Dictionary of Art and Artists  
Dictionary of Photographers  
Dictionary of Writers and Philosophers  

Dictionary of

Art  &  Artist

- P -


Paalen-Perugino Peruzzi-Piola Piranesi-Post Pourbus-Puvis

Pourbus II the Younger  Frans (b Antwerp, autumn 1569; d Paris, bur 19 Feb 1622). Painter, son of Frans Pourbus . It is likely that he trained in his grandfather’s studio in Bruges. He became a master in the Antwerp Guild of St Luke in 1591. Frans the younger followed the family tradition and executed portraits, portrait groups and, occasionally, religious subjects. From c. 1594 he was in Brussels and c. 1599 spent a year working at the court of the Archdukes Albert and Isabella. His early work, for instance the portrait of Petrus Ricardus (1592; Bruges, Groeningemus.), was close to the smooth and brilliant style of his grandfather but was also influenced by the realism of Adriaen Key. One work that can be related to his work for the Brussels court is a gouache copy of a portrait of Archduchess Isabella, inscribed AUTOGRAPH. APUD PICTOREM CELEBREM F. PORBUS, AD VIVUM DEPICT (Paris, Bib. N.). In September 1599 Vincenzo Gonzaga I, 4th Duke of Mantua, was in Brussels and appointed Frans the younger his chief portrait painter. Frans left for Mantua in 1600 (where Rubens was also working); he is recorded as having executed a number of portraits of the ducal family, but this did not preclude his working for other important patrons: Emperor Rudolf II was considering marriage and Pourbus travelled to Innsbruck (1603) and Graz (1604) to paint portraits of prospective brides (e.g. Archduchess Eleonore, 1604; Vienna, Ksthist. Mus.). Vincenzo Gonzaga’s son Francesco despatched Pourbus to Turin on the same errand, and Pourbus painted the daughters of Charles-Emanuel I, 11th Duke of Savoy (in 1608 Francesco married Margaret of Savoy). In 1606 Pourbus travelled to Paris to record the French royal family on the occasion of the Dauphin’s baptism for his aunt and godmother, Duchess Eleonora Gonzaga. The following year Pourbus was in Naples, whence he advised the Duke of Mantua to purchase Caravaggio’s Judith Beheading Holofernes (Rome, Barberini) and the Madonna of the Rosary (1606/7; Vienna, Ksthist. Mus.).

Poussin Nicolas (1594—1665). The most important French painter of the 17th с. Не settled in Rome after 1624 having lived in Paris in great poverty, returned in 1640 at the command of the king and Cardinal Richelieu as superintendent of the Academy but in 1642 left again for Rome. He led the life of an artist-philosopher, painting and meditating amongst the Roman ruins and hills. His work became the embodiment of French classicism. Held in great esteem by his contemporaries, when asked about his method, he once remarked in a letter 'I am forced by my nature towards the orderly.' The greatness of P. lies in his relentless search after perfection, the seeking of solutions to problems of his own making and shunning easy success. His historical 'machines' constructed with great deliberation and after much experimentation with models, became the prototypes of the academic history picture. P. absorbed many influences in his work. In composition and the sculpturesque treatment of his figures Mantegna and Raphael were his masters, but even mythological subjects such as the Dresden Flora were seen and treated as part of life, seen with the eyes of modern man. A slow and gradual evolution can be traced in his work. The Massacre of the Innocents is one of the earliest still Baroque compositions of the Roman period. From 1630 onwards his preoccupation with mythological subjects became marked and he became increasingly concerned with the study of nudes, as in the Bacchanals. The discovery of Titian and the study ot antique cameos had a decisive influence on these paintings.
From 1638 P. entered a highly creative and inspired phase. The classical influence is paramount and can be seen in the Bacchanal and the Triumph of Pan. Here the unity of an ideal art and the fullness of life arc completely realized. After 1648 biblical subjects became the theme of a series of great history paintings. Landscape gains increasingly in importance and his brush drawings and pen and wash studies of sunsets and the morning in the Campagna are some of his greatest and most lasting achievements. The feeling of stillness of poetry lifts the subject of Landscape with a Snake into the world of dreams constructed by a philosopher of vision. P.'s influence on most French painters from David to Cezanne has been immense.

