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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.
Monday
Apr022018

An Electric Peach Orchard—Arthur Dove

Arthur Dove - Electric Peach Orchard - 1935 - Oil on canvas - 20 1/4 x 28 in. - The Phillips Collection - Washington, D.C. (click photo for larger image)American artist Arthur Dove (1880-1946) (discussed in several posts on What About Art?) was “attracted to the timelessness of nature, which he interpreted into a modern abstract vocabulary of color, shape, line, and scale.”

One of the earliest American modernists—and the first American non-objective artist—Dove’s art reflects his belief that color and form are instruments with which to express the essence beneath the physical exterior of things.

Friday
Mar302018

Pietro Lorenzetti: Sienese Master  

Pietro Lorenzetti - Entry of Christ into Jerusalem - c. 1320 - Fresco - Lower Church - San Francesco, Assisi, Italy (click photo for larger image)Pietro Lorenzetti (c. 1280-1348), along with his brother Ambrogio, were part of the Sienese School, dominated by the stylized Byzantine tradition developed by masters Duccio di Buoninsegna and Simone Martini. The Lorenzetti brothers were the first Sienese artists to adopt the dramatic quality of the Tuscan sculptor Giovanni Pisano, and the naturalistic approach of the great Florentine painter Giotto. In their experiments with three-dimensional, spatial arrangements, the brothers were among those few artists who foreshadowed the art of the Renaissance.

Pietro was the more traditional of the two brothers, showing harmony, refinement, and detail but also dramatic emotion. Ambrogio—more realistic, inventive, and influential than Pietro, is best known for the “Good Government” and “Bad Government” fresco cycles, discussed elsewhere on What About Art?.

The scene featured here depicts one of the scenes from the life of Christ featured on the vault of the south arm of the western transept of the Lower Church. The scene is set against a colorful architectural background.

Sadly, both brothers were lost far too soon to the Black Death.

Wednesday
Mar282018

Did You Know?

French painter Paul Gauguin worked as a laborer on the Panama Canal. About 25,000 workers died during its construction.

Monday
Mar262018

A.M. Cassandre: A Master of Design

A.M. Cassandre - Étoile du Nord - 1927 - Lithograph - 41 3/8 x 29 3/4" (105.2 x 75.5 cm) - Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) - New YorkA.M. Cassandre (1901-1968) was a Ukrainian-born French Art Deco graphic artist, stage designer, painter and Printmaker. After studying art at L’Ecole des Beaux Arte and the Académie Julian in Paris, Cassandre gained a reputation with such posters as “Étoile du Nord” (featured here). His “Dubonnet” posters were among the earliest designed specifically to be seen from fast-moving vehicles, and they introduced the idea of the serial poster, a group of posters to be seen in rapid succession to convey a complete idea.

In 1926, Cassandre co-established the advertising agency “Alliance Graphique”. Shortly afterwords, he began experiementing with typography, designing several new typefaces. In 1939, he turned away from creating poster art, and devoted himself entirely to stage set design and painting.

Friday
Mar232018

Gertrude Greene: Purity of Form

Gertrude Greene - Construction 1946 - 1946 - Oil on wood and fiberboard - 40 1/8 x 30 1/8 x 5/8 in. (101.9 x 76.5 x 1.6 cm.) - Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.American Abstract Expressionist Gertrude Glass Greene (1904-1956) was an abstract sculptor and painter from New York. Although she and her husband, artist Balcomb Greene (1904-1990), were heavily involved in political activism to promote mainstream acceptance of abstract art, Gertrude did not overtly express societal concerns in her art. However, she and Balcomb were founding members of the American Abstract Artists organization.

Gertrude was one of the earliest American artists to produce non-objective relief sculptures in the early 1930s. She synthesized Cubist and Russian Constructivists themes into her work, and was heavily influenced by what she saw as the “purity” of those two movements. By the 1940s, her work also revealed an interest in Mondrian and Neo-Plasticism. She produced her last sculpture in 1946. For the rest of her life she concentrated on abstract painting.

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