Saturday Art: Horace Vernet

Hunting at the Pontine Marshes by Vernet
Hunting at the Pontine Marshes by Vernet
The Dog of the Regiment Wounded by Vernet
The Dog of the Regiment Wounded by Vernet

(Picture courtesy of snapshooter46 at flickr.com.)

Battle de Bouvines, Château de Versailles, France by Vernet
Battle de Bouvines, Château de Versailles, France by Vernet

(Picture courtesy of fmpgoh at flickr.com.)

Born into a family of artists, Vernet was known for hunting and battle scenes, and was very much part of the royal household in his work and life.

He was born in the Paris Louvre, while his parents were staying there during the French Revolution. Vernet quickly developed a disdain for the high-minded seriousness of academic French art influenced by Classicism, and decided to paint subjects taken mostly from contemporary culture. Therefore, he began depicting the French soldier in a more familiar, vernacular manner rather than in an idealized, Davidian fashion. Some of his paintings that represent French soldiers in a more direct, less idealizing style, include Dog of the Regiment, Trumpeter’s Horse, and Death of Poniatowski.

He gained recognition during the Bourbon Restoration for a series of battle paintings commissioned by the duc d’Orleans, the future King Louis-Philippe. Critics marvelled at the incredible speed with which he painted.[2] Many of his paintings made during this early phase of his career were “noted for their historical accuracy as well as their charged landscapes.”[3] Examples of paintings in this style include the Battle of Valmy, the Battle of Jemappes, and the Battle of Montmirail.

Over the course of his long career, Horace Vernet was honoured with dozens of important commissions. King Louis-Philippe was one of his most prolific patrons.[2] His depictions of Algerian battles, such as the Capture of the Smahla and the Capture of Constantine, were well-received, as they were vivid depictions of the French army in the heat of battle. After the fall of the July Monarchy during the Revolution of 1848, Vernet discovered a new patron in Napoléon III of France. He continued to paint representations of the heroic French army during the Second Empire and maintained his commitment to representing war in an accessible and realistic way. He accompanied the French Army during the Crimean War, producing several paintings, including one of the Battle of the Alma, which was not as well received as his earlier paintings. One well known and possibly apocryphal anecdote maintains that when Vernet was asked to remove a certain obnoxious general from one of his paintings, he replied, “I am a painter of history, sire, and I will not violate the truth,” hence demonstrating his fidelity to representing war truthfully.

His depiction of the life around him seems to have been almost inevitable.   His stature among artists seems to have been obscure, as he was more part of the court than of the art world.

(Picture courtesy of institutnationaldhistoiredelart at flickr.com.)

 Battle of Isly by Vernet

Battle of Isly by Vernet

Over Easy; Friday Preview

Battle of Isly by Vernet
Battle of Isly by Vernet

This will be a preview of Saturday’s Art post, a scene painted by Horace Vernet.    Tomorrow at this time, the post will tell about the artist, his work and his effect.

The opportunity to have a conversation on today’s Over Easy is open, and if any fellow FDL posting pups would like to do a post on Fridays you would be most welcome.

Over Easy: Around the World

Welcome to Thursday’s Over Easy, a continuation of Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner and its tradition of giving an overview of news our everyday media doesn’t cover, issues that we ought to consider outside the U.S. scene.

Biofuel using sugar has been under development and shows increasing promise to reduce pollution produced by fossil fuels throughout the planet.

Prof Bell acknowledged that certain crops as feedstock for the sugar-derived process would be problematic: “If, for example, we were to use sugar beet instead of sugarcane then there would be a potential conflict over fuel versus food.”

But he added: “By using sugarcane, particularly in Brazil, on land that is not used for agriculture, we escape that conundrum.

“But we are talking about the Amazon basin, and one of the issues there is that if you cleared the land of scrubs and trees – whatever is growing there naturally – in order to make it available for growing sugar plantations, and you get rid of that vegetation by burning it then you are putting a big pulse of CO2 into the atmosphere.”

Syrian opposition forces took over a base that the regime has long held, using it for bombardment of an immense area of rebel held territory.

Essam al-Rayes, a spokesman for the Southern Front rebel alliance operating in the province, told the AFP news agency on Tuesday that the “fully liberated” base “was one of the main lines of defence for regime forces”.

“It was a nightmare, because they used it to shell all the areas to the east of the province,” he added.

He said at least 2,000 rebel forces overran the base, which lies near a major highway running from Damascus to Syria’s southern border with Jordan, in a “short and quick” assault.

Prospects of German compromise on demands which have been suggested to impose on Greece, in its repayment of debt that previous regimes contracted with abusive banking concerns, resulted in markets rising.

The softening of the German stance towards Athens cheered investors keen to see a sustainable rescue of the debt-stricken country after more than four months of wrangling.

According to the reports, the chancellor Angela Merkel is prepared to accept a much-reduced reform programme, slimmed down to just one or two areas as part of an initial package, to salvage a deal with Greece and prevent it exiting the eurozone.

Never.Give.Up.

Sunday Food: Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli rabe in our garden
Broccoli rabe in our garden

A new discovery for me this year, broccoli rabe, also called rapini, is a nicely tart veggie that is used in Italy and around the Mediterranean, and resembles a chinese vegetable with similar characteristics.   I find that it grows easily in early starting pots, and it was a hearty addition to the early garden which got too cold for our mild weather varieties of veggies.

The young leaves of these plants as used in cooking are either the same as or the South European equivalent of turnip tops or turnip greens.

Rapini has many spiked leaves that surround clusters of green buds that resemble small heads of broccoli. Small, edible yellow flowers may be blooming among the buds. The flavor of rapini has been described as nutty, bitter, and pungent. Rapini is a source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium, calcium, and iron.[2]

The cultivated vegetable probably descends from a wild herb related to the turnip that grew either in China or the Mediterranean region. Rapini is similar in shape to the Chinese Brassica oleracea cultivar called kai-lan. Rapini is now grown throughout the world. Rapini is available all year long, but its peak season in the Northern Hemisphere is fall to spring.

(snip)

In Europe, it is used mostly in southern Italian cuisine (in particular Basilicata, Apulia, Campania, and Sicily) and also in Roman cuisine. It is also popular in Portuguese cuisine and in that of Galicia in Spain.

In Umbria and other Central Italy regions, rapini sautéed with garlic, chili pepper and guanciale can be a side dish for porchetta, grilled pork ribs and sausages and other pork dishes.

It is a member of the mustard family, and the small edible flowers resemble those of the mustard plants.   It’s a very fine element in a green salad, and I like the decorative effect of the yellow flowers especially

Saturday Art: Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

One morning in Ville d'Avray. Rouen. by Corot
One morning in Ville d’Avray. Rouen. by Corot
Wheat field in the Morvan by Corot
Wheat field in the Morvan by Corot

(Pictures courtesy of jean louis mazieres at flickr.com.)

Agostina by Corot
Agostina by Corot

(Picture courtesy of Cliff at flickr.com.)

A precursor of the impressionists, Corot painted with care and planning yet gave an impression of dreaminess that has led him to be associated with the movement itself.   He was prolific and dedicated, but the academicians of his time were cool to him and his art only appreciated fully by his fellow painters.

While recognition and acceptance by the establishment came slowly, by 1845 Baudelaire led a charge pronouncing Corot the leader in the “modern school of landscape painting”. While some critics found Corot’s colors “pale” and his work having “naive awkwardness”, Baudelaire astutely responded, “M. Corot is more a harmonist than a colorist, and his compositions, which are always entirely free of pedantry, are seductive just because of their simplicity of color.”[32] In 1846, the French government decorated him with the cross of the Légion d’honneurand in 1848 he was awarded a second-class medal at the Salon, but he received little state patronage as a result.[33] His only commissioned work was a religious painting for a baptismal chapel painted in 1847, in the manner of the Renaissance masters.[34] Though the establishment kept holding back, other painters acknowledged Corot’s growing stature. In 1847, Delacroix noted in his journal, “Corot is a true artist. One has to see a painter in his own place to get an idea of his worth…Corot delves deeply into a subject: ideas come to him and he adds while working; it’s the right approach.”[35]

(snip)

Corot is a pivotal figure in landscape painting. His work simultaneously references the Neo-Classical tradition and anticipates the plein-air innovations of Impressionism. Of him Claude Monet exclaimed in 1897, “There is only one master here—Corot. We are nothing compared to him, nothing.”[48] His contributions to figure painting are hardly less important; Degas preferred his figures to his landscapes, and the classical figures of Picasso pay overt homage to Corot’s influence.

Historians have divided his work into periods, but the points of division are often vague, as he often completed a picture years after he began it. In his early period, he painted traditionally and “tight”—with minute exactness, clear outlines, thin brush work, and with absolute definition of objects throughout, with a monochromatic underpainting or ébauche.[49] After he reached his 50th year, his methods changed to focus on breadth of tone and an approach to poetic power conveyed with thicker application of paint; and about 20 years later, from about 1865 onwards, his manner of painting became more lyrical, affected with a more impressionistic touch. In part, this evolution in expression can be seen as marking the transition from the plein-air paintings of his youth, shot through with warm natural light, to the studio-created landscapes of his late maturity, enveloped in uniform tones of silver. In his final 10 years he became the “Père (Father) Corot” of Parisian artistic circles, where he was regarded with personal affection, and acknowledged as one of the five or six greatest landscape painters the world had seen, along with Hobbema, Claude Lorrain, Turner and Constable. In his long and productive life, he painted over 3,000 paintings.[50]

Though often credited as a precursor of Impressionist practice, Corot approached his landscapes more traditionally than is usually believed. Compared to the Impressionists who came later, Corot’s palette is restrained, dominated with browns and blacks (“forbidden colors” among the Impressionists) along with dark and silvery green. Though appearing at times to be rapid and spontaneous, usually his strokes were controlled and careful, and his compositions well-thought out and generally rendered as simply and concisely as possible, heightening the poetic effect of the imagery. As he stated, “I noticed that everything that was done correctly on the first attempt was more true, and the forms more beautiful.”[51]

Corot’s approach to his subjects was similarly traditional. Although he was a major proponent of plein-air studies, he was essentially a studio painter and few of his finished landscapes were completed before the motif. For most of his life, Corot would spend his summers travelling and collecting studies and sketches, and his winters finishing more polished, market-ready works.[52

The fame he knew was tenuous, but Corot was part and parcel of his artistic community, respected and revered, and he returned that regard.

(Picture courtesy of thomas Hawk at flickr.com.)

Hagar in the Wilderness by Corot
Hagar in the Wilderness by Corot

Over Easy; Friday

Wheat field in the Morvan by Corot
Wheat field in the Morvan by Corot

Morning, pups, have a lovely Friday and this is a place for conversation.

Tomorrow, of course, have Saturday Art, so this is a preview.

It’s also National Donut Day, and I have free donut at the local convenience store.   Hope you enjoy yours, or your other breakfast.

Over Easy: Around the World

Welcome to Thursday’s Over Easy, a continuation of Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner and its tradition of giving an overview of news our everyday media doesn’t cover, issues that we ought to consider outside the U.S. scene.

Prime Minister Tsipras calls forEuropean reality consciousness as Greek debt talks kick off to resolve the crisis occasioned by a €330 MN due in payment on Friday.

It is a dispute about whether the eurozone’s creditors will release funds so that they can pay themselves and avoid having to call Greece in default.

Or to put it another way, it is all about whether the IMF and eurozone can keep up the pretence that Greece is a sound and solvent debtor.

Reaching its full energy level for the first time, the Hadron Collider in Switzerland began yesterday its epochal experiment in researching matter itself.

After nearly two years of maintenance and repair, as well as several months of recommissioning, the experiments at the world’s largest particle accelerator are ready to take data at the unprecedented energy of 13 tera-electronvolts (TeV) – almost double the collision energy of the LHC’s first three-year run.

It is hoped the development will mark the start of season two at the LHC, opening the way to new frontiers in physics.

In May scientists achieved test collisions between protons at 13TeV for the first time. The stage is now set for data to be collected from collisions within the LHC’s giant detectors.

Negotiations that have the prospect of lifting sanctions on Iran and bringing about a new orientation with the western world have shown great appeal for the citizens of that country.

Iran remains a theocracy in which citizens have only limited political rights. Most people I met said they would prefer a government that reflects the aspirations of a young and globalized population. Few, however, expect that the lifting of sanctions would produce a more democratic society anytime soon.

“It will have an economic effect, and life will be easier, but there won’t be a political effect,” an art student predicted. Then, like almost every other Iranian I met, he hastened to tell me how much he admires the United States. “Let me tell you a fact. Iranian people love American people,” he said. “Those people you see on TV yelling ‘Death to America’ are paid to do that. Anyone who says he doesn’t like America is either working for the regime or afraid to say what he really believes.”

Americans traveling in Iran are repeatedly surrounded by ecstatic Iranians. Many excitedly snap pictures of themselves with their new friends.

Never.Give.Up.

Sunday Food: Rhubarb Dessert

Fresh rhubarb
Fresh rhubarb

(Picture courtesy of Kari Sullivan at flickr.com.)

When rhubarb is in season, which happens now, you will find it at farm markets and could make a totally unusual treat.   Here, I’m even seeing it advertised at private homes, grown in home gardens.   It’s spikey, so needs sweetening for my taste.

This is one recipe for making rhubarb for your best use.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • 3 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb
  • 1-1/4 cups cold water, divided
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring, optional
  • Ice cream, optional

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, nuts, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press 3 cups into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish; set aside.

  2. Soak rhubarb in 1 cup cold water for 3 minutes; drain. In a saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in remaining cold water until smooth. Add rhubarb, vanilla and food coloring if desired. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 5 minutes or until thickened. Spoon over crust; sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. Bake at 350° for 23-25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with ice cream if desired. Yield: 12 servings.

If you haven’t had rhubarb before, here’s your chance!

Saturday Art: Jean-Antoine Watteau

Pleasures of the Ball by Watteau
Pleasures of the Ball by Watteau

(Picture courtesy of Irina at flickr.com.)

Nymph and Satyr by Watteau
Nymph and Satyr by Watteau

(Picture courtesy of Jean Louis Mazziere at flickr.com.)

Remarkable animation of the spirit of his time seems to have been the major characteristic that brought Jean-Antoine Watteau to the ranks of foremost artists, and gave him distinction there.

One of the most brilliant and original artists of the eighteenth century, Antoine Watteau (1684–1721) had an impact on the development of Rococo art in France and throughout Europe lasting well beyond his lifetime. Living only thirty-six years, and plagued by frequent illness, Watteau nonetheless rose from an obscure provincial background to achieve fame in the French capital during the Regency of the duc d’Orléans. His paintings feature figures in aristocratic and theatrical dress in lush imaginary landscapes. Their amorous and wistful encounters create a mood but do not employ narrative in the traditional sense. During Watteau’s lifetime, a new term, fête galante, was coined to describe them. Watteau was also a gifted draftsman whose sparkling chalk sheets capture subtle nuances of deportment and expression.

(snip)

Despite his unconventional training, Watteau was permitted to compete for the Prix de Rome at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. He won a second-place prize in 1709, but to his great disappointment was never sent to study in Italy. With the backing of Charles de La Fosse (1636–1716), a fellow admirer of Rubens and Venetian painting, Watteau was accepted into the Academy in 1712. His innovative subject matter did not fit into any established category in the academic hierarchy, and he was ultimately accepted with the unprecedented title “painter of fêtes galantes.” His reception piece, Pilgrimage to the Isle of Cythera (Musée du Louvre, Paris), was finally submitted to the Academy in 1717. It depicted amorous couples on the mythical island of Cythera, in various stages of their metaphoric “journey” of love.

