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ART “4” “2”-DAY   25 December
click for Bloemaert's Nativity scene
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^ Born on 25 December 1883: Maurice Utrillo, French artist who died on 05 November 1955.
— Fils de Suzanne Valadon et de père inconnu, Maurice Utrillo naît à Montmartre (Le critique d'art Miguel Utrillo lui donne son surnom). Modèle de Puvis de Chavannes, Renoir [Jeune Fille se Tressant les Cheveux (Suzanne Valadon)Suzanne Valadon (1885, 41x32cm) — Dance à Bougival (Suzanne Valadon and Paul Lhote) (1883)], et Toulouse-Lautrec, Suzanne Valadon délaisse son fils pour se consacrer à la peinture. Le petit Maurice est confié à sa grand-mère, mais pour supporter sa solitude et l’abandon de sa mère, il trouve bientôt refuge dans l’alcool. Dès l’âge de 21 ans, les premiers symptômes de dérangements apparaissent. Commencent alors les colères explosives, les scandales, les internements successifs, qui le poursuivront pendant de longues années. Heureusement, cette souffrance morale fait surgir en lui le désir de peindre. Suzanne Valadon, conseillée par un ami médecin, encourage son fils, pensant que cette activité peut être une réelle thérapie. Elle comprend alors qu’il manifeste un réel talent. Dès 1926, Maurice Utrillo devient un peintre reconnu et recherché. En 1935, il épouse Lucie Pauwels et part s’installer au Vésinet où il mènera jusqu’à la fin de sa vie une existence paisible. Utrillo peindra jusqu’à sa mort.
Portrait of Utrillo by his mother (1921) — Sketch of Utrillo by his mother (1925)
Sacré Coeur de Montmartre et Château des Brouillards (1934) — La Porte Saint~Martin (1909) — Basilique de St. Denis (1908) — Église du Pont Saint Martin — La Maison de Berlioz à Montmartre (1914) — Église de Bièvres (1934) — Rue de Village sous la Neige
L'Église Blanche (50x62cm) _ Cette oeuvre reprend la dominante colorée qui caractérise sa période de créativité la plus intense (de 1908 à 1914), dite "période blanche", où prédominaient ce ton et une palette claire. Les églises, la cathédrale de Chartres, thème fréquent dans son oeuvre, sont peintes avec la même humilité qu'une gargotte. Les silhouettes ne volent pas la vedette à l'architecture qui est le véritable sujet de ce tableau. Ce tableau n'est pas considéré comme une peinture de paysage mais comme une vue d'architecture et montre les limites de la notion de genre.
^ Born on 25 December 1564: Abraham Bloemaert, influential Dutch Mannerist painter and engraver who died on 27 January 1651.
— The son of an architect, Bloemaert studied at Utrecht under eminent painters, spent three years in Paris, and then returned to settle finally at Utrecht, where he became dean of the Guild of St. Luke. He painted and etched historical and allegorical pictures, landscapes, still lifes, animal pictures, and flower pieces. His four sons - Hendrick, Frederick, Cornelis, and Adriaen - all achieved considerable reputations themselves as painters and engravers. Bloemaert's work was influenced by Caravaggio, and he in his turn was an influence on Jan Both, Aelbert Jacobszoon Cuyp, Gerrit van Honthorst, Hendrik Terbrugghen, and Jan Baptist Weenix.
Landscape with the Ministry of John the Baptist (1600)
Adoration of the Magi (1624, 420x290cm) _ The Catholic painter Abraham, resident in predominantly Catholic Utrecht, painted spectacular altarpieces in the style reminiscent of sixteenth-century Italian painting. He painted this altarpiece, one of his largest, for the church of the Catholic order of the Jesuits in Brussels, in the Southern Netherlands. Such commissions were extremely rare in the Dutch Republic. Bloemaert's jubilant color and festive pageantry befitted the theme and answered the Jesuit's need for a lively backdrop to their main altar.
