Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Acacias, c.1880 by Albert Moore, Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh.

Moore was influenced by the Elgin Marbles (Parthenon statuary which had recently arrived in London at the British Museum - where they remain and are the source of much controversy).

Monday, January 29, 2007

Narrow Escape

Watson and the Shark, 1777 by John Singleton Copley, The Detroit Insitute of Arts.

Copley's historical painting tells a story about Brook Watson who would survive the attack and go on to become Lord Mayor of London.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Creating New From Old

Return of the Sun, 1986 by Odd Nerdrum.

Nerdrum is an artist whose influence lies in classic artists like Rembrandt, who prefers to mix his own paints and stretch his own canvases.He draws upon a knowledge of art history to create his work - he has done his homework and reveres those that have come before him, paying them homage and respecting history.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Familiar

Venus, c.1984 by Andy Warhol, various collections.

Warhol was one of the most successful artists to come out of the Pop movement in America. His use of everyday images gave people something to relate to.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bored 2

A Bar at the Folies Bergere, 1881-82 by Edouard Manet, Courtauld Institute, London.

Manet's last major painting. At first glance you see the bored looking barmaid staring off into the distance. Upon closer inspection we can see all the activity of the bar going on in the mirror. Including a patron whose presence is not doing anything to improve her mood - perhaps he caused the mood? Those tangerines just jump out at you, don't they?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

How Long?

Waiting (L'Attente) by Edgar Degas, Norton Simon and Getty Museums.

Degas' paintings of the life that goes on behind the scenes at the ballet are among his most beloved because they are real and show what went on, not just the finished product on the stage. We see the dancers trying to stay limber, the chaperones trying to stay awake, caught by an artist who managed to blend into the woodwork to bring us their world.

Monday, January 22, 2007

A Second Post

La Joconde (Mona Lisa), 1749-1828 by Leonardo da Vinci, The Louvre.

That mysterious smile, many words have been written about it and its meaning, could it be a matter of how you look at it?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Behind the Scenes

Mabel Tainter Memorial Building, 1889 by architect Harvey Ellis, Menomonie, WI

The style of this building is called Richardsonian Romanesque, but the architect was a strong behind-the-scenes influence on the American Arts & Crafts movement. Harvey Ellis worked with Gustav Stickley and has been credited with many of the company's furniture designs and undoubtedly influenced Stickley's Craftsman style.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Going to Church

Jesus Loves Me by Varnette Honeywood, Collection of Richard Brooks.

Honeywood's flat one dimensional style and strong colors give her work a unique look. She has done a lot of book illustrations, for which her technique is very well suited. Honeywood's work captures the varied experiences of African Americans and celebrates the relationships and traditions that bond the people and communities.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Galatea, c. 1512-14 by Raphael, Villa Farnesina, Rome.

"As subject he (Raphael) chose a verse from a poem by the Florentine Angelo Poliziano which had also helped to inspire Botticelli's Birth of Venus. These lines describe how the clumsy giant Polyphemus sings a love song to the fair sea-nymph Galatea and how she rides across the waves in a chariot drawn by two dolphins, laughing at his uncouth song, while the gay company of other sea-gods and nymphs is milling round her." Webmuseum

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Pipe Dreams

The Treachery of Images by Rene Magritte, LACMA.

Surrealist Magritte has written "This is not a pipe" underneath an image of a pipe. His point is to remind the viewer that although you might be tempted to call this a pipe when you see it, is just a painting of a pipe.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Father of Modern Art

Mount Sainte-Victoire, 1904-1906 by Paul Cézanne, Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Cézanne is considered to be the father of modern painting. His use of loose brush strokes and flattened planes led to Impressionism and Cubism. His bright palette influenced the Fauvist painters, as well.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

You Are What You Are

Le chat (The Cat at the Window), 1857-58 by Jean Francois Millet, The Getty.

Millet's illustration of "The Cat Who Became a Woman," a fable by the seventeenth-century French writer Jean de La Fontaine. According to the story, a man becomes infatuated with his cat and convinces Destiny to change her into a woman. He marries her, but on their first night together she springs from the marriage bed to chase a mouse across the bedroom floor. The fable's moral is "The truth will out": no matter how much one's outward appearance changes, one's essential character remains.(Getty website)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Alone on Stage

L'etoile [La danseuse sur la scene] (The Star [Dancer on Stage]) 1878, by Edgar Degas, Musee d'Orsay, Paris.

Degas did a large series of paintings and sculptures of ballet dancers, all levels of dancers and on the stage and behind the scenes. When I was a child, a print of this painting was in my bedroom. I remember the eyes freaked me out because they were all black.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Careful Reading

The Precious Book, c.1920 by Gwen John, Private Collection.

John studied under James McNeill Whistler in Paris and at the Slade School in London where she developed her agitated style. Her brother Augustus John was also a painter and quite popular during his day, overshadowing his older sister.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Nice vase

Vase of Flowers, c. 1900-16 by Odilon Redon, Milwaukee Art Museum.

Although primarily known as a Symbolist artist Redon created a number of floral still life paintings in his career. They all have a stark quality that allows the beauty of the flowers to be the focal point.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Bird Land

Mystery of the Missing Migrants by Charles Harper, various galleries.

Currently on view at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati a show called Graphic Content which features graphic art work by Cincinnati artists. Charles Harper is best known for his book illustrations from the mid 20th century.
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