(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘painting

“Photography always acknowledged there were cameras before photography”*…

 

Bernardo Bellotto’s “The Demolition of the Ruins of the Kreuzkirche,” 1765

In an era when photographs are the de facto language of record keeping, memories of modern history before the camera can sometimes feel a tad distant. But people and places did exist before 1839. And in 18th century Europe, the need to produce visual accounts of events large and small was becoming increasingly important. Social and technological developments in the early modern era were buttressing a new sense of global connectivity heralded by the rise of mercantilism and early colonial contact with the New World. It was a period defined by travel and trade, and the lords of Europe must have seen their situation as pivotal enough to commemorate with oil on canvas. The urge to self document is a modern one. A contemporary recognition of history as something worth immortalizing on one’s own terms. In keeping with the technological progress of the time, less than a century later a new medium would be invented to supersede painting’s documentary role.

“Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth Century Europe,” now on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, gathers a series of such canvases by Italian-trained artists of the early modern era—painterly predecessors of breaking news photography. As a response to the increasing awareness of time as a commodity—an ephemeral something worth remembering—painters were commissioned to record the day’s most important spectacles and events. From political rallies and papal visits to public festivals and natural disasters, the images offer an expansive view of life at a time when the boundaries of time and space were opening up enormously—a sentiment reflected in their size and scope. Documentary paintings were one way for those in power to formalize the narrative, “making history” on their own terms and based on their own hierarchy of importance.

More at: “These 18th century painters made eyewitness news images at the dawn of globalization“; see the exhibition at the Getty through July 30.

* David Hockney

###

As we believe our eyes, we might send sharply-focused birthday greetings to Jennie Boddington; she was born on this date in 1922.  After a successful career as a filmmaker, she became the first full-time curator of photography for the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.  She was the first such curator in Australia, and perhaps only the third in the world.

 source

 

Written by LW

June 7, 2017 at 1:01 am

“I think of two landscapes- one outside the self, the other within”*…

 

Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder’s allegory of iconoclasm, ca.1566

Although commonplace today, the landscape as a distinct category in painting only really began to establish itself in Western art during the Renaissance, a period in which natural views began to make their way to the fore of focus, no longer merely backgrounds to human figures. Perhaps an interesting quirk of this “transition” were the images which seemed to fuse the two: anthropomorphic landscapes. These images — particularly where landscapes are given the form of human heads — appear to be somewhat of a meme…

Currier and Ives print showing a young man and a young woman looking through an opening in a wall (alternatively, a human skull)

More of the story, and more (and larger) examples, at “The Art of Hidden Faces: Anthropomorphic Landscapes.”

* Barry Lopez

###

As we put a human face on Nature, we might send dramatic birthday greetings to Elaine de Kooning; she was born on this date in 1918.  While she was overshadowed in the public view by her husband, Willem de Kooning, for much of her career, she was an important and influential Abstract Expressionist and Figurative Expressionist painter in the post-World War II era, and an editor of Art News.

Her portrait of John F. Kennedy (National Portrait Gallery)

source

 source

 

Written by LW

March 12, 2016 at 1:01 am

“The sublime splendour of ordinary existence was hidden from those who lived embedded in it”*…

 

Ukrainian artist Alexey Kondakov unites the past and present by giving characters from classic paintings the chance to explore our modern world. The artist skillfully utilizes Photoshop to insert vintage muses in stores, on buses, on stairwells, and in the midst of urban alleyways for his ongoing series titled The Daily Life of Gods. Each image perfectly juxtaposes the paintings’ soft lines and subtle coloring with the harsh, blunt elements of urban locations…

More at “Characters from Classic Paintings Are Inserted into the Modern World.”

* François Mauriac, Thérèse

###

As we commemorate the quotidian, we might send delicately-colored birthday greetings to George “Sidney” Shepherd; he was born on this date in 1784.  A draughtsman and watercolor painter, Shepherd enjoyed renown in his day as a a topographical artist, painting “views” around England.  Shepherd was one of the founding members of the resurrected New Society of Painters in Watercolors (now the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colors), alongside the leading watercolorists of his day, including William Blake.

Shepherd’s watercolor of Aldermaston village (1819)

source

 

Written by LW

December 5, 2015 at 1:01 am

“I see black light”*…

 

Robert Fludd’s black square representing the nothingness that was prior to the universe, from his Utriusque Cosmi (1617) – Source: Wellcome Library

 

Is black a color, the absence of color  or a suspension of vision produced by a deprivation of light?  Beginning with Robert Fludd’s attempt to picture nothingness, Eugene Thacker reflects on some of the ways in which blackness has been employed through the history of art and philosophical thought.  Head for the dark side at “Black on Black.”

