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Monday, October 31, 2011

Piero della Francesca


Baptism of Christ
c. 1448-1450
Tempera on panel
168 cm × 116 cm (66 in × 46 in)
National Gallery, London
http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/

Piero della Francesca (c. 1415 – 1492) was a painter of the Early Renaissance. His painting was characterized by its serene humanism, its use of geometric forms and perspective (he was renowned in his times as an authority on perspective and geometry).
Piero died on the very day that Christopher Columbus made his first landfall in the Americas.

Baptism of Christ portrays Christ being baptised by John, his head surmounted by a dove representing the Holy Spirit. Christ, John's hand, the bird and the bowl form an axis which divides the painting in two symmetrical parts. A second division is created by the tree on the left, which instead divides it according to the golden ratio.
http://www.imaginarymuseum.net/view/flipcard

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Miró, Joan


The Farm (La masia)
1921-1922
oil on canvas
123.8 x 141.3 cm (48 3/4 x 55 5/8 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USA
http://www.nga.gov/home.htm
Gift of Mary Hemingway

Joan Miró i Ferrà (1893 – 1983) was a Spanish Catalan painter, sculptor, and ceramicist born in Barcelona.
Earning international acclaim, Miró expressed contempt for conventional painting methods as a way of supporting bourgeois society, and famously declared an "assassination of painting" in favour of upsetting the visual elements of established painting.

The Farm represents a brilliant amalgamation of an intense, even primitive realism with the formal vocabulary of cubism. Everything is inside and outside at once and superimposed on the primitive meticulousness of a picturesque farm are the devices of the most sophisticated painting of the 20th century.

"Of this great painting (The Farm), it was the summary of one period of my work, but also the point of departure for what was to follow." "Form for me is never something abstract, it is always a token of something. . . . for me, form is never an end in itself." (Miró)

"The Farm is once owned by Ernest Hemingway, and he said "No one could look at it, and not know it had been painted by a great painter."
http://www.imaginarymuseum.net/view/flipcard

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sisley, Alfred


Flood at Port-Marly
1876
Oil on canvas
50 x 61 cm
Musee des Beaux-Arts, Rouen
http://www.rouen-musees.com/

Alfred Sisley (1839 – 1899) was an Impressionist landscape painter who was born and spent most of his life, in France, but retained British citizenship.
He retained a passionate interest in the sky, which nearly always dominates his paintings, and also in the effects of snow, the two interests often combining to create a strangely dramatic effect. He never deviated into figure painting.
He did not promote himself in the way that some of his fellow Impressionists did, and it was only towards the end of his life, when he was dying of cancer of the throat, that he received something approaching the recognition he deserved.

Port-Marly is a town along the Seine River. Sisley lived and painted there. The subject of flood and people rowing to their houses is unusual. The water breaks the usual relationship with land and flooding around.
http://www.imaginarymuseum.net/view/flipcard

Friday, October 28, 2011

Modigliani, Amedeo


Nu couché de dos (Reclining Nude from the Back)
1917
Oil on canvas
64.5 x 99.5 cm (25 3/8 x 39 1/8 in)
Barnes Foundation, Merion, PA
http://www.barnesfoundation.org/

While Amedeo Modigliani (Italian painter and sculptor. 1884 - 1920) usually painted images of family and friends, he used professional models during his “nude phase”, which lasted from 1916 to 1919. This painting is an image of desire and eroticism, emotions that seemed to envelop Modigliani during those brief three years.
“What I am seeking is not the real and not the unreal but rather the unconscious, the mystery of the instinctive in the human race.” (Amedeo Modigliani)

When Modigliani passed away in 1920, his pregnant wife of nearly nine months was emotionally destroyed by his death. Two days after his death, she jumped out of a 5th storey window and killed herself and her unborn child.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ingres, Jean Auguste Dominique


The Death of Leonardo Da Vinci (La mort de Leonardo da Vinci)
1818
40 cm x 50.5 cm
Oil on canvas
Paris, Musée du Petit Palais
http://www.petitpalais.paris.fr/

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780 – 1867) was a French Neoclassical painter.
Francis I of France receiving the last breath of Leonardo da Vinci, by Ingres, 1818.
Leonardo died on 2 May 1519 in Amboise. Leonardo had a paralysis on the right side of his body since 1517.
Francis patronized many of the great artists of his time, including Andrea del Sarto and Leonardo da Vinci; the latter was indeed persuaded to make France his home during his last years. While Leonardo painted very little during his years in France, he brought with him many of his greatest works, including the Mona Lisa (known in France as La Joconde), and these remained in France after his death.

