Félix Vallotton – painted Encyclopedia of Time

Félix Vallotton (1865 – 1925) is a Swiss artist who lived and worked in the last quarter of the 19th and in the first quarter of the 20th century.

He spent most of his life in France, but remained in his heart a true Swiss – analytical, accurate, practical, impartially true to reality.

He was born in Lausanne, in a protestant family with four children. His father owned a pharmacy, later buying a chocolate factory but experiencing financial troubles in business. His mother was a carpenter’s daughter. Virtue, hardworking, friendly – his family was the epitome of the best in a protestant family.

Félix realized his talent as quite young – in his high school years he took lessons with a local artist who encouraged him to continue his education in arts.

Convincing his family, he went to Paris in 1882, where Félix enrolled in the renowned Julian Art Academie. His teachers there were the renowned artists Boulanger and Lefebvre, but it should be noted that he has not been among their favorites. Maybe that’s why Felix left the academy and continued his studies at Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He has spent much of his time in the Louvre museum to study the works of Leonardo, Dürer and Holbain. He was also a fan of Edward Manet, Goya and Ingres (especially).

During his first long stay in Paris, which lasted over fifteen years, he learned arts and painted intensively. In addition to painting, during this period he did also wood engraving, press illustrations, book illustrations, and theater poster projects. He even tried to write theatre plays and novels, but over time he began focusing more and more on visual arts.

In this first period of his life and work, Félix became friends with a group of Nabi artists, but remained “the alien” for them. He lived mainly from wood-engraved portraits and illustrations. One of his main sponsors and admirers was the publisher Thadee Nathanson, whose family has introduced the painter to the Parisian artistic avant-garde group – Stefan Malarme, Marcel Proust, Claude Debussy, and others.

His work as an engraver deserves special attention during this period. Félix Vallotton has revived and built on the tradition of wood engraving in France.

He left a large number of engraved portraits of famous contemporaries, not just French ones. These portraits give an idea of his subtle psychological flair and his ability to analyze and type characters. To a great extent, they are an interesting human “encyclopedia” from which much can be learned. Félix left many portraits of celebrities of the time – writers, philosophers, poets, statesmen. Among the others, one of the Bulgarian prime ministers Mr.Stambolov was also engraved by Félix Vallotton.

Art critics refer to his rich heritage as belonging to the art styles of “post-impressionism” and “symbolism.” In his first creative period, Félix Vallotton also worked in a specific post-impressionist style called “cloazonism”, which features evenly cououred objects and shapes surrounded by dark contours. One of the most famous cloazonists is Paul Gauguin. Cloazonism contributes significantly to the emergence and development of modernism, mainly through the use of the typical colour separation technique.

It is precisely in Valaton’s cloazonistic works (“Bistro”, “Street Passage”, “Sitting Naked Woman”, etc.) where one can notice his analytic gift and his ability to construct typical characters and situations, as well as his a little bit ironic and biting sense of humor. In a sense, these works give us reason to compare the work of Félix Vallotton with the work of such distinguished writers as Charles Dickens and Honore de Balzac. A classic storyteller in the artist’s skin. Encyclopedia of that time, in engravings and paintings.

In his younger years, Félix shared his life with Helen Chatenay, with whom he has lived for ten years. Then, parting with her, he made a sudden turn in his life – linking his life to the wealthy widow Gabrielle Rodrigues-Henriques, mother of three children and daughter of the famed gallerist Alexandre Bernheim. The family settled down to live on the right bank of the Seine, and Félix completely indulged in painting.

During this second artistic period, his life was calm and balanced. His progress as an artist is obvious.

He mainly painted interior scenes from his daily life, portraits of his wife Gabrielle, still lifes, landscapes. The prevailing colour is warm, the atmosphere – soulful. His technique is brilliant. He repeatedly exposed his works. Gradually his paintings began to sell well.

He moved to the heaven on the next day after turning sixty. A well planned and well-lived human path.

And yet … Where is the thread broken? Where does the soul of this analytical, serious, steady man peek from?

Take a look at his landscapes, these beautiful pictures of nature. How different they are from everything else created by Félix’s hand. Full of tenderness, delicacy, affection, with emotions that remain deeply hidden in his works from other genres. Not prose – poetry in paintings.

The excited crowns of the trees, mysteriously hiding their secrets. Lace outlines of the mountain peaks. The sky – frowning, at sunset, cloudy or calm, but always with character. The sunlight penetrating the clouds. The gentle carpet on the grass. The water embracing the reflection of the moon. The playful turns of the river. The wind telling stories. The boats touching delicately the shore.

Emotions embedded in landscapes. Methodical and disciplined. Even though?

The paintings of Félix Vallotton can be seen at Wikiart here.

Ilka Gedő – the drama of a sad human destiny

Ilka Gedő (1921 – 1985) is a Hungarian artist of Jewish descent who is not yet well known in international art circles and whose work has yet to be studied, analyzed and understood by art critics and art lovers.

She is a child of Hungarian family of clerks, from Jewish origin. Her parents lived modestly but had wealthy relatives. They tried their best to give good education to their three daughters.

Ilka showed her talent as an artist early on. She started drawing graphics initially (something not quite typical of a child) and took private painting lessons. During the holidays, he has often visited family relatives in the countryside and painted local neighbourhoods, villages and people.

The early graphics of Ilka from her first creative period before the war show an astonishing psychological maturity, observation talent and drawing perfection. Indisputable mastery of the work with perspective, to the extent that she can afford a freely distortion and expressionistic interpretation of the painted objects. The strokes are confident, fast, expressive. Her ability to synthesize what is seen into images is incredible. People, animals, houses are depicted exactly in the required detail. People’s postures are incredibly warm, human and soft. There is no unnecessary touch; Nothing can be added, nothing should be taken away. Her early works inspire comfort and confidence and betray the depth and maturity of an incredible artistic talent. They can be easily and without any exaggeration compared to the graphics of Leonardo and Rembrandt.

At the age of seventeen, Ilka and her family began making plans and exploring the possibility of continuing her studies at the Art Academy in Paris. Although, after consulting an artist, he was adamant that Ilka has reached a level of development that makes academic training unnecessary. According to him, she would prove to be more advanced than her teachers. Her first public artistic appearance was her participation in a common exhibition of the Hungarian Socialist Artists Group in 1942.

At that time her future as an artist seemed foreboding and promising. Then the war expanded and things changed dramatically.

Her family was forced to move to the ghetto in Budapest, and Ilka herself has been twice to be sent to a concentration camp. She was saved by miracle! Ilka spent long, agonizing months in the ghetto.

Her stay in the ghetto is her second creative period. During this time, she painted mostly graphic portraits and small still-life paintings with oil on canvas, due to lack of funds.

Most of the portraits of that time were self-portraits. We see a young, very young woman without a vitality, no body and no age, with deep, very dark eyes faded. As can be seen from her photographs, throughout her life, Ilka herself has been a very beautiful woman – slender, with graceful features and expressive eyes.

Self-portraits from her second creative period in the ghetto clearly show us the drama of a violently interrupted personal development and a highly stressed, frightened youth. Style is increasingly approaching graphic expressionism. The graphics of that time themselves are of very high artistic value, without any doubt.

The third creative period in Ilka Gedő’s life continued from the end of the war until 1949, when she suddenly stopped painting at all. Ilka has been creating nothing new, not a single graphic drawing, not a single painting for sixteen years.

In 1945, Ilka enrolled to study at the Budapest Fine Art Academy. Soon she met the young biochemist Endre Bíró and they married in 1946. Both have two sons – the first born in 1947 and the second born in 1953. Their friendly circle was artistic and intellectual – writers, artists, young scientists. Although Ilka was not very welcomed by her husband’s relatives, the young family did not appeared to be unhappy.

