Art historical inspirations for a new commission.

Here are some of the paintings I was inspired by as I worked on a commissioned painting  Parker River, Newbury, MA.

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1.  David Hockney, (1997). Oil on canvas, 12 x 9.2. Inspired by a drive to visit a dying friend: The Road Across the Wolds. Tate Gallery, London.

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I love the way Hockney uses color in his landscapes. The first time I saw one of these gigantic canvases at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, I thought, well, some day I’ll have the courage to put pink, lime green and orange into my work just like Hockney. Look at the left background of the Parker River landscape, and you will see strips of light green. The decision to put pink in the sky, water and touches of it on the land and the meandering ribbon of water in Parker River are inspired by Hockney.

2.  Titian (1534). Venus of Urbino, Oil on canvas, 58 x 37 inches. Ufizzi, Florence.

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Commissioned by Guidobaldo della Rovere, Duke of Urbino. Titian’s use of red in this painting is legendary. He directs the viewer’s attention from the bottom left of the canvas to the woman’s dress in the center right, and finally along the red band on the back wall. This painting was hidden from public viewing due to its erotic content for over 200 years after its execution. The sleeping dog represents fidelity-that is why so many dogs are nicknamed “Fido.”

3.  Rosa Bonheur (1849). Ploughing in the Nevernais. Oil on canvas, Musee d’Orsay, Paris.

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The inspiration from this painting is probably self-explanatory. The oxen are the theme of the painting-a post French Revolutionary subject about labor and hard work encouraged by the state. The raw earth, direction of the oxen moving from left to right (same as the wind driven rhythm of the water in Parker River), and the aerial perspective Bonheur was able to suggest in the gradation of colors of the sky inspired the composition, palette, low clouds (just barely visible behind the tree lines) and muddy embankments in Parker River.