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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.

Francesco Albani: The Annunciation

Francesco Albani - The Annunciation - n.d. - Oil on copper - 62 x 47 cm. - The Hermitage, St. Petersburg (click photo for larger image)Francesco Albani (1578-1660) was an Italian Baroque painter who was active in Bologna, Rome, Viterbo, Mantova, and Florence. He studied in Bologna with the Mannerist painter Denijs Calvaert before joining the Carracci Academy. While at the academy, he was an enthusiastic pupil. Like so many other artists from Bologna, he moved to Rome to study classical art, which he then applied with zeal to his own work. Albani's classicism can be seen in the altarpieces he painted after returning to Bologna, and in the cycles he painted on mythological subjects. 

Albani almost single-handedly created an appetite for light-hearted, pleasant works that lasted throughout the seventeenth century.

Albani painted many versions of the Annunciation, one of which is featured here.


Max Pechstein: A More Authentic Existence

Max Pechstein - The Red House - 1911 - Oil on canvas - 35 × 27 in. (88.9 × 68.5 cm) - The Art Institute of Chicago (click photo for larger image)Painter and printmaker Max Pechstein (1881-1955) was among those artists who were park of Die Brücke (The Bridge) group—the first phase of German Expressionism. Indeed, he was a leading member.

Die Brücke artists regularly worked together, both in their studios as well as out of doors; this communal approach contributed to the early consistency of their style and reflected an important aspect of their utopian program. Echoing larger social concerns about health at the time, Max Pechstein and his colleagues often escaped the constraints of city life to find a more authentic existence in nature, documenting their experiences in their work. Later, after his relocation to Berlin in 1908, he also made solitary trips to Nidden, a remote fishing village on the Baltic Sea. Pechstein painted The Red House (featured here) during the second of these trips, attracted to the expansive dunes and forests of the region, as well as the local people and architecture.

Pechstein was a founding member of several avant-garde groups, including Berlin's "New Secession" (1910) and the Novembergruppe (1918). He was also elected a member of the Prussian Academy of Art. He taught at the Berlin Academy for ten years (1923-33), until he was dismissed by the Nazis because of the so-called degenerate nature of his art. Reinstated in 1945, Pechstein was the recipient of numerous awards before he died in West Berlin at the age of 73. 


Quote of the Day

“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.” - Edward Hopper


Carlo Carrà: From Movement to Mystery

Carlo Carrà - Funeral of the Anarchist Galli - 1911 - oil on canvas - 198.7 x 259.1 cm - MoMA, New York (click photo for larger image)Futurism was a modernist movement based in Italy celebrating the technological era. It was largely inspired by the development of Cubism. The core preoccupations of Futurist thought and art were machines and motion. The movement didn’t really catch on elsewhere, but its Italian practitioners did produce some amazing works of art. The movement died out with the onset of World War I.

Carlo Carrà (1881-1966)  studied painting briefly at the Brera Academy in  Milan, but he was largely self-taught.

In 1909, Carrà met the poet Filippo Marinetti and the artist Umberto Boccioni, who converted him to Futurism, which exalted patriotism, modern technology, dynamism, and speed. Carrà’s most famous painting (featured here), The Funeral of the Anarchist Galli, embodies Futurist ideals with its portrayal of dynamic action, power, and violence. It includes abstract-representations of humans and horses baring black banners. A red casket is carried at the center beneath a shining sun.

In this painting Carlo Carrà commemorates the death of Angelo Galli during a strike in Milan and the subsequent funerary parade to the cemetery, which erupted into violence between anarchists and the police. Carrà lived in Milan and was involved with anarchist groups; he was at the funeral and recalled the event in his memoirs La mia vita (1945).

Carrà became one of the founders of Metaphysical painting, along with artist Giorgio de Chirico. These artists often used very realistic but incongruous imagery that viewers would find disquieting.

In 1918 Carrà broke with de Chirico and Metaphysical painting Throughout the 1920s and ’30s, he painted figurative works based on the monumental realism of the 15th-century Italian painter, Massaccio. Through these works and his many years of teaching at the Milan Academy, Carrà greatly influenced the course of Italian art between the World Wars.


Edward Burne-Jones: Elusive and Imaginary

Sir Edward Burne-Jones - The Summons: Study for the Head of Gawaine - 1893 - Fabricated black crayon on paper - 15 x 9 in. (38.1 x 22.8 cm) - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New YorkBritish Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898) came from extremely humble beginnings. Born Ned Jones, he was the son of a struggling picture framer. His mother died in childbirth.

Despite financial difficulties, “Burne-Jones enrolled at Oxford in 1853, only to leave two years later to train under the Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriele Rossetti. Burne-Jones was soon recognized as a leading artist in his own right. Toward the end of his career, the Australian mining engineer William Knox d’Arcy commissioned him to design a set of tapestries depicting the legend of the Quest for the Holy Grail. This drawing is a preparatory study for the figure of Gawaine in the tapestry, The Summons.” (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

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