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Article

Mark Firth and Louis Skoler

Silvery white metal. The third most abundant element in the earth’s crust (after oxygen and silicon), aluminium is found only in the form of its compounds, such as alumina or aluminium oxide. Its name is derived from alumen, the Latin name for alum, and in the 18th century the French word alumine was proposed for the oxide of the metal, then undiscovered. The name aluminium was adopted in the early 19th century and is used world-wide except in the USA, where the spelling is aluminum, and in Italy where alluminio is used. Following the discovery of processes for separating the metal from the oxide, at first experimentally in 1825, then commercially in 1854 and industrially in 1886–8, aluminium rapidly came to be valued as an adaptable material with both functional and decorative properties. Thus in addition to being used in engineering, transport, industrial design and household products, it was also widely adopted in architecture, sculpture and the decorative arts....

Article

Philip Ward-Jackson

Term applied particularly to mid-19th-century French sculpture with animal subject-matter. The beginnings of this genre as a significant phenomenon may be located in 1831, when three sculptors, Antoine-Louis Barye, C. Fratin (1801–64) and A. Guionnet (fl 1831–53), all exhibited animal pieces at the Paris Salon. The popularity of such sculpture, and its commercial exploitability through the production of serial bronzes and plasters, induced some sculptors, such as Barye et Cie, to cast and market their own animal statuettes. Antecedents are numerous, but a comparable degree of concentration on animal subjects in sculpture is found only at the end of the 18th century, in the work of the English painter and sculptor George Garrard. Garrard’s animal pieces reflect contemporary concern with ‘improved’ stock-breeding, as well as the involvement with natural history of the encyclopedists. A much publicized debate in 1830 on comparative anatomy, between Etienne Geoffroy de Saint Hilaire and his pupil Georges Cuvier, stimulated widespread interest in zoology, as did the growth of the Paris Jardin des Plantes, where several generations of sculptors studied animals from life. They could observe dissections at the Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle, where Barye occupied the post of Professor of Zoological Drawing from ...

Article

Elizabeth Meredith Dowling

American organization dedicated to improving the quality of architectural education. Incorporated in 1916 by the architect Lloyd Warren (1867–1922), the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design (BAID) was an outgrowth of the Society of Beaux-Arts Architects (SBAA; 1894–1942) established by his brother Whitney Warren (1864–1943) with Thomas Hastings and Ernest Flagg who had all studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and were nationally recognized American architects. BAID was dedicated to the improvement of architectural education by providing a centralized location for the distribution and judging of design problems. Architecture schools and private ateliers located throughout the United States developed projects based on the programs created by BAID. The student work was then sent to the headquarters in New York to be judged. An award system of medals and mentions cited the work considered most deserving by the jury of distinguished architects. The award winning projects published in ...

Article

Keith N. Morgan

Founded in 1867, the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) is the oldest of the three Massachusetts chapters of the American Institute of Architects, established in 1857. Dominated by Edward Clark Cabot as its president for the first three decades, the Boston Society of Architects reflected the nature of the expanding practice in the city at that moment. Opened in the same year as the BSA was the nation’s first academic program in architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In addition to the MIT courses, the BSA was soon joined by the first substantial professional journal in the country, The American Architect and Building News, which began publication in Boston in 1876. The Society served as both a professional and a social organization in its early years, allowing members to meet and learn from their fellow practitioners. A parallel organization, open to non-architects as well, was the Architecture Association created in ...

Article

Sandra L. Tatman

American architectural competition held in 1922 by the Chicago Tribune newspaper for its new corporate headquarters. The competition changed American views of European modernism and the course of American Skyscraper architecture. The 1922 Chicago Tribune Competition’s call for competitors attracted more than 260 architects from 23 countries with the offer of a $50,000 prize for the winning design. Although the company may have issued this competition as a way of attracting attention to its newspaper, competitors from around the world, drawn by what was in 1922 an astronomical sum, submitted entries that varied from the very traditional revival styles to cutting edge European modernism. In the end, the winners were Americans John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood (Howells & Hood) with their neo-Gothic skyscraper influenced by the Tour de Beurre in Rouen Cathedral (see Rouen, §IV, 1). However, the second place entry from Saarinen family, §1 of Finland took America by storm, encouraging the architect to immigrate to the United States. In fact, some American architects and critics, such as Louis Sullivan, preferred the Saarinen design to the Howells & Hood tower, and Saarinen’s stepped-back tower with little applied decoration certainly influenced later skyscraper design (...

