Sunday, January 1, 2017

17 Paintings, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, of the 18th & 19th C., with Footnotes. #9

Leonardo da Vinci, (1452–1519)
Ginevra de' Benci, (c. 1474 - 1478)
Oil on panel
Height: 427 mm (16.81 in). Width: 370 mm (14.57 in).
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USA

Ginevra de' Benci is a portrait painting by Leonardo da Vinci of the 15th-century Florentine aristocrat Ginevra de' Benci (born c. 1458). . It is the only painting by Leonardo on public view in the Americas.[2]

It is known that Leonardo painted a portrait of Ginevra de' Benci in 1474, painted in Florence possibly to commemorate her marriage that year to Luigi di Bernardo Niccolini at the age of 16. The painting's imagery and the text on the reverse of the panel support the identification of this picture. Directly behind the young lady in the portrait is a juniper tree. 

Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)
Wreath of Laurel, Palm, and Juniper with a Scroll inscribed Virtutem Forum Decorat, c. 1474/1478
Tempera on panel
Height: 42.7 mm (1.68 in). Width: 37 mm (1.46 in).
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USA

The Latin motto VIRTVTEM FORMA DECORAT, on the reverse of the portrait, is understood as symbolizing her intellectual and moral virtue, while the sprig of juniper encircled by laurel and palm, suggests Ginevra's name. The laurel and palm are in the personal emblem of Bernardo Bembo,

Ginevra is beautiful, but austere; she has no hint of a smile and her gaze, although forward, seems indifferent to the viewer. A strip from the bottom of the painting was removed in the past, presumably owing to damage, and Ginevra's arms and hands were lost. 

As a woman of renowned beauty, Ginevra de' Benci was also the subject of ten poems written by members of the Medici circle, Cristoforo Landino and Alessandro Braccesi, and of two sonnets by Lorenzo de' Medici himself. More Ginevra de' Benci

Flawless chalk-white skin, porcelain-fine features, and a reserved, somewhat impenetrable expression reflect the refinement of the 16-year-old Ginevra de' Benci. Like most portrait subjects of the Renaissance, she was from a wealthy family, and educated. She was also known as a poet and learned conversationalist. Young women of the time were expected to comport themselves with dignity and modesty. Virtue was prized and guarded, and a girl’s beauty was thought to be a sign of goodness. Portraitists were expected to enhance—as needed—a woman’s attractiveness according to the period's standards of beauty. More Ginevra de' Benci

Leonardo da Vinci, (born April 15, 1452, Anchiano, near Vinci, Republic of Florence — died May 2, 1519, Cloux, France), Italian painter, draftsman, sculptor, architect, and engineer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal. His Last Supper (1495–98) and Mona Lisa (c. 1503–19) are among the most widely popular and influential paintings of the Renaissance. His notebooks reveal a spirit of scientific inquiry and a mechanical inventiveness that were centuries ahead of their time.

The unique fame that Leonardo enjoyed in his lifetime and that, filtered by historical criticism, has remained undimmed to the present day rests largely on his unlimited desire for knowledge, which guided all his thinking and behaviour. An artist by disposition and endowment, he considered his eyes to be his main avenue to knowledge; to Leonardo, sight was man’s highest sense because it alone conveyed the facts of experience immediately, correctly, and with certainty. Hence, every phenomenon perceived became an object of knowledge, and knowing how to see became the great theme of his studies. He applied his creativity to every realm in which graphic representation is used: he was a painter, sculptor, architect, and engineer. But he went even beyond that. He used his superb intellect, unusual powers of observation, and mastery of the art of drawing to study nature itself, a line of inquiry that allowed his dual pursuits of art and science to flourish. More Leonardo da Vinci

Willem Drost, AMSTERDAM 1633 - 1659
oil on canvas
39 by 33 in.; 99 by 84 cm.
Private Collection

William Drost’s Flora was painted during the artist’s brief stay in Venice during the 1650s and has hitherto remained unknown to scholars. The work should be considered one of Drost’s very best paintings, comparable to his undisputed masterpiece, the Bathsheba in the Louvre (below). It is a remarkable synthesis of the artist’s early training in Amsterdam under Rembrandt and the more mature style he developed in Venice, when he came under the direct spell of Titian, to whom this work is a clear homage. Titian's own Flora (Below) is known to have been in Amsterdam in the collection of Alfonso López, a Spaniard in the service of Cardinal Richelieu, but Drost probably did not see it in person. Rembrandt almost certainly did, and Drost would very likely have been aware of the design through drawings and prints of it. It is only once Drost arrived in Venice that he finally would have had direct access to a multitude of works by the Venetian master. Drost's interpretation of the subject thus successfully combines elements from the most important school of painting from the Dutch 17th century with the legacy of Venice's greatest artist. More

Flora was a Sabine-derived goddess of flowers and the season of spring; a symbol for nature and flowers. While she was otherwise a relatively minor figure in Roman mythology, being one among several fertility goddesses, her association with the spring gave her particular importance at the coming of springtime, as did her role as goddess of youth. More Flora

