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ART “4” “2”-DAY   06 December
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^ Born on 06 December 1750: Pierre Henri de Valenciennes, French painter specialized in landscapes, who died on 16 February 1819.
— Born in Toulouse, Valenciennes received his early training under Jean-Baptiste Despax, a history painter, and Guillaume-Gabriel Bouton, a miniaturist. He went to Italy in 1769 with his patron, Mathias du Bourg, was in Paris by 1771, and two years later entered the studio of the history painter Gabriel-François Doyen. During this period he began to sketch in the French countryside. Valenciennes returned to Italy in 1777, remaining there until 1784-85, with the exception of travels in Sicily and Switzerland and a visit to Paris in 1781. There Claude-Joseph Vernet [14 Aug 1714 – 03 Dec 1789] gave him instruction in perspective and encouraged his plein-air studies. Essentially, however, the artist appears to be self-taught as a landscape painter. Valenciennes became a member of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1787 and continued to exhibit at the Salons until 1819. From 1796 to 1800 he taught courses in perspective, and in 1799-1800 published his famous treatise, Eléments de perspective pratique à l'usage des artistes, as well as an essay on landscape painting. In 1812 he was appointed Professor of Perspective at the École Des Beaux-Arts and was awarded the Legion d'Honneur in 1815. The École established a Prix de Rome for historical landscape in 1816. Strongly influenced by the classical landscape tradition of Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain, Valenciennes was largely responsible for elevating the status of landscape painting in the late eighteenth century. As a respected teacher and theoretician, he helped form a generation of landscape painters, including Jean-Victor Bertin and Achille-Etna Michallon, who became Corot's masters.
Éruption du Vésuve Arrivée le 24 Aug de l'an 79 de J.C. Sous le Règne de Titus (1813, 148x196cm) _ Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes était un fervent partisan du paysage historique : il fut notamment l'un des instigateurs de la création en 1816 d'un Prix de Rome du paysage historique. C'est à ce genre qu'appartient cette toile, où l'artiste représente la mort de Pline l'Ancien, qui, ayant voulu s'approcher de la montagne pour voir l'éruption du Vésuve, fut puni de sa téméraire curiosité, et mourut asphyxié par la fumée. Cherchant avant tout la vraisemblance, Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes visita Pompeï, rendue célèbre par les fouilles alors en cours, et assista même à l'éruption du volcan qui eut lieu le 18 ou 19 Aug 1779, et qu'il décrit en ces termes: “A quelques milles de là, nous avons découvert très distinctement une éruption du Vésuve qui a été des plus fortes dont on puisse se ressouvenir. Ç'a été une explosion qui a porté des pierres à cinquante milles”. Dans cette toile, Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes insiste sur l'impuissance de l'homme face aux déchaînements de la nature, matérialisés par la taille du volcan, qui lance des pierres à une hauteur vertigineuse et déverse des fleuves de lave bouillonnante, et face auquel les personnages paraissent minuscules. Ce tableau marque le retour de Valenciennes au Salon après plusieurs années d'absence. La puissance de la nature déchaînée est ici mise en opposition avec la vulnérabilité humaine, reléguée de façon presque anecdotique dans la partie.
A Capriccio of Rome with the the Finish of a Marathon (1788, 81x119cm) — Italian LandscapeLandscape of Ancient Greece (1786, x 152cm)
^ Died on 06 December 1562: Jan van Scorel (or Schoreel, Scorelius), Dutch painter born on 01 August 1495. [Among those who like Scorel is there someone who likes Corel software?]
— Van Scorel was the first Dutch painter of importance to study in Italy and responsible for introducing the Italian High Renaissance to the Netherlands. He was widely traveled and was appointed by Pope Hadrian VI superintendent of the Vatican Coll. In Rome he was influenced by Michelangelo and Raphael, particularly the latter. He returned to the Netherlands in 1524. His works include Pilgrims to Jerusalem, St. Mary Magdalene and Holy Kinship.
— Jan van Scorel was born in 1495 in Schoorl (Scorel) near Alkmaar. It is not certain where he studied, some scholars think that he was apprenticed to Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen in Amsterdam, others - to Jan Gossaert in Utrecht. Passion for traveling put Scorel on an extended tour: he visited Dürer in Nuremberg, painted his first representative work in Obervellach in Austria (Sippenaltar, 1520), then traveled via Venice to Rome. There Pope Adrian VI, a native of Utrecht, appointed him painter to the Vatican and successor to Raphael as Keeper of the Belvedere. From Rome Scorel went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
      After his return to the Netherlands he lived in turn in Haarlem, Ghent, at last, in 1524, he settled in Utrecht and developed a brilliant career as a painter and teacher. Highly gifted and educated (he was an architect, engineer, poet, musician, knew several languages), equally endowed with intellect and spontaneity, he created a wealth of altarpieces and portraits in which Italian art merged with native tradition that gives us the right to consider him the leading Netherlandish “Romanist”. (Netherlandish “Romanist” is a term used to denote a large group of leading Flemish artists of the first half of the 16th century, who integrated the classical imagery in their work. From this time on, painting mythological scenes and nudes as the main subject also became popular in the Netherlands.) Many of the artist’s works were destroyed during the Iconoclasm (1566). Jan van Scorel died in Utrecht.
