Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema and Romantic Love

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, O.M., R.A., R.W.S., British Artist, 1836-1912
A Solicitation, 1878, pencil and watercolour on paper, 22.9 x 45.1 cm, Private Collection https://www.mutualart.com/Artwork/A-Solicitation/8FB915CF2DFA260B4CC9A753186F8298

On Saint Valentine’s Day, I think of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema and Romantic Love. I think of his many paintings portraying the emotional nuances of romantic interactions, the courtship scenes with a heightened sense of intimacy, the use of rich colors and the exquisite settings often applied to evoke a romantic ambiance.  I reflect upon his gentle gestures, unambiguous glances, and subtle expressions that capture the essence of romantic relationships in a bygone era. Alma-Tadema’s paintings, whether set in ancient Rome, Greece, or other historical periods, convey a sense of timeless beauty and the universal aspects of love and courtship. The artist’s ability to infuse his works with a sense of elegance and emotion allowed viewers to connect with the theme of courtship on a deeply human level, transcending the specific historical context of each painting. Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema was a master in representing Romantic Love!

On the 13th of December 2022, a small watercolour painting by Alma-Tadema, titled A Solicitation, was auctioned at Christie’s, with great success. The composition is entirely typical of his work, with a young woman sitting upright on a marble bench, listening to the entreaties of the young man who reclines beside her. Is she swayed by his ‘words? I do not know… I see her holding on to her lap the flowers ‘he’ probably gave her contemplating his ‘proposition’. https://www.christies.com/lot/lot-6408828?ldp_breadcrumb=back&intObjectID=6408828&from=salessummary&lid=1

The painting A Solicitation has all the characteristics of the Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema artistic style. Renowned for his expertise in portraying various facets of sun-soaked, glowing marble, the artist, for example, presents a large, almost luminescent bench to the viewer, by skillfully utilizing watercolour transparency to evoke the hues of the marble. Equally interesting is how the depicted young couple, dressed in off-white clothes, stands out, due to Alma-Tadema’s adept handling of different textures. Finally, it is essential to mention the Mediterranean oleander tree in the right part of the middle ground, which the artist used to harmonize the rectangular shape of the composition, and the blue hues of the sea and distant coast in the background that seamlessly merge with the bright sky, creating a splendid morning scene. https://www.christies.com/lot/lot-6408828?ldp_breadcrumb=back&intObjectID=6408828&from=salessummary&lid=1

Alma-Tadema’s patrons were captivated by the romantically appealing compositions depicting courtship, prompting the artist to create multiple versions of this theme. The inaugural scene, titled “Pleading,” was crafted in 1876 and is currently housed in the Guildhall Art Gallery in London. Following this, in approximately 1877, Alma-Tadema produced another courtship scene titled “The Question,” now part of the Colección Pérez Simón in Mexico City. The third installment in this series is the watercolor painting from 1878, named “A Solicitation.” Subsequently, three additional paintings, dating back to 1883, are dispersed across prominent locations—the British Museum (Op. CCLVIII), a private collection, and the Walters Art Museum in the United States (Op. CCLIX). Throughout these various iterations of the courtship composition, Alma-Tadema maintained a consistent portrayal of the fundamental relationship between the two figures: a contemplative female and a beseeching, submissive male gazing up at her. The compositions also feature an expansive, almost panoramic view extending beyond the edge of the bench, revealing the vast sea and its miniature sailing boats. https://www.christies.com/lot/lot-6408828?ldp_breadcrumb=back&intObjectID=6408828&from=salessummary&lid=1

The photograph shows Alma-Tadema’s studio at Townsend House, after its reconstruction following the destruction caused by an explosion on a barge on the Regent’s Canal in 1874. Alma-Tadema decorated the small first-floor studio in a Pompeian style, with a dark red ceiling and red and yellow wall panels with garlands and medallions. Over the fireplace can be seen a bronze bust of his wife backed by a curtain of cloth of gold. On the easel appears to be a variation of the watercolour ‘A Declaration’ 1883 and just below it, on the floor, is a reproduction of ‘Anthony and Cleopatra’, 1883. The studio also housed Alma-Tadema’s extensive collection of photographs. https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/art-artists/work-of-art/sir-lawrence-alma-tadema-r-a

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836–1912) was a renowned Dutch-born Victorian painter who achieved international acclaim for his vivid and meticulously detailed depictions of classical antiquity. Known for his mastery of historical accuracy and meticulous attention to architectural and ornamental details, Alma-Tadema’s paintings often showcased scenes from ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt. His works, characterized by their sumptuous colors, intricate compositions, and a focus on the opulent lifestyles of the classical world, captivated audiences during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Alma-Tadema’s artistic contributions left an enduring impact on the academic art scene, and his legacy continues to be celebrated for the way he brought ancient history to life through his extraordinary talent and dedication to historical accuracy.

For a PowerPoint Presentation of six paintings by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, presenting Courtship Scenes, please… Check HERE!

Oedipus Rex and Jocasta by Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, French Artist, 1841-1919
Panel for Oedipus: Jocasta, and Panel for Oedipus: King Oedipus
Both Panels: circa 1895, Oil on Canvas, 96.1 x 36.5 cm, Private Collection
https://www.christies.com/lot/lot-6452011?ldp_breadcrumb=back&intObjectID=6452011&from=salessummary&lid=1

Citizens of my beloved Thebes!  See now your great Oedipus!
That famous man who knew the answers of great riddles.  That man whose good fortune every man in Thebes envied!  See now in what monstrous storm of misfortune he has fallen… Let’s not praise a man for his good Fate unless he has arrived at his final day, having escaped bad Fate…
The last Chorus lines of Sophocles’ tragedy Oedipus Rex convey a sense of profound realization and acceptance of the futility of human efforts against fate and destiny. Do the paintings of Oedipus Rex and Jocasta by Renoir reflect Sophocles’ point of view? How did the great Impressionist artist decide to explore such a subject matter? https://bacchicstage.wordpress.com/sophocles/oedipus-rex/

The myth of Oedipus revolves around a tragic prophecy that foretells Oedipus, the son of King Laius and Queen Jocasta of Thebes, would kill his father and marry his mother. In an attempt to avoid this fate, Oedipus is abandoned as a baby but is later adopted and raised by another royal family. Unaware of his true parentage, Oedipus grows up and, through a series of unfortunate events, unwittingly fulfills the prophecy by killing his father, King Laius, in a chance encounter on the road and subsequently marrying his mother, Queen Jocasta. When the truth is revealed, Jocasta tragically takes her own life, and Oedipus blinds himself in horror and shame. The Oedipus myth explores themes of fate, free will, and the inevitability of destiny, serving as a classic example of Greek tragedy.

Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex stands as a timeless masterpiece of Greek tragedy, skillfully weaving a narrative that delves into the complexities of fate and the human condition. The play’s exploration of the inevitable clash between individual free will and the predetermined course of destiny is masterfully executed. The intricate use of dramatic irony, the relentless pursuit of truth, and the psychological unraveling of Oedipus and that of his mother Jocasta, contribute to the play’s enduring impact, making it a powerful and thought-provoking work that continues to captivate audiences and provoke contemplation on the intricacies of human existence.

These characteristics of drama seem to have inspired none other than the famous Impressionist artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir, who, in 1895, created two panels moved by Sophocles’ tragedy, depicting the protagonists of the play, Oedipus Rex, and Jocasta.

When viewed side-by-side, Christie’s experts tell us, Renoir’s two panels depicting Jocasta and Oedipus illustrate the full tension of the tragedy, their bodies seeming to push away from one another, whilst an unseen magnetic connection– an allegory for the inescapable strength of the prophecy– pulls them together. Renoir skillfully employs dynamic poses to enhance the drama of the narrative, and his vibrant choice of red alludes to the bloodshed in the tale. The artist embellishes the central figures on both panels with grisaille bas-reliefs and trompe l’oeil imitation of columns and stone, a rare example of Antique-inspired decoration within the artist’s oeuvre. https://www.christies.com/lot/lot-6452011?ldp_breadcrumb=back&intObjectID=6452011&from=salessummary&lid=1

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, French Artist, 1841-1919
Panel for Oedipus: Jocasta, and Panel for Oedipus: King Oedipus
Both Panels:circa 1895, Oil on Canvas, 96.1 x 36.5 cm, Private Collection
https://www.christies.com/lot/lot-6452011?ldp_breadcrumb=back&intObjectID=6452011&from=salessummary&lid=1
https://www.mutualart.com/Artwork/Panneau-pour-Odipe–Odipe-roi/676741683B0A87196FE13FBA024B87C8

Both paintings are indicative of Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s interest in the world of Antiquity, and particularly his reaction to the Pompeiian wall paintings he saw, and deeply admired, when he visited Italy in the fall of 1881 to mid-January 1882. In an 1882 letter to Mme George Charpentiere, he wrote… J’ai beaucoup étudié le Musée de Naples, les peintures de Pompéi sont extrêmement intéressantes à tous points de vue… https://chat.openai.com/c/c667ff6c-ca07-41ec-a3b0-29c824c174c3 Renoir’s Trip to Italy by Barbara Ehrlich White, The Art Bulletin, Vol. 51, No. 4 (Dec., 1969), pp. 333-351 (29 pages) p.350

Mythology, figures of ancient tragedy, (Project for Oedipus), 1895, oil on Canvas, 41,2 x 24,4 x 2 cm, Musée Picasso, Paris, France
https://www.palazzoroverella.com/renoir-alba-di-un-nuovo-classicismo/
Mythology, figures of ancient tragedy, (Project for Oedipus), 1895, oil on Canvas, 41,2 x 24,4 x 2 cm, Musée Picasso, Paris, France
https://www.palazzoroverella.com/renoir-alba-di-un-nuovo-classicismo/

The paintings of Oedipus and Jocasta were part of a commission by Paul Sébastien Gallimard, one of the artist’s most important patrons, and a close friend. They were meant to decorate a room in Gallimard’s country house, dedicated to Greek theatre. Once more quoting Christie’s experts Renoir’s panels reveal a combination of influences, from Ancient wall painting, to Louis XVI panelling and the Directoire style of furniture and ornament. A related study depicting mythological figures that Renoir worked on for this commission is now in the collection of the Musée Picasso in Paris and was previously owned by Pablo Picasso himself. For reasons that remain unknown, the room was never completed and the panels remained in Renoir’s studio until the artist’s death. https://www.christies.com/en/auction/ancient-to-modern-art-from-the-mougins-museum-of-classical-art-part-i-29973/

Both paintings were auctioned by Christie’s on the 7th of December 2023 (Ancient to Modern Art from the Mougins Museum of Classical Art).

For a Student Activity inspired by Oedipus Rex and Jocasta by Renoir, please… Check HERE!

The Temple of Segesta by Thomas Cole

Thomas Cole, American Artist, 1801-1848
The Temple of Segesta with the Artist Sketching, circa 1842, oil on canvas, 49.8×76.5 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cole_Thomas_The_Temple_of_Segesta_with_the_Artist_Sketching_1843.jpg

O that I was there again, and in the same spirit! wrote Thomas Cole in 1834, in the letter he sent to William Dunlap, for publication in the latter’s book, the ‘History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design in the United States’. The artist was fortunate to revisit Italy in 1841/42, from November 1841 through May 1842. These seven months in Italy marked one of the artist’s most productive periods, during which dozens of canvases were created, most of them showcasing the architectural glory of Italy’s antiquity. My new BLOG POST, The Temple of Segesta by Thomas Cole, features one of these paintings, presenting an intriguing example of a combined landscape and self-portrait scene! https://www.kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu/node/11262

The Temple of Segesta stands as an iconic testament to ancient Greek architecture, nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of northwestern Sicily, in Italy. Believed to have been constructed around the 5th century BC by the Elymians, an indigenous Sicilian people, the Temple is a magnificent Doric structure that has endured centuries, maintaining its grandeur and allure. The temple’s majestic columns, characterized by their timeless simplicity, rise proudly against the backdrop of rolling hills, creating a scene of remarkable historical resonance. Surrounded by an aura of mystery, the Temple of Segesta invites visitors to embark on a journey through the remnants of classical antiquity, offering a glimpse into the rich cultural tapestry of the region. Its enduring presence and architectural splendor make the Temple of Segesta a captivating destination for history enthusiasts and admirers, like Thomas Cole, of ancient civilizations alike.

