Archive for April 3, 2012

Painters of Food……Abraham Mignon…..


mediums used: oils

surfaces used: panel and canvas


This artist was supposedly partially inspired by the previous artist Jacob Gillig.  Both of them spent time in  Uttrecht. Mignon learned painting floral scenes from both Dutch and German master level painters.

low price range: $1,200

high price range: $ 1,200,000

Of all the Dutch artists this one paints the best tulips. Floral scenes like his were amazing in their compositions with very little overlapping of shapes, the artist was still able to achieve a great deal of depth. The artist painted them one at a time as it would be  very expensive to have all the flowers, some of which are out of season, and paint them together.  The very wealthy of the Dutch society only displayed their wealth thru flowers one at a time using a tulilpier.

In most red tulips the artists use greys in painting the tulip. This artist uses more of a white and this causes the flowers to look like they were freshly cut and exploding with life. In some of his still life works he paints the flowers on a shelf as if you were looking thru a window perhaps. The upside down U shape. By lengthening the bottom shelf to the edge of the painting, different from most anybody that used this technique in their works, the work has a great deal of added depth.

He might have been inspired by Gillig to paint some fish, but this fellow could paint anything. Not only wonderful flowers, but even the insects and animals he painted have a very lifelike quality to them.  The best rabbit work I have ever seen was by Durer, this artist has a similar manner in painting wildlife. Even his birds were amazing.

In one of the paintings in the gallery check out a pocket watch with the key attached. Even the numerals on the watch were painted with a high level of skill and attention to detail. In many masterworks the leaves are darkened or greyed out to support the flowers. Mignon seemed to paint the leaf same as he did any other part of the painting, with one hundred percent accuracy.  He painted the best leaves I have ever seen.

The artist could render the texture of anything. In his scenes with grapes for instance you see the reflective qualities of the grapes. The reflective and magnifying qualities of the glass. The softness of the cloth. The wetness of a freshly cut piece of fruit. Even the wings of the dragonflies and the non glass part of the beer mugs reflect a great deal of light. Many historians say Heda was the best painter of reflections, but this artist is just as good. In some pictures you can see window reflections painted perfectly in half filled wine glasses. The metal of the plate and granite or table made of a slab of rock. The artist gives the viewer so many different textures to ponder and think about the viewer never tires at looking at a supposed still life.

The artist was born in 164o in Frankfurt Germany. His father was a merchant.  At the age of nine he was apprenticed to a famous painter named Jacob Marrell.  Masrrell  moved from Germany to the Netherlands and took  Mignon with him in 1664. From 1669 and beyond both Marrell and Mignon were part of the Uttrechts artist’s guild. Once joining the guild he learned a great deal from working with  Jan De Heem.  He worked with the artist from 1669 to 1672.  Mignon’s work was collected by royalty such as King Louis the XVI.

The artist was able to learn a great deal for many reasons. He started working with professional artists who specialized in floral scenes from before the age of 10. He also was able to study from many different masters that lived in both Germany and Holland. Its sad the artist died relatively young at only 39 years of age in 1679.  His still life works inspire me to paint more than a Rembrandt!

For your art homework, try painting a red tulip in honor of this artist!

Happy painting!






Painters of Food…..Jacob/ Jakob Gillig….

mediums used: oils

surfaces used: canvas

low price range: $5,000

high price range: $35,000

The artist was born in 1636 in Uttrecht, Holland.

Gillig didn’t start painting until his twenties. When he first started painting he signed his work with the name Gulek.  He never registered with the artist’s guild. He worked as a merchant and then as a prison warden. He got married to a daughter of a well collected marine painter named Abraham Willaerts.

Whilst I couldn’t find an absolute master artist that he worked with it is believed he studied with William Ormea who specialized in fish paintings, thus giving the artist the inspiration for so many wonderful paintings of fish.  Ormea loved to paint marine scenes in the background with ships and in the foreground would paint fresh water fish.

Early on his paintings Gillig painted sea water fish, later in his career he mainly painted fresh water fish.  The artist was a brilliant art marketer and was highly collected in his home city of Uttrecht. He worked in a variety of sizes and would charge more for paintings where he spent a great deal of time painting the individual scales on a fish. Note the liveliness of the fish tails in his works, similar to a flower leaf for giving added depth to a painting.

Another artist I will profile later, Abraham Mignon, was thought to be inspired Gillig and became more famous than Gillig.  Mignon was also from Uttrecht.

From an artistic standpoint besides the wonderful triangles and diamond shapes formed by the fish, the artist painted rope with fine detail in most of his works. At the end of the rope many loose strands are coming apart, this also gives his paintings added depth.

His work is in national museums in Holland, Germany, and Hungary.

In this food series it will be great fun to look at the works of old masters such as this artist and see how the same subject matter has been handled during different eras of art.

The artist painted portraits as well as still lifes when he began painting. After some portraits that didn’t really turn out he stuck to painting the still life and mainly painted fish. The two portraits shown in the gallery are part of a museum collection in Britain.

I enjoy his works because you should paint what you love. His paintings of fish show a great sense of design, the fish are usually arranged in a triangle or diamond shape. Fish are interesting to paint as their grey scales reflect light.  When I see a painting done of fish, I compare it to the ones by this artist.

He died in 1701 in Uttrecht, Holland.

How about trying a fish painting today! Be creative!  Enjoy yourself!