Thursday, 3 June 2010

Unit 9 - reading and DVD

This chapter and episode concentrated on the non-Italian 17 century painters.  The majority were Dutch as Holland had just become very rich and important at that time. 

Art market increased massively and painters started to produce speculative works rather than purely commissions.  Demand was for non-religious subjects and smaller easel paintings as protestant churches didn't have art in them and no aristocracy so buyers were from upper and middle classes.   An English traveler of the time noted that butchers, bakers, cobblers and blacksmiths had paintings hung in their shops, workshops and stalls - the whole country loved paintings.  Lots of landscapes, seascapes, portraits, low-life scenes, still life etc. 

Some painters may have been v famous at points but popularity declined.  Book says "In the competitive Dutch art world a premium was set on individuality and also on novelty with the result that painters' reputations swiftly rose and declined." Page 592

Development of Graphic Processes - Etching and drypoint processes were developed by Rubens and others to point where artists could check and change their work as they went along.  Once a plate had had the quantity of prints from it that it could cope with (differed according to technique e.g dry point only 10 excellent prints, etching maybe 50 excellent and 200 good) The artist could then take the plate and rework, touching up areas and even making changes to the composition.  Other artists may even work on the plates too.  These prints were much collected but prob as portfolio pieces rather than to go on the wall.


Landscapes - Just as landscapes to look at NOT background for mythological/religious scene, NOT scenes for stories to show rural life, NOT classical, NO narrative meaning or content at all.  Regarded mainly as decorations for the home but some religious meaning as nature linked to godliness and the bible.  Although based on real places often used artistic license to create the scenes.  e.g enlarging things, blending places together, leaving things out. 

Still Life - paintings of objects for the sake of it without necessarily too much symbolic meaning behind choices of subject matter.  Examples include fruit and flowers, fish, vases, porcelain bowls etc etc

Genre - scenes of everyday indoor life referred to as genre paintings.  Just of stuff going on.  But sometimes moral - often to do with sexual transgression, seduction. 

England - Mostly bought Dutch art, some Dutch artists settled in England to work.  Architecturally St Paul's and the 51 parish churches rebuilt after great fire of London were designed by Christopher Wren in a classical style.  Book says that St Paul's "Is imposing but not overpowering, it strikes a middle path between Classical Puritanism and Baroque exuberance."

Artists of the time (more detail given on artists post)
  •  Reubens
  • Rembrandt
  • Van Dyck
  • Vermeer
  • Velazquez
  • Hals
  • Jan Van Goyen
  • Rachel Ruysch
  • Judith Leyster

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