Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Founding of a Nation

The Discovery of Chile by Diego de Almagro (1913) by the Chilean painter Pedro Subercaseaux Errázuriz (1880-1956). This event is sometimes considered as the foundation of Chile. To celebrate it this mural decorates the walls of the former National Congress of Chile in Santiago.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Wounded Hero

Marshal Jean Lannes wounded at the battle of Essling by the French painter Paul-Emile Boutigny (1853-1929).Lannes was one of Napoleon's most daring and talented generals an a personal friend of the emperor. In the bloody battle of Aspern-Essling he was mortally wounded.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Historical Moment

The capitulation of Granada, Boabdil confronts Ferdinand and Isabella (1882) by the Spanish artist Francisco Pradilla y Ortiz (1848-1921). The painting of this important event decorates know the Palace of the The Senate of Spain in Madrid.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Idyllic Court Scene

Queen Elizabeth and the Earl of Leicester (1865) by the British painter William Frederick Yeames (1835-1918). Yeames preferred these idyllic scenes from the good old times.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Harem Guard

The Harem Guard by the Czech painter Rudolf Weisse (1869-1930). Despite it's not a decidedly history painting the whole oriental exotic setting suggests a far away place even in history.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Viking Queen

Queen Astrid by the American illustrator N.C. Wyeth (1882–1945). Wyeth did this Wagnerian illustration for the book The World Of Music - Song Programs for Youth (1938).

Monday, November 10, 2014

Tragic Love

Semiramis dying on Ninu’s grave by the Italian painter Augusto Valli (1867-1945). Valli depicts here the legendary Babylonian queen dying on her dead husbands tomb. But it seems also more an excuse to present a nude female body in an exotic setting.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Famous English Nude

Lady_Godiva by the French painter Jules Joseph Lefebvre (1836–1911). As legend tells Lady Godiva was a 11th century English princess married to Leofric, the Earl of Mercia and lord of Coventry. She begged her husband to relieve the townspeople of the oppressive taxes and tolls. He refused, unless she agree to ride through the town naked on horseback. Out of respect for their lady, it is said, the townspeople stayed indoors during her ride.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ever-Present Peril

The Sword of Damocles (1812) by the neoclassical British painter Richard Westall (1765-1836).

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Romantic Knight

The Princess (1911) by Howard Chandler Christy (1873-1952). Christy was an American artist and illustrator famous for the "Christy Girl", he published published in Scribner's and Harper's magazines and in Collier's Weekly.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Kind of Harem Painting

Brenn and His Share of the Spoils (1893) by the French painter Paul Jamin (1853-1903). Jamin depicts here the Gallic chieftain who sacked Rome probably in 387 BC in the popular manner of an Orientalistic harem painting. So it's in the end more the modern French going to a luxury brothel.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Heroic Waterloo

Waterlo, 18. Juni 1815 (1898) by the British painter William Holmes Sullivan (1870-1898). Another of these stupid heroic battle paintings. Here the English cavalry gas conquered a French flag.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Defeated Enemies

They Fell into Captivity (1885) by the Russian painter Bogdan Pavlovich Willewalde (1819-1903). Some French prisoners of Napoleon's terrific Grande Armée are conducted by a single Cossack. The painter contrasts the superb French uniforms with the simple outfit of the Cossack.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Prehistoric Sweethearts

Prehistoric Woman (1895) by the French painter James Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836- 1902). Tissot was famous as a painterr of elegantly dressed women shown in scenes of fashionable life. Here he painted two really fashionable Neolithic girls.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Romantic Death

Black Prince at the battle of Crecy by the British painter Julian Russell Story (1857-1919). After the battle the victorious English prince is contemplating the body of the dead King John of Bohemia. It should be mentioned that Edward Prince of Wales the eldest son of King Edward III of England was never called “Black” in his lifetime. It's an attribution of the 16th century. But anyway he looks nice so deadly black with the crows in the back.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Those Who Are About To Die

"Ave, Imperator, morituri te salutant" (1859) by the French painter Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904). Gérôme loved the spectacular death in the arena and painted it normally with the perspective from inside out.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Obsequies For A Cat

The Obsequies of an Egyptian Cat (1886) by the British painter John Reinhard Weguelin (1849-1927). A priestess kneels before an altar upon which is placed the mummy of a cat. She is burning incense, and has presented offerings of flowers and food to the cat's spirit, together with a plate of milk. On the wall behind the priestess is an Egyptian fresco, and a statue of the goddess Sekhmet or Bastet enthroned guards the entrance to the temple.

