Masterpieces with Single Tree Composition

Fundamentally, all landscape paintings have a focal point, which draws the viewer’s eye to the heart of the paintings composition. For instance (as shown below), the cypress trees serve as the focal point in Vincent van Gogh’s painting ‘Wheat Field and Cypress Trees’, the sun in Claude Monet’s painting ‘Impression’ and the central tree in the painting ‘Banks of the Marne’ by Paul Cezanne.

But what if the composition of the painting comprises of a single tree, the focal point diminishes and the central figure is the lone subject of the painting. Which genre would the artwork fall under – Landscape, subject study or symbolic art? The theme sounds vague, boring and bland but surprisingly this rare composition has been captured beautifully by many master artists. We explore few such masterpieces that aesthetically illustrate this atypical theme.

The Mulberry Tree by Vincent van Gogh-
The isolated tree shown against a rocky terrain has its branches spread out with a blast of fiery colors. Vincent managed to create a magical autumn experience by means of just a single tree.

 

 

Rose bushes under the Trees by Gustav Klimt-
The canvas is like a confetti explosion of various shades of greens and yellows. Klimt’s unique composition of a single tree with rich foliage, depicted with tiny specks of brush strokes is one of his most popular masterpieces.

 

 

The Tree Series by Piet Mondrian-
The solitary trees in the series are depicted in their most basic and simplistic form, true to Mordrian’s art movement ‘De Stijl’ / ’The Style’. Cleverly angled brush strokes, and limited palette void of greens are the unique characteristics of this series.

 

 

The Bonaventure Pine by Paul Signac-
Painted in pointillism style a huge Umbrella Pine tree stretches across the canvas. The subdued background highlights the majestic form and the interesting shape of the tree. Following the pointillism technique of small dots applied in patterns, pixels of lighter tone sprinkled around the tree, suggest sunlight filtering through the leaves, adding a dreamy feel to the painting.

 

 

Autumn trees by Egon Schiele-
The bare lone trees made by the expressionist artists are metamorphic, the series deal with the themes related to death and rebirth. Grey palette, twisted trunk, cloudy sky and entwined branches are a compelling portrayal of a stormy winter, allegorical of misery and loneliness.

 

 

Pine Tree near Aix by Paul Cezanne-
The composition of this artwork differs from the rest, it’s unique and abstract, much like the other artworks of the post impressionist artist. The central figure (i.e. the pine tree) gets cut from all sides and is used as a frame for the painting. The mesh of the branches connecting the sides, combine all the elements to the center of the composition.

 

 

The Oak by Edvard Munch-
The artwork has an interesting color scheme, cool sky tones gradually descend to warm earthy color, diagonally from top left to bottom right. Though the color gradient of the tree is reflected on the background, yet Munch successively managed to highlight the tree as the central figure.

 

 

The Pink Peach Tree by Vincent Van Gogh-
The painting depicts a peach tree in bloom during springtime, despite being painted with subtle and pastel shades the artwork looks vibrant and spirited. The perspective exaggerated by the tapering flow of the brush strokes helps in highlighting the tree as the main subject.

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Th.V. Doesburg, Drei Haeuser by Juan Gris-
The abstract treatment represents the tree as a three-dimensional form viewed from a single perspective. The cubist artist’s composition despite its simplified geometric forms retains the look and feel of a landscape.

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Tree in flower near Vetheuil by Claude Monet-
The father of impressionism’s technique of capturing light and its effect on the color of the object is at play in this painting. The light and shade on the solitary tree are represented brilliantly with precise dabs and dashes of varied tones.

 

 

Little Oak Tree by Franz Marc-
The simplicity of the painting is reminiscent of ‘The Mulberry Tree’ by Vincent van Gogh (first painting on the top), spirals of fresh green leaves are highlighted by the brilliant blue sky and animated strokes of the ground.

 

 

The Fig Tree by Paul Klee-
The lone trees’ composition, monochromatic tones and the arrangement of the colored shapes reflect the artists experience in stain glass.

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L’Arbre (The Tree) by Pablo Picasso-
Picasso’s neutral colored artwork illustrates a stylized tree, with array of bold strokes and distorted shapes, the composition is compact with interlinked forms.

