Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Screen within a Screen

Winter Party, Edo Period (18th - 19th Century) by Utagawa Toyoharu, Freer Gallery of Art.

The folding screens of Japanese art served as architectural features as well as decorative.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Self Aware

Self-Portrait with Fur-Trimmed Robe, 1500 by Albrecht Dürer, Alte Pinakothek, Munich.

Dürer was fully aware of his reference to paintings of Jesus Christ when he created this self-portrait. He did a series of self-portraits through-out his career. He writes in Latin "Thus I, Albrecht Dürer from Nuremberg, portrayed myself with characteristic colors in my 28th year."

Monday, November 20, 2006

Best Wishes

The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck, National Gallery London.

Painted in the 15th century, this work is full of symbolism all meant to bring good luck to the marriage of this couple. van Eyck and his brother Hubert are often credited with inventing oil painting.

Details of image

Friday, November 17, 2006

Shapes of Color

Ocean Park No. 67 by Richard Diebenkorn, Private Collection.

Diebenkorn taught at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco where one of his students was Mark Rothko. This is part of the Ocean series which features paintings constructed with large blocks of colors influenced by nature.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Earning a Living

Girl with a Watering Can, 1876 by Pierre Auguste Renoir, The National Gallery of Art.

Renoir painted this youg girl to attract people and some portrait business. Portraiture was the 19th century artist's bread and butter.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Lucy Ferry, 1986 by Robert Mapplethorpe © The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

Mapplethorpe's work created a huge controversy when some of his work was deemed obscene in Cincinnati in 1990.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Classical Drapery

Melittion, 1882 by Frederic Lord Leighton, Auckland Art Gallery.

Although this figure is dressed in the classical style, a clear reference to a Greek character could not be found. In a play from 1818 by Austrian Franz Grillparzer called Sappho there is a character called Melitta, who vies with Sappho for the love of the young man Phaon.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Before Cameras

Niagara Falls,1843 by Karl Bodmer, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha NE.

Karl Bodmer traveled with Prince Maximilian of Wiedneuwied as he explored the Missouri river. Bodmer was in charge of capturing images of the new and wonderful people, animals and places they encountered.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Nickname: Jack the Dripper

Galaxy, 1947 by Jackson Pollock, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE.

One of Pollock's earliest "drip" paintings this work incorporated house paint and automobile paint mixed with sand and ashes.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Color and Shape

Creole Dancers, 1951 by Henri Matisse, The Matisse Museum.

As he was losing his eye sight, Matisse continued to work late in his career creating works (particularly collages) out of bits and pieces of color and shape.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Ngangkere, 2004 by Jane Kemarre Doolan, Aboriginal Australia Art Gallery.

"Ngangkere are traditional healers, they have circles of light around their hands and heads representing their healing power."

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Detail, Taj Mahal, built between 1631 and 1654, India

Shah Jahan
the emporor of the Mughal Empire built this monument to his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal. This detail of a marble decorative frieze.

Taj Mahal
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