Archive for the ‘Oil Portraits’ Category

Rembrandt – Great Baroque Artist

Friday, July 11th, 2008

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijin, is one of the greatest painters in art history and probably the most important painter in Dutch history. He was an artist that stylized to perfection the Baroque art movement.  He became especially well know for his portrait work.

In his religious and portrait work he uses every aspect to portray his classic style and Baroque realism, which was the popular movement of the time. But his religious work is noted for the humanity and empathy he showed all human beings. This emotional empathy showed through in all of his biblical themed work. During his lifetime as a painter, he not only produced some of the most important pieces we have of the period, but he also taught every important Dutch painter during his twenty year height as a painter.

He was born in 1606, the ninth child to a miller and a baker’s daughter.  As a youth he became apprenticed to a Leiden history painter and later with Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam. After he left his apprenticeship, he opened his own studio in 1624 and in 1627 he began to accept students.

Big commissions did not begin to come in for him until 1629, when he was discovered by a statesman named Constantijn Huygens, who began to bring him important commissions in portraiture.  In 1631 he moved to Amsterdam, and quickly became well known. Among one of his most moving works was the painting he did of his wife, on her death bed in 1642.

Artists Transmit Their Feelings

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Life takes you through many ups and downs, and all of us learn from the lows and enjoy the highs, but most of us don’t know how to express these emotions. But artists have a knack for being able to express their emotions through their paintings. You can tell when an artist has suffered in his life, when he experiences sheer joy, even what things he likes and dislikes. Some artists even transpose their very political or religious views in their art. You can tell, because the work becomes passionate, and the subjects, composition and poses are personal.

When artists are parents, their work becomes even more passionate, especially for those artists that either work in figure drawing, portrait work, or anything that has to do with emotions, as you can tell from the above portrait.

In this case the artist (Don Gray) has created a portrait of his adult son at work. In the painting he expresses the love, the regret of having him grown, his passion and his own. In each brush stroke you can visualize his reminiscing about years gone by, and yet loving the now, adult relationship he has with his son.

He also expresses his dedication, concentration, and love for his work through this painting, while at the same time you see a regret for the child that has grown into the man.

Impressionism and the Portrait

Saturday, March 1st, 2008

Claude Monet- Woman with a parasol -1875The Impressionist art movement started as a rebellious art movement by four students, and yet today it is considered one of the most important art movements of our time. Even today we are inspired with awe when we see a piece by Monet or Manet.

The four that began the movement were Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, Auguste Renoir, and Frederic Bazille. At the time conventional painting was done in doors, in the studios with subjects set within non existent historical Greek or Roman scenes.

One day these four artists took their work outdoors. They went to the forest of Fontainbleu and started painting out in the open. The object was to paint swiftly, to capture the light and the impression of the moment. As they began to further work in the style portraits that were commissioned were painted outdoors or in their natural setting. The painters began to see that capturing the natural light in a portrait gave the painting a certain energy.

Many of the time did not like Impressionism. The painters were ridiculed and the paintings were considered unfinished. It took 20 years for the movement to catch on and to become quite the in thing.

This is probably the reason not many portraits were commissioned, but many of the famous portraits of today were of the common people the artists knew at the time. The artists of this era were diverse both in style and in their temperament but they were all unified by their rebellious nature and their independent spirit.

Rococo Portraits

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

François Boucher’s portrait “Marquise de Pompadour”There were many artists that were and still are known from the great Rococo period. The Rococo period started in France in the 17th century evolving from the Baroque and continued throughout the 18th century, but was soon followed by the neoclassical period. Rococo was a lighter, clearer and more optimistic period and the art, especially the portraits of the time reflect this.

Among the most renowned portrait artists of the period were Sir Joshua Reynolds and François Boucher. They portrayed mainly members of the aristocrat society, dressed with sophisticated clothes. The painters of the time captured the smallest details in their portraits. This is noted in Boucher’s portrait “Marquise de Pompadour” where the painter paid attention to all the details in the fashions of the time and the decorative styles.

During this period, portraits became very popular among the aristocratic society of France, England, Italy and Spain. These artists began to portray what life of the aristocracy was really like. The painters of this period chose lighter images and became inspired by mythology, romance and femininity. Portraits were painted in light, vibrant colors, and subjects were painted in frivolous and fun scenes. Painters used a more feminine stroke and lighter colors verging on the pastel. Rococo painters generally portrayed rich people and members of the aristocracy. People were portrayed dressed in their beautiful and elegant clothes and intricate detail was added to the paintings.

It has been noted by many art experts that most portraits of the time were painted with the owners hunting dogs when the subject was male and women were painted with their lap dog. When peasants were painted, which was seldom, there is usually a stray mutt or two in the portrait.

A Moment in Time Captured in an Oil Painting

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Oil Portrait painted by GuaranteedPortraits.comDigital imaging and digital photography have brought great things both to the art world and to the end consumer. Most artists don’t know what they would do without their digital camera anymore. It has become an essential tool and an art form in itself.

But the question is; are we losing an essential part of ourselves when we replace one art form with another?

What happened to the romantic period? What happened to the times when the gift or the painting of a family portrait was absolutely essential? Today our desks, our living room, bedroom and even the bathroom is full of family pictures, but can most of us say that we have a real oil painting, or an oil portrait of the people we care about.

Can a photograph really replace the pleasure, the artistic talent and the emotions we perceive through an oil portrait or even any oil painting? When was the last time someone walked through your home and found themselves utterly captivated by a family photograph? That’s not to say that there aren’t some absolutely fabulous photographers that take their art to another level. But the truth is most family photographs cannot capture the essence of a person the way an oil painting can.

Oil portrait artists – adding new meaning

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Portrait by MichelangeloPortrait paintings have been known to have their roots ever since prehistoric times. However most of the works of those times do not exist today. Oil paint was the most common material used in those days and was used to depict realism more accurately. Oil portrait artists were in great demand and one of the greatest painters of all time remains Claude Monet and Van Gogh, among other greats like Da Vinci, Michelangelo and many more.

Adding a new meaning

Most oil painters (especially the famous ones) have become so because of their ability to add a deeper layer of meaning to a superficial object. It could be something as simple as a flower or a tree and yet it acts as an object of symbolism. In fact if you compare the oil portraitists of olden times with the modern artists, the depth of the painting is lost today. Today, modern oil painting artists need to showcase the personality and strength of an individual in their portraits, rather than just depict reality. Reality can in any case be showcased with a photograph and the reason people turn to oil portrait artists is because of the warmth and personal touch their works exude. Therefore, it’s important to reinforce the feelings and positive character of the subject in the painting to recapture the lost splendor of earlier works of art.

The emotional appeal of a portrait

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Self Portrait Van GoghAny good painting serves to stir emotions in the heart of the onlooker. It induces the person to keep looking at the portrait to find hidden layers of meaning. In fact most great portrayers of the olden times have created masterpieces which shocked and appalled people at the time. Yet today they are considered their best works till date. Also the fact of whether an oil painting is good or bad is a personal and subjective matter. It is beyond the structure, rules of good painting and techniques. Great oil painters have been able to wield a certain primal quality in their paintings which touch our hearts – till this day. Consider Van Gogh’s personal portraits of his own self. The expression on the face isn’t just a representation of the facial features but a deeper, more profound interpretation of his emotions at that stage of his life. Some of the best oil portrait artists have been able to successfully capture, anguish, ecstasy and grief in a single painting!

Oil Portrait – Mona Lisa

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008


Portrait Mona LisaThe Renaissance period proved to be a turning point of sorts for oil portrayers of the time. Based on a natural curiosity for nature and the classical Greek and Roman life – portraits of those times were greatly admired and encouraged. Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painting was one of the most outstanding works of this period. It represents the face of an unknown woman who is smiling. However, there has been considerable debate as to the gender of the subject – because many of the features indicate a synergy between masculine and feminine. It is this subtlety and minute nuances which differentiated the great oil portraitists from the more mediocre ones. In fact it is said that no matter which angle you look at the painting, the Mona Lisa always keeps looking at you.


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