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Alexander Roslin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alexander Roslin
Alexander Roslin - Self-Portrait - Google Art Project.jpg
Self Portrait while Painting the King of Sweden 1785
Born (1718-07-15)15 July 1718
Malmö, Sweden
Died 5 July 1793(1793-07-05) (aged 74)
Paris, France

Alexander Roslin (French: [aleksɑ̃deʁ ʁoslɛ̃]) (often spelled Alexandre in French; 15 July 1718 – 5 July 1793) was a Swedish portrait painter who worked in Scania, Bayreuth, Paris, Italy, Warsaw and St. Petersburg, primarily for members of aristocratic families. He combined insightful psychological portrayal with a skillful representation of fabrics and jewels.[1][2] His style combined Classicist tendencies with the lustrous, shimmering colours of Rococo, a jocular, elegant and ornate style. He lived in France from 1752 until 1793, a period that spanned most of his career.[3] The painting by Roslin depicting Jeanne Sophie de Vignerot du Plessis, Countess of Egmont Pignatelli, was bought by the Minneapolis Institute of Art in 2006 for US$3 million.[4][5]

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  • Paul Cézanne, El Greco, Portraits, Genre Scenes - Origins of Modern Art 2
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Cézanne’s art is reminiscent of the works of El Greco, painter of the Spanish Renaissance. Here we see a self-portrait of Cézanne and a presumed self-portrait of El Greco, both in their late fifties. Both men discarded classicist criteria such as measure and proportion. Characteristic for their work is the interweaving between form and space; a reciprocal relationship unifying the painting surface. The style of both men was met with great puzzlement by their contemporaries. Comparative morphological analyses of works of the two painters revealed their common elements such as the distortion of the human body, the interest in color, their (in appearance only) unworked backgrounds and the similarities in the rendering of space. At the right, El Greco’s portrait of Apostle St James the Greater, painted in 1610 - 1614. Notice the unusual rendering of the hands of both sitters. Indeed, in his younger years, Cézanne has copied works of El Greco. This portrait of his sister Marie, from around 1866 is modeled on the mysterious portrait of “A Lady in a Fur Wrap”, which is attributed to El Greco. However, this portrait is very atypical for his work, and there are weighty arguments for considering it not a work of him. But at the time Cézanne was not aware of this. Cézanne made another version of the foregoing portrait of his sister, an example of his style in his “Dark Period”. It is perhaps this portrait from which the 19th century, American artist James McNeill Whistler has said: “If a 10 year old child had drawn that on his slate, his mother - if she was a good mother - would have whipped him.” El Greco’s portrayal of Saint Peter, dating from circa 1610, is a good example of his dramatic and expressionistic style. His preference for exceptionally tall and slender figures and elongated compositions, is certainly not caused by a vision problem, as was suggested during the early years of the twentieth century, but, in accordance with the principles of Late-Renaissance Mannerism, a period in European arts, it served both his expressive purposes and aesthetic principles. Interestingly, also from Cézanne it is said that he suffered from eye problems. However, it is not unusual for critics to attribute originality in art to some sort of physical disorder. In 1860, at the age of twenty one, Paul Cézanne made a start with a bold juvenile project: the painting - in romantic style of huge allegorical pictures of young women representing the Four Seasons, on the walls of the newly bought house of his father: Jas de Bouffan. Here we see one of the paintings, called: “Autumn”. Although the elongated figure could suggest a Mannerist influence, Cézanne signed each painting with: “INGRES”, the name of the French neoclassical painter Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, and added a false date: 1811, on the bottom left of the panel representing “Winter”. Indeed, an immense canvas of Ingres, made in 1811, was at that time – as it is today – exhibited in Aix-en-Provence. Ingres' subject matter is borrowed from an episode in Homer's Iliad, when the sea nymph Thetis begs Jupiter to intervene and guide the fate of her son Achilles, who was at the time embroiled in the Trojan War. Homer writes: "She sank to the ground beside him, put her left arm round his knees, raised her right hand to touch his chin, and so made her petition to the Royal Son of Cronos." It seems likely that Cézanne signed the Four Seasons with Ingres’ name, to prove in an ironic way to his father, who wanted him to become a lawyer, that he was no worse than the most famous artist of his time. At the bottom left, a mountain is displayed. Could it be an imaginary version of the Mont Sainte-Victoire? It seems not unlikely that the young Cézanne found his inspiration for his Four Seasons in Nicolas Poussin’s rendering of the same subject. In the “Autumn” of this famous 17th century French classical painter, we perceive an impressive mountain … and a woman carrying a basket with fruit on her head. But let us return to Man with Crossed Arms, part of the private, Ronald S. Lauder Collection. Cézanne painted another version, which is on display in the Guggenheim Museum, New York. The “Lauder-Man” at the left, holds a frontal pose with a seven-eights head position. His head is turned slightly away from the beholder, thus a little more of the left side of his face