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

Maurizio Cattelan – Him – 2001

This is a repost of an essay I wrote in 2014 whilst at college.

On Friday 5th September, I visited ‘The Human Factor‘ exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, in Southbank, London. I’m going to be writing a full post on the exhibition overall, but for now I’m going to focus on one piece that was there; Him, by Maurizio Cattelan; which in my opinion was the most powerful of all the artworks on exhibit.

Spoiler Alert: This post shows the artwork from the front, as well as the back which is how you would initially see it.

Continue reading “Maurizio Cattelan – Him – 2001”

Coffee Comes to Europe, 1615

Coffee Comes to Europe, 1615 - Coffee on Canvas Board - 16" x 20"
Coffee Comes to Europe, 1615 – Coffee on Canvas Board – 16″ x 20″

By the 17th Century, coffee had made its way to Europe and was becoming increasingly popular across the whole continent. The opposition were overly cautious, calling this new beverage from the Arab lands the “bitter invention of Satan”. With the arrival of coffee to Venice in 1615, the local clergy immediately condemned it; causing a controversy so great that Pope Clement VIII was asked to intervene. The Pope decided to try the beverage before making his decision and he found the drink so satisfying that he gave it Papal approval.

In relation to my identity and following the theme “Who are you?”,  I wanted to create a piece of work that not only told a story, but also related and described my own personality through symbolism, thus creating an artwork with two meanings.

The painting that I created is a narrative piece and was painted entirely using coffee as my medium. It depicts when coffee first came to Europe, arriving in Venice in 1615 aboard a merchant ship, awaited and opposed by the clergy. This entire piece is full of symbolism pertaining to who I am and my identity, so I’ll have to break it down into further parts.

Coffee as a medium Every single morning of my life is centred around one very important, and never-changing ritual, coffee. It begins every single morning of my life and continues on into the day. That being the case, plus with the exhibition being set up on a table in the college Atrium Café, it made sense to me to use coffee as my medium to paint with. In my research of coffee I delved into the history and discovered plenty of opportunities to create a narrative painting, which is my favourite form of art, art that tells a story.

Venice I decided to base my narrative in Venice as this is where coffee came into Europe and the story behind it really appealed to me to create a narrative scene of. Also, I have a very deep fondness of Italy and it is intrinsic to a lot of what I do, to the point that my love of Italy is almost an obsession, this made my choice of story to tell very easy and enjoyable at the same time. My scene is based at Riva Degli Schiavoni, with the isle of San Maggiore faded in the distance across the entrance to Venice’s Grand Canal.

The Clergy – The clergy, depicted standing on a small jetty, in opposition of the merchant ship bringing coffee to port, are symbolic of the opposition I feel I face with artwork, whether real or imagined it seems that in the Contemporary art industry, traditional painting and values are frowned upon and neglected, whilst Conceptual art, Installation and challenging conventions is what is the art that wins awards and sells.

Whilst the clergy show how close I feel to opposition, the distant view of the church San Giorgio di Maggiore shows how far I feel from salvation, not in a religious sense but a metaphorical one, in the industry I’m entering.

Myself – I depicted myself literally into this painting as well; situated to the right of the narrative scene I am sitting in a small boat, sketching the scene before me into a book. This shows my personality, my introversion, close by and very aware of the events unfolding around me and sketching what I see; at the same time situated solitarily, alone but comfortable to be so, concentrating on what I’m seeing and analysing it onto the paper.

This is the first piece of work that I have created entirely how I want to and have been able to project a narrative through which not only tells a story, but describes aspects of myself within it.

This work was exhibited at the Atrium Café for the day in my first real exhibition and the feedback that I received was incredible, very encouraging comments were made and a lot of interest was shown in both the work itself and the meanings behind it.

JG

It’s Been a While…

Ok, so I haven’t had the opportunity to spend a great deal of time in any kind of activity other than my coursework, which is being thrown at me thick and fast; although admittedly I’d rather be kept constantly occupied and busy than not be. I’m also slowly piecing together pieces of work that I feel happy enough with to put into my portfolio, a task that is proving to be very hard to accomplish as I’m overly self-critical. Luckily enough I will be joining a university that works in conjunction with the college I’m doing my Access course on at the moment, so I’ve been given the opportunity to apply later than the usual deadlines and can get more of a portfolio together.

I’ve been to see several exhibitions in the past couple of months as well, the most notable being “The Late Turner”, held at the Tate Britain; it was an amazing display of works and I had started to write a short review on the exhibition, but my writing habits haven’t been very fruitful, however I do intend to get it done and will probably have it done in the next month or so.

It’s been a crazy, manic and thoughtful start to the year and I find it totally astounding when I think of how much more immersed in the creative, mindful world of art I am than I was this time last year, and how much my knowledge of the art world has grown into a bubbling pot of excellence.

Today, I’m going to upload some pieces of work that I’ve been doing, updating my online portfolio and writing a short post for each piece of my work. On that note, I’m signing off of my ramblings about why I haven’t posted and moving onto getting some more work on here.

JG