Maíno’s Adorations: Heaven on Earth

At the beginning of the week I took an inspiration trip to the National Gallery in London, (see the post for that and the artworks I found inspiring here!) and I was fortunate enough to see a mini exhibition whilst there – Maíno’s Adorations: Heaven on Earth. This is the first time these two works have been exhibited in the UK and this free exhibit will be open until 29th January 2017.

I had never before heard of this artist and so it was a pleasant introduction to him through his work, before jumping into the artwork let’s take a look at the man himself.

Fray Juan Bautista Maíno

Maíno was born in 1581 in a Spanish town named Pastrana which is about 80km from Madrid, where it is thought he underwent his artistic training. Like all the great artists of the age he traveled to Italy in his younger years and seemingly learned a lot about his trade in the process; he is recorded as living in Rome between 1609-10 and although it is unknown when he arrived in the city, it is known he was there by at least 1604.

Maíno returned to Spain in 1611 and continued working and receiving commissions and then at around 1616 he moved to Madrid and became master of painting to Prince Philip; who later became King Philip IV.

Maíno had a long and very successful career but in spite of that there are few of his works that are known; his paintings express the knowledge that he had of the stylistic tendencies prevalent in early 17th century Rome. His work also shows that he was inspired and influenced by artits such as Caravaggio, Gentileschi, Carracci and Reni.

Maíno died in 1649 in the College of Santo Tomas of Madrid.

Maíno’s Adorations

Fray Juan Bautista Maino - Adoration of the Shepherds - classical art - religious - biblical - painting - national gallery
Fray Juan Bautista Maino – Adoration of the Shepherds
Fray Juan Bautista Maino - Adoration of the Kings - Maino's Adorations - baroque art classical biblical religious painting
Fray Juan Bautista Maino – Adoration of the Kings

These two paintings measure over three metres in height and were orignally part of a ‘retablo’ (altarpiece) for the high altar of the Dominican church of San Pedro Mártir in Toledo between 1612-14.

They both sh0w the deep impression that had been left on Maíno by Caravaggio’s works which he would have seen whilst in Rome; the chiaroscuro lighting and the naturalistic approach to painting are clearly evident.

Another note of importance on these two paintings is that as well as being the greatest works created by Maíno, ‘the two adorations are also among the earliest Spanish paintings to have been executed in a Caravaggesque style’. This is also evidence of the far reaching influence of Caravaggio across Europe in the early 17th century.

My personal favourite of the two paintings is the Adoration of the Shepherds; the muted pallete works so well for the scene and although the composition is probably stronger in the Kings, in the Shepherds it works well enough to keep me captivated and engaged. I also find that the Shepherds painting shows a strong sense of humility on behalf of both the artist and the subject.

Maíno included a self portrait in the Adoration of the Kings, he is posed as a pilgrim on the left of the scene pointing towards the infant Christ. There is also an array of expensive and luxurious drapery which showcases Maíno’s knowledge and skill in the area, a lot of which was possibly influenced my his father who had been a cloth merchant.

All in all, this exhibition was well worth seeing and I’m glad that I have been introduced and made aware of another incredible artist from the past; being one that had been inspired by Caravaggio who is one of my favourites makes it even better.

JGlover

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Dante Gabriel Rossetti – Beata Beatrix

George Frederic Watts-Dante Gabriel Rossetti-Pre-Raphaelite-Brotherhood-Art-Painting-Portrait-Oil Painting-History-Dante-Raphael
Dante Gabriel Rossetti – Painted by George Frederic Watts – 1871

Dante Gabriel Rossetti; a translator, illustrator, poet and most importantly for this post, an incredible artist. As one of the founding fathers of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, he inspired and influenced an entire generation of artists and writers both contemporaries and successive to himself. Dante was born on the 12th May 1828 and he died on the 9th April 1882, leaving behind a wealth of work and a strong legacy that would live on long beyond his own lifetime.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti spent a lot of time working on English translations of Italian poetry and found himself strongly influenced by the famous Italian poet, Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) with whom he strongly identified. It was Rossetti’s identification to Dante Alighieri that inspired the painting which is the subject of this post.

With that said we’re going to be looking at one piece of work in particular; a painting full of meaning and symbolism, painted in Rossetti’s signature style and telling a powerful story rife with emotion and feeling.

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The Concept Art of Assassin’s Creed

Assassin’s Creed is one of few video games that has held a firm place in my life, from it’s release in 2007 when I first managed to get my hands on it; borrowing it from a friend, I was hooked. The beautifully rich world design, coupled with the intensely gripping story line has fed my gaming appetite and left me wanting more for a good nine years.

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The Art of Claude Lorrain

Despite my indecisiveness about whether or not to continue with a written counterpart for my Ruins Project, I have decided to write a brief post looking at some of the artwork created by the Master artist, Claude Lorrain.

Claude is without any doubt, one of the greatest painters of the landscape that has ever lived; although in 17th century Italy landscape painting was not a subject deemed classical enough to be classed as a true work of art and with that in mind, Claude painted figures and narratives into his beautiful scenery; usually mythical or religious figures that would feed the hunger both of patrons and the public. However, it is clearly evident from his sketchbooks and the quality of the scenery in his finished works that his focus was mainly centred around the landscape.

One good way to describe Claude Lorrain is as the painter of the idealised landscape providing the setting for classical subject narratives. The creator of mythical and religious scenes that the viewer can engage with as though present in the story, a Baroque equivalent of the cinema.

I have handpicked my favourite artworks by Claude Lorrain that are relevant to the theme of Ruins and in no particular order, here they are:

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The Art of Francis Towne

For this post, we will have a look at the traditional art of an independent and usually reclusive artist named Francis Towne.

In 1780-81, Towne went on the dangerous journey to the heart of the Ancient Empire of Rome and in doing so created some of the most beautiful watercolour paintings I’ve ever seen; using his incredible aptitude with a brush he brought out the elegance of the ruins of the old Empire and romanticized them poetically.

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John Howe – Concept Art Master

In a previous post I wrote briefly about some artworks created for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the books and the movies; created by the artists Alan Lee & John Howe and I have decided to take a more in depth look at John Howe for this post.

John Howe is quite possibly my favourite Contemporary artist and illustrator, I find his work extremely inspirational and inventive, his imagination is magically unlimited and his ability to transcribe his vision onto the page is awe-inspiring.

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Jerry Vanderstelt – Portrait of Sauron

“Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,

Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,

Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,

One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie,

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.”

-J.R.R. Tolkien’s epigraph to The Lord of the Rings

Sauron - painting - lord of the rings - lotr - art - painting

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