Poussinisme. *Rubenisme

Poynton Deborah. Kitsch.

Pozzo Fra Andrea (1642-1709). Italian painter, art historian and architect; after becoming a |esiiit he produced much decorative religious work in Genoa which was inspired by Rubens. P.'s accomplished *trompe l'ail effects can be seen in churches in Turin, Arezzo and Modena. He also built Laibach cathedral (1708) and the Univ. church in Vienna. His treatise Perspectiva Pictorun (1693—8) was extremely influential throughout Europe.

Praesens Group. Polish group of artists and architects, active in Warsaw in 1926–39. Its members included the painters and sculptors J. Golus, Katarzyna Kobro, K. Krynski, Maria Nicz-Borowiak (1896–1944), Kazimierz Podsadecki (1904–70), Andrzej Pronaszko (1888–1961), Zbigniew Pronaszko, Henryk Stazewski, Wladyslaw Strzeminski and Romuald Kamil Witkowski (1876–1950), and the architects Stanislaw Brukalski (b 1894), B. Elkonnen, Bohdan Lachert, J. Malinowski, Szymon Syrkus and Józef Szanajca. Following the dissolution of the BLOCK GROUP almost all its members, with the exception of Miecyslaw Szczuka and Teresa Zarnower (d after 1945), whose strongly held political views had precipitated the break-up, joined Praesens. The group arose from an initiative on the part of Syrkus. Although invariably associated with the history of Polish Constructivism, the group was perceived by the artists, calling themselves ‘modernists’, as having a somewhat different orientation from that of Block. Although more prolific in terms of the range and number of exhibitions, Praesens was never as intensively active as the short-lived Block group.

Prague, school of. Bohemian school of painting which flourished in the 2nd half of the 14th c. at the court of the Emperor Charles IV of Prague. He encouraged artists from Germany, France and Italy to work for him and a Realistic style of painting was developed influenced by both the soft style and the work of Ciotto. Chief representatives of the school were Theodoric of Prague and the Masters of Hohenfurth and Wittingau.

Prandtauer Jakob (1660-1726)

Praxiteles. Creek sculptor of the mid-4th c. BC Copies of his figures of young gods and goddesses survive, notably those of the famous
Cnidian Aphrodite (at Munich and in the Vatican). P.'s style has soft contours and supple, almost languorous treatment of the human figure; he was a forerunner of  Hellenistic art. He was also an innovator in portraying Aphrodite and other divine figures in the nude.

Praz Mario (1896— 19S2). Italian writer on English Romantic literature, and a connoisseur of the arts. After studies in Italy and Britain he became Professor of Italian Studies at Manchester Univ., but returned to Italy in 1934 to become Professor of English Language and Literature at the Univ. of Rome, where he was Professor Emeritus from 1966 to his death. The most celebrated of his many books include The Romantic Agony (1930) and The House of Life (1st It. pub. 1958).

Precisionism. *Cubist- and *Magic Realism

Precisionism. Term applied from the 1920s to painting that was sharply defined, with geometric forms and flat planes. It originated in critical writings of the 1920s that discussed the precision of the images. Precisionists were not an organized society but rather artists who shared a common aesthetic.

Pre-Columbian art. The term refers to all forms of art (architecture, sculpture, pottery, metalwork, weaving, etc.) of all the successive Indian civilizations of Central America up to the tune of the Spanish Conquest at the beginning of the 16th c, which completely destroyed them. Archaeological rediscovery of these cultures began in the 19th c. At the time of the Conquest the main civilizations were the Aztec, centred on the Valley of Mexico, the Maya in the Yucatan Peninsula, and the Inca, who held sway from the Andean Highlands down to the Peruvian coast. But the Aztec and Inca civilizations were late developments in the area compared to the antiquity ot the Mayan. The Maya were remarkable for their advanced knowledge of astronomy and their invention ot a method of recording dates and the names of gods, as well as for their remarkable stone temples built on top of high pyramids. Among the earliest monuments are the enormous pyramid temples of Teotihuacan in Central Mexico. Large stone statues and stelae abound throughout the entire area. Quantities of *cire perdue gold ornaments survive, particularly in Colombia and the Andean Highlands. The range of pottery is vast; among the most famous is that of Michica and Nasca found m Peru. The many examples of weaving are the finest in the world.

