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Free download - desktop wallpaper for September 2008
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About this month's picture
This month's picture shows 'Apollo' by Briton Rivière, RA (1840-1920). The scan, and the biographical information at the end of this article, are both sourced from an old book of 'famous paintings' published around 1910. 'Apollo' was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1874 and was presented to the Bury Gallery with the Wrigley Collection in 1899.
The following lines from Euripides' "Alcestis" appeared in the catalogue:
Deigned to become a shepherd in thine halls
And tune his lays along the woodland slopes
Whereat entranced the spotted lynxes came,
To mingle with thy flocks; from Othry's glen
Trooped tawny lions; e'en the dappled fawn
Forth from the shelter of her pinewood haunts
Tripped, to the music of the Sun-God's lyre."
"The half-nude figure of Apollo is leaning against a tree and playing a lyre. He is surrounded by lions, leopards, and other wild animals, while through the pine trees a herd of deer is seen approaching. There is no careless work done here; the animals are drawn with the utmost accuracy, and they are looking soothed, as they are supposed to be, by Apollo's music."
From "The Bury Art Gallery and the Wrigley Collection" by Archibald Sparke, Director of the Gallery, The Magazine of Art, 1904.
Photograph of Briton Rivière by W. & D. Downey
Bury Gallery still owns 'Apollo' today.
Briton Rivière was a well-respected painter of animals in the 19th century, specializing in mythological pictures combining animals and portraits of beautiful maidens.
"It was in 1858, when but eighteen years of age, that Mr. Briton Rivière first became known to the Academy public as an animal painter, for it was in that year he exhibited "Rest from Labour" and "Sheep on the Cotswolds." In the following year he was represented by "On the Road to Gloucester Fair," and he soon established a reputation that placed him among the leading animals painters of the British School. When he set out on his chosen career, Landseer was in his prime, and for many years afterwards that painter overshadowed all others who trod the same path in Art. The Landseer tradition, indeed, hampered animal painters long after Landseer himself had passed away, and it is only comparatively recently that its trammels have been shaken off, and artists have ventured to assert that animals can be painted without attributing to them semi-human qualities. It must be confessed that Briton Rivière on occasion erred in this respect, and thereby--confession must again be made--gained popular applause. He, however, secured a wider reputation by his work of a more sterling character, which proved him an animal painter of great range and skill.
Born in 1840, the son of William Rivière, at one time head of the drawing school at Cheltenham Collge, and afterwards teacher of drawing at Oxford University, Mr. Briton Rivière seemed to have inherited the inclination towards Art. His father competed in the scheme for the decoration of the Houses of Parliament, and his uncle was H.P. Rivière, the well-known watercolour painter, while his grandfather was a medallist of the Academy Schools and a frequent exhibitor at the Academy. Briton Rivière was a Graduate of Oxford University, becoming M.A. in 1873."
Comment by Gabi
Made 9/11/2008 4:09:54 PM