Impressionism- Love It Or Hate It?

I have to admit that I would not run out and purchase an Impressionism painting but what excites me about Impressionism paintings is the artists enthusiasm to capture moment’s in time and apply those to canvas. A perfect example of what I am referring to is Claude Monet’s Poplars” series. It is known that he rowed down a river in a small boat with his canvas’ and with a small window of time and how the sun was shining on the poplar trees, he would paint the trees as he saw them during that particular moment. His Impressionist paintings of the trees were his impression of what what he saw at the moment, not what he knew originally by memory, such as bark as being bark or what a poplar leaf looked like by memory.

ImageClaude Monet’s, “Poplars.” 1891. Created in Normandy, France.

     Claude Monet created a series of the same set of poplar trees in the exact same place on Epte River near his home. He knew In the above painting you see above, the leaves and most of the setting are pink. Monet knew that poplar trees are not pink but in the sunlight during that time of day, they appeared pink so that is how he painted them. Also in the background, he wanted the viewer to the notice also that the wind was blowing that day by blending the colors together and having them less defined.


                                         Claude Monet’s “Poplars”. (Autumn Effect) 1891. Created in Normandy,  France.

In same series of paintings by Monet, the poplars are now in Autumn. The trees are the same but very different due to the sunlight and the season. The painting on the canvas is built up in several layers. He returned to the same set of trees several times on several occasions to achieve the exact lighting effect he was looking for from the suns rays. It reminded me to appreciate what nature brings with each season, as well as sunlight with each moment or a glance and how that can change within seconds.

It is by Monet’s determination and passion for his artwork that these painting were completed. Before he could complete the series of paintings that depicts the poplar trees through the seasons, the land was put up for sale and the trees were to be cut down. To make sure that did not happen, Monet ended up buying the property that the trees were on so he could finish painting his series. After his series was complete, Monet sold the property to the person who was originally interested in buying the property.

Another style of painting that is very different than Impressionism is Romanticism. The Romantic style painters wanted to put a strong emphasis on emotion such as apprehension, awe, horror, terror, the unknown, and the fascination.



Francisco Goya, Yard With Lunatics” (1794). Location of where it was created.

Romantic painter Francisco Goya painted this painting, “Yard With Lunatics” after experiences he had as a young boy in Zaragoza, Spain. As we see in this painting, it shows deep emotion, filled with dread and hatred. The two naked men in the center of the photo are being beaten by the warden with the whip. This picture is small in size on the blog but if you click on the picture it will open up so you can see it on a much larger scale. This painting shows the brutality against human beings whether  they are criminals or with mental illness. The closer to the ground, the darker in color, and then as you look higher up on the painting, the sun is shining through, giving a glimmer of hope of what could be but probably what will never become for anyone locked behind these cement walls of physical and emotional abuse.

A few weeks after the completion of this painting, Francisco Goya himself had a physical and mental breakdown. His health began to deteriorate and his paintings became darker in subject matter as well as darker topics. Although this is not one of my favorite paintings, Romantic paintings are one of my favorite style of paintings due to the strong emotions that they portrayed.


 Rose Bonheur, “Plowing in the Nivernais.” (1849)  Created in France.

Another style of painting is Realism painting. Realism painters wanted to capture the everyday worker, landscapes, and people exhibiting very little emotion. I feel that Rose Bonheur’s “Plowing in the Nivernais” is a great example of that. I like the way the painting appears very common, outdoor work, but it has a warm feeling to it. The viewer can tell that the sun is out but it looks like it would feel warm out but not too hot. The soil appears moist, cool to the touch but not saturated. This painting gives so much detail as to what is going on. I really like the way the light right above the oxen is lighter blue, and then as you look closer to the top of the painting the sky turns darker blue. It’s very realistic. I enjoyed this one a lot.




The Growing Economic Power of the Middle Class in the 1700’s

The Industrial Revolution brought new forms of manufacturing and production, especially heavy industry. In order for this type of production to work, there needed to be wealth and labor. The money to get the Industrial Revolution started would come from agricultural productivity, which required more people. This meant that more people would be put to work which in turn would raise the growing economy and people would be able to afford art, as well as entertainment at the theater.

There are several pieces of Classical artwork that displays the growing Middle Class in visual art. During that time, the Middle Class was growing in strength by finding loopholes around the government to continue to find ways to stay open while remaining unlicensed. To watch plays at the theater, admission was free of charge but there was a required fee for refreshments.

A Rococo style painter by the name of William Hogarth came from a middle class family and brought art to the common man. We was known to ridicule artists that came before him. He painted aristocrats living lavish lifestyles, as well as incredibly poor working-classs with no money and a bleak future.What made Hogarth’s paintings successful was the technological advances such as the printing press. Without that, his work would not have been as accessible to people from the middle class and lower classes.


