Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mythical Villain

The Death of Ravana King of Lanka (1875) by the French painter Fernand-Anne Piestre Cormon (1845-1924). Ravana is the villain in the Hindu epic Ramayana where he kidnaps Rama's wife. Cormon depicts him like an ancient warrior king mourned by his wifes.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Aeskulap by the English painter Edward Poynter (1836-1919). Looking at the four patients I suspect Aeskulap was more an excuse to show some nudes.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Columbus Landing

Columbus Landing by the American painter John Vanderlyn (1775-1852). This painting was commissioned by the Congress in June 1836 for the Capitol Rotunda. Columbus was claimed as a forefather of the modern USA.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Loving Wife

A nice illustration to Shakespeares Antonius and Cleopatra by the American artist Edwin Austin Abbey (1852-1911). It was published in Harper's Monthly Magazine in September 1909.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Valley Forge

Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge (1907) by the American painter John Ward Dunsmore (1856-1945). The hard winter in Valley Forge one of the great myths of the American War of Independence.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Esther before the King

Esther Denouncing Haman by the British painter Ernest Normand (1859-1923). This is an old popular subject in religious art. But Normand painted it like a history or orientalistic painting with the great theatrical gestures which were popular.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mythical Past

Dolmen in Snow by the German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840). Though it's no history painting history, better the past, is present and the subject.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Historic Saint

Saint Nicholas of Myra saves three innocents from death (1890) by the Russian realistic painter Ilya Repin (1844-1930). Despite it's kind of a religious painting Repic depicts it like a real history painting with the crresponding costumes and arms.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Bloody Civil War

Henri de La Rochejacquelein at the Battle of Cholet in 1793 by the French painter Paul-Emile Boutigny (1853-1929). It's a scene from the War in the Vendée a popular Catholic and Royal uprising during the French Revolution.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Crusader Gallery

Richard I the Lionheart (1841) by the French Neoclassical painter Merry-Joseph Blondel (1781-1853). Blondel was a student of Jean-Baptiste Regnault and did a whole series of famous crusaders such as Richard the Lionheart, Raymond IV de Toulouse, Jean de Joinville and others for the Crusader Gallery in the National Museum in Versailles.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Cannon Fodder

Sir John Falstaff Reviews His Ragged Regiment (1859) by the English artist Sir John Gilbert (1817–1897). Falstaff in front of his infamous "shadows", non-existent or disabled soldiers for whom the commanding officer receives pay. Recruiting is here a business with the only purpose to make money. In a very modern way Falstaff refers to his men: "Now, now: they’re good enough to die. Cannon fodder, cannon fodder—they’ll fill a mass grave as well as better men would."

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Heroic Hokum

The Capture of Malta in 1530 by Philippe Villiers de L'Isle-Adam, Grand Master of the Order of Knights Hospitaller, (1839) by the French painter René Théodore Berthon (1776–1859). Despite of the name of the painting Malta wasn't captured but given to Knights Hospitaller in by 1530 Emperor Charles V after they lost Rhodes. So it's evidently a kind of heroic hokum.