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Archive for July, 2011

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“I am not so weak as to submit to the demands of the age when they go against my convictions. I spin a cocoon around myself; let others do the same. I shall leave it to time to show what will come of it: a brilliant butterfly or maggot.”-Caspar David Freidrich

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Here’s where you see that a landscape is more than just a pretty picture.

 Freidrich usually included a person, dwarfed by the nature around him. He was part of an anti-“civilization”-back to nature and spirituality art movement in the early 1800s that included Turner and Constable

He created one of the most unusual crucifixion paintings of the time commenting later that the setting sun represented that the time of a God in man’s life had passed.

As he got older he suffered from depression which showed as his landscapes became darker and lonelier Although he had been popular and in demand as he aged and German Modernism gained popularity he fell into poverty.

During the 1930s,his artwork was used by the Nazis as a symbol of  nationalistic idealism. It took years for his reputation to recover from this association with Nazism.

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“Everytime I paint a portrait I lose a friend.”
John Singer Sargent

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“The Death of Caravaggio”- Caravaggio had been exiled from Rome for stabbing a VIP in a drunken brawl (not the first, or last time he did this). He petitioned the pope for a reprieve by promising him paintings. The pope agreed and Caravaggio loaded the paintings on a ship and headed for Rome. But the local authorities did not know about the pope’s reprieve so they arrested Caravaggio and removed him from the ship. The ship took off for Rome with the paintings but without Caravaggio.

He eventually escaped and attempted to follow the ship along the shore. It was a swampy area, he got sick and eventually died from his illness.

One of the paintings he was bringing to the pope was David & Goliath. The face of Goliath was Caravaggio’s. He made himself the villain as an admission of guilt and an apology.

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Andrew Wyeth was the son of famous illustrator NC Wyeth 

 who home schooled Andrew, his only art education and quite a stern teacher. Andrew described it as an “Art Prison”.

His sisters Caroline & Henrietta were also artists 

 

as was his son Jamie.

 He was one of the few 20th century painters I know who used egg tempera. Almost everything he painted was done in either rural Pennsylvania or his summer home in Maine.

His most famous painting is “Christina’s World”. Christina was crippled and drug herself around on the ground with her arms. 

 

 “Christina’s World” and others featured some interesting characters and the dilapidated farm houses near his home.

 

Later in life (and without his wife’s knowledge) he painted a series of paintings of his neighbor Helga.

 Critics aren’t sure what to do with Wyeth, he always seems to end up on “most over-rated” and “most under-rated” lists, in equal proportion.

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