Paintings I Like

In all of my years of strolling through museums and galleries out of thousands of paintings I have seen there stand out several that have effected me the most and here I will list them.  I will include paintings I have not seen in a museum but even the prints in a book have enthralled me.

GIRL WITH AN ERMINE   LEONARDO DA VINCI

IMGP0190The first painting I would like to talk about is by Leonardo da Vinci.  Like all of these paintings that I will talk about every time I see a print of this in a book, as I have never seen this one in person, it moves something inside of me both emotionally and intellectually.  The position of the face and the body for one thing.  She is not staring out at the viewer.  She seems to be looking pensively at something beyond her.

Then there is the beautiful color of her robe, the graceful position of her hand and the lovely band in her hair.  The picture makes me want to know who she was and what her life was like.  Though Da Vinci was more drawn toward his own sex this girl obviously inspired something strong in him.

 

CINCO DE MAYO     GOYA

Goya  Cinco de MayoThe second one I will talk about is the one that struck me the hardest when I first laid eyes on it in the Prado.  The Cinco de Mayo by Goya is so forceful that one is almost struck dumb at the sight of it.  The man about to be shot who is surrounded by bodies and confronted by gray suited military men is cleverly highlighted by the strong white of his shirt that seems to send strong beams out of the painting and this combined with the pained animal look on the man’s face with his arms raised conveys his plight in a manner which is electric.  The saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” really is applicable here.

 

REMBRANDT  SELF PORTRAIT

IMGP0078The third one that affected me deeply when I saw it is the Rembrandt Self Portrait.  Rembrandt looks out at the viewer andIMGP0188 it felt to me as if he were actually speaking to me. In his jaunty youth he seems to be saying “Here  I am and I want you to know me” All of his consequent numerous portraits have left a sort of diary of the road of his life which brought him quite a lot of success followed by sadness and strife.

 

GIRL IN A RED HAT     VERMEER

IMGP0068The fourth painting I was intrigued by even though I only have seen it in various art books is Vermeer’s Girl in a Red Hat.  The young woman peering out at the viewer appears to have been summoned by a friend and is listening to what is being said to her.  The huge  hat whose lovely red is made bright by the dark undercoating shades the face but there is light on the eyes and the beautiful rendering of the mouth.  The coat is partially in darkness with highlights which reveal its color of turquoise blue. The white collar of her blouse completes an outfit which is as fetching as the face.

TWO NUDES     PICASSO

The next painting which has always pleased me whenever I see it reproduced in a book isPicasso Two Nude girls called Two nudes Standing Arm in Arm. It is one of his early works and has a tenderness which disappears in his later paintings (but which appears to a great extent in his etchings and drawings).

There is a  delicate but structural rendering of the two adolescent girls painted in a soft shade of sienna.  The girl on the left is crudely unfinished but this does not deter from a beautiful depiction of young female bodies.

 

STILL LIFE      MATISSE

IMGP0075The sixth painting I always love to encounter in a book is Matisse’s Still Life. I am not a lover of still life in general but this one has always captured my attention and filled me with amusement and pleasure. Matisse’s family dealt with fabrics and this is evident in the pink tablecloth with pronounced flowers.  The large bowl of fruit sits above this cloth and there is no attempt to make the fruit very realistic.  The apples and pears are almost solid colors as are the leaves and make a calm contrast to the fanciful flowers of the cloth. The table is also just rectangular shapes and the background is made up of beautifully colored straight lines which outline the fruit and simply indicate a drape and a window. It all works so beautifully in design and colors and so different from the usual type of still life.

WOMAN IN THE BATH     BONNARD

The last painting I would like to mention is Bonnard the French 19th and 20th centuryIMGP0073 painter.  This particular painting is of Bonnard’s wife in the bath.  His wife became quite neurotic in her later life and spent most of her time in the bath.  Bonnard took advantage of this and made several paintings of her recumbent position in their bathroom.

The bathroom walls are decorated with large colorful tiles, the floor with smaller but also very colorful tiles.  The tiles are not in straight lines and are painted in an almost childish manner. In actual fact, as a photograph shows, their bathroom was quite stark, with white tiles and small checkered floor tiles in rigid straight lines.  Bonnard’s imagination was enormous and his sense of  freedom to indulge with colors that have nothing to do with the actual white bathroom,  along with his disregard of all of the rigid lines is remarkable and proves his considerable powers of invention.

I would very much have liked to have known this man who had a rather sad life regarding his wife.  I also wish someone would write a complete biography of this interesting artist.

 

 


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