Posted in Art

Shrewsbury Castle

I have recently painted Shrewsbury Castle using Ibis Paint X. Shrewsbury Castle stands on the neck of a Meander in the River Severn on which the town was originally developed. A castle was ordered on the site by William I c. 1067 – a very early date – but it was greatly extended under Roger de Montgomery circa 1070 as a base for operations into Wales, an administrative centre and as a defensive fortification for the town, which was otherwise protected by the loop of the river. Town walls, of which little now remains, were later added to the defences, as a response to Welsh raids and radiated out from the castle and surrounded the town; the area known as Town Walls still has a small section of them and a single tower, known as Town Walls Tower, which is in the care of the National Trust). In 1138, King Stephen successfully besieged the castle held by William FitzAlan for the Empress Maud during the period known as The Anarchy.

The castle was briefly held by Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Wales, in 1215. Parts of the original medieval structure remain largely incorporating the inner bailey of the castle; the outer bailey, which extended into the town, has long ago vanished under the encroachment of later shops and buildings. Having fallen into decay after c. 1300 (at the end of the Welsh wars) the castle became a domestic residence during the reign of Elizabeth I and passed to the ownership of the town council c.1600. The castle was extensively repaired in 1643 during the Civil War and was briefly besieged by Parliamentary forces from Wem before its surrender. It was acquired by Sir Francis Newport in 1663. Further repairs were carried out by Thomas Telford on behalf of Sir William Pulteney, M.P. for Shrewsbury, after 1780. The Shropshire Horticultural Society purchased the castle from a private owner and gave it to the town in 1924 and it became the location of Shrewsbury Town Council chambers for over 50 years. The castle was internally restructured to become the home of the Shropshire Regimental Museum when it moved from Copthorne Barracks and other local sites in 1985. The museum was attacked by the IRA on 25 August 1992 and extensive damage to the collection and to some of the Castle resulted.The museum was officially re-opened by Princess Alexandra on 2 May 1995.

Posted in Art, Events

World watercolour Month🧑🏻‍🎨🎨

World Watercolour month takes place annually during July. Watercolour describes a painting method in which the paints are made of pigments suspended in a water-based solution. Watercolor refers to both the medium and the resulting artwork. Aquarelles painted with water-soluble colored ink instead of modern water colors are called “aquarellum atramento” (Latin for “aquarelle made with ink”) by experts. However, this term has been more and more passing out of use. The traditional and most common support—material to which the paint is applied—for watercolor paintings is paper. Other supports include papyrus, bark papers, plastics, vellum, leather, fabric, wood and canvas. Watercolor paper is often made entirely or partially with cotton. This gives the surface the appropriate texture and minimizes distortion when wet. Watercolors are usually translucent, and appear luminous because the pigments are laid down in a pure form with few fillers obscuring the pigment colors. Watercolors can also be made opaque by adding Chinese white.

Watercolour paint is an ancient form of painting. In East Asia, watercolor painting with inks is referred to as brush painting or scroll painting. In Chinese, Korean and Japanese painting it has been the dominant medium, often in monochrome black or browns, often using inkstick or other pigments. India, Ethiopia and other countries have long watercolor painting traditions as well. American artists in the early 19th century seemed to regard watercolor primarily as a sketching tool in preparation for the “finished” work in oil or engraving. cave paintings of paleolithic Europe May also be watercolour, and has been used for manuscript illustration since at least Egyptian times but especially in the European Middle Ages. However, its continuous history as an art medium begins with the Renaissance. The German Northern Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528), who painted several fine botanical, wildlife, and landscape watercolors, is generally considered among the earliest exponents of watercolor. An important school of watercolor painting in Germany was led by Hans Bol (1534–1593) as part of the Dürer Renaissance.

A number of factors contributed to the spread of watercolor painting during the 18th century, particularly in England. Among the elite and aristocratic classes, watercolor painting was one of the incidental adornments of a good education; mapmakers, military officers, and engineers used it for its usefulness in depicting properties, terrain, fortifications, field geology, and for illustrating public works or commissioned projects. Watercolor artists were commonly brought with the geological or archaeological expeditions, funded by the Society of Dilettanti (founded in 1733), to document discoveries in the Mediterranean, Asia, and the New World. These expeditions stimulated the demand for topographical painters, who churned out memento paintings of famous sites (and sights) along the Grand Tour to Italy that was undertaken by every fashionable young man of the time.

During the late 18th century, the English cleric William Gilpin wrote a series of hugely popular books describing his picturesque journeys throughout rural England, and illustrated them with self-made sentimentalized monochrome watercolors of river valleys, ancient castles, and abandoned churches. This example popularized watercolors as a form of personal tourist journal. The confluence of these cultural, engineering, scientific, tourist, and amateur interests culminated in the celebration and promotion of watercolor as a distinctly English “national art”. William Blake published several books of hand-tinted engraved poetry, provided illustrations to Dante’s Inferno, and he also experimented with large monotype works in watercolor. Among the many other significant watercolorists of this period were Thomas Gainsborough, John Robert Cozens, Francis Towne, Michael Angelo Rooker, William Pars, Thomas Hearne, and John Warwick Smith.

From the late 18th century through the 19th century, the market for printed books and domestic art contributed substantially to the growth of the medium. Watercolors were used as the basic document from which collectible landscape or tourist engravings were developed, and hand-painted watercolor originals or copies of famous paintings contributed to many upper class art portfolios. Satirical broadsides by Thomas Rowlandson, many published by Rudolph Ackermann, were also extremely popular.
The three English artists credited with establishing watercolor as an independent, mature painting medium are Paul Sandby (1730–1809), often called the “father of the English watercolor”; Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), who pioneered its use for large format, romantic or picturesque landscape painting; and Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851), who created hundreds of superb historical, topographical, architectural, and mythological watercolor paintings. His method of developing the watercolor painting in stages, starting with large, vague color areas established on wet paper, then refining the image through a sequence of washes and glazes, permitted him to produce large numbers of paintings with “workshop efficiency” and made him a multimillionaire, partly by sales from his personal art gallery, the first of its kind. Among the important and highly talented contemporaries of Turner and Girtin were John Varley, John Sell Cotman, Anthony Copley Fielding, Samuel Palmer, William Havell, and Samuel Prout. The Swiss painter Abraham-Louis-Rodolphe Ducros was also widely known for his large format, romantic paintings in watercolor.

