Poppies on the Isles of Shoals

Childe Hassam, American Artist,1859–1935
Poppies on the Isles of Shoals, 1891, 50.2×61 cm, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USA
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Childe_Hassam,_Poppies,_Isles_of_Shoals,_1891.jpg

At the Isles of Shoals, among the ledges of the largest island, Appledore lies the small garden which in the following pages I have endeavored to describe. Ever since I could remember anything, flowers have been like dear friends to me, comforters, inspirers, powers to uplift and to cheer. A lonely child, living on the lighthouse island ten miles away from the mainland, every blade of grass that sprang out of the ground, every humblest weed, was precious in my sight, and I began a little garden when not more than five years old. From this, year after year, the larger one, which has given so much pleasure to so many people, has grown. The first small bed at the lighthouse island contained only Marigolds, pot Marigolds, fire-colored blossoms which were the joy of my heart and the delight of my eyes. This scrap of the garden, literally not more than a yard square, with its barbaric splendors of color, I worshiped like any Parsee… writes Celia Thaxter, the lover of gardening, flowers, and the good friend of painter Childe Hassam. Poppies on the Isles of Shoals is one of his many paintings celebrating the flora of this unique group of nine small, rocky islands off the coast of New Hampshire, in the Atlantic. https://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/thaxter/garden/garden.html

Appledore (House) Hotel and landing, Isles of Shoals, NH, between 1901 and 1906, Detroit Publishing Co., publisher, Library of Congress, Washington DC, USA
https://www.historynet.com/childe-hassams-island-escape/

Imagine a summer day in the company of novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne, poets Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and artists Childe Hassam, and  William Morris Hunt. Now add conversations on art, and music, recitations of poetry, intellectual “arguments,” and gardening “lessons.” The result is… a summer day at Appledore House, a family-run Hotel on Appledore Island, off the coast of Maine, where every summer Childe Hassam and a group of musicians, writers, and artists mad an informal colony as guests of Celia Thaxter, poet extraordinaire, passionate gardener and Hotel proprietor. https://americanexperience.si.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Hassam.pdf

Childe Hassam painting on Appledore, from The Cruise of Mystery and Other Poems by Celia Thaxter, 1888, archival photograph. Boston Public Library, Rare Books Department https://www.christies.com/features/Lot-427-Childe-Hassam-The-East-Headland-Pool-Appledore-9072-6.aspx

For three decades (between 1886 and 1916), Childe Hassam was perfectly happy to spend his Summers at Appledore House painting, en plain air, Celia Thaxter’s Hotel garden, and the rugged landscape of the Isles of Shoals. His body of work at Appledore remains a pinnacle of American Art of the Impressionist movement. He was particularly fond of painting Babb’s Cove from the shaded piazza of Thaxter’s cottage. He routinely set up his easel there to paint the vista, which included the brilliant field of Iceland poppies cascading beyond the borders of her famous flower garden. As Thaxter wrote in 1894, “How beautiful they are, these grassy, rocky slopes shelving gradually to the sea, with here and there a mass of tall, blossoming grass softly swaying in the warm wind against the peaceful, pale blue water!” https://www.incollect.com/articles/american-impressionist-childe-hassam-and-the-isles-of-shoals and https://www.pem.org/exhibitions/american-impressionist-childe-hassam-and-the-isles-of-shoals

Childe Hassam, American Artist,1859–1935
Poppies on the Isles of Shoals (detail), 1891, 50.2×61 cm, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USA
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Childe_Hassam,_Poppies,_Isles_of_Shoals,_1891.jpg

The National Gallery Poppies on the Isles of Shoals painting of1891 is my favorite! The painting, as Franklin Kelly wrote, presents a broad vista moving from a dense foreground of flowers to a background of rocks, water, and sky. The poppies that spread beyond Celia Thaxter’s garden were the artist’s favorite subject. They cover the foreground with brilliant, warm hues of green and red in wavy brushstrokes. For the rest of the painting, the middle and background is painted in cooler tones of blue, purple, and white for the rocks and water, and pale blue for the sky. Hassam’s brushwork is equally varied, ranging from lush red and white strokes defining the flowers to long drags of pigment suggesting the multihued surfaces of the rocks. The artist’s painting is a tour de force of Impressionistic landscape painting en plein air. https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.103172.html

Childe Hassam, American Artist,1859–1935
Poppies on the Isles of Shoals (Detail of Signature), 1891, Oil on Canvas, 50.2×61 cm, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USA
https://www.lonequixote.com/blog/hassam-poppies-isles-of-shoals-details-1891-b

For anyone accustomed to academic landscape painting, seeing one of Hassam’s Isles of Shoals paintings was, as one reviewer wrote, “like taking off a pair of black spectacles that one has been compelled to wear out of doors, and letting the full glory of nature’s sunlight color pour in upon the retina.”  https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.103172.html

For a PowerPoint titled 15 Paintings by Childe Hassam depicting the Isles of Shoals, please… Check HERE!

An original UNC-TV Documentary (27.55min) exploring the North Carolina Museum of Art exhibit of American impressionist painter Childe Hassam. The documentary focuses on Hassam’s work on Appledore Island over the course of thirty years… https://www.pbs.org/video/unc-tv-presents-childe-hassam-and-isles-shoals/

Portrait of Alexander Cassatt and Robert Cassatt

Mary Stevenson Cassatt, American Artist, 1844 – 1926
Portrait of Alexander J. Cassatt and His Son, Robert Kelso Cassatt, 1884, Oil on Canvas, 100.3 × 81.3 cm, Philadelphia Museum of Art, USA https://philamuseum.org/collection/object/104479

The Portrait of Alexander Cassatt and Robert Cassatt by Alexander’s sister Mary Stevenson Cassatt is a perfect example of what an American artist could achieve in Paris… the Mecca of Modern Art, and Old World charm. Starting in 1865, at the end of the Civil War, traveling to Europe became an American institution! Americans were attracted by French culture and bohemian life. They attended social events, art exhibitions, and archaeological monuments. They studied art or collected antiquities, artworks of the Old Masters, or paintings by contemporary artists. This phenomenon is best described by Henry James who wrote…It sounds like a paradox, but it is the simple truth that when, today, we look for American art, we find it mainly in Paris. When we find it out of Paris, we at least find a great deal of Paris in it. https://www.studiointernational.com/index.php/americans-in-paris–1860-1900

