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Worth Watching
  • Empires - The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
    Empires - The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
    A fascinating and highly entertaining look at one of the most important families of the Renaissance era--the Medici.
  • Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection (Story of Painting / Grand Tour / Odyssey / Pains of Glass)
    Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection (Story of Painting / Grand Tour / Odyssey / Pains of Glass)

    “Sister Wendy Beckett has transformed public appreciation of art through her astonishing knowledge, insight and passion for painting and painters.” This set includes Sister Wendy's Story of Painting, Sister Wendy's Odyssey, and Sister Wendy's Grand Tour. Simultaneously delightful and scholarly--this is a must have for anyone interested in art history.

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop
    Exit Through the Gift Shop
    When British stencil artist Banksy traveled to Los Angeles to work, he came across obscure French filmmaker Thierry Guetta and his badly organized collection of videotapes involving the activities of graffiti artists. Inspired, Banksy assembled them with new footage to create this talked-about documentary, and the result is a mind-boggling and odd film (so strange as to be thought a hoax by some) about outsider artists and the definition of art itself.
  • The Impressionists
    The Impressionists
    A dramatization of the Impressionist movement as seen through the eyes of Claude Monet. Highly entertaining and informative.
  • The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution
    The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution
    A very personal and revealing look at the personalities that created Impressionism.

Quote of the Day

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” - Leonardo da Vinci


Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer

Michelangelo - The Punishment of Tityus (recto) - 1532 - Black chalk, 190 x 330 mm - Royal Library, Windsor (click photo for larger image)From November 13, 2017 - February 12, 2018, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC will be presenting a stunning Exhibition of works by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) whose imagery remains “a staggering force that continues to enthrall us today.”

The exhibition will include drawings, paintings, sculptures, a wooden architectural model and more—as well as works by other artists that will help to put the great Master into a broader context. It’s a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to see the genius of Michelangelo here in the USA—in a show amassed from collections around the globe. You don’t want to miss it. 

In 1532, Michelangelo was 57 when he met the 17-year-old Tommaso dei Cavalieri, who came from a well-respected patrician family. The artist was immediately and utterly smitten by the youth's beauty, distinguished appearance, and intellect, and their meeting marked the beginning of a lifelong friendship. Michelangelo sent Tommaso sonnets, letters, and drawings—some of which will be included in this exhibit. Michelangelo promoted the young Tomasso's artistic interest by teaching him how to draw and by imparting architectural knowledge to him.

Michelangelo presented a series of drawings on classical-mythological themes to Tommaso. The drawing featured here shows a vulture gnawing at the hero's liver. On the verso of the sheet, the artist traced the outlines of Tityus's body almost identically and turned him into a Risen Christ.

Michelangelo is featured a number of times on What About Art? so you can read all about him right here!


Ferdinand Hodler: Synthesizing Art Nouveau and Symbolism

Ferdinand Hodler - The Night - 1889-1890 - Oil on canvas - 116x299 cm - Berne Kunstmuseum (click photo for larger image)Art Nouveau artist Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918) was one of the most important painters of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Although in his early years he produced portraits heavily influenced by the French Realist Gustave Courbet, by the mid-1880s Hodler leaned toward works from which a more deliberate linear self-stylization emerged. His subjects also began to deal with the symbolism of youth and age, solitude, and contemplation.  

In the work featured here, Die Nacht (The Night) the painter portrays himself as having been rudely awakened by the figure of death. Around him are entwined men and women, asleep, with self-portraits slipped in along with portraits of the two women with whom Hodler shared his life at that time: Augustine Dupain, his companion since the early days and mother of his son, and Bertha Stuckie, his wife from a brief and tempestuous marriage.


Did You Know?

Artist Paul Cézanne completed nearly 200 still-life paintings in his lifetime. The early 19th century saw a decline in the popularity of still-life compositions. Cézanne's love of them was largely responsible for rekindling their popularity in the late 19th century. Cézanne seemed to revel in the possibilities of the still-life, creating an infinitely varied series of compositions repeatedly using a small set of household objects, along with everyday fruit and vegetables. Many of these objects remain in his studio today.


Theo van Doesburg: Elementarism

Theo van Doesburg - Café Aubette, Strasbourg, France (Color scheme for floor and long walls of ballroom, preliminary version - 1927 - Ink, gouache, and metallic gouache on paper - 21 x 14 3/4" (53.3 x 37.5 cm) - Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) New York (click photo for larger image)Dutch Neo-Plasticist painter Theo van Doesburg (born Christian Emil Marie Küpper) (1883-1931) was one of the founders and leading theorists of the DeStijl movement (along with Piet Mondrian, which began in the Netherlands and flourished into one of the major inter-war movements. “It advocated a simplified, geometric, and reductive aesthetic in the visual arts and argued that painting, design, and architecture should be fully integrated.” 

In addition to painting, Van Doesburg designed buildings, room decorations, stained glass, furniture, and household items that embodied both De Stijl's aesthetic theories and the artist’s personal ideas. He also wrote numerous essays and treatises on geometric abstraction and De Stijl, published journals, and organized many exhibitions of works by De Stijl artists and related movements.

Van Doesburg’s personal vision was called Elementarism. It emphasized subtle shifts in tones, tilting geometric shapes at angles relative to the picture plane, and varying lengths of horizontal and vertical lines colored lines—some disconnected from one another. This represented a shift away from the stricter practice of Mondrian. Van Doesburg explained Elementarism as "based on the neutralization of the positive and negative directions by the diagonal and, as far as color is concerned, by the dissonant. Equilibrated relations are not the ultimate result."