In the Month of July by Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël

Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël, Dutch Artist, 1828-1903
A Windmill on a Polder Waterway, Known as ‘In the Month of July’, 1889, oil on canvas, 102×66 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulodykes/41487209442

Behold! a giant am I! / Aloft here in my tower, / With my granite jaws I devour / The maize, and the wheat, and the rye, / And grind them into flour.     /     I look down over the farms; / In the fields of grain I see / The harvest that is to be, / And I fling to the air my arms, / For I know it is all for me.     …     Ah, how the world has changed / Since the days of the old windmill, / When July’s hot breath would still / Its sails, and the sun would parch and dry / The wind that once turned it at will! writes Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. His poem The Windmill captures the power and importance of windmills in the past, and how they were able to harness the power of the wind to grind grain into flour. The mention of July’s hot breath and the parching sun also gives a sense of the summer season. The painting In the Month of July by Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël exhibits the same characteristics. https://www.hwlongfellow.org/poems_poem.php?pid=311  

Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël (1828-1903) was a Dutch painter known for his landscape paintings. He was born in Amsterdam and trained at the Royal Academy of Art in that city. Gabriël’s early work was influenced by the Barbizon school of painting, which emphasized the realistic representation of nature. Later, he was influenced by the Hague School of Painting, which focused on capturing the atmosphere and mood of the landscape. Gabriël became a leading member of this movement.

His paintings often depict the Dutch countryside, with its wide open spaces, flat fields, and skies filled with clouds. He was particularly interested in the effects of light and atmosphere, and his work often has a serene and contemplative quality. Gabriël’s paintings were well received during his lifetime and he received numerous awards and honors. He exhibited regularly in the Netherlands and also showed his work in Paris and London. His paintings can be found in many museums around the world, including the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Gabriël was also a respected teacher and had many students who went on to become successful painters. He died in Scheveningen, Netherlands, in 1903.

Our country is saturated with colour. … I repeat, our country is not grey, not even in grey weather, nor are the dunes grey… wrote Constant Gabriël in a letter, and unlike many Hague School painters, he actually enjoyed depicting a beautiful summer day. The painting In the Month of July by Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël showcases exactly what he believed! https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/collection/SK-A-1505

Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël, Dutch Artist, 1828-1903
A Windmill on a Polder Waterway, Known as ‘In the Month of July’ (detail), 1889, oil on canvas, 102×66 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
https://www.facebook.com/artcast.tv/photos/a.163558460467584/1693309424159139/?paipv=0&eav=AfYjlWfaHMycMhlM4ACQ1Vz0rULzCzRoWXl-_3-zb_8JMGG0fhXBknkcrGxRS4Zq58w

The painting, completed in 1889 and currently in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, depicts a typical Dutch landscape in the height of summer. In the foreground, there is a field of tall grass and wildflowers, while in the distance there is a small village nestled among trees. The sky is filled with fluffy clouds, and the light of the sun is reflected in the water in the foreground. The painting is characteristic of Gabriël’s work, which often focused on the Dutch countryside and the effects of light and atmosphere. His paintings typically have a calm, contemplative quality, and ‘In the Month of July’ is no exception.

Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël, Dutch Artist, 1828-1903
A Windmill on a Polder Waterway, Known as ‘In the Month of July’ (detail), 1889, oil on canvas, 102×66 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
https://www.facebook.com/artcast.tv/photos/a.163558460467584/1693309424159139/?paipv=0&eav=AfYjlWfaHMycMhlM4ACQ1Vz0rULzCzRoWXl-_3-zb_8JMGG0fhXBknkcrGxRS4Zq58w

Gabriël was associated with the Hague School of Painting, which emphasized realism and an interest in capturing the atmosphere and mood of a particular place. He was also influenced by the Barbizon School of Painting, which emphasized the realistic representation of nature. His paintings often feature the flat fields and wide skies of the Dutch countryside, and he was particularly interested in the changing effects of light and weather. In the Month of July is a beautiful example of Gabriël’s work, showcasing his skill at capturing the beauty and serenity of the Dutch landscape in the summer season.

For a PowerPoint on Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriël’s oeuvre, please… Check HERE!

Seascape Study with Rain Cloud by John Constable

John Constable, Artist of the United Kingdom, 1776–1837
Seascape Study with Rain Cloud (Rainstorm over the Sea), 1824-1828, Oil on paper laid on canvas, 22.2×31.1 cm, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c7/Constable_-_Seascape_Study_with_Rain_Cloud.jpg

…Look! look! that livid flash! / And instantly follows the rattling thunder, / As if some cloud-crag, split asunder, / Fell, splintering with a ruinous crash, / On the Earth, which crouches in silence under; / And now a solid gray wall of rain / Shuts off the landscape, mile by mile; / For a breath’s space I see the blue wood again, / And, ere the next heart-beat, the wind-hurled pile… writes James Russell Lowell and the Seascape Study with Rain Cloud by John Constable in the Royal Academy of Arts comes to my mind. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/38520/38520-h/38520-h.htm, page 97

