Dictionary of Art and Artists














Paintings


that Changed the World


 

  CONTENTS:          
  Lascaux Caves Manesse illuminated Massys Callot Friedrich Picasso
  Tutankhamen's tomb Lorenzetti Grunewald Rembrandt Constable Matisse
  Europa and Minotaur Karlstein Castle Baldung Claude Lorrain Delacroix Marc
  Banquet Tomb Limbourg brothers Altdorfer Velazquez Turner Kandinsky
  Pompeii Van Eyck Cranach Vermeer Ingres Monet
  Birth of Christianity Della Francesca Holbein Rigaud Manet Chirico
  Hagia Sophia Uccello Titian Watteau Burne-Jones Modigliani
  Book of Kells Mantegna Bruegel Canaletto Seurat Chagall
  St Benedict Botticelli Vicentino Boucher Van Gogh Kahlo
  Bayeux Tapestry Anonymous Arcimboldo Fragonard Toulouse-Lautrec Dali
  Donizo manuscript Durer El Greco Gainsborough Munch Ernst
  Liber Scivias Bosch Theodore de Bry John Trumbull Cezanne Hopper
  Carmina Burana Da Vinci Caravaggio David Gauguin Bacon
  Falcon Book Michelangelo Rubens Gros Degas Warhol
  Giotto Raphael Brouwer Goya Klimt  
             








From Lascaux to Warhol






Supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truth,
passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius,
but never abandoned.

William Butler Yeats


 

 

 


Tempestuously Voluptuous
 

Turbulent painting

 

Castor and Pollux, Zeus's sons abducted
Both Leucippus's daughters. The two brothers,
Aphareus's sons, mighty Idas and Lynceus,
 In love with the girls, stormed after them:
"Friends, it is indecorous for men of breeding
To woo women wedded to others."

Theocritus, The Dioscuri (Idyll XXII),  third century ВС

 

 




see  collection:
"Rubenesque" Proportions





Rubenesque figure: From
The Full Body Project Leonard Nimoy

 

 

 

Rubens is said to have painted with blood on occasion. He certainly loved excitement, dramatic scenes and passion. He exuded limitless vitality, as shown in his paintings of drinking and dancing scenes, of robbery and death. A bloodbath of colour out of which spectacularly voluptuous bodies rise up from a sea of Baroque turbulence — eyes speaking helplessly of fear or lascivious lust, figures swooning in desperation or ardently passionate. His trademark is sensuality and voluminous nudity. When he painted the Last Judgement for a high altar in a Jesuit church, the work had to be removed because the priests could no lonaer officiate at mass or concentrate on hourly prayers as long as those "disgusting nudes" were there. It was not only critics of the period who were repelled by the carnality of his work; even today his pictures are occasionally derided as "sides of ham".
 


Peter Paul Rubens
The Last Judgement

1617
Alte Pinakothek, Munich
 

Peter Paul Peter Paul Rubens, from 1598 a master of the Antwerp St Luke's Artisans' Guild, ignored the ironic comments of his detractors. Politically committed, the Flemish painter acted as a diplomat for the Spanish Governors of the Netherlands, which enabled him to travel often and extensively. He soon made enough money with his painting to be financially secure. After serving several royal Courts, he realised that he "could not stand Court life", although he did accept an appointment as Court Painter to the Spanish Governors of the Netherlands. Rubens built a house in Antwerp, where he lived and worked most of the time. Elevated to the peerage, he even bought a castle, leading the life of a country gentleman. His meteoric rise to fame and fortune was only possible because he was showered with commissions. Over 3,000 paintings are known to have left his studio, where he employed a great many assistants. Only some 600 of these works were painted by his own hand. Sharing a love of Greek and Roman literature with many of his contemporaries, Rubens gleaned the motif for The Rape of the Leucippidae from mythology. Malicious contemporaries regarded it as "a bundle of bodies tied up in a knot". Again, Rubens chose to illustrate a dramatic event. The nude women are the daughters of Leucippus, King of Argos. The Hellenistic pastoral poet Theocritus told a late version of the story of how they were kidnapped from their wedding feast after marrying Idas and Lvnceus. The miscreants, the twins Castor and Pollux, were demigods who had also fallen m love with the sisters. Rubens does not depict the sequel to the kidnapping, although it would certainly have been a classic motif for the artist: the bridegrooms' pursuit of the kidnappers ended with both bridegrooms and one kidnapper dead. Zeus, the demigods' father, executed Idas with a thunderbolt. Pollux, who was immortal, was the only survivor of the slaughter.
 


Peter Paul Rubens
The Rape of the Lecippidae

1618

 

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