Category Archives: Painting

December 22

Jean-Étienne Liotard’s Soulful Portraits

Jean-Étienne Liotard (1702–1789) was born on the 22nd of December 1702 into a refugee French Protestant family living in Geneva. His father, Jean-Antoine Liotard, was from Montelimar and a merchant tailor by trade. In Geneva, Liotard trained with Gardelle and Petitot, skilfully copying their enamels and miniatures. In France, he was an apprentice to Massé and […]

December 14

Paths to Modernism: Puvis de Chavannes’ Murals

On  the 14th of December 1824, the Symbolist painter Pierre Puvis de Chavannes was born in Lyon, France. Considered a ‘painter’s painter’, he was a great influence on artists, amongst which Matisse and Picasso and universally popular in his time. “Virtually all the artists and critics of the day admired Puvis de Chavannes. His admirers […]

December 13

Wassily Kandinsky: Architect of the Future of Art

On the 13th of December 1944, Wassily Kandinsky, an influential Russian painter and art theorist, died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. He has been credited with painting the first purely abstract work in the history of modern art. In the summer of 1922 he began teaching at the Bauhaus in Weimar, where in the same year he […]

December 11

Art and Insanity: Séraphine Louis, Naïve Genius

On the 11th of December 1942, a naïve painter, Séraphine Louis, also known as “Séraphine de Senlis“, died in a Villers-sous-Erquery hospital in northern France, although according to her mentor, Wilhelm Uhde, she died at Clermont’s lunatic asylum in 1934. It is questionable then whether Uhde wanted to withdraw from being associated with the mentally ill painter or […]

November 19

Nicolas Poussin: The Master of Intellect

On the 19th of November 1665, Nicolas Poussin, aged seventy one, died in Rome. He was buried in the church of San Lorenzo in Lucina, and in 1830 was commemorated with a monument donated by Chateaubriand. Despite the fact that most of his working life was spent in Italy, Poussin is considered the leading painter […]

November 03

Matisse’s Joy of Life versus Picasso’s Fear of Death

On the 3rd of November 1954, Henri Matisse died in Niece, France. He was an exceptional artist with a unique and brave vision that allowed him to break away from all artistic conventions of his time. Yes, he did have a short liaison with Impressionism, but the impact of his later achievements on art could […]

October 28

Controversy in Allegory: Masson and Courbet

On the 28th of October 1987, the French Surrealist artist André Masson died at the respectable age of 91 in Paris. Important exponent of automatism in the visual arts, Masson worked in a manner equivalent to the literary ‘stream of consciousness’, allowing his hand free rein from conscious thought and premeditated composition. He was said […]