Frank Stella, 1968
Thursday, December 31
Frank Stella, 1968
Friday, December 25
We also wish you safe travels and an overall safe Christmas. We hope that no one pulls a crazy-lady-in-red on you and knocks you down like that woman did the Pope! In case you missed it, here's a link to the madness that happened yesterday.
Madonna and Child, c. 1600s
Hearst Castle, California
Speaking of safe travels, I hope that all of your lovely Christmas cards made it on time to their destinations! I know our family's haven't...but maybe that's because it hasn't been written yet. Haha. Maybe some of you sent them with this accompanying postage stamp.
The painting is by this man:
Self-Portrait, c. 1600s
The Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy
Giovanni Battista Salvi, better known as Sassoferrato, was born in 1609. To commemorate his birthday 400 years ago, the United Postal Service decided to use Madonna and Child as its Christmas emblem this year. Again, Merry Christmas! And let's not forget what Sassoferrato has unintentionally reminded us of today- that facial hair like that is no longer in style. Praise Jesus!
Thursday, December 24
Wednesday, December 23
Children are playing on the frozen canal:
People are standing in line outside of a tavern while the village butcher is prepping for dinner:
Pieter Bruegel the Elder painted Census at Bethlehem at a pivotal and dramatic point in Dutch history. The Netherlands was at war and the art world, which had flourished in Northern Europe during recent decades of prosperity, was ripping in two. Catholic painters fled south to Spanish Flanders as protestants lashed out at one of the Catholic Church's most important teaching and veneration tools--the image.
Tuesday, December 22
He also didn't know what trees were topped with, hence the santa claus figurine drawn atop the tree where a star or angel would normally go.
Sunday, December 20
Saturday, December 19
Photo by Hugh Morton
Appalachian writer Gloria Houston's book, The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree, tells the story of Ruthie, a little girl who picks out the perfect Christmas tree with her daddy before he leaves to fight in WWI. While the story is wonderful, the illustrations really make the book.
Houston's story is brought to life by award winning illustrator, Barbara Cooney. Ms. Cooney's folk art graces the pages of over 100 books, including 15 books that she authored herself.
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree
Friday, December 18
Thursday, December 17
Wednesday, December 16
Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" The angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.
Tuesday, December 15
Check out this year's lovely decor, its all by Andy Warhol.
You didn't know Andy did Christmas? He sure did!
(Johnathan Jones, The Guardian UK)
Monday, December 14
I'm not going to get into the gory details involving the weekend death of my macbook, but let me just say I highly recommend this.
Somewhere on that dead little glossy white computer is a well researched post about the most famous pair of American lithographers ever. Unfortunately, this is not that post.
However, I didn't want to leave you totally hanging. So I came out of mourning for a minute to write this, Merry Christmas.
If you guessed Currier and Ives, you are correct (and awesome.) They get really popular around this time of year as millions of Americans send Christmas cards featuring their quaint images of sleighs and snow. Images like this:
very Christmasy song written in 1948 and performed by practically every singer since:
Print commemorating the appearance of Swedish singer
Jenny Lind at the Castle Garden Theater
on on Sept. 11, 1859.
*Currier and Ives images from this very good website http://currierandives.net/
Friday, December 11
Here's a little hint:
Any guesses? (If you get this right, you'll have me doing this.)
See you tomorrow!
Wednesday, December 9
This chalk drawing by Raphael was just sold by Christie's last night for a mind blowing £29.1 million ($48 million). The drawing was part of a series of sketches made for this fresco in the Vatican Library:
The Vatican Library
Full coverage of last night's auction can be found in today's Wall Street Journal. WSJ art writer Kelly Crow seems to think it was a good buy at its predicted price of $24 million, but that the bidder got a bit overzealous when he drove the price up to almost $50 million. Talk about blowing all of your money in one place! Ms. Kelly does provide evidence that this Raphael has shown a good return on investment (8.1%) over the last 159 years. Now whether the mystery buyer will get his money back this time around is a good question. He may have overpaid.
But lucky for him, buying a Raphael is kind of like investing in gold-- it will never be worth zero and the chances of it falling out of fashion are slim to none. If he were to buy a more modern work, say, something by Jackson Pollock for example, he may lose out on resale value if the painting loses its appeal. Contemporary art hasn't proven its staying power yet, while the masters of the Italian Renaissance have things pretty well locked up.
For more of Ms. Crow's thoughts on this sale, read her column at the WJS Speakeasy.
*1:15 pm: I just caught a seriously embarrassing spelling error. If you read this post prior to the correction I'm sure you know exactly what I am talking about. Please do not judge me-- I'm fighting what I am pretty sure is the flu (not swine, just regular) and my spell checker betrayed me big time this morning!
Tuesday, December 8
Saturday, December 5
No, they are not making another Zorro. Sorry to disappoint. But it is something equally, if not more, awesome.
According to IMDB, Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones are set to reunite onscreen as Salvador Dali and Gala Eduard Dali sometime in 2010. I don't know about Jones, but Antonio is a pretty obvious choice for this role. Not only is he Spanish but he is a dead ringer for Dali. See:
Most people know Salvador Dali because of this:
1198 page standby and his section is tiny (like 2 paragraphs). It's just not right. So bear with me, I'm going I tell you a little bit more about Mr. Dali. It may help to explain why they are possibly (fingers crossed) making a major movie about his life.
Salvador Dali was born in 1904 in a small town in the shadow of the Pyrenees mountains, not far from the French border. (The Dali Museum, History) While his career was defined by surrealism, a style that encouraged painting with photographic clarity while exercising almost no rational thought, it is important to point out that Mr. Dali was first and foremost a classically trained artist. In fact, he first gained international success at the age of 24 with a still life, not a surrealist masterpiece.
Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around
a Pomegranate One Second Before Awakening
*The title alone is a work of art*
As the Germans began to assert control across France at the start of WWII, Dali and his wife Gala fled to the US. (He met her while she was married to her first husband, poet Paul Eluard. It wouldn't be his first affair.) (The Dali Museum, History)
The already world famous, bizarrely mustached Spaniard was an instant Hollywood celebrity. Dali thoroughly enjoyed his American fame, so much in fact that he was often criticized in the art world as being a sell out. He didn't seem to care what the critics had to say.
While in America, he explored a new medium, film. His most famous film work was as set director for Alfred Hitchcock's "Spellbound," for which he designed the dream sequence had by actor Gregory Peck.
Like most celebrities, he made the rounds on TV talk and game shows, appearing on "What's My Line" and as a guest on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. His appearance on "What's My Line" is actually really funny--thanks to YouTube, you can see it in its entirely.
Dali definitely had a flair for rhetoric and was flamboyantly and unapologetically proud of himself. He once declared, "each morning when I awake, I experience again a supreme pleasure - that of being Salvador Dali." (Reading that quote, I can't help but think of this scene from Talledega Nights.)
While he did gallivant around Hollywood quite a bit, he never quit painting. Throughout the 40's and into the 50's Dali revisited his classical roots, turning his focus to large history and religious works. He completed his massive Discovery of America By Christopher Columbus in 1959.
He and Gala moved back to Spain in the mid 1950's where he painted profusely. Many of his later works point to his return to the Catholic faith.
He passed away on January 23, 1989, at the age of 85. A quick internet search couldn't confirm this, but I believe he is the only artist known to die in his own museum surrounded by his own artwork. I remember a professor mentioning that once...