Sunday, 4 October 2015

Salammbô Rendered

Alfons Maria Mucha (1860 - 1939) was a painter and decorative artist born in Moravia, now Czech Republic. His works are an integral part of the Art Nouveau art movement, popular at the turn of the twentieth century. This style of art was most prominent from 1890 to 1910, inspired by natural forms and structures and is often regarded as a reaction to the academic art of the 19th century.

Mucha was probably the single most famous and influential artist of the whole Art Nouveau movement in Europe and he is best known for his luxurious poster and product designs, which encapsulate the Art Nouveau style.

The leading Parisian actress, Sarah Bernhardt was the single most influential figure in Mucha’s life as an artist. It was his first poster for her, Gismonda, that made him famous and he grew both as a man and an artist through his professional collaboration and friendship with the greatest stage personality of the era.

His works were to revolutionise poster design. The long narrow shape, the subtle pastel colours and the stillness of the near life-size figure introduced a note of dignity and sobriety, which were quite startling in their novelty. The posters immediately became objects of desire to collectors, many of whom used clandestine methods to obtain them, either bribing bill stickers or simply going out at night and cutting them down from the hoardings.

Here in Mucha’s gorgeous rendering of Gustave Flaubert’s Salammbô (1896), the artist takes the incense, flowers and peacock feathers of the Carthaginian heroine, with her female servant, and renders them in the bold-lined, glowing, graphic style that assured his fame as a master Art Nouveau confectioner.

Mucha died in Prague on 14 July 1939, due to lung infection, shortly after he was released from interrogation by the Nazis who had moved into Czechoslovakia earlier that year.

He considered The Slav Epic - a series of 20 really huge paintings depicting the history of the Czech and the Slavic people - his life’s fine art masterpiece.

After a prolonged period of official neglect, contemporary interest in his work was revived in 1980 after an exhibition of his art at the Grand Palais in Paris.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Flight of Fantasy

Flight (1984)

Boris Vajello is a Peruvian-born artist (b. 1941) based in the United States. He is America's premier fantasy artist and his works are known and loved around the world.

His real career begins after he sold a canvas representing a warrior fighting against a creature from Greek mythology to a publication house. In 1978, the book Boris Vallejo's Fantastic Art, made him recognised all over the world, and he has published a calendar every year since 1981.

Vajello is famous for his illustrations of well-known and much-loved fantasy heroes, as well as working in movie poster illustration, advertisement illustration, and artwork for collectibles, trading cards, and sculpture. He has designed more than 300 covers, including Tarzan, Conan the Barbarian, Doc Savage, Star Trek, Star Wars, and for the Comics magazine, Heavy Metal.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Olympian Goddesses

Tomasz Rut (pronounced ‘root’) was born in 1961 and raised in Warsaw, Poland, the son of an Olympic athlete father and artist mother who together encouraged a love of art and the classics.


Prompted by his mother, Rut was introduced to the Pompeian Frescos and the magnificent history of the Renaissance and the Baroque periods as a child. The classical paintings and sculpture inspired his stunning oils, murals, and graphic works. The flamboyance of Rubens, the finesse of Caravaggio, and the emotion of Michelangelo are Rut’s inspiration.


It was during his travels as a young artist that he noticed a void in contemporary art: it was nearly impossible to find and purchase contemporary paintings in a figurative, classical style. It hit him while in Pompeii, like a revelation - the damaged frescos amidst the ruins were more beautiful as faded, ancient relics than they would have been in the 3rd century. 

Rossi Scurro

So, Rut invented a style aimed at filling this void. This style incorporated cracked canvasses that mimic aged Italian frescoes and figurative oils. "The one element evident in all of my paintings is the superficial patina or aging", which is created with a variety of transparent and semi-transparent glazes, giving each work the aged and classic appearance that exemplifies Rut’s style.

Ex Interno

His imaginary figures - centaurs, fauns, muses, and winged creatures - colourfully burst from the canvas with the grandiosity of Olympian Goddesses in active and dramatic poses. Since Rut’s father was an Olympic athlete who won a bronze medal in hammer throwing, he was exposed to many athletes - further inspiration for his figures. 

In Fide 2

Rut has perfected the art of sensual imagery. An incredibly evocative artist whose creations celebrate the beauty of the human form, it is nearly impossible to view a Rut painting and not be captivated by it. 

Ecco Homo

“I look for inspiration in the humanistic tradition of classical art. My canvases express the entire spectrum of human emotions from exhilaration and cheerfulness to contentment, melancholy, pain, and agony.”


“My paintings give people the ability to learn, respond, and feel comfortable with the classics. That gives me enough satisfaction to keep working for a lifetime.” 

Rosso Angelo

Tomasc Rut is named one of the five most collectible living artists in the world today.

Courtesy of Kate Soho

Friday, 25 September 2015

D & s Paradoxes

For those of us blessed to share a love for Lifestyle D & s, perhaps at the heart of its intrinsic appeal lie the subtle paradoxes, ambiguities and ironies that typically characterise its lived expression: authority and service; control and surrender; pleasure and pain; dominance and submission.

In this evocative painting, Erato, Muse of Lyrical Poetry, created in 1800, The Lady Muse, Erato (meaning "desired"), uses Cupid’s instrument of pain as inspiration for expressing her lyrical poetry of love.

The work is by Charles Meynier (1763 - 1832), a French Neoclassic painter of historical subjects in the late 18th and early 19th century. Interestingly, another artist had over-painted the body of Cupid (or Eros) with a “prudish white veil” an estimated 75 years after Meynier completed the painting. Those Victorians!

Closer investigation and testing revealed beautifully intact original paint layers beneath the veil. Working carefully under magnification, conservators spent well over 100 hours mechanically removing the 180 square inches of overpainted veil.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015



An offspring of a generation of artists, Fritz Klimsch (1870 - 1960) was a leading and prolific German sculptor of the first half of the twentieth century. Having decided to become a sculptor at the age of 15, and having won a state prize as a student at the age of 24, it was a long sojourn to Greece that confirmed his decision to dedicate his life to classical statuary art.

On his honeymoon to Paris, Klimsch became acquainted with Auguste Rodin’s work which greatly influenced him, with its liveliness of expression and form. He regarded his fellow countryman, Adolf von Hildebrand as second only to Rodin as the inspiration behind his art.

Working mainly in sculpted Female figures from mythology, his reputation continued to grow and he was appointed professor in the College of Fine Arts in Berlin, a post he held until 1934. With their classic lines and fine features, Klimsch’s sculptures were held in very high esteem in the era of National Socialism and he was a favourite with many prominent Nazi officials from the Third Reich who commissioned high profile pieces from him.

After an Allied bombardment partially destroyed his Berlin studio, he moved to Salzburg and continued his work on various monument projects. However, when the American troops entered Salzburg, they plundered his new studio and thrashed most of his work.

After the war, Klimsch settled in the Black Forest to live in seclusion, producing from then on only a few works in small formats. Shortly before his death in 1960, he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit, the highest award of the Federal Republic of Germany.