John William Waterhouse (1849–1917)
The Magic Circle, c. 1886
Oil on canvas
height: 182.9 cm (72 in); width: 127 cm (50 in)
This is one of Waterhouse's earlier works, and reflects his fascination with the exotic. The woman in this picture appears to be a witch or priestess, endowed with magic powers. Her dress and general appearance is highly eclectic, and is derived from several sources: she has the swarthy complexion of a woman of middle-eastern origin; her hairstyle is like that of an early Anglo-Saxon; her dress is decorated with Persian or Greek warriors. In her left hand she holds a crescent-shaped sickle, linking her with the moon and Hecate. With the wand in her right hand she draws a protective magic circle round her. Outside the circle the landscape is bare and barren; a group of rooks or ravens and a frog – all symbols of evil and associated with witchcraft – are excluded. But within its confines are flowers and the woman herself, objects of beauty. More on this painting
John William Waterhouse (April 6, 1849 – February 10, 1917) was an English painter known for working in the Pre-Raphaelite style. He worked several decades after the breakup of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which had seen its heyday in the mid-nineteenth century, leading to his sobriquet "the modern Pre-Raphaelite". Borrowing stylistic influences not only from the earlier Pre-Raphaelites but also from his contemporaries, the Impressionists, his artworks were known for their depictions of women from both ancient Greek mythology and Arthurian legend.
Born in Italy to English parents who were both painters, he later moved to London, where he enrolled in the Royal Academy of Art. He soon began exhibiting at their annual summer exhibitions, focusing on the creation of large canvas works depicting scenes from the daily life and mythology of ancient Greece. Later on in his career he came to embrace the Pre-Raphaelite style of painting despite the fact that it had gone out of fashion in the British art scene several decades before. More on John William Waterhouse
Soul collectors, ca. 2021
Photograph on Aluminum
43 1/2 × 43 1/2 in | 110.5 × 110.5 cm
Soul collectors are supernatural creatures, spirits, entities, angels, demons or deities in many religions whose responsibility is to escort newly deceased souls from Earth to the afterlife. Their role is not to judge the deceased, but simply to guide them. Appearing frequently on funerary art, psychopomps have been depicted at different times and in different cultures as anthropomorphic entities, horses, deer, dogs, whip-poor-wills, ravens, crows, vultures, owls, sparrows, and cuckoos. When seen as birds, they are often seen in huge masses, waiting outside the home of the dying. More on Soul collectors
Mariska Karto is a fine art photographer born in Suriname and raised in the Netherlands. The breadth of her oeuvre is a masterful homage to Classicism in art history. Her multidisciplinary skill as a figurative sketcher draws a connection to the meditative practises of Renaissance draughtsmen like Leonardo, and her knowledge of fabrics as a textile artist is comparable to the dexterity of Ingres and Titian. However it is Karto’s mastery of contemporary photography that leads viewers to witness realistic images compelled by classical tradition.
Her sensual portraits depict the beauty of the female form; soft, glowing skin that venerates these women as cult icons. She conjures up an environment of lushly draped fabrics.
Karto has impressed collectors and establishments around the world, and garnered a faithful following. Her wild success is consistently documented by prize competitions across the globe; most recently she was awarded First Prize Gold Award at the Prix De La Photographie De Paris in 2016. More on Mariska Karto
Witches sabbath, c. 1972
Oil on panel
98 x 67 cm
Witches’ sabbath, nocturnal gathering of witches, a colourful and intriguing part of the lore surrounding them in Christian European tradition. The concept dates from the mid-14th century when it first appeared in Inquisition records. The sabbath, or sabbat, derived probably from the term for the seventh day used by the Jews, might be held on any day of the week, though Saturday was considered rare as being sacred to the Virgin Mary.
Reports of attendance at sabbaths varied; one confessed witch reported a gathering of 10,000. Witches reputedly traveled to the sabbath by smearing themselves with special ointment that enabled them to fly through the air, or they rode on a goat, ram, or dog supplied by the devil.
