- THE CASTLE GEYSER, , unknown American
Artist, after watercolor by Thomas Moran (-), pastel, Smithsonian
Institute, Washington, DC, Reproduction print of chromolithography.
Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park
Chromolithography: a process by which a picture is
printed in colors from a series of lithographic stones.
Lithographic stones are stones for printing that have been
prepared by drawing a picture on stone with a waxy crayon.
Then the stone is bathed with acid. The acid eats away at the
stone that is not covered by crayon. Then the acid is washed
away with water. Next the stone is inked with a roller. The
waxy, raised surface receives the ink - paper is applied and
pressed. Then the print is hand colored. In chromolithography,
a different stone is used for each color and part of the
picture. The paper is printed many times until all parts of
the picture appear.
A geyser is a spring that throws forth intermittent jets of
heated water and steam.
- SPRAY OF OAK LEAVES WITH ACORNS, ,
Leonardo DaVinci, Italian (1452-1519), Reproduction print
Leonardo Da Vinci was born in
Tuscany and early in life loved to draw nature and play with
mathematics. he was apprenticed at a young age to a sculptor
of Florence named Verocchio. For a while Leonardo worked for
the famous patron of the arts - Lorenzo de Medici. He also
lived in Milan, painting, studying anatomy and working as an
hydraulic engineer. The Pope and King Francois I of France
were also his patrons. Although he is remembered today for his
paintings, he was also a military engineer, an architect, a
costume designer and a writer.
Throughout his life he was interested in
nature and made many notes as well as sketches of his
observations. he was interested in botany as well as art, but
the science stayed in his private notebooks. He studied plant
forms, their structure and texture, the changes caused by the
different times of day and at different distances. he observed
details that had been missed by others, but he combined an
artist's ability to portray the vitality of growth as well as
the scientist's power of precise observation. Besides his art,
DaVinci was also interested in anatomy, botany, cartography,
geology, mathematics, aeronautics, optics, mechanics,
astronomy, hydraulics, sonics, civil engineering, weaponry,
and city planning.
Notice the shape and texture of the oak
leaves and acorns as well as the placement and direction of
growth. How are the acorns grouped?
The Chinese believe that in order to paint a
tiger, you must feel like a tiger. The artist must create a
shape which is not just covered with tiger stripes, but one
which suggests the vitality and ferocity of the animal.
INSECTS, Jan Van Kessel, Flemish
(c 1626-1679), Reproduction print.
PEACEABLE KINGDOM, 1834, Edward
Hicks, American (1780-1849), Oil
on canvas, The Brooklyn Museum, NY, Reproduction print
|Jan Van Kessel was a
Flemish painter in Antwerp in 1645. he painted still life and
flower paintings. His grandfather was Jan "Velvet"
Breughel. Van Kessel painted garlands and bouquets of flowers
but his specialty was insects and shells against a light
background - they were often painted on copper and were so
exact, they can be thought of as scientific studies.
Flower painters of the time often included
insects crawling on the flowers.
IN FULL BLOOM, , Rachel Ruysch,
Dutch, (1664-1750), Reproduction print.
|Edward Hicks was born in 1780.
his mother died when he was 18 months old and young Edward was
cared for by a Quaker woman. At 13 he was apprenticed to a
coach-maker. he married a Quaker and joined the Society of
Friends. To support his wife and five children he painted fire
buckets and tavern signs. He also tried painting landscapes.
Isaiah's prophesy of peace [Isaiah 11:6-9]
seems to have been realized when William Penn made a treaty
with the Indians. Hicks took the composition from a popular
print, but he was so inspired by the treaty and the prophecy
that he painted many versions of the same scene - 60 in all.
|Rachel Ruysch was appreciated in
her lifetime and paid well for her paintings. She was
born in Amsterdam. Her father was a professor of anatomy and
botany. her mother was the daughter of a well-known architect.
Talented in drawing, she was placed in the
studio of a flower painter (Wullem van Aelst) at an early age.
She married the portrait painter Juriaen Pool. Both were
elected to the Artists' Guild at the Hague in 1701. they were
court painters for the German nobility for 8 years.
She bore and raised ten children and
continued to paint until her eightieth year. Often her
naturalistic style communicated hidden meanings as to the
transience of life. The S-curve of the stems was a cliché of
many 18th century flower painters.
CARDINAL GROSBEAK, , John
James Audubon, American
(1785-1851) National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, reproduction
Have you ever heard of the Audubon Society?
Do you know what John James Audubon is famous for?
Audubon was the first artist to take birds
out of the glass case and make them appear real. previous
artists had pictured them stiffly. Audubon worked from freshly
killed birds that had been wired into life-like positions.
Jean Jacques Gougere Audubon was born in
1785 on the island of San Domingo in the West Indies. His
father was a prosperous French Sea Captain who brought him
back to live in France at the age of four.
When he was eighteen, Audubon came to live
at Mill Grove, Pennsylvania, but not before studying art in
France with Jacques Louis David. After marrying (Lucy Bakewell),
they moved west to Louisville Kentucky, where his father had
set him up in business. The business was unsuccessful and
instead he thought of the idea of painting all of the birds of
North America. In pursuit of this goal, he was away from his
family for months, exploring the west and making a meager
living as an itinerant painter who also gave dancing and
With a full portfolio, he went to England in
pursuit of a publisher or patron. Robert Havell, Jr. of London
agreed to make engravings from the original watercolors. the
"rough" American frontier man gained so many patrons
and subscribers in England that he was able to return to
America to complete his studies. It took 12 years to complete
"Ornithological Biography" with it's
A set of Audubon's "Birds of
America", bound in four double elephant folio volumes
and numbering 435 color plates, could have been purchased by
subscription for one thousand dollars when it was published
between 1827 and 1838. Single prints of some of the more
popular subjects, such as the wild turkey now sell for
thousands of dollars. The copy we have could be considered
like a second edition of the original prints - or a restrike
THE YOUNG HARE, 1502, Albrecht Dürer,
German (1471-1528) Watercolour and gouache on paper, 251 x 226 mm,
Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna - Reproduction print
|Dürer was one of the greatest
German artists of the Renaissance. He was born in Nuremburg
and studied art with his father, a goldsmith; and Michael
Wohlgemut, a local painter and printmaker. In 1494 he
journeyed to Italy and came under the influence of Mantegna
and Jacopo de Barbari. In 1495 he returned to Nuremburg and
began an extremely productive career which included painting,
woodcuts and copper engravings.
Dürer adopted the Renaissance ideas of
humanism more than other German artist. He sought to become
not only an artist but a gentleman and a scholar; he made
scientific studies of perspective and woodcuts were created
with a tremendous degree of dexterity, vitality and
Dürer's and DaVinci's dedication to the
Renaissance ideal can be seen in their devotion to the details
The watercolor painting of the Young Hare
illustrates this detail and keen observation of the tight
crouch with ears erect as though sensing the approach of a
hunter. Notice the subtle difference in the texture of the fur
on the body and ears. Dürer was fascinated by animals and
often sketched and painted them on his travels and to sharpen
his powers of observation. he stated, "Art is implicit in
nature and whoever can extract it, has it." He signed and
dated paintings he was pleased with.
RED SQUIRREL, 1578, Hans Hoffman,
(c1530-1591/2) Watercolor and gouache on vellum, 9 7/8" x 6
15/16", Ian Woodner Family Collection, NY - Reproduction