Countenances

Helllooooooooooo friends!! How is everyone? 2017 is barely two weeks old and I’ve already had my bout with the flu! Ugh. I was in bed for a few days feeling pretty lousy, but I’m recovered now (mostly) and ready to return to work. First booking on my schedule is the two week Drawing Marathon at the New York Studio School again. I modeled for it at the start of the fall 2016 semester – posted here – and am honored to have been asked back.

Also, an update about the “Portraits and Pets” Museworthy Art Show. I’ve decided that it will happen in the spring – either late March or early April. So anyone who has not yet submitted something and would like to, you still have plenty of time! I encourage you to do so. Skill level is totally unimportant. All that matters is sharing, expression, and participation ūüôā

Speaking of portraits, I’ve been looking at them a lot lately. More than nudes even. Something about the varied countenances and bearings of individuals, and how artists manage to capture those distinct airs through portraiture, is fascinating to me. Two in particular made an impression on me recently and I decided to share on the blog. Interestingly, both of them were painted by artists who are well-known mostly for their landscapes. The two men were not contemporaries (born 60 years apart), hailed from different parts of Europe and were raised in different socio-economic backgrounds. One was reared in a comfortable, middle class Parisian lifestyle, the other in a poverty-stricken, rootless existence in northern Italy.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, the Parisian, painted this work,¬†The Greek Girl,¬†in 1870. The girl is not Greek at all. She is Emma Dobigny, a popular French artist’s model at the time and a particular favorite of Edgar Degas. The warm, honeyed tones and harmonious palette work extremely well, as does the composition. She is dainty and winsome. We look at her, but her gaze and attention are directed elsewhere. I also see the vertical shape of her long jacket contrasting with the roundness of her cherubic face.

corot-greekgirl

The next portrait is by the the Italian painter Giovanni Segantini who, as a young boy, was homeless for a time, living in the streets of Milan and placed in a reform school. I’ve always found him to be a very interesting artist. The bulk of Segantini’s work are scenes of Alpine pastoral life – sheep herders and peasant folk in the Swiss mountains. This is his 1881 portrait of Leopoldina Grubicy who I’m assuming was probably the wife of Vittore Grubicy, an art gallery owner, painter, friend and supporter of Segantini. Again, marvelous shapes. A mature woman. Luminosity on the skin, the fluffy white collar, and the gold hair clip are details which draw the eye.

segantini-portraitleopoldina

12 thoughts on “Countenances

  1. scultore says:

    I too am just getting over the flu, luckily after our return from Spain. I like Corot portraits, they seem to foreshadow some of Picasso’s work around 1906

    • artmodel says:

      Bruce,

      I believe Picasso was a great admirer of Corot. Think I read that somewhere. So that would make sense with your observation.
      Glad you’re over the flu. It sucks! I had to cancel work at Minerva’s because of it.

      Thanks for your comments and see you soon!

      Clauida

  2. Bill says:

    I’ve always liked Corot’s portraits — they have a kind of calming effect . I’m not sure how I would react to a gallery full of them but, when my eye lands on one, I find myself slowly exhaling.

    • artmodel says:

      Bill,

      I agree. Corot’s portraits definitely have a serene quality. He was a great portraitist even though he’s associated with landscapes. A superb painter overall.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Claudia

  3. Great minds think alike . . . recently, I too have been looking at Segantini.

    • artmodel says:

      Todd,

      He’s a fascinating artist, isn’t he? I’ve seen him referred to as a Symbolist but it’s difficult to put a label on him.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Claudia

  4. Jennifer says:

    Hope you’re feeling better now! I seem to have just come down with my first cold for what seems like years, but at least I resisted the family germs for quite some time! Have never heard of Segantini, so interesting to see work by a ‘new-to-me’ artist. Love the Italian cheekbones – reminds me very much of a half-Sicilian friend’s cheekbones (lucky thing!). All the best for the new(ish) year. Jennifer xx

    • artmodel says:

      Jennifer,

      Yes, those cheekbones! Impressive. And great for artists I imagine.
      Sorry about your cold. Broke up your long record of resistance! I used to have pretty strong resistance but there’s only so much one can stave off during New York winters while riding crowded subways!

      Glad to have introduced you to Segantini, and thanks for your comments. Lovely to hear from you. Feel better!

      Claudia

  5. Derek James tewey says:

    Lovely posting I have plans for that project which was put on hold due that evil year. This museworthy project will be as good the one am cresting. The last in three years back was a lot of fun

    • artmodel says:

      Derek,

      I got your email, thank you. Will respond soon. The Museworthy Art Show needs your contribution! It’s going to be fun ūüôā

      Thanks for commenting!

      Claudia

  6. Dave says:

    Claudia,

    Thanks for sharing those exquisite portraits. I’m taking a figure drawing class now and hoping to get better at shading and, especially, rendering recognizable faces.

    You already have my drawing of one of my pooches for the art show. Maybe I’ll draw and send you a portrait of my other dog just to be fair to him.

    It’s nice to be back on the model stand after a long hiatus. I hope you’re having some satisfying gigs.

    • artmodel says:

      Dave,

      That’s so wonderful that you’re taking a figure drawing class! I’ve done most of my drawing at Minerva’s studio, but never taken an actual class. Great to hear you’re doing that.

      Yes, I have your drawing but, by all means, send the other one if you like. More dogs would be a good thing, because cats are dominating!

      I’ve returned to work and it is indeed nice to be back on the model stand.

      Thanks for your comments!

      Claudia

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