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Chinese Paintings from National Palace Museum, Taipei

國立故宮博物院 National Palace Museum
www.npm.gov.tw

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Sir Peter Paul Rubens

Peter Paul Rubens self-portrait, 1623

Peter Paul Rubens is considered one of the most important Flemish painters of the 17th century. His style became an international definition of the animated, exuberantly sensuous aspects of baroque painting. Combining the bold brushwork, luminous color, and shimmering light of the Venetian school with the fervent vigor of Michelangelo’s art and the formal dynamism of Hellenistic sculpture, Rubens created a vibrant art, its pulsating energies emanating from tensions between the intellectual and emotional, the classical and the romantic. For 200 years the vitality and eloquence of his work influenced such artists as Antoine Watteau, in the early 18th century, and Eugène Delacroix and Pierre Auguste Renoir, in the 19th century. 
Rubens’s father, Jan Rubens, was a prominent lawyer and Antwerp alderman. Having converted from Catholicism to Calvinism, Jan Rubens in 1568 fled Flanders with his family because of persecutions against Protestants. In 1577 Peter Paul was born in exile at Siegen, Westphalia (now in Germany), also the birthplace of his brother Philip and his sister Baldina. There, their father had become the adviser and lover of Princess Anna of Saxony, wife of Prince William I of Orange (William the Silent). 
On the death of Jan Rubens in 1587, his widow returned the family to Antwerp, where they again became Catholics. After studying the classics in a Latin school and serving as a court page, Peter Paul decided to become a painter. He apprenticed in turn with Tobias Verhaecht, Adam van Noort, and Otto van Veen, called Vaenius, three minor Flemish painters influenced by 16th-century Mannerist artists of the Florentine-Roman school. The young Rubens was as precocious a painter as he had earlier been a scholar of modern European languages and of classical antiquity. In 1598, at the age of 21, he was accorded the rank of master painter of the Antwerp Guild of St. Luke. 
Following the example of many northern European artists of the period, Rubens felt drawn by necessity to travel to Italy, the center of European art for the previous two centuries. In 1600 he arrived in Venice, where he was particularly inspired by the paintings of Titian, Paolo Veronese, and Tintoretto. Later, while resident in Rome, he was influenced by the works of Michelangelo and Raphael, as well as by ancient Greco-Roman sculpture. 
Vincenzo Gonzaga (reigned 1587-1612), the duke of Mantua, employed Rubens for about nine years. Besides executing original works, Rubens copied Renaissance paintings for the ducal collection, and in 1605 he served as the duke’s emissary to King Philip III of Spain. During his years in Italy, Rubens saw the early baroque works of the contemporary Italian painters Annibale Carracci and Caravaggio, and he associated with some of the leading humanist intellectuals of the day. When Rubens left Italy, he was no longer a bourgeois but a gentleman, and he was not a local artist but one of international style and reputation. 
His mother’s death in 1608 brought Rubens back to Antwerp, where he married Isabella Brant in 1609. Having formulated one of the first innovative expressions of the baroque style while in Italy, Rubens on his return was recognized as the foremost painter of Flanders and, therefore, was immediately employed by the burgomaster of Antwerp. His success was further confirmed in 1609, when he was engaged as court painter to the Austrian archduke Albert and his wife, the Spanish infanta Isabella, who together ruled the Low Countries as viceroys for the king of Spain. The number of pictures requested from Rubens was so large that he established an enormous workshop in which the master did the initial sketch and final touches, while his apprentices completed all the intermediary steps. Besides court commissions from Brussels and abroad, the highly devout Rubens was much in demand by the militant Counter Reformation church of Flanders, which regarded his dramatic, emotionally charged interpretations of religious events—such as the Triptych of the Raising of the Cross (1610-11, Antwerp Cathedral)—as images for spiritual recruitment and renewal. Prosperity allowed Rubens to build an Italianate residence in Antwerp, where he housed his extensive collection of art and antiquities. 
Between 1622 and 1630 Rubens’s value as a diplomat was equal to his importance as a painter. In 1622 he visited Paris, where the French queen Marie de Médicis commissioned him, for the Luxembourg Palace, to depict her life in a series of allegorical paintings (completed 1625). Despite the keen loss Rubens felt after the death of his wife in 1626, he continued to be highly productive. In 1628 he was sent by the Flemish viceroys to Spain. 
While in Madrid he received several commissions from King Philip IV of Spain, who made him secretary of his Privy Council. Rubens also served as a mentor to the young Spanish painter Diego Velázquez. After a delicate diplomatic mission to London in 1629, he was knighted by a grateful King Charles I of England, for whom he executed several paintings. For Charles, Rubens also made the preliminary sketches (finished in Antwerp, 1636) for the ceiling mural in the Whitehall Palace Banqueting Hall. 
From 1630, when he married Hélène Fourment, until his death on May 30, 1640, Rubens remained in Antwerp, living primarily at Castle Steen, his country residence. During this final decade he continued executing commissions for the Habsburg monarchs of Austria and Spain. More and more, he also painted pictures of personal interest, especially of his wife and child and of the Flemish countryside. 
The concerns of Rubens’s late style, and indeed of his whole career, are summarized in The Judgment of Paris (circa 1635-37, National Gallery, London). In this painting voluptuous goddesses are posed against a verdant landscape, goddesses and landscape both symbolizing the richness of creation. Color is luxuriant, light and shade glow, and the brushwork is sensuous. All these elements further the meaning of the narrative, which is Paris’s selection of what is most beautiful—the lifelong concern of Rubens in his art.

