Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Madonna and Child

Above is of course a Raphael. Images in this post are as usual, kindly provided by There are a lot of Raphael Madonnas, but this is a nice one. I have gotten to the keyboard quite late tonight. So I am going to post a few more and then perhaps I will add more text tomorrow. The Christmas season gets to be such a whirlwind . I did get another Ask Stape written For Fine Arts Views. I am not sure when they will post it though,. More meter readers and implied mayhem with what I hope is a thin, glossy skin of sage advice.

This is also a Raphael. The child has an abdomen similar to a moth I noticed. The conventions for how an attractive baby should be proportioned have yet to develop. In fact I don't think their was general agreement as to how a female figure should be proportioned at this time either.

There are so many fine Madonna and child pictures and I have cherry picked a dozen or so from different eras to unfurl before you over the next few days. Here is a Bouguereau.

It lacks the classical restraint and reserve of the Raphael, but it is a lovely painting. As you know I am fond of his art and I think he will be an enormous influence on the next generation of young American painters. That which is most reviled by one generation is sometimes most admired by their grandchildren.

Lastly here is anothere Rembrandt, his pictures always seem so unpretentious to me. Even his putti are a LITTLE more believable. All of the figures in this painting are arrayed along a serpentine pathway that runs from the cradle through Marys arm to her head, back through Joe with his axe, and then up through the pukids being dropped into the scene via some sort of a chute.


Mike Thompson said...

The Bouguereau painting 'Song of the Angels' is my wall paper at work. Just the center of the painting as Windows cropped it to fit my screen. So large it takes your breath away whenever I close everything down to the desk top. For two months after I put it up I was electrically jolted every time I brought it up. The linen is so real you can reach out and feel it. The angels so beautiful in their adoration. The Christ child so peaceful you can understand how the adult Jesus could sleep through the storm that was drowning the disciples as they rowed. Someday I'm going to get on a plane and go to California JUST to see this painting for real. I've seen Nymphs and Satyr three times at the Clark and each time it amazed me. Bouguereau just gets better and better as I get older.

willek said...

Those wings on the Bougereau Angels at just terrific. I think they are swan wings. Unlike some tiny putti wings, which might be more like dove or pigeon wings, Bougereau's wings look as though they might actually work. Seems I remember seeing a picture or read that Caravagio had swan wings in his studio. A study could be done about putti and angel wings. Fairies, of course have insect wings, mayfly and dragonfly wings, something I did not realize til quite late in life.

We wish you and your family a pleasant holiday. Merry Christmas, Stape! said...

There is no place like home.

Just got back from the winter wonderland visit to Alsace France where winter and Christmas, pagan and Christian celebrations and traditions abound and astound.
Saw Gruenwald's most beautiful and impressive master work, the Isenheim Altar piece (1512-1516) with colors and drawings that shock and amaze. Modern and ancient. One Gruenwald painting has an angel with peacock feather wings on the outside and red on the inside (I don't believ this was part of the altar piece). This is an artist a head of his time.You can see where he made art history. It was a revalation to me.

Merry Christmas all!The weather was 14 degrees and snowy-boot camp training for Snow Camp.

billspaintingmn said...

Bouguereau has been a personal favorite since highschool.
I first saw his work at the MIA
and new I wanted to be in the arts. I did several paintings of his paintings to try to learn or self help my painting.
I've always fell sort of that grasp.
Bohemienne(1890) & Temptation(18??)
As popular as Bohemienne was, the MIA sold it about 5 years ago for
a mear $775,000.
The fools, (I hate them for that!)
I hope they got something "special"
with that chump change.
(I thought she was priceless!)
Now they are putting glass over the
paintings, I think they have some real idiots making these decisions,
I heard they are scared someone might ruin them.
I shouldn't get upset at Christmas time, Sorry.
Bouguereau's Bohemienne was the coolest painting I've ever seen.
Well it's Christmas eve. We just got a beautiful snow, s'posed to get even more.
I'm going outside and paint the scene in my backyard.
Merry Christmas to all!!

Prairie painter said...

Thank you for this wonderful series of posts this past week. As one who has more recently discovered your lovely blog, and who "came to painting later in life" (after a career in the sciences), I have learned so much from your posts. I was particularly taken with the Bouguereau painting. I am not familiar with him, so am planning to do some research after the holiday rush has settled down. Have a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends. All the best for 2010 from the Frozen North!

Philip Koch said...

Bouguereau's painting you posted really does have great wings. They add a fabulous compositional punch to the painting. You know it would be a shame if we lived in a world where every artist was expected to try to paint like Bougeureau (especially because most wouldn't have his eye), but I sure am glad we do have his art with us. It makes a far richer world.

He will be revered once again, as Stape suggests. Just give it time.

Todd Bonita said...

Aaasah Bouguereau...proof that God exhists. Thank you for a phenominal job this year Stape, I've read every post... It was a real treat and pleasure to check in every night of this year to see what you posted.
Merry Christmas

Stapleton Kearns said...

I have sen the one over at the Clark, many times. It is the most incredible thing!

Stapleton Kearns said...


Thats a handy thing to know.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Next trip the White mountains. Watch White Christmas that should approximate the coming experience.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Are they putting glass on all the paintings? Sometimes it seems like it gets harder and harder to like the museums.When the Met does that I am going to fill my shoes with red paint, and then when I get to the top of the grand stairway I am going to take them off and run until they catch me.I also intend to see the Guggenheim on a skateboard some day.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Prairie Painter:
Heres a link where you can see a lot of Bouguereau's

Thanks for the compliment too.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Hes OK but he aint no Damien Hirst!

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you I appreciate that.

Tom said...

Hi Stape have to disagree on Bouguereau, it's like hallmark cards and Victoria Secret's. I hope the next generation doesn't reject its freedom. James Joyce, Paul Cezanne etc found out what art was from there own direct experience with nature and that is why it has been meet with such acceptance. The authentic always wins out over technique and the desire to please. Its like Manet and Thomas Couture, his teacher. I love Manet’s rejection of Couture’s studio props for the living man of his own time.

Happy Holidays

jeff said...

Tom I have to disagree with you.
First off Paul Cezanne could not draw as well as Bouguereau. Second in his lifetime Cezanne was not very popular and Bouguereau and Meissonier were the most popular and successful painters.

You mention Hallmark cards and so on.
I think that's more about personal tastes and not really looking at the quality of the work.

There are some Bouguereau's that I find a little corny in subject matter, but man that man could paint flesh and design a painting like no other. His abilities are very high indeed. The use of his images to sell sweets has nothing to do with the work or the man.

Van Gogh's paintings are on jigsaw puzzles, does that make his work less than it is?

Modernist like Cezanne because he threw drawing out of the window and made painting about surface and started to remove formalism from the work. It became more about the abstraction than the subject.