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.”

Sadly Constable 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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Paul 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.

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.

Peter Paul Rubens

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.

Rubens

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 educatdhumanist scholar and diplomat who was knighted by both Philip IV, King of Spain, andChares 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.

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.

Henri Rousseau

French Post-Impressionist painter Henri Julien Félix Rousseau was born May 21, 1844 He was also known as Le Douanier (the customs officer), a humorous description of his occupation as a toll collector.Ridiculed during his lifetime, he came to be recognized as a self-taught genius whose works are of high artistic quality.Henri Rousseau was born in Laval, France in 1844 into the family of a plumber; he was forced to work there as a small boy.He attended Laval High School as a day student and then as a boarder, after his father became a debtor and his parents had to leave the town upon the seizure of their house. He was mediocre in some subjects at the high school but won prizes for drawing and music. He worked for a lawyer and studied law, but “attempted a small perjury and sought refuge in the army,”serving for four years, starting in 1863. With his father’s death, Rousseau moved to Paris in 1868 to support his widowed mother as a government employee. In 1868, he married Clémence Boitard, his landlord’s 15 year-old daughter, with whom he had six children (only one survived). In 1871, he was appointed as a collector of the octroi of Paris, collecting taxes on goods entering Paris. His wife died in 1888 and he married Josephine Noury in 1898. He started painting seriously in his early forties, and by age 49 he retired from his job to work on his art full-time.

 

His best known paintings depict jungle scenes, even though he never left France or saw a jungle. Stories spread by admirers that his army service included the French expeditionary force to Mexico are unfounded. His inspiration came from illustrated books and the botanical gardens in Paris, as well as tableaux of taxidermied wild animals. He had also met soldiers during his term of service who had survived the French expedition to Mexico, and he listened to their stories of the subtropical country they had encountered. To the critic Arsène Alexandre, he described his frequent visits to the Jardin des Plantes: “When I go into the glass houses and I see the strange plants of exotic lands, it seems to me that I enter into a dream.”Along with his exotic scenes there was a concurrent output of smaller topographical images of the city and its suburbs. He claimed to have invented a new genre of portrait landscape, which he achieved by starting a painting with a view such as a favourite part of the city, and then depicting a person in the foreground.

In 1905, Rousseau’s large jungle scene The Hungry Lion Throws Itself on the Antelope was exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants near works by younger leading avant-garde artists such as Henri Matisse in what is now seen as the first showing of The Fauves. Rousseau’s painting may even have influenced the naming of the FauvesWhen Pablo Picasso happened upon a painting by Rousseau being sold on the street as a canvas to be painted over, the younger artist instantly recognised Rousseau’s genius and went to meet him. In 1908 Picasso held a half serious, half burlesque banquet in his studio in Le Bateau-Lavoir in Rousseau’s honour.After Rousseau’s retirement in 1893, he supplemented his small pension with part-time jobs and work such as playing a violin in the streets. He also worked briefly at Le petit journal, where he produced a number of its covers.The Dream (1910), Rousseau exhibited his final painting, The Dream, at the 1910 Salon des Independantsa few months before his death on 2 September 1910 in the Hospital Necker in Paris.At his funeral, seven friends stood at his grave in the Cimetière de Bagneux: the painters Paul Signac and Manuel Ortiz de Zárate, the artist couple Robert Delaunay and Sonia Terk, the sculptor Brâncuşi, Rousseau’s landlord Armand Queval and Guillaume Apollinaire.

Albrecht Dürer

German painter, engraver, printmaker, mathematician, and theorist Albrecht Dürer was born 21 May 1472. His high-quality wood cuts established his reputation and influence across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he is regarded as one of the greatest artist of theNorthern Renaissance. His vast body of work includes altarpieces and religious works, numerous portraits and self-portraits, and copper engravings. The woodcuts, such as the Apocalypse series (1498), retain a more Gothic flavour than the rest of his work. His well-known prints include theKnight, Death, and the Devil (1513), Saint Jerome in his Study (1514) and Melencolia I(1514). Hiswatercolours also mark him as one of the first European landscape artists, and his ambitious woodcuts were revolutionary. Dürer’s introduction of classical motifs into Northern art, secured his reputation as one of the most important figures of the Northern Renaissance. This is reinforced by his theoretical treatises, which involve principles of mathematics, perspective and ideal proportions.

