Monday, December 31, 2012

WATER LILIES



Claude Monet (CLAWD maw NEH) (1840–1926) was born in Paris, France. Even as a young teenager it became apparent that he had artistic ability. He would draw caricatures of his teachers on his schoolwork. A caricature is a drawing that represents the person, but certain features will be exaggerated, or made larger than they actually are. He began to charge people to draw their caricatures and was able to have a steady income and even save some money. He served two years in the military in Algeria on the continent of Africa, but he became ill with typhoid fever and was sent home to recover.
Monet had a small houseboat made. He would go out in the houseboat and paint scenes he saw from that view. He enjoyed painting outdoors observing how the light would change as the day progressed. He painted some scenes over and over again, and each would be different from the others because it was painted at a different time of day when the sun was at a different position in the sky. Monet was fascinated by light; the way it reflected off objects and the water in a pond. In his paintings he tried to capture this effect of light.
(gardenofpraise.com)


Nymphéas 1906
Current Loc Art Institute of Chicago
Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection
Source user:Rlbberlin


Water Lilies (The Clouds)
From ibiblio.org


Water Lilies (or Nymphéas, pronounced: [nɛ̃.fe.a]) is a series of approximately 250 oil paintings by him. The paintings depict Monet's flower garden at Giverny and were the main focus of Monet's artistic production during the last thirty years of his life. Many of the works were painted while Monet suffered from cataracts. The paintings are on display at museums all over the world, including the Musée Marmottan Monet and the musée d'Orsay in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the National Museum of Wales, the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Portland Art Museum. During the 1920s, the state of France built a pair of oval rooms at the Musée de l'Orangerie as a permanent home for eight water lily murals by Monet.
(en.wikipedia.org)


Water Lilies
From wikipaintings.org


Water Lilies
From ommorphia.files.wordpress.com


Water Lilies
From wikipaintings.org


Water Lilies
From wikipaintings.org


As part of his extensive gardening plans at Giverny, Monet had a pond dug and planted with lilies in 1893. He painted the subject in 1899, and thereafter it dominated his art. He worked continuously for more than twenty years on a large-scale decorative series, attempting to capture every observation, impression, and reflection of the flowers and water. By the mid-1910s Monet had achieved a completely new, fluid, and somewhat audacious style of painting in which the water-lily pond became the point of departure for an almost abstract art.
(metmuseum.org)


Monday, December 24, 2012

SPRINGS



Spring 1894
The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center
From wikipaintings.org


