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This is not Berlin

This is not Berlin, this is Brussels, after visiting Berlin, an exhibition with paintings, drawings, sculptures, pictures and other artworks connected to Berlin in the 1920ies, early 30ies.

View of De Kunstberg, Brussels. Godfrey is behind me.

Picture at the exit of the Fine Arts museum. Statue of Godfrey of Bouillon in the middle, with the Coudenberg palace on the left. The original palace where Philip the Good & I suppose the Bold in his younger years too sometimes resided burned down a long time ago but you can visit the cellars or something. I haven’t done this yet. The royal palace of our wooden planks king and queen is behind it.. The picture is fuzzy but it’s a place connected to the research I am doing right now, so I wanted to post it anyway.

Part II of our field trip to Brussels. Some of us went to the Klimt exhibition. I chose for the other group. The exhibition Berlin, tbh, was not really my cup pf tea. I like art deco and Metropolis but the German art of this period, such as Otto Dix, and similar is ugly and depressing. It was also very cold in the rooms (I know why they called the palace that way now – it translates as cold mountain). On top of that my ticket wouldn’t scan and I had problems with the cloakroom locker. No time left for Antoine after this visit.

I am still trying to define how I am going to paint the second – the red – portrait of Charles, which is the one based on all the input of other paintings, biographies etc. Photorealistically (hard without a model)? Medieval? Expressionist? I am going to experiment a little in the coming days. I have seen a portrait of an evil man at the exhibition but in a style I really liked. I didn’t take any pictures there except that one.

This is part II of the report about our field trip to Brussels. It’s already late and I need some time to write the report. Let’s say more accidents and dukes were involved.

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Quick update

Just a quick update.

WIP:

Took the Bold and the rest of the WIP to another location with less distractions and better light. Currently working on (apart from the art school assignments):

Two small studies of hands with reflecting objects
Small study of a suit of armour (trying to figure out which parts go where)
A small painting of Louis IX,
Antoine with the arrow (through his head)
Cristo sin rostro
The battle of Ilion (working title):   miniature/Bosch.Breugel style painting on canvas for a change. Made some quick studies just to get the hang of it and test out colour schemes. The figures are slightly adapted woodcuts from an old book. See below for the sketches.
The study of Charles is done but I haven’t done anything about the panel yet.

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The Rebis quest: still progressing well, suprisingly.

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Other things:

Bought another sword, this time it’s a decorative sabre from the thrift store auction site. It doesn’t have a name yet.

Remodified an old velvet jacket from a major chain store because the sleeves were too short. Work done quite a long time ago: other buttons and sleeves slit open to insert some purple satin with a pattern. Work done now: added some fur on the sleeves.  It was supposed to look Italian but it’s more Burgundian in hindsight, especially the colours.

Fancy belt with fake precious stones: thrift store. Necklace with bird’s foot that can be put over one’s finger: Prague (it was a gift – don’t have one of those ridiculously garish gold chains unfortunately). Decorative dagger from a weapon/tourist shop in Carcassonne. The sabre goes well with it too as it came with a scabbard covered with purple velvet.  I am not sure if Burgundian Goth is a subgenre of medieval goth. If not, then it is now.

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Back to Ilion: I’m having a go at a painting with many small characters, sort of Bosch/Breugel/miniature type. I have made some preliminary large scale sketches, just to have drawn them at least once and for testing colours. I took these pictures quite late in the evening so colours are off.

The canvas (40×40 I think)

Separate studies of the scenes:

This escalated quickly:

O yes, I’ve also been studying medieval saddles, they look strange.

That’s it for now.

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Sunday update – Philippe

The update of the small Philippe de Croÿ after a van der Weyden is done, it was just a study anyway.  He’s literally still wet behind the ears  at the moment.

There is a big change from the earlier version: the black stuff left of him and on his neck. This symbolises the hatred that Charles of Burgundy felt for him and which is going to devour him eventually

(In reality I accidentally smudged black paint from his jacket all over his neck so I made it look like it was on purpose.)

The sketchbook in which I started working halfway through July is full. Good, now I can choose one with better paper. The last three drawings are another version of Rolin and two preparatory sketches for art school assignments.

Some time of the afternoon was spent creating a pattern for a Renaissance style hat which I had already started last spring but then we had a heatwave and there was not much enthusiasm for warm hats. I came to the conclusion that I don’t have any felt lying around so the real execution will be for another day.

 

 

 

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WIP update (on the wrong day)

My blood was stil boiling yesterday evening (see earlier post) so instead of watching tv, I decided to paint some more, to keep the adrenaline under control. It’s a very zen activity, very helpful.

First I worked a bit on the little old de Croy painting. Turns out oil paint over acrylics is not very recommended and it starts to flake a little. Ah well.

After that I touched up the arm of the Ikaros from last year. This one was originally painted in watersoluble oils and  the surface has dried up matte, except where I used stand oil. That part is quite shiny and still sticky. I’ll probably put a glaze over it with a different type of oil. Not the best possible picture of it but it’s this one:

Next I worked a little on Antoine until he was too sticky and then I put another layer on Charles.

I found some info about the painting in the catalogue of the Berlin museum where the original is on display. It is believed to be a good studio copy from a portrait that is perhaps older than 1460. The painting is listed in a medieval inventory but in the original painting C has a parchment scroll in his hand, not a sword. The original is lost, I believe.

The coarse canvas cardboard I’m working sucks up a lot of oil so I don’t think I’ll put many more layers on it, it’ll get too saturated. It’s just a study so no need to go much further and polish it up and smoothe it out. His hair is terrible so maybe it’s a good idea to order a couple of those special hair brushes. I’ll have to do a separate study because the painting is so dark and I can’t make out the lines very well.  I also have to work a little on his hamster cheeks and he doesn’t look mean enough yet. It’ll need more contrast on the final one too.

For a laugh I placed it on an old style frame I have lying around to see what it would look like.

It doesn’t photograph very well and it has not yet yellowed over time, but the frame does upgrade it a little.

Haven’t done any painting so far today, had some other stuff to do. For the classes I’m going to make some studies for two new paintings. But that’s for another day.

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Fruit

A couple posts ago, I believe, I said I was going to do something about the fruit of Eden. Often the fruit is depicted as an apple. However, on the mystic lamb, the fruit Eve is holding doesn’t look like an apple. There has been a lot of discussion about what the fruit the snake tempted Eve with actually is. In an old book about the history of Belgium  (1619)I found this little passage about van Eyck’s mystic lamb, where the nature of the fruit is discussed:

In this passage it is said that the fruit may be a fig, or an apple. But the fruit in Eve’s hand doesn’t look like a fig or an apple. I can’t remember who said it, but apparently it is some kind of ancient citrus fruit, some kind of lemon. The lemon, so they say, reminds us of the bitterness of the original sin.

The lamb code is not too hard to read once you have the key and a citrus makes sense but it’s not about the bitterness of sin. But where is the serpent?