Lucas was probably born in 1472, in Kronach, hence his Anglicised name Lucas Cranach. He became known as ‘the Elder’ on the birth of his younger son, who was his namesake. As well as painting for the Saxon court, Cranach’s work also included altarpieces for Lutheran churches and portraits of Protestant reformers. In his lifetime, he is recorded as having created 13 586 paintings, of which 2145 were in oils; he also created 14 008 woodcuts. He is commemorated as the most successful German artist of his time. He is remembered by the Lutheran Church, when he is celebrated in their liturgical calendar on 6 April.
Australia is rich in art, and many fine artists have lived and grown up here. These artists are just a sample of the rich and varied art being produced in Tasmania at this time. They produced varied styles of work and used various media, but the scenery was a popular subject, with the mountains, rivers and coast of Tasmania providing some beautiful subjects. Portraiture was also popular, providing us with delightful glimpses of the local inhabitants. All very different in style and technique, yet all depicting the wonderful Tasmanian scenery, for us all to enjoy in the many art galleries and museums displaying their works.
Flemish painter Robert Campin was a wealthy and influential man. He also managed a large workshop. Campin could have studied under Jan van Eyck. He was employed by the city to paint a number of church sculptures and of those in municipal buildings. As Campin did not sign and seldom dated his work, there remains controversy as to who the artist was who created some works attributed to him. Robert Campin was previously known as the Master of the Mérode Triptych, prior to the Flémalle paintings being discovered. It is generally accepted, however, that the mysterious Master of Flémalle was Robert Campin.
Art in Australia has a long history. It goes back to at least 30,000 years with Aboriginal art. The colonisation of Australia has been greatly influenced by European modernism since the early colonists were mostly born in England or France. Although these people lived and worked only one to two hundred years ago, their life was so very different from ours, with their own wars, conquests, social and financial problems. It is good to have records of their times and to be able to view their paintings, drawings and etchings. Both from the artistic view and the historic one, they are well worth browsing through.
Flemish painter Jan van Eyck was appointed as court painter to the Duke of Burgundy, Philip III. His association with the Duke resulted in numerous commissions. He had received a level of classical education, as his paintings included Latin, Greek and Hebrew inscriptions. Van Eyck’s work was not limited to religious paintings, he also painted secular subjects. His work encompassed portraits, single panels, as well as diptychs, triptychs and polyptychs. Van Eyck’s formula has still not been deciphered, even with modern-day techniques including x-radiography. His realist skill with regards to light, textures and space has not yet been eclipsed.
Dora Chapman was an artist and a teacher. She painted, she made pottery and she took a special delight in silk-screen printing. As an outstanding pupil, she exhibited her art, won prizes and tried to change society through her realistic and honest recording of life through her art. She showed great promise as a student and has left us with some honest and varied works of art. Indeed, her versatility is one of the characteristics of her art, both in the medium she used and in the subject matter. You can find examples of Dora Chapman’s work in major art galleries and on-line throughout southern Australia.
Jacopo Tintoretto became known as Il Furioso (The Furious), due to the speed and forcefulness with which he produced his paintings. His style is generally described as Mannerist. Jacopo received almost no formal art training; his father had noticed his son’s penchant for drawing on the walls and sent him to the celebrated artist Titian for training. Jacopo taught himself a method used by Titian, making clay and wax models using casts and bas-reliefs. Tintoretto’s career began with his painting cassoni, where he developed his signature loose style and visible brushwork. This taught Tintoretto how to manage colour mixing peculiar to this art-form.
Ray Crooke was an artist and recorder of life, recording his travels with a sensitive and enduring passion. Although best known for his landscapes, he also painted some stunning portraits. He especially painted the people and places of the Australian tropics, imbibing their character with a stillness that was almost his own trademark. Crooke’s work shows attention to form and silhouette, dark shapes against light backgrounds, careful organisation of the piece together with careful drawing and a lovely colour sense. His depiction of the people and of nature is one of harmony. He lived to paint and throughout his long life, he continued to paint, right to the end.
Gentile Bellini was originally more sought after and respected than Giovanni, but history saw that opinion reversed. Jacopo Bellini was himself an artist, and a pupil of Gentile da Fabriano, after whom he named his son. Gentile and Giovanni were taught by their father, encompassing colour pigments, drawing, tempera and oil painting. It was only in about 1465, when he was in his thirties, that Gentile began working individually. At the time, he was regarded as one of the pre-eminent artists of the day. Gentile Bellini’s students included Titian, Vittore Carpaccio and Bartolomeo Veneto.
