Friday, 4 February 2011

Prints of Great Masterpieces

For the past couple of days I have been scanning old prints that date from around the 1930's. They are from an old magazine called "Modern Masterpieces Of British Art" and the mag was published around 1930?
There were published every fortnight and each magazine contained 8 colour reproductions of noteworthy examples of modern British art. The intention was not to illustrate any particular school of British art and to present great works of art by recent and living artist.
The prints were chosen mainly for their popular appeal at the time and covered various subjects including: Landscapes, Biblical and scenes from domestic life, to name a few. There was also a description for each painting and this told you a little about the painter and gave a brief technical explanation about how the artist created such fine work.
There were 200 prints in total plus in some of the magazines there was an additional eight prints included and ready to frame as a 'free' gift. Each painting was printed onto fine art paper, a good quality type that had a 'textured' canvas finish which makes it a little more difficult to scan.
I have uploaded some below and if you click to enlarge I am sure these should print out onto an A4 sheet of paper without any problems. You may need to lighten or darken the picture before printing and if your monitor and software is calibrated for printing, this should not be a problem.

The prints below are just a couple I have chosen and you are more than welcome to print a copy of either for your own use.

Toilers Of The Sea by Sir WQ Orchardson RA

The title of this painting recalls that of a famous book by Victor Hugo but curiously enough the picture is not reminiscent of the accepted style of the gifted artist who painted it. Everyone knows his paintings of large open spaces or rooms, his Napoleon On Board The Bellerophon for example. So this almost intimate picture of a patch of the ocean, a dramatic little scene nevertheless, is a departure from his usual 'mise en scene' and perhaps all the more attractive for its novelty.
Two or three points may be noted in this picture, first and most important is the bold way in which the little boat is slung by the artist right corner from corner to corner of the canvas, a daring and successful executed design to begin with.
We then notice that the sail is close-reefed, the swirl of the waters and the wake thrown up by the boat complete the sense of the driving power of wind and wave. Lastly, the figures are cunningly grouped and are the life of the picture without dominating it. The design however, is the master-touch.
Sir William Orchardson was born at Edinburgh in 1835 and entered the Trustee Academy in 1850. He studied under Scott Lauder and become leader of a group of students including GP Chalmers, William McTaggart, John Pettie, Tom & Peter Graham and John McWhirter.
Coming to London in the 1860's he exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1863 and was elected ARA in 1868, RA in 1877. He was knighted in 1907 and died in 1910.
Besides subject pictures he painted a number of portraits among them Master baby, the artist wife and child. Other well known portraits include that of Sir Walter Gilbey (1891) which ranks with the great portrait paintings of the century.

The Hireling Shepherd by W Holman Hunt

Born in 1827, William Holman Hunt studied art at the Royal Academy Schools where he met and began a lifelong friendship with Millais. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1846. In 1848 came The Flight Of Madeline and Porphyro followed by Rienza in 1849 and Valentine Rescuing Sylvia in 1851.
It was the Keats subject that fired his admiration of Rossetti and was the immediate antecedent to the foundation of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, to the principles of which Holman Hunt remained a faithful adherent to the end of his life. His first thoroughly 'Pre-Raphaelite' picture was the Rienza.
In 1850 his canvas A Converted British Family Suffering From Druid Persecution raised a storm of protest. Then in 1852 came Ruskin's defence of the Valentine and Sylvia picture and his continued championship of the Brotherhood's cause.
The Hireling Shepherd was finished in time for the Academy of 1852. Carlyle declared it was the greatest picture by any modern artist.
Holman Hunt holds a unique place in the history of English art and his limited output was due to his super-sensitive reaction to the claims of exact fidelity in the most minute details. He travelled to Egypt then to Jerusalem to paint The Finding of the saviour in the Temple and retired to the desert to paint The Scapegoat.
Even if aesthetic unity was sometimes sacrificed to scrupulous accuracy Hunt's pictures will always remain worthy objects of the most searching study. It may be worth mentioning that the motive of the Hireling Shepherd is found in St John X, 7-14.
Holman Hunt was admitted to the Order of Merit in 1905, he died in London in 1910.

No comments: