Pissarro evokes a pause from daily chores in his painting Two Women Chatting by the Sea, St. Thomas, 1856. The two women in the title are Afro-Caribbean islanders who have stopped to speak together on a path by the calm sea. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., conserves the painting by the artist born and raised on the island in the West Indies. The descriptive title of Winslow Homer's charcoal drawing Two Women and a Child at the Rail, Overlooking the Beach at Tynemouth serves the work well. The drawing in the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York, is from the artist's first trip to England in 1881. Gauguin's Two Breton Girls by the Sea was painted during the artist's sojourn in Brittany in 1889. Referring to 'two Breton girls' and not 'a pair of Breton girls' is in keeping with the precedent for titling works of Western art. The painting is conserved in the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo.
From Delacroix's journey to Tangier in 1832 is the watercolor Two Women at a Fountain in the collection of the Louvre Museum, Paris. Manet's pastel Two Women Drinking Beer, 1878, in the Burrell Collection, Glasgow, is an intimate composition of two women at a table in a Parisian café. John Singer Sargent's affinity for French Impressionism is seen in Two Girls with Parasols at Fladbury. The painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is from the artist's summer in England in 1889. Three centuries before in Italy, Agostino Carracci drew in pen and brown ink Landscape with Two Washerwomen, c.1580's, a pastoral scene in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
2. Two Benedictine Monks at Compline, 1984
Archabbey of St. Ottilien, Germany
Chalks on gray paper, 50 x 35 cm
Vatican Museum, Vatican City
The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., conserves Fra Bartolommeo's pen and brown ink drawing Two Friars on a Hillside. The two friars in their hooded cowls ascend a high hill in the countryside. Fra Bartolommeo, (1472-1517), a Florentine by birth, was a member of the Dominican Order, which as with the Franciscan Order began in the early thirteenth century. Dominican and Franciscan friars sought contact with society for ministering to the people whereas those who entered the older Monastic Orders sought a contemplative life behind monastery walls.
From the High Renaissance in Italy are Michelangelo's pen and ink drawing Two Standing Male Figures, Teylers Museum, Haarlem; and Raphael's Two Shepherds, a drawing in pen and ink in the Musée Bonnat, Bayonne. From the Baroque Age, Guercino's Two Men in Conversation, drawn in pen and brown ink, c.1630, Teylers Museum, is, as the title states, a depiction of two men in conversation.
The Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna, conserves Raphael's red chalk drawing from 1514 entitled Two kneeling Women and a Child. The artist made drawings in preparation for his celebrated frescoes in the Vatican. With chiaroscuro modeling, Raphael renders the young woman kneeling in the foreground of the drawing. The woman behind her turns and gazes into distant space while the child by her side lifts her hands in a gesture of prayer. The compositional drawing for The Fire in the Borgo, a locality near St. Peter's, is the subject of a fresco in the Stanza dell'Incendio in the Vatican.
Degas's oeuvre on the ballet includes Two Dancers in Green Skirts, Two Dancers in the Wings, Two Dancers on the Stage, Two Dancers Resting, and several drawings titled Two Dancers. In paintings and drawings by Degas, ballerinas wear pink, ballet slippers with the reinforced toe for dancing on point. It is customary to refer to "a pair of ballet slippers." It would be ludicrous to refer to "a pair of ballet dancers."
I was cordially invited by the Administration of the Paris Opéra in 1989 to draw the dance at the illustrious opera house. I drew at rehearsals in the dance studios, at dress rehearsals in the auditorium, and from the wings of the stage at performances. My choice of drawing medium for expressing movement is the graphite pencil. I drew étoiles, premier dancers, and sujets of the Paris Opéra Ballet, as well as dancers from the international companies invited to perform at the Paris Opéra. My drawings also depict members of the corps de ballet in performances as with Two Female Dancers, 1993, in the Paris Opéra Ballet's presentation of Giselle. The Romantic ballet, which had its world premiere at the Paris Opéra in 1841, was choreographed by Jean Corelli and Jules Perrot to the beautiful score by Adolphe Adam.
Bamfords Auctioneers, Derby, England, and LiveAuctioneers publish on their websites an image of my painting that Bamfords falsely titles 'A Pair of Clowns.' That is not the title of my painting. That is the title given by Bamfords. Furthermore, due to Bamfords undervaluing the painting for its auction in September 2019, the consignor took back the work before the auction closed. Several months later the consignor sold the painting in a private sale for a higher price than the value given by Bamfords. The consignor had inherited the painting from her uncle, an amiable Englishman and an avid collector of my artwork.
