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Recently, while working at Yale with Professor Jules Prowns’ of formal analysis in “The Family in Art and Material Culture”, I realized that l had found an appropriate method for talking with the students about the art work. The question and answer method which Professor Prown uses helped me to structure some objectives for the unit. The use of slides will act as a stimulus for the students. It will generate the proper clues from them about the art and lead them to conclusions. Another objective which I would like the class to be aware of is how throughout history women were confronted with struggle for self expression and social independence. Gradually, they broke down barriers so that by the twentieth century there is less of a line drawn between male or female artists and their art. I expect the students to develop a greater sense of confidence and willingness to form opinions when talking about the works of art. Learning self-confidence is the most valuable objective. Using the question and answer method when talking about the art will help develop this confidence. In the final part of the unit we will paint a mural which will sum up what we have learned about women artists.
Having set objectives, I can now set strategies to achieve our goals. Our study will include ten women artists: one from the sixteenth century, two from the seventeenth century, one from the eighteenth century, two from the nineteenth century, and four from the twentieth century. For each woman artist there will be one slide of her art and an abbreviated biography with a picture of her art beside it. There will be information about her background, her period, her culture and her theme.
Let me introduce the artists included in the unit. Here they are grouped together in pairs according to theme. They have identifying numbers relating to their slide and their biographies in the back of the unit.
*Biographies of the artists will be placed at the end of this unit and can be utilized as an appendix from which teachers using the unit can get information.
Theme I—Still Life
slide 1. Clara Peeters (1591-1657)
____Still life with Flowers, Goblets and Shells
slide 2. Audrey Flack (1931- )
Theme II—Figure (Political, Religious and Social Subjects)
slide 3. Sofonisba Anguissola (1532-1625)
slide 4. Rosalba Carriera (1675-1752)
____Portrait of Louis XV
slide 5. Marisol (1930- )
slide 6. Harriet Hosmer (1830-1908)
____Zenobia in Chains
slide 11. Artemesia Gentileschi (1593-1652)
____Judith decapitating Holofernes
slide 12. Angelica Kauffman (1741-1807)
________The Artist Hesitating Between the Arts of Music and Painting
slide 13. Kathe Kollwitz (1867-1945)
____Vienna Is Dying, Save Its Children!
slide 14. Mary Cassatt 1844-1926)
slide 7. Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986)
____Red Hills and Bones
slide 8. Rochelle Toner (1940- )
Theme IV Genre
Slide 9. Lilly Martin Spencer (1822-1902)
____The war Spirit at Home
slide 10. Judith Leyster (1609-1660)
The purpose for this section is to put formal analysis techniques into action. It will aim at focusing on issues which the themes suggest. There will be a total of five analyses based around five pairs of artists. The following is an excerpt from Professor Jules Prown’s article “Style as Evidence” about the importance of objects as cultural data. It gave me insight into the value of formal analysis for purposes of comparing objects in both still lifes.
The argument of this essay is that style is inescapably culturally expressive, that the analysis of style can be useful for other then purely art historical studies.... Where function and form are partners, as in architectural and the decorative arts, it is easier to perceive form if the function is not too complex.1
The lesson format will be as follows:
Lesson 1: Formal analysis for slides 1 and 2.
Lesson 2: Studio art for lesson 1.
Lesson 3: Formal analysis for slides 3 and 4.
Lesson 4: Studio art for lesson 3.
Lesson 5: Formal analysis for slides 5 and 6.
Lesson 6: Studio art for lesson 5.
Lesson 7: Formal analysis for slides 7 and 8.
Lesson 8: Studio art for lesson 7.
Lesson 9: Formal analysis for slides 9 and 10.
Lesson 10: Studio art for lesson 9.
Lessons 11-15: Creating the mural.
Lesson 1: Formal analysis for still life
slide 1: Clara Peters (1594-1657) Still Life with Flowers, Goblets and Shells
slide 2: Audry Flack (1931- ) Leonardo’s Lady
Aim Comparing two still life paintings, slide 1 a seventeenth century artist and slide 2 a twentieth century artist.
Objective To find out what objects are common in both still life paintings. How do they inform us differently about the artists?
