"Old Master" (or "old master") refers to any painter of skill who worked in Europe before about 1800, or a painting by such an artist. An "old master print" is an original print (for example an engraving or etching) made by an artist in the same period. Likewise an "old master drawing".
In theory an Old Master should be an artist who was fully trained, was a Master of his local artists' guild, and worked independently, but in practice paintings considered to be produced by pupils or workshops will be included in the scope of the term. Therefore, beyond a certain level of competence, date rather than quality is the criterion for using the term.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the term often had a starting date of perhaps 1450 or 1470; paintings made before that were "primitives"; but this distinction is no longer made. The original OED from the beginning of the 20th century, defines the term as "a 'master' who lived before the period accounted 'modern', chiefly applied to painters from the 13th to the 16th or 17th century." Rather surprisingly, the first quotation they give is from a popular encyclopedia of 1840: "As a painter of animals, Edwin Landseer far surpasses any of the old masters". There are comparable terms in Dutch, French and German; the Dutch may have been the first to make use of the term, in the 18th century, when it mostly meant painters of the Dutch Golden Age of the previous century. Les Maitres d'autrefois of 1876 by Eugene Fromentin may have helped to popularize the concept, although "vieux maitres" is also used in French. The famous collection in Dresden at the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister is one of the few museums to include the term in its actual name, although many more use it in the title of departments or sections. The collection in the Dresden museum essentially stops at the Baroque period.
While most of my painting has involved two coats on a bedroom wall, I’ve studied and appreciated fine art for decades ... painting for $700,000 ... Museums used to be the primary purchasers of paintings by old masters…leading artists of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.
The international head of Christie’s Old Master drawings department, Stijn Alsteens, described the work as “small but magnificent.” ... Rider,” which sold for over US$11.2 million in 2001 — though the price tag fell well short of the current auction record for an Old Master drawing.
Wright painted it in 1768, when he was 34 ... A who's who of nine international conservators of European Old Master paintings, meeting at the Huntington in 2018, warned against letting the iconic Gainsborough travel, asserting the risk of potential structural damage to the fragile, 250-year-old canvas.
Wright painted it in 1768, when he was 34 ... A who’s who of nine international conservators of European Old Master paintings, meeting at the Huntington in 2018, warned against letting the iconic Gainsborough travel, asserting the risk of potential structural damage to the fragile, 250-year-old canvas.
As a Black artist creating at the height of the civil rights movement, Thompson had wrestled early on with expectations that he chronicle the daily African-American experience in his paintings ... “Don't ever look for your solutions from contemporaries—look at Old Masters.” ... “It feels like a manifesto painting of sorts.
The collection went for a total of £14,187,750 for 30 pieces collected over 50 years, showing the late businessman’s great love of equestrian painting and Irish art ... The deputy chairman of Old Master and British Paintings John Stainton and the head of Modern British and Irish ArtNicholas Orchard said the works rightly generated plenty of interest.
Boulder-based artist JuliaBright switched from painting primarily still lifes and started creating ocean scenes during the pandemic ... So, I decided to paint it ... I painted and sketched on the beach ... I use old master painting methods and materials, painting with hand-ground oil paints and mediums on hand-made archival birch panels.
The 2018 panel of conservators he cites met to study the painting’s condition and to recommend a course of conservation treatment for it ... These were individuals from pre-eminent North American museums, all having similar collections and extensive experience with Old Master paintings.
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Alex Bell, co-chairman worldwide of Sotheby’s Old Master paintings department, agreed with this sentiment when reflecting on the sale (and dragged away from the football) ... Edoardo Roberti, senior director of Old Master paintings, added ... But the Old Master market is not one where people think, oh that artist is hot right now, so I’ll sell my painting.
Tonight's evening auction at Christie's in London has probably renewed some faith in the Old Master paintings market after a fairly dire sale at Sotheby's last night ... for a record €3.6m (€4.3m with fees)—the most expensive Old Master painting ever sold at a German auction house.
Paintings, Politics and the Monuments Men...Eisenhower’s decision to bring 202 Old Masters paintings from Berlin’s state museums to the US, allegedly for safekeeping ... The operation was largely successful for a huge number of works, but Berlin’s finest Old Masters had a different fate.