Food Art: The Incredible Sensuality of Lemons and Pomegranates, painting by Gerard van Honsthorst

By Thursday, June 6, 2013 Permalink 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gerard van Honsthorst was born in Utrecht in the Netherlands in 1590, the son of a textile painter and tapestry cartoonist. Like many Dutch painters of his day, he studied in Italy, where he became known as Gherardo delle Notti, or “Gerard of the Night Scenes,” because his figures often depicted dark figures in the night.

Van Honsthorst was apprenticed to Abraham Bloemaert, the most celebrated master in Utrecht, with whom he probably made the trip to Italy between 1610 and 1615. During his stay in Italy, Van Honthorst was influenced by Caravaggio, who was at his height. He copied his technique and spread it in the Netherlands. His school is referred to as the Utrecht caravaggists.

The main body of his work consists of commissions for religious paintings, many from his Italian period, such as The Beheading of St. John the Baptist (S. Maria delle Scala, Rome), Christ Before the High Priest (c. 1617, National Gallery, London), and the Supper Party (1620, Uffizi, Florence), all nocturnal scenes.

Van Honsthorst was appointed dean of the Utrecht painter’s guild in 1625 and remained in office for many years. Van Honthorst’s fame soon spread, and in 1628 he was invited to work in London at the court of King Charles I, but returned in less than a year.

He married Sophia Coopmans in 1622 and died a rich man in 1656.

 

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Food Art: Still Life with Flutist and Fruit, by Italian painter Cecco del Caravaggio

By Saturday, March 23, 2013 Permalink 0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cecco del Caravaggio (1571-1592) was born in Milan, from which he fled in 1596 to avoid the plague. He worked as apprentice for the Lombard painter Simone Peterzano for four years. His contract there listed that he was a pupil of Titian. He lived in Rome from 1592 to 1600, forging many great artists. The realism and dramatic intensity of many of his paintings was thought to be vulgar by many Romans, and even painters were divided by its distinct nature which opposed that of most other Roman artists. Nevertheless, between 1600 and 1606, he was considered Rome’s most famous painter.

Caravaggio was known for getting into scuffs, even in a time where this was commonplace. On May 29, 1606, “he killed, possibly unintentionally, a young man named Ranuccio Tomassoni. Previously his high-placed patrons had protected him from the consequences of his escapades, but this time they could do nothing. Caravaggio, outlawed, fled to Naples.” He went from becoming the most highly regarded painter in Rome to being the most highly regarded painter in Naples. Soon after, he left for Malta. The rest of his life was darkened by brawls and scrapes with the law.

A wonderful biography of Caravaggio’s life can be read here.

 

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Food Art: The Last Supper, by Caravaggio

By Friday, March 22, 2013 Permalink 0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The artist Caravaggio had a profound influence on figurative painting. He was a rebel who shocked the established art world with every painting. His use of prostitutes for models of Mary and his depiction of saints in common dress outraged the church. He even killed a man over a tennis match. His life was short and he died in exile. After his death, his detractors attributed lesser paintings to him and many of his greatest works were claimed by other artists. Even today, mystery and controversy surround him and his work but there is no denying his amazing talent.–Sharon Weaver

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