Temple of Segesta Seen from the site of the ancient town, built in the 420s BC, Sicily, Italy https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Segesta-bjs-1.jpg

The Temple of Segesta by Thomas Cole, housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, is a captivating artistic rendition that brings the ancient structure to life on canvas. Executed during the artist’s visit to Italy in 1841/42, the painting reflects Cole’s mastery in capturing the essence of historical and architectural marvels. The Temple of Segesta, with its majestic silhouette, becomes a focal point within the artwork, surrounded by the lush landscapes that often characterize Cole’s romanticized depictions. The meticulous attention to detail and the play of light and shadow in the painting evoke a sense of timelessness, transporting viewers to the ancient realm of Segesta.

A fascinating element unfolds as the artist ingeniously incorporates a self-portrait within the scene. The composition subtly reveals Cole in the act of sketching, positioned within the broader landscape of the ancient temple. Through skillful brushstrokes and nuanced details, Cole captures himself engaged in the artistic process, seamlessly blending the realms of creation and observation. The inclusion of the self-portrait adds a layer of narrative depth, inviting viewers to contemplate the intersection of the artist’s presence with the historical and architectural subject matter. This deliberate inclusion not only showcases Cole’s technical prowess but also provides a unique perspective into the artist’s connection with the Temple of Segesta, creating a dynamic interplay between the observer, the artist, and the timeless beauty of the depicted scene.

As a part of the Metropolitan Museum’s collection, this painting not only preserves the beauty of the Temple of Segesta but also serves as a testament to Thomas Cole’s enduring legacy of capturing the spirit of both nature and history through his art.

Thomas Cole, born on February 1, 1801, in Bolton-le-Moors, Lancashire, England, emerged as a prominent figure in 19th-century American art, particularly as the founder of the Hudson River School. Emigrating to the United States with his family in 1818, Cole’s early artistic endeavors unfolded in Philadelphia before he gained recognition for his landscape paintings that depicted the American wilderness in its sublime beauty. His career took a significant turn when he traveled to Europe in the 1820s, absorbing the influences of European art and cultivating a deep appreciation for classical and historical subjects. Returning to the U.S., Cole’s panoramic landscapes, marked by meticulous detail and romanticism, established him as a leading artist of his time. Notable works like “The Course of Empire” series and his depictions of the Catskill Mountains solidified his reputation. Thomas Cole’s untimely death in 1848 marked the conclusion of a prolific career that left an indelible mark on American landscape painting, inspiring generations of artists to come.

For a Student Activity inspired by Thomas Cole’s landscape paintings, please… Check HERE!

Interesting to read: History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design in the United States, by William Dunlop, in 2 Volumes, George P. Scott and Company, Printers, 1834 https://books.google.gr/books?id=tJNAAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA364&lpg=PA364&dq=%E2%80%9CO+that+I+was+there+again,+and+in+the+same+spirit!%E2%80%9D&source=bl&ots=F_JtbUxzrG&sig=ACfU3U0zijol2CsenuZbywUHWpAkvYNP0w&hl=el&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi6xKiZyfeCAxXoR_EDHejjAKgQ6AF6BAgJEAM#v=onepage&q=%E2%80%9CO%20that%20I%20was%20there%20again%2C%20and%20in%20the%20same%20spirit!%E2%80%9D&f=false

Fireplace Artistry and Overmantel Splendor at Queens’ College

Old Hall, Queen’s College, The Hall’s Fireplace, Cambridge, UK https://www.flickr.com/photos/costi-londra/2670523596
January, designed possibly by Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898), or possibly by William Morris (1834 – 3 October 1896) https://www.queens.cam.ac.uk/visiting-the-college/history/college-facts/the-buildings/morris-co-tiles

Step into the enchanting world of this English Medieval Ballad, where each stanza unfolds the rhythm of the passing months, offering a vivid glimpse into the seasonal activities of a bygone era. The verses paint a pastoral tableau, capturing the essence of daily life through the lens of nature’s cycles… Januar By thys fyre I warme my handys; / Februar And with my spade I delfe my landys. / Marche Here I sette my thynge to sprynge; / Aprile And here I here the fowlis synge. / Maij I am as lyght as byrde in bowe; / Junij And I wede my corne well I-now. / Julij With my sythe my mede I mawe; / Auguste And here I shere my corne full lowe. / September With my flayll I erne my brede; / October And here I sawe my whete so rede. / November At Martynesmasse I kylle my swyne; / December And at Cristesmasse I drynke redde wyne… next, step into the pictorial world of the Arts and Crafts Movement and the splendid Fireplace Artistry and Overmantel Splendor at Queens’ College, in Cambridge.

Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. was a notable design and decorative arts firm that operated in England during the second half of the 19th century. The company was founded in 1861 by a group of artists and designers, including William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones, Ford Madox Brown, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Philip Webb, Charles Faulkner, and Peter Paul Marshall. The firm played a crucial role in the Arts and Crafts Movement, which emerged as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution and mass production. The firm’s influence extended beyond its immediate time, and its principles had a lasting impact on design and the decorative arts. The emphasis on quality craftsmanship and the use of natural materials became enduring themes in subsequent design movements.

Artists collaborating with Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., UK Company, 1861–1875
Overmantel Panel decorated with ceramic Tiles depicting the two Queens’ College foundress queens, the two patron saints, the Angel of Night, the Angel of Day, and a Labour of the Month for each of the twelve months, Installed in 1864, modified in 1873, in 1875, Old Hall, Queen’s College, Cambridge, UK https://www.queens.cam.ac.uk/visiting-the-college/history/college-facts/the-buildings/morris-co-tiles

Queens College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Cambridge in England. The college was founded in 1448 by Margaret of Anjou, the Queen of Henry VI. The Old Hall is one of the oldest, most notable buildings within the college. It is located on the college’s main site, known as the Old Court. The Hall was originally constructed in the late 15th century and has undergone various modifications and renovations over the centuries. It serves various functions, including dining, events, and ceremonies. https://www.queens.cam.ac.uk/visiting-the-college/history/college-facts/the-buildings/old-hall-chronology

