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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.

  • 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.
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    A dramatization of the Impressionist movement as seen through the eyes of Claude Monet. Highly entertaining and informative.
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    The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution
    A very personal and revealing look at the personalities that created Impressionism.

Entries in Mannerism (26)

Friday
Mar222019

Sofonisba Anguissola: A Life Full of Surprises

Sofonisba Anguissola - Portrait of Elisabeth of Valois (1545-1568) - c. 1599 - Color on canvas - 68 cm (26.7 ″); Width: 54 cm (21.2 ″) - Kunsthistorisches Museum - Vienna, Austria (click photo for larger image)Sofonisba Anguissola (1532-1625) was the first female artist to gain an international reputation. Among female painters, she was unusual in that her father was a nobleman rather than an artist.

While beginning to earn a living, Sofonisba also taught her sisters Lucia, Europa, and Anna Maria to paint. Their humanist father gave the sisters extraordinary classical educations. He promoted them and their work shamelessly, sending Sofonisba's drawings to Michelangelo and eventually securing her service as lady-in-waiting to the queen of Spain, Elizabeth of Valois (1454-68), a position that gave her opportunities for painting formal court portraits that followed the norms for that type of imagery. While in Spain Sofonisba married the brother of the Viceroy of Sicily. Upon his death, she remarried and moved to Genoa and finally to Palermo in Sicily where she retired. She was famously visited by Sir Anthony Van Dyck in 1623, when she was in her nineties.

"Life is full of surprises, I try to capture these precious moments with wide eyes.” - Sofonisba Anguissola

Friday
Feb012019

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).

Monday
Dec032018

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.

Monday
Aug132018

Amico Aspertini: A Half-Insane Master

Amico Aspertini - Heroic Head - Tempera on wood, 37,5 x 36,5 cm - Christian Museum, Esztergom, Hungary (click photo for larger image)Amico Aspertini (ca. 1475-1552) was an Italian Mannerist painter from Bologna. Giorgio Vasari describes him as having an eccentric personality—in his word “half-insane”. This is revealed in his paintings, which are often bizarre in expression. Aspetini was in Rome 1500-03 and his sketchbooks of Roman remains (British Museum, London) are important sources about contemporary knowledge of the antique.

The monochrome painting featured here, with the stone-like frame, appears as a relief. It is interesting to note that the bust is not in the painted frame, but before it. This was an unusual feature at the time.

Monday
Mar122018

Paolo Farinati: A Master of Verona

Paolo Farinati - The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine - n.d. - Oil on slate - 30x23 cm - Private Collection (click photo for larger image)Paolo Farinati (1524-1606) was an Italian Mannerist artist of the Veronese school. Indeed, he was one of the leading 16th-century painters at Verona. Most of his vast output of paintings was completed for churches in Verona and its environs, where much of it has survived. He was strongly influenced by his younger contemporary Paolo Veronese (1528-1588) and also by Parmigianino (1503-1540), among others. He executed a few engravings, some architectural projects (which apparently included work on the Castello San Felice at Verona), and a great many drawings. 

In the work featured here, painting on slate the artist exploited the oil medium to add prominence to the figures, thrown into relief against the dark background and foliage. The highlights in the drapery of the figures, with shimmering touches of white, is reminiscent of Paolo Veronese. Typically favoring line over color, a strong chiaroscuro effect emerges from this work.