Category Archives: Matisse

The Visionary Work of Gustave Moreau

Oedipus and the Sphinx

Symbolist art was birthed from the expression of emotion and ideas. Emerging at the time of the French Literary movement, symbolist paintings became popular in the late 1800s. Paving a path for this adventurous style was Gustave Moreau.

Moreau was known for portraying historic, religious, mythological, legendary and fanciful characters with techniques that combine exotic romanticism, symbolism and imagination. His many paintings shimmer with gem-like qualities, which he used to cast visual scenes that could only be described as other worldly.

By the time the symbolist movement dominated France in the 1880s, Moreau had been showcasing those types of paintings for nearly two decades. After years of receiving recognition for his accomplishments in this genre, he began teaching and encouraging this style in young artists just as he was encouraged by his parents and mentors.

Self Portrait

Self Portrait

Gustave Moreau was born in Paris in 1826. His parents were people of comfortable means; his father, an architect and his mother, the daughter of a prominent man. When Moreau shared his dreams of pursuing art as a career his parents supported him and tried to open whatever doors they could.

 

 

When Moreau was about 20 years old he was paired with teacher Francois-Edouard Picot, a neoclassical painter who was able to offer him sound lessons and a solid art foundation. During this time, the aspiring painter spent much time creating oils sketches, large paintings and studying nudes.

After gaining some experience with Picot, Moreau was later taken under the wing of Theodore Chassériau, a romantic painter who excelled in classicism, too. It has been said that Chassériau’s romantic style, exemplified through lighting, color and character was also evident in Moreau’s work.

Moreau spent much time with Chassériau and even moved next store to the artist. During this time, he grew to appreciate Paris, which was alive with fashion, literature and art salons. When Chassériau passed away at the young age of 37, Moreau was devastated. He became sad and aggravated with his work.

The Toilet by Gustave Moreau

The Toilet by Gustave Moreau

One year after his friend and mentor died, Moreau traveled to Italy where he would study artwork from the Renaissance era, as well as Roman and Grecian architecture. He returned to Paris in 1859 and lived a rather isolated life where he mostly concentrated on his artwork. While he appreciated the stylistic elements of romanticism, he felt his characters were drab. At this time, he began using Persian, Indian and Japanese art to fuel his imagination and inspire his characters. This increased the uniqueness of his style. Finally, Moreau was ready to show the world his work.

Moreau’s first piece to receive notable attention was Oedipus and the Sphinx. He exhibited this piece in 1864 at the Salon, which is the beginning of his most prominent season as an artist. As he straddled the eras of Romanticism and Realism, Moreau offered art enthusiasts a creative explanation of history by infusing his work with mystique.
Other important Gustave Moreau works include The Young Man and Death (1865), Head of Orpheus (1866), Jupiter and Europa (1868) and The Saint and the Poet (1869). Then, after leaving the public eye for seven years Moreau emerged with Salome Dancing (1876) and The Sphinx’s Riddle Solved (1878) among others.

Throughout his years of exhibiting artwork at the Salon he won many awards and was made knight of the Legion of Honour in 1875. In 1892 Moreau began teaching at Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Three of his students were Marquet, Matisse and Rouault.

When Moreau died in 1898 over 8,000 pieces of artwork were found in his home. This work was not seen in his lifetime but is displayed today at the Musée Gustave Moreau. Different from other galleries, Moreau built this home and designed the gallery before he died. Today, it is a popular destination for art enthusiasts visiting Paris.
Gustave Moreau was ahead of his time as a symbolist painter. With his infusion of color and light, and use of cultural techniques, his imaginative works will never go out of style. They are remarkable, distinct and ever powerful.

However, this post is meant to recognize his artist style and some major pieces. For those who want to read more of Gustave Moreau’s story, visit this link: http://www.segmation.com/products_pc_patternset_contents.asp?set=GMR. Also, Segmation is proud to offer 26 digital Gustave Moreau patterns. By downloading these paint by numbers masterpieces, you can emulate one of the most fascinating artists who ever lived.

Enjoy the 26 Gustave Moreau Patterns Segmation has for you and continue to learn and celebrate the life of a great artist.

Sources:

Gustave Moreau Art Renewal

Encyclopedia Gustave Moreau

Gustave Moreau Museum

Read more Segmation blog posts about other great artists:

William Glackens – American Realist Painter

Thomas Moran – American Landscape Painter

William Merritt Chase – American Impressionist Painter

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The Healing Power of Color (www.segmation.com)

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As an artist, you are probably aware of the effects that different colors can have on your state of mind and emotional well-being. In fact, in a past article we discussed the psychology of color and provided an overview of how each color can impact your mood.

In this article, we’ll take a look at color therapy, also known as chromotherapy, and how you can apply the basic principles of chromotherapy in your art.

