Gustave Guillaumet

Evening prayer in the sahara by Gustave Guillaumet
Evening Prayer in the Sahara by Gustave Guillaumet

Evening Prayer in the Sahara is one of my favorite Orientalist paintings. I love the way Gustave Guillaumet captured the serenity and inherent introspection of the desert and combined it with what is a common occurrence of Muslims praying, and yet it transcends its subject matter to give us a portrait of man’s communion with his god.

Gustave Guillaumet was a french artist born in 1840 and became a student of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1861 he tried for the famous Prix de Rome, a contest of historical painting where the winner would be able to go study in Rome for three to five years at the king’s or the government’s expense, but his painting didn’t win. The next year he was on a trip to Rome by himself and suddenly changed his mind and sailed across the Mediterranean to Algeria in north Africa. He would go on to make this trip ten more times in his life.

TheSahara by Gustave Guillaumet
The Sahara by Gustave Guillaumet

Guillaumet chose subject matter that was not as exotic as some other Orientalists and focused on scenes that were closer to the character of the desert. In The Sahara, we see the dessicated corpse of a camel that is slowly becoming part of the desert, and far off in the distance the hint of a caravan just cresting the horizon.

Mountains in North Africa, with a Bedouin Camp by Gustave Guillaumet
Mountains in North Africa, with a Bedouin Camp by Gustave Guillaumet

In this sketch of a painting I love how he was able to capture the sense of light and atmosphere even though it was painted very quickly with thick paint. It is not dated so we don’t know exactly when it was painted, but it shows his passion for north Africa and the people who lived there.

Get Expert Advice on Figure Painting and Landscapes

What sounds like an awesome workshop to teach the academic approach to figure painting and the methods of landscape painting is coming up in August. It will feature some of the best teachers and artists from the top three academies in the world. The workshop is being hosted by The Center for Academic Study and Naturalist Painting, an atelier founded by Ryan S. Brown in Springville, Utah.

It will run for four weeks and the prices sound reasonable for such concentrated learning.

Ryan’s painting A Painters Inspiration is also down at the Spring Salon at the Springville Museum right now. You can see a preview of it on his website but you really should see it in person. It is monumental and worth taking the drive!

Workshop details

Ryan S Brown Art

The Academic Process Videos from the Angel Academy

Michael John Angel founder of the Angel Academy of Art in Florence, Italy made a three part series of videos talking about how the academic schools work and the process it takes to become a realist painter.

In part two he has an overview of the process of doing a Bargue drawing, and drawing from a cast. He also briefly goes over cast and figure painting.

I saw the first two a while back and have been waiting for the third part which is now out. It talks about still life and the techniques of oil painting.

I hope you enjoy them!