Friday, May 31, 2019
Thursday, May 30, 2019
In this allegory of Spring, a man holds the hands of a bashful young woman. He points to two doves billing beside him, while a boy on the right plays with a bird's nest, and an old woman looks upset. The cat at the woman's side has his eyes on the tasty chicks in the bird nest.
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
This small tapestry panel comes from Egypt. That area had a major weaving (especially linen) industry throughout the ancient and medieval period, which brought the country a great deal of its trade and wealth. Unlike the textiles of other cultures, many of these pieces have been preserved by Egypt's hot, dry climate, which prevents rotting. Personifications of the seasons were thought to represent prosperity.
Historically in many cultures, a female personification or a Spring goddess celebrated the hope of new growth as the decay of winter gave way to Nature's renewal and rebirth. Spring begins with the first green shoots and explodes into a multitude of beautiful blossoms and promise of good harvest. In ancient times, communities often held festivals to celebrate Spring goddesses who were associated with flowering, growth and fertility of the land.
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Here 4 seated women representing water, air, earth, & fire are surrounded by a lush landscape. The fish flowing from the water jug & the cornucopia of abundance cradled in the arms of the figure on the right correspond to the tactile elements of water & earth. The birds in the sky & trees & the accoutrements of battle in the foreground correspond to the intangible elements of fire & air. The figures, the still life objects, & the landscape work together as a unified scene, yet two different artists worked to create this painting. Frequent collaborators, the skilled figure painter Frans Francken II painted the women & background figures, & Jan Brueghel the Younger described the landscape.
Such collaboration between artists was common in Antwerp during the 1600s, as artists often specialized in either landscape or figure painting. Flemish artists of the time repeatedly painted representations of the 4 elements, suggesting that it was a popular subject with buyers. Brueghel the Younger depicted the senses, the elements, or the seasons as allegories many times throughout his career, either together or individually.
Here, earth is represented by the goddess Ceres, who is surrounded with a satyr, putti, & a figure holding a sheaf of wheat. Ceres, whose name means "creator," was the goddess of agriculture, worshiped over a large part of ancient Italy.
Those winged toddlers over Ceres' head in the painting clutching her crown, are they religious cherubs or secular putti? A putto (pl. putti) is a figure of a human toddler, usually male, often naked with wings, depicted especially in Italian Renaissance & Baroque art. The Latin word "putus" means boy or child. During the early modern period, artist Donatello revived & popularized putti figures in Florence during the 1420s.
Neroccio De' Landi (1447-1500) Two Putti, 1490-1510
In the European culture of the 1400s & 1500s, Cherubs & Putti had distinctly different roles. Biblically, Cherubs & Seraphs (Cherubim & Seraphim) were sacred angels in heaven closest to God. Putti, arose from Greco-Roman classical myths, not the Christian tradition, and were associated with Eros or Cupid as well as with the Muse Erato of lyric & love poetry.
Raphael Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (1483–1520), Sistine Cherubs
As in these paintings, allegorical characters in stories & in art of this period were often located in garden settings. The locus amoenus was one of the traditional locations of epic & chivalric literature. As a literary genre of high culture, romance or chivalric romance is a type of prose & verse narrative that was popular in the aristocratic circles of Medieval & Early Modern Europe. Locus amoenus (Latin for "pleasant place") is a literary term which generally referring to an idealized place of safety or comfort, usually a beautiful, shady parkland or open woods, sometimes with connotations of Eden. A locus amoenus usually has 3 basic elements: trees, grass, & water.
Often, the locus amoenus garden will be in a remote setting & with only components or suggestions of a more formal, geometric, walled garden. These paintings employ this setting. The locus amoenus can also be used to highlight the differences between urban & rural life or be a place of refuge from the processes of time & mortality. In some works, such gardens also have overtones of the regenerative powers of human sexuality marked out by flowers, & goddesses of springtime, love, & fertility. Ernst Robert Curtius formulated the concept's definition in his European Literature & the Latin Middle Ages (1953).
About these confusing Breughels -
Pieter Bruegel (also Brueghel) 1525-1569 was a Netherlandish Renaissance painter & printmaker known for his landscapes & peasant scenes (later called genre painting). From 1559, he dropped the 'h' from his name & signed his paintings as Bruegel.
Pieter the Elder had 2 sons: Pieter Brueghel the Younger 1564 -1636 & Jan Brueghel the Elder 1568-1625 (both changed their name to Brueghel). Their grandmother, Mayken Verhulst, trained the sons because "the Elder" died when both were very small children. The older brother, Pieter Brueghel, copied his father's style but without the same great talent. Jan was more successful, as he turned to the Baroque style & collaborated with many fine artists.
Pieter Brueghel the Younger or Pieter Bruegel the Younger (before 1616 he signed his name as 'Brueghel' & after 1616 as 'Breughel') 1564 -1636 was a Flemish painter, known for numerous copies after his father Pieter Bruegel the Elder's work as well as his original compositions. The large output of his studio, which produced for the local & export market, contributed to the international spread of his father's imagery.
Jan Brueghel the Elder 1568-1625 was a Flemish painter, son of Pieter Bruegel the Elder & father of Jan Brueghel the Younger 1601-1678. Many of his paintings are collaborations in which figures by other painters were placed in landscapes painted by Jan Brueghel; in other works, Brueghel painted the figures into another artist's landscape or architectural interior. The most famous of his collaborators was Peter Paul Rubens who collaborated on about 25 paintings.
