After studying in Paris, Millet traveled to Barbizon in 1849. There in the Fontainebleau forest, Millet began to paint rustic landscapes and scenes from peasant lives that became a hallmark of his work. These pastoral genre scenes of hard-working peasants have a simplicity and monumentality that make them a kind of visual homily on the virtues of the steadfast country folk he encountered.
This scene is a testament to the watchfulness of the shepherdess and her dog. The quiet dignity of the scene carries a Biblical resonance that Millet shares with Rembrandt. This muted delicacy is conveyed through Millet’s build up of tonalities on the sheet, achieved through smudging of the chalk overlaid with careful hatching lines to convey mass and the slanting light of late afternoon.
For many artists in mid-nineteenth-century France, the painting of Spain provided an alternative to the influence of Italian Renaissance art. Manet’s paintings and, later, his prints were deeply influenced by the examples of Goya, Murillo, and above all, Velázquez. The Gypsies combines aspects of two very different Spanish artists: the central commanding figure of the standing man is based on a royal portrait by Velázquez, while the mother and child are loosely based on paintings of peasants by Murillo. French artists freely combined Spanish “types” in their work and this pastiche (which also conjures up images of the Holy Family) must have been considered an awkward composition to Manet and may explain why he cut up his painting.
The Gypsies was the first etching that Manet published through the Société des Aquafortistes in 1862; he based this work on an earlier painting that he had cut down into small fragments.
Signed on plate, l.r.: ed. Manet U.R. margin: 4 Watermark: VAN GELDER
Inscription on plate: Cum privil fa. Cae. Mtis. / HGoltzius Inuentor / Adrianus Matham sculptor Iac. Matham excud. 1620 / Felis illa aetas, omnique beatior aevo / Saturno regnante fuit, cum Saecula iuberent / Aurea Securam mortalus ducere vitam: / Sponte sua tellus, sine rastro et vomeris vsu, / Omnigenas fundebat fundebat opes, nec flumina lactus, / Nec latices decrant nunqua maerentis Facchi: / Mellag(?) de viridi stillabant roscida quereu / Aureus hanc vitam in terris, Saturnus agebat. / Th. Schrevelius Collector's stamp, l.l.: Lugt 150a, A. Maroni Watermark (unclear): shield over three balls
Pupil of his father-in-law, Kishi Ganku, by whom he was adopted. Family name originally Aoki. Specialized in landscapes and bird-and-flower paintings; a leader of the Kishi school after Ganku's death, with Gantai.
Originally a folk ritual to entertain the god of rice who descends from mountains every spring, cherry blossom viewing (hanami) had become by the early medieval period the favorite spring event in Japan. People of all social classes, from wealthy warlords to ordinary townsmen, set out for hours of picnicking and partying under billowing clouds of cherry blossoms in full bloom.
One of the famous places for cherry blossom viewing in Kyoto was (and still is) Arashiyama, or “Storm Hill,” on the far bank of the Katsura River in the northwestern quarter of the city. The site was so well known as a tourist destination that Kishi Renzan, an artist of the popular Kishi studio in Kyoto, could evoke the scene with only a few brush strokes.
“Four Seasons In Japanese Art”: Special Installation of Japanese Gallery at UMMA: Object Labels
This miniature depicting a scene from the childhood of Christ marked the Hour of None in the Office of the Virgin. The existence of many miniatures from this period with the same basic composition indicates that it was painted using a pattern-sheet. Such short-cuts facilitated production as demand for books of hours increased.