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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 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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Entries in Mexican Art (3)


Rufino Tamayo: Strong Colors—Strong Styles

Rufino Tamayo - Women of Tehuantepec - 1939 - Oil on canvas - 33 7/8 x 57 1/8 in. (86 x 145 cm) - Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (click photo for larger image)Mexican Artist Rufino Tamayo (1889-1991) created paintings that draw on Mexican folk art and ceramics for their themes, and for their rich use of color and texture. But their sophisticated compositions are more closely indebted to Cubism. In the 1930s Tamayo painted tropical fruits, perhaps influenced by his experiences as a child working for his aunt's wholesale fruit business. Later his imagery became more grotesque, dominated by animals. From the mid 1940s onwards, he moved towards abstraction and placed greater emphasis on his use of strong colors.

The artist was born in Oaxaca, but following the death of his parents in 1911 he went to live with his aunt in Mexico City. He studied at the Escuela des Artes Plasticas, and in 1921 was appointed head of the Department of Ethnographic Drawing at the Archaeological Museum, which introduced him to folk art. 

From 1936-48, Tamayo was based in New York. Abstract Expressionist Helen Frankenthaler first studied with Tamayo at the Dalton School, and always claimed to owe him a great debt. After an exhibition which marked his return to Mexico (at the Pallacio des Bellas Artes, 1948) was bitterly attacked by the muralists for its disavowal of popular and accessible forms, Tamayo moved to Paris. He finally returned to Mexico City in 1964, donating his collection of Pre-Columbian art to Oaxaca to form the Museo de Arte Prehispanico de Mexico Rufino Tamayo. In 1981 his collection of modern art opened to the public at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Internacional Rufino Tamayo in Mexico City. Tamayo was an outsider in post-Revolutionary Mexico, politically neutral and opposing the muralists' commitment to a public, popular art.


Fernando Castillo: A Humble Life

Fernando Castilllo - The Black Cat - Oil on canvas - c. 1929 - 17 x 14 in. - Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (click photo for larger image)With his humble beginnings as a shepherd and muleteer, Mexican artist Fernando Castillo (1895-1940) is an example of how the Open Air School of Free Painting helped toward the artistic and aesthetic education of social groups traditionally cut off from art. He perhaps inherited his gift for wood carving and engraving from his father, a stonecutter, and enhanced this with painting and drawing. In 1928 he took part courses in the people's art center directed by the painter Gabriel Fernández Ledesma in the San Pablo district of Mexico City. Although his work reached the Mexican Pavilion in Seville, where he was awarded a silver medal, he had a very hard life, working as a shoe shiner, cobbler, "body carrier" in a hospital and underling for a Ministry of Education art gallery. He died of tuberculosis seven years after the San Antonio Abad Popular Center closed in 1933. Only a handful of his works survive, carefully guarded by private collectors.


Where Arts Collide – Movies About Artists – “Frida”

Salma Hayek as Frida KahloThe IMDB (Internet Movie Database) describes the film “Frida” as “a biography of artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), who channeled the pain of a crippling injury and her tempestuous marriage into her work.” Critics generally found “Frida” (2002) to be visually exciting and emotionally stimulating. Director Julie Taymor certainly went to great lengths to bring authenticity to the movie, filming it entirely in Mexico, and for everyone on the project it was a labor of love. Salma Hayak and Alfred Molina delivered outstanding performances as Frida and Diego, and all members of the supporting cast were excellent. Most noteworthy were Roger Rees, as Frida’s father, Guillermo Kahlo, and Geoffrey Rush as Leon Trotsky.