Rembrandt:
One of My Favourite Artists

by Jennifer Crowe
(Sydney)

Rembrandt as a Young Man

Rembrandt as a Young Man

Rembrandt as a Young Man
Rembrandt Etching

A Self portrait is essentially a painting of one's own pictorial self. It usually describes emotion and mood of the artist and sometimes aims at sending a message either social or personal.


It allows the artists to explore their self and express their desires or states.

Rembrandt has made numerous self-portraits (probably because he could not get a sitter) and most of them differ in facial expressions and age.

For example, his earliest work, the SMALL SELF PORTRAIT which is an etching, describes himself as a disturbed and sad middle-aged man. While his SELF PORTRAIT as a YOUNG man, portrays him as a calm and composed, as a traditional dutch youth.

There is a sense of stillness and his mind seems relaxed and not really concentrated. Also, there are a series of Self-portraits that depict him in a beret and gorget signifying his presence in the Dutch manner.

He has also tried to show different states of himself such as a wide-eyed beggar, with loose hair with a sort-of unkempt appearance.

I like most of Rembrandt's paintings, they are full of life and vigour but it seems he was a lonely man and liked communicating with himself.

Many of them suggest he was a warrior and show him with a Kris as if he is ready to go into battle.

Though he is alone in most paintings, there is one showing him with his wife Saskia.

In a few of them, he is seen in poor conditions probably describing his financial hardships towards the end of 17th century.

Rembrandt typically conveys ideas to human beings of all times and cultures. He shows various stages of human life and various conditions.

He is well swathed in clothes, as he might have needed to be in an unheated studio in the Dutch country during the winter months.

In one of his paintings you will see a wood log behind him and a large and small stone, that may be used for grinding colors. Two more palettes hang on a nail on the wall. On the table behind him there are bottles that would have held oil essential in the practice of oil painting.

He seems alone and focussed on his work, as his studio is mostly empty with his canvas and himself. The light here is ambiguous and its source in not fixed, it might be a window or may be the painting itself is glowing, magically!

The canvas is bigger than the artist himself which suggests that it is a portrait. Looking at the artists posture, there is a possibility that he is viewing his painting which is complete!

However, it is not clear whether the artist is viewing the painting or the viewer. There is a strong relationship here, between painting and seeing or rather between the painter and the spectator. What do you think?

Jennifer Crowe
September 2011

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The Blank Check (1965) By Rene Magritte

by Martin Torelli
(Dominican)

The Blank Check

The Blank Check

This is an oil painting by Magritte depicting a horse and rider in the midst of a forest.

The image includes a complex illusion of depth elements and the things that are depicted here are not part of one's reality - and that makes it a very interesting picture.

Both horse and the rider possess invisibility because of the way Magritte has painted the illusion of trees interposed with the woman and horse. I think it is very clever.

When viewed more precisely, it can gives an illusion that he has painted a part of the horse and the woman on the tree.

Part of the rider and horse is still missing making it hard on one's reality.

This seems to create for me a vast space instead of tree and yet there is no space or time - which really means it does not exist on my reality level.

The artist has tried to inverse the visibility rules to hamper our visual system and has given a rather SURREALISTIC ambiance.

The image also shows that the artist is unaware if there is a woman riding the horse, so he makes an imaginary attempt to complete the picture with a woman whose existence is doubtful.

The artist calls the observer to differentiate between image and reality inside the painting with the very clever juxtaposition of trees and rider.

Showing reality at various levels makes it one of the best works of Magritte.


Drawing and Painting Techniques

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My Favorite Renoir

by Colleen Edwards
(Ft Lauderdale)

Pierre-Auguste Renoir was the pre-eminent painter of the Impressionist movement. He developed revolutionary painting techniques that shocked and dismayed the conservative patrons of the 19th century French art world.

He pioneered the use of broad brushwork to suggest motion. His use of pure, vigorous, and bright colors to depict light was both innovative and highly influential.

Renoir's virtuoso paintings clearly inspired artists such as Monet and Degas to adopt many of his daring, avant-garde painting techniques. The gaiety of Renoir's paintings and the brilliance of their color, however, distinguished his works from those of other Impressionist artists.

Renoir was more interested in painting people than landscapes or still life's. His paintings often featured family scenes and life in the city as well as in the countryside. Renoir attained renown as the quintessential painter of modern life in France.

He was particularly fascinated by women and by the shape of the female body. Opulent female nudes populate his depictions of bucolic landscapes. Renoir's portraits often portray lushly dressed women lounging in their boudoir or their bedroom.

Renoir's numerous paintings are linked by a distinctive personal style. His paintings radiate an atmosphere of serenity, tranquility and peace. He combined the use of vivid colors with nuanced brushwork to create remarkably charming and beautiful paintings.

Renoir's legacy, however, transcends his virtuosity as a painter. His works still convey the humanity and the optimism of his extraordinary artistic vision.

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My Favourite Artist: Egon Schiele

by Erin Moreau
(Paris)

Initially American were not too keen on Schiele's paintings or his mentor Klimpt for that matter. The art was seen as decadent and I think most Americans saw it that way also.

Much later they became acceptable globally especially after WW2 when Dr Kallir brought to the USA many of these masterpieces.

Schiele's ability to handle form in simple lines is extraordinary and I do not think anyone has come close to emulating his style although many have tried.

