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Take care and keep laughing!
The animals in the image above are elephants. They were drawn sometime around the 13th or 14th century in a medieval bestiary, a type of book that described animals large and small, real and fantastic. But to a modern eye, the line between the real and the imagined is…
The Victorians were very good at taking an idea and running with it. The present day commercialisation of Valentine’s Day can be laid at their feet. And the man to thank (or blame) is Sir Row…
Talking of Art Deco, as we were for the Valentine Parisienne post, did you know about this tunnel under the New Yorker Hotel?
The beautiful tunnel that ran from the lobby to Penn Station is still hidden underneath 34th Street.
FROM THE ARCHIVE 28 August 2015
The Russian designer and painter Léon Bakst (1866–1924), born Lev Samuilovich Rozenberg, is more generally known for his luscious costume and set designs for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes as witness S…
Take care and keep laughing!
“With color one obtains an energy that seems to stem from witchcraft.” — Henri Matisse, French, painter, printmaker
In an ironic twist of fate this painting by William Hogarth, which was donated to the Nation…
This will be the last of the posts I’ve written as a result of visiting Vienna in June. We visited several museums and art galleries while we were there, and in every one, there were pictures by Gustav Klimt.
His paintings are famous, particularly…
Sir John Gilbert (1817-1897) the famous English painter and illustrator, is now remembered for his woodcut illustrations for the works of Shakespeare though in his lifetime he preferred his medieva…
On the 8th of August 1902, French Victorian portrait painter, engraver, and enameler, James Tissot, died in Buillon Abbey, near Besançon, France. “After receiving a religious education, Tissot went…
On the 2nd of August 1788, English painter Thomas Gainsborough died in London at the age of 61. One of the most unusual artworks created by the artist, now on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, is his experimental showbox with his back-lit landscapes painted in oils on glass, which allowed them to be changed and viewed like slides. Made in the 1780s, the minuscule works can be seen in this specially constructed ‘showbox’, a machine consisting of a number of moveable transparent planes, lit at the back, and through an adjustable magnifying lens. Originally, the painted glass transparency was set before a silk diffusing screen illuminated by three candles. The box opens at the top and back and even has special slots for storing the transparencies.
“Visitors to the Victoria and Albert Museum today can experience something of the magic of Gainsborough’s show box, which is on view…
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July 15th 1606
Birth of Rembrandt van Rijn
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was born in 1606 in The Dutch Golden Age (1585-1702) where the Dutch Republic was the most prosperous nation in Europe. It led the way in trade, science and the arts. Rembrandt was this periods most dominant figure.
Early on, Rembrandt decided that academic life wasn’t for him and he left university to become a painter’s apprentice. This was only a stepping stone for him as he had greater ambitions of becoming an artist himself. In 1631, he moved to Amsterdam where his career took off. Interestingly, his paintings would offer art lovers today an insight into the Amsterdam of his day. He painted portraits for wealthy families and organisations, as well as scenes from history, mythology and the bible. Many of these paintings or portraits were known as ‘impasto’, owing to the fact that they were created on thick, lumpy paint. His technique also made dramatic use of light and shade.
The Militia Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq, better known as ‘The Night Watch’ was one of his finest examples of effective use of light and shade. It is also famous for rather than showing the soldiers in a formal pose, Rembrandt painted them as though they were about to march into action.
While his career flourished, his private life was clouded by tragedy. He would lose his wife, his son and later in life his lover. Bankruptcy would almost also cripple him, but despite his troubles his later years would be a prolific period artistically. His life work included hundreds of paintings and prints, and interestingly some 90 self portraits, leaving us a record of how he looked throughout his illustrious life, until his death in 1669.