This illusionistic painting is one of Vermeer's most famous. In 1868 Thoré-Bürger, known today for his rediscovery of the work of painter Johannes Vermeer, regarded this painting as his most interesting. Svetlana Alpers describes it as unique and ambitious; Walter Liedtke "as a virtuoso display of the artist's power of invention and execution, staged in an imaginary version of his studio ..." According to Albert Blankert "No other painting so flawlessly integrates naturalistic technique, brightly illuminated space, and a complexly integrated composition."
Dr Pozzi at Home is an 1881 oil painting by the American artist John Singer Sargent. The portrait of the French gynaecologist and art collector Samuel Jean de Pozzi was Sargent's first large portrait of a male subject.
Samuel-Jean Pozzi (1846–1918) was a pioneer in the field of modern gynecology in France; his practices advanced the reproductive safety and dignity of women. He was also an aesthete and an art collector whom Sargent greatly revered. The artist’s admiration for his charismatic sitter is evident in this dramatic portrait. Sargent portrays the worldly man in an almost ecclesiastical mode, with a gracious, slightly mannered pose and crimson costume that reference images of popes and cardinals by the old masters. Pozzi’s long fingers and elegant hands suggest his surgical prowess but also hint at his sensuality, which is further evoked by his informal dressing gown and the lush velvet curtains. This portrait was the first work Sargent exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1882.
The painting was intended to serve as an advertisement for Sargent’s skills as a formal portraitist. With its brazen color and self-conscious elegance, it did notimmediately find critical favor. More than 100 years later, John Updike served up the most memorable critique, calling the portrait “shameless romantic flattery of its brighteyed subject, with a cozy crimson aura of satanic drag.”
Portrait of a Young Man (1530s) - Bronzino (Agnolo di Cosimo di Mariano) (1503–1572)
The identity of this arrogant young man is unknown, but he must have belonged to Bronzino’s close circle of literary friends in Florence and probably holds a book of poetry. The artist was himself a poet, delighting as much in the beauty of language as he did in the witty and fanciful details of his paintings. Here, viewers would have appreciated the carved grotesque heads on the table and chair, and the almost hidden, masklike face suggested in the folds of the youth’s breeches as comments on masks and disguises. They contrast with the youth’s own handsome looks.
A obra Encontro de Natália Correia com Fernanda Botelho e Maria João Pires, de Nikias Skapinakis, é a última de um ciclo temático intitulado Para o estudo da melancolia em Portugal que o artista iniciara em 1967, com a obra As Três Graças. Ambos os trabalhos se aparentam pois pela abordagem do retrato conjunto, de personagens femininas plasmadas na tela sobre um fundo branco, encerradas no seu mutismo apesar da coexistência no mesmo espaço plástico e simbólico.
Todavia, enquanto n’As Três Graças, as figuras encontram-se niveladas num mesmo agregado de formas e cores ao centro da composição, Encontro de Natália Correia… introduz uma distinção fundamental entre a figura da esquerda – a poetisa Natália Correia – e as duas personagens da direita, sentadas no chão, as mais jovens retratadas, Fernanda Botelho e Maria João Pires, respectivamente escritora e pianista.
A polarização simbólica é dupla: no semi-afastamento das figuras para as margens laterais do quadro, por um lado, e no desnivelamento vertical das mesmas, por outro, com uma Natália Correia soberana, sentada de perfil, ao mesmo tempo vigilante e maternal, com o seu olhar projectando-se num além insondável. Desnivelamento simbólico e existencial decerto, não só pela idade das protagonistas, como pela experiência vivida e pelo protagonismo de cada uma, no espaço cultural português da época.
Na composição, o pintor entendia assim reservar a Natália um estatuto distinto também registado pela elevação do seu corpo numa cadeira de café – aludindo com este único objecto banal ao Botequim, café-bar lisboeta que Natália Correia fundou e geriu, a partir de 1971, com Isabel Meireles, Helena Roseta e Júlia Marenha e que foi ponto de encontro de intelectuais e artistas.
O ciclo Para o estudo da melancolia em Portugal encerrou-se com esta obra, muito embora uma derradeira tivesse estado em preparação (com os poetas Mário-Henrique Leiria e Mário Cesariny). Com a mudança de regime, em 25 de Abril de 1974, a nova situação democrática tornava realidade o sonho da livre expressão da palavra e da alegria. Para Nikias Skapinakis, porventura, deixara de fazer sentido um estudo sobre uma melancolia que fora indiferença amarga para numerosos artistas e intelectuais portugueses, prolongada na sombra da ditadura. Nas suas pinturas, os retratados – mesmo quando integrados na segurança dos seus grupos afectivos ou classes profissionais (Os críticos, 1971) – seriam sempre representados de boca fechada, num sempiterno silêncio, como aves exóticas em cativeiro, imobilizadas num espaço concluso e imaterial. Com as suas figuras recortadas e aplanadas sobre um fundo uniforme sem chão nem céu, o Encontro de Natália Correia…, como outras obras do mesmo ciclo, reflecte o tempo da liberdade condicional que passaria à história idealizado pelo artista em nova sequência iconográfica: Os Caminhos da Liberdade.
