|NORTHERN EUROPE, 1600 TO 1700
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In the sixteenth century, Protestants in the northern provinces of the Netherlands broke away from Spain and established the Dutch Republic. The southern provinces that remained loyal to Spain and retained Catholicism as their official religion became the Spanish Netherlands or Flanders (more or less modern-day Belgium).
A pan-European synthesis:
The Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens synthesized in his art a variety of mostly Italian influences to create an international Baroque style. His various influences are evident in the Elevation of the Cross painted for Antwerp Cathedral. The combination of dynamic diagonals, strong modeling in dark and light, and anatomically powerful figures involved in violent action creates a scene of intense physical and emotional drama.
|25-2: PETER PAUL RUBENS, Elevation of the Cross, Antwerp Cathedral, Antwerp, Belgium, 1610. Oil on panel, 15' 2" x 11' 2".
An extravagant arrival:
The rich, decorative splendor of Rubens's painting of the Arrival of Marie de' Medici at Marseilles is enlivened by the inclusion of allegorical personifications and mythological figures.
|25-3: PETER PAUL RUBENS, Arrival of Marie de' Medici at Marseilles, 1622-1625. Oil on canvas, approx. 5' 1" x 3' 9 1/2". Louvre, Paris.
|Elegant court portraiture:
Elegant Portraits of England's King:
Anthony Van Dyck's elegant portrait of Charles I Dismounted shows the king with regal poise and exuding an air of absolute authority, standing casually next to his horse in a landscape.
|25-5: ANTHONY VAN DYCK, Charles I Dismounted, ca. 1635. Oil on canvas, approx. 9' x 7'. Louvre, Paris.
The "breakfast piece":
Clara Peeters was particularly renowned for her depictions of food and flowers together, and for still lifes that included bread and fruit.
25-6: CLARA PEETERS, Still Life with Flowers, Goblet, Dried Fruit, and Pretzels, 1611. Oil on panel, 1' 7 3/4" x 2' 1 1/4". Museo del Prado, Madrid. The Dutch Republic
Prosperity in the provinces:
The economic prosperity of the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century, and the absence of an absolute ruler, concentrated political power in the hands of an urban patrician class of merchants and manufacturers.
The Protestant objection to art:
The northern Netherlands were predominantly Protestant. The prevailing Calvinism rejected art in churches. Consequently, relatively little religious art was produced in the Dutch Republic at this time, although some artists (often Catholics) did create the occasional religious image.
A moving religious scene:
After he returned from a trip to Italy, where he fell under the influence of Caravaggio, the Catholic painter Hendrick ter Brugghen painted the Calling of Saint Matthew in a manner that echoes the naturalistic presentation of the figures of Caravaggio's painting of the same subject. However, ter Brugghen employs a more colorful palette of soft tints and reduces the contrasts of dark and light.
|25-7: HENDRICK TER BRUGGHEN, Calling of Saint Matthew, 1621. Oil on canvas, 3' 4" x 4' 6". Centraal Museum, Utrecht (acquired with the aid of the Rembrandt Society.
Commissions from royalty or from the Christian Church were uncommon in the United Provinces. Instead, patronage now came from an expanding and prosperous class of merchant patrons whose taste in pictorial content included genre scenes, landscapes, portraits, and still lifes.
Depicting daily Dutch life:
Gerrit van Honthorst's Supper Party is a moralizing genre scene showing an informal gathering of unidealized human figures. The influence of Caravaggio is evident in the mundane setting and the dramatic lighting. A new development is the placement of the light source within the painting.
25-8: GERRIT VAN HONTHORST, Supper Party, 1620. Oil on canvas, approx. 7' x 4' 8". Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence. Face-to-Face:
Frans Hals, who specialized in portraiture, painted a group portrait of the Archers of Saint Hadrian, which he enlivened by showing each man as both a troop member and an individual with a distinct personality. The painting has a lively impromptu energy, an effect that is enhanced by Hals's vivacious brushwork.
25-9: FRANS HALS, Archers of Saint Hadrian, ca. 1633. Oil on canvas, approx. 6' 9" x 11'. Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem. Prim and proper Dutch women:
Hals's more somber group portrait of The Women Regents of the Old Men's Home at Haarlem communicates a stern, puritanical, and composed sensibility.
