is cool. Eighty-two portraits in one room, creates a neat effect. Worth a visit if you’re in the area.
“I just don’t get it guys, why do we keep losing?”
Source and appropriate epic size, it’s at the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Said Sargent, while working on it:
the Generals loom before me like a nightmare… I curse God and man for having weakly said I would do them, for I have no ideas about it and I foresee a horrible failure
Gauguin placed this painting on consignment at the exhibition at a price of 1,500 francs, the highest price he assigned and shared by only one other painting, but had no takers.
Gaugin didn’t always crush it with his titles (Study of A Nude, etc) but sometimes he nailed it. Here is Where Are You Going?
(sometimes less interestingly called Woman Holding A Fruit)
Of course best of all, Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? at the good ol’ Boston MFA.
Charles Moricetwo years later tried to raise a public subscription to purchase the painting for the nation. To assist this endeavour, Gauguin wrote a detailed description of the work concluding with the messianic remark that he spoke in parables: “Seeing they see not, hearing they hear not”. The subscription nevertheless failed.
You can read about Geoff Dyer’s frustrating experiences with these paintings and Gaugin and Tahiti in:
I was bummed I missed that dude at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival, bet we could’ve had some laughs.
Yeah, I’ll say!
That’s today’s Artwork Of The Day.
Going through my closet to determine which are my leadership shirts.
The Metropolitan Museum has five portraits that they’re pretty sure are by Hans Holbein The Younger. Let’s have a look:
Here is Derick Berck of Cologne:
Here is Erasmus of Rotterdam:
Here is a member of the Wedigh family, probably Hermann von Wedigh:
“Truth breeds hatred,” is what that note in the book says, according to the Met, which “perhaps served as the sitter’s personal motto.” Weird motto, bro.
And here is Man In A Red Cap:
Now. Take a look at this one, of “Lady Lee”:
The Met says “The painting is close to the manner of Holbein, but the attention paid to decorative effects and linear details at the expense of life-like portrayal of the sitter is indicative of workshop production. The portrait was likely based on a Holbein drawing.”
(Are these guys for real?)
I can’t recall how I got my hands on the postcard – perhaps a teacher gave it to me – but it showed one of the seminal paintings of world art, the one that opened the eyes of European painters to the realities of landscape painting. It bore a name that enchanted me, and from the first moment I saw it, it has been enshrined in my memory, to be recalled whenever I chance to see a row of fine trees leading down a country lane. The Avenue at Middelharnis, by the Dutch painter Meindert Hobbema (1638-1709) seems at first to simplicity itself – it is a perfectly flat landscape with minute distant building showing and down the dead middle of the canvas runs a dirt road flanked on either side by a row of very tall, scraggly trees of almost repugnant form, totally bare of limbs for 90 percent of their height but topped by misshapen crowns of small, heavy branches. It would seem as if almost anyone could paint a better picture than this, but if it commanded my attention and affection at age seven, so also did it captivate the artistic world; it proved that noble landscape painting could be achieved by using simple color, simple design and straightforward execution. People who love painting love Avenue, Middelharnis, and I am pleased to say that as a child I made that discover on my own.
(that one’s at the National Gallery of London)
At his death, Watson bequeathed the 1778 painting to Christ’s Hospital, with the hope that it would prove “a most usefull Lesson to Youth”.
Little did I know that the MFA version, which proved so useful to me in my own youth, was “a replica Copley made for himself.”
Not to worry, Brook Watson survived the attack depicted, and grew into this happy fellow:
Says the great Wiki article:
A verse penned by one of Watson’s political enemies poked fun at his ordeal (and perhaps at his abilities):
- Oh! Had the monster, who for breakfast ate
- That luckless limb, his noblest noddle met,
- The best of workmen, nor the best of wood,
- Had scarce supply’d him with a head so good.
Now, what does this have to do with the previous post? :
Three years later [Watson] was sent to supervise the expulsion of the Acadians from the Baie Verte area.
That’s in Havana harbor, btw.
That one’s not on display over at the Met. Gotta find his photos of the Outer Hebrides online.
In August of 1890, Sitting Bull left his home to check on his ponies. After walking more than three miles, he climbed to the top of a hill, where he heard a voice. A meadowlark was speaking to him from a nearby knoll. “Lakotas will kill you,” the little bird said.
Herb Ritts, 1988, from the MFA.
Sometimes my friends from the North Shore of Massachusetts who live in New York get homesick and call me up, desperate for a solution. Always I tell them the same thing! “Go to the 760 galleries on the second floor of the Met!”
There you can see Childe Hassam’s “The Church at Gloucester”:
Then you can see Winslow Homer’s “Eagle Head, Manchester, Massachusetts (High Tide):
Then you can see “Stage Fort Across Gloucester Harbor” by our boy FHL:
“Thanks Hely!” they say.
We here at The Hely Times are shameless about catering to our readers. We’ve discovered that pictures depicting beheadings are among our most popular subjects. So, today, a review of one of the great themes in Western Art, John the Baptist’s head on a charger. NOTE: some other day we’ll do actual action-shot beheadings of John the Baptist. Today, we’re just dealing with the paintings that include the charger as well.
