PORTRAIT PAINTER

Giovanni Boldini was born in Ferrara, Italy in 1842 the son of a painter of religious subjects. He went to Florence in 1862 to study painting. He trained on the Italian Renaissance masters and combined work and study for many years, in Paris and London, and Holland and Germany. He developed his own, distinct style, and his portraits grew in fame, helped greatly by a portrait commissioned by Giuseppe Verdi in 1886, the biggest celebrity of his day.

Portrait of Guiseppe Verdi

Verdi gave Boldini an introduction into the world of opera, which led to many commissions for portraits, and to many intimate paintings of opera fans in theatres and cafes around Europe.

Boldini lived in Paris from 1872, where he moved in the Impressionist’s circle, a friend of Edgar Degas. He also became the most fashionable portrait painter of the time in Paris, with a dashing style of painting which shows some Impressionist influence but which most closely resembles the work of his contemporaries John Singer Sargent and Paul Helleu.

Boldini’s paintings showed his subject in soft-focus, elongated, in movement, alive, and sophisticated. His portraits were flattering. The brush work was swift and bold. It is this masterful brushwork that gives his paintings the sense of motion.

He also painted landscapes in the naturalistic style of his day, influenced by the Macchiaioli schooled artists he knew in Florence, and worked on engravings, with pastels, watercolors and etchings. It was only toward the end of his life did his style change, becoming more impressionistic (possibly due to his failing eyesight), using mainly dark, rich colors. His subjects changed as well. No longer having to rely on portraits for a living he began painting the subjects he wanted to paint, which seemed to be the female nude.

Yet another change that came late in life was that bachelor Boldini married; in 1929, aged 86.

He died of pneumonia 11 July 1931, and is buried in his hometown of Ferrara, Italy.


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Hi

Well, I’m back. The move went really well. What took so long is we bought it this time, not another apartment or duplex. A real genuine house, 3 bedroom, 2 bath. An office for each of us. Not a desk in the livingroom or half the spare room. I never minded sharing the work space, but I’m a bit messy and she didn’t always appreciate the clutter.

So I’m looking forward to getting back on schedule and having something to say.


Distraction

Ah, how life can be a distraction. We are moving, again, but this is very good. It’s only that I’ve spent a month getting it together. And though the truck comes tomorrow it’ll be a bit longer before it’s really over.

Thanks for listening. Stay tuned.


Boilerplate

Boilerplate – heavy piece of sheet iron, later steel, used in steam boiler construction.
Boilerplate – generic text in a contract or policy, any text the same from document to document.

How words get associated facsinates me. How does a piece of sheet metal equal generic text? I didn’t know.

So to find out we go to the late 1800s newspaper business and a company called Western Newspaper Union. Their idea was to make available national and international news that a small local paper would find hard, expensive, or impossible to gather. Thus the birth of syndicated news. Western would gather and typeset the national and international stories and distribute to their subscribers the plates to fit the local printing press. Then the local would print their papers with the syndicated news from these plates and the local news and advertising from their own plates. All the subscribers to Western got the same plates, therefore the papers printed the same text.

See where we’re going here?

A local paper set their copy into a soft alloy plate. Western plates had to be shipped all over so their plates were harder and heavier to withstand shipping. Ergo the slang ‘boilerplate’ came to mean the heavier Western plates and so by extension to mean the identical text printed from those plates

Though typesetting and printing is all computerized today the terminology remains.

In the future I’ll look at filmmaking terms and stagecraft terms.


Holiday films

Just tonight and the holidays are behind us. I did not see any companies “Nutcracker” this year. Went to visit the kids and they wanted a wishlist, so I put down some of the old dance films I’d enjoyed. They gave me “White Nights”, with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines plus Robert Altman’s “The Company”.

That got me thinking about some more of them like “Flashdance” which I’ve seen mercilessly parodied on Youtube. Then there’s “Turning Point”, “Singing in the Rain”, “West Side Story”, “The Red Shoes”, and the classic Fred Astaire’s “Holiday Hotel”.

So Wednesday it’s back to the drawing table, ’til next time.


Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas, and best for the New Year!


This Friday.

Today I point you at www.mediainfluencer.net. I think the posts from 1 Oct til yesterday, 4 Oct, relevant to this forum. I found this one and this one particularly of interest.

Another tidbit from an interview with Lee Child (whom I’ve not read,yet) but so refreshing and on point.

“… it’s absolutely not rational to look for validation from critics or insiders in the business. That’s another fatal mistake. You can sometimes tell people are writing to impress their friends or some kind of inner circle. That’s stupid. Your friends—how many are they? They’re going to buy, like, six books. What you need is to impress the audience out there.

So I don’t care what a critic says. Critics can say whatever they like, it makes no difference to me. It also doesn’t tell me anything. I’ve lived with the book for a year; I know whether it’s good or bad; I know where it’s weak or strong; I don’t need somebody else to tell me. So, it’s a matter of total indifference to me what anybody says. It sounds very cynical, but all that I care about is: How many copies does the book sell? And not because I’m greedy for the money, but because that’s the only true measure: Are real people actually reading this book?”