Willem Drost (1633–1659)
 Bathsheba holding the letter of King David, c. 1654
Oil on canvas
103 × 87 cm (40.6 × 34.3 in)
Louvre Museum, Paris

Willem Drost (baptized 19 April 1633 – buried 25 February 1659) was a Dutch Golden Age painter and printmaker of history paintings and portraits who died young, at the age of 25. He is a mysterious figure, closely associated with Rembrandt, with very few paintings attributable to him.
He was presumably born in Amsterdam, in what was then known as the United Provinces of the Netherlands. Around 1650 he became a student of Rembrandt, eventually developing a close working relationship, painting history scenes, biblical compositions, symbolic studies of a solitary figure, as well as portraits. As a student, his 1654 painting titled Bathsheba was inspired by Rembrandt's painting done in the same year on the same subject and given the same title, though their treatments are rather different; both Drost’s and Rembrandt’s paintings are in the Louvre in Paris.
He was in Amsterdam until 1655 and then travelled to Italy. He influenced the painter Adolf Boy. Sometime in the mid-1650s, the young artist went to Rome, where he collaborated with the German artist Johann Carl Loth on a lost series of the Four Evangelists in Venice. He died in the latter city in 1659. More

Titian, (1490–1576)
Flora,  circa 1515 -1517
Oil on canvas
Height: 79 cm (31.1 in). Width: 63 cm (24.8 in).
Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

The painting portrays an idealized beautiful woman, a model established in the Venetian school by Titian's master Giorgione with his Laura. Her left hands holds a pink-shaded mantle, while another holds a handful of flowers and leaves.

Titian (1490–1576)
Flora,  circa 1515
Oil on canvas
79,6x35 cm, 
Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

The woman was portrayed by Titian in numerous other works of the period, including the Woman at the Mirror (Below), the Vanity (Below), Salome (Below) and Violante (Below). The meaning of the painting is disputed: some, basing for example to inscriptions added to the 16th century reproductions, identifies the woman as a courtesan; other consider it a symbol of nuptial love, although her dress is not a dressing one. The identification with Flora, the ancient goddess of Spring and vegetation, derives from the presence of Spring flowers in her hands. More

Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio, or Titian (1488/1490 – 27 August 1576), was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near Belluno (in Veneto, Republic of Venice). During his lifetime he was often called da Cadore, taken from the place of his birth.

Recognized by his contemporaries as "The Sun Amidst Small Stars", Titian was one of the most versatile of Italian painters, equally adept with portraits, landscape backgrounds, and mythological and religious subjects. His painting methods, particularly in the application and use of color, would exercise a profound influence not only on painters of the Italian Renaissance, but on future generations of Western art.

During the course of his long life, Titian's artistic manner changed drastically but he retained a lifelong interest in color. Although his mature works may not contain the vivid, luminous tints of his early pieces, their loose brushwork and subtlety of tone are without precedent in the history of Western painting. More 

Titian (1490–1576)
Woman with a Mirror, circa 1515
Oil on canvas
96 × 76 cm (37.8 × 29.9 in)
Louvre Museum, Paris

Titian has pictured this Venetian woman daydreaming at her toilet, holding her rope of hair in one hand and a perfume bottle in the other. She is standing, face-on, and is wearing a green dress with shoulder straps and a loose pleated white blouse which is open, revealing her left shoulder. A bearded man in a red doublet is holding two mirrors for her, one in front and the other behind. The painting is tightly focused on the two figures, which fill the entire space. The classical layout is particularly clear thanks to the harmonious way the forms echo each other. For example, the young woman's oval face and the round mirror echo the curving lines of her unclothed arm, right sleeve, plump shoulders, and generous décolleté. More Woman with a Mirror

The Washington variant, usually ascribed to Titian's studio:

Titian (1490–1576)
Allegory, (Possibly Alfonso d'Este and Laura Dianti)
oil on canvas
overall: 91.4 x 81.9 cm (36 x 32 1/4 in.)
National Gallery of Art

This Barcelona variant, usually ascribed to Titian's studio:

Titian (1490–1576) and Workshop of Titian (1490–1576)
Girl Before the Mirror
Museum in Barcelona, Spain

Titian (c.1488–1576) (after)
Portrait of a Woman at Her Toilet
Oil on porcelain
39 x 32 cm
Government Art Collection, London, England

After Titian
Woman with a Mirror
Graphite on paper
128 x 114 mm

This picture, an early work by Titian (Tiziano Vecelli circa 1477–1576), was in the Gonzaga collection in Mantua and that of Charles I. It was bought by Louis XIV in 1662. Among the Louvre’s collections it was almost as legendary as the Concert-champêtre, then also believed to be by Titian  – and with which it shares common themes. Possibly depicting a courtesan with her lover, its strongest appeal to the Romantic mind was as a portrait. It was thought to depict Titian himself with his mistress and it has since been associated with Alfonso d’Este of Ferrara and Laura de’Dianti, or more recently with Federico Gonzaga and Isabella Boschetti. However, such identifications add little to a work likely to be an allegory of love and the transience of beauty. More at Tate

Titian (1490–1576)
Vanity, circa 1515
Oil on canvas
97 × 81.2 cm (38.2 × 32 in)
Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany

The painting portrays an idealized beautiful woman, a model established in the Venetian school by Titian's master Giorgione with his Laura. She holds an oval mirror with a frame, which reflects some jewels and a maid who is searching into a case.

