Ivan Aivazovsky and the Russian Painters of Water

Parkstone International
Free sample

The seascapes of Ivan Aivazovsky (1817-1900) made his name in Russia, his native country where he was a painter of the court of Nicholas I, yet his fame barely extended beyond these borders. Master of the Sublime, he made the ocean the principal subject of his work. Sometimes wild and raging, sometimes calm and peaceful, the life of the ocean is composed of as many allegories as the human condition. Like Turner, whom he knew and whose art he admired, he never painted outside in nature, nor did he make preliminary sketches; hispaintings were the fruit of his exceptional memory. With more than 6,000 canvasses, Aivazovsky was one of the most prolific painters of his time.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Parkstone International
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Published on
Mar 13, 2018
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Pages
70
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ISBN
9781783102969
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Language
English
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Genres
Art / History / Ancient & Classical
Art / History / General
Art / Individual Artists / Monographs
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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John Blockley was one of Britain’s most outstanding watercolour and pastel painters of the late 20th century, and has exhibited at the Royal Academy. Self-taught, he produced work that has always been experimental and progressive. His highly textured style was well ahead of his time and still hugely influential now.

The quality of his work is even more staggering given that he never trained at any art college, and spent most of his working life as an engineer. He only started painting full time at the age of 52. His obsession for drawing and painting, even while a successful engineer, was driven by his search for the essence of his subjects. The power of his paintings reveal that passion.

This beautiful retrospective of his work, including drawings, watercolours, pastels and also acrylics, brings together the best of his work. The illuminating commentary on his work is from his daughter, Ann Blockley, who is also an acclaimed painter in her own right. She understands completely where John Blockley was coming from in his artistic vision and also explains the techniques he used. Breaking with so many traditions in watercolour painting in the 1960s, John was and is an influential figure in the art world.

John said, ‘In order to paint the terrain as I see it – blotched, mottled, grainy – I must experiment’. These experimentations are still of huge value to painters today. This book is perfect for any painter who enjoys John’s work but also for all the many, many fans of his work.

Ornans, Courbet’s birthplace, is near the beautiful valley of the Doubs River, and it was here as a boy, and later as a man, that he absorbed the love of landscape. He was by nature a revolutionary, a man born to oppose existing order and to assert his independence; he had that quality of bluster and brutality which makes the revolutionary count in art as well as in politics. In both directions his spirit of revolt manifested itself. He went to Paris to study art, yet he did not attach himself to the studio of any of the prominent masters. Already in his country home he had had a little instruction in painting, and preferred to study the masterpieces of the Louvre. At first his pictures were not sufficiently distinctive to arouse any opposition, and were admitted to the Salon. Then followed the Funeral at Ornans, which the critics violently assailed: “A masquerade funeral, six metres long, in which there is more to laugh at than to weep over.” Indeed, the real offence of Courbet’s pictures was that they represented live flesh and blood. They depicted men and women as they really are and realistically doing the business in which they are engaged. His figures were not men and women deprived of personality and idealised into a type, posed in positions that will decorate the canvas. He advocated painting things as they are, and proclaimed that la vérité vraie must be the aim of the artist. So at the Universal Exposition of 1855 he withdrew his pictures from the exhibition grounds and set them in a wooden booth, just outside the entrance. Over the booth he posted a sign with large lettering. It read, simply: “Courbet – Realist.” Like every revolutionary, he was an extremist. He ignored the fact that to every artist the truth of nature appears under a different guise according to his way of seeing and experiencing. Instead, he adhered to the notion that art is only a copying of nature and not a matter also of selection and arrangement. In his contempt for prettiness Courbet often chose subjects which may fairly be called ugly. But that he also had a sense of beauty may be seen in his landscapes. That sense, mingled with his capacity for deep emotion, appears in his marines – these last being his most impressive work. Moreover, in all his works, whether attractive or not to the observer, he proved himself a powerful painter, painting in a broad, free manner, with a fine feeling for colour, and with a firmness of pigment that made all his representations very real and stirring.
Dürer is the greatest of German artists and most representative of the German mind. He, like Leonardo, was a man of striking physical attractiveness, great charm of manner and conversation, and mental accomplishment, being well grounded in the sciences and mathematics of the day. His skill in draughtsmanship was extraordinary; Dürer is even more celebrated for his engravings on wood and copper than for his paintings. With both, the skill of his hand was at the service of the most minute observation and analytical research into the character and structure of form. Dürer, however, had not the feeling for abstract beauty and ideal grace that Leonardo possessed; but instead, a profound earnestness, a closer interest in humanity, and a more dramatic invention. Dürer was a great admirer of Luther; and in his own work is the equivalent of what was mighty in the Reformer. It is very serious and sincere; very human, and addressed the hearts and understanding of the masses. Nuremberg, his hometown, had become a great centre of printing and the chief distributor of books throughout Europe. Consequently, the art of engraving upon wood and copper, which may be called the pictorial branch of printing, was much encouraged. Of this opportunity Dürer took full advantage. The Renaissance in Germany was more a moral and intellectual than an artistic movement, partly due to northern conditions. The feeling for ideal grace and beauty is fostered by the study of the human form, and this had been flourishing predominantly in southern Europe. But Albrecht Dürer had a genius too powerful to be conquered. He remained profoundly Germanic in his stormy penchant for drama, as was his contemporary Mathias Grünewald, a fantastic visionary and rebel against all Italian seductions. Dürer, in spite of all his tense energy, dominated conflicting passions by a sovereign and speculative intelligence comparable with that of Leonardo. He, too, was on the border of two worlds, that of the Gothic age and that of the modern age, and on the border of two arts, being an engraver and draughtsman rather than a painter.
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