Friday, May 22, 2009

pic links

will relink soon


Thursday, January 06, 2005


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

So who was this genius Raphael?

- Master painter and architect of the Italian High Renaissance.

Raphael is best known for his Madonnas and for his large figure compositions in the Vatican in Rome. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur.

Raffaello Santi, known as Raphael, or Raphael of Urbino, was born in Urbino on Good Friday 6 April 1483, the son of Magia di Battista di Nicola Ciarla and Giovanni Santi di Pietro. His father was a painter and poet at the court of Frederico da Montefeltre, one of the most famous princes and art patrons of Early Renaissance Italy. It is believed that Raphael learnt the fundamentals of art in his father's studio. Raphael had a precocious talent right from the beginning and was an innate absorber of influences. Raphael was apprenticed to Pietro Perugino who was an early influence on his style.

Raphael, Allegory (The Knight's Dream). c.1503-1504. Oil on panel.

Raphael, Allegory (The Knight's Dream). c.1503-1504. Oil on panel.

In 1504, Raphael moved to Florence, where he remained until 1508. These years were very important for his development. He studied works of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo there, by which he was greatly influenced. He could adapt from others what was necessary to his own vision and reject what was incompatible with it. In Florence he started his series of Madonnas, whose charm has captured popular imagination ever since. Within four years Raphael had achieved success in Florence and his fame had spread abroad.

By the autumn of 1508, he was in Rome and was entrusted by Pope Julius II with the decoration of the Stanze, the new papal apartment in the Vatican Palace. The third room was probably finished by his assistants after his sketches in 1514-1517. Other important commissions in this period include frescoes and the decoration of Loggie of Vatican Palace.

Raphael, Judgment of Solomon (ceiling panel). 1509-1511. Fresco. Vaticano, Stanza della Segnatura, Rome.

Raphael, Judgment of Solomon (ceiling panel). 1509-1511. Fresco. Vaticano, Stanza della Segnatura, Rome

Under the new Pope Leo X Raphael held an important position in the papal court. Besides combining positions of painter, architect (he was Chief Architect of St. Peter's cathedral) and archaeologist, he initiated the first comprehensive survey of the antiquities of Rome. Although Raphael's main task during this period was to decorate Stanza, he still found time for a subject, which preoccupied him for a long time: Madonna and Christ Child. He created 10 cartoons for the tapestries, ordered by Leo X for the Sistine Chapel, 7 of which have survived and now in Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The tapestries themselves were woven by Pieter van Aelst and are now in the Vatican Museums.

The Transfiguration (c.1519-1520), was the last work Raphael painted. It was commissioned by Cardinal Giulio de' Medici. Raphael died unexpectedly on Good Friday 6 April 1520. The Transfiguration was complete. Vasari wrote: "He was laid out in the room where he last worked, and at his head hung his painting of the transfigured Christ, which he completed for Cardinal de' Medici. The contrast between the picture, which was so full of life, and the dead body filled everyone who saw it with bitter pain."

Raphael is out of favour today; his work seems too perfect, too faultless for our slipshod age. Yet these great icons of human beauty can never fail to stir us: his Vatican murals can stand fearlessly beside the Sistine ceiling. The School of Athens, for example, monumentally immortalizing the great philosophers, is unrivalled in its classic grace. Raphael's huge influence on successive artists is all the more impressive considering his short life.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Influence of the pre-raphaelites on Literature

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB) was founded in 1849 by

  • William Holman Hunt (1827-1910),
  • D.G. Rossetti,
  • John Everett Millais (1829-1896),
  • William Michael Rossetti,
  • James Collinson,
  • Thomas Woolner, and
  • F. G. Stephens

to revitalize the arts. (Even though William's and Michael's sister, Christina, never was an official member of the Brotherhood, she was a crucial member of the inner circle.

Other artists and writers formed part of a larger Pre-Raphaelite circle, including

  • the painters Ford Madox Brown and Charles Collins,
  • the poet Christina Rossetti,
  • the artist and social critic John Ruskin,
  • the painter-poet William Bell Scott, and
  • the sculptor poet John Lucas Tupper.
  • Later additions to the Pre-Raphaelite circle include J. W. Inchnold, Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris -- and even J. M. Whistler.