John Constable, a British landscape painter who was known for his beautiful paintings of the English countryside, was also fond of rendering the dramatic English sky. In fact, in a letter to fellow artist and friend John Fisher, he wrote back in 1821… It will be difficult to name a class of landscape in which the sky is not the keynote, the standard of scale, and the chief organ of sentiment. The sky is the source of light in nature, and it governs everything. If you paint the colours of the sky and reflected light, you cannot do otherwise than produce beautiful pictures. https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/clouds-john-constable/IwH3AnjdEZxMEg

Constable believed that clouds were an essential element in creating a sense of atmosphere and mood in landscape paintings. He studied them carefully and believed that they were constantly changing, creating an ever-evolving and dynamic landscape. In his paintings, he often depicted large, billowing clouds that filled the sky, adding drama and depth to his compositions. He used a variety of techniques to capture the fleeting nature of clouds, including layering paint and using bold brushstrokes to create texture and movement. His works continue to inspire artists today, and his philosophy on the importance of capturing the ever-changing beauty of nature, including clouds, remains relevant.

Constable’s love for clouds is evident in his many paintings, including Seascape Study with Rain Cloud, a painting created between 1822 and 1824 in Brighton, and currently held in the collection of the Royal Academy of Arts in London. According to the Museum experts… This is one of the most dramatic studies of sea and sky that Constable sketched at Brighton. The thunderous black clouds and torrential downpour have been painted rapidly to capture the fleeting nature of the scene. https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/art-artists/work-of-art/rainstorm-over-the-sea

The painting depicts a seascape with a large rain cloud looming in the distance. The sea is choppy, and the waves are rough, with white caps visible on the surface of the water. The sky is dark and moody, with the rain cloud dominating the upper half of the painting. The lower half of the painting features the sea and the horizon, with a few distant boats visible on the horizon.

The painting is a study of mood and atmosphere, with Constable expertly capturing the power of nature. The sky has been created with a series of hasty sweeps of the brush. The surface of the sea has been given emphasis by a number of horizontal incisions perhaps with the end of the brush. The dark, stormy sky and the shaft of sunlight suddenly breaking through the glowering black clouds is beautiful, uplifting… sublime! https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/art-artists/work-of-art/rainstorm-over-the-sea

Seascape Study with Rain Cloud by John Constable is considered to be one of the artist’s masterpieces and a prime example of his ability to capture the beauty and power of nature in his paintings. It is a significant work in the history of British landscape painting and remains a popular piece in the Royal Academy’s collection.

For a Student Activity, please… Check HERE!

Flaming June

Frederic, Lord Leighton, British Artist, 1830–1896
Flaming June, 1895, Oil on Canvas, 119.1 × 119.1 cm, Museo de Arte de Ponce, The Luis A. Ferré Foundation, Inc., Ponce, Puerto Rico https://www.art-theoria.com/painting-of-the-month/flaming-june/

According to Leighton, the composition was inspired by the posture of a tired model. He elaborated her sinuous pose and then added sheer orange draperies. Her skin flushed by the sun, she is transformed into a personification of summer heat. The image reflects Leighton’s allegiance to artistic ideals that emphasized harmonious color and form over narrative… Flaming June is currently presented at the MET, in New York City, part of the Victorian Masterpieces from the Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico (October 8th, 2022 – February 2024) Exhibition. I first saw the painting in 1997 in Washington DC, as part of The Victorians: British Painting in the Reign of Queen Victoria, 1837-1901 NGA Exhibition. Lord Leighton’s painting was one of the highlights… and rightly so! https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/888184?&exhibitionId=0&oid=888184&pkgids=undefined and https://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/1997/victorians.html

When Flaming June was first exhibited in 1895 at the Royal Academy in London, it received mixed reviews from the public and critics. Some praised the painting for its beauty and technical skill, while others criticized it for being too decorative and lacking in substance. Over time, Flaming June became one of Lord Leighton’s most celebrated works and is now regarded as a masterpiece of Victorian art. Its popularity is due in part to the fact that it captures the essence of the Aesthetic Movement, which valued beauty and art for art’s sake. The painting’s stunning colours, intricate details, and graceful composition have made it a favorite of art lovers and collectors around the world.

Leighton’s studio on the eve of the exhibition in 1895
Photo: Bedford Lemere / Historic England Archive
https://arthive.com/news/2252~Flaming_June_returned_home_for_the_first_time_in_85_years

The first time I saw Flaming June I was stunned by the artist’s use of colour, light, and texture. The painting features an amazing palette of warm oranges, yellows, and reds, contrasted with cool blues and greens. The colour scheme creates a sense of harmony and balance, with the warm tones of the woman’s dress and skin offset by the cool tones of the background and the marble bench.

The use of light and shadow is another important aspect of the painting’s composition. The warm light of the sun illuminates the woman’s neck, face, and body, creating a sense of warmth and intimacy. The play of light and shadow also adds depth and dimensionality to the painting, making it appear almost three-dimensional.