Jan Brueghel the Younger 1601-1678 was a Flemish Baroque painter. Jan the Younger's best works are his extensive landscapes, either under his own name or made for other artists such as Hendrick van Balen as backgrounds. He collaborated with a number of prominent artists including Rubens, Hendrick van Balen (1575–1632), Adriaen Stalbemt (1580–1682), Lucas Van Uden (1596–1672), David Teniers the Younger, and his father-in-law Abraham Janssens. His pupils were his older sons Abraham , 1631-1690, Philips, & Jan Peeter 1628-1664, his nephew Jan van Kessel, & his younger brother Ambrosius.
Monday, May 27, 2019
People appear to work in the walled sunken garden behind the group. A man hands a flower to a young woman sitting on a terrace with her attendant standing behind them. A boy at right has a parrot perched on his hand. They are in a garden with a statue of a Venus & an arch at left, through which a couple can be seen in an embrace. Plants in pots dot the area around the group.
Sunday, May 26, 2019
Saturday, May 25, 2019
For many centuries sheep have been washed in the spring & early summer, before shearing, to clean the fleece of the dirt, grit & grease which inevitably build up over the winter months. It should not be confused with the chemical sheep dipping which is a more recent practice, begun in the 19C, aimed at controlling parasitic infestation. Sheep washing usually involved driving the flock through a fenced off section of running water. Many localities had a traditional site for sheep washing, most were on local rivers or pools, but some villages used the mill pond or even a suitable stretch of a seaside beach. The men would spend hours waist high in cold water & each animal had to be totally immersed & scrubbed.
Friday, May 24, 2019
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Monday, May 20, 2019
Sunday, May 19, 2019
Saturday, May 18, 2019
Jacob Grimmer (Flemish artist, 1525-1590) Allegory of the Four Seasons - Spring. Here the gentry seem to be gathering to celebrate the arrival of spring, while the peasants work in the gardens behind & husband the animals.
Friday, May 17, 2019
Here Spring is once again depicted as a fashionably-dressed young woman with flowers in her hair, picking a rose from a bush on the right, holding others in her apron, She is resting her elbow on a parapet overlooking a garden. In the background, a man is leaning against a garden balustrade and a couple stand in front of a domed garden temple.
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
This depiction of Spring shows a family on a river bank. The man is holding a fishing rod and displying a fish caught on the line, while the woman opens a wicker basket full of others. The little girl stands holding a basket of flowers, while the little boy kneels in the foreground, feeding birds in a nest in his hat. Behind them a team is ploughing in the background to right.
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Monday, May 13, 2019
Sunday, May 12, 2019
Saturday, May 11, 2019
In Pagan Rome, Floralia, from April 27-May 3 was the festival of the Flower Goddess Flora & the flowering of Springtime. Roman Catholic traditions of adoring statues of Mary with garlands of flowers on May 1 have Roman Pagan roots. On May 1, offerings were made to Bona Dea (as Mother Earth), the Lares (household guardian spirits), & Maia (Goddess of Increase) from whom May gets its name. On May 1, early cultures followed a pastoral tradition of turning sheep, cows, other livestock out to pasture. In early Scandinavia, mock battles between Winter & Summer were enacted at this time.
Fire is a common accompaniment to many May celebrations. Celebrants mark the holiday by lighting fires, dancing, feasting & often performing fertility rites. Many built a bonfire & then moved through it or danced clockwise around it. Livestock was driven around a Beltane fire or between 2 fires for purification & fertility blessings. In ancient times Druid priests kindled it at sacred places. In later times, Christian priests kindled their spring fires in fields near the church after peforming a Christian church service. Branches & twigs often were carried around these fire 3 times, then hung over hearths to bless homes. Risk-takers made a wish for good luck before jumping a bonfire or the flame of a candle. Beltane may refer to the “fires of Bel,” in honor of the Celtic sun god, Belenus. Some pagans believe fire has the power to cleanse, purify & increase fertility.
Some believed during May the veil between the human & supernatural worlds is at its thinnest, making them potent days for magic.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Thursday, May 9, 2019
In May, during the 16C, ladies & gentlemen often participated in traditional May festivities, such as couples heading for the woods to collect flowers & green branches to decorate their homes. It was a celebration of a return to life & fertility.
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
In Pagan Rome, the celebration of Floralia, from April 27-May 3 was the festival of the Flower Goddess Flora & the flowering of Springtime.
Monday, May 6, 2019
In ancient spring-times, gathering & exchanging of Flowers & Greens was common in May. Merrymakers decorated homes, barns, & other buildings with green budding branches. Men & women made garlands & wreaths of Flowers & Greens. May celebrates flowers, fertility, sensuality, & delight. Some celebrants believed that on May Eve, you could bless your garden in by making love there with your partner.
Sunday, May 5, 2019
Saturday, May 4, 2019
Friday, May 3, 2019
Thursday, May 2, 2019
1620 Lady as Spring, by Follower of Abraham Janssens, also called Abraham Janssens Van Nuyssen (Flemish, 1573-1632)
Spring brings flowers, fertility, sensuality, & delight.
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
May Day, usually the 1st of May, celebrates the onset of summer, the height of Spring, & The ancient European festival of spring, Beltane, features a goddess which manifests as the May Queen & the goddess Flora.