The confluence of amateur activity, publishing markets, middle class art collecting, and 19th-century technique led to the formation of English watercolor painting societies: the Society of Painters in Water Colours (1804, now known as the Royal Watercolour Society) and the New Water Colour Society (1832, now known as the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours). (A Scottish Society of Painters in Water Colour was founded in 1878, now known as the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour.) These societies provided annual exhibitions and buyer referrals for many artists. They also engaged in petty status rivalries and aesthetic debates, particularly between advocates of traditional (“transparent”) watercolor and the early adopters of the denser color possible with body colour or gouache (“opaque” watercolor). The late Georgian and Victorian periods produced the zenith of the British watercolor, among the most impressive 19th-century works on paper, due to artists Turner, Varley, Cotman, David Cox, Peter de Wint, William Henry Hunt, John Frederick Lewis, Myles Birket Foster, Frederick Walker, Thomas Collier, Arthur Melville and many others. In particular, the graceful, lapidary, and atmospheric watercolors (“genre paintings”) by Richard Parkes Bonington created an international fad for watercolor painting, especially in England and France in the 1820s.

The popularity of watercolors stimulated many innovations, including heavier and more sized wove papers, and brushes (called “pencils”) manufactured expressly for watercolor. Watercolor tutorials were also first published by Varley, Cox, and others, establishing the step-by-step painting instructions that still characterize the genre today; The Elements of Drawing, a watercolor tutorial by English art critic John Ruskin, has been out of print only once since it was first published in 1857. Commercial brands of watercolor were marketed and paints were packaged in metal tubes or as dry cakes that could be “rubbed out” (dissolved) in studio porcelain or used in portable metal paint boxes in the field. Breakthroughs in chemistry made many new pigments available, including synthetic ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, viridian, cobalt violet, cadmium yellow, aureolin (potassium cobaltinitrite), zinc white, and a wide range of carmine and madder lakes. These pigments, in turn, stimulated a greater use of color with all painting media, but in English watercolors, particularly by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

Watercolour was less popular in Continental Europe. In the 18th century, gouache was an important medium for the Italian artists Marco Ricci and Francesco Zuccarelli, whose landscape paintings were widely collected. Gouache was used by a number of artists in France as well. In the 19th century, the influence of the English school helped popularize “transparent” watercolor in France, and it became an important medium for Eugène Delacroix, François Marius Granet, Henri-Joseph Harpignies, and the satirist Honoré Daumier. Other European painters who worked frequently in watercolor were Adolph Menzel in Germany and Stanisław Masłowski in Poland. Unfortunately, brightly colored, petroleum-derived aniline dyes (and pigments compounded from them), tended tofade rapidly on exposure to light, This led to A reevaluation of the permanence of pigments in watercolor and caused a sharp decline in their status and market value. Nevertheless, isolated practitioners continued to prefer and develop the medium into the 20th century. Gorgeous landscape and maritime watercolors were done by Paul Signac, and Paul Cézanne developed a watercolor painting style consisting entirely of overlapping small glazes of pure color.

Among the many 20th-century artists who produced important works in watercolor, were Wassily Kandinsky, Emil Nolde, Paul Klee, Egon Schiele, and Raoul Dufy. Meanwhile I n America, major exponents included Charles Burchfield, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Charles Demuth, and John Marin. Between the 1920’s and 1940’s American watercolor painting often imitated European Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, but significant individualism flourished in “regional” styles of watercolor painting. In particular, the “Cleveland School” or “Ohio School” of painters centered around the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the California Scene painters were often associated with Hollywood animation studios or the Chouinard Art Institute (California Institute of the Arts). The most influential among them were Phil Dike, Millard Sheets, Rex Brandt, Dong Kingman, and Milford Zornes. The California Water Color Society, (National Watercolor Society) was founded in 1921. The largest watercolor in the world at the moment is Building 6 Portrait: Interior. Produced by American artist Barbara Ernst Prey on commission for MASS MoCA, which can be seen at MASS MoCA’s Robert W. Wilson Building.

Although there was a temporary decline in the popularity of watercolor painting after c. 1950, watercolors continue to be utilized by artists like Martha Burchfield, Joseph Raffael, Andrew Wyeth, Philip Pearlstein, Eric Fischl, Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer, and Francesco Clemente. In Spain, Ceferí Olivé created an innovative style followed by his students, such as Rafael Alonso López-Montero and Francesc Torné Gavaldà. In Mexico, the major exponents are Ignacio Barrios, Edgardo Coghlan, Ángel Mauro, Vicente Mendiola, and Pastor Velázquez. In the Canary Islands, where this pictorial technique has many followers, there are stand-out artists such as Francisco Bonnín Guerín, José Comas Quesada, and Alberto Manrique.

Posted in Art

Paul Rubens

German born Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens was Born 28th June 1577. He was a prolific artist and was a proponent of extravagant Baroque style that emphasised movement, colour, and sensuality, he was known for his Counter Reformation altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintingso mythological and allegorial sujects.In addition to running a studio in Antwerp that produced paintings popular with nobility and art collectors throughout Europe, Rubens was a classically educated humanist scholar and diplomat who was knighted by both Philip IV, King of Spain, and Charles I, King of England. Religion figured prominently in much of his work and Rubens later became one of the leading voices of the Catholic Counter-Reformation style of painting .In Antwerp, Rubens studied Latin and classical literature. By fourteen he began his artistic apprenticeship with Tobias Verhaeght. Subsequently, he studied under two of the city’s leading painters, Adam van Noort and Otto van een. his earliest training involved copying woodcuts by Hans Holbein the Younger and Marcantonio Raimondi’s engravings. Rubens completed his education in 1598, and entered the Guild of St. Luke as an independent master. In 1600, Rubens travelled to Venice, Italy, where he saw paintings by Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto, before settling in Mantua at the court of Duke Vincenzo I Gonzaga. The style of Veronese and Tintoretto had an immediate effect on Rubens’s painting, and his later, mature style was profoundly influenced by Titian.

