Monday, January 17, 2022

Sagrada Familia Interior

Barcelona's most famous building is the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) basilica designed by Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926).  Construction began in 1882 and will likely miss its 2026 completion target.  The Spanish Civil War and other delay events contributed to that timeline.

Today's post presents some photos of its interior I took early November 2021.  I was last there in the Fall of 2010 shortly before Pope Benedict XVI consecrated the building.  What I saw was a construction zone that shortly became the nearly completed interior.  As best I can tell, the interior is now essentially complete.


View on entering from the eastern Nativity side.

Towards the Choir.

Looking down the Nave.

Towards the east entrance.

The ceiling.

Windows on the west side have a warm tint, whereas east side windows feature cooler blue and green.

The effect of sunlight through those windows.

Summary view of interior details.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Molti Ritratti: Napoleon III

Napoleon III, Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte, 1808-1873, Emperor of France, nephew (or perhaps not) of Napoleon Bonaparte, was an interesting man worthy of this extensive Wikipedia entry.

He lived in the age of photography, so apparently didn't have many painted portraits made of himself if an Internet search is any guide.


By Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873) - 1855
Winterhalter was a major society and royalty portrait artist.

By Franz Xaver Winterhalter
Undated on the Internet, but judging by Louis Napoleon's appearance, perhaps around the same time as the previous image.  Or maybe before he was proclaimed Emperor.

By Adolpe Yvon (1817-1893) Haussmann présente à l'Empereur le plan d'annexion des Communes - c.1860
Napoleon is shown shorter, heavier than in Winterhalter's full-length portrait of him.

By Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin (1809-1864) - Napoleon III en uniforme de général de Division - 1861
A stern, military expression on his face.  That said, unlike Napoleon I, he was no military genius.

By Alexandre Cabanel (1823-1889) - c.1865
Supposedly the portrait Empress Eugénie thought portrayed him best.

By Adolphe Yvon - 1868
He must have enjoyed military uniforms and medals.

Photograph by Le Jeune (cropped) - 1869
Taken a year before his disastrous war with Prussia and the end of his reign.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Jean-Gabriel Domergue's Cuties

Jean-Gabriel Domergue (1889-1962, Wikipedia entry here) was a painter and illustrator whose work evolved to where he mostly painted stereotyped young women as a means of earning a living.  I wrote about him here and elsewhere.

Being a professional artist is usually precarious from an economic standpoint.  For that reason, I can't blame people like Domergue for latching onto a visual schtick that bring in the denarii.  But I don't have to like the schtick.

Below are examples from his later (post-1940) work.  Not all he did in those days looked quite like the images shown.  What interests me is how similar those faces are.  He apparently didn't have to do much research or thinking to create them.


"Femme en noir á Venise" perhaps from around 1920.  This is an example of the kind of work Domergue did early in his career.

A portrait - Miss Frederica Montagu of Ince Blundell - 1938.  This has his stylizing beginning to appear.  Unfortunately, I could not locate a photo of his subject for comparison.

Now for a series of images with similar faces.

Eyes are set far apart.

Eyebrows are highly arched.

Noses are stubby.

Mouths are on the small size.

But lips are full.

Evening gowns are low-cut.

You can enlarge this image to better reveal Domergue's brushwork.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Depicting Hercule Poirot -- by Robert Fawcett and Others

Hercule Poirot, Wikipedia entry here, is probably the most famous fictional detetive aside from Sherlock Holmes.

Because they are fictional characters, their actual appearance can be interpreted by actors and illustrators. However, in Poirot's case, author Agatha Christie many times wrote that he had an "egg-shaped head" and had fabulous mustaches, though as best I know she didn't actually provide a description of them.

Since this is an art-related blog, today's post presents some interpretations of Poirot by various illustrators.


"Egg-shaped head" implies baldness.  This book cover illustration by an artist unknown to me follows Christie's guidelines.  Aside from one exception below, I made no effort to track down book illustrators' names.

Here we find an elaborate mustache, but the head isn't very egg-shaped nor is it bald.

Again, not very bald.  In the early stories Christie held that Poirot was fairly old, but portrayals by actors and artists have him middle-aged.

This artist gave him an exaggeratedly egg-shaped head.

This seems fairly close to what Christie specified.

An American paperback book cover.

The illustrator was Mara McAfee (1929-1984), biography here.  This predates the British television series, but his attire is similar to what it favored.

Robert Fawcett (1903–1967), Wikipedia entry here, was an important illustrator in his day.  This image and the following are from Poirot stories appearing in Collier's Magazine in the mid-1950s.

Fawcett's Poirot is thin-faced and not bald.  The mustaches are extensive.

David Suchet (1946 - ... here) has pretty much nailed down Hercule Poirot's appearance for now and quite likely for many years to come.

Monday, December 20, 2021

The American Hotel Bar, Amsterdam

Amsterdam is not as noted for Art Nouveau architecture and décor as some other European cities such as Brussels, Riga, and Prague. Yet it does have fine examples. One is the American Hotel and its bar and café.

I was last there in 2013 and took a few photos of it. Perhaps things have changed since then, or maybe not. Regarless, I hope you enjoy the images below. Click on them to enlarge.


Monday, December 13, 2021

Thomas Hart Benton's "City Activities with Dancehall" and More

Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975), Wikipedia entry here, is classed as a Regionalist artist.   Regionalists were basically a small group of American painters active in the 1930s.  Their typical subject matter was rural activities.  In the case of today's subject, the setting is New York City, but the focus is on working class people.

"City Activities with Dancehall" was one of a 1930-31 set of murals with the general title "America Today" commissioned for architect Joseph Urban's The New School for Social Research building in the Greenwich Village neighborhood.  The murals were later restored and moved to an insurance company's building, finally being donated to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, where they are on view.

It's the nature of murals that they be visually "busy" -- lots of details -- and that is true for the America Today set.  In addition, Benton's style featured people in twisted, exaggerated poses, adding to the visual interest, though seeming cartoon-like to some observers.

Being strongly interested in the 1920s and 1930s decades, I was pleased to see the Met's display the last time I visited New York.

The Gallery below deals with "City Activities with Dancehall" along with some details from "City Activities with Subway."


City Activities with Dancehall
The entire mural.

View of most of the left side.  Wall Street, a Depression-era speakeasy/dancehall and a movie theatre are some of the subjects.

View of most of the right side.  The woman in red at the far left is Benton's wife.  Benton himself is at the far right wearing a green shirt.

Slightly wider view.

This woman is Elizabeth England, later the wife of Charles Pollock, Jackson Pollock's older brother.  The Pollock brothers studied under Benton.  She also appears in the movie audience wearing a red hat.

Benton claimed that many of the people depicted were based on portrait sketches he had made for this project and in preceding years.  This one is of Alvin Johnson who was a founder of The New School.  On the mural he is shown by Benton, clinking glasses in a casual toast to the project.

"City Activities with Subway" detail

The man seated wearing a light blue suit is Max Eastman, well known in New York intellectual circles.

This is Peggy Reynolds, shown standing holding a subway car strap.  Benton used her head from the drawing, but the rest of the figure  was from another sketch.  She was a burlesque star at the time.