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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.

The Sienese Style

Ventura Salimbeni - Descent into Limbo - 1600-10 - Oil on canvas, 69 x 55 cm - Private collection (click photo for larger image)Ventura Salimbeni (1568-1613) was first taught painting in his native Siena by his father. Ventura possibly spent some time in northern Italy before going to Rome, where he worked from 1588, collaborating on the fresco decoration of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (the Vatican Library) during the reign of Pope Sixtus V. In 1595 he returned to Siena where he became one of the last leaders of the Mannerist school, and completed painting cycles for Sienese churches such as Santa Trinità and Santo Spirito. He continued to create paintings for churches throughout Italy, including Assisi and Florence. For almost all of his painting cycles he first created detailed preparatory drawings. In the work featured here, the distinctive palette of soft hues of pink, yellow and purples is reminiscent of fellow citizen artist Domenico Beccafumi. An enduring influence of Giuseppe Cesari can be also be detected in the figure types, notably that of Eve, rendered in the immediate left foreground of the scene.


Quote of the Day

“Those who look for the laws of Nature as a support for their new works collaborate with the creator.” - Antoni Gaudi


Friedrich Wasmann

Friedrich Wasmann - Paul, Maria, and Filomena von Putzer - 1870 - Oil on canvas, 38 x 49 cm - Nationalgalerie, Berlin (click photo for larger image)German painter Friedrich Wasmann (1805-1886) was trained in Dresden and was a very prolific artist. The Hamburger Kunsthalle alone owns more than 1,000 of his works, which include portraits, genre scenes, and plein air landscape studies in oil and pencil. His popular autobiography (Walt Wasmann: A German artist's life, depicted by himself. Leipzig 1915) is one of the most interesting depictions of artistic life in the 19th century. Click here to connect to Amazon if you’re interested—but only if you read German!

“This group portrait is strikingly reminiscent of far earlier American portraits in which the clothes, poses, and settings were all prepainted by itinerant artists, made ready for the purchaser's selection, with only the heads needing filling in." 


Heinrich Keller

Heinrich Keller - Das Oberdorftor in Zurich - 1813 - Watercolour - Private collection (click photo for larger image)Swiss artist Heinrich Keller (1778-1862) was a Swiss cartographer and draughtsman. He’s best known for his wall decorations, and in 1751 he worked in the Hague on wall decorations for a mansion that is now the Escher Museum. There are no-indepth biographies on him available, but he’s worth featuring here. His work is charming.


Did You Know?

Third grade art students who participated in the Guggenheim “Learning Through Art Program” performed better in six categories of literacy and critical thinking skills (including thorough description, hypothesizing and reasoning) than did students who were not in the program.