What then happened in the years immediately after the war that stopped Ilka from painting? There are different interpretations.

Some believe Ilka was pressed by the authorities and this was a form of protest. Others – that the circle of avant-garde artists in which she moved after the war did not perceive her style of drawing, which was highly individual and difficult to attribute to a particular style and flow in the visual arts.

Perhaps closest to the truth is the opinion of her son, David Biro, an English translator who reviews his mother’s work and life in a book devoted to her. In this book, David Biro analyzes Ilka’s life in the period after the war, and it seems from the book that her personal views on art and her creative pursuits were the reason for her to stop painting for so long.

In addition to being very talented, Ilka had a strong analytical talent. She was a woman more of logic and observation than of emotion and quick action. For several years, she has undergone so many changes, so profound, that it took her a long time to analyze and summarize them into a lean, consistent system, to “sort out” herself. Ilka gave herself as much time as she has felt necessary – sixteen years!

During these sixteen years, Ilka did not paint, but studied in detail theory and history of fine arts. She read a lot about colour theory, the lives of her beloved artists, and re-read and rethought not only their work, but their written notes and thoughts about art.

And she rosed, like the Phoenix bird, in 1965, when she made her first solo exhibition in a private studio. Ilka was at that time already forty-four years old. Three years earlier, at the recommendation of one of her avant-garde artist friends, the National Art Gallery of Hungary has purchased three of her paintings. The way Ilka returns to the art scene was atypical. The practice of private exhibitions then in Hungary was not common – all art activities have been planned, directed and approved in advance. Not what Ilka did. What she was doing is beyond styles, outside of schools, beyond the standard notions of that time about the way an artist should paint and act.

The last fourth creative period in Ilka Gedő’s life continued twenty years until her death in 1985.

She planned during that time every one of her new works very carefully, initially drawing a sketch in a simple notebook beforehand. She decided in advance what colours and colour combinations to use. Ilka documened  and recorded in detail her ideas for each work in development. Her notes are as valuable and talkative resource for the art critics as her paintings. Typical for her very individual style is that she did not not mix colours, but put them consistently on top of one another in thin layers, looking for the desired effect. The colour combinations she uses are very atypical and rare, her own art innovation.

The Ilka’s works from this period are mostly oil painting on canvas, portraits (mainly self-portraits), still life works, floral paintings. She drew several series of paintings, grouped thematically, such as dried flowers, rose paintings, circus motifs’ paintings, self portraits and some other. Stylistically, the paintings from the last period can be referred to as abstract expressionism.

Perhaps closest to her artistic views and stylistics of her recent years are Paul Klee and Egon Schiele.

What unites these three so different artists? Undoubtedly, the way the war went through them and the way they experienced the war.

It seems that very subtle and sensitive people were simply swept away not only in life, but also psychologically and intellectually by this greatest disaster on Earth. We can only imagine what cheerful motives, colours and moods would have been embodied in their works if the war had not stepped into their lives and had not interrupted their creative development. But this is typical for the art – it does could not exist separately from our common and personal life dramas.

I chose to show you perhaps Ilka Gedő’s latest work called “Double Self-Portrait”. On it we see a fine lady with a hat (sixty-two years old!). She observes with sad reconciliation her other self, her initial ego, her past intention for herself. Is it in the mirror or on a dissecting table? It is difficult to understand. Another one of hers, who was killed by the war.

Pictures of Ilka Gedő can be viewed in this private online resource and in Wikiart here.

Life in nature with Isaac Levitan

Isaac Levitan (1860-1900) is my favorite landscape painter – realist, in whose work I find calmness, balance and joy of touch with nature.

I have liked this artist since my childhood, when in my grandparents ‘ house I watched the wall-hung reproduction of one of his beautiful lake landscapes.

I have forgotten that fact. I reminded of it, recently watching the pictures of Levitan on the Internet. It is interesting how art can bring us back years, touching the hidden depths of the soul.