Article

Jacqueline Colliss Harvey

[Claude Lorrain glass]

A small mirror, slightly convex in shape, with its surface tinted a dark colour. Carried in the hand, it was used by artists, travellers and connoisseurs of landscape and landscape painting. It has the effect of abstracting the subject reflected in it from its surroundings, reducing and simplifying the colour and tonal range of scenes and scenery to give them a painterly quality, similar in appearance to the work of Claude Lorrain, hence its name. A larger variant, which could be fixed to the side of a carriage window to reflect the passing scenery, also appears to have existed.

The Claude glass could be used either as an aid for painting, enabling the artist to assess the relative tonality of a particular scene, or simply in order to appreciate the scenes reflected in it. It is an interesting example of Art subduing Nature to its own purposes, especially as the viewer had to turn his back—both physically and metaphorically—on the ‘real’ landscape he wished to view. Not surprisingly, the greatest vogue for its use occurred during the days of European travel and the Grand Tour in the Romantic period at the end of the 18th century. In his biography of Thomas Gray (...

Article

Paul von Blum

Popular art form, consisting of narrative series of images. The individual framed images are usually accompanied by text in white areas, and the conversations or thoughts of characters are usually in ‘balloons’. The language is associated with specific characters, although some strips are entirely pictorial. The strips are typically horizontal but occasionally vertical. The history of the comic strip is closely linked to the invention of printing. The earliest surviving ancestors of the modern strip, dating from the late 15th century, are sequential German woodcuts dealing with such themes as personal morality, crime, political intrigue, religious persecution, the lives of religious figures, and miraculous events. Similar efforts appeared during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries in the Netherlands, Italy, and Russia as well as in Germany.

More traditional European art forms are equally important to the development of the comic strip. Major print series by renowned artists, including Jacques Callot, ...

Article

Ralph Hyde

Darkened room (or rooms), with lenses set into the walls, through which the viewer could inspect magnified, brightly lit and minutely delineated pictures placed at the end of a screened black tunnel. The cosmorama was mainly in use in 19th-century Europe and America. The pictures were painted in oils, in an ultra-realistic manner. Some paintings were perforated so as to create the effect of lit windows or a star-spangled sky, or they incorporated transparencies so that sequences of scene transformations could be produced. The paintings were generally of spectacular subjects—far-off cities, storms at sea, dramatic conflagrations, pyramids, great waterfalls or volcanoes. Visits to cosmoramas provided a substitute for arduous foreign travel, and they were often used to divert and educate children.

The first cosmorama was opened in 1808 by the Société des Voyageurs et des Artistes at the Palais-Royal, Paris. The invention reached New York in 1815, while a Cosmorama Room, exhibiting the Paris paintings, was established at 29 St James’s Street, London, in ...

Article

Crocket  

John Thomas

[Fr. croc, crochet: ‘hook’]

Decorative device used in Gothic art and architecture, attached to a capital or a gable, an arch, piece of tracery or coping. The term was used in medieval England in the forms crockytt and crockett. English writers of the Gothic Revival period, however, suggested a connection with the crook, noting that some of the earliest English examples take the form of the pastoral crosier, but this is probably a misinterpretation.

Crocket capitals developed during the period of transition from Romanesque to Gothic architecture from the mid-12th century, with small curled, twisted fronds of vegetation projecting from the body of the capital, in a form suggesting the much older use of curved floral decoration in the Corinthian order (see Orders, architectural, §I, 1, (iii)). After c. 1250 the crocket emerged as a curve of foliage that twisted or hooked back, turning the opposite way to the arch or gable out of which it rose, reminding Gwilt of ‘the buds and boughs of trees in the spring season’. In the course of its development, the crocket lost its hook-shape and began to curve upwards rather than downwards, becoming richer and more florid. Thus after ...