A poet whose work parallels the artistic project of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, is Robert Browning , whose work was enormously popular with them all and a particular influence on Rossetti, who wrote out Pauline (1833) from the British Museum copy. Like the paintings of the Brotherhood, Browning's poems simultaneously extend the boundaries of subject and create a kind of abrasive realism, and like the work of the young painters, his poems also employ elaborate symbolism drawn from biblical types to carry the audience beyond the aesthetic surface, to which he, like the painters, aggressively draws attention. One must mention the Browningesque element in Pre-Raphaelite poetry because it appears intermittently all the way up to Hopkins in self-consciously difficult language, the dramatic monologue, and elaborate applications of biblical typology.

The second form of Pre-Raphaelitism, which grows out of the first under the direction of D.G. Rossetti, is Aesthetic Pre-Raphaelitism, and it in turn produced the Arts and Crafts Movement, modern functional design, and the Aesthetes and Decadents.

Rossetti and his follower Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898) emphasized themes of eroticized medievalism (or medievalized eroticism) and pictorial techniques that produced a moody atmosphere.

The Beguiling of Merlin Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones 1874.

The Beguiling of Merlin, Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones 1874.

This form of Pre-Raphaelitism has most relevance to poetry; for although the earlier combination of a realistic style with elaborate symbolism appears in a few poems, particularly those of the Rossettis, this second stage finally had the most influence upon literature. All the poets associated with Pre-Raphaelitism draw upon the poetic continuum that descends from Spenser through Keats and Tennyson - one that emphasizes lush vowel sounds, sensuous description, and subjective psychological states.

Those poets who had some connection with these artists and whose work presumably shares the characteristics of their art include Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Christina Rossetti, George Meredith, William Morris, and Algernon Charles Swinburne.

Max Beerbohm's Caricature of the Rossetti Circle, 1922.

Max Beerbohm's Caricature of the Rossetti Circle, 1922.

Pre-Raphaelitism in poetry had major influence upon the writers of the Decadence, like Ernest Dowson, Lionel Johnson, Michael Field, and Oscar Wilde, as well as upon Gerard Manley Hopkins and W.B. Yeats, both of whom were also influenced by Ruskin and visual Pre-Raphaelitism.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Impact of the Pre-Raphaelites

John Ruskin "...The foundation of a school of art nobler than the world has seen for 300 years."

The Royal Academy has had a profound influence on British art since its inception. After a hundred years of influence professors at its art schools demanded its painters standardize their technique

"... properly subjected to Raphaelesque rules, is to have a principal light occupying one seventh of its space, and a principal shadow occupying one third of the same; that no two people's heads in the picture are to be turned the same way, and that all the personages represented are to have ideal beauty of the highest order..."

according to the eminent contemporary artist, scientist, poet, environmentalist, philosopher, and art critic John Ruskin.

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood aimed to return to a more genuine art, exemplified as they saw it by the work of the Nazarenes, and rooted in realism and truth to nature. Their ideas were that for every scene,
  • a real unidealized landscape or interior should be painted,
  • that every figure should be based on a real model with their real proportions,
  • that the figures should be grouped without reference to any artistic arrangement, and
  • that they should paint worthy subjects.

In other words, to avoid
"Cattle-pieces and sea-pieces and fruit-pieces and family-pieces, the eternal brown cows in ditches, and white sails in squalls, and sliced lemons in saucers, and foolish faces in simpers." (Ruskin)

What are the characteristics of the early Pre-Raphaelite paintings?

  1. They are generally bright - much more so than contemporary academic pictures - painted on a white ground.
  2. The "truth to nature" is apparent in attention to minute detail, to color, and sometimes a lack of grace in composition.
  3. A taste for significant subjects - from medieval tales, from poetry, from religion.

They exhibited their work with the initials "P.R.B." (for Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood) for a short while, and had a journal, The Germ, attracting much criticism, especially from Charles Dickens, before support from John Ruskin lead to their work being reconsidered in a more favourable light.

Later, founder Rossetti inspired a new, younger generation of artists to follow the romantic, medieval type of painting which he himself produced, and these are also called Pre-Raphaelites, and sometimes referred to as the second generation.

Le Morte d'Arthur by Daniel Maclise

Illustration from Tennyson's Poems, published by Moxon in 1857

The Pre-Raphaelites also had a very important impact on book illustration from the middle of the 19th Century. This was not because of the number of illustrations that they produced, which was not large, but because they raised the craft of illustration to high art, and gave an inspiration to generations of future illustrators, some of whom continued to draw in the Pre-Raphaelite style long after painting had moved in other directions. These drawings were treated by the artists in the same painstaking way that they worked on oil paintings, with many studies and changes to each drawing, which was considered a work of art in its own right.

