Attributed to Gerard De Lairesse (1640-1711); Title: “Archimedes During The Sack Of Syracuse”; Medium: Oil painting on canvas.
Gérard de Lairesse was a Dutch Golden Age painter and art theorist. His broad range of talent included music, poetry, and theatre. De Lairesse was influenced by the Perugian Cesare Ripa and French classicist painters as Charles le Brun, Simon Vouet and authors as Pierre Corneille and Jean Racine. His importance grew in the period following the death of Rembrandt. His treatises on painting and drawing, Grondlegginge der teekenkonst (1701), based on geometry and Groot Schilderboek (1707), were highly influential on 18th-century painters.
ROI PIETRO (1820 – 1896) Juliet and Romeo. Oil on canvas “Signed on the lower left. The back of the frame bears the coeval writing: The lovers of Verona, painting by Pietro R. 1881, bottom right P. ROI Venice.
Pietro Roi, painter and patriot, attended the Academy of Venice with a grant from the municipality of Sandrigo. The journey to Rome during he came under the influence of Friedrich Overbeck, founder of the Nazarene movement, dates back to 1845. In 1848 he enlisted as one of the volunteers rushed over from the Papal States for the first war of Independence. He fought in Cornuda, Porta Saint Lucia and Vicenza. After the Vicenza fell to the Austrians he returned to Rome, spending the early 1860s taking trips to France and Germany, then staying in Venice from 1869 on. He was prolific artist, an expert painter of portraits (he has a self-portrait in the Uffizi), historical scenes (Charles of Anjou after the battle of Benevento) and sacred subjects. Enjoyed wide renown, as witnessed by with fruitful output and in the particular case by the reaction caused by giving Romeo and Juliet to the Museum of Vicenza, which kept it in the Prima Sala Moderni (First Modern Hall). The work presented here is a smaller version of the Romeo and Juliet in the Museum of Vicenza and has some variations in the area dedicated to Friar Laurence. The artist chose to represent the moment of drama in which Juliet, awakened by his apparent death, finds Romeo is in agony. In the background, Friar Laurence, the character involuntarily responsible for the tragedy, is seen rushing over. This painting is smaller than the work donated by the artist to the Museum of Vicenza (160×250 cm), and may perhaps be the replica cited by Scardino (La pittura di Pietro Roi e del figlio Giovanni Basile Roi, Municipality of Sandrigo) that received a gold medal at an exhibition in Cologne in 1889.
Claudio Rinaldi (1852 – after 1909) was an Italian painter, mainly of genre subjects.
Rinaldi was a resident of Florence. During 1874-1875, he was awarded a scholarship by the Institute of Fine Arts of Urbino to study at the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence. In 1884 at Turin, he exhibited La Pappa of the Nonna and La Stanchezza. One of the painters he mentored was Filippo Marfoni Savini. He exhibited in Turin and Florence. Born in Florence, Claudio Rinaldi was one of the 19th century artists specializing in the popular subdivision of ecclesiastical genre, concerning itself with the monastery behind closed doors.
Claudio Rinaldi’s monk in A Pinch of Snuff, is licking his lips with glee, a twinkle in his eye as he partakes in the fashionable choice of the day, snuff taking – considered by the aristocracy and in court to be more refined than tobacco. His use of light and shade in this fine work, is particularly effective to illuminate the face of his mischievous friar. Clad in the white robes of the Benedictine order, he is holding an open snuffbox, and a pinch of snuff between his right forefinger and thumb, poised for use! Claudio Rinaldi’s technical virtuosity showcases his considerable skill in creating a convincing light-hearted parody, exposing the way of life of the monks and friars of the day.
Traditionally, since the days of Chaucer, friars have been fair game for their monastic lapses from strict self-denial into avid partaking of worldly pleasures. The closed community of a monastic order was seldom to be penetrated by the ordinary man and it was therefore all the more fascinating to him these satirical paintings found a welcome audience among people from all classes.
Studying at the Academy of Beaux-Arts in Florence, Claudio Rinaldi enjoyed considerable success during his lifetime, exhibiting from 1884 in Turin and Florence.
François-Nicolas Chifflart (French, 1825-1901), The Martyrdom of Jeanne d’Arc, oil on canvas, signed lower left, 28.6″ x 23.6″
François-Nicolas Chifflart, born in Saint-Omer in 1825, was a free-spirited French painter, engraver and illustrator. As a young boy Chifflart was introduced to the art of metal engraving by his father, a locksmith and skilled carver known for his work with Louis Fiolet, a respected manufacturer of tobacco pipes.
Chifflart began studying art at the municipal school of design in Saint-Omer and, in 1844, entered the École des Beaux-Arts, where he became a student of Léon Cogniet. In 1850, the young painter took Third Place in the Prix de Rome competition for his painting Zénobie sur les bords de l’Araxe [Zenobia on the Banks of the Aras]. The following year Chifflart was awarded the coveted First Place in the Prix de Rome (also called the Grand Prix de Rome) for Périclès au lit de mort de son fils [Pericles at the Deathbed of his Son].
Shortly after winning the Grand Prix de Rome, Chifflart openly rebelled against the rigid teachings of the Academy. Torn between his years of academic training and his desire to embrace more romantic subject matter, he created a series of etchings based on the classic German legend Faust, exhibited at the Salon of 1859. Although he was ostracized by many of his contemporaries, his drawings were praised by both Charles Baudelaire and Théophile Gautier, notable art critics and supporters of the Romantic Movement.