Mary Stevenson Cassatt, American Artist, 1844 – 1926
Portrait of Alexander J. Cassatt and His Son, Robert Kelso Cassatt (Detail), 1884, Oil on
Canvas, 100.3 × 81.3 cm, Philadelphia Museum of Art, USA
https://www.gazette-drouot.com/en/article/mary-cassatt-the-franco-american/4732

How more affectionate can a father/son moment be! The great Alexander J. Cassatt is depicted sitting comfortably on a plush armchair reading his paper while his son Robert sits on the chair’s arm embracing him. Both portraits share similar characteristics… focused gazes, flushed cheeks, and black clothing. Mary Cassatt achieved to depict an intimate moment, the special bond between father and son, and the natural physical resemblance between them. Clad in black Alexander and Robert stand out, further emphasizing their tender rapport… Mary Cassatt’s famous double Portrait of Alexander Cassatt and Robert Cassatt was painted in December of 1884, during a surprise visit to Paris by her relatives. https://philamuseum.org/collection/object/104479

Mary Stevenson Cassatt, American Artist, 1844 – 1926
Portrait of Alexander J. Cassatt, 1880, Oil on Canvas, Pastel, 92.3×72 cm, Seattle Art Museum, USA https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mary_Cassatt_-_Portrait_of_Alexander_J._Cassatt_-_Seattle_Art_Museum.jpg

Alexander J. Cassatt was the first vice president of the Pennsylvania Railroad and one of the most powerful businessmen in the United States. He was also Cassatt’s beloved older brother, whom she painted on several occasions. Every time she did so, he is depicted casually posing in his sister’s house, a dear relative rather than a  famous public persona, absorbed in his thoughts, revealing both the kindness and formality that were attributed to him. In a letter home to the United States, Alexander’s wife wrote: “Mary has painted a very good portrait of Aleck for which he has been posing every morning for two hours for two weeks.” http://art.seattleartmuseum.org/objects/10259/portrait-of-alexander-j-cassatt;jsessionid=14B64D561385E3770309506FB79F6022

Mary Stevenson Cassatt, American Artist, 1844 – 1926
Portrait of Master Robert Kelso Cassatt, c. 1882, Oil on Canvas, 50x61cm, Private Collection https://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2017/american-art-n09689/lot.45.html

Images of Mary Cassatt’s friends and family constitute a pivotal, according to the Sotheby’s experts, a component of the artist’s prolific body of work. Robert Kelso Cassatt was Mary’s favourite nephew and one of her favorite models. Robert first bonded with his expatriate aunt during the summer of 1880, when he visited the artist and his grandparents at their rented villa in Marly, in the countryside outside of Paris. Robert was not the easiest of Mary’s models… he wouldn’t sit still… but Cassatt grew fond of him, hoping for a time that he would become an artist himself… https://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2017/american-art-n09689/lot.45.html

Happy Father’s Day

For a Student Activity on the Portrait of Alexander Cassatt and Robert Cassatt, please… Check HERE!

The magnificent Bronze Quadriga in San Marco

Charles Caryl Coleman, American Artist,1840-1928
The Bronze Horses of San Marco, 1876, Oil on Canvas, 102.2 × 82.6 cm, Minneapolis Institute of Art, USA
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Charles_Caryl_Coleman_-_The_Bronze_Horses_of_San_Marco,_Venice_-_79.13_-_Minneapolis_Institute_of_Arts.jpg

I read Brenda Riley-Seymore’s poem on The Horses… Don’t cry for the horses that life has set free. / A million white horses, forever to be. / Don’t cry for the horses now in God’s hands. / As they dance and prance to a heavenly band.     /     They were ours as a gift, but never to keep / As they close their eyes, forever to sleep. / Their spirits unbound, forever to fly. / A million white horses, against the blue sky.     /     Look up into Heaven. You will see them above. / The horse we lost, the horse we loved. / Manes and tails flying, they gallop through time. / They were never yours, they were never mine… and I think of  The magnificent Bronze Horses in San Marco… and imagine them… dance and prance to a heavenly band… https://www.horsesofhope.org/horses/tribute-to-first-horse

The Bronze Quadriga of San Marco, scholars’ opinions still range between the 5th century BC and the 4th century AD, Bronze, 96.67% copper, bronze, and mercury gilding, Museo Marciano, Basilica di San Marco, Venice, Italy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadriga#/media/File:Horses_of_Basilica_San_Marco_bright.jpg

The bright bronze quadriga came to Venice as part of the rich war plunder gathered by the Venetians, under doge Enrico Dandolo, after the conquest of Constantinople at the end of the 4th Crusade in 1204, together with other works of inestimable value, many of which are still housed in the Basilica’s Treasury. The Quadriga is magnificent, and the introduction by the experts of the Basilica di San Marco in Venice was enlightening. The Quadriga story is that of admiration, greed, plunder… and artistic inspiration… http://www.basilicasanmarco.it/basilica/scultura/la-decorazione-delle-facciate/quadriga-marciana/?lang=en

Charles Caryl Coleman is according to the Smithsonian experts, a decorative and genre painter who has been largely overlooked by the American art community since his death. He studied art in New York, and later, in Paris, under Thomas Couture. He served with the Union during the Civil War and established himself as an artist by exhibiting his work, regularly, at the Boston Athenaeum, the Brooklyn Art Academy, and the National Academy of Design. Early in 1867, he moved to Italy and rarely looked back. There, he joined a vibrant, international community of artists that included Vedder, Maitland Armstrong, William Graham, Thomas Hotchkiss, Frederic Leighton, Giovanni (Nino) Costa, and other artists in the circle of the Macchiaioli. In 1876, while in Italy, Colemanfinished his pivotal painting, titled The Bronze Horses of San Marco. https://www.aaa.si.edu/blog/2019/08/charles-caryl-coleman-rediscovered

Coleman’s painting of San Marco’s Bronze Quatriga is, I believe, one of the finest painted representations of Venice’s magnificent treasure. The artist depicted the bronze horses as they stood on the porch of the Basilica of San Marco, using foreshortening, and displaying an unusual diagonal perspective for his composition. Placing the bronze horses on the central/right side of the painting, he was able to add a refreshing view of the upper section of the Piazza’s monumental Clocktower in all its decorative glory. Cool tones of paint, restrained brushstrokes, and the artist’s love of the decorative, combined with fine art created a painting that greatly exemplifies Coleman’s qualities as a leading artist of the International Aesthetic Movement. https://collections.artsmia.org/art/2607/the-bronze-horses-of-san-marco-charles-caryl-coleman

For a Student Activity, please… Check HERE!

