sad face art print, sad face poster, anne stokes artworks, fantasy posters, cafe decoration, baroque art, modern decorating
christ crucified art print, baroque art, van dyck artworks, religious art prints, baroque art prints, figurative art prints, fine art posters
The solid, serious business men of Rembrandt’s Holland, enjoying the fruits of a vast commercial expansion, lived in a world of things that could be touched, and bought and sold. When they had acquired a position in life which commanded the respect of the community, they wished, as all men do, to have a permanent record of their success. If they had no special prominence they thought in terms of their participation in some social or business group.
On the whole their mentality was not unlike that of a Chamber of Commerce today in a small American city. Dutch society in the seventeenth century was well integrated; men’s common interests brought them together in trade associations and fraternal orders. And frequently, after a new election of officers, they commissioned a group portrait, to be placed on the walls of a clubhouse or in the offices of a trade association.
Thus it was that the five syndics of the Amsterdam drapers’ guild came to Rembrandt to be painted. Rembrandt was flourishing then; he was fashionable; to be painted by him was an expression of personal substance and social importance.
These patrons were satisfied with the painting; they were pleased to see themselves pictured with so much dignity and seriousness in their daily job of work. This is no doubt what they wanted in the picture and what they sought when they posed themselves the way they did and assumed an expression of dead seriousness and intense preoccupation with their small world of commerce.
Rembrandt was born at Leyden in 1606, and his family enjoyed enough prosperity to permit him to choose a career. Academic life at the University of Leyden was not congenial. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to a Leyden painter named Swanenburg and later to Pieter Lastman, from whom Rembrandt learned the craft without absorbing very much of his master’s artistic formulas.
By 1632 his reputation was so well established that he found it expedient to move to Amsterdam. Here commissions awaited him and great demands were made upon his activity. He founded a studio, accepted pupils and assistants, and soon became Amsterdam’s most flourishing painter. It was then that he married Saskia Uylenburch, daughter of a wealthy and important family.
Saskia died in 1642. It had been around her that Rembrandt’s life revolved, and it was then that he began to drift away from the life of his times. The vagaries of his subsequent career–living in common law with the patient, understanding Hendrickje Stoeffels, his financial failure, and abject poverty–have been told and retold with perhaps too much melodrama and more with the adornment of legend than of fact.
As Rembrandt’s prosperity and popularity diminished in the later years of his life, the quality of his art improved. The sweep of his brush became broader, his psychological insights became more penetrating, his sense of the dramatic more acute. His later painting was neither understood nor appreciated by his contemporaries; in the strictest sense it should be interpreted as a personal revolt against their canons of taste. /div
Of the “shattered visage” of one Ozymandias who had held himself to be the “king of kings” Shelley wrote
…whose frown and wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on those lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed…
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Read into these lines imperial Spain, the Spain of Charles V, of Philip II and his Armada, the Spain of the Hapsburgs and the Bourbons; all, by the grace of time, growth, progress, by the grace of God are gone. And Philip IV, well-meaning, pleasure-loving, weak, by virtue of the arts which flourished on the decaying refuse heap of a great empire, by the penetration of a master painter’s mind who served and knew him well, Philip lives on.
At thirteen the young Velasquez was a pupil of the Spanish painter and fanatical tyrant, Francisco Herrera the elder. Surviving this, he went a year later to study under the polished and scholarly Francisco Pacheco. Here, privileged no doubt to mingle with the nobles and intellectuals who frequented Pacheco’s house, he remained for five years, winning from his master the first recognition of an original and personal talent.
Probably less through instruction than by natural tendency Velasquez was a realist, his conviction that art must follow nature deepening as his life advanced. The apparent similarity of Velasquez’s manner of painting to that of his slightly older contemporary, Ribera, has led some authorities to term imitation what was in fact a spiritual likeness between the two. Velasquez, a great master of realism, came to have a profound influence on European art of the succeeding centuries.
In 1618 Velasquez married his master’s daughter, Juana; and four years later, being already the father of two daughters, the family accompanied by Pacheco himself journeyed to Madrid. Here but for two journeys to Italy he was to spend his life. Under the royal patronage and favor he rose to that high rank of Grand Marshal of the Palace which, through the obligations and restraints that it imposed, was to curtail the painter’s output at the very height of his powers. It was in the fatiguing performance of his distinguished official duties that he died.