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All images, photos, and video excluding advertising and google generated content, or unless otherwise labeled, are Copyright Jephyr (Jeff Curtis). All Rights Reserved.

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Monday, November 5, 2018

Amazing Painting: Gérôme - The Grey Eminence


Recently I was reminded of this quote by 19th Century Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich:

"A picture must not be invented but felt."

Today I'll share a painting from Jean-Léon Gérôme — "L'Eminence Grise" (The Grey Eminence) — that definitely does just that for me.


According to Wikipedia:  Gérôme (1824 – 1904) was a French painter and sculptor in the style now known as academicism. 

The range of his [works] included historical painting, Greek mythology, Orientalism, portraits, and other subjects, bringing the academic painting tradition to an artistic climax. 

He is considered one of the most important painters from this academic period. He was also a teacher with a long list of students. 


There is a lovely realism to the figures and environments that populate his pieces — but many of his paintings also "tell a story" — while often stirring impassioned feelings from art lovers throughout the years.

"The Grey Eminence" is certainly in that category.

Masterfully painted and composed - this image creates a stark contrast between the elegantly dressed gentlemen — all either ascending up an elegant staircase in an opulent setting — or gazing directly at the lone priest to the right — revealing a reverence and respect for him as he descends the stairs — seemingly oblivious to everything and everyone except his Bible.


Rather than trying to convey what this painting means to me — I'll let you draw your own conclusions about it.  

But I'll give just a hint:  I don't think this priest is completely worthy of their utter reverence....

Whether you agree or not I hope you'll enjoy looking at this amazing painting.

You'll find the entire image —  along with some cropped "details" from it below. 

*  Please see the additional note about this painting below 


Click on the first two images to see the larger views

Jean-Léon Gérôme - L'Eminence Grise - 1873

Detail — Color and pageantry of the men to the left

Detail of the priest to the right - This image is posted at its full resolution
Detail of the colorfully dressed guard to the left - Also looking directly at the priest
— This image is posted at its full resolution —

* Note (11-8-18):   I did a little research about this painting.  It turns out that Gérôme intended this painting to represent a historical figure.

The priest is none other than "François Leclerc du Tremblay (1577 – 1638), also known as Père Joseph, who was a French Capuchin friar.

He was the original éminence grise — the French term ("grey eminence") — for a powerful advisor or decision-maker who operates secretly or unofficially. 

(Leclerc is referred to in Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers as the character Father Joseph, a powerful associate of Richelieu and one to be feared.)

He became a WAR MINISTER, and, though maintaining a personal austerity of life, gave himself up to diplomacy and politics."

So it seems this was no ordinary "humble" priest descending the stairs — was a powerful man — pulling strings behind the scenes in government.


I hope you appreciate this awesome painting as much as I do.

Thanks for stopping by!

See you again soon!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Arizona Water Bird Photos


Recently I posted these photos on my photography blog — but have decided to post them here on my art blog as well.

I'll share the comments/text as written over there as well.

Hope you enjoy a few new boid pics.


I was going through some photo files looking for references for a painting I'm working on and found some photographs I'd never shared here.

There were taken with my much loved and trusty Canon EOS 5D Mark II — along with the latest Canon 100-400 II L Lens.

Let's start with this guy:

Snowy Egret - Copyright - Jephyr! - All Rights Reserved

^ ^ ^ After a bit of research on this handsome creature — I believe it is a Snowy Egret — which according to a Wikipedia entry on the Birds of Arizona is a wild bird seen frequently in the state.

This is definitely true in my experience — as I've seen these beautiful boids all around riparian preserves and lakes near my home in the Phoenix area.

This guy stood contentedly on that branch for as long as I was there — and I'm pretty sure I heard it say it was ready for its close-up.

: )

BTW — until I saw this photo on my computer screen I had no idea how BIG their feet are!!

Pelican Too - Copyright - Jephyr! - All Rights Reserved

 ^ ^ ^  Pelicans are also surprisingly found on lakes in the Phoenix desert

I think this is an American White Pelican - although with all the spots and color on it I'm not certain. .

I've been told Pelicans fly in from California — but are also listed in the Wikipedia entry on Birds of Arizona.

I love the texture on it's beak and it really comes out on this photo.

You can see the large version of this pic by clicking on it.

Evening Meal - Copyright - Jephyr! - All Rights Reserved

^ ^ ^  This charming little fellow — grabbing some supper — is a Black-Necked Stilt — also seen at a riparian preserve near my home.

These birds are called "waders" — and those long legs definitely give that away.

The late afternoon sun added some soft reflective light on the normally VERY white parts of this little bird's body.


Hope you enjoyed seeing deez boids as much as I do.

Thanks as always for stopping by!