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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.
  • The Impressionists
    The Impressionists
    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 