With financial support from the Duke, Rubens travelled to Rome via Florence in 1601. There, he studied classical Greek and Roman art and copied works of the Italian masters, the Hellenistic sculpture Laocoön and his Sons was especially influential on him, as was the art of Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci and Caravaggio. He later made a copy of Caravaggio’s Entombment of Christ. He recommended that his patron, the Duke of Mantua, purchase The Death of the Virgin and was instrumental in the acquisition of The Madonna of the Rosary for the Dominican church in Antwerp. Whilst invRome, Rubens completed his first altarpiece commission, St. Helena with the True Cross for the Roman church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. Rubens travelled to Spain on a diplomatic mission in 1603, delivering gifts from the Gonzagas to the court of Philip III. In Spain he studied the extensive collections of Raphael and Titian that had been collected by Philip II. He also painted an equestrian portrait of the Duke of Lerma during his stay . He returned to Italy in 1604, and stayed for the next four years, first in Mantua and then in Genoa and Rome. In Genoa, Rubens painted numerous portraits, such as the Marchesa Brigida Spinola-Doria and the portrait of Maria di Antonio Serra Pallavicini. He also began a book illustrating the palaces in the city, which was published in 1622 as Palazzi di Genova.

Rubens

Rubens returned to Antwerp in 1608 during a period of renewed prosperity in the city, he was appointed as court painter by Albert VII, Archduke of Austria and Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain, sovereigns of the Low Countries. In 1610, Rubens moved into a new house and studio that he designed. Now the Rubenshuis Museum, in the centre of Antwerp, it accommodated his workshop and made the most of his extensive collection of paintings, and his personal art collection and library,. During this time he created.Altarpieces such as The Raising of the Cross (1610) and The Descent from the Cross (1611–1614) for the Cathedral of Our Lady which were particularly important in establishing Rubens as Flanders’ leading painter . The Raising of the Cross also demonstrates the artist’s synthesis of Tintoretto’s Crucifixion for the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice, Michelangelo’s dynamic figures, and Rubens’s own personal style. The Spanish Habsburg rulers also entrusted Rubens with a number of diplomatic missions, Between 1627 and 1630, Rubens’s diplomatic career was particularly active, and he moved between the courts of Spain and England in an attempt to bring peace between the Spanish Netherlands and the United Provinces. He also made several trips to the northern Netherlands as both an artist and a diplomat. It was during this period that Rubens was twice knighted, first by Philip IV of Spain in 1624, and then by Charles I of England in 1630. He was awarded an honorary Master of Arts degree from Cambridge University in 1629.

In 1621, the Queen Mother of France, Marie de’ Medici, commissioned Rubens to paint two large allegorical cycles celebrating her life and the life of her late husband, Henry IV, for the Luxembourg Palace in Paris. The Marie de’ Medici cycle was installed in 1625 Rubens’s reputation with collectors and nobility grew during this decade, and his workshop continued to paint monumental paintings for local patrons in Antwerp. Such as The Assumption of the Virgin Mary for the Cathedral of Antwerp. Rubens’s last decade was spent in and around Antwerp. He continued to paint Major works for foreign patrons stsuch as the ceiling paintings for the Banqueting House at Inigo Jones’s Palace of Whitehall. In 1630, he married 16-year-old Hélène Fourment who inspired the voluptuous figures in many of his paintings from the 1630s, including The Feast of Venus, The Three Graces and The Judgment of Paris . In an intimate portrait of her, Hélène Fourment in a Fur Wrap, also known as Het Pelsken Rubens’s wife is even partially modelled after classical sculptures of the Venus Pudica, such as theMedici Venus. In 1635, Rubens bought an estate outside of Antwerp, the Steen, where he spent much of his time. Landscapes, such as his Château de Steen with Hunter and Farmers Returning from the Fields, reflect the more personal nature of many of his later works. He also drew upon Pieter Bruegel the Elder for inspiration in later works like Flemish Kermis.

Sadly Rubens died 30 May 1640 from heart failure, brought on by his chronic gout. He was interred in Saint Jacob’s church, Antwerp. The artist had eight children, three with Isabella and five with Hélène; his youngest child was born eight months after his death. Rubens was a prolific artist. His commissioned works were mostly religious subjects, “history” paintings, which included mythological subjects, and hunt scenes. He painted portraits, especially of friends, and self-portraits, and in later life painted several landscapes. Rubens designed tapestries and prints, as well as his own house. He also oversaw the ephemeral decorations of the Joyous Entry into Antwerp by the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand in 1635. His drawings are mostly extremely forceful but not detailed; he also made great use of oil sketches as preparatory studies. He was one of the last major artists to make consistent use of wooden panels as a support medium, even for very large works, but he used canvas as well, especially when the work needed to be sent a long distance. For altarpieces he sometimes painted on slate to reduce reflection problems. His fondness of painting full-figured women gave rise to the terms ‘Rubensian’ or ‘Rubenesque’ for plus-sized women.Rubens was a great admirer of Leonardo da Vinci’s work. Using an engraving done 50 years after Leonardo started his project on the Battle of Anghiari, Rubens did a masterly drawing of the Battle which is now in the Louvre in Paris.

