Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Countess Tolstoya is a formal oil portrait of a Russian noblewoman done in 1796 by Elizabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun. A French artist and friend of Marie Antoinette, Le Brun fled France at the start of the Revolution and spent her time abroad continuing her work.

The Bridge At Narni is an 1827 painting by the French artist Camille Corot, depicting an ancient Roman bridge.

The Waterfalls dates to around 1872, and is an oil painting by the French artist Gustave Courbet, one of his final landscapes before seeking asylum in Switzerland.

I took this perspective of a corridor off the main gallery.

Rue de l'Hermitage, Pontoise is an 1875 oil painting by Camille Pissarro depicting the quiet town near Paris where he was living.

Claude Monet painted Jean Pierre Hoschede and Michel Monet On The Bank Of The Epte around 1887-90, showing his step-son and son near their home in Giverny. 

Coming out of the world art area, I came into a temporary exhibit showcasing the Canadian artist James Wilson Morrice. Winter, Montreal is the title of this work. Morrice painted this between 1905-07, influenced by his time abroad but bringing it home in terms of his subject.

Le Havre is a 1909 painting by Morrice showing an idealized version of the location- the lighthouse, for instance, was a lamp post in reality.

I finish this tour with a final view of the Christmas tree that was in the glass tower at the time.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Dancer

Another pair of perspective shots, showing the next gallery space. I couldn't decide which I preferred more, so here are both of them. The two paintings flanking the doorway are paintings from Venice, by the same artist, Bernardo Bellotto.

Ignatius Sancho is a portrait by the British artist Thomas Gainsborough, depicting a musician and man of letters who was born a slave in the Caribbean and ended up in Britain, well educated and in the employ of a duke, where he became interested in the arts. 

A favourite sculpture of mine, and it can be seen in the first pair of shots. Antonio Canova's Dancer is a marvelous marble that captivates the visitor. It was completed by 1822, and is the second version of a statue done for the Empress Josephine. The first version is part of the Hermitage collection in St. Petersburg.

A Nymph Carrying The Infant Bacchus is a 1799 terracotta by the French artist Claude Michel, depicting the god of wine as a child.

Wisdom Defending Youth From The Arrows Of Love is an allegorical (and big) oil painting from 1810 by French artist Charles Maynier, which evokes mythological subjects to play into Napoleon's notion of sacrifice for the good of empire.

Madame Erneste Bioche de Misery is an 1807 oil by Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy-Trioson, a French artist. Madame de Misery was the wife of the mayor of Saint Lye, near Orleans.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Old Masters

I had some time in the world section of the National Gallery of Canada before its closing for the day, but not a lot, so this time out we have less of the world art than I've shown you of Canadian art.

Portrait Of A Young Lady is an oil painting circa 1520-30 by the Italian artist Bartolomeo Veneto.

This altarpiece is titled The Virgin And Child With Saints, done around 1476-77 by Benozzo Gozzoli, commissioned for a church in Pisa.

The Abduction Of Europa is an oil canvas by the Dutch painter Caesar Boethus van Everdingen, done around 1650. He depicts the Greek myth of Zeus changing into a bull and carrying away the maiden Europa when she caught his eye- something that happened a lot with the overly frisky king of the gods.

A Sermon In The Old Church In Delft is by Emanuel de Witte, a Dutch painter, circa 1650-51. The artist focuses both on the architecture and the people in his use of light.

Rembrandt van Rijn is the painter at work here. A Woman At Her Toilet is the title of this, done around 1632-33. She may be a Biblical subject- Judith, Esther, or Bathsheba. 

This is an upper view of the reflecting pool I showed you earlier.

A Waterfall comes from the Dutch artist Jacob van Ruisdael, done between 1660-70. It places humanity as a fleeting presence among nature.

Young Woman With A Fan is an oil painting by the Italian artist Pietro Rotari, done between 1754-56.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Canadian Dreams

This is a set of Lawren Harris paintings together. From Opabin Pass, Rocky Mountains is at top left. North Shore, Baffin Island, is at bottom left. Top right features North Greenland. And at bottom right is Lake Harbour, South Shore, Baffin Island. These paintings were done in the 1924-30 period.

Girl On A Hill is a portrait from 1928 by the artist Prudence Heward. It is an oil painting of a dancer, Louise McLea.