William Hogarth’s “The Rake’s Progress”, (1733), created in United Kingdom, England.

In William Hogarth’s The Rake’s Progress”William tells a story of a man named Tom Rakewell who is young man who inherits money from his late father and spends it all on expensive clothing, prostitution, and gambling. This one painting is comes in a series of paintings that shows what what happens to Tom, who eventually squanders the money, ends up in jail due to his debts, and then ending up in an insane asylum. These paintings were turned into prints and that is why the printing press was so detrimental in his William Hogarth’s success.

In the painting we see Tom being fitted for expensive clothing and what appears to be members of his family, being very displeased with the decisions that he is making with his fathers money that was inherited to him. We see the middle class family, with enough money to live on but not enough money to be spending on extravagant clothes. It would appear that the rest of the family want him to save for a rainy day, but Tom is trying to tell them that his decisions are not a big deal. William Hogarth enjoyed making a moral point and life lessons in his paintings.

Due to the economic growing power of the middle class, it allowed them to change things through the power of the money they were making. They grew tired of seeing the frivolous and overcomplicated Rococo style with its use of colors and curving forms. Neoclassical painters began to look back in Rome and Greek history for inspiration which was viewed as a more composed, virtuous, and simple society for inspiration to paint.


Angelica Kauffman’s “Cornelia Pointing at Her Children as Her Treasures”, (1785).

This painting represents the Neoclassical characteristics as possibly show the sign of the times of the rising economy, that materialistic things can be more important to a rising economy. I did plenty of research as to the location of where this painting was created and did not find an exact location, but since the artist lived in Rome at the time, I will assume that it was created in Rome. What I really love about this painting was the story behind the colors of the crispness, and that is, the moral of the story. In the painting, two women from Rome are showing each other what they value. The woman in white, Cornelia, is showing the woman in red that her children and not jewelry, are what she treasures. Is it a coincidence about clothing color choice? Cornelia is wearing white, which symbolizes purity, while the other woman is wearing red, which symbolizes passion and desire. Maybe the message that was trying to be conveyed is that even though there is now more money available due to the rising economy, do not forget about what really is important, family.

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) “Quartet No.3 in C major, Op.33″.

Franz Joseph Haydn was a remarkable classical composer and he managed musicians from the Esterhazy family. His work included over one hundred symphonies and sixty string quartets. He was referred to as “The Father of the String Quartet.” 




The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp

One of the Scientific discoveries during the Baroque Era Anton Van Leeuwenhoek’s finding of bacteria as well as blood cells and sperm. I found it all too fitting to choose Rembrandt van Rijn’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp very fitting to what was happening scientifically, as well as artistically during this time.


I was surprised to find Dr. Nicolaes Tulp being a real doctor. I’m not sure why,  but when I first read the title of this painting I thought that it might be a fictional character. Dr. Nicolaes Tulp was Mayor of Amsterdam, on the City Council, a father to many children, and a doctor who drove a small carriage to go see his patients. Due to his close connection to the City Council, he was appointed Praelector Anatomiae in 1628 at the Amsterdam Guild of Surgeons. As being a new Praelector, the Guild wanted a new group portrait which included councilmen as well as guild masters. Rembrandt was commissioned at the age of twenty-six to paint this portrait. 

Anatomy lessons were held by the Praelector one time a year in the winter, taking place in lecture rooms that were actual theaters. The council and guild members were required to attend, as well as pay an admission fee. That fee was a way to collect funds for the council meetings, as well as council dinners. The men that would attend would be prominent, educated men who exchanged ideas about anatomy and chemical processes. It was also open to the public to attend as well, but they also had to pay an admission fee to watch the dissection.

The cadaver of the choosing is that of a robber named Aris Kindt. He is not fictional either. There were certain requirements a cadaver must have in order to be chosen into an anatomy lesson, and not that that is any great prize by any means. The cadaver must be male, a criminal, and not connected with the church. It would be another one-hundred years before a woman cadaver could be used for surgeons teachings in anatomy.

Rembrandt’s use of tenebrism in this painting is amazing. It is not Dr. Tulp, nor the men of the Guild that is the focus in the painting. It’s definitely Aris Kindt. He has turned Aris into the center of attention. Not by any gruesome technique, or vision of blood, but his use of light and shadow. Aris is simply in the spotlight, due to light. Rembrandt did not miss any detail, including the grey hue in Aris’ face that the deceased tend to take on after death.  The faces of the men are that of wonder and excitement and it appears that  most of them can not be fulfilled with this experience of education fast enough. We see in the shadows the architectural structure of the Baroque Era, rounded archways and attention to detail in every way. That is not the focus in this painting, but it was nicely included. I like the way the man, second to the left, appears to be trying to follow along with the enormous open textbook on anatomy, possibly the 1543 De humani corporis fabrica (Fabric of the Human Body) by Andreas Vesalius.