John Ruskin met the Pre-Raphaelites, he encouraged them in their ideals, acting as tutor, mentor, and generous supporter. Ruskin taught Pre-Raphaelite style drawing at the Working Men's College in London for some years, enlisting Rossetti to teach figure and watercolour painting and afterwards Ford Madox Brown to fill the same position. Afterwards, he left London, becoming Slade Professor of Art at Oxford (where there is an art college named after him) and then removing to the Lake District where he helped to start the Environmental Movement. There is a Ruskin Museum in Sheffield which has some of his sketches on permanent display.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Larger images from the pre raphaelite sample posting

Larger images from the previous posting are shown below.

1. Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Medieval theme

'The Wedding of St. George and Princess Sabra' by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

'The Wedding of St. George and Princess Sabra', 1857 watercolor

2. John William Waterhouse - Arthurian theme

'I am Half-Sick of Shadows' said The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse

'I am Half-Sick of Shadows' said The Lady of Shalott, c.1916 oil on canvas

3. Sir Frank Dicksee - Supernatural

'La Belle Sans Merci' by Sir Frank Dicksee

'La Belle Sans Merci'

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Some samples of what I am talking about

I will introduce these paintings by starting with an example with a Medieval theme and then showing an example from Lady of Shalott which has an Arthurian theme and finish this session with an example of La Belle Dame Sans Merci which has a supernatural theme of vampirism.

1. Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Medieval theme

'The Wedding of St. George and Princess Sabra' by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

'The Wedding of St. George and Princess Sabra'

For the story of the medieval age depicted in this masterpiece by a founder of the movement read the poem 'Sir George and the Dragon' by Thomas Percy.

2. John William Waterhouse - Arthurian theme

'I am Half-Sick of Shadows' said The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse

'I am Half-Sick of Shadows' said The Lady of Shalott

For the King Arthur & Camelot legend depicted in this masterpiece by an English follower of the movement see Part III of the poem below:

The Lady of Shalott
by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Part I

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And through the field the road runs by
To many-towered Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.
Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Through the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four grey walls, and four grey towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.
By the margin, willow-veiled,
Slide the heavy barges trailed
By slow horses; and unhailed
The shallop flitteth silken-sailed
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?
Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
Down to towered Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers "'Tis the fairy
Lady of Shalott."

Part II

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.
And moving through a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
Pass onward from Shalot
Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-haired page in crimson clad,
Goes by to towered Camelot;
And sometimes through the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.
But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often through the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
"I am half sick of shadows," said
The Lady of Shalott.

Part III

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling through the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneeled
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.
The gemmy bridle glittered free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazoned baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
Beside remote Shalot.
All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewelled shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burned like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often through the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
Moves over still Shalott.
His broad clear brow in sunlight glowed;
On burnished hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flowed
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flashed into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.
She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces through the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She looked down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror cracked from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.

Part IV

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
Over towered Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.
And down the river's dim expanse,
Like some bold seer in a trance
Seeing all his own mischance,
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.
Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right -
The leaves upon her falling light -
Through the noises of the night
She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
The Lady of Shalott.
Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darkened wholly,
Turned to towered Camelot.
For ere she reached upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
The Lady of Shalott.
Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
And round the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.
Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they crossed themselves for fear,
All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott."

3. Sir Frank Dicksee - Supernatural

'La Belle Sans Merci' by Sir Frank Dicksee

'La Belle Sans Merci'

For the tale of the supertnatural vampire which inspired this English follower of the movement read the poem below.

La Belle Dame Sans Merci
by John Keats

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.
O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms!
So haggard and so woebegone?
The squirrel's granary is full,
And the harvest's done.
I see a lily on thy brow
With anguish moist and fever dew,
And on thy cheek a fading rose
Fast withereth too.
"I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful -a faery's child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.
I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She looked at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.
I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
A faery's song.
She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna dew,
And sure in language strange she said
'I love thee true.
'She took me to her elfin grot,
And there she wept, and sighed full sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
With kisses four.
And there she lulled me asleep,
And there I dreamed -Ah! woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dreamed
On the cold hill's side.
I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried -'La Belle Dame sans Merci
Hath thee in thrall!'
I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill's side.
And this is why I sojourn here,
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.