia from being caught in a storm.

Pyramid of Skulls (1901) by Paul Cézanne

Rembrandt van Rijn 

Rembrandt: Self-portrait
Rembrandt: Self-Portrait with Beret and Turned-up Collar, 1659

Rembrandt van Rijn (July 15, 1606—October 4, 1669), known simply as Rembrandt, is considered one of the greatest artists of all time and the most important of the Dutch Masters. His media were drawing, printmaking, and oil painting. He was especially known for his portraits and self-portraits, but he depicted a wide variety of subjects, including landscapes, scenes of daily life, biblical and mythological scenes, historical pieces, and animal studies. Rembrandt was also an art collector and dealer.

His self-portraits, of which there are at least 17, document his skill and aging.

Rembrandt: Self-portrait in a cap, with eyes wide open, 1630, etching
Rembrandt: Self-Portrait in a Cap, with Eyes Wide Open, 1630, etching
Rembrandt: Self-portrait Leaning on Sill, 1639
Rembrandt: Self-portrait Leaning on Sill, 1639

As a young man, he quickly built a reputation and following for his portraits. His etchings and paintings were popular throughout his lifetime. He acquired wealth, but then experienced tragedies and reversal of fortune.

Rembrandt: The Stoning of St. Stephen
Rembrandt, The Stoning of St. Stephen, painted when he was 19.

In 1634, Rembrandt married Saskia van Uylenburgh. She served as a model in many of his paintings. They had four children, the first three of whom died very young. Saskia passed away shortly after giving birth to their fourth child, son Titus.

Rembrandt: Portrait of Saskia van Uylenburgh (1612–1642), circa 1633–1634
Rembrandt: Portrait of Saskia van Uylenburgh (1612-1642), circa 1633-1634.

Rembrandt’s Biblical themes are marked by profound understanding of the scriptures. The 20th century priest Henri Nouwen was so moved by Rembrandt’s painting The Return of the Prodigal Son that he wrote a book about it and the spiritual insights he gained from studying it.

Rembrandt, The Return of the Prodigal Son, detail, 1669.

Rembrandt took the then-new process of reproducing images by etching and transformed it into an art form in its own right. Most of his paintings remained in the Netherlands during his lifetime, but his prints circulated throughout Europe and established his reputation on the continent.

Rembrandt: The Night Watch
Rembrandt: The Night Watch
Rembrandt: The Storm on the Sea of Galilee
Rembrandt: The Storm on the Sea of Galilee. This painting was stolen from a museum in 1990 and has never been recovered.
Rembrandt: The Mill
Rembrandt: The Mill
Rembrandt: An Old Man in Red
Rembrandt: An Old Man in Red
Rembrandt: Girl in a Picture Frame
Rembrandt: Girl in a Picture Frame
Rembrandt: Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem
Rembrandt: Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem
Rembrandt: An Elephant
Rembrandt: An Elephant, drawing in black chalk

Creative Juice #300

Creative Juice #300

If you like quilts and trees, you’ve hit the jackpot this week.

Creative Juice #298

Creative Juice #298

Lots of good stuff here.

Creative Juice #293

Creative Juice #293

Things to amaze you. Things you can do yourself.

Creative Juice #290

Creative Juice #290

Art for Easter, beautiful photographs, and lots of other creative stuff.

H is for Homer


Not for Homer Simpson; and not the ancient Greek Homer who gave us the banes of every high school student, the Iliad and the Odyssey.

The Fog Warning by Winslow Homer. Oil, 1885.

Today we’re talking about the foremost American artist of the nineteenth century, Winslow Homer (1836-1910), especially known for his sea paintings.

Long Branch, New Jersey by Winslow Homer. Oil, 1869. Oh, the light.

He grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, painting watercolors with his mother. At age 19, Homer began a two-year apprenticeship to a Boston lithographer, making sheet-music covers and other commercial prints. For the next twenty years, he worked as a freelance illustrator, creating engravings of social gatherings for popular magazines. Meanwhile, he studied at the National Academy of Design, and took lessons in oil painting from Frederic Rondel.

Breezing Up (A Fair Wind) by Winslow Homer. Oil, 1873-76.

Harper’s Weekly commissioned him to go to the front lines of the American Civil War, where he sketched scenes of camp life and battles, and also scenes of the women at home and how the war impacted their lives. Back home again, he painted a series of oil paintings based on his sketches.

The Bridle Path by Winslow Homer. Oil, 1868.

In 1867, he traveled to Paris for a year, where he painted scenes of peasant life. He ignored the Impressionist movement of the time, preferring to hone his own style. Upon his return to the States, his artistic subjects included farm life, children at play, and young adults courting. In 1875, he quit his illustration work, determined to earn his living with his paintings and watercolors.

The Reaper by Winslow Homer. Watercolor, 1878. I love how the daisies pop.

In the late 1870s, Homer moved to Gloucester and became something of a recluse. Living near the shore reignited his love of the sea, which he captured on canvas in all its variations of weather conditions, along with the fisherman who daily braved the waves.

The Gulf Stream, Winslow Homer. Oil, 1899.

Homer spent 1881-82 in Cullercoats, Northumberland, on the British coast. There he painted working men and women, and his style shifted and matured. His palette grew more somber; his scale grew larger.

Eagle Head, Manchester, Massachusetts (High Tide) by Winslow Homer. Oil, 1870.

In 1883, Homer moved to Prout’s Neck, Maine, where he lived in a remodeled carriage house just 75 feet from the Atlantic. There is where he painted his major seascapes. In 1884 and 1885, he wintered in places like Florida, Bermuda, and the Bahamas and painted Caribbean scenes in watercolor for Century Magazine.

Crab Fishing by Winslow Homer. Watercolor, 1883.

Homer painted through the 1890s. It’s clear that he took his own advice that he offered to other painters: “Look at nature, work independently, and solve your own problems.”

A Basket of Clams by Winslow Homer. Watercolor, 1873. Incredibly detailed.

Creative Juice #286

Creative Juice #286

Beauty to enjoy. Techniques to try.

  • Beautiful Ukraine—read and weep.
  • Painting on water.
  • Raindrops on . . . well, not roses, but on other stuff.
  • Daffodils and crocuses.
  • How to shade.
  • Practicing self-care, an author wrote down some harsh, angry words that she didn’t want to say out loud . . . and found she had written an emotional scene she might be able to use in her novel later . . .
  • I don’t particularly care for the first quilt in this post, but be sure to keep scrolling—the rest are stunning.
  • Mary had a little lamb, and here’s the rest of the story.
  • What if someone found your purse 70 years from now?
  • Slime molds are beautiful. Who knew?
  • Multimedia art project. You can watch the video to see it in progress.
  • I love Rosa Bonheur. Here’s a discussion of her most famous painting. More about Rosa Bonheur.

Creative Juice #280

Creative Juice #280

Read and recharge.