Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Gerard Horenbout, aka The Master of James IV of Scotland.

 Great Medieval miniature. Banquet of Dives, Lazarus as leper at door (w/ rattle) and dead below. Miniature from 1510 by Gerard Horenbout,

Gerard Horenbout (c. 1465–c. 1541) was a Flemish miniaturist, a late example of the Flemish Primitives. He is "likely and widely accepted" to be the Master of James IV of Scotland.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Happy Birthday, Sir Joshua!

Born on this day 1723: Joshua Reynolds. Later "Sir Joshua" but here, at age 24, still wondering about himself. Fantastic self-portrait.

The Age of Innocence

Sir Joshua Reynolds RA FRS FRSA (16 July 1723 – 23 February 1792) was an influential eighteenth-century English painter, specialising in portraits. According to John Russell, he was one of the major European painters of the 18th Century. He promoted the "Grand Style" in painting which depended on idealization of the imperfect. He was a founder and first president of the Royal Academy of Arts, and was knighted by George III in 1769.


Lady Elizabeth Delmé and her children in 1778, back when big hair was a real thing

Reynolds was the leading English portraitist of the 18th century. Through study of ancient and Italian Renaissance art, and of the work of Rembrandt, Rubens and Van Dyck, he brought great variety and dignity to British portraiture.

Reynolds was born at Plympton in Devon, the son of a headmaster and fellow of Balliol College, Oxford: a more educated background than that of most painters. He was apprenticed in 1740 to the fashionable London portraitist Thomas Hudson, who also trained Wright of Derby. He spent 1749-52 abroad, mainly in Italy, and set up practice in London shortly after his return.

He soon established himself as the leading portrait painter, though he was never popular with George III. He was a key figure in the intellectual life of London, and a friend of Dr. Johnson. When the Royal Academy was founded in 1768, Reynolds was elected its first President. Although believing that history painting was the noblest work of the painter, he had little opportunity to practice it, and his greatest works are his portraits.

His paintings are not perfectly preserved due to faulty technique. The carmine reds have faded, leaving flesh-tones paler than intended, and the bitumen used in the blacks has tended to crack.


Images from Wikipedia

Friday, July 14, 2017

La Marseillaise from Casablanca. Vive La France

What does this horde of slaves,
Of traitors and conspiratorial kings want?
For whom are these vile chains,
These long-prepared irons? (repeat)
Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage
What fury it must arouse!
It is us they dare plan
To return to the old slavery!

The Marseillaise was a revolutionary song, an anthem to freedom, a patriotic call to mobilize all the citizens and an exhortation to fight against tyranny and foreign invasion. The French National Convention adopted it as the Republic's anthem in 1795. It acquired its nickname after being sung in Paris by volunteers from Marseille marching to the capital. The song is the first example of the "European march" anthemic style. The anthem's evocative melody and lyrics have led to its widespread use as a song of revolution and its incorporation into many pieces of classical and popular music.

We need to reclaim our own songs for their original intent as a protest against oppression and greedy, tyrannical government. This version from the movie Casablanca is still one of the most moving renditions, set as it was during WW II and as a hymn of resistance to the Nazis. Ironic to think that the director and the actors had no idea how how important and what a classic this movie would become.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Upcoming at the Legion: Sarah Lucas

Max Hollerin's latest "contribution" to the Legion. The "work" looks like some kind of spider doll ready to give birth to dozens of spiders - oh, and the preview (out at the Legion as far away from the rest of the city that you can get), is at night, in a place with limited parking and only accessible by one bus,
From the e-mail notice:  Be among the first to preview Sarah Lucas: Good Muse, the latest contemporary exhibition at the Legion of Honor. Join us for an after hours sneak peek of the exhibition before doors officially open to the public this weekend.

The galleries will be open until 8:45 pm and refreshments provided at a cash bar. Space is limited, RSVP today!

Today's Birthday: Amedeo Clemente Modigliani

Amedeo Clemente Modigliani (Italian pronunciation: [ameˈdɛːo modiʎˈʎaːni]; Livorno, 12 July 1884 – Paris, 24 January 1920) was an Italian Jewish painter and sculptor who worked mainly in France. He is known for portraits and nudes in a modern style characterized by elongation of faces and figures, that were not received well during his lifetime, but later found acceptance. Modigliani spent his youth in Italy, where he studied the art of antiquity and the Renaissance until he moved to Paris in 1906. There he came into contact with prominent artists such as Pablo Picasso and Constantin Brâncuși.

Modigliani's œuvre includes paintings and drawings. From 1909 to 1914, however, he devoted himself mainly to sculpture. His main subject was portraits and full figures of humans, both in the images and in the sculptures. During his life, Amedeo Modigliani had little success, but after his death he achieved greater popularity and his works of art achieved high prices. He died at age 35 in Paris of tubercular meningitis.

Happy Birthday to Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, born on this day in 1884: http://bit.ly/2tJNfOB 

The best of his nudes

The Affair that changed him: At six feet tall, raven-haired and ravishingly beautiful, 21-year-old Anna Akhmatova proved something of a sensation when she arrived in Paris on the arm of her husband in 1910 – people would turn to look at her in the street. The couple were on their honeymoon, and, being poets of some repute in their native Russia, headed straight for Montparnasse, then the favoured haunt of the Parisian avant garde. Here they mingled with the penniless painters, sculptors, poets and composers who had moved to the area from the increasingly chichi Montmartre, in search of cheap rent, cheap cafés and run-down buildings that might serve as studios.

