Australian Fine Artist

The revival in enthusiasm for classical art, literature and architecture that was later to be known as the Neo-classical movement began in Rome during the mid 18th century and it could be argued that it was prompted by the love of antiquity by two friends. Johann Winkelmann (1717-1768), a German archeologist and art critic, was the first to research the differences between ancient Greek and Roman art and implement archeological categories regarding art history. Close friend Anton Mengs (1728-1779) was influenced by Winkelmann’s writing, which is evidenced in his fresco at the Villa Albani in Rome. The sensation that Mengs’ fresco Parnassus (1761), along with the influence of Winkelmann’s book History of Ancient Art circa 1764 would initiate created a movement that would eventually influence architecture, theatre, music, literature and fashion. Supporting this movement was the Age of Enlightenment fed by scientific discoveries, and the Grand Tours of Rome, Greece and the Middle East. Concurrently, Europe was experiencing political and social upheaval, leading to multiple revolutions, and class and wealth redistribution. With so much social change artists had more opportunities for study, travel and wider production including etchings, graphics and print, however, this was not necessarily the case for many women artists. This discussion will consider historic events and social changes, to supply evidence of the difficulties encountered by women artists. It will briefly cover the background of Neo-classical artist, Angelica Kaufmann (1741-1807) and analyse a selection of works to argue her standing as a recognised Neo-classical artist, influences on her work, and her determination to succeed despite substantial obstacles such as gender bias and social upheaval.

oath of the horataii-david

Figure 1. Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825), The Oath of the Horatii, 1784, Oil on Canvas. 3.3×4.25m. The Louvre, Paris. Reproduced from Musée du Louvre, http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/oath-horatii.

Europe during the latter 18th century was in political turmoil, in France revolutions were imminent, and the artistic and political movements concurrently with these revolutions would spread through Europe, Britain and the United States. With the rise of the Bourgeois’ (wealthier middle classes) and an increasingly obvious lack of representation in all levels of society, the style of Rococo art and architecture was increasingly seen as an over-decorative reminder of the excesses of the aristocracy (Carr 1965). The Enlightenment that accompanied the archaeological discoveries in Italy and Greece, coinciding with the colonial incursions into the Middle and Far East, led to artists such as David (1748-1825) responding to commissions for classical genres of art (Figure 1). At the time classically inspired subjects defined and supported concepts of public duty, personal sacrifice and patriotism (Honour 1968). Academic processes of: drawing, tonal rendering, clear structuring, and references to timeless themes, such as stories of public duty and nobility from classical Greek history and myth with contemporary undertones, were used by artists to reflect the serious changes in society and respond to market demands. Angela Kaufmann, by this reasoning, fulfilled the requirements of Neo-classical art by illuminating concepts of personal sacrifice and duty, supported by a liberal education in history painting.

Kaufmann’s adherence to Neo-classical principals and education, however, didn’t significantly improve the social conditions for attracting commissions or patronage from changes in wealth distribution or renewed interest in classical themes. Men, in contrast to women, produced the majority of historic art exhibited during the latter eighteenth century (Kaubek 2012). Men also dominated the art academies and guilds evidenced by the lack of female representation in many accounts of the period (Craske 1997). Kaufmann, the daughter of painter Joseph Kauffmann (1707-1782), was provided with a broad education from him and her interest in reading. It included music, history, art, languages, and historic painting in Italy. It was there that she networked with English, Russian and European tourists on their Grand Tour, who became valuable clients (Baumgartel 2013). In Rome Kaufmann adapted Johann Winkelmann’s (1717-1768) artistic ideals of Noble Simplicity; this revealed her skills as a portrait painter that she was to utilise extensively for clients taking the Grand Tour (Baumgärtel, et al. 2013). She was a member of The Bologna Art Academy, academies in Florence, Rome and Venice, and became a founding member of the Royal Academy headed by friend Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) while in London. She moved to Rome in 1781 with a new husband and her father to build her business, managed by her husband and later her cousin, leaving her free to produce artworks and cultivate a network of educated and influential friends (Cavendish 2007). On her death in 1807, Kaufmann left a collection of over 800 works, not counting prints, engravings and templates for porcelain reproduction. By employing the advantage of having a father who was an artist, Kaufmann mastered many obstacles by not only using her artistic abilities, but charm and business acumen to compete in a male-dominated genre and social environment.

