Friday, January 15, 2021

18 Works, Today, January 14th is Alice Pike Barney's day, her story, illustrated #014

Alice Pike Barney
Detail; Dreamland, ca. 1906
Pastel on paper
22 x 18 1⁄2 in. (55.9 x 47.0 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Alice Pike Barney (born Alice Pike; 1857–1931)
was an American painter. Defying social and family expectations, the wealthy, often eccentric Alice Pike Barney zestfully committed herself to the arts and became known for her lively art salons, bohemian lifestyle, and unusual family. Her two daughters were the writer and salon hostess Natalie Clifford Barney and the Baháʼí writer Laura Clifford Barney.

Alice Pike Barney
Daughter, The Writer; Natalie Clifford Barney, ca. 1895
Oil on canvas
21 5⁄8 x 18 in. (54.8 x 45.7 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Alice Pike Barney
Daughter, Laura at Sixteen, c. 1896
Oil on canvas
30 3⁄4 x 26 5⁄8 in. (78.2 x 67.5 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Defying social and family expectations, the wealthy, often eccentric Alice zestfully committed herself to the arts and became known for her lively art salons, bohemian lifestyle, and unusual family.

Barney's father Samuel Napthali Pike, who had made his fortune as the distiller of Magnolia brand whiskey, was a patron of the arts in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he built Pike's Opera House. After the family moved New York City in 1866, he built what would become the Grand Opera House at Twenty-Third Street and Eighth Avenue. Barney was the youngest of four children and the only one who fully shared her father's cultural interests; as a child she showed talent as a singer and pianist.

Unknown artist
How I found Livingstone
Print
I have no further description, at this time

In 1871, Leaving Zanzibar in search of David Livingstone, for whom nothing has been known for more than three years, journalist Henry Stanley met the famous British explorer on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Stanley uttered the famous line of history: " Dr. Livingstone, I presume? ”. Later, the two will explore northern Lake Tanganyika together, then the journalist will return to England, Livingstone heading to Zambia.

At 17 she became engaged to the  journalist, explorer, Henry Morton Stanley. Alice's mother considered the match unsuitable due to the age difference – she was 17, he 33 – and insisted that they wait to marry. While he was away on a three-year expedition in Africa, she instead married Albert Clifford Barney, son of a wealthy manufacturer of railway cars in Dayton, Ohio.

Alice Pike Barney
Albert Clifford Barney, c. 1899
Pastel on paper on fiberboard
30 1⁄2 x 20 3⁄4 in. (77.5 x 52.6 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum

In 1882 Barney and her family spent the summer at New York's Long Beach Hotel, where Oscar Wilde happened to be speaking on his American lecture tour. Wilde spent the day with Alice and her daughter Natalie on the beach; their conversation changed the course of Alice's life, inspiring her to pursue art seriously despite her husband's disapproval.

Alice Pike Barney
Ceres, c. 1901
Pastel on canvas
18 x 14 7⁄8 in. (45.8 x 37.8 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum

In ancient Roman religion, Ceres was a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships. She was originally the central deity in Rome's so-called plebeian or Aventine Triad, then was paired with her daughter Proserpina in what Romans described as "the Greek rites of Ceres". More on Ceres

Alice Pike Barney
Circe
Pastel on canvas
30 1⁄8 x 24 7⁄8 in. (76.4 x 63.1 cm.)
Smithsonian American Art Museum

When Odysseus and his men landed in Aeaea, his crew later met with Circe and were turned into pigs. Circe's spells however had no effect on Odysseus who earlier was given an herb by Hermes to resist her power. Circe realizing she was powerless over him lifted the spell from the crew and welcomed them in her home. After about a year when Odysseus leaves she warns them of the sirens they will encounter on their journey. Circe and Odysseus also bore a child together named Telegonus who later ruled over the Tyrsenians.

