Gentleman with dog

PierGabriele Vangelli Gallery

PierGabriele Vangelli Gallery

Pastel on paper adapted on original canvas, coeval frame

Unknown Artist

France

1760 ca.

“The widespread interest in portraits in pastel throughout eighteenth-century Europe was sparked in Paris in 1720–21 by the visit of the Venetian pastelist Rosalba Carriera (1673–1757), the guest of the influential collector and connoisseur Pierre Crozat. Many factors contributed to the resounding reception of the medium at that time and over the next decades. Among them was a new, prosperous buying public—the aristocracy and wealthy financiers who, with Louis XV, began to leave Versailles in about 1715 and established themselves in opulent Parisian “hôtels particuliers” (urban private homes). To decorate the walls of the small rooms of these luxurious homes they turned to the newly fashionable intimate paintings by seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish artists, contemporary drawings in gouache and red chalk, and their own likenesses, which they commissioned in pastel.

Whereas portraits in pastel were known in the previous century, by 1700 the ready availability of cast plate glass made it possible for these powdery compositions, always requiring surface protection, to be executed on a scale comparable to easel painting, a feature that would contribute to their growing prestige. Pastel’s capacity to imitate, if not surpass, the effects of oil led contemporary viewers to regard these works as aesthetically comparable. Many pastelists—such as Rosalba Carriera, Maurice Quentin de La Tour (French, 1704–1788), Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (French, 1755–1842), Francis Cotes (English, 1726–1770) and John Russell (English, 1745–1806)—were accepted into their country’s academy or appointed as pastelists to royalty, a testament to the high regard in which the medium was held.”

Marjorie Shelley,
Sh
erman Fairchild Conservator in Charge, Sherman Fairchild Center for Works on Paper and Photograph Conservation.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Website.

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Herbert Hasting McWilliams – “Lachish”

PierGabriele Vangelli Gallery

PierGabriele Vangelli Gallery

Herbert Hasting McWilliams

(Walmer, 1907 – Port Elizabeth, 1995)

Reconstruction of the ancient city of Lachish, 1932

Pen, watercolor and white heightening on paper

cm. 46 x 71

Inscription: (bottom left) H.H. McWilliams / 1932; (plate on the rear) The Welcome-Marston Archaeological Expedition to the Near East 1932-38 Lachish showing double fortification constructed by Rehboam and maintained until the fort’s final destruction, 588-587 b. C. Drawing by H.H. McWilliams

The grand drawing of the reconstruction of the ancient city of Lachish was carried out by McWilliams at the end of the first phase of the excavations conducted by James Leslie Starkey, from London, during the Archaeological mission in Palestine in 1932-1938, which ended with the mysterious murder of the Archaeologist. The South African artist created it on the bases of an aerial photograph of the site – the current Tell ed-Duweir in Israel – and the philological interpretation of the remains and sources.

He moved to London in 1926 to study architecture, and traveled all over Europe as a draftsman before joining the Welcome-Marston Archaeological Expedition in the Middle East. Even after his debut, as an architect, in his country, he continued his active and adventurous life, participating in the landings in Sicily and to the liberation of the Greek islands. He is considered a worldwide prominent designer of war topics, a naval designer and an illustrator: his works are exposed in South Africa’s major museums.

The Reconstruction of Lachish, which offers an image of the biblical city, previous to its destruction, in 587-588 BC, protected by double walls, as affirned by Starkey, was published by the archaeologist himself, in the first report of the excavations carried out in Palestine (1933) and which is since then considered the official icon of the ancient fortified town of Judea, second in order of importance, only to Jerusalem.
Alessandra Imbellone

Head of Buddha

Buddha Head

Head of Buddha

Carved and gilded wood and lacquerware

Burma

Late Konbaung Dynasty,  1870 – 1880 ca.

47 x 20 x 24

The semi closed meditative eyes and the ripple shapes on the neck make this head most probably part of a larger statue of the Buddha sitting in the Lotus position.

In Burma (now known as Myanmar) the prominent branch of Buddhism is the Theravāda tradition.

The Theravāda path to liberation from human suffering is constituted by the “seven relay chariots” also known as the “Seven Stages of Purification” :

1 Purification of Conduct
2 Purification of Mind
3 Purification of View
4 Purification by Overcoming Doubt
5 Purification by Knowledge and Vision of What Is Path and Not Path
6 Purification by Knowledge and Vision of the Course of Practice
7 Purification by Knowledge and Vision
which is the culmination of the practice leading to liberation and Nirvana.

Burma is also “is the most religious Buddhist country in terms of the proportion of monks in the population and proportion of income spent on religion” (Cone & Gombrich, Perfect Generosity of Prince Vessantara)

“The whole life story of the Buddha is a wonderful poem. It is so fascinating, attractive and artistic and I have never read such a wonderful poem. The emergence of the Buddha is the highest honour so far gained in the history of humanity.”
Rabindranath Tagore

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