These ostrich eggshell fragments, with patterns etched into their sides, are among the very earliest examples of decorative art—or what was once known as “minor” arts. From the Western cape of South Africa, wares such as this one were created 62,000 years ago, and are far older than the earliest writing or any other art forms that still exist. The symbols engraved on them are regular lines and hatches, and are so many in number that archaeologists think they may well be communicative, or at least symbolic. Since 1999, these fragments have been researched and protected in a collaboration between the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cape Town and the Institute of Prehistory and Quaternary Geology at the University of Bordeaux. 270 fragments have been found. It’s estimated that fragments exist for 25 complete containers. Imagine that! It’s been determined that the tradition of engraving found on the eggshell vessels lasted for several thousand years. It is only through the work of many, many dedicated professionals that these treasures— and an understanding of them—have come to light.
John James Audubon painted 435 watercolors of birds in his lifetime. He was born on the Caribbean island of Santo Domingo, in 1784. In 1802 he moved to the United states ,where he fell in love with bird life. He made it his life's work to paint a picture of every species of bird in America.
“Artists bring Hieronymus Bosch's triptych into the 21st century with Kate Moss, emojis, and Dr. Martens.” This is the opener of an article by Layne Goldman and Stefanie Waldek, featured in the July 3, 2014 issue of “ARTnews” magazine. The article is a discussion of contemporary works based on the great Bosch painting—all of which address paradise, hell, and the “earthly delights” in between. The article is a fascinating read and a number of wonderful interpretations are included. But…there isn’t a complete photo of the great master’s original version—so we’re providing that here.
Bosch’s painting is one of the most enigmatic pictures ever made. It’s captivated and puzzled audiences for centuries. Despite the theme, it was never destined for a religious setting. Rather, it’s a conversation piece to be closely viewed and discussed among friends or visitors. It can be read on many levels, from the literal to the allegorical. You’ll note just a few of possible interpretations in the “ARTnews” article. You may have to acquire a free subscription to “ARTnews” (by entering your e-mail address) but this is a publication you art lovers will want to have at your fingertips!
Many of Edward Hopper’s (1882–1967) most admired paintings are night scenes. An enthusiast of both movies and the theater, he adapted the device of highlighting a scene against a dark background, providing the viewer with a sense of sitting in a darkened theater waiting for the drama to unfold. By staging his pictures in darkness, Hopper, was able to illuminate the most important features while obscuring extraneous detail. Hopper’s approach to all of his works is cinematic. His canvas become a movie screen. The unidentified woman in “Night Windows” is unaware of the viewer’s gaze. She quietly attends to the personal details of her life, while we watch and wait for something to happen. “The painting exposes the voyeuristic opportunities of the modern American city, and the contradiction it offers between access to the intimate lives of strangers and urban loneliness and isolation.” Isolation was a recurring theme in Hopper’s work.