Oil pastel study after Hercules Brabazon Brabazon,1821-1906, the pink palace,Venice
The palaces in Venice have fascinated visual artists of all times. The city has attracted artists from all over the world. Such famous names like Canaletto, Turner,Ruskin,Monet and many more are associated with the image of the lagoon city. In general one would assume there is nothing to discover anymore, but maybe not…
I found a remarkable study of a pink palace in Venice in the Tate archive by an artist named Hercules Brabazon Brabazon The man must have had an interesting life as someone who lived “for art and sunshine” as a gentleman amateur, who denied to sell his work until he was in his mid-seventies. Obviously an enviable existence with considerable capabilities and enough cash to devote his life to the arts without depending on sales.
The gouache study of the pink palace impresses with the strong contrast between the dark framing by houses and posts in the foreground against the pink, pale facade of an old renaissance palace building. The ultramarine sky,shadows on the walls and the moving water surface add to the scenery of a sunny afternoon.
The digital archive of the British Museum holds a larger number of interesting works by Hercules Barbazon, who apparently had an admiration for JMW Turner. He paraphrased some of the very abstract sketches by Turner with hardly any solid form content but a fluid colour continuum (see this example of a Venice sketch). Turner seems to have been a very strong influence on Barbazon.
But Brabazon was capable also of very detailed and controlled drawing as the example of houses at Tivoli illustrates so well.