Irises by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh, Dutch Artist, 1853 – 1890
Irises, 1889, Oil on Canvas, 74.3 × 94.3 cm, The J. Paul Getty Museum, CA, USA  https://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/826/vincent-van-gogh-irises-dutch-1889/

Well. Then we had the irises, rising beautiful and cool on their tall stalks, like blown glass, like pastel water momentarily frozen in a splash, light blue, light mauve, and the darker ones, velvet and purple, black cat’s ears in the sun, indigo shadow, and the bleeding hearts, so female in shape it was a surprise they’d not long since been rooted out… writes Margaret Atwood describing Serena Joy Waterford’s Spring Garden in The Handmaid’s Tale. Well, how can we best describe the Getty painting of Irises by Vincent van Gogh? https://www.skyminds.net/the-handmaids-tale-chapter-25-analysis/

In May 1889, write the Getty experts, after episodes of self-mutilation and hospitalization, Vincent van Gogh chose to enter an asylum in Saint-Rémy, France. Within the first week, he began Irises, working from nature in the asylum’s garden. These deep violet-blue coloured Irises are popularly known as Iris Vulgaris or Iris Germnica, and they seem to grow, even unattended, in Southern France, like in the overgrown “deserted” garden of the Saint-Rémy Asylum. https://www.getty.edu/art/collection/object/103JNH and https://books.google.gr/books?id=LUZ-dHerY3sC&pg=PA21&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false, page 21

If you are wondering why van Gogh painted Irises… consider the following two reasons. Vincent van Gogh loved to paint flowers! They are colorful, and they allowed the artist to experiment with tints, and shades, intensity, and value. Like Eugène Delacroix, who he considered to be “the greatest colorist of all,” van Gogh used colour to offer contrasting effects and create depth by projecting specific parts of his paintings. The simplest explanation, however, is that Irises, magnificent in every aspect, were at the time available, in full bloom, in the Asylum garden… “begging” van Gogh to paint them! The artist considered the Getty Irises painting a mere study. His brother Theo, however, quickly recognized its quality and submitted it to the Salon des Indépendants in September 1889, writing Vincent of the exhibition: “[It] strikes the eye from afar. It is a beautiful study full of air and life.” Could these magnificent flowers provide the artist’s troubled psyche with feelings of hope? Did they help him ease the pain and temporarily appease his mental state? One can only hope! https://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/en/stories/looking-for-contrast#2 and https://www.getty.edu/art/collection/object/103JNH  

Vincent van Gogh, Dutch Artist, 1853 – 1890
Irises (detail), 1889, Oil on Canvas, 74.3 × 94.3 cm, The J. Paul Getty Museum, CA, USA  https://blogs.getty.edu/iris/five-ways-of-seeing-van-goghs-irises/

The Vincent van Gogh Getty Irises painting is unique. He carefully studied the flowers’ movements and shapes to create a variety of curved silhouettes bounded by wavy, twisting, and curling lines. It is only right to mark that the French art critic Octave Mirbeau, one of Van Gogh’s earliest supporters, wrote: “How well he has understood the exquisite nature of flowers!” https://www.getty.edu/art/collection/object/103JNH

For a PowerPoint on Irises by Vincent van Gogh, please… Click HERE!

It is interesting to Watch the Getty Museum Video presentation Van Gogh’s Irises: A Closer Lookhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGgjAL9qVH4 and Read the results of this examination… https://www.getty.edu/news/a-rare-opportunity-to-study-van-goghs-irises/

A Rare Opportunity to Study Van Gogh’s Irises, The J. Paul Getty Museum, CA, USA  https://blogs.getty.edu/iris/rare-opportunity-to-study-van-goghs-irises/

Listen to a Getty Museum Podcast on Irises by Vincent van Gogh… https://dea3n992em6cn.cloudfront.net/museumcollection/000947-en-20120210-v1.mp3

Another interesting Video of an in-depth analysis of Irises by Vincent van Gogh… https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=10155040353870097

Vincent van Gogh, Dutch Artist, 1853 – 1890
Irises (detail), 1889, Oil on Canvas, 74.3 × 94.3 cm, The J. Paul Getty Museum, CA, USA  https://creativepro.com/free-high-resolution-art-the-getty-museum/

Woman in Monsieur Forest’s Garden

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, French Artist, 1864 – 1901
Woman in Monsieur Forest’s Garden, 1891, Oil on Board, 60,7 × 55 cm, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens, Greece
https://goulandris.gr/el/collection/highlights

How vainly men themselves amaze / To win the palm, the oak, or bays, / And their uncessant labours see / Crown’d from some single herb or tree, / Whose short and narrow verged shade / Does prudently their toils upbraid; / While all flow’rs and all trees do close / To weave the garlands of repose …     /     Fair Quiet, have I found thee here, / And Innocence, thy sister dear! / Mistaken long, I sought you then / In busy companies of men; / Your sacred plants, if here below, / Only among the plants will grow. / Society is all but rude, / To this delicious solitude… writes Andrew Marvell (1621 – 1678) back in the 17th century… and I think that maybe… Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s Woman in Monsieur Forest’s Garden, sitting uptight with fingers intertwined, seeks in the wild garden of Père Forestdelicious solitude… a place of repose and restfulness… an escape from the more frenetic world of public life that lies beyond the boundaries of the garden. https://interestingliterature.com/2017/07/a-short-analysis-of-andrew-marvells-the-garden/ and https://poets.org/poem/garden