In 1861–4, the Hall’s classical fireplace was removed, and a new fireplace was erected, designed by the architect G.F. Bodley, of alabaster and tiles… the decoration of which includes a red rose (House of Lancaster: Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou), a white rose (House of York: Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville), and the college’s motto: Floreat Domus. Painted above the fireplace, Philip Webb designed the eleven coats of arms of the college’s founders, foundresses, and benefactors. Further up, in 1864, a composition of painted tiles created by the artists of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. were installed as an overmantel decorative piece which by 1873 depicted the two foundress queens, the two patron saints, the Angel of Night, the Angel of Day, and a Labour of the Month for each of the twelve months of the year. The spaces between the represented figures are filled by tiles decorated with a swan design in blue. The tiles of this design, which appear for the first time around 1863-64, are divided by a linear grid into squares, in which a stylized swan alternates with a diagonally-placed twig. The entire tile panel is framed by a border with a foliate pattern in blue. https://www.queens.cam.ac.uk/visiting-the-college/history/college-facts/the-buildings/old-hall-chronology and https://www.queens.cam.ac.uk/files/downloads/tile_decoration_by_morris_and_co_0.pdf

According to Dr. Michaela Braesel, the popular representations of the Labours of the Months, with their lettered scrolls, were inspired by 15th-century Calendars found in Books of Hours at the University Library. The tiles produced by Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. were created by various artists collaborating with the company. While some tiles can be confidently attributed to specific Company artists, the exact attribution for others, such as January, remains uncertain.

Today, on January 1, 2024, we turn our attention to the January scene, the most surprising of all the tiles featured in the Queens’ College fireplace panel. Designed either by Edward Burne-Jones or William Morris, it presents an unusual depiction within a calendar context—the ancient Roman god Janus holding a key and a wheel. Janus is associated with doorways, gates, transitions, and beginnings. Depicted with two faces, one looking forward and the other backward, this duality symbolizes his role as a god of both beginnings and endings, as well as his ability to perceive both the past and the future.

January, designed possibly by Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898), or possibly by William Morris (1834 – 3 October 1896) https://www.queens.cam.ac.uk/visiting-the-college/history/college-facts/the-buildings/morris-co-tiles

One of Janus’s two heads is turned towards the old year and is characterized as an old bearded king, while the other, which looks to the future, shows a young king in profile. In his right hand, correctly depicted by either Morris or Burne Jones, Janus holds his traditional attribute, a key, while his left hand is shown resting on a wheel. The key signifies the end of the previous year, while the wheel might possibly hint at the wheel of Fortune, since what the coming year will bring remains unknown. https://www.queens.cam.ac.uk/files/downloads/tile_decoration_by_morris_and_co_0.pdf

As a guardian of entrances and exits, Janus was invoked at the commencement of significant events and ceremonies. The first month of the year, January, is named after him. In addition to his association with time and transitions, Janus was also regarded as a god of diplomacy and peace, as he could oversee and facilitate communication between different phases or states.

Janus was perfectly chosen, in my humble opinion, to mark the beginning of the New Year. Allow me to use his attributes and wish you all… Peace, a bright Future, and a Happy New Beginning!

For a PowerPoint on all Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. Tiles for the Old Hall, Queens’ College, Overmantel Fireplace Panel, fully identified and explained, please… Check Here!

Study for Ta Kalanta by Nikephoros Lytras

Nikephoros Lytras, Greek Artist, 1832 – 1904
Study for Τα Κάλαντα (Carols), 1870s, Oil on Cardboard, 17,3 x 22,5 cm, National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum, Corfu Annex, Greece
https://www.nationalgallery.gr/en/artwork/study-for-carols/

Good Evening Kings, / if it’s your will / the divine birth of Christ / I’ll sing in your mansion. / Christ is born today, / in the city of Bethlehem, / the heavens are rejoicing, / all the nature rejoices. / Inside the cave is being born, / in a manger of horses, / The King of heavens / The Creator of all. / In this house, we’ve come / may no stone ever crack, / and the master of the house / may live for many years! Carols, known as Kalanta in Greek, are a beloved tradition for children worldwide. In Greece, during the Christmas season and New Year, Kalanta is joyously sung by children with great enthusiasm and gusto. This festive scene is precisely captured in our Christmas Eve BLOG POST titled… Study for Ta Kalanta by Nikephoros Lytras. https://hcc.edu.gr/greek-christmas-carols-meaning-and-translations/

This is an iconic work in Greek art, created in the 1870s while Lytras was Professor of Painting at the National Technical University in Athens. The painting, a genre scene inspired by Greek culture, is characteristic of Lytras’ style, which reflects the influence of the School of Munich. It combines academic principles, a realistic and detailed representation of what is presented, and a romanticized approach to the genre subject matter, a group of children singing Kalanta, the festive tradition during the Holidays Season.

The painting I am presenting, Study for Ta Kalanta by Nikephoros Lytras, is exhibited in the Corfu Annex of the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum of Greece. It is, as the title connotates, a ‘Study” of the iconic larger oil on canvas painting by Lytras, Ta Kalanta, held in a private collection. Both paintings, apart from capturing a festive moment in Greek tradition, reflect the broader artistic and cultural movements of their time.

Nikephoros Lytras, Greek Artist, 1832 – 1904
Τα Κάλαντα (Carols), 1872, Oil on Canvas, 59×90 cm, Private collection https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lytras_Nikiforos_Carols.jpeg

Both paintings depict a group of five children in traditional attire, singing Kalanta in the rhythm of the drum and the flute. They are not alone. In front of the open door of a humble household, the five protagonists are watched by a young mother, cradling a baby in her arms. Interestingly, a sixth boy is added in the final version of Ta Kalanta. He emerges from behind the high fence wall, next to the courtyard’s leafless tree, gazing with curiosity at the unfolding scene of merriment.

Nikephoros Lytras masterfully crafted a scene of fading light, with the moon ascending in the sky and a small lantern flickering in the firm grip of one of the performers. This comes as no surprise, given that during Lytras’s era, children would sing carols after sunset, a tradition that continues to thrive in numerous rural regions of Greece to this day.

The artist intends to convey more than what I have already presented. In both of his paintings, a rich tapestry of symbolism unfolds. The mother’s offering of pomegranate fruits symbolizes not only rebirth but also abundance. The presence of a straw broom by the door and a leafless tree in the courtyard serves as a poignant representation of hardships and poverty, yet it carries an underlying message of hope for brighter days ahead. Adjacent to the other side of the door, an ancient Greek sculpture of a Nike figure hints at the enduring strength of the Greek people, serving as the foundation for future growth and fortune.

