Friday, February 3, 2017

American Artist Matthew Pratt 1734-1805

Matthew Pratt (American Colonial Era Painter, 1734-1805) Portrait of Abigail Willing (1743–1830)

Matthew Pratt (American Colonial Era Painter, 1734-1805) Mary Jemima (Mrs James Balfour)

Matthew Pratt (American Colonial Era Painter, 1734-1805) Elizabeth Gay (Mrs. Thomas Bolling) with twins Sarah & Ann 1773

Matthew Pratt (American Colonial Era Painter, 1734-1805) Elizabeth Shewell (1741-1814) (Mrs Benjamin West) c 1765

Matthew Pratt (American Colonial Era Painter, 1734-1805) Benjamin West (American artist, 1738-1820)

At age 15, Matthew Pratt (1734-1805) was apprenticed to his artist uncle, James Claypoole, from whom he learned "all the different branches of the painting business, particularly portrait-painting." About 1764, he went to England to join expatriate artist Benjamin West. Upon returning to the new republic, Charles Willson Peale noted that Pratt had a full-length of John Dickinson plus "a considerable number of portraits on hand." Pratt worked in New York City in 1771-72, where his commissions included a full-length portrait of Governor Cadwalader Colden, & he met John Singleton Copley. Pratt next traveled to Williamsburg, Virginia, where he advertised a spring 1773 issue of The Virginia Gazette that he was "Lately from England and Ireland But last from New York." Later, as a partner in the Philadelphia firm of Pratt, Rutter & Co., which offered "Portrait and ornamental painting," he returned to the steady income of decorative & sign painting.

Matthew Pratt (American Colonial Era Painter, 1734-1805) Self Portrait

Morning Maonna - The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple from Illuminated Manuscripts

 15C Presentation of Jesus at the temple

The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple or Candlemas is described in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 2:22–40). According to the gospel, Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem 40 days  after his birth to complete Mary's ritual purification after childbirth, and to perform the redemption of the firstborn, in obedience to the Law of Moses (Leviticus 12, Exodus 13:12-15, etc.). Luke explicitly says that Joseph and Mary take the option provided for poor people (those who could not afford a lamb) (Leviticus 12:8), sacrificing "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." (Leviticus 12:1-4 indicates that this event should take place forty days after birth for a male child, hence the Presentation is celebrated 40 days after Christmas.)

 After an icon by Theophanes the Cretan, 1535, Great Lavra Monastery on Mount Athos

Upon bringing Jesus into the temple, they encountered Simeon. The Gospel records that Simeon had been promised that "he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ" (Luke 2:26). Simeon prayed the prayer that would become known as the Nunc Dimittis, or Canticle of Simeon, which prophesied the redemption of the world by Jesus: "Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace; according to Thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people: to be a light to lighten the gentiles and to be the glory of Thy people Israel." (Luke 2:29-32).

 Book of Hours. Netherlands c1460 The Presentation at the Temple

Simeon then prophesied to Mary: "Behold, this child is set for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which is spoken against. Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed" (Luke 2:34-35). The elderly prophetess Anna was also in the Temple, and offered prayers and praise to God for Jesus, and spoke to everyone there about Jesus and his role in the redemption of Israel (Luke 2:36-38).

Folio 24 verso from Walther, Ingo F. and Norbert Wolf. Codices Illustres Cologne, TASCHEN, 2005, p. 127.


 The Presentation at the Temple, Greek, c 1800


 Ingeborg Psalter c. 1195 Manuscript (Ms. 9) Musée Condé, Chantilly


 LTPSC Book of Hours.. Presentation of Jesus at the Temple


Presentation of Christ in the Temple, ms of Carmelite Friars in London c 1375


Menologion of Basil II, 11C illuminated manuscript.


Presentation in the Temple from a Book of Hours in Latin. Central or Northern France, probably Bourges, early, 16th century).


 Presentation in the Temple in a benedictional, Ottonian, about 1030–40


 Presentation of Jesus at the Temple 1270s.


The Sforza Book of Hours Presentation in the Temple, from the prayers at None, British Library Add MS 34294, f. 104v


The St Albans Psalter, owned by St Godehard's Church, Hildesheim now at University of Aberdeen, Scotland Presentation in the Temple.

Morning Madonna

Unknown Master, Italian (active around 1360 in Venice). The Virgin of Humility with Angels and Donor

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.