 

 

A Great Tree by  J. W. Turner-
The Watercolor artwork projects a powerful and majestic tree, the composition partly cuts the tree from the sides, highlighting the sunlit part of the tree as the focal point.

 

 

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10 Legendary Muses in Art History

For centuries, in the history of art many master artists captivated by heir muses have created remarkable masterpieces. The magnetic force of the muse has proved to expand the mesmerized artists’ creativity. It’s interesting how the intensity and nature of muse-artist relationship clearly reflects on the artworks. We have featured some of the most popular muses’ who have been responsible for inspiring renowned artists’ in creating highly creative and incredible paintings.

Emilie Louise Flöge an Austrian fashion designer and successful businesswoman made a lasting impression on the symbolist painter Gustav Klimt. A creative, free-spirited and an accomplished woman, who led a bohemian life style had much in common with the artist. She is known to be his life companion, in his final moments Klimt’s last words were “Get Emilie”. She modeled for his paintings, designed attires for the figures in his artworks and greatly influenced the decorative patterns of his paintings.

emilie-louise-floge_gustav-klimt

 

Gala Dalí, a powerful inspiration for her husband Salvador Dalí, was also a muse for many other writers and artists of her time. She modeled for some of the best known paintings and sculptures created by her husband. The surrealist painter was so enamored by his wife that eventually he started signing his paintings with his and her name. He stated “(i)t is mostly with your blood, Gala, that I paint my pictures”.

gala-salvador-dali

Galaofspheres

 

Lydia Corbett was an inspiration that lead Pablo Picasso into creating 60+ remarkable artworks. She was a charming 19-year-old at the time she met the artist, she tied her blonde hair in a typical high ponytail fashion with fringes. At the first meeting itself he was taken by her youthfulness, innocence and her timid nature. Art historians have termed this phase of Picasso’s art as his ‘Ponytail Period’ and the artworks as ‘Sylvette series’ (Lydia was then called Sylvette). Lydia Corbett is an artist in her own right who has held numerous successful exhibitions of her remarkable artworks.

lydia-corbett-sylvette_pablo-picasso

 

George Dyer was a petty criminal when he met British painter Francis Bacon. It is said that Dyer was caught by Bacon conducting burglary into the artist’s apartment. Bacon latter stated that he was attracted to Dyer’s helplessness and immaturity, Dyer on the other hand was awe-struck by the artist’s intellect and self-confidence. Their fiery and passionate relationship led the artist to create some of his most original and creative portraits and artworks.

george-dyer_francis-bacon

 

Victorine Meurent modeled for many impressionist artists however she was predominantly featured in most of the masterpieces made by Edouard Manet. The artist is said to have been charmed by her when he first saw Meurent in the street carrying her guitar, she use to play the instrument in café-concerts. ‘The Luncheon on the Grass’ and ‘Olympia’ (Shown below) are the two most popular artworks that feature her nude portrayal. An accomplished artist herself, she regularly exhibited at the prestigious Paris Salon.

olympia_victorine-meurent_edouard-manet

 

Saskia van Uylenburgh, wife of painter Rembrandt van Rijn served as his muse for numerous masterpieces. The artists featured her in many of his mythical, biblical and historical themed artworks and painted numerous portraits of her. Saskia died after giving birth to their fourth child Titus’s, most likely from tuberculosis. There’s a collection of touching artworks which he lovingly created of her while she was sick on her death bed.

saskia-van-uylenburgh_rembrandt

 

Camille Monet, wife and muse of French painter ClaudeMonet has been featured in number of his masterpieces. ‘The Woman in the Green Dress’, which earned Monet critical acclaim at the Paris salon, is the most popular painting which features her as a subject. Besides being Monet’s muse, she also modeled for other known Impressionist artists, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Edouard Manet. Tragically, Camille died very young due to pelvic cancer, grief-stricken Monet made numerous intense and expressive paintings of his dead wife.
camille-claude-monet

 

Elizabeth Siddal, a talented artist herself, inspired her husband Dante Gabriel Rossetti and other artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. She has been the central subject of Rossetti’s symbolic and mythological paintings and drawings which have been said to amount in thousands. Rossetti represented Siddal as Dante’s Beatrice in one of his most famous works, Beata Beatrix. While posing for artist John Everett Millais’ ‘Ophelia’ (Shown below) in 1852, Siddal floated in a bathtub full of water to represent the drowning Ophelia. Millais painted daily into the winter putting lamps under the tub to warm the water.

ophelia_elizabeth-siddal_john-everett-millais

elizabeth-siddal_dante-gabriel-rossetti

 

Frida Kahlo once stated “I am my own muse, I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.” In her life-time Frida Kahlo created 55 self-portraits. The experience of excruciating physical pain (due to a childhood accident) and emotional turmoil owing to her tumultuous personal life is characteristically represented by her in her self-portraits.

Self Portrait Frida Kahlo

 

Camille Claudel, a famed French sculptor started her relationship with artist Auguste Rodin as his pupil eventually became his companion and inspiration. Quoted as a ‘woman genius’ by the art critics, she not only played the role of a muse but also influenced sculptor Auguste Rodin’s art style. Interestingly, their turbulent and passionate relationship echo’s on both, Rodin’s and Claudel’s artworks.

camille-claudel_auguste-rodin

10 Masterpieces that have Transcended Time

Art is decidedly subjective, what might appeal to you may not have the same effect on someone else. For instance, personally, I favor artworks made during impressionism and post impressionism era. There are some who only like realistic art from renaissance period in contrast to a section of art enthusiasts who are fond of modern and contemporary art. Consequently, jotting down a set of ‘Best Artworks’, ‘Greatest Masterpieces’ or ‘Most Famous Paintings’ as such is near impossible. However we have list out 10 masterpieces which are considered most innovative and remarkably intriguing by majority of the art lovers, each made by a different master artist.

Starry night (1889- Post Impressionism), the masterpiece is believed to be a view from Vincent van Gogh’s room in an asylum at Saint-Remy. The upper half of the painting shows a vibrant sky bursting with energy, the turbulent swirls are in sharp contrast with the calm and sleepy village in the lower half of the painting. Based on Vincent’s religiously beliefs, art historians interpret that the cypress tree in the foreground symbolizes the unification of the world with the cosmos.


Impression- Sunrise
(1874- Impressionism), by Claude Monet was displayed in the first art exhibition held by then struggling artists- Manet, Renoir, Degas and Monet. Rebuffed by the art critics, they used the title of this painting to phrase the exhibition as “The Exhibition of the Impressionists” hence accidentally defining the new art movement. His technique of loose and short brushstrokes captured the essence of the Sunrise. The uniquely unfinished look of this artwork is what paved the way for the new art movement- Impressionism.


The Kiss
(1907- Symbolism) Gustav Klimt’s signature style of clubbing decorative patterns with semi- realistic figures has been best achieved in his celebrated artwork-‘The Kiss’.  The painting shows an entwined couple symbolizing love. The masculine geometric shapes on the man’s gown gradually merge in to the lady’s floral pattern symbolizing the couple’s passionate union as one. Further adding to this blissful union is the surreal dreamlike setting of shimmering gold plated background.


Les Demoiselles d’Avignon
(The Young Ladies of Avignon) (1907- Cubism) by Pablo Picasso is considered to be the prototype that shaped Cubism and Modern Art. The masterpiece projects the creative maturity achieved by Picasso over the years, a style that fermented over time through his various experiments and techniques. The painting portrays five female prostitutes from a brothel in Barcelona, with the simplistic and two-dimensional figures Picasso breaks the conventional rules of perspective and realism.


The Persistence of Memory
(1931- Surrealism) by Salvador Dalí, is widely believed to be the masterpiece that best defines the art movement ‘Surrealism’. The painting shows pocket watches melting against a barren backdrop. Composition is dreamlike and the execution is realistic, typical characteristics of a surrealistic painting, as stated by Dali himself “hand painted dream photographs”. The subject of the artwork is insignificance of time, the ants on the left suggest decaying and the distorted central form is often referred as a Self-portrait.