Born (1961) in Italy. Lives and works in Oshawa, a suburb of Toronto, Canada.
Toni Hamel describes her work as “an illustrated commentary on human frailties“. Rooted in story-telling, her art practice draws from personal experiences and outward observations to create thematic bodies of work that reflect on and interpret the psychological unease characteristic of our age. Virtues and vices, the holy and the profane, the good and the bad all share equal weight in her work and supply an infinite source of material for her investigations. Such conceptual framework leads Hamel to work across disciplines: drawings, paintings, sculptures and installations are rendered in both traditional and non-traditional materials and are selected based on their ability to support the particular message she needs to convey. Pointing to historical and psychological references while tackling issues of universal interest, Hamel’s narratives question our behaviour to eventually alert us about the repercussions of our current thinking models.
Hamel is the recipient of three Ontario Arts Council grants (2011, 2012, 2014). Her work has been exhibited in public and commercial galleries in Canada and abroad, and is included in the permanent art collections of the Archives of Ontario/Government of Ontario, the Omer DeSerres Corporation and the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, as well as in private collections in Canada, the US and Europe.
Hamel holds a BFA from the Accademia di Belle Arti of Lecce (Italy, 1983), a post-graduate Certificate in Computer Graphics from Sheridan College (Canada, 1991), the Golden Key National Honour Society Award from the University of Toronto (Specialist Programme in Psychology, 1997). She is the recipient of the Lubiam Prize (Milan, 1983) and many other awards.
Munch became ill at the turn of the year 1918–19. He was probably suffering from the Spanish flu, a deadly influenza that would claim the lives of many millions of people during a global epidemic from 1917 to 1920. In a series of studies, sketches, and paintings, Munch detailed the various stages of the disease and how death came ever closer.
It is a sick, incapacitated artist who meets our gaze in Self-Portrait with the Spanish Flu. His hair is thin, his complexion is jaundiced, and he is wrapped in a dressing gown and blanket. Munch shows us his frail condition, intimately and straight to the point, as he sits in a wicker chair in front of his unmade sickbed. The style itself seems equally direct, with simple, wavy lines and with colours applied with rough sweeps of the brush – red, blue, yellow, green, and brown – used to depict the figure. Munch’s experiences become condensed here: the room seems narrow, and the dominant yellow hues heighten the composition’s sense of restlessness.
The self-portrait belongs to a later phase of Munch’s career, created a few years after he set up house at Ekely on the outskirts of Kristiania. Munch had recently completed his major decoration of the University Aula, and the colours and monumentality of this self-portrait seem to be a continuation of this work. Here, however, he has returned to one of his recurring themes: himself. The picture’s large format, broad register, and forceful style make it stand out among Munch’s many self-portraits.
Text: Øystein Ustvedt From "Edvard Munch in the National Museum", Nasjonalmuseet 2008, ISBN 978-82-8154-035-54
Passignano’s painting of men bathing is a picture of tantalizing paradoxes: it can be associated with a tradition of bath house and bathing pictures going back to antiquity while at the same time being totally unique. It anticipated, by nearly three hundred years, Thomas Eakins’ Swimming Picture, revealing both the erotic tensions and the underlying classicism of Eakins’ modernity and the modernity of Passignano’s anecdotal classicism.
Painted with Passignano’s renowned rapidity and bravura, beautiful in its surface qualities, the picture combines close observation of reality with an idealizing vision of friendship and possibly love. Proudly signed and dated 1600 in the center foreground, it is exceptional among Passignano’s works, which consisted largely of a conventional blend of religious and historical subjects and portraiture. Nothing is known of its origins, although in his seventeeth-century book of biographical notices on artists Filippo Baldinucci mentions a painting belonging to the Marchese Filippo Niccolini in Florence with a number of women bathing in the Arno that has tentatively been associated with the Bathers at San Niccolò. Wrong gender, but close in subject and site; unless Filippo was very nearsighted or only had a glimpse of a painting vaguely recalled, it might have been a pendant, adding mystery to mystery. The painting’s scale – also remarkable for a genre scene that is hardly generic – proves that it was a significant commission and an important one for the original owner who must have been a Florentine with fond associations of summer days at San Niccolò, which is recognizably portrayed.