Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Joan and Michael

The archangel Michael appears to Joan of Arc (1876) by the French painter Eugène Thirion (1839-1910).

Different from many other paintings Joan is here no warrior. She’s a poor girl spinning wool when the archangel appears. In the back is a heroic bugler to be seen.
So it’s above all a patriotic call to arms, which has to be put into the context of the lost war against Prussia in 1871.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Art Deco Cleopatra

Cleopatra by the American Joseph Christian Leyendecker (1874-1951).

Leyendecker was a brilliant illustrator of the Art Deco movement. His Cleopatra here is pure ornament and decoration. A historical person is converted into an icon.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sicilian Vespers

The Sicilian Vespers by the Italian painter Francesco Hayez (1791-1882).

Hayez was the most important Italian Romantic painter in the 19th century and probably the most important history painter too. Here he shows the rebellion in Sicily in 1282 against the French rule. The Italians slaughtered then all the French on the island. Here a French seeks protecting beneath the cross, but in vain.
Hayez was fascinated by the subject because between 1821 and 1846 he painted a whole series of it.