Tag Archives: oil

Portrait of a Young Woman.

15 Jul
Portrait of a Young Woman, ca. 1470, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

Portrait of a Young Woman, ca. 1470, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

This ‘Portrait of a Young Woman’ by Petrus Christus, who is considered as a successor to Jan van Eyck, belongs among the masterworks of Flemish painting in Renaissance time. For the first time a portrait does not show the sitter in front of a neutral background, but in a concrete space, here defined by the wall panels. The unknown woman, whose rich velvet clothing suggests that she might come from France, radiates an aura of discretion and of nobility. The identity of the woman stays however, an object of speculation and mystery.

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The Flemish Primitives: Closer to Van Eyck.

28 Mar
The Ghent Altarpiece, detail of Eve by Jan Van Eyck.

The Ghent Altarpiece, detail of Eve by Jan Van Eyck.

The Flemish Primitives refer to the work of artists active in the Low Countries during the 15th and 16th century Northern Renaissance, especially in the flourishing Burgundian cities of Tournai, Bruges, Ghent and Brussels. Jan van Eyck brings on a revolution in the history of painting between 1420 and 1441. His work makes end to the refined ‘international style’ that dominates the art at the time. His precise observation and naturalistic rendering of reality, his brilliant colouring and the oil technique that he perfectly masters gives him the look of a virtuosity. As a court painter of the Burgundian dukes, he moves within the highest circles. The Ghent Altarpiece, was initiated by his brother. However in 1432, after the death of his brother, Van Eyck finishes the work. The urgent conservation treatment of the Ghent Altarpiece in the Saint Bavo Cathedral in Ghent was finalised in October 2010. It provided a unique opportunity to thoroughly document Van Eyck’s use of materials and his painting technique, and to record the state of conservation. The results are made available to the public through the website ‘Closer to Van Eyck’.

Octopus.

23 Feb

Mycenaen Octopus Styrup Jar

A large, wide-eyed octopus stretches its tentacles across the curved body of this jar. The motif on the jar is naturalistic and there is a great sense of movement. These kind of stirrup jars, designed not to spill and easy to carry, transported oil and wine throughout the Mediterranean during Mycenaean period. Control of the sea was essential for keeping power over their vast domain. The shape of this stirrup jar and its octopus decoration show the importance of the sea as a way of communication and as a source of food and wealth. This terracotta jar can be admired at Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York.

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