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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

“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.” - Francis Bacon


Joseph Pickett: A Naive Painter

Joseph Pickett - Coryell’s Ferry, 1776 - c. 1914-18 - Oil on canvas - 37 1/2 × 48 1/4 in. - Whitney Museum of American Art, New York American Art; Naive Painting (click photo for larger image)Naïve art is usually defined as visual art that is created by a person who lacks the formal education and training that a professional artist undergoes.

Joseph Pickett (1848-1918) was an American painter known for his naive depictions of town and landscape around his native New Hope, Pennsylvania. He remained there throughout his life.

At 65 years old, after a life spent as a carpenter, shipbuilder, carny, and storekeeper, Pickett began painting. His work exemplifies his detailed interest in local landscape and history, executed with a disregard for perspective but with a solid sense of color and flat-pattern design. Pickett’s works were not discovered by art critics or the public until the 1930s.


Gino Severini: Futurism, Cubism and Pure Abstraction

Gino Severini - Dancer = Propeller = Sea - 1915 - Oil on canvas - 29 5/8 x 30 3/4 in. (75.2 x 78.1 cm) - Metropolitan Museum of New York, New York (click photo for larger image)Italian artist Gino Severini (1883-1966) is often labeled as a Cubist/Futurist painter because he found a unique way of synthesizing the styles of Cubism and Futurism. His teacher was future fellow futurist Giacomo Balla. The Futurists wanted to revitalize Italian art (and, as a consequence, all of Italian culture) by depicting the speed and dynamism of modern life. Severini shared this artistic interest, but his work did not contain the political overtones typical of Futurism. The group, as a whole, hoped to revitalize all of Italian culture through its art by glorifying war and mechanized power. This was not Severini’s objective.

“Like other artists associated with Italian Futurism, Severini was fascinated by the interactions of movement and matter and the dynamic speeds of the modern world. In his manifesto ‘Plastic Analogies of Dynamism’ (1913–14), written just before [the work featured here] was painted, he describes the sensory and visual ‘analogies’ that resonate across seemingly unrelated objects, from a dancing girl to a rushing express train to abstract forms.” (Metropolitan Museum of Art) 

In around 1916, Severini embraced a more rigorous and formal approach to composition; instead of deconstructing forms, he wanted to bring geometric order to his paintings. His works from this period were usually still-lifes executed in a Synthetic Cubist manner

To learn more about Severini, Futurism, and Cubism, take What About Art? founder Dr. Jill Kiefer’s class on Modern Movements, beginning Saturday May 1st at the Bethany Arts Community. You can learn more and register HERE.


Did You Know?

Jackson Pollock had a pretty rough go of it as a teenager. He didn't fit in at his Los Angeles school, where he apparently wore unusual clothes and grew out his hair. He was expelled several times for getting in trouble with the law. He wrote to his brother, telling him that, “…this so called happy part of one’s life—youth—to me is a bit of damnable hell.”


Karl Schmidt-Rottluff: Boldly Dissonant Colors

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff - Houses at Night - 1912 - Oil on canvas - 37 5/8 x 34 1/2" (95.6 x 87.4 cm) - Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York (click photo for larger image)German Expressionist painter Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (1884-1976) was one of the founders of Die Brücke (The Bridge), the first phase of German Expressionism. 

The artists of Die Brücke typically preferred to portray scenes of urban life, but Schmidt-Rottluff is particularly known for his rural landscapes. Although he initially painted in an Impressionist style, his mature work is characterized by flat areas of boldly dissonant colors. In 1911 Schmidt-Rottluff, with his fellow Die Brücke members, moved to Berlin, where he painted works with more angular, geometric forms and distorted space, revealing his new interest in Cubism and African sculpture.

After WWI Schmidt-Rottluff became increasingly interested in religious themes. During the 1920s Schmidt-Rottluff’s work became more subdued and harmonious, losing much of its former vigor and integrity. When the Nazis gained power in Germany, he was forbidden to paint. After WWII he taught art and resumed painting, although he never regained the power of his early works.

To learn more about Schmidt-Rottluff and German Expressionism, take What About Art? founder Dr. Jill Kiefer’s class on Modern Movements, beginning Saturday May 1st at the Bethany Arts Community. You can learn more and register HERE.