mona lisa smileLove reading analysis of famous paintings? Discover more about 250 of the best paintings in the history of art with the Famous Paintings ebook.  It names names (and titles, art museums, and dates), with links to in-depth commentary about the works.  Explore must-see masterpieces in US and European art museums! 

Download 250 Paintings ebook

It'll make you smile. 

Join this Blog - (we'd love your thoughts, too!)

Your email:

Feeling Lucky?

famous paintings cards

 

 

 

 

 

Good - because we're feeling generous. Join this blog and earn a chance to win a FREE set of these art history cards (a $75 value). 

Enter Me to Win!

Famous Painters Blogroll

Anguissola, Three Sisters Playing Chess and Phillip II of Spain

Bingham, Fur Traders Descending the Missouri

BonheurPlowing in the Nivernais

Bonheur, The Horse Fair

Botticelli Primavera

Caravaggio, Fashion and Art History

CaravaggioConversion of St. Paul

Caravaggio, Young, Sick Bacchus and Basket of Fruit

Caravaggio, Cardsharps and Fortune Teller

Caravaggio, St. Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy

Caravaggio, Taking of Christ (Kiss of Judas)

Caravaggio Paintings at the Villa Borghese

Cave Paintings

Cezanne, Bathers

Cezanne, Card Players

Cezanne, Most Famous Paintings 

Copley, Paul Revere

David, Death of Marat 

David, Death of Socrates

David, Napoleon Crossing the Alps

de Kooning, Retrospective at MoMA (Part I)

de Kooning,Excavation and Painting, 1948 

de KooningWoman I

Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People  

Diebenkorn, The Ocean Park Series

Duncanson, Robert Seldon.  Art History Welcomes Duncanson 

Durer, The Four Apostles

El Greco, Burial of Count Orgaz

FontanaPortrait of a Noblewoman

Frankenthaler, Color Field Painting and Mountains and Sea

Gainsborough, The Blue Boy

Gentileschi, Artemisia.  Judith Beheading Holofernes

Gentileschi, Artemisia.  Self-Portrait as an Allegory of Painting 

Ghent Altarpiece.  

Ghent Altarpiece via zoom

GiorgioneThree Philosophers 

Goya, Family of Charles IV

Goya, The Third of May 1808 

Goya, Duchess of Alba; Saturn Devouring his Son; Two Old Men; Half-Submerged Dog; Black Paintings

Grunewald, Isenheim Altarpiece

Hals, Banquet of the Officers of the St. George Civic Guard

Hals, The Laughing Cavalier

Hals, Regents of St. Elizabeth's Hospital

Hopper, Nighthawks

Ingres, Grande Odalisque and Portrait of Madame Moissetier

Isenheim Altarpiece

Kahlo, Renowned Frida Kahlo Paintings.  

Angelica Kauffmann.  Self-Portrait Torn Between Music and Painting and David Garrick.  

Klimt, The Kiss and Adele Bloch-Bauer

Leonardo, Painter at the Court of Milan, National Gallery, London 

Leonardo, La Bella Principessa 

Leonardo, New Mona Lisa

Leonardo, Benois Madonna and Madonna Litta 

Leonardo, Savior of the World(Salvator Mundi) 

Leonardo, The Virgin and Child with St. Anne

Leyster, Famous Female Painters 

ManetA Bar at the Folies-Bergere

Manet, Luncheon in the Studio

Manet, The Old Musician

Manet, Street Singer

MantegnaDead Christ

Matisse Paintings, In Search of True Painting

Matisse, The DanceThe Music

Matisse, The Cone Collection

Matisse, The Red Studio

Matisse, The Yellow Dress

Michelangelo, Crucifixion with the Madonna

Michelangelo, Famous Paintings

Michelangelo, La Pieta with Two Angels (latest attribution?)

Michelangelo, St. John the Baptist Bearing Witness

Modersohn-Becker, Famous Female Painters

Monet, Waterlilies

Morisot, Famous Paintings

MorisotMore Famous Paintings

Munch, The Scream

O'Keeffe, Jack in the Pulpit

Picasso, Girl Before a Mirror

Picasso, Nude, Green Leaves and Bust

Picasso, Portrait of Gertrude Stein

Picasso, Las Meninas

Piero della Francesca, The Baptism of Christ

Poussin, Assumption of the Virgin

Raphael, Sistine Madonna

Rembrandt, Aristotle with a Bust of Homer 

Rembrandt, Night Watch

Rembrandt paintings at Frick Show

Rembrandt, Self-Portrait at an Early AgeJeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem, The Jewish Bride

