Definitely happy: artists who lived in clover. Part 1
TitianFirst of all, Titian lived longer than all the famous artists — 99 years (and this is in the era of the plague and the endless Spanish-French wars being waged in Italy). A deep, thoughtful, calm, intelligent and harmonious Titian Divine — such a wise old man, whom it is terrible and flattering to ask for advice or life experience, but of course he wasn’t 'a wise old man' for his whole life.
Titian’s father, a statesman, was rational enough to consider the artist’s profession unpromising, but at the same time sensitive enough to allow the boy to develop his extraordinary abilities. 10-year-old Titian went to Venice to study, and already in 29 received the title of the best artist of Venice. 'The first artist' means a lot of important government orders, paid by the city, and personal painting commissions from influential Dukes, Popes and kings. It is the delight of the rulers who knew a lot about art and awarded a noble title for ingenious paintings. It is the thrill of the noble bridegrooms who understood that Titian’s canvas would favour a young bride.
Titian. Venus Anadyomene
Titian was a handsome man and a famous artist. Venetian ladies — from the duchesses to courtesans — posed for him, and sometimes stayed in his studio a little bit (or even not a little bit!) longer. But this was before he met Cecilia. She was different: shy, bright, smiling, but still firm and reliable. Titian painted mistresses and wives of dukes and kings, but when his own wife saw herself on the canvas naked, she burst into tears and asked not to disgrace her. There is a version that the artist changed the features of Cecilia’s face on the canvas Venus Anadyomene.
Peter Paul RubensThe art historian Roger de Piles, a contemporary of Rubens, left a detailed record of his virtues: he had dignity of bearing, calm temper, incisive wit, and even an extremely pleasant voice. "He rose regularly at four, and made it a law of his life to begin the day by prayer; after which, he went to work, always having in the house an educated person, who read to him Livy, Plutarch, or Virgil… He worked on till five, when he mounted his favourite horse, and rode round the ramparts at Antwerp," wrote de Piles. Add to this his knowledge of the four European languages plus Latin and Greek and his secular manners which the court page Peter Paul was taught from the age of 13.
It is completely incomprehensible when Rubens managed to create 1400 paintings, because it seems that all powers that be tried to make him their court adviser: they entrusted him with state secrets and believed in his exceptional political abilities. He went on a trip to Italy in search of inspiration — and immediately found himself in the service of the Duke of Mantua, he spent 8 years travelling through Italy in state affairs and visiting museums, returned to the Netherlands — and became the court artist of Infanta Isabella, and then her attorney, who traveled all over Europe with diplomatic missions. Sketching a portrait of the king of England Charles I, he was able to conduct peacemaking negotiations with him right in the studio, and after a few weeks to receive an award directly from his military adversary.
- Peter Paul Rubens. Self Portrait with His Wife Isabella Brant
- Peter Paul Rubens. Self-portrait with His Wife Helena Fourment and Their Son
Diego VélasquezHe married his teacher’s daughter. With the participation of his father-in-law, the Holy Inquisition’s censor, among other things, received a commission to create a portrait of the Spanish king. One could suspect Diego Vélasquez of nepotism and undeserved honors, but all his titles and personal Royal favours were justified by universal recognition and exceptional achievements in any art competition — whether at home, or in Italy.
They say, that King Philip IV missed Vélasquez when the artist had to leave, and didn’t trust anyone else to create his portraits. The king had the key to the studio of the court painter, to sometimes come and watch from the sidelines the master work. Vélasquez, one after another, received honorary but very exhausting posts — until he became the most important person in the palace — the Grand Marshal of the court. According to a beautiful legend, in the painting "Las Meninas" the symbol of the Order of Santiago on the costume of Vélasquez — a red cross — was painted by the king after the death of the artist. Diego himself was modest and did not boast of his knighthood.
- Diego Vélasquez. A Sibyl (according to one version - a portrait of the artist's wife Juana Pacheco)
- Diego Vélasquez. Philip IV in Armour (fragment)
John ConstableJohn Constable's life is not at all the case when happiness itself falls out of the sky and remains forever. Love, family, skills, and success — all this was given to the artist by great effort, both mental and physical. But it makes the story only more wonderful.
It was a miracle that little John survived — just after his birth they baptized him as quickly as possible and, having come to terms with it, waited for the infant’s imminent death. A miracle was also the persistence and perseverance with which Constable all his life painted unfashionable landscapes with rural churches, cottages and mills. The real glory came to Constable not in his homeland, but in France, where in the Salon his painting received a Gold medal, and the artist himself — hundreds of enthusiastic letters from the French with commissions. And then John made his own happy choice: it’s better to have modest income in the homeland than wealth in a foreign land. He already tried to leave — nothing good came out of it.
Far from his native village, he seemed to have lost a powerful source of energy: the parents gave up hope for giving the boy a decent education — he felt sad and languished in the boarding school, and he was transferred to a rural school. Having started studying at The Royal Academy of Arts in London, he quickly got tired of the big city, refused the position of a drawing teacher — and returned home. Once he went on a trip to the southern port towns of England — and realized that the mountains depressed him. He always needed to go home.
- John Constable. Portrait of Maria Bicknell
- John Constable. Maria Constable with Two of her Children (fragment)
Auguste RenoirRenoir was really gifted, he could live rather wealthy earning by painting plates or curtains. Since his childhood, Auguste became the most skillful and lately the richest master in any craft workshop he came. In any way, he earned money for living and studying at Gleyre workshop by himself. And at 17 he bought the house for his parents.
P.S. Happinnes exists. And there are no less successful and beloved artists in history than revolutionaries, notaries and kings. The evidences from the twentieth century will be presented in the second part coming soon.
Author: Anna Sidelnikova