1) This suit boasts a a herringbone-pattern which stands out in cream, pink and brown against a soft aqua. It is silk with metallic details. The buttons are overlaid with pink foil so they pop against the silk catching light. Flashy.
2) This suit, possibly a court suit, is made of blue silk. It includes geometric patterns, organic and floral shapes with "satin stitch and embroidery." It is delicate yet bold, and seems to shout "I am refined."
3) This suit is made of navy blue velvet and has gold lace and embroidered details. Floral and ribbon motifs decorate the vest with silver foil buttons, and the breeches also of velvet are tapered to highlight the legs. This suit is regal and clearly very expensive.
A little style to start the weekend!
Here is an interesting comparison. What do you think of them? Do you prefer one to the other?
Can you tell which are Italian and which are French?
Oh hurrah! Roman mythology! Introducing Minerva, goddess of wisdom. Goddess of war. Goddess of arts, sciences and poetry, spinning, weaving &c. Here we have her in 18th century glory, depicted in action, beauty and stone. What image of Minerva suits you the most? Suits her?
Jacques-Louis David, Battle between Minerva and Mars. 1771, oil on canvas. Musée du Louvre.
Jean-Marc Nattier, Mademoiselle de Lambesc as Minerva, Arming Her Brother, the Comte de Brionne, and Directing Him to the Arts of War. 1732, oil on canvas. Musée du Louvre.
Jean Honore Fragonard, The Goddess Minerva. 1772, oil on canvas. The Detroit Institute of Arts.
Anne Vallayer-Coster, Still-Life with Military Trophies and Bust of Minerva. 1777, oil on canvas. Private.
Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Severus and Caracalla. 1769, Oil on canvas. Musée du Louvre.
Jean Baptiste Greuze, desiring admission to the Académie Royale, submitted a work of art to be considered for acceptance. On August 23, 1769 the Académie received him, but not on the conditions he hoped for. He was accepted, but as a "genre painter." The piece he submitted was a history painting of Emperor Severus accusing his son, Caracalla, for wanting to assassinate him. History painting was a classic route to take but it just did not work out for Greuze. The rejection left him humiliated for quite some time.
Caracalla was born in an area which today is Lyon, France. His father was the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus. Caracalla and his brother Geta did not get along well, and their father tried to soothe family tensions by having everyone under one roof, under his watchful eye. Good idea?
Severus raised Caracalla's rank above his brother's, so that he would be next in line for Emperor. When the three went on a campaign in Britain the emperor fell ill. Caracalla picked up the slack for his father. It is said that he would just as well have seen his father dead so that he could be emperor. ..makes sense so far! Rumor has it that Caracalla actually tried to murder his father while on campaign. If he were so bold to attempt it, he did it unsuccessfully.
Severus decided to raise Geta's rank as well, with a plan that the two could co-rule. After his death both brothers disregarded his advice, and their rivalry continued. Back at the Palace, they split things up in half, one half for Caracalla and one for Geta, even with separate entryways! One day Caracalla summoned his brother to call a truce. Caught off his guard, the unsuspecting brother was murdered and Caracella became emperor.
Greuze chose to depict a moment when the ill emperor calls out his son. Wrapped in cloth and mimicing Michelangelo's God (sistene chapel), the man is able to gather strength to sit up and physically and verbally direct his claim against Caracalla. Clearly the boy has not kept his feelings private. It is an intense moment between father and son, and Caracalla, who should be stunned turns around with a look more of annoyance than anything.
Giovanni Battista Piranesi – where to start! He began his career in architecture with a typical apprenticeship under his uncle (family thing!), eventually landing him a position as a draftsman in Rome, with the papal court. His position at court was satisfactory, as could be expected, already talented in drawing, he continued to improve his skills which would lead him to success as an artist in 18th century Rome.
Drawing scenes of the ruins and buildings of Rome was only useful if one could actually sell the work and make a profit. It did not take him long to realize members of the court were not looking for images of the ruins to adorn their studies. They could look out the window for that! However, just outside, riding in posh carriages were rich men, young and old, taking the Grand Tour. Who better to sell works of art to? And as a bonus: they were willing to spend.
Paintings and drawings were desired but prints were ideal. They could easily be reproduced, and therefore you could make a larger profit on a single work or view. They were also affordable to purchase. The demand was for vedute, or views. Like a modern day postcard, those on the Grand Tour would purchase the artworks to take home. They were a reminder of the amazing sights from the trip!
When he was 27 he opened a studio in Rome. It was typical for artists to depict ruins as background elements, decorative and pictorial, adding a classic and beautiful tone to a scene. Piranesi portrayed his ruins slightly different. By bringing the ruins to the foreground of an image and portraying the worn, crumbling surfaces he was able to depict time in the form of nature overtaking architecture.
Upon the ruins, vines and leaves would sprout, grass and moss would grow. Here is a great example. In some cases this vegetation would completely cover sections of a ruin. The effects of wind and precipitation were made apparent as well, and the man-made object would, in turn, return to nature. Surfaces deteriorate and this was impressive detail he skillfully captured in his prints.
Piranesi’s artwork stood apart from his peers. He did not create compositions based on a central vanishing point as was traditional; the result was a much more dynamic composition with more depth. He also took advantage of contrast to further imply the illusion of depth, space and detail.
We may sink into melancholy when looking at ruins, some of us may just see them as a reminder of the past or even of our own mortality. For others it may bring pleasure - as a place so far removed from our everyday lives.
This week I am going to call it Rome week, and I mean this in a very general way. Any posts that go up this week will relate to Rome and the 18th century; I hope you will enjoy them! Theinspirationfor Rome Week here, lay in a little town called Colchester which you may or may not know!
In brief, the only known Roman circus in the UK has recently been discovered in the town of Colchester. The town was originally named Camulodunum by the Romans, and they have it as the oldest recorded town in England. Queen Boudicca (Bodicea) had a rebellion there, destroying the (at the time) Roman capital in Britain!
So what is a Roman circus? A Roman circus was a large open-air venue used for public events in the ancient Roman Empire such as chariot racing.
The plan is to turn the circus "into a major feature of Britain's first Roman town." Love it!
The Colchester Archaeological Trust is in need of donations for the purchase of a building over the site to secure it.* The area is currently for sale and private buyers would develop the land. The above image shows where the circus lays, and details of the starting gates.
The Trust intends to create "a free public facility with informative displays, a cafe, and a well laid-out and attractive garden featuring the remains of the eight starting gates of the circus."
This is an issue very near and dear to Heather and I. If you would like to contribute a small donation towards the effort you can here! All donations to support the Roman circus go straight to The Colchester Archaeological Trust with no fees taken. A dollar/pound would do, as every little bit helps. I hope to visit Britian's Roman circus one day!
Pierre Gouthière. Andiron, c. 1770/80. Gilt bronze. The Detroit Institute of Arts.
Here are a pair of andiron, made in France by Pierre Gouthière, when the new monarchs took the throne. Gouthière worked in Paris and received many commissions from Marie Antoinette, he was simply one of the best! The term andiron originated in the thirteenth century and now we also refer to them as firedogs. They are metal stands which are placed in a fireplace to hold logs.
Elegant in style, this pair was designed with architecture in mind. It would sit in the fireplace as we see it here. The logs lay across supports behind the gold banister, as if to represent keeping the fire within. I particularly enjoy the exaggerated and billowy flames bursting from the two vessels on either end. But how about you? Would you use these in your fireplace?