Friday, August 19, 2016

Dog Days of Summer - James Jacques Joseph Tissot 1836-1902

 James Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836-1902) Detail Young Lady in a Boat

 James Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836-1802) Detail Quiet

James Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836-1802) Mrs Catherine Smith Gill and Two of her Children

James Jacques Joseph (1836-1902). Luncheon on the Grass

James Tissot (French Painter, 1836-1902) Hammock

Dog Days of Summer is the name for the most sultry period of summer, from about July 3 to Aug. 11. Named in early times by observers in countries bordering the Mediterranean, the period was determined to extend from 20 days before to 20 days after the conjunction of Sirius (the dog star) & the sun.  The Greek poets Hesiod (ca. 750-650 BCE) & Aratus (ca. 310–240 BCE) refer, in their writings, to "the heat of late summer that the Greeks believed was actually brought on by the appearance of Sirius," a star in the constellation, that the later Romans, & we today refer to as Canis Major, literally the "greater dog" constellation. Homer, in the Iliad, references the association of "Orion's dog" (Sirius) with oncoming heat, fevers, & evil, in describing the approach of Achilles toward Troy:
Sirius rises late in the dark, liquid sky
On summer nights, star of stars,
Orion's Dog they call it, brightest
Of all, but an evil portent, bringing heat
And fevers to suffering humanity.

The term "dog days" was used by the Greeks in Aristotle's Physics.  Astronomer Geminus, around 70 B.C., wrote: "It is generally believed that Sirius produces the heat of the 'dog days,' but this is an error, for the star merely marks a season of the year when the sun"s heat is the greatest." The lectionary of 1559 edition of the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer indicates: "Naonae. Dog days begin" with the readings for July 7 & end August 18. But the readings for September 5 indicate: "Naonae. Dog days end."  This corresponds very closely to the lectionary of the 1611 edition of the King James Bible which indicates the Dog Days beginning on July 6 & ending on September 5.

Summer Fans - 19C & 20C American

James Carroll Beckwith (American artist, 1852-1917) Afternoon Idyll

By the late 1800s, fans were part of the Japonisme props used by American artists.  Japonisme is the influence of Japanese art, fashion, & aesthetics on Western culture.  Japonisme was a term first applied to art in the 1870s.  And, of course, fans were suggested by other cultures as well.

John Toole (American painter, 1815-1860) Elizabeth H S Burton 

William Jennys 1774-1858 Woman with a Fan

Cephas Giovanni Thompson (American artist, 1809 – 1888) Young Lady in a Blue Dress  

Lee Lufkin Kaula (American, 1865-1957). The Black Fan

Winslow Homer (1836-1910) Detail Spanish Girl with Fan

Francis Luis Mora (Uruguayan-born American Painter, 1874-1940) Mercedes

Of course, there were fans in American paintings before the influence of Japanese culture.

Louise Howland King Cox (American painter, 1865-1945)

De Scott Evans (American artist, 1847 – 1898) The Connoisseur

Edwin Howland Blashfield (American artist , 1848 – 1936) Portrait of the Artist's Wife

Hamilton Hamilton (American artist, 1847 – 1928) Woman with a Fan

James Wells Champney (American artist, 1843 – 1903) The Fan

Guy Pene du Bois (American painter, 1894-1958) Singer with a Fan 1912

Morning Madonna

Roberto Ferruzzi (Italian artist, 1854–1934) Madonna of the Streets 1887

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 a large part of the core of early Western art.  In the 4C, as the Christian population was rapidly growing & was now supported by the state, Christian art evolved & became grander to suit new, enlarged public spaces & the changing contemporary tastes of elite private clients.