Alice Pike Barney
Medusa. c. 1892
Model: Laura Dreyfus Barney
Pastel on canvas
36 1⁄4 x 28 5⁄8 in. (92.0 x 72.8 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum

In Greek mythology, Medusa, also called Gorgo, was one of the three monstrous Gorgons, generally described as winged human females with living venomous snakes in place of hair. Those who gazed into her eyes would turn to stone. Most sources describe her as the daughter of Phorcys and Ceto, although the author Hyginus makes her the daughter of Gorgon and Ceto. More on Medusa

Alice Pike Barney
Lucifer, c. 1902
 Model; Natalie Clifford Barney
Pastel on canvas
30 x 25 in. (76.3 x 63.5 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Lucifer is the name of various mythological and religious figures associated with the planet Venus. Due to the unique movements and discontinuous appearances of Venus in the sky, mythology surrounding these figures often involved a fall from the heavens to earth or the underworld. Interpretations of a similar term in the Bible led to a Christian tradition of applying the name Lucifer, and its associated stories of a fall from heaven, to Satan, but modern scholarship generally translates the term in the relevant Bible passage as "morning star" or "shining one" rather than as a proper name, "Lucifer". More on Lucifer 

In 1887 she travelled to Paris to be nearer her two daughters while they attended Les Ruches, a French boarding school founded by Marie Souvestre. While there, she studied painting with Carolus-Duran. 

Alice Pike Barney
La Cigale, c. 1900
Pastel on canvas mounted on fiberboard
27 x 18 1⁄8 in. (68.7 x 46.0 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum

La Cigale is a theater near Place Pigalle, in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. 

She returned to Paris in 1896 – bringing her daughter Laura to a French hospital for treatment of leg pain from a childhood injury – and resumed her study with Carolus-Duran as well as taking lessons from the Spanish painter Claudio Castelucho. When James Abbott McNeill Whistler opened the Académie Carmen in 1898, she was one of the first students. Whistler was a formative influence.

In 1899 she began a salon at her rented home on the Avenue Victor Hugo; regular guests included the Symbolist painters Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer, John White Alexander, and Edmond Aman-Jean, and her art began to show a Symbolist influence.

Cover of Quelques Portraits-Sonnets de Femmes

When Natalie wrote a chapbook of French poetry, Quelques Portraits-Sonnets de Femmes (Some Portrait-Sonnets of Women), Barney was pleased to provide illustrations. She did not understand the implications of the book's love poems addressed to women and had no idea that three of the four women who modeled for her were her daughter's lovers. 

Albert, alerted to the book's theme by a newspaper review headlined "Sappho Sings in Washington", rushed to Paris, where he bought and destroyed the publisher's remaining stock and printing plates and insisted that Barney and Natalie return with him to the family's summer home in Bar Harbor, Maine. His temper only worsened when friends forwarded him clippings from the Washington Mirror.

Alice Pike Barney
Lunar, ca. 1921
Pastel
14 x 18 in. (35.5 x 45.7 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Alice Pike Barney
Moon Madness, c. 1928
Pastel on fiberboard
17 7⁄8 x 13 7⁄8 in. (45.4 x 35.1 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Washington, about to publish its first Social Register, was becoming more socially stratified, and Barney's background as the daughter of a whiskey distiller and granddaughter of a Jewish immigrant had made her the subject of vague insinuations in the society pages. The gossip would have no lasting effect on the Barneys' social standing, but Albert considered it a disaster. His drinking increased, as did his blood pressure, and two months later he had a heart attack. His health continued to deteriorate, and he died in 1902.

Alice Pike Barney
Nude
Pastel on paper
25 1⁄2 x 19 1⁄2 in. (64.8 x 49.6 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Alice Pike Barney
In Sunlight, c. ca. 1910
Oil on fiberboard
11 3⁄8 x 8 5⁄8 in. (28.8 x 22.0 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Alice Pike Barney
In Shadow, ca. 1910
Oil on fiberboard
11 3⁄8 x 8 5⁄8 in. (28.8 x 22.0 cm.)
Smithsonian American Art Museum



Barney had solo shows at major galleries including the Corcoran Gallery of Art. In later years, she invented and patented mechanical devices, wrote and performed in several plays and an opera, and worked to promote the arts in Washington, D.C. Many of her paintings are now in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Where Shadows Live: Alice Pike Barney and Her Friends

An exhibit catalog about the Washington home and social circle of of Natalie Barney's mother, the artist Alice Pike Barney. The Alice Pike Barney Studio House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is now the Embassy of Latvia.

