After the Bathe, Henry Scott Tuke (1858-1929)
Oil on canvas, Newlyn School, late 19th century / early 20th century. Portrait of a nude adolescent boy drying himself with towel. Henry Scott Tuke was born into a Quaker family in Lawrence Street, York. In 1859 the family moved to Falmouth, where his father Daniel Tuke, a physician, established a practice. Tuke was encouraged to draw and paint from an early age and some of his earliest drawings, aged four or five years old, were published in 1895. In 1875, he enrolled in the Slade School of Art. Initially his father paid for his tuition but in 1877 Tuke won a scholarship, which allowed him to continue his training at the Slade and in Italy in 1880. From 1881 to 1883 he was in Paris where he met the artist Jules Bastien-Lepage, who encouraged him to paint en plein air (in the open air) a method of working that came to dominate his practice. While studying in France, Tuke decided to move to Newlyn, Cornwall where many of his Slade and Parisian friends had already formed the Newlyn School of painters. He received several lucrative commissions there, after exhibiting his work at the Royal Academy of Art in London. In 1885, he returned to Falmouth where many of his major works were produced. He became an established artist and was elected to full membership of the Royal Academy in 1914. Tuke suffered a heart attack in 1928 and died in March 1929. In his will he left generous amounts of money to some of the men who, as boys, had been his models. Today he is remembered mainly for his oil paintings of young men, but in addition to his achievements as a figurative painter, he was an established maritime artist and produced as many portraits of sailing ships as he did human figures. He was a prolific artist, over 1,300 works are listed and more are still being discovered.
Study of Three Girls' Heads, Lucas Cranach the elder (1472-1553)
Oil on panel, German School, around 1525. Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) was a German painter and printmaker. He was one of the leading German painters and printmakers of the Renaissance in the early 16th century. As court painter of the Elector of Saxony, the patron of Luther, Cranach is remembered as the chief artist of the Reformation. He painted altarpieces, Lutheran subject pictures and portraits, as well as mythological decorative works and nudes. There is some uncertainty about the authenticity of Cranach the Elder's last name. He is probably named after his birthplace, and there are theories that his real name may have been Sunder or Muller. Many details of his life are also uncertain; he is thought to have visited the Holy Land in 1493. What is known is that he spent much of his life in Wittenburg under the patronage of the Elector Frederick the Wise, who employed him as a court painter. He was also endowed with a coat of arms and was twice the Burgomeister of the town. He later worked for various other German nobles, among them Frederick the Magnanimous, and his career as both a painter and engraver was very successful. Working during the Reformation, Cranach was a devoutly religious man and a friend of Martin Luther, whom he sometimes portrayed in his paintings. He retired in 1552 to Weimar, leaving his sons, Hans and Lucas the Younger, to carry on his workshop. This painting is believed to be a study for the three goddesses of Venus, Juno or Minerva in Cranach's masterpiece, The Judgement of Paris. It is thought also to be a triple portrait of Cranach's three daughters.
© RIC, photographer Mike Searle
Madonna and Child, Rogier van der Weyden (1399-1464)
Oil on panel, Dutch School, 15th century. Dutch artist Rogier van der Weyden was one of the most profound and influential painters of the 15th century. He was internationally famed for the naturalism of his detail and his expressive pathos. He created a range of types, for portraits and for religious subjects, which were repeated throughout the Netherlands, the Iberian peninsula, and even Italy, until the mid 16th century. He was apprenticed to Robert Campin in Tournai from March 1427 to August 1432 but he soon equalled his master and was later to influence Campin's own work. In 1435 he was made painter to the city of Brussels. In 1450 he may have travelled to Rome. He worked for Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, and for foreign princes, as well as for the city and church. Rogier van der Weyden was highly successful and internationally famous in his lifetime. By the latter half of the 15th century, he had eclipsed Jan van Eyck in popularity. However, his fame lasted only until the 17th century, and largely due to changing taste, he was almost totally forgotten by the mid 18th century. His reputation was slowly rebuilt during the following 200 years and today he is known, with Campin and van Eyck, as the third (by birth date) of the three great Early Flemish artists, and widely as the most influential Northern painter of the 15th century. The Madonna and Child was a traditional subject for Renaissance artists, commissioned both by the Church and by private individuals. The use of oil paint on wooden panel, rather than egg tempera which was the dominant medium in Italy during this period, is a particularly Northern European development which gradually spread south to Italy through the 15th century.