Friday, 25 January 2013

Research - Franz Stuck

Franz Stuck (February 24, 1863 – August 30, 1928), ennobled as Franz Ritter von Stuck in 1906, was a German symbolist/Art Nouveau painter, sculptor, engraver, and architect.

Stuck was born at Tettenweis, in Bavaria. From an early age he displayed an affinity for drawing and caricature. To begin his artistic education he relocated in 1878 to Munich, where he would settle for life. From 1881 to 1885 Stuck attended the Munich Academy.

He first became well known by cartoons for Fliegende Blätter, and vignette designs for programmes and book decoration. In 1889 he exhibited his first paintings at the Munich Glass Palace, winning a gold medal for The Guardian of Paradise.

In 1892 Stuck co-founded the Munich Secession, and also executed his first sculpture, Athlete. The next year he won further acclaim with the critical and public success of what is now his most famous work, the painting The Sin. Also during 1893, Stuck was awarded a gold medal for painting at theWorld's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and was appointed to a royal professorship. In 1895 he began teaching painting at the Munich Academy.

In 1897 Stuck married an American widow, Mary Lindpainter, and began work designing his own residence and studio, the Villa Stuck. His designs for the villa included everything from layout to interior decorations; for his Furniture Stuck received another gold medal at the 1900 Paris World Exposition.

Some Examples of his work

Hunt 1899

Inferno 1908

                                                                                             The Lost Paradise 1897

Having attained much fame by this time, Stuck was ennobled on December 9, 1905 and would receive further public honours from around Europe during the remainder of his life. He continued to be well respected among young artists as professor at the Munich Academy, even after his artistic styles became unfashionable. Notable students of his over the years include Paul Klee, Hans Purrmann, Wassily Kadinsky, and Josef Albers.

Franz von Stuck died on August 30, 1928 in Munich; his funeral address memorialized him as "the last prince of art of Munich's great days". He is buried in the Munic Waldfriedhof next to his wife Mary.

The Sin 1893 Oil on canvas

Major Points
Stuck's subject matter was primarily from mythology, inspired by the work of Arnold Brocklin. Large forms dominate most of his paintings and indicate his proclivities for sculpture. His seductive female nudes are a prime example of popular Symbolist content. Stuck paid much attention to the frames for his paintings and generally designed them himself with such careful use of panels, gilt carving and inscriptions that the frames must be considered as an integral part of the overall piece.
For example his piece The Sin is a very striking and mood changing image. The composition is that of a woman draped in what appears to be dark fabric but on a closer look is that of a huge snake. The snake is staring at the viewer with a dangerous pose like it is about to strike yet we are drawn in by the beautiful woman. The snake’s body reveals her nude body in nearly the centre of the image giving the image of a temptress. Yet the lighting also hides her facial expression which further emphasis the nude form and gives the image mystery.
The contrast between the woman and snakes body plays a big part in the symbolism since it is light and dark which is a statement about good and evil. That the snake looks as if it is about to attack which would suggest danger or a threat. Mixed with the gentle and almost fragile looking woman with her clear white skin would symbolise goodness or beauty. It also has to be said that this symbolism could be representing the image of the snake in the Garden of Eden into tempting Eve to eating the forbidden fruit. A snake and the term forbidden fruit are euphemism for the male sexual organ and as well as the forbidden fruit being that of a woman's sexual organs. I felt this piece was a strong example of dark and light contrast and how many levels it can be taken to express deeper meanings and symbolism. 
Before starting this project I did not know much about the Symbolist painters or even the movement and a lot of this research is based on new discoveries creatively. I picked Franz Stuck because I felt his paintings portrayed very dark but beautiful moods and strong body language to suggest anguish and suffering. In a very realistic manner in an imagery setting his color palette is dark colors but they are so rich and vibrant and wild and add to the expressions of his figures. The type of mood palette I feel would be important and give inspiration to the type of work I want to create for this project.

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