One such artist was the 25-year-old Amedeo Modigliani, who had arrived from Italy four years before. With an aristocratic Roman nose, a strong jaw and a mop of jet-black hair, he enchanted Anna, and the two became inseparable ...

Kneeling Blue Caryatid, c191; thought to have been inspired by the visits the pair made to the Louvre’s Egyptian gallery (GETTY)
More at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-features/11532201/Modigliani-and-the-Russian-beauty-the-affair-that-changed-him.html



Monday, July 10, 2017

Artemisia Gentileschi. July 8, 1593 – c. 1656

Self Portrait

Judith Slaying Holofernes (1614–20) Oil on canvas 199 x 162 cm Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence


Judith and her Maidservant (1613–14) Oil on canvas Palazzo Pitti, Florence

Lots of amazing artists born in the last week or so- David Hockney, Whistler, de Chiricio, Artimesia Gentileschi, Pisarro. For me, Artimesia Gentileschi is the most interesting one of the bunch - raped, maligned, tortured and yet, she perservered to become one of the best artists in the 17th century

That she was a woman painting in the seventeenth century and that she was raped and participated in the prosecution of the rapist long overshadowed her achievements as an artist. For many years she was regarded as a curiosity. Today she is regarded as one of the most progressive and expressive painters of her generation. She was born on July 8th, so this is a little late, but better late than never. 

The daughter of a renowned painter, she was trained by her father, raped  by one of his painting companions, torturned when she reported the rape to the authorities and put on trial. After the trial, she was quickly married off and the couple moved to Florence. She became a successful painter, enjoying the patronage of the Medici and Charles I of England. 

Artemisia was once thought to have died in 1652/1653; however, recent evidence has shown that she was still accepting commissions in 1654, although she was increasingly dependent upon her assistant, Onofrio Palumbo, especially as tastes changed to favor a more sentimental, religious style.
Some have speculated that she died in the devastating plague that swept Naples in 1656 and virtually wiped out an entire generation of Neapolitan artists.






Images from Wikiedia

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade at the Legion of Honor

The Legion of Honor in SF is exhibiting Degas paintings centered around hats. This video provides a bit of a deeper back ground because Degas was far more than a painter of pretty hats.

Edgar Degas, "The Millinery Shop," 1879–1886. Oil on canvas, 39 3/8 x 43 5/8 in. (100 x 110.7 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection, 1933.428. Bridgeman Images

, "The Conversation," 1895. Pastel on paper, 25 5/8 x 19 3/4 in. (65 x 50 cm). Courtesy of Acquavella Galleries.

Mary Cassat

"Portrait of Zacharian," ca. 1885. Pastel on paper laid down on board, 15 5/8 x 15 5/8 in. (39.7 x 39.7 cm). Private Collection.
James Tissot’s “The Shop Girl”

A new special exhibition at the Legion of Honor this summer takes a closer look at the work of impressionist artist Edgar Degas and his attraction expressed in paintings to high-fashion hats and the women who created them. "Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade," on view June 24-Sept. 24, features 60 impressionist paintings and pastels, including key works by Degas and others, including Renoir, Manet, Cassatt, and Toulouse-Lautrec. Forty exquisite examples of period hats will also be on display. And as the exhibit shows, Degas was not the only Impressionist painter to be intrigued by hats, both women’s and men’s. There are works by his friends and contemporaries, including Édouard Manet, Berthe Morisot, and  Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Degas’ fascination inspired a visually compelling body of work that documents the lives of what one fashion writer of the day called “the aristocracy of the workwomen of Paris, the most elegant and distinguished.” Yet despite the importance of millinery within Degas’s oeuvre, there has been little discussion of its place in Impressionist iconography.

Paris, already recognized as the fashion capital of the world, had about 1,000 milliners at this time. The millinery trade, along with the first modern department store, Au Bon Marché, gave birth to modern consumerism and changed gender roles with women in the workforce — all of which is depicted in the works on display in addition to the art and industry of hat making.

The exhibition focuses on the intersection between the historical context of the Parisian millinery trade and the contemporaneous, avant-garde art of Degas and the Impressionists. Degas explored the theme of millinery in 27 works, focusing particularly on hats, their creators, and consumers. These are often radical in their experimentation with color and abstracted forms, and are central to his portrayal of women, fashion, and Parisian modern life.

Degas’s largest painting on the theme is "The Millinery Shop" (1879-86) from the Art Institute of Chicago. In the painting, a woman sits surrounded by six hats, reflecting on the latest fashions for spring and summer. The hats dominate the composition and offer an overview of the range of materials (ribbons, flowers, feathers) and colors (cream, aqua, oranges, greens) used in stylish hats. One bonnet (late 19th century) from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston on display in the same room—a capote toute en fleurs (“all in bloom”), lavishly embellished with ribbon, bows, and silk flowers—might have been plucked directly from Degas’s painting. A hat from the Fine Arts Museums’ collection, distinguished by an African starling bird with outstretched wings, speaks to the flourishing international trade in luxury materials, especially feathers, which the Parisian millinery industry helped to support.



Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade: Tue.–Sun., through Sept. 24, 9:30 a.m.–5:15 p.m.,  Lincoln Park (100 34th Ave.), $28, 415-750-3600, famsf.org

Images courtesy of the Legion of Honor