Caravaggio did it twice. There’s the National Gallery, London:
And the Palacio Real, Madrid:
Met has a good one by Aelbert Bouts:
MFA has one by Bernardo Luini:
Lucas Cranach the Elder, now hanging in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest:
We came to El Greco’s green “View of Toledo” and stood looking at it a long time. “This is the best picture in the Museum for me, and Christ knows there are some lovely ones,” Hemingway said.
After we reached the Cezannes and Degases and the other Impressionists, Hemingway became more and more excited, and discoursed on what each artist could do and how and what he had learned from each. Patrick listened respectfully and didn’t seem to want to talk about painting techniques any more. Hemingway spent several minutes looking at Cezanne’s “Rocks – Forest of Fontainebleu.” “This is what we try to do in writing, this and this, and the woods, and the rocks we have to climb over,” he said. “Cezanne is my painter, after the early painters. Wonder, wonder painter…
As we walked along, Hemingway said to me, “I can make a landscape like Mr. Paul Cezanne. I learned how to make a landscape from Mr. Paul Cezanne by walking through the Luxembourg Museum a thousand times with an empty gut, and I am pretty sure that if Mr. Paul was around, he would like the way I make them and be happy that I learned it from him.”
Wiki, close out Cezanne for us:
One day, Cézanne was caught in a storm while working in the field. Only after working for two hours under a downpour did he decide to go home; but on the way he collapsed. He was taken home by a passing driver. His old housekeeper rubbed his arms and legs to restore the circulation; as a result, he regained consciousness. On the following day, he intended to continue working, but later on he fainted; the model with whom he was working called for help; he was put to bed, and he never left it again. He died a few days later, on 22nd October 1906. He died of pneumonia and was buried at the old cemetery in his beloved hometown of Aix-en-Provence.
“What the hell!” Hemingway said suddenly. “I don’t want to be an art critic. I just want to look at pictures and be happy with them and learn from them. Now, this for me is a damn good picture.” He stood back and peered at a Reynolds entitled “Colonel George Coussmaker,” which shows the Colonel leaning against a tree and holding his horse’s bridle. “Now, this Colonel is a son of a bitch who was willing to pay money to the best portrait painter of his day just to have himself painted,” Hemingway said, and gave a short laugh. “Look at the man’s arrogance and the strength in the neck of the horse and the way the man’s legs hang. He’s so arrogant he can afford to lean against a tree.”
remembers Miss Ross.
Coussmaker sat for Reynolds 21 times and his horse 8 times between February 9 and April 16, 1782 – an exceptional number of times.
Weighed in already but let’s get Hemingway’s take:
Mrs. Hemingway called to us. She was looking at “Portrait of the Artist” by Van Dyck. Hemingway looked at it, nodded approval, and said, “In Spain, we had a fighter pilot named Whitey Dahl, so Whitey came to me one time and said, ‘Mr. Hemingway, is Van Dyck a good painter?’ I said ‘Yes, he is.’ He said, ‘Well, I’m glad, because I have one in my room and I like it very much, and I’m glad he’s a good painter because I like him.’ The next day, Whitey was shot down.”
– from Miss Ross again.
Raphael’s Santa Cecilia is supposed to have produced such a feeling of inferiority in Francia that it caused him to die of depression. However, as his friendship with Raphael is now well-known, this story has been discredited.
Here it is, anyway:
Go see that next time you’re in Bologna. What’s that? In no hurry to get to Bologna? Perhaps Mr. James Salter can persuade you:
“Bologna is famous for three things,” she said. “It’s famous for its learning – it has the oldest university in Italy, founded in the twelfth century. It’s famous for its food. The cuisine is the finest in the country. You can eat in Bologna as nowhere else, that’s well known. And lastly, it’s famous for fellatio.” She used another word.
“It’s a specialty,” she said. “All the various forms are called by the names of pasta. Rigate, for instance,” she explained, “which is a pasta with thin, fluted marks. For that the girls gently use their teeth. When there used to be brothels there was always a Signorina Bolongese – that was her specialty.”
In July 1510 the ten-year-old Federigo Gonzaga was sent from Mantua to Rome as a hostage. On his way to Rome he stopped in Bologna, where Francia astounded everyone by painting and delivering his portrait in twelve days. The picture was subsequently taken to Rome for the admiration of the papal court and was only reluctantly returned to Isabella d’Este, Federigo’s mother. The fine execution of this famous portrait is typical of Francia’s best work.
– says the Met, where this painting is NOT ON DISPLAY. Later in life, Titian would take a crack at Federigo:
“Here’s what I like, Papa,” Patrick said, and Hemingway joined his son in front of “Portrait of Federigo Gonzaga (1500-1540) by Francesco Francia. It shows, against a landscape, a small boy with long hair and a cloak.
“This is what we try to do when we write, Mousie,” Hemingway said, pointing to the trees in the background. “We always have this in when we write.”
– “How Do You Like It Now, Gentleman,” by Lillian Ross, The New Yorker, May 13, 1950
Met’s Artwork of the Day drills it (to use a term frequently thrown around in Rob Lowe’s autobiography) today:
The family later moved to Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, where his father was the proprietor of the Square Tavern, still standing in that town.
So it is! Regrettably it doesn’t look like you can have a drink there anymore. LAME.