German-born American Hudson River School Painter, 1830-1902
Bierstadt was born in Solingen, Germany. His family moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1833. He studied painting with the members of the D??sseldorf School in D??sseldorf, Germany from 1853 to 1857. He taught drawing and painting briefly before devoting himself to painting.
Bierstadt began making paintings in New England and upstate New York. In 1859, he traveled westward in the company of a Land Surveyor for the U.S. government, returning with sketches that would result in numerous finished paintings. In 1863 he returned west again, in the company of the author Fitz Hugh Ludlow, whose wife he would later marry. He continued to visit the American West throughout his career.
Though his paintings sold for princely sums, Bierstadt was not held in particularly high esteem by critics of his day. His use of uncommonly large canvases was thought to be an egotistical indulgence, as his paintings would invariably dwarf those of his contemporaries when they were displayed together. The romanticism evident in his choices of subject and in his use of light was felt to be excessive by contemporary critics. His paintings emphasized atmospheric elements like fog, clouds and mist to accentuate and complement the feel of his work. Bierstadt sometimes changed details of the landscape to inspire awe. The colors he used are also not always true. He painted what he believed is the way things should be: water is ultramarine, vegetation is lush and green, etc. The shift from foreground to background was very dramatic and there was almost no middle distance
Nonetheless, his paintings remain popular. He was a prolific artist, having completed over 500 (possibly as many as 4000) paintings during his lifetime, most of which have survived. Many are scattered through museums around the United States. Prints are available commercially for many. Original paintings themselves do occasionally come up for sale, at ever increasing prices. Related Paintings of Albert Bierstadt :. | Yosemite Valley, California | Sunset Over a Mountain Lake | Hetch Hetchy Canyon | Farallon Islands, off San Francisco in the Pacific, Northern California | Sea and Sky |
Related Artists:Jacques Rigaud
French, 1681-1754GUARDI, Francesco
Italian Rococo Era Painter, 1712-ca.1793
The records of his parish in Venice show that Francesco Guardi was baptized on Oct. 5, 1712. His father, Domenico, who died when Francesco was 4, had a workshop. Francesco and his elder brother, Gian Antonio, worked in a small studio, carrying out such orders as they could get for almost anything the client wanted:mythological pictures, genre, flower pieces, battle scenes, altarpieces, and even, on rare occasions, frescoes. They did not hesitate to copy compositions by other artists, but what they borrowed they always transformed into something more capricious, less stable, more fragmentary in the refraction of light. Francesco did not emerge as an independent personality until 1760, when his brother died. Then, 48 years old, he married, established his own studio, and devoted himself chiefly to painting views of Venice. For the most part he worked in obscurity, ignored by his contemporaries. He was not even admitted to the Venetian Academy until he was 72 years old. Guardi and Canaletto have always been compared to one another because the buildings they chose to paint were often the same. But the way each artist painted them is very different. Canaletto's world is constructed out of line. It provides solid, carefully drawn, three-dimensional objects that exist within logically constructed three-dimensional space. Guardi's world is constructed out of color and light. The objects in it become weightless in the light's shimmer and dissolve in a welter of brushstrokes; the space, like the forms in space, is suggested rather than described. Canaletto belonged essentially to the Renaissance tradition that began with Giotto and, as it grew progressively tighter and more controlled, pointed the way to neoclassicism. Guardi belonged to the new baroque tradition that grew out of the late style of Titian and, as it became progressively looser and freer, pointed the way toward impressionism. Such differences appear even in Guardi's early view paintings, where he was obviously trying to copy Canaletto, such as the Basin of San Marco. The famous buildings are there, but they are far in the background, insubstantial, seeming to float. In front is a fleet of fishing boats, their curving spars seeming to dance across the surface of the canvas. What is important for Guardi is not perspective but the changing clouds and the way the light falls on the lagoon. Guardi became increasingly fascinated by the water that surrounds Venice. In late works, such as the famous Lagoon with Gondola, buildings and people have been stripped away until there is nothing but the suggestion of a thin line of distant wharfs, a few strokes to indicate one man on a gondola, a long unbroken stretch of still water, and a cloudless sky. Guardi also painted the festivals that so delighted visitors to the city, such as the Marriage of Venice to the Sea. This was a symbolic ceremony in which the doge, in the great gilded galley of the head of state, surrounded by a thousand gondolas, appeared before all Venice, in Goethe's image, "raised up like the Host in a monstrance." Of all Guardi's paintings the most evocative are his caprices, the landscapes born out of his imagination though suggested by the ruined buildings on the lonely islands of the Venetian lagoon. A gentle melancholy clings to such scenes.
Sergey Ivanovich Svetoslavsky
painted In the Garden in 1900s