While struggling to find his place in the 19th century art world, Chifflart made the acquaintance of Victor Hugo, the Romantic French poet and novelist. Hugo embraced Chifflart’s independent spirit and helped launch his new career as an illustrator (1). With Hugo’s encouragement, Chifflart helped design illustrations for Victor Hugo’s novel Toilers of the Sea (1866), engraved by Fortuné Méaulle, and a new edition of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831).
François-Nicolas Chifflart lost most of his clientele when he began to harshly criticize the authoritarian empire of Napoleon III during the Franco-Prussian War. Despite the fact that his successful career sank into oblivion well before his death in Paris in 1901, a street in Saint-Omer bears his name.
Many of Chifflart’s drawings can be found at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.
(1) Exhibition notes @ the Musée d’Orsay
Ludwig Sigismund Ruhl (German 1794 – 1887) Ludwig Sigismund Ruhl received his first drawing lessons from his father, the sculptor Johann Christian Ruhl and as a young man attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Kassel where he met the painter Ludwig Emil Grimm. Ruhl studied aesthetics and art history in Göttingen and later at the Dresden Academy where he made the acquaintance of Arthur Schopenhauer, whom he portrayed in 1815. He attended the Art Academy in Munich, starting a friendship with the landscape painter Karl Philipp Fohr, followed by a sojourn in Rome. Here he was inspired by the Renaissance masters and painted in the style of the Nazarene school, depicting primarily religious motives. Eventually he returned to his hometown Kassel in 1818. He traveled to Hanau, Frankfurt and Berlin. During this time he created drawings, paintings, primarily with allegorical and historical subjects, and illustrations to Shakespeare’s dramas. In 1832 Ruhl took a professorship at the Academy before being appointed director of the museum in Kassel and later the Academy. During the 1840s Ruhl mainly depicted mythological motifs. In his later creative period Ruhl returned to drawing and created several design for ceramics.
This genre scene by Ludwig Sigismund Ruhl from 1836 depicts an allegory of hunting and music. A young lady, her back facing the viewer, is playing the piano while an elderly man accompanies her on the cello. Another man holding up a dead hare stands in the background. The composition in subdued colors shows a fine and detailed execution typical of the artist’s work. In the Graphic Collection of the Schloss Wilhelmshöhe there are several sketches and preparatory drawings for this painting, in which Ruhl conceived the composition and the individual figures.
Albert Weinert (German 1863 – 1947) Born in Leipzig, Germany on June 13, 1863. Weinert studied art at the Royal Academy in his native city and at Ecole des Beaux Arts in Brussels. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1886 and soon thereafter to San Francisco. After settling in NYC, he was active there until his death in his Bronx studio on Nov. 29, 1947.
Frederick Howard Michael (British, 1892-1929), oil on canvas, signed and dated 1897, 24″ x 36″
The intriguing and distinctly British genre of Victorian fairy painting was inspired by mythology, literature, and legend. Prominent artists crafted magical scenes that depicted ethereal creatures set in pastoral landscapes; whether submissive and demure or seductive and devious, female figures and fairies were a delightful distraction from the social and political turmoil as England transformed from an agricultural island into an industrial superpower.
Titania, Queen of the Fairies, from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, sleeps in the forest after being anointed with the juices from a magic flower: “What thou seest when thou wake, Do it for thy true love take.”
Johann Julius Exner (Danish, 1825-1910)
Johan Julius Exner was an extremely successful and popular Danish genre painter who began his training in 1839 at the Royal Danish Academy of Art. Later in his career, he studied under Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, commonly referred to as the Father of Danish Painting.
In his early years Exner exhibited several history paintings, as well as a number of portraits, earning him the Academy’s big and little silver medallions and the Academy’s Neuhausens prize.
In 1849, the Danish Royal Painting Collection, now the Danish National Gallery, purchased one of his history paintings. Two years later, he was commissioned by Count Frederik Knuth to do a painting for the Knuthenborg Palace. The Count was generous with Exner, not only paying him well, but also providing him with a studio for several years.
Exner began seeking out exotic rural farming communities in Denmark, which brought him to Amager, an island south of Copenhagen. While living in Amager, he painted “A Woman from Amager Counting Her Money,” which was exhibited in 1852 and later purchased by the National Collection. A follow up painting to his first Amager painting was “A Visit to Grandfather’s House,” painted in 1853. An enthusiastic public applauded the painting, guaranteeing him a successful and lucrative career with its widespread popularity and many reproductions. He won an exhibition medallion for the work, and the painting was purchased for the National Collection.
He painted a number of other paintings depicting the people of Amager, portraying his subjects with affection, interest and gentle humor. In an age where industrialization was fast encroaching on traditional farm life, Exner depicted a timeless vision of several generations of farm folk.
He received a two-year travel stipend from the Academy (1857–1858), which took him to Dresden, Vienna, Switzerland and Paris, in addition to the Italian cities of Venice, Parma, Florence, Naples and Rome. He also traveled to Sweden several times, and in 1866 he became a member of the Academy in Stockholm, Sweden.
In 1864 he became a member of the Academy in Denmark, and was named Professor at the Danish Academy in 1876. He also had the great honor of having his work exhibited at the world exhibition in Paris in 1878. He died in Copenhagen in 1910, two weeks shy of his 85th birthday.