Tuesday, 18 October 2016

a small 19th century watercolour


Unidentified 19th century artist
“Divine Knowledge”, c. 19th century (based on the style, the subject, the fading of the alizarin crimson colour on the central figure’s red cloak, the type of cardboard and the general patina of age of the painting). The painting is unsigned and undated.
Watercolour with pencil and gold leaf on light brown cardboard
Size: 17.4 x 17.2 cm
Inscribed on the tablets held by the putti figures: “DIVINAR / RER"; "NOTI / TIA”.
Condition: good condition (i.e. there are no significant stains, tears, abrasions, holes, losses or foxing).

I am selling this beautifully executed watercolour showing the symbolic figure of knowledge surrounded on her left and right by putti figures uplifted in a heavenly realm for the total cost of AU$189 (currently US$145.14/EUR131.73/GBP118.62 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this exceptional study, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This painting has been sold


I really like this small watercolour and if I were asked why I like it so much, I guess that there are two likely reasons.

The first is simply because the drawing of the figures shows a high level of technical training and insight that I love examining. For instance, note how the artist—sadly unidentified—shows that the index finger of the central figure’s right hand is “in front” of the other fingers of that hand with the tiniest change of angle at the knuckle—amateur artists usually need instruction to employ such a subtle device.

My second reason is a personal interest in the expressed meaning of the central figure’s hand gestures. Mindful that the text inscribed on the putti figures’ tablets informs the viewer that knowledge is divine, the hand gestures of the central figure—symbolising knowledge—are fascinating for me to contemplate. Although the figure’s left-hand holding the book is clearly intended to draw attention to the idea of knowledge crystallised in a book, it is more the gesture of the figure’s right-hand pointing downwards that fascinates me. To me this gesture relates to Raphael’s painting of the hands of Plato and Aristotle in “The School of Athens” where Plato points downwards to the earth with the implicit suggestion that wisdom is to be found in the temporal world, whereas Aristotle points to the heavens with the implicit suggestion that wisdom is to be found beyond earthly pursuits. (My apologies if my reading of the gestures is misguided, but, whether I am right or wrong, I love pondering about such things.) 






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