can be seen, his left ear is visible. The “Guggenheim-Man” sits in a three-quarter view, facing also to his right. But according to the nose position and the invisibility of the far left ear, one would expect that the left part of his face should be depicted much narrower as is the case in this three-quarter-view painted, 18th century portrait, facing right. The absence of a difference between both halves of the Guggenheim-man’s face suggests a frontal view with the man having a wry nose. But then the left ear should be visible. It is known that for a portrait Cézanne insisted on over a hundred sittings from his subject, compared to other portraitists, an extremely high number. The American art historian, George Heard Hamilton suggests that Cézanne’s position with regard to his subject might change over time. Over the course of days or weeks, Cézanne would move his easel, painting his subject from different points of view, and each time, he painted what he saw. Could it be that at some stage the left ear of the “Guggenheim-Man” is painted out? Around that spot near the left temple, extends a dark penumbra, evidence of extensive reworking. Perhaps infrared examination could answer our question. The eyes of the Guggenheim-Man do not show the incongruity of the Lauder-Man’s eyes. But each of the portraits seems to include two viewpoints. These viewpoints could stem from successive perceptions as an organic process by which people form a relative image. It seems that Cézanne has tried to visualize such images. He once said: “Painting from nature is not copying the object; it is realizing one’s sensations”. To elucidate the supposition of multiple points of view, in his instructional art book: “Cézanne’s Composition”, Erle Loran made use of this diagram, based on the outlines of Cézanne’s portrait. In 1962, the prominent American pop-artist, Roy Lichtenstein, used Loran’s diagram for his reinterpretation of the Man with Crossed Arms, devoid of color, with the man’s form articulated by graphic lines that sit on a ground of painted imitations of Benday dots. Lichtenstein’s portrait is of course far greater than Loran’s book-page size of his diagram. Loran, disputably, called it an act of plagiarism. Lichtenstein considers his work a hand-painted, one-of-a-kind replica of a mass-produced printed reproduction, rendered in a visual language borrowed from popular culture that lends the work the flat sterile quality of printed matter. And this is Picasso’s cubist reinterpretation of the Man with Crossed Arms, dating from 1909. A last example of Cézanne’s portraiture is this painting of Madame Cézanne in a Red Armchair, from 1877. Typically, there is little character in her face. It seems not the sitter but the all-over composition that interested Cézanne. Shadows are suppressed, which creates a flattened depth perspective. When the poet Rainer Maria Rilke saw this portrait, he wrote: “It is the first and ultimate red armchair ever painted… The interior of the picture vibrates, rises, falls back into itself, and does not have a single unmoving part.” Cézanne’s work shows a great diversity of subjects. He also depicted events from everyday life, or genre scenes, like this well-known “Card Players”, of which several versions exist. Notice the symmetrical composition of the painting and its beautiful coloring. Indeed, the head of the card player with the pipe on the left seems too small in comparison with the size of his torso. Accurate proportions between the figures’ heads, bodies, and limbs were not a matter of great concern to the master. We see here the three versions that exist with only two card players. In 2011, the one in the middle is sold for 250 million dollar, the current world record price for a painting. This genre painting shows the artist's mother and his sister, who is playing on the piano Richard Wagner’s Overture to Tannhäuser, the very music score of this video. Needless to say that Cézanne loved Wagner’s music. Cézanne’s paintings had seldom a narrative content. This small painting, 38cm high, forms an exception; it represents Medea, a princess in Greek Mythology, about to murder her two children. It is painted in the time Cézanne abandoned impressionism, The image is in fact a facsimile of a work of Eugène Delacroix, the French Romantic artist. In this study of the female nude Cézanne indeed closely followed Delacroix. Notice in particular the length of the right fore-arm of both Medea’s

Contents

Life

Double portrait of Roslin and his wife, 1767
Double portrait of Roslin and his wife, 1767
A portrait of Roslin's wife, Marie Suzanne Giroust-Roslin, 1770
A portrait of Roslin's wife, Marie Suzanne Giroust-Roslin, 1770

Alexander Roslin was born on 15 July 1718, in Malmö, Sweden, the son of naval physician Hans Roslin and Catherine Wertmüller. After showing an unusual talent for drawing and painting, he trained in drawing at Karlskrona under Admiralty Captain Lars Ehrenbill[6] (1697–1747) in order to become a naval draughtsman, and then began to paint miniatures.[7] Stockholm had become an intellectual and artistic center since Queen Christina had established connections with Paris, and Alexander Roslin moved there.[8] At the age of sixteen he became apprenticed to the court painter Georg Engelhard Schröder in Stockholm, studying painting there until 1741 and beginning to paint large portraits in oils.[7] Schröder was influenced by Hyacinthe Rigaud and Nicolas de Largillière.[9] In 1741, Roslin settled in Gothenburg, and the following year moved to Scania, where he remained until 1745 painting portraits[7] and also creating religious paintings for the church at Hasslöv.[9]

