Archive for ART HISTORY

Happy Birthday Chaim Soutine!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2012 by echostains

Soutine by Modigliani

Today is the birthday of Expressionist artist Chaim Soutine (b 1893 – 1943 Belarus)  Soutine who was inspired by classical painting in the European tradition and he favoured colour, texture and shape over representation.  His work acted as a bridge between traditional approach and the evolvment of Abstract Expressionism.

Soutine was born near Minsk (when it was part of the Russian empire) and one of eleven children, Soutine studied at the Vilna Academy of Fine Arts in Vilnius between 1910 – 1913  He emigrated  to Paris with fellow artist Pinchus Kremegne (1890 – 1981) and Michel Kikoine 1892 – 1968) where he studied under Fernand Cormon at the Errcole des Beaux-Arts.

Little Girl with Doll 1919

Portait of a Nurse c 1916

He became friends with Amedeo Modigliani (1884–1920)   and he painted Soutine’s portrait several times when they were all struggling artists in Montparnasse. Modigliani’s  most famous portrait of Soutine was painted on an apartment door belonging to Leopold Zborowski (1889 – 1932) their art dealer.  Zborowski was later to take the artist to Nice to escape Paris when it was being bombed in WWI.

After struggle and poverty, often helped by his friends and  fellow artists, Soutine finally managed to sell 100 paintings to American collector Albert C. Barnes who established his Foundation Museum in Merion, USA in 1922..  With the proceeds, the artist now began to enjoy a better life and dividing his time between Paris , the Pyrenees and the Riviera.

Man with ribbons

Although a passionate artist, Soutine left few works.  He suffered from anxiety and tempers and destroyed a lot of his paintings.  There are a few stories about this artist which give us a sketch of his personality and the effect it had upon his work.  One of them concerns one of his most iconic set of images  series  Le Boeuf Ecorche’ .

Three studies for the Crucifixion by Francis Bacon 1962

His neighbours complained about the stench of the animal carcass which he kept in his studio and called the police.  But Soutine remained unrepentant, advocating art over hygiene.  He painted 10 of the carcass paintings,  inspired by Rembrandt’s Carcass of Beef (1655) sometimes known as The Flayed Ox after studying the Old Master’s in the Louvre, Paris.  One of the paintings in Soutine’s series Le Boeuf Ecorche’(1924) sold for £7.8 million in 2006.

Little Pastry Cook

His work is characterised by its frantic brushwork, often violent colour and distorted images which covey emotion and he liked to paint bell boys, waiters and hotel workers – ordinary everyday people. In 1937 Soutine was hailed as a great painter, even though he did not take part in an important exhibition The Origins and Development of International Independent Art which was held at the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume.  Very soon after that, the France was invaded by the Germans and Soutine, as a Jew had to flee Paris to avoid arrest by the Gestapo.  He lived as best he could and eventually left a safe shelter to return to Paris for an operation for a bleeding stomach ulcer.  The operation was not a success and he died of a perforated ulcer on August 9, 1943  . Soutine was interred in Cimetière du Montparnasse, Paris.

Video by bestjonbon with thanks!

Also thanks to;-

Lots of information about this artist here

Modiglini portrait of Soutine from here

Man with Ribbons and Little Pastry Cook images from here

Bacon triptych image from here

Landschaft mit Häusern, 1918 and Portait of a Nurse, c. 1916   Little Girl with Doll, 1919  all from this blogspot

Good images from Oscar Grillo Oscartoons  and here


There’s a big birthday party going on over at my sister site Bookstains – and you’re invited!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROBERT BURNS (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796)  Here’s a video I made of Scottish artists;-

My 500th post


It’s not really my 500th post – that was yesterday, but I wanted to commemorate the Titanic.  I have been playing around with WordPress’ slide show tutorial and I thought what could be more fitting than to try to make a slide show of some of the items I have featured on my blog so far.  Starting in November 2008, I chose a few images from the monthly archives and made this slide show.  All the posts are still there in the archives, just type in the search facility or use the month and year as a clue.  I had great fun making it – it brought back many memories too.  I hope you enjoy watching it 🙂

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Update:  I have had to severely edit the slideshow as it was slowing everything down.  Hope this proves quicker.

Painted Ladies

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, WATCHED with tags , , on April 5, 2010 by echostains

I came across this fantastic video of women who inspired artists to pick up their paintbrushes up and paint.  Women have always acted as muses for artists and the idea of the artist’s model is usually synonymous with women – not men though Michelangelo and perhaps Caravaggio are a couple of exceptions.

A lot of the women remain anonymous in the sense that their name has not been used in the title of the painting.  Titles like ‘The Madonna of the Carnation’ by Leonardo say nothing about the real identity of the sitter.  She is transformed into a Madonna forever.

Madonna of the Carnation Leonardo Da Vinci

French impressionist Pierre Gustave Renoir (1841 -19191) painting ‘Two sisters on a Terrace’ in 1881.  This is a very well-known picture but it was a long time before it was established who the actual sisters were. 

two sisters on a terrace Renoir

 Expert Francois Daulte established that the older girl was Jeanne Darlot, who was eighteen at the time of the painting.  She joined the Theatre Gymnase and acted in comedies in supporting roles.  She had some success and was photographed for newspapers.   After her début at the Comédie Française she quit the stage and became the kept mistress of a chocolate manufacturer and later a senator.  She never married.

martyr of solway John Everett Millais

The Martyr of the Solway is a famous painting by Pre Raphaelite John Everett Millais.  The martyr in the picture is after a Margaret Wilson who refused to recognise established  Church of Scotland because she was a member of the Free Church.  The painting shows Margaret chained to rocks on the Solway Firth.  She and her friend were condemned to death by drowning in 1685.  The brave woman sang and quoted defiantly from the scriptures, her hair floating around her like a halo. 

martyr of solway xray

Millais had painted this portrait in 1871, originally the figure was nude (as a later  X-ray showed) but was later  ‘clothed’ so it didn’t offend the staid Victorians. I think this model is Lizzie Siddal, wife of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.


Salvador painted Raphaelesque Head Exploding in 1951.  the model is Gala his wife.  he never seemed to tire of painting her and likening the protons and neutrons that are exploding from her head as Angelic forms:-

Salvador Dali Raphaelesque Head Exploding 1951

“there are residues of substances; it is for this reason that certain beings appear to me so close to angels such as Raphael and Saint John of the Cross. Raphael’s temperature is like that almost chilly air of spring, which in turn is exactly that of the Virgin and of the rose.” Ant he adds solemnly, “I need an ideal of hyperaesthetic purity. More and more I am preoccupied by an idea of chastity. For me, it is an essential condition of the spiritual life.”

Apart from some commisions and a few famous models we may never know who a lot of these women were, but through through their portraits their beauty lives on and will never age.

   For a complete list of the women and who painted them click here and all shall become clear!

Renoir information here

Martyr of Solway at the Walker Gallery Liverpool here

Elizabeth Siddal biography here

Neo-Classicism, Classicism, Romanticism and Rococo Part Two

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY with tags , , , , , , , on August 6, 2009 by echostains

Continued from yesterday (part one HERE)

Rococo style depended on titillation.  It was elaborate, opulent and warm.  But now with the discoveries of Herculaneum in 1738 and Pompeii 1748, artists were becoming sober in their outlook – they wanted to educate.  Winklman said “Dip your brush in intellect“, he thought that artists should raise themselves up beyond craftsmen.

Sober messages emerged: abstinence, patriotism and sacrifice.  The virtuous widow had replaced the naked girl of Rococo and the tone of images had changed.  The French artist Jacques Louis David (1748 -1825)was determined to revive, in his paintings, the values of the ancients.  He was a student of Boucher (1780 -70) and the teacher of Ingres (1780 -1867).  He was a firm supporter of Napoleon and supported those who called for Louis XVI’s execution.

Death of Marat by Jacques Louis David

Death of Marat by Jacques Louis David

Jean Marat, a leader of the revolution became an instant martyr to the cause when he was stabbed to death in his bath by fervent loyalist Charlotte Corday.  The letter he holds in his hands is the fake letter of introduction with which she fraudulently entered his home.  The work captures David’s grief and anguish over his friends death.

Oath of the Horatii by Jacques Louis David

Oath of the Horatii by Jacques Louis David

In this next painting ‘The Oath of the Horatii’, David uses Classical figures with noble features to fire the viewer with patriotism.  Here we see David’s trademark, the open hand, – a symbol of supressed truth.  This particular painting uses the kinetic image of a wheel: the sort of shapes used in the Golden Means.  The spokes represent unity in the brothers: power in unity.  The upright solidarity of the brothers is contrasted with the soft fluidity of the women who cling together in a dejected mound.  They are painted in washed out shades.  The theatrical feel of the Roman, as opposed to the Doric pillars, symbolise a ‘back to basics’ attitude to morality.  David has faithfully copied the Roman toga’s, helmets and swords of the men, even their Roman noses!  Every gesture confirms total commitment to the solemn oath.  David is vey much aware that through a work of art, men can become conscious of moral responsibility, and he does not hesitate to make use of it.

More about Jacques Louis David HERE

Taken from an original essay by myself

Neo-Classicism, Classicism, Romanticism and Rococo Part one

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, HISTORY with tags , , , , , , on August 5, 2009 by echostains

The art movement  known as Neo Classicism, made it’s appearance in the 1750s.  It was a reaction against Rococo: a lighter and more playful version of Baroque – associated with Louis XV of France.  It emerged in the 1750s and was established by the 1770s.  It was dedicated to static and harmonious revival in the arts.

valpincon_bather by Ingres

valpincon_bather by Ingres

Classicism or Neo-Classicism can also be seen as a state of mind within the arts.  It emphasises an ideal: power or reason over emotion.  It was seen to show restraint, moderation, clarity and respect for tradition which were attributes that were much admired.  It was opposed to the somewhat frivilous, emotional content of Rococo.  It was used to ‘instruct’ and relied on scholarship – so in this sense it was not for the working class.

Classicism and Romanticism are not opposed: one lends itself to the other.  It was hailed as ‘the true style’, – the revival of the arts.  It matured quickly and died quickly: a shortlived artistic phenomenon.  It’s roots sprang from the unrest between the French Crown and the French aristocrats, and the churches the crown wanted to tax.  The country had already seen the peasants revolt against the taxation of bread and grain, which had resulted in the storming of the Bastille (14th July 1789) and Versailles .  But now a revolt between all classes overlapped.

More information about Ingres HERE

Continued tomorrow

Art I LOVE (past posts)

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, FAVORITE ART: Art I LOVE with tags , , on July 1, 2009 by echostains

Here are the past posts that have done so far, featuring artists  who I LOVE.  I will be adding to them all the time (because I love a LOT of artists!)  It’s just a matter of getting the time to write about them, to do them justice.  There are so many I want to include; Bacon, Banksy, Shiele, Minton, Deakin etc etc ect ECT ECT……….

Frank Meadow Sutcliffe     photographer

Frank Gehry  Architect

Ron Mueck    Sculptor?modelmaker/artist

Brian McGuire  Painter

Andreas Gursky photographer/artist

Anselm Kiefer  Painter

Tamara De Lempicka  Painter

Pentii Sammallahti  photographer

Frank Auerbach  Painter

Antoni Tapies  Painter