old masters week


Tolkien Pressure 68/?

El Greco - The Annunciation, n.d.

This strange El Greco is obviously part of his earlier work.  It lacks the dramatic lighting and composition of some of his great works on display in museums.  I am sure most unbiased El Greco experts would consider it one of his lesser works, but I can’t help see the confused entrance of clouds juxtaposed to the sterile, geometric tiles as surreal and exhilarating.

Lucas van Valckenborck - A village kermesse with a church, a mountainous landscape beyond, about 1572

“This buyoant scene of village life in 16th-century Flanders by Lucas van Valckenborch depicts a kermesse, an outdoor festival commemorating the last day of the local church’s patron saint. A kermesse was also an occasion for secular celebration, providing a welcome break from the rigors of the agricultural year, and a favorite subject for Valckenborch, who depicted it more than a dozen times. This brightly colored work laden with finely wrought details captures the exuberant and multi-faceted spirit of the event. At left, priests, whose tonsures suggest they belong to a monastic order, process towards a church as onlookers kneel in worship. To the right of the church door, the commercial aspect of the kermesse is evident, as villagers crowd vendors’ booths filled with wares for sale. Meanwhile, the foreground is devoted to figures on a hillside engaging in riotous activities such as dancing, fighting and embracing as a man playing the bagpipes serenades them.”