William Mulready (1786-1863); Nude Academic Studies (19th Century Book Plates)

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Portrait of the Artist
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A Seller on one of the European eBay sites has apparently pulled several book plates from a 19th century publication and has listed them for sale. Although not original works, they do illustrate the fine artistic hand of Irish genre painter William Mulready (1786-1863). Mulready is best known for his romanticized paintings of 19th century rural scenes. He was educated in London and was taught painting skills that allowed him to be admitted to the Royal Academy School at the age of fourteen, quite an accomplishment. From around 1808 he started building a reputation as a genre painter of rural scenes. He also illustrated books. With his romanticism his works were very popular during the Victorian era. In 1815 he became an Associate of the Royal Academy.
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Unknown Artist - German School: Standing Male Nude (1880-1900)

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Last night I bought this nicely executed male nude from a seller on eBay Germany. It is unsigned but dates from the 1880-1900 time period. The seller listed it simply as "pencil drawing from life."
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Johann Sperl (1840-1914): Early Academic Nudes


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Portrait of the artist (above)
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A seller on eBay Austria has listed a nicely executed series of early works by the German artist Johann Sperl (1840-1914) at what has to be prices on the "very dear" level. He trained early on as a lithographer and colorist. In the winter of 1858-59 he attended drawing classes at the Nurnberger Kunstgewerbeschule under August von Kreling, a versatile history painter and sculptor. It was during this time that Sperl met the painters Rudolf Hirth du Frenes and Theodor Alt and in 1865 the three artists became members of the Leibl-Circle in Munich. Sperl later became director of the Lithographic Institution in 1863. In the spring of 1865 he joined the painting classes of history painter Hermann Anschutz at the Munich Academy. He also studied under Karl von Piloty, a well known history painter, and in 1866, under Arthur von Ramberg.
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Here is a sampling of his mature genre paintings:
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Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) Wood Block Print: David At The Decisive Moment

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I realize this is not a nude but still it is a beautiful late 19th century-early 20th century figurative composition and the depiction of the subject matter is something I have seldom seen. The auction listing simply describes it as "Jugendstil Bilderrahmen mit Holzschnitt J√ľngling" but to my eye it is a depiction of Biblical David standing at that monumental moment of decision, patiently waiting for the opportune moment to strike. Most depictions of David (good versus evil) show a triumphant youth standing over the severed head of Goliath but here we have a lone youth, vulnerable, yet powerful in that contemplative moment of decision. The composition is full of movement yet the central figure is calm, cool, and collected in his self-assurance of his coming victory.


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Workshop of Bartholomeo Schedoni (1578-1615): Two Variations of "Young St. John"

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Hampel Fine Art Auctions, Munich has also listed these two religious studies of the Young St. John attributed to the circle of Bartholomeo Schedoni (1678-1615) in their current auction catalog. One of these days I am going to collect all the illustrations of the "Young St. John" I have collected from various sources over the years and post them. I think you will be surprised at the number of ways a nude boy can be posed as the young saint.
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18th Century Italian Painter: Adonis

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Hampel Fine Art Auctions, Munich, DE has recently listed this nicely executed male figure study titled "Adonis" in their current auction catalog. The attribution is simply listed as "18th Century Italian Painter." It really is a beautiful study of the male physique in oils on canvas.
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Anonymous German Artist: Standing Male Nude - "Enlightenment"

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Kunsthandel Norbert Thiel, Berlin has recently listed this nice unsigned, but dated 1900, color pencil drawing of a standing male nude with the pine cone topped staff symbolic of "enlightenment" on eBay Germany. The pine cone has been used throughout history as a symbolic representation of human enlightenment.
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Unknown 19th Century French School: Female Nude

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A seller on eBay France has recently posted this nice late 19th century French School painting of a female nude. If I hadn't broken the bank on that last male nude painting I just bought I would make a stab at trying to own it.
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Arthur Paunzen (1890-1940): Male Nude

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A few minutes ago I picked up this beautiful male nude by Austrian artist Arthur Paunzen (1890-1940) on eBay Austria. Last week I programmed an automatic bid, forgot about it, and fortunately guessed correctly as to the amount it would take to bring it home. Paunzen was born into the "fin de siecle" Vienna where he studied under Ludwig Koch. Later he studied at the Academie Julian under Jean Pierre Laurens. He later traveled to Italy where he continued his studies of art and architecture. Paunzen created a number of artworks that make a bold (for the time) effort to convey music as images. Many of his pieces were collected by the British Museum, the Stockholm Engraving Collection, and the Albertina Museum in Vienna. When Hitler came to power in 1938, Paunzen fled to Great Britain. Tragically he died in 1940 in the Central Internment Camp, Douglas, on the Isle of Man  after the British government interned all German and Austrian citizens, including jews who had fled Nazi oppression. (Don't forget the British invented the Concentration Camp in South Africa and the Germans perfected the idea). What the Nazi's couldn't do, the British managed to accomplish in short order.
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Here is a small sample of his works:
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