click for complete painting<<<— Adoration of Newborn Jesus by Shepherds and Angels (1612, 287x229cm) _ Bloemaert settled in Utrecht in 1593, and within a decade began to adopt the mild classicism that Goltzius had brought back from Italy. Utrecht was the leading Catholic centre in the northern Netherlands during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and even during the seventeenth century, when Catholicism was suppressed, it continued to keep something of its Catholic character. Bloemaert, a devout Catholic, received commissions for large altarpieces from patrons in both the northern and southern Netherlands, and many of his more than 600 prints were intended for a Catholic clientele
The Emmaus Disciples (1622, 145x215cm) _ Fortified by a religious tradition reaching back to the Middle Ages, a large Catholic community continued to exist at Utrecht inside the primarily Protestant Northern Low Countries of the 16th and 17th centuries. Although officially banned, the Catholic cult was tolerated there away from public view. Abraham Bloemaert, himself a devout Catholic, set up shop in Utrecht in 1593, remaining there till his death. For a short period the painter experimented with the possibilities offered by new artistic models from Italy, which he got to know indirectly via the material that his pupils Hendrick ter Brugghen, Gerrit van Honthorst and Dirck van Baburen brought back from their study trips there. This group was influenced in particular by Caravaggio, in terms both of subject and style. Bloemaert combines the key features of this style in The Emmaus Disciples, a painting that forms a high point not only in his own career, but also in that of the school of the Utrecht Caravaggists in general, with the large, half length figures, the individualised figures with a strong sense of emotionality and in particular the use of chiaroscuro, with strong light-dark effects and sharp shadows, produced by introducing a source of minimum light, here two separate, smoking candles. This style was untypical for the Northern Provinces, where a tendency towards the intimate is so clearly visible in almost all other contemporary genres.
      The tableau presents the biblical scene in which Jesus - in a gesture that refers back to the Last Supper - breaks bread and in so doing confirms his resurrection from the dead to two of his disciples, who had not recognised him until then (Luke 24, 13-35). Two figures in the background represent the same two disciples, despairingly consulting with each other on the road to the village of Emmaus, before meeting the "stranger" who was to open their eyes for good. The visible emotional reactions which the revelation causes to the protagonists are seemingly totally lost on a fourth individual, a turbaned server. In terms of content and form this painting represents "a light shining in the darkness".
Landscape with Peasants Resting (1650, 91x133cm) _ Bloemaert lived to the age of almost ninety. He was a contemporary of Rembrandt and yet he belonged to the generation of Rembrandt's teachers. He was the leading representative of the Utrecht Mannerists and the director and founder of the Utrecht Guild of St Luke, but he continued to work well into the Baroque I7th century when a third generation of landscape painters was already emerging. His peasant landscape contains certain Mannerist elements such as the large distance between the foreground objects and the sweeping horizon, or in the way in which he has united contrasts. The aspects of Bloemaert's work adopted by Dutch landscape painters are the picturesque elements evident in his rendering of nature and architecture. The picturesque appeal of dilapidated cottages, damaged thatching, broken fences and rotten tree trunks were to become part and parcel of Netherlandish landscape painting. Bloemaert's oeuvre also forges a link between Flemish and Dutch painting. While his portrayals of mythological themes and biblical tales lean heavily on the syntax of the international Flemish Mannerists, the dramatic realism of his rural genre paintings influenced the Dutch artists.
The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche (1595, diameter 62cm) _ The subject marks the climax of the story of Cupid and Psyche as recounted by Apuleius in The Golden Ass (Books 4-6). The theme became popular with artists during the Renaissance and was also frequently depicted in the seventeenth century. The marriage of Cupid and Psyche took place in heaven on Mount Olympus after Psyche had endeavored in vain to win back Cupid's love on earth by a series of ordeals set by Venus. The chief protagonists in this banquet of the gods are seated facing the viewer in the centre of the composition. Venus and Mars embrace with Vulcan to the left and Bacchus to the right. The immediate foreground is dominated by Neptune and Mercury, who conveyed Psyche to heaven in order for her to be reunited with Cupid. Jupiter and Juno are set further back in the picture space on the far right. Apollo, holding a lyre, can be faintly discerned top left, while Fame accompanied by putti blows a fanfare. The story of Cupid and Psyche was not always depicted simply as a narrative, but sometimes in broad philosophical terms as an allegory of carnal and spiritual love.
