Category Archives: Paintings

Benjamin West – The American Raphael

Benjamin West (1738-1820) was an American born painter who found great success in Europe. During his career he became known for elevating historical art practices in Britain. He also co-founded the Royal Academy and served as president following Sir Joshua Reynolds. In everything he did, West exuded confidence in himself and his abilities. As a result, his art was noticed by all.

Attention was given to Benjamin West long before he became known as “The American Raphael.” West was born in Pennsylvania in 1738, nearly thirty years prior to America claiming its independence from Great Britain. At a young age, he showed great artistic talent and an eagerness to learn how to produce great artwork. In fact, it was believed that West learned how to create paint by watching native Indians mix clay and bear grease together in pots.

After acknowledging his strengths, Benjamin West’s parents and the Quaker community in which they lived gave him permission to travel to Philadelphia and New York where he would study art. However, these emerging art hubs did not keep the skilled artist’s attention for long. In 1760, the painter went to study abroad in Italy on a trip sponsored by William Allen, the wealthiest man in Philadelphia at the time. Upon leaving Italy, West moved to England where he would grow into a great artist and teacher.

West did not spend much time in London before he painted Cymon and Iphigenia which exhibited in 1764 at Spring Gardens. Also, he was quickly commissioned to create portraits for Bishop of Bristol and Bishop of Worcester, as well as the Archbishop of York, Robert Hay Drummond. In 1766, he designed an altarpiece for a church in London, St. Stephen Walbrook. And he also painted Orestes and Pylades and The Continence of Scipio. His portrayal of classical subjects was very well received.

By 1970, Benjamin West was making a big splash among art enthusiasts including King George III with two paintings: The Oath of Hannibal and The Departure of Regulus. These depictions of ancient history proved that the American artist mastered “the style of history painting the French had perfected,” according to Loyd Grossman, a Fellow at the Society of Antiquaries.

Then, in 1771, Benjamin West showcased The Death of General Wolfe at the Royal Academy. West could not have known the painting would become one of the greatest art achievements in the 18th century. West’s refined approach to historical art did not show subjects in Greek and Roman dress, nor did he show them in shabby clothing. All subjects were glorified in West’s paintings; they were made to look pristine. According to Senior Curator at the Royal Academy, Helen Valentine, this was the “grand style” Benjamin West used and taught. He applied his grand style often, making the scenes he painted appear idyllic. He used the style as a tool for inspiration and created high art by deliberately perfecting nature which he felt would elevate himself and society.

The following year, West was paid an annual salary of 1,000 pounds to serve as the historical painter to King George III. Sometime later, after the death of Sir Joshua Reynolds, West was royally appointed to the role of president of the Royal Academy. West only took one year off from the Royal Academy between entering office in 1792 and his death in 1820.

In that time, and throughout his career, West influenced many artists in Britain and America. As he painted, he taught others the intricacies of his style and elevated the practice of painting historical art. Looking beyond his influence, one truth remained constant: Benjamin West was Britain’s “American Raphael.” To this day his art is showcased and his talent is noticed.

However, this post is meant to recognize his artist style and some major pieces. For those who want to read more of West ‘s story, visit this link: http://www.segmation.com/products_pc_patternset_contents.asp?set=BWT . Also, Segmation is proud to offer 27 digital West patterns. By downloading these paint by numbers masterpieces, you can emulate one of the most fascinating artists who ever lived.

Enjoy the 26 Benjamin West – The American Raphael. Segmation has for you and continue to learn and celebrate the life of a great artist.

Read more Segmation blog posts about other great artists:
Jan Gossaert – A Great Flemish Painter of Antiquity”

Joaquín Sorolla – The World-Renowned Spanish Painter

Robert Delaunay, Blazing a Colorful Trail

Sources:

Benjamin West Web Museum Paris

Benjamin West Royal Academy of Arts

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The Accomplished Artist – Benozzo Gozzoli

promo1Benozzo Gozzoli was an Italian painter in the early part of the Renaissance era. He was an accomplished artist with dozens of paintings, frescos, and murals to his name. Today, people remember Gozzoli for his work. Even though his style is not as distinct as other artists of his time, he was able to create a multitude of pieces, many of which attract audiences to this day.

