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  • 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.

 

 

Friday
Jul032015

Sandro Botticelli: An Outstanding Genius of Western Art

Sandro Botticelli - Agony in the Garden - c. 1500 - Tempera on panel, 53 x 35 cm - Museo de la Capilla Real, Granada (click photo for larger image)Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) was one of the greatest lyrical painters of the Florentine Renaissance. It is to the pure visual poetry of his outcomes that he owes his fame. Botticelli’s manipulations of the visual facts for artistic purposes were as deliberate and creative in his day as Picasso’s were, in the 20 century. 

This is the only one of Botticelli's paintings known to have been exported from Italy during the artist's lifetime. It is recorded as being in the possession of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Castille, in 1504. It was probably brought to the court of Castille by a merchant, accompanied by various other luxury goods.

Wednesday
Jul012015

Quote of the Day

“The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.” - Michelangelo

Monday
Jun292015

Paolo Uccello: A Reconciler of Two Distinct Styles

Paolo Uccello - Scenes from the Life of the Holy Hermits - 1460s - Tempera on canvas, 81 x 110 cm - Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence (click photo for larger image)Paolo Uccello (1397-1475) was a Florentine painter whose work attempted uniquely to reconcile two distinct artistic styles—the essentially decorative late Gothic and the new heroic style of the early Renaissance. He was one of the first painters to complete a work in precise linear perspective (rather than intuited perspective).

The subject of this painting is rather unusual. In a rocky landscape with forests and caves populated by animals and monks engaged in a variety of activities, we recognize St Benedict in a pulpit, St Bernard and his vision, St Jerome in penance, and St Francis receiving the stigmata. Such a composition does not adhere to any standardized iconography but appears to be a celebration of monasticism in general. The painting can be defined as a Thebaid, i.e. a depiction of the lives of the holy hermits of the first centuries of the Christian era, who retreated as hermits into the Egyptian desert around Thebes. However, Uccello's painting shows the saints and monks belonging to the religious orders common in Florence.

Friday
Jun262015

Leon Battista Alberti: The ‘Universal Man’

 

Leon Battista Alberti - Palazzo Ruccelai: Façade - 1446-51 - Via della Vigna Nuova, Florence (click photo for larger image)Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472) was an Italian humanist, architect, and principal initiator of Renaissance art theory. In his personality, works, and breadth of learning, he is considered the prototype of the “universal man.”

The façade of the Palazzo Ruccelai is a strikingly original contribution to the history of Renaissance palace design. The façade's general principles were followed in many other buildings, some actually built, others merely designed. The basic elements are a rusticated three-story building with an entrance portal and high, square windows on the ground floor, mullioned windows on the second and third, and a massive cornice. The three stories are of equal height, and the rustication is identical in all three stories.

Wednesday
Jun242015

Did You Know?

After much disagreement by art historians over time, it is now accepted that Jan Van Eyck had an older brother, Pictor Hubertus Eyck (Hubert), who worked with Jan on the "Adoration of the Lamb".