How Italian Paintings Compare

Italian Painting

Italian Painting Renaissance art is the apogee in Italian paintings that stimulates, attracts, coaxes and cajoles the senses beyond your imagination.

Italian Paintings

It will always be a raison d’ etre of your trip to artistic delights in destination Italy. A coruscating efflorescence of style, technique and vision, Renaissance paintings borrowed heavily from the onrushing spirit of scientific enquiry during the times. The resultant cross fertilization gave birth to such inimitable elements as photographic realism, the illusion of distance and perspective. Yet, Renaissance art is only the doorway to destination Italy’s artistic delights-and missing the rest would be ill-advised.

CLASSICAL: GREEKS, ETRUSCANS & ROMANS (5TH CENTURY B.C. TO A.D. 5TH CENTURY)
If the source of inspiration for Renaissance was classical, visit the Hellenic fount at in Sicily and Southern Italy. The exquisite outpourings were the handiwork of Greek settlers here. Discover the classical conception of art as perfection of proportion, balance, harmony, and form in the Greek murals are in Paestum’s museum. The later Etruscan flavors superimposed on the Greek sensibilities are easily discernible in the best Etruscan art displayed in the Tuscan towns as well as the tomb paintings seen in Tarqunia in Lazio and Chiusi in Tuscany.

BYZANTINE & ROMANESQUE (5TH TO 13TH CENTURIES)
The rise of the eastern Roman capital in Byzantine led to an effusion of religious themes.

Its influence gradually percolated till it determined the stylization of the Italian art. Much of the symbolization – often at variance with reality -can be seen in the illustrations of biblical scenes as well as myths and pagan traditions in Ravenna

-especially at San Vitale and both Sant’Appollinare in Classe and Sant’Appollinare Nuovo, domes in Basilica di San Marco in Venice and Chiostro del Duomo di Monreale in Sicily; Il Duomo, Pisa; Bonano Pisano’s bronze Door of St. Ranieri, the 48 relief panels of the bronze doors in Basilica San Zeno Maggiore, Verona .

Italian Paintings

It is however the Byzantine mosaics that has provided the most beautiful legacy of the period ,fusing the Moorish subtleties with the western vitality to etch magic in countless monuments and churches across Italy.

INTERNATIONAL GOTHIC (LATE 13TH TO EARLY 15TH CENTURIES)
Gothic paintings acquired more realism and naturalism but the features and gestures were exaggerated for symbolic or emotional emphasis.

They had to .After all, paintings in this era adorned the churches and were religious “advertisements” to pull in the masses into the world of the Lord.

The finely structured, sky piercing Gothic structures could ill afford to have painted stories that nobody understood. Giotto fathered the Gothic art , who introduced the defining characteristics of realism like depth and emotion that later gained more prominence.

You can distinguish the incipient elements of the Renaissance in such Gothic masterpieces as: Pisano Pulpits in Pisa’s Baptistry and Duomo, and in Siena’s Duomo; Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s Allegory of Good and Bad Government; Giotto fresco cycles in Assisi’s Basilica di San Francesco, Chapel of the Scrovegni, and Florence’s Basilica di Santa CroceRenaissance & Mannerism (Early 15th to Mid-17th Centuries)

Famous Italian Paintings
Renaissance art, of course, overwhelmed all. Riding on the back of heightened consciousness of the scientific nature, it was engendered by countless painters, sculptors, and architects who worked out the seeds of the inspiration and broke new grounds in realism and naturalism.

However due to the limitations of space only works by the giants can be mentioned -though every opportunity to visit any piece of Renaissance art is worth while.

Botticelli One of the early innovators her injected a badly needed realism-including linear perspective – into the painting. Experience his courtly, graceful languid style in his masterpieces like The Birth of Venus and Allegory of Spring (Florence’s Uffizi.)

Leonardo da Vinci The many sided genius experimented so frequently with his colours -not to mention- techniques- that little of his remarkable painting survives.

