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Encyclopedia Of Painting. Painters And Painting...

LESSER-KNOWN BAROQUE ARTISTS: SEBASTIAN STOSKOPFF (1597-1657) The son of George Stoskopff, a diplomatic courier in Strasbourg, Stoskopff received some early training in oil painting with the miniaturist and engraver Frederic Brentel, who must have contributed to the sharp observation of reality of the man who became a specialist in still life painting. In 1614, George Stoskopff asked the Strasbourg Council to place his son with a master painter, and so the following summer he began training with the Flemish Walloon artist Daniel Soreau, at Hanau-Frankfurt. When Soreau died, Stoskopff, who was then 22, took over his studio for a time. Soreau's son, Pierre, and Joachim von Sandrart, a former pupil of Soreau, continued working at the studio. The Thirty Years' War caused Stoskopff to leave Hanau in 1621, for Paris, where he discovered the paintings of such famous contemporaries as Peter Paul Rubens, Simon Vouet, Callot, Bosse, Baugin, Linard and, possibly, Rembrandt. He was in Venice in 1629, where he met Sandrart, but returned to Paris where he seems to have established himself in the Flemish Protestant circle of realist painters, living in St Germain-des-Pres. In 1641 he went back to Strasbourg and in the following year produced a fort belle peinture for the Council Chamber. On 21st September 1646 he married Anne-Marie Riedinger, daughter of the master goldsmith Nicolas Riedinger, who was by another alliance already his brother-in-law. Among Stoskopff's many admirers and patrons in Strasbourg, the most notable was Count Jean de Nassau-Idstein who in 1655 invited the artist to his residence at Idstein, near Frankfurt, where he worked until his death. Some mystery surrounds this. There have been suggestions that he was murdered, or, alternatively, that he may have died from overindulgence in alcohol. Apart from a number of portraits, Stoskopff's art is devoted almost entirely to still lifes painted in the style of the Flemish and Dutch schools, with its "orderly disorder". (Stoskopff's Dutch contemporaries included Harmen Steenwyck, Pieter Claesz, Willem Kalf, Samuel Hoogstraten, Jan Davidsz de Heem and, later, Rachel Ruysch.) He also acquired a touch of Caravaggism, either by direct contact with Italy, or through Gerrit van Honthorst. His two stays in Paris placed him in contact with the Second School of Fontainebleau (see, for instance, "The Five Senses", 1663; "The Four Elements"; Strasbourg Museum). His severe and rather barren studies of composition in Paris were supplanted on his return to Strasbourg by his evocation of an atmosphere that combines trompe l'oeil with chiaroscuro ("Basketful of Glasses", Strasbourg Museum). There is a fine collection of Stoskopff's works in the Musee de l'Oeuvre de Notre-Dame in Strasbourg, and he is further represented at the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, in the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam, and in the Arts Museum in Saarbrucken. For more about Baroque art, including an extensive range of in-depth articles on Baroque painting, sculpture and architecture, see our easy MAIN A-Z INDEX.

Encyclopedia of Painting. Painters and Painting...


Such was the persistency of the Byzantine movement at Siena, but a movement in another direction issued from Rome in the middle of the thirteenth century. Excavations have brought to light at S. Maria in Trastevere a cycle of very important frescoes of which Ghiberti, in his "Commentary" gives Pietro Cavallini as the author. The chief scene represents the Last Judgment. It is impossible to praise excessively the beauty of this composition, the nobility of the draperies, the majesty of the types. Ancient art undoubtedly exercised a powerful influence on Cavallini, as on his contemporary, the sculptor Nicholas of Pisa. In the thirteenth century a revival took place at Rome which foreshadowed the Renaissance of a later age. Unhappily, few of its monuments remain, but the mosaics of S. Maria in Trastevere that of St. Mary Major, by Jacopo Torriti (1296), and the Genesis frescoes of St. Paul Without the Walls known through drawings in a manuscript at the Vatican reveal the importance of this ancient Roman school. The same compositions are also found in the upper church at Assisi, which was to be the cradle of Italian painting. It is now proved that these scenes were the work of Cavallini and his school. There is nothing to prove that Cimabue did not work here, but he would have done so only as a pupil of the Roman school (see CIMABUE). This is also true of the great Giotto in his earliest dated works: the Navicella of St. Peter's (1298), the Stefaneschi retable and the Jubilee fresco painted in 1300 at St. John Lateran. It was otherwise with his second sojourn in Rome, for his early Assisi frescoes the 28 scenes of the "Life of St. Francis" (c. 1293) are wholly in the Roman manner. At Rome, therefore in the thirteenth century was created the giottesco style, the dolce stil nuovo which was to charm Italy for a hundred years. (See GIOTTO DI BONDONE.) Giotto instilled into the painting of age the wonderful poetry of Franciscan Christianity. St. Francis has been called the Father of Italian art and the saving is true if taken with a certain elasticity of meaning. Both he and St. Dominic rejuvenated and reanimated the Church. The history of religious art down to the Reformation and the Council of Trent could only be accurately written in the light of this great historic fact. All that Byzantine and early medieval art had represented as dogmas assumed the stirring character of life. To say that art became secularized would be to risk miscomprehension, but in truth, from being intellectual and theological, it became democratic and popular. Faith became visualized. The whole effort of the painters, as well as of the people, was to imagine as vividly as possible the life and sufferings of Christ. A multitude of dramatic elements developed in Christianity, and originated a sort of rudimentary theatre. (See ITALY, ITALIAN LITERATURE, JACOPONE DA TODI.)

This popular art required popular modes of expression. Cavallini and Giotto still made mosaics, and Cimabue is best known to us as a mosaicist. But this slow and expensive method was unsuited to a democratic, sentimental, and impassioned art, while fresco, which had never been abandoned even during the Byzantine period, offered to the new ideas a more plastic and animated mode of expression. With less material opulence, the latter process was rapid, cheap and apt at reproducing the undulations of life, expressing at once the exactness of nature and the emotion of the artist. Thereby a new element entered into the execution itself, an individual element of sentiment and spontaneity only limited by the conditions of mural painting and the exigencies of an art always somewhat oratorical. Inebriated, as it were, with this new liberty, the Giottesque painters covered Italy with innumerable paintings. Indeed, this school, as a whole, despite grave faults, constitutes the richest and freest fund of religious painting.

Figure Painting. During the Five Dynasties and the Ten Kingdoms periods, religious influences in painting began to decline, and the themes of figure painting became increasingly secular. Realism dominated figure painting. During the early part of the Song dynasty, Wu Zongyuan (died 1050) painted religious works in the style of Tang artist Wu Daozi, and Shi Ge (flourished tenth century) and Sun Zhiwei (976-1022) revealed Daoist mysteries in paintings known for their wild and unconventional style. Yet, most Song painters concentrated on secular themes. Among them, Mu Xi and Ruo Feng worked with brevity, clarity, and simplicity, painting at a pace identical to the rapidity of their thought. Liang Kai (circa twelfth or thirteenth centuries) was unconstrained both in his 041b061a72

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