Pre-Raphaelites. A group of 7 young British painters and sculptors, D. G. Rossetti, *Millais, *Hunt, T. Woolner, W. M. Rossetti, J. Collinson and F. G. Stephens. They wished to revive in British painting the purity of art before Raphael and hoped to achieve their aim by clarity of colour and line, and simple not grandiose subjects. Their realistic treatment of biblical subjects provoked indignation, but they were defended by *Ruskin. They remained as a group from 1848 to the early 1850s, sometimes signing their work with the initials P.R.Fj. (Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood) but despite its short life (their periodical The Germ went to only 4 numbers), the movement affected several succeeding painters, e.g. Ford Madox *Brown.

Preti Mattia (also called 'II Calabrese') (1613-99). Italian painter and pupil of *Guercino. He gained a reputation as a decorative artist, painting religious scenes in several churches in Rome in 1657, then in the Carthusian chapel in Naples, and also frescoes for the cathedral at Valletta, Malta.

Previati Gaetano
(b Ferrara, 31 Aug 1852; d Lavagna, 21 June 1920). Italian painter and writer. He was one of the leading exponents of Divisionism, particularly skilled at large-scale decorative schemes, and especially important for his writings on technique and theory.

Primaticcio Francesco (1504—70). Italian artist from Bologna, often called 'II Bologna', or, in France, 'Le Primatice'. P. was the leader of the 1st school of *Fontainebleau after the death of *Rosso Fiorentino. He worked on the Palazzo del Те, Mantua, under Giulio Romano and developed a *Mannerist style influenced above-all by Parmigianino. He was invited to Fontainebleau by Francis I in 1532 and assisted Rosso on the decorations of the Galene Francois I. His greatest work, executed with Niccolo dell' *Abbate, the decorations of the Galene d'Ulysse, was destroyed, as were most of his large decorative schemes at Fontainebleau. An exception is the Chambre de la Duchesse d'Etampes (1541-3). Here the flamboyant decorative style of the 1st school of Fontainebleau is found in its fullest phase. P.'s talent as a draughtsman can be seen in the drawings for the decorations preserved m the Louvre. Ulysses and Penelope is a good example of his Mannerist style in painting. P. was also a sculptor and architect, but little of this work remains.

Primitive art. The term refers to the art of 'primitive' peoples, i.e. peoples considered to have a comparatively low standard of technological development by Western standards, and should be distinguished from the art of the *primitives. In the early 20th c, P. a., particularly from Africa and Oceania, began to have a profound influence on Western painting and sculpture (*Cubism, *Picasso) which still continued later (*Lipchitz, *Moore). *Outsider art.

Primitives. Name given to certain artists, usually self-taught, whose technique is by academic standards gauche, and whose work is sometimes naive in approach and vision. Despite these 'shortcomings' the work of such great p.s as 'Le Douanier' *Rousseau has great power and inventiveness.

Prisme d’Yeux [Fr.: ‘prism of eyes’]. Canadian group of painters founded in 1948, largely on the initiative of Alfred Pellan, to counteract the rising influence of LES AUTOMATISTES and active for about 18 months. Participants in the group’s first exhibition (Montreal, Mus. F.A., 1948) ranged from disciples of Pellan such as Léon Bellefleur (b 1910) and Albert Dumouchel to more conservative artists such as Goodridge Roberts and Gordon Webber (1909–65)