Procedure This is a formal analysis of slide 1 and 2. We will compare the slides for the objects that they have in common and try to answer our objective. The first set of questions is descriptive. The second set asks the student to look for meaning within the painting. The third set of questions is conclusion by deduction.
E. Second set of questions for slide 2:
A. First set of questions for slice 1: 1. Describe slide 1. What objects do we see? 2. What materials are they made up of? e.g.- Goblets made of pewter, coins made of copper. 3. Describe the arrangements of these objects. a. How many heights of objects do we have? b. What objets are closest to one another? Farthest apart? 4. What colors are these objects? a. Are they bright or dull? b. Where is the brightest part of the painting? 5. What kind of space are these objects in? a. Is the table cluttered or do the objects have their own space?
- B. Second set of questions for slide 1:
- ____1. What do these objects have in common?
- ____2. Do the shells belong on a dinner table?
- ____3. Do you see any, other objects that relates to the sea? (such as the figurines on top of the goblets)
- ____4. How does the figurine of Neptune holding a pitchfork relate to the figurine of Venus. (They are directly diagonal and they face one another.)
- ____5. Does the artist paint her face in the goblet of Venus or Neptune?
- ____6. How many times did the artist paint her face in the goblet?
- C. Third set of questions for slide 1:
- ____1. Is Peeters sitting at the table painting the goblet?
- ____2. Is Peeters dining at the table with someone for her reflection to occur?
- ____3. Why didn’t she paint the reflection of the other person as well?
- ____4. What does the relationship between the male figurine Neptune and the female figurine Venus have to do with the painting?
- ____5. Is there a romantic theme in this painting?
- ____6. Does the painting suggest the artist is a woman?
- D. First set of questions for slide 2:
- ____1. Describe slide 2.
- ____2. Name the objects in slide 2.
- ____3. What materials are they made of?
- ____4. Are they objects from the present or the past?
- ____5. Describe the objects which are similar to the Peeters painting, such as a rose, a wine glass, a Cupid figurine. Since their subject is femininity we can say both paintings have something in common.
- ____6. What objects are closest to us? What objects are furthest away?
- ____7. How is the space different in the background and the foreground?
The objects which both slides have in common are treated differently. For example, in the Flack painting, the rose is a single rose. While in the Peeters painting it is a vase of flowers. In the Flack painting, there is one wine glass and in the Peeters painting there are two pewter goblets. In the Flack painting, the Cupid figurine applies to a romantic theme just as Neptune and Venus in the Peeters painting. Even though both artists are saying something about femininity, who is the better artist? Who is the quieter artist?
- ____1. Which of the objects we have mentioned are from the past? Which are from the present?
- ____2. Do the objects from the past use a different space in the painting?
- F. Comparing slide 1 and slide 2:
Conclusion The Peeters painting only reflects an earlier period with its dated objects. The Flack painting mixes new and old objects. It is also saying something about Leonardo’s Lady and compares that to the modern lady with the bold objects that make up the foreground.
The Peeters goblet has a reflection of the artist’s face which advertises her presence. The colors are dark, the images are small and the mood is austere.
Audrey Flack on the other hand uses bold colors and splashy images so we can read her message as if it were an advertisement in a magazine.
Can we say something about the identity or personality of each artist? Even though they both paint feminine subjects, one is a lot bolder and noisier? Whom? After looking at the Peeters painting, can you say something about how women artists saw themselves differently at an earlier time?
Lesson 2: Studio art for lesson 1
Objective To draw two symbols for the still life slides 1 and 2.
Materials Drawing paper and pencil, slides of two paintings by the two artists, slide projector, still life object, xeroxed biographies of the two artists.
Lesson 3: Formal analysis for the figure
- 1. Teacher brings in a still life objet which looks similar to object in the paintings.
- 2. Teacher places the object in the center of the class for all to see.
- 3. Teacher asks class to draw object.
- 4. Teacher asks class to write ten words describing the object the just drew.
- 5. Teacher asks class to read their list of words and show their picture.
- 6. Teacher shows slide of first woman artist and asks the following questions.
- a. How many of the words that you have used to describe the object can be applied to the object in this painting?
- ____b. In what kind of environment would you find this kind of object?
- ____c. In what kind of culture would you find this kind of object?
