Showing posts with label Edmund B. Leighton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Edmund B. Leighton. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Story In the Paintings


click on for a larger view
Courtship, by Edmund Blair Leighton, English, 1853-1922

 This particular painting had some things going on inside it that I had not previously noticed, and I wanted to find out if anyone else sees it. What do you think is really happening in the background, and what do you think the young man in the main part of the painting, does for a living?  My guess is that the man in the background is waiting for the boat and he is not happy that the boatman is taking his time talking to the young lady. Many of the paintings of the past had an "inside story" that a studied view can reveal.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Edmund B. Leighton: A Brush With Refinement


Edmund Blair Leighton, British Painter 1853-1922


A few years ago, the only paintings I knew of Edmund B. Leighton were Stitching the Standard and Favour.  Many more of his paintings have gone to auction and been photographed and reproduced for the public to enjoy. He was very talented at painting human figures, and so accurate with his backgrounds of bridges, doorways, entries, buildings and other structures, that one might think his secondary interest was architecture. Linger a little at each painting and look into the backgrounds. Notice the roof tops, the gates, the boardwalks, the oval entries and the building structures. He included these in many of his backgrounds.

During his life as an artist, his critics claimed he was just living in the past, and that his art would probably be unknown to future generations. How wrong they were: today, thanks to people who share his work on the web,  Edmund B. Leighton's canvases are enjoyed by young and old alike and his work is probably more popular than it was during his own lifetime. His paintings are a little evidence to we moderns of the clothing and building materials that people admired.

As you look at the paintings and read the titles, you can certainly see what Edmund Blair Leighton admired the most in life: ladies going to or coming home from worship services, gentlemen tipping their hats, beautiful fabrics, country scenery, and stone structures on which he sometimes signed his name. By beholding the paintings for awhile, you can probably figure out the story going on in each one.

I have posted here only a fraction of the paintings now available for public viewing.  Some of the paintings seemed to me to be a kind of series, as they had similar themes and faces.He collected swords, helmets, furniture and other things from former days, which he used as props for his paintings. His wife reportedly helped him a great deal by sewing the costumes depicted in his paintings.  He painted a world that was fast fading from his own times. Those who live the country life today will be able to appreciate the scenes created by  this Victorian artist.


Sunday Morning, 1891
by Edmund Blair Leighton


A Nibble
by Edmund Blair Leighton


Waiting
by Edmund Blair Leighton

The Gallant Suitor
by Edmund Blair Leighton


A Quiet Moment
by Edmund Blair Leighton


After (church) Service
by Edmund Blair Leighton


Chaff
by Edmund Blair Leighton

Sorrow and Song
by Edmund Blair Leighton

Look carefully in the background of this painting and see the story that is going on. I wonder if the boat in the distance is carrying a family in mourning, hence, the title that was given. The young lady in the boat in the foreground seems to be looking over at the other boat, making me wonder what she is thinking. Edmund Blair Leighton's paintings all seemed to have a story going on inside of them.

Wash Day 1898
by Edmund Blair Leighton



Ribbons and Laces
by Edmund Blair Leighton



A Wet Sunday Morning
by Edmund Blair Leighton



Sweet Solitude
by Edmund Blair Leighton




Favour
by Edmund Blair Leighton



Lay Thy Sweet Hand in Mine And Trust Me
by Edmund B. Leighton


On the Threshold
by Edmund Blair Leighton


A Fond Farewell
by Edmund B. Leighton

Lilacs
by Edmund B. Leighton


The Request
by Edmund Blair Leighton

Leighton in 1816
by Edmund B. Leighton

The Shadow
by Edmund Blair Leighton

Market Day
by E. B. Leighton

September
by E.B. Leighton

The Golden Train
by Edmund B. Leighton


Courtship
by E.B. Leighton


Stitching the Standard
by E.B. Leighton



The Accolade by Edmund Blair Leighton.


A few years ago I reviewed briefly the plight of these Victorian painters who brought life so vividly to the canvas and compared them to the 19th century radicals who wanted to squirt paint all over the place and call it art, leaving only the most sophisticated intellectual to understand it.

 Paintings such as those you see listed here, need very little more than a glance to reach your heart with their message, and it takes only a moment to see the story inside of it. The average person does not have to have the painting explained to them. 

 When the modern-art painters came on the scene, they knew they would need more than just a showing of their paintings, to make them popular and to sell, so they ridiculed the Victorian painters and their work, using the media to print all kinds of things that would create doubt about the value of their work. 

 They could not exist, side by side, with this wonderful art,  so, some of them  put powerful pressure on the museums and art schools to remove the old paintings and substitute the modern art, with verbal shame tactics that made people feel they were not being fair or open minded if they did not exhibit the modern art and put aside the realists. 

 Seventy-five to a hundred years later, the old paintings surfaced out of the attics and basements and back rooms, and were put on auction.  What a loss that even our own grandparents had never seen art like this, as it was hidden from the eyes of the world for so long, to make way for the likes of Picasso (a communist who hated America but who gladly took the money from the American people for his "art"), and Henry Matisse, Edward Munch, Marc Chagall, and many others. 

 Visiting a nearby museum that featured Winterhalter in one room, and, across from that room,  a modern artist, visitors naturally drifted to Winterhalter. The modern artists were long deceased, but they must have observed this during their own time, and figured the only thing to do to promote their work would be to get rid of the competition.  They succeeded for many years in keeping many of the Victorian paintings in the dark. 

 As more of these beautiful paintings come to light, I realize what a great influence they are on refinement and manners of our own times. Perhaps that is what it was all about: a war between the rude and the crude, and the refined and the mannerly. The way the prevailing culture dresses and behaves, looks more like "The Scream" than "Coming Home From Church." 

 I have been ridiculed, without success, by these same kinds of liberals, for years, over my insistence that these beautiful Victorian paintings, which can be purchased as posters, should be on display on the poster racks at WalMart, instead of pictures of  the so-called stars that young women drool over.  Both have an influence, but one will be positive, and one will be deadening and negative.  One kind of art gives life and optimism in the hearts of young people. Another, gives them a dead-end.

 Pictures do have an influence on young people, and that is why I say that they need to have these kinds of paintings in their rooms to wake up to in the morning. If parents cannot afford them, then, at least, they can buy calendars with good art on them.  I am currently working on a Leighton calendar for next year, which I will offer here. If that cannot be done, at least, show them the paintings and encourage them to make their own, or just to observe nature and scenery around them at every opportunity, enjoying God's great big painting of the sky and the sea and the land. Young people are either going to scare us all to death in the future, with their values, or they are going to inspire and give us security in knowing they will follow what is good and right. Good art has an effect on their souls.

These artists are still inspiration, as we note their time in history, which was a time of turmoil. Having lived through national calamities and wars, they continued to produce beautiful, peaceful paintings that showed the glory of God's creation, dignity and honour.

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