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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Venetian experience

1. Poussin took an intellectual approach to painting. What did he emphasis and what did he downplay when creating #21.5 'The Abduction of the Sabine Women'?(1 pt.)

Nicholas Poussin’s “ The Abduction of the Sabine Women” is a very powerful, emotional, and theatrical piece of art. In this painting all of the people are frozen in their actions. It looks as if, the women are being taken away from their families by soldiers. There are babies on the ground crying while this struggle is taking place. There is a man that looks like royalty watching this happen. There are gray skies in the painting which give it a feeling of remorse and sadness.

2. What is notable about the paintings of Claude Lorraine? (1 pt.)
Landscape was a subject considered distinctly unclassical and secular during Claude Lorraine’s time in fact it wasn’t accepted until the 17th century. After befriending Nicolas Poussin; they would travel the Roman Campagna, sketching landscapes. Though both have been called landscape painters, in Poussin the landscape is a background to the figures; where as for Lorrain, despite figures in one corner of the canvas, the true subjects are the land, the sea, and the air. By report, he often engaged other artists to paint the figures for him, including Courtois and Filippo Lauri. He remarked to those purchasing his pictures that he sold them the landscape; the figures were gratis. The former quality was not consonant with Renaissance art, which boasted its rivalry with the work of the ancients. The second quality had less public patronage in Counter-Reformation Rome, which prized subjects worthy of "high painting," typically religious or mythic scenes. Pure landscape, like pure still-life or genre painting, reflected an aesthetic viewpoint regarded as lacking in moral seriousness. Rome, the theological and philosophical center of 17th century Italian art, was not quite ready for such a break with tradition.
In this matter of the importance of landscape, Lorrain was prescient. Living in a pre-Romantic era, he did not depict those uninhabited panoramas that were to be esteemed in later centuries, such as with Salvatore Rosa. He painted a pastoral world of fields and valleys not distant from castles and towns. If the ocean horizon is represented, it is from the setting of a busy port. Perhaps to feed the public need for paintings with noble themes, his pictures include demigods, heroes and saints, even though his abundant drawings and sketchbooks prove that he was more interested in scenography.
3. What was the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture founded in Paris? When did it begin? How did it 'grade' the merits of artists of the past and present?(3 pts)
From the seventeenth century to the early part of the twentieth century, artistic production in France was controlled by artistic academies which organized official exhibitions called salons. The Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture (Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture), Paris, was founded in 1648, modelled on Italian examples, such as the Accademia di San Luca in Rome.
In 1661, it came under the control of Jean-Baptiste Colbert who made the arts a main part in the glorification of Louis XIV. From 1683 on, it reached its greatest power under the directorship of Charles Le Brun with its hierarchy of members and strict system of education. On August 8, 1793, it was suspended by the revolutionary National Convention, when the latter decreed the abolition of "toutes les académies et sociétés littéraires patentées ou dotées par la Nation". It was later renamed Académie de peinture et de sculpture.
The "Académie de peinture et sculpture" is also responsible for the Académie de France in the villa Médicis in Rome (founded in 1666) which allows promising artists to study in Rome. In 1816, it was merged with the Académie de musique (Academy of Music, founded in 1669) and the Académie d'architecture (Academy of Architecture, founded in 1671), to form the Académie des beaux-arts, one of the five academies of the Institut de France.
In France, "Academies" are institutions and learned societies which monitor, foster, critique and protect French cultural production. By the middle of the century, the number of private academies decreased as academies gradually came under government control, sporsorship and patronage. In the fine arts, the Académie de peinture et de sculpture ("Academy of Painting and Sculpture") was founded by Cardinal Mazarin in 1648; the Académie d'architecture ("Academy of Architecture") was founded by Jean-Baptiste Colbert in 1671; the "Académie de musique" ("Academy of Music") was founded in 1669. In 1816, these three academies were reunitied as the Académie des beaux-arts ("Academy of Fine Arts"), which is (along with the "Académie française") one of the five academies that make up the "Institut de France" ("French Institute").
4. The Palace of Versailles was the largest building constructed under the rein of Louis XIV. Name the architects and designers involved in this project. How were the grounds designed that surround the palace?(2 pts.)
In English it is often referred to as the Palace of Versailles. When the château was built, Versailles was a country village, but it is now a suburb of Paris. From 1682, when King Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in 1789, the Court of Versailles was the centre of power in Ancien Régime France. Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy which Louis XIV espoused.
Upon the death of Jules Cardinal Mazarin in 1661, who had served as co-regent during the minority of Louis XIV, Louis XIV (b. 5 September 1638 at Saint-Germain-en-Laye; d. 1 September 1715 at Versailles; reigned 14 May 1642 – 1 September 1715) began his personal reign by vowing to be his own prime minister. From this point, construction and expansion at Versailles became synonymous with the absolutism of Louis XIV.
After the disgrace of Nicolas Fouquet in 1661 — Louis claimed the finance minister would not have been able to build his grand château at Vaux-le-Vicomte with out having embezzled from the crown— Louis XIV, after confiscation of Fouquet’s estate, employed the talents of architect Louis Le Vau, landscape architect André Le Nôtre, and painter/decorator Charles Le Brun for his building campaigns at Versailles and elsewhere. For Versailles, there were four distinct building campaigns (after minor alterations and enlargements had been executed on the château and the gardens in 1662-1663), all of which corresponded to Louis XIV’s wars.
The First Building Campaign (1664-1668) commenced with the Plaisirs de l’Île enchantée of 1664, a party that was held between 7th and 13th May 1664. The party was ostensibly given to celebrate the two queens of France — Anne of Austria, the Queen Mother and Marie-Thérèse, Louis XIV’s wife, but in reality celebrated the king’s mistress, Louise de La Vallière. The fête of the Plaisirs de l’Île enchantée is often regarded as a prelude to the War of Devolution, which Louis XIV waged against Spain — both the Queen Mother and Marie-Thérèse were Spanish by birth — from 1667 to 1668). The First Building Campaign (1664-1668) saw alterations in the château and gardens in order to accommodate the 600 guests invited to the party.
The Second Building Campaign (1669-1672) was inaugurated with the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (the treaty that ended the War of Devolution). During this campaign, the château began to assume much of the appearance that it has today. The most important modification of the château was Louis LeVau’s envelope of Louis XIII’s hunting lodge. The envelope — often referred to as the château neuf to distinguish it from the older structure of Louis XIII — enveloped the hunting lodge on the north, west, and south. The new structure provided new lodgings for members of the king and his family.
With the signing of the Treaty of Nijmegen (1678, which ended the Dutch War of 1672-1678), the Third Building Campaign at Versailles began (1678-1684). Under the direction of the architect, Jules Hardouin Mansart, the palace of Versailles acquired much of the look that it has today. In addition to the Hall of Mirrors, Mansart designed the north and south wings (which were used by the nobility and Princes of the Blood, respectively), and the Orangerie. Charles Le Brun was occupied not only with the interior decoration of the new additions of the palace, but also collaborated with André Le Notre in landscaping the palace gardens. As symbol of France’s new prominence as a European super-power, Louis XIV officially installed his court at Versailles in May of 1682.
Soon after the crushing defeat of the War of the League of Augsburg (1688-1697) and owing possibly to the pious influence of Madame de Maintenon, Louis XIV undertook his last building campaign at Versailles. The fourth building campaign (1701-1710) concentrated almost exclusively on construction of the Chapel Royal, designed by Mansart and finished by Robert de Cotte and his team of decorative designers. There were also some modifications in the king’s Petit Appartement, namely the construction of the Salon de l’Oeil de Boeuf and the King’s Bedchamber. With the completion of the chapel in 1710, virtually all construction at Versailles ceased; building would not be resumed at Versailles until some 20 years later during the reign of Louis XV.
The grounds of Versailles contain one of the largest formal gardens ever created, with extensive parterres, fountains and canals, designed by André Le Nôtre. Le Nôtre modified the original gardens by expanding them and giving them a sense of openness and scale. He also liked to enjoy sunbathing in his wonderful work of art. He created a plan centered around the central axis of the Grand Canal. The gardens are centered on the south front of the palace, which is set on a long terrace to give a grand view of the gardens. At the foot of the steps the Fountain of Latona is located. This fountain tells a story taken from Ovid's poem Metamorphoses and served — and still serves — as an allegory of the Fronde. Next, is the Royal Avenue or the Tapis Vert. Surrounding this to the sides are the formal gardens. Beyond this is the Fountain of Apollo. This fountain symbolizes the regime of Louis XIV, or, the "Sun King". Beyond the Fountain lies the massive Grand Canal. The wide central axis rises on the far side. Even farther into the distance lie the dense woods of the King's hunting grounds.
Several smaller buildings were added to the park of Versailles, starting with the Ménagerie, which was built between 1663 and 1665 and modified in the 1690s for the use of Louis XIV's granddaughter, the duchess de Bourgogne, followed by the Grand Trianon (originally the Porcelain Trianon), continuing with additions by Louis XV and Louis XVI including the Petit Trianon, and the Hamlet of Marie Antoinette known as the le Hameau.
5. What unique catastrophy in London in 1666 caused Sir Christopher Wren's career as an architect to move forward? Describe the plan of his St. Paul's Cathedral.(2 pts.)
Wren was elected Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford, and in 1669 he was appointed Surveyor of Works to Charles II. From 1661 until 1668 Wren's life was based in Oxford, although the Royal Society meant that he had to make occasional trips to London. It was also around these times that his attention turned to architecture.
It was probably around this time that Wren was drawn into redesigning a battered St. Paul's Cathedral. Making a trip to Paris in 1665, Wren studied the architecture, which had reached a climax of creativity, and perused the drawings of Bernini, the great Italian sculptor and architect. Returning from Paris, he made his first design for St. Paul’s. A week later, however, the Great Fire destroyed two-thirds of the city. Wren submitted his plans for rebuilding the city to King Charles II, although they were never adopted. With his appointment as King’s Surveyor of Works in 1669, he had a presence in the general process of rebuilding the city, but was not directly involved with the rebuilding of houses or companies' halls. Wren was personally responsible of the rebuilding of 51 churches; however, it is not necessarily true to say that each of them represented his own fully developed design.
The task of designing a replacement structure was assigned to Christopher Wren in 1668, along with over 50 other City churches. His first design, to build a replacement on the foundations of the old cathedral, was rejected in 1669. The second design, in the shape of a Greek cross (circa 1670-1672) was rejected as too radical, as was a revised design that resulted in the 1:24 scale "Great Model", on display in the crypt of the cathedral. The 'warrant' design was accepted in 1675 and building work began in June. The 'warrant' design included a small dome with a spire on top, but King Charles II had given Wren permission to make "ornamental" changes to the approved design and Wren took the liberty to radically rework the design to the current form, including the large central dome and the towers at the west end.

6. Define "Rococo." How is it different from Baroque Art? (2 pts.)
A style of 18th century French art and interior design, Rococo style rooms were designed as total works of art with elegant and ornate furniture, small sculptures, ornamental mirrors, and tapestry complementing architecture, reliefs, and wall paintings. It was largely supplanted by the Neoclassic style.
The word Rococo is seen as a combination of the French rocaille, or shell, and the Italian barocco, or Baroque style. In the arts, the Baroque was a Western cultural epoch, commencing roughly at the turn of the 17th century in Rome, that was exemplified by drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music. Due to Rococo love of shell-like curves and focus on decorative arts, some critics used the term to derogatively imply that the style was frivolous or merely fashion; interestingly, when the term was first used in English in about 1836, it was a colloquialism meaning "old-fashioned". However, since the mid 19th century, the term has been accepted by art historians. While there is still some debate about the historical significance of the style to art in general, Rococo is now widely recognized as a major period in the development of European art.

7. Describe the conflict between Poussinistes and Rubenistes. Which group eventually won out? (2 pts.)

The Poussinistes were a group of conservative French artists during the 17th Century. The Poussinistes defended Poussin's view that drawing appealed to the mind and was superior to color, which they believed appealed to the senses. They were opposed by the Rubénistes who believed that color, not drawing, was superior due to its being more true to nature. Drawing was, according to the Rubénistes, based on reason and only appealing to the few experts whereas color could be enjoyed by everyone. This challenged the notions of the Renaissance when only the educated were believed to appreciate art. (Janson, 584)
While actually, Poussin and Rubens themselves had little or nothing to do with the controversy. The real protagonists were Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (pronounced Ang) and Eugène Delacroix (pronounced Dela-qua). Ingres had been a student of the outstanding classical master-painter Jacques-Louis David (pronounced Da-veed) and was 18 years older than his rival. The competition between the two split the French Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture down the middle and continued largely unabated from the early 1820s until both men died in the mid-1860s. Of course by that time, the young Turks of Impressionism were deciding the whole matter was something of a moot point anyway. And while they might tend toward The Rubenistes colour theories and painting techniques, they hated the academic arguments and classical subject matter of both camps.
The fact is, neither side was entirely right or entirely wrong. Given the state of art, and painting in particular, in the 1800s, both sides needed each other. Drawing offered form, and paint provided colour. Without both there would have been no painting at all. The theories of hemispheric domination were, of course, unknown at the time, but the matter essentially came down to a left-brain/right-brain approach to painting. The left side of the brain being the analytical side, demanded careful drawing, adherence to scientific rules, even in matters of aesthetics and colour theory. Dozens of preliminary sketches were meticulously condensed to a single, tightly drawn image on canvas to which carefully muted colours were delicately added over an extended period of time. The right side of the brain, being the visual and emotional hemisphere, tended toward an instinctive approach both in drawing, and especially in colour use. Drawing was done with a brush with wet paint swishing sensuously over virgin canvas, evolving into emotionally charged patterns of light and dark, then to powerful masses of vibrant colour and texture. Paintings were often executed, start to finish, in only a few hours of ecstatic painting frenzy. Today, not all that much has changed of course. The only difference is the names--the Rockwellians and the Pollockers perhaps?

8. What new category was added to the French Academy in order to admit Watteau?(1 pt.)

Fete galante a type of painting introduced by Jean Antoine Watteau.

9. Chardin's paintings do not follow the typical Rococo formula. What previous group of artists does it reflect? (1 pt.)

Chardin was very active in the French Academy, but his expertise was in still life. Still life is the area of painting considered the lowest in the Academy’s hierarchy of subjects. The interest in still life paintings as well as in genre was inspired by many Dutch and Flemish seventeenth century paintings then again in France.

10. One of the most successful Rococo portraitists was a woman. Who was she and who were her clients?(2 pts.)
Rococo artists, who were particularly interested in rich and intricate ornamentation, excelled at the refined portrait. Their attention to the details of dress and texture increased the efficacy of portraits as testaments to worldly wealth. French painters François Boucher and Hyacinthe Rigaud proved to be remarkable chroniclers of opulence, as were English painters Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Joshua Reynolds. In the 18th century, female painters gained new importance, particularly in the field of portraiture. Notable female artists include French painter Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Italian pastel artist Rosalba Carriera, and Swiss artist Angelica Kauffmann.
Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun (April 16, 1755 - March 30, 1842) was a French painter, and is recognized as the most famous woman painter of the eighteenth century. Her style is neoclassical in exhibiting ideals of simplicity and purity. Her work can also be considered Rococo in its grace, delicacy, and naturalism. She painted portraits of many of the nobility of the day and as her career blossomed, she was invited to the Palace of Versailles to paint Marie Antoinette, the French Queen consort.
Rosalba Carriera (October 7, 1675 – April 15, 1757) was a Venetian Rococo painter. In her younger years, she specialized in portrait miniatures. She later became known for her pastel work, a medium appealing to Rococo styles for its soft edges and flattering surfaces. The portraits of her early period include those of Maximilian II of Bavaria; Frederick IV of Denmark; the 12 most beautiful Venetian court ladies; the "Artist and her Sister Naneta" (Uffizi); and August the Strong of Saxony, who acquired a large collection of her pastels.

