Cezanne – Still Life

Whether Cezanne painted a head, a mountain, or a piece of fruit on a table, his tendency was to change it into some-thing more colorful, more plain, massive and rhythmic in shape, than it was in nature. He passed through an early impressionist period of specialized interest in bright surface reflections, and is here attempting […]

Pieter Brueghel (The Elder) – Fool’s Paradise

Good art is not limited to solemn and austere subjects. Too often, it is true, pictures expressing broad slap-stick comedy depend on subject-matter for their appeal, neglecting design. Pieter Brueghel; however, could win the nick-name of ” Droll Pieter”‘ for his rustic humor, and yet express his jokes in well-organized pictorial form. Neither the joke—soldier, […]

Vincent Van Gogh – View Of Arles

Van Gogh’s early works are heavy, muddy imitations of Millet and Courbet. Later, he learns from the impressionists the secret of broken color, and with it paints landscapes full of natural, sparkling sunlight. Later still, his colors grow even more intensely brilliant and contrasting than those of the impressionists. He leaves out gradual transitions and […]

Petrus Cristus – Portrait Of A Young Girl

The miniature perfection of early Flemish painting is present in the smooth, enamel-like modelling of the face, and in the tiny details of the necklace and hat-band, studded with small lustrous pearls. But it is not carried too far, into undiscriminating, crowded, microscopic copying of the model. The detailed, highly finished parts are brought out […]

Giorgione – The Sleeping Venus

One of Giorgione is one of the great works whose power must be traced to its perfect inner harmony, rather than to any particular distinctive feature. It represents a moment of balance and merging between several different tendencies, all of which are isolated, carried to extremes, and made to clash irreconcilably, iii other works of […]

Bosch – The Temptation Of St. Anthony

Bosch is one of the painters who are creative in the subject-matter they represent, as well as in purely visual qualities of form. He leads one spellbound into a nightmarish fantasy of weird goblins, utterly unreal, and yet so consistent in itself, and so elaborately worked out, as to become a convincing world of its […]

Courbet – The Stone Breakers

This was an epoch-making picture when first exhibited, and it sums up, more clearly than his larger pictures in the Louvre, the distinctive features of Courbet’s art. Classified under the vague word ” naturalism,” it stood for a conscious reaction away from both Ingres and Delacroix; away from two different styles, both artificial and conventional, […]

Lucas Cranach – Apollo And Diana

Like Mantegna’s, Cranach’s later works show the mellowing influence of Renaissance paganism. In both cases, the change is not wholly for the better. Agonizing Crucifixions (like the two at Munich), done in intricate Gothic line-patterns or in strong plain colors, give way to pert, mischievous little Venuses, naughtily naked in a velvet hat or a […]

Rembrandt – The Man With The Gold Helmet

As usual in a Rembrandt portrait, this is a combination of keen psychological analysis with a subtle, powerful music of lights and shadows. His faces are always full of meaning and of character, strongly individualized through emphasis on a few distinctive contours. They are never bland, impersonal, regular masks, but bear the marks of experience, […]

Titian – Venus With The Organ Player

This is not one of Titian’s greatest pictures, but it represents a mature stage of his development, and it is in an excellent state of preservation. Such cleaning and restoring as it has had, have been skillfully done. That cannot be said for many of his more famous works, which have been crudely retouched in […]