In 1745, Roslin left Sweden for Bayreuth, where he had been invited to work for Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach.[10] In 1747, he moved to Italy to study the works of the great masters. While in Italy he portrayed, among others, the family of Philip, Duke of Parma in 1752. In the same year Roslin moved to Paris, at the age of 34, where he settled for the rest of his life.[7][11] Here, in 1759, he married the pastel painter Marie-Suzanne Giroust (1734–1772).[12] The couple had three sons and three daughters.[11] In 1768 Roslin painted her dressed in Bolognese fashion, Lady with Veil, a portrait that the art critic, writer and philosopher Denis Diderot judged "très piquante".[13][14] In 1767 he painted a double portrait of them both; she is depicted working in pastels on a portrait of Henrik Wilhelm Peill, while Roslin points at a gold box he received from Peill as a present.[15] The frame of the painting is inscribed Loin et près (Far away and yet close), showing that the portrait was a token of friendship.[15] This painting was purchased by the Swedish National Museum in 2013.[16]

Career

In Paris he was a protégé of François Boucher and his work rapidly became fashionable.[17] He was chosen as a member of the French Art Academy,[14] to which his wife also belonged.[7] His early portraits are painted in bright, cool colours, and show the influence of Jean-Marc Nattier and Hyacinthe Rigaud.[18] [19] Around the 1760s he started using daring colouring in his paintings, such as in the portrait of his wife, Lady with Veil (1768), and the Jennings Family (1769).[13]

Roslin had great technical skill in painting the surfaces and texture of precious materials such as fabrics and jewels, but was also adept at capturing his sitters at their best.[11][14] In Paris he soon became one of the foremost portraitists of his time, valued mostly for practiced rendering of luxurious fabrics and gentle complexions: "Satin, skin? Go to Roslin."[12] His portraits of members of the French aristocracy show sensitivity and taste[20] and also psychological insight,[1] although changes in taste might make his faces seem "stiff and lifeless" to some observers today.[10] In 1765 he scored a significant triumph when his portrait of Louis, Duke of La Rochefoucauld and his family, painted in competition with Jean-Baptiste Greuze, was awarded the prize. He also painted several portraits of members of the French royal family and foreign princes, including the Swedish king Gustav III and his brothers.[7] In the second half of the 18th century, having one's portrait painted by Roslin was the highpoint of public esteem.[11] In 1771 Roslin, although a foreigner (often called Roslin le suédois, "Roslin the Swede"[11]), was awarded a pension and a free apartment in the Louvre.[7] The following year he was awarded the Royal Order of Vasa by his native country, after which he was also called Roslin le Chevalier ("Roslin the knight").[11]

He was often surrounded by Swedish visitors to Paris, such as Peill. He was also a good friend of the influential Swedish politician Count Carl Gustaf Tessin.[11] After his wife's death, during the years 1774–75, Roslin visited Sweden, where he had been elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts, oddly enough as a foreign honorary member.[7] During the visit, he painted the members of the Swedish royal family, his self-portrait while painting the king, and also portraits of the statesman Carl Fredrik Scheffer and the naturalist Carl Linnaeus.[7]

On his way back to Paris he visited St. Petersburg, where he painted several portraits of Empress Catherine II of Russia and some notable portraits of Russian aristocrats between 1775 and 1777.[21][22] Catherine tried to persuade him to stay in her service, but Roslin declined and returned to France.[7] He died in Paris on 5 July 1793 of natural causes after surviving the French Revolution and outliving many of his patrons;[10] at that time he was the wealthiest artist in Paris.[11]

Works

The Lady with the Veil (The Artist's Wife), 1768, dressed "à la Bolognaise"[23]
The Lady with the Veil (The Artist's Wife), 1768, dressed "à la Bolognaise"[23]

Stylistically, his paintings are Classicist in some respects, but primarily Rococo.[14] The vast majority show members of the European nobility and of leading political and cultural circles. Roslin was enormously successful among members of French high society, becoming one of the wealthiest artists of the era in France.[10] He painted a number of portraits of Russian Imperial statesmen, including images of Ivan Betskoi and his sister Anastasia Ivanovna, and of Ivan Shuvalov. He also painted some notable portraits of Polish and French aristocratic ladies. He signed his works Roslin Suédois. As a member of the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture Roslin exhibited his paintings at the Salon de Paris, the official exhibition of members' work. Founded in 1725 the Salon became, between 1748 and 1890, the greatest biannual art event in the Western world.[24] From 1753 Roslin exhibited 18 times at the Salon.[25][26]

