Constable's atmospheric depictions of the natural scene, rendered in loose, unconventional brushwork, excited Delacroix and Géricault, and later influenced the masters of Barbizon and even the Impressionists.
Catalogue numbers: F 430, JH 1520.
This painting of a flowering garden is a chaotic confusion of shapes and colours, full of vitality - a luxuriant scene of growth, more a jungle than a garden. There is a sheer and basic vitality in the growth in the garden, it seems unbounded, forceful, like van Gogh's own vigour. He made a graphic version (F 1456) of this subject, too.
This boy is the embodiment of the aesthetic paradox that the ugly can be portrayed in a beautiful way. The humanist Giovio admired the figure for the way in which the physical movement and the fixed stare show the exact physical and mental state of the sick child.
The portrait is inscribed `1497 Albrecht Dürer the Elder at age 70'. Dürer's father appears considerably older than in the portrait of seven years earlier. His lips are thinner, his face more heavily lined with wrinkles and his narrow eyes have a wearier appearance. Yet Albrecht the Elder has retained his wisdom and dignity. After his death, Dürer wrote that his father `passed his life in great toil and stern, hard labour...He underwent manifold afflictions, trials and adversities.' Albrecht the Elder died five years after this portrait was painted, at the age of 75.
The condition of this painting is poor, particularly in the background and the cloak, and in the past many scholars believed that it was a copy of a lost original. However, since it was cleaned in 1955, there has been more support for the view that this is indeed the original. Fortunately the face is the part of the picture which remains in the best condition.
This portrait may originally have been displayed with Dürer's self-portrait of the following year, either hung in the same room in the family home or even linked as a diptych. Although Dürer and his father are wearing very different clothing and the backgrounds do not match, the two portraits are almost the same size and the half length poses are similar. The pictures were apparently kept together as a pair, since they were presented by the city of Nuremberg to the Earl of Arundel in 1636 as a gift for Charles I of England. Both paintings were sold in 1650 by Cromwell. The portrait of Albrecht Dürer the Elder stayed in Britain and was eventually bought by the National Gallery in 1904.
Degas produced many portraits between 1865 and 1870, too, the major ones of which were Thérèse de Gas, Double Portrait, The Collector, Madame Hertel, Duke and Duchess of Morbilli, Jacques Joseph (James) Tissot, Mademoiselle Dihau at the Piano, Madame Camus at the Piano, Portrait of Hortense Valpinçon as a Child.
Conventional as they may be, these portraits highlight both what is characteristic and what is casual in the personality and deportment of the sitter.
The picture shows a detail of the central panel.
St Anthony's gesture is echoed by Christ half-hidden in the depths of the tomb, which Anthony has converted into a chapel. The right wall of the sanctuary ends in a decaying tower covered with monochrome scenes. Two of them, the Adoration of the Golden Calf and a group of men making offerings to an enthroned ape, are images of idolatry, while the third, the Israelites returning from Canaan with a bunch of grapes, prefigures Christ carrying the Cross on the outer wings of the triptych.