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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.
Monday
Aug132018

Amico Aspertini: A Half-Insane Master

Amico Aspertini - Heroic Head - Tempera on wood, 37,5 x 36,5 cm - Christian Museum, Esztergom, Hungary (click photo for larger image)Amico Aspertini (ca. 1475-1552) was an Italian Mannerist painter from Bologna. Giorgio Vasari describes him as having an eccentric personality—in his word “half-insane”. This is revealed in his paintings, which are often bizarre in expression. Aspetini was in Rome 1500-03 and his sketchbooks of Roman remains (British Museum, London) are important sources about contemporary knowledge of the antique.

The monochrome painting featured here, with the stone-like frame, appears as a relief. It is interesting to note that the bust is not in the painted frame, but before it. This was an unusual feature at the time.

Wednesday
Aug082018

Quote of the Day

“The principle of true art is not to portray, but to evoke.” - Jerzy Kosinski

Wednesday
Aug082018

Pierre Bonnard: The Spirit of the Moment

Pierre Bonnard - The Checkered Blouse - 1892 - Oil on canvas - Height: 61 cm (24.02 in.), Width: 33 cm (12.99 in.) - Musée d’Orsay - Paris (click photo for larger image)French painter and printmaker, Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) member of the group of artists called Les Nabis, and afterward a leader of the Intimists. Bonnard is generally regarded as one of the greatest colorists of modern art. He attended the École des Beaux-Arts, but, failing to win the Prix de Rome (a prize to study at the French Academy in Rome), he transferred to the Académie Julian, where he came into contact with some of the major figures of the new artistic generation. 

During the 1890s Bonnard became one of the leading members of the Nabis, a group of artists who specialized in painting intimate domestic scenes as well as decorative curvilinear compositions akin to those produced by painters of the contemporary Art Nouveau movement. Bonnard painted many of his scenes from memory, capturing the spirit of the moment rather than the exact person or place. Bonnard did not paint from life but rather drew his subjects - sometimes photographing them as well - and made notes on the colors. He then painted - and especially, colored - the canvas in his studio from his notes.

Monday
Aug062018

Preston’s Precisionism

Preston Dickinson - Factory - c. 1920 - Oil on canvas - Height: 75.88 cm (29.88 in.), Width: 64.14 cm (25.25 in.) Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH (click photo for larger image)American artist Preston Dickinson (1891-1930) was among those modern artists known as Precisionists. Dickinson grew up in New York, where he worked as an office boy in a marine architect’s firm. One of the partners of the company was so impressed by the young boy’s sketches that he offered to pay for his tuition at the Art Students League. Dickinson studied there for four years, then traveled to France, where he sketched at the Louvre and exhibited at the Salons. On his return to New York, he painted images of Manhattan and the Harlem River while selling socks door-to-door to support himself. He moved to Spain in 1930 but died a few months later from pneumonia, at the age of forty-one.

Precisionism is a smooth, sharply defined painting style used by several American artists in representational canvases executed primarily during the 1920s. While Precisionism can be seen as a tendency present in American art since the colonial period, the style of 20th-century Precisionist painters had its origins in Cubism, Futurism and Orphism. Unlike the artists affiliated with the latter movements, the Precisionists did not issue manifestos. They were not a school or movement with a formal program. During the 1920s, however, many of them exhibited their works together, particularly at the Daniel Gallery in New York City.

Friday
Aug032018

Jack Tworkov: Broad Strokes

Jack Tworkov - West 23rd - 1963 - Oil on canvas - 60 in. x 6 ft. 8 in. - Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) - New York, NY (click photo for larger image)Jack Tworkov (1900-1982) was a Polish-born American painter. An exponent of Abstract Expressionism, Tworkov was a founding member of the New York School, whose style was characterized by gestural brushwork.

Tworkov immigrated to the United States in 1913. After receiving a degree in creative writing from Columbia University (1923), he returned to his earlier interest in painting. While Tworkov’s early paintings reflect a profound admiration for the work of Paul Cézanne. While working for the WPA federal arts project in 1935, however, he met the painter Willem de Kooning. (Cézanne and de Kooning are both discussed elsewhere on What About Art?)

Tworkov subsequently abandoned his figurative style. After World War II he joined de Kooning and other artists, who together evolved Abstract Expressionism. By 1955 Tworkov revealed his mature style in works that are built up of countless diagonal strokes of paint, creating shimmering atmospheric fields of color. Later he replaced the multitude of flickering lines with broad strokes, such as seen in the work featured here.

From 1963 to 1969, Tworkov was chairman of the department of art at Yale University. Many of his writings about art were published posthumously in The Extreme of the Middle (2009), edited by Mira Schor.