- ____d. In what country would you find this object?
- ____e. How did this artist use the artist in the painting in a unique way?
- ____f. How did the object add to a greater understanding of the painting?
- 7. Teacher shows slide of the second woman artist and asks the same questions of the first slide.
slide 3: Sofonisba Anguissola (1532-1635) Self Portrait
slide 4: Rosalba Carriera (1675-1752) Louis XV as a Child
Aim Comparing two portraits which deal with the subject of nobility.
Objectives To compare the political portrait of Louis XV as a child with a self-portrait of Sofonisba Anguissola.
Lesson 4: Studio art for lesson 3
- A. First set of questions for slide 3:
- ____1. Describe slide 3 in ten words.
- ____2. How many words have you written that are positive and flattering?
- ____3. What figure in the painting is mysterious?
- ____4. Can you describe the other figure in the painting?
- ____5. Describe how both figures are dressed.
- ____6. Where are they located in relation to one another?
- ____7. What colors are used?
- B. Second set of questions for slide 3:
- ____1 . From what social class is the younger woman? The older woman?
- C. First set of questions for slide 4:
- ____1. Describe slide 4 in ten words.
- ____2. How many positive words did you use?
- ____3. What is his expression?
- ____4. Does this look like a typical portrait of a ten year-old boy?
- ____5. If he looks feminine, what makes him look that way?
- ____6. Was it stylish for boys to dress femininely at that time?
- D. Compare slide 3 and slide 4.
- ____1. Which portrait did you describe as stylish?
- ____2. Which portrait was more mysterious?
- ____3. Why does the portrait of Louis XV appear noble?
- ____4. Would a flattering portrait of the young king help his popularity?
- E. Conclusions:
- ____1. What conclusions about beauty have we come to?
- ____2. Is it true that the more noble person is more beautiful?
- ____3. Does that apply in the paintings?
- 4. Even though the artist described in her diary that the young king was spoiled, why did she paint him to such perfection?
Objective to compare two portraits, slides 3 and 4.
Materials Drawing paper and pencils, slides of two pieces of art, slide projector, two xeroxed biographies.
Lesson 5: Formal analysis for the figure
- 1. Questions to ask students.
- ____a. Describe what you see in slide 3?
- ____b. Pick ten words to describe the portrait. Write them down.
- ____c. What else does the artist include in the painting besides the portrait?
- ____d. Do these details tell us anything about the sitter?
- ____e. Do the colors in the painting tell us about the nature of the sitter?
- 2. Draw a silhouette of the portrait.
- 3. Describe what you see in slide two?
- ____a. Ask the same questions as in part 1. Draw a silhouette as in part 2.
- 4. Compare slide 3 with slide 4.
- ____a. How do the words of each paintings differ?
- ____b. How do your silhouettes of both slides give us a message about the portraits?
- 5. Hang up the students work and ask them which silhouettes best describe the portrait?
Slide 5: Marisol (1930- ) Self Portrait
Slide 6: Harriet Hosmer (1830-1908) Zenobia in Chains (sculpture)
Aim To compare two Women sculptors: a social subject Vs. a political subject.
Objective To compare the social attitudes of two women sculptors: one working in the late nineteenth century, the other in the twentieth century.
- A. First set of questions for slide 5:
- ____1. Describe slide 5 in ten words.
- ____2. How would you describe Marisol’s “Self Portrait”?
- ____3. What material is the portrait made up of?
- ____4. What is a quality of wood?
- ____5. How would you describe the faces next to her face?
- ____6. How does Marisol distinguish her face from the others?
- B. Second set of question for slide 5:
- ____1. If her’s is the only beautiful face, what is she saying about other women?
- ____2. What is she saying about all woman? About herself?
- C. First set of questions for slide 6:
- ____1. Describe slide 6 in ten words.
- ____2. What words have you used that might apply to the figure of Zenobia?
- ____3. What material is the sculpture made up of?
- ____4. What is a quality marble?
- ____5. Does her stature appear weak or strong? Why?
- D. Second set of questions for slide 6:
- ____1. What does her dress and crown suggest? What do the chains tell us? Read the bibliography.
