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Departure for the Hunt in the Pontine Marshes, Horace Vernet

Oil on canvas, roughly 40 x 60 inches ( 100 x 150 cm); in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

Vernet was a French painter active in the early 19th century, and his subjects included battles and historic events, portraits and Orientalist themes.

Here, he is fascinated with the landscape, even if the subject is ostensibly the hunters depicted as small figures in the shadows at middle right, behind the second foreground tree.

When I first visited the National Gallery, years ago — even among the stunning masterpieces in the collection — this and another Vernet painting of a similar subject caught my attention.

In this painting, it’s his use of value relationships that make the painting so striking for me — the contrast of the layers of dark and light, foreground to middle ground to background.

Another element of contrast is the wonderful difference in the texture of the three primary trees, two standing and one fallern.

I also love the dark mass of trees, punctuated with light, to the right of the composition, that lead our eye back into the painting.

 
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Ad for Etsy Organ in House and Garden, Franklin Booth

American artist Franklin Booth, who was active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was known for his marvelously intricate pen and ink illustrations, a style that came largely from the young artist confusing images in magazines that were done in wood engraving with pen and ink drawings.

Here, he pulls out the stops (oh, how I delight in that pun) in his illustration for organ manufacturer Etsy Organ, printed in House and Garden magazine in 1922.

Booth has created a stunningly beautiful fantasy of the music that will come from the organ — with lines that follow both the volume of the forms and the direction of movement and action. I love the swirls in the hair and the sheen of the draperies.

In addition, all of this modeling and rendering is done at an entire level of values that separates the cloud of imaginings from the darker rendering of the “reality” of the woman and the organ!

Wow.

 
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Seventeenth-Century Interior, Charles Gifford Dyer

Oil on canvas, roughly 37 x 28 inches (94 x 71 cm), in the collection of the Art Institute Chicago

This is a nineteenth century American artist painting a still life in the manner of seventeenth century Dutch still life — and doing a bang up job of it.

 
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Among followers of “urban sketching”, there is an often associated practice known as “journaling”, or the keeping of a visual diary of one’s travels, day to day activities or random thoughts and ideas.

The idea of visual journals or diaries is nothing new, of course, but the current popularity of the practice, and the ability to place one’s journals online and compare notes with others, makes it an interesting contemporary phenomenon.

José Naranja is a Spanish artist, writer, traveller and observer who takes this activity to greater lengths than most. Naranja refers to himself as a “notebook maker and more”.

After years of making journals in commercial sketchbooks and notebooks, he has taken to crafting his own, using high quality paper and binding the in leather in much thicker dimensions than those commercially available.

These he fills with ink and watercolor sketches, hand written text, clippings, stamps and sometimes intricate design work — resulting in an amalgam that is part travel journal, part art and design experiments, part comparisons of drawing and writing materials, part collage, part scrapbook and part imaginative workspace.

You can find examples of his notebook pages and materials on his blog and Instagram page. He offers a facsimile edition of some of his selected pages as The Orange Manuscript, as well as prints.

You can also find quick overviews of some of his pages in articles on My Modern Met and Colossal. There is an interview with Naranja on Notebook Stories.

[Via Metafilter]

 
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Adam Oehlers is a British illustrator, concept artist and character designer whose work carries a feeling of his admiration for the Golden Age illustrators.

Most of the illustration on his website is in a fantasy vein, with wonderfully rendered forest scenes, animals and plant details. He makes effective use of muted, limited palettes, giving the work a coherence and sense of subtlety.

I particularly enjoy his use of repeated natural forms, like leaves, tree trunks or butterflies, as components of suggested patterns, with a bit of an Art Nouveau sensibility.

In addition to illustration, you can find on his blog examples of animated music videos, as well as both prints and original art for sale in his shop.

You can also find additional examples of his work on Behance and Instagram.

 
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The Happy Accident of the Swing, Nicolas Delaunay

Engraving, roughly 20 x 16″ (51 x 42 cm); in the collection of the Art Institute Chicago

This wonderfully lush and textural engraving by Nicolas Delaunay is a copy of a famous painting by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. It was not uncommon for painters to have printmakers create copies of their most popular works, if they weren’t inclined to do it themselves.

Here the image (reversed, of course, because it’s a print) becomes a fascinating study in controlling value relationships with deeply textural line and hatching. Look at the range of values, from the dark leaves and branches to the delicate rendering of the tree in the distance to the bright sheen of the dress.

 
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The Mirror of Venus, Edward Burne-Jones

Link is to Wikimedia Commons, original is in the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon.

Pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne-Jones, who went on to be a major figure in style known as Aestheticism, presents a tableau of female figures, some staring at their reflections in the mirror of a still pond, others looking at the striking figure in blue, whose gaze falls on the pool but not on her own reflection.

The artist has left it to us to interpret the different expressions of the women, perhaps suggesting that each is seeing something unique in the nature of her own reflection, or in the presence of the standing figure.

In a way not possible to viewers of the real painting, we can use the magic of Photoshop to view the reflections of the women in the pool, turned right-side up (image above, bottom) revealing that Burn-Jones has painted them with as much attention and skill as the primary figures.

Not only that, but faces with downcast eyes, in which we cannot see the pupils in the main figures, look different from the upward viewing angle of the reflected faces in the pool.

 
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