Liberal Arts Blog — Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY: Gauguin, “Yellow Christ,” Eakins, “Music,” Reynolds, “Cupid”
Liberal Arts Blog — Friday is the Joy of Art, Architecture, Design, Film, and All Things Visual Day
Today’s Topic: Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY: Gauguin, “Yellow Christ,” Eakins, “Music,” Reynolds, “Cupid”
Have you ever been to Buffalo? I have not. But I am now eager to visit having just learned of the Albright-Knox Gallery’s amazing collection of paintings. Today, three of the most intriguing. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
PAUL GAUGUIN, “Yellow Christ” (1886) — Wow!
1. “The painting is a symbolic piece that shows the crucifixion of Jesus Christ taking place in 19th-century northern France as Breton women are gathered in prayer.”
2. “Gauguin relies heavily on bold lines to define his figures and reserves shading only for the women.”
3. “The autumn palette of yellow, red and green in the landscape echoes the dominant yellow in the figure of Christ.”
NB: The style is called “cloisonnism” from “cloison” meaning compartment or partition. Other examples of this style can be found in the work of Emile Bernard, Louis Anquetin, and Paul Serusier. See third link below.
THOMAS EAKINS (1844–1916) “MUSIC” (1904) — is this the most beautiful painting of a violinist ever?
1. Eakins is known as a great “realist” painter whose reputation has grown considerably since his death.
2. His most famous paintings are: “Max Schmitt in a Single Skull” (1871), “The Gross Clinic” (1875), and “The Agnew Clinic” (1889), “William Rush Carving His Allegorical Figure of the Schuylkill River” (1877), and “The Swimming Hole” (1885).
3. His portraits number in the hundreds — including “friends, family members, or prominent people in the arts, sciences, medicine, and clergy.” Especially of Philadelphians.
NB: Sadly, there is substantial evidence that Eakins was a sexual predator. See last link below. Truth can sully the joy of beauty.
SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS (1723–1792) “CUPID AS A LINK BOY” (1771–7)
1. “A link boy was a boy who carried a flaming torch to guide the way of pedestrians at night.”
2. “Linkboys were common in London in the days before the introduction of gas lighting in the early to mid 19th century.”
3. “The linkboy’s fee was commonly one farthing, and the torch was often made from burning pitch and tow….The term derives from “link”, a term for the cotton tow that formed the wick of the torch.”
NB: “In thieves’ cant (ie. the slang of thieves), a linkboy was known as a “Glym Jack” (“glym” meant “light”) or a “moon-curser” (as their services would not be required on a moonlit night). Employing a linkboy could be dangerous, as some would lead their clients to dark alleyways, where they could be beset by “footpads” (thieves).” Joshua Reynolds was one of the great European portraitists of the 18th century. He was knighted by George III in 1769.
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