- ____2. If the chains represent captivity, do you think that Hosmer is saying something about womankind in general?
- E. Compare slides 5 and 6.
- ____1. Do you think that there is any similarity between the twentieth century sculpture and the nineteenth century sculpture?
- ____2. What materials are they made of?
- ____3. What qualities do these materials have? Which one is harder?
- ____4. Since the materials have different qualities do they suggest the different qualities about women?
- ____5. Does the marble suggest a durability about womankind?
- ____6. Does the wood have a changeability which is suggested by Marisol?
- F. Third set of questions:
- ____1. Whose view of woman kind is more optimistic? Which is more humorous?
- ____2. Since Hosmer worked in the Victorian period when women had few choices, what could Zenobia be telling us?
Conclusions Are both sculptures about women in bondage?
Even though the periods are different and the materials are different, what did both women have to say about choices and freedom?
Since Marisol is working in the twentieth century, what could she be
saying about her choices compared to the others?
Lesson 6: Studio art for lesson 5
Objective Comparing two pieces of sculpture dealing with social issues.
Materials Drawing paper and pencils, slides of two pieces of art, a slide projector and two xeroxed biographies.
Lesson 7: Formal analysis for nature and landscape
- A. Questions asked about slide 5:
- ____1. How many figures are in the sculpture?
- ____2. Choose ten words to describe the sculpture.
- ____3. Describe any figures in the sculpture.
- ____4. How do they relate to one another?
- ____5. How does the artist make this clear?
- B. Draw a symbol to represent the painting.
- ____1. Ask students to draw a symbol for the sculpture.
- C. Questions to ask about slide 6:
- ____1. Draw a symbol which signifies the sculpture.
- D. Compare slide 5 and slide 6.
- E. Hang up the student work and ask them what symbols best signify each sculpture.
slide 7: Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) Red Hills and Bones
slide 8: Rochelle Toner(1930-) La Noce
Aim Comparing a painting and a sculpture drawn from nature.
Objective To recognize similar forms from nature and in a painting and in a sculpture.
To understand that forms and color can suggest an attitude about life.
- A. First set of questions for slide 7:
- ____1. Describe slide 7 in ten words.
- ____2. Which words describe the landscape, textures and colors of country?
- ____3. What is the color and texture of this bone?
- ____4. What is the brightest part of this painting?
- ____5. What is the relationship of the bone to the mountains behind?
- B. Second set of questions for slide 7:
- ____1. What do the bones symbolize in the painting?
- ____2. What do the colors of the desert suggest?
- ____3. What do the colors of the bones suggest?
- ____4. What other relationships could you find between the bare bones and the bare mountains?
- C. First set of questions for slide 8:
- ____1. Describe slide 8 in ten words.
- ____2. What kind of shapes are there in the Toner sculpture?
- ____3. What forms are similar to the ones in the O’Keeffe painting?
- ____4. What do these shapes suggest, the waInut football shape and the thistle-like shape?
- D. Compare slides 7 and 8.
- ____1. What are the differences between the painting and the sculpture?
- ____2. What are the similarities we see?
Lesson 8: Studio art for lesson 7
- 1. What are the differences between the relationship of the two forms in the sculpture and the bones and hills in the painting?
- 2. Does the sculpture have a different message than the painting?
For this class, the teacher can bring in an object resembling a bone or a walnut. They can talk about its form and texture as in lesson 2. They can write down ten words describing the object, and then they can draw the object.
Lesson 9: Formal analysis for genre scene
slide 9: Lilly Martin Spencer (1822-1902) The War Spirit at Home
slide 10: Judith Leyster (1609-1660) The Proposition
Aim Comparing a seventeenth century genre scene with a nineteenth century genre scene.
Objective To see two different social roles played by women in a domestic scene.
Both are domestic scenes telling a story.
- A. First set of questions for slide 9:
- 1. Describe slide 9 in ten words.
- 2. How many figures are in the painting?
- 3. Describe what the figures are doing?
- 4. Describe what each group is doing?
- 5. Describe how the figures are dressed?
- 6. Describe the colors in the painting?
- 7. Where is the brightest part of the painting?
- B. Second set of questions for slide 9:
- 1. What does all this ceremony suggest?
