Saturday, August 29, 2015

Erzherzogin Anna by Hans von Aachen

Aachen, the court painter for Emperor Rudolf II, traveled Europe painting portraits of potential empresses for his boss who wanted an impeccable beauty. The featured painting of this article presents one of the hopefuls named Anna Tyrol. 
She didn't marry Rudolf, yet chose to marry a different emperor, a cousin, abundantly older than her young years. She never conceived children, and died at the young age of 33.

I will never understand the need to wear stiff, starched ruffs around the neck. Frequently, they started at the nape of the neck and ended firmly against the chin area. The adults perceived no displeasure from this tortuous device, as parents arrayed their children in this manner from a young age, and humans are susceptible to accustomed rules of society. The picture below shows an entire family dressed in ruffs, and the children appear contented and undisturbed by their restrictions. 
Anna also wears a ruff, which exhibits a stiff filigree rather than the standard starched linen, though this might be the artist's perspective, painting his subject from a different angle. 

The hair piece is quite elaborate with a pinwheel strategically placed, preceding from a strongly jeweled headband. The jewelry's domain is Anna's severely plain hair, which is drawn away from her face (into a ponytail?--did they have ponytails in the 16th century?). Was this a conscious decision Anna chose, conscientiously treating her hair in such an austere manner to enhance her jewelry's beauty?

I unfailingly accepted the creator of duck lips to be Angelina Jolie, yet after viewing Anna's lips, I'm prepared to acknowledge the birth of this fad commenced in the 16th century. Though the lips aren't as pouty as the recent trend, the affectation is visibly evident.

Anna's character breathes mystery. There's a haughtiness in her face, which indicates entitlement, yet I may confuse sorrow and depression for snobbery. I don't believe we'll ever know her emotions and thoughts on life--I can only hope her life gave satisfaction and contentment to the end.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Adoration of the Shepherds by Hans von Aachen

The Adoration of the Shepherds is a painting by Hans von Aachen. Aachen has the distinction of appearing as the first painter on lists of comparable painters since his last name starts with "Aa" (which brings to mind the ancient yellow pages). For this reason, his paintings will be the first art that I will attempt to write a review for.

I've explored the truth concerning paintings and the information the internet yields. I faithfully conceived the false hope that every famous (or semi-famous, fairly famous, quasi-famous) painting would present at least a synopsis--the reality of the situation proves otherwise.
I aspired to hope that if I brought forth the attempted effort, I would find that an individual, with advanced means at their disposal, would have created a cursory glimpse, displaying the essence of the people, objects, color, paint strokes--all the stuff critics critique about--yet the hope proved false.

In fact, there isn't that much information regarding Aachen except his birth(1552), death(1615), where he lived, who he married and the fact that he became the court painter in Munich.
Aachen followed the mannerism movement, and though this style of painting is unknown to me, (the)Leonardo knew of this movement, though I'm not sure if he pursued this style of painting.

First of all, we perceive there is indeed a shepherd, or two, among the group admiring baby Jesus--one man with a bear like sheep, and another using his arm to manhandle a meager animal(a lamb perhaps). I'm not an expert on shepherds, though I never assumed they possessed such muscles such as this. His shaven chest and physique would, in this day and age, appear that he works out at a gym every day.

At first I assumed, Mary and Jesus had wonderful eye contact happening, yet Mary is looking down praying and she is unaware of  His eyes directed at her. Joseph gives the impression of a man that can't believe his own happiness, and he's thanking God by looking at the heavens.

The two little cherub angels are delightful as they contemplate our Savior with such glee--they must embrace each other with hugs of fearless elation as a third angel peeks from behind.
I'm not sure why early painters always painted angels as childlike beings since angels are strong warriors with swords, and it's challenging picturing lucifer such a little angel.

A woman and child in the foreground remain unexplained. Did the painter wish us to believe she's a shepherd's wife, or a casual stroller taking her baby out for fresh air. Her child is distracted away from the momentous occasion by an unseen development (more shepherds, angels or animals perhaps).

This painting can be vied in person at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria.