Art Gush
Joseph Zbukvic - Vienna

(post by Tho.Terez)

(an Australian painter, 1952 -> present)

Today I want to write only a short post, yet - with a lot of pleasure. Joseph Zbukvic is probably my all-time most favourite painter, since my eye fist saw his work. Although I made a post about one of his painting in the beginning of this blog, I would like to share another one here now.

It is one of his most recent works, Vienna

Joseph Zbukvic: Vienna

(unfortunatelly, as it is a very recent one, I couln´t find it online in a better resolution)

  • What I most appreciate on all Zbukvic paintings is –just the right amount of details-. For my personal perception it is always –spot on-.This painting is a vivid example. I don´t feel over-saturated nor deprived from anything, the balance sets quietly in the whole scenario.
  • Although this painting is practically black&white, I don´t “miss” the colours at all. It works perfectly this way.
  • The legs of the horses, the carriage. How could this be done so well? I would get lost so easily in all those lines and angles and at the same time I am sure he did it effortlessly and intuitively. The carriage is almost invisible, but very realistic.
  • My last though considers the whole process. Imagine, this moment must have been one of those “fleeting kinds”, as I know he is always painting in the real place, he had to recall it from the sight-memory. I know it´s probably not anything rare amongst professional painters, however, from my personal point of view, it is another thing to admire greatly.
Rudolph Ernst: A Moorish Interior

(by Pontenigra)

Rudolph Ernst (1854-1932) was an Austrian orientalist living in Paris. Read more about his life, travels, and works here

Yes, I have a special place in my art-heart reserved for orientalists. My inner romantic holds her breath when I imagine what it must have been like travelling to the Orient one hundred years ago. My inner historian would like to point out that Ernst’s paintings are not historically or culturally accurate, but even she is silenced by the grace and beauty. Rudolph Ernst couldn’t, of course, paint those harem scenes from life, so most of what you see came from his memory and imagination. For this purpose he collected a large amount of artefacts - cloth, tiles, lamps, jewellery etc. - and used them to piece together the picture he had in mind. I find it highly impressive. If he lived today, I think he would become the greatest fantasy painter ever. 

I love many of his paintings, but my favourite has to be the Moorish Interior, and here is why:

  • The choice of colours. It is definitely one of Ernst’s darkest pictures. While harmonious and aesthetically pleasing, it also creates the atmosphere of a gilded cage. Romantic, luxurious, but also a bit oppressive and gloomy.
  • Light and shadows. I like how both figures are subtly illuminated and yet fit in perfectly with the rest of the scene. The box in the foreground does wonders with the composition. But note how the light patch is cleverly disrupted by a piece of dark cloth. Without it, it would probably be too much of a visual distraction. 
  • The composition - well, I think this is one of the best compositions I have ever seen. I can’t stop staring at it. So ingenious. The balance of light and dark parts is perfect, and also - have you noticed the shape of the curtain is visually mirrored by the placement of the two figures?
  • The curtain itself. I only wish I had a bigger picture. It must be simply stunning from up close. Ernst was a master at painting fabrics, and this is a clear demonstration of his skills.
  • The still, quiet, frozen and rather dark scene is perfectly highlighted by the patch of clear blue sky that shows behind the curtain. Excuse me while I am blown away by such brilliance.
Mark Rothko: No. 10, 1950.

 (post by Tho.Terez)

Mark Rothko (1903 – 1970) Born in Russia but soon emigrated to USA. YOu can find his biography and much more of his work here

In my journey, Marko Rothko was probably one of the first painters of abstract expressionism, or rather to say – paintings that are based on different features then those done  “in a traditional way”, which let me appreciate, stop and try to understand what it is all about.

 It was after seeing this document (Simon Shama´s Power of Art), that I became to respect Rothko´s work sincerely. His approach and devotion. His discipline. He created the time to paint each day, without making excuses, even if he found himself without ideas. Most of the time he sat in front of his work and was thinking, observing, looking, thinking, long hours .. then he stood up and did what he had to do. At this point I realized it was not about spilling random colors on canvas and call it art. It meant something for him, he wanted to express something he felt and I was not there to put it down immediately but rather try to feel what he wanted to convey, sit still and observe. Learn to appreciate a different approach.

 Mark Rothko, no.10, 1950.