Some sources say Gozzoli was born in 1420, although there is some debate about the exact year and birthplace. There is not a lot written about the personal life of Gozzoli. During his youthful years, however, he could be found in Florence, Italy.

The Accomplished Artist – Benozzo Gozzoli
However, this post is meant to recognize his artist style and some major pieces. For those who want to read more of Gozzoli’s story, visit this link:  For those who want to read more of Gozzoli’s story, visit this link: http://www.segmation.com/products_pc_patternset_contents.asp?set=GOZ. Also, Segmation is proud to offer 27 digital Benozzo Gozzoli patterns. By downloading these paint by number masterpieces, you can emulate one of the most fascinating artists who ever lived.

In his twenties, he transitioned to Rome where he started his career as an artist by apprenticing with Fra Angelico. He worked alongside Angelico for many years and spent a good amount of time painting the Dominican monastery of San Marco. When this project was complete, Gozzoli began work with Lorenzo Ghiberti.

Gozzoli’s style was greatly impacted by the decade he spent as an apprentice. He learned many traits from Ghiberti and Angelico. For instance, his aptitude to tell a story through his paintings by using vivid illustrations and fine details was a sign of Ghiberti. Angelico’s influence shown in Gozzoli’s use of brilliant colors.

However, like a good pupil, Gozzoli took these influences and developed his own personal style. Many critiques will make the point that Gozzoli’s work was not as strong as other artists of his time. But he had a great way of bringing paintings to life by portraying settings and people that were full of life and color. This was especially true when his subject matter was lighthearted.

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While not always seen as original, Gozzoli set himself apart from his contemporaries in more ways than one. Even though he was not known for his attention to detail (in fact, many pieces of his work can be found with errors), he did enjoy embellishing landscapes with animals and birds. Also Gozzoli’s tireless efforts cannot be denied. The sheer number of paintings he produced prove he was one of the most accomplished artists of the Italian Renaissance.

His paintings are too many to list. Throughout the course of his career, he was responsible for creating nearly 145 different scenes. A number of his art pieces can be visited today, as he had the privilege of painting the interiors of many historic locations.

The Lateran Museum now holds his Madonna and Child with Saints and Angels, which he painted in the monastery of S. Fortunato in 1449. Some of Gozzoli’s landmark paintings include the Medici-Riccardi Palace. In 1459 he completed Journey of the Magi to Bethlehem, a fresco in the chapel. Then in 1463 he worked at San Gimignano to create 17 different scenes from the life of St. Augustine. One of his greatest commissions took place in Campo Santo, a cemetery in Pisa. There, he completed 25 frescoes inspired by Old Testament Bible stories.

The latest artwork attributed to Gozzoli (for certain) was dated 1485. He died in 1497. Some sources say he was buried in the monastery of San Domenico in Pistoria. Others claim his final resting place was Campo Santo, Pisa. With more than 500 years separating Gozzoli and modern day, it is easy to think of him as a mysterious man. But it’s hard to imagine him that way in his own time. He painted his way through Italy and it can be assumed that he was seen then, as he is now, as an accomplished artist.
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Enjoy the 27 Benozzo Gozzoli Patterns Segmation has for you and continue to learn and celebrate the life of a great artist.

Read more Segmation blog posts about other great artists:

Emulate the Romantic Style of William Blake

Joseph Mallord William Turner – Great Painter of Light

French Floral and Portrait Painter – Henri Fantin-Latour

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Man Uses His Own Blood as an Art Medium

Many people would assume that an artist would use mediums such as paints, chalks, and charcoals to create pieces of art with. Without a doubt, these mediums are judged by most to be harmless. But when does an artist cross the line into using art mediums that might be considered inappropriate? This is the question some are asking Vincent Castiglia, an artist whose art medium is drawn from his own body.

Vincent Castiglia, an artist from New York, uses his blood as paint. He has been using this highly unique, watercolor-like medium for about a decade, and as a result has experienced success in his career as an artist. Castiglia commented that he purposely began using blood as paint, though in the beginning he merely “dabbed” it onto his drawings (made of pen and ink). Later he progressed to using blood to create whole paintings with.

How much blood does it take to craft just one painting? Castiglia said a 7-foot painting requires a potential 30 vials of blood. Reportedly, the out-of-the-box artist will take only “15 vials of blood at one time” from himself – he made the point that this amount of blood is smaller than the quantity in a blood bank donation.