De Las Mercedes, Franck *(USA)


Max Cavalera
2011
Acrylic on paper
8.5" x 11"
FDLM Studio, New York
http://www.fdlmstudio.com/

Franck de Las Mercedes (1972~ ) is a Nicaraguan born painter raised in New York City and has emerged as one of the country's most prolific visual artists in recent years. His art combines expressionism, photography and collage to illustrate the aftermath of emotionally charged experiences and depictions of how he sees the world around him.
His works have been featured on numerous national and international media including, LatiNation, CNN En Español, Selecciones (Reader's Digest), Art Business News, Museum VIEWS, American Style and The Artist's magazine, etc.
"My work is a personal exploration of my psyche and the emotions that emerge in the present, triggered by memory or current experiences. Observing my feelings and body sensations without questioning them or intellectualizing them, allows me to release the strength of those emotions onto the surface."

Massimiliano Antonio "Max" Cavalera (born in 1969) is a Brazilian singer, guitarist, and songwriter. He was the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the heavy metal band Sepultura, before forming Soulfly in the late 1990s. Cavalera was also involved in a short-lived side project, Nailbomb, and is currently performing with Soulfly and another project, Cavalera Conspiracy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Leonardo da Vinci


Madonna Litta
c. 1490-91
42 x 33 cm (16 1/2 x 13 in)
Tempera on canvas, transferred from panel
Hermitage,St. Petersburg
http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (1452 – 1519) was an Italian Renaissance polymath. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance Man, a man of "unquenchable curiosity" and "feverishly inventive imagination".

The Madonna Litta is a painting of the Madonna and Christ Child.
This work was painted for the Visconti rulers of Milan and soon passed to the Litta family, in whose possession it would remain for centuries. In 1865, Alexander II of Russia acquired it and deposited the painting in the Hermitage Museum, where it has been exhibited to this day. The museum had the painting transferred from wood to canvas.

'In the normal course of events many men and women are born with remarkable talents; but occasionally, in a way that transcends nature, a single person is marvellously endowed by Heaven with beauty, grace and talent in such abundance that he leaves other men far behind, all his actions seem inspired and indeed everything he does clearly comes from God rather than from human skill. Everyone acknowledged that this was true of Leonardo da Vinci, an artist of outstanding physical beauty, who displayed infinite grace in everything that he did and who cultivated his genius so brilliantly that all problems he studied he solved with ease.' (Giorgio Vasari)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Klimt, Gustav


The Girlfriends (Die Freundinnen)
1916-17
Oil on canvas
99 × 99 cm (39 × 39 in)
Destroyed by fire in 1945

Gustav Klimt (1862 – 1918) was an Austrian Symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement.
His work is often distinguished by elegant gold or coloured decoration, spirals and swirls, and phallic shapes used to conceal the more erotic positions of the drawings upon which many of his paintings are based.
One of the most common themes Klimt used was that of the dominant woman, the femme fatale.

Klimt was inspired by the engravings of Albrecht Dürer, late medieval European painting, and Japanese Rimpa school.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lempicka, Tamara de


High Summer
1928
oil on wood
private collection

American painter of Polish birth. Tamara de Lempicka (1898 - 1980) lived among the wealthy aristocracy in St Petersburg and fled from the Russian Revolution of 1917.
She is one of the most well known artists of the Deco era. She proved to be a prolific painter, primarily portraits, as a result of her simple style. All her paintings were carefully composed and her subject-matter was generally exotic. She made little attempt to create three-dimensional effects, but using hard, angular lines and shapes contrasted against rounded, soft forms she created a highly stylized view of the world.

American singer-songwriter and actress Madonna is a huge fan and collector of her work.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Caravaggio


Lute Player
c. 1595
Oil on canvas
94 × 119 cm (37 × 46.9 in)
The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571 – 1610) was an Italian artist.
Caravaggio's method was to use "a strong light from above with a single window and the walls painted black, so that having the lights bright and the shadows dark, it gives depth to the painting, but with a method that is not natural nor done or thought of by any other century or older painters like Raphael, Titian, Correggio and others."