Levitan is a Russian painter of Jewish descent with a difficult life. He was born in a small village of the Suvalskaya district in the northwestern part of the former Russian Empire, in a poor family with four children altogether.

The father has been trained as a rabbi, but gave up the religious engagement. He was self-educated and knowledgeable man, speaking well French and German. Levitan’s father worked for some time as a translator for a French company building railway objects in Russia.

It is not very clear whether Isaac was born son of his father and mother or was an adopted child – there are different assumptions. Whatever the truth, the family cared for all their children with the same love.

Isaac’s parents moved to Moscow looking for better sustenance when Isaac has been ten-year. Isaac and his brother Abel enrolled in the famous Moscow School of Fine Art, Sculpture and Architecture. The training of the two encountered serious financial difficulties, as the mother has died quite young, and soon after that their father died of typhus, too. That is why the young Isaac received a scholarship as a talented student of poor descent. During his training he won various awards with his paintings.

After the graduation there have been many years full of hurdles and very hard work for Isaac.

Levitan was repeatedly forced to move from place to place due to his Jewish origin but retained optimism throughout his life. He obviously possessed an incredibly strong spirit and light character, accepting the difficulties in life and overcoming health problems. Isaac had a very fragile health, with serious heart problems due to diseases in childhood years.

An interesting fact from his biography is that Levitan was a close friend of the great Russian writer Anton Pavlovich Chehov.

Despite all the difficulties, he managed to travel quite a lot – both in Russia and in Europe. Voyages broadened his art horizons, but Levitan remained focused on landscape painting throughout his life.

He is called “landscape painter of the mood”, because his paintings are very tender and lyrical, and convey his feelings from the touch with nature. Levitan discovers in nature an infinite source of strength and grounds for inspiration.

He leaves behind a huge number of gentle, balancing, wonderful landscapes – paintings of all seasons.

The field in his paintings is not uniform and dull but gives strength and tranquillity. An incredible master in the depiction of water surfaces, Levitan manages to convey the charm of Russian rivers and lakes with his brush. He paints seascapes, too.

I especially like the forest landscapes of Levitan. In the woods in his paintings every tree speaks, quietly whispering something understandable and intimate, like slowly singing. The light is astonishing, it makes every single twig and leaf look special.

I have chosen to show you a picture that is new to me. This is the picture “Country house”/ “dacha“ in the Russian lifestyle/.

Small summer house with a lighted terrace, nestled cosy in the dark shadows of the big trees around…

I hope you feel the tranquillity and romance of the quiet summer evening. Can you hear the crickets?

There is nothing better to the life in nature.

Enjoy the works of Isaac Levitan in Wikiart.

In the lyrical world of Giorgios Gounaropoulos

I found recently a very rich web resource with works of Greek painters, of which I am really very impressed. Among the names that attracted my attention is Giorgios Gounaropoulos  (Γιώργος Γουναρόπουλος, 1890 – 1977).

I found some information about him in English, but his paintings speak for themselves and I decided to share with you my thoughts.

An interesting fact in his biography is that he was born in Sozopol and is of Greek descent. His family emigrated to Greece in the beginning of the 20th century.

Giorgios began to study decorative arts at the School of Fine Arts in Athens and showed his talents very young. He won first place in student competitions and took various awards during his training there. He received a scholarship to continue his education in Paris, which he used only after the end of the First World War in which he took part.

In Paris Giorgios studied in Académie Julian and in Académie de la Grande Chaumière. He was attracted by the impressionism, feels great sympathy to Henri Matisse and Paul Sezane. The painter took part in common art exhibitions and made his own exhibition in Paris during 1926. His works were very well accepted by the public. He has been successfully selling his paintings since the first exhibitions.

Giorgios returned to Greece and settled in Athens in 1931.