This woman was also portrayed by Titian in numerous other works of the period. More Vanity

Titian (1490–1576)
Salome, circa 1515
Oil on canvas
Doria Pamphilj GalleryRome, Italy

Titian expert Wethey states that this Salome is the "Herodias" canvas from the Lucretia d'este Estate passed to Cardinal Pietro before becoming part of the Doria Gallery in 1794. Most likely it is an order by Alfonso d'Este. More Titian Salome

A Titian Salome that was part of the collections of Prince Salviati, Christine of Sweden and of Prince Odescalchi is owned by real estate magnate Luke Brugnara. That Salome was also attributed to il Pordenone and Giorgione, and finally to Titian in the late 19th century. There are four autograph copies by Titian of Salome: Doria Gallery's, Brugnara's, one in the Norton Simon Pasedena Museum and one in the Benson Collection of London.

Titian (1490–1576)
Tarquinius and Lucretia, c. 1516-17
Oil on poplar wood
82 × 68 cm (32.3 × 26.8 in)
Kunsthistorisches MuseumVienna, Austria

The is painting as part of Titian's series of half-length female figures from 1514 to 1515, which also includes the Flora at the Uffizi, the Woman with a Mirror at the Louvre, the Violante and the Young woman in a black dress in Vienna, Vanity in Munich and the Salome at the Galleria Doria Pamphilj. There is an early copy in the Royal Collection

Lucretia poised with a dagger, about to commit suicide, was becoming a common subject in art. But the addition of a male figure just behind her is all but unique. The Kunsthistorisches Museum now call this figure Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus, Lucretia's husband, but the Royal Collection call him Tarquin, as do most sources. Her husband was present at her death, according to most of the differing Roman accounts of the story, and Tarquin was not. If the figure is intended to be Tarquin, the setting must be the night before, with Lucretia perhaps making her plan.

It shows Lucretia about to commit suicide to preserve her honour after disclosing her rape the previous night by Tarquinius Superbus, making her the model of Roman female virtus. Her face looks up to the divine illumination coming from above, giving her the strength to commit the act. As in other treatments of the subject, there are sensual elements, such as Lucretia's falling robe and almost-bared breast. The robe's green is particularly bright, witnessing to the high quality of pigments available in Venice. More Lucretia

Titian (1490–1576)
Young woman in black suite, circa 1515
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria

The painting depicts a woman half-length, facing the viewer, with her torso slightly twisted to give a sense of movement. One hand holds her black dress over her white shift, with a generous cleavage. The woman's physical type recurs in the several other works by the artist, she may have been Titian's mistress, or simply a recurring model. More

Titian (1490–1576)
Violante, (La Bella Gatta), c. 1510s
Oil on canvas
64x51 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria

David Teniers the Younger (1610–1690)
The archduke Leopold William in his paintings gallery in Brussels, c. 1647-1651
Oil on copper
Height: 104.8 cm (41.3 in). Width: 130.4 cm (51.3 in).
Prado Museum, Madrid

This Painting was commissioned by Leopold William, as a present for Philipp I: The Archduke, wearing a hat, is showing his pictures, almost half of them by Titian. Other Venetians represented are Giorgine, Antonello da Messina, Palma Vecchio, Tintoretto, Bassano and Veronese; there are also Mabuse, Holbein, Bernardo Strozzi, Guido Reni and Rubens. The sculpture supporting the table, is Ganymede, a bronze by Duquesnoy the Younger. Four gentlemen, are with the Archduke, one of whom is Teniers, his court painter.

David Teniers the Younger (1610–1690)
The archduke Leopold William in his paintings gallery in Brussels, c. 1647-1651
Detail: bottom right
 The Woman at the Mirror & Violante

David Teniers the Younger (15 December 1610 – 25 April 1690) was a Flemish artist born in Antwerp, the son of David Teniers the Elder. His son David Teniers III and his grandson David Teniers IV were also painters.

Through his father, he was indirectly influenced by Elsheimer and by Rubens. The influence of Adriaen Brouwer can be traced to the outset of his career. There is no evidence, however, that either Rubens or Brouwer interfered in any way with Teniers's education. The only trace of personal relations having existed between Teniers and Rubens is the fact that the ward of the latter, Anne Breughel, the daughter of Jan (Velvet) Breughel, married Teniers in 1637. More Teniers

In 1632-3 Teniers became a master in the guild of Saint Luke in Antwerp. By 1649 he was probably already working for the King of Spain, as well as for Prince William of Orange and the Governor of the Netherlands, the Archduke Leopold William.

In 1651 Teniers moved to Brussels where Archduke Leopold became his main employer. The archduke had assembled a famous collection of paintings, which became the nucleus of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Teniers' picture gallery paintings were based on this collection. More Teniers

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