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Monday, March 12, 2007

Three Old Masters

Jan de Bray, Portrait of the Artist's Parents, Salomon de Bray and Anna Westerbaen, 1664
The National Art Gallery in Washington, DC: two Rembrandt rooms, an El Greco room, a Titian room, paintings by Leonardo, Boticelli, Fra Angelico, Giorgione, Murillo, by Van Dyck, and by Delacroix, among many other great artists. And that is to say only of the old masters. There are also the impressionists, the moderns, along with American artists from all generations.

I was again there last Sunday. This time I noticed three old masters that I would like to speak a little bit about: it is about austerity, erotic, grotesque.

Jan de Bray, with the portrait of his parents - I was impressed by the rigor of the composition, its noble austerity.

Fran├žois Clouet, with a totally different kind of work - scholars believe the bather was actually Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of the French King Henry II.

Fran├žois Clouet, A Lady in her bath, presumably Diane de Poitiers, 1571

Quentin Massys, Ill-Matched Lovers, c. 1520 - 1525
And Quentin Massys, with his Ill-Matched Lovers:

Apparently familiar with Leonardo da Vinci's grotesque drawings of physiognomy and distortion, Massys adapted the facial type for the old lecher from one of Leonardo's caricatures, and the complicated pose of the suitor from Leonardo's lost drawing of an ill-matched pair, known today through a later copy.
(Information taken from the gallery's site)

(Washington DC National Gallery of Art)

(Old Masters)


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