Posted in Art, Humour

Garfield the Cat day

Garfield the Cat Day takes place annually on 19 June to commemorate The anniversary of the first appearance of American comic character Garfield the Cat on 19 June 1978. Garfield was created by Jim Davis and chronicles the life of the title character, Garfield, the cat; Jon Arbuckle, the human; and Odie, the dog. As of 2013, it was syndicated in roughly 2,580 newspapers and journals, and held the Guinness World Record for being the world’s most widely syndicated comic strip.

Though this is rarely mentioned in print, Garfield is set in Muncie, Indiana, the home of Jim Davis, according to the television special Happy Birthday, Garfield. Common themes in the strip include Garfield’s laziness, obsessive eating, coffee, and disdain of Mondays and diets. The strip’s focus is mostly on the interactions among Garfield, Jon, and Odie, but other recurring minor characters appear as well. Originally created with the intentions to “come up with a good, marketable character”, Garfield has spawned merchandise earning $750 million to $1 billion annually. In addition to the various merchandise and commercial tie-ins, the strip has spawned several animated television specials, two animated television series, two theatrical feature-length live-action/CGI animated films, and three fully CGI animated direct-to-video movies. Part of the strip’s broad pop cultural appeal is due to its lack of social or political commentary; though this was Davis’s original intention, he also admitted that his “grasp of politics isn’t strong,” joking that, for many years, he thought “OPEC was a denture adhesive”.

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M. C. Escher

Best known for his mathematically-inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints many of which features mathematical objects and operations including impossible objects, explorations of infinity, reflection, symmetry, perspective, truncated and stellated polyhedra, hyperbolic geometry, and tessellations, the Dutch graphic artist Maurits Cornelis Escher was born on 17 June 1898 in Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands. In 1903, the family moved to Arnhem, where he attended primary and secondary school until 1918. Known to his friends and family as “Mauk”, he was a sickly child and was placed in a special school at the age of seven; he failed the second grade. He excelled at drawing,and He took carpentry and piano lessons until he was thirteen years old. In 1918, he went to the Technical College of Delft. From 1919 to 1922, Escher attended the Haarlem School of Architecture and Decorative Arts, learning drawing and the art of making woodcuts. He briefly studied architecture, but switched to decorative arts, studying under the graphic artist Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita

Early in his career, he drew inspiration from nature, making studies of insects, landscapes, and plants such as lichens, all of which he used as details in his artworks. In 1922, Escher traveled through Italy, visiting Florence, San Gimignano, Volterra, Siena, and Ravello. He also visited Madrid, Toledo, and Granada in Spain and was impressed by the Italian countryside and, in Granada, by the Moorish architecture of the fourteenth-century Alhambra. The intricate decorative designs of the Alhambra, based on geometrical symmetries featuring interlocking repetitive patterns in the coloured tiles or sculpted into the walls and ceilings, triggered his interest in the mathematics of tessellation and became a powerful influence on his work. Escher returned to Italy and lived in Rome from 1923 to 1935. While in Italy, Escher met Jetta Umiker – a Swiss woman, like himself attracted to Italy – whom he married in 1924. The couple settled in Rome where their first son, Giorgio (George) Arnaldo Escher, named after his grandfather, was born. Escher and Jetta later had two more sons – Arthur and Jan.

He also visited Viterbo in 1926, the Abruzzi in 1927 and 1929, Corsica in 1928 and 1933, Calabria in 1930, the Amalfi coast in 1931 and 1934, and Gargano and Sicily in 1932 and 1935. The townscapes and landscapes of these places feature prominently in his artworks. In 1936, Escher travelled back to Spain, revisiting the Alhambra and spending days at a time making detailed drawings of its mosaic patterns and became fascinated with tessellation and The sketches he made in the Alhambra formed a major source for his work. He also studied the architecture of the Mezquita, the Moorish mosque of Cordoba. He also interacted with the mathematicians George Pólya, Roger Penrose, Harold Coxeter and crystallographer Friedrich Haag, and conducted his own research into tessellation.

After 1937, his artworks were created in his studio rather than on location. His art correspondingly changed sharply from being mainly observational, with a strong emphasis on the realistic details of things seen in nature and architecture, to being the product of his geometric analysis and his visual imagination.

By 1935, the fanatical political climate in Italy (under Mussolini caused the family to leave Italy and they moved to Château-d’Œx, Switzerland, where they remained for two years. In 1935 The Netherlands post office had Escher design a semi-postal stamp for the “Air Fund”, and in 1949 he designed Netherlands stamps. These were for the 75th anniversary of the Universal Postal Union; a different design was used by Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles for the same commemoration. Escher, had been inspired by the landscapes in Italy, but was decidedly unhappy in Switzerland. In 1937, the family moved again, to Uccle (Ukkel), a suburb of Brussels, Belgium. However World War II forced them to move in January 1941, this time to Baarn, Netherlands, where Escher lived until 1970. After 1953, Escher lectured widely and the illustrations and text for the lectures were later published as part of the book Escher on Escher. He was awarded the Knighthood of the Order of Orange-Nassau in 1955 and later made an Officer in 1967.

In July 1969 he finished his last work, a large woodcut with threefold rotational symmetry called Snakes, in which snakes wind through a pattern of linked rings. These shrink to infinity toward both the center and the edge of a circle. It was exceptionally elaborate, being printed using three blocks, each rotated three times about the center of the image and precisely aligned to avoid gaps and overlaps, for a total of nine print operations for each finished print. The image encapsulates Escher’s love of symmetry; of interlocking patterns; and, at the end of his life, of his approach to infinity. In 1970 Escher moved to the Rosa Spier Huis in Laren an artists’ retirement home in which he had his own studio. He died in a hospital in Hilversum on 27 March 1972, aged 73. He is buried at the New Cemetery in Baarn.

