Monday, April 25, 2011

Recruiting the Poor

Listed for the Connaught Rangers or Recruiting in Ireland (1878) by Lady Butler (1846-1933).

Lady Butler leaves no doubt about the origins of the British soldiers. Here are the poor and homeless recruited to defend the empire. It’s a kind of anticipation of her later painting Evicted (1890).

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Palace Guard

The Palace Guard (1902) by the Austrian painter Ludwig Deutsch (1855-1935).

Deutsch was a very successful orientalist painter and spent most of his career in Paris. To achieve highly detailed scenes he travelled various times to Egypt, took a lot of photographs and had a large collection of tiles, furniture, arms, pipes, fabrics, and costumes.
But nonwithstanding that he was very exact in the details of architecture and costumes his paintings are pure invention. They are glorifying an exotic oriental past, which never existed. But especially because of this combination Deutsch can be considered as one of the ancestors of modern fantasy art.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A dead King

Edith Finding the Body of Harold (1828) by the French painter Horace Emile Jean Vernet (1789-1863).

Vernet depicts here the day after the battle of Hastings (1066) when the queen of the fallen Anglo-Saxon king Harold found the body of her husband. It’s dramatically illuminated and the gestures of the monks indicate grief and disaster.
But above all the painting illustrates the low level of historic knowledge in the early 19th century.