The official blog of Lucky Compiler publishes exclusive interviews of renowned artists and photographers and presents original articles on the works of past masters.
In 16th century Rome Taddeo Zuccari (changed to Taddeo Zuccaro in 1569) was famous as much for his elegant mannerist style paintings as for his sweetness of demeanour and geniality. He persuaded his brother Federico, who was then studying law, to join him in his artistic pursuits. Federico remained a lifelong companion and assisted Taddeo in the completion of many a prominent frescoes and other artworks.
Taddeo Zuccari (September 1, 1529 – September 2, 1566) was born in Sant’Angelo in Vado, Province of Pesaro e Urbino. He relocated to Rome at a tender age of fourteen after receiving an invitation to work on a series of frescoes. In 1548, he executed a monochromatic series depicting the fables of Marcus Furius Camillus for wealthy businessman Jacopo Mattei. Vatican employed him on more than one occasion as Zuccari received regular commissions from popes Julius III and Paul IV. Decorating the villa of Caprarola with his brother Frederico remained the highlight of his career.
Taddeo Zuccari sought inspirations in the works of Raphael and Correggio. His life was cut short due to an untimely death and many of his incomplete projects were later completed by his brother Federico. Federico also looked after Taddeo’s daughter Mary Magdalene who later became a Benedictine nun. The lives and works of Zuccari brothers appear in the essays of Giorgio Vasari.
Frederick Hollyer’s name is widely recognised owing to his portrait photographs of eminent personalities of 19th century Britain, more particularly, the Pre–Raphaelites. Aesthetically his photographs, including their famous tonal range, borrowed heavily from the world of fine art and the art movements of the day.
Frederick Hollyer’s (June 17, 1838 – November 21, 1933) appreciation of art and aestheticism was inspired by his father who was an engraver, publisher and collector of paintings. Hollyer received training in mezzotint engraving that served him well for advancing his photographic techniques. He received patronage from famous artist Frederic Leighton for photographing paintings and drawings.
Hollyer became a fellow of Royal Photography Society in 1895 and got involved in the functioning of The Linked Ring. Though he did not practice but support the pictorialist movement in photography. The advice he had for budding photographers is pertinent still today,
I think it would be a most useful thing, even from the business point of view, if every photographer would resolve that for every negative made for profit there should be another made for love. The greatest good of the Photographic Salon has been in showing that the best professional photographers could do some of the finest amateur work.
Artus Quellinus the Elder became a major influence in the sphere of public art and sculpture in the Low Countries in 17th century. His baroque style was different from the effulgence of the Florentine masters yet steeped in classicism and sublime in its own way.
Born into a family of artists, Artus Quellinus the Elder (August 30, 1609 – August 23 1668) received preliminary training from his father Erasmus Quellinus I, himself a noted sculptor. His brothers too went on to become prominent painters and engravers. Artus travelled to Rome in 1639 and followed that up with a visit to François Duquesnoy’s studio. Duquesnoy’s mannerist techniques prompted Artus to carry the ideals of baroque back home in Antwerp. Artus was also active in Amsterdam, Lyon and Sweden.
Artus’s decoration of the Amsterdam city hall prompted his brother Hubertus to create several etchings of architectural drawings and publish a book that immortalised Artus’s achievements. His sculptures at St. Mary’s Church and Schleswig Cathedral among several others in Germany inspired the development of tomb sculpture in the northern part of the country. His realistic depiction of portraits also became hugely popular. For modern viewers hardly any other sculptural piece of Artus is more adorable than The Sleeping Infant.
When young Jacques–Louis David sought assistance from François Boucher (1703 – 1770) in 1760s for the improvement of his painting techniques the latter knew the days of rococo is nearing its end and it would receive its fated blow from none other than David himself. Boucher duly sent David to his compatriot Joseph–Marie Vien (1716 – 1809), a classicist painter, for further training. Vien would later influence David’s entry to the French Academy in Rome and also accompany his protégé for a trip to Italy.
Jacques–Louis David (August 30, 1748 – December 29, 1825) overcame family’s misgivings about the choice of his vocation, who wanted him to be an architect, to became a painter. After five unsuccessful attempts, for reasons other than his painting skills, David managed to win Prix de Rome in 1774. In one of the preceding years he even went on for a hunger strike in protest of the judges’ decision of awarding the Prix de Rome to another candidate. Time spent in Italy studying works of great masters and also visiting the ruins of Pompeii affected him profoundly.