His art pursuits go through post-impressionism and expressionism while evolving into a very interesting and rarely personal style. Art critics refer his work to  surrealism, adding that it is a very lyrical surrealism in which many knowledge of ancient Greek history and mythology and a typical Balkan worldview are woven.

His paintings are pure magic. A mixture of vision and dream …

The colours are pastel and tender. He uses unusual and impressive mild combinations of colours. Various colours form the background. The contours are smooth and light.

The painted objects are from the real life and at the same time they are part of the artist’s internal world in which fish, women, sea, rocks, trees and flowers coexist in an incredible way.

Women are incredible. With soft, rounded, feminine bodies. With long wavy hair. Mysteriously smiling. Ready to hug. Or hugging? Their profile is antique, Hellenic or Slavic. The eyes are deep as wells where one can sink. Real mermaids.

I chose to show you this picture – a naked woman in a sleepy landscape.

It is hard to describe in words the charm hidden in his paintings. You can only feel it.

I find something in common between his paintings and the works of Dimitar Kazakov – Neron, with the clarification that Dimitar Kazakov’s works are multilayered, somewhat more complex, with more tension and compressed emotion inside.

I also find something in common with George Papazov’s works. Basically the emotional power and the way the painter freely communicates with the universe.

They say that with his specific style Georgios Gunaropoulos protests against the established norms and rules in the then art world. But can we treat beauty and tenderness as a form of protest?

Enjoy the works of Giorgios Gunaropoulos here at this web address.

The big lonely heart of János Balázs

János Balázs (1905-1977) is Hungarian painter (and poet) of gypsy origin, with expressive paintings and unusual life.

Art critics classify his works as “naive art” and “surrealism”. Sometimes they compare him to Paul Gauguin, but in fact his works are absolutely unique. His paintings are recognisable at first glance, as with the great artists.

János Balázs is a talent self-taught and self-made in everything. He attended school for only two years. He was born in the gypsy neighbourhood of Alsókubin in Hungary, and moved with his family to Salgotarjan, where he remained for the rest of his life.

He participated in the Second World War, but was most of the time a prisoner of war, and at that time he read a lot – Homer, Shakespeare, Balzac. He also has been well acquainted with the Hungarian classics.

After his return home, János Balázs lived alone and barely met other people. He lived quite poorly and made money for living by collecting and selling coal from local mines, gathering herbs and mushrooms in the woods.

Only the children from the gypsy neighbourhood, who have liked to talk to him and listen to his fairly tales, visited his poor house.

János Balázs started painting at the age of sixty-three.

The gypsy children, his friends from the neighbourhood, were the first impressed by his paintings. They began to wear the necessary materials and paints.

He died extremely poor and lonely. The painter left behind about 300 paintings that are becoming more and more valuable to art lovers and merchants. Most of his paintings are in private collections, but some of them can be seen in the Hungarian Museum of Naive Art and in the Art Gallery in Salgotarjan.

What makes János Balázs’s work so valuable?

There is a naive emotionality in them, absolutely untouched by civilisation and the predominant way of life.

Closeness to nature bordering to Shamanism. Relationship with the primary forces in this world, with eternal energies and human symbols.

We remain wordless feeling the great power of human nature, for we understand how unique and powerful the human being is, if he can encompass and visualise the world in such an incredible way, only through the wisdom of the old books, obtained in loneliness.

It is amazing how this could happened in the second half of the 20th century in the center of Europe.

The return of Lorenzo Lotto

Lorenzo Lotto (1480-1556/57) is Italian painter, working during the Late Renaissance  and belonging to the Venetian art school. It is believed that Lorenzo Lotto was a student of the prominent Venetian artist Giovani Bellini.

His life was full of difficulties and obstacles through which he has passed with the patience and dignity that are typical for extraordinary personalities.

Most of his life Lorenzo spent in Northern Italy, traveling from town to town in search of livelihood. He stayed for a short time in Rome, where he was commissioned to paint the walls of the papal apartments. Later, his paintings were removed, for yet unknown reasons. His most famous works were made during his stay in Bergamo. The periods of his return to the native Venice, and his journeys through various towns in the Marche area, were also fruitful.

Strongly religious, albeit very independent in his thinking and behaviour, Lorenzo joined the Order of the Franciscan monks at the end of his life. Maybe to find shelter and security. Maybe in order to finally find peace of mind.

He painted altars and frescoed many churches in the cities where he has been. His religious paintings are characterized not only with an intimate knowledge of the religious content and symbols (obligatory for this subject), but also with bold colourite, magnificent unconventional composition, unique dynamics and strong realism.

Models for his saints and angels were ordinary people living in the cities he has been. He watched them with great love and transferred their thoughts and emotions into the faces of the painted saints. He paid well to each of his models (leaving behind him detailed records of the expenses made).

During this period, the predominant approach to the depiction of saints differs with idealization and deification. Lorenzo lands the Madonna and the Saints in his paintings. They are ordinary people like each of us. Human is divine.

Madonna looks tender, thoughtful and modest. The saints in his works are tired, curious, angry, vindictive. Every woman can be seen as a madonna. Every man can be recognized as a saint.

They say he did not take much seriously the “assignments” he has received. Perhaps the donors, who have commissioned him, have not been very pleased with the results. Because Lorenzo Lotto has been almost completely forgotten.

Until the end of the nineteenth century, when he was re-discovered by Bernard Berenson, an American art historian of Lithuanian-Jewish origin, one of the great connoisseurs of the Renaissance art.

Lorenzo also left us many portraits of notable inhabitants of the cities he has lived.

His portraits characterize him as an artist with extremely modern thinking, a psychologist and a fan of the detail. It portrays his models in their usual daily environment, surrounded by lovely objects, attributes and flowers. He drew them as they dreamed to be. Intense, dreamy, challenging, serious, sad… Painted by his brush, his models seem to be fulfilling his dreams. Unique portraits, still up-to-date, still talking and appealing.

Look at his self-portrait. The only his picture he has left us. What dignity in the posture. What sadness and irony in the sight. And the tranquillity of a man who has fulfilled his mission well.

Let’s remember that name – Lorenzo Lotto. The historical art truth will deserve it alongside the names of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Rafaello, Botticelli, Titian. One of the great names of the Italian Renaissance.

You can see Lorenzo Lhotto’s works in Wikiart.

Travel to the future with Hilma af Klint

Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) is a Swedish painter, whom I discovered for myself last year thanks to the publications in the Guardian’s Art & Design section.

Daughter of a sea captain, she grew up on an island located in the Mälaren lake, the third largest freshwater lake in Sweden. She spent an idyllic childhood in the hugs of the Nature, communicating with the sun, water and flowers. From small, she had a great interest in mathematics and botany. She painted very well. After the family moved to Stockholm, she enrolled to study at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Hilma studied graphics, portrait and landscape painting; and graduated with distinction.

The beginning of her path in art seems to be quite classic – Hilma drew predominantly botanical sketches, portraits and landscapes and earned quite well.

Until … Sometimes a new star flashes in our lives, some strange signal appears, and our life goes in another direction. So was with Hilma.

From a very young age, she began to be interested in spiritual teachings and spiritualism, which was noticeably increased after the death of her younger sister, Hermina. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the theosophy teaching of Elena Blavatskaya became widely spread. It is a doctrine that promotes the unity of all science branches – both traditional and spiritual. Its followers believe that there are higher beings called Adepts (teachers) who send messages to elected humans and thus raise the spiritual level of mankind.

Hilma was attracted to the theosophy of Madame Blavatskaya and other spiritual teachings, and her creative quests gradually changed.

Since the late 19th century, she has been experimenting with new styles of painting – for example, automatic drawing. With this style, the painter makes drawings without a preliminary plan and vision, reflecting only the painter’s intuitive momentary moods, sensations and emotions. It’s like communicating with the subconscious. Quite avant-garde for that time.