Color therapy involves using, or meditating upon, specific colors to help you find balance and harmony, both inner and outer. There are many forms of color therapy, such as:

  • surrounding yourself with a color that represents characteristics that you feel are lacking in your life, to achieve balance
  • immersing yourself in a color that represents characteristics, or states of being, that you aspire to
  • using colors to “cleanse” your physical body and achieve physiological harmony (such as practiced in Chinese therapy)

While color therapy was once regarded as a New Age fad, today the effects of colors on a person’s mind, body and spirit are well-documented. Even commercial paint manufacturers recognize the connection; some offer a specific range of paint colors that are designed to promote healing and wellness.

To utilize the healing power of color in your art, you can create paintings or drawings based on specific colors to bring about a certain adjustment in your (or someone else’s) mental, emotional, or physical state of being. You can use a combination of colors to evoke a certain state of mind. Experiment with different patterns and compositions and take note of how the paintings affect you.

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Giotto di Bondone – Father of European Painting (www.segmation.com)


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Giotto di Bondone (c. 1267 – 1337), known simply as Giotto, was a Florentine painter and architect. He is now considered the first great master of the Italian Renaissance and the founder of modern European painting. Giotto’s natural and realistic style broke away from the symbolism of Byzantine art and was the catalyst that marked the start of the Renaissance.

Giotto was born in a small hamlet north of Florence. His father was a farmer and Giotto probably spent much of his youth as a shepherd. According to art historian Giorgio Vasari, the renowned Florentine artist, Cimabue, who was the last great painter in the Byzantine style, discovered the young Giotto drawing pictures of sheep on a rock. Cimabue was so impressed by the young boy’s talent that he immediately took him on as an apprentice. That story may be apocryphal but by around 1280 Giotto was working in Florence and by 1312 he was a member of the Florentine Guild of doctors and apothecaries, a guild that also included painters. He traveled to Rome with Cimabue and may well have worked on some of the master’s commissions.

Giotto signed his name to just three paintings. All other attributions to him are speculative and the unresolved controversy has raged through the art world for over a hundred years. Nevertheless, his work stands at the brink of a new age in art. He concentrated on representing human emotions, people in everyday situations, and capturing the human experience through his art.

Although he lacked the technical knowledge of perspective, he created a convincing three-dimensional pictorial space. His genius was immediately recognized by his contemporaries; he was lauded by great philosophers, writers and thinkers of his day, among them Dante and Boccaccio. Under Giotto’s leadership the old, stylized Byzantine art forms slowly disappeared from Florence, and later from other Italian cities. His freedom of expression influenced artists of the early and high Renaissance, and changed the course of European painting.

One of Giotto’s finest works is the series of frescoes painted 1304-1305 for the Scrovegni chapel in Padua, usually known as the Arena Chapel. The 37 scenes depict the lives of Christ and the Virgin Mary and are considered to be one of the masterpieces of the Early Renaissance. The figures in his paintings interact, gossip, and look at each other.

From 1306 to 1311 Giotto was in Assisi where some art historians believe he painted the fresco cycle of the Life of St. Francis. Although the style of the frescoes is realistic and breaks away from the Byzantine stylization, the controversy is caused by the stylistic differences between the St. Francis and Arena Chapel frescoes. Documents that could have proved the origin of the commissions were destroyed by Napoleon’s troops when they occupied the town in the early 19th century.

Giotto received commissions from princes and high officials of the church in Florence, Naples and Rome. Most scholars agree that he painted the frescoes in the Church of the Santa Croce in Florence and although he never signed the Ognissanti Madonna altarpiece, the Florentine work is universally recognized as being by him. It is known that Giotto was in Florence from 1314-1327 and the large panel painting depicting the Virgin was painted around 1310. The face of the Virgin is so expressive that it may well have been painted using a live model.

Towards the end of his life, Giotto was assigned to build the Campanile of the Florence Cathedral. In 1334 he was named chief architect and, although the Campanile is known as “Giotto’s Tower,” it was probably not built to his design specifications.

Giotto died in January, 1337. Even his burial place is surrounded by mystery. Vasari believed he was buried in the Cathedral of Florence, while other scholars claimed he was buried in the Church of Santa Reparata. But Giotto left an artistic legacy that could not be ignored. His disciples, Bernardo Daddi and Taddeo Gaddi continued in the master’s tradition and, a century later, the artistic torch lit by Giotto was passed on to Michelangelo and Raphael, the great masters of the High Renaissance.

Giotto made a radical break from the Byzantine (abstract – anti-naturalistic) style and brought more life to art. Giotto primarily painted Christian themes depicted in cycles and is best known for his frescos in various Chapels (Arene Chapel, Florence Cathedral, Assisi, Scrovegni).

Our pattern set collection features many of his more familiar works including the Ognissanti Madonna, The Mourning of Christ, The Marriage at Cana, The Mourning of St. Francis, Crucifixion and Madonna and Child.

Giotto di Bondone

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3 Ways that Artists Can Benefit from Blogging

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Before the invention of photography, artists had to work from real life. How did that affect artists’ working habits?

