Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Classical Ideal

View of the Acropolis in Athens (1846) by the German artist Leo von Klenze (1784 - 1864). Klenze was above all a well known architect who studied classical architecture in Greece and Italy and designed public buildings in this tradition in Munich. So he wasn’t very interested in narrating old stories but more to show how his ideal may have looked like.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Patriotic Icon

The Departure of Jeanne d'Arc

Entrance of Jeanne d'Arc at Orleans

These two romantic paintings of the national icon Jeanne d’Arc are by the French painter Jean-Jacques Scherrer (1855-1916). Scherrer did them in the 1870s after the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian war, when he left his beloved Alsace which was lost in the war.
So Jeanne is here a kind of patriotic consolation and hope for a victory in the future.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Rider on the Pale Horse

Napoleon’s Vision (1910) by the Polish painter Wojciech Kossak (1857-1942). Wojciech Kossak was the son of the famous history painter Juliusz Kossak and became well known for his battle paintings. Despite he preferred normally a more realistic depiction he shows here a symbolic interpretation of Napoleon. Napoleon appears as one of the four
Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the rider on the pale horse whose name was Death!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Bitter Death

The Last Voyage of Henry Hudson (1881) by the British painter John Collier (1850-1934).

The great English sea explorer and navigator Henry Hudson traveled on his last expedition in 1611 far north in search of the Northwest Passage when his crew mutinied and set him adrift in a small boat with six of his men and his young son. They were never seen or heard of again.
Collier dramatizes the moment when Hudson already knows about his certain death but has also to face this of his confident son.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Daughters of the Cid

The Daughters of the Cid (1879) by the Spanish painter Ignacio Pinazo y Camarlench (1849-1916).

Legend tells that the daughters of the famous Spanish hero, the Cid, were once expelled by their husbands the princes of Carrión. But there is nothing told of torture, nudeness and so on.

Nevertheless Pinazo y Camarlench used the subject to paint two sweet suffering nude girls during his scholarship in Rome. Interesting is that a generation earlier a painter would have used a classical subject to present his nudes, but now the artist turned more to his own national history, which was invented as well.