Figure 1-first image-RA members

Figure 2. Johan Zoffany (1733-1810), The Academicians of the Royal Academy, 1771, Oil on Canvas. 101x147cm. Windsor Castle, London. Reproduced from The Royal Academy of Arts, https://d1inegp6v2yuxm.cloudfront.net/royal-academy/image/upload/c_limit,f_auto,w_1200/vhcdm5smqjyap23r9ili.jpg.

Fig 1-helen and paris

Figure 3. Angelica Kaufmann, Venus Induced Helen to Fall in Love with Paris, 1790, Oil on Canvas. 102×127.5cm. Hermitage Museum, Russia. Reproduced from The State Hermitage Museum, http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/wps/portal/hermitage/digital-collection/01.+Paintings/38242/?lng=en.

Kaufmann painted in an era when women were normally relegated to still life and floral painting as amateurs in their homes, restricted from higher education and dissuaded from political involvement. Undeterred, she was committed to learning historic genres and trained in a manner more likely for a male artist of her time. Kaufmann was, however, not allowed to draw or paint from a nude male model in the academies. The painting in Figure 2 by Johann Zoffany (1733-1810) shows the members of the Royal Academy with the two female members indicated only by their portraits on the wall. Demonstrating an understanding of anatomy was a prerequisite for Academic Studies for recognition as a truly proficient artist (Hobday 2006). Because of social restrictions on women Kaufmann would have ruined her social standing in polite society by indicating understanding of male sexual organs, so her figures tended to be covered as illustrated in Figure 3 (Wiesner 2000). The strategic placement of the draping cloth on the body of Cupid is an indication that any knowledge of male sexual organs was consciously avoided. Kaufmann was further discouraged, by the Academy building for women being placed in one of the worst parts of the city where many ladies would not venture or feel safe. Despite this, she regularly exhibited at the Academy and was offered the opportunity to paint four Neo-classicist style artworks featuring female figures for the foyer in 1778 (Figure 4, below). After Angelica Kaufmann and Mary Moser (1714-1819) no female members were elected to the Academy for over a hundred years (Vickery 2014). The idea of women’s place being in the home, originating from philosophers and writers like Jean Rousseau (1712-1778), would restrict women artists well into the 20th century.

Fig 7-RA ceiling

Figure 4. Angelica Kaufmann, Colour, Design, Composition, and Invention, 1778-80, Oil on Canvas. 130×150.3x.25cm each. The Royal Academy of Arts, London. Reproduced from The Royal Academy of Arts, http://www.racollection.org.uk/ixbin/indexplus?_IXSESSION_=jaqRK2Hs3Hg&_IXSR_=&_IXACTION_=display&_MREF_=27682&_IXSP_=1&_IXFPFX_=templates/full/&_IXSPFX_=templates/full/–.

Fig 2-Virgil Reading the Aeneid

Figure 5 (above left). Angelica Kaufmann, Virgil Reading the “Aeneid” to Augustus and Octavia, 1788, Oil on Canvas. 123x159cm. Hermitage Museum, Russia. Reproduced from The State Hermitage Museum, http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/wps/portal/hermitage/digital-collection/01.+Paintings/38460/?lng=en.

Fig 4A-cornelia

Figure 5A (above right). Angelica Kaufmann, Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi, 1785, Oil on Canvas. 40×50”. The Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, VA. Reproduced from Art and Women. http://artandwomen.weebly.com/eighteenth-century-art-in-europe-and-the-americas.html.

Hector and family

Figure 5B (above). Angelica Kaufmann, Hector Taking Leave of Andromache, 1768, Oil on Canvas. 134.5x178cm. The National Trust, London, UK. Reproduced from BBC, UK. http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/hector-taking-leave-of-andromache-101510.

Kaufman addressed the genre Neo-classical historic painting by introducing women as the main characters. Rather than concentrating on the traditional male heroes amid battles from ancient Greece and Rome, she relayed the emotional impact of these stories via strongly represented females (Rosenblum 1984). In Figures 5 and 5A and 5B above, Kaufmann painted the women who nobly bore the consequences of war and odysseys in classical stories. She revealed a largely untold variation, which included architecture and icons from ancient Greece and Rome whilst avoiding strong contemporary political undertones. No longer pining in the background, her women are now central to the stories. This feminised view of Classical myth was widely accepted and collected by influential and aristocratic clients including Prince Nikolay Yusupov of Russia (1750-1831) (Williamson 2013). It was Kaufmann’s ability to find alternative ways of portraying Neo-classical subjects for collectors, in a wider range of media such as porcelain reproductions, as seen in Figure 6 below that aided in her success.

fig 8 hand tinted etchings

Figure 6. Angelica Kaufmann, Hand Tinted Engravings by Ryland, Undated, Porcelain. 39cm Diameter. Swan Fine Art Auctions, UK. Reproduced from Invaluable.com, http://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/angelica-kauffman-9-c-33643bcb52.

