Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spectacular Renaissance gardens + a little scandal - Château de Villandry


The Château de Villandry, Indre-et-Loire, France.

The Château de Villandry, Indre-et-Loire, France, was constructed in the 1500s, reportedly on the spot where King Philip II of France (1165-1223) once met Richard I of England (1157-1199) to discuss peace.   Its Renaissance gardens include a water garden, ornamental flower gardens, & vegetable gardens.

During the French Revolution, the property was confiscated, & in the early 19th century, Emperor Napoleon acquired it for his brother Jérôme Bonaparte, who had married Betsy Patterson in Baltimore, in 1803. Across the Atlantic, Napoléon, who was already planning his coronation as well as anticipating marriages for all his siblings with the major royal houses of continental Europe, was none too pleased to learn of his 19-year-old brother’s marriage.

Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte by Francesco Emanuele Scotto, circa 1806

Napoleon ordered his brother back to France demanding that the marriage be annulled.  Jérôme ignored Napoleon's initial demand, that he return to France without his wife. Furious, Napoléon ordered that Betsy be forbidden from landing anywhere in continental Europe but encouraged his brother to continue on without her. Napoléon offered her an annual pension of 60,000 francs a year, if she would only agree to leave & relinquish the Bonaparte name.  Betsy refused.

1804 Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828) Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte

Promising to sort things out & have her received in proper state, Jérôme went off to reason with Napoléon, assuring poor pregnant Betsy, who was left behind in neutral Portugal, that he would do everything he could to sort the situation out. He never returned.  She bore him a son in 1805, & returned to America.  Jerome got a new wife without benefit of a legal divorce & the Château de Villandry.

The Château de Villandry, Indre-et-Loire, France.


The Château de Villandry, Indre-et-Loire, France.


Historic American Seed and Plant Catalogs from Smithsonian Institution Libraries





Just one more Millais - Shakespeare's women - The Quality of Mercy


John Everett Millais (English painter, 1829-1896) Portia

Perhaps it is not a crown or power that makes a leader...

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice.

Shakespeare's Portia, The Merchant of Venice IV i 179


Spring 1800s


John Everett Millais (British artist, 1829-96) Spring


19C Native American Women by American artist Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874)


Alfred Jacob Miller (American artist, 1810-1874) Indian Courtship

Indian Courtship

"The North American Indian carries his wonderful stoicism into every transaction of his life,- even the tender subject of selecting a helpmate does not disturb his tranquility - neither is he affected with the slightest romance in regard to the subject. He brings his presents and casts them at the feet of his bronzed favorite, ostensibly for her; but intended for the optics of the father,- these consist of cloths of brilliant colors, beaver skins, beads, trinkets &c." A.J. Miller, extracted from "The West of Alfred Jacob Miller" (1837). 

In July of 1858, Baltimore art collector William T. Walters commissioned 200 watercolors at $12  apiece from Baltimore-born artist Alfred Jacob Miller. These paintings were each accompanied by a descriptive text written by the artist, & were delivered in installments over the next 21 months & ultimately bound in 3 albums. These albums included the field-sketches drawn during Miller's 1837 expedition to the annual fur-trader's rendezvous in the Green River Valley (now western Wyoming).  These watercolors offer a unique record of the the lives of those involved in the closing years of the western fur trade & a look at the artist's opinions of both women & Native Americans. 

  The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland.

Garden-1600s


1625 Jacques Callot (Print made by) French - Gardener


Morning Madonna


Workshop of Rogier van der Weyden, Diptych Madonna with St. Cathrine. Madonna and Child


Workshop of Rogier van der Weyden Madonna Enthroned

In this blog, I try to begin each day with a painting of the Madonna & Child. It centers me; connects me to the past; & encourages me to post some of the religious paintings which were the core of early Western art.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Historic American Seed and Plant Catalogs from Smithsonian Institution Libraries




Spring


Nelson Augustus Moore (American artist, 1824-1902)  Springtime in Connecticut


Nelson Augustus Moore (American artist, 1824-1902)  Spring Walk


19C Native American women by American artist Alfred Jacob Miller (1810-1874)


Alfred Jacob Miller (American artist, 1810-1874) A Young Woman of the Flat Head Tribe

A Young Woman of the Flat Head Tribe

In July of 1858, Baltimore art collector William T. Walters commissioned 200 watercolors at $12  apiece from Baltimore-born artist Alfred Jacob Miller. These paintings were each accompanied by a descriptive text written by the artist, & were delivered in installments over the next 21 months & ultimately bound in 3 albums. These albums included the field-sketches drawn during Miller's 1837 expedition to the annual fur-trader's rendezvous in the Green River Valley (now western Wyoming).  These watercolors offer a unique record of the the lives of those involved in the closing years of the western fur trade & a look at the artist's opinions of both women & Native Americans. 

One of the social highlights of the rendezvous occurred when this young woman ("quite a belle," Miller thought) ran off with a "stalwart Canadian trapper." Not knowing that the trapper had already begun paying court to the girl, one of Miller's friends, a young man from St. Louis named Phillipson, decided that she would be his. His presents and attentions were "kindly received," Miller noted, encouraging the young man. Phillipson felt embarrassed before the whole camp when the "simple Indian girl," realizing that her future was with the trapper, stole off quietly. Phillipson initially was "crest-fallen and melancholy," Miller recorded, but later regained his serenity. 

 The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland. 


1500s Garden


1695 Caspar Luyken (Dutch printmaker, 1672-1708) Two Gardeners


Morning Madonna


John Trumbull (American artist, 1756-1843) The Holy Family

In this blog, I try to begin each day with a painting of the Madonna & Child. It centers me; connects me to the past; & encourages me to post some of the religious paintings which were the core of early Western art.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Spring Flowers




The Ressurrection of Christ & of Everyman by Stanley Spencer 1891-1959


Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959) The Resurrection - Reunion 1945


Spencer's Ressurrection paintings focused on the life after death of Everyman, the result of Christ's resurrection for all of mankind.  Spencer depicted graves opening in Cookham churchyards & other local settings with friends & neighbors & relatives arising to the sound of the Last Trumpet.  Spencer was not religious in the conventional sense & believed that organized “religion is a gloomy wretched thing, a depressing atmosphere.” Spencer’s spiritual world was dominated by the “Holy Spirit.” He had a vision of humanity bound together by “the imaginative powers which we all possess” in universal brotherly love.


Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959) The Resurrection - Cookham 1924-7


 Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959)  The Resurrection - Tidying, 1945


 Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959) The Resurrection 1947


Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959) The Resurrection - Reunion 1945


 Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959)  The Resurrection Port Glasgow 1947-50


 Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959) The Resurrection - Reunion 1945


 Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959) The Resurrection


Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959) The Resurrection - The Reunion of Families 1945


 Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959) The Resurrection - Waking Up 1945


Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959) The Resurrection -Detail - With the Raising of Jairus's Daughter 1947


Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959) The Resurrection - Waking Up 1945


Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959) The Resurrection - Waking Up 1945


Stanley Spencer, (English painter, 1891-1959) The Resurrection - The Hill of Zion 1946


Spring Flowers