* Victor Hugo’s last words

###

As we paint it black, we might spare a thought for Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes; he died on this date in 1828.  A painter and printmaker who was Court Painter to the Spanish Crown, Goya is regarded both as the last of the Old Masters (for “La Maja Denuda,” among many, many others) and the first of the Moderns. Indeed, in the words of art historian Sir Kenneth Clark, “El tres de mayo de 1808 en Madrid” is “the first great picture which can be called ‘revolutionary’ in every sense of the word, in style, in subject, and in intention.”

Goya’s “Black Paintings,” created late in his life, are anguished, haunted works, reflective both of his fear of dementia and of his dystopian outlook on humanity.

“Saturn Devouring His Son” (detail), probably the most famous of the Black Paintings

 source

Portrait of Francisco Goya by Vicente López y Portaña (1826)

 source

 

Written by LW

April 16, 2015 at 1:01 am

Hours of fun!…

 

Your correspondent is headed out of reliable radio contact for a couple of weeks.  Thus today’s post is a pair of tools– perhaps more accurately, mesmerizing toys– to which readers can turn for diversion until June 14 or so, when regular service will resume…

From Anselm Levskaya, a nifty polyhedron construction kit… and for more fun:  Levskaya’s “Eschersketch,” a wonderfully-simple tool for creating repetitive geometric designs like this (or a nearly-infinite number of variations thereon):

###

As we just doodle it, we might spare a thought for Peter Paul Rubens; he died on this date in 1640.  A master of the Flemish Baroque, Rubens was renown for his portraits, landscapes, and history paintings (largely of mythological and allegorical subjects), for his Counter-Reformation altarpieces… and for his fondness for painting full-figured women (to wit, “Rubenesque”).  Rubens was born into a Calvinist family, but educated as a Humanist.  And while he was a remarkably prolific painter, both personally and via the studio he oversaw in Antwerp, he remained an active scholar and diplomat– for which services he was knighted by both Spain’s Philip IV and England’s Charles I.

Self-portrait, 1623

source

 

Written by LW

May 30, 2013 at 1:01 am

Is it real or is it…?

 

Australian artist Jeremy Geddes creates oil paintings that are astonishingly– dangerously– counterintuitive, at the same time that they’re astoundingly photo-realistic.  Geddes’ describes his process in this 2011 interview with Empty Kingdom.

[TotH to Laughing Squid]

###

As we look away then back again, we might spare a thought for Jean-François Lyotard; he died on this date in 1998.  A co-founder (with Derrida, Châtelet, and Deleuze) of the Collège International de Philosophie– the bastion of Postmodernism– Lyotard was a philosopher, sociologist, and literary theorist.  As a champion of “the sublime”– in Lyotard’s rehabilitation of an ancient aesthetic concept, the pleasurable anxiety that one experiences when confronting wild and threatening sights– he would surely have approved of Geddes’ work.

 source

 

 

Written by LW

April 21, 2013 at 1:01 am

The benefits of rarefied air…

 

From inner-city food deserts to car-centric suburbs, aspects of the physical environment are frequently cited as a contributing factor to the rise of obesity in the developed world. However, new research, published earlier this year in the International Journal of Obesity and summarised online at the Public Library of Science (PLOS) blog, Obesity Panacea, found a surprising correlation between elevation and obesity in the United States.

As the paper’s lead author, Dr. Jameson Voss of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, points out, mapping obesity prevalence in America reveals distinct, and hitherto unexplained, geographic variations:

Obesity appears most prevalent in the Southeast and Midwest states and less prevalent in the Mountain West. Despite significant research into the environmental determinants of obesity, including the built environment, the explanation for these macrogeographic differences is unclear.

Intriguingly, those areas in which less than a quarter of the population is obese map almost exactly onto the more mountainous regions of the country—the Appalachians, the Rockies, and the Sierra Nevada. And, indeed, after controlling for diet, activity level, smoking, demographics, temperature, and urbanisation, Voss and his colleagues found “a four- to five-fold increase in obesity prevalence at low altitude as compared with the highest altitude category”…

Read the full (and filling) story at Edible Geography.

###

As we head for higher ground, we might send playful birthday greetings to Joan Miró i Ferrà; he was born on this date in 1893.  A  painter, sculptor, and ceramicist, who worked over time as a Fauve, Magic Realist, Surrealist, and Expressionist (and pioneered Color Field painting), Miró had a huge influence on artists in the later Twentieth Century (Frankenthaler, Rothko, Motherwell, and Calder among many others), and on design pioneers like Paul Rand.

“Women and Birds at Sunrise” 1946

source

Carl Van Vechten’s portrait of Miró

source

Written by LW

April 20, 2013 at 1:01 am

%d bloggers like this: