Tagged: oil

Dutch Master Rembrandt and His Most Famous Works


Today is Rembrandt’s 407th birthday!

Born Rembrant Harmenszoon van Rijn in 1606, he is the most celebrated Dutch artist and is considered as one of the greatest painters in European art history. Most of his masterpieces are self-portraits, portraits of other artists, and depictions of religious and historical themes. Art experts claim that Rembrandt was able to create more than 600 paintings, 400 etchings, and 2,000 drawings, but these figures are not certain.

Here are some of Rembrandt’s most famous works:

The Return of the Prodigal Son. This is an oil on canvas painting finished circa 1669. It is one of Rembrandt’s final works. The Return of the Prodigal Son depicts a parable from the Bible about a prodigal son returning to his father after wasting his inheritance. In the painting, you’ll notice the ragged state of the son’s clothing, kneeling and repentant in front of his father who was garbed in rich clothing. The expressive lighting and coloring in the painting effectively evoke repentance, compassion, and forgiveness.

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp. Rembrandt was commissioned to paint this group portrait, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp. The painting portrays a group of surgeons, surrounding a table while studying a corpse. Specialists have commended Rembrandt for the accuracy of the muscles and tendons of the corpse’ dissected arm. Rembrandt was 26 when he created this painting. The painting is displayed in the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, the Netherlands.

The Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt, c. 1669.
The Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt, c. 1669.

Danaë. Rembrandt portrayed Danaë, the mother of Perseus in Greek mythology. The 1636 painting shows his interpretation of the myth where Danaë waits for Zeus who impregnated her. It is a life-size painting, measuring 185 cm × 203 cm. Danaë is housed in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Jacob de Gheyn III. Jacob de Gheyn III is a portrait of one of Rembrandt’s contemporaries who was a Dutch Golden engraver. The painting measures 29.9 x 24.9 centimeters and because of its small size, it has been stolen four times since 1966. It is called “takeaway Rembrandt” due to the numerous theft incidents, the most recorded of any painting.

Belshazzar’s Feast. Belshazzar’s Feast is a 1635 painting portraying the Biblical story of Belshazzar and the writing on the wall. The setting is at a banquet wherein the characters show alarm, surprise, and amazement as they look at the handwriting on the wall. Rembrandt effectively used the technique called Chiaroscuro, wherein he manipulated light and shadow to give contrast and create volume and give a three-dimensional effect on objects.

The Night Watch. The Night Watch is the best known painting housed in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The painting was commissioned by Captain Frans Banning Cocq who was one of the main characters in the artwork. It is widely known for its size (11.91 ft × 14.34 ft), effective use of Chiaroscuro, and perception of motion.

Image source: www.wikipedia.org

Learn the Oil Painting Technique: Wet into Wet

Also known as Alla Prima (Italian for first attempt), wet-on-wet means you simply paint over wet paint. The goal in this technique is to finish the whole painting before the first paint dries therefore working fast is the key. Here are some things that you need to know about wet-on-wet painting.

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• You start the wet-on-wet technique using thinned oil paint for drawing. Then you place spots of colors all over the painting to fill it in because the sketch usually dissolved or over-painted as the painting progresses. The painting can be adjusted slightly with glazes and highlights after it dries.

• Blending colors is easy with wet on wet technique. You can directly place one color onto your canvas, and then add other colors and blend with brush or knife to you desired shade. But you have to make sure that you mix colors rapidly and with clear understanding of color theory and keeping in mind the form that you’re trying paint. Expertise with brushwork is very important to do the trick.

• The beauty of wet-on-wet technique is that it sustains the fresh and spontaneous inspiration that come as you paint. For me it is the most intuitive way to paint. Creating a portrait with the technique will require expertise in mixing colors to match your subject.

• It may require few layers of paint to complete the painting, in which case it is easy to overfix the paints, which can look labored and weak. This is the stage where many beginners give up, but if you press on, you can master wet-on-wet technique and create works with the amazing freshness and spontaneity that only wet on wet can provide.

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• When working wet-on-wet pull the brush along its length with the handle close to the surface. You get two strokes with a flat bristle brush, one side then the other, look at the brush for any paint it picked up and wipe it. Think of the brush hairs as if they were the fingers on your hand stroking the surface. This method allows wet paint to go over another (wet) color with clean results.

Using this technique have its advantages. One is you don’t need fine drawing skills. Blending is also quite easy in this technique so you don’t need extensive blending of colors. Lastly, your paintings can be completed quickly (about 2 hours to 2 days only) because you have to make sure that you’re working on wet paint.

This technique is quite advanced and requires a bit of painting experience. Using the Wet-on-Wet method, a dedicated practice and experimentation are all that is necessary to achieve masterpieces that you never imagined you can possibly do.

Paintings by Morris Hinson http://www.thumbartsguild.com/artist/mhinson.html

Top 8 Most Famous Paintings of Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890), a Dutch post-impressionist painter, produced hundreds of paintings of a variety of subjects: self-portraits, portraits, cypresses, flower orchards, flowers, and wheat fields. Van Gogh is considered as one of the greatest painter in history. With many paintings under his belt, I’ve listed some of the famous pieces Van Gogh did in his lifetime.

Starry Night (1889)

1. Starry Night (1889). This is an oil on canvas painting portraying the night scene of the village of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence outside his sanitarium room. Probably the most iconic among all Van Gogh’s works, a song was even composed in reference to the painter and this painting.

2. Bedroom in Arles (1888). Also known as The Bedroom, this painting depicts Van Gogh’s bedroom while he was in Arles, Bouches-du-Rhône, France. There are three authentic versions of this painting which he began in 1888 and the third version was finished in 1889. He used bold colors in yellow, blue, and brown, the painting shows his trapezoid room, including the furniture and painting inside the room.

3. Sunflowers (1888). One of Van Gogh’s subjects in painting is flowers, including sunflowers. He may have painted several sunflowers but no two paintings are the same. Bright colors are used in these paintings, contrasted by the colors of wilted or dying sunflowers.

4. Cafe Terrace at Night (1888). This is an oil painting on an industrially-primed canvas done in Arles, France. It depicts a popular cafe in Arles at night. Van Gogh used colors for the cafe and contrasted it by blue and black colors to portray the rue du Palais. This painting is displayed at the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, Netherlands.

5. Portrait of Dr. Gachet (1890). One of the most expensive paintings in the world, and the highest price paid at a public auction, Portrait of Dr. Gachet protrays the doctor who took care of Van Gogh during the final months of his life. It shows Dr. Gachet sitting at a table while his head is resting on his right hand.

6. Almond Blossoms (1890). This is a series of several paintings on blossoming almond trees. Van Gogh enjoyed painting flowering trees as it symbolizes hope. This painting is located at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

7. Irises (1889). Van Gogh painted Irises when he was living at an asylum in France, before he experienced his first attack. He used unusual angles and strong outlines which is typical of a Japanese called ukiyo-e woodblock prints to depict the blooming irises.

The Mulberry Tree (1889)

8. The Mulberry Tree (1889).  The Mulberry Tree was painted a year before Van Gogh’s death. It depicts a tree growing out of a rocky land. His inspiration was the mulberry tree outside the asylum.

Image source: http://www.vangoghgallery.com