To conclude, Kaufmann lived in a period of great social turmoil and the monopoly of academies by male artists. Skills reflecting her understanding of Classical art were not enough to guarantee her success. Classification of art was being reinterpreted, spreading into new areas such as graphics, print, and merchandising. In response Kaufmann diversified her creative output by producing decorative wall paintings, etchings, prints, hand tinted engravings and supplying templates for reproducing her work on porcelain. She created an alternate view of classical history, which adhered Kaufmann’s basic principles about beauty in art, and the Neo-classical ideals of duty and personal sacrifice. By limiting overtly political or violent overtones typical of Neo-classical art by many male artists, Kaufmann was able to attract a following that lasted beyond her lifetime. She had the positive encouragement from her father to pursue a career, and later her second husband and cousin by them managing her home and business. This support enabled her to compete in a male-dominated market and offer a range of artistic products to a wide selection of clients. By doing so, Angelica Kaufmann succeeded in becoming one of the most collected artists of her generation, leaving an enduring contribution to the story of the development of Neo-classical art.

Reference list:

Baumgartel, Bettina, et al. 2013. Angelika Kaufmann Research Project. http://www.angelica-kauffman.com/en/akrp-home/arkp/.

Baumgartel, Bettina. 2013. Angelika Kaufmann, Life and Work/Biography. In Angelica Kaufman.com.

Carr, C.T. 1965. “Two Words in Art History II. Rococo.” Forum for Modern Language Studies, July 1965 1 (3): 266-281. http://fmls.oxfordjournals.org.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/content/I/3/266.

Cavendish, Richard. 2007. “The Artist Angelica Kaufman died on November 5th, 1807, aged sixty-six.” In History Today 57 (11). http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/death-angelica-kauffman.

Craske, Matthew. 1997. Art in Europe 1700-1830. 29. Oxford. Oxford University Press. http://edocs.library.curtin.edu.au/eres_display.cgi?url=DC60262659.00.Whole_Document.pdf&copyright=1.

Hobday, Victoria. 2006. Art Schools and the Écorché model. A Body of Evidence: An Art Historical Perspective on Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Wax Anotomical Models. MA Thesis for Masters of Curatorship. The University of Melbourne. Melbourne. http://mdhs.unimelb.edu.au/sites/mdhs/files/Wax%20Anatomical%20Models%20Victoria%20Hobday%202006.pdf.

Honour, H. 1968. “Art and Revolution.” In Neoclassicism, H. Honour, 69-99. London.
Penquin Books. http://edocs.library.curtin.edu.au/eres_display.cgi?url=dc60260962.pdf&copyright=1.

Kaubek, Tracy. S. 2012. Introduction. In The Emergence of Feminism During the late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries by Female Artists and Authors. MA Thesis for Master of Liberal Studies. Rollins College. Florida. http://scholarship.rollins.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1023&context=mls.

Rosenblum, Robert and H.W. Janson. 1984. Art of the Ninetenenth Century: Painting and Sculpture. 19-20. London. Thames & Hudson. http://edocs.library.curtin.edu.au/eres_display.cgi?url=dc60249300.00.Whole_Document.pdf&copyright=1.

Vickery, Amanda. 2014. The Story of Women and Art – Episode 2. BBC History Documentary, 50.03. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dklute5HTbU.

Wiesner, Merry. 2000. Women and Gender in Modern Europe. UK. Cambridge University Press. https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=qcCR5jai5fAC&oi=fnd&pg=PR10&dq=restrictions+on+women+artists+18th+century&ots=Sv1_Sm76nz&sig=qJomGZxrWtWBu1YLKqAn2FlrlBs&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false.

Williamson, Dr. G. C. 2013. Angelica Kauffmann, R.A. Her Life and Works. U.K. The Getty Provenance Index. https://archive.org/stream/angelicakauffman00mann/angelicakauffman00mann_djvu.txt.

Bibliography:

Anne Seymour Daymer. Sculptor 1748-1828. People: Artists and Painters. United Kingdom.
The Twickenham Museum. http://www.twickenham-museum.org.uk/detail.php?aid=266&cid=11&ctid=1. (accessed September 15, 2015).

Baker, Keith Michael. 1990. Inventing the French Revolution. New York. Cambridge University Press. https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=oxjCKqzNTWMC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=france+revoution+18th+century&ots=1uRc9j-uU2&sig=1KsAsTaK4PMXtlA_rJ-ponjSiJI&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false.