Spring, (1894) depicts the festival of Cerealia in a Roman street. One of Tadema's most famous and popular works, it took him four years to complete. The models for many of the participants and spectators were Tadema's friends and members of his family.
In this painting, Alma-Tadema depicted the practice of sending children out to get flowers on the morning of May Day, or May 1st, but placed the scene in ancient Rome. A great historical researcher, Alma-Tadema was meticulous about portraying the historical elements in his paintings as they actually appeared.
In this painting, he went to great lengths to portray the Roman originals, everything from the music instruments to the architectural details and dress are accurate to Roman history. He had an insatiable curiosity about classical antiquity. This painting was used a reference for Cecil B. De Mille’s movie “Cleopatra,” in 1934.
(wikipaintings.org)
A procession of women and children descending marble stairs carry and wear brightly colored flowers. Cheering spectators fill the windows and roof of a classical building. Lawrence Alma Tadema here represented the Victorian custom of sending children into the country to collect flowers on the morning of May 1, or May Day, but placed the scene in ancient Rome. In this way, he suggested the festival's great antiquity through architectural details, dress, sculpture, and even the musical instruments based on Roman originals.
Alma Tadema's curiosity about the ancient world was insatiable, and the knowledge he acquired was incorporated into over three hundred paintings of ancient archeological and architectural design. He said: "Now if you want to know what those Greeks and Romans looked like, whom you make your masters in language and thought, come to me. For I can show not only what I think but what I know."
Alma Tadema's paintings also enjoyed popularity later, when his large panoramic depictions of Greek and Roman life caught the attention of Hollywood. Certain scenes in Cecil B. De Mille's film Cleopatra (1934) were inspired by this painting. 
(artprints.getty.edu)
The Floralia is being celebrated, although not by that name, as the ancestor of English May Day festivals. Prepubescent girls lead the procession, like flower girls at an elegant wedding, their innocence proclaiming the innocence of the celebration, itself. The six young women with flowering sprigs who accompany them evoke two other Maying festivals: the May Queen and her attendants, and the Battle of the Flowers, both of which were popular in late-nineteenth-century England.
In this sentimental evocation of a country May Day ceremony, Alma Tadema would seem to have recalled an imagined world of beauty, order, and harmony. But the main participants of the Floralia were prostitutes and the festival, itself, a fertility rite that celebrated the renewal of nature. Although Alma Tadema seemingly has removed any suggestion of such licentiousness, there are subtle but mischievous hints that he has not ignored them all. Satyrs, ithyphallic and sexually insatiable, appear, most obviously in the two silver statues that follow the women playing the tambourines, which are decorated with images adapted from Pompeiian frescoes, one of which shows a satyr and maenad, a devotee of Bacchus given to ecstatic frenzies. Both particpated in Bacchic rites and represent physical and emotional abandon. They also are portrayed on the roundels supported the processional standard suspended high above the revelers, as well as on the capital of the fluted pilaster on the right, playing a panpipe. There, too, in the midst of the flower girls, the only male musician also plays a panpipe, looking suspiciously like a satyr, himself, with tuffs of hair swept up like small horns. There also is a battle depicted on the frieze of the temple to the left, as the Lapiths struggle to wrest their women away from drunken centaurs who have come uninvited to a wedding feast. But it is the standard, itself, so prominently displayed that most subverts the picture.
Identified at the time, it contains two lines from a fragment by Catullus (II): "This inclosure I dedicate and consecrate to thee, O Priapus, at Lampsacus, where is they house and sacred grove, O Priapus." Ithyphallic, a god of fertility and the garden, whose shrine is shown on the roundel below the standard, Priapus certainly belongs at the Floralia but his presence there does introduce another unexpected erotic element to the picture. It is yet another example of Alma Tadema artistically mixing disparate elements, as he does with time and place. The inscription on the architrave in the background, for example, is from the Arch of Trajan at Benevento, Italy; the battle between the Lapiths and centaurs from the Temple of Apollo at Bassae, Greece; the river god on the spandrel of the arch, from the Arch of Constantine at Rome; the bronze equestrian statues visible through the arch from marble originals at Herculaneum; and many smaller details from archaeological findings at Pompeii. They all are combined and changed, as well, when he incongruously adds a sheep (ram) and cow (bull) to the spandrel, representing, respectively, the zodiacal signs for April and May, the months in which the Floralia occurred. The tutelary deities for these months were Venus and Apollo, another reminder that love and music were celebrated then.
A familiar festival is decorously celebrated in Rome at the height of its imperial power, the participants surrounded by opulent marble. But then the glory of empire (and, by analogy, Britain's own) is undermined by suggestions of disorder and lasciviousness. It is an ironic portrayal, accessible only to the cognoscente, that, like Alma Tadema's The Roses of Heliogabalus, seemingly depicts no more than a shower of petals, pretty and pink, cascading down upon the banqueters. The knowledgeable viewer, however, will remember the Historia Augusta, which relates that some will die, deliberately smothered beneath the flowers for the amusement of the emperor and his other guests.
(penelope.uchicago.edu)


Saturday, December 8, 2012

OPHELIA



Ophelia is a fictional character in the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. She is a young noblewoman of Denmark, the daughter of Polonius, sister of Laertes, and potential wife of Prince Hamlet.
In Ophelia’s first speaking appearance in the play, we see her with her brother, Laertes, who is leaving for France. Laertes warns her that Hamlet, the heir to the throne of Denmark, does not have the freedom to marry whomever he wants. Ophelia’s father, Polonius, enters while Laertes is leaving, and also admonishes Ophelia against pursuing Hamlet, who he fears is not earnest about her.
In Ophelia’s next appearance, she tells Polonius that Hamlet rushed into her room with his clothing askew, and with a “hellish” expression on his face, and only stared at her and nodded three times, without speaking to her. Based on what Ophelia tells him, about Hamlet acting in such a “mad” way, Polonius concludes that he was wrong to forbid Ophelia to see Hamlet, and that Hamlet must be mad because of lovesickness for Ophelia. Polonius immediately decides to go to Claudius (the new King of Denmark, and also Hamlet’s uncle and stepfather) about the situation. Polonius later suggests to Claudius that they can hide behind an arras to overhear Hamlet speaking to Ophelia, when Hamlet thinks the conversation is private. Since Polonius is now sure Hamlet is lovesick for Ophelia, he thinks Hamlet will express love for Ophelia. Claudius agrees to try the eavesdropping plan later.
The plan leads to what is commonly called the ‘Nunnery Scene’. Polonius instructs Ophelia to stand in the lobby of the castle, while he and Claudius hide behind. Hamlet enters the room, in a different world from the others, and recites his “To be, or not to be” soliloquy. Hamlet approaches Ophelia and talks to her. He tells her “get thee to a nunnery.” Hamlet becomes angry, realizes he’s gone too far, and says “I say we will have no more marriages”, and exits. Ophelia is left bewildered and heartbroken, sure that Hamlet is insane. After Hamlet storms out, Ophelia makes her “O, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown” soliloquy.
(oil-painting.org)
 