The texture is also notable. Lord Leighton was known for his attention to detail, and this is evident in the intricate folds and drapery of the woman’s dress, which appear almost lifelike. The texture of the marble bench is also finely rendered, with the veins and striations of the stone adding depth and dimension to the painting.

Frederic, Lord Leighton, British Artist, 1830–1896
Flaming June (detail), 1894, black and white Chalk on brown Paper, Leighton House Museum, London, UK
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/art-sir-frederic-leighton-flaming-june-1895-francisco-filipe-cruz/

Overall, the colours, use of light, and textures of Flaming June are integral to the painting’s beauty and impact. The warm, vibrant colours and intricate textures work together to create a sense of luxury and elegance, while the play of light and shadow adds depth and dimension to the painting. The result is a stunning work of art that continues to captivate viewers more than a century after its creation.

Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-1896) was a British painter and sculptor who is considered one of the most important figures of the Victorian era. He was born in Scarborough, England, and showed an early talent for art, studying under several well-known artists before enrolling at the Royal Academy in London. He was known for his technical skill and attention to detail, and his paintings often featured classical or historical themes. He was particularly interested in the human form, and many of his works depict idealized figures in elegant poses. Leighton’s legacy as an artist is a lasting one. Regarded as one of the most important artists of the Victorian era, his influence can be seen in the work of many artists who came after him.

Frederic, Lord Leighton, British Artist, 1830–1896
Flaming June, 1894, black and white Chalk on brown Paper, Leighton House Museum, London, UK
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/art-sir-frederic-leighton-flaming-june-1895-francisco-filipe-cruz/

Flaming June is part of the collection of the Ponce Museum of Art in Ponce, Puerto Rico. The painting was acquired by the Ponce Museum of Art in 1963 and has been on display there ever since.

In the early 20th century, when Victorian art was already falling out of fashion, Samuel Courtauld, the millionaire collector and founder of the Courtauld Institute, called it “the most wonderful painting in existence”. https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/jun/20/flaming-june-frederic-lord-leighton-house-museum

For a Student Activity, please… Check HERE!

The curator of the exhibition Flaming June: The Making of an Icon (4 November 2016 to 2 April 2017) at Leighton House, Daniel Robbins, assembled five of the six works from the artist’s original 1895 Studio Installation on the eve of the 1895 Exhibition at the Royal Academy. Besides Flaming June (1895), we can see Lachrymal (Tears), 1895, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Between Hope and Fear, The Maid with the Golden Hair, and Candida which have been in private collections since the 19th century. Curators could not trace the sixth canvas, A Study, or Listener, the painting that Leighton sent to the Royal Academy instead of Candida.
https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/museums/past-exhibitions-leighton-house

May Day on Corfu by Charlambos Pachis

Charalambos Pachis, Greek Artist, 1844 – 1891
May Day on Corfu, ca 1875-1880, oil on canvas, 61 x 50 cm, National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum, Athens, Greece https://www.nationalgallery.gr/artwork/protomagia-stin-kerkyra/

On May Day in Corfu, write ‘The Kapodistria Museum – Center for Kapodistrian Studies’ experts, the villagers brought a cypress trunk to the city, the foliage of which they had decorated with wreaths and colorful ribbons. They hung red Easter eggs, pine cones, artichokes, and other fruit gilded, doves and such. This May tree was reminiscent of the Christmas tree. The villagers holding the cypress were singing outside the houses. May Day on Corfu by Charlambos Pachis is here to remind us of bygone happy days on the Island… https://www.capodistriasmuseum.gr/stories/anoixi-stin-kerkyra/

Haralambos Pachis (1844-1891) was an artist from the Island of Corfu who painted genre scenes and landscapes, mixing elements of traditional folk art with the Italian influences widespread on the island at the time. His education started at the Accademia de i Pittori e Scultori di Roma (1868-1869) where he studied the latest techniques and styles of painting, and further matured, as he traveled to various European countries, to meet artists, and visit Museums and Galleries. In 1870 he returned to Corfu where he originally taught at the Capodistrias School but then founded a private art school at which many noteworthy Corfiot painters studied, such as Angelos Giallinas and Georgios Samartzis. https://www.nationalgallery.gr/en/artist/pachis-charalambos/

Like many artists from the Ionian Islands who were trained in Europe, Pachis brought his art experiences back to Corfu and incorporated them into his native ‘world’, adapting them to reflect the unique cultural and historical context of the Ionian Islands. As a result, the paintings he created were often characterized by a vibrant use of color, dynamic compositions, and a focus on local landscapes, people, and cultural traditions.

The artist from Corfu became an active member of the late 19th-century Greek art community. He was known for his portraits, landscapes, history compositions, and genre scenes, like the circa 1875-1880 painting of May Day on Corfu in the collection of the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum in Athens, Greece.

May Day on Corfu, painted after the union (1864) of the Ionian Islands with Greece bursts with liveness, energy, and an ‘eloquent’ expressiveness. The artist’s diagonal composition brings us to the heart of a central street in the city of Corfu, where typical Corfiot buildings with arches, and a Church with a tall Belltower create a strong sense of depth and perspective, further increased with the faintly colored buildings at the end of the line.