(Click here for a better view)

I had the chance to see one of his painting live, in the museum of Modern Art, NYC and I although we were pressed with time, I took most of my time standing in front of this painting and “absorbing”, an it was well worth it. It´s hard to point out any particular features here, as this painting works in a very different way. So instead, I would like to state Mark Rothko´s words, which are the pointers for to know, how to look at it… 

If you are only moved by color relationships, you are missing the point. I am interested in expressing the big emotions - tragedy, ecstasy, doom.“





Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida: Bulls in the Sea

(by Pontenigra)

I first saw a painting by Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (1863 – 1923) in a gallery in Venice, and it was stunning. But then I forgot about him, I am ashamed to say, and only rediscovered him about two months ago. As you might have noticed I have a weakness for seascapes, and Sorolla’s paintings are now amongst my top favourites. Whereas painters like Aivazovsky could conjure images of the sea as an entity to be admired and worshipped, untamable and ever-changing, dangerous and lovely at the same time, Sorolla’s view is much more intimate. His paintings present the sea as human experience. Fishermen, people mending sails and nets, children playing in the tide, bathing women, white clothes and sails gleaming in the afternoon sun.

Most of Sorolla’s paintings have a sketchy, almost unfinished look about them, but I find I don’t need any more details to be transported right into the scene. Sorolla’s world is a land of a never-ending summer, where seagulls cry above sun-pierced sails, water gently laps against the sides of the boat, and the rigging clangs and chimes in the evening wind.

My favourite picture is Bulls in the Sea. Why?

  • The overall composition. I must remember not to be afraid of high horizons. It works so well here.
  • The high contrast. The bulls are very dark against the white of the sea foam.  I love that. It clearly conveys the atmosphere of a late afternoon.
  • The purple sky. Enough said.
  • The water has such a nice colour too.
  • The reflection of the water on the bulls wet bellies.
Frits Thaulow: A French River Landscape

(by Pontenigra)

Frits Thaulow (1847-1906) was a Norwegian painter famous for his naturalistic landscapes. More of his pictures here.

The picture above, A French River Landscape, was done in pastel. I think it is striking.

  • I cannot stop admiring the beautiful violet colour of the river - I don’t think I would ever think of using that particular shade. It is so… tasty.
  • The lazy swirls on the water surface. We all know how hard it is to paint/draw water, right? Well, this is spot on. 
  • The white cherry tree merging with the pink house reminds me of candyfloss. In the best way possible. Yum.
  • I think the foliage is drawn with just the right amount of detail. And the trees. It is so easy to go over the top with branches.
  • Overall I love the wonderful atmosphere of spring. Joyful, optimistic, sincere.
  • Oh, and the composition. Flawless. 

Frits Thaulow, guys. Go check him out.

Francis Danby: The Deluge

(by Pontenigra)

Francis Danby (1793 – 1861) was an Irish painter who seems to have led an unhappy life marked by scandals and poverty. But what do we know? Do we judge someone’s life as a summary of their achievements, fame, happy marriages and children? Francis Danby wasn’t just a painter - apparently he was also a passionate boat-builder. And I believe that passion is incompatible depression. Maybe he wasn’t so unhappy after all.

In any case, The Deluge is overflowing with passion. I stumbled across this painting while browsing the Google Art Project, and it took my breath away. (Yes, I am predictable like that.)

I love:

  • The sense of inescapable doom. The painting is, quite literally, a vision of my nightmares, and still I am blown away by the beauty.
  • There is so much movement! The overall dynamics of the composition is accentuated by the contrast created by the black rock and that strong, bright shaft of light. A true masterpiece!
  • Details, of course. Look at that weeping angel… next to a dead giant. A lion caught in a desperate attempt to save its life.
  • The ark in the distance. Illuminated, tiny, and sailing away. Mankind’s hope.
Boatbuilding, anyone?
Anders Zorn: The Love Nymph

(by Pontenigra)

Anders Zorn (1860 – 1920) was a brilliant portraitist. Just as much as I wish for Vermeer’s skill in capturing the quiet essence of the moment, I wish for Zorn’s skill in creating captivating, honest portraits. But his other paintings are equally fascinating. Zorn’s style is usually loose, seemingly careless, and I often feel like I am looking at a casually taken photograph. The more time I spend with his paintings, the more I like them for their down-to-earth, unpretentious quality.

I picked The Love Nymph because it’s so different. I wasn’t sure that I liked it at first. It was unexpected. Playful, almost frivolous, Boucher-style. Then I realised looking at it is so very pleasant. I like it, I said to myself after a while. It is beautiful, I thought when I came back to it a day later. Another day passed and I was in love with it.

Here’s why:

  • The composition. Do I even have to say more? The light on the nymph’s body and bed creates a strong focal point and sucks me right in. The plants frame it so well, and yet they do not make it static. 
  • The nymph is perfect. Her expression is exactly what a love nymph’s should be like. Her breast looks very natural, even from the foreshortened angle. Speaking of foreshortening, look at that hand! That one pointing finger is mind-boggling. A blob of paint, a touch lighter then the rest of the hand. Easy, no big deal. (Irony.)
  • The choice of colours. Painting vegetation is so tricky. (Experience.) It’s hard  to make it believable, and not to go over the top with the, ah, well, green. But here, even if the whole scene seems to be bathing in green light, it’s perfectly balanced. There is a lot of blue in that plant in the top left corner, and a lot of red in the plant in the foreground. The yellowish white sits neatly in the middle. Mmm, nice!
  • The little ones. I don’t even know what to call them. Now, I am not a big fan of plump babies in cute outfits. But these have so much character. The one on the left seems to be lost in thought, or even sad. The one in the middle has exactly the kind of expression you will see on a child’s face before they hit you in the head with something. And the one behind the tree - oh my god. Words fail me. 