Twenty years after the start of her professional career, in 1906, Hilma created her first abstract paintings – she was 44 years old. They are strange, unusual and incomprehensible. She painted her first abstract works before Vasily Kandinsky, considered to be the forerunner of abstractionism, and before the artists of his circle.

Hilma consulted herself with people, whom she had trusted, what to do with her abstract paintings. Their opinion was that her abstract works would not be understood by her contemporaries. She followed the advise and never showed them at exhibitions. She documented her works and artistic searches with notes. As if talking to the future …

She died at the age of 82, in 1944, after a road accident.

It is with his abstract paintings that Hilma af Klint remains in the history of fine arts. For many years, her work has been known mainly to the followers of occultism and in the theosophical circles.

Only in the last few years the world rediscovered  Hllma af Klint. Her paintings were exhibited at the George Popmidu Center for Modern Art, in Paris (2008), at the Venice Biennial (2013), in the New Museum of Modern Art in New York (2016), Brazil, and of course in Sweden. In the spring of 2019, the largest solo exhibition of Hilma af Klint was held at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

You may look at her paintings in Wikiart. I would not comment them, living you evaluate their qualities alone.

Stanislav Dospevski – the painter of the Bulgarian Mona Lisa

Stanislav Dospevksi (1823-1878) is the first Bulgarian painter with academic education in the field of art.

He is successor of the artistic traditions of three generations of Bulgarian icon-painters and, in practice, is the first Bulgarian secular painter.

His grandfather, Hristo Dimitrov is a nephew of the monk Paisii and founder of the Samokov icon-painting school. Stanislav Dospevski (born Zafir Zograph) is son of Dimitar Zograf and nephew of Zahari Zograf.

Zafir was sent by his father to study art in Russia, where he graduated from the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, and then – with honors he graduated from the Imperial Art Academy in St. Petersburg.

Returning to Bulgaria, Stanislav Dospevski lived in Samokov and Pazardzhik, but most of his professional life he spent in Plovdiv.

He is the first in the secular portrait painting in Bulgaria.

He left realistic, expressive and memorable portraits of his relatives and prominent Plovdiv citizens. The contours of his portraits are convincing but gentle. The colours are warm and deep. The models are portrayed in traditional poses.  He uses symbols embedded in the paintings – something typical for Renaissance. The background is dark, grey and brown, with a specific light effect in depth.

I very much like the portrait of his sister Dominica Lambreva, called by our art historians “the Bulgarian Mona Lisa”.

This is the wedding portrait of his sister, who became wife of Hadji Lambri Hekimina from Pazardzhik. She is fragile herself and, despite the severity of her classic posture, her posture shows uncertainty and frightness. Her face is beautiful but somewhat tense. These are the brightest colours and the most gentle nuances used in the portraits of Dospevski.

The rose that the bride holds in her hand is gentle, rigorous and beautiful as Domnika herself. With one dissolved and one undissolved flower. Life that ends. And the one to come.

The painting is an indisputable masterpiece of our Renaissance art.

You can look at the portraits painted by Dospevski on the website of the Pazardzhik Gallery with his name.

Cezanne painted by Camille Pissarro

Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) is the doyen of the French impressionism. He was one of the longest-lived impressionist painters, along with Renoir.

Born on St Thomas Island (today US Virgin Islands), in a jew family of Belgian origin. His father married the widow of his uncle, which is why the couple have been isolated from their religious community and their children played mainly with the local kids. The father dealt with trade and preferred his son to take his way. But the young Camille felt very early his vocation and went to Paris to learn from the European painters.

His talent has been gradually developing, passing slowly through the classical realism, impressionism, pointilism and neo-impressionism. Pissarro left us a huge number of paintings in all known at that time genres – cityscapes, landscapes, still life, flower paintings, portraits and self-portraits.

