18. The Artists featured in the Art Collector

The Art Collector – oil on canvas – 122 x 153 cm


The theme for this painting is female beauty and female power. Having a theme creates a focus. In this respect my picture is different to other paintings of collectors by artists such as Johann Zoffany. The art collector seated at his desk is the only male presence in this picture with the exemption of Zeus (Jupitor) who appears as a swan and a shower of gold in the paintings of Leda and Danea respectively. As I mentioned in my previous blog I have sifted through hundreds of images to find the material for this picture. Each  featured image is intended to be seen in isolation but must also blend in with and complement the pictures and sculptures around it. I have taken liberties with most of these images, cropping and changing the details so that they fit in with my design. The scale of the paintings and sculptures selected for my painting have little connection with their sizes in real life. For example Velazques’ Rokeby Venus and Rodin’s Metamorphosis are both much larger in real life whereas the statue of Tara is much smaller. The drawing by William Russell Flint just off centre second down from the top would be about 3’ x 4’ according to the scale of things in my picture. In real life of course a drawing such as this probably measures about 18” x 24”.

Friends and associates have asked me about the source material for this painting so here are some brief comments about the artists whose work has contributed to the creation of this picture.

The Artists featured in the Art Collector

  1. Unknown artist – sculptural bust photographed in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
  2. Luis Ricardo Falero (1851-1896) – Falero is a Spanish painter who specialized in painting the female nude in mythological settings. This image is adapted from a painting of a witches Sabbath.
  3. Kay Neilson (1886-1957) – Neilson is a Danish illustrator who was active in the so-called ‘Golden age of Illustration’ early in the 20th century. This image depicts a women being embraced by a demonic figure as she surrenders to the fire of her passion.
  4. Paul Prosper Tillier (1834-1915) – Leda and the Swan – Tillier is a French artist noted for his paintings of mythological subjects.
  5. Colin Murray – This picture has been created using a variety of sources.
  6. William Russell Flint (1880-1969) – Flint is a Scottish artist who loved drawing and painting women, his pastels and watercolours are especially beautiful.
  7. Gustave Boulanger (1824-88) – Phyrne – Boulanger is a French artist noted for his depictions of classical and oriental subjects. This painting is of Phyrne the most famous courtesan of the classical world. She lived in Athens in the 4th century BC and there are many stories about her. She was once prosecuted for blasphemy because she had impersonated the goddess Aphrodite.
  8. Unknown artist – Danae and the shower of Gold – According to Ovid Danae was locked up in a dungeon because of a prophecy that her first born would kill her father. However Zeus inflamed with lust descended from Mt Olympus and ravished her disguised as shower of gold. As a result of this encounter she gave birth to Perseus. Later in life Perseus went on to slay the Gorgon and rescue Andromeda.
  9. Edward John Poynter (1836-1919) – Andromeda – This aristocratic English artist is noted for his exotic depictions of the female form. Like many of his contemporaries in the 19th century he was fond of classical and oriental subjects.
  10. Albert Toft (1862-1949) – The Bather – Toft was a highly successful English sculptor. Toft described his work as being ‘idealist’ he also said that ‘to become an idealist you must necessarily first be a realist’.
  11. Robert Auer (1873-1952) – Cleopatra – Auer is a Croatian painter who was very much influenced by Art Nouveau.
  12. Unknown artist – This is most probably a Roman copy of a Greek sculpture now lost. It could be the figure of a Maenad or Bacchante, these were the female followers of Dionysus, or Bacchus if you prefer the Roman name for this god of wine, fertility and general mayhem.
  13. Titian – Venus of Urbino – Tiziano Vecelli is known in English as Titian. This Venetian artist is one of the great masters of the 16th century. This painting caused a scandal when it was first exhibited because of the alluring way that the model is staring straight at the spectator and in Titian’s version their is something suggestive about the position of her hands. In my painting the background vignette identifies it as the ‘Venus of Urbino’.  We see the servants of the goddess engaged in some mundane task, one of them is rummaging about in a chest and the other has a curtain draped across her shoulder as she is casually scratches her right arm. Oblivious to the chores of her servants Venus is sitting up and getting ready to step out of the painting.
