Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Finals are coming... the Finals are coming...!

This week's Artist of the Week! goes to Pixeltuner over on!
The sheer determination of this artist on top of tip-top skill I think is what makes this artist amazing. They have been updating their sketchbook (see above) almost on a daily basis. If you look at their overall volume of work it's almost unbelievable. They participate in some capacity on every Character of the Week contest that has had that I can see. They just keep trucking the art out over and over on a daily basis. Just keep it up Pixeltuner, your art and speed are equally impressive...

This time we're going to do something a little different, and probably not nearly as interesting... but I'm going to show everyone my research paper on Carl Gutherz.

Carl Gutherz’ Piece:
Light of the Incarnation

Art History Survey II

Professor Cardon
November 30, 2011
Carl Gutherz’ Piece:

Light of the Incarnation

             There are many modern artists that can be compared to the gothic and Neo-Classicism movement. Many more still, which can be compared to the Masters of Old. We are focusing though, on a more distinct and less recognized artist. This artist is one who was successful not only in America, but actually throughout the world as a whole. Carl Gutherz, himself, was an artist that contributed to the art scene locally in Memphis, Tennessee, with his piece entitled Light of the Incarnation[1] which was a masterpiece in both terms of technique and skill, and it’s appearance can be directly related to the historic pieces of Cimabue, Duccio, and even Bouguereau.      
            Carl Gutherz was born in Schoeftland, Switzerland in 1844.[2] Very soon after his birth, though, his family moved over to the United States of America first in Ohio, and then when the Civil War started, they ended up in Memphis, Tennessee. Shortly after the Civil War, he was discovered as an artist and was quickly whisked away to Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, with further studies in Munich, Brussels, and even Rome.[3]
            He was even a teacher of note during this time as he began his teaching career in St. Louis. Even going so far as to help establish the St. Louis School and Museum of Fine Arts.[4] He helped to inspire the American mural movement, as well as to help with the ceiling in the Library of Congress.
            All this time he kept going back and forth between Memphis, Tennessee, and St. Paul Minnesota, trekking on in his attempt to recreate the art of the past. He frequented Memphis’ festivals such as the annual (from 1873 - 81) Memphis Mardi Gras parade, in which he created costumes, floats, and printed material.[5] During the start of the next century he was actually commissioned by E.A. Neely to contribute to the Memphis skyline and art world by way of the beginning designs for an art museum.[6] Initially, the design began on paper as a multitude of sketches and ideas, including designs for gardens, pavilions, etc. The task fell upon Mr. Gutherz to contribute to the art world in Memphis in a way not yet realized, as Memphis, Tennessee had not even been a blip previously on the art world’s radar. The design had been an ode to the previous art worlds’ masters. While this is not what we see today in our current Brook’s Museum of Art, it laid the groundwork for the future of art in Memphis. It is here that Gutherz’ piece Light of the Incarnation hangs today.           
           The piece itself hangs at an intimidating one hundred and sixteen inches tall by seventy-seven inches wide. This specific piece was created in oil on canvas. To stand in front of this piece is intimidating as it literally takes up your entire vision. While standing in front of the piece you are confronted with a contemplation of religion and the returning of Christ. The figures presented within it are angels as well as putti. The viewer can plainly tell each of them by the wings and halo as well as the child-like figures that are shown within the piece.
            The color is a sort-of muted yellow and oranges that hint at the coming of dawn and the rejoicing of angelic beings as their savior returns. In the distance you get a hint of depth as the color itself blends into this almost burnt gray with rays of yellow hinting at the breaking of dawn in the distance. Overall the dominant color scheme of this piece is a very warm tone with inviting hints of opposite color to draw your eye. The color scheme for this piece is rather simplistic and consists primarily of a warm palette.           
            There is dramatic chiaroscuro on some of the figures presented as well as very delicate light shifts on the varying floral patterns and falling cloth. This would hint at the overall mastery of light that the artist themselves can exemplify while pursuing this piece. Gutherz himself, during the creation of this piece actually used smaller “[…] cartoons, [which were then] used to transfer the images to the canvas. These were based upon the detail sketches that were enlarged to full scale by squaring.”[7] By using this technique he was able to quickly and accurately get the characters onto the canvas and then proceed directly onto the painting. It was a way for him to not only save time, but get his idea onto the finalized canvas right-away.            The composition of the piece closely follows the ‘rule of thirds’ in that the eye doesn’t focus on the center of the image itself. The ‘landscape of angels’ leads the eyes towards the light that is emitting from the sunrays. Overall the composition is a broken type that doesn’t bore the viewer in any capacity because of the constant change in line work. If you try and follow the contours of each figure presented, the eye follows each dip and sway individually without directly being influenced by any of the specific angels within. 
         Light of the Incarnation is an almost direct ode to the religious paintings that were made so famous by the masters of old such as Cimabue, Duccio, and Bouguereau. Each seem to have a relation to this piece by their use of not only the thick halos that are presented within this piece, but each has used a similar composition in a piece. The real difference you see here that the others don’t seem to show as prevalent is in the angelic wings. It wasn’t as widely used in the times of yore.           
          Cimabue himself seemed to use similar halos in his angels with the piece Maestra[8]. If you compare the two, they both use highly regarded religious overtones as well as the use of the halos and winged angels. They use very dramatically different compositions in each as this piece seemed to have a more ‘alter-piece’ appearance to it whereas Gutherz’ piece is more of a contemplation and visual representation of religious texts themselves. The complete lack of perspective in Cimabue’s piece as well shows the very differing times that these two pieces were made. While they seem to have a very complete roster of heavenly beings, Gutherz’ piece has them in a more interactive setting where they appear to be in conversation all together perhaps contemplating the Incarnation. Whereas Cimabue’s piece seems to have them more in an individual setting and not really interacting with the audience that perceives them or each other. By comparison, you feel more disconnected with Cimabue’s than with Gutherz’.               
           Duccio’s Entry into Jerusalem[9] by comparison, does show the complete roster of heavenly beings again, including Christ himself in a more interactive way where they appear to be in complete conversation with each other. What it lacks again is the example of perspective. It merely has each character on it’s own plane rather than in a complete landscape. There is a complete lack of depth here because of this. It has a similar ‘up-down’ triangular pattern on the character groups represented so it’s easy to see the comparable composition that appears in Gutherz’ Light of the Incarnation. Perhaps he studied this piece to get a feel for his composition when he was first designing the piece.
            Finally the piece can be compared to Bougerau’s Pieta[10] in that it uses that already familiar disc-halo that we’ve seen time and time again previously. The main difference here from the previously stated pieces as that, like Gutherz’ piece, it uses the different types of ‘non-haloed’ beings and haloed to great effect. Of course it’s easy to recognize that this piece doesn’t halo each angel as well as the Christ figure, but we can still recognize that it uses a combination of the two. Also, it uses similar chiaroscuro techniques here that we see in Gutherz’. It’s very apparent that each artist has a strong focus on proper lighting, but as well as anatomical accuracy. Each can show the very gentle shades that appear in natural human flesh as well as the varying folds that are in the cloth draped around each figure. Each artist obviously studied the human body very extensively to show their expertise in painting the human body.
           It is very evident that Carl Gutherz was an artist of international renown. Gutherz added his voice to an otherwise unknown artist group growing in Memphis, Tennessee, with his piece Light of the Incarnation which should be recognized for both it’s complete expertise of technical skill and it’s relation to the previous masters Cimabue, Duccio, and Bouguereau. Gutherz came from a relatively new area to the art world that was just beginning to grow out of the ashes of the Civil War. He was internationally trained and helped to root Memphis, Tennessee as an art Mecca to the rest of the world in the future. Hopefully artists the world over will continue to study his work and keep his spirit alive as a master painter. 
 Bouguereau, William-Adolphe. Pieta. Oil on canvas, 1876. Dallas Museum of Fine Arts,     Dallas, TX. Cimabue. Maestra. Tempera on panel, c. 1280. Musee du Louvre, Paris, France.
Duccio. Entry into Jurusalem. Tempera on panel, 1308-11. Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Siena, Italy.
 Gutherz, Carl. Light of the Incarnation. Oil on canvas, 1888. Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN. Masler, Marilyn. “Carl Gutherz.” The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Tennessee Historical Society. 
---, ed. Carl Gutherz: Poetic and Academic Ideals. Tennessee: University Press of Mississippi, 2009. 
---. “Carl Gutherz and the Northwest Landscape.” Minnesota History Magazine, Winter, 1993. Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. Our History.

