It’s Friday so it’s time to ask another Advisory Board member THE question which is: What painting—either a master/historical piece or a contemporary work— or artist has made the most impact on you? And why or how? Clarence Porter’s answer? Caravaggio and Gerard van Honthorst’s painting The Matchmaker.
Take it away Clarence!
There is a tendency to paint in the mid-value range. But there is beauty and strength in the dark and the light. It should not be overlooked.
Gail asked what painting or artist had made the most impact on me. I initially responded that there were too many historical and contemporary paintings and painters to list. On a side note to her, I wrote that I was partial to Caravaggio. Upon reflection, I think my answer to her question now is Caravaggio.
I’ve always admired how his technique leads the viewer’s eye with his use of high-contrast dramatic lighting – chiaroscuro.
One of my favourite paintings is The Matchmaker by the Dutch painter Gerard van Honthorst who, along with a number of other Dutch painters, was heavily influenced by Caravaggio. (As a group, these painters who were from or studied in Utrecht were collectively referred to as Utrecht Caravaggism.)
In this painting, the two figures on the left are in the shadow, with touches of light reflecting on the face of the far-left figure, and an outline of light accenting the central figure. You can just see the tip of the light source – the candle – in front of the middle figure’s right shoulder. Ahhh, but just as the artist wanted, the viewer’s eye is drawn to the figure on the right.
It’s not just the composition but van Honthorst’s masterful handling of the light and dark. The majority of the painting is dark, and the lit figure is both enveloped in and standing out from the darkness. Caravaggio’s influence is profoundly felt in this painting with its illusion of three-dimensionality.
If you haven’t, take a good look at Caravaggio’s work, and if you have, take another look.
And here are some examples of my work using dark and light.
Thanks so much, Clarence. I’m delighted by your choice of artist and happy to see van Honthorst’s painting The Matchmaker.
Pastellist Wins The People’s Choice Award!
The PleinAir Salon always includes a voting option for the general public. The pastel painting Nico’s Catch by Alison Suttle caught the attention of viewers and grabbed September’s People’s Choice Award!
Go Alison!! Go pastels!!
There’s still time to get your work in for the November Competition.
The deadline is Wednesday 30th November so take this weekend to look through your work and choose your best piece and ENTER!
You just never know….
And that’s it for this time,