Fir Tree And Sky is an Emily Carr work from 1935-36. One of our most accomplished artists, Carr was a contemporary of the Group of Seven, well known for her works depicting the Pacific Northwest. Her style is modernist but representational.

Another Carr painting is this one, Graveyard Entrance, Campbell River, an early work by the artist dating to 1912 and taking in First Nations subjects that would dominate her work throughout her life.

Here we have another perspective of the courtyard garden.

Transformation Mask is an undated sculpted work by the British Columbia artist Marven Tallio, depicting his First Nations cultural background in an impressive way.

Norval Morrisseau was one of the giants of First Nations artists in Canada. Artist And Shaman Between Two Worlds is a 1980 acrylic capturing Anishinaabe spirituality on canvas.

I finish the Canadian gallery with two more paintings by one artist, Alex Colville. Hound In Field is a 1958 painting; the accompanying panel says he often painted dogs during his career, and his daughter noted that her father "wasn't sentimental about animals, but he thought that they were essentially good and he didn't think that people were inherently good." Cynical, perhaps, but there are times I must agree.

To Prince Edward Island is a 1965 painting, a self portrait of sorts with the artist and his wife on a ferry to the island. Colville deliberately obscures our views of both himself and his wife Rhoda in a way that can be a bit unsettling. Tomorrow we start to have a look at some world art.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A Contrast In Artistry

One of the changes in the Canadian collection included setting a large series of paintings together in this room as you see here, with a contrast in the foreground: an outstandingly crafted traditional birchbark canoe.

The painting at the far right in the above is this one. Lawren Harris painted Afternoon Sun, North Shore, Lake Superior in 1924 some years after the first of his many trips to this mighty lake. 

Franklin Carmichael was one of Harris' fellow members in the Group of Seven. The Upper Ottawa, Near Mattawa is a 1924 oil painting capturing a high view of the Ottawa River. Mattawa is a village some hours northwest of the capital, and still a rugged area today. Carmichael uses the lone pine as his central focus, a concept often used by his colleagues in the Group.

War Scenes is the title of this 1926 work by a Blackfoot artist named White Wolf, using pictographs in the style of his people to recount history.

A tunic, mittens, and knife sheath are presented here. These are replicas of an outfit from the 1800s that was typical of the Gwich'in, and done from 2002 into 2003 by six members of the tribe. Maureen Wright, Karen Colin, Emily Francis, Patsy Krutko, Cheryl Moore, Karen Wright-Fraser, and Lucy Ann Yakelaya crafted these items as a replica of the original. The Gwich'in would wear these caribou hide items in summer in their homelands- the Mackenzie River delta and the northern stretches of the Yukon.

Burnt Land is a 1915 oil painting by Tom Thomson, depicting the aftermath of a wildfire.

Northern River is another Thomson, done in 1914-15. 

The Jack Pine is one of Thomson's iconic works, finished in the winter before his death in 1917, based on an oil sketch at Grand Lake, a place he spent time at in Algonquin Park. The location in question is preserved today in the park- a hiking trail leads to the very spot where Thomson painted at, though the pine itself is gone.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Roaming The Gallery

This is a large display of Haida items, such as a formal robe, baskets, and other items used in the traditional culture of the First Nations people. 

The Smiths is the title of this 1894 oil by W. Blair Bruce, showing the work of blacksmiths in the time period.

The Flood Gate is a dramatic oil painting by Homer Watson, dating circa 1900-01. It conveys the struggle against nature.

Angakuk Caribou Coat is a collaborative effort by Inuit artists, Maartha Angugatiaq Ungalaaq, Jeanie Arnaanuk, and their families. It is a reproduction of the original coat dating back to 1900, made for a shaman, which ended up in an American museum. In the 1980s, three reproductions were done for museum collections.

I like taking perspective shots while in the Gallery, such as this one, giving a view of a space beyond.

The Drive is by Lawren Harris, one of the founders of the Canadian art group called the Group of Seven. This 1912 oil painting uses dramatic lighting upon a log drive in northern Ontario.

Snow In October is an oil painting done in 1916-17 by Tom Thomson, a friend and contemporary of the rest of the Group of Seven who died before their formal founding (otherwise it would have been the Group Of Eight). Thomson's love of the outdoors and the woodlands influenced his friends, while their artistic styles influenced his work.

A.Y. Jackson, another member of the Group, painted Terre Sauvage in 1913.