Mona Lisa
(1517- Renaissance) is undoubtedly the most popular portraits in the art world, the greatest creation of renaissance period and the finest masterpiece of Leonardo da Vinci. This accomplished portrait is most known for its captivating and mysterious half-smile, it’s been an ultimate source of inspiration for visual and literary arts.  Art expert’s latest belief has been that for the hopping smile, the genius artist, applied optical illusion called sfumato, generated by clever shading around the cheek bones and mouth.


Birth of Venus
(1480- Renaissance) by Sandro Botticelli, is one of the best representation of the origin of the ‘Goddess of love’, a common mythological subject of the Renaissance Period. The painting shows Venus, who has just risen from the sea on a shell, she is gently being blown towards the shore by the God of Wind. On the right, Hora the Goddess of Spring reaches out to cover her with a cloak. Her elegant posture and melancholic gaze makes Botticelli’s Venus look like a mystifying beauty.


The Girl with a Pearl Earring
(1665- Baroque), often referred as ‘The Dutch Mona Lisa’ is one of the most notable painting made by Johannes Vermeer.  The expressions and pose of the subject makes it incredibly interactive. The startled, wide-eyed subject looks back at the viewer with an exceedingly engaging half smile much like Leonard’s Mona Lisa, it seems that the viewer has managed to catch her attention causing her to pause and gaze back over her shoulder.


Dance at le Moulin de la Galette
(1876- Impressionism) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir- The artwork shows, couples dancing in the open-air dance hall and a café on a Sunday afternoon. The joyful ambiance fashioned by Renoir reflects the typical life style of the Parisians. The figures have soft contours, mildly blending with each other, adding a dreamy feel to the painting. The entire canvas is covered with spots of light and shadow, suggesting sunlight filtering through the trees, adding a gleaming summery experience to the scenario.


The Fighting Temeraire
(1838- Romanticism), a seascape made by J. W. Turner, is known for its dramatic play of sunlight and its spectacular theme. The 998-gun ship, played an important role in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, in the seascape it is being towed away by a steamer to be broken up for scrap. The theme is a salute to the passing of the majestic ship, decolorized and faded it seems a thing of the past. For the sunset, Turner used the technique of glazing over impasto, captures the spirit of the moment in the most magnificent manner.

 

Why are some Artworks so expensive?

For outsiders, art world is an alien place where prices are illogically high and the artworks are fanatically sought-after items. However there are perfectly logical reasons to these so-called bizarre prices and the passion of the art collectors. Out of, the sea of reasons to ‘why art is expensive’ here are few factors that rule the evaluation process.

Auction house

Image source – dailymail.co.uk

 

Historical significance– Artists like Monet, Vincent van Gogh and Picasso were responsible for starting new revolutionary art movements. Their artworks created with radical techniques and style went on to change the face of the art world forever and laid down foundations for new art era’s. These masterpieces with historical baggage gain enormous value.

Le bassin aux nymphéas (Water lilies series) sold for $80 Million in 2008, made by Claude Monet, the founder of Impressionism.

 

The basic market equilibrium of demand and supply is applicable in the art world as well. Once a Master artist passes away, his artworks get limited, in other words supply gets restricted hence his paintings become rare articles and more in demand.

The fame of Vincent van Gogh began to spread during the last few year of his life and it reached its peak after his death, whereas during his lifetime, he apparently sold only one painting. One of world’s most popular and most expensive painting- Irises got sold for $53 million (adjusted price $111 million) in 1987.

 

Artworks created during the period marked as the turning point in an artist’s career are of great value. Each artist has a defining point in his life where his technique matures and gets marked as his signature style, which is generally his mid-career. Originality and inventiveness of these pioneer artworks is what adds value and esteem.

Picasso’s career after passing many phases like blue and rose period finally took a radical turn when he discovered Cubism. One of world’s most expensive painting- Les Femmes d’Alger (Women of Algiers) got sold for $179 million this year (2015) at Christie’s.

 

Artworks are also evaluated based on its Subject matter and CompositionSignificance of what the artworks subject narrates, symbolizes and conveys are few of the key evaluator.