In Montmartre, in Paris, where Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec lived, at the bottom of rue Caulaincourt, not far from Place de Clichy, Père Forest, an enthusiastic Parisian archer, owned a half-wild, half-cultivated garden where he often welcomed friends to walk in the undergrowth. Among Père Forest’s friends was Toulouse-Lautrec, whose studio was nearby, and upon the arrival of spring, used to walk down to his friend’s garden, where he would receive his models, paint en plein air surrounded by a large group of onlookers, and share many drinks with old friends and acquaintances till the late hours of the afternoon. https://www.histoires-de-paris.fr/toulouse-lautrec-jardin-pere-forest/

From 1889 to 1891, Lautrec experimented with the plein-air approach of the Impressionists, producing a group of studies showing figures set against the foliage in the garden of Monsieur Forest, his neighbor in the Paris district of Montmartre. Lautrec referred to these self-imposed exercises in technique as “impositions,” for which friends, as well as models, posed. One such “imposition” is the Basil and Elise Goulandris’s Foundation painting titled Woman in Monsieur Forest’s Garden of 1891. https://vrallart.com/artworks/woman_in_the_garden_of_monsieur_forest/ and https://goulandris.gr/en/artwork/henri-de-toulouse-lautrec-woman-in-monsieur-forests-garden

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, French Artist, 1864 – 1901
Woman in Monsieur Forest’s Garden (detail), 1891, Oil on Board, 60,7 × 55 cm, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens, Greece
https://goulandris.gr/el/collection/highlights

The woman depicted in the Lautrec painting in Athens was named Honorine. She was most probably not a professional model or prostitute, and she was painted at least twice. In the Athens version, according to the Goulandris Foundation experts, the model appears in a three-quarter pose, looking the viewer straight in the eye, with her fingers intertwined, without wearing accessories. The painter opted for a minimalist palette with white, green, violet, and a warmer touch for the reddish-gold hair. The face is undoubtedly more treated: the thin brush strokes are small and precise; the features are subtly rendered, refuting the accusations that the painter constantly pursued caricature at that time. The gaze, reflecting a subtle worry, is not at all distant, but straight and gracious. https://goulandris.gr/en/artwork/henri-de-toulouse-lautrec-woman-in-monsieur-forests-garden

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, French Artist, 1864 – 1901
Woman with Gloves (Honorine Platzer), 1891, oil on cardboard, 54×40 cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France
https://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/node/89835  

Toulouse-Lautrec painted Honorine Platzer three times as he clearly had some affection for her. In the Musée d’Orsay painting Woman with Gloves, the artist captured his model almost in spite of herself, her gaze focused elsewhere… ignoring the painter. Honorine was a slim, elegant woman with beautiful strawberry-blond hair and a gentle yet strong character. Both paintings show how close Toulouse-Lautrec approach to portraiture was to the Impressionists, who frequently painted outside using colours splashed with sunlight. But whereas the Impressionists searched out the passing moment, the ephemeral nature of the effects of light, and did not linger over the features in this type of portrait, Lautrec, in contrast, would disregard the changing elements to capture the inner personality of his models. https://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/node/89835

For a PowerPoint on Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s Portraits of Women in the Garden of Père Forest, please… Check HERE!

Byzantine-Style Mosaic Necklace with Christ and Twelve Apostles

Unidentified Artist from Murano, Venice? 
Byzantine-Style Mosaic Necklace with Christ and Twelve Apostles, the 1870s-1910s, gold with glass and shell inlay, Smithsonian American Art Museum, USA
https://americanart.si.edu/artwork/byzantine-style-mosaic-necklace-christ-and-twelve-apostles-30961

Sargent, Whistler, and Venetian Glass: American Artists and the Magic of Murano(October 8, 2021 – May 8, 2022, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC, USA) brings to life the Venetian glass revival of the late nineteenth century and the artistic experimentation the city inspired for visiting artists. It is the first comprehensive examination of American tourism, artmaking, and art collecting in Venice, revealing the glass furnaces and their new creative boom as a vibrant facet of the city’s allure… write the Smithsonian American Art Museum experts, and I was “hooked” to virtually explore this amazing Exhibition. I was particularly intrigued by the reference to the Magic of Murano, and the age-old Venetian industry of glassmaking. Exploring the artworks exhibited, I came upon a Byzantine-Style Mosaic Necklace with Christ and Twelve Apostles in the Smithsonian Collection, and I was determined to learn more about it! Well, I learned more… and less… https://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/sargent-whistler-glass and https://s3.amazonaws.com/assets.saam.media/files/documents/2021-09/SWAVG%20checklist_FINAL.pdf

Exhibition Sargent, Whistler, and Venetian Glass: American Artists and the Magic of Murano Installation Photography, Courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2021, Photo Credit: Albert Ting https://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/sargent-whistler-glass

Back in 1929, the Byzantine-Style Necklace was part of an impressive donation to the Smithsonian’s “National Gallery of Art” (now SAAM), by the art collector John Gellatly. Originally, it was thought to be a piece of 6th century Byzantine Jewelry, but contemporary conservators believe it’s more likely a nineteenth-century imitation or forgery.  

The necklace consists of 15 medallions presenting Christ in the middle (the biggest in size), the Twelve Apostles (receding, slightly, in size, six on either side of Christ), and medallions with Constantine’s Cross (the smallest two of the fifteen), at the two ends of the necklace. The necklace medallions are connected with gold chains of hollow wire! The rims of each medallion are decorated with hundreds of small gold balls, applied in a technique called granulation… a technique invented in the ancient world… declined in popularity after the first century BC, and was revived by the Castellani jewelry firm in the mid-19th century. Could the use of granulation make scholars begin to question the necklace’s Byzantine attribution?

Unidentified Artist from Murano, Venice? 
Byzantine-Style Mosaic Necklace with Christ and Twelve Apostles (detail), the 1870s-1910s, gold with glass and shell inlay, Smithsonian American Art Museum, USA
https://americanart.si.edu/artwork/byzantine-style-mosaic-necklace-christ-and-twelve-apostles-30961

Apparently, the conservator’s examination brought up more questions than answers, and as the Pietre Dure technique was popular in Florence, they jokingly question if the Smithsonian necklace was created by an itinerant nineteenth-century Florentine Pietre Dure stone craftsperson who moved to Venice to restore the San Marco mosaics and was commissioned by a wealthy patron to make a Byzantine-style necklace… One can only wonder!