Castiglia’s work is drawing attention from the media as well as from the art world. His paintings are popular and sell for up to $26,000. Part of the high cost of the pieces is attributed to the time it takes to complete them (some paintings take Castiglia months to finish).

When do you know that an artist has taken their desire for a creative art medium too far? When they begin to potentially harm theirself in the pursuit of creating innovative art? Some would say yes, this is going to far. Others would think pushing the limits to such a degree is good for an artist and shows a great amount of dedication to art itself. Everyone will no doubt have their own strong opinion on this point. There is one thing that cannot be argued about Vincent Castiglia’s artwork: It is literally a part of him.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/08/vincent-castiglia-artist-blood_n_1948333.html

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Ancient Egypt Arts

Ancient Egyptian art is highly symbolic and merges abstract style with naturalism. This post serves as an overview of the many phases and transitions of ancient Egyptian art, mostly concentrating on styles of art between 3000 BC and 300 AD.

At this time, art was not just a compliment to function. The main motive for art creation was to assist survival. In this sense, it was a tool for explaining life and teaching survival skills to those who lived in a time before written words.

One of the best examples of survival art comes from ancient Egypt. Painting, sculpture and architecture mostly originated along the Nile River, where quality of life was dictated by the river. To simplify this: life was good when the river flooded and bad when it dried up. The effects of these conditions were evident in various art forms of ancient Egypt. Stories about prosperity and famine were told through hieroglyphics that were either carved or painted onto walls.

Painting

Hieroglyphics are also called pictographs. They were carved into walls, sandstone, quarts, and granite. In other circumstances they were drawn onto papyrus, the Egyptian form of paper.

These markings were symbols of the unfolding history in Egypt. In fact, artists worked with the intention of preservation, in addition to making survival tactics known.

However, these pictures were unique in the sense that they often merged animals and people. For some time, ancient Egyptian art showed humans as stick figures but put much detail into depicting animals. This heighten state of symbolism allows researchers and historians to better understand the psychology of ancient Egyptian culture.

Sculpture

One insight about art from ancient Egypt is that there is a “form follows function” mentality. While detail was important in engravings, works of sculpture were abstract. Objects of focus were more geometric.

For instance, in some of the earliest sculptures, women were often shaped round because of their status as “child bearers.” Men took on a more true-to-life look because of their ability to hunt, gather and lead.

In both types of sculptures, a subtractive method of carving was used, meaning the objects had no faces or just simple features. This is especially apparent in later sculptures which made men and women indistinguishable.

Ancient Egyptian sculptures weren’t about the represented object; they served as history records as well as symbols of eternity. In fact, the “ka statue” was crafted with the intention of being a resting place for the spirit of an individual after he (which was more common than she) past onto the next life.

Architecture

Many Egyptian artifacts exist today, but one of the most significant surviving masterpieces of ancient Egyptian art are the pyramids. They were built during the time of the Old Kingdom, but lacked a stability necessary to keep thieves away. However, not only were the structures fascinating, they were also decorated with symbolic carvings on the outside walls.

Another form of architecture after the pyramid was the funerary temple. Because of it’s geometric form and use of columns, these were considered innovative works of art. Also, many temples had frescoes painted on top of dry (and sometimes wet) plaster to make the art and structure more durable.

Aside from that it was a place where the pharaoh would go to worship his (or her) god. When that individual passed away, others would go to that temple to worship the late pharaoh.

The art of ancient Egypt ushered in a time of reigning power in Greece, which continued to influence art in culture, allowing paintings, statues and architecture to further evolve.

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Thomas Eakins – America’s Master of Realism Painter

 Thomas Eakins - America's Master of Realism

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Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins (1844-1916) was an American painter who is best known for his realistic depictions of the male body. Eakins’s quest for realism led him to study anatomy and apply his research to creating works with dark lighting and realistic depictions. He endured much public scorn in his early years for his obsession with the male figure, however was recognized as a great master towards the end of his life. Our pattern set includes a self portrait, several sculling and wrestling scenes. His most recognized works including “The Swimming Hole”, “The Gross Clinic”, “Baby at Play”, and “The Agnew Clinic” are also included. There are also many portraits included such as “Miss Amelia Van Buren”, “Portrait of Maud Cook”, “Maybelle”, “Lucy Lewis”, “Weda Cook”, “Alice Kurtz”, and “Walt Whitman”.