- 2. Is it a happy or sad mood?
- 3. How does the mother reading the newspaper add to the story line?
- 4. Does the family have a father? Where is he?
- 5. Does everything seem in good order?
- 6. What does this say about a household run by women when wartime occurs.
- C. First set of questions of slide 10:
- 1. Describe slide 10.
- 2. How many figures are in the painting?
- 3. What are the figures doing?
- 4. What are the ways the artist creates a highlight around the figures?
- 5. Where is the brightest part of the painting?
- 6. What helps us to see their faces?
- D. Second set of questions for slide 10:
- 1. Since the genre scene tells a story, does this painting tell us what is happening?
- 2. Can we tell the relationship between the two figures?
- 3. Does she like him, Why/why not?
- 4. Is he interrupting her work?
- E. Compare slide 9 and 10.
In slide 9, the woman is content to be in the role she is. In slide 10, she is not.
Lesson 10: Studio art for lesson 9.
For this lesson the teacher will ask the class to make a drawing which symbolizes the relationship between the figures in each slide.
Lesson 11: Planning the Mural.
- 1. The students will have a portfolio which will be comprised of all their sketches for the slides.
- 2. They have already talked about their sketches and have hung them up for appraisal. By now, they know which students have made the most successful drawings. Those students can work on the layout for the mural.
- 3. All ten women artists will be represented in the mural.
- 4. A group will be selected to paint the gesso on the wall.
- 5. The object is to get as many students into the act as possible. Different chores require different abilities. Talent is not the only virtue. Other abilities are leadership, physical strength and orderliness. Hopefully the students can be organized, each having their own responsibilities. The following are some of the lessons for this part of the unit.
Objective Choosing the students for laying out the mural.
Materials Drawing paper and pencils, slides and sketches already made in previous classes, scissors and glue.
- A. Questions to ask students
- 1. Pick a partner to work with and a pair of artists to represent.
- 2. What subjects do your artists paint?
- 3. How did you symbolize the artist? Draw your symbol for the artist.
- 4. The eight best drawings depicting or signifying the artists will be chosen for the mural. Those students can work on the mural with a partner.
- 1. To layout a plan for a mural the size 132” x 132”.
- 2. To paint the mural.
Materials Gesso (half gallon), acrylic paints (1 pint each), secondary colors, primary colors, black white ochre, Brushes: 1” (4 needed), 2” (3 needed), 4” (2 needed), 1/4” (2 needed), 1/2” (2 needed), coffee cans, plastic to cover floor in front of wall, paper towels, saran wrap, baby food jars, newspaper, masking tape and low ladder.
- A. The students will layout the design on the wall with yellow chalk.
- B. Painting the mural.
- ____1. Each of the students chosen will have to paint part of the layout. Their partners will help them.
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CLARA PEETERS. Still Life with a Vase of Flowers, Goblets, and Shells. 1612. Oil on panel. 23
Clara Peeters (1594-1657)
Clara Peeters was born in Antwerp. She was a still life painter. She often used flowers in her work, done in the Flemish style. She painted breakfast and banquet pieces with a lot of detail. Her first paintings were done when she was fourteen years old and by the time she was seventeen she created many still lifes which are now considered masterpieces. Her painting “Still Life With Flowers, Goblets and Shells” is rather austere. It is considered technically brilliant. The artist has even included her own image reflected seven times in the surface of the goblet on the right “The use of the self portrait was used as a form of advertisement of that period.” Little is known about her personal life except that her family decided to encourage her artistic talents.
Audrey Flack. Leonardo’s Lady. 1974.
Audrey Flack (1931- )
Audrey Flack was born in New York City. She went to Music and Art, Cooper Union and Yale Graduate School. She is a prominent photo realist and she tries to imitate the photograph and make the surface of things look real. Her subjects are still lifes yet she doesn’t combine objects that are often found together. “Leonard’s Lady” is an eight foot square canvas. It combines many feminine object such as a rose, a goblet, a bottle of nail polish and little Cupid reflected in a mirror. Her objects are arranged in an unorthodox space. The high view of her still life flattens the space yet brings the objects in her painting close. She understands the power of a close up vision. Her colors are harsh, dominated by primaries such as red, blue and yellow.
