Sunday, 31 July 2016

St Elizabeth of Hungary

Philip Hermogenes Calderon (1833–1898) St Elizabeth of Hungary's Great Act of Renunciation. 1891 (Tate)
He was an English painter of French birth (mother) and Spanish (father) ancestry who initially worked in the Pre-Raphaelite style before moving towards historical genre. He was Keeper of the Royal Academy in London.
Calderon was born in Poitiers, France. His father was a professor of Spanish literature and a former Roman Catholic priest who had converted to Anglicanism. Calderon planned to study engineering, but he became so interested in drawing technical figures and diagrams that he changed his mind and devoted his time to art. In 1850, he trained at Leigh's art school, London, then went to Paris to study under Picot in 1851. His first successful painting was called 'By the Waters of Babylon' (1853), which was followed by a much more popular one called 'Broken Vows' (1857). From the beginning he was inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites, and some of his work showed the detail, deep colours, and realistic forms that characterize the style.
Calderon became a leading member of the St John's Wood Clique, a group of artists interested in modern genre and historical subjects. Historical, biblical, and literary themes were common in Calderon's later work. Many of his pieces show female forms wearing rich, silky clothing in gently-coloured landscapes. His Morning (1884) features a copper-haired maiden watching a sunrise. His 'Juliet' (1896) shows Shakespeare's young heroine seated on her balcony gazing at the stars. His later paintings adopt more classical style, comparable to Edward Poynter.
Calderon served in The Artists Rifles in the 1860s.