In 1902, Barney began construction on the Studio House, an eclectically decorated art center that was open to all. With the support of Congress, she also helped build the National Sylvan Theater near the Washington Monument, the nation’s first federally supported outdoor theater, where she organized the production of some of her own plays. Barney was dedicated to improving the standards of living in D.C. and helped establish Neighborhood House, a social services home that is still in existence. She also actively supported the women’s suffrage movement.

Alice Pike Barney
Mirza Abul Fazl, c. 1903
Pastel on paper
sight 28 x 18 1⁄4 in. (71.1 x 46.4 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Mirza Abul Fazl (1865 - 1956), was a native of East Bengal, now independent Bangladesh, later moved to Allahabad, India. Among the contemporary Muslim scholars Dr Mirza Abul Fazl, learned in Arabic and Sanskrit, was a pioneer who took interest in the study of the chronological order of the Qur`an and invited the attention of Muslim scholars towards its importance. He was the first Muslim to present a translation of the Qur'an into English along with the original Arabic text. More on Mirza Abul Fazl

She converted to the Baháʼí Faith around 1900. More on Alice Pike Barney




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Thursday, January 14, 2021

09 Works, Today, January 13th is Jan van Goyen's day, his story, illustrated #013

Jan van Goyen, (1596–1656)
Detail; The skater, c. 1641
I have no further description, at this time

Jan van Goyen, Goyen also spelled Goijen, in full Jan Josephszoon van Goyen, (born January 13, 1596, Leiden, Netherlands—died April 27, 1656, The Hague) was a Dutch landscape painter. Like many Dutch painters of his time, Jan van Goyen studied art in the town of Haarlem. At age 35, he established a permanent studio at The Hague. Van Goyen's landscape paintings rarely fetched high prices, but he made up for the modest value of individual pieces by increasing his production, painting thinly and quickly with a limited palette of inexpensive pigments. 

Jan van Goyen, (1596–1656)
Castle by a River, c. 1647
Oil on wood
26 x 38 1/4 in. (66 x 97.2 cm)
 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This scene of fishermen casting their net in front of a moated fortress catered to a taste for picturesque and ancient architecture. Working on the smooth surface of an oak panel allowed Van Goyen to achieve a variety of painterly effects and enliven a limited color palette as he evoked crumbling masonry, rippling water, or cottony clouds. Although the artist studied medieval monuments in preparing such scenes, the castle shown here is imaginary, pieced together from both observation and fantasy. More on this work

Jan van Goyen, (1596–1656)
FISHING BOATS MOORED AT AN EMBANKMENT, c. 1640
Oil on panel
14 1/2 by 22 in.; 36.8 by 55.9 cm
Private collection

This peaceful river estuary scene, in which fishermen are busy at work on their moored vessels unloading their catch, is typical of Van Goyen's output from 1638 to circa 1640 when his landscapes are characterised by a dominant silvery-grey tonality, interspersed with local color, here in the sky and embankment. It pre-dates the austerly monochromatic landscapes on the middle to late 1640s, always intensely horizontal in format, in which a yellowy golden brown tone usually predominates. More on this work

Despite his market innovations, he always sought more income, not only through related work as an art dealer and auctioneer but also by speculating in tulips and real estate. Although the latter was usually a safe avenue of investing money, in van Goyen's experience it led to enormous debts. Though he seems to have kept a workshop.

Jan van Goyen, (1596–1656)
Fishing Boats in an Estuary at Dusk, circa 1643
Oil on panel
25.5 × 30.5 cm (10 × 12 in)
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

At dusk, a thunderstorm threatens to break in a cloud-filled sky. On the left, a small sprit-rigged vessel, crammed with fishermen, bobs gently in the water. Her sprit-sail is half lowered as she runs before the wind. This vessel flies the Dutch flag and serves as an introduction to the composition. Next to it, three men pull a heavily laden rowing boat through the water towards her. They are huddled against the stiff breeze with the waves high around them. The sails of other boats billow in the strong breeze. More on this painting

Jan van Goyen, (1596–1656)
Niederländische Uferlandschaft mit Segelschiffen und Fährboot/ Dutch riverside landscape with sailing ships and ferry boats
Oil on panel
45 x 64 cm. 
Private collection

van Goyen chiefly confined himself to the scenery of Holland. Mostly painted in oil on wood panels, his landscapes are largely preoccupied in capturing the muted moods of sky and water. He often represented the reaches of the Rhine, Waal, and Maas rivers and sometimes painted the dunes of Scheveningen or the sea at the mouth of the Rhine and Schelde. He liked to depict the tranquillity of river life and inshore calm, rarely painting seas stirred by more than a slight breeze. 