[1] Carl Gutherz, Light of the Incarnation, oil on canvas, 1888, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN.
[2] Marilyn Masler, “Carl Gutherz”, The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, Tennessee Historical Society,
[3] Ibid.
[4] Marilyn Masler, ed., Carl Gutherz: Poetic and Academic Ideals (Tennessee: University Press of Mississippi, 2009), 7.
[5] Marilyn Masler, “Carl Gutherz and the Northwest Landscape,” Minnesota History Magazine, Winter, 1993,, 314.
[6] Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Our History, 1.
[7] Marilyn Masler, ed., Carl Gutherz: Poetic and Academic Ideals (Tennessee: University Press of Mississippi, 2009), 47.
[8] Cimabue, Maestra, Tempera on panel, c. 1280, Musee du Louvre, Paris, France.
[9] Duccio, Entry into Jurusalem  Tempera on panel, 1308-11, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Siena, Italy.
[10] William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Pieta, oil on canvas, 1876, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, TX. 
 A little different than normal, but I just wanted to show things about my school work too...

School is over in two-weeks... oh I can't wait. I've been powering down the school work as much as I can and trying desperately to cling to some personal work too.

Well, now I suppose I'll give ya what you came for... the art!

Hand Animation Test 2

Title: Hand Animation Test 2
Date: November 29, 2011
Medium: Graphite / Photoshop

Notes: Just continuing with those studies of hands for that animation... got LOADS more of them to do.

Gestural Figure

Title: Gestural Figure
Date: November 24, 2011
Medium: Photoshop

Notes: This was done as a quick gestural sketch that I wanted to add clothes to... I need to finish it, but I like the hair!

Peering Toward You

Title: Peering Toward You
Date: November 25, 2011
Medium: Photoshop

Notes: Another gestural study that I thought looked nice. Just studying more and more photos.


Title: Homelessness
Date: November 26, 2011
Medium: Photoshop

Notes: This was a photo study done to show the desperation that America has at the moment with the homeless.

Girl from CA

Title: Girl from CA
Date: November 27, 2011
Medium: Photoshop

Crazy Process Studies

Title: Crazy Process Studies
Date: November 22-26, 2011
Medium: Photoshop

Notes: These are all part of my work in progress for the Character of the Week on

Well... that's all for this time... visit again soon!

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