Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Strawberry Girl by Nils Schillmark

The Strawberry Girl (1782) by Nils Schillmark
Finland Stamp 1,70 Issued 1987
Ateneum Finnish National Gallery Helsinki
Schillmark (1745-1802) became one of the most important portrait painters in Finland after being apprenticed in Stockholm to Pehr Fjellström.   He spent much of his life travelling throughout western and southern Finland, completing portraits for those who afford it.  Schillmark used the Baroque style of portrait painting used by Olof Arenius (1701–66). Gradually, Schillmark developed his own penetrating style of portrait painting.

His subjects are engaged and the completed works look very realistic. He had some unusual flair, as displayed in this portrait, where the girl is dressed in a common fashion, although she was actually a member of the mobility - her calm stare against a slightly threatening landscape - it is realistically but impossible at the same time.

This stamp was issued as one of five works in a series of art from the Ateneum Finnish National Gallery.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Adoration of the Magi by Konrad Witz

Konrad Witz (c 1400-1445) - Adoration of the Magi (c 1444)
New Zealand 3c Stamp Issued Christmas 1974
Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Geneva, Switzerland
The majority of Witz's work was completed altarpieces during his lifetime, which have since been dismantled and displayed in various art galleries - his art was completed on many medium, including wood and cloth.  The German artist was known for his scenes of realism - he was probably influenced by Flemish artists like Jan van Eyck, even though Witz probably spent all his working life in Basel.

He did not use mystical symbolism although it was very popular in northern Europe at the time - his work is more immediate and real to the viewer.  Witz is best known at the artist who completed the first outdoor landscape of a real site, being Lake Geneva, in 1444.  The painting was called The Miraculous Draft of Fishes.  He worked the majority of his life in the Painters Guild in Basel, but little is known about his training.