Jan van Goyen  (1596–1656)
Dune, c. 1629
Oil on oak wood
Height: 29 cm (11.4 in); Width: 51 cm (20 in)
Berlin State Museums

His Dunes (1629) shows a typical day on the lowland reclaimed from the sea, with several peasants stopping to chat. The cloudy sky, dunes, and battered old homes are picturesquely arranged.

Jan van Goyen  (1596–1656)
River Landscape with the Hooglandsekerk of Leiden, c. 1643
Oil on panel
Height: 39 cm (15.3 in); Width: 59.9 cm (23.5 in)
Alte Pinakothek,  Munich, Germany

Van Goyen also excelled in panoramas of Dutch cities, favouring views of Leiden and The Hague.

Jan van Goyen  (1596–1656)
Winter Landscape with Castle Montfoort, c. 1634
Oil on panel
Height: 55.9 cm (22 in); Width: 91.5 cm (36 in)
Private collection

In 1652 and 1654 he was forced to sell his collection of paintings and graphic art, and he subsequently moved to a smaller house. He died in 1656 in The Hague, still unbelievably 18,000 guilders in debt, forcing his widow to sell their remaining furniture and paintings. 

Typically, a Dutch painter of the 17th century (also known as the Dutch Golden Age) will fall into one of four categories, a painter of portraits, landscapes, still-lifes, or genre. Dutch painting was highly specialized and rarely could an artist hope to achieve greatness in more than one area in a lifetime of painting. Jan van Goyen would be classified primarily as a landscape artist with an eye for the genre subjects of everyday life. 

Jan van Goyen  (1596–1656)
An Evening River Landscape with a Ferry, c. 1643
Oil paint, oak
Length: 61 cm (24 in); Height: 41 cm (16.1 in)
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Strasbourg

He painted many of the canals in and around Den Haag as well as the villages surrounding countryside of Delft, Rotterdam, Leiden, and Gouda. Other popular Dutch landscape painters of the sixteenth and seventeenth century were Jacob van Ruisdael, Aelbert Cuyp, Hendrick Avercamp, Ludolf Backhuysen, Meindert Hobbema, Aert van der Neer.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

10 Works, Today, January 12th is Jean Béraud's day, his story, illustrated #012

Jean Beraud, (1849-1936)
Detail; Rond-Point des Champs-Élysées
Oil on panel
14¾ by 22⅛ in, 37.4 by 56.2 cm
Private collection

Jean Béraud (January 12, 1849 – October 4, 1935)
was a French painter renowned for his numerous paintings depicting the life of Paris, and the nightlife of Paris society. Pictures of the Champs Elysees, cafés, Montmartre and the banks of the Seine are precisely detailed illustrations of everyday Parisian life during the "Belle Époque". He also painted religious subjects in a contemporary setting.

Jean Beraud, (1849-1936)
In front of the Theater de Vaudeville in Paris
Oil canvas
58 x 40 cm
Private collection

Jean Béraud  (1849–1935)
Boulevard des Capucines and the Vaudeville theater, c. 1889
Oil on canvas
Height: 35 cm Length: 51 cm
Carnavalet Museum, Paris

The Théâtre du Vaudeville was a theatre in Paris. It opened on 12 January 1792 on rue de Chartres. 

After it burned down in 1838, the Vaudeville temporarily based itself on boulevard de Bonne-Nouvelle before in 1841 setting up in the Salle de la Bourse on the Place de la Bourse in the 2e arrondissement. 

From 1866 to 1868, a new Théâtre du Vaudeville was built on boulevard des Capucines, at the corner of Rue de la Chaussée-d'Antin, in the 9e arrondissement. Although the Vaudeville continued as a commercial boulevard playhouse, it occasionally leased its stage to new experimentalist plays of the Independent Theatre movement. 

In 1927, this building was acquired by Paramount and transformed into the cinema it is today, under the name the Paramount Opéra then. More on The Théâtre du Vaudeville

Béraud was born in Saint Petersburg. His father (also called Jean) was a sculptor and was likely working on the site of St. Isaac's Cathedral at the time of his son's birth. Béraud's mother was one Geneviève Eugénie Jacquin; following the death of Béraud's father, the family moved to Paris. Béraud was in the process of being educated as a lawyer until the occupation of Paris during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870.

Jean Béraud, 1849 - 1935
La Marseillaise (Bastille Day), c. 1880
Oil on canvas
14 3/4 by 22 in., 37.5 by 55.8 cm
Private collection

Exuberantly singing the Marseillaise, a group of workmen, artists, students and shopkeepers parade westward along the flag-draped rue St. Antoine from the Place de la Bastille towards the center of town.  In the background rises the Colonne de Juillet, erected on the former site of the Bastille prison as a memorial to the July Revolution of 1830. 

All of these people parade, while a few people from different milieus are grouped on the sidewalk. At the far right, a well-to-do family has come upon the parade, with mixed reactions. The young father steps forward enthusiastically to salute the marchers, while his wife looks on holding her daughter back from the throng. Over her shoulder, her father regards the boisterous crowd with wariness and even dismay, suggesting the still strong presence of the haute-bourgeoisie. In front of this family are a couple from the country more interested in their own flirtation than the parade. 

First celebrated in 1790, Bastille Day commemorates the inaugural event of the French Revolution; July 14, 1789; the storming of the Bastille people of Paris. Celebrating Bastille Day was suppressed by successive French regimes including by Napoleon, for it symbolized the death of Absolutism and the birth of the Republic. In fact, the parade in 1880 that Béraud has painted here was one of the first celebrations of the anniversary since 1790. 

"La Marseillaise" is the national anthem of France. The song was written in 1792 by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in Strasbourg after the declaration of war by France against Austria, and was originally titled "Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin". More on La Marseillaise

Jean Béraud, 1849 - 1935
On the Way Back from the Funeral, c. 1876
Oil on canvas
66.0 × 53.3 cm
Private collection

Béraud became a student of Léon Bonnat, and exhibited his paintings at the Salon for the first time in 1872. However, he did not gain recognition until 1876, with his On the Way Back from the Funeral. He exhibited with the Society of French Watercolorists at the 1889 World's Fair in Paris.

Jean Béraud  (1849–1935)
Le Boulevard St. Denis, Paris, before 1935
Oil and canvas
Height: 37 cm (14.5 in); Width: 55 cm (21.6 in)
Private collection

Rue Saint-Denis is one of the oldest streets in Paris. Its route was first laid out in the 1st century by the Romans, and then extended to the north in the Middle Ages. From the Middle Ages to the present day, the street has been notorious as a place of prostitution. Its name derives from it being the historic route to Saint-Denis. More on Rue Saint-Denis 

He painted many scenes of Parisian daily life during the Belle Époque in a style that stands somewhere between the academic art of the Salon and that of the Impressionists. He received the Légion d'honneur in 1894.

Jean Béraud  (1849–1935)
The Funeral of Victor Hugo at the Arc de Triomphe, c. 1885
Oil on panel
31.5 x 35.0 cm
Hôtel Carnavalet, Paris, France

Béraud's paintings often included truth-based humour and mockery of late 19th-century Parisian life, along with frequent appearances of biblical characters in then contemporary situations. 

Jean Béraud, (French, 1849-1935)
The Magdalen at the House of the Pharisees, c. 1891
Oil on canvas
Height: 104.0 cm; Width: 131.0 cm
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Represented: Christ; Duc-Quercy Antoine (1856-1934); Saint Mary Magdalene; Pougy Liane de, née Anne-Marie Chassaigne, wife of Henri Pourpre then of Prince Georges Ghika (1869-1950); Simon the Pharisee; Renan Ernest (1823-1892); Taine Hippolyte (1828-1893); Weiss Jean-Jacques (1827-1891); Lemoinne John (1815-1892); Taigny Edmond; Chevreul Eugène (1786-1889); Dumas Alexandre fils (1824-1895); Proust Adrien Dr (1834-1903); Béraud Jean (1848-1935).

Paintings such as Mary Magdalene in the House of the Pharisees aroused controversy when exhibited, because of these themes.

Jean Béraud, (French, 1849-1935)
Valmy and Léa, c. 1885-1895
Brush and brown wash, heightened with white gouache, over graphite
Beige wove paper, laid down on cardboard
36 x 51.7 cm (14 3/16 x 20 3/8 in.)

A forerunner to the cabaret, the café-concert was an irresistible subject for artists working in fin-de-siècle Paris. Here, the performers are illuminated by the unnatural glow of gas footlights, while the musicians in the orchestra, seen mostly from behind, are tucked in the shadowy foreground. The neck of the double base extends above the crowd, drawing the viewer’s eye to the climactic can-can.

Béraud was one of several artists at the end of the 19th century who favored the café-concert as a subject. In the outdoor café-concerts of Paris, a broad urban audience could enjoy singing and stage routines along with food and drink. In this scene, Valmy thrusts up his arm in a gesture to the audience, while his partner, Lea, kicks her leg up in the cancan, an exuberant French dance. For this nighttime scene, Béraud made effective use of washes and white gouache heightening in depicting the glowing orbs of artificial light and the hidden stage lights illuminating the performers from below. More on this work

Jean Béraud, 1849 - 1935
À la salle Graffard/ At the Graffard room, c. 1884
Oil on canvas
89 x 117 cm; 35 x 46 in
Private collection

Established in 1856 on the site of a former ballroom at the Armes de France , the Graffard ball was located on Boulevard Ménilmontant, in the heart of popular Paris. It was occasionally used as a room for political meetings .

With At the Graffard room, Béraud painted a scene evoking political instability and unrest in France in the early 1880s.

The central character of the painting, the speaker standing eloquently supports his peroration which unleashes the enthusiasm of the audience, drowned in the thick smoke of the pipes. 

At the Graffard room shows a gathering of men, commoners, workers and people of modest means, whose costume contrasts with that of journalists in fur coats and top hats. Women are almost absent. Béraud, great lover of the beauty, the grace and the natural elegance of the woman, must have little appreciated those which left their role and intervened in the activities reserved at the time to the men. More on At the Graffard

Towards the end of the 19th century, Béraud dedicated less time to his own painting but worked on numerous exhibition committees, including the Salon de la Société Nationale. Béraud never married and had no children. He died in Paris on October 4, 1935, and is buried in Montparnasse Cemetery beside his mother. More on ean Béraud

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

12 Works, Today, January 11th is Domenico Ghirlandaio's day, his story, illustrated #011

Domenico Ghirlandaio 1449 – 1494
Detail; Massacre of the Innocents, c. 1486-90
Fresco
Width 450 cm
Cappella Tornabuoni, Santa Maria Novella, Florence

Domenico Ghirlandaio (2 June 1448 – 11 January 1494),
was the eldest of eight children. He 
was at first apprenticed to his father, who was a goldsmith. Domenico made portraits of the passers-by and visitors to his father's shop. He was eventually apprenticed in Florence to Andrea del Verrocchio. He maintained a close association with other Florentine painters including Botticelli and with the Umbrian painter Perugino.

Domenico Ghirlandaio, (1448–1494)
Ghirlandaio, Announcement of Death to St Fina
Fresco
Chapel of Santa Fina, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy

St. Gregory the Great, supported by red-winged cherubim, appearing to Santa Fina to announce her death. Saint Fina is praying while lying on a wooden plank. According to the legend, when she died the palette became covered with violets, which are typical March flowers at San Gimignano. A rat under the bench in the background is a reference to Saint Fina's martyrdom (she was eaten alive by rats and worms). The pomegranate is a symbol of royalty, fertility, resurrection and unity of the Church; the apple is a symbol of original sin; the wine refers to the Eucharist sacrament. More on this work

Ghirlandaio excelled in the painting of frescos and it is for his fresco cycles that he is best known. An early commission came to him in the 1470s to decorate the Chapel of Santa Fina in the Collegiate Church of that city. The frescos depict two miraculous events associated with the death of Saint Fina.