Ophelia, 1889
Private Collection
From wikipaintings.org


Waterhouse depicts Ophelia lying in a riverside meadow in an attitude of deranged abandon, one hand in her tousled hair, the other grasping flowers. The entry in Academy Notes for 1889 reads: "Ophelia lying in the grass, with the wild flowers she has gathered in the folds of her dress. In one hand she holds a bunch of buttercups; in her rich brown hair, which half hides her face, is a coronet of daisies; in the background through the willow-stems a stream winds, and swallows fly low in the air (no sketch received)."
(johnwilliamwaterhouse.com)
 
Ophelia by the pond, 1894
Private Collection
From wikipedia.org


Ophelia takes her time to prepare for her death with flowers. It looks like it takes place in a forest near a lake. The lake is dark, and it is filled with lily pads, showing behind Ophelia. The picture is focused on Ophelia putting flowers in her hair as she sits on a branch leaning over the lake, right on the boundary between land and water. The grass is tall enough to notice in the foreground of the painting. Ophelia is surrounded by the greens and browns of the natural setting. Ophelia is sitting on tall but small branches which are growing out of the water in the left side of the painting. Ophelia is wearing an elegant white long dress with gold trimming around the waist, wrists, and at the bottom of the dress in a fancy design. The gold trim also has pearls or beads, colored red, blue, green, and white. Her head is tilted back, silhouette style, facing away from the painter where the viewer can only see her left eye, the side of her nose, and half her of lips. Her right arm is lifted up near her right ear so the observer can not see her hand. Her left hand is slightly lifted near her neck touching her hair softly. Ophelia’s long, red, stringy hair has red and white flowers tied into it. She has white daisies resting on her lap. This painting has light and dark shading. The trees and the water surrounding Ophelia are dark. Ophelia is the lightest shade of the painting because it is focused on her. She has a rosy tan complexion. She looks as if she is finding peace and pleasure.
With his great accomplishments throughout his oil paintings he had to enter a work of art for his RA diploma. The painting he wanted to submit was titled A Mermaid, but, unfortunately, it was not completed so he suggested that they take a temporary painting until it was completed. He decided to turn in, temporarily, the Ophelia painting of 1888. After the submission the painting was lost until the 20th Century, and it is now displayed in the collection of Lord Lloyd Webber (ArtMagick 2).
John William Waterhouse was interested with women dying in or near water. This gives explanation of his interest with Ophelia, since she died in water. It is said that this idea may have also come to him because of the paintings by Rossetti, Horatio Discovering the Madness of Ophelia and also from the painting by Millais’s, Ophelia.
J.W. Waterhouse imitated Millais’ work by adding some of the same ideas to his work. He added the idea of the lack of sunlight and the foreground. In Trippi’s book J.W. Waterhouse, another version of the Ophelia painting was completed in 1894 (133-5). In this description of Ophelia, J.W. Waterhouse shows her right before her death. The article, entitled “Ophelia,” states that “certain aspects of the composition underline the mortal turn of events: the poppies in Ophelia’s hair, for example, laden with the symbolism of sleep and death”. The time of finishing the same painting varies throughout two different books. In Hobson’s book The Art and Life of J.W. Waterhouse RA, the Ophelia painting was finished in 1910.
Waterhouse started a collection of Ophelia paintings, which were never finished because his illness of cancer started to become unbearable during the year of 1915. Trippi suggests that John William Waterhouse may have revisited Ophelia in early 1909 after his 1894 painting hung in the Academy in the McCulloch collection. His third Ophelia painting was shown in the Summer Exhibition in 1910. In 1915 he started giving “three to five” paintings to the Academy for the next couple of years. Even though the Ophelia series was never finished, a drawing titled A Study for ‘Ophelia in the Churchyard’ was entered in the 1926 sale, years after his death of cancer in 1917. Records show that there is no painting titled the same as what was entered in the sale, so they are considering it to be the Ophelia painting where she is sitting on the branch.
(Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Waterhouse has truly captured the way she might have looked before her suicide, her gazing out at nothing, entranced in thought, mindlessly placing flowers in her hair, driven crazy from grief. Peter Trippi quoted that “the Art Journal noted her ‘wistful-sad look’ and observed that, ‘never can this beautiful creature, troubled with emotion, experience the joys of womanhood” Hamlet having never actually slept with her. This painting is often compared to John Everett Millais’ Ophelia in which she is floating already dead in the water. Millais’ Ophelia was painted from 1851-1852.
(Senex Magister at hoocher.com)