But he definitely pioneered such effects as the fine haze of sfumato that lends a diffused perspective to the character. Its incredible glory of this effect can be experienced first hand in the fresco of The Last Supper (1495-97) and his earlier Annunciation (1481) in Florence’s Uffizi.

Raphael The consummate craftsman produced an impeccable oeuvre that inspired every painter that came later. While his Madonnas and papal portraits in Florence’s Uffizi ,Palazzo Pitti and in Rome’s National Gallery of Ancient Art amaze you with detailing , the ethereal Transfiguration (1520), is in the Vatican Museums is uplifting.

Mona Lisa

Michelangelo Perhaps the world’s greatest artist, he enjoyed a love hate relation ship with the pope .He worshipped the androgynous form and his depiction of the male body showed every strained sinew , every bone in an emaciated body and every line of expression in a face full of emotion.

Get swept of your feet by Mannerism in his magnum opus – the Sistine Chapel frescoes. The powerful Moses on the tomb of Julius II, as well as his works for Medici family tombs in Florence’s Medici Chapels, incorporating Dawn, Dusk, Day, and Night (1531-33) are breathtaking .And you haven’t even begun to glimpse his sculptural masterpieces!

BAROQUE & ROCOCO (LATE 16TH TO 18TH CENTURIES)
In Baroque, the opulent is extravagantly grandiose and rises to an ecstasy of decorative expressions. It’s an impossible effusion of exaggerated light and dark tones called chiaroscuro.

Dynamic fury, movement, color, and figures move together in an implosion of forms that alas lacks the integrality of a soul. The rococo is even more over the top.

Caravaggio was its supreme exponent and his St. Matthew cycle in Rome’s San Luigi dei Francesi, a series of paintings in Rome’s Galleria Borghese, the Deposition (1604) in the Vatican Museums will remain etched in your mind’s eye , long after you return from destination Italy.

Modern Italian Paintings

Italy had very few artists of international repute after these.

Art Insurance – Insuring your paintings

banner_art_insurance

Of course no blog or article that discusses valuable and beautiful paintings can ignore Insurance. This article below really got me thinking about insurance of my prized possessions and the best way to go about it.

“The Scream” and “Madonna,” two major paintings by famous Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, were stolen several years ago from the Munch Museum in Norway by armed robbers in broad daylight. In 1990, approximately $300 million worth of art was stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, including a Rembrandt and a Vermeer. The significance of these art thefts is notable, but what’s really shocking is that in neither case was the art insured against theft (although it was insured for fire and water damage, for restoration costs that would be incurred to repair the paintings if they were damaged). According to a BBC news story at the time of the Munch theft, John Oyaas, managing director of the Munch Museum said of the two stolen paintings, “They are not replaceable so you can’t buy ‘The Scream’ on the street and put a copy up there. The focus is on other issues than insuring them. To a certain extent this is common practice because these items aren’t replaceable.”

click here to continue reading the article – written by Alan Bamberger www.artbusiness.com

Of course the above article really talks about art galleries and the costs and difficulties of insuring priceless and irreplaceable paintings. However (albeit on a smaller scale) I am sure you have paintings that whilst may not have cost millions of pounds, will be irreplaceable in the event they are stolen or damaged in a fire. Even if the cost is only in the £1,000’s you can ill afford to lose that much money, not to mention the sentimental value. thatsinsurance.com talks about this type of cover in more detail here

So what are the options for insuring paintings?

Home Insurance

The vast majority of us will assume that our home insurance will automatically cover our valubles, which include antiques, fine art etc. This is not always the case, because Home Insurance Policies have valuables and fine art and antique limits, which they are not prepared to exceed. You could find in a standard home insurance policy that the limit could be as low as £5,000. If you have several valuable paintings, you could need four or five times that amount.

Even specialist “High net Worth” Home insurance policies have valuables limits, although these can be increased to accomodate most valuable collections.

