Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jean-Honore Fragonard Paintings

Jean-Honore Fragonard was a French painter and printmaker whose late Rococo manner was distinguished by outstanding facility, exuberance, and hedonism. One of the most prolific artist’s active in the last decades of the Ancient Regime, Fragonard produced more than 550 paintings, of which only five are dated. Among his most popular works are genre paintings conveying an atmosphere of intimacy and veiled eroticism?
Jean-Honoree Fragonard was born at Grasse, Alpes-Maritimes, and the son of Francois Fragonard, a Glover, and Francoise Petit.
He was articled to a Paris notary when his father's circumstances became strained through unsuccessful speculations, but showed such talent and inclination for art that he was taken at the age of eighteen to Francois Boucher, who, recognizing the youth's rare gifts but disinclined to waste his time with one so inexperienced, sent him to Chardin's atelier. Though not yet a pupil of the Academy, Fragonard gained the Prix de Rome in 1752 with a painting of "Jeroboam Sacrificing to the Golden Calf", but before proceeding to Rome he continued to study for three years under Charles-Andre van Loo. In the year preceding his departure he painted the "Christ washing the Feet of the Apostles" now at Grasse cathedral.

While at Rome, Fragonard contracted a friendship with a fellow painter, Hubert Robert. In 1760, they toured Italy together, executing numerous sketches of local scenery. It was in these romantic gardens, with their fountains, grottos, temples and terraces, that Fragonard conceived the dreams which he was subsequently to render in his art.

He also learned to admire the masters of the Dutch and Flemish schools, imitating their loose and vigorous brushstrokes. Added to this influence was the deep impression made upon his mind by the florid sumptuousness of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, whose works he had an opportunity to study in Venice before he returned to Paris in 1761.

In 1765, his "Croesus et Callirhoe" secured his admission to the Academy. Hitherto Fragonard had hesitated between religious, classic and other subjects; but now the demand of the wealthy art patrons of Louis XV's pleasure-loving and licentious court turned him definitely towards those scenes of love and voluptuousness with which his name will ever be associated, and which are only made acceptable by the tender beauty of his color and the virtuosity of his facile brushwork; such works include the Blind man's bluff, Serment d'amour (Love Vow), Le Verrou (The Bolt), La Culbute (The Tumble), La Chemise enlevee (The Shirt Removed), and L'escarpolette (The Swing, Wallace Collection), and his decorations for the apartments of Mme du Barry and the dancer Madeleine Guimard.

Back in Paris, Marguerite Gerard, his wife's 14-year-old sister, became his pupil and assistant in 1778. In 1780, he had a son, Alexandre-Evariste Fragonard (1780–1850), who eventually became a talented painter and sculptor. The French Revolution deprived Fragonard of his private patrons: they were either guillotined or exiled.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

About Sergei Ivanovich Osipov

Sergei Ivanovich Osipov was a soviet Russian painter, graphic artist and art teacher, lived and worked in Leningrad. He is a member of Leningrad branch of Union of Artists of Russian Federation regarded as one of the leading representatives of the Leningrad school of painting, most famous for his landscape and still life paintings.

In 1943 Sergei Osipov returned to his studies and graduated of the Leningrad Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Alexander Osmerkin workshop. His graduation work was painting named "Partisans", dedicated to the guerrilla struggle against the Nazis in occupied territory of the Soviet Union.

Creativity Sergei Osipov was inseparably linked with the theme of Motherland - Tver land, its nature, the ancient Russian city, the peasant way of life. Since the late 1940s each year and regularly several times he visited Staritsa, Torzhok, Pskov, Old Ladoga, Izborsk, imported from these trips numerous studies, sketches and paintings. Then his work continued in the city art studio. And so, year after year for over forty years. 

This traveling enriched Osipov priceless lessons of the ancient builders of temples and forts, whose hands, intuition, and artistic tastes have created a rare beauty. Only then did he realize that the ravines, hills, ridges, river beds, trees, houses must be depicted as structural elements of the environment as small elements of an overall coherent picture of the world, expressing its essential features. Only after this appeared in landscapes of Sergei Osipov Russian soft melody, a clear rhythm, and unique proportions, which we correctly recognize the national character of the landscape.

His recognizable individual style Sergei Osipov took on gradually. By the end of 1950 in technical terms he was a well established as a master. This is evidenced by the works shown in major exhibitions: "The Gathering" (1950), "On the Volga River" (1951), "Last Snow" (1954), "Reaping field" (1954), "On the Volkhov River" (1955), "A Little Brook" (1956), "After the Rain" (1957), "The Old Ladoga", "A Bridge over Pskova River", "Pskov. Gremyachaya Tower" (all 1958), "The Saint George's Cathedral in Old Ladoga", "Pskov Courtyard", "Dovmant fortress" (all 1958), "Boats", "The Bridge" (both 1960), and others. But the mere follow to nature no longer satisfied the artist. He needs to go further.

The top of the Osipov's creation falls on the 1970 - early 1980s. During this period he created a number of outstanding works, mainly in the genre of still life and landscape. Among them "Still Life with a Balalaika" (1970), "A House with the arch" (1972), "Autumn branch" (1974), "Staritsa town in winter" (1974), "Still Life with White Jug" (1975), "Cornflowers" (1976), "A Forest River" (1976), "Izborsk's slopes" (1978), "A Little rick in rainy day" (1981), "Early greens" (1982), "Dandelions" (1985), and others. His style of this time similar of a light semi-Cubism. These paintings are nominated Osipov of the leading artists of the Leningrad school, who made his own contribution to its identity and significance.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

German Quarter

German Quarter also known as the Kukuy Quarter was a neighborhood in the northeast of Moscow, located on the right bank of the Yauza River east of Kukuy Creek within present-day Basmanny District of Moscow.

The German quarter appeared in the mid 16th century and was populated by foreigners from Western Europe by the Russian people and prisoners, taken during the Livonian War of 1558-1583. 

The residents of the German Quarter were mainly engaged in handicrafts and flour-grinding business. In the early 17th century, the Old German Quarter was ravaged by the army of False Dmitri II and did not recover afterwards, since many residents relocated closer to Kremlin or fled the country.

New German Quarter:

After the end of Time of Troubles, downtown Moscow attracted many European settlers, serving the royal court and the numerous foreign soldiers of muscovite troops. In 1640s, however, the clergy persuaded the tsar to limit foreign presence in Moscow, and in 1652 Alexis I of Russia forced all Catholic and Protestant foreigners to relocate to German Quarter, which became known as the New German Quarter, located east of present-day Lefortovskaya Square, above the mouth of the Chechera River. By 1672, it had three Lutheran and two Calvinist churches and numerous factories, like Moscow's first Silk Manufactory, owned by A.Paulsen. In 1701, J.G.Gregory, based in German Quarter, obtained a monopoly patent for a public pharmacy.

The quarter was populated by merchants, store owners, and foreign officers of the Russian army. Among them were future associates of Peter the Great, such as Patrick Gordon and Franz Lefort. Peter the Great was a frequent guest in the German Quarter, and he met his mistress Anna Mons there. Deceased residents were buried at the Vvedenskoye Cemetery, also known as German Cemetery, located across Yauza in Lefortovo; this tradition persisted among Lutherans and Catholics until 20th century.

In the early 18th century, the usual way of life in the German Quarter started to change. Its territory gradually turned into a construction site for palaces of the nobles, notably Lefort and later Alexander Bezborodko. At the same time, foreigners, not bound by former restrictions, migrated to center of Moscow, for example, the French community settled in Kuznetsky Most.