      The composition of the painting is inspired by a large engraving of the Marriage of Cupid and Psyche by Hendrik Goltzius, made after a drawing of 1587 by Bartholomeus Spranger. The rectangular format of the engraving was favored by Bloemaert for another version of the subject now at Aschaffenburg, Bavaria. This compositional dependency on Spranger's work is echoed in the similarity of style, which in turn suggests an early date of about 1595 for the painting. Bloemaert here provides a perfect demonstration of Mannerism in the complicated twisting poses, the severe foreshortening, the restless movement, and the dramatic gesticulation. These stylistic tendencies are given an added visual complexity by the circular format that was also often used by Goltzius for his prints of mythological subjects.
      The painting formed part of a large group of pictures sold by the dealer William Frizell to Charles II in 1660. Of these, eleven were claimed by Frizell to have been in the collections of Rudolf II in Prague and Queen Christina of Sweden, including the present picture. However, no such painting seems to have been listed in the inventories of the collections of either of these famous patrons of the arts and so Frizell's claim remains unconfirmed.
The BagpiperShepherd & Sherpherdess (1627)
^ Died on 25 December 1983: Joàn Mirò, at his home in Majorca, Catalán surrealist painter and sculptor born on 20 April 1893 in Barcelona.
Joàn Mirò, pintor catalán.
— One of the foremost exponents of abstract art and Surrealist fantasy. Influence of Paul Klee is apparent in "dream pictures" and "imaginary landscapes" of the late 1920s. Mature style sprang from the tension between fanciful, poetic impulse and a vision of the harshness of modern life. Worked extensively in lithography. Produced numerous murals, tapestries, and sculptures for public spaces.
— Joàn Mirò's surrealist works, with their subject matter drawn from the realm of memory and imaginative fantasy, are some of the most original of the 20th century. Mirò was born in Barcelona and studied at the Barcelona School of Fine Arts and the Academia Galí. His work before 1920 shows wide-ranging influences, including the bright colors of the Fauves, the broken forms of cubism, and the powerful, flat two-dimensionality of Catalan folk art and Romanesque church frescoes of his native Spain. He moved to Paris in 1920, where, under the influence of surrealist poets and writers, he evolved his mature style. Mirò drew on memory, fantasy, and the irrational to create works of art that are visual analogues of surrealist poetry. These dreamlike visions, such as Harlequin's Carnival (1925) or Dutch Interior (1928), often have a whimsical or humorous quality, containing images of playfully distorted animal forms, twisted organic shapes, and odd geometric constructions. The forms of his paintings are organized against flat neutral backgrounds and are painted in a limited range of bright colors, especially blue, red, yellow, green, and black. Amorphous amoebic shapes alternate with sharply drawn lines, spots, and curlicues, all positioned on the canvas with seeming nonchalance. Mirò later produced highly generalized, ethereal works in which his organic forms and figures are reduced to abstract spots, lines, and bursts of colors. Mirò also experimented in a wide array of other media, devoting himself to etchings and lithographs for several years in the 1950s and also working in watercolor, pastel, collage, and paint on copper and masonite. His ceramic sculptures are especially notable, in particular his two large ceramic murals for the UNESCO building in Paris (Wall of the Moon and Wall of the Sun, 1957-59). Mirò died in Majorca, Spain.
— Peintre sculpteur et céramiste catalan proche des surréalistes , Mirò se rapproche de la poésie quand André Masson lui demanda en 1924 de réfléchir à une oeuvre de dimension picturale et poétique. L'oeuvre de Mirò est un alphabet de signes dont il invente les idéogrammes . Le texte dans l'image prend une dimension plastique et littéraire. Il avait déjà rencontré Picabia en 1917, pour la parution de la revue 391 à Barcelone.
     Le changement de style survenu en 1924 marque une orientation plus cubiste avec des signes plus spécifiques liés à la nouvelle poésie. L'aide de Masson fut importante, l'amenant à la fascination de l'oeuvre de Rimbaud et aux recherches de Lautréamont (" Le sonnet des voyelles ").