The other problem with a home insurance is how much you end up getting paid in the event of a total loss, or for the cost of restoration. You might have an idea of how much you think the painting is worth, but the Insurance Loss adjust might argue differently and you could spend alot of time and stress arguing over a settlement.

Specialist Art Insurance

There are companies who specialise in insurance for fine art, furniture, glass, muscial insturments and precious metals.

They will have available specialist valuers who can provide a full valuation of the items you wish to insure. Some policies even offer a complete home appraisal service at the inception of the policy.

Agreed Value

Once you have a valuation of your collection it also means that the item is covered for a pre-agreed value and there is no ambiguity in the event that the item is stolen or damaged (or no arguing with a loss adjuster!)

Most specialist policies will cover the item for any loss in value (depreciation) in the event of an insured claim following restoration, something a standard household insurance will not do.

Finally most specialist insurance policies will appreciate that you might exhibit or lend your painting to a gallery or exhibition – it is usually possible to extend the policy cover under these circumstances.

If you have a large and valuable collection it is certainly worth obtaining quotes from a specialist art insurance company, just for peace of mind! For more information go to http://thatsinsurance.com.

The Scottish Colourists: Post-Impressionist Brilliance

Scottish Colourists

In the 1920s, a group of four Scots artists exhibited together for the first time. This group, known as the Scottish Colourists, were famous for their loose handling of paint and for their strong colours.

The influences of the Scottish Colourists

They were influenced by both the Fauvism movement and by the artist Matisse. Their art was never too highly regarded by critics; however, they were instrumental in furthering the Glasgow School of Painting’s response to the Post-impressionism movement.

The French effect

All four of the Scottish colourists spent time working and living in France prior to World War I. The four artists, Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell, Samuel John Peploe, George Leslie Hunter, and John Duncan Fergusson formed the group early on.

Self-portrait_of_John_Duncan_Fergusson

The name the Scottish Colourists was popularized by the 1950 book by T.J. Honeyman, “The Three Scottish Colourists”. This was a critique of Cadell, Peploe, and Hunter. The fourth painter, Fergusson was added to the group later on.

How they became Scottish art favourites

The Scottish Colourists were popular in Scottish Art during the 1920s and 1930s, though they fell out of favour in the 1940s. Many of their paintings were of landscapes, which fell out of fashion during the 1940s, 50s, 60s and most of the 70s.

Peploe_selfportrait

In 1980, they were rediscovered and regained popularity through the later twentieth century. A still life by Peploe sold for one million pounds in 2011 setting a record for a work by a Scottish painter.

Their landscape work

(c) Perth & Kinross Council (Mrs Jenny Kinnear) SINGLE CONSENT; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) Perth & Kinross Council (Mrs Jenny Kinnear) SINGLE CONSENT; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

All four of the artist dabbled in landscapes. The biggest body of Scottish landscape pieces were produced by John Duncan Ferguson. He painted bold pieces that focused on trees and water.

Francis Cadell is also well known for his series of landscape paintings. He started painting the series on the Inner Hebridean island of Iona. This series attracted the attention of art critics because of the way he captured the unique Scottish light. Again, many of his pieces featured water, as you would expect for an artist based on an island the sea played a big role in many of his paintings.

Scottish Colourist George Leslie Hunter exhibition at City Art Centre
Scottish Colourist George Leslie Hunter exhibition at City Art Centre

Where to experience the work of the Scottish Colourists

In November 2012, an exhibit of work by the Scottish Colourists opened in Edinburgh Scotland at the National Gallery of Art. Their work is also on display in Scotland at the University of Stirling, the Aberdeen Art Gallery, The Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery, the J.D. Fergusson Gallery, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.

Individual Styles

While considered as an artistic group, each of the Scottish Colourists had their own individual style. Each had a specific artistic focus and personality. They did not work as a group, preferring to work individually. While immensely popular in modern circles, none of the Scottish Colourists was featured in the Post-Impressionist exhibits arranged by art critic Roger Fry in 1910 and 1912 at the Grafton Galleries in London.

francis campbell

The Scottish Colourists’ first significant gallery showing was the 1924 exhibit held at the Barbazanges Gallery located in Paris.

george leslies hunter painting

Most known for introducing the Post-Impressionist movement to Scotland, since the work of the Scottish Colourists was primarily done while the artists were living in France, the Scottish Colourists provided a direct link between the art of Scotland and the Ecole de Paris.

How to Learn More about 18th Century Scottish Landscape Paintings

Jacob More

Throughout history, landscape paintings have been some of the most treasured and cherished artwork of all time. Capturing the beauty and depth of the surrounding landscape on canvas takes a keen eye and an appreciation for beauty.

runciman

While landscape painters have hailed from all parts of the world, Scotland has had its fair share. If you are interested in Scottish history and art, it is well worth taking the time to explore some of the country’s most famous landscape artists including Jacob More, Alexander Nasmyth, John Knox and Alexander Runciman.
If you want to delve deeper into the history of 18th Century Scottish landscape painters, there are a number of resources that can help. Here are just a few of the ways that you can discover more about the artists of this period:

Online Research

The Internet has made it easier than ever to find information on just about any subject that you can imagine, including Scottish painters. A few simple searches using appropriate keywords can connect you with a number of different websites that showcase the work of landscape painters from this time.

Most of these sites provide a small amount of personal history for each artist as well as examples of their work. Just be sure to use trusted sources for your research.

You can find literally hundreds of copies of the work of the Scottish landscape painters on the BBC website. They have set up comprehensive slide shows of the work of all of the biggest landscape painters from Scotland. On this site you can see more than 200 examples of the work of artists like John Duncan Ferguson.

(c) Jack Knox, RSA, RSW, RGI, HFRIAS, D.Litt; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) Jack Knox, RSA, RSW, RGI, HFRIAS, D.Litt; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Visit your Local Library

Most libraries have in-depth art history books that can give you a broad overview of Scottish painting. If you need more detailed information, you may even want to consider visiting the library of a university in your area. Often colleges and universities have a better selection of art history books to choose from, which can help you find more facts about painters from the 1700 and 1800s. They have rarer and older books that covered these artists in more detail than some of the more recent art books do.

Visit the National Galleries of Scotland

While it may not be practical for everyone, nothing beats a trip to the National Galleries of Scotland to view the artwork in person. By standing face-to-face with the landscape paintings of artists from this time period, you can get a glimpse into what their world was like. Nothing allows you to learn more about a particular artist than viewing their work. Every brushstroke tells a story, allowing you to get to know the artist in a way that would be impossible just by reading about them.

national_gallery_of_scotland_exterior_front

These are just a few of the ways that you can learn more about 18th Century Scottish landscape painters. By taking the time to conduct thorough research, you can get a true sense of what it was like to be a part of the art world during this period of history.

Five Ways to enjoy Scottish Landscape Artists

Landscape Prints

Five Ways to Enjoy the Work of the Scottish Landscapists

The Scottish landscape is quite unlike any other. A combination of a unique climate and geology has produced a landscape quite unlike any other in the world.

Most of the people who visit Scotland are there to see the countryside rather than anything else. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people from across the world flood in to see the Lochs and mountains of Scotland. Many of them return year after year to see more. It seems that once you have the bug you simply cannot get enough of the Scottish countryside.

This has resulted in a new wave of demand for the work of the famous landscape artists of Scotland like Knox, Ferguson and Nasmyth. If, like me, you love Scottish landscape paintings here are a few ways you can indulge that love and enjoy them every day.

Simple-Living-Room-with-Scottish-Landscape-Photography-Wallpaper

1. Prints with a twist

Ok, so this is an obvious one. Quite a few firms out there sell Scottish landscape prints. Many of those firms reproduce the prints in a range of different styles.

