Jacopo Tintoretto

“Tintoretto stayed at home, but he felt in his own person a craving for something that Titian could not teach him. The Venice he was born in was not the Venice of Titian’s early youth, and his own adolescence fell in the period when Spain was rapidly making herself mistress of Italy. The haunting sense…

Hieronymus Bosch

Hieronymus Bosch born Jeroen Anthoniszoon van Aken c. 1450 – 9 August 1516), was a Dutch painter. His work is known for its use of fantastic imagery to illustrate moral and religious concepts and narratives. Bosch produced several triptychs. Among his most famous is The Garden of Earthly Delights. This painting, for which the original…

Hans Memling

The School of Bruges was ever popular in the fifteenth century. It got off to a flying start with the incomparable art of Jan van Eyck and was continued by his successor, Petrus Christus. The formulaic but appealing painting of Hans Memling was conservative, technically highly skillful, and spiritually reassuring. His was the other side…

Gustave Moreau

Although threatened by the fleeting truths of modern experience that artists like Manet, Degas, or Monet elected to paint, classical mythology, like a proper education in Greek and Latin, remained a cornerstone of nineteenth-century art and culture, propagated by the academies and illustrated in countless official paintings. It was also subject to intensely personal, even…

Gustave Dore

Doré was born in Strasbourg and his first illustrated story was published at the age of fifteen. His talent was evident even earlier, however. At age five he had been a prodigy troublemaker, playing pranks that were mature beyond his years. Seven years later, he began carving in cement. Subsequently, as a young man, he…

Gustav Klimt

“Gustav Klimt first made himself known by the decorations he executed (with his brother and their art school companion F. Matsch), for numerous theatres and above all (on his own this time) for the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, where he completed, in a coolly photographic style, the work begun by Makart. At the age of…

Giovanni Bellini

The Resurrection by Giovanni Bellini Easter Sunday’s picture is Giovanni Bellini’s intensely beautiful and uplifting Resurrection. Now in the Gemaldegalerie in Berlin, it was originally commissioned by a Venetian aristocrat, Marco Zorzi, as the altarpiece of his family’s funerary chapel in the church of San Michele in Isola, a small island between Venice and Murano.…

Giotto di Bondone

“The first of the great personalities in Florentine painting was Giotto. Although he affords no exception to the rule that the great Florentines exploited all the arts in the endeavor to express themselves, he, Giotto, renowned as an architect and sculptor, reputed as wit and versifier, differed from most of his Tuscan successors in having…

Francisco de Zurbaran

Francisco de Zurbaran’s apprenticeship was undertaken in Seville, where he met Velazquez and became one of the city’s official painters. His commission to decorate the king’s palace in Madrid was most probably the result of his continuing friendship with the older, and more successful, Spanish artist. Zurbaran was chiefly a portrait painter and his religious subjects,…

Fernand Khnopff

Born in Eastern Flanders, of a family of magistrates, Khnopff grew up in Bruges. He enrolled at the Law School in Brussels which he soon abandoned for the Académie des Beaux-Arts. There he studied under Xavier Mellery who taught him to consider painting as an enquiry into the meaning hidden in the “soul of things”.…

Felicien Rops

A Baudelairian graphic artist much admired by Péladan; a Belgian who lived most of his life in Paris. He attended the Namur Académie, then went on to Brussels while atttending the workshop of Saint-Luc. In 1856 he founded the satirical weekly ‘Uylenspiegel’. In 1868 he became Vice-President of the Société Libre des Beaux-Arts de Brussels.…

Eugene Delacroix

“The last of the great artists of the Renaissance and the first modern’; thus Baudelaire on Delacroix. For Baudelaire, Delacroix’s position as one of the great figures of art history was assured not just by his daring and originality qualities generally considered Romantic – but for the fact that they found expression within a tradition.…

Elisabetta Sirani

Elisabetta Sirani (8 January 1638 – 25 August 1665) was an Italian Baroque painter whose father was the painter Giovanni Andrea Sirani of the School of Bologna. She was born in Bologna. By age 17 she was a full-fledged engraver and painter and had completed over ninety works. By the time she died at the young…

El Greco

The National Gallery’s once-in-a-lifetime El Greco exhibition closes next Sunday, so this week’s picture is one of the star attractions of the show: Laocoon, which was painted by the artist towards the end of life, in the early 1610s. Like last week’s painting of St Lucy by Francesco del Cossa, this work was once owned…

Edvard Munch

“An anxiety haunts the work of Edvard Munch, [that] is expressed with a formal inventiveness that impinges upon the emotions before we are even aware of the subject; the deeper regions of the psyche are accessible only through the potent agency of rhythm and color. “… When Munch began studying art in Christiania (now Oslo),…

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

“The young Rossetti was encouraged by his cosmopolitan parents to use his vivid imagination to develop his passionate interests of drawing and writing. All his life Rossetti was torn between his twin loves of poetry and painting – to such an extent that he regarded the two disciplines as inseparable. Arguably, with his facility and…

Carlo Crivelli

Carlo Crivelli was born around 1430–35 in Venice to a family of painters, and received his artistic formation there and in Padua. After a century’s work in Italian archives, the details of Crivelli’s career are still sparse: the only dates that can with certainty be given about his life as a painter are his first appearance, already a…

Caravaggio

Michelangelo Merisi, known as Caravaggio (1571-1610) achieved one of the most important revolutions in the history of painting. He inherited a world where the classical idealism of Michelangelo was still normative, especially in the depiction of the human body, and where the eccentricities of his successors, who did not paint from life at all, distorted…

Austin Osman Spare

Spare’s work is remarkable for its variety, including paintings, a vast number of drawings, work with pastel, a few etchings, published books combining text with imagery, and even bizarre bookplates. He was productive from his earliest years until his death. According to Haydn Mackay, “rhythmic ornament grew from his hand seemingly without conscious effort.” Spare…