Friday, January 21, 2011

Carl Bloch

As a child, I grew up admiring the work of Danish painter Carl Bloch. The other night I had the opportunity of taking my children to see a Bloch exhibit. What a wonderful, pinch-yourself moment!
This is a portrait of the artist himself. He was born in 1800's Copenhagen. His parents wanted him to become a naval officer, but he had other ambitions. Rembrandt was Bloch's inspiration and hero. A handsome, talented man, wasn't he?
Much of Bloch's greatest success as an artist came from his altarpieces. I sat on a small chair in a dim room and gazed at his glorious Gethsemane. The angel's hair glows from the canvas.
This work is entitled, Let's Go For A Swim! I think it is both clever and whimsical. Bloch had a sense of humor mixed in with all his other gifts. Although I did not show any examples here, his beach scenes are so ahead of their time.
A landscape entitled Rising Moon. I look at this and imagine the damp evening air and the lapping water.
King Christian II Jailed. Notice the depth, color, and light within this painting. The shadows create a disturbing atmosphere. Remarkable.
Getting Ready For the Carnival. I love the reflection in the mirror, the blue wall, and her radiant hair and skin.
These are a series of Bloch's engravings. Amazing that he could create something so intricate by cutting grooves into a hard, blank surface. I really enjoyed Old Woman Feeding Sparrows. It reminded me of the char woman feeding the birds in Mary Poppins.
Sweet. First Love.
At the Pub.

It's interesting to learn that Carl Bloch did not do any etchings for 12 years. Returning to the craft with renewed perspective and passion, he is now known as a true master of this art form. That's a good lesson for us all. It's never too late to begin again. (Even for writers experiencing a creative block ;)

When Bloch's wife died unexpectedly, leaving him with a broken heart and eight children to raise, he faced depression and loss of motivation. His friend, Hans Christian Andersen, wrote, "Write on the canvas; write your seal on immortality. Then you will become noble here on earth."

Carl Heinrich Bloch took his friend's advice and became noble in deed and art. After his death from cancer in 1890, an insightful eulogy was read at his funeral, "Bloch stays and lives."

It's true. He does.

24 comments:

  1. That's so interesting... because I often wonder if people who created art and wrote stories back in this time period and before really thought about how what they left behind would possibly stick around and be appreciated for hundreds of years, long after they were gone. Apparently Andersen believed it! Bloch's artwork is incredible. Thanks for sharing. :)

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  2. Neat. Thanks for sharing, and I'm glad you got to share them with your children.

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  3. What a beautiful and inspiring story!

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  4. I love this post Roxy. :) I've been dying to go see the Bloch exhibit. And what an inspiring story. Glad you got to go see it. :)

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  5. What a beautiful journey his life became. I think when we really reach into our hearts like that, it's filled with deep meaning, and we do stay and live in our work.

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  6. Oh wow. Thank you so much wonderful Roxy for an incredible and very personal piece on Bloch the man and his paintings!!! He truly was a remarkable man and his paintings are just lovely!! And thanks for the selection shown here! Take care
    x

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  7. I didn't know too much about Bloch until now. Thanks.

    Is it just me or does he look a little like Daniel Craig?

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  8. I think I'd heard his name but hadn't really seen his paintings' they're just the sort I find I could look at for hours! Thanks for drawing my attention back :-)

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  9. So interesting and informative! Love the selections!

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  10. I love learning more about painters and seeing paintings - thank you for sharing!

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  11. I love that he was human, and stopped for a while. And I also love that he went back. It's nice to know we can, in a way, be immortal. I think that for all of us, as artists, our fervent hope is to leave a mark in this world. Very inspiring.

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  12. Beautiful. Amazing. My 8 yr old would love this exhibit. We go to the Art Museum and just stare for hours. :)

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  13. I love those paintings! I can see Rembrandt's inspiration in there.

    One of my favorites is Jan Van Eyke.

    :)

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  14. I enjoyed this greatly, Roxy. I love your passion for art and poetry. It always shines through in your posts. (and it's a passion we share)

    I hope you are having a lovely weekend, my friend.
    Love,
    Lola

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  15. What a great tribute. Some of those engravings are incredible. They look photographic!

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  16. What an incredible talent. Thanks for highlighting some of his work in this post, Roxy. I learned something about art today.

    Jai

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  17. I would love to see the Gethsemane one in person, with the angel's glowing hair... Rising Moon is also beautiful...

    PS. I've awarded you the Stylish Blogger Award on my blog :-)

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  18. Such an interesting and wonderful post. The woman feeding the sparrows was my favorite:)

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  19. Thank you so much for sharing this Roxy! Its truly an inspiring and very touching story!

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  20. Oooooo, we are going to see the exhibit for FHE. Thanks!

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  21. Today I was introduced to someone unknown to me so his tapestry really has done what H.C.A. predicted. Marvellous post.

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  22. What a beautiful post - the words and images. Thank you for the art moment.

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