Occurrences at the sabbath were represented by inquisitors as including obeisance to the devil by kissing him under his tail, dancing, feasting, and indiscriminate intercourse. More on the Witches’ sabbath
Franciscus Johannes Gijsbertus van den Berg (15 December 1919, in Rotterdam – 6 November 1998, in Fleurac) or just Johfra Bosschart was a Dutch modern artist. Johfra and his wife, Ellen Lórien, established in Fleurac (Dordogne - France) in 1962. They lived in the Netherlands before that. Johfra described his works as "Surrealism based on studies of psychology, religion, the Bible, astrology, antiquity, magic, witchcraft, mythology and occultism." More on Johfra Bosschart
Francisco de Goya (1746–1828)
Witches, or Incantation, c. circa 1797-1798
Oil on canvas
height: 45 cm (17.7 in); width: 32 cm (12.5 in)
Museo Lázaro Galdiano
Francisco de Goya (1746–1828)
Witches' Flight, Ca. 1798
Oil on canvas.
Museo Nacional del Prado
Three bare-chested characters wearing dunce caps hold a fourth, nude character in the air while another lies on the floor, covering his ears, A sixth figure flees, his head covered with a white cloth. With his hand, he makes the gesture intended to protect him from the evil eye. At the right of the scene, a donkey stands out against the neutral background. This was one of six canvases Goya sold to the Duke and Duchess of Osuna in 1798, as decoration for their country house in La Alameda. They are linked to the etchings from his Caprichos series, in which he presented scenes of witches and witchcraft similar to this one. This painting was acquired by the Prado Museum in 1999 with funds from the Villaescusa legacy. More on this painting Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (30 March 1746 – 16 April 1828) was a Spanish romantic painter and printmaker. He is considered the most important Spanish artist of late 18th and early 19th centuries and throughout his long career was a commentator and chronicler of his era. Immensely successful in his lifetime, Goya is often referred to as both the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. He was also one of the great portraitists of modern times. More on Francisco José de Goya
Jan or Frans Verbeeck (Active Mechelen, 16th century)
The Witches' Sabbath
oil on panel
27 ¾ x 37 in. (70.5 x 93.9 cm.)
While the influence of local traditions concerning witches and their degenerate night-time activities were rife in Germany and the Netherlands, and clearly had a great influence in informing the work produced by artists working in the region, in this Witches’ Sabbath the Verbeeck family reveal a more international trend of influence. Indeed, as Professor Vandenbroeck has discussed, it is likely that, as with many Netherlandish painters during the period, members of the Verbeeck family travelled to Italy. The impact of such travels can certainly be seen in the present work. While the iconographic programme and conception of the composition, as well as figures such as the crouching hooded figure at the left of the panel (which evidently references Dürer’s Saint Anthony of 1519), suggest the painter’s use of local visual traditions, other elements demonstrate wider knowledge. The figure at the summit of the dense clouds of smoke, looking back over her shoulder at the viewer, for example, suggests that the artist was familiar with the Libyan Sibyl from Michelangelo’s ceiling for the Sistine Chapel. The way in which the witches are clothed too suggests a knowledge of other figures from this scheme, like the women beneath the True Cross in the Sistine Last Judgement. Scenes of witchcraft in Italy were also known and Agostino Veneziano’s famous The Carcass (Lo Stregozzo) must have been known to the Verbeecks, given the inclusion of the skeletal mount ridden at the left of this picture. More on this painting
Frans Verbeeck or Frans Verbeeck the Elder (c. 1510 – 24 July 1570, Mechelen). There is very little known about Frans Verbeeck. He was a member of the Verbeeck family of artists based in Mechelen. There were about 15 painters recorded in the archives of Mechelen with the name Frans Verbeeck. There were also multiple artists with the name Jan Verbeeck active in Mechelen. Frans Verbeeck is the best-known of the artists in the family.
Frans Verbeeck became a master of the local painter's guild in Mechelen in 1531. He was dean of the guild on multiple occasions including in 1563, 1564 and 1565.
The Verbeeck family formed a dynasty of artists producing a large output of paintings in a workshop with multiple branches. They produced mainly compositions of a small scale using tempera rather than oil. Despite the difficulty of distinguishing between the artists in the Verbeeck group, some works have been attributed specifically to Frans Verbeeck. More on Frans Verbeeck
45 x 33.5cm
Norman Alfred William Lindsay (22 February 1879 – 21 November 1969) was an Australian artist, etcher, sculptor, writer, editorial cartoonist, scale modeller, and an accomplished amateur boxer.
