-By Howard Lyon

We live in an amazing time to be an artist.  The sheer amount of imagery that we can search through and catalogue is staggering.  I, like many of you I am sure, keep a catalogue of paintings stored on my computer where I can browse for inspiration.

I have enough images that I forget some of the gems that I have downloaded.  I shared some of them in a previous post, 6 Artists.  Here are some more of the paintings that have been sitting on my desktop in the last few days that I pulled out of my image morgue.

Abraham De Vries – Portrait of a Man

For me this is among the best portraits painted.  It has the visceral surface of a Rembrandt and the life of a Sargent.  The skin looks like one could press it with a finger and feel it give way like real flesh.  I am still waiting for this portrait to speak, any moment now…

Bernardo Strozzi – Tobias Curing His Father’s Blindness

I have to admit my first reaction to this painting was “Is that guy putting fish guts in that old man’s eye!?”  I wasn’t familiar with the story it is based upon, but once past that I took in the whole painting and loved it.  The hands, the movement, the gaping mouth of the fish with its great fins.  I can feel the anticipation of the father and son as he applies what they hope is a remedy for his blindness.

Does anyone know if that is a a real fish, or something made up?  The double pelvic fins are interesting.

Émile Villa – La Japonaise

How cool is that little guinea pig in the foreground munching on a twig?  This painting makes me happy.  Amazing texture and color with beautifully rendered details and lots of guinea pigs.

Hermann David Salomon Corrodi – The Ambush Near Giza

I love paintings that tell a good story, even if you don’t know the subject.  Look at the caravan on the lower right making their way down the trail.  You see the pyramids in the background and can imagine that these are merchants making their way from Cairo with valuable goods.  The middle-ground of the painting shows the would be bandits waiting in ambush.  I wonder how many times they have used this spot to plunder a passing caravan.

I also love the great expanse of canvas filled with a beautiful and subtle gradient.  There is just a faint wisp of cloud near the horizon, but other than that, Corrodi was confident enough to fill half the painting with a slow draw of color and let it be.

Isidor Kaufmann – Portrait of a Rabbi with Prayer Shawl

Another great portrait.  There is weight and wisdom in this face with many years lived.  The static triangular shape gives it a solidity framed by the big rectangle of blue behind the rabbi’s head.  He seems solid with conviction as well as contemplative.  The rendering of detail and texture here inspires.

Jules Breton – The Weeders

I have been coming back again and again to this painting.  It is powerful to me.  I don’t know if it is dawn or dusk.  Are they just starting the long day of work, or wearily coming to the end?  The contrast and strong colors of the sky add richness and instill drama into the composition.

I want to know if the pregnant woman standing on the left feels hopeful with the dawn of a new day, or worried how much longer she will be able work and earn income?  She takes a moment to pause, her full bag of weeds is evidence that she has been hard at work.  I see her hands on her hips/small of her back and she leans back against the weight of her belly.  My wife has struck this same pose when she was pregnant with our children, her back sore and her body under stress.  There is honesty in this painting and it leaves me wanting to know more about the very real women depicted here.

Victor Matorin – Bobrok Volynsky

Victor Matorin is a contemporary artist from Russia.  Very impressive work.  I don’t know much about the subjects in the paintings I have included here, but they are imposing!  I would follow this guy into battle.

Victor Matorin – Holy Right Believing Grand Prince Dmitri Donskoi of Moscow

Great color and design here.  It reminds me a little of Tom Lovell, but possibly a little bolder in execution.  From the clouds and light on the buildings to the colorful boats and costumes, this painting is full of beautiful details.

Victor Matorin – Khan Mamai

One last image from Matorin.  A powerful portrait.  I had been looking at this of a while before I noticed the silhouettes of the riders on horseback in the background.  I also love the quick brushwork of the clouds, but not at the expense of form.

I hope that you found some interest and inspiration here as well and maybe a new image or two.

Howard Lyon