Unidentified Artist from Murano, Venice? 
Byzantine-Style Mosaic Necklace with Christ and Twelve Apostles (Detail), the 1870s-1910s, gold with glass and shell inlay, Smithsonian American Art Museum, USA
https://americanart.si.edu/blog/byzantine-art-mystery

Information on my presentation of the Necklace comes from the December 8, 2021article The Mystery Around a Byzantine-style Necklace – When SAAM’s “Art Doctors” Become Art Detectives by Ariel O’Connor and Sarah Montonchaikul… https://americanart.si.edu/blog/byzantine-art-mystery

For a Student Activity, please… Check HERE!

Camille Pissarro Flower Arrangements

Camille Pissarro, French Artist, 1830–1903
Pink Peonies, 1873, Oil  on Canvas, 73 x 60 cm, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK
https://www.wikiart.org/en/camille-pissarro/pink-peonies-1873

The flower that smiles to-day / To-morrow dies; / All that we wish to stay / Tempts and then flies. / What is this world’s delight? / Lightning that mocks the night, / Brief even as bright.    /    Virtue, how frail it is! / Friendship how rare! / Love, how it sells poor bliss / For proud despair! / But we, though soon they fall, / Survive their joy, and all / Which ours we call.    /    Whilst skies are blue and bright, / Whilst flowers are gay, / Whilst eyes that change ere night / Make glad the day; / Whilst yet the calm hours creep, / Dream thou—and from thy sleep / Then wake to weep. Everything is ephemeral and transitory for Percy Shelley like bouquets of flowers… like Camille Pissarro Flower Arrangements! Could this be the reason why the artist painted so few Still Life Paintings of Flowers? Was he afraid of all hopes, desires, and delights the world has to offer are short-lived and doomed to fade away? https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45133/mutability-the-flower-that-smiles-to-day and https://interestingliterature.com/2017/07/10-of-the-best-poems-about-flowers/

Camille Pissarro was the only painter to exhibit in all eight Impressionist exhibitions organized between 1874 and 1886. He became a pivotal artist and mentor within the movement, and he is best known for his landscapes and his images of the day-to-day life of French peasants. https://www.theartstory.org/artist/pissarro-camille/life-and-legacy/#biography_header

Camille Pissarro, French Artist, 1830–1903
Self-Portrait with Hat, 1903, Oil on Canvas, 41×33 cm, Tate Britain, UK
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Camille_Pissarro_-_Self-portrait2_-_Tate_Britain.jpg

Jacob Abraham Camille Pissarro was born and raised in St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, then the Danish West Indies. His parents were merchants of modest means, but in 1842, young Pissarro was sent away to a boarding school in Passy near Paris, France, where he was introduced to the arts and encouraged to draw directly from nature and to use direct observation in his drawings, empirically rendering each object in its truest form. Pissarro returned to St. Thomas to immerse himself in the family business; however, he got quickly tired of mercantile pursuits and upon meeting the Danish painter Fritz Melbye, in the early 1850s, he abandoned the family business, following his Dutch friend to Caracas, Venezuela, and committing himself to becoming a painter. https://www.theartstory.org/artist/pissarro-camille/life-and-legacy/#biography_header

Camille Pissarro, French Artist, 1830–1903
Tropical Landscape with Farmhouses and Palm Trees, 1856, Oil on Cardboard, 24.8×32.7 cm, National Art Gallery, Caracas, Venezuela
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Camille_Pissarro_-_Paisaje_tropical.jpg

By 1855, Pissarro had returned to Paris, where he was exposed to the artwork of Eugène Delacroix, and Realist landscapists like Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet, and Jean-François Millet. Largely if not entirely self-taught at the time, Pissarro started taking classes at the Academie Suisse in 1859 where he met Cézanne, one of his closest lifelong friends. In 1861, Pissarro registered as a copyist at the Musée du Louvre, and around this same time, he met Julie Vellay, the daughter of a vineyard owner in the Burgundy region. He got married in London in 1871 and became the caring father of eight children. https://www.theartstory.org/artist/pissarro-camille/life-and-legacy/#biography_header

Pissarro began submitting to the Salon in the late 1860s with landscape paintings reflecting his profound knowledge of and exposure to the compositional techniques of the eighteenth-century French masters. However, spending time and painting en plein air in Louveciennes, an area much favoured by the Impressionists, Pissarro’s style gradually changed. He focused on light effects and atmospheric conditions created by the change of the seasons developing a pure, mature Impressionist style. As he grew older, he worked hard to keep his art avant-garde and relevant by testing new theoretical concepts like the Pointillist technique. https://www.theartstory.org/artist/pissarro-camille/life-and-legacy/#biography_header

Camille Pissarro, French Artist, 1830–1903
Medley of Still Life Paintings of Flowers

In 2005, at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Exhibition “Pioneering Modern Painting: Cézanne and Pissarro, 1865–1885” placed Camille Pissarro, the artist pretty much behind every art movement of the 19th century, in the same league as Paul Cézanne, the artist whose art will define the 20th century. Pissarro’s landscapes are indisputably important… but, I like to focus on Pissarro’s few Still Life paintings… discover his modernist approach, notice his ability to manipulate colour for a “truer” visual image, and relish at his direct, unadorned approach to his subject matter.

Paul Cézanne (left) and Camille Pissarro (right) at Auvers-sur-Oise, Private Collection, by an Anonymous Photographer https://newcriterion.com/issues/2005/9/cezanne-pissarro-a-crucial-friendship and http://art-cezanne.com/photography_cezanne/1874%20Paul-Cezanne%20&%20Camille%20Pissarro%20in%20%20Auver.jpg

To end this short presentation I will quote Paul Cézanne, who three years after Pissarro’s death, identified himself in a retrospective exhibition, as “Paul Cézanne, pupil of Pissarro.” https://www.theartstory.org/artist/pissarro-camille/life-and-legacy/#biography_header and https://www.haberarts.com/cezannep.htm

When I teach Impressionism… I like to stress how important Pissarro’s Still Life paintings of Flowers are! I use Visual Learning Strategy Questions to help my students reflect upon their significance, and experience a process of enduring understanding!

