Man, had I forgotten this one! But I see why I saved it. A 19th C artist, his studio, a lay figure, mirror images, picture frames—so much to linger over. An art-appreciation teacher might point to the way verticals and diagonals direct the eye, or the way the lighting picks out the gilding and that impressive mechanical figure. But what attracts a writer? What stories does His Favorite Model suggest?
Picturing a World
This drawing of a priest looking at an album of pictures appears in Framing the drawing. an article about Renaissance artists who drew frames around drawings they collected. I found the whole thing interesting—more ways to frame! —but what electrified me was this particular image. It's so suggestive for a character in a story. Look at the man's concentration, the delicate tension in his extended finger. Connoisseur, scholar, merchant, alchemist? He seems to be pointing to something on the upper edge of the page. Why? Pick up clues where you find them, I say, and let your imagination run.
Blog post alert: The History Blog's post on the Getty acquires rediscovered Artemisia Gentileschi Lucretia reports on the recent sale of this painting at auction for $5.3 million. Women painters, the historical injustice of attitudes toward rape victims, and the mysteries of the art market are all serious subjects unto themselves. But what caught my eye was—the frame!
Blog post alert: Eye Candy for Today: Tarbell's Preparing for the Matinee caught my eye because it plays with cool interior spaces and a hat. You know the old joke: A lady from New York asks Bostonians where they get their hats and the answer is, "We have our hats!"
Website alert: One thing leads to another. While I was searching last week for a photo of Carolus-Duran in his studio, I came across this image of one of his paintings inside its original Salon-style frame. It appears in the fascinating, highly detailed, illustrated post, John Singer Sargent & the framing of his pictures. I didn't know about The Frame Blog website, but, wow, does it seem worth exploring!
Here is Walter Gay depicting the Gilded Age interior splendor for which he is best known. The word is luxe. (And, yea, the painting is shown in its ornate gilt frame.) I'll leave it to art historians to discuss Gay as an artist. For those of us who write fiction his pictures offer loads of period details for life among the rich in the latter part of the 19th C and into the 20th, especially in France.
I love the way this painting illustrates a young artist’s studio as a place to live. The plain floor and dormer window hint at upper-storey, cheap digs. I didn’t include potted plants in any of my characters’ studios, but they turn up in other paintings and would be part of making an Read More
Website tip: As a follow-up to yesterday’s post Étienne Azambre, check out Gale Murray's review of the Women Artists in Paris, 1850–1900 exhibition in the on-line journal Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide. Along with many other images, it contains Goeneutte’s 1892 painting of Desboutin and his male friends in front of the same fresco at the Louvre that Read More
Correction: Thanks to a reader, Daisy, I am happy (but embarrassed) to correct a blooper: Azambre was male, not female. Luckily I didn't say anything stupid about "the female gaze" in this post; and the suggestion that the religious wing of commercial art might be useful to fiction stands. Thanks again, Daisy!
At a lecture in advance of the Clark Art Institute’s upcoming show, Women Artists in Paris, 1850–1900 (June 9–Spetember 3, 2018) I learned about this painting by Étienne Azambre (1859–1933). Azambre was an almost exact contemporary of the real Jeanette and studied at the Académie Julian from 1879 to 1882 in the studio of Adolphe William Bouguereau and Tony Robert-Fleury, where I place my fictional Jeanette. Wish I had known about her in time! Read More