  14. Unknown artist – Venus with the Beautiful Bottom – This is a Roman copy of a Greek sculpture. The original may have been by Praxiteles the 4th century Athenian sculptor said to have been the first person to sculpt a life size female nude. Phyrne is known to have modeled for him and she may well have posed for this piece.
  15. Eric Gill (1882-1940) – Eve – Gill was a controversial English artist noted for his sculpture, printmaking and typeface designs. This wood block print shows Eve being tempted by the serpent.
  16. Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) – Selene – This Czech artist is considered to be the catalyst for the Art Nouveau artistic movement that began in Paris in the late 1880’s. This painting shows the moon goddess Selene looking rather coy.
  17. Gaston Bussiere (1862-1928) – Nereids – Bussiere is a French Symbolist painter noted for his depictions of women in exotic, fantastical settings. In this painting a group of Nereids are about to surface. The Nereids are sea-nymphs and they are often shown with Poseidon the god of the sea.
  18. Diego Velazques (1599-1660) – Rokeby Venus – This great Spanish master is especially noted for his portraits. He is an important artist in the art movement known as the Baroque.
  19. Unknown artist – Sculpture of a Dominatrix
  20. Unknown artist – Aphrodite bathing – This sculpture is sometimes known as ‘Lely’s Venus’ since it once belonged to the portrait painter Sir Peter Lely. This piece was made in Rome in the second century AD from a Greek original now lost. It now resides in the British Museum and the version in my picture is painted from photographs I took myself.
  21. Jami Aka – Dancer – Jami Aka is a contemporary artist noted for his erotic sculpture.
  22. Gilbert Baynes (1872-1953) – Frog Princess – This quirky piece of Art Deco was photographed by me in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
  23. Evelyne Axell (1935-1975) – Girl eating an ice cream – This image was created by the Belgium pop artist in the 1960’s.
  24. Clodion (1738-1814) – Bacchante – Claude Michel was known as Clodion, this talented French Sculptor worked in the Rococo style.
  25. Allen Jones (born 1937) – Girl Chair – Jones made a number of pieces that show women being made into items of furniture. His work is influenced by rubber fetishism and BDSM.
  26. Jean Morisot (1899-1967) – Witch and Crone – Morisot is a French illustrator who produced numerous erotic drawings which were usually published in portfolio albums.
  27. Auguste Rodin 1840-1917) – Metamorphosis of Ovid – This French sculptor towered above his contemporaries and his work is yet to be eclipsed. The subject for this piece is unclear as it doesn’t refer to any specific story in Ovid’s Metamorphosis.
  28. Colin Murray – This imaginary sculpture was invented by me.
  29. Joseph-Charles Marin (1759-1834) – Bacchante and child – Marin was a French sculptor. He was a pupil of Clodion and his work echoes his master’s graceful Rococo style.
  30. Ernest Nomand (1857-1923) – Nomand’s painting of the Pygmalian and Galatea story is the main inspiration for the sculpture in my picture. The pose is based on the famous Venus de Milo except that he has added the arms. The story appears in Ovid’s Metamorphosis and tells how Pygmalian, a sculptor, creates a piece of art that is so beautiful that he falls in love with it. He goes to the Temple of Venus and prays that his creation may have life. Venus answers his prayer and when he returns to his studio the statue is awakened by a kiss. In my picture the sculpture that is coming to life resembles the art collector’s wife.
  31. Franz Von Stuck (1863-1928) – Sensuality – This German artist is associated with the Symbolist movement. He painted many pictures on the theme of the femme fatale which was a popular subject in Symbolist art.
  32. Unknown artist – Bunny sculpture.
  33. Colin Murray – This Fine Art print is adapted from various sources.
  34. P J Lynch (born 1962) – Death and the Maiden – This subject was especially popular in medieval times. Lynch is an Irish artist who has illustrated more than 20 books.
  35. Edward Hodges Bailey (1788-1867) – Bailey was a prolific English sculptor who produced many public commissions including the statue of Nelson that stands on top of the famous column in Trafalgar Square.
  36. Unknown artist – Erotic table
  37. Unknown artist – Tara – Arya Tara is a female Bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism where she is known as the ‘Mother of Liberation’ she represents the virtue of being successful in work and is also known as a Tantric Meditation Deity by the practitioners of the Vajrayana branch of Tibetan Buddhism.
  38. Colin Murray – Mermaid Bathing – This is a classic image of a mermaid based on one of my own designs.

Author: Colin's Art Blog

Self employed artist living in Hackney in London.

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