In 1472 his godfather Anton Koberger, left goldsmithing to become a printer and publisher and quickly became the most successful publisher in Germany, eventually owning twenty-four printing-presses and having many offices in Germany and abroad. Koberger’s most famous publication was the Nuremberg Chronicles, published in 1493 which contained 1,809 woodcut illustrations and this is where Dürer worked as an of apprentice until 1490, and in early 1492 Dürer travelled to Basel to stay with another brother of Martin Schongauer, the goldsmith Georg. Very soon after his return to Nuremberg, on 7 July 1494, Dürer married Agnes Frey and opened his own workshop. Over the next five years his style increasingly integrated Italian influences into underlying Northern forms. Dürer’s father died in 1502, and his mother died in 1513. His best works in the first years of the workshop were his religious woodcut prints, and scenes such as The Men’s Bath House (ca. 1496). These were larger and more finely-cut than the great majority of German woodcuts and far more complex and balanced in composition. During an outbreak of plague in Nurenburg Dürer left for Italy and painted watercolour sketches as he traveled over the Alps.

He also travelled to Venice to study its more advanced artistic world and learned how to make prints in drypoint and design woodcuts in the German style, based on the works of Martin Schongauer and the Housebook Master. He was also influenced by Giovanni Bellini. In 1496 he produced his famous series of sixteen great designs for the Apocalypse, the engraving of St. Michael Fighting the Dragon and the first seven scenes of the Great Passion. A little later, he also produced a series of eleven on the Holy Family and saints. The Seven Sorrows Polyptych, commissioned by Frederick III of Saxony in 1496. Around 1503–1505 he produced the first seventeen of a set illustrating the Life of the Virgin, which he did not finish for some years. Dürer made large numbers of preparatory drawings, especially for his paintings and engravings, and many survive, most famously the Betende Hände, a study for an apostle in the Heller altarpiece. He also continued to produce watercolours, including a number of still lifes of meadow sections or animals, including his Young Hare (1502) and the Great Piece of Turf (1503,The Venetian artist Jacopo de’ Barbari, whom Dürer had met in Venice, visited Nuremberg in 1500, and Dürer said that he learned much about the new developments in perspective,anatomy, and proportion from him.

A series of extant drawings show Dürer’s experiments in human proportion, leading to the famous engraving of Adam and Eve (1504), which shows his subtlety while using the burin in the texturing of flesh surfaces.Despite the regard in which he was held by the Venetians, Dürer returned to Nuremberg by mid-1507, remaining in Germany until 1520. His reputation had spread throughout Europe and he was on friendly terms and in communication with most of the major artistsIn Italy, he returned to painting, at first producing a series of works executed in tempera on linen. These include portraits and altarpieces, notably, the Paumgartner altarpiece and the Adoration of the Magi. In early 1506, he returned to Venice and stayed there until the spring of 1507. By this time Dürer’s engravings had attained great popularity and were being copied. In Venice he was given a valuable commission from the emigrant German community for the church of San Bartolomeo. This was the altar-piece known as the Adoration of the Virgin or the Feast of Rose Garlands. It includes portraits of members of Venice’s German community, but shows a strong Italian influence. It was subsequently acquired by the Emperor Rudolf II and take to Prague. Other paintings Dürer produced in Venice include The Virgin and Child with the Goldfinch, Christ Disputing with the DoctorsFrom 1512, Maximilian I became Dürer’s major patron. His commissions included The Triumphal Arch

Dürer produced some of his most celebrated paintings: Adam and Eve(1507), The Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand (1508, for Frederick of Saxony), Virgin with the Iris(1508), the altarpiece Assumption of the Virgin (1509, for Jacob Heller of Frankfurt), andAdoration of the Trinity (1511, for Matthaeus Landauer). During this period he also completed two woodcut series, the Great Passion and the Life of the Virgin, both published in 1511 together with a second edition of the Apocalypse series. The post-Venetian woodcuts show Dürer’s development of chiaroscuro modelling effects,[9] creating a mid-tone throughout the print to which the highlights and shadows can be contrasted.Self-portrait, 1508Other works from this period include the thirty-seven woodcut subjects of the Little Passion, published first in 1511, and a set of fifteen small engravings on the same theme in 1512. Indeed, complaining that painting did not make enough money to justify the time spent when compared to his prints, he produced no paintings from 1513 to 1516. However, in 1513 and 1514 Dürer created his three most famous engravings: Knight, Death, and the Devil (1513, probably based on Erasmus’s treatise Enchiridion militis Christiani), St. Jerome in his Study, and the much-debated Melencolia I (both 1514).In 1515, he created his woodcut of a Rhinoceros which had arrived in Lisbon from a written description and sketch by another artist, without ever seeing the animal himself. An image of the Indian rhinoceros, the image has such force that it remains one of his best-known and was still used in some German school science text-books as late as last century.