Article

Rupert Featherstone

Article

Martin Postle

A representative work of art presented to and retained by the Royal Academy of Arts (see London, §VI) by each Academician on his or her election. Clause 3 of the Academy’s Instrument of Foundation, signed by George III in December 1768, specified that each newly elected Academician ‘shall not receive his letter of Admission, till he hath deposited in the Royal Academy, to remain there, a Picture, Bas-relief, or other specimen of his abilities, approved of by the then sitting Council of the Academy’. The practice of submitting a Diploma work, or Diploma piece, went back at least to the Accademia di S Luca, Rome, founded in 1593, although a less remote connection is to be found in the system organized by the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in Paris, where every agréé had to submit a sample of work—a morceau de réception—prior to receiving formal admission into the Académie. (In France the admission of the ...

Article

Aurora Scotti Tosini

Term invented by Paul Signac to describe the Neo-Impressionist separation of colour into dots or patches applied directly to the canvas. Following the rules of colour-contrasts laid out by Ogden Rood and Michel-Eugène Chevreul, this method was intended to produce maximum brilliance scientifically and to avoid the muddiness caused by physically mixing colours before applying them to the canvas. Seen close to, a Divisionist canvas is a mass of contrasting dots: at a distance, the colours enhance each other to produce an effect of shimmering luminosity. Divisionism refers to the general principle of the separation of colour, unlike the term Pointillism, which refers specifically to the use of dots. Employed in France by members of the Neo-Impressionist group, Divisionism was also popular in Belgium among Les XX and in the Netherlands. In Italy the use of Divisionism, stimulated by Vitorio Grubicy, characterizes the advanced experiments of such painters as Angelo Morbelli, ...

Article

Marisa J. Pascucci

Terms applied to painters who had studied at either of the two academies in Germany where numerous American artists sought painting instruction. In the mid-19th century some of America’s most esteemed artists studied at the German art academies in Düsseldorf and Munich. By the end of the 19th century hundreds of American artists in search of the latest artistic styles and techniques were working and training at both academies.

The Düsseldorf school of painting refers to a group of painters who taught or studied at the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie (now the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf) between the 1830s and the 1860s. During this time the Kunstakademie was held in high esteem throughout Europe and the USA. Rather bohemian in direction, days were filled with classes in drawing and color and also history and anatomy, with nights devoted to socializing centered around reading and discussion. Directed by the painter Schadow family §(3) and artists following the ...

Article

G. Lola Worthington

(Alva)

(b Milan, OH, Feb 11, 1847; d West Orange, NJ, Oct 18, 1931).

American inventor, entrepreneur, film producer and businessman. Edison invented numerous electrically based technologies. His father, Samuel Edison (1804–96), and mother, Nancy Matthews Elliot (1810–71), lived very modestly. Home schooled after he performed poorly in school, his formal educational experience lasted only three months. A shrewd businessman his instinctive abilities combined with his innovative inventions furthered his extensive research. He famously “invented” the first practical incandescent light bulb. Nicknamed the “Wizard of Menlo Park,” he established the first large American industrial research laboratory in Menlo Park, NJ.

Credited with developing predominant technical designs and electrically powered mechanisms for numerous devices, his inventions were instrumental toward the arts. Some principal imaginative, mechanical creations are the phonograph, electrically powered generators, individual home electricity, motion picture cameras and audio recordings. Edison patented his first motion picture camera, the “kinetograph,” and began his foray into film. In 1891 his kinetoscope, which allowed individuals to view short films through a peephole at the top of a cabinet, became highly lucrative. In ...

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

Molly Dorkin

Place where works of art are displayed. In a commercial gallery, works of art are displayed for the purposes of sale (for information on non-commercial art galleries see Display of art and Museum, §I). Historically, artworks were commissioned by patrons directly from an artist and produced in his workshop. In the Netherlands, the economic boom following the conclusion of the Eighty Years’ War with Spain (1648) led to rising demand for art. Patrons began buying from dealers, some of whom produced illustrated catalogues. Antwerp became the centre of the art world. Galleries for the display and viewing of art appeared in paintings by Teniers family, §2 and Bruegel family, §3, although these were private not commercial spaces, or imaginary constructions.