Both paintings of Τα Κάλαντα are regarded as masterpieces within Lytras’ body of work, exemplifying his capacity to seamlessly integrate technical expertise with a profound comprehension of Greek culture. By skillfully depicting children as the bearers and preservers of Greek cultural legacies Lytras connects the past with the present and sends the joyful message of camaraderie of all people, defying limitations, and discrimination. Celebrated for their emotional resonance, these artworks highlight the artist’s dedication to encapsulating the essence of Life.

Χρόνια Πολλά και πάντα ΚΑΛΑ!!!

For a PowerPoint titled 14 Masterpieces by Nikephoros Lytras, please… Check HERE!

The First Kiss of Sunlight      

Jean-Léon Gérôme, French Artist, 1824–1904
The First Kiss of the Sun, 1886, Oil on Canvas laid on Board, 54 x 100.4 cm, Private Collection https://www.christies.com/en/lot/lot-6438415

Characterized by Ackerman as “The most beautifully composed and painted of Gérôme‘s landscapes”. The First Kiss of the Sun was painted in 1886, six years after Gérôme‘s last trip to Egypt. https://www.christies.com/en/lot/lot-6438415 (G.M. Ackerman, Jean-Léon Gérome, London, 1986)

So… Who is Jean-Léon Gérôme? Why is his painting The First Kiss of the Sunso beautifully composed and painted? What do we know about his artistic achievements? Let’s explore Jean-Léon Gérôme’s oeuvre … by answering some questions!

Nadar, French Artist, 1820–1910               
Photo Portrait of French Artist Jean-Léon Gérôme
https://www.artrenewal.org/Artwork/Index/33046

Who is Jean-Léon Gérôme? He is a prominent 19th-century French academic painter, sculptor, and teacher known for his historical and Orientalist works. He was born on May 11, 1824, in Vesoul, France, and passed away on January 10, 1904, in Paris. Gérôme began his artistic training at an early age, studying under Paul Delaroche, a renowned historical painter. He later attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he developed a meticulous and highly detailed style that characterized much of his work. His artistry drew heavily from historical and classical themes, often depicting scenes from ancient civilizations and mythology.

How and Why did Gérôme become famous? During the 1850s and 1860s, Gérôme gained widespread recognition and success for his paintings, which often featured archaeological and ethnographic elements. He was particularly acclaimed for his Orientalist pieces, showcasing scenes from the Middle East and North Africa, illustrating the exoticism and culture of these regions. He was a skilled draftsman as well, utilizing precise anatomical and architectural details in his work. His paintings were characterized by their careful composition, vibrant colors, and the depiction of intricate textures. He also explored themes of academic classicism, often depicting heroic or mythological figures.

How is an ‘Orientalist’ artist described? An “Orientalist” artist refers to a Western artist, usually from Europe or North America, who specializes in creating art that focuses on the depiction of the Orient. The Orient, in this context, typically referred to regions of the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Asia. Orientalist artists were active primarily during the 19th and early 20th centuries, although the influence of Orientalism extends beyond this time frame.

Orientalist artists focused on portraying scenes, landscapes, people, and cultures from the Eastern world. These scenes often included depictions of daily life, historical events, architecture, landscapes, and various customs prevalent in the Orient. They often emphasized the exotic and romantic aspects of the Orient. Artists presented these regions as mysterious, alluring, and different from the Western world. The art was often intended to captivate and fascinate Western audiences.

Why is Gérôme considered to be an Orientalist artist? Gérôme is widely recognized for his artistic focus on depicting scenes, landscapes, and people from the Orient, particularly the Middle East and North Africa. He had, for example, a deep connection to Egypt that greatly influenced his artwork. This connection was primarily through his travels to Egypt, seven times to be precise, and his fascination with its culture, architecture, and history. Gérôme’s interest in Egypt is reflected in a significant portion of his body of work, particularly his Orientalist paintings and sculptures.

How is Gérôme’s painting ‘The First Kiss of the Sun’ best described? According to Christie’s, where The First Kiss of the Sun was auctioned in 2023, the painting dates from 1886, six years after Gérome’s last trip to Egypt. This is probably one of the artist’s most accomplished landscapes. It shows the pyramids of Giza suffused in the golden morning light of the desert sun. This view is from the west, as seen from the rising sun illuminating the summit of each pyramid. The ethereal appearance of the distant pyramids contrasts dramatically with the clearly detailed foreground. Moreover, the haze created by the sand and sunlight lends the picture an air of otherworldliness. The head of the Sphinx is just visible in the middle background. https://www.christies.com/en/lot/lot-6438415

In The First Kiss of the Sun Gérôme provides a carefully detailed and beautifully rendered scene of the Giza Plateau, one of the most iconic archaeological sites in Egypt. Interestingly, the painting features the Pharaonic funerary buildings in the background along with a contemporary Bedouin camp in the foreground. The artist captures the soft and ethereal light of the rising sun, which casts a cooler, in my opinion, golden/violet glow on the ancient structures and the surrounding landscape.

How did Gérôme manage to leave a lasting impact on the art world? In addition to his artistic achievements, Gérôme was an influential teacher, serving as a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He mentored many aspiring artists, leaving a lasting impact on the art world through his teachings. Throughout his career, Jean-Léon Gérôme received numerous awards and honors, solidifying his reputation as a leading academic artist of the 19th century. Despite changing artistic trends, his work continues to be appreciated and studied for its historical significance and technical mastery.

For a PowerPoint Presentation of Jean-Léon Gérôme’s Paintings of Egypt, please… Check HERE!

The use of light and shadow accentuates the form and texture of the Pyramids, enhancing the sense of depth and three-dimensionality. Gérôme’s meticulous attention to detail is evident in the accurate rendering of the architectural elements and the presentation of the ‘exotic’ Bedouin camp site. The overall composition conveys a sense of awe and reverence for the historical and cultural significance of the site.