In the foreground, we discern two groups of people: the ‘Creators of Merriment’, centrally placed, and the ‘Viewers’ around them.

Full of energy, and carrying the May Day cypress trunk, the Musicians presented in the composition, create true merriment and cheerfulness with jovial singing and robust music. Dressed in traditional Corfiot attire, and bathed in light, they draw our attention, but most importantly, the attention of the picture’s second group, the ‘Viewers’. Placed in front of a Beerhouse, or around the Musicians, Charalambos Pachis creates a diverse and ‘interesting’ group of ‘Viewers.’ Two herdsmen, for example, wearing red fezzes and tsaruchia-type shoes, one of them carrying a milk container on his shoulder, and five children, three of them standing by the herdsmen, and two more, by the Musicians. These children are quite enigmatic. Are they children or dwarfs? Do they present specific, well-known people on the island? I am afraid I do not have the ‘right’ answer.

Charalambos Pachis, Greek Artist, 1844 – 1891
May Day on Corfu (detail), ca 1875-1880, oil on canvas, 61 x 50 cm, National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum, Athens, Greece https://www.nationalgallery.gr/artwork/protomagia-stin-kerkyra/

May Day on Corfu by Charlambos Pachis is a composition that projects a wealth of details, purity of forms, vivid colours, and precision of design. It is an ethnological treasure trove, a festive scene in an Ionian Island rich in culture… a 19th-century snapshot of Corfiot merriment!

Wishing you a very Happy May Day!

For a May Day Student Activity, please… Check HERE!

April by Lucien Pissarro

Lucien Pissarro, French Artist, 1863–1944
April, Epping, 1894, Oil paint on canvas, 603 × 730 mm, Tate, London, UK
https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/camden-town-group/lucien-pissarro-april-epping-r1139298

Oh, to be in England / Now that April’s there, / And whoever wakes in England / Sees, some morning, unaware, / That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf / Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf, / While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough / In England—now! Robert Browning probably wrote Home-Thoughts, from Abroad in 1845, while he was staying in Italy, homesick of the English countryside during a glorious April morning! Interestingly, April by Lucien Pissarro is an Impressionistic painting of a similar April morning by a French artist living in England! https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43758/home-thoughts-from-abroad

Lucien Pissarro was a French painter, printmaker, and etcher. He was born on February 20, 1863, in Paris, France, and was the oldest son of the Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro. He began his artistic education at a young age, studying under his father and at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1884, he began exhibiting his work in Impressionist exhibitions, and in 1886, he participated in the 8th and final Impressionist exhibition. In 1888, Pissarro moved to London, where he became a member of the New English Art Club and began to develop his own unique style, influenced by the work of the Pre-Raphaelites and Japanese prints. He spent the next two decades in London, exhibiting his work and participating in the city’s art scene. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/camden-town-group/lucien-pissarro-r1105344

Portrait of Lucien Pissarro, c.1937, Photograph, black and white, on paper, taken by Lafayette Ltd, London, Tate Archive, London, UK
https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/camden-town-group/lucien-pissarro-r1105344

In 1910, Pissarro returned to France and settled in the small town of Éragny-sur-Epte, where he focused on painting landscapes and rural scenes. He continued to exhibit his work, and in 1913, he was awarded the Légion d’honneur. Pissarro’s work is characterized by his use of vibrant colors, bold brushstrokes, and a focus on nature. He is considered to be one of the most important Impressionist painters of the 20th century. Pissarro died on July 10, 1944, in Éragny-sur-Epte, France. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/camden-town-group/lucien-pissarro-r1105344

According to the TATE experts David Fraser Jenkins and Helena Bonet, …Lucien Pissarro exhibited April, Epping at the New English Art Club in November–December 1904, where he renewed contact with artists, he had met more than ten years earlier. He was invited to join Walter Sickert’s Fitzroy Street Group in 1907, and so became acquainted with those who went on to form the Camden Town Group in 1911. For the younger artists of the group in particular, Pissarro represented a direct link to the origins of impressionism and neo-impressionism, his father Camille being a great inspiration, as well as his friends Seurat, Signac, and van Gogh. The influence of Pissarro’s style and technique can be traced in the work of Spencer Gore, Harold Gilman, William Ratcliffe and James Bolivar Manson in particular. Sickert wrote of this influence in the New Age in May 1914: ‘Mr. Pissarro, holding the exceptional position at once of an original talent, and of the pupil of his father, the authoritative depository of a mass of inherited knowledge and experience, has certainly served us as a guide, or, let us say, a dictionary of theory and practice on the road we have elected to travel.’ https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/camden-town-group/lucien-pissarro-r1105344

Created just a few years after he settled in England, April, Epping is for Lucien Pissarro a new approach to Landscape painting. He breaks away from the ‘teachings’ of Georges Seurat and Paul Signac, the ‘neo-impressionist’ or ‘divisionist’ artists with whom he had been friend in Paris, and he creates a landscape painting characterized by thick, visible brushstrokes, and a strong emphasis on light and color. He uses ordered, criss-crossed touches of paint, mostly light green but with a variety of other colours, showing recession by means of colour, and he uses touches of orange, mauve and blue paints among the green of the meadow, to re-introduce the key principle of impressionism, that, of coloured shadows. In May 1894 Lucien Pissarro wrote to his father asking for new materials and …short brushes, like the ones Cézanne used … because I am going to try to paint in an entirely different way. Did he? https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/camden-town-group/lucien-pissarro-april-epping-r1139298

For a Student Activity, please… Check HERE!