25-10: FRANS HALS, The Women Regents of the Old Men's Home at Haarlem, 1664. Oil on canvas, 5' 7" x 8' 2". Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem. A surgical lesson:
Rembrandt van Rijn was the leading Dutch painter of his time. In the group portrait of the Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp, Rembrandt delves into the psyche and personality of his sitters.
|25-12: REMBRANDT VAN RIJN, Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp, 1632. Oil on canvas, 5' 3 3/4" x 7' 1 1/4". Mauritshuis, The Hague.
An energetic group portrait:
In his famous group portrait of The Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq, Rembrandt inventively shows the excitement and activity of the men as they prepare to parade. The dramatic lighting enhances the effect.
|25-13: REMBRANDT VAN RIJN, The Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq (Night Watch), 1642. Oil on canvas (cropped from original size), 11' 11" x 14' 4". Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
Celebrating Christ's humility:
Rembrandt also probed the states of the human soul in religious paintings and prints that interpret biblical narratives in human terms. The spiritual, inward-turning contemplation of his religious works is seen in the tender, personal emotions and eloquent simplicity of his painting of The Return of the Prodigal Son.
25-14: REMBRANDT VAN RIJN, Return of the Prodigal Son, ca. 1665. Oil on canvas, approx. 8' 8" x 6' 9". Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg. Lighting the way:
A hallmark of Rembrandt's style is finely nuanced treatment of light. He manipulated the direction, intensity, distance, and surface texture of light and shadow in order to render the subtle nuances of character and mood of persons or of whole scenes. In his later work, the conflicts of light and dark are reconciled to produce a quiet mood of tranquil meditation.
An illuminating self-portrait:
In a late Rembrandt self-portrait, light shines from the upper left to bathe the subject's face in soft light, leaving the lower part of his body in shadow. The portrait's dignity and strength is also the result of assertive brushwork, which suggests confidence and self-assurance.
25-15: REMBRANDT VAN RIJN, Self-Portrait, ca. 1659-1660. Oil on canvas, approx. 3' 8 3/4" x 3' 1". The Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood House, London. Compassion memorably etched:
Rembrandt's etching of Christ with the Sick around Him, Receiving the Children (Hundred Guilder Print) is suffused with a deep and abiding piety.
|25-16: REMBRANDT VAN RIJN, Christ with the Sick around Him, Receiving the Children (Hundred Guilder Print), ca. 1649. Etching, approx. 11" x 1' 3 1/4". Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.
At ease in front of an easel:
Judith Leyster's Self-Portrait is imbued with a sense of casual self-assurance and relaxed spontaneity.
25-11: JUDITH LEYSTER, Self-Portrait, ca. 1630. Oil on canvas, 2' 5 3/8" x 2' 1 5/8". National Gallery of Art, Washington (gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss). Reclaiming the Land from the Sea:
The Dutch urban mercantile public avidly collected paintings-landscapes, interior scenes, and still lifes-showing their own daily lives and everyday world. In a country that had reclaimed much of its land from the sea, landscape scenes were especially popular.
A landscape of Dordrecht:
Albert Cuyp's View of Dordrecht with Cattle shows a specific, unidealized landscape in which the details have been carefully and skillfully observed.
25-17: AELBERT CUYP, A Distant View of Dordrecht, with a Milkmaid and Four Cows, and Other Figures (The "Large Dort"), late 1640s. Oil on canvas, approx. 5' 1" ´ 6' 4 7/8". National Gallery, London. Haarlem days:
Jacob van Ruisdael's sensitively observed and precisely detailed View of Haarlem from the Dunes at Overveen includes identifiable landmarks. The low horizon line leaves the sky filling almost three-quarters of the picture space.
|25-18: JACOB VAN RUISDAEL, View of Haarlem from the Dunes at Overveen, ca. 1670. Oil on canvas, approx. 1' 10" x 2' 1". Mauritshuis, The Hague.
Home is where the heart is:
The small, luminous interior scenes painted with care and directness by Jan Vermeer of Delft exude a sense of peace, familiarity, and comfortable domesticity.
25-19: JAN VERMEER, The Letter, 1666. Oil on canvas, 1' 5 1/4" x 1' 3 1/4". Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. The science and poetry of light:
It is believed that Vermeer used optical devices such as mirrors and the camera obscura in composing his paintings. These devices also enabled him to develop a deep understanding of color.
Extolling the art profession:
In the Allegory of the Art of Painting (showing the art of Painting being inspired by History), Vermeer places the viewer outside the space of the action, which is shown illuminated as if by the light of inspiration.
|25-1: JAN VERMEER, Allegory of the Art of Painting, 1670-1675. Oil on canvas, 4' 4" x 3' 8". Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.
Satirizing Dutch life:
In The Feast of Saint Nicholas, Jan Steen shows a festive scene that may be interpreted as an allegory of selfishness, pettiness, and jealousy.
|25-20: JAN STEEN, The Feast of Saint Nicholas, ca. 1660-1665. Oil on canvas, 2' 8 1/4" x 2' 3 3/4". Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
Of beauty and death:
The objects in Willem Claesz Heda's Vanitas Still Life reveal the pride that Dutch citizens had in their material possessions but which also served to remind them of the transience of life.
25-21: PIETER CLAESZ, Vanitas Still Life, 1630s. Oil on panel, 1' 2" x 1' 11 1/2". Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg. The allure of precious objects:
Willem Kalf's Still Life with the Drinking Horn of Saint Sebastian's Archer's Guild reveals both the wealth of Dutch citizens and the high level of technical skill achieved by Dutch painters in the rendering of objects and textures.
25-22: WILLEM KALF, Still Life with a Late Ming Ginger Jar, 1669. Oil on canvas, 2' 6" x 2' 1 3/4". Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis.A budding artist: Rachel Ruysch's Flower Still Life shows a lavish floral arrangement. The short-lived blossoms of flowers appear frequently as symbols of life's transience.
|25-23: RACHEL RUYSCH, Flower Still Life, after 1700. Oil on canvas, 2' 6" x 2'. The Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo (purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, gift of Edward Drummond Libbey).
In France, monarchical authority and power was consolidated, and embodied, in King Louis XIV.
Invoking classical order:
Nicolas Poussin's Et in Arcadia Ego exudes rational order and stability and includes figures derived from antique statuary. He was the leading exponent of classicism in Rome.
|25-24: NICOLAS POUSSIN, Et in Arcadia Ego, ca. 1655. Oil on canvas, approx. 2' 10" x 4'. Louvre, Paris.
A plutarchian scene:
Poussin's Burial of Phocion, from Plutarch's Life of Phocion, shows the distinguished Athenian general being carried away for burial in a carefully organized, rationally constructed ideal landscape suitable to the noble theme.
25-25: NICOLAS POUSSIN, Burial of Phocion, 1648. Oil on canvas, approx. 3' 11" x 5' 10". Louvre, Paris. A landscape par excellence:
Claude Lorrain's Pastoral Caprice with the Arch of Constantine shows a serene ordering of pastoral landscape elements to create a gentle, moody vision of an ideal classical world bathed in the subtly modulated sunlight of a particular time of day.
25-26: CLAUDE LORRAIN, Landscape with Cattle and Peasants, 1629. Oil on canvas, 3' 6" x 4' 10 1/2". Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia (the George W. Elkins Collection).
|The hardship of peasant life:
Louis Le Nain's Family of Country People expresses the grave dignity of a peasant family.
|25-27: LOUIS LE NAIN, Family of Country People, ca. 1640. Oil on canvas, approx. 3' 8" x 5' 2". Louvre, Paris.
A stark etching of death:
Jacques Callot's etching of the Hanging Tree from the Miseries of War series shows, in a panoramic view, a mass execution. The scene (and others in the series), drawn with quick, vivid details, provides a realistic pictorial record of the human disaster of armed conflict.
25-28: JACQUES CALLOT, Hanging Tree, from the Large Miseries of War series, 1633. Etching, 3 3/4" x 7 1/4". Bibiliothèque Nationale, Paris.Realism, spiritualism, classicism:
The influence of Caravaggio's style (absorbed indirectly through the Dutch school of Utrecht) on Georges de La Tour is seen in his use of light and unidealized figures. Like the Dutch Caravaggesque painters, the group of humbly dressed figures gathered reverentially around the sleeping baby Jesus in the Adoration of the Shepherds is illuminated by a single light source (a candle) included in the painting.
|25-29: GEORGES DE LA TOUR, Adoration of the Shepherds, 1645-1650. Oil on canvas, approx. 3' 6" x 4' 6". Louvre, Paris.