October by Jules Bastien-Lepage

Jules Bastien-Lepage, French artist, 18480-1884
October, 1878, oil on canvas, 180.7 x 196.0 cm, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_(painting)#/media/File:Jules_Bastien-Lepage_-_October_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

October is the treasurer of the year, / And all the months pay bounty to her store; / The fields and orchards still their tribute bear, / And fill her brimming coffers more and more… The painting October by Jules Bastien-Lepage fills October’s brimming coffers with… ordinary potatoes, and back-breaking labor. Yet, there is such dignity in Bastien-Lepage’s presentation of this unassuming composition, that I would like to explore it more… https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/october-39/comments/  

Jules Bastien-Lepage, French artist, 18480-1884
Self-portrait at 32 years old, 1880, oil on canvas, 31×25 cm, Musée Bastien-Lepage, Clos Raymond, France
https://www.vosgesmatin.fr/art-et-culture/2019/05/12/autoportrait

Bastien-Lepage produced a collection of deeply personal artworks, firmly establishing his position within the Naturalism movement’s historical timeline. His oeuvre is focused on three main areas of art, namely, depicting realistic genre themes, creating rural landscapes, and fashioning truthful portraits. The sincerity portrayed in his paintings gained him a loyal following not only in France but also across Europe. Beauty, I am convinced, Jules Bastien-Lepage once said, is the exact truth: neither to the right nor to the left, but in the middle!  https://www.theartstory.org/artist/bastien-lepage-jules/

The artist was born (November 1, 1848)  in Damvillers, France, and showed an early talent for art. He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he was influenced by the works of the Barbizon School painters, particularly Jean-Baptiste Corot and Gustave Courbet. Bastien-Lepage’s style combined elements of Realism with a focus on capturing the effects of light and atmosphere. His approach to painting often involved working directly from nature, capturing the effects of light and the nuances of everyday life. His subjects included landscapes, portraits, and genre scenes, all characterized by meticulous attention to detail and a sense of honesty and seriousness.

Unfortunately, Jules Bastien-Lepage’s career was cut short when he died at the age of thirty-six. His work, however, had a significant impact on the development of Naturalism and influenced many artists who followed. Today, regarded as an important figure in the history of 19th-century French art, Bastien-Lepage is respected for the sincerity, and the dignity with which he depicted the Meuse region in which he grew up, and the workers and peasants who his brush rendered! https://www.theartstory.org/artist/bastien-lepage-jules/

For the Paris Salon Bastien-Lepage created and exhibited a pair of Harvest Scenes that marked a new direction in his career as a painter. The earlier of the two works, The Haymakers, (today, in the Musée d’Orsay), exhibited at the Salon in 1878, shows two weary haymakers resting in the summer heat. The second painting, exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1879, and titled October or The Potato Harvest, (today, in the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia) is an account of the bleak autumnal potato harvest, set in a bare, featureless landscape. Both paintings, powerfully rendered, and careful studies of life in the fields, had a considerable influence on the art scene of the time. Both paintings created a new trend in art, and, without intention on Bastien-Lepage’s part, the painter of the Meusian peasants became the head of an Art School. https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/collection/work/3768/

October or The Potato Harvest was an 1879 Salon success. Carried out on a large canvas, the painting indicates Bastien-Lepage’s ambitious artistic program but also bespeaks his confidence in his own technical virtuosity. The artist presents its theme in a solemn key, with warm yet sober colours, and an exquisite understanding of the country in the late summer. It was powerfully executed, full of vigor, serenity, and the ability to combine the high ‘finish’ expected of a conventional academic picture with the looser brushwork associated with the Impressionists. https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/collection/work/3768/

Jules Bastien-Lepage, French artist, 18480-1884
October (detail), 1878, oil on canvas, 180.7 x 196.0 cm, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
https://www.flickr.com/photos/eoskins/19429557290

The Salon audience noticed the painting’s artistic power, and the Russian painter Vasily Surikov upon seeing it in Paris wrote to his colleague Pavel Chistyakov… I want to talk about those few works that have true dignity. Take Bastien-Lepage’s picture of a Woman Picking Potatoes. The face is both painted and written as living. Everything is written in the air. Reflexes, color, everything is so whole, unbroken, that it is a miracle. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_(painting)

For a PowerPoint on the artistic oeuvre of Jules Bastien-Lepage, please… Check HERE!

Interesting to read is the book Jules Bastien-Lepage and His Art. A Memoir. Written by the artist’s friend Andre Theuriet, the entire book is free and online at… https://archive.org/details/julesbastienlepa00theu/page/50/mode/2up

A Coign of Vantage by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, O.M., R.A., R.W.S., Anglo-Dutch Artist, 1836-1912
A Coign of Vantage, 1895, Oil on Canvas, 63.8 x 44.7 cm, Private Collection https://www.telegraph.co.uk/art/what-to-see/alma-tadema-home-antiquity-leighton-house-museum-review/

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema was a renowned Dutch-born British painter who had a profound interest in Roman antiquity. He was one of the leading artists of the late 19th century and early 20th century, specializing in historical and classical subjects. Alma-Tadema’s fascination with Roman antiquity was central to his artistic vision and played a significant role in shaping his career. The painting A Coign of Vantage by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, regarded as one of the artist’s quintessential masterpieces, is a favourite of mine! SIR LAWRENCE ALMA-TADEMA, O.M., R.A., R.W.S. (BRITISH, 1836-1912) (christies.com)

The painting A Coign of Vantage by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema has an interesting title! The phrase comes from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, no jutty, frieze, Buttresss, nor coign of vantage, but this bird Hath made his pendent bed and was later popularized by Sir Walter Scott. The word coign, meaning a projecting corner or cornerstone, is a variant of the coin from Old French meaning ‘wedge, corner, die’, from Latin cuneus ‘wedge’. Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s painting is perfectly titled! https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/coign-vantage

The focal point of the painting is a group of three young women, elegantly dressed in vibrant gowns, olive green, beige, white, and pink, standing on a marbled terrace, over a thrilling, vertiginous drop, an advantageous viewpoint, overlooking the sea below. May I suggest this is the island of Capri and the Bay of Naples, in the distance? The women stand against a marble railing and gaze down at the sea, where a luxuriously decked trireme is depicted arriving. The composition is further enhanced with the addition of an impressive bronze sculpture of an animal, wreathed with vibrant yellow flowers. Was the artist inspired by the Egyptian Sphinx he probably saw in Villa San Michele on Capri? Alma-Tadema would have visited the famous Villa after inspecting the sites at Pompeii and Herculaneum, seeking inspiration for his pictures, and gathering material for use as props for his paintings. https://www.christies.com/lot/lot-6426695?ldp_breadcrumb=back&intObjectID=6426695&from=salessummary&lid=1

