Dominus Venustas

Art writer. Art reader. Art lover.
Art is a language. One that speaks of truth and of humanity. I am on a journey to discover the Masters of Art and shine a light on their greatness. By Jackie Honsig-Erlenburg
This is how to paint a lemon. Manet.
He, who believed still life to be the ‘touchstone of the painter’.
"A painter can say all he wants to with fruits or flowers, or even clouds. You know, I would like to be the Saint Francis of still life."
Yes, this is definitely how to paint a lemon.

This is how to paint a lemon. Manet.

He, who believed still life to be the ‘touchstone of the painter’.

"A painter can say all he wants to with fruits or flowers, or even clouds. You know, I would like to be the Saint Francis of still life."

Yes, this is definitely how to paint a lemon.

Monet Monet Monet

People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it’s simply necessary to love.

- Monet

The necessary words of Monet. Look and simply love.

Renoir and Cennino Cennini - what’s the link?

Back in the day (of 1910) Renoir wrote the preface to the new French edition of Cennini’s medieval treatise Libro dell’arte.

It was thought his interest in this treatise was ignited after seeing and experiencing the frescoes of Italy on his trip there in the late 1880’s. This is hardly surprising. They do blow one’s mind, do they not?!

He wrote three drafts of the preface, which have emerged and have now been published… a copy of which I hold in my hot little hands.

Extract from one version of the preface:

I don’t have to explain to young painters how interesting it is to have a sure document on fifteenth-century Italian painters. Anything I could say the painters will know as well as I, but there are two things in this treatise, a lesson on painting and one on life.

Everything has been said on fifteenth-century painters. Painters don’t need me to make them admire these magnificent pictures …

…The joy we have in seeing these works which have survived for centuries while keeping all their charm makes us think of the golden age.

Image: A Garden in Sorrento by Renoir

The Genius of Turner lies in his ability to create air, space and light within the boundaries of a canvas. He gaged the scale within and he was always right.

Turner and the Sea at the National Martime Museum demonstrates this beautifully. His sea paintings are without doubt among his most powerful. A response to the sea. Captured impressions. Colour, space, light and air.

Completely and absolutely mesmerising.

" … my job is to draw what I see, not what I know." - Turner

Arthur Streeton, the painter who was instrumental in changing the direction of painting in Australia in the late nineteenth century. From outdated European conventions came visions of a modern Australia.
One of his studies for a larger work Classic Romance. Beautifully composed. Streeton was a romantic. He had class and the true sensibility of an artist.
His beautiful heartfelt description of his future wife in a letter to an old friend, 22 June, 1899, Chelsea, London:
She’s well read in all poetry - can draw in the most original way - intimate with Watts …she’s wise (advises me as you often used to - to spur me into energy & better things) and damme she has the loveliest eyes possible & the most delightful rosy flush through her fresh cheeks - Ah! I get absolutely drowsy and faint with her sweet attraction then she is near - …
*So lovely*

Arthur Streeton, the painter who was instrumental in changing the direction of painting in Australia in the late nineteenth century. From outdated European conventions came visions of a modern Australia.

One of his studies for a larger work Classic Romance. Beautifully composed. Streeton was a romantic. He had class and the true sensibility of an artist.

His beautiful heartfelt description of his future wife in a letter to an old friend, 22 June, 1899, Chelsea, London:

She’s well read in all poetry - can draw in the most original way - intimate with Watts …she’s wise (advises me as you often used to - to spur me into energy & better things) and damme she has the loveliest eyes possible & the most delightful rosy flush through her fresh cheeks - Ah! I get absolutely drowsy and faint with her sweet attraction then she is near - …

*So lovely*

Gustav Klimt spent a summer at the extraordinary lake area of the Salkammergut (Estate of the Salt Chamber) that spans from Salzburg to Upper Austria.

He painted many scenes here, mostly of the Attersee, the largest lake of them all, and the Schloss Kammer, that sits majestically on the peninsular. 

It really is quite something to see. Such natural beauty in a serene, tranquil setting. Vast and incredibly picturesque.

Schönen Österreich.

Theodore Rousseau was born today many moons ago (202 to be precise). A pioneer of plein air painting and a central figure in the French Barbizon School.
He studied not only the seventeenth century Dutch landscape painters but also his contemporaries, John Constable and Richard Parkes Bonington.
What a beauty this is. Twilight Landscape.

Theodore Rousseau was born today many moons ago (202 to be precise). A pioneer of plein air painting and a central figure in the French Barbizon School.

He studied not only the seventeenth century Dutch landscape painters but also his contemporaries, John Constable and Richard Parkes Bonington.

What a beauty this is. Twilight Landscape.

Del Sarto saves the Monastery from destruction

In the year 1529, Florence was under siege by Carlos V and his army. The Vallombrosian Monastery was to be destroyed. Until King Carlos saw the fresco by Andrea del Sarto of the Last Supper painted on the wall of the refectory inside. The Florentines say the building was saved because of the beauty of the fresco.

Del Sarto was called by Vasari ‘the flawless painter’ who believed if he had had a more courageous soul, his work being so deep and him so talented, he would have surely been the best, a truly divine artist.

But alas, it has been said there was a shyness in his soul. I say, he was therefore human.

I have all my subjects at hand. I go see them. I take notes. And then I go home. And before painting, I think, I dream.

Bonnard was indeed a painter of the real, imagined and the two combined.

His nephew wrote of him and his paintings:

He has been called the enchanter, the magician, the painter of marvels. He wished to paint only happy things. One will find in his work neither sadness nor suffering, only an occasional trace of melancholy and then merely as an accompaniment to feminine grace.

Interview with Matisse by art historian and writer Pierre Courthion, 1931
Setting the scene:
Matisse thinks slowly before speaking, and expresses himself with a striking precision. He has blue eyes, agate-coloured, curiously attentive behind his tortoise-shell glasses. Dressed in sports clothes, his greying hair brushed back carelessly, he is seated in front of me with his legs crossed but his back very straight. He surrounds himself only with things that are necessary to him, putting out of his way everything that could distract him.
Words from Matisse:
There are so many things in art, beginning with art itself, that one doesn’t understand. A painter doesn’t see everything that he has put in his painting. It is other people who find these treasures in it, one by one, and the richer a painting is in surprises of this sort, in treasures, the greater its author.
A true and accurate sentiment. We all seek the treasures within a painting, wanting to take away a thought, a feeling, an emotion. We want to be moved, to feel, to discovery something new.
The power of art. Or more accurately, the power of a great author of painting.

Interview with Matisse by art historian and writer Pierre Courthion, 1931

Setting the scene:

Matisse thinks slowly before speaking, and expresses himself with a striking precision. He has blue eyes, agate-coloured, curiously attentive behind his tortoise-shell glasses. Dressed in sports clothes, his greying hair brushed back carelessly, he is seated in front of me with his legs crossed but his back very straight. He surrounds himself only with things that are necessary to him, putting out of his way everything that could distract him.

Words from Matisse:

There are so many things in art, beginning with art itself, that one doesn’t understand. A painter doesn’t see everything that he has put in his painting. It is other people who find these treasures in it, one by one, and the richer a painting is in surprises of this sort, in treasures, the greater its author.

A true and accurate sentiment. We all seek the treasures within a painting, wanting to take away a thought, a feeling, an emotion. We want to be moved, to feel, to discovery something new.

The power of art. Or more accurately, the power of a great author of painting.