Posted in Art

John Constable

English Romantic painter John Constable was Born 11th June in 1776 in East Bergholt, Suffolk, He is known principally for his landscape paintings of Dedham Vale, the area surrounding his home—now known as “Constable Country”—which he invested with an intensity of affection. “I should paint my own places best”, he wrote to his friend John Fisher in 1821, “painting is but another word for feeling”. During his youth, Constable embarked on many amateur sketching trips in the surrounding Suffolk and Essex countryside that was to become the subject of a large proportion of his art.

In 1799, Constable persuaded his father to let him pursue art, and Golding even granted him a small allowance. Entering the Royal Academy Schools as a probationer, he attended life classes and anatomical dissections as well as studying and copying Old Masters. Among works that particularly inspired him during this period were paintings by Thomas Gainsborough, Claude Lorrain, Peter Paul Rubens, Annibale Carracci and Jacob van Ruisdael. He also read widely among poetry and sermons, and later proved a notably articulate artist. By 1803, he was exhibiting paintings at the Royal Academy. In 1802 he refused the position of drawing master at Great Marlow Military College, a move which Benjamin West (then master of the RA) counselled would mean the end of his career. In that year, Constable wrote a letter to John Dunthorne in which he spelled out his determination to become a professional landscape painter. His early style has many of the qualities associated with his mature work, including a freshness of light, colour and touch, and reveals the compositional influence of the Old Masters he had studied, notably of Claude Lorrain.

Constable’s usual subjects, scenes of ordinary daily life, were unfashionable in an age that looked for more romantic visions of wild landscapes and ruins. Constable quietly rebelled against the artistic culture that taught artists to use their imagination to compose their pictures rather than nature itself. Although Constable produced paintings throughout his life for the “finished” picture market of patrons and R.A. exhibitions, constant refreshment in the form of on-the-spot studies was essential to his working method, and he never satisfied himself with following a formula. “The world is wide”, he wrote, “no two days are alike, nor even two hours; neither were there ever two leaves of a tree alike since the creation of all the world; and the genuine productions of art, like those of nature, are all distinct from each other.”

Constable painted many full-scale preliminary sketches of his landscapes in order to test the composition in advance of finished pictures. These large sketches, with their free and vigorous brushwork, were revolutionary at the time, and they continue to interest artists, scholars and the general public. The oil sketches of The Leaping Horse and The Hay Wain, for example, convey a vigour and expressiveness missing from Constable’s finished paintings of the same subjects. Possibly more than any other aspect of Constable’s work, the oil sketches reveal him in retrospect to have been an avant-garde painter, one who demonstrated that landscape painting could be taken in a totally new direction. Constable’s watercolours were also remarkably free for their time: the almost mystical Stonehenge, 1835, with its double rainbow, is often considered to be one of the greatest watercolours ever painted. When he exhibited it in 1836, Constable appended a text to the title: “The mysterious monument of Stonehenge, standing remote on a bare and boundless heath, as much unconnected with the events of past ages as it is with the uses of the present, carries you back beyond all historical records into the obscurity of a totally unknown period.”

John Constable sadly passed away on 31st March 1837 and Although his paintings are now among the most popular and valuable in British art such as Dedham Vale of 1802 and The Hay Wain of 1821 he was never financially successful and did not become a member of the establishment until he was elected to the Royal Academy at the age of 52. He sold more paintings in France than in his native England. He could never have imagined how influential his honest techniques would turn out to be. Constable’s art inspired not only contemporaries like Géricault and Delacroix, but the Barbizon School, and the French impressionists of the late nineteenth century.

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World Art Nouveau Day

World Art Nouveau Day takes place 10 June 2020. The first World Art Nouveau Day took place 10 June 2013 and was organized by The Museum of Applied Arts (Budapest) (IMM) in cooperation with Szecessziós Magazin (a Hungarian Magazine about Art Nouveau). The date of 10 June was selected to commemorate the anniversary of the death of two famous architects of the movement, Antoni Gaudí and Ödön Lechner. Activities like those organised on World Art Nouveau Day aim to create more awareness of Art Nouveau heritage among the public. The theme for Art Nouveau day 2020 is stained-glass.

Art Nouveau is an international style of art, architecture and applied art, especially the decorative arts, known in different languages by different names: Jugendstil in German, Stile Liberty in Italian, Modernismo catalán in Spanish, etc. In English it is also known as the Modern Style (not to be confused with Modernism and Modern architecture). The style was most popular between 1890 and 1910. It was a reaction against the academic art, eclecticism and historicism of 19th century architecture and decoration. It was often inspired by natural forms such as the sinuous curves of plants and flowers. Other characteristics of Art Nouveau were a sense of dynamism and movement, often given by asymmetry or whiplash lines, and the use of modern materials, particularly iron, glass, ceramics and later concrete, to create unusual forms and larger open spaces.

One major objective of Art Nouveau was to break down the traditional distinction between fine arts (especially painting and sculpture) and applied arts. It was most widely used in interior design, graphic arts, furniture, glass art, textiles, ceramics, jewelry and metal work. The style responded to leading 19-century theoreticians, such as French architect Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc (1814–1879) and British art critic John Ruskin (1819–1900). In Britain, it was influenced by William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. German architects and designers sought a spiritually uplifting Gesamtkunstwerk (“total work of art”) that would unify the architecture, furnishings, and art in the interior in a common style, to uplift and inspire the residents.

The first Art Nouveau houses and interior decoration appeared in Brussels in the 1890s, in the architecture and interior design of houses designed by Paul Hankar, Henry van de Velde, and especially Victor Horta, whose Hôtel Tassel was completed in 1893. It moved quickly to Paris, where it was adapted by Hector Guimard, who saw Horta’s work in Brussels and applied the style for the entrances of the new Paris Métro. It reached its peak at the 1900 Paris International Exposition, which introduced the Art Nouveau work of artists such as Louis Tiffany. It appeared in graphic arts in the posters of Alphonse Mucha, and the glassware of René Lalique and Émile Gallé.