Domenico Ghirlandaio  (1448–1494)
Saint Jerome in His Study, c. 1480
Fresco
Height: 184 cm (72.4 in); Width: 119 cm (46.8 in)
Ognissanti Church, Florence

Saint Jerome is portrayed with his head resting on one hand, while writing with the other. On the writing desk is the date (MCCCCLXXX), as well as a sealed letter, glasses, two inkwells, scissors and a candle holder. The desk is covered by an oriental carpet, a luxurious object often depicted by Ghirlandaio. The objects on the shelves include a cardinal hat, two pharmacist vases, a cylindrical case, a necklace, a purse, some fruit, two transparent glass bottles and an hourglass.

The light comes from the upper right corner, producing a well defined shadow of the saint on the drapery behind him; but also from the foreground, illuminating the objects on the desk.  More on this work

In 1480, Ghirlandaio painted St. Jerome in His Study as a companion piece to Botticelli's Saint Augustine in His Study in the Church of Ognissanti, Florence. 

Domenico Ghirlandaio  (1448–1494)
The Last Supper, c. 1480
Fresco
Height: 400 cm (13.1 ft); Width: 880 cm (28.8 ft)
Ognissanti Church , Florence

The apostles sit in a shallow U-shaped setting, with only the two flanking apostles sitting at a 90 degree angle with the others. John the Apostle at Christ's left has fallen to sleep. Judas sits apart on the near side of the table, as is common in early depictions of the Last Supper in Christian art. However, in this depiction, the upper register is not interior, but opens up into the tree-line orchard with birds. The halos of the apostles have narrowed into thin circles; and the apostles cast shadows. St Peter and another apostle appear to challenge Judas. Judas the traitor is the only one to be separated from the others: he is seated in front of the table. More on this work

Domenico Ghirlandaio  (1448–1494)
Detail; The Last Supper, c. 1480
Fresco
Height: 400 cm (13.1 ft); Width: 880 cm (28.8 ft)
Ognissanti Church , Florence

The apostles react in a variety of ways to Christ's words that He will be betrayed. While the disciple on the right appears to be asking: "It is me, Lord, who will betray you?"  More on this work

Domenico Ghirlandaio  (1448–1494)
Detail; The Last Supper, c. 1480
Fresco
Height: 400 cm (13.1 ft); Width: 880 cm (28.8 ft)
Ognissanti Church , Florence

He also painted a life-sized Last Supper in its refectory. From 1481 to 1485, he was employed on frescoes at the Palazzo Vecchio, painting among other works an Apotheosis of St. Zenobius, striking in its perspective and compositional skill.

Domenico Ghirlandaio, (1448–1494)
The Vocation of the Apostles, c. 1481
Fresco
Height: 349 cm (11.4 ft); Width: 570 cm (18.7 ft) 
Sistine Chapel 

The painting depicts Christ calling Peter and Andrew from their nets, and the Resurrection of Christ, the greater part of which is now destroyed..." Later, the Resurrection vanished completely in the destruction of the wall.

On the left are scenes from the life of Moses, and on the right scenes from the life of Christ. On the right are members of the most influential Florentine families who maintained residences in Rome. In the background on the right is Christ calling James and John, who are sitting in a boat mending their nets with their father, Zebedee... More on this work

In 1481, Ghirlandaio was summoned to Rome by Pope Sixtus IV as one of a team of Florentine and Umbrian painters who he commissioned to create a series of frescos depicting popes and scenes from the Old and New Testaments on the walls of the Sistine Chapel. Ghirlandaio painted the Vocation of the Apostles. He also painted the now lost Resurrection of Christ. The Crossing of the Red Sea has also been attributed to him. Ghirlandaio is known to have created other works in Rome.

Hugo van der Goes, (circa 1440 –1482)
Portinari Altarpiece, c. 1476-1478
Mary Magdalene,  Child Jesus, Virgin Mary
Oil on wood
253 × 141 cm (99.6 × 55.5 in)
Uffizi, Florence

In 1483, there arrived in Florence a masterpiece of the Flemish painter Hugo van der Goes. Now known as the Portinari Altarpiece, it was an Adoration of the Shepherds, commissioned by Tommaso Portinari, an employee of the Medici Bank. The painting was in oil paint, not the tempera employed in Florence, and demonstrated the flexibility of that medium in the painting of textures and intensity of light and shade. The aspect of the painting that had a profound effect on Ghirlandaio was the naturalism with which the shepherds were depicted.

Hugo van der Goes (c. 1430/1440 – 1482) was one of the most significant and original Flemish painters of the late 15th century. Van der Goes was an important painter of altarpieces as well as portraits. He introduced important innovations in painting through his monumental style, use of a specific colour range and individualistic manner of portraiture. From 1483 onwards, the presence of his masterpiece, the Portinari Triptych, in Florence played a role in the development of realism and the use of colour in Italian Renaissance art

In 1483, there arrived in Florence a masterpiece of the Flemish painter Hugo van der Goes. Now known as the Portinari Altarpiece. The painting was in oil paint, not the tempera employed in Florence, and demonstrated the flexibility of that medium. The aspect of the painting that had a profound effect on Ghirlandaio was the naturalism with which the shepherds were depicted. More on Hugo van der Goes

Between 1482 and 1485, Ghirlandaio painted a fresco cycle in the Sassetti Chapel of Santa Trinita. The cycle was of six scenes from the life of Saint Francis of Assisi. The first of these paintings contains portraits of Lorenzo de' Medici, Sassetti and Lorenzo's children. The Resuscitation shows the painter's own likeness.

Domenico Ghirlandaio  (1448–1494)
Confirmation of the Franciscan Rule, between 1483 and 1485
Fresco
Basilica of the Holy Trinity, Florence

Domenico Ghirlandaio  (1448–1494)
Sassetti Chapel, from 1483 until 1486
Basilica of the Holy Trinity,  Florence

Ghirlandaio painted the altarpiece of the Sassetti chapel, an Adoration of the Shepherds, in 1485. It is in this painting that he particularly shows his indebtedness to the Portinari Altarpiece. 

Domenico Ghirlandaio
The Adoration of the Shepherds, c. 1483-85
167 x 167 cm
Santa Trinità, Firenze

The shepherds, among whom is a portrait of the artist himself, are portrayed with a realism that was an advance in Florentine painting at that time.

Domenico Ghirlandaio
Detail; The Adoration of the Shepherds, c. 1483-85
Domenico Ghirlandaio
167 x 167 cm
Santa Trinità, Firenze

Immediately after the commission Ghirlandaio was asked to renew the frescoes in the choir of the Santa Maria Novella, which formed the chapel of the Ricci family. 

Domenico Ghirlandaio  (1448–1494)
An Old Man and his Grandson, circa 1490
Tempera on poplar wood
Height: 62.7 cm (24.6 in); Width: 46.3 cm (18.2 in)
Louvre Museum

Although mainly known for his fresco cycles Ghirlandaio painted a number of altarpieces. Perhaps his best known is the Portrait of an Old Man and his Grandson, remarkable for both the tenderness of expression and the realism with which the disfigured nose of the old man is depicted.

Domenico Ghirlandaio  (1448–1494)
The Annunciation, c. 1486 and 1490
Fresco
Tornabuoni Chapel, Florence, Italy

Ghirlandaio also painted several scenes of Classical subjects with nude figures, including a Vulcan and his Assistants forging Thunderbolts, for Lorenzo II de' Medici, but which no longer exists. He also produced designs for a number of mosaics including the Annunciation, on a portal of the Florence Cathedral.

Ghirlandaio died in 1494 of "pestilential fever" and was buried in Santa Maria Novella. More on Domenico Ghirlandaio

18 Works, Today, January 14th is Alice Pike Barney's day, her story, illustrated #014

Alice Pike Barney Detail; Dreamland, ca. 1906 Pastel on paper 22 x 18 1⁄2 in. (55.9 x 47.0 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Alice Pike B...