     Ses découvertes l'amenèrent à réaliser des tableaux-poèmes tels que Etoiles en des sexes d'escargots ou Et les seins mourraient. Les points de suspension marquent le passage de Mirò vers l'exploration d'un langage verbivocal. L'écriture enfantine utilisée indique la volonté de Mirò de gauchir sa main et d 'abandonner ainsi le culte de la " main agile", retrouver l'enfance du geste.
      "Un oiseau poursuit une abeille et la baisse " joue sur l'ambiguïté sémantique.
     "Etoile, nichons, escargot " est écrit sans relever le pinceau comme si des fils avaient été tendus dans le tableau. Cette toile est un mixage de champs plastique et érotique. On reconnaît une mise en pratique de la phrase rimbaldienne: " littéralement et dans tous les sens ". Comme chez Duchamp ou Picabia, le langage devient une notion élastique, flexible.
     Dans les années 50, Mirò voit surgir le rôle primordial des idéogrammes. Il peignit en 1957 "le fermier catalan ou le chant du coq"; à moins qu'il ne s'agisse à l'inverse du "chant du fermier et le coq catalan". Des bribes de textes et de sens sont jetées sur la toile, à nous de reconstruire librement le puzzle. Dans " MA..." Mirò peignit seulement deux lettres au pochoir laissant ainsi toute imagination permise. Le format de ses oeuvres est important. Les deux lettres sont de taille monumentale marquant une relation entre le langage et l'espace.
     Le parcours solitaire de Mirò le distingue des autres peintres du surréalisme.
— As one of Spain’s most celebrated abstract and Surrealist artists, Joàn Mirò used a variety of media to create works exploding with color, beautifully amorphous shapes, and dreamlike scenes that seem both candidly childlike and extraordinarily sophisticated. Although the beauty and fantasy found within Mirò’s work might seem far removed from the stuff of real life, Mirò found much inspiration from his deep-seated love of Spain and paid homage to this heritage in several important works. Mirò’s appeal, however, is not limited to one country. Creating works with the belief that art could exist as the most powerful and most beautiful medium of human communication, Mirò left an artistic legacy intensely appreciated by art historians and first-time viewers alike.
     Born in Barcelona, Joàn Mirò grew up in Montroig, a small town near the Catalan capital. The surroundings of his native Catalonia, with an ascetic natural beauty and a rich artistic tradition, would later serve as a great source of inspiration for Mirò’s artwork. Mirò would find it difficult to leave his homeland throughout his entire life, living elsewhere only for punctuated and brief amounts of time.
     In 1907, Mirò entered the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona. There, he took lessons from an artist named José Pascó. Though Mirò was already comfortable with techniques of coloring, he was unsure of himself as a draftsman. Pascó helped Mirò develop a more sophisticated drawing style, urging Mirò to draw using a sense of touch. In addition, Pascó helped spark Mirò’s love for sculpture. Mirò’s career at the School of Fine Arts, however, was short-lived. His parents, artists themselves, disapproved of their son’s choice of profession, and Mirò withdrew from the school in 1910 to become a clerk. Following a mental breakdown two years later, Mirò enrolled at Barcelona’s Academy Galí with his parents’ blessing to resume studying art. At the Academy Galí, Mirò received a better-rounded education and acquired a penchant for poetry.
     In 1915, Mirò left the Academy Galí and began painting by himself. At this time, he became influenced mainly by French Fauvism and Central European Expressionism movements. These influences are apparent in many of Mirò’s 1915-1916 landscapes, characterized by an arbitrary use of color and much distortion.
     In 1917, Mirò met José Dalmau, an art dealer in Barcelona who introduced the young artist to several Cubist paintings. Mirò’s artwork changed considerably after this meeting, acquiring more vivid and personal coloring. Also around this time, Mirò began to heavily experiment with portraiture. Several portraits, including Portrait of E.C. Ricart and Portrait of a Goldsmith, show an obvious influence from post-Impressionist artists like Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh.
     In 1918, Mirò held his first one-man show in Barcelona, featuring 64 paintings and several other sketches. Dalmau extensively promoted Mirò’s first showing, which garnered considerable local attention. Dalmau also encouraged Mirò to go to Paris to join the art scene there. Excited about the prospect of meeting fellow Catalan Pablo Picasso, Mirò traveled to Paris on March 3, 1919. Although he stayed in Paris for a few months and enjoyed meeting with Picasso, Mirò soon became disenchanted with the Impressionist and Fauvist movements. Preferring the ambiance of Barcelona, Mirò returned to Spain in spring of that year.
     For a short time, Mirò played with realistic still-life painting and attempted to sharpen his technique by drawing commonplace objects. In 1923, however, Mirò turned more toward abstraction, as is evident in the bestiary painting, The Tilled Field, and the poetic work, Catalan Landscape (The Hunter). During this time Mirò befriended many Dada poets, though André Breton and the Surrealists also began to influence Mirò’s artwork. Breton would later call Mirò "the most ‘Surrealist’ of us all." Mirò admired the liberty advocated by the Surrealists, and he began experimenting with the Surrealist technique of automatic painting in which recognizable objects rarely appear. In the mid- to late-twenties, Mirò began painting fairly abstract and freely organized works, such as Le corps de ma brune… and The Candle. Mirò’s exposure to poetry at the Academy Galí also became evident in these works, as he liberally used written words as an integral element of his painting. Altogether, these works gained Mirò much recognition, and his second one-man show in Paris was well received by the most influential art critics.
     In 1928, Mirò visited Holland, where he became excited about the paintings of great Dutch artists and painted a few very calculated paintings in the same manner. Soon afterwards, though, Mirò switched gears and stopped giving his works large amounts of preparatory thought. He began to create a number of infantile collages and quickly executed paintings that frequently featured ferocious and swirling forms inspired by dreams and hallucinations. In addition to painting works on canvas, Mirò also started to paint ballet sets with Max Ernst for a short time.
     Amidst this extremely productive period of Mirò’s career, in 1929 the artist married his cousin, Pilar Juncosa, and the couple became parents in 1931 to a daughter named Marie Dolores. Two years later, Mirò reached his artistic apex and painted several large, abstract compositions, such as Painting, in which Mirò based the horned shapes on machinery parts. It was also at this time that Mirò began to paint in the childlike and dreamy style for which he is most recognized. He worked in an almost automatic fashion during this period, creating strangely precise works using a casual artistic intuition. Mirò adeptly played with bright color tones, and he used rich blacks in a particularly penetrating manner. Besides numerous paintings, Mirò also did much collage work. In a series of works entitled Collage, Mirò combined paint with postcards, engravings, photographs and odd objects like string, felt and metal. During this period, Mirò also began to develop an interest in texture, and he began painting on sandpaper and various rough surfaces in a very playful way.
     In the late 1930s, when the Spanish Civil War broke out, Mirò was living in Paris. He remained there during this conflict, virtually cut off from contact with his homeland. Though Mirò claimed a lack of interest in political matters, he was nonetheless worried for his country’s poverty and suffering. Consequently, his paintings expressed this melancholy with dark, lurid colors and frightening images. In 1937, Mirò painted Still Life with Old Shoe in direct response to the war. He also painted an anti-Franco poster entitled Help Spain.
     In 1938, Mirò returned to the art of the portrait, and he created an important series of abstract portraits before World War II. Many of these abstract portraits have a celestial aura, most notably Mirò’s self-portrait, in which he depicts himself ascending toward the heavens. In these works, Mirò frequently portrays eyes as starry pinwheels and often uses shapes of the sunburst and starfish. At the same time as he created this series of abstract portraits, Mirò also perfected his poetry paintings. Possessing a deep love for poetry, which began in Mirò’s student days, the artist once commented that paintings "make no distinction between painting and poetry." In his poetry paintings, Mirò would write poetic phrases on his canvasses. One of the most famous examples of Mirò’s poetry-paintings is his Painting-Poem of 1938, which features the French expression "une étoile caresse le sein d’une négresse" ("a star caresses the breast of a black woman") atop a vast black background.
     In 1942, Mirò explored his fascination with texture and started to work with ceramics. At first, the pottery shapes were unconventional and non-utilitarian, though the pieces eventually evolved into traditional sculptures of heads and plaques. Mirò’s ceramics were huge, some up to 12 feet in height. For some time, Mirò concentrated upon sculpture and did relatively little painting. In 1947, however, Mirò received a commission to paint a mural for the Terrace Plaza Hotel in Cincinnati and spent eight months there completing the work.
