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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.
Wednesday
Nov142018

Quote of the Day

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Monday
Nov122018

Jean Clouet: Delicacy and Depth of Characterization

Jean Clouet - Guillaume Budé - ca. 1536 - Oil on Wood - 15 5/8 x 13 1/2 in. (39.7 x 34.3 cm) - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (click photo for larger image)Although he lived in France for most of his life, records show that Jean Clouet (c. 1485-1541) was not French by origin and was never naturalized. He was one of the chief painters to Francis I as early as 1516 and was appointed groom of the chamber from 1523 forward. As such, he enjoyed the salary and social position granted to the most prominent poets and scholars of the time. In the early 1520s he lived in Tours and from 1529 in Paris. He painted chiefly portraits, but, at least iIn the earlier part of his career, he produced religious subjects.

“Painter to King Francis I, Jean Clouet played a key role in establishing the Renaissance portraiture tradition in France, yet this is his only extant painted portrait. It depicts Guillaume Budé, librarian to Francis I and the leading humanist of sixteenth-century France…. Budé’s fingers hold his page, as if interrupted. With the quill in his right hand, he has written in Greek, ‘While it seems to be good to get what one desires, the greatest good is not to desire what one does not need’ (Joannes Stobaeus, 3.5.18).” (Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC)

Friday
Nov092018

James Ensor: Bizarre Fantasy and Sardonic Social Commentary

James Ensor - Comical Repast (Banquet of the Starved) - ca. 1917-18 - Oil on canvas - 45 1/2 x 57 1/4 in. (115.6 x 145.4 cm) - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (click photo for larger image)Belgian artist James Ensor (1860-1949) quickly stepped off the path of traditional painting and began to develop a revolutionary style that reflected his own take on modern life. Abandoning the usage of illusionism and one-point perspective to organize the image depicted, he began to build volume with patches of color across the surface of the canvas. His canvases are bursting with imagery that impresses the viewer with its presence. The artist was particularly intrigued by commenting on society’s shortcomings through carnival themes. His social commentary evolved from being subtle to overtly cynical.

“The current title of this painting reflects the two names it was given during Ensor’s lifetime. Scholars have interpreted the enigmatic scene as a critique of the German occupation of Belgium during World War I, which the artist experienced firsthand. The grouping around the table evokes the Last Supper, but Christ and the Apostles are replaced by ill-behaved, grotesque, and masked figures—some of Ensor’s favorite motifs. Their meager meal, including insects and a raw onion, may evoke the near-famine that Belgians endured. Ensor underscored the theme of mortality by quoting three of his works depicting rowdy skeletons in the background.” (Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC)

Wednesday
Nov072018

Did You Know?

Despite having over 100 guests, none of those depicted in “The Wedding at Cana” by Paolo Veronese are speaking.

Monday
Nov052018

Janet Fish: Life Itself—Captured in Casual Glances

Janet Fish - Raspberries and Goldfish - 1981 - Oil on linen with acrylic gesso ground - 72 x 64 in. (182.9 x 162.6 cm) - Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY (click photo for larger image)American artist Janet Fish (born 1938) is discussed elsewhere on What About Art? She is known for large still life compositions of common objects with bright colors--lime green, pink, yellow, etc. Fish works from a loft in the SoHo section of New York City and takes pride in the fact that she paints "forbidden subjects," which refers to her realistic paintings. Her work, expressive of her highly independent spirit, is a reaction against the pure abstraction that has been prevalent for so many years in the American art world, especially in New York.

As the work featured here demonstrates, “[h]er subjects really are color, light, visual movement and space, and the content of her work is perhaps life itself, seen in isolated moments of unusual juxtapositions and casual glances. It is the work of a true painter, who sees potential paintings many times throughout the average day.