The necessity of working from life meant that in order to paint a portrait, the sitter had to pose for hours, days, weeks, and sometimes months before the artist was finished. To paint a still life, the artist would have to make sure the set-up stayed the same day after day, and could only paint when the lighting conditions were the same as the previous day. For landscape painting, artists would have to finish as much as possible on-site and often complete the final painting in their studio, often surrounded by smaller studies that contained notes on which hues and values to place where.

The invention of photography – especially digital photography – has changed the way artists work. Thanks to the convenience of affordable digital cameras, artists can easily take a variety of high-quality pictures of whatever they want to paint, and then instead of working from real li

The main goal of art marketing is to get your art out there. The more people that know about you and your work, the better. Blogging is an excellent – and free – way to put you and your art in front of a wider audience. In this article we’ll take a look at how artists like you can benefit from keeping a blog.

What is a blog?

“Blog” is short for weblog – a word that was first coined in 1997 when the general public was still getting its feet wet with the Internet. At first, blogs were merely online diaries – personal accounts of people’s daily lives. As the Internet has matured, blogs have turned into so much more. Blogs are now powerful marketing tools that are used by corporations and individuals alike to promote their businesses.

How can blogging be used as an effective art marketing tool?

  1. Blogs provide exposure. The search engines love frequent-updated blogs. Each update you post gives you another chance to be found on the Internet – by a gallery owner, a potential collector, or anyone who might be of benefit to you and your business in some form.
  2. Blogs provide insight. When you blog about your art, you can write about everything from your inspirations to your struggles and everything in between. Blogs give gallery owners and potential collectors insight into your working process, which shows them that you are a serious artist.
  3. Blogs facilitate connections. People who buy artwork online are more willing to purchase art from someone with whom they feel a connection. Blogging allows you to connect with your fans and collectors on a personal level – showing them that you are a real, live, trustworthy human being, as opposed to an impersonal collection of pixels on the screen.

These are just some of the many ways that artists can benefit from blogging.

One final note: remember that a blog is better as a supplement to your website, and not a substitute. While some artist blogs double as an online gallery and a blog, it is generally better to keep the two separate, so that it is easier for your site visitors to navigate from your new content in your blog to your static content on your website (such as your gallery).

Ready to set up your art blog? You can start a blog for free through WordPress or Blogger. Have fun!

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Introduction to Fauvism (www.segmation.com)

Henri Matisse, Woman with a Hat, 1905, Oil on Canvas

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How would you describe Henri Matisse’s painting, shown above? First you will probably note that it is a portrait of a woman – however, it is an unusual portrait because of its strange use of color and its choppy, energetic brushstrokes.

This painting by Matisse was part of the Fauvist movement, which lasted only a few years in the early 20th century in France. The French word “Fauve” means “wild beast”. When you look at this painting, can you figure out why the word for “wild beast” came to symbolize this art movement?

The Fauvists interpreted the world around them through color, but they did not seek to represent the world using real-life colors. Instead they utilized bright, bold colors in unexpected places. For instance, take a close look at the woman’s face in the painting above and notice all the different greens that Matisse used to shape her face. Matisse’s composition is so masterful that the greens don’t seem out of place, even though in real life her face wouldn’t normally appear green.

Due to Matisse’s balanced use of bold color and his strong, painterly brushstrokes, he is able to depict the energy, or essence of the people and places around him. These two visual characteristics defined the Fauvist movement, which evolved from a combination of Post-Impressionism and Pointillism.

The most well-known painters of Fauvism are Henri Matisse, Andre Derain, and Maurice de Vlaminck. They created landscapes and portraits that can be described as “simplified” to the point where they are almost abstract – yet they are still recognizable as landscapes and portraits. Even though the movement was short-lived, the Fauvist artists left behind a body of work that is both visually and mentally stimulating.

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Maurice de Vlaminck, The River Seine at Chatou, 1906, Oil on Canvas

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"The Dance" by Matisse

Take a close look at Matisse’s painting The Dance, shown above. What is it about this painting that makes it “pop”? The dancers seem like they’re almost floating on top of the background. Why is that?

Matisse was a master colorist, so he chose his colors carefully. He knew that when orange and blue are placed next to each other, they each appear brighter and more intense. Here’s why:

Orange and blue are complementary colors. Complementary colors have a special relationship because they are opposites on the color wheel. Take a look at the color wheel below:

You’ll notice that yellow and blue are also complementary colors. Red and green make up another complementary pair.

When complementary colors are placed next to each other in a painting or drawing, the artwork seems to vibrate. Complementary pairs can make an artwork more eye-catching and dynamic. For this reasons, many artists (like Matisse) make the conscious choice to use complementary colors in their compositions.

If you look closely at the color wheel, you’ll notice that the complement of each primary color is the combination of the other two primary colors. This means that:

  • Yellow + Red = Orange, which is the complement of Blue.
  • Red + Blue = Purple, which is the complement of Yellow.
  • Blue + Yellow = Green, which is the complement of Red.

When you examine these colors on the color wheel, you can see how they are related. You will also note that the complements of the primary colors (red, yellow and blue) are all secondary colors (green, purple and orange).

The next time you make art, keep the complementary colors in mind to see if you can make your painting more dynamic.
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