Tuesday, November 15, 2011

“A sheer miracle which defies analysis”

“For sheer skill of workmanship on a tiny scale, this picture by a pupil of Gérôme [Charles Bargue (c1827-1883) has never been surpassed.



(Click to enlarge.) “The notable thing is that, in spite of its small dimensions and the amount of detail involved, neither unity nor atmospheric effect is lost.

 “The painting of the pleated skirt is a sheer miracle which defies analysis. We today do not even know what type of brush or what kind of medium was used in the making of such a passage.”

—R. Ives Gammell, Twilight of Painting, 1946.

Links and More Information
Charles Bargue on Wikipedia
Twilight of Painting Book on Amazon
More Charles Bargue paintings at Inspirational Artworks
Book: Charles Bargue Drawing Course

Original: "Turkish Sentinel" 1877, 11x8.25 inches, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

12 comments:

Jason de Graaf said...

I remember being completely enthralled by this painting at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. I enjoyed this paintings almost more than the Sargents.

Brett W. McCoy said...

Astounding images, the cloth textures he is able to create are out of this world.

jeff jordan said...

I spent 12-15 hours with my nose in the Geromes at the Getty last year--not this one, sorry to say--and the thing I thought about most, afterward, was how much I'd have loved to see a selection of his brushes.

At any rate, it was an incredible experience for me. There were several tiny paintings of the quality of this one. One that really stuck with me was a man, hunting, in a velvet suit, about 11" x 14", and the nap of the velvet was amazing!

For me, that show last year was like some advanced study opportunity, and I learned a LOT.........

Ezequiel Ramos Aparicio said...

Thanks for sharing this amazing work, James, but couldn´t find the name of the author (a pupil of Géröme)?

Brett W. McCoy said...

Ezequeil -- the pupil is Charles Bargue, check out the links at the bottom

James Gurney said...

Brett--thanks for explaining. I've added the name Charles Bargue at the top. He was not prolific and is known for his gem-like miniature genre paintings.

He is also known as the author and collaborator (with J.L. Gerome) who created the famous drawing course used in many contemporary ateliers and academies.

Brett W. McCoy said...

Looking at the book available on Amazon... not a cheap one! But looks like a valuable resource for learning classical art techniques

Markus Bühler said...

A very nice painting indeed. BTW, the blade which you can see in the image section is a yatagan, an Ottoman type of short sabre or long dagger. The blades were often more or less S-shaped, and their unique shape of the hilt dates back to older forms which were made from the ends of long bones. Later yatagan hilts still resembled this shape, even when they were made from completely different materials like ivory, metal or horn.

Daroo said...

I guess I'd like to know his order of paint application --how he controls his edges at that size -- does he keep everything soft and then gradually build up to the harder edges? At that size there isn't much room to modify edges without running into other edges...

wow! the sky is blue. said...

damn!!

AP Sabourin said...

Very impressive! At such a small size, Charles Bargue still creates a beautiful composition, excellent textural variation, and an impressive handling of paint application. Thank you for sharing such an inspirational piece!

Linda Lawler said...

As always, your blog has the best information and postings. Bargue, love him and own the book. His technical ability defies explanation. If you love small artworks, check out the Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society of Washington DC, annual show at the Strathmore Mansion, this month and December. These are true miniatures, scaled at 1/6 th lifesize or smaller, on surfaces measuring less than 25 square inches. I just recently started working under a magnifying glass in a feeble attempt to work that small. A must see!!