Jan van der Kooi (1957, The Netherlands)

Interior scenes

Jan van der Kooi is a Dutch contemporary figurative painter. His work has two main focuses: painting light, often in the same location during different light and seasons (in the manner of Monet or Hammershøi); and traditional drawing in a manner influenced by Michelangelo and other old masters.

A scene from the Trojan War: as two hoplites clash, Paris (left), in Trojan dress, flees the battlefield.  Detail of an Attic black-figure amphora, attributed to the Hattatt Painter; ca. 540-520 BCE.  Now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.


He Duoling (何多苓) (1948, China)

‘House with Attic’ series 1: groups

He Duoling is a prominent contemporary Chinese oil painter with a broad range of influences from impressionism and Pre-Raphaelitism to Andrew Wyeth, in a style moving from realism to a more free-form and poetic manner. In my opinion, one of the most ‘complete’ figurative painters from China.

He’s House with Attic series is a set of 44 paintings to accompany Anton Chekhov’s short story usually titled An Artist’s Story or The House with the Mezzanine in English. The choice of an impressionistic style to the works is presumably a deliberate evocation of Chekhov’s period, and He explores the space and psychology between the characters with a striking ease.

…In my opinion my hands have grown too delicate; but what can I do? I shall go out again, even if it cost me a good deal; for my chief concern is that I should not neglect my work any longer. Art is jealous; she will not allow illness to take precedence of her. And I give in to her.

…Men like myself really have no right to be ill. But you must understand what my attitude is to Art. In order to attain to real Art one must work both hard and long. The thing I have set my mind upon as the goal of all my efforts is devilish difficult, and yet I do not think that I am aiming too high. I will make drawings that will amaze some people.

Vincent van Gogh, from a letter to Théo (trans. Anthony M. Ludovici), The Letters of a Post-Impressionist.

The Minotaur.  The surrounding inscription reads ὁ παῖς καλός (”The boy is handsome/beautiful”).  Tondo of an Attic black-figure kylix,  attributed to the Painter of London E4; ca. 515 BCE.  Now in the National Archaeological Museum of Spain, Madrid.  Photo credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons.


Henry Wolf, John White Alexander by Nicole Ameda

The Quiet Hour, 1903 wood engraving on paper

John White Alexander (7 October 1856 – 31 May 1915) was an American portrait, figure, and decorative painter and illustrator.

Boreas, the North Wind, abducts the mountain nymph Oreithyia.  Attic red-figure pelike in the Severe Style, attr. to the Painter of the Birth of Athena; ca. 460 BCE.  Now in the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany.