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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.

Van Dyck: Formality and Casualness in Perfect Harmony

Sir Anthony van Dyck - Entry of Christ into Jerusalem - c. 1617 - Oil on canvas, 151 x 229 cm - Museum of Art, Indianapolis (click photo for larger image)Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) was a Flemish Baroque painter who was one of the most important and prolific portraitists of the 17th century. He is also considered to be one of the most brilliant colorists in the history of art. He set a new style for Flemish art and founded the English school of painting; the portraitists Sir Joshua Reynold and Thomas Gainsborough (both discussed elsewhere on What About Art?) of that school were his artistic heirs.

The work featured here is a youthful painting of the artist, created when he was a member of Peter Paul Rubens's workshop. (Rubens is discussed elsewhere on What About Art?) The picture was executed in the style of Rubens.

The subject matter is the first episode in what is known in Christianity as Passion Week (or Holy Week). It begins with Palm Sunday, when Christ entered Jerusalem. Over the course of the following week, he would be arrested, tortured and crucified—and then rise again from the dead on Easter Sunday.


Ghiberti: The Gates of Paradise

Lorenzo Ghiberti - Entry into Jerusalem - 1403-24 - Gilded bronze, 52 x 45 cm (inside molding) - Baptistry, Florence, Italy (click photo for larger image)Ghiberti - The Gates of ParadiseThe work featured here is one of the 20 scenes from the life of Christ depicted on the north doors of the Baptistry in Florence. Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455) was one of the most important Early Renaissance sculptors; his work and writings formed the basis for much of the style and aims of the later High Renaissance.

Like many of his contemporaries, Ghiberti trained as a goldsmith. His sculpture embodies the lyrical grace and technical perfection associated with that craft, as well as a concern for classical clarity of weight and volume. In 1403, competing against such formidable rivals as Filippo Brunelleschi and Jacopo della Quercia, Ghiberti won his first major commission, the making of the second pair of bronze doors for the baptistery of the cathedral of Florence. He spent more than 20 years completing them, with the help of such students as Donatallo and Paolo Ucello. These artists, as well as Brunelleschi and della Quercia are discussed elsewhere on What About Art?

Michelangelo would later dub the door “The Gates of Paradise” and they have been referred to as such ever since then.


Quote of the Day

“Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye.. it also includes the inner pictures of the soul.” - Edvard Munch 


Modern Movements: An In-depth Series on Modern Art with Jill Kiefer

(click photo for larger image) (click photo for larger image)Jill Kiefer will be leading a six-week class on Modern Art this Spring at the Bethany Arts Community in Ossining. The series begins on Saturday, May 4th. Class times are 10 AM - NOON. Space is Limited, so please do  REGISTER NOW!


Duane Hansen: It’s Alive!

Duane Hanson - Woman Eating - 1971 - polyester resin and fiberglass with oil and acrylic paints and found accessories - Smithsonian American Art Museum - Washington, DCAmerican figurative sculptor Duane Hanson (1925-1996) created lifelike figures made of cast fiberglass and polyester resin and dressed in everyday clothes. They often fooled the public into believing that they were viewing real people. Because of its faithfulness to reality, Hanson’s work is often categorized with that of the Photorealist painters of the same era, who based their paintings on photographic images.

Unlike the two-dimensional paintings, however, Hanson’s three-dimensional objects, life-size and realistic down to the hair on their arms, are uncanny in that they are simultaneously familiar in their lifelike appearance and yet strange as static works of art.

Hanson’s subjects of the late 1960s were political, including war, gang victims, and the homeless. Though he later tempered his political message, he continued to address the largely thankless roles of the working class—housewives, repairmen, office cleaners, dishwashers, museum guards, and janitors, whose bowed heads and vacant gazes reveal boredom and exhaustion.

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