Procaccini Giulio Cesare (b Bologna, 30 May 1574; d Milan, 14 Nov 1625). Painter and sculptor, son of Ercole Procaccini. Having moved to Milan with the rest of the family in the mid-1580s, he trained as a sculptor, perhaps in the workshop of Francesco Brambilla, and then worked (1591–9) for the workshop of Milan Cathedral. The results of this work are difficult to identify, and the most secure attribution is the left term on the altar of St Joseph. There followed a period (1597–1602) of intense sculptural activity for the church of S Maria presso S Celso, for the façade of which he executed two high reliefs in marble, the Visitation and Birth of the Virgin (both in situ). In 1597 he may have accompanied his brother Camillo to Reggio Emilia, where Camillo added to his earlier fresco decorations for S Prospero. Between 1597 and 1600 Giulio Cesare is documented as working as a sculptor for Cremona Cathedral, to which two sculptures, St Matthew and St John, were delivered, after many delays, in 1625. He also produced the gilded wood Guardian Angel (1597; Cremona, Mus. Civ. Ala Ponzone) for S Monica, Cremona. From Cremona he travelled to Parma, where he studied the works of Correggio, Parmigianino and Girolamo Mazzola Bedoli, which had a significant impact on the style of his early paintings.

Process art. Trend of the mid-1960s and 1970s, employing materials of all kinds — grass, felt, fin, yeast, coal, etc. Forms tend to be organic and amorphous and, unlike the stable structures of *Minimal art, often impermanent; the emphasis is on the actual processes of making or assembling — stacking, smearing, draping. Graphics include the multiple xeroxing of a blank sheet of paper and its subsequent images — a process which produces a growing density of texture. Whatever the process, once decided it is systematically applied to evolve works. Among the artists associated with P. a. are the Americans R. *Serra, R. *Morris and L. Wiener.

Process art.

Form of art prevalent in the mid-1960s and 1970s in which the process of a work’s creation is presented as its subject. The term is of broad reference, encompassing in particular aspects of Minimalism, Post-Minimalism and performance art, but in its narrowest sense it refers primarily to the work of American sculptors such as Richard Serra, Robert Morris, Barry Le Va (b 1941), Keith Sonnier (b 1941) and Eva Hesse. The seeds of process art were in action painting: the drip paintings of Jackson Pollock, for example, clearly conveyed to the viewer the creative process that lay behind them, further emphasized by the publication of numerous photographs and films showing Pollock at work. These earlier paintings, however, were intended to be seen as expressive of the artist’s psyche, with the stripping bare of the creative process merely as a by-product of the artist’s ingrained individualism and reliance on his or her emotions.

Profil perdu (Fr. lost profile). Term used in describe the head when turned so far from the spectator that the profile of the face is lost and only the outline of the cheek is seen.

Proletkult. Soviet administrative body con cerned with the arts, founded in 1906 by pre-Revolutionaries and made effective in 1917 with the Bolshevik Revolution. In its early yeais P. was associated with the experimentalism of Russian avant-garde — above all, the attempts 10 unite art and industry. In 1932, in common with all other artistic bodies, P. was incorporated into the Union of Artists. *Vkhutemas.

Proletkul’t [from Rus. Proletarskaya kul’tura: ‘proletarian culture’].

Russian mass cultural and educational organization dealing with amateur activity in various forms of art and study for the proletariat. It was founded in Petrograd (now St Petersburg) in September 1917. By the early 1920s it had around 150 sections, with up to 400,000 members, and it published over 20 magazines. The theorists behind Proletkul’t included Aleksandr Bogdanov, Pavel Lebedev-Polyansky (1881/2–1948) and V. F. Pletnyov, who affirmed the dominant role and separate nature of ‘proletarian culture’ and rejected cultural heritage. Members of Proletkul’t incorporated in their work a complex of sociological dogma mixed with fanatical political ideas and often with downright demagogy. The Bolshevik government subjected Proletkul’t to severe criticism both for its aggressively limited approach and for its ideological dissension from party policy. From the end of 1920 Proletkul’t was mainly occupied with study and teaching programmes, bringing in well-known artists such as Pavel Kuznetsov and Sergey Konyonkov to teach in its studios. With time, the organization’s efforts in the sphere of fine art tended more towards design. By the second half of the 1920s Proletkul’t had lost its mass character, and in 1932 it was abolished along with other artistic organizations. From the start, Proletkul’t’s tendency towards a mass approach and democracy in art was a distorted version of the concept of ‘proletarian exclusivity’; it was marked by intolerance and regimented thinking.