Composition significantly affects the visual impact and overall illustrative quality of the painting. Focal point of the painting, correlation between the lines and shapes, optical harmony, angels and arrangements are some of the layout techniques that distinguish a masterpiece from the rest.

Dance at le Moulin de la Galette  made by Pierre Renoir got sold for $78 million (adjusted price $141 million) in 1990. The subject of the artwork illustrates the typical life style and celebratory nature of the Parisians. The artwork is skillfully broken in to numerous micro compositions, which adds perspective and movement.

 

Appreciation adds value, in principle this is the most significant and central reason for art pricing. Some artworks are just appealing without any explanation as to why. Lofty prices rule such masterpieces purely because of its aesthetic value and appeal.

Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers and Water Lily Pond are the finest examples of artworks that have universal appeal. The former was auctioned for $39 million (adjusted price $82 million) in 1987 and the latter was sold for $80 million (adjusted price $79 million) in 2008.

 

Cost, admiration and appeal also climbs if there is any fascinating or emotional story related to the artwork. A Glamorous muse, tragic romance, eccentric behavior of the artist, spirited effort are few such instances.

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer got sold for $135 Million (adjusted price $157 Million) in 2006, made by Gustav Klimt. Like Adele Bloch-Bauer, who was known for her scandals and bohemian lifestyle, her gold-embellished portrait is also surrounded with controversies. After Nazi’s confiscated the painting, Adele’s niece fought for over 9 years with Austrian government  for its procession.

 

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Art for Feng Shui

The basic theory of Feng Shui (meaning ‘wind ‘and ‘water’) is to create a positive setting for the circulation of the invisible energy flow present in our living environment. The course of the life force (Chi) around us influences our success, relationships and health. Obstructions to this flow can cause disharmony resulting to adverse repercussions. To achieve balance and accord, Feng Shui consultants guide us as to- ‘what’ and ‘how’ to arrange the matter around us. As per Feng Shui guidelines, synchronization and stability can be achieved by arranging personalized objects, in the right manner in our surroundings.

In Feng Shui, art plays a very important role in energizing the atmosphere. It is one of the easiest and most flexible elements that can be used to modify energies and attract positive vibrations. The artwork selected should candidly communicate the motive and secure the objective accurately.

Water signifies prosperity, success and wealth. Select a landscape with flowing water for the North segment of your house for abundance in cash inflow or career advancement. The course of the flowing water in the artwork should give the impression of moving in the direction of the viewer, in other words towards the house. Shown below are some of the artworks by Master’s suitable for the North sector of the house.

La Grenouillere by Claude Monet

Fishing boats at Sainte Marie by Vincent van Gogh

Rest along the Stream by Alfred Sisley

Artworks that exemplify love, togetherness and happiness needs to be placed in Southwest sector of the house, for energizing love, deepening family relationships and developing new associations. Shown below are some of the artworks by great Master’s apt for the Southwest subdivision of the house.

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt

The Luncheon of the Boating Party by Renoir

A painting that radiates potency and longevity is good for the Health sector of the house (East).
Wheat Field with Cypresses by Vincent van Gogh- The evergreen trees cypress in the painting signify longevity and strength. Scenic slush greenery and cultivated fields make the painting best suited for well being and liveliness. The wood element in the painting is also favorable for the East.

Irises by Vincent van Gogh Irises an ornamental flowering plant that survives in hard conditions like dried semi-desert and rocky mountains illustrates potency and dazzling energy. The solid long stems with blossoming flowers make it a powerful print for healing and fertility.

Artworks or prints that communicate movement and new opportunities should be placed in the ‘Fame and Reputation’ segment of the house (South). Select a print with vibrant colors, blazing with energy and packed with action.
Starry Night over the Rhone by Vincent van Gogh- The numerous spiral stars signify new opportunities and activities. The Water element in the painting adds positive energy for success. Activate your ‘Fame and Recognition’ sector with this energized painting.

Poppy field by Vincent van Gogh- The fiery red poppy flowers against the brilliant green fields painted with animated brushstrokes, if placed in a South region, it will be favorable for ‘Fame and Reputation. Trees and mountains in the background suggest growth and support.

