Archive for June, 2011

You say about these paintings, that baby is way too big or too small, the figures are too stiff, etc. but you have to understand the pressure the church put on these artists. Everyone was afraid of breaking that “graven images” commandment and if you broke a commandment back then it wasn’t just “say three hail Mary’s”, it was serious shit; loss of all possessions, torture, death.

The church itself was very wishy-washy about the graven images thing, a big internal argument. Some thought any image of biblical figures broke the commandment. Others thought that since most of the parishioners couldn’t read, paintings would be a good way to get the stories, the fear, and the paranoia across; generate those donations.

The artist never knew how the religious/political wind was going to blow. Whether they’d end up heroes or tortured to death. Whether their work would be admired for years or burnt by the next group in power.

Eventually the church leaned heavily on painters to get the message to the illiterate masses. So really European art, the Renaissance, Baroque was all commercial art, paid illustrations for the biggest corporation in power at the time, the Catholic church.


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“Great art picks up where nature ends.”
Marc Chagall

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Rousseau came from a poor family who lost their house to foreclosure, went to work for a lawyer and had to join the army because he “attempted a small perjury”, middle aged tax collector with no art training, painted jungles but never saw one, went by pictures in books and trips to the zoo. Ballsy guy; sought Picasso out in one of his hangouts and told him that he and Picasso were the only great artists.


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“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.”-Salvador Dali

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Fly Away

Signature is on it, must be done.

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Added more detail to the rock and foreground trees, decided against adding more trees. Also sketched in the hawk

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When you look at art history it seems that many artists fit into two categories:

  1. The artists who create a new style which keeps them unpopular and broke until years after they die (Van Gogh)
  2. The artists who excel at the current trend, earn fame & cash while alive but are criticized and forgotten by history (Bouguereau)

Rembrandt was both. The top portrait artist inAmsterdamduring his younger days (and unfortunately for him and his family a shop-aholic) . As his “painterly” style developed his commissions dried up and customers refused to pay. He ended up dying in poverty. 

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