Friday, February 29, 2008


Tell Asmar Figures, c.2900 - 2350 BC, from Abu Temple, Mesopotamia.

These sculptures are thought to be part of religious ceremonies and to represent the devotional. Cylindrical figures with large eyes, and long hair and beards for the men, are typical.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Not Only a Girl's Best Friend

The Cheat with the Ace of Diamonds, c.1647 by Georges de la Tour, Musee du Louvre, Paris.

It does not look like anyone at this table is playing by the rules especially the fellow with the extra cards behind his back. The background is totally dark but the clothing stands out and looks more rich because of it. de la Tour lit most of his paintings with candlelight.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Beauty of Winter

La Pie, 1869 by Claude Monet, Musee d'Orsay, Paris.

A wonderful serene snow-covered landscape, named for the Magpie perched on the fence gate.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Enjoying the Country

Luncheon at the Boating Party, 1880-1881 by Pierre Auguste Renoir, The Phillips Collection.

The young woman holding the dog would eventually become Mme. Renoir and is frequently used by him as a model. Renoir was a very social person and painted scenes of the pastimes he participated in.

Friday, February 22, 2008


The Return of Odysseus (Homage to Pintoricchio and Benin), 1977 by Romare Bearden, The Art Institute of Chicago.

Bearden has re-cast the Greek hero if Homer's epic The Odyssey as an African family as they might have been portrayed in art from the African Kingdom of Benin. He also references frescos by the Italian artist Pintoricchio in the composition (and the title).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"She Turned Me into a Newt"

The Penance of Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester, 1900 by Edwin Austin Abbey, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.

Abbey was strongly influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites and went over to England to study. He was employed by Harper's magazine much of his career for whom he did illustrations. While in England he struck up a friendship with Whistler. This painting is an illustration of a scene from Shakespeare's Henry VI.

Monday, February 18, 2008


George Washington (Lansdowne portrait), 1796 by Gilbert Stuart, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian.

This portrait of Washington was on loan to the Smithsonian for many years until the owner decided to sell it. It was offered to the NPG for $20 million. A gift was given that allowed for its purchase and to renovate the gallery where it hangs.

Happy Presidents Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Queen for a Day

Peasant Wedding Feast by Pieter Bruegel, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.

In this 16th century wedding celebration we see the bride sitting in front of a cloth and very proudly surveying the festivities on "her day." The lore is that Bruegel would dress up as a peasant and did his research first hand.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Seahorse Brooch, 1902 - 1905 by René Lalique, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond.

Another example of Lalique's amazing art nouveau jewelry designs. Nature and natural objects were favorite subjects of art nouveau artists.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Snowy Night

The Midnight Mass, 1911 by Edward Timothy Hurley, Cincinnati Art Museum.

A beautiful night time snow scene showing the rooftops and the majority of the light coming from the church as the faithful have left their homes to attend.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

More Amazing Fabric

Madame Jacques-Louis LeBlanc (Francoise Poncelle), 1823 by Jean-August-Dominique Ingres, The Metropolitan Museum.

Ingres did over two dozen preliminary drawings in preparation for this painting. His work is clear and sharp and seems more like a photograph than a painting. Portraits are an artist's bread and butter.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Spring Flowers

Young Woman with Peonies by Jean-Frederic Bazille, National Gallery of Art Washington.

Bazille was friendly with many of the Impressionists such as Monet and Renoir. His life and a promising career were cut short when he was killed serving in the Franco-Prussian War.
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