Art in the service of absolutism:
The foundation of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1648 established French classicism as the official style. The practice of art and architecture were regularized and organized and placed in the service of the state. King Louis XIV and his principal adviser, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, used the power of art for propaganda. Hyacinthe Rigaud's portrait of Louis XIV conveys the image of Louis XIV as an absolute monarch in control.
|25-30: HYACINTHE RIGAUD, Louis XIV, 1701. Oil on canvas, approx. 9' 2" x 6' 3". Louvre, Paris.
The new official French taste:
The design of the Louvre's east façade shows an adjustment of French and Italian classical elements to create a building of stately proportions and monumentality. It expresses the new official French taste and serves as a symbol for centrally organized authority.
|25-31: CLAUDE PERRAULT, LOUIS LE VAU, and CHARLES LE BRUN, east facade of the Louvre, Paris, France, 1667-1670.
From hunting lodge to palace:
The conversion of the royal hunting lodge at Versailles into a grand palace was a major architectural project that defined the French Baroque style and became the symbol of Louis XIV's power and ambition. The Hall of Mirrors uses hundreds of mirrors set into the wall opposite the windows to illusionistically extend the room's width and to fill the tunnel-like space with reflected sunlight (the light of "the Sun King").
|25-33: JULES HARDOUIN-MANSART and CHARLES LE BRUN, Galerie des Glaces (Hall of Mirrors), palace of Versailles, Versailles, France, ca. 1680.
The park of Versailles, designed by André Le Nôrte, transformed an entire forest into a park. Le Nôrte used not only the multiplicity of natural forms but also the terrain's slightly rolling contours with stunning effectiveness.
A grotto sculpture for Versailles:
François Girardon's stately and graceful Apollo Attended by the Nymphs shows the classicizing style derived from Greco-Roman sculpture and inspired by Poussin's figure compositions.
|25-34: FRANÇOIS GIRARDON and THOMAS REGNAUDIN, Apollo Attended by the Nymphs, Grotto of Thetis, Park of Versailles, Versailles, France, ca. 1666-1672. Marble, life-size. Park of Versailles.
A subdued royal chapel:
Jules Hardouin-Mansart's design for the Royal Chapel at Versailles has an apse as high as the nave and pier-supported arcades that carry a continuous row of Corinthian columns. The light that enters through large clerestory windows lacks the directed dramatic effect of the Italian Baroque.
|25-35: JULES HARDOUIN-MANSART, Royal Chapel, with ceiling decorations by Antoine Coypel, palace of Versailles, Versailles, France, 1698-1710.
A church for disabled soldiers:
The compact façade of the Church of the Invalides in Paris is low and narrow in relation to the huge drum and dome, which are expressive of Italian Baroque taste for magnitude and theatrical effects of light and space.
|25-36: JULES HARDOUIN-MANSART, Église de Dôme, Church of the Invalides, Paris, France, 1676-1706.
In the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, England enjoyed a Common law and a Parliament that kept royal power in check. English Baroque art does not have the focused character of either Dutch or Italian Baroque art. However, important developments occurred in architecture, which incorporated classical elements.
An architect to kings:
Inigo Jones's design for the Banqueting House at Whitehall shows the influence of the Palladio's ideas.
|25-37: INIGO JONES, Banqueting House at Whitehall, London, England, 1619-1622.
A towering architectural talent:
Until almost the present, the dominant feature of the London skyline was the majestic dome of Saint Paul's Cathedral. Saint Paul's Cathedral in London, designed by Christopher Wren, harmonizes Palladian, French, and Italian Baroque features.
|25-38: SIR CHRISTOPHER WREN, new Saint Paul's Cathedral, London, England, 1675-1710.|
Sultanate OF Delhi (1206 - 1526)
The World's Tallest Minaret:
To mark the triumph of Islam, Qutb al-Din Aybak built a great congregational mosque at Delhi, in part with pillars taken from Hindu and other temples he demolished.
25-1: Qutb Minar, begun early thirteenth century, and Alai Darvaza, 1311, Delhi, India. Vijayanagar Dynasty (1336-1565)
Hindu kings of the south:
While Muslim sultans from Central Asia ruled much of northern India from Delhi, Hindu dynasts controlled most of the Deccan and the South. The most powerful Hindu kingdom of this era was the Vijayanagar ("City of Victory") Empire.