Southeast region of the house, which is for ‘Prosperity and Abundance’, needs artworks that symbolize good fortune, ampleness and opulence.
Still Life with Quince Pears by Vincent van Gogh The painting screams abundance and prosperity. The gold-like yellow pears are most appropriate for dining hall or kitchen.

The Harvest by Vincent van Gogh Harvest the most productive season of the year symbolizes good fortune and rewarding results. A print most appropriate for acknowledgment and acclaim.

Creativity and Children’ division (South) of the house requires an artwork denoting expansion, a new beginning and prosperous growth.
Almond blossom by Vincent van Gogh- The budding almonds in the painting illustrates beginning of a new life and growth. Placing this print in the ‘Children and Creativity’ section would be fruitful.

Small Pear Tree in Blossom by Vincent van Gogh The painting represents prosperous expansion and profitable results, most appropriate for creative development and new foundations.

For ‘Knowledge and Skill’ zone (Northeast) a tranquil and composed artwork would be fitting. It should signify inner growth and spiritual expansion.
Rose bushes under the Trees by Gustav Klimt The rich foliage highlights the Earth energy of the Northeast sector. The tree adorned with multiple dabs of green indicates change of season which in Feng Shui denotes positive alteration and willingness to accept change. The flowers symbolize rewarding results. A potent print for the ‘Knowledge and Skill’ zone.

Heidelberg by E. Phillips Fox – This artwork also grounds the earth energy for Northeast. The green foliage and serene atmosphere awakens insightful and intuitive thoughts.

Finally, select artwork that communicate the most with you and expresses your intentions. Instead of deciding base on commercial ads selling Feng Shui products, rely on your instincts.

 

Happy Birthday, Gustav Klimt

Unlike most of the twentieth century artists, Gustav Klimt was far ahead of his time. Such is the supremacy of his experimental art that it’s difficult to pin his liberated style to any particular trend. Perhaps that’s the reason why art historians also haven’t fastened him to a single movement. His work is considered to be from Symbolism, Art Nouveau and early Art & Craft movement.

Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862–Feb 6, 1918) His signature style was scandals with a long robe

Even though mixing different art styles on one canvas is a thrilling challenge for an artist but it is not typically what even the most experimental artist in today’s time would do. However Klimt accomplished this effortlessly, he made simple decorative patterns clubbed with semi- realistic figures look like a unique mishmash of traditional and modern art.

Klimt - Rose bushes under the Trees opt

Klimt’s best known landscape— Rose bushes under the trees, CLICK TO BUY KLIMT’s PRINT’s ON AMAZON.in

Klimt --- The Kiss opt

One of Klimt’s most distinguished artwork——– The Kiss, 1908, CLICK TO BUY KLIMT’s PRINT’s ON AMAZON.in

Exploring Klimt’s most celebrated artwork-‘The Kiss’ (original shown above), we realize how smoothly he mixed Symbolism and Art Nouveau. The painting shows an entwined couple symbolizing love. Intriguingly the masculine geometric shapes on the man’s gown merge very gradually in to the lady’s flowery delicate pattern symbolizing the couple’s passionate union as one. Their highly ornate garments and decorative patterns are clear characteristic of the Art Nouveau movement. Further adding to this blissful union is the surreal dreamlike setting around the couple, they seem to have been transported to a different trancelike plane against a shimmering gold plated background. Klimt being a talented draftsman pioneered gold leafing, many of his paintings were gold and silver plated, some even had precious stones.

His most famous painting being ‘The Kiss’ is widely considered to be ‘Mona Lisa’ of the early twentieth century. Inspired by ‘Klimt signature style’ many contemporary artists have paid homage to this iconic artwork.

Reproduced by Artist Dani Fonseca Photographed by Burke Heffner

Reproduced by Artist Dani Fonseca, Photographed by Burke Heffner

Harper’s Bazaar, February 200, Photo by Patrick Demarchelier

Harper’s Bazaar, February 2002, Photo by Patrick Demarchelier

 Happy Birthday, Gustav Klimt!