For a PowerPoint of Camille Pissarro’s paintings of Flowers, please… Check HERE!

Joseph Karl Stieler’s Portrait of Katerina “Rosa” Botsaris

Joseph Karl Stieler, German Painter,1781–1858   
Katerina “Rosa” Botsaris, 1841, oil on canvas, 72,4 x 59 cm, Gallery of Beauties, Schönheiten-Galerie König Ludwig I, Nymphenburg Palace, Munich, Germany
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Portr%C3%A4t_von_Katharina_Botzaris.jpg

The diarist Christiane Lüth (1817–1900), whose husband was appointed personal chaplain to Queen Amalia of Greece wrote about Katerina “Rosa” Botsaris in her diaries: Of the two young ladies-in-waiting, Miss von Wiesenthau was not very well mannered, Catholic and not very pretty, although she talked constantly. The Greek, very beautiful Rosa Botzaris was not agreeable, but stingy and hated everything German. She was poor, but the glory which surrounded the name of her father, the freedom hero, Marko Botzaris, shone its light over her. When she travelled with the Queen, she was much celebrated for her beauty, which was highlighted by her national costume. She hid the fact that she understood the German language and spread dangerous political comments around her which much damaged Their Majesties, her benefactors. It is obvious Christiane Lüth did not like much, either of Queen Amalia’s Ladies in Waiting, but Rosa’s beauty is undisputed, and Joseph Karl Stieler’s Portrait of Katerina “Rosa” Botsaris is an excellent testimony! https://www.kathryngauci.com/blog-105-25-3-2021-a-literary-world-katerina-rosa-botsaris/

Between 1827 and 1850 Joseph Karl Stieler, court painter of Bavaria, was commissioned by King Ludwig I to create 36 portraits of the most beautiful women from the nobility and middle classes of Munich, Germany. These portraits were to decorate the south pavilion of Ludwig’s Nymphenburg Summer Palace. Among these very popular portraits was that of a Greek lady, Katerina “Rosa” Botsaris, the daughter of Markos Botsaris, the hero of the 1821 Greek Revolution. https://arrayedingold.blogspot.com/2011/11/gallery-of-beauties.html

Katerina’s life was not easy. Born to the prominent Souliot Botsaris family, Katerina was the daughter of Chrysoula Kalogirou and Markos Botsaris, the famed, and revered leader of the Greek War of Independence, who died on the night of August the 8th, 1823, at Kefalobryso in Karpeisi, while with 450 Souliotes, ambushed the enemy camp of Mustafa Pasha of Shkoder (modern northern Albania) inflicting serious casualties. At the time, a child of 5 or 3 years old, Katerina Botsaris lived the life of a “hostage” in the city of Drama, at the harem of Dramali Mahmud Pasha, under the protection of upper-class Ottoman women. Katerina was apparently a particularly charming child, so much so that one of her “protectresses” wanted to officially adopt her. It was not meant to be, and during a prisoner exchange initiative, Katerina was returned to her family and reunited with her mother. Many “adventures” later, the orphaned family of Markos Botsaris settled at the newly created Greek state where members of the Botsaris family were to play an important role. https://archive.org/details/poikilstoaethni02raphgoog/page/n299/mode/2up?view=theater

While in Athens, the importance of the Botsaris name, her delightful personality, and great beauty attracted the attention of Amalia of Oldenburg, Queen of Greece from 1836 to 1862 as the spouse of King Otto (1815–1867), who appointed Katerina as her 1st Greek Lady-in-Waiting. In 1841, Katerina Botsaris accompanied Queen Amalia to Munich, the birthplace of King Otto of Greece. Tradition has it that upon arrival, as she was getting out of her carriage King Ludwig of Bavaria noticed Katerina’s Mediterranean beauty and hurried to assist her. Later on, the royal couple of Greece, Otto, and Amalia, suggested Katerina’s Portrait for the Gallery of Beauties, and King Ludwig wholeheartedly agreed. It is said that she was given the name Rosa, leaving behind her real name, from the ruby ​​color of the rose … that her lips and cheeks had… https://www.bovary.gr/oramatistes/15798/roza-mpotsari-i-ellinida-kalloni-kori-toy-markoy-mpotsari-poy-emeine-sto-pantheon and https://www.patris.gr/2021/01/30/katerina-roza-mpotsari-i-kori-toy-iroa/

Katerina “Rosa” Botsari Costume, mid-19th century, crimson velvet, and embroidery of gold cords, National History Museum – Historical & Ethnological Society of Greece (EIM), Athens, Greece
Photograph Credit: Christina Hilla Famel
https://www.huffingtonpost.gr/entry/endema-pseches-apo-te-foresia-tes-kera-frosenes-mechri-tes-rozas-mpotsare_gr_60f6b247e4b0e92dfebc53bb

Stieler’s Portrait of Katerina “Rosa” Botsaris shows a great Mediterranean beauty. Her complexion is glowing and creamy, her cheeks blushed with youth. High arched eyebrows frame a long straight nose and brown heavy-lidded eyes, which look out at us kindly, a light smile drawn at the corners of her mouth. Glossy chestnut hair flows down her neck, blending into the tassel of her jauntily placed hat and the fur collar of her jacket. She poses in front of the blue, tranquil Aegean Sea, and the pale blue but luminous Greek sky… a landscape that is atmospheric and tranquil,  matching her character and demeanor. She wears an exquisite, fitted Kontogouni (vest)of crimson velvet, embroidered with gold cords, a crisp white Poukamisa (shirt), and a full, silk, pleated skirt, emphasizing her feminine shape. The Kontogouni survived time and it is still a prized treasure of the National History Museum of Greece. The artist Joseph Karl Stieler, trained in the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts and in the Parisian atelier of François Gérard, a student of Jacques-Louis David, created, inspired by the Greek beauty of Katerina “Rosa” Botsaris, the perfect example of a controlled and romanticized Neoclassical portrait. https://www.art-theoria.com/painting-of-the-month/katerina-rosa-botzaris/ and https://www.nationalgallery.gr/images/docs/books/athina-monacho.pdf pages 546-548

