Category Archives: Painting

April 07

Was El Greco Astigmatic?

On the 7th of April 1614, the famous painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance El Greco, née Doménikos Theotokópoulos, died in Toledo, Spain. Adored by many and criticised by some, during his lifetime he had undergone a long journey starting with Crete, the place of his birth, through Venice, then Rome where he […]

April 05

The Art of Swinging According to Jean-Honoré Fragonard

  On the 5th of April 1732, the French painter and printmaker Jean-Honoré Fragonard was born in Grasse, France. He was one of the greatest French painters in the two brilliant and productive pre-Revolution decades; although, due to his highly individual style, he was officially less recognised than, for example, his teacher, Boucher. In his […]

March 14

Parallelism in Ferdinand Hodler’s Symbolist Painting

On the 14th March 1853, Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler was born in Gürzelen, canton of Berne. Hodler’s friend, Symbolist poet Louis Duchosal described him as “a mystic and a realist, a duality which disconcerts and disorients …. He excels in rendering the things of the past or of the dream and the realities of life.” […]

March 13

The Mystery of ‘The Fortune Teller’ by Georges de la Tour

On the 13th of March 1593, the French Baroque painter Georges de la Tour was born in the town of Vic-sur-Seuille, a few miles from Nancy, France. In 1620, when he was already a practicing painter, he moved to Lunéville, Lorraine, an independent duchy between north-east France and the German states. That is where he […]

February 08

Inverting the Female Nude: Paula Modersohn-Becker

On the 8th of February 1876, German Expressionist artist Paula Modersohn-Becker, the first recognised European modern female artist to paint the female nude, was born in Dresden-Friedrichstadt, Germany. Becker grew up in a well-to-do, cultured family in Dresden, was privately art tutored in Worpswede, London, Bremen and at the Académie Colarossi in Paris, trained under […]

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 […]