The high modelling of the white shimmering flesh colour gives Venus the appearance of a statue. Botticelli has gone over the contours with a black line, causing them to stand out sharply from the surface of the picture and lending them a curious coldness and clarity.
After becoming a master in the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke in 1598, Rubens left for Italy in 1600, where he spent eight years and visited all the major cities. He spoke Italian, knew Latin, and was familiar with the great writers of Antiquity. His period in Italy allowed him to study Antique works of art and the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance at first hand. After returning to Antwerp in 1608, he was appointed court painter to Archduke Albert and the Infanta Isabella in 1609. He was given a great many commissions. Between 1613 and 1615, for instance, he painted the triptych The Incredulity of Saint Thomas for Nicolaas Rockox, which was destined for the chapel containing his tomb in the Franciscan church in Antwerp. Rockox, a famous Antwerp patrician and humanist, who was mayor of the city on a number of occasions, is shown in the left-hand panel, with his wife on the right.
Degas's pictures recorded images of life in a modern city. The present painting - probably destroyed in World War II - shows Baron Lepic and his daughters strolling along a boulevard. Lepic, art connoisseur and dog breeder is immaculately turned out. Cigar in mouth, one hand behind his back, an umbrella under his arm, he is walking across the empty Place de la Concorde with his daughters and dog.
This picture, one of the two landscapes depicting Montgeron, belonged to the decorative series commissioned by Ernest and Alice Hoschedé, Monet's friend who lived in that small town.
In adorning his friends' house, Monet sought to bring indoors the freshness of the garden. This task fully accorded with his interest in monetary states of nature, in the elusive changeability of light and air.
Catalogue numbers: F 4, JH 187.
In the years 1881-83 van Gogh had often visited Scheveningen, a fishing village and holiday resort on the North Sea, a few miles from The Hague. There he drew the great fishing smacks drawn up on the beach, in the manner of Hague School painters such as Henrik Mesdag and Anton Mauve.