(snip)

Admiration for the drawings of Watteau has always been equal to that of his paintings. He drew few compositional studies; for the most part, his graphic oeuvre is made up of chalk studies of heads or figures. In contrast to prevailing practice, Watteau seems usually not to have made figure studies in preparation for predetermined compositions, but apparently filled sketchbooks with incisive renderings of figures drawn from life, which he would later mine for his painted compositions. A drawing of a Seated Woman (1975.1.763), for example, has captured all the spontaneity and grace of a young woman’s natural movements, yet does not seem to have been used in a painted composition.

Although he limited himself to chalk, there is a clear evolution in the technique of Watteau’s drawings. His earliest studies are in red chalk alone, with black chalk eventually added to the red, as in Savoyarde (1978.12.1). Around 1715, he added white chalk to the mix. Although Watteau did not invent the technique of trois crayons, or three chalks (Rubens and La Fosse, among others, had used it before him), his name is always linked to the technique for his intuitive mastery of it, melding red, black, and white to great painterly and coloristic effect. In Standing Nude Man Holding Bottles (1972.118.238), the three colors of chalk, in combination with the tone of the paper reserve, create a convincing rendering of flesh tones.

Watteau’s artistic legacy pervades French art up to the emergence of Neoclassicism. The sweetness of his palette, an homage to Rubens and the colorism of sixteenth-century Venetian painting recast in delicate pastels to suit the scale and aesthetic of Rococo décor, was widely followed, as was his preference for erotic genre subjects adapted from seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish sources.

The times dictated his paintings subject and spirit, but Watteau’s mastery was unique.  The paintings of pierrots, or harlequins, are reflected in Picasso’s artwork, and the painting below will remind us of much of that work.

(Picture courtesy of Jean Louis Mazlere  at flickr.com.)

Pierrot dit autrefois Gille by Watteau
Pierrot dit autrefois Gille by Watteau

Over Easy: Around the World

Welcome to Thursday’s Over Easy, a continuation of Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner and its tradition of giving an overview of news our everyday media doesn’t cover, issues that we ought to consider outside the U.S. scene.

A raid by Swiss justice officers on the Zurich headquarters of FIFA, worldwide governing body of the sport the U.S. calls soccer, kicked off a corruption crackdown that has been assisted by Charles Blazer, the former head of Concacaf, working undercover..

Amid the U.S. indictments released Wednesday, Swiss authorities indicated that they were separately investigating the processes by which the 2018 and 2022 World Cup host country sites were secured. The United States narrowly lost out on hosting the latter competition to Qatar, whose securing of the tournament has been overshadowed by concerns over alleged human rights abuses of its migrant labor force.

According to SIU law professor Dervan, part of the reason the DOJ may have launched its investigation into FIFA is because of the widely held belief that corruption influenced the body’s decision to award Qatar the World Cup — thus negatively impacting U.S. commerce and legal norms.

Representatives of the two tribes with members  in the legislative body, Penobscots and Passamaquoddies, withdrew from the Maine legislature as a protest of state attitudes injurious to the tribes’ interests.

As Dana and Mitchell were leaving, a number of lawmakers accompanied them and joined a protest held in the statehouse courtyard.

“The Passamaquoddy and Penobscot people will always have a place in the Maine House,” said House speaker Mark Eves of North Berwick.

”I hope they will reclaim their seats,” he added without elaborating how it may come about.

Technology that can meddle with the DNA of human embryos has been opposed by world bodies that are concerned about its implication for the future of the species.

The technique allows researchers to artificially insert or remove parts of the DNA.

Nascent work in the field has already led to fierce patent battles between start-up companies and universities that say it could prove as profitable and revolutionary as recombinant DNA technology, which was developed in the 1970s and 1980s and launched the biotechnology industry.

But CRISPR has also brought ethical concerns. Use of the technology provoked strong criticism from some scientists last month, after it was employed in China to alter the DNA of human embryos.

Never.Give.Up.