Friday, September 28, 2007

Morning Pick-me-up

Washstand, 1904 by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This beautiful washstand was designed as part of the furnishings for a house he designed called Hous'hill. The owner of the house also owned a series of tea rooms that were designed by Mackintosh and company.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

An Interpretation in Color

Wookey Hole, near Wells, Somerset, c.1794 by Michael Angelo Rooker, The Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Rooker helped make watercolor a viable medium for serious artists. Before he concentrated on it, it was considered beneath a serious artist.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Beauty and Warmth

Navajo Blanket, 1881 from New Mexico, Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies.

In the 17th century sheep were introduced to the American Southwest by the Spanish. Navajo women used designs learned from Mexico.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sweating the Small Stuff

The Gleaners by Jean-Francois Millet, Musee d'Orsay, Paris.

The Gleaners are picking up the last little remains of the harvest. Millet sets the women against a broad horizon and thereby lends a majesty to their work. This was on purpose as Millet saw the work as a social commentary against the rich vs. the poor in society.

Monday, September 24, 2007

As Straightforward as it Seems?

Asparagus by Adrian Coorte (active 1683-1707), Rijksmuseum.

Sometimes still life painters concentrated on a particular item in order to give it their complete attention and immerse themselves in rendering it as close to the real thing as possible - there is another theory too.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Tudor Rose

Sir Thomas More by Hans Holbein, The Frick Collection

Holbein was a 16th century German artist who became the court painter under Henry VIII. His style, with its attention to detail, was well suited for his later work in miniature.

The Tudor Rose

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Trumpted In

La Naissance de VĂ©nus(Birth of Venus)1879 by William-Adolph Bouguereau, Musee d'Orsay, Paris.

Very similar in composition to Botticelli's work. Bouguereau had a very successful career. His realistic style appealed to a large number of people. A contemporary of Degas and Monet; they even conceded his extreme popularity.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rising Out of the Foam

Birth of Venus, c. 1485-86 by Sandro Botticelli, Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

One of the most famous of the Italian Renaissance paintings it is one of the most frequent images, out of thousands, when a likeness of the Greek goddess Venus (Aphrodite) is referenced.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Gathering Paradise by Sandy Skoglund

Installation art creates an environment within a museum or gallery that brings the viewer into the artwork. It began in the 1970's and reached it's zenieth in the 1980's, today it is often termed "site specific."

Friday, September 14, 2007

Raisin Bread

Still Life with Strawberries, no date by Levi Prentice (Amerian 1851-1935), Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.

Prentice is known for painting still lifes, often with fruit. He worked as a carpenter and an art teacher.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


White-eye, Manuscript Mogul Period, Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge

The Mogul empire (also Mughal) a line of Indian Muslim emperors who ruled from 1526 to 1828. The most famous work to come out of this period is the Taj Mahal.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Monastery Graveyard in the Snow, 1817 by Casper David Friedrich, Former National Gallery, Berlin.

Friedrich's ethereal landscapes have an uncanny calmness. People have very personal reactions to his art. For example, if you are religious, you might concentrate on the ruined church and what that means. If you are feeling isolated or lonely, the winter scene and bare trees, may be what you feel most moved by.

I could use some of this quiet.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Blue Flowers

Cobalt Fiori installation by Dale Chihuly at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Pittsburgh.

If you are in the Pittsburgh area, or close by, go and see the Chihuly installation at the Phipps Botanical Gardens. The exhibition runs through November 11, 2007.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fruit Selling Gone Wrong

Frontispiece for Goblin Market, 1933 by Arthur Rackham.

Rackham's illustrations for Christina Rossetti's poem are full of the detail that make his artwork popular with young and old, alike.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Fall Preview

Autumn, 1999 by Alex Katz, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.

Katz was influenced by Jackson Pollock early in his career but in the 1960's his work became more realistic and representational. He concentrated on portraits and figural images, but also did some landscapes and florals.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

At Home with Nature

Fallingwater, 1936-38 by Frank Lloyd Wright, Bear Run, PA. Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

Considered Wright's masterpiece, Fallingwater is found deep in the PA woods and was built as a retreat for the Kaufman family of Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Recording Impressions

Roses on a Tray, c.1861 by John La Farge, Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh.

La Farge began his career as a painter, but became most famous for this work in stained glass. Second only to Louis Comfort Tiffany. He also created decorative for a number of churches and private residences.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Looking Down

Downtown Pittsburgh Skyscrapers from Mount Washington, 1996 by Aaronel de Roy Gruber, Collection of the Artist.

A Pittsburgh artist who creates paintings, sculpture and photos. Her work can be found in many museum collections. Her panoramic shots are also hand tinted.
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