Some of his paintings would of course be disturbing as they are risqué in the extreme. But look at them as paintings, not subject matter and you will discover an emotional quality behinds them.



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The Style of a Master Artist

by Frederick Colborne
(Seattle)

Vincent van Gogh's painting style evolved quite dramatically during his short life.

His early paintings used dark-toned colors and a rough painting technique to create images with sharply delineated edges that echoed his fascination with the art of Japanese woodcuts.

His depictions of somber scenes from the lives of poor people vividly illustrated his compassion for the underprivileged and for society's outcasts. His aesthetic vision often fixated on the coarse, the bizarre, the grotesque and the violent elements of the lives of common, ordinary people in an increasingly industrialized world.

Van Gogh's decision to move to Provence in 1888 triggered a burst of feverish activity. He painted many of his exquisitely beautiful masterpieces during the brief 30 month period between his arrival in Arles and his death in 1890.

He used brighter colors to capture the vivid, crystalline light of southern France. Van Gogh's evident love for the vibrantly beautiful scenery that he could see from his windows led him to increasingly paint outdoors.

Although his later paintings display masterly skill, they retained the coarseness and the deliberately unfinished quality of his early works. All of van Gogh's paintings convey an unparalleled sense of vigor and turbulence. Van Gogh worked in complete obscurity during his troubled, turbulent life. He only sold one of his hundreds of paintings and only Gauguin, among contemporaneous artists, seemed to be aware of the power and significance of his works.

His paintings, however, have not only posthumously established his fame worldwide, their groundbreaking style made van Gogh the forerunner of 20th century Expressionist and Modernist art.

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Magritte's Wall St. Painting: My Comments

by Wayne Neill
(Milnerton)

Magritte's surrealism challenged viewers by taking ordinary objects and placing them in surprising new contexts.

In "Golcanda", the painting on which the OWS mashup "Magritte's Wall Street" is based, black clad men, identical in every detail including their serious hats, are scattered across the sky like so many raindrops. It is an arresting image, justly famous, and leaves the viewer wondering what possibly could have happened to the world to bring down such dark rain.

No such questions arise for viewers of "Magritte's Wall Street" nor are they intended to. The men in the dark suits are no enigma here, they are bankers and financiers.

Nor is their any mystery to their suspension in the sky. The suited men have been lynched, and the only thing surreal about it is the moral certainty of the occupiers, whose iconography shows a willingness to shed blood in the name of justice.

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Wall Street by Rene Magritte

by Alex Ruskin
(Worcester)

Rene Margritte's painting titled "Wall Street" provides a brash and straightforward look at what is wrong with our financial system today.

For those of us who have long awaited some type of substantial reform, a satirical painting such as this one, leaves us both humbled in humor and motivated to continue our fight for an complete overhaul of our Nations financial system.

Wall Street is full of White Collar business men whose sole position in life is to decide whether or not a few crumbs from the multi-billion dollar escrow accounts should be allowed to fall through the minuscule cracks in their corporate dining table and reach the likes of the "peasants" who occupy the world underneath them.

I commend Rene Magritte for having the audacity to create a work of art such as this magnificent piece of modern day social reflection.

The men hanging from nooses in the shadow of their corporate structures serves as a reminder to all of us, as to what metaphorical change will look like. What I take most from this piece however, has to be the limited number of people that are actually being put on display.

It really does hit home that the lives of many rest unacceptably on the shoulders of the few.

Will this piece be appealing to all? No. Will it serve a purpose for the few who are fighting for change? Absolutely. And is that not exactly what the OWS (Occupy Wall Street) movement is all about? Kudos to you Rene Margritte, your message has surely hit home!

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One of the Three Great Artists of the Renaissance

by Henri Marshall
(Rhode)

Raphael Drawing

Raphael Drawing

In my humble opinion, Raphael was one of the three great artists from the Renaissance period.

One of the early works was a fresco of Madonna and Child in Urbino where he used to live as a youth. More of his earlier works are the Crucifixion and Knight's Dream.

He is one of my favourite artists of all time, especially his drawings. One of his drawings is shown here.

Who were the other two? Michelangelo and da Vinci.

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Magritte Painting

by David Schimmel
(Oxton UK)

Wall Street, Rene Magritte and the OWS Wall Street is famous the world over for being one of the biggest financial centers of the world.

Corporations and banks do business here and many blame them for the economic crisis that is blighting lives.

Magritte's painting on Wall Street, is a surreal depiction of corporate suites and bankers hanging from the sky. It is a commentary on the greed of the corporate, consumerist-driven Western world.

Many see it as a depicting the punishment of the corporate faceless suits who inhabit Wall Street and who are destroying lives in the quest for profit.

The 'Occupy Wall Street' (OWS) movement is voicing what many of us really think. Should we not also do our bit? Stop shopping at Wal-Mart.

Look to to your local shopkeeper. It might cost you a little more, but the money you spend will stay in the community. It won't be drained away to sit in the pockets of share-holders.

If you drive, look at alternatives to fossil fuels. Don't fuel the oil companies with your money. The environment will thank you for it!

Hurt the banks by switching your money to other establishements. The movement of money way from the banks will scare them.

What ever you think of Wall Street or of the OWS movement, it has started a healthy debate. Rene Magritte's mural is a symbol of the frustration at the excess of Wall Street.

We should do our bit to support the OWS or it will be nothing more than just another meaningless protest.

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