Sofonisba Anguissola. Self-Portrait. 1561
Sofonisba Anguissola (1532-1625)
In the history of art, Sofonisba Anguissola is an important figure not only for her personal achievements but also because she provided a role model for other Italian women aspiring to be artists. She was born into a noble family and was raised into an exceptional environment that allowed her to develop her creative talents. When she was twenty nine she was the court painter of King Philip of Spain. At the time she painted “Self Portrait” (1561). In it she is accompanied by an old woman who was her chaperone. She shows herself playing a musical instrument which was a mark of culture and noble beartng. Her work has been confused with great artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Titlan. The painting is in dark colors and is greatly highlighted in the face and hands.
ROSALBA CARRIERA. Louis XV as a Boy. 1720. Pastel on paper. 19 x 14”. 65.2655, Forsyth Wickes Collection. Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Rosalba Carriera (1675-1752)
Rosalba Carriera was born in Venice. She learned the art of lace making from her mother. She did miniature paintings which brought her success. Later, she had international recognition as a pastel portraitist. At the invitation of a Parisian banker, she arrived in Paris in 1720. It was a time when women had increasing popularity as Salon Socialites. One of her first portraits was of the young French king, Louis XV who was ten years old. It was a great pastel portrait and it had an almost oil paint-like treatment of the face and a loose treatment of the jacket. Despite the flattering portrait of the young monarch, she wrote in her diary after one sitting, “His gun fell over, his parrot died, and his little dog fell ill.” As a portrait artist, Carriera’s talents were appreciated by an international clientele. Europe’s aristocracy demanded portraits by her hand.
Marisol. Self-Portrait. 1961Đ62
Marisol (1930- )
Marisol Escobar was born in Paris of Venezuelan parents. Because of World War II, the family moved to Los Angeles, California. At the age of 16, Marisol felt she wanted to become a painter and studied at the Jepson School in Los Angeles followed by the Beaux Artes in Paris. She, like many others, gravitated towards the Art Students’ League in New York City where she studied with Hans Hoffman. It was here that Marisol found her true calling in sculpture.
As part of the Pop art culture of the 60s, Marisol found herself creating humorous depictions of well-known people as a means of ridiculing the notion of celebrity and of reasserting the uniqueness of the work of art. Her pieces are impeccably crafted in a manner that makes them especially accessible to the viewer.
HARRIET HOSMER. Zenobia in Chains. 1859. Marble. H.: 49”. Courtesy Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford.
Harriet Hosmer (1830-1908)
Harriet Hosmer is an American sculptor who was trained in St. Louis Medical College in Anatomy. Her images of women are famous neoclassical creations. She conceived her sculptures from the ideal images of heroic women in Greek and Roman history. Her sculpture called, “Zenobia in Chains” of 1859, is from a conception of this legendary figure who was Queen of Palmyra and who marched in chains on the streets of Rome after her defeat. Hosmer’s conception of Zenobia was developed as a role model of courage and wisdom for contemporary women challenging prevailing Victorian ideals of femininity.
Figure 60. GEORGIA O’KEEFE. Red Hills and Bones. 1941. Oil on canvas. 30 x 40”. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection.
Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986)
Georgia O’Keeffe was one of the first abstract woman artists. Her training began at the Art Institute of Chicago and at the Art Students League in New York. O’Keeffe was original in her ability to purify shapes and colors. Her paintings of flowers are famous. They are presented blown up and frontal and are three or four feet in size. Landscapes of the west are another subject. The painting, “Red Hills and Bones” of 1941, combines animal bones and rolling hills. O’Keeffe said, “When I found the beautiful white bones on the desert, I picked them up and took them home. I have used these things to say what is to me the wideness and wonder of the world.”
Rochelle Toner (1940Đ). “LaNoce”.
Rochelle Toner (1940Đ)
Rochelle Toner was born in Des Moines, Iowa. She grew up in farm country which had a great influence on her art. She attended the University of Northern Iowa and later the University of Illinois. Her sculpture and Intaglio etchings both derive their forms from nature. She is included in many permanent public collections throughout the United States and Europe. She is presently Dean at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia.