Rembrandt, The Syndics of the Amsterdam Drapers' Guild

Rubens, Venus and Adonis

Sanchez Cotan, Spanish Still-life

Sargent, El Jaleo

Sargent, Madame X

Steen, The Christening Feast 

Steen paintings at Frick Show

Tanner, The Banjo Lesson and The Thankful Poor

Titian, Assumption of the Virgin

Titian, Bacchus and Ariadne

Titian, Man with a Glove

Titian, Nymph and Shepherd, Allegory of Prudence, Jacopa Strada, St. Jerome, Slaying of Marysas

Titian, Rape of Europa

Uccello, Battle of San Romano

van der Weyden, St. Luke Drawing the Virgin

Velazquez, Pope Innocent X

Vincent van Gogh paintings up to 1889

Vincent van Gogh paintings, 1888-1890

van Eyck, Arnolfini Portrait

van Eyck, Adoration of the Lamb

van Eyck, Ghent Altarpiece

van Gogh, The Potato Eaters

van GoghMemory of Garden at Etten; Tatched Cottages; White House

van Gogh,  Portrait of Madam Trabuc; Morning: Going Out

van Gogh, Starry Night

Velazquez, Juan de Pareja

Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring

Vermeer, The Kitchen Maid

Vermeer, The Allegory of Painting

VermeerGirl with the Red Hat

Warhol, Campbell's Soup Cans

Warhol, Marilyn Diptych and Gold Marilyn 

Warhol, Mao 

Anders Zorn

Famous Paintings by Art Museums - ebooks

Learn about famous paintings to see in these art museums:

Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY). One of those intimate, small art museums with a stellar collectionFamous Paintings at Albright-Knox. 

Art Institute of Chicago: Plan to see these famous paintings at the Art Institute -- and download an ebook about them.

Louvre Museum, (Paris): one of the largest art museums in the world! Know which Louvre paintings not to miss in this sortable ebook. 

Mauritshuis Museum: explore works by renowned Dutch painters

Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City): download the ebook, Famous-Paintings-Metropolitan-Museum, to learn its must-see masterpieces.

National Gallery (London): with 2300 famous paintings alone in its European painting section, discover highlights to see!  Art Paintings to See at the National Gallery.

Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam): 10 famous paintings not to miss

Washington, D.C. Art Museums: Explore forty famous paintings in Washington, DC in this article.

Most Popular Posts

Michelangelo PaintingsThe Torment of Saint Anthony; The Manchester Madonna;Holy Family (Doni Tondo); and Entombment

Cave Paintings: explore this prehistoric art in Spain and France.

Picasso's Las Meninas: 58 Picasso paintings inspired by Velazquez's Las Meninas

Ghent Altarpiece: the van Eyck masterpiece, one of the most famous artworks ever made. 

Survey of Renaissance Paintings: want to know what Renaissance paintings were all about? Start with 20 of its most famous painters in this sweeping survey! 

Discover more of readers' favorite art history blog posts. 

Female Artists

While we long for the time when artists are artists and genderless, that time isn't yet here.

These are a few of the female artists who've left lasting legacies in the history of painting:

Sofonisba AnguissolaThree Sisters Playing ChessPhillip II of Spain

Rosa Bonheur.  Plowing in the Nivernais.  Horse Fair.

Lavinia Fontana. Portrait of a Noblewoman.

Helen Frankenthaler. Color Field Painting and Mountains and Sea. 

Artemisia Gentileschi.  Judith Beheading Holofernes.  Self-Portrait as an Allegory of Painting.

Frida Kahlo.  Frida and Diego Rivera.  The Two Fridas.  The Love Embrace of the Universe. 

Angelica Kauffmann.  Self-Portrait Torn Between Music and Painting.  David Garrick.

Judith Leyster.  Self-Portrait.  The Proposition. 

Paula Modersohn-Becker. Self-Portrait with an Amber Necklace. Still Life with Goldfish. 

Berthe Morisot.  Refuge in Normandy.  The Cradle. 

Georgia O'Keeffe. Jack in the Pulpit Series. 

Survey of Female Artists

Art History Other

Art History Blogs

ArtDaily: daily breaking news about art museums and art history.

Art Blog by Bob: this brilliant art history blogger of Picture This on Big Think.

Art History Resources. Unwieldly but informative.

Marisol Roman.  A Spanish art history blog.

Mother of all Art & Art History Links: extensive list of online art history resources (including images, research resources, and art history depts.)

smARThistory. Think online art history textbook.  Brilliant. 

Art History Beyond Europe

Follow Us

Famous Paintings ebook

This free ebook has a wealth of facts and articles about the 250 influential paintings in Masterpiece Cards.

Did we mention it's free?

Famous Paintings Reviewed

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

Color Field Painting

  
  
  

An art history blog post from Famous Paintings Reviewed.

Helen Frankenthaler not only pioneered color field painting but also enjoyed critical acclaim during her lifetime. That's phenomal for any painter, let alone a woman at a time when female artists were still rare. 

Clement Greenberg (1909-1994), one of the most influential art critic in the 1940s-1960s, first recognized the genius of Jackson Pollock while he was still misunderstood and scorned (and inexpensive). During the 1940s, Greenberg began championing art that was completely abstract and in which the "hand" of the artist was unapparent.  

Such formalist painting arose in the 1950s in reaction to Abstract Expressionism, and was an attempt, promoted by Greenberg, to create "unemotional" art.  The painterly, gestural brushwork and thick impasto of abstract expressionism were supplanted by smooth canvases on which the paint was united with the surface.

frankenthaler mountains and se

Helen Frankenthaler.  Mountains and Sea, 1952.  Oil and charcoal on canvas, 7' 2 3/4" by 9' 8 1/8".  Collection of the artist on extended loan to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C.

After returning from a trip to Nova Scotia in summer of 1952, Helen Frankenthaler (1928 - 2011) tacked a 7' by 10' unprimed canvas onto her studio floor (note to non-painters: a canvas is "primed" by covering it with a base layer that prevents paint from soaking into the canvas). 

Frankenthaler then blocked in some areas with charcoal, and poured diluted, thinned oil paint onto this canvas. She allowed the paint to run by tilting the canvas angle; she rubbed and blotted the paint.

The thinned paint absorbed into the canvas, garnering Greenberg's exorbitant praise for the flatness, shape of field, and color in Mountains and Sea -- and creating a new style called color field painting. Frankenthaler had joined nonobjective figure and ground in a novel, breathtaking manner.

helen frankenthaler resized 600Jackson Pollock paintings were also created by working on the floor, but Pollock used enamel paint that stood on top of the canvas rather than absorb; his paintings were based on his bodily movements and gestures (hence the label action painter).

Helen Frankenthaler pouring paint (right).

While any analysis of Mountains and Sea is personal, one readily imagines the topography of the Cape Breton coastline, with a pyramidal shape dominating the center and meeting a sea of blue at center right.  The whiteness of the unprimed canvas evokes brilliant sunshine. The pallette of blues and pale greens hints of sky, water, forest and trees, suggesting an infinite image just partially captured on canvas.  

Helen Frankenthaler remembered that Mountains and Sea looked 

"to many people like a large paint rag, casually accidental and incomplete."

Mountains and Sea was exhibited in 1953 and received scant attention until the painters Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland visited Frankenthaler's studio. Both found in Mountains and Sea a new direction for modern art, away from Abstract Expressionism. Louis commented that Mountains and Sea was "the bridge between Pollock and what was possible." Both Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland explored color field painting themselves.   

Clement Greenberg touted Frankenthaler's stain painting, a new way of painting which became the foundation of color field painting.  But she contributed far more - Helen Frankenthaler reinstated the supremacy of color, and altered the direction of abstract art.  

And by the way... she pioneered color field painting with Mountains and Sea when she was 23 years old!





Comments

Regretedly H. Frankenthaler didn't receive better exposure as I think her technique of pouring a watery paint to a cavass on the floor showed how physics could be applied to painting large surface areas. Correling areas for different colors and intensities was a stroke of seeing the way shapes like the sailboat on the water would juxtapose to the rock outcropings of the mountasins.. The whole may seem flat at first glance, but it also invites the eyes to imagine a certain dimensionality
Posted @ Sunday, August 28, 2011 4:34 PM by Linda Gunther
I've never heard nonobjective art explained so well! I had a college professor who was an abstract expressionist; he tried to instill in me an appreciation for nonobjective art. I gained more of a "respect" rather than gleaning an aesthetic experience from that art style. There was an example of Helen Frankenthaler's work in my art textbook from which I taught for years. I fear I did a dis-service to her unique talent! Wish I had had your critique while still in the classroom. Your program is invaluable to art educators because it is not always easy to pour enthusiasm and excitement into instructional material about which one is either not familiar or does not fully understand. I love the connection you made with her and Jackson Pollock.
Posted @ Sunday, August 28, 2011 4:36 PM by Becky Guinn
Becky, 
Thanks, as always, for your feedback. 
 
Frankenthaler's contributions to art history are relatively new to me, too. I'm intrigued that she, like Berthe Morisot, were among the rare female painters whose work was the foundation of major art movements (i.e. color field painting and Impressionism).  
 
I thrive on such discoveries, and thanks for noticing! 
 
Susan
Posted @ Tuesday, August 30, 2011 7:42 AM by Susan Benford
Post Comment
Name
 *
Email
 *
Website (optional)
Comment
 *

Allowed tags: <a> link, <b> bold, <i> italics