Storia dell'Arte

Anthony Van Dyck, Judith Leyster painters: Tecniques and Environment

Judith Leyster (the Netherlands, Harleem 1609-1660 the Netherlands, Heemstede) is a woman of the Flemish Baroque. In 1633 she received admission to the guild of Amsterdam painters.

She paints still lives, female and male subjects. She is gifted for the storytelling of the scene.

Anthony Van Dick, Guillame II as a child with a dog

Judith Leyster (Netherlands, Harleem 1609-1660 Netherlands, Heemstede) is one of the Flemish Baroque women painters. Accepted in the guild of Amsterdam painters in 1633, she paints still lifes, female and male subjects; his talent is in the narration of the scene. Anthony Van Dyck (Antwerp 1599-1641 London), immortal of the golden age of the Dutch Baroque, paints biblical scenes and classical mythology. Best known for cohort portraits.

Elettra Nicodemi

Anthony Van Dyck (Antwerp 1599-1641 London) one of golden age immortal of the Dutch Baroque, he paints biblical scenes and Romans’ mythology ones; he is well known for Carl of England the first court portraits.

In recent times and not before the noun Baroque includes the whole XVII century art. During the XVIII century while people was beginning to define Baroque as a concept, Baroque was referring to a sort of aesthetic: an excessive and confused and bizarre one. The concept of Baroque will remain similar until a researcher named Wölfflin (or Völfflin) will explain the Baroque aesthetic as an aesthetic similar to the aestetic of Impressionism. So we may refer Impressionism assimilates Baroque. Wölfflin refers to Impressionism’s viewpoint to describe the seventeenth-century art.

Judith Leyster, Un gioco di carte, 1633, olio su tela, dim. 54 x 43.5 cm, Museo delle belle arti di Rouen

Differently Wölfflin underlines a peculiar trait of the Baroque the not classical one: there is no more one and one only right viewpoint, any representation of the real is a good representation (“subjectivism”).

And if human figures depicted by Anthony Van Dyck are vibrant and rich in feelings, Judith Leyster’s one bring the viewer to life passions, as a piece of meat is tossed by the butcher on a scale. Despite imperfections (faces assymmetries, little imbalances of body parts), she is able to show the bliss, the friendly laughter, the pleasure as in “the joyful company” or to paint the amusement as in The card players. So as Anthony Van Dick is able to show and the seriousness and the proud and the gravity of The Cancellor Richardot and his son, and he is able to show the searching for wit with “Head of an old man” (c.1630), or he is able to paint the regality of “Prince Carl Luis I portraied accompanied by the brother Robert” (1637).

Anthony van Dyck, Guillaume Richardot and his son,1618-19, pittura, dim. 1,15 x 0,82, Parigi, Museo del Louvre

The same strenght in the subject is painted by Van Dyck in the shattering Venus and the erotic Volcano, painted in 1630, before the entrance in Carl I of England painters entourage.

Baroque philosophically is defined as the main twists and turns in the whole history of art. Manierism and Renaissance prepared the change, the focus had been adjusted from appearence to beingness. And Baroque is the completeness.

We see the ludic enchantment, in 1625 painted by Fransz de Grebber (the Netherlands, Harleem 1600 – 1652/3 same) in Youngs blowing bubbles of soap (Louvre Museum), we immagine the landscape immensity from a painting by Alexandre Keinrich (landscape, 1625, Louvre), the raison d’être by Jacob Van Oost the elder (1603–1671) in portrait of a Young man 1625, lastly the spontaneity in Taste for the five senses series painted by Anthonie Palmedesz in 1660, lesser painters of the Flemish Baroque. Watching theese paintings, we may realize that it was time to draw the every day realistically.

Judith Leyster, Autoritratto, 1630, olio su tela, dim 74,6 x 65,1 cm, Washington DC, National Gallery of art

Realism is strongly desired and improved from Gothic epoch; honed during the Reinassence, sharpened by the Manierism, stunning augmented by the Italian genius from Caravaggio, realism in painting does succed during the Baroque. It is possible to recognize the realism studing few tecniques of painting above landscapes, surroundings or considering human figures.

Figures are painted en repoussé very close to the observer. In accord to the choice, foregrounds or half puppets.

The resulting effect it obtains a canvas internal space that it is moveable and it emotionally is able to let the observer feel himself inside the painting, may we say, close to depicted figures. Commonly figures occupy the low part of the canvas or canvas three quarters. They are artfully depicted using many vivid particulars so as to catch the attention and to intrigue the observer.

The scene in foreground requires enought time, due to the prospectic composition and the beautiness of the painting that is filled of emotional, to bring the observer at one side of  depicted figures, in order to comprehend the narration and to accept the emotional expressed. It is ordinarily at this time that  the observer searches the landscape, to detach himself. Now the landscape is not as far (or too much far) as it could appear to an another observer whom desire to catch all the levels in a blink, ought to from the painting, he is still out!


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