The Girl with the Pigeons

Polychronis Lembesis, Greek Artist, 1849-1913
The Girl with the Pigeons, 1879, Oil on Canvas, 120×80 cm, Averoff Museum of Neo-Hellenic Art, Metsovo, Greece
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/48/Lembesis_Polychronis_The_girl_with_the_Pigeons.jpg

The Girl with the Pigeons is a famous Greek painting by Polychronis Lembesis in the Collection of the Averoff Museum of Neo-Hellenic Art in Metsovo. It reminds me of a poem I read by  Ustav Shah… With the onset of the sun in the horizon, the little creatures awake / And dance and sing melodies tantamount to a group of chortling people / Oh, how I wish such convivial sights be captured / And played back on repeat everytime you feel low     /     As vagabonds they fly in search of food and shelter / And when the sun does set, off they disappear in their nests / Robbing the nature of its beauty… Lembesis definitely captured the vagabonds’ convivial sight, their dance, and singing melodies… https://hellopoetry.com/words/pigeon/

Polychronis Lembesis, one of Greece’s most important 19th-century painters, is a distinguished representative of the so-called “School of Munich”, the major 19th-century Greek Art Movement. Born on the Island of Salamis, graced with ‘smiling shores and calm pine-covered slopes,’ Lembesis spent a humble early life near his father’s flock. Distinguishing himself as a student, he was granted a scholarship by the politician Dimitrios Voulgaris (“Tsoumpes”) to study painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts, firstly, and then, in 1875, at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Munich. His teachers in Munich were Wilhelm Lindenschmidt and Ludwig von Löfftz; his best friend was the already-known Greek painter Nicholaos Gyzis.

Returning to Greece, in 1880, the artist settled in the Thision area of Athens, where he established a Studio, becoming well-known as a Portraitist, a teacher of painting (Prime Minister Stefanos Dragoumis’s children were his students), and a Hagiographer. He participated in many group exhibitions in Athens, the 1903 International Exhibition of Paris, and the International Exhibition of Athens, in 1904. Polychronis was a gentle, humble, and quiet man throughout his life, wrote Nikos Zias. Disappointed by the Athenian artistic ‘disputes’ Polychronis Lembesis chose to retire to the island of his birth, Salamis, where he lived “in obscurity” and poverty.https://www.nationalgallery.gr/en/painting-permanent-exhibition/painter/lembesis-polychronis.html and https://www.tovima.gr/2008/11/24/opinions/o-pio-spoydaios-ellinas-zwgrafos-2/

Polychronis Lembesis, Greek Artist, 1849-1913
The Child with the Rabbits, 1879, Oil on Canvas, 130z103 cm, National Gallery, Alexandros Soutsos Museum, Evripidis Koutlidis Foundation, Athens, Greece https://www.nationalgallery.gr/en/painting-permanent-exhibition/painting/the-bourgeois-class-and-its-painters/genre-painting/the-child-with-the-rabbits.html

The artist was an accomplished Portraitist, using the dark background of the painting, to brightly project the sitter’s head. He was an excellent landscape painter, connecting the composition of each painting with either the historicity of the place he depicts or with ethnographic references. Lembesis is also an exemplary painter of everyday scenes in a Greek village, not with the arrogance of the scholarly observer as Nikos Zias writes, but with the simplicity of the man who lives in it. https://www.tovima.gr/2008/11/24/opinions/o-pio-spoydaios-ellinas-zwgrafos-2/

Every time I visit the Epirote village of Metsovo, I feel it is my duty to check on the Averoff Museum of Neo-Hellenic Art and stand, once more, in front of The Girl with the Pigeons. I like how the artist captured the ‘moment’ without being an Impressionist, with his free, broad brush strokes, and warm colours. I enjoy the ‘energy’ he creates around a standing young girl who feeds the boisterous vagabonds and tries to protect herself at the same time… I can almost hear their overexcited melodies…

For a Student Activity, please… Check HERE!