The Lute Player exists in three versions, one in the Wildenstein Collection, another in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg and a third from Badminton House, Gloucestershire.
All show a boy with soft facial features and thick brown hair, accompanying himself on the lute as he sings a madrigal about love.
The visible text reads in part: "Vous savez que je vous aime et vous adore...Je fus vôtre." ("You know I love you and adore you...I was yours").

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Corot, Jean-Baptiste-Camille


Young woman weaving wreath of flowers
about 1866–70
oil on canvas
70.2 x 47 cm (27 5/8 x 18 1/2 in.)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
http://www.mfa.org/

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796 - 1875) was a French landscape painter.
Corot was the leading painter of the Barbizon school of France in the mid-nineteenth century. He is a pivotal figure in landscape painting and his vast output simultaneously references the Neo-Classical tradition and anticipates the plein-air innovations of Impressionism. Claude Monet exclaimed "There is only one master here—Corot. We are nothing compared to him, nothing."

“What there is to see in painting, or rather what I am looking for, is the form, the whole, the value of the tones…That is why for me the color comes after, because I love more than anything else the overall effect, the harmony of the tones, while color gives you a kind of shock that I don’t like. Perhaps it is the excess of this principal that makes people say I have leaden tones.” (Corot)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Balthus ; (Balthasar Klossowski de Rola)


A Saia Branca (The White Skirt)
1937
oil on canvas
130 x 162 cm
Private Collection

Balthazar Klossowski de Rola (1908-2001), known as Balthus, French painter. From a highly cultivated family background, he began painting at the age of sixteen.
In his canvases, time is frozen, the traffic of life is stilled, gestures are suspended before they can declare their purpose: the scene is there to be uncovered by anyone who can find mystery in the anodyne.

He met Rilke - who wrote the preface for a collection of his drawings and Bonnard who was a strong influence on him.
Albert Camus wrote in 1949 in the preface to one of Balthus's rare exhibitions; 'We did not know how to see reality and all the disturbing things our apartments, our loved ones and our streets conceal'.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pissarro, Camille


The Hermitage at Pontoise (Les coteaux de l'Hermitage, Pontoise)
ca. 1867
Oil on canvas
59 5/8 x 79 inches (151.4 x 200.6 cm)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
http://www.guggenheim.org/

Camille Pissarro (1830 - 1903) was a French painter. His importance resides in his contributions to both Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, as he was the only artist to exhibit in both forms.

The view represented here is a winding village path at the base of a cluster of houses in Pontoise, France, known as the Hermitage.
Camille Pissarro lived there on and off between 1866 and 1883.
He made magisterial use of light and dark, demonstrating more than a mere interest in the effects of sun and shade.
Art theorist wrote "not simply to give relief to the forms, but to correspond to the sentiment that the painter wishes to express, conforming to the conventions of a moral beauty as much as to the laws of natural truth."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Schiele, Egon


Death and the Woman (Death and the Maiden)
1915
Oil on canvas
150.5 × 180 cm
Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Wien (Austria Gallery Belvedere)
http://www.belvedere.at/de


Self Portrait
1912
46.5 × 31.5 cm
Pencil, watercolor, tempera 
private collection

Egon Schiele (1890 – 1918) was an Austrian painter, and a major figurative painter of the early 20th century. He was at odds with art critics and society for most of his brief life.
Schiele's body of work is noted for the intensity and the large number of self-portraits he produced. The twisted body shapes that characterize Schiele's paintings and drawings make the artist a notable exponent of Expressionism.

In the autumn of 1918, the Spanish flu epidemic reached Vienna. Edith (his wife), who was six months pregnant, succumbed to the disease on 28 October. Schiele died only three days after his wife. He was 28 years old.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lorrain, Claude


Landscape with Noli Me Tangere Scene
1681
Oil on canvas
84.5 cm (33.3 in) x 141 cm (55.5 in)
Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
http://www.staedelmuseum.de/sm/

Claude Lorrain (c.1600 – 1682) was an French artist of the Baroque era who was active in Italy, and is admired for his achievements in landscape painting.
Lorrain painted a pastoral world of fields and valleys not distant from castles and towns.
John Constable described Claude as "the most perfect landscape painter the world ever saw", and declared that in Claude’s landscape "all is lovely – all amiable – all is amenity and repose; the calm sunshine of the heart".
Noli me tangere, meaning "don't touch me", is the Latin version of words spoken, by Jesus to Mary Magdalene when she recognizes him after his resurrection.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Rubens, Peter Paul


Rubens, His Wife Helena Fourment, and Their Son Peter Paul
mid- to late 1630s
Oil on wood
80 1/4 x 62 1/4 in. (203.8 x 158.1 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577 – 1640), was a Flemish painter, and a proponent of an extravagant Baroque style that emphasised movement, colour, and sensuality. In addition to running a large studio in Antwerp that produced paintings popular with nobility and art collectors throughout Europe, Rubens was a classically educated humanist scholar, art collector, and diplomat who was knighted by both Philip IV, King of Spain, and Charles I, King of England.

Rubens married Helena Fourment (his second wife) in 1630, when he was fifty-three and she was sixteen. Helena became the model and the inspiration for many paintings by Rubens dating from the 1630s, particularly those dealing with themes of ideal beauty or love.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

INGRES, Jean-Auguste-Dominique


The Grand Odalisque
1814
oil on canvas
91 × 162 cm (35.8 × 63.8 in)
Musée du Louvre, Paris
http://www.louvre.fr/

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780 – 1867) was a French painter.
Grande Odalisque, is an oil painting commissioned by Napoleon's sister, Queen Caroline Murat of Naples, depicting an odalisque, or concubine.
This painting attracted wide criticism when the painting was first shown in the Salon of 1819. One critic remarked that the work had "neither bones nor muscle, neither blood, nor life, nor relief, indeed nothing that constitutes imitation". This echoed the general view and it has been especially noted for the elongated proportions and lack of anatomical realism.
Ingres was continued to be criticized for his work until the mid-1820s, but Ingres's influence on later generations of artists has been considerable. His most significant heir was Degas, and in the 20th century, Matisse described Ingres as the first painter "to use pure colors, outlining them without distorting them."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Murillo, Bartolome Esteban


Esquilache Immaculate Conception
between 1645 and 1655
Oil on canvas
235 cm (92.5 in) x 196 cm (77.2 in)
Hermitage Museum
http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617 – 1682) was a Spanish Baroque painter. He was the youngest of fourteen children of a Sevillian barber.
Although he is best known for his religious works, Murillo also produced a considerable number of paintings of contemporary women and children. These lively, realist portraits of flower girls, street urchins, and beggars constitute an extensive and appealing record of the everyday life of his times.
Murillo had many pupils and followers. The prolific imitation of his paintings ensured his reputation in Spain and fame throughout Europe, and prior to the 19th century his work was more widely known than that of any other Spanish artist.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Gogh, Vincent van


Road with Cypress and Star
1890
Oil on canvas
92 x 73 cm (36 1/4 x 28 3/4 in)
Rijksmuseum Kroller-Muller, Otterlo
http://kmm.nl/

Vincent Willem van Gogh (1853 – 1890) was a Dutch post-Impressionist painter whose work, notable for its rough beauty, emotional honesty, and bold color, had a far-reaching influence on 20th-century art.

Painted in May of 1890 as his last painting in the asylum.
The moon and star are self-contained and vibrant, each one seeming to encompass a swirling new world, an unexplored portion of the journey.
In the middle stands a long cypress tree, the common symbol, according to Bialostocki, of “the cemetery and death”, cutting the sky in two. It feels more like a bridge to the sky and the heavens, a link between our world and the sky.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tang Yin


Zhenzeyanshutu
46cm x 37.8cm
National Palace Museum, Taipei
http://www.npm.gov.tw/en/home.htm

Tang Yin (Chinese: c.1470–1524), better known by his courtesy name Tang Bohu, was a Chinese scholar, painter, calligrapher, and poet of the Ming Dynasty period whose life story has become a part of popular lore.
Even though he was born during Ming Dynasty, many of his paintings (especially paintings of people) were illustrated with elements from Pre-Tang to Song Dynasty (12th centuries).

He is one of the most notable elite painters in Chinese art history.
“the Four Masters of Ming Dynasty”, which also includes Shen Zhou (1427–1509), Wen Zhengming (1470–1559) and Qiu Ying (ca. 1495-1552).
Tang is also a talented poet. Together with his contemporaries Wen Zhengming (1470–1559), Zhu Yunming (1460–1526), and Xu Zhenqing, known as the “Four Literary Masters of the Wuzhong Region.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Memling, Hans


The Virgin and Child between St James and St Dominic
ca. 1485-1490
Oil on oak panel
130.3 × 160 cm (51.3 × 63 in)
Louvre Museum, Paris
http://www.louvre.fr/

Hans Memling (also spelled Memlinc; c. 1430 – 1494) was a German-born Early Netherlandish painter.
Memling's reputation was not confined to Italy or Flanders.
His work was widely appreciated in the 16th century and left behind several children and considerable property.
There exists a critical opinion : "...while the Romantics and the Victorians considered his sweetness the very summit of Medieval art, we feel inclined to compare him to a composer such as Felix Mendelssohn: he occasionally enchants, never offends, and never overwhelms. His works give the impression of derivativeness..."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Velásquez, Diego


Las Meninas (Maids of Honor)
1656 - 57
Oil on canvas
318 × 276 cm (125.2 × 108.7 in)
Museo del Prado, Madrid
http://www.museodelprado.es/

Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599 – 1660) was a Spanish painter who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. From the first quarter of the nineteenth century, Velázquez's artwork was a model for the realist and impressionist painters, as well as modern artists, including Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. They have paid tribute to Velázquez by recreating several of his most famous works.

Las Meninas has long been recognised as one of the most important paintings in Western art history. In the 19th century Sir Thomas Lawrence called the work "the philosophy of art". More recently, it has been described as "Velázquez's supreme achievement, a highly self-conscious, calculated demonstration of what painting could achieve, and perhaps the most searching comment ever made on the possibilities of the easel painting".

Monday, October 10, 2011

Turner, Joseph Mallord William


The Grand Canal, Venice
1835
Oil on canvas
91.4 x 122.2 cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
http://www.metmuseum.org/

Joseph Mallord William Turner RA (1775 – 1851) was an English Romantic landscape painter, watercolourist.
Turner was considered a controversial figure in his day, but is now regarded as the artist who elevated landscape painting to an eminence rivalling history painting. His entire life was devoted to his art. Unlike many artists of his era, he was successful throughout his career.

As he grew older Turner became an eccentric. Except for his father, he had no close friends. He allowed no one to watch him while he painted. One day Turner disappeared from his house. His housekeeper, after a search of many months, found him hiding in a house in Chelsea. He had been ill for a long time. He died the following day.
He is commonly known as "the painter of light" and his work is regarded as a Romantic preface to Impressionism.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Renoir, Pierre-Auguste


Portrait de Mademoiselle Irène Cahen d'Anvers (Little Irène)
1879
54 x 65 cm
Oil on canvas
E.G. Buhrle Collection, Zurich

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841 – 1919) was a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style.
His paintings are notable for their vibrant light and saturated color, most often focusing on people in intimate and candid compositions.
As a celebrator of beauty, and especially feminine sensuality, it has been said that "Renoir is the final representative of a tradition which runs directly from Rubens to Watteau.

Irène Cahen d'Anvers was the daughter of Cahen d'Anvers, a banker. The portrait was commissioned by her father.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Chagall, Marc


I and the Village
1911
Oil on canvas
6' 3 5/8" x 59 5/8" (192.1 x 151.4 cm).
Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund.
Museum of Modern Art in New York City, USA
http://www.moma.org/

Marc Chagall (1887 – 1985), was a Belorussian-French artist and one of the most successful artists of the 20th century.
I and the Village evokes his memories of his native Hasidic community outside Vitebsk. In the village, peasants and animals lived side by side, in a mutual dependence here signified by the line from peasant to cow, connecting their eyes. The peasant's flowering sprig, symbolically a tree of life, is the reward of their partnership. For Hasids, animals were also humanity's link to the universe, and the painting's large circular forms suggest the orbiting sun, moon (in eclipse at the lower left), and earth.

"For the Cubists," Chagall said, "a painting was a surface covered with forms in a certain order. For me a painting is a surface covered with representations of things . . . in which logic and illustration have no importance."

Friday, October 7, 2011

Vermeer, Jan


Girl with a Pearl Earring
circa 1665
Oil on canvas
44.5 cm × 39 cm (17.5 in × 15 in)
Mauritshuis gallery in the Hague
http://www.mauritshuis.nl/

Johannes, Jan or Johan Vermeer (1632 - 1675) was a Dutch painter who specialized in exquisite, domestic interior scenes of middle class life. Relatively little is known about his life. He was a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime. He seems never to have been particularly wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death, perhaps because he produced relatively few paintings.

The painting Girl with a Pearl Earring is one of Vermeer's masterworks and as the name implies, uses a pearl earring for a focal point. It is sometimes referred to as "the Mona Lisa of the North" or "the Dutch Mona Lisa".

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Yosa, Buson


A black hawk and two crows
c.1700
W x H: 912 x 1083
inks color on paper
Important cultural asset of Japan
Kitamura Art Museum, Japan
http://www.kyotodeasobo.com/art/museum/kitamura/

Yosa, Buson or Yosa no Buson (1716 – 1783) was a Japanese poet and painter from the Edo period. Buson is considered among the greatest poets of the Edo Period.
Following in the footsteps of his idol, Matsuo Bashō (the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan), Buson traveled through the wilds of northern part of Japan that had been the inspiration for Bashō's famous travel diary, Oku no Hosomichi (The Narrow Road to the Interior).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Matisse, Henri


La musique
1939
Oil on canvas
45 3/8 x 45 3/8 in. (115.2 x 115.2 cm)
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Henri Matisse (1869-1954) is called one of the twentieth century's greatest artists, born in the north of France.
Matisse's art has an astonishing force and lives by innate right in a paradise world into which Matisse draws all his viewers. He gravitated to the beautiful and produced some of the most powerful beauty ever painted.
He was a man of anxious temperament, just as Picasso, who saw him as his only rival, was a man of peasant fears, well concealed. Both artists, in their own fashion, dealt with these disturbances through the sublimation of painting: Picasso destroyed his fear of women in his art, while Matisse coaxed his nervous tension into serenity.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Leonardo da Vinci


Lady with an Ermine
1489-1490
Oil on wood panel
54 cm × 39 cm (21 in × 15 in)
Czartoryski Museum, Kraków, Poland
http://www.czartoryski.org/museum.htm

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (1452 – 1519), was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal.

The sitter has been identified as Cecilia Gallerani who was the mistress of Lodovico il Moro. At the time of her portrait, Cecilia was about sixteen. She was one of a family, neither rich nor noble. Cecilia was renowned for her beauty, her scholarship, and her poetry.
Her gaze is directed neither straight ahead, nor towards the viewer, but towards a "third party" beyond the picture's frame. In her arms Cecilia holds a small white-coated stoat, known as an ermine. "The ermine prefers to die rather than soil itself"(Leonardo's record in his note).
This work in particular shows Leonardo's expertise in painting the human form.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Botticelli, Sandro


The Cestello Annunciation
c. 1489
Tempera on panel
150 cm × 156 cm (59 in × 61 in)
Uffizi, Florence
http://www.uffizi.com/

Sandro Botticelli (c. 1445 - 1510) was an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance.
His posthumous reputation suffered until the late 19th century; since then his work has been seen to represent the linear grace of Early Renaissance painting.
The picture was commissioned by the church of the Santa Maria Maddalena de'Pazzi.
Botticelli depicts the moment just after the Archangel Gabriel's arrival when he announces to the Virgin Mary that the Holy Ghost will soon pay her a visit as related in Luke's gospel (Underneath the painting on its original frame are words in latin : "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.").

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rivera, Diego


The Flower Carrier
1935
Oil and tempera on masonite
48 x 47 3/4 in. (121.9 x 121.3 cm)
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
http://www.sfmoma.org/

Diego Rivera (1886-1957) is a prominent Mexican painter, an active communist, and husband of Frida Kahlo (famous painter). He was still married when he met the art student Frida Kahlo. They married in 1929 when he was 42 and she was 22. Their mutual infidelities and his violent temper led to divorce in 1939, but they remarried in 1940 in San Francisco.
His large wall works in fresco helped establish the Mexican Mural Renaissance. Rivera painted murals among others in Mexico City, Chapingo, Cuernavaca, San Francisco, Detroit, and New York City.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

El Greco


Lady with a Fur
Oil on canvas
1577-1580
51 x 62 cm (20.08" x 24.41")
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, United Kingdom

El Greco (c.1541-1614) was born in Crete and was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance.
He was disdained by the immediate generations after his death because his work was opposed in many respects to the principles of the early baroque style. He was deemed incomprehensible and had no important followers. Some of the commentators described his mature work as "contemptible", "ridiculous", "strange", "queer", "eccentric" and "odd".
With the arrival of Romantic sentiments in the late 18th century, his works were examined anew and he was regarded as the precursor and the ideal romantic hero.
Most people believe that "Lady with a Fur" is a portrait of El Greco's beloved partner Jeronima.