James Montgomery Cant seems to have travelled around picking up ideas from other artists and designs which reflected the times and the places where he lived. These ranged from the rather drab English industrial scenes to the much warmer Australian landscapes and the incorporation of Australian Rock Art, as well as the surrealistic and cubism, showed a versatility which makes his paintings, sculptures and fabric designs interesting and is a reflection on the times in which he lived and travelled. In 1984, the Art Gallery of South Australia held an exhibition of his work and there are examples to be found in the National Gallery of Australia and other State galleries.
Antonio Allegri, known as Correggio, was best known for his composition, perspective and foreshortening skills, as well as being regarded as a master of chiaroscuro. Little is known about his early life. He was known as an introvert with a dark and despondent disposition. Correggio probably received his first art instruction from his uncle, Lorenzo Allegri. Despite his limited formal instruction, Correggio had knowledge of optics, perspective, architecture, sculpture, and anatomy, much of which he probably imbibed by studying the works of da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael. One of his most important works is the Assumption of the Virgin, a fresco created for the Cathedral of Parma.
Barbara Hanrahan was a printmaker, an artist and a writer. She explored the relationships between men, women, and society, drawing on her acute observations of the people surrounding her as she grew up in the suburbs of Adelaide. In particular, the influence of her all-female household coloured her experiences and her artwork. She fought for equal rights and opportunities for men and women, yet her writing and art was personal, romantic and expressive. Almost ten years after her death, members of the award-winning Barbara Hanrahan Community Tapestry project began creating striking woven images based on her prints. This seems to be an elegant memorial for a fine artist.
George Whinnen was an Australian Impressionist & Modern painter. He painted many still life pictures of flowers in vases, and some of them have beautiful colour schemes. He had a special flair for showing zinnias in rich detail. George also painted an almost equal number of seascapes and landscapes as well as producing fine prints and etchings with fine lines. His portraits won prizes and his landscapes are also of interest. George has left us with a collection of particularly fine still life studies of flowers, where he let the flowers show themselves in all their natural grace and beauty.
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni is best known as simply Michelangelo. He is known best for being a sculptor and a painter, but he was also an architect and a poet, and a contemporary of one of the other greatest artists of the time, Leonardo da Vinci. Cardinal Riario invited Michelangelo to Rome in 1496, where he was commissioned to create one of his two greatest pieces, The Pieta. Michelangelo was a private man, preferring solitude to company, and was a staunch Catholic. He continues to be revered today as ‘the father and master of all the arts’.
Hieronymus Bosch was born Jheronimus van Aken. There is negligible information available on his early life. As Bosch only signed some seven of his works and generally did not date his art, only twenty-four paintings and twenty-one drawings have been definitely attributed to him. These can be found in 26 museums and private collections around the world, including many European countries. His work was mostly impasto, leaving visible, textured brush strokes. His most famous work, The Garden of Earthly Delights, was completed during his middle period. It is now housed in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, where it still attracts thousands of visitors.
Piero della Francesca was born Piero di Benedetto de’ Franceschi. His parents were both of noble lineage. His early learning of mathematics would stand him in good stead for his art, notable for his use of geometry and accurate perspective. At the precocious age of twelve, Piero worked as a painting assistant. He was awarded a commission on 27 May 1430 for “painting the poles of the candles”. Completed in 1466, with a break from 1458-1459, The Legend of the True Cross is considered by many to be Piero’s greatest achievement. Another of Piero’s most important works is his Flagellation of Christ, probably executed between 1468-1470.
El Greco, or The Greek, was the nickname adopted by Spanish Renaissance artist Domenikos Theotokopoulos. In 1563, at the age of twenty-two, El Greco had been described as maestro (master) Domenigo and probably ran his own workplace. He would have trained as a painter of icons at the Cretan Renaissance which thrived from the 15th to the 17th century. El Greco is viewed as the most successful graduate to create an art career in Western Europe in the Cretan style. His style is viewed as unique in the art world, with his elongated figures and combination of Byzantine and Western conventions. His work is sometimes described as pre-dating both Expressionism and Cubism.
Fra’ Filippo Lippi was sent with one of his brothers to the Carmelite convent at Santa Maria del Carmine. It was here that he was inspired to create art, by watching the artist Masaccio creating frescoes in the convent. Lippo went on to paint his own frescoes in the church and the cloister. Instead of studying, he spent all his time scrawling pictures on his own books and those of others. The priory recognised his talent and allowed him to pursue his artistic interest. He was a rogue, being featured regularly on court rolls for charges including embezzlement and forgery, which he attempted in order to rescue himself from regular financial predicaments.