You can find many of Zorn’s paintings here.

Francis Bacon: Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X

(post by ThoTerez)

Francis Bacon

 (Dublin, 28.10 1909 – 28.4 1992) One of the most influential and important  painters of  bold, graphic and emotionally raw imagery (As it was nicely put in wikipedia, where you can find much more about his life and work.)


As a person, I really can´t tell, but after seeing the first part of the documentary.  I´m not sure if we could maintain conversation for long. Nevertheless, his work and the way how he expresses his feelings has a lot to tell me. This is not to say I would consider myself in such a bad mood or anxiety, which explicitly radiate from his paintings (so clearly that it almost makes one blind); it´s more that it evokes some kind of respect, maybe sympathy and certainly admiration for his piece of work.

At the first sight, Francis´s life isn´t presented as the easiest one, having an authoritarian father in his childhood, being socially condemned for his different sexuality feelings, therefore moving to Berlin to live with his uncle, not being quite satisfied with his paintings. Although he became renowned, many times he destroyed his paintings for not feeling good about them.

He was influenced by Picasso and surrealist abstraction.

Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X

Francis Bacon: Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X

Velázquez´s original painting: here

What I feel while observing this painting

- I appreciate Bacon´s idea to express the feeling inside, not only the shell of person from the outside appearance. Velazquez surely did a very good job painting a portrait, but it´s interesting to see how Bacon felt about all this. Maybe imagining, how the pope feels inside, while sitting on the throne-like armchair? Scream, pope screaming, evokes questions: why is that so?

 - The scream itself, so well expressed that I get the goose skin almost every time I look at it. Not that I look for those feelings, only I appreciate how well one can catch the “something” and express it so well and make it so real only with oils and paper (canvas). Makes me shiver all over.

Jean-Michel Basquiat
(by luJad)
to be honest I do not know too much about him…
except that he lived in new york, worked also with andy warhol                                   and died very young at the age of 22 (1960-1988).
his paintings are so expressive to me, 
so much strength
conflicts within the society and the individual 
the imperfect body between machine and vulnerability
pieces in progress, notes like, and still finished as it is presented to us
a few other pictures can be found on his webpage and here:  (here also more to his life)
I just saw the exhibition in basel already some time ago and was so inspired that I wanted to share his way of expressing in art with you.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

(by luJad)

to be honest I do not know too much about him…

except that he lived in new york, worked also with andy warhol                                   and died very young at the age of 22 (1960-1988).

his paintings are so expressive to me, 

so much strength

conflicts within the society and the individual 

the imperfect body between machine and vulnerability

pieces in progress, notes like, and still finished as it is presented to us

a few other pictures can be found on his webpage and here:  (here also more to his life)

I just saw the exhibition in basel already some time ago and was so inspired that I wanted to share his way of expressing in art with you.

Hendrick ter Brugghen: The Concert

(by Pontenigra)

Hendrick Jansz ter Brugghen (Terbrugghen) (1588 - 1629) was a Dutch painter, one of the Carravagisti - followers of Carravagio. He took some of that Carravagio energy and passed it down the line of great Dutch painters. Ter Brugghen’s influence can be traced in the works of such masters as Rembrandt, Rubens, Hals and Vermeer. It seems a little bit unfair that he doesn’t get half as much attention now. Well, I have no problems with showing him some love.

The Concert is enchanting.

  • The overall mood is very intimate. I confess I have a weakness for paintings like this - candlelit, natural, frozen in time. I can “feel the moment”.
  • The man’s and woman’s eyes turn to us as if we have just entered the room, disturbing their music session, while the boy keeps on singing. I imagine he would stop in a second. This painting captures precisely the moment before he noticed. 
  • The composition is perfectly balanced, yet not static. And it seems so effortless, too. Just look how natural it is to follow the line of light from the woman’s turban, down across her shoulder to her sleeve, and then to the man’s sleeve and face. Then notice how the grapes and the small candle behind the boy’s head complete the composition, disrupting the circle, making it more dynamic. This painting seems to be thought out very carefully.
  • The light and shadow effects are stunning. My favourite bit is the shadow cast by the flute on the man’s face.

You can find more works by Hendrick ter Brugghen at WikiPaintings.