Joris van Egmond, Bishop of Utrecht, (1535) — Landscape with Bathsheba (1545) — Portrait of a Man (1529)
Mary Magdalen (1530, 67x76) _ Mary Magdalen _ Scorel traveled all over Germany, and into Italy, went to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage, arrived back in Venice in 1521, made his fortune by being in Rome at the right moment to be practically the only artist patronized by the Dutch pope Hadrian VI, came back to Utrecht full of the influences of Giorgione, Palma Vecchio, Raphael and Michelangelo, and later went to France.
^ Born on 06 December 1841: Jean Frédéric Bazille, French Impressionist painter who died on 28 November 1870.
— French painter, one of the early Impressionist group. As a student in Gleyre's studio in Paris (1862) he befriended Monet, Renoir, and Sisley, with whom he painted out of doors at Fontainebleau and in Normandy. He was, however, primarily a figure painter rather than a landscapist, his best-known work being the large Family Reunion (1868). Bazille was killed in action during the Franco-Prussian War, cutting short a promising career. He came from a wealthy family and had given generous financial support to Monet and Renoir.
Self-Portrait (1866)
Bazille's Studio; 9 rue de la Condamine (1870, 98x128cm) _ This painting, somewhat free in technique, has poignant associative interest. It shows a group of young friends. Renoir is seated at the extreme left. Just above him, on the stair, is Zola. Manet stands in front of a painting on an easel. Behind him is Monet, and standing at the side of the easel is Bazille himself. Manet painted this figure, or at least Bazille's head. At the far right their musician friend Edmond Maitre is at the piano.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1867, 122x107cm) — View of the Village (1868)
^ Died on 06 December 1779: Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, French painter specialized in still life, born on 02 November 1699.
The Buffet
The Ray (1728, 114x146cm) _ These two painting are the artist's diploma pieces, on the occasion of his reception into the Académie royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in 1728. Artists who were not members of the Académie, and who therefore could not exhibit their work in the Salon, took part once a year in what was known as the 'Salon de Jeunesse', held on the feast of Corpus Christi in the open air, in the Place Dauphine, and lasting two hours. On 03 June 1728 Chardin exhibited several pictures there, including The Ray and The Buffet. Some academicians who saw the work persuaded Chardin to present himself for membership of the Académie royale; on 25 September of the same year, contrary to the usual practice, Chardin was accepted and admitted on one and the same day. The Académie did not insist on a picture specially painted for the occasion, as was usually the case, but retained The Ray and The Buffet as his diploma pieces. It is related that the artist had deceived several academicians, among them Largillière and Cazès, by showing them some of his still-life paintings which they took for Flemish works. Certainly, the source of inspiration is obvious in The Ray, which surpasses the best work of Jan Fyt.
      The rich quality of the paint surface, which is in perfect condition, has been revealed by the recent cleaning of the varnish. The picture is exceptionally well preserved for a work by Chardin; his paintings often suffered from too heavy a use of oil with his pigment. Perhaps this one owes its good condition to the fact that it dates from his early days, when he was applying himself to improving his technique by creating a chef-d'oeuvre carefully executed according to the best principles of true craftsmanship. Later, he trusted too much to his inspiration, and yielded to his passion for worked-up impasto.
The Silver Tureen (1728, 76x108cm) _ Chardin was a contemporary of Boucher, but no two artists could have been more different. Chardin invariably imbued his deceptively simple compositions with a disregard for mere prettiness. In this still-life Chardin has given ordinary objects of everyday life an aura of dignity and value. The cat creates a sense of conflict between the living and dead animals, underscoring a theme common in Chardin's genre scenes: the evanescence of life.
