Tuesday, April 27, 2010

MASTER OF GENRE SCENES




Gerard Ter Borch II
Self portrait
Oil on canvas
Current location Mauritshuis the Hague
From Wikimedia


Ter Borch was born in 1617, and apparently was something of a child prodigy with a surviving, dated drawing from when he was a mere eight years old. The son of a Dutch public official who also happened to be a painter, the boy entered the Haarlem painters guild when he was 18. Well-travelled and popular with the Dutch middle-class, he is best known for his modest-sized genre paintings, everything from Lady Peeling an Apple to Boy Removing Fleas from his Dog.
(Jim Lane, Humanities Web, January 08, 1999)


Apfelschälerin, 1660
Woman peeling an apple
Current location Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
Gemäldegalerie, Wien
From Wikimedia


Knabe floht seinen Hund
Boy fleaing a dog
Current location Alte Pinakothek, Munich
From Wikimedia


Ter Borch is best known today for his refined genre scenes, which typically depict two or three elegantly clad figures engaged in an activity such as letter writing or music making. No other Dutch artist has ever captured so well the subtle psychological interactions between figures. Neither has any artist conveyed as effectively as he the shimmering surface of satin nor the undulating rhythms of a translucent lace cuff. Ter Borch captured with exceptional sensitivity the complex inner life of his subjects through tiny gestures, covert glances, and carefully observed expressions.
(National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC)


Woman Playing the Lute
Oil on oak
Gem‰ldegalerie (Dresden, Germany)
From ARC


The Concert
Oil on canvas
Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
From Wikimedia


The Music Lesson
Oil on canvas
Pushkin Museum (Moscow, Russian Federation)
From ARC


Officer Writing a Letter
Oil on canvas
Gem‰ldegalerie (Dresden, Germany)
From ARC


Woman Writing a Letter
Oil on wood, 1655
Mauritshuis (The Hague, Netherlands)
From ARC


The Letter
Oil on panel, 1655
Alte Pinakothek (Munich, Bavaria, Germany)
From ARC


The Dancing Couple
Oil on canvas, 1660
The National Trust, Polesden Lacey
From Azerbaijan Rugs


The Dancing Couple (above) is one of the outstanding group of interior scenes with figures painted by ter Borch in Deventer in the years around 1660. He paints young men and women in elegant rooms, talking, dancing, drinking, making music and flirting. In addition to his skill in setting the scene, ter Borch possesses a remarkable technical gift, especially in the description of texture. No Dutch artist rendered satin more effectively than ter Borch nor was able to differentiate better in the medium of oil paint between the textures of a leather jerkin, a gleaming breastplate, a table carpet, a wooden lute and a brass candelabra.
(Azerbaijan Rugs)


Woman Reading a Letter
Oil on canvas, 1660-1662
Private collection
From ARC


A Lady Reading a Letter
Oil on canvas, 1662
Wallace Collection (London, United Kingdom)
From ARC


Helena van der Schalcke
Oil on panel, 1648
Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam, Netherlands)


By the 1640s, Ter Borch’s reputation as an exceptional portraitist grew, resulting in commissions from upper-class Dutch citizens. His piece Helena van der Schalcke (above) is considered one of the 17th century’s most memorable images of childhood. The two-year-old Van der Schalcke is dressed in a white bodice and skirt, with a lace-trimmed apron, and a cap covering her head. In her right hand, she holds a carnation, which was commonly associated with images of the Virgin and child. This painting has frequently been interpreted as a symbol of divine love, resurrection and hope of eternal innocence. Later Ter Borch focused on more simple subjects as seen in paintings such as A Maid Milking a Cow in a Barn (below) and The Grinder’s Family. These paintings have a sympathetic quality, providing intimate insight into interactions of everyday life.
(CODART)


De koestal
Milking a Cow in a Barn
ca. 1650(1650)
From Wikimedia


The Family of the Stone Grinder
Oil on canvas, 1653-1655
Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
From ARC


The paintings of Ter Borch are remarkably varied, and the selection represents each phase of his career—the early pictures of the 1630s, the mid-career genre paintings, and the small portraits distinctive for their psychological intensity. Ter Borch was unrivaled in his ability to capture the elegance and grace of wealthy burghers and to express with subtlety the interactions between figures. He is renowned for his refined interior scenes, which typically depict two or three elegantly clad, full-length figures engaged in activities such as writing letters or making music. In addition to capturing the psychology of the sitters, the paintings show Ter Borch's mastery in rendering materials, particularly satins, which are notoriously difficult to paint.
(National Gallery of Art)
In 1658 ter Borch was in Delft where he witnessed a document with the young Vermeer. This recently discovered evidence of a direct contact between the two artists confirms what has long been suggested: that the simplicity and restraint of ter Borch's style exercised an important influence on the Delft painter.
(Azerbaijan Rugs)
Ter Borch is perhaps most appreciated for his ability to render the varied textures of luxurious fabrics such as silk, satin, lace, and leather—a skill at which he was unsurpassed. Yet the appeal of his work extends well beyond its painterly grace and refinement. Although Ter Borch’s genre paintings follow common themes and compositions of his time—letter writing, discreet encounters between men and women, and family interac¬tions, among other subjects—they also provide extraordinary psychological insight into the drama of the encounters depicted. Tiny gestures, furtive glances, and carefully observed expressions give his figures intriguing and complex emotional character, subtly illustrating the modest pride of a wealthy Dutch citizen, the tenderness of a mother toward her child, or the pleasures and dangers of love in the moral climate of the seventeenth-century Netherlands.
Ter Borch’s portraits, which comprise almost half of his surviving works, are unique among the work of seventeenth-century painters. The full-length format of many of them recalls the life-size portraiture preferred by the wealthy patrons of several of Ter Borch’s contemporaries, yet their small scale and the astonishingly unpretentious depiction of the sitters and set¬tings (even in his self-portrait) have no parallel in contemporary painting. Ter Borch’s subjects are most often dressed in modest, staid attire and set against a neutral background with very little, if any, furniture. This lack of adornment contrasts with the predominant type of the period—a Van Dyckian model of graceful, elegant bodies draped abundantly in opulent fabrics, often in elaborate interior settings—and presents a seemingly straightforward and humble record of his subjects. With his profound understanding of the slightest details, Ter Borch succeeded in creating the perfect portrait type for wealthy Calvinists. By artfully implying a nobility and confidence, he allowed patrons to subtly assert through posture and expression their social and financial stature without offending Protestant values of modera¬tion and temperance.


Portrait Of A Lady
Oil on panel
Private collection
From ARC


Girl in Peasant Costume
Probably Gesina, the Painter's Half-Sister 15
Oil on panel, 1650
Private collection
From ARC


Woman at a Mirror
Oil on panel, 1650
Private collection
From ARC



Portrait of a Young Man
Oil on canvas, 1670
Wallraf-Richartz Museum (Cologne, Westfalen, Germany)
From ARC

Though portraits and genre scenes of upper-class life make up the majority of Ter Borch’s works, he also recorded less refined scenes of people engaged in humble pursuits such as tending livestock or grinding stone, as well as important historical moments—most notably his depiction of the pivotal event of the signing of the Treaty of Münster.
(afaweb.org)


The swearing of the oath of ratification
Te treaty of Münster in 1648
Alternate title:
Ratification of the Peace of Westphalia 1648 in Münster
Oil on copper, 1648
Current locatin Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Picture originally uploaded by Den fjattrade ankan
From Wikimedia



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