Pissarro is devoted to plain-air painting. During his life in France and in England, he travelled much throughout the country and studied with his brush nature and people.

In his paintings is felt incredible reverence to the ordinary people and their work. Hardworking, concerned, tired, curious, conceived – they are the focus of his work. I think this is because he was born on a remote island, grew up with local children, and continually watched their parents working hard to survive.

It is curious that Pissarro painted relatively few portraits, but each one of them shows how much he has loved people and how well he has understood the human soul.

I especially like his portrait of Paul Cezanne.

Paul Cezanne was not a big talker. He had a difficult character, one difficult to communicate man. Today we would call him an introvert.

Look at Cezanne – he is sitting to pose reluctantly, wearing a coat and hat, ready to leave at any moment. Cezanne was an absolute negligee in life – no care for his appearance. It is felt how inaction tortures him. We don’t see his hands, but we feel his fingers moving unconsciously, inpatient to take the brush.  Cezanne most probably endured this sitting only for Pissarro. Back to him on the wall there are only paintings, in one of which (with ironic love) a stocky painter with a beard holds his palette, staying like an angel right above Cezanne.

All this in one of my loveliest colour combinations – brown and blue. Marvellous picture of the great painter.

Since Pissarro was an incredibly soft and lovable man,  he also has been a great friend.

You can look at his paintings at Wikiart.

Princess and artist: Fahrelnissa Zeid

Today I will tell you about an amazing artist I found yesterday in the online resources of the Tate Museum.

This is the Turkish Princess Fahrelnissa Zeid (1901-1991), one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, with magnificent abstract works.

This incredibly gifted woman has had an incredible life.

A real princess, part of an elite Ottoman family. After the establishment of the modern Turkish state she was one of the first women to study art in the Academy of Fine Arts for Women, in Istanbul.

During his first marriage with a Turkish writer she gave birth to three children. Her biggest son died of scarlet fever very little. During her first marriage she attended a lot of European museums and galleries to study art from the great painters, and attended art schools in Paris and in Istanbul.

Her life went in a completely different direction after her divorce.

She married to the Iraqi Prince Zeid bin Hussein, who was appointed the first Ambassador of the Kingdom of Iraq in Germany in 1935 year.  After the annexation of Austria in March 1938, Prince Zeid and his family were recalled to Iraq and the family began to live in Baghdad.

Being a cosmopolitan, she got depressed and spent the next few years travelling between Paris, Budapest, and Istanbul, attempting to immerse herself in painting. Her first solo exhibition was carried out in 1945 in their home in Istanbul.

The years after the Second World War are full of vicissitudes for the Princess Fahrelnissa and her relatives.

Her husband managed to save herself and his family after the military coup in Iraq when the entire royal family was assassinated.  Prince Zeid bin Hussein and his family have lived in London and Paris. After the dead of her husband, she moved to live with her son in Amman in 1975.

The last decades of her life Princess Fahrelnissa Zeid established the Royal National Jordanian Art Institute, bearing her name. She changed the style of painting  in her late decades and made a few abstract works. She painted a lot of portraits of her family and friends in a very expressive manner and invented a new style of art, experimenting compositions with painted bird bones on canvas.

It is curious that after moving to Amman, she is almost forgotten by the art circles worldwide. The world remembered again her only in 2008 year. Since then, exhibitions of her works were carried out in London, Berlin and Istanbul.

Look at this fabulous picture.

What a iridescent rich colour palette. The warm golden, red and pink of the flowers and the fruits. The vivid green of the leaves and the trees. The deep blue of the sky.

The unexpected vortexes of the wind and the caressing rays of the sun. The intertwined threads of life paths.

Wealth. Abundance. Fertility. Transformation.

The title of the work is Karma bir doğurganlık. The karma of the abundance. What a fabulous karma!

Fahrelnissa Zeid was a true princess both in life and in art.

You may enjoy her works in WikiArt.