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Warrior Saint

Joan of Arc in battle by the German Romantic painter Hermann Anton Stilke (1803-1860). This is the central part of a his Joan of Arc Triptych.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Victorious Return

Les Corsaires 1806 by the French military painter Maurice Orange (1867-1916). A French privateer has captured a British ship. Now the men are returning in triumph with their prisoners, the conquered ship, the flag and rich spoils.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Patriotic Students

The students march out to defend Copenhagen during the 1658 siege (1889) by the Danish painter Vilhelm Jacob Rosenstand (1838-1915).

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Broken Heart

Napoleons Farewell To Josephine by the British painter Laslett John Pott (1837-1898). Normally Pott was more specialized in military scenes but here he depicted the great hero on a romantic battlefield.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Historical Pin-Up

Cleopatra as a kind of pin-up by the American artist Victor Tchetchet (1891-1974). Tchetchet was a famous pin-up calendar and cover artist working for magazines like American Weekly, Liberty, Master Detective, Photoplay.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dramatic Action

The death of Simon de Montort by the French artist Alphonse de Neuville (1835-1885). This book illustration was done for Guizot's History of France. Simon de Montort was the cruel leader in the Albigensian Crusade or Cathar Crusade (1209–1229) an was killed during the siege of Toulouse on 25 June 1218 smashed by a stone from a mangonel, operated by the women of Toulouse.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Striking Ceremony

An Egyptian Feast by the British painter Edwin Longsden Long (1829-1891). A colorful, exotic scenery, using the latest archaeological and historical insights.

Friday, July 25, 2014


The Second Battle of Guararapes by the Brazilian painter Victor Meirelles (1832-1903). The Second Battle of Guararapes was the second and decisive battle in the war between the Dutch West India Company and Portuguese forces in 1649, ending the Dutch occupation of the Portuguese colony of Brazil.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Patriotic Victory

Andreas Hofer after his victory of Bergisel (1900) by the Austrian artist Franz von Defregger (1835-1921). Defregger depicts here members the Tirolean militias in their uprising against the Napoleonic oppression. It's the people in arms, very popular at the eve of World War I.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Proud Nude

Isabelle and Orleans (1938) by the great Australian artist Norman Lindsay (1879-1969). The French Princess Isabella of Valois (1387-1410) was the daughter of King Charles VI. Her childhood marriage at the age of eight to Richard II of England sought peace between the two counties. Following Richard's grisly murder, Henry IV tried to marry her off to his son, the future Henry V of Agincourt fame. Isabella refused and eventually returned to France, where she married Charles, Duke of Orléans at Compiègne in 1406. The marriage, however, was brief, Isabella dying in her early twenties giving birth to their daughter, Joan.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Epic Battle

The battle of Salamis by the German romantic painter Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Theodor Kaulbach (1822-1839). Even the gods are taking arms in this legendary battle between Orient and Okzident.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Art Nouveau Knights

Another powerful and elegant illustrations by the Austrian Art Nouveau painter Carl Otto Czeschka (1878-1960) done for an edition of "Die Nibelungen" (1909).

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Old Comrades

Another Waterloo battle scene by the French battle painter Joseph Louis Hippolyte Bellange (1800-1866). An old greandier tries to comfort a dying comrade.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Bloody Carnage

The Massacre of the Abencerrages (1874) by the French painter Georges Jules Victor Clairin (1843-1919). The cruel subject is taken from Chateaubriand's Aventures du dernier Abencérage (1826)i.e. Boabdil, the last king of Granada. Boabdil lured the rival tribe of the Abencerrages in the Alhambra, where all were slaughtered. The legend says that the fountain flowed not with water but with blood.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