The Paris Salon, which had been organized by the Académie Royale de Peinture et Sculpture since 1667, was opened to the public for the first time in ...

Article

Lisa A. Reilly

[Lat. gargulio: ‘throat’]

Projection from the roof, parapet, or buttress of a building that acts as a water-spout, throwing rainwater clear of the wall to prevent damage to the structure. Gargoyles are a particular feature of European Gothic architecture, Gothic Revival buildings and restorations, and also occur in Chinese architecture.

Although best known in its European Gothic manifestations, the concept of a water-spout projecting from the roof line, as well as the decoration of that feature, originated considerably earlier. Examples have been cited at Abusir, Egypt, dating to the 5th Dynasty (c. 2465–c.. 2325 bc). In Greece the 7th-century bc wooden Temple of Apollo at Thermon featured terracotta spouts in the form of masks and lions’ heads (Thermon, Archaeol. Mus.). In such Roman buildings as the House of the Niobid, the water-spouts were more visually related to Gothic examples: dogs and lions in a crouching position formed the upper part of the gargoyle with water running out between their front paws through the spout below....

Article

Peter John Brownlee

Term applied to figural scenes of ordinary people engaged in the activities of everyday life. Though painted only occasionally throughout the Colonial period and early Republic, genre painting flourished in the United States during the 19th century, a period of intense social, cultural, technological and economic change. Throughout this era, genre paintings featured prominently in annual exhibitions of the National Academy of Design and the American Art-Union. They were often reproduced in engravings and chromolithographs and circulated widely as gift-book illustrations. Drawing largely on Dutch and British precedents during the first half of the century, genre paintings made in the United States utilized stock characters adapted from popular literature and the theatrical stage. In their heyday and in the early days of their scholarly rediscovery in the 20th century, genre pictures were considered unadulterated expressions of American character. More recently, however, genre scenes have been examined in light of their cultural politics. Genre paintings revel in wordplay and doubled meaning, catch phrases, political slogans and other forms of vernacular expression; aspects that historically predisposed this style of painting to political and ideological inflection in the antebellum period and after. During and following the Civil War (...

Article

Term applied to paintings depicting everyday life in domestic interiors, usually referring to the work of Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard. It was first used in the 1890s, although the type of paintings to which it refers had been produced earlier by such artists as Johannes Vermeer and Jean-Siméon Chardin. The intimiste style is aptly characterized by André Gide’s comment on Vuillard’s four decorative panels, Figures and Interiors (1896; Paris, Petit Pal.), that the artist was ‘speaking in a low tone, suitable to confidences’ (‘Promenade au Salon d’Automne’, Gaz. B.-A., xxxiv, 1905, p. 582). Bonnard and Vuillard were both members of the mystical brotherhood of the Nabis, but their commitment to the esoteric, symbolist side of the Nabi aesthetic was not as strong as their interest in the group’s technical ideas on painting, and often their subject-matter was tranquil, bourgeois interiors. An example is Bonnard’s Le Déjeuner (1899...

Article

Oscar P. Fitzgerald

Technique for imitating Asian Lacquer. Once Dutch and Portuguese traders imported lacquer ware from the Far East after 1700, Europeans became fascinated by this technique. Originating in ancient China, it spread to Japan where it is still practiced in the 21st century. The process involved the application of up to a hundred coats of lacquer produced from the sap of the Rhus vernicifera tree, native to China, Malaya, and Japan. Despite attempts to discover the secret, Europeans could not duplicate the process. Since the sap quickly congeals it did not travel well and was toxic like poison ivy.

In 1688 A Treatise of Japanning and Varnishing by John Stalker and George Parker explained how to imitate the process by applying shellac dissolved in alcohol over a gessoed surface (see Stalker and Parker). Black was the most common color but red, white, blue, green, yellow, olive brown, and imitation tortoise shell (black streaked with vermillion) were also known. After designs were drawn on the surface, a mixture of red clay or sawdust, whiting, and gum arabic was daubed into the outlines and the raised images were sculpted with engraving tools and then colored with metal dust. A variation called ...