Friday, August 6, 2021

Painting Studios Were Social Places

We tend to think of painting as a solitary activity, especially during this last pandemic. But many art studios in the past were social places. 

Alexander the Great Visiting the Studio of Apelles, painting by Willem van Haecht (Flemish, 1593-1637)

According to Cecil Chard, “The great painters of old led a semi-public life of extraordinary brilliancy, surrounded by hordes of admirers, of faithful pupils, of followers, and disciples. The studio was a kind of unofficial salon, a common meeting ground for the courtiers and the statesmen, the fine ladies and the beaux esprits of the day. It was the place for the doffing of ceremonies, where Royalty became democratic and political intrigue rarely flourished. Pictures were painted in a kind of publicity, in an atmosphere of excitement and of confusion, of appreciation and of criticism, that made them social as well as artistic triumphs.”
From Cecil Shard’s article “John S. Sargent, RA, The Work of a Great Portrait-Painter,” Pall Mall Magazine, June, 1907, p. 643

1 comment:

David King said...

I would never get anything done with all that distraction. lol