In 1845 Katerina “Rosa” Botsaris married Prince George Karatzas. a military man of Fanariot descent and had four children, two of whom died at a young age. The marriage was not particularly happy due to her husband’s strict and authoritarian character and the death of her children. The beautiful Souliotissa died at the age of 57 in January 1875. https://www.patris.gr/2021/01/30/katerina-roza-mpotsari-i-kori-toy-iroa/

Katerina Agrafioti wrote a book (in Greek) about Katerina’s life… the story of a woman who, always respecting her origin, unreservedly served the social “musts” and overlooked her personal pursuits with the power and dignity she derived from her father’s name.https://www.kathimerini.gr/opinion/707109/aikaterini-roza-mpotsari-sti-skia-toy-onomatos-mythistorimatiki-viografia-apo-tin-katerina-agrafioti-ekdoseis-papyros/ and https://www.ianos.gr/ekaterini-roza-mpotsari-sti-skia-tou-onomatos-0195564

Pietro Luchini,  Italian Painter,1800-1883
Ekaterini Botzaris Caradja, 1845, oil on canvas, 207×159 cm, Private Collection
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ekaterini_Caradja_Botzaris.jpg
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/84/89/14/848914762a7727cfeb43a89aef41f647.jpg

A Damask Rose species bred in 1856, brightly white and very fragrant, was named Rosa Botsaris after her. https://garden.org/plants/view/415/Rose-Rosa-Botzaris/

For a Student Activity, please … Check HERE!

Rose named after Katerina “Rosa” Botsaris
http://diolkos.blogspot.com/2011/07/blog-post_136.html

Marie Euphrosyne Spartali-Stillman

Marie Spartali Stillman, 1844-1927
Self-Portrait, 1874, gouache and pastel with gum arabic on paper, 63.5 by 50.8 cm, property of a private collector
https://byronsmuse.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/marie-spartali-stillman-a-grecian-muse/ and https://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/marie-spartali-stillman-112-c-5vbtvxatmp

Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Today, the 8th of March, many countries around the world celebrate International Women’s Day, a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic, or political. The United Nations page on Women’s Day reminds us how… the growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.  A BLOG POST on Marie Euphrosyne Spartali-Stillman, a Pre-Raphaelite artist par excellence, will be my humble contribution to the importance of the day. https://www.internationalwomensday.com/ and https://www.un.org/en/observances/womens-day/background

Marie Euphrosyne Spartali-Stillman was a Grecian beauty! She was statuesque, nearly 1.90 m in height, with big, dark eyes and long, thick brown hair. Along with her sister Christina, the daughters of Michael Spartali, a wealthy Greek-born businessman and Consul-General of Greece in London, the Spartali girls frequented London’s artistic and literary salons of the 1860s creating a stir. The artist Thomas Armstrong, for example, met the two young women at a Sunday get-together at their parents’ house in 1863 and recalled, “We were all à genoux before them, and of course every one of us burned with a desire to try to paint them.” The poet Algernon Charles Swinburne seeing Marie wearing a white dress with blue ribbon sashes was short of words but quite emotional, writing… “She (Marie) is so beautiful that I want to sit down and cry.” Along with her cousins, Maria Zambaco and Aglaia Coronio were known collectively among friends as “the Three Graces”, after the Charites of Greek mythology (Aglaia, Euphrosyne, and Thalia), as all three were noted beauties of Greek heritage. https://www.artandantiquesmag.com/stillman-paintings/ and https://www.facebook.com/female.artists.in.history/photos/marie-spartali-stillman-british-painter-1844-1927portrait-of-a-young-woman-1868w/1870113673273513/

Thus… she became the muse and the model to several important artists of the time, particularly artists of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, enchanting them with her elegant stature and classical feature! Her beauty, however, was not easy to capture! Dante Gabriel Rossetti loved her to pose for him but on a letter addressed to Jane Morris, dated  August 14, 1867, he wrote… “I find her head the most difficult I ever drew. It depends not so much on real form as on a subtle charm of life which one cannot recreate.” https://www.facebook.com/female.artists.in.history/photos/marie-spartali-stillman-british-painter-1844-1927portrait-of-a-young-woman-1868w/1870113673273513/

The young woman was artistic and an intellectual. Starting in 1864, and for several years, she became the student of artist Ford Madox Brown. Once more, in a letter addressed to Brown, Rossetti writes “I just hear Miss Spartali is to be your pupil. I hear too that she is one and the same with a marvelous beauty of whom I have heard much talk. So box her up and don’t let fellows see her, as I mean to have first shy at her in the way of sitting.” https://byronsmuse.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/marie-spartali-stillman-a-grecian-muse/

In 1871, against her parents’ wishes, she married American journalist, diplomat, author, historian, photographer, and trained artist William J. Stillman (1828 – 1901). A captivating personality, Stillman served as a war correspondent in Crete and the Balkans, a United States consul in Rome, and afterward in Crete, during the Cretan insurrection. He is known for training the young Arthur Evans as a war correspondent in the Balkans, remaining a lifelong friend and confidant. He is also known for considering taking over the excavation at Knossos from Minos Kalokairinos! The couple, along with their children, lived an exciting life between England, Italy, and the United States, Marie being at the time, the only Pre-Raphaelite artist to work and exhibit in the United States. https://digitalcollections.union.edu/s/home/page/william-james-stillman-collection  

According to Margaretta Frederick, curator of the major monographic exhibition, “Poetry in Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelite Art of Marie Spartali Stillman,” (November 7, 2015–January 31, 2016, at the Delaware Museum of Art) Marie  “…abhorred publicity and never wanted to put herself forward, because she was suspicious of critics and publicity.” She was also a victim of the Victorian mentality, further wrote Margaretta Frederick, that dictated that a woman should not compete with men, or at least not appear to do so… explaining that even Spartali Stillman’s choice of medium—watercolor—was guided by this code of conduct: “In a middle- to upper-middle-class family, women painted in watercolor. So she was fixated on this medium that allowed her to situate herself next to the men and compete on their level without transgressing too many social barriers.” https://www.artandantiquesmag.com/stillman-paintings/

Marie might have abhorred publicity, but she did not labor in obscurity. She exhibited at the Royal Academy starting in 1870 and had dealers selling her work on both sides of the Atlantic. Influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite movement and the Italian Renaissance, she is known for creating over one hundred paintings of dreamy medievalism, plenty of Dante-and-Boccaccio scenes, and Portraits of unusual psychological acuteness. Her style, free, and painterly, is an integral link in the chain of Victorian Aestheticism. https://www.artandantiquesmag.com/stillman-paintings/

For a PowerPoint of artwork by Marie Spartali Stillman at the Delaware Art Gallery in the USA, please… Check HERE!

Little Dancer Aged Fourteen by Edgar Degas

Edgar Degas, French Artist, 1834 – 1917
Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, circa 1878-1881, Bronze with brown patina, tulle skirt and satin ribbon on wooden base, Cast by A. A. Hébrard, Paris, circa 1922, 96.5×47×35 cm, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens, Greece
https://goulandris.gr/en/artwork/degas-edgar-little-dancer-aged-fourteen

You may write me down in history / With your bitter, twisted lies, / or may trod me in the very dirt / But still, like dust, I’ll rise.    /    Does my sassiness upset you? / Why are you beset with gloom? / ‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells / Pumping in my living room.    /    Just like moons and like suns, / With the certainty of tides, / Just like hopes springing high, / Still I’ll rise.    /    Did you want to see me broken? / Bowed head  /and lowered eyes? / Shoulders falling down like teardrops.    /    Weakened by my soulful cries.    /    Does my haughtiness offend you? / Don’t you take it awful hard / ‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines / Diggin’ in my own back yard.    /    You may shoot me with your words, / You may cut me with your eyes, / You may kill me with your hatefulness, / But still, like air, I’ll rise.    /    Does my sexiness upset you? / Does it come as a surprise / That I dance like I’ve got diamonds / At the meeting of my thighs?    /    Out of the huts of history’s shame / I rise / Up from a past that’s rooted in pain / I rise / I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, / Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.    /    Leaving behind nights of terror and fear / I rise / Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear / I rise / Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, / I am the dream and the hope of the slave.    /    I rise    /    I rise    /    I rise… writes Maya Angelou and I think of the Little Dancer Aged Fourteen by Edgar Degas in the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation in Athens… https://www.poetrysoup.com/famous/poems/best/dance

Edgar Degas, French Artist, 1834 – 1917
Little Dancer Aged Fourteen (detail), circa 1878-1881, Bronze with brown patina, tulle skirt and satin ribbon on wooden base, Cast by A. A. Hébrard, Paris, circa 1922, 96.5×47×35 cm, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens, Greece
https://goulandris.gr/en/shop/category/edgar-degas

Edgar Degas found ballet dancing irresistible and at the Paris Opéra, he frequently attended grand ballet productions on stage and small ballet classes in rehearsal studios. He was an astute observer of the ballerinas’ daily routine of rehearsing, stretching, and resting. He studied dance movements and filled numerous notebooks with sketches to help him remember details so he could later compose paintings and model sculptures in his studio. His penetrating observations are best exemplified in the artist’s statue of the Little Dancer Aged Fourteen exhibited in the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation in Athens. The Little Dancer’s name was Marie van Goethem… and she was a young student at the Paris Opéra Ballet School. https://www.nga.gov/content/dam/ngaweb/Education/learning-resources/an-eye-for-art/AnEyeforArt-EdgarDegas.pdf and https://goulandris.gr/en/artwork/degas-edgar-little-dancer-aged-fourteen

Adolescent Marie, according to Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation experts, is presented standing in a dynamic but relaxed way, her feet in the “fourth position,” her hands held behind her back, the head slightly raised, and the entire appearance revealing all the ambiguity of an adolescent figure deformed by the dancing practice. The thinness of her body, the possible malnutrition suggested by a slightly swollen belly, does not diminish the girl’s sensuality, whose proud position, almost with an air of defiance, may seem, according to observers, dignified, provocative, or despisingI rise / Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear / I risehttps://goulandris.gr/en/artwork/degas-edgar-little-dancer-aged-fourteen

Edgar Degas, French Artist, 1834 – 1917
Little Dancer Aged Fourteen (back view), circa 1878-1881, Bronze with brown patina, tulle skirt and satin ribbon on wooden base, Cast by A. A. Hébrard, Paris, circa 1922, 96.5×47×35 cm, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens, Greece
https://goulandris.gr/en/artwork/degas-edgar-little-dancer-aged-fourteen
Edgar Degas, French Artist, 1834 – 1917
Little Dancer Aged Fourteen (side view), circa 1878-1881, Bronze with brown patina, tulle skirt and satin ribbon on wooden base, Cast by A. A. Hébrard, Paris, circa 1922, 96.5×47×35 cm, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens, Greece
https://goulandris.gr/en/artwork/degas-edgar-little-dancer-aged-fourteen

Degas worked on Little Dancer Aged Fourteen for more than two years. He first created an armature of metal, wood, wire, rope, and two long paintbrushes for the dancer’s shoulders. Then, he modeled the figure first with clay to define the muscles, and then he modeled the final layer of the sculpture in wax. It was not enough… He dressed the statue in real ballet satin slippers, a linen bodice, a muslin tutu, and a wig of human hair, braided and tied with a ribbon. Finally, to complete the illusion, a coat of wax spread smoothly with a spatula over the surface of the sculpture, giving it an overall waxy,  lifelike look. After Degas died in 1917, copies of this wax figure were cast in plaster and bronze, and Little Dancer Aged Fourteen grew in fame around the world. https://www.nga.gov/content/dam/ngaweb/Education/learning-resources/an-eye-for-art/AnEyeforArt-EdgarDegas.pdf

For a Student Activity, please… Check HERE!

Edgar Degas, French Artist, 1834 – 1917
Little Dancer Aged Fourteen (Museum Hall view), circa 1878-1881, Bronze with brown patina, tulle skirt and satin ribbon on wooden base, Cast by A. A. Hébrard, Paris, circa 1922, 96.5×47×35 cm, Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, Athens, Greece
https://goulandris.gr/en/visit/be-athens