Some use specialist print techniques to produce copies of these prints with a modern twist. As an example, changing the colour palette of the painting. This produces a unique version of paintings. It is a technique that works particularly well for the landscape paintings of the famous Scottish Colourists. Ordering a print like this is a great way to get a picture of the Scottish Highlands that actually fits in with the decor of a home decorated in a modernist or contemporary style.

2. Wall stickers

If you fancy transforming a whole wall into a scene from Scotland, you can easily do so using wall stickers. Several firms sell stickers that feature Scottish scenes. Putting them up is not difficult, and if you decide you do not like the effect removing the stickers is not difficult.

3. Screensavers

Screensaver

There are also several screensaver packages available that feature the work of famous artists. Just look for one that includes the works of Scotland’s famous artists to find what you need.

4. Visit the sights

These are all good ways to experience the work of Scotland’s landscape painters, but for me the best way to do it is to actually visit the sights and see them for yourself. Because of the nature of the Scottish weather, the summer is definitely the time to go. If you go in the spring or autumn there is too much of a risk of the view being obscured by rain or mist.

You can do this either independently or as part of a tour. Increasingly Scottish tour operators are offering art themed packages to tourists.

See the real paintings

real life painting

While you are in Scotland, you can also see many of the original works. By far the best place to see these works is The Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh. They have the biggest collection in the world.
There are also some examples of modern Scottish landscape paintings in The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art located in Princes Street, Edinburgh.

Melon Udrigle Beach

melon-udrigle_beach_600

Mellon Udrigle is a beautiful golden sandy beach. You have spectacular views of the Highland Mountains.

Backed by dunes and framed by rocky promontories, this picture was definately inspired by the real thing.

Mellon Udrigle is one of the most stunning pieces of coastline in Wester Ross.

The waters are crystal clear and the beach made of bleached white sand. The beach is spectacular in itself without its stunning location. However what makes this vista and in turn the painting really special is a distant mountain vista possibly unequalled from any low level viewpoint in Scotland.

To the north east the views include the distinctive profile of Suilven, near Lochinver, taking in the mountains of Coigach, including a glimpse of the top of Stac Pollaidh. To the south east the views conclude with a glimpse of An Teallach before becoming lost in the more local humps and bumps of the peninsula you are standing on between Gruinard Bay and Loch Ewe.

The Great Scottish Landscape Painter Horatio McCulloch

Horatio mcCulloch

Horatio McCulloch was born in 1805 in Glasgow, Scotland. He had an ordinary upbringing, but from an early age displayed artistic talent.

His time with John Knox

As a young man, McCulloch was lucky enough to secure an apprenticeship with John Knox. At the time, Knox was Scotland’s number one landscape artist. Unfortunately, McCulloch only spent a year working out of Knox’s studio, but it appears he learnt a lot during that time, and he formed a strong friendship with David Macnee another young man that would later produce amazing landscape paintings.

His work as a decorative painter

Upon leaving Knox’s studio, the young artist quickly found work. For several years, he worked as a decorative painter.
One of his first commissions was to paint decorative lids for snuffboxes. Later he worked for the Edinburgh based engraver William Home Lizars. He worked as the illustrator for Prideaux John Selby during which time he painted the images of the birds and waterfowl featured in the famous British Birds book.

british birds book

His Edinburgh years

In 1825, he moved to Edinburgh and started to follow in the footsteps of Alexander Nasmyth and HV Williams. By 1827, he was ready to return to Glasgow and start his career as a landscape artist in earnest. Unfortunately, it took a while for him to find this sort of work. In the meantime, he ended up decorating public halls and working as a scene painter.

Fame and fortune in the 1830s

However, in his spare time he continued to develop his painting style. In 1829, he exhibited his first Royal Scottish Academy piece.

McCulloch,_White_Horse_Close,_Edinburgh

By 1838, his work had become widely recognised and he was a sought after artist. At that stage, he was made a full Academician of the Scottish Academy.