Benford, Susan. 2014. Famous Painters: Angelica Kaufmann. In Masterpiece Cards. http://www.themasterpiececards.com/famous-paintings-reviewed/bid/82754/Famous-Painters-Angelica-Kauffmann.

Edwards, Jason. 2010. “Introduction: From the East India Company to the West Indies and Beyond: the World of British Sculpture, c. 1757-1947.” Visual Culture in Britain 11 (2): 147-172. Taylor & Francis. doi: 10.1080/1474781003784280.

Fortune, Jane. 2010. “Angelica Maria Anna Katarina Kauffman. A Name for Each Country.” Jane Fortune 114. (1). http://www.theflorentine.net/articles/article-view.asp?issuetocId=5230

Gombrich. E. H. 1972. The Age of Reason: England and France, Eighteenth Century. 360-374. In The History of Art. London, UK. Phaidon Press.

Honour, Hugh and John Fleming. 2005. A World History of Art. 7th Ed. London, UK. Laurence King Publishing.

“Kauffman, Angelica.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2005. Encyclopedia.com. (September 22, 2015). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3446400110.html.

Kleiner, F. S. 2009. Gardener’s Art Through the Ages: A Global History. 13th Ed. Boston. Thomas Wadsworth.

Lippard, Lucy. 1977. “From the Centre: Feminist Essays on Women’s Art.” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 35 (4): 492-493. http://philpapers.org/rec/LIPFTC.

McDowall, Carolyn. 2013. Angelica Kauffmann Artist – a Woman of Influence & Style. The culture Concept Circle. http://www.thecultureconcept.com/circle/angelica-kauffmann-artist-a-woman-of-influence-style.

Reichardt, Rolf and Hubertus Kohle. 2008. Visualizing the Revolution. London. Reaktion Books Ltd.

Tomory, P.A. 1968. Neoclassicisim and Romansticism c. 1770-1850. In Foundations of Modern European Art. 207-229. New York. Harry N. Abrams.


Illustrations:

Figure 1. Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825), The Oath of the Horatii, 1784, Oil on Canvas. 3.3×4.25m. The Louvre, Paris. Reproduced from Musée du Louvre, http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/oath-horatii.

Figure 2. Johan Zoffany (1733-1810), The Academicians of the Royal Academy, 1771, Oil on Canvas. 101x147cm. Windsor Castle, London. Reproduced from The Royal Academy of Arts, https://d1inegp6v2yuxm.cloudfront.net/royal-academy/image/upload/c_limit,f_auto,w_1200/vhcdm5smqjyap23r9ili.jpg.

Figure 3 Angelica Kaufmann, Venus Induced Helen to Fall in Love with Paris, 1790, Oil on Canvas. 102×127.5cm. Hermitage Museum, Russia. Reproduced from The State Hermitage Museum, http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/wps/portal/hermitage/digital-collection/01.+Paintings/38242/?lng=en.

Figure 4. Angelica Kaufmann, Invention, Composition, Design and Colour, 1778-80, Oil on Canvas. 130×150.3x.25cm each. The Royal Academy of Arts, London. Reproduced from The Royal Academy of Arts, http://www.racollection.org.uk/ixbin/indexplus?_IXSESSION_=jaqRK2Hs3Hg&_IXSR_=&_IXACTION_=display&_MREF_=27682&_IXSP_=1&_IXFPFX_=templates/full/&_IXSPFX_=templates/full/–.

Figure 5. Angelica Kaufmann, Virgil Reading the “Aeneid” to Augustus and Octavia, 1788, Oil on Canvas. 123x159cm. Hermitage Museum, Russia. Reproduced from The State Hermitage Museum, http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/wps/portal/hermitage/digital-collection/01.+Paintings/38460/?lng=en.

Figure 5A. Angelica Kaufmann, Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi, 1785, Oil on Canvas. 40×50”. The Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, VA. Reproduced from Art and Women. http://artandwomen.weebly.com/eighteenth-century-art-in-europe-and-the-americas.html.

Figure 5B. Angelica Kaufmann, Hector Taking Leave of Andromache, 1768, Oil on Canvas. 134.5x178cm. The National Trust, London, UK. Reproduced from BBC, UK. http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/hector-taking-leave-of-andromache-101510.

Figure 6. Angelica Kaufmann, Hand Tinted Engravings by Ryland, Undated, Porcelain. 39cm Diameter. Swan Fine Art Auctions, UK. Reproduced from Invaluable.com, http://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/angelica-kauffman-9-

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