     From the 1950s onward, Mirò spent most of his efforts on further exploring new media. In the late fifties, he began working on illustrations and woodcuts for Paul Eluard’s book of poems, A Toute Épreuve. Besides this project, Mirò also turned out over 200 sculptures in a few years. This period of experimentation was briefly interrupted in 1960, when Mirò returned to the United States to paint a mural for Harvard University. During the later stage of his career, Mirò’s earlier works were showcased around the world in huge exhibitions at the most respected museums. Also around this time, Mirò received multiple awards, including the Guggenheim International Award. In 1975, the Joàn Mirò Foundation/Center for the Study of Contemporary Art opened in Barcelona in dedication to the artist. Joàn Mirò died in Palma de Mallorca.
     With an intense use of color, fanciful shapes, and a wide array of media, Joàn Mirò created a body of provocative work overflowing with imagination, intense beauty, and elegance. Following an early fascination with portraiture (which reemerged later in his career), Mirò soon focused on works that tended more toward abstraction and Surrealism. After developing this signature style, Mirò began to incorporate his love of poetry into his works, featuring words as prominent parts of his paintings. After becoming a master of the canvas, Mirò turned his attention to other media, such as ceramics, sculpture, and woodcutting. With a voluminous body of work spanning such diverse periods of artistic evolution, Mirò left an artistic legacy that will take decades to digest but only seconds to savor.
Aidez l'Espagne (1937) — Three Circles (1956) — Untitled (1950) — L'Astro Patapón (1960, 46x63cm) — Composition T (1978) — Femme et Volcan (1938) — L'Étrangère (1958) — L'Oiseau de Nuit (1962) — Personage dans le jardin (1951) — Figures (1935) — Composition, p.10, from the book Prints from the Mourlot Press (1964 color lithograph) — Composition, p.11, from the book Prints from the Mourlot Press, (the picture only) _ Composition, p.11, from the book Prints from the Mourlot Press (whole page, with text)
(Untitled (Frontispiece in the book, Le Surréalisme en 1947) (color lithograph 23x20cm)

Died on a 25 December:
1991 José Guerrero, pintor español nacionalizado estadounidense.
1901 Sir Joseph Noël Paton, British artist born on 13 December 1821.
1898 James Alexander Walker, British artist born in 1841. — Relative? of Frederick Walker [English, 1840-1875] ?
1889 William Wyld, British artist born in 1806 — [Were all his paintings really Wyld?]
1881 Ignacio Suárez Llanos, pintor español.
1861 Jakob Joseph Eeckhout, Flemish artist born on 06 February 1793. [Was he able to eke out a living from his artwork? You couldn't prove it by the Internet, where I don't find any example of it.]
1669 Giovanni Andrea Ferrari, Italian artist born in 1598. — Relative? of Orazio De Ferrari [Italian, 1606-1657] ?
1717 Theodore Maas (or Maes Dirk), Dutch artist born on 12 September 1659. — Relative? of Dutch painters Johannes Maas Jr. [1655~1690] or Nicolaes Maes [1634~1693]?

Born on a 25 December:
1883 Henri Léopold Hayden, French artist who died on 12 May 1970. — Paysage Beka (1968 lithograph 50x66cm)
1875 Manuel Benedito, pintor español.
1874 Carl Fahringer, Austrian artist who died in 1952.
1852 Lionel Noël Royer, French artist who died on 30 Jun (31 Jul?) 1926. — [Faut-il rayer Royer de la liste des artistes sur internet?]
1834 Anders Monsen Askevold, Norwegian artist who died on 22 October 1900.
1812 William Henry Haines, British artist who died on 22 June 1884.
1806 Kaspar Kaltenmoser, German artist who died on 08 March 1867. [son of Kalninemoser?]
1800 José Manuel Francisco Antonio del Pilar Groot, artista colombiano.
1782 Jacques-Noël-Marie Frémy, French artist who died in 1867. [Qui n'a pas frémis en sondant l'internet qui n'a pas Frémy?]
1765 Samuel Drummond, British artist who died in August 1844. — LINKS


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