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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Max Ginsburg - Foreclosure [2011]

My painting teacher from 1998-1999, Max remains a friend to me and has really gone places since he retired from illustrating romance novels. This is a particularly moving piece, and it has received a lot of national attention. Way to go Max.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Jean Francois Millet: Peasants vs. Nudes

I've always thought of Millet as a painter of peasants and farmers.  He has remained somewhere in my periphery as a genre painter, but a recent look at his nude figures has opened my eyes to his command of  human form and emotion.  They are also accessible, and a testament to the timelessness of the nude.  Their form is so cut and dry-Scarcely more than a front plane and a side plane, and not much halftone or highlight to speak of, not far from a page from Bridgman's anatomy books.  The total effect, though is strength in form, human empathy, and raw power.

My personal favorite of Millet's Peasant paintings.  Lots of angst in this one, and beautiful golden light in the background.  Is that another figure way back there?

You know this one:

The one immediately below is my least favorite Millet, maybe because of the two static verticles, or possibly because of the worn out American sentiment that has attached itself to this 19th Century French painting.  A print of it hangs at the Baptist church down the street from my house.
This one is called "The Shooting Stars".
L'Amour VainqueurThe bather - Jean-Francois Millet

Arnold Bocklin

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Hendrick Goltzius

I get the feeling while scrolling through images of the work of Hendrick Goltzius that he's some kind of a lost brother (a vastly more accomplished one) from a different age.  I hope he'd feel the same way.  There is a language there that is spoken through movements of bone and muscle that speaks volumes to me.

Look at that cat looking out at us, relieved against Adam's pelvis.  Such wisdom in that face and what an angle of entry!

The horrible anatomy here makes it all the more tragic.  I love this to pieces.

The first awkward family photo.

A dutch painter of the 17th century his figures feel like an amalgam of the strange German stylization of Albrecht Durer and Lucas Cranach with oh-so-fleshy, oyster shell skin tones of Peter Paul Rubens.  There is also a sense of drama in these that reminds me of compositions from Guido Reni.  Goltzius seems positively obsessed with achieving unusual if not virtually impossible vantage points on the figure, and revels in the tactility of human skin.  As if this weren't enough he was possibly the greatest painter of hideous beasts and monsters, and painted them with equal love and terror.  God bless him. 

He avoids painting clothing at all costs and pushes distortions in the form often to absurd extremes.  I would normally count this as a weakness because the usual result would be a slowing or convoluting of movement.  Somehow the way these figures twist grotesquely into knotty bulges is delightful, engaging,  and deeply human.