Tag Archives: woman

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.

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’.

Eve’s Apple.

11 Mar

Romaans sculptuur op kapiteel Eva & Apple

Romanesque Art refers to the art of Europe from 1000 AD onwards. With the fall of the Roman Empire, the tradition of sculpting figures in stone and bronze died out, as it did in the Byzantine world, for religious reasons . The growth of Romanesque art was stimulated intensely by the circulation of pilgrims and by travelling craftsmen and artists, who moved from one construction yard to another to offer their services. Most Romanesque sculptures are pictorial and biblical in subject. A great variety of themes are found on capitals. The ‘Temptation of Eve’ from Gislebertus was created around the 1130s. Eve lays in a sensual pose, keeping her face away from the sin she will commit. She hold the hand with the apple, subject of the Fall, on her back. On the right we notice the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. Satan, here symbolized as the snake, only shows his tale as he is leaving quickly after tempting Eve with the forbidden fruit.

Theodora, a Byzantine Mosaic of a powerful woman.

4 Mar
Theodora, Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna

Theodora, Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna

Art produced during the Byzantine Empire was marked by the development of a new aesthetic. One of the features was its abstract or anti-naturalistic character. If classical art was attempting to create representations that mimicked reality closely, Byzantine art abandoned this attempt in favour of a symbolic approach. Mosaic art flourished in the Byzantine Empire from the 6th to the 15th century. Church interiors were generally covered with golden mosaics. Brightly coloured, the mosaics were without any emotion and rather ceremonial and static. This mosaic shows the empress Theodora, a former actress and courtesan, who moved to Constantinople, where she meets Justinian, a powerful person and the nephew to the Emperor Justin. Justinian lobbied very hard to change the law that prohibited men of standing to wed a courtesan, and when emperor Justin dies in 527, Justinian ascended the throne and crowned Theodora his empress and co-ruler. A true love story.

Sappho.

28 Feb

Sappho, roman fresco

Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that began growing on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Of the paintings which survive from the Roman classical world, many are frescoes from the area of Campania around Naples. Campania includes Pompeii, Herculaneum, and other towns whose buildings, paintings, and sculptures were preserved by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79. Romans used painted decoration to visually open up and lighten their living spaces. They copied or imitated many of their paintings from Hellenistic Greek originals. This Roman fresco was found in Pompeii. It shows the young woman ‘Sappho’, who was an ancient Greek poet greatly admired in all ages for the beauty of her writing style.

Aphrodite, nude for the first time.

26 Feb

Aphrodite Knidos Praxiteles Greece

Aphrodite is a goddess of great meaning in Greek mythology. She is the goddess of love, beauty, sexuality and fertility. Back in 390-330 BC the ‘Aphrodite of Cnidus’ by Praxiteles claims its position in ancient Greek art as the first monumental cult statue of a goddess to be represented completely nude. The popularity was expressed through an endless stream of imitations and replicas. It can be seen as the starting point of a new history in art, as this introduction of the monumental female nude occurred at least three centuries after the introduction of the monumental male nude statue. It is a history that sexually defines the represented woman by her complete nudity and, on that account, keeps her in a perpetual state of vulnerability.

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