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Still Life with Fruit on a Stone Ledge from the Roman School, once attributed to Caravaggio
Still Life with Fruit on a Stone Ledge from the Roman School, once attributed to Caravaggio (details)

Still Life with Fruit on a Stone Ledge, Roman School,

I have seen this beautiful still life at times attributed to Caravaggio (Michelangelo Marisi), or to a follower of his.

Sotheby’s made no such direct claim when the painting passed through their auction house in 2013, referring to it instead as attributed to an unnamed artist of the Roman School, but the extensive notes on their page devoted to the item mention Carvaggio more than a dozen times.

It does seem similar in nature to a still life painting of a basket of fruit acknowledged to be by Caravaggio, but there are also other paintings from the time and place that also appear to be in a similar style that are attributed to “a follower of Caravaggio“.

Regardless of the painting’s attribution, it is clearly an extraordinary still life, with an tactile presence that must be palpable in person.

There is a Wikipedia page devoted to the painting, though it inexplicably contains a poorly reproduced image.

 
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At the Gate (Am Thor), Max Klinger; etching and engraving
At the Gate (Am Thor), Max Klinger; etching and engraving (details)

At the Gate (Am Thor), Max Klinger; etching and engraving; roughy 18 x 12″ (45 x 31 cm). Link is to the impression the collection of the National Gallery, DC, whih has both a downloadable and zoomable version of the image (and no longer requires an account to download high-res images). There is also a zoomable version on the Google Art Project.

Max Klinger was a German Symbolist artist active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Though he was also a painter, Klinger was known primarily for his graphics in the form of etchings, drypoint, aquatint and engraving — sometimes combining multiple techniques in a single plate, as he did here.

This print is from a series titled A Love, Opus X, which he dedicated to Arnold Böcklin, a Swiss Symbolist by whom he was greatly influenced — to the point of doing a beautiful etching version of Böcklin’s famous painting Isle of the Dead.

 
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An Idle Moment, Daniel Ridgway Knight, oil on canvas
An Idle Moment, Daniel Ridgway Knight, oil on canvas

An Idle Moment, Daniel Ridgway Knight, oil on canvas, roughly 37 x 47 inches (95 x 120 cm); link is to page for high res file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the High Museum of Art.

American artist Daniel Ridgway Knight, who was active in the late 19th end early 20th centuries, spent much of his career in France, where he was noted for his portrayals of peasant women in idyllic pastoral scenes, often near or overlooking a river (presumably the Seine Valley).

Here, we see him depart slightly from his usual depiction of one or two women, with the addition of a third, male, figure, engaging the young women in conversation as they take a break from their chores.

I love the softly atmospheric look of many of Knights paintings, which make great use of soft edges, and the compressed values and muted colors with which he indicates distance.

 
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St George and the Dragon, Solomon J. Solomon
St George and the Dragon, Solomon J. Solomon

St George, Solomon J. Solomon; oil on canvas, roughly 84 x 42 inches (213 x 106 cm); in the collection of the Royal Academy of Arts

The legend of Saint George and the Dragon, in which the heroic knight rescues a princess who had been offered up as tribute to a dragon, has a long history as a subject for artists.

Here, British Royal Academician Solomon J. Solomon, who was active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, takes his stab at it (if you’ll excuse the expression) in a strikingly vertical composition through which he unerringly guides your eye.

The figures and drapery swirl around the axis of the knight’s lance, their body positions contributing to the turning and twisting effect.

Solomon’s muted browns and grays brings your attention to the bright skin of the woman, the high chroma gold of her robe with its white trim, the glinting of the knight’s armor, his hand and white sleeve, and into the highlights of the clouds — almost forming a circular mini-composition within the upper area of the painting.

The composition then guides you down the flow of the more muted fabric — still brighter than the knight’s garments — into the jaws of the now defeated dragon in all its glorious ugliness.

 
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Arranging Daffodils, Carl Thomsen, oil on canvas
Arranging Daffodils, Carl Thomsen, oil on canvas

Arranging Daffodils, Carl Thomsen; oil on canvas, roughly 16 x 12 inches (41 x 32 cm); link is to image file page on Wikimedia Commons, zoomable image on Bonham’s. (My assumption from the auction listing is that the painting is currently in a private collection.)

This 1894 painting by Danish artist Carl Thomsen is a perfect image of bringing spring indoors. The vase of blossoms and the young woman and her white dress are illuminated highlights in the dark room, giving a feeling of the bright promise of spring making an advance into the darkness of fading winter.

Thomsen’s painterly approach makes the bright subjects stand out even more against the almost flat background.

 
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East End of Saint Jacques at Dieppe, Normandy; John Sell Cotman; graphite and brown wash
East End of Saint Jacques at Dieppe, Normandy (details); John Sell Cotman; graphite and brown wash

East End of Saint Jacques at Dieppe, Normandy; John Sell Cotman; graphite and brown wash; roughly 12 x 9 inches (29 x 22 cm). LInk is to zoomable version on Google Art Project, downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons, original is in the Yale Center for British Art.

English painter, printmaker and illustrator John Sell Cotman, who was active in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, was prolific and left a trove of drawings in addition to his paintings and graphics. Here, he confidently delineates the intricately decorative structure of a large Renaissance church with graphite, augmented with subtle washes.

The drawing exhibits both the substantial accuracy of a careful architectural drawing, and the liveliness of a more casual sketch.

In part, this is likely due to the loosely free rendering of the roof of the lower structure, but I think it’s also due to an approach I have also noticed in the wonderful architectural drawings of Canaletto.

In both cases, lines that over their course are ruler straight, are along the way wavering and often lightly broken. It’s a wonderful technique.

 
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