Category: Art

Joaquín Sorolla – Three Favourites from the Master of Light

Can you believe I read the Guardian on occasion? I can’t. While perusing these hallowed pages, I happened upon a wonderful article about an old exhibition of Sorolla works at the National Gallery. I was instantly smacked in the face by Sewing the Sail, which I will discuss at length. I then did some more digging and was blown away by this master of light. Below are three paintings which stuck out to me as particularly inspired. Sorolla (1863-1923) was a Spanish painter excelling in portraits, landscapes and works of social and historical themes. He is most known for...

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Jean-Étienne Liotard – Lavergne Family Breakfast, Delicious Pastel Painting

Jean-Etienne Liotard was one of the most accomplished portrait artists of his time. Born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1702 he went on to have a very successful career, completing most of it in stays in Rome, Istanbul, Paris, Vienna, London and other cities. At the height of his career he was commissioned to represent members of royal families in his respective residences. The masterpiece came to my attention through a recent Guardian article, exploring how the painting was donated to the National Gallery through the UK’s AIL Acceptance in Lieu scheme. This painting was given in exchange for a...

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Kiyochika Kobayashi – Cat and Lantern, Japanese Fine Art

Have I mentioned I’ve been to Japan? Of course, when I went I was what can only be described as a chippy oik (definition here). I neglected to visit any of the sensational art galleries throughout Japan, despite extensive travel throughout the country.  Perhaps I shall make up for this glut with the following post. Kiyochika Kobayashi (1857-1915) was a Ukiyo e painter, a school of Japanese art dedicated to depicting subjects from everyday life, on wood blocks or paintings. Cat and Lantern was a wood block piece. [Kobayashi was] also referred to as Hoensha, Shinseiro, and others as...

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Guido Reni – Portrait of Cardinal Bernardino Spada, Ecclesiastic Classicism

Guido Reni (4 November 1575 – 18 August 1642) was a Baroque painter whose main body of work consisted of religious figures. Reni also painted mythological and allegorical works. While living in Rome some time ago, I would often walk past the Palazzo Spada on my way to some extraordinary restaurant or other and wonder in awe at it. Cardinal Spada bought this building in 1632 and commissioned Fransesco Borromini to create the masterful forced perspective optical illusion in the arcaded courtyard. Borromini used a rising floor and diminishing rows of columns to create an illusion of a 37...

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Office In A Small City, Edward Hopper – Gorgeousity in Isolation

The punctilious among you will notice that ‘gorgeousity’ is not strictly a word in the English language. This is a nod to Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange. Alex’s character reacts similarly to how I react whenever beholding a Hopper painting: Oh bliss! Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh. It was like a bird of rarest-spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now. As I slooshied, I knew such lovely pictures! Hopper (Ashcan School, most important) offers us the direct opposite of interpretation. In fact, he was specifically...

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