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Heroen der Moderne. Zur kollektiven Konstruktion von Heldenbildern

Ablösung oder Umwertung eines Traditionellen Konzeptes in der Französischen Kunst des 19. Jahrhunderts?

Acta Historiae Artium Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae
Author: Kerstin Thomas

Summary

The weak, sentimentally minded or negative heroes emerge in the 19th century painting substituting heroes of Historical painting, who had the social role of exempla virtutis. This phenomenon seems to be a sign of the crisis of Hero in art. Instead of the crisis and the decadence of hero should rather be supposed a crisis of his social function. The negative Figures represented in the works of Delacroix, Géricault and Vernet show in their controversial attitude a genuine heroic power.

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Abstract  

The thermal degradation of new, and artificially aged fine Ulster linen and archival linen specimens from 19th century paintings were compared using thermogravimetric analysis and differential scanning calorimetry. Thermal degradation data from new and artificially aged linen were found to be similar in nature. Archival specimens showed a decreased major degradation temperature, an increase in char remaining at the end of the experiment and some evidence of a depressed glass transition temperature. These indicate natural ageing through chain scission. Evidence of a two-stage degradation process was observed in some archival specimens suggesting that an unknown additive was present.

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Stage curtains are works in the border zone between applied art and high art, having a special place on account of their function and peculiar theme in the oeuvre of some 19th century artists. In that of Sándor Liezen-Mayer the salient places are taken by painting and literary illustration, but in indirect relationship with illustration his commissions to design stage curtains also constituted an organic part of the oeuvre. Designing the program and executing the painted stage curtains was squeezed to the periphery of 19th century painting, whereas in that-time art life it had an important place as an artistic task of great prestige since the late 18th century. With the demotion of allegoric representations into the background the huge surfaces of stage curtains began to feature compositions of a different type, which drew partly on the earlier stock of allegorical elements and partly on literary motifs.

Liezen-Mayer’s contemporary and former colleague at the Academy Hans Makart produced the important pieces of the last great period of curtain decoration, which might have partly been the model for the Hungarian artist, too. Liezen-Mayer’s two curtain designs known today are from the beginning and end of his career, as if framing the oeuvre. The two designs separated by some thirty years are variants of the same allegorical scene: Apollo, the ancient god of arts is seen in an easily interpreted composition, surrounded by diverse attributes and allegorical figures as an illustration of the mythological tradition. Only plans survive of the two – colour schemes and large cartoons –; the comparison of the two provides a firm basis to trace the change in the artist’s outlook over his career.

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Abstract

Slovakia is heir of everything, what left its tracks on the territory. It is heir of art, which has not only Slavic-Slovak, but also German–Austrian–Hungarian origins, with Franco-Roman touch. It was suppressed or underlined by catholic–protestant–Jewish–orthodox (but also free-thinking and free-mason) traditions. It is out of doubt that Slovaks do not exist from the world's beginning, but that they have become Slovaks and everything, that had a significant value for them, could be national. A crucial role played the national identity; but in most cases, this cannot be traced back. Therefore, it has only a limited role within history of art. The study speak for overcoming the very national-defensive character of the historiographies and focusing on more interesting matters.

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There is still much to be explored about the exact circumstances of the creation of Csontváry’s pictures and the painter’s working method. Research has either approached the oeuvre from the life path wrought with mythical elements, or wished to embed it in the context of 19th century painting tradition. From these angles, however, the consistently built visual logic of Csontváry’s pictures, their details governed by the inherent laws of the genre of painting are often overlooked.

The most adequate method of exploring Csontváry’s creative practice appears to be a thorough examination of the relation between the inspiring sight and the picture painted of it. I based this study on Csontváry’s landscapes painted between 1897 and 1905, first of all those painted in Trogir, Castellammare and Taormina. In the knowledge of these localities it can be established that the painter accurately followed the topographic sight and the conditions of light. At the same time, the comparison of the location and the painting has also revealed that the painter had pairs of pictures in mind in his intention to capture a sight systematically. Taking up a vantage point mostly in northsouth and one in east-west orientation, he created “panorama pictures” built of several elements. His paintings are similar to the 360° panoramas in photography. But while a rotating camera can take an infinite number of photos, the painter assembled the picture from two “shots”.

Conspicuously, the pairs of pictures depict different times of day: instead of momentary impressions and moods, Csontváry captured the path of the transmission of light and thereby the passing of time, an interval of time in the pairs of pictures. In his later compositions he was to apply these different light conditions in a single picture, framing as it were the daily path of the planet on the horizon. This practice is related to one of Csontváry’s key technical terms, the “Sun Path”.

By capturing the changing of light in one picture Csontváry wished to “perfect” the 19th century plein air technique. His “Sun Path” painting derives from a specific view of nature and the world, which was in polar opposition to the positivism of naturalism and the sensualism of impressionism. Proof of it is the pairs of pictures. They summarize all Csontváry’s observations of time and space, and their translation into the practice of painting.

The views conveyed by Csontváry’s paintings were often borrowed from contemporaneous picture postcards. Not only greeting cards but e.g. the rich moving picture and photo material of the programs of the Urania Hungarian Scientific Theatre inspired him. He treated the pictorial themes as visual tropes or conventions, but in the creative process he only used their fixed, symbolic form such as a typical cutting. When a theme was actually to be realized, he thought it indispensable to be on the site in person, to make sketches and paint on the spot. He did so to make the contents he found important in the symbol visible by his painting.

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–105. Liturgikus lexicon . 1933: Editors: Kühár Flóris and Radó Polikárp. Komárom. Louvre . XIV–XIX. századi festmények 1970: [14–19th Century Paintings]. Transl.: Veress Éva. Budapest. Lloyd , Albert Lancester 1960: The

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