Friday, September 29, 2006


Beata Beatrix, 1872 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The Art Institute of Chicago.

This is a portrait of Rossetti's wife Elizabeth Siddal that was painted after her death. In it he casts her as Dante's Beatrice, thereby casting himself as his namesake. When Siddal died he was so overcome with grief he buried his manuscript book of poetry along with her (five years later he retrieved it).

A Fantasy

The Bower Meadow
, 1850-1872 by Dante Gabrial Rossetti, Manchester City Art Galleries, UK.

Begun in 1850 the background is Knole Park, Kent which he painted out of doors with William Holman Hunt. The Pre-Raphaelites advocated painting out of doors in natural settings, but this is the only time Rossetti ventured down that road. He completed the figures in 1872.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


The Day-dream, 1880 by Dante Gabrial Rossetti, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The model in this piece, Jane Morris is the wife of William Morris and it is a widely held belief that Rossetti and Jane carried on an affair.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


La Belle Iseult, 1858 by William Morris, The Tate Modern, London.

The model for this work is Jane Burden who later became the wife of William Morris and lived with him at Red House. Note his emphasis on the design and detail in the room, he later gave up painting in favor of interior design and was very successful with Morris & Co.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Red House, 1859 owned by William Morris, architect Philip Webb. Decorated by Morris & Co., National Trust, Bexleyheath, England.

A departure from the traditional Victorian style because it was open and full of light. Morris reaction to the industrial movement motivated him to hire artists and craftspersons to decorate the home and lead to the beginning of the arts and crafts movement.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Peacock Two

Peacock Tile Panel by William De Morgan, Formally The Peacock House now run by the Richmond Fellowship, London.

William De Morgan became involved with the Pre-Raphaelite movement through William Morris. Morris, Burne-Jones and others were interested in medieval decoration for their homes and De Morgan's tiles were the perfect addition.

Friday, September 22, 2006


An Allegory of Venus and Cupid, c.1550 by Agnolo Bronzino, National Gallery, London.

Bronzino's style is known as Mannerism, a style of exaggeration and poses. The meaning of the allegory is uncertain but figures such as Time (the old man), Cupid with his wings and Venus holding the golden apple she received from Paris, are easily recognizable.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Goldie and Bubbles

Leisure Hours by John Everett Millais, The Detroit Institute of Arts.

Late in his career, Millais gave up the idealisim of his youth and the PRB and created very popular and sentimental pieces. He was also quite sought after as a portrait artist for his ability to create beautiful paintings around his subjects.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Little Yellow Horses, 1912 by Franz Marc, Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart

Der Blaue Reiter (the blue rider) was a group of Expressionist artists, most famously Marc and Kandinsky who chose the name because Marc liked horses, Kandinsky liked riders and they both liked blue.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


The Blue Gown, 1917 by Frederick Carl Frieseke, The Detroit Institute of Arts.

An American Impressionist painter who studied with the Europeans. Frieseke's work is full of color and light.

What are your thoughts? I think she is all ready for a date that did not show.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Amazing Detail

Yomeimon Gate, contemporary drawing on postcard. The gate is from the early 17th century.

Yomeimon Gate
is a a very famous site in Japan at Nikko. It is considered one of Japan's most beautiful buildings. The gate has over 500 carvings and to look at them all can fill the better part of a day. The gate is part of the Toshogu Shrine, which also houses a famous sculpture of a sleeping cat.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Moon Lights

The Lantern Bearers by Maxfield Parrish, Dartmouth College Libraries

Primarily a book illustrator Parrish's work has become very popular in recent years owing to its beautiful and colorful narrative scenes. This work was an illustration for Eugene Field's Poems of Childhood.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Speckled Shells

Still Life (date unknown) by Balthasar van der Ast (c.1593-1656), Rijksmuseum.

The Dutch still life painters concentrated on getting their work to look as close to the real thing as they possibly could. Their backgrounds are often dark and plain in order to feature the objects they are painting.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Jeremy's Place

Waterlilies, 1903 by Beatrix Potter, ©Beatrix Potter Trust, U.K.

Most people have heard of Peter Rabbit and Tom Kitten and their creator Beatrix Potter, but they are not as aware of her botanical studies of nature and her accomplished watercolor paintings.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Flag, 1954-55 by Jasper Johns, The Museum of Modern Art, New York/VAGA.

Johns representative artwork was a contrast to the work of the Abstract Expressionists before him. His re-worked images of everyday objects led the way for Pop Art.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Mariana by John Everett Millais, Private Collection.

Mariana is the main character in a poem by Tennyson that deals with a woman "trapped" in her life. She is surrounded in a perfect Victorian setting by the dictates of the Arts & Crafts movement. The movement was a reaction to the increased industrialization of the world and sought to emulate a time when everything was created by hand.

Monday, September 04, 2006

More Maud

The Wharfs at Digby, Nova Scotia by Maud Lewis, private collection.

Apparently the locals are not pleased with the way the area where Maud Lewis lived is being maintained. After the removal of the house by the Art Gallery of Nova Soctia the area where the house stood was turned into a memorial park which is what the people are talking about the maintenance of.

Friday, September 01, 2006

In Honor of Labor

Detroit Industry, South Wall, 1932-33 by Diego Rivera, The Detroit Institute of Arts.

Rivera was at the height of his popularity when he was commissioned to create two large murals representing the auto industry. As a follower of Trotsky, Rivera took the opportunity to celebrate all workers and their important contribution to American Industry.
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