11. What is the meaning of the engraving #22.15 "He Revels" by Hogarth? (1 pt.)

The painting is of a young wastrel who is overindulging in wine and women. It is a series were the rogue becomes arrested for debt, enters into marriage, and turns to gambling, then is imprisoned, and even goes insane, and is instituted. This scene is set in a famous London brothel, The Rose Tavern. I personally believe that this series like many of the Hogarth series is meant to convey Hogarth’s deep distain for what he considered societies slow sloping down fall of young men and women. This scene in particular is full of witty visual clues, which the viewer would disvoer little by little, adding a comic element to the satire of social evils. He combines Watteau’s color with an emphasis on narrative by delicately placing objects meant to be referenced to small stories.

12. Describe the main features of Die Wies (illustration #22.23 & 22.24).(1 pt.)

The main features of the Die Wies are full of richness reflecting the fact that the architect and his brother, Johann Baptist Zimmermann was responsible for frescoes. The exterior may be simple but the interior is elaborately decorated with a combination of sculptural painted stucco decoration and painting. The ceiling rests on paired, free standing supports, the space is more fluid and complex, recalling a German Gothic Hallenkirche (hall church).

13. What type of paintings did the Italian Canaletto make and who purchased his works?(1 pt.)

How he came to be known as Canaletto is uncertain, however; perhaps the name was first used to distinguish him from his father, Bernardo Canal, a theatrical scene painter in whose studio Canaletto assisted. Canaletto is recorded as working with his father and brother in Venice from 1716 to 1719 and in Rome in 1719–20, painting scenes for Alessandro Scarlatti operas. It was in Rome that Canaletto left theatrical painting for the topographical career that was to bring him international fame so quickly, although a close connection to his theatrical work remained in his choice of subject matter, his use of line and wash drawings, and his theatrical perspective.
When he returned to Venice, he began his contact with the foreign patrons who would continue as his chief support throughout his career. Four large paintings were completed for the Prince of Liechtenstein, in or before 1723, and in 1725–26 he finished a series of pictures for Stefano Conti, a merchant from Lucca. Dated memorandums accompanying the Conti pictures suggest how busy and yet how exacting the artist was at this time. Canaletto indicates that delays in the delivery of the pictures had been due to the pressure of other commissions and his own insistence on obtaining reliable pigments and on working from nature. In his pictures of the late 1720s, such as “The http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic?idxStructId=567355&typeId=13Stonemason's Yard,” he combined a freedom and subtlety of manner that he was rarely to achieve again with an unrivaled imaginative and dramatic interpretation of Venetian architecture. His understanding of sunlight and shadow, cloud effects, and the play of light on buildings support the contention in his memorandums that he was working out-of-doors, which was a most unusual procedure for painters of that time.
Throughout the 1730s Canaletto was deeply absorbed in meeting foreign demands for souvenir views of Venice. Such was the pressure upon him that he ultimately was forced to work largely from drawings and even from other artists' engravings, rather than from nature. He also developed the use of the http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic?idxStructId=90871&typeId=13camera ottica, a device by which a lens threw onto a ground-glass screen the image of a view, which could be used as a basis for a drawing or painting. Finally, he developed a mechanical technique, in which ruler and compasses played a part, and architecture and figures were put into the picture according to a dexterous and effective formula. Such a vast number of views of Venice were produced during his lifetime that it is often thought that Canaletto was head of a large studio, but there is no evidence of this.
As standardized views of Venice dropped from demand, Smith seems to have encouraged Canaletto to expand his range of subjects to include Roman monuments and the area of Padua and the Brenta River. Pictures composed of more or less recognizable elements rearranged (capriccio) and pictures composed of almost completely imaginary architectural and scenic elements (http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic?idxStructId=624498&typeId=13veduta ideata) now began to play an increasingly important part in Canaletto's work. In 1741–44 Canaletto also made a series of 30 etchings, exceptionally skillful and sensitive, showing a command of perspective and luminosity.
He worked mainly in London, on English views. It is notable, when considering the works executed during this period, that Canaletto—an artist 50 years of age who had evolved various conventions based on Venetian experience—was dealing with an entirely different set of atmospheric conditions and different subject matter. Occasionally, by putting English material into a Venetian framework, he achieved a masterpiece, but for the most part he fell below his own standards, and his work was lifeless and mechanical.
On his return to Venice, however, his reputation had not diminished; and at last he received official recognition—election to the Venetian Academy in 1763 and, in the same year, appointment as prior of the Collegio dei Pittori.
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