The silence of the highlands

One of the reasons McCulloch was such a successful landscape painter is the fact he became obsessed by the Scottish countryside, in particular The Highlands.

He once said that he was on a quest to capture the silence of The Highlands. Something he never felt he had quite achieved, so he kept on trying. The more he painted the better he got, but his quest proved elusive driving him to paint even more and become even more talented.

inverlochy castle

Summers in the West Highlands

Every summer he visited the West Highlands to sketch. Back in the studio, those sketches were transformed into paintings; so much of his work is of this area. He also spent a lot of time on Skye, where he met his wife and discovered a love of the little dogs from the area – the Skye Terriers.

Horatio+Mcculloch-Rosslyn+Castle

Demand for McCulloch today

By the time Horatio McCulloch died in 1867, he had produced a huge body of paintings including many iconic Scottish landscape paintings. Today, his images of Cadzow Forest, near Hamilton, and views of the Clyde are exciting a new generation.

He now has fans from across the world and his pieces are in demand globally many of whom have Scottish roots. For them a McCulloch landscape captures the landscape of their ancestors, so once again his works are being bought and being hung in the homes of the rich. It is just that now most of those homes are not in Scotland.

Alexander Nasmyth

naysmyth1

Alexander Nasmyth Scottish Landscape Artist

Alexander Nasmyth was a Scottish Landscape artist who was born in 1758 and was well known for his landscape paintings, in particular for his Scottish landscapes. Many of his paintings feature important architectural points of interest, as several were painted in order to illustrate what affect a planned building would have on an area.

Nasmyth’s engineering background

He also had a very keen interest in engineering, and several ideas that he proposed were used widely in the field, although he never sought recognition or took out patents for them. However, his love of engineering did influence him. He painted in a technical way that was not common at the time he was painting.

Members of Scottish nobility employed his talents by asking him to design and improve the beautification and improvement of their estates, as he designed bridges at West Lothian, Almondell, and Tongland. He was invited to be among those who submitted proposals for the expansion of Edinburgh New Town. Some of the landscapes he painted were directly related to these projects. Sketches he made when designing these bridges were later turned into works of art.

Nasmyth’s family life

Nasmyth had six daughters, all who became artists and two sons. Patrick, his eldest also became known as a landscape artist. James Nasmyth, another son, invented a device called the steam hammer, so he inherited his father’s engineering ability. He did his own sketches, which were impress, so if he had not got the engineering bug there was a good chance he would have made a good artist too.

Capturing the unique weather of Scotland

During his lifetime, Nasmyth was dubbed, “The Father of Landscape Painting” in Scotland. His greatest works stand out with an amazing and rare presentation of the local weather conditions that makes the paintings stand out.
The style that was used by Nasmyth followed that of Claude Lorrain in the painting’s depiction of mood, colour, and the arrangement of the landscape itself. The water, trees and foreground details seems to follow that of Jacob van Ruysdael. This artist would first decide what the grand view should look like, and rather than paint an exact replica of the scene, he would add and subtract in order to come up with a harmonious view of the entire scene.

The great colourist

His unique approach to colour and its use is one reason his landscapes became so popular and still captivate modern audiences. As normal, greens, browns and russets are used for the trees and foliage in the foregrounds. But, pinks and oranges are used for his luxuriant skies and cloud formations. These colours rarely appear in the Scottish sky, but Nasmyth used them to draw people into his paintings and give a feel of the moody and dangerous feel of a Scottish sky.

Improving on nature and flattering his clients

He was often called upon by his patrons to paint a castle or a large estate with the surrounding landscape. He would often show in his paintings an improved landscape, as to how he thought things should look, and many a patron took his suggestions from his paintings.

Nasmyth died in 1840 and left behind a legacy of landscape paintings of renown, significant engineering and architectural projects, and improvements in many towns and cities, including his home city of Edinburgh.