La Carmencita by John Singer Sargent

John Singer Sargent, American Artist, 1856-1925
La Carmencita, c. 1890, Oil on Canvas, 229,0 x 140,0 cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France
https://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/artworks/la-carmencita-9161

Celebrated as the leading society portraitist of his era, write the NGA experts, John Singer Sargent influenced a generation of American painters. His personal captivation with Spain resulted in a remarkable body of work that documents his extensive travels from the north to the south and to the island of Majorca. Over three decades Sargent responded to the country’s rich culture by producing landscapes and marine scenes, pictures of everyday life, and architectural studies, as well as sympathetic portrayals of the locals he encountered. La Carmencita by John Singer Sargent is one such painting I would like to learn more about… https://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/2022/sargent-and-spain.html

In 1889, while visiting the Exposition Universelle in Paris, John Singer Sargent had his first encounter with Carmen Dauset Moreno, known as La Carmencita (1868 – 1910), the famous Spanish-style dancer, who danced at the Nouveau Cirque with great acclaim. Sponsored by theatrical agent Bolossy Kiralfy at first, La Carmencita became a theatrical sensation in the United States dancing in the ballet Antiope. In 1890, under the management of John Koster and Albert Bial, she performed in their 23rd Street Concert Hall with great success. Carmencita is the first woman performer to appear in front of an Edison motion picture camera and may have been the first woman to appear in a motion picture in America. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmencita

Sargent, enamored with Spanish music, and dancing since the 1880s, described La Carmencita as a bewildering superb creature. In 1890, the same year William Merritt Chase did his portrait of the famous dancer, Sargent persuaded a restless and demanding Carmencita pose for him. He was restless as well… and he made many studies of her dancing, but in the end, he opted to portray her in a stationary pose. According to the MET Museum experts the critics were divided… how dare did Sargent represent ‘a common music hall performer in such a monumental way…https://www.culturezohn.com/culturedpearls/tag/The+Met

John Singer Sargent, American Artist, 1856-1925
La Carmencita (and detail), c. 1890, Oil on Canvas, 229,0 x 140,0 cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France https://www.facebook.com/artic/photos/pcb.10156398108568150/10156398121923150/?type=3&eid=ARAJqnf0ffscPXNE5DuZvOr1KSTg38J0yvdUPccBTitulGvhVU0Wpt-1YLwxNsNS_whsdRXHa7EE0-w9

Painted in bold colours, hands on hip, right leg extended, against a dark background to highlight his skills as a painter Sargent creates the portrait of a snapshot posing dancer. Her posture is elegant and majestic, projecting her magnetism. Her face, like that of several of Sargent’s models of the time, is rendered white and masklike from cosmetics, with arched eyebrows, hinting at a proud, even haughty presence. Using a charming theme, swift brushstrokes, and washes of warm earthy colours, Sargent created a magnificent painting of feminine allure. When during 1890 La Carmencita was exhibited in Chicago, crowds of visitors went to the Art Institute to admire the famous painting. In 1892, two years after its creation, the painting was purchased from the artist by the French state. Today La Carmencita is in the collection Musée d’Orsay. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/21453

For a PowerPoint on Sargent and Spain, please…  Click HERE!

John Singer Sargent, American Artist, 1856-1925
La Carmencita, c. 1890-1910, Brush on Paper, 0.346 x 0.226 m, Louvre Museum, Paris, France, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France
https://collections.louvre.fr/en/ark:/53355/cl020500419

From the Library of Congress, Washington DC, La Carmencita, the Spanish Performer, as she danced in front of an Edison motion picture camera. Filmed by William Heise, March 10-16, 1894, in Edison’s Black Maria studio… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-15jwb1ZTMA

The Sargent and Spain Exhibition can be seen in the National Gallery in Washington DC (October 2, 2022 – January 2, 2023). According to the NGA Experts, the Sargent and Spain  Exhibition presents for the first time, approximately 120 dazzling oils, watercolors, and drawings, many of which are rarely exhibited. Also featured from the artist’s travels are some 28 never-before-published photographs, several almost certainly taken by Sargent himself. It is an Exhibition worth visiting! https://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/2022/sargent-and-spain.html

The Red School House by Winslow Homer

Winslow Homer, American Artist, 1836 – 1910
The Red School House, 1873, oil on canvas, 55.5 x 39.5 cm, NGA, Washington DC, USA https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.66419.html

On the 5th of October, we celebrate World Teachers’ Day, acknowledging the critical role teachers play in achieving inclusive, quality education for all… and recognizing that during the pandemic …teachers have shown, as they have done so often, great leadership and innovation in ensuring that #LearningNeverStops, that no learner is left behind. Around the world, they have worked individually and collectively to find solutions and create new learning environments for their students to allow education to continue… I would like to celebrate World Teachers’ Day by remembering Homer’s words (Iliad 9.437-443)…  The old man and horse-trainer Peleus… sent me (Phoinix) for this reason: to teach you (Achilles) all these things, / how to be a speaker of words and a doer of deeds, and by looking deeper into a Painting… The Red School House by Winslow Homer. https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/worldteachersday

Winslow Homer is one of the finest 19th-century American Artists. His career started as a graphic reporter during the American Civil War with paintings like Home, Sweet Home, and Sharpshooter on Picket Duty, of 1863, or Prisoners from the Front, of 1866 defining his early career. The late 1860s and the 1870s were, however, the artist’s finest years of artistic experimentation and prolific and varied output. Living and working in New York, but traveling to Paris, in late 1867, for the exhibition of two of his Civil War Paintings at the Exposition Universelle, Homer came face to face with the French avant-garde, and although there is little likelihood of influence, the artist shared their subject interests, their fascination with serial imagery, and their desire to incorporate into their works outdoor light, flat and simple forms (reinforced by their appreciation of Japanese design principles), and free brushwork. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/homr/hd_homr.htm

