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Clare A. P. Willsdon

Scottish painter. He originally worked as a wigmaker. In the 1790s he produced topographical illustrations in Edinburgh and reputedly trained under David Allan and at the Trustees’ Academy. Turning to figure subjects c. 1800, he contributed to the development of Realism in Scottish genre. He evolved a frank but subtle style with a sensitive response to character and the nuances of light, seen in ...

Article

Italian painter. He trained first with Matteo Ponzoni, then with Sebastiano Mazzoni; Mazzoni encouraged the development of a Baroque style, but Celesti was also attracted by the naturalism of the tenebrists. The first known works by Celesti are mature in style, and he had already achieved considerable fame in Venice when the Doge ...

Article

David Mannings

Term current in 18th-century England to describe contemporary genre pictures of a sentimental realism, in which the artist’s own whimsy played a substantial part. Samuel Johnson defined ‘fancy’ in his Dictionary of the English Language (1755) as a synonym for ‘imagination’ but also in the subsidiary senses of ‘taste’ and of ‘something that pleases and entertains’. The usual subjects for fancy pictures are children and young women represented life-size or slightly smaller, though the term, never used very precisely, has also been applied to landscape paintings having a predominant figural element of a sentimental nature. The keynote in fancy paintings is a sort of contrived innocence, sometimes with erotic overtones. In style and treatment, though not in mood, they were often inspired by the genre scenes and character studies of such 17th-century masters as Rembrandt and Murillo; analogous works by 18th-century French artists, most notably Chardin and Greuze, were also influential in the development of the type. The fancy picture is now most commonly associated with works of this kind by ...

Article

Richard C. Green

Italian painter and draughtsman. He was the son of the painter Giovanni Molinari (1633–87) and studied in Venice with Antonio Zanchi. His style had its origins in the naturalism and tenebrism of Neapolitan painting, introduced to Venice in the mid-17th century. Although his work always retained some traces of this naturalism, the typically violent subject-matter and intensity of the Neapolitan style were considerably tempered by the addition of classicizing elements and of rich, glowing colours. By the 1680s Molinari had developed his characteristic manner of depicting figures in poses of extreme torsion and vigorous movement, arranged in graceful compositions. His subject-matter included episodes from the Old and New Testaments, antiquity and Classical mythology. His classical idiom was most pronounced in his large canvases painted for churches, such as the ...

Article

Rococo  

Richard John and Ludwig Tavernier

A decorative style of the early to mid-18th century, primarily influencing the ornamental arts in Europe, especially in France, southern Germany and Austria. The character of its formal idiom is marked by asymmetry and naturalism, displaying in particular a fascination with shell-like and watery forms. Further information on the Rococo can be found in this dictionary within the survey articles on the relevant countries....