After the Battle

After the battle of Fýrisvellir (1888) by the Swedish painter Mårten Eskil Winge (1825-1896). In the battle of Fýrisvellir the Swedes repelled an army of Nordic invaders. Though it's a great nation victory it's interesting that Winge didn't paint the great heroic deeds but the contemplative moments after the battle

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Treacherous Mermaids

Mermaids' Rock (c.1894) by the British painter Edward Matthew Hale (1852-1924). Interesting is that sirens and mermaids where normally painted in a classical Greek context. Hale preferred here some Vikings or Celts meaning his own British ancestors.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Surrender of Acre

The Surrender of Acre by the French painter Merry-Joseph Blondel (1781-1853). The most important victory of the Third Crusade. Here the Muslim garrison surrenders to the French king Philip Augustus and the English king Richard I. Another piece for the Crusader Gallery in the National Museum in Versailles.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Prussian Battle

Hochkirch by the German realist painter Adolf von Menzel. (1815-1905). Menzel shows here the inferno of a battle. Men are struggling to move forward, they are afraid. There is no dumb heroism.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Historical Drama

Eruption of Vesuvius by the English painter John Martin (1789-1854). Martin specialized in dramatic natural disasters and presented his paintings as a kind of pre-cinema.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sweet Kitsch

Lesbia Weeping over a Sparrow by the Dutch born British painter Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadelma (1836-1912).
Alma Tadema refers here to the poem Lesbia's Sparrow by the Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus.
"All you Loves and Cupids cry and all you men of feeling my girl's sparrow is dead..."

Friday, May 9, 2014

Dramatic Attack

The phalanx attacking the centre in the battle of the Hydaspes book illustation by the French artist and engraver André Castaigne (1861-1929). Despite that the Macedonian phalanx attacked with the sarissa a 4 to 7 meterlong pike Castaigne depicts them here attacking with the sword because of the better dramatic effect.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Battle of Castillon

The Battle of Castillon by the French painter Charles-Philippe Larivière (1798-1876). The Battle of Castillon (July 1453) in Gascony was the last and decisive French victory and marked the end of the Hundred Years' War. Larivière shows here the death of the English commander John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Hus at Constance

Hus at Constance (1842) by the German romantic painter Carl Friedrich Lessing (1808-80). The German protestant shows here Hus as a kind of forefather of Luther defying the clergy who will burn him.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mythical Villain

The Death of Ravana King of Lanka (1875) by the French painter Fernand-Anne Piestre Cormon (1845-1924). Ravana is the villain in the Hindu epic Ramayana where he kidnaps Rama's wife. Cormon depicts him like an ancient warrior king mourned by his wifes.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Aeskulap by the English painter Edward Poynter (1836-1919). Looking at the four patients I suspect Aeskulap was more an excuse to show some nudes.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Columbus Landing

Columbus Landing by the American painter John Vanderlyn (1775-1852). This painting was commissioned by the Congress in June 1836 for the Capitol Rotunda. Columbus was claimed as a forefather of the modern USA.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Loving Wife

A nice illustration to Shakespeares Antonius and Cleopatra by the American artist Edwin Austin Abbey (1852-1911). It was published in Harper's Monthly Magazine in September 1909.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Valley Forge

Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge (1907) by the American painter John Ward Dunsmore (1856-1945). The hard winter in Valley Forge one of the great myths of the American War of Independence.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Esther before the King

Esther Denouncing Haman by the British painter Ernest Normand (1859-1923). This is an old popular subject in religious art. But Normand painted it like a history or orientalistic painting with the great theatrical gestures which were popular.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mythical Past

Dolmen in Snow by the German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840). Though it's no history painting history, better the past, is present and the subject.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Historic Saint

Saint Nicholas of Myra saves three innocents from death (1890) by the Russian realistic painter Ilya Repin (1844-1930). Despite it's kind of a religious painting Repic depicts it like a real history painting with the crresponding costumes and arms.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Bloody Civil War

Henri de La Rochejacquelein at the Battle of Cholet in 1793 by the French painter Paul-Emile Boutigny (1853-1929). It's a scene from the War in the Vendée a popular Catholic and Royal uprising during the French Revolution.