Saturday, July 21, 2007

S├ębastien Stoskopff

Many thanks to Kirby Olson for introducing me to this
early 17th Century artist - and especially the above painting,
recently acquired by the Met.

Kirby is a self-described "Lutheran Surrealist"
and though I have no idea what this might entail,
the above painting would seem to qualify.

It seems so mysterious, doesn't it ?
But it's just an ordinary box
beside some ordinary sea shells.

But what's extraordinary,
is how well everything fits together,
as if the universe,
from the bottom of the sea,
to the top of the woodworker's bench,
had produced each
only for the purpose of complementing
the visuality of the other.

(especially those happily placed metal
staples, and the fine proportions that
result from their placement)

the rest of Stoskopff's known work
is not so happily arranged,
and the larger paintings
begin to feel like catalogs
instead of revelations.

So... I've cut out the above wonderful detail
from a much larger painting

.. and did the same with this,
both of which come from the Kunstmuseum Basel
(which deserves full credit for being one of the very few museums
to provide big, fat, tasty reproductions of its collection online.)

Here's another complete painting
which I think belongs in the canon of Lutheran-Surrealist art.
(i.e. -- items which might be found on the set
of an Ingmar Bergman film)

Stoskopff (1597-1657) was almost
an exact contemporary of Zurbaran (1598-1664)
and it's interesting to compare the still-life painted by each.

Here , for example, is a Zurbaran version,
just as wacky and strange as Stoskopff,
but in its own Spanish/Moorish way.


Blogger Kirby Olson said...

Chris, this is a wonderful reading of the Stoskopff and opens up newer paintings by the same hand -- I had hoped the blank space above the one I had found in the Met was a trademark. Alas, it is not so.

Could they have been done for different clients?

did clients order still life paintings and ask for what was to go into them?

Or were they personal expressions of an artist's "vision"?

Thanks for this!!

July 21, 2007  
Blogger Bill said...

Wow! Picus viridis! (Green Woodpecker)

July 21, 2007  
Blogger Lori Witzel said...

Thanks you so much for Stoskopff, and for the cross-ref to Zurbaran.

I've loved Zurbaran's work for a long time, and it's great fun to discover someone else working in that elegant, formal, cryptic manner.

July 21, 2007  
Blogger Iian said...

Chris, I wonder if I could ask a wee favour...? Since posting a brief entry about Francesco Laurana on my blog I've been trying to track down other Croatian sculptors; particularly any around the Gothic period and Renaissance. So far, no luck.

Any names (or websites) you could shoot my way would be verily appreciated. Google's not proving too helpful ...

July 26, 2007  
Blogger Conrad H. Roth said...

Remarkable; the smoothness of paint in the first image is just like a Magritte or Chirico.

August 01, 2007  

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