Favorite decades: 1910's, 1800's, 1870's
Favorite artists: Anthony van Dyck, Giovanni Boldini, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Lawrence
Find me at:
Click "browse" to find whatever it is you're looking for.
Portrait of a Young Lady with a Plumed Headdress by British (English) School, 1633 England, Manchester City Galleries
A three-quarter, left side, portrait of a lady in a red embroidered dress with puffed sleeves, tied with yellow ribbon, and a lace collar. She wears a plumed headdress, which is trimmed with pearls and which sits near the back of her head.
A large pendant hangs around her neck with six black droplets hanging from the main section. A matching ring is tied to her collar with a piece of ribbon, while a ring is visible on the fourth finger of her left hand. Beaded bracelets adorn her wrist. She looks straight at the viewer, her face framed by her ringlets of dark hair. There is an oval painted frame with a dark background. Her age is documented in the top corner of the painting as ‘15’. This painting was probably made to celebrate the betrothal of her and her husband, who is represented in the accompanying painting entitled ‘A Gentleman’ which is executed in an identical style.
The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs by Georges de la Tour, 1630-34 France, Kimbell Art Museum
One of the greatest masterpieces of seventeenth-century French art, Georges de La Tour’s Cheat with the Ace of Clubs takes as its subject the danger of indulgence in wine, women, and gambling. While the theme harks back to Caravaggio’s influential Cardsharps, also in the Kimbell, the roots of this engaging morality play can be traced to earlier representations of the biblical subject of the prodigal son.
La Tour’s dazzling colors and elaborate costumes create a brilliant tableau. His characters enact a psychological drama that unfolds through the cues of their sidelong gazes and the measured gestures that signal their next moves. The cheat tips his cards toward the viewer, who thereby becomes complicit in the scheme, knowing that in the next moment, the conniving trio of cheat, maidservant, and courtesan (identified by her low-cut bodice) will prevail.
Another autograph version of this subject, Cheat with the Ace of Diamonds (Musée du Louvre, Paris), displays abundant variations in details of color, clothing, and accessories.
For most of his life, La Tour remained in his native duchy of Lorraine, remote from Paris. Although he created some of the most visually compelling images of his age, soon after his death he fell into obscurity. It was only in the early twentieth century that his oeuvre began to be rediscovered.
Honestly, I’m not a big fan of this artist. While I like how his paintings tell a story, I can’t get over the eyes. His eyes were so creepy.
Portrait of Camilla Spinola by Carlo Ceresa, ca 1633 Italy, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Strasbourg
Click for a giant image.