Saturday, August 20, 2016

Dog Days of Summer - Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin 1848-1903



 Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (French painter, 1848-1903) Breton Girls Dancing, Pont-Aven



 Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (French painter, 1848-1903) Detail Breton Women At The Turn



 Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (French painter, 1848-1903) Joyfulness or Arearea



 Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (French painter, 1848-1903) Raro te Oviri



 Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (French painter, 1848-1903) Scene From Tahitian Life



 Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (French painter, 1848-1903) Tableau Raro te Oviri Sous les pandanus



 Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (French painter, 1848-1903) The Hibiscus Tree



Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (French painter, 1848-1903) The Kelp Gatherers 1889


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 - John Singer Sargent 1856-1925

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John Singer Sargent (American expatriate artist, 1856-1925) Etta Durham

The painter of these images of well-to-do women holding fans influenced by the Japonisme style, John Singer Sargent, was one of the many American artists who left America to study in Paris. Sargent did not paint many trendy compositions, but his fans fit into part of the Asian influence on Western art of the late 19th century.

After the American Civil War, the country was struggling to regain some sense of order and calm.  Many looked to Paris as the place to be for any serious art student who could afford to travel there. In contrast to the physically & emotionally torn American citites, Paris was a bustling cosmopolitan city & the capital of the western art world. Art students enrolled in one of the many art schools there, hoping to polish their prior art and academic educations. More established artists used Paris to try their luck selling & building their reputation at the important international exhibitions held there.

A few Americans stayed becoming part of a significant American expatriate community in the French capital. As the novelist Henry James reported of the "irresistible city" in an 1887 article, "it sounds like a paradox, but it is a very simple truth, that when today we look for American art we find it mainly in Paris. When we find it out of Paris, we at least find a good deal of Paris in it."

John Singer Sargent (American expatriate artist, 1856-1925) Mrs Ian Hamilton (Jean Muir)


John Singer Sargent (American expatriate artist, 1856-1925) Mrs Joseph Chamberlain


John Singer Sargent (American expatriate artist, 1856-1925) Mrs Thomas Wodehouse Legh


John Singer Sargent (American expatriate artist, 1856-1925) Mrs Hamilton McKown Twombly (Florence Adele Vanderbilt)


John Singer Sargent (American expatriate artist, 1856-1925) Mrs Cecil Wade


John Singer Sargent (American expatriate artist, 1856-1925) Countess Clary Aldringen Threse Kinsky


John Singer Sargent (American expatriate artist, 1856-1925) Mrs Mahlon Day Sands (Mary Hartpeace)


John Singer Sargent (American expatriate artist, 1856-1925) Ada Rehan


John Singer Sargent (American expatriate artist, 1856-1925) Mrs Frederick Barnard


John Singer Sargent (American expatriate artist, 1856-1925) Mrs Henry White


John Singer Sargent (American expatriate artist, 1856-1925) Mrs William Playfair


Morning Madonna


Madonna and Child by Tytus Czyżewski (1880-1945)

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.