Thursday, June 2, 2011


Five Pears on a Plate
James Aponovich
12' x 11", oil on canvas, 2011

Right now the irises are blooming in our garden and the peonies are almost in flower. This is a very intense and busy time as I must paint each flower group while they are in top form. The season is short so I must commit the flowers to canvas while I can. The remainder of the composition will be dealt with at another time. It is not always the most logical way to paint but it is what it is.
I am also always on the lookout for interesting fruits and vegetables. I found these pears at our local farm stand and loved the elegant stems and their red / yellow color.


Still Life with Daylilies and Watermelon
James Aponovich , 2004
oil on canvas, 42" x 32"
Currier Museum of Art

I have a few favorite pieces of fabric. Here in the painting Still Life with Daylilies and Watermelon, the same fabric is used (as in 5 Pears) to counter the color and compositional arc of the flowers and landscape. Fabric, referred to as drapery, has always been one of the fundamental elements of Western painting. Apprentices were required to master the seven complex folds of fabric by spending hours drawing.

Drapery Study
Albrecht Durer, 1508
Grey wash with white on toned paper
Albertina Collection, Vienna

Durer always prepared drapery studies with the utmost care and used them masterfully in his paintings and graphic work.

St. John's Alterpiece ( detail)
Hans Memling, 1474
oil on panel
Hospital of St. John, Bruges

While the Italians were busy creating what we now know as the Renaissance, the Northern European painters were gathering in an area known as Flanders. This was the flowering
of "Ars Nova", the triumph of High Realism. In this amazing painting, fabric is layered to create a visual mosaic of color and pattern. While in the south.........

The Visitation
Pontormo, 1528
oil on panel
Santa Felicita (Florence)

Pontormo was a tormented artist ( hey, who's not!) who was responsible for changing Florentine painting from the High Renaissance to Mannerism. He was influenced by Albrecht Durer, who's prints were being distributed throughout Italy. The gossamer fabric glows with vivid and almost unreal hues.

When in Florence, cross the Ponte Vecchio to the Oltrarno and on the left, set into the small Piazza dei Rossi is the Church of Santa Felicita. Inside, on the right is the Capponi Chapel. Put a 50 euro coin in the light box and prepare yourself to be amazed. These are the paintings that broke the back of the High Renaissance.
After, to recover, go outside and across from the church is the Enoteca L'e Volpi e L'Uva . Sit outside and order a glass of Italian wine and a plate of crostini with pecorino and drink in Florence.

copyright 2011 James Aponovich

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