Figure 35. LILLY MARTIN SPENCER. The War Spirit at Home. 1866. Oil on canvas. 30 x 32-3/4”. Collection of the Newark Museum. Purchase 1944. Wallace M. Scudder.
Lilly Martin Spencer (1822-1902)
At an early age, Lilly Martin Spencer and her parents emigrated from France to the United States. She found it hard to make a living for her husband and children in Cincinnati so the family moved to New York. There, her work developed into a more sophisticated style which she became famous for. In the painting, “The War Spirit at Home” which was done in 1866 she depicts a fatherless household celebrating Grant’s victory in the Civil War. Her skills developed at depicting an event with figures. She could be convincing about domestic scenes which was what she was familiar with. The woman in the painting on the right is a self portrait.
Figure 18. JUDITH LEYSTER. The Proposition. 1631. Oil on panel. 11-11/16 x 9-1/2”. Mauritshius, The Hague.
Judith Leyster (1609-1660)
Judith Leyster was one of the greatest Dutch artists of her time. Her father owned a brewery in Haarlem. Despite the fact that she was not born into an artistic family, she managed to receive an artistic training. Leysler did not specialize in one specific type of painting as was the tradition at the time. She was versatile and painted still lifes, portraits and genre scenes. Her personal style is less sketchy than Frans Hals whom was a male contemporary. The man in “The Proposition” is wearing a fur hat and is offering the lady coins in payment of her favors. The bare interior is illuminated by a single candle. The painting is exceptional in expressing an intimate atmosphere and an intimate exchange between two people.
ARTEMISIA GENTILESCHI. Judith Beheading Holfernes. c.1620. oil/linen.
Artemesia Gentileschi (1593-1692)
Artemesia Gentileschi was born in Bologna, Italy. She worked in the late Renaissance style of Caravaggio. She had a tragic and violent youth. Her father, an artist, arranged for her to study with an artist named Tassi. Tassi abused Artemesia physically and her father took him to trial which did not end in her favor. In the painting “Judith Decapitating Holofernes” done in 1620, she expressed her emotional indignation at the wrongs she suffered in her life. It depicts the Old Testament heroine Judith, who stole into the enemy camp of the Israelites, murdered the tyrant Holefernes and then escaped with his head.
Figure 29. ANGELICA KAUFFMAN. The Artist Hesitating Between the Arts of Music and Painting. c.1794. Lord St. Oswald, Nostell Priory, England.
Angelica Kauffman (1741-1807)
Angelica Kauffman was born in Switzerland. She painted portraits in England to earn a steady income. In addition she received recognition for her history paintings. “The Artist Hesitating Between the Arts of Music and Painting” uses symbols from the story “Hercules at the Crossroads Between Fame and Luxury”. It illustrates an episode in her own youth when she considered becoming an opera singer. In it is her self portrait and she is gently pressing the hand of Music on the left, while her body inclines towards Painting, who is pointing to the Temple of Fame.
KATHE KOLLWITZ. Vienna Is Dying! Save Its Children! 1920. Lithograph.
Kathe Kollwitz (1867-1945)
Kathe Kollwitz was considered a German Expressionist. At one level this meant that the pathos of her society filtered through her to her drawings, etchings, and lithographs. Unlike other expressionists, however, Kollwitz grieved for humanity while others grieved for themselves. Her images frequently included a mother protecting her children or mourning her children; the late 1800s were a time of anguish and poverty and hunger. She saw no separation of art and social criticism and her work reflected this attitude. Kollwitz always saw the mother as heroine; the female form dominated her work.
MARY CASSATT. The Family. 1887. oil/canvas.
Mary Cassatt (1844-1926)
Mary Cassett was born into a wealthy Philadelphia family. She returned to Europe after having studied art in Rome. One year, Edgar Degas spotted her piece in the Paris Salon Exhibition and asked her to join the Impressionists. She felt there was one thing in life for a woman, and that was to be a mother, yet she sacrificed that for her art. Her painting, “The Family” done in 1882, portrays a mother and her two children. Her baby is sitting on her lap gazing at the daughter to her side. The mother’s eyes are on the baby. Although it is a triangular composition, we feel close to the figures in the picture.
Contents of 1991 Volume II | Directory of Volumes | Index | Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute