Died on 17 February 1788: Maurice
Quentin de la Tour, French artist born on 05 September 1704.
He was, with Perronneau, the most celebrated French pastellist of the 18th century. He was born in St Quentin and went to Paris as a young man; after visits to London and other places he settled in Paris 1724-84. He soon found that the vogue for pastel portraits started by Rosalba Carriera in 1719/20 was still capable of exploitation and he devoted the rest of his life to it. His portraits are characterized by an extreme vivacity of handling - sometimes rather vulgar - and a firm grasp of character. As a very old man the study of politics drove him crazy, and he retired to St Quentin, where the largest and best collection of his works is to be found: it includes many studies and sketches which are sometimes superior to the finished portraits.
Self-Portrait (1751) Self~Portrait (1760) Maurice, Comte de Saxe, Marshal of France (1748, pastel, 60x49cm) Mlle Ferrand Meditating on Newton (1753, pastel, 73x60cm)
Died on 17 February 1980: Graham
Vivian Sutherland, etcher, lithographer, and painter, born
in London on 24 August 1903.
Graham Sutherland, pintor británico.
Insect (1963, color lithograph 66x50cm)
Devastation: East End Factory Ventilation Shaft (1941, 67x48cm) _ Born in London, Sutherland originally apprenticed as an engineer, before studying art at Goldsmiths College, London. From 1940-45 he was employed as an official war artist. One of his first tasks was to depict bombing damage in the east end of London. Sutherland described his experiences in his journal: At the beginning I was a bit shy as to where I went. Later I grew bolder and went inside some of the ruins. I remember a factory for making women’s coats. All the floors had gone but the staircase remained, as very often happened. And there were machines, their entrails hanging through the floors, but looking extraordinarily beautiful at the same time. And always there was the terrible smell of sour burning. This picture, like many of Sutherland’s works of this time, makes a powerful visual record of the horror of the Blitz.
Died on 17 February 1854: John
Martin, British painter born on 19 July 1789.
John Martin was born at Haydon Bridge, near Hexham, Northumberland. After a struggling youth in London (from 1806) as an heraldric and enamel painter, in 1812 he exhibited at the Royal Academy the first of his grandiose Biblical paintings, such as The Fall of Babylon (1819), Belshazzar's Feast (1821) and The Deluge (1826). The rediscovery of John Martin was launched by two refugees from Nazi Germany, Robert and Charlotte Frank, who set up as dealers in St James's, London.
Martin was largely a self-taught artist, who achieved through his vivid imagination and bold, theatrical style an epitome of the romantic sublime in landscape painting that proved highly influential. Born in East Landends near Haydon Bridge on the Tyne River, he moved with his family to Newcastle in 1803 and there received some slight training from the Italian painter Boniface Musso.
In 1806 Martin went to London and during the next five or six years supported himself as a painter on porcelain and glass. His earliest exhibits at the Royal Academy and British Institution in 1812-14, however, marked the emergence of an original talent, and he quickly gained fame for his vast, densely detailed scenes of tumult and disaster. So audacious were some of his visions that he received the nickname "Mad Martin."
A lifelong foe of the academy, Martin was one of its most bitter critics in parliamentary hearings on the academy in 1836. In the 1820s, Martin turned his attention to engravings and mezzotints, partly as a way of reaching a larger audience, and his illustrations of Paradise Lost and the Bible proved particularly popular. He also worked as an inventor and pamphleteer and proposed a number of ideas for public works. In France, Martin's name became synonymous with the sublime, and his work formed a direct link to the US landscape tradition of Thomas Cole, Washington Allston, and Frederic Church.
The Assuaging of the Waters (1840, 143x218cm)
Manfred and the Witch of the Alps (1837, 39x56cm) _ The eponymous hero of Byron's verse drama Manfred (1817) is a Faustian figure who, tormented by guilt for 'some half-maddening sin' and cursed by the spirits of the universe, is denied the oblivion he seeks. After an attempt at suicide illustrated by Martin in a companion watercolor ) Manfred invokes the Witch of the Alps and reveals his sin, his incestuous love for his sister Astarte. The Witch, who 'rises beneath the arch of the rainbow of the torrent', commands him to surrender his soul to her as the price for her assistance: the shadowy apparition to the right in this watercolor is his soul, with which he considers parting, but refuses to do so.
Painted at a time of emotional and financial crisis in Martin's life when he told a friend that he felt a 'ruined, crushed man ... there are no more bright days for me', this watercolor shows both his astonishing technique and his identification with Byron's doomed, romantic hero.
The Great Day of His Wrath (1853) 53 prints at FAMSF
The Bard(1817, 270x170cm) _ The subject comes from Thomas Gray's poem The Bard (1755) and had been popular throughout the Romantic period, with versions by Thomas Jones, William Blake and Henry Fuseli. Gray [links] tells how Edward I, after his conquest of Wales, ordered all bards to be slaughtered in order to draw the people's cultural and nationalistic sting: The sole surviving bard here stands:
'On a rock, whose haughty brow
He curses the departing armies:
'Ruin seize thee, ruthless King!