Monday, February 27, 2012

Viking Funeral

The Funeral of a Viking (1893) by the British painter Sir Frank Bernard Dicksee (1853-1928).

Dicksee was a typical Victorian painter who exploited historical subjects in a manner which is still considered as Pre-Raphaelite style even though it has absolutely nothing to do with that.

Here he shows a highly dramatic scene where the Vikings are clad in Gallic armor including the stupid horned helmets invented by Wagnerian stage designers. To to me it seems more than stupid to push a longship through the surf.
It is safe to assume that the whole scenery is as false as the costumes, but this didn’t stop the popularity of the work which was used in 1990 as a cover of a heavy metal cd.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Historical Landscape

Landscape with Aeneas at Delos (1672) by the French Baroque painter Claude Lorrain, (1600-1682).

Lorrain was famous above all for his landscape paintings, mostly showing classical architecture and a seaport. He preferred historical subjects, which gave him the reason to paint his beloved classical architecture.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Tragically Capitulation

Vercingétorix surrendering to Caesar (1886) by the French history painter Henri-Paul Motte (1846-1922).

The proud Gallic chieftain is leaving the besieged Alesia in 52 BC to surrender to the Romans. Motte depicted here a national hero surrendering to a foreign superior machinery of war. So it’s probably a reference to the French capitulation to the Prussians in 1871.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Columbus before the Queen

Columbus before the Queen (1843) by the German American history painter Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (1816–1868).

Leutze depicted here the dramatic moment when Columbus was released from prison to defend his cause before the Catholic monarchs. On the floor are lying still his shackles indicating his imprisonment and the queen has turned her head away ashamed. Besides the magnificent costumes Leutze dedicated a great effort to the architecture on the Alhambra palace in Granada where the meeting took place.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Erotic Priestess

The Delphic Oracle (1899) by the British painter John William Godward (1861 –1922). Godward was a protégé of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadelma and had great success at the end of the 19th century.
Here he depicted the Oracle of Delphi, the so called "Pythia", sitting on a tripod breathing the volcanic vapors which are rising from a crack in the floor.

But despite all these historical well done details it’s the gorgeous body of the young girl which attracts the onlooker. So it’s in the end pure exploitation disguised as history lesson.

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