Winslow Homer, American Artist, 1836 – 1910
The Red School House (details teacher), 1873, oil on canvas, 55.5 x 39.5 cm, NGA, Washington DC, USA https://twitter.com/ngadc/status/1468980569300258821/photo/1 and https://twitter.com/ngadc/status/1468980569300258821/photo/2

The Red School House is one of several paintings Winslow Homer created from 1871 to 1874. They all shared the same theme… scenes of school life, with three consistent elements: a small red schoolhouse, its young female teacher, and a luminous mountain setting. The NGA experts believe that Homer working after the American Civil War was expressing a popular wave of nostalgia in late 19th-century America for small country schools and the simpler lifestyle and the country’s sense of optimism for future generations. https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.66419.html

Winslow Homer, American Artist, 1836 – 1910
The Red School House (detail students), 1873, oil on canvas, 55.5 x 39.5 cm, NGA, Washington DC, USA https://twitter.com/ngadc/status/1468980569300258821/photo/3

Although titled The Red School House the painting is in fact a portrait, NGA experts explain, in which the schoolhouse and its attendant figures are secondary and very abbreviated parts. The name of the person depicted is not known, but her high cheek bones and down-turned mouth are similar to the features of the person in such other works as The School Girl, c. 1871, who represents a school teacher, and Young Girl at the Window of 1875 (fi&- 4)5 who wears a black fichu at her neck. More information on The Red School House can be found in the NGA publication American Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, Part I, pages 305-309, which is available as a free PDF at… https://www.nga.gov/content/dam/ngaweb/research/publications/pdfs/american-paintings-19th-century-part-1.pdf

For a Student Activity on the Little Red School House, please… Check HERE!

Winslow Homer, American Artist, 1836 – 1910
The School Girl, 1871, oil on canvas, 47.6×39.7 cm, Worcester Art Museum, MA, USA https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Winslow_Homer_-_The_School_Mistress_%28c.1870%29.jpg
Young Girl at Window, 1875, watercolor, the New Britain Museum of American Art, CT, USA https://www.globalgallery.com/detail/373299/homer-young-girl-at-window

The Parthenon by Frederic Edwin Church

Frederic Edwin Church, American Artist, 1826–1900
Study for “The Parthenon”, 1869-70, Oil on Paper mounted on canvas, 33 x 50.8 cm, MFA, Boston, USA
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/69/Frederic_Edwin_Church_-_Study_for_%22The_Parthenon%22_-_2008.48_-_Museum_of_Fine_Arts.jpg

The Parthenon by Frederic Edwin Church in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is one of my favorite paintings of all time. I look at it and think of the artist, who wrote to his friend William O. Osborn on the 14th of April 1869… The Parthenon is certainly the culmination of the genius of man in architecture. Every column, every ornament, every molding, asserts the superiority which is claimed for even the shattered remains of the once proud temple over all other building by man… I have made architectural drawings of the Parthenon and fancied before I came to Athens that I had a good idea of its merits. But, I knew it not. Daily I study its stones and feel its inexpressible charm of beauty growing upon my senses. I am glad – and shall try and secure as much material as possible. I think a great picture could be made of the ruins. They are very picturesque as well as imposing, and the colour is superb… American Paradise: The World of the Hudson River School by Avery, Kevin J., Oswaldo Rodriguez Roque, John K. Howat, Doreen Bolger Burke, and Catherine Hoover Voorsanger, 1987, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 263-265 https://www.metmuseum.org/art/metpublications/American_Paradise_The_World_of_the_Hudson_River_School

And the colour Church employs for his MFA Study for “The Parthenon” is indeed superb! More so than the finished painting of the Parthenon in the Metropolitan Museum, Church’s MFA Study captures the unique Athenian light… its shocking ability to change into all the colours of ‘Iris’ in the course of a day… its vibrant, warm, and eloquent qualities… its ability to touch the Pentelic marble and give it meaning, significance, and a pulsating inner world… In April 1869 Frederic Edwin Church outdid himself… creating a superb representation of a superb architectural creation.

For Frederic Edwin Church traveling to Greece was part of a three-continent Grand Tour that included England, France, Egypt, Lebanon, Jerusalem, Syria, Turkey, Austria, Switzerland, and finally Rome in Italy. The trip started late in 1867, it included the whole year of 1868 and ended in 1869. In April 1869 Church sailed to Athens, where he spent several weeks. Impressed by the Parthenon, he wrote to his sculptor friend Erastus Dow Palmer… I recently visited Greece – Athens – I was delighted – the Parthenon is a wonderful work of the human intellect – but it must be seen – no photograph can convey even a faint impression of its majesty and beauty – fragments of sculpture are strewn all about – and let me say that I think Athens is the place for a sculptor… The Greeks had noble conceptions. They gave a large-godlike air to all they did and the fragments and bits are full of merit. I spend over two weeks there with immense pleasure and profit – and when I returned – Rome with its gross architecture looked cheap and vulgar. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/metpublications/American_Paradise_The_World_of_the_Hudson_River_School

Back in the United States, in January 1870, Church wrote once more to his friend William O. Osborn… I shall commence a large picture of the Parthenon soon, probably. This picture is now part of the Metropolitan Museum Collection. My favorite Picture of the Parthenon is, however, housed in the Boston MFA. It is one, of the finest in my humble opinion, of ten carefully recorded Studies the artist did before embarking on his final representation of the Parthenon.