Prud'hon Pierre-Paul (1758—1823). Freiuli painter and designer. He admired the works of Correggio in Rome (1781—7) and, in the age of David, developed a softly modelled, emotionally Romantic style. His portraits of the Empress Josephine and those of his pupil Mlle Constance Mayer, to whom he was deeply attached, are among his most charming works. He also executed large decorative compositions, e.g. Crime Pursued by Vengeance and Justice. In a Neoclassical idiom he designed the furniture and decor for the bridal suite of the Empress Marie-Louise.

Psychedelic art. Style of art of the mid-1960s associated with the underground sub-culture. In general it aims to represent, primarily through vivid colours in organic shapes, the hallucinatory experiences induced by drugs, or to provide objects of contemplation while under drugs. Besides painting Psychedelic artists produce light-shows and multi-media presentations.

Psychedelic art. Term used to describe art, usually painting, made under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs. It was particularly identified with the early 1960s, when the use of such drugs was at its height. Various artists, mostly in isolation, took ‘mind-expanding’ drugs such as peyote and more especially LSD (lysergide) to heighten their awareness and enlarge their mental vision with images. The mental state of the person who took the ‘trip’ (a mental state not necessarily known to that person) determined whether the experience was favourable and enjoyable or frightening and liable to lead to psychosis; thus the creators of psychedelic art did not know what type of work or what specific images would be produced under the influence of the drugs, until the ‘trip’ had ended and the effects of the drug had worn off. With no particular philosophy other than an interest in seeing what might be produced, and with no attempt by its creators to band together for the purpose of exhibiting, psychedelic art died out by the end of the 1960s, particularly as the negative properties of hallucinogenic drugs became known. An example of psychedelic art is the poster style of painting associated with hippie culture, especially in San Francisco, CA, in the late 1960s. This painting is characterized by sinuous patterns, the use of erotic imagery and by ‘day-glo’ fluorescent colours, whose anti-naturalistic shades could be seen as a reference to the changing states of consciousness induced by drugs.

Pucelle Jean ( fl c. 1319–34). French illuminator. He is a controversial figure in 14th-century manuscript painting since his individual role in works attributed to him and his circle has not yet been fully defined. The manuscripts associated with him, however, are among the most important produced in this period, displaying an innovative approach to three-dimensional space, derived from Italian painting. This is thought to have been influential in manuscript and monumental painting, applied arts and sculpture.

Pueblo culture. North American Indian culture, successor of the ancient Anasazi people; its principal surviving representatives are the Hopi and Zuni peoples in the S.W. of the U.S.A. The name derives from the Spanish pueblo, 'village', and the culture is noted for remarkable multistoreyed townships, excavated from and built into lofty cliff faces, constructed с AD 1000— 1300. Adobe is the principal building material. From an early date P. с subterranean sanctuaries, kivas, were decorated with wall paintings. Kachinas, spirits of the life forces, played a major part in ritual and were impersonated by male dancers; cottonwood kachina dolls, elaborately costumed like the dancers, were made and are still produced by Hopi craftsmen. Sand-painting is used in religious healing rites, patterns being made on the swept sand with pigments from crushed sandstone, charcoal and pollens.

Puget Pierre (1620—94). French sculptor. His essentially *Baroque style, its vigour and movement, made him unacceptable at court, where more restrained and classical work was admired.