In 1895, Lindsay moved to Melbourne to work on a local magazine with his older brother Lionel. In 1901, he and Lionel, his older brother, joined the staff of the Sydney Bulletin, a weekly newspaper, magazine and review. His association there would last fifty years.
Lindsay travelled to Europe in 1909. In Naples he began 100 pen-and-ink illustrations for Petronius' Satyricon. Visits to the then South Kensington Museum where he made sketches of model ships in the Museum's collection stimulated a lifelong interest in ship models. The Lindsays returned to Australia in 1911.
Lindsay wrote the children's classic The Magic Pudding which was published in 1918. Many of his novels have a frankness and vitality that matches his art. In 1938, Lindsay published Age of Consent.
Cartoons, by Lindsay, were used both for recruitment and to promote conscription during World War I.
Lindsay also worked as an editorial cartoonist, notable for often illustrating the racist and right-wing political leanings that dominated The Bulletin at that time.
Gustave Moreau (1826–1898)
Diomedes devoured by his horses, c. 1865
Oil on canvas
height: 140 cm (55.1 in); width: 95.5 cm (37.5 in)
Rouen Museum of Fine Arts
Diomedes was a barbaric king of the Bistonian tribe of Thrake who fed his mares on a diet of human flesh. Herakles was sent to fetch these horses as the eighth of his twelve Labours. He captured the beasts alive and left them in the care of his young squire Abderos while he went off to deal with King Diomedes. He returned to discover the boy had been devoured by the mares and in anger fed them their master's corpse which stilled their unnatural appetites.
Gustave Moreau (6 April 1826 – 18 April 1898) was a French Symbolist painter whose main emphasis was the illustration of biblical and mythological figures. Moreau was born in Paris. His father, Louis Jean Marie Moreau, was an architect, who recognized his talent. His first painting was a Pietà which is now located in the cathedral at Angoulême. He showed A Scene from the Song of Songs and The Death of Darius in the Salon of 1853. In 1853 he contributed Athenians with the Minotaur and Moses Putting Off his Sandals within Sight of the Promised Land to the Great Exhibition.
Moreau became a professor at Paris' École des Beaux-Arts in 1891 and among his many students were fauvist painters Henri Matisse and Georges Rouault. Jules Flandrin, Theodor Pallady and Léon Printemps also studied with Moreau.
During his lifetime, Moreau produced more than 8,000 paintings, watercolors and drawings, many of which are on display in Paris' Musée national Gustave Moreau at 14 rue de la Rochefoucauld (9th arrondissement). The museum is in his former workshop, and began operation in 1903. André Breton famously used to "haunt" the museum and regarded Moreau as a precursor of Surrealism. More on Gustave Moreau
Franz von Stuck, (1863-1928)
The Murderer, c. 1891
47 x 46 cm
Oil on canvas
I have no further description, at this time
Inspired by Arnold Bocklin's painting, Murderer pursued by Furies, but with an even greater sense of excitement and drama, in 1891 Stuck painted his first version of the despair and remorse which pursue a criminal after his deed. The ancient Furies, the goddesses of vengeance, hide behind a rock as they lie in wait for the murderer who has just killed his victim. The sight of these ugly creatures is a foretaste of the torments awaiting the murderer. The figure of the murderer is derived from Klinger's etching 'Pursuit' in which a man in a similar pose runs away on a narrow path. More on this painting Franz Stuck (February 23, 1863 – August 30, 1928) was a German painter, sculptor, engraver, and architect. Born at Tettenweis near Passau, Stuck displayed an affinity for drawing and caricature from an early age. To begin his artistic education he relocated in 1878 to Munich, where he would settle for life. From 1881 to 1885 Stuck attended the Munich Academy.
In 1889 he exhibited his first paintings at the Munich Glass Palace, winning a gold medal for The Guardian of Paradise. In 1892 Stuck co-founded the Munich Secession, and also executed his first sculpture, Athlete. The next year he won further acclaim with the critical and public success of what is now his most famous work, the painting The Sin. Also during 1893, Stuck was awarded a gold medal for painting at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and was appointed to a royal professorship. In 1895 he began teaching painting at the Munich Academy.
Having attained much fame by this time, Stuck was ennobled on December 9, 1905 and would receive further public honours from around Europe during the remainder of his life. He continued to be well respected among young artists as professor at the Munich Academy, even after his artistic styles became unfashionable. More on Franz von Stuck
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