Vincent van Gogh: Irises (Les Iris)

Vincent van Gogh: Irises (Les Iris), oil painting of 1889

‘Irises’ (Les Iris) is an oil-on-canvas painting by the Dutch post-impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh. It is currently on display at J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, USA. Vincent van Gogh painted ‘Irises’ in May 1889, days after he was admitted at the psychiatric center at Monastery Saint-Paul de Mausole in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, southern […]

Katsushika Hokusai: The Great Wave off Kanagawa

The Great Wave off Kanagawa, from 36 Views of Mount Fuji, Color woodcut by Katsushika Hokusai

The Great Wave off Kanagawa (‘The Great Wave’, or ‘Behind the Great Wave at Kanagawa’), is a color woodblock print by the Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849). It is a great example of ukiyo-e art published in the period between 1830 and 1833 as a part of the artist’s famous series ‘Thirty-six Views of Mount […]

Apollonie Sabatier: French courtesan and artists’ model

Apollonie Sabatier painting by Vincent Vidal, Musée national du château de Compiègne

Apollonie Sabatier (1822-1889) was a French courtesan, artists’ model and a Bohemian in Paris. She also maintained a popular salon, where she acquainted most of the intellectuals of her times in Paris, such as artists, musicians, writers and art historians. As a socialite, some of her acquaintances include Alfred de Musset, Auguste Clésinger, Charles Augustin […]

El Greco: The Opening of the Fifth Seal

El Greco: The Opening of the Fifth Seal, or The Vision of Saint John

The oil painting ‘The Opening of the Fifth Seal’ (or ‘The Vision of Saint John’) created by the Spanish artist and architect El Greco (birth name Domenikos Theokópoulos, 1541-1614), is a landmark painting in the history of not only art, but also Cubism and Modern Art too. This large (dimensions 222.3 cm x 193 cm) […]

William Bouguereau: The Wave (La Vague) 1896

William Bouguereau, oil painting The Wave (La Vague), 1896, free wallpaper

The French Academic painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) was a traditionalist whose photo-realistic style of paintings was a huge success among the rich art patrons of his times. William Bouguereau followed the traditional Academic style for his paintings. He prepared detailed studies and sketches of his models so that he could present the most accurate depiction […]

Peter Paul Rubens: Perseus Freeing Andromeda

Perseus Freeing Andromeda, oil painting of 1638 by Peter Paul Rubens

The oil on canvas painting titled ‘Perseus Freeing Andromeda’ (1638) by the Flemish Baroque sculptor and painter Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), dimensions 94 cm x 189 cm, is currently on display at the German museum Gemäldegalerie (Room VIII), Berlin. In Greek mythology, Princess Andromeda (Andromédē), the daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia of Ethiopia, […]

Theobroma cacao: trees that provide chocolates

Cocoa pods of Theobroma cacao trees, free hand-colored photo

Cocoa trees (or cacao trees) of the species Theobroma cacao are medium-sized evergreen trees of Sterculiaceae family, native to the Americas. The famous products of the Sterculiaceae family are chocolate and cocoa powder (from Theobroma cacao) and cola nuts, though some of species of this family may also be used for timber. Cocoa plants have […]

Lady Godiva, painting by John Collier

Lady Godiva (1898), oil on canvas painting by John Collier

Seen on the left is an oil painting, depicting a brave Anglo-Saxon noble woman who rode naked through the streets to mitigate the tax burden of the people of Coventry. It is the celebrated oil painting titled ‘Lady Godiva’ (1898) by the British writer and artist John Maler Collier (1850-1934). In modern times, her legend […]

Francisco Goya: transition from romanticism to modernism

Francisco Goya on 500-Pesetas Spanish banknote of El Banco de Espana, 1874

For many art historians, the Spanish romantic painter Francisco Goya (1746-1828) was ‘the last of the Old Masters and the first of the Moderns’. To honor his contributions to art, a 500 Pesetas currency note was issued by the Spanish Bank (El Banco de Espana) in July 1874 featuring Goya on the face of the […]

Amedeo Modigliani: the saddest life of one of the most expensive artists of modern times

Portrait of Amedeo Modigliani (1919) oil painting by French artist Jeanne Hébuterne

It is sometimes hard to believe that some of the artists, whose works are now counted as the most expensive paintings in the world, once lived hand-to-mouth lives during their lifetimes. They are often referred to as ‘struggling artists’ and, sadly, many of them had died poverty-stricken, after a lifetime of hard work, without earning […]