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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.

Schiavone: Vigorous - Fluid - Painterly

Andrea Schiavone - The Marriage of Cupid and Psyche - 1540s - Oil on wood, transferred to masonite - Overall, with corners made up, 51 1/2 x 61 7/8 in. (130.8 x 157.2 cm); painted surface 50 1/2 x 61 1/2 in. (128.3 x 156.2 cm) - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (click photo for larger image)Andrea Schiavone (Andrea Meldolla) (c. 1510-1563) was an Italian painter and etcher, born in present-day Croatia.  His nickname "Schiavone" means Slav, reflecting the fact that he came from Zara, Dalmatia (then under Venetian jurisdiction).

He worked mainly in Venice, where he was on friendly terms with Titian, who—along with Parmigianino—was one of the main influences on his style. (The latter are both discussed elsewhere on What About Art?). Schiavone’s most characteristic works were small-scale religious or mythological scenes for private patrons, executed in a vigorous, painterly style. 

The painting featured here represents the marriage of the god Cupid (son of Venus) with the mortal Psyche, in the presence of Juno, Jupiter, Mars, and other gods of Olympus, as narrated by Apuleius in The Golden Ass. Originally an octagon (the four corners are additions), it was the central panel of a ceiling with scenes from the legend of Psyche painted by Schiavone in about 1550 for the Castello di Salvatore di Collalto, in the hills to the north of Venice. Schiavone’s fluid and painterly style and the exaggerated proportions of his figures were inspired by Parmigianino (discussed elsewhere on What About Art?) and were in turn important to a younger generation of painters, such as Tintoretto (also discussed elsewhere on this site).


Quote of the Day

“A Good artist has less time than ideas.” - Martin Kippenberger


"The Harlem Renaissance: A Cultural Awakening” - An OAC ‘Art Speaks’ Program

(click photo for larger image)The Harlem Renaissance (c. 1918–37) was a blossoming of African American culture, particularly in the creative arts, and the most influential movement in African American literary history. Embracing literary, musical, theatrical, and visual arts, participants sought to re-conceptualize “the Negro” apart from the white stereotypes that had influenced black peoples’ relationship to their heritage and to each other. They also sought to break free of Victorian moral values and bourgeois shame about aspects of their lives that might, as seen by whites, reinforce racist beliefs. The movement was never dominated by a particular school of thought. Rather, it was characterized by intense debate. The Harlem Renaissance laid the groundwork for all later African American literature and art, and had an enormous impact on subsequent black consciousness worldwide. While the renaissance was not confined to the Harlem district of New York City, Harlem attracted a remarkable concentration of intellect and talent and served as the symbolic capital of this cultural awakening.

Join us at the OAC Steamer Firehouse Gallery on Sunday, February 3rd, from 2—3:30 PM, to learn all about this extraordinary movement. Dr. Jill Kiefer will deliver the presentation and together we will discover how "art speaks" about an era and a culture.

The OAC Steamer Firehouse Gallery is located at 117 Main Street - 2nd Floor - Ossining, NY

FREE Admission / Light Refreshments / Donations Welcome


Master of Saint Cecilia: A Mystery

Saint Cecilia Master - Legend of St Francis: 26. The Healing of a Devotee of the Saint - c. 1300 - Fresco, 270 x 230 cm - Upper Church, San Francesco, Assisi (click photo for larger image)There do exist remarkable works of art created by artists whose names we do not know, and whose lives will always remain a mystery.

The Master of Saint Cecilia (active 1300-1320 in Florence) refers to an Italian painter named after the Saint Cecilia Altarpiece housed in the Uffizi. It was originally in the church of Saint Cecilia, destroyed by fire in 1304. Presumably, the artist was a Florentine, but nothing is known about him. Other works have been attributed to him because of their resemblance to the Uffizi work, the most important being the three concluding scenes of the great fresco cycle of the Life of Saint Francis in the Upper Church of San Francesco at Assisi. The painter of these scenes resembles Giotto (discussed elsewhere on What About Art?) in lucidity of presentation and in the solid drawing of his figures. But he is more genial in feeling than Giotto. His figures are more vivacious, and his colors are warmer and sweeter. The completion of the great cycle in the Upper Church would have been entrusted only to an established master. Some critics have attempted to identify the painter of these scenes and the Saint Cecilia Altarpiece with the famous but tantalizingly elusive Buffalmacco (1262-1340), however, there has been no universal agreement among scholars on that suggestion.

The detail featured here is the twenty-sixth of the twenty-eight scenes (twenty-five of which were painted by Giotto) of the Legend of Saint Francis from the Saint Cecilia Altarpiece. The fresco cycle in the Upper Church of the San Francesco at Assisi depicting the Legend of Saint Francis consists of 28 scenes. Although it is debated, the cycle is generally attributed to Giotto and his collaborators. However, Giotto's authorship of the closing scenes in the last bay of the nave are denied and these scenes are generally attributed to the Saint Cecilia Master.


Pino Pascali: Arte Povera

Pino Pascali - Bridge - 1968 - Steel wool and wire - 39 3/8" x 26' 3" x 35 7/16" (800 x 100 x 90 cm) - MoMA, New York (click photo for larger image)Arte Povera (Italian for "Impoverished Art" or "Poor Art”) was is label for a small group of artists in Italy who were experimenting with nontraditional and politically charged art, in the 1960s and 1970s.

These artists created and explored modes of expression such as ephemeral art, performance art, installation art and assemblage, using what have been referred to as “poor” non-art materials. These techniques have since become extremely common tools in contemporary art; in fact this is one of the reasons that such a small and short-lived movement continues to have such relevance today.

One of the clearest influences on the group was the work of Dada artist Marcel Duchamp (discussed elsewhere on What About Art?). His "Readymade" sculptures, especially his infamous "Fountain" urinal, have the same kind of subversive power that Arte Povera artists aimed to achieve.

Pino Pascali (1935-1968) was part of the Arte Povera movement. He used everyday, natural, and unorthodox materials in his work, including cans, steel wool, hay, and dirt. His "fake sculptures" appear to be solid structures but are actually shaped canvases whose forms suggest animals, plants, and landscapes. 

The work featured here, Bridge, has the appearance of a primitive rope bridge. But it is constructed of steel wool, a modern industrial product. This is the most ambitious of the works in Pascali's last series, entitled Reconstructions of Nature. "I do not believe you make shows in galleries," Pascali said, "you make the gallery, you create the space."

Pascali is also known for his Weapons series, re-creations of guns and cannons assembled from found materials and painted army green. His inspired works were an important contribution to postwar art within his short lifetime.

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