Roslin's popularity with both his foreign and his Swedish audiences during his lifetime is undisputed. He was one of the foremost portrait painters of his time, widely known for his masterful ability to reproduce his sitters' fashionable garments with their silks, lace, pearls and gold filaments. Roslin's ability to capture the personality of the people he depicted made him popular with his clients and allows us, even today a few hundred years later, to still feel close to the people he painted. He flattered and beautified his subjects according to the Rococo ideal.[2] Roslin's portrait of Anne Vallayer-Coster is praised particularly and became much debated after the Salon. In Le Véridique au Salon, published in 1783, it was described as one that "belonged to the artist's best". The picture has been compared to the contemporary artist Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun's celebrated self-portrait. Roslin depicted his model in a cool colour scale; in green, white, and blue, with the artist's attributes of palette and brushes, a common way for artists to depict themselves. Because of this, Roslin's painting was sometimes misinterpreted by art historians as a self-portrait by Vallayer-Coster.[2]

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Krol, A. E. (1970). Skandinavskii sbornik. 15. cited in "Roslin, Alexander", Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd ed., translation 2010: Tallinn. pp. 219–33. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Bjurström, Per (1993). Roslin (in Swedish). Höganäs. pp. 56, 163, 168–169, 208, 233. ISBN 9171195556.
  3. ^ Jeffares, Neil. "Dictionary of pastellists before 1800, online edition" (PDF). Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  4. ^ "Alexander Roslin". Antikvärlden (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  5. ^ Kinsella, Eileen (6 June 2006). "Minneapolis Museum acquires a $3m Roslin portrait". Art News. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  6. ^ "Adliga ätten Ehrenbill nr 1515", Lars Ehrenbill, Tab. 2 (in Swedish)
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Herman Hofberg, "Roslin, Alexander", Svenskt biografiskt handlexikon (In Swedish)
  8. ^ Stolpe, Sven (1974). Drottning Kristina. 2, Efter tronavsägelsen. Stockholm: Bonnier. pp. 142 & 145. ISBN 91-0-039241-3.
  9. ^ a b Roslin, Alexander, Web Gallery of Art, retrieved 17 February 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d Bo Gentili, "Alexander Roslin 1718–1793" Archived 22 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine., Kulturarv Malmö, 18 August 2010, retrieved 17 February 2014 (in Swedish)
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Nationalmuseum in Stockholm Presents Alexander Roslin – Sweden's Forgotten Art Icon", ArtDaily, 2007, retrieved 17 February 2014.
  12. ^ a b 7 paintings by or after Alexander Roslin at the Art UK site: see extended Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists biography, under "artist profile". Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  13. ^ a b "The Lady with the Veil by Alexander Roslin Archived 22 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine., Nationalmuseum, retrieved 17 February 2014.
  14. ^ a b c d Maarten Levendig, "Alexander Roslin: The Lady with the Veil (1768); Nationalmuseum, Stockholm", Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, 23 June 2013.
  15. ^ a b Didier Rykner, "Two Paintings by Alexandre Roslin for Versailles and Stockholm", The Art Tribune, 6 December 2013.
  16. ^ "Sweden's Nationalmuseum acquires family portrait painted in 1767 by Alexander Roslin", ArtDaily, 2013, retrieved 17 February 2014.
  17. ^ "Alexander Roslin", Bukowskis, retrieved 17 February 2014 (in Swedish)
  18. ^ Holkers, Märta (2007). Den svenska målarkonstens historia. Stockholm: Bonnier. p. 88. ISBN 978-91-0-011735-1.
  19. ^ Bjurström, Per (1993). Roslin. Höganäs: Wiken. pp. 30–40. ISBN 978-91-0-011735-1.
  20. ^ Märta Holkers, Den svenska målarkonstens historia, Stockholm: Bonnier, 2007, ISBN 978-91-0-011735-1 (in Swedish)
  21. ^ "Roslin, Alexander". Dictionary.com, copied from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  22. ^ "Portrait of Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna". royal family.org. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  23. ^ "alexander-roslin-lady-with-veil-1768". rijksmuseumamsterdam. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  24. ^ "Paris salons". National Gallery of Austria. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  25. ^ "Alexander Roslin". Antik. Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  26. ^ "The-Lady-with-the-Veil". www.nationalmuseum.se.

Further reading

  • Magnus Olausson and Eva-Lena Karlsson (eds.) Alexander Roslin. Exhibition catalog. Nationalmusei utställningskatalog 652. Stockholm: Nationalmuseum, 2007. ISBN 9789171007711

External links

This page was last edited on 10 October 2018, at 06:21
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