Monday, July 9, 2018

Truth And Beauty - Legion Of Honor Exhibition - Review






Last week I made the best gift to myself what artist can do to the artist (besides buying the favorite paints and brushes of course). I've visited a new exhibition Truth & Beauty at Legion Of Honor museum in San Francisco. 

The exploration of both, truly beautiful art and seeing the beauty of truthful comparison of two different centuries in portraiture presentation was really priceless. 

The organizers called this exhibition The Pre-Raphaelites And The Old Masters. But as well they can just call it Learn From Old Masters and they will be absolutely right.

The exhibition presented portraits and religious themes from the 15th century European Artists, and the mid 19th end of 19th century masterpieces.

Here is a great example, Sandro Botticelli, Idealized Portrait of a Lady from 1475:

and 1878 oil painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Proserpine:

or  Self-Portrait by Raphael from 1506:



And amazingly well done painting of Henry Wentworth Monk by William Holman Hunt that he created in 1858:


The beauty through the centuries was reflecting in these two portraits as well.
The oil painting by same Sandro Botticelli, the Portrait of a Lady Known as Smeralda Bandinelli, 1470-80. This painting was previously owned by the artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. He believed that Botticelli used the same model for his painting of Venus:

Later in his career Dante Gabriel Rossetti himself used his wife as a model for many of his paintings, such as a beautiful diptych for example Beata Beatrix, that he painted in 1871-72:


Dante Gabriel Rossetti drew a parallel in this composition between the medieval Italian poet Dante Alighieri's despair at the death of his beloved Beatrice and Rossetti's own grief at the death of his muse, lover, and wife, Elizabeth Siddal. 

I also adored the 19th century painters Kate Bunce:

Saint Cicilia , 1901 by Kate Bunce


..and another woman artist Marie Spartali Stillman with her symbolic and stunning artwork Love's Messenger, 1885:


.. portraits by William Holman Hunt:

Bianca, painted 1868-69

and one of his wife, Edith:

The Birthday, 1868

One of my favorite sections of the exhibition was where some amazing watercolors were presented.

In the books print form:


As well as well preserved artworks in watercolor such as an example Cesare Mariannecci's copies of Old Masters.

Just take a look at his Copy after "The Delphic Silbyl" by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, Rome. Mariannecci painted it in 1867 and it is now masterpiece on its own:


Other two copies by him of Botticelli, Birth Of Venus & La Primavera.



Note that the artworks that Mariannecci painted from huge oil paintings of Botticelli are just approximately 20"x16" in size. The precision of a watercolor brush stroke is outstanding. His artworks, the  copy, became certainly a great example of devotion, love to the art, and admirable craftsmanship. If I could I would "camp" there next to these paintings for a week looking constantly at them and possibly make my own copies of the copies in watercolor :)

The exhibition left a very soft peaceful feeling on my Artist's Soul. I saw that the art yet developing through the centuries for sure, has one timeless quality, The Beauty. In our contemporary days it is truly hard sometimes to stop and admire a simple flower, a beauty of everyday life. But the gift of being able that, be in the moment, and have ability to capture it in our hearts is truly, undeniably, PRICELESS!! 

Here a few more artwork that I admired at this exhibition, Truth & Beauty:

Isabella and the Pot of Basil, 1862 by William Holman Hunt

Oure Ladye of Good Children, 1866 by Ford Madox Brown

"Leisure Hours" , 1864 by John Everett Millais

The Lady Of Shalott, 1888-1905 by William Holman Hunt

Cheers from 





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