Titles of works of art can be general without reference to the number of persons in a composition. Sometimes, two, three, or several figures are identified with names in the title, such as with historic, religious, or mythological subject matter. Other times titles give the names of the individuals as in portrait paintings and drawings. However, for titles that specify two persons in a composition, it is correct, knowledgeable, and scholarly to use the word 'two.'
Titles of works of art are important for the identity and aesthetic value of a painting, drawing, print, or sculpture, as with titles of literary works, plays, and musical compositions. Authors, playwrights, and composers are decisive in selecting titles for their works. That is also true of artists.
Drawing is considered the foundation of the visual arts. Giorgio Vasari, sixteenth-century painter, architect of the Uffizi Gallery, and biographer of Lives of the Artists, first published in 1550, was an avid collector of drawings. In his Preface to the Lives, Vasari affirms that drawing, "disegno," is the animating principle of the creative process.
The acquisition includes Two Benedictine Monks at Compline, 1984, Archabbey of St. Ottilien, where I was invited by Archabbot Notker Wolf to draw on the occasion of the monastery's 100th anniversary. In a cordial letter to the Archabbot, the Director General of the Vatican Museum writes: "I am particularly grateful for the donation, proposed by you, of four portraits in chalk of monks of your abbey by the American painter Stanley Roseman.'' The drawing presented here depicts two Benedictine monks of different ages, each absorbed in prayer at Compline, the seventh of the canonical hours that concludes the daily round of communal prayer in choir.
In late sixteenth-century Venice, Tintoretto painted a canvas with head and shoulders portraits of two Apostles leaning towards each other as in conversation. Based on Leonardo's Last Supper, the painting by Tintoretto in the Barnes Collection, Philadelphia, is titled Two Apostles. Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, born in Venice in 1696, had a large workshop fulfilling commissions painted on a grand scale. Tiepolo's drawings include Two Young Men in Roman Uniform. Rendered in pen and bistre wash over pencil, the two young men stand side by side in the drawing conserved in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Art in eighteenth-century France was "strongly identified with the world of the theatre" ("profondément marqués par l'univers du theatre.") Artists depicted actors, dancers, singers, musicians, and characters of the commedia dell'arte. The popular improvisational theatre originated in sixteenth-century Italy and in the following centuries assimilated into the performing arts in France. Watteau featured the players of the commedia dell'arte in a number of his paintings and drawings. In the artist's red chalk drawing Two Men Standing both figures are identified as the amorous valet Mezzetin, wearing a short cape, blowsy knickers, and wide beret. The drawing, dated c.1717, is in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.
I draw often in the medium of chalk, as with my drawings on the monastic life. I am deeply appreciative to the Keeper of Western Art at the Ashmolean Museum, Dr. Kenneth J. Garlick, whose acquisitions in the early years of my travels to monasteries were of great encouragement to me. The eminent curator acquired in 1979 my portrait of a Polish Benedictine monk Brother Abraham, 1978, Tyniec Abbey, near Krakow. The second acquisition was A Carthusiam Monk asleep in his Cell, 1982, Chartreuse de la Valsainte, Switzerland. Dr. Garlick graciously invited me and Ronald Davis, who had introduced my work to the Ashmolean, for a luncheon at Balliol College, the Keeper's alma mater. We enjoyed a very pleasant lunch with conversation centered on drawing. Dr. Garlick expressed enthusiasm for the scope of my work on the monastic life and my concentration on portraits and figures in chalks.
A diversity of subjects and medium in drawings in the nineteenth century includes the drawing by Géricault Two Warriors rendered in pen and ink. The depiction of the muscular, central figure with face in profile and wearing a helmet contrasts with the second figure in a tunic and wearing a Phrygian cap, a symbol of liberty. The drawing dates from c.1812-1816 and is in the collection of the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen, the city of the Gericault's birth. Van Gogh painted and drew a number of compositions depicting a lone sower working in the field. The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, conserves the artist's pencil drawing Two Sowers, c.1882. Monet drew Two Men Fishing, c.1883. The composition, with each man in a rowboat, is rendered in black crayon on scratch board, that is, paper coated with gesso. The drawing is conserved in the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Bamfords, under the directorship of James Lewis, undervalued the painting in disregard of the critical acclaim and superlative reviews of my work. The New York Times titled its review of my Circus paintings "Spirit of the Clown" with the subtitle "Paintings by Stanley Roseman glow with a shiny dignity." The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, conserves my portrait painting of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus clown George, 1976, and a portfolio of my drypoint engravings of the Circus clowns. The British Museum, London; and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford University, also conserve my artwork. The Times, London, published a superlative review of my work on the Monastic Life.