The changing political scene and friendships with people like Maximilien Robespierre and later Napoleon Bonaparte had a decided influence on David’s art. His artworks, powerful, masculine and full of ardour, resonated well with the sensibilities of the time. While in trying to depict revolution on canvas real time he opened hitherto unexplored pathway for art it also made him susceptible to those who wanted to use his work as propaganda for a new regime. The poignant imagery of The Death of Marat, one of his artistic triumphs, speaks of many untold stories.
The final decade of David’s life was spent in exile, first in Brussels and later in the Netherlands. He continued painting zealously and producing such work as Mars Disarmed by Venus and the Graces when he was a septuagenarian. He breathed his last shortly afterwards a freak accident in Brussels on his way back home from theatre.
In the arts the way in which an idea is rendered, and the manner in which it is expressed, is much more important than the idea itself. To give a body and a perfect form to one’s thought, this – and only this – is to be an artist.
Jean–Marie–Joseph Ingres, a painter, sculptor, stonemason and amateur musician, in 18th century France may be a largely forgotten figure now. But as a father of Jean–Auguste–Dominique Ingres he passed on all his talent in art and music to his son. He even tutored his son in both the subjects. Young Ingres started receiving education from École des Frères de l’Éducation Chrétienne till the upheaval of French Revolution disrupted his studies. He received specialised training in landscape painting, sculpture and neoclassical art.
Though Jean–Auguste–Dominique Ingres’s (August 29, 1780 – January 14, 1867) junior years were marked by several awards and recognitions he did not enjoy the same luck later on. His unusual style and visions depicted on canvas were viciously condemned by established artists as well as critics. Even Jacques–Louis David, in whose studio Ingres spent four years, failed to admire the distinctiveness of his protégé’s work. Time spent in Italy, where the artist migrated in 1806, did not improve the situation and Ingres was forced into abject poverty. His engagement with Julie Forestier, also an artist and musician, was severed due to his refusal to return to Paris.
Ingres believed himself to be a painter of history even though to the world his identity is often associated with his portraits. He consciously shunned depicting battle scenes and violence on canvas. In fact with his brushes too he remained a fervid violinist, lyrical, abstract and enigmatic for his day and age. Aptly did he say, ‘One must keep right on drawing; draw with your eyes when you cannot draw with a pencil.’
Motonobu (August 28, 1476 – November 5, 1559) belonged to the famous Kano School of painting. In fact his father and first teacher in art, Masanobu was one of the founders of the Kano School. Motonobu’s prolific career as an artist is defined by his minimalist yet persuasive ink drawings, paintings and calligraphy.
Motonobu received patronage both from local businessmen and aristocratic families. His artwork and collection of fans, when presented to Emperor Go–Nara, fetched him both acclaim and admiration. The projects undertaken for Reiun–in monastery, Kyoto resulting in elaborate painted panels, bear his mastery to this date. His personal differences in belief did not prevent him from decorating Ishiyama Hongan–ji temple in Osaka (1539 – 1553). Besides he was a revered teacher maintaining a large workshop for local talents.
Though the Kano style is based on Chinese ink art Motonobu’s work added flair that is unique to his region. Paintings or more precisely landscapes such as of Mount Fuji are testimony to that. He was showered with honours by subsequent emperors. In the end Motonobu’s art remained an exaltation of the beauty of simplicity.
During one of her many soliloquies Marianne von Werefkin mused, ‘Such is art. It is the product of life and the individual. It is born from their clash, from the received impression.’ The battles she had to undergo, at times willingly, were the motivators behind her articulations on canvas.
Born as Marianna Wladimirowna Werewkina (August 28, 1860) in Tula, Russia, Werefkin had the privilege of receiving guidance from one of the most eminent artists from her country, Ilya Repin. Her tryst with art was interrupted many times, sometimes due o freak accidents and during 1890s due to her relationship with Alexej von Jawlensky. Despite this she continued being an active member of Blauer Reiter forming friendships with Franz Marc, Wassily Kandinsky, August Macke and Gabriele Münter. She already emigrated to Europe in 1892 and settled in Switzerland with the onset of war.
Though Werefkin experimented with a number of styles she remained devoted to expressionism. The last few years of Werefkin’s life was spent struggling with financial hardships. However, her creativity as an artist remained undiminished till her death on February 6, 1938 in Ascona. In triumphing over many a struggle Werefkin proved her faithfulness to her belief that said,
‘The artist is the only one who detaches himself from life, opposes his personality against it, he is the only one who orders things as he wishes them to be in place of things as they are. Thus for him life is not a fait accompli, it is something to remake, to do again. He takes possession of his gifts in order to continue, to change, He makes his choice, it is he who creates the conceptions of beautiful and ugly, those are the things to preserve, the things to change.’