This is a list of my favourite paintings that I have been posting on this blog. These are presented in order of popularity by my visitors, hence if you want to change the position on this list you can simply visit the individual posts of each painting. I hope you enjoy it!
Circles in a Circle, oil painting by Wassily Kandinsky, 1923, exhibited at Palazzo Reale in Milan for the temporary exhibition “Impressionism and Vanguards”, normally exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A geometric and abstract composition against a white background, based around one big black-rimmed circle and two beams of coloured light across the canvas that change colours when intersecting other smaller coloured circles in the middle of the artwork.
One of the most iconic paintings in history, representing an allegory of the goddess Liberty leading French fighters to an armed revolt. This large artwork was painted in 1830 by Eugène Delacroix celebrating the July Revolution of the same year, ending the reign of King Charles X of France and the beginning of a new constitution which enshrined popular sovereignty.
Nataraja – oil painting on canvas by Bridget Riley, 1993, Tate Modern, London. Inspired by a trip to India and the liveliness of local folk art. The variety, balance ,and complexity of colours are amazing, with up to 20 shades of one colour across the canvas. Choose the colours you like best! The title refers to the Hindu god Shiva, as Lord of the Dance, with his numerous arms, rendered on canvas with contrasting colours and geometrical and dynamic shapes, typical of optical art.
The Water-Lily Pond, oil painting by Claude Monet, 1899, exhibited at the National Gallery in London – Depicting a colourful and iconic scene from his garden in Giverny, in the outskirts of Paris. Monet found inspiration for his late paintings from the garden he carefully designed around his country house in Giverny. Today the garden is kept with a similar attention of his previous owner and provides an astonishing resonance with his paintings. One inevitably wonders whether Monet was depicting on canvas similar aesthetic ideas to the ones he was creating also with plants in his own garden.
Giuseppe De Nittis, originally from Barletta in Italy, is one of these non-French artists recognised to be part of the main impressionist movement. Originally in contact with the macchiaioli painters in Italy, De Nittis moved to Paris in 1867 where he gained some success with genre paintings commissioned by art dealer Adolphe Goupil. In 1875 he moved to London where this painting, Westminster Bridge, was produced, along with other artworks inspired by cityscapes.
Norham Castle, Sunrise, oil painting by JMW Turner 1845, Tate Britain, London – This artwork is part of a series of late unfinished paintings that Turner kept in his studio and were bequeathed to the nation upon his death. Although these artworks may seem sketchy and “impressionistic” they represent a trial run by Turner to explore different studies on light and colour and their marketability.
The Lemon Grove in Bordighera, oil painting by Claude Monet, 1884 , exhibited at the Glyptoteket in Copenhagen – Depicting a colourful Mediterranean scene, painted while the artist was spending some time in the South of France and in Italy in 1884, this garden landscape seems to be less impressionistic than his previous works and the result of some careful brushstroke work to portray an intricate layering of colours and shadows. A nice change from his obsession about his own garden in Giverny which was the almost exclusive source of inspiration in the later years of his life.
This large oil painting by Vassily Kandinsky, Composition IX, 1936, belongs to the period before WWII he spent in Paris, when his ideas about art and composition were being synthetised in his late complex artworks. Elements present in this composition can be seen in previous paintings. A background of broad diagonal colored stripes makes contrast to biomorphic and geometric forms that seem to float in space above it. Possibly the central shape wants is reminescent of an embrio within a womb, with other colourful shapes hovering the surreal environment.
Flowers, and sunflowers in particular, were one of the favourite subjects by Vincent Van Gogh and there are several paintings in these series. The Sunflowers painting on the right was painted in Arles in the summer of 1888 and is normally exhibited at the National Gallery in London. This version of the sunflowers theme is quite different from the other ones as it is played around many different tones of just yellow and a myriad of flowerheads, some of which may have been added along the way while finalising the painting. The difference with an earlier painting in the same series is evident, with a much smaller number of flowerheads and a simpler composition and usage of colour.
Woman with Children, oil painting by Pablo Picasso, 1961 – In this painting Picasso portrays his family at the time, with his new wife, Jacqueline Roque, in the middle, sided by his daughter from a previous marriage, Paloma, on the right, and Cathy, Jacqueline’s daughter from a previous marriage, shown faceless on the left. Picasso had married Jacqueline the previous month. This painting is exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
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