Additional compositions of two women include Gauguin's oil on canvas Two Tahitian Women, 1899, Metropolitan Museum, New York; Constantin Guys,' pencil, ink, and wash drawing Two Spanish Women on a Balcony, c.1845-1847, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris; Berthe Morisot's pencil drawing Two Girls Writing at a Table, c.1890, Private collection; and Toulouse-Lautrec's painting Two Waltzers at the Moulin Rouge, 1892, in the National Gallery, Prague.
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo painted Two Men in Oriental Costume, c.1757. The oil on panel portrayal of two bearded men splendidly clothed in robes and headdresses is conserved in the National Gallery, London. Watteau's drawings of military subjects include Two Recruits, c.1715, red chalk, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven. The two recruits in military attire are carrying backpacks, belted swords, bayonets, and slung rifles over their shoulders. Watteau drew Two Soldiers, c.1709-10, red chalk, private collection. The artist is said to have drawn the two soldiers in his hometown of Valenciennes in northern France. Daumier's painting from 1848 in the Musée de Beaux-Arts, Lyon, is a depiction of two lawyers in black hats and robes and with serious expressions on their faces. The painting is titled Two Lawyers.
5. Two Benedictine Monks at Lauds, 1999
Elmore Abbey, England
Chalks on gray paper, 50 x 35 cm
Private collection, Switzerland
My work on the Monastic Life comprises the Benedictine, Cistercian, Trappist, and Carthusian Orders, the four monastic orders of the Western Church. In 1979 Ronald Davis and I made our first sojourn at the Abbey of La Trappe, in Normandy, which gives its name to the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, also known as the Trappist Order. We returned to the monastery through the years. Resuming my work in 2002, I again accompanied the monks to draw them at the daytime offices and at Vigils in the night. That Christmas I presented Ronald with a gift of my drawing Two Trappist Monks at Vigils, 2002.
Rubens depicted the musculature of the male figure in a number of drawings. The artist's red chalk drawing Two Male Nudes is in the collection of the Louvre. The Rodin Museum, Paris, conserves the sculptor's drawing Two Women Embracing. Rendered in pencil, watercolour, and gouache, one nude has her hair in a bun; the other is partially draped in diaphanous blue material. Both drawings would lose their intimacy with the viewer if mistitled "A Pair of Male Nudes'' or "A Pair of Women Embracing.''
Drawings on paper prepared with a colored ground came into use in fifteenth-century Renaissance Italy. Carpaccio's Two Youths, in the British Museum, is rendered in brush and brown pigment with white heightening on blue paper. Raphael's Two Guardsmen, c.1503, in silverpoint on gray grounded paper, is conserved in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Blue paper was favored by Dutch draughtsmen in the seventeenth century, including Joris van der Haagen mentioned above and Sir Peter Lely, (born Pieter van der Faes), portrait painter at the English court. His drawing Two Heralds in black and white chalk on blue paper is in the collection of the Albertina. Again, it is obvious that the phrase "A Pair of. . .'' would sound inappropriate and contradict centuries of titling works of art.
I drew the two monks at Lauds in black, white, and bistre chalks on gray paper. The monk in the foreground stands with head inclined in a humble gesture of prayer. In contrast, the taller, younger monk stands erect facing the altar. I composed the drawing to express the spirituality of two men of different ages, each absorbed in prayer at the Divine Office.
The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., acquired in 1981 my drawing Two Monks Bowing, 1979, black and bistre chalk on beige paper, Abbey of Solesmes, along the Sarthe River in western France. I drew the Benedictine monks when the Community gathered in choir to pray and chant the Psalms at the daytime offices and at Vigils in the night. The Abbey of Solesemes is renowned for the study and restoration of Gregorian chant, which has its origins in the singing of the Psalms in ancient Jewish liturgical worship in the Temple and the Synagogue. Psalmody is the foundation of the Divine Office, which is central to the monastic life. (See the drawing on "Stanley Roseman Biography.'')
1. Giorgio Vasari, The Lives of the Artists, (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1965), pp. 1, 13, 25.
2. Les Arts du Théâtre de Watteau à Fragonard, Exhibition catalogue by Marianne R. Michel and Daniel Rabreau. (Bordeaux: Musée des Beaux-Arts, 1980), p. 43.
3. Joseph Meder, The Mastery of Drawing, (New York, New York : Abaris, 1978), p. 98.
4. French Master Drawings from the Rouen Museum, Exhibition catalogue by Pierre Rosenberg and François Bergot, (International Exhibition Foundation, 1981), p. 34.
5. Stanley Roseman - Dessins sur la Danse à l'Opéra de Paris - Drawings on the Dance at the Paris
Opéra (Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 1996), (text in French and English), p. 11.
6. "Early Medieval Music,'' New Oxford History of Music, ed. Dom Anselm Hughes, (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1954), Vol. II, pp. 1, 93, 94.