Pugin Augustus Welby Northmore born March 1, 1812, London, Eng. died Sept. 14, 1852, London. English architect, designer, author, theorist, and participant in the English Roman Catholic and Gothic revivals. Pugin was the son of the architect Augustus Charles Pugin, who gave him his architectural and draftsmanship training. His mature professional life began in 1836 when he published Contrasts, which conveyed the argument with which Pugin was throughout his life to be identified, the link between the quality and character of a society with the calibre of its architecture. Pugin, who became a Roman Catholic in 1835, contended that decline in the arts was a result of a spiritual decline occasioned by the Reformation.
Between 1837 and 1840 Pugin enjoyed a growing architectural practice. His employment by John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and other Roman Catholic laymen and clergy resulted in his identification with the leadership of the Roman Catholic revival. His plans for St. Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham, and St. George's Cathedral, Southwark, show both the unsettled condition of his tastes and his imaginativeness and brilliance. The Church of St. Oswald, Old Swan, Liverpool (1839; demolished), was the finest of hisdesigns of these years and the one that set the pattern for Gothic revival parish churches in England and abroad. His True Principles of Pointed or Christian Architecture (1841) was used by John Ruskin as a foundation for his criticism.
Pugin reached the height of his influence between 1840 and 1844: his theoretical position on the need for a revival of Gothic was refined and relatively free of the religious bias that had earlier dominated it; his literary gifts were equal to his powers as an architectural caricaturist and illustrator; and his circle of patrons loyally supported him. From these years come Pugin's splendid drawings for Balliol College, Oxford (1843), which convey the excitement and fervour of the Oxford Movement; the richly brilliant St. Giles, Cheadle, Staffordshire (1841–46); and extensive repairs and additions to Alton Towers, Staffordshire. Pugin's last major works are his own house, The Grange, and St. Augustine's Church, both at Ramsgate, Kent. The Rolle family chapel at Bicton, Devon, the decorations of the House of Lords, and the chapel at St. Edmund's College, Old Hall Green, Hertfordshire, well represent the elegant, erudite, yet original Gothic of which he was capable. The death of his second wife in 1844 and the recurrence of an old illness cast a shadow over Pugin's last years. His practice declined as other architects emerged to serve Roman Catholic clients. During his last years he worked with Sir Charles Barry on the new Palace of Westminster.

Purism. *Ozenfant and C.-E. Jeanneret (*Le Corbusier) launched P. with a book, Apres le Cubisnw, 1918, P. aimed to take *Cubism to its proper conclusion through clarity and objectivity and by restoring the representational nature of art. The movement, which lasted only 7 years, gained international reputation through the architecture of Le Corbusier.

Purism. French movement in painting and architecture. Purism was an aesthetic programme initiated c. 1918 by AMÉDÉE OZENFANT and Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (known as LE CORBUSIER in his architectural work after 1920–21) as a reaction to Cubist painting and ideas that dominated avant-garde art in France before World War I. Above all, Purist philosophy is characterized by an admiration for the beauty and purity of the form of the machine. Ozenfant and Le Corbusier advocated a rappel à l’ordre in response to what they perceived to be the distortions and excesses of later, particularly Synthetic Cubism. While they embraced much Cubist subject-matter, particularly the celebration of the ordinary, mass-produced object, they emphasized the geometry, simplicity, proportion and harmony of those objects, rather than their dissection or analysis. The Purists perceived the golden section to be an ideal governing rule in the depiction of form. They preferred that form be presented with unbroken contours and smoothly polished surfaces

Puteaux group [Puteaux-Courbevoie group; Salon Cubists].

Term applied from the mid-20th century to a group of artists associated with CUBISM who came to prominence in the wake of their controversial showing in room 41 of the Salon des Indépendants in spring 1911. The name given to them, in order to distinguish them from the narrower definition of Cubism developed by Picasso and Braque from 1907 to 1910 in the Montmartre district of Paris, is that of the suburban village west of Paris where two of the core members of the group, Jacques Villon and his brother Raymond Duchamp-Villon, held regular gatherings.

Putto (It. little boy). The word is usually found in the plural putti, plump naked little boys as found in Renaissance and Baroque painting and sculpture.

Puvis de Chavannes Pierre (1824—98). French painter who studied in Italy and with *Couture and *Delacroix. He worked on a monumental scale on canvases which were then fixed to the walls, resembling murals. He was bitterly attacked by contemporary critics but was supported by his friends and admirers the poets Baudelaire and Gautier, and many artists. P., though contemporary with the Impressionists, went his own way, basing his style on early Italian frescoes, Poussin, Ingres and Chasseriau. He gave new vigour to 19th-c. mural painting and his flat, decorative style was decisive for the development of Gauguin and the *Nabis.

Discuss Art

Please note: site admin does not answer any questions. This is our readers discussion only.

| privacy