The eclectic Lotus Mahal:
Vijayanagara's sacred center, built up over two centuries, boasts imposing temples to the Hindu gods in the Dravida style of southern India with tall pyramidal vimanas (towers) over the inner sanctuary, or grabha griha.
25-2: Lotus Mahal, Vijayanagara, India, fifteenth or early sixteenth century. Mughal Empire (1526-1857)
Babur seizes Delhi:
The 16th Century was a time of much upheaval in South Asia. In 1526 a Muslim prince named Babur, declared himself the ruler of India and established the Mughal Dynasty at Delhi.
Imperial Mughal painting:
The early tradition of Indian painting is almost entirely lost due to the impermanence of the materials. Only Indian paintings from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries or later have survived in any numbers.
Akbar and the elephant:
Akbar, who ascended to the throne at age 14, commissioned Abul Fazl to chronicle his life in a great biography called the Akbarama, which the emperor's painters illustrated.
25-3: BASAWAN and CHATAR MUNI, Akbar and the Elephant Hawai, folio 22 from the Akbarnama (History of Akbar) by Abul Fazl, ca. 1590. Opaque watercolor on paper, 13 7/8" X 8 3/4". Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The Emperor above time:
The Mughal court, especially under Akbar, Jahangir, and Shah Jahan, lavishly patronized the arts. The artist BICHITR (active early seventeenth century to late 1650s) painted a portrait of Jahangir seated on an hourglass throne. Bichitr's picture states Jahangir's supremacy over time, the secular, and the sacred. The Mughal artists learned realistic techniques from Western models, available at the court in European books and engravings.
25-4: BICHITR, Jahangir Preferring a Sufi Shaykh to Kings, ca. 1615-1618. Opaque watercolor on paper, 1' 6 7/8" x 1' 1". Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Monumental tombs were not part of either the Hindu or Buddhist traditions, but had a long history in Islamic architecture. In India, the Mughal Shah Jahan built the famous Taj Mahal.
|25-5: Taj Mahal, Agra, India, 1632-1647.
Hindu Rajput Kingdoms (ca. 1500-1850)
Rajputs and Mughals:
The Mughal emperors ruled vast territories. Rajput and Mughal painting were similar in format and material, but differed sharply in others.
Vishnu the lover:
A popular topic for Punjab Hill paintings involved Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, and the cowherd's many amorous adventures. Krishna and his favorite lover sit in a lush garden at night. The realism of this picture relates stylistically to the Mughal tradition. The love between Krishna and Radha, told in the poem Song of the Herdsman, is a model for the love (bhakti) devotees felt for the deity.
25-6: Krishna and Radha in a Pavilion, ca. 1760. Opaque watercolor on paper, 11 1/8" x 7 3/4". National Museum, New Delhi. Nayak Dynasty (1529 - 1736)
The towers of Madurai:
The Hindu Nayak rulers in south India during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries oversaw construction of some of the largest temple complexes in India. The builders expanded the temples outward by erecting ever-larger enclosure walls with monumental gopuras. Late temples also typically include numerous large mandapas and great water tanks. Such temples continue to sponsor many yearly festivals, attended by thousands of pilgrims, worshipers, merchants, and priests.
25-7: West gorupa, Great Temple, Madurai, India, completed seventeenth century. The British in India (1600 - 1947)
From traders to rulers:
The maharaja Jaswant Singh ruled Jodhpur in Rajasthan when the British controlled India. By this time, India's rulers and citizenry had been involved in adapting to Western culture and ideas. Although the maharaja posed like a British gentleman in his sitting room, his regal presence and pride are clear. The two necklaces he wears exemplify the combination of his two worlds, traditional and Western-influenced. The interest in realism in Indian paintings reached a climax in works such as this portrait, which was copied from a photograph.
Bombay's railroad cathedral:
The British brought the Industrial Revolution and railways to India. Of the most enduring monuments of British rule, still used today by millions of travelers, is the Victoria Terminus in Bombay.
25-8: FREDERICK W. STEVENS, Victoria Terminus (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus), Mumbai (Bombay), India, 1878-1887. Jodhpur's British gentleman:
25-9: Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Marwar, ca. 1880. Opaque watercolor on paper, 1' 3 1/2" x 11 5/8". The Brooklyn Museum (gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Poster).
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