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National Gallery, London (part C)

For Names and Titles please go HERE and HERE

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National Gallery, London (part B)

National Gallery, London (part A)

Wassily Kandinsky: “Everything starts from a dot.”

An empty canvas is a living wonder… far lovelier than certain pictures.

Wassily KandinskyThe artist must train not only his eye but also his soul.

Wassily Kandinsky

There is no must in art because art is free.

Wassily Kandinsky


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Leonardo da Vinci: “All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions”

Self-portrait, circa 1512

Leonardo da Vinci was a Florentine artist, one of the great masters of
the High Renaissance, who was also celebrated as a painter, sculptor,
architect, engineer, and scientist. His profound love of knowledge and
research was the keynote of both his artistic and scientific endeavors.
His innovations in the field of painting influenced the course of
Italian art for more than a century after his death, and his scientific
studies—particularly in the fields of anatomy, optics, and hydraulics—
anticipated many of the developments of modern science.Early Life in Florence
Leonardo was born on April 15, 1452, in the small Tuscan town
of Vinci, near Florence. He was the son of a wealthy Florentine
notary and a peasant woman. In the mid-1460s the family settled in
Florence, where Leonardo was given the best education that Florence,
the intellectual and artistic center of Italy, could offer. He rapidly
advanced socially and intellectually. He was handsome, persuasive
in conversation, and a fine musician and improviser. About 1466 he
was apprenticed as a garzone (studio boy) to Andrea del Verrocchio,
the leading Florentine painter and sculptor of his day. In Verrocchio’s
workshop Leonardo was introduced to many activities, from the
painting of altarpieces and panel pictures to the creation of large
sculptural projects in marble and bronze. In 1472 he was entered in
the painter’s guild of Florence, and in 1476 he is still mentioned as
Verrocchio’s assistant. In Verrocchio’s Baptism of Christ (circa 1470,
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence), the kneeling angel at the left of the
painting is by Leonardo.
In 1478 Leonardo became an independent master. His first
commission, to paint an altarpiece for the chapel of the Palazzo
Vecchio, the Florentine town hall, was never executed. His first large
painting, The Adoration of the Magi (begun 1481, Galleria degli
Uffizi), left unfinished, was ordered in 1481 for the Monastery of San
Donato a Scopeto, Florence. Other works ascribed to his youth are the
so-called Benois Madonna (c. 1478, Hermitage, Saint Petersburg), the
portrait Ginerva de’ Benci (c. 1474, National Gallery, Washington,
D.C.), and the unfinished Saint Jerome (c. 1481, Pinacoteca, Vatican).


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Balthus: “I refuse to confide and don’t like it when people write about art”.

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Balthasar Klossowski  de Rola (February 29, 1908 in Paris – February 18, 2001 in Rossinière, Switzerland), best known as Balthus, was an esteemed but controversial Polish-French modern artist.
 

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Odilon Redon

self-portrait, 1880
// // Bertrand-Jean Redon, better known as Odilon Redon (April 20, 1840 – July 6, 1916) was a French Symbolist painter, printmaker, draughtsman and pastellist.

“Those were the pictures bearing the signature: Odilon Redon. They held, between their gold-edged frames of unpolished pearwood, undreamed-of images: a Merovingian-type head, resting upon a cup; a bearded man, reminiscent both of a Buddhist priest and a public orator, touching an enormous cannon-ball with his finger; a spider with a human face lodged in the centre of its body. Then there were charcoal sketches which delved even deeper into the terrors of fever-ridden dreams. Here, on an enormous die, a melancholy eyelid winked; over there stretched dry and arid landscapes, calcinated plains, heaving and quaking ground, where volcanos erupted into rebellious clouds, under foul and murky skies; sometimes the subjects seemed to have been taken from the nightmarish dreams of science, and hark back to prehistoric times; monstrous flora bloomed on the rocks; everywhere, in among the erratic blocks and glacial mud, were figures whose simian appearance–heavy jawbone, protruding brows, receding forehead, and flattened skull top–recalled the ancestral head, the head of the first Quaternary Period, the head of man when he was still fructivorous and without speech, the contemporary of the mammoth, of the rhinoceros with septate nostrils, and of the giant bear. These drawings defied classification; unheeding, for the most part, of the limitations of painting, they ushered in a very special type of the fantastic, one born of sickness and delirium.”

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Moise Kisling. Master at depicting the female body.


Moise Kisling was a Polish painter. Born in Krakow, Poland, he studied at the School of Fine Arts in Krakow, where he was encouraged to go to Paris, France.
In 1910, Kisling moved to Montmartre and a few years later to Montparnasse. At the outbreak of World War I he volunteered for service in the French Foreign Legion, and in 1915 he was seriously wounded in the Battle of the Somme, for which he was awarded French citizenship.
Kisling lived and worked in Montparnasse where he was part of the renowned artistic community gathered there at the time. He became a close friends with many of his contemporaries, including his neighbor, Amedeo Modigliani, who painted him in 1916 (today at the Musee d`Art Moderneas).
His style used in painting landscapes is similar to that of Marc Chagall, but, a master at depicting the female body, his surreal nudes and portraits earned him the widest acclaim.
Kisling’s art represents a synthesis of influences often found among members of the School of Paris, whose work combines French characteristics with ideas from non-French painters. Under the influence of Derain, Kisling learned to control his natural exuberance and love of color. Nevertheless, his close and caring friendship with Modigliani, a friendship that lasted until the latter’s death, perhaps, goes some way towards accounting for the faint melancholy tone that inhabits the brilliant colors in some of Kisling’s portraits. Throughout his latest works, Kisling’s bursting Slavic color and luxurious design are the signature of an individual style that is both lively and exciting.

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