Researching and inspiration from the shadows of Gentileschi......this post is a continuation from The Journey of Destiny and Love and what I'm painting. I briefly noted that I'm researching Artemisia Gentileschi for some new paintings on canvas and porcelain (completed porcelain towards the end of this post). I am interested in the strength of her themes, as well as the technique of tenebrism. I have has a long time interest in her works, ever since I had taken a small group of my students from my gallery, on an art trip to the National Gallery Victoria to see Darkness & Light Caravaggio & his World (2004). I enjoyed the exhibition of Carvaggio's works, but I was greatly intrigued and inspired by the art works by the female Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Her painting of Judith Slaying Holofernes has always left an impression on me (you'll see in the videos below), so I wanted to return to study the technique of tenebrism through the works of Gentileschi, and look at a few modern artist's inspired by this technique also.
It was interesting to compare it to the Judith painting I saw in St Petersburg at The Hermitage Musuem on my study trip in 2011 by Giorgione (Giorgio da Castelfranco) 1477-1510, while less dramatic, the simplicity of the style, but the power of the form still delights.
Strong colours of the women's clothes, I love her softness to the women she paints while each female still has strength either though their expressions, position in the composition, interaction with other subject matter...I never get a feeling of weakness or that the females are merely fulfilling an male fantasy or allegory to the status of women in society. Studying this artist has helped formed some new ideas for my next series of works on a new theme, which is exciting- but I have to stop these ideas flowing until I finish my current body of work.
My last painting (previously described in the Journey of Destiny blog post link) reflected an abstract expressionist adaptation of the style (though not figurative) was the first step at changing my use of colour and looking at light in this way. Here is the completed painting again:
I wanted to use my techniques of layering intense complimentary colours in contrast to darker background, to show reveal the composition and forms (in place of the figure), and stylized figures in abstract expressionist style. Now I am working on two paintings to develop this approach to my work, one porcelain and the other canvas (still in progress). So I have been looking at Gentileschi and modern artists also.
Videos of Gentileschi's paintings:
Here are more pics of my completed porcelain painting applying tenebrist style to abstract expressionism.
I've used lustres, platinum and copper. The inspiration for this painting came from Sade's King of Sorrow and Buika. Using the dramatic effect of tenebrism, I wanted to convey the notion of wanting to let go of grieving for a past relationship, grieving for what you have, might have or might lose. My understandings from this piece is a progression from the painting "Introspection" here. I'm looking at that process of grief -> fear -> trust -> letting go. The central figure holds their head in their hands with grief, tears flowing behind; the contrast of shadows and light representing the joy and not so happy times. I've used layers of dark blue lustre, light blue lustre and black lustre to create this atmosphere of grief.
In traditional tenebrist paintings it is largely black or a solid colour, however, black lustres doesn't achieve such depth, and I wanted to use the translucency of the porcelain to enhance the overall feel and emotion of the painting, as compared to a flat lifeless black background. On the back of the vase are arms of lovers intertwined, but disconnected.
So what do you think of my approach to tenebrism in modern porcelain painting? Let me know in the comments, I'd like to hear from you 🙂