theartbeast

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Figure One:

Claude Monet. Water Lilies. 1914–26. Oil on canvas, three panels, Each 6’ 6 ¾" x 13’ 11 ¼" (200 x 424.8 cm), overall 6’ 6 ¾" x 41’ 10 3/8" (200 x 1276 cm). Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund

Figure Two:

Claude Monet. Haystacks (Effect of Snow and Sun), 1891. Oil on canvas. 25 ¾ x 36 ¼ in. (65.4 x 92.1 cm). Signed and dated (lower left): Claude Monet 91. H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.109)

In his full maturity, Monet devoted himself to two subjects - his lily pond, a diversion of the river Epte across the road from his house at Giverny, and the haystacks in the field adjacent.

Guy Davenport, Objects on A Table. Harmonious Disarray in Art and Literature. (Washington D.C.: Counterpoint, 1998), 16.

Banksy & Jean-François Millet

This Smoke Break Has Been Brought to You by Kool Cigarettes

Banksy

This painting bears a striking resemblance to Jean-François Millet’s The Gleaners

Jean-François Millet (1814-1875)

Gleaners, also called, The Gleaners

1857

Oil on canvas

H. 83.5; W. 110 cm

Paris, Musée d'Orsay

Donation by Mrs Pommery with life interest reserved, 1890

© RMN (Musée d'Orsay) / Jean Schormans

Édouard Manet

Edouard Manet (1832-1883)

Olympia

1863

Oil on canvas

H. 130; W. 190 cm

© RMN, Hervé Lewandowski

With Olympia, Manet reworked the traditional theme of the female nude, using a strong, uncompromising technique. Both the subject matter and its depiction explain the scandal caused by this painting at the 1865 Salon. Even though Manet quoted numerous formal and iconographic references, such as Titian’s Venus of Urbino, Goya’s Maja desnuda, and the theme of the odalisque with her black slave, already handled by Ingres among others, the picture portrays the cold and prosaic reality of a truly contemporary subject. Venus has become a prostitute, challenging the viewer with her calculating look. This profanation of the idealized nude, the very foundation of academic tradition, provoked a violent reaction. Critics attacked the “yellow-bellied odalisque” whose modernity was nevertheless defended by a small group of Manet’s contemporaries with Zola at their head.

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Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

La Grande Odalisque

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

c. 1814

Louvre

This woman lying on a divan is offering herself because she is nude and turns her face towards us. The painting’s title, which means “harem woman,” and the accessories around her conjure up the sensuous Orient. But the woman is also discreet because she shows only her back and part of one breast. The nude was a major theme in Western art, but since the Renaissance figures portrayed in that way had been drawn from mythology; here Ingres transposed the theme to a distant land. The subject of the odalisque fascinated Boucher in the eighteenth century and was later chosen as a theme by Théodore Chassériau (1819-1856), one of Ingres’s pupils. Throughout his career, many of Ingres’s works feature Orientalist themes, such as The Turkish Bath (Louvre), which he painted towards the end of his life. The female nude, historical scenes, and the portrait were Ingres’s favorite genres. 

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Sandro Botticelli

The Birth of Venus

Sandro Botticelli

c. 1486

Uffizi, Florence

Sandro Botticelli (1444-1510) was a master of Renaissance art and The Birth of Venus, one of his most famous works, now hangs in the Uffizi gallery in Florence. The painting shows Venus, the goddess of love, in an interpretation of classical myth. Botticelli painted this pagan theme at a time when most paintings depicted Christian ideals and the vast majority of women in paintings were depicted as a chaste Virgin Mary, so it is surprising that he chose to paint Venus as a nude. It was only to due to Botticelli’s friendship with the powerful Medici family that the painting escaped the ire of the Catholic Church and Savonarola’s bonfires, where several other pagan Botticelli paintings perished in the flames. The painting shows Venus emerging from the sea on a shell, a fully grown woman, being blown to shore by Zephyrs, who are symbols of spiritual passions, while roses shower down upon her. One of the goddesses of the seasons, or Horae, hands her a cloak as she prepares to step on the shore. Many different aspects of Botticelli’s painting are in motion, from Venus’s flowing ringlets that cascade around her to the billowing gown that is being presented to her. Botticelli was inspired after reading descriptions by Lucian, a 2nd Century historian, of a masterpiece by Apeles called Anadyomene Venus, ‘Anadyomene’ meaning 'rising from the sea’. Venus’s pose is reminiscent of the Venus di Medici, a classical marble statue that Botticelli had studied. The Birth of Venus does not follow the classical realism of Raphael or da Vinci, as Venus’s shoulder slopes at an unlikely angle and her neck is impossibly long, it has been suggested that the painting prefigures mannerism.

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