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, O.M., R.A., R.W.S., Anglo-Dutch Artist, 1836-1912
A Coign of Vantage (detail), 1895, Oil on Canvas, 63.8 x 44.7 cm, Private Collection https://makeupandbeautyblog.com/daily-photo/more-pics-of-a-coign-of-vantage/
The Sphinx at Villa San Michele, approximately 3200 years old, Red Granite, Villa San Michele, Anacapri, Italy https://www.villasanmichele.eu/collection

The painting A Coign of Vantage is a prime example of Alma-Tadema’s ability to transport viewers to a distant time and place, evoking a sense of nostalgia and fascination for the grandeur of ancient Rome. The painting captures the artist’s dedication to historical accuracy, his love for opulent settings, and his skill in creating an alluring atmosphere through his meticulous technique. This is a picture of grand luxe, according to the experts at Christie’s, ease and well-being, an escapist fantasy perfectly attuned to the wishes of a picture-buying public who reveled in the warmth of its Mediterranean light. At the height of his fame, his pictures of Ancient Rome, wealthy, secure, and insouciant, reflected the success enjoyed by the newly rich plutocrats of Victorian Britain, who had made their fortunes building another Empire, a couple of millennia later. https://www.christies.com/lot/lot-6426695?ldp_breadcrumb=back&intObjectID=6426695&from=salessummary&lid=1

A view of the Blue Parlor in the Temple of Wings Mansion, and Alma-Tadema’s painting ‘A Coign of Vantage’ as displayed in the Parlor… The contents of the Ann and Gordon Getty Collection in their Mansion, The Temple of Wings were auctioned at Christie’s (May 31 – June 15, 2023) https://www.artandobject.com/news/masterpieces-alma-tadema-moore-and-bouguereau-headline-getty-collection-auction

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, born as Lourens Alma Tadema on January 8, 1836, and died on June 25, 1912, was a Dutch-born British painter. He is known for his meticulously detailed and beautifully rendered paintings depicting scenes from ancient civilizations, particularly ancient Rome, and Egypt. Alma-Tadema’s works often portrayed opulent interiors, lavish costumes, and intricate architectural details, capturing the splendor and decadence of the ancient world.

His paintings typically featured historical or mythological themes, and he was known for his thorough research and attention to detail. Alma-Tadema would often reconstruct historically accurate settings for his works, using models, props, and costumes to bring his visions to life. His compositions were carefully arranged, with an emphasis on color, light, and texture. They were highly sought after, and he had a significant influence on later artists. His attention to detail and ability to create immersive and visually stunning scenes made him one of the most successful painters of the late 19th century.

For a PowerPoint presentation of 10 Important Paintings by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema inspired by Ancient Rome, please… Check HERE!

Les Meules à Giverny simply means The Stacks at Giverny

Claude Monet, French Artist, 1840-1926
Stacks of Wheat (End of Summer), 1890/91, Oil on canvas, 60 × 100.5 cm, The Art Institute of Chicago, USA https://www.artic.edu/artworks/64818/stacks-of-wheat-end-of-summer

My new BLOG POST title,  Les Meules à Giverny simply means The Stacks at Giverny,  refers to twenty-five paintings that Claude Monet began near the end of the summer, the month of August, of 1890, and continued through the following spring… Information about Les Meules à Giverny comes from Monet Paintings and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago | Cats. 27–33  Stacks of Wheat, 1890/91 (artic.edu) Cats. 27–33  Stacks of Wheat, 1890/91, and Monet’s Haystacks Reconsidered by Richard R. Brettell, Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Autumn, 1984), pp. 4-21 (19 pages) https://www.jstor.org/stable/4115885?read-now=1#page_scan_tab_contents, and https://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2019/impressionist-modern-art-evening-n10067/lot.8.html

Claude Monet painted his famous series Les Meules, or Stacks of Wheat, also commonly referred to as Haystacks series, in his house at Giverny in France, where he saw large stacks of wheat in his neighbor’s farm, a field adjacent to his property. The decade starting in 1890 was a happy one for the artist. He turned fifty, he was established as an artist and was considered to be the leader of the Impressionist movement. He bought the house in Giverny, a beautiful place he had rented since 1883, a life-long source of inspiration, and a property and gardens he loved. It was also in 1890 that he began work on his famous Meules series.

I’m working away at a series of different effects (of stacks), but at this time of year, the sun sets so quickly that I can’t keep up with it… Monet explained to his friend Gustave Geffroy, journalist, art critic, historian, and novelist, on October 7, 1890. I’m becoming so slow in my work that it makes me despair, but the further I go, the better I see that it takes a great deal of work to succeed in rendering what I want to render: ‘instantaneity,’ above all the enveloppe, the same light diffused over everything, and I’m more than ever disgusted at things that come easily, at the first attempt… he continued.

Claude Monet first exhibited his series of paintings titled Les Meules, in Paris on the 4th of May, 1891. The exhibition, along with seven more paintings by the artist, took place at the Galerie Durand-Ruel, a prominent art gallery in the city. Fifteen paintings of the ‘Haystacks’  series were placed together and hung in the same small Gallery room. The exhibition of Monet’s ‘Haystacks’ series was met with a positive critical response, and it achieved significant financial success.

Let me present you with two 1891 critical reviews of Les Meules à Giverny simply means The Stacks at Giverny.

The famed art critic, gallery director, art collector, and anarchist, Felix Fénéon, the man who introduced the term Neo-Impressionist, wrote about Monet in rhapsodic prose… When did Monet’s colors ever come together in more harmonious clamor, with more sparkling impetus? It was the evening sun that most exalted Grainstacks: in summer they were haloed in purple flakes of ire; in winter, their phosphorescent shadows rippled in the sun, and, a sudden frost enameling them blue, they glittered on a sky first pink, then gold (F. Fénéon quoted in D. Wildenstein, Monet or the Triumph of Impressionism, Cologne, 1996, pp. 279-80).

Les Meules à Giverny by Claude Monet made the critic Gustave Geffroy wonder if Monet, a dear friend of his, saw the poetry of the universe in the restricted space of a field… I love it!

Today, experts on Claude Monet’s achievements, and particularly the famous Meules, examine the series as a whole and draw favorable conclusions about the artist’s ability in capturing the transient nature of light, the ever-changing atmosphere, and the passage of time, and Monet’s mastery in depicting the subtle variations of color and light. The general consensus is that Monet skillfully depicted the interplay between sunlight and shadows, creating a luminous quality in the ‘Heystacks’paintings. His use of broken color and loose brushwork allows the viewer’s eye to blend the colors optically, resulting in a vibrant and harmonious visual experience.

I particularly like how Paul Hays Tucker describes Monet’s organization… The compositions are all strongly geometric—the fields, hills, and sky being reduced to parallel bands that in most cases extend across the entire canvas, with the fields occupying approximately half the surface, and the hills and sky, a quarter each. When fifteen of these canvases were exhibited at Durand-Ruel’s in Paris between May 4 and May 18, 1891, their impact was as forceful as their elemental motifs and the show was an enormous success…. In moving from one canvas to another, one senses not only the many artful choices Monet made, but also his deep engagement with the stacks themselves. They are never overwhelmed by the light or obscured by the atmosphere, and thus they never lose their identity as forms. Monet even goes so far as to outline them, often in bold colors, and to define their conical tops by rivulets of light that run down their undulating edges. Although inert, the stacks seem to be invested with great feeling… P. H. Tucker, Monet in the ‘90s, The Series Paintings (exhibition catalog), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1989, pp. 77 & 82 https://archive.org/details/monetin90sseries00tuck

For a Student Activity on Les Meules à Giverny, simply means The Stacks at Giverny, please… Check HERE!

La Passagère du 54 – Promenade en Yacht

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, French Artist, 1864-1901
La Passagère du 54 – Promenade en Yacht, 1893-1899, Album of 12 lithographs printed on superior Vélin paper, 448/750, 52.6 × 36 cm, Printed by Mourlot Frères, Paris, and André Thiry, Brittany, published by Librairie Gründ, Paris, 1948, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens

In the summer of 1895 Lautrec embarked on a voyage from Le Havre to Bordeaux with Maurice Guibert, on the steamer Le Chili.  During the voyage he discovered a young woman, one of his fellow passengers, in cabin No. 54, who was on her way to join her husband, a colonial official in Senegal. He was so fascinated by her beauty that, despite protests from Guibert, he determined to stay on board once the ship reached Bordeaux and continue south with the vessel.  It was not until they reached Lisbon that his friend succeeded in getting Lautrec — who was determined to carry on as far as Dakar — off the ship. Guibert then took the artist via Madrid and Toledo to the spa of Taussat, and the trip ended in late summer near Bordeaux, at the Château de Malromé, the main residence of Lautrec’s mother. This is how La Passagère du 54 – Promenade en Yacht by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was inspired and created! A fascinating story… http://www.maitres-des-arts-graphiques.com/Toulouse-Lautrec,%20Passagere.html  

Back in Paris, Toulouse-Lautrec carefully and swiftly developed his, now-famous, lithograph La passagère du 54 – Promenade en Yacht. The stylish young, red-haired woman of the lithograph was apparently unaware of the artist’s presence, the two were never introduced, and her name is unknown. What apparently captured the artist’s eye was the way the young woman leisurely reclined in a striped chair on the yacht’s deck. What captivated his soul was her air of nonchalance, the way she gazed at the sea and the ships sailing by… her dreamlike demeanor that beautifully captured the essence of opulent living.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, French Artist, 1864-1901
La Passagère du 54 – Promenade en Yacht, 1896, Lithograph in olive green, 596 by 400 mm, Private Collection

Working with a few scant references… his memory, a photograph secretly taken on board by his friend, the photographer Maurice Guibert, and sketches he did, based on the photograph, Toulouse-Lautrec finished his coloured lithograph by the end of autumn 1895. The lithograph skillfully depicted the casual and fleeting nature of a quick glance, reflecting a style that Lautrec had honed in his paintings and prints during the 1890s. He executed the work with a keen and swift hand, using graphite for precise touches. The focus was on the figure, delicately outlining details such as the upper edge of the straw boater hat, the swept-back hair, the contours of the shirt and jacket lapel, the seam and fold in the puffed shoulder of the sleeve, the meticulous upturn of the glove cuff, the graceful curves of the deck chair, and the smooth shading on the cover of the open book. These adjustments appear to correspond to the red highlights that were included in the coloured version.

The warm, yellowish tones of the deck, chair, and the woman’s hair harmoniously blend with the vibrant blues of the sea and the text (in the later, poster version), showcasing the artist’s masterful understanding and application of colour. This skillful use of colour invites the viewers to immerse themselves in the private world of the young woman, allowing them to intimately experience the cozy and tranquil atmosphere depicted in the artwork.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, French Artist, 1864-1901
La Passagère du 54 – Promenade en Yacht, 1895–96. Color lithographic poster, 60.4 × 39.7 cm, Princeton University Art Museum
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, French Artist, 1864-1901
La Passagère du 54 – Promenade en Yacht, 1895, Lithograph on cream Japon Impérial paper in olive green, 600×400 mm, Private Collection

Maurice Joyant, gallerist, and biographer of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec wrote for the poster of the beautiful passagèreChose exquise de ton, d’élégance, d’expression de laisser-aller, de la douceur de vivre, le regard errant, par beau temps. http://www.maitres-des-arts-graphiques.com/Toulouse-Lautrec,%20Passagere.html

For a Student Activity titled Exploring Toulouse-Lautrec’s Iconic Posters, please… Check HERE!

A short Video of La Passagère du 54 – Promenade en Yacht, created by NGA of Australia, is recommended… https://searchthecollection.nga.gov.au/object/168065

Memories steeped in dream, The Art of the Multiple, from the Collection of the Basil & Εlise Goulandris Foundation (05.08 – 03.12 2023) is an upcoming Exhibition in the B&E Goulandris Foundation, in Athens, Greece. Artworks by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Aristide Maillol, Henri Matisse, Fernand Léger, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Joan Miró, and Balthus will be presented. The lithograph of La Passagère will be among the Stars of the Exhibition! https://goulandris.gr/en/exhibition/memories-steeped-in-dream#

Photo Credits: https://goulandris.gr/el/exhibition/memories-steeped-in-dream and https://static.artmuseum.princeton.edu/mirador3/?manifest=https://data.artmuseum.princeton.edu/iiif/objects/10362&canvas=https://data.artmuseum.princeton.edu/iiif/objects/10362/canvas/10362-canvas-121774 and https://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2014/prints-n09138/lot.139.html and http://www.maitres-des-arts-graphiques.com/Toulouse-Lautrec,%20Passagere.html