Sunday, September 24, 2017

Boldini Autumn Scene

A statue of a goddess stands in a wild section of the park at Versailles. Autumn leaves cascade down around her. A clump of yellow chestnut leaves passes near us. 

This painting by Giovanni Boldini (Italian, 1842-1931) emphasizes the contrast between artifice and wildness, between the constraints of the human world and the wildness of nature. It also suggests the transience of the seasons versus the permanence of stone.

Alternate scan—thanks, Gavin
The painting was probably done from observation on location, but I would guess that the image lived in his imagination first.

Previously: Boldini at the Clark Art Institute


Sesco said...

At the risk of great hubris, I feel compelled to note the 'busyness', or competition, of the background with the statue itself. I love the windblown leaf in the foreground, but the background does not, in my opinion, complement the central focus of the painting.

Studio Maywyn said...

Painting a monument sounds like an interesting subject for a plein air painting challenge.

James Gurney said...

Maywyn, that's a great idea. Let me think about that a bit. I think everyone could find a monument nearby, and it would be great if artists really looked at them and reported on how they felt and what they saw and heard going on around the monuments.
Sesco, I noticed that too....very busy background. But somehow that's what I love about it, because of the weird intensity it gives the image.

Studio Maywyn said...

Reading Sesco's comment
The, (yes it is busy) background, feels normal to me when I think of what my bedroom can look like when I'm trying to figure out what to wear. And, with the statue in half dress, it all fits.

Luca said...

I am not very familiar with Boldini's style, apart from the most famous paintings, so i had a look at his works. That "nervous" brush work seems something he frequently did, so it's a matter of personal taste i think. I have to admit i don't like this particular painting too much, i find the area around the lifted arm a bit messy (but we should see the original to have a better idea), but i liked the fact the leaves follow the arm line.

Gavin said...

I was lucky enough to see this painting in Rome. It's very small, and isn't nearly as dark in the shadows as the reproduction, with softer gradations - often the problem with seeing art online. In the original most of it is relatively soft on the edges aside from the statue, but strangely also some of the background trees just around the statue itself filled with sharp hard edges. It's as though it were a photograph that were blurred, but a sharpening filter had been badly applied to the statue, extending to some of the background elements too.
This is a photo I took, if the link works :

I love the painting incidentally. I wonder if some of it wasn't done from a photograph as I believe Boldini did use photo reference from time to time.