Neoclassicism and Romanticism


 


(Neoclassicism, Romanticism and Art Styles in 19th century - Art Map)



 




Antoine Wiertz



 


 
Antoine Wiertz
 

(b Dinant, 22 Feb 1806; d Brussels, 18 June 1865).

Belgian painter and sculptor. He was from very humble origins, but his talent for drawing was detected at an early age. He was sent to the Antwerp Academie, where he attended classes given by W. J. Herreyns (1743–1827) and Mathieu Ignace Van Brée. During a stay in Paris from 1829 to 1832 he came into contact with the Romantic painters, in particular Théodore Géricault, who fostered his admiration for Rubens. In 1832 he won the Belgian Prix de Rome and in 1834 left for Italy where the works of Raphael and, above all, Michelangelo made an overwhelming impression on him. In Rome he abandoned the landscapes and scenes from Roman life, for which he showed a certain talent, and embarked on a much more ambitious work, the Greeks and the Trojans Contesting the Body of Patroclus (1835; Brussels, Mus. Wiertz). The painting proved the turning-point in Wiertz’s career. Its frenzied composition and violently contorted figures excited considerable interest in Rome. Children fled from it with cries of horror, a fact that delighted the painter. Bertel Thorvaldsen commented, ‘This young man is a giant’—a somewhat hasty judgement, constantly repeated by later biographers, which nevertheless determined his subsequent development. In Antwerp and Liège Wiertz was at once acclaimed. He then sent the picture to Paris, expecting final consecration of his genius. However, it was badly hung in the Salon, went unnoticed by the public and was criticized by the press. Wiertz’s bitter disappointment was expressed in an undying hatred of Paris, which he never ceased to attack for its dissipation, stupidity and artistic incompetence. In 1839 he settled in Liège with his mother, painting grandiose mythological and historical subjects, which he believed would immortalize him, and portraits to earn a living. The latter, such as the Artist’s Mother (1838; Brussels, Mus. A. Anc.), were passable, while the former were merely superficial pastiches of Rubens and Michelangelo. However, the new Belgian State was keen to discover ‘geniuses of the national art’ and admired his weakly Raphaelesque Education of the Virgin (1843, Brussels, Mus. Wiertz) and in particular the Revolt of the Rebel Angels (1842; Brussels, Mus. Wiertz), a huge picture that Wiertz painted in a few weeks, in an effort to match the panache of Rubens’s brushwork.


 




 


Self-Portrait




 


Two Young Girls or the Beautiful Rosine
1847
Oil on canvas, 140 x 100 cm
Musée Wiertz, Brussels




 


The Reader of Novels
1853


 


Les Grecs et les Troyens se disputant le corps de Patrocle



 


Self-Portrait


 


L'inhumation precipitee



 


The Philosopher


 


La puissance humaine n'a point de limite



 

La jeune sorciere



 

Le phare du Golgotha



 

L'attente



 

Christ in the Tomb
1839



 


Eve experiencing her first guilt after sinning
1839



 

Esmeralda



 

Quasimodo



 

Le soufflet d'une dame belge




 

La civilisation du XIXeme siecle



 

Plus philosophique qu'on ne pense



 

Les partis juges par le Christ



 

Baigneuses et satyres



 

Le bouton de rose



 

La coquette habillee



 

La coquette deshabillee



 

Une tete de mort



 

Satan



 

Guillotined Head
1855



 

Une scene du carnaval de Rome



 

La fable des trois souhaits



 

Les quatre ages de la vie humaine

 


 


Self-Portrait



 

The Suicide
1854



 

Things of the Present Before the Men of Future
1855



 

A Scene in Hell
1864



 

Hunger, Madness, Crime
1864
 

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