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Travel Like an Artist

Sansepolcro, Italy, will not likely be pursued as a travel destination for food lovers, architecture buffs, or history professors. It is not well-known for its topography or sought after for its museums. But for an artist, Sansepolcro might be considered heaven on earth. Why? Because it was the birthplace and hometown of Piero della Francesca, painter of the Resurrection. The Resurrection is located in Sansepolcro, making this small town a potentially big draw for artists searching for a travel destination.

The Resurrection is known as a “special masterpiece,” therefore it and its creator are mainly familiar to art historians. Still, Sansepolcro is a destination that would probably be very much appreciated by any artist, especially after he or she learned more about Piero della Francesca.

Born sometime near 1415, artist Piero della Francesca authored geometry and mathematics books. His did not leave a vast amount of artwork, but what he did leave is remarkable. Flagellation of Christ, Pregnant Madonna, Resurrection, and Legend of the True Cross were all crafted by Francesca. Each is captivating in its own way.

The Resurrection was probably painted by Piero della Francesca in the 1460s. Susan Spano, writer for the Los Angeles Times, explained the Resurrection in these words: “It depicts Christ climbing out of his tomb on Easter morning, eyes fixed on something beyond, still morbidly pallid but strong, in the very process of changing from mortal to god.” With a description like this, it is little wonder that the Resurrection is a jewel in Sansepolcro’s crown.

Every year in September, Sansepolcro’s citizens celebrate Piero della Francesca in elaborate festivals that feature flag-waving and medieval crossbows. (The flag and crossbow-bearing partakers wear costumes similar to clothing depicted in Francesca’s paintings.) These festivals draw tourists and are a nod to the legacy that Francesca left for his hometown.

Many creators of art glean untold inspiration and creative capacity from traveling. In fact, some individuals would argue that travel is not a privilege, but a necessity for artists. If you are an artist or even a lover of art, perhaps Sansepolcro would be an excellent travel destination for you.

http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-piero-20120610,0,3644415.story

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Thomas Kinkade: The “Painter of Light”

Thomas Kinkade, popularly known as the “Painter of Light,” passed away in his sleep at the age of 54. His inspirational work touched the lives of many and will continue to live on.

Blessed with an ability to capture a moment in time, Kinkade preserved some of the most beautiful scenes of life in his paintings. Those who admire his work know that each of his paintings offer an escape from reality.

His idyllic settings, infused with radiant light, include nature scenes; gardens and seascapes, as well as nostalgic homes, cottages and cityscapes. He painted a classic America; one that many dream of and long for. Kinkade’s paintings depict the world that many people wanted to be part of – picture perfect in every way.

The painter once said, “My mission as an artist is to capture those special moments in life adorned with beauty and light. I work to create images that project a serene simplicity that can be appreciated and enjoyed by everyone.” He painted for the people, not for the critics.

Even those unfamiliar with Kinkade’s paintings can see that his work tells a story. The champions and collectors of Kinkade’s endeavors know there is more than meets the eye in each painting. For instance, the “Painter of Light” always included his wife’s initials. He also inserted his very first hero, Norman Rockwell, into many of his pieces. If you spot the boy working his paper rout on a bicycle in “Hometown Morning”, then you have discovered Kinkade himself, preserved in the moment he met his beloved wife Nanette.

Much of the inspiration for his art was fueled by his faith. Despite a less than ideal childhood, Kinkade always clung to his art. By the age of sixteen, he had become an accomplished painter. He studied at the University of California at Berkley and then worked as an artist for films.

Many people credit his time spent working on films as the experience that enabled him to grasp the effects of light, which he transferred to his painting. All of his paintings include a warm, radiant and comforting light that calls one back to a simpler time.

Thomas Kinkade’s life mission, to make art available to everyone that they might enjoy beauty, is still a reality. Though the talented and generous man is gone, he lives on through his paintings. Millions of people will still stand looking at his paintings, caught for a moment in the comforting and inspiring worlds he created.

http://www.artbythomaskinkade.com/thomas_kinkade.html

http://www.thomaskinkade.com/magi/servlet/com.asucon.ebiz.biography.web.tk.BiographyServlet

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