In 1515 he produced woodblocks for the first western printed star charts and portraits in tempera on linen in 1516.On his return to Nuremberg, Dürer worked on a number of grand projects with religious themes, including a crucifixion scene and aSacra Conversazione, though neither was completed. This may have been due in part to his declining health, but perhaps also because of the time he gave to the preparation of his theoretical works on geometry and perspective, the proportions of men and horses, and fortification.Having secured his pension, Dürer finally returned home in July 1521, having caught an undetermined illness—perhaps malaria. As for engravings, Dürer’s work was restricted to portraits and illustrations for his treatise. However, one consequence of this shift in emphasis was that during the last years of his life, Dürer produced comparatively little as an artist. In painting, there was only a portrait of Hieronymus Holtzschuher, a Madonna and Child (1526), Salvator Mundi (1526), and two panels showing St. John with St. Peter in background and St. Paul with St. Mark in thebackground. This last great work, the Four Apostles

Dürer died in Nuremberg at the age of 56, leaving an estate and workshop where his widow lived until her death in 1539 this is a prominent Nuremberg landmark and is now a museum. He is buried in the Johannisfriedhof cemetery. Dürer’s final major work, a drawn portrait of the Nuremberg patrician Ulrich Starck. Dürer’s intense and self-dramatizing self-portraits have continued to have a strong influence up to the present, especially on painters in the 19th and 20th century who desired a more dramatic portrait style andhas never fallen from critical favour, and has exerted a huge influence on the artists of succeeding generations, especially in printmaking, His success in spreading his reputation across Europe through prints were undoubtedly an inspiration for major artists such as Raphael, Titian, and Parmigianino, all of whom collaborated with printmakers in order to promote and distribute their work

Thomas Gainsborough

English portrait and landscape painter Thomas Gainsborough was christened 14 May in 1727. in Sudbury, Suffolk, the youngest son of John Gainsborough, a weaver and maker of woollen goods, and his wife, the sister of the Reverend Humphry Burrough One of Gainsborough’s brothers, Humphrey, had a faculty for mechanics and was said to have invented the method of condensing steam in a separate vessel, which was of great service to James Watt; another brother, John, was known as Scheming Jack because of his passion for designing curiosities. The artist spent his childhood at what is now Gainsborough’s House, on Gainsborough Street (he later resided there, following the death of his father in 1749). The original building still survives and is now a dedicated House to his life and art. During childhood he impressed his father with his drawing and painting skills, and he almost certainly had painted heads and small landscapes by the time he was ten years old, including a miniature self-portrait.

In 1740, he left home to study art in London with Hubert Gravelot, Francis Hayman, and William Hogarth. He assisted Francis Hayman in the decoration of the supper boxes at Vauxhall Gardens, and contributed to the decoration of what is now the Thomas Coram Foundation for Children. In 1746, he married Margaret Burr, and the couple became the parents of two daughters. He moved to Bath in 1759 where fashionable society patronised him, he studied portraits by van Dyck and was eventually able to attract a fashionable clientele. In 1761, he began to send work to the Society of Arts exhibition in London (now the Royal Society of Arts, of which he was one of the earliest members); and from 1769 he submitted works to the Royal Academy’s annual exhibitions. He selected portraits of well-known or notorious clients in order to attract attention. The exhibitions helped him acquire a national reputation.

In 1769, he became a founding member of the Royal Academy, but his relationship with the organisation was thorny and he sometimes withdrew his work from exhibition. Gainsborough moved to London in 1774, and painted portraits of the King and Queen, but the King was obliged to name as royal painter Gainsborough’s rival Joshua Reynolds. In his last years, Gainsborough painted relatively simple landscapes and is credited (with Richard Wilson) as the originator of the 18th century British landscape school. In 1774, Gainsborough and his family moved to London to live in Schomberg House, Pall Mall. A commemorative blue plaque was put on the house in 1951. In 1777, he again began to exhibit his paintings at the Royal Academy, including portraits of contemporary celebrities, such as the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland. Exhibitions of his work continued for the next six years. Gainsborough began experimenting with printmaking using the then-novel techniques of aquatint and soft-ground etching.

During the 1770s and 1780s Gainsborough developed a type of portrait in which he integrated the sitter into the landscape. A splendid example of this is his portrait of Frances Browne, Mrs John Douglas (1746-1811) which can be seen at Waddesdon Manor. The sitter has withdrawn to a secluded and overgrown corner of a garden to read a letter, her pose recalling the traditional representation of Melancholy. Gainsborough emphasised the relationship between Mrs Douglas and her environment by painting the clouds behind her and the drapery billowing across her lap with similar silvery mauves and fluid brushstrokes. This portrait was included in his first private exhibition at Schomberg House in 1784.

Gainsborough sadly passed away from the effects of cancer in 1788 and is interred at St. Anne’s Church, Kew, Surrey. However he has left the world with some wonderful paintings most of which are characterised by a light palette and easy strokes. He preferred landscapes to portraits. There have also been many films based on his life and Cecil Kellaway portrayed him in the 1945 film Kitty.