From Belgium and France, it spread to the rest of Europe, taking on different names and characteristics in each country (see Naming section below). It often appeared not only in capitals, but also in rapidly growing cities that wanted to establish artistic identities (Turin and Palermo in Italy; Glasgow in Scotland; Munich and Darmstadt in Germany), as well as in centres of independence movements (Helsinki in Finland, then part of the Russian Empire; Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain). By 1914, and with the beginning of the First World War, Art Nouveau was largely exhausted. In the 1920s, it was replaced as the dominant architectural and decorative art style by Art Deco and then Modernism. The Art Nouveau style began to receive more positive attention from critics in the late 1960s, with a major exhibition of the work of Hector Guimard at the Museum of Modern Art in 1970

The two biggest organisations in Europe coordinating the World Art Nouveau Day activities are the Art Nouveau European Route in Barcelona, and the Réseau Art Nouveau Network (RANN) in Brussels. In 2019 the event was supported by European Heritage Alliance.

More International and National events happening 10 June

Ballpoint Pen Day takes place annually o 10 June to commemorate the date of 10 June 1943 when the Brothers Laszlo and Gyorgy Biro patented  the ballpoint pen 

Black Cow Float Day

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Henri Gauguin

Leading French Post-Impressionist artist Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin was born 7 June 1848. As a child he lived for four years in Lima with Paul’s uncle and his family. The imagery of Peru would later influence Gauguin in his art. It was in Lima that Gauguin encountered his first art. His motherdmired Pre-Columbian pottery, He was collectng Inca pots that some colonists dismissed as barbaric. After attending a couple of local schools he was sent to a Catholic boarding school in La Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin, which he hated. He spent three years at the school. At seventeen, Gauguin sined on as a pilot’s assistant in the merchant marine to fulfill his required military service Three years later, he joined the French navy in which he served for two years. 1873, he married a Danish woman, Mette-Sophie Gad (1850–190). Over their next ten years, they had five children: Émile (1874–1955); Aline (1877–1897); Clovis (1879–1900); Jean René (1881–1961); and Paul Rollon (1883–1961). By 1884, Gauguin had moved with his family to Copenhagen, Denmark. Around 1873, he became a stockbroker, And also began painting in his free time. His Parisian life centred on the 9th arrondissement.

He returned to Paris in 1885, Paul Gauguin’s last physical contact with his wife was in 1891. In 1887, after visiting Panama, Gauguin spent several months near Saint Pierre in Martinique. While in Martinique, he produced between ten and twenty works and traveled widely and apparently came into contact with a small community of Indian immigrants, which later influenced his art through the incorporation of Indian symbols. Gauguin, along with Émile Bernard, Charles Laval, Émile Schuffenecker and many others, frequently visited the artist colony of Pont-Aven in Brittany. They encouraged a bold use of pure color and Symbolist choice of subject matter.

Disappointed with Impressionism, Gauguin felt that traditional European painting had become too imitative and lacked symbolic depth. By contrast, the art of Africa and Asia seemed to him full of mystic symbolism and vigour. There was a vogue in Europe at the time for the art of other cultures, especially that of Japan (Japonism). He was invited to participate in the1889 exhibition .Under the influence of folk art and Japanese prints, Gauguin’s work evolved towards Cloisonnism, a style given its name by the critic Édouard Dujardin in response to Émile Bernard’s method of painting with flat areas of color and bold outlines, which reminded Dujardin of the Medieval cloisonné enamelling technique. Gauguin was very appreciative of Bernard’s art and of his daring with the employment of a style which suited Gauguin in his quest to express the essence of the objects in his art. the influence of the cloisonnist style, paved the way to Primitivism and the return to the pastoral. He was also an influential proponent of wood engraving and woodcuts as art forms

His works of that period are full of quasi-religious symbolism and an exoticized view of the inhabitants of Polynesia. In Polynesia, he sided with the native peoples, clashing often with the colonial authorities and with the Catholic Church. During this period he also wrote the book Avant et après (before and after), a fragmented collection of observations about life in Polynesia, memories from his life and comments on literature and paintings. He also used Primitivism , which was an art movement of late 19th century painting and sculpture; characterized by exaggerated body proportions, animal totems, geometric designs and stark contrasts. .

Sadly Gauguin died 8 May 1903, and amazingly his paintings were not well appreciated until after his death. however Gaugiuin’s bold experimentation with coloring led directly to the Synthetist style of modern art and his art became popular after his death. Many of his paintings were in the possession of Russian collector Sergei Shchukin And he was later recognized for his experimental use of colors and synthetist style that were distinguishably different from Impressionism and he was influential to the Symbolist movement as a painter, sculptor, print-maker, ceramist, and writer, and his work also influenced that of the French Avante Garde such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.

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Tintoretto

Italian Renaissance artist Tintoretto sadly Died May 31, 1594. born 29 September 1518 in Venice. His real name was Jacopo Comin, and he was a notable exponent of theRenaissance school. For his phenomenal energy in painting he was termed Il Fuioso. His work is characterized by its musculr figures, dramatic gestures, and bold use of perspective in the Mannerist style, while maintaining color and light typical of the Venetian School. In his youth, Tintoretto was also known as Jacopo Robusti as his father had defended the gates of Padua in a way that others called robust, against the imperial troops during the War of the League of Cambrai (1509–1516). Tintoretto was the eldest of 21 children. His father, Giovanni, was a dyer, or tintore; hence the son got the nickname of Tintoretto, little dyer, or dyer’s boy, which is anglicized as Tintoret.

The family originated from Brescia, in Lombardy, then part of theRepublic of Venice. In childhood Jacopo, a born painter, began daubing on the dyer’s walls; his father, noticing his talent took him to the studio of Titian to see how far he could be trained as an artist. Tintoretto had only been ten days in the studio when Titian sent him home once and for all, Titian mayhave judged that young Jacopo, although he might become a painter, would never be properly a pupil.From this time forward the two always remained upon distant terms, Tintoretto being indeed a professed and ardent admirer of Titian, but never a friend, and Titian and his adherents turning the cold shoulder to him. His noble conception of art and his high personal ambition were evidenced in the inscription which he placed over his studio Il disegno di Michelangelo ed il colorito di Tiziano (“Michelangelo’s design and Titian’s color”).