Celebrating UN International Day of Democracy, allow me to quote UN Secretary-General António Guterres saying… Let us commit to safeguarding the principles of equality, participation and solidarity, so that we can better weather the storm of future crises… and enjoy the eternal symbol of Democracy… The Parthenon as painted by the great American representative of the Hudson River School of Painting, Frederic Edwin Church.

For a PowerPoint on Frederic Edwin Church’s 1869 trip to Athens, please… Check HERE!

Frederic Edwin Church, American Artist, 1826–1900
The Parthenon, 1871, Oil on Canvas, 113 x 184.5 cm, The MET, NY, USA https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/10482

Boating by Édouard Manet

Édouard Manet, French Painter, 1832-1883
Boating, 1874, oil on canvas, 97.2 x 130.2 cm, the MET, NY, USA
https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/436947

Boating by Édouard Manet was exhibited in the Salon of 1879, and the art critic J. K. Huysmans wrote… The bright blue water continues to exasperate a number of people… Manet has never, thank heavens, known those prejudices stupidly maintained in the academies. He paints, by abbreviations, nature as it is and as he sees it. The woman, dressed in blue, seated in a boat cut off by the frame as in certain Japanese prints, is well-placed, in broad daylight, and her figure energetically stands out against the oarsman dressed in white, against the vivid blue of the water. These are, indeed, pictures the likes of which, alas, we shall rarely find in this tedious Salon. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/metpublications/Masterpieces_of_European_Painting_1800_1920_in_the_Metropolitan_Museum_of_Art  pages 104-105

Édouard Manet, the scion of a wealthy French family, was a Parisian good-looking, charming, and cosmopolitan artist of great talent… He believed, according to the National Gallery of Art experts, that art should be about modern life and embraced the role of social commentator. He admired the old masters… but his artistic inspiration came from the ‘modern’ city of Paris, dramatically transformed at the time of Napoleon III, by the vision of Baron Georges Haussmann. His goal was to document the world around him: the grand boulevards, fashionable cafés, busy racetracks, and people and activities in his own neighborhood, and wherever else fashionable Parisians were expected to be. https://www.nga.gov/content/dam/ngaweb/Education/learning-resources/an-eye-for-art/AnEyeforArt-EdouardManet.pdf

In the summer of 1894, Édouard Manet was at Gennevilliers, opposite Argenteuil, on the river Seine where the Manet family had a country estate. He was in good company! His friend Claude Monet lived nearby, at Argenteuil. The two artists accompanied, at times, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted together and continued their conversations which were for Manet precious… Nothing could have been more interesting than our discussions… he once said. The summer of 1874 was also pivotal as the time when Manet’s friendship with the younger Impressionist Claude Monet took deep roots. http://www.worldsbestpaintings.net/artistsandpaintings/painting/172/

Édouard Manet, French Painter, 1832-1883
Boating (Detail), 1874, oil on canvas, 97.2 x 130.2 cm, the MET, NY, USA
https://blog.artsper.com/en/a-closer-look/understanding-impressionism/
Édouard Manet, French Painter, 1832-1883
Boating (Detail-Woman), 1874, oil on canvas, 97.2 x 130.2 cm, the MET, NY, USA
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89douard_Manet#/media/File:Edouard_Manet_Boating.jpg

At Argenteuil Manet painted Boating along with more paintings on similar subject matter like Monet in his Studio Boat, The Monet Family in their Garden, Banks of the Seine at Argenteuil,  and more. Boating depicts one of the most popular leisure activities of the French bourgeoisie… sailing on the Seine! There has been a lot of speculation as to who the people in the painting are. It has been suggested that the depicted “sailor” is Rodolphe Leeenhoff, Manet’s brother-in-law. No consensus has been reached, however, as to who the female in the painting is. According to the Metropolitan Museum experts, she might be Alice Lecouvé, the model for the 1875 painting The Laundry in the Barnes Foundation. https://www.edouard-manet.net/boating/ and https://www.metmuseum.org/art/metpublications/Masterpieces_of_European_Painting_1800_1920_in_the_Metropolitan_Museum_of_Art  pages 104-105

Shown in the Salon of 1879, Boating was deemed “the last word in painting” by Mary Cassatt, who recommended the acquisition to the New York collectors Louisine and H.O. Havemeyer. Louisine bequeathed it to The Met upon her death in 1929. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/436947

For a PowerPoint on Boating by Édouard Manet and the Summer of 1874, please… Check HERE!