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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.

Entries in Genre Painting (4)


József Borsos: Strong Colors and Harmonic Compositions

József Borsos - Lady with a Lorgnette - 1856 - Oil on canvas, 99 x 80 cm - Private collection (click photo for larger image)Hungarian portrait painter József Borsos (1821-1883) finished his studies in Vienna where he attracted much attention. His portraits of distinguished contemporaries and his elaborate genre pictures were highly successful. His typically realistic, strong and delicate colors, and his harmonic compositions, made him popular with the public patronizing art in Pest. But he eventually lost all of his money in the stock market.


Jean Béraud: A Documenter of Parisian Daily Life

Jean Béraud - On the Boulevard - 1895 - Oil on canvas, 35 x 25 cm - Musée Carnavalet, Paris (click photo for larger image)Working during La Belle Époque, Jean Béraud (1849-1935) was a skilled documenter of Parisian daily life, which by then had become a spectacle of display. While his Impressionist contemporaries were moving out into the country to study the changing effects of the landscape during the late nineteenth century, Béraud remained rooted in Paris, studying the city life and its people. Cafes became major gathering places for both the upper echelon of society and the modern artists seeking refuge from this display of pomp. Béraud had ample subject matter since Paris had become a world of “flaneurs,” or an idle stroller, and the leisurely activity of aimless wandering became a hobby for the most cultured of individuals. He began to document these, and many other images, during his prolific career.


Anna Ancher: Mistress of interior Light and Color

Anna Ancher - Sunlight in the Blue Room. Helga Ancher Knitting in her Grandmother's Room - 1891 - Oil on canvas, 65 x 59 cm - Skagens Museum, Skagen (click photo for larger image)Around 1870, growing numbers of Scandinavian artists took to visiting Paris, the modern metropolis with its many-sided art scene. When summer arrived the artists deserted the city. The coast of Brittany was especially popular for painting holidays. In the 1880s, there was a Swedish artists' colony at Grèz-sur-Loing, by the Fontainebleau woods. In due course the artists took the idea of the artists' colony back to Scandinavia with them. Anna Ancher (1859-1935) was a mistress of interior light and color. She generally used her effects to establish a quiet, contemplative mood. The sensitivity and gifted colorism of her paintings created soulful, intimate atmospheres. In the present canvas, she uses the contrast of sunlight and the silhouettes of potted plants and window crossbars on the wall and floor. Her color scheme is based on the contrasting blue of the wall and upholstery and the yellow of the curtains, an effect that is replicated in the blue smock and blonde hair of the girl sitting by the window.


Welcoming a New Term!

Bradshaw Period - Nine Tassel Bradshaw Figures - detail - 390mm (15ins) to 730mm (29ins) - possibly engaged in a ceremonial dance. Notice the bangle bracelets!One of the things I love about my work is the ongoing process of reconnecting with great works of art. Each term there are new classes to develop and teach--and the topic ideas emerge from examining art from different perspectives--and in a variety of contexts. Whenever I teach a group of students, or mentor an individual, I become excited all over again about art and art history--and the astounding vision and talent that goes into artistic creation. I also learn as much from my students as they learn from me--and benefit enormously from keeping up with the latest scholarship in art history--and the newest developments in art materials and techniques. In essence, teaching is an ongoing learning experience--and one that I find inspiring, rewarding and joyful. This term, I'm teaching the second half of a Western art survey, American genre painting, a special program on the sculpture (or designs for it) of Leonardo da Vinci, and the History of Photography. In fine arts, I'm teaching painting, dry pastels, pen & ink, and oil pastels. So I'm a busy person--as usual! Genre painting refers to works about people engaging in everyday activities. When considering how to approach the American genre painting class--I decided to explore just how far back in time genre painting extends. Lo' and behold--I discovered it dates all the way back to pre-history. In the Bradshaw paintings discovered quite by accident in the Northwest corner of Australia (the Kimberleys) in 1891 (by Joseph Bradshaw)--we see human beings (otherwise unheard of in prehistoric art) likely engaged in ceremonial dance. These works are quite sophisticated, and very different from the prehistoric cave paintings of such places as Lascaux and Altamira. These mysterious rock paintings could be anywhere from 17,000 to 50,000 years old. Our knowledge of how humans lived long ago has largely been determined by examining art. Scholars look at numerous works and piece the history together, step-by-step. Much of what we know about ancient Greece, for example, has been determined by the images on vase paintings. A fascinating process--wouldn't you agree?