He also studied from models of Michelangelo’s Dawn, Noon, Twilight and Night, and became expert in modelling in wax and clay method. The models were sometimes taken from dead subjects dissected or studied in anatomy schools; some were draped, others nude, and Tintoretto was to suspend them in a wooden or cardboard box, with an aperture for a candle. Now and afterwards he very frequently worked by night as well as by day. Tintoretto also helped the young painter Andrea Schiavone, in wall-paintings; . The two earliest mural paintings of Tintoretto are said to have been Belshazzar’s Feast and a Cavalry Fight. . The first work of his to attract some considerable notice was a portrait-group of himself and his brother playing a guitar. Another of Tintoretto’s early pictures is in the church of the Carmine in Venice, thePresentation of Jesus in the Temple. In the S. Benedetto is the painting Annunciation and Christ with the Woman of Samaria. Tintoretto also painted four subjects from Genesis For the Scuola della Trinity (the scuole or schools of Venice were more in the nature of hospitals or charitable foundations than of educational institutions). Two of these, now in the Venetian Academy, are Adam and Eve and the Death of Abel.

The Embarkation of St Helena in the Holy Land was one of a series of three paintings by Tintoretto, depicting the legend of St Helena And The Holy Cross. The Embarkation of St Helena was acquired by the V&A in 1865. Its sister paintings, The Discovery Of The True Cross and St Helen Testing The True Cross, are held in galleries in the USA.Towards 1546 Tintoretto painted three of his best known works – the Worship of the Golden Calf, thePresentation of the Virgin in the Temple, and the Last Judgment for the church of the Madonna dell’Orto, and settled down in a house by the church overlooking the Fondamenta de Mori, which is still standing. In 1548 he was commissioned for four pictures in the Scuola di S. Marco: the Finding of the body of St Mark, the St Mark’s Body Brought to Venice, St Mark Rescuing a Saracen from Shipwreck and the Miracle of the Slave. (these three are in Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice). Having painted these He was financially secure and was able to marry Faustina de Vescovi , daughter of a Venetian nobleman who was the guardian grande of the Scuola Grande di San Marco, who bore him several children. Between 1565 and 1567, and again from 1575 to 1588, Tintoretto produced a large number of paintings for the walls and ceilings of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco .

In 1560 five painters, including Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese, were invited to send in trial-designs for the centre-piece in the smaller hall named Sala dell’Albergo, In 1565 he resumed work at the scuola, painting the magnificent Crucifixion, In 1576 he presented another centre-piece—that for the ceiling of the great hall, representing the Plague of Serpents; and completed this ceiling with pictures of the Paschal Feast and Moses striking the Rock . Next Tintoretto paintedthe entire scuola and of the adjacent church of San Rocco. In total the scuola and church contain fifty-two memorable paintings, such as Adam and Eve, the Visitation, the Adoration of the Magi, the Massacre of the Innocents, the Agony in the Garden, Christ before Pilate, Christ carrying His Cross, the Assumption of the Virgin. Tintoretto also did numerous paintings in the Doge’s Palace; including a portrait of the doge, Girolamo Priuli, the Excommunication of Frederick Barbarossa by Pope Alexander III, the Victory of Lepanto and The Deliverance of Arsenoe. Sadly though most were destroyed by a fire.

With help from Paolo Veronese, his colleague at the Sala dell Anticollegio, Tintoretto painted four masterpieces – Bacchus, with Ariadne crowned by Venus, the Three Graces and Mercury. He also painted, Minerva discarding Mars, the Forge of Vulcan, Queen of the Sea , theEspousal of St Catherine to Jesus , St George and St Nicholas, with St Margaret and St Jerome and St Andrew and nine large compositions, chiefly battle-pieces including the Capture of Zara from the Hungarians in 1346 amid a Hurricane of Missiles and arguably the crowning production of Tintoretto’s life, “Paradise” which is reputed to be the largest painting ever done upon canvas. A fter the completion of the Paradise Tintoretto rested for a while, and he never undertook any other work of importance. In 1592 he became a member of the Scuola dei Mercanti. In 1594, he developed severe stomach pains, and a fever, that prevented him from sleeping and eating much and was buried in the church of the Madonna dell’Orto by the side of his favorite daughter Marietta, who had died in 1590 at the age of thirty. Tradition suggests that as she lay in her final repose, her heart-stricken father had painted her final portrait.

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German born Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens sadly passed away 30 May 1640 from heart failure, brought on by chronic gout. He was Born 28th June 1577 In Antwerp and received ahumanist education, studying Latin and classical literature. By fourteen he began his artistic apprenticeship with Tobias Verhaeght. Subsequently, he studied under two of the city’s leading painters Adam van Noort and Otto van een.Much of his earliest training involved copying earlier artists’ works, such aswoodcuts by Hans Holbein the Younger and Marcantonio Raimondi’s engravings. Rubens completed his education in 1598, and entered the Guild of S. Luke as an independent master. In 1600, Rubens travelled to Italy, stopping in Venice, where he saw paintings by Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto, before settling in Mantua at the court of Duke Vincenzo I Gonzaga. The coloring and compositions of Veronese and Tintoretto inspired Rubens and his later, mature style was profoundly influenced by Titian.

With financial support from the Duke, Rubens travelled to Rome by way of Florence in 1601. There, he studied classical Greek and Roman art and copied works of the Italian masters, the Hellenistic sculpture Laocoön and his Sons was especially influential on him, as was the art of Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci and Caravaggio. He later made a copy of that artist’s Entombment of Christ, recommended that his patron, the Duke of Mantua, purchase The Death of the Virgin(Louvre), and was instrumental in the acquisition of The Madonna of the Rosary (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna) for the Dominican church in Antwerp. During this first stay in Rome, Rubens completed his first altarpiece commission, St. Helena with the True Cross for the Roman church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme.

