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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.
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    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.

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    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.
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    The Impressionists
    A dramatization of the Impressionist movement as seen through the eyes of Claude Monet. Highly entertaining and informative.
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Entries in German Painting (5)


The Adoration of the Magi

Unknown Master (German) - “The Adoration of the Magi” - c. 1420 - Tempera on pine, 100 x 81 cm - Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt (click photo for larger image)This relatively large-size painting was used to decorate the high altar of the parish church of Ortenberg. It was painted by an unknown master of the Middle Rhineland. The influence of both the French and Italian art of the period is evident. The mood of the painting is sublime and solemn. It is imbued with infinite humility and devotion, as the two kneeling Magi kiss the hand and foot of the Baby Jesus. Further veneration is expressed by the Kings’ removal of their crowns.


Romanticism: The Exaltation of Emotion over Reason

Caspar David Friedrich - The Sea of Ice - c. 1823-25 - Oil on canvas - 96.7 x 126.9 cm - Kunsthalle, Hamburg (click photo for larger image)Romanticism was an orientation that characterized literature, painting, music, architecture, criticism, and historiography in Western Civilization from the late 18th to the mid-19th century. Order, calm, harmony, balance, idealization, and rationality were rejected in favor of the beauties of nature, the exaltation of emotion over reason, and of the senses over intellect. A new view of the artist as a supremely individual creator, whose creative spirit is more important than strict adherence to formal rules and traditional procedures arose, with an emphasis upon imagination as a gateway to transcendent experience and spiritual truth. The German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) was also inspired by medieval motifs, which were very “romantic” in nature, long before the label of “romanticism” was created.


Friedrich Wasmann

Friedrich Wasmann - Paul, Maria, and Filomena von Putzer - 1870 - Oil on canvas, 38 x 49 cm - Nationalgalerie, Berlin (click photo for larger image)German painter Friedrich Wasmann (1805-1886) was trained in Dresden and was a very prolific artist. The Hamburger Kunsthalle alone owns more than 1,000 of his works, which include portraits, genre scenes, and plein air landscape studies in oil and pencil. His popular autobiography (Walt Wasmann: A German artist's life, depicted by himself. Leipzig 1915) is one of the most interesting depictions of artistic life in the 19th century. Click here to connect to Amazon if you’re interested—but only if you read German!

“This group portrait is strikingly reminiscent of far earlier American portraits in which the clothes, poses, and settings were all prepainted by itinerant artists, made ready for the purchaser's selection, with only the heads needing filling in." 


Dynamic Portraiture

Ferdinand von Rayski - The Royal Saxon Forestry Inspector Carl Ludwig von Schönberg - 1850 - Oil on canvas, 135 x 102 cm - Neue Pinakothek, Munich (click photo for larger image)German painter Ferdinand von Rayski (1806-1890) is best known for his portraits. From 1816 to 1821 he studied drawing in Dresden, and from 1823 to 1825 he was at the Kunstakademie. In 1829 he began his career as an artist, initially painting portraits of his noble relatives in Hannover and Silesia. From 1831 to 1834 he lived in Dresden, receiving numerous portrait commissions. In 1834-35, while in Paris, he was influenced by the paintings of Delacroix, Géricault and Gros. His use of color became freer, and his compositions more dramatic and dynamic. From 1840 until his death he lived in Dresden, though he made frequent visits to other parts of Europe for long periods of time.


Franz Xaver Winterhalter

Franz Xavier Winterhalter - Portrait of the Empress Eugénie Surrounded by her Maids of Honor, 1855, oil on canvas, Musée National de Palais de Compiégnie (click photo for larger image)Academic Painter Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1875) was born in the small village of Mensenschwad in Germany. He studied painting at the academy of Monaco. In 1835, after he painted portrait of Grand Duke Leopold of Baden, Winterhalter was appointed his court painter. With that portrait his international career was launched. The royal families of England, France, and Belgium all commissioned their portraits from him.