A "Lean Diet" with Cooking Utensils (1731, 33x41cm) _ Chardin's carefully constructed still lifes do not bulge with appetizing foods but are concerned with the objects themselves and with the treatment of light. An anecdote illustrating Chardin's genius and his unique position in 18th-century painting is told by one of his greatest friends, the engraver Charles-Nicolas Cochin, who wrote a letter shortly after Chardin's death to Haillet de Couronne, the man who was to deliver Chardin's eulogy to the Academy of Rouen, of which Chardin had been a member. One day, an artist was making a big show of the method he used to purify and perfect his colors. Monsieur Chardin, impatient with so much idle chatter, said to the artist, But who told you that one paints with colors.? With what then? the astonished artist asked. One uses colors., replied Chardin, but one paints with feeling.
The House of Cards (1737, 60x72cm) _ At a time when large-scale heroic narrative painting was thought to be the most meritorious, Chardin, thwarted by his lack of academic training in drawing, became one of the greatest practitioners of the 'lowly' art of still life. Born in Paris, where he spent most of his life, he first trained at the guild school of Saint-Luc, before gaining admittance to the French Royal Academy in the category of a still-life and animal painter. By the end of his life his works were to be found in most of the great private collections of the time. Although totally dependent on observation and on working closely from nature, Chardin evolved methods of painting at a distance from the model, so that he was able to reconcile particular detail with a more generalized effect. While some critics deplored his inability to paint more 'elevated' subjects others, like the influential philosopher Diderot, praised the 'magic' of his brush: 'This magic defies is a vapour that has been breathed onto the canvas...Approach the painting, and everything comes together in a jumble, flattens out, and vanishes; move away, and everything creates itself and reappears.'
      In the early 1730s, perhaps in response to the amicable taunt of Joseph Aved, a portrait-painter friend, Chardin also turned to small-scale figure painting, influenced by the Dutch and Flemish seventeenth-century masters of everyday scenes. Encouraged by the success of these homespun compositions of kitchen maids and serving men at work, he moved from the sculleries of the bourgeoisie to their living quarters. By narrowing the focus to the half-length figure, he was also able to enlarge it in scale, as he does here. In this wonderfully intimate and contemplative picture, he portrays the son of his friend Monsieur Lenoir, a furniture-dealer and cabinetmaker.
      The House of Cards owes its subject to the moralizing vanitas paintings of the seventeenth century. The verses under the engraving of the picture, published in 1743, stress the insubstantiality of human endeavors, as frail as a house of cards. But the painting tends to undermine the moral. Its rigorously geometric and stable composition gives an air of permanence which contradicts the fugitive nature of the boy's pastime, and of childhood itself. Chardin's 'magic accord' of tones envelops the scene securely in its warm and subtle light, at once direct and diffused. His technique remained secret, although it was suspected that he used his thumb as much as his brush. We can well believe, however, his response to the inquiry of a mediocre painter, 'We use colors., but we paint with feeling.'
— another The House of Cards (1737, 82x66cm) _ This is the last of the four versions of the subject by Chardin. A commentator claimed: “The simple and at the same time elegant composition, the physical and psychological characterization of the boy recalls the famous painting Les Joueurs de Cartes by Paul Cézanne. ” Well, Cézanne painted not one but no less than five Les Joueurs de Cartes (including Les Joueurs de Cartes and another Les Joueurs de Cartes) and I don't see resemblance in any of them. Judge for yourself.
The Draftsman (1737, 81x64cm) — Still-Life with Pipe and Jug (1737, 32x40cm) — The Attentive Nurse (1738) —

Died on a 06 December:
1942 Louis Marie de Schryver, French artist born on 12 October 1862.
1910 Vittorio Avondo, Italian artist born on 10 August 1836.
1884 Jean Baptiste van Moer, Belgian artist born on 17 December 1819.
1852 George Duncan Beechey, British artist born in 1798. — Relative? of Sir William Beechey [1753-1839]? —
1810 John Francis Rigaud, British painter born in 1742. — LINKS
1791 Christian Georg Schüz (or Schütz) I, German artist born on 27 September 1718.
1504 Pasqualino di Niccolo da Venezia (Veneto), Italian artist.

Born on a 06 December:
1941 Bruce Nauman, US Installation artist — Bruce Nauman, escultor estadounidense. — LINKSWar (1971, 57x72cm)
1884 Leon Abraham Kroll, US painter who died in 1974. — LINKSSummerGirl in a Hammock (1922)
1856 François Flameng, French artist who died on 28 February 1923. — Relative? of Léopold Flameng [1863-1911]?
1855 Frank Myers Boggs (“Frank-Boggs”), US French painter who died on 08 August 1926. — The Seine, Outside Paris (1885, 38x56cm).
1791 José Gutiérrez de la Vega, pintor español.
1668 Nicolas Vleughels (or Wleughels), French artist who died on 11 December 1737.


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