Rubens travelled to Spain on a diplomatic mission in 1603, delivering gifts from the Gonzagas to the court of Philip III. While there, he studied the extensive collections of Raphael and Titian that had been collected by Philip II. He also painted an equestrian portrait of the Duke of Lerma during his stay (Prado, Madrid) that demonstrates the influence of works like Titian’s Charles V at Mühlberg (1548; Prado, Madrid). This journey marked the first of many during his career that combined art and diplomacy. He returned to Italy in 1604, where he remained for the next four years, first in Mantua and then in Genoa and Rome. In Genoa, Rubens painted numerous portraits, such as the Marchesa Brigida Spinola-Doria (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), and the portrait of Maria di Antonio Serra Pallavicini, in a style that influenced later paintings by Anthony van Dyck, Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough. He also began a book illustrating the palaces in the city, which was published in 1622 as Palazzi di Genova. From 1606 to 1608, he was mostly in Rome.

Rubens returned to Antwerp in 1608 and His return coincided with a period of renewed prosperity in the city, he was appointed as court painter by Albert VII, Archduke of Austria and Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain, sovereigns of the Low Countries. In 1610, Rubens moved into a new house and studio that he designed. Now the Rubenshuis Museum, in the centre of Antwerp, it accommodated his workshop and made the most of his extensive collection of paintings, and his personal art collection and library,. During this time he created altarpieces such as The Raising of the Cross (1610) and The Descent from the Cross (1611–1614) for the Cathedral of Our Lady which were particularly important in establishing Rubens as Flanders’ leading painter . The Raising of the Cross also demonstrates the artist’s synthesis of Tintoretto’s Crucifixion for the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice, Michelangelo’s dynamic figures, and Rubens’s own personal style. The Spanish Habsburg rulers also entrusted Rubens with a number of diplomatic missions, Between 1627 and 1630, Rubens’s diplomatic career was particularly active, and he moved between the courts of Spain and England in an attempt to bring peace between the Spanish Netherlands and the United Provinces. He also made several trips to the northern Netherlands as both an artist and a diplomat. It was during this period that Rubens was twice knighted, first by Philip IV of Spain in 1624, and then by Charles I of England in 1630. He was awarded an honorary Master of Arts degree fromCambridge University in 1629.

In 1621, the Queen Mother of France, Marie de’ Medici, commissioned Rubens to paint two large allegorical cycles celebrating her life and the life of her late husband, Henry IV, for theLuxembourg Palace in Paris. The Marie de’ Medici cycle (now in the Louvre) was installed in 1625, While Rubens’s international reputation with collectors and nobility abroad continued to grow during this decade, he and his workshop also continued to paint monumental paintings for local patrons in Antwerp. The Assumption of the Virgin Mary (1625–6) for the Cathedral of Antwerp is one prominent example. Rubens’s last decade was spent in and around Antwerp. Major works for foreign patrons still occupied him, such as the ceiling paintings for the Banqueting House at Inigo Jones’s Palace of Whitehall.

In 1630, the 53-year-old painter married 16-year-old Hélène Fourment who inspired the voluptuous figures in many of his paintings from the 1630s, including The Feast of Venus (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna), The Three Graces and The Judgment of Paris (both Prado, Madrid). In the latter painting, which was made for the Spanish court, the artist’s young wife was recognized by viewers in the figure of Venus. In an intimate portrait of her, Hélène Fourment in a Fur Wrap, also known as Het Pelsken Rubens’s wife is even partially modelled after classical sculptures of the Venus Pudica, such as theMedici Venus. In 1635, Rubens bought an estate outside of Antwerp, the Steen, where he spent much of his time. Landscapes, such as his Château de Steen with Hunter (National Gallery, London) and Farmers Returning from the Fields (Pitti Gallery, Florence), reflect the more personal nature of many of his later works. He also drew upon the Netherlandish traditions of Pieter Bruegel the Elder for inspiration in later works like Flemish Kermis (c. 1630; Louvre, Paris).

His extravagant Baroque style emphasised movement, colour, and sensuality, and he was known for his Counter Reformation altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintingso mythological and allegorial sujects His studio in Antwerp produced paintings popular with nobility and art collectors throughout Europe, Rubens was a classically educated humanist scholar and diplomat who was knighted by both Philip IV, King of Spain, and Charles I, King of England. Religion figured prominently in much of his work and became one of the leading voices of the Catholic Counter-Reformation style of painting.

Peter Paul Rubens

Following his untimely demise Rubens was interred in Saint Jacob’s church, Antwerp. The artist had eight children, three with Isabella and five with Hélène; his youngest child was born eight months after his death. Rubens was a prolific artist. His commissioned works were mostly religious subjects, “history” paintings, which included mythological subjects, and hunt scenes. He painted portraits, especially of friends, and self-portraits, and in later life painted several landscapes. Rubens designed tapestries and prints, as well as his own house. He also oversaw theephemeral decorations of the Joyous Entry into Antwerp by the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand in 1635. His drawings are mostly extremely forceful but not detailed; he also made great use of oil sketches as preparatory studies. He was one of the last major artists to make consistent use of wooden panels as a support medium, even for very large works, but he used canvas as well, especially when the work needed to be sent a long distance. For altarpieces he sometimes painted on slate to reduce reflection problems. His fondness of painting full-figured women gave rise to the term ‘Rubenesque’ for plus-sized women. Rubens was a great admirer of Leonardo da Vinci’s work. Using an engraving done 50 years after Leonardo started his project on the Battle of Anghiari, Rubens did a masterly drawing of the Battle which is now in the Louvre in Paris