• Year 1623

    Artist Gerard van Honthorst

    A man is leaning out of a window, laughing. In one hand he has a violin and a bow; in the other a glass of wine. He is pushing the curtain - a Persian carpet - to the side. The man is wearing a fantasy costume: an elegant beret and a colourfully striped jacket. This is probably not a portrait, just a picture of cheerful character. The musician appears to be actually looming out of the canvas. He is inviting the viewer to come into the party.

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  • The man portrayed here, Dr Ephraim Bueno (1599-1665), was a well-known Jewish physician and man of letters. Rembrandt painted this sketch in oils in 1647. It is a preliminary study for an etching of Dr Bueno. It is the only known sketch in oils for a portrait print by Rembrandt.

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  • Title The Peace Negotiations between Claudius Civilis and Cerealis

    Year c. 1660-70

    Standing on opposite sides of a demolished bridge are two warriors. They are negotiating across the divide. The man on the right is Cerealis, recognisable as a Roman from the standard with an eagle behind him. His men are pictured higher up. The man opposite him is Claudius Civilis, a Batavian. His followers are refreshing themselves in the river in the foreground. Fame (Fama) floats in the sky above. She is crowning the two leaders with laurel wreaths.

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  • The story of the Massacre of the Innocents is found in the Bible.
    After the birth of Jesus, King Herod heard that a new king of the Jews had been born in Bethlehem.
    Having no way to recognise the child, he ordered his soldiers to kill all the boys in Bethlehem younger than two.
    Meanwhile, Mary and Joseph had already fled with the baby Jesus to Egypt. They remained there until after the death of Herod.
    In 1590 Cornelis van Haarlem painted a blood-curdling picture of the Massacre of the Innocents.
    The subject had never before been tackled on so large and ambitious a scale.

    Artist Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem

    Year 1590

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  • Dinos Chapman was born in London in 1962 and Jake Chapman was born in Cheltenham in 1966. They both graduated from the Royal College of Art, London, in 1990 and began working together shortly afterwards. The Chapmans weave a vast range of associations into their work, using material from all areas of the cultural landscape including philosophical theory, art history and consumer culture. They engage with inflammatory subjects and use subversive strategies to produce works that defiantly refute straightforward interpretation.

    Top of my favorite Artists of the last 2 decades.


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