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ART “4” “2”-DAY  14 December
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^ Died on 14 December 1734: Noël-Nicolas Coypel, French painter born on 17 November 1690.
— Coypel, family of French painter of which Noël (1628-1707) was the head. Noël's son, Antoine (1661-1722) has a strong Italian element in his style.
      Antoine Coypel's half-brother, Noël-Nicolas (1690-1734) painted with much more charm, mainly mythological subjects, but he seems to have had a rather timid personality and did not achieve the worldly success of the other members of the family. Indeed, he was the best painter of the family, but is the least famous. Chardin was briefly his assistant. Antoine's son Charles-Antoine (1694-1752) was a much more forceful character than Noël-Nicolas.
Madame de Bourbon-Conti (1731, 138x107cm) _ Noël-Nicolas Coypel belonged to a French family of painters of which Noël (1628-1707) was the head. Noël-Nicolas painted mainly mythological subjects, but he seems to have had a rather timid personality and did not achieve the worldly success of the other members of the family. Indeed, he was the best painter of the family, but is the least famous. Chardin was briefly his assistant. —

^ Born on 14 December 1824: Pierre Cécile Puvis de Chavannes, French Symbolist painter who died on 24 October 1898.
— Puvis de Chavannes decorated many public buildings in France (for example, the Panthéon, the Sorbonne, and the Hôtel de Ville, all in Paris) and also Boston Public Library. His paintings were done on canvas and then affixed to the walls (marouflage), but their pale colors imitated the effect of fresco. He had only modest success early in his career (when a private income enabled him to work for little payment), but he went on to achieve an enormous reputation, and he was universally respected even by artists of very different aims and outlook from his own. Gauguin, Seurat, and Toulouse-Lautrec were among his professed admirers. His reputation has since declined, his idealized depictions of antiquity or allegorical representations of abstract themes now often seeming rather anaemic. He remains important, however, because of his influence on younger artists. His simplified forms, respect for the flatness of the picture surface, rhythmic line, and use of non-naturalistic color to evoke the mood of the painting appealed to both the Post-Impressionists and the Symbolists.
— The greatest French decorative painter. His international influence was even greater than that of Moreau. He had to abandon his studies at the Polytechnique because of illness and travelled in Italy during his convalescence, where he discovered the frescoes of the Quattrocento and decided to become a painter. Ary Scheffer, Couture, Delacroix (for 4 days) and above all Théodore Chassériau were his teachers at the Beaux-Arts. In 1850, exhibited a pietà at the Salon. In 1861 his career as a painter of murals for public buildings began with the Musée d'Amiens. He decorated many buildings, including the Panthéon, the Hôtels de Ville of Paris and Poitiers, the Sorbonne, various French museums, and the Boston Public Library. A very French mind - to the extent that his work attracted that other very French painter, Matisse - he brought to his art a sense of grandeur and an organisational logic that were precisely the gifts required for vast mural decorations. His decorative compositions attempt to reach monumentality not through depth but through superficiality, linearity of construction, the "majesty" of the organisation and also by a certain philosophical pretention. The mobility of the man is clear; the influence of his work quite outstripped its intrinsic qualities, but he was, whether we like it or not, one of the masters of the Symbolist age, an age which made of Beauty and the Pure Idea a veritable religion.
Puvis de Chavannes by Étienne Carjat (photograph, 11x8cm) — Pierre Puvis de Chavannes by Lily Lewis Rood (color lithograph, 49x35cm, a modernist non-portrait)
Death and the MaidenThe Dream The Poor FishermanVigilance (235x93cm) — The Meditation (1867, 106x53cm) — Mary Magdalene at St Baume (1869, 54x37cm) — Saint Genoveva as a child in prayer (1876, 136x76cm) — Young Girls at the Seaside (1879, 61x47cm) — Mad Woman at the Edge of the Sea (1857) — Hope (1872) — Kneeling nude woman, viewed from back (lithograph, 18x16cm)
Ancient Vision (1889, 105x133cm) _ The term Vision which the artist chose as the title of this picture is symptomatic of a state of mind that rejected the modern world and escaped into dreams and visions of a vanished world characterised by a total communion between man and nature, where everything was tranquil and beautiful. (cf. Sir Edward Burne-Jones' dreams of an Arthurian arcadia)
Concordia (1861, 60x81cm) _ Puvis de Chavannes’ development was hardly determined by the brief and fleeting instruction received from Henri Scheffer, Delacroix and Thomas Couture. He has as little in common with the older Courbet and the Naturalists as with the younger Pissarro and the Impressionists, even though he admires their uncompromising battle for their ideals. Eugène Boudin was an exact comtemporary, and the two artists have nothing in common. Puvis de Chavannes’ work is like a bridge over the painting of his age, ist piers being his friendship with Chassériau and his admiration by Seurat and Gauguin. The influence of Ingres via Chassériau is what scores his first success, in the Salon of 1861 with War and Peace, after nine years of rejection. Peace is purchased by the State and ends up in the Museum of Amiens, inspiring the later murals in the staircase. Concordia is the first sketch for Peace: the warriors have laid aside their weapons, they repose in the Elysian landscape beneath flowering laurels, refreshed by fruits and milk. The radiant white in the garb of the female figure in the background triumphs over the red of the warriors’ cloaks against the deep green landscape. In Peace the garbed female figure is replaced by a nude figure, on which all the light converges. Théophile Gautier, Chassériau’s friend, enthusiastically greeted Chavannes’ advent with this picture in the Salon of 1861. That is probably also why Concordia bears a dedication to Madame Gautier.
The Prodigal Son (1879, 130x96cm). _. War and Peace launched Chavannes on his career as a mural painter, taking him from Amiens via Marseilles to the great Paris works in the Sorbonne, in the Hôtel de Ville and in the Panthéon – to name only these. Among these highly demanding projects, aiming at "animer les murailles", the easel paintings seem like brief pauses for rest. Chavannes never set up his easel in the open like the Impressionists, but, being an avid walker, stored up visual impressions in his memory. Questioned regarding The Prodigal Son, he said laughing that he really only wanted to paint swine, studies of which he had made in the country in 1878. He said nothing of the repentant self-communion of the poor sinner, so modestly expressed with the crossed hands of the figure driven to the limits of life — and of the picture, for, as a person, Chavannes eschewed rhetoric, and as a painter, extravagant gestures. And yet the elegiac tone is there, indeed being echoed in the same way in the Poor Fisherman, painted two years later. The abandonment of the human figure is matched by the silver-grey of dying nature, redolent of Corot, whom Chavannes so admired, and which does not deny the muralist with its rhythmically sweeping composition. [compare The Prodigal Son Feeding Swine by MurilloThe Prodigal Son in Misery by Mary Ann WillsonThe Prodigal Son by Dürer]

Died on a 14 December:
1959 Sir Stanley Spencer, British artist born on 30 June 1891. — LINKS
1926 Albert Müller, Swiss artist born in 1897.
1923 Théophile Alexandre Steinlen, Swiss French artist born on 10 November 1859.
1904 Philip Lodewijk Jacob Frederik Sadee, Dutch artist born on 07 February 1837. — [Was he sadeestic?]
1888 Richard Redgrave, British artist born on 30 April 1804. — LINKS
1852 Johann-Jakob Dorner II, German artist born on 07 July 1775. — Not to be confused with the painter of The Hard Landlady (1787)
1789 Étienne Jeaurat (or Joras), French painter born on 09 February 1699. — La véritable vocation de Jeaurat est la peinture de genre. Ses envois au Salon de l'Académie le prouvent (notre tableau a été exposé à celui de 1741 sous le numéro 19). Son répertoire est varié: pastorales, jeux d'enfant, turqueries; scènes domestiques dans la veine de Chardin ou de J.F. de Troy; scènes villageoises proches de l'art flamand. C'est dans le genre "poissard" que l'artiste, inspiré par ses amis littérateurs et sans doute aussi par les gravures de Hogarth, crée ses oeuvres les plus personnelles. Il laisse ainsi de la vie du peuple de Paris des témoignages d'un réalisme truculent. — Bain de Femmes (1741, 64x52cm)

Born on a 14 December:
1784 Antoinette-Cécile (Lescot) Handebourt, French artist who died on 02 January 1845.
1727 François-Hubert Drouais, French artist who died on 21 October 1775.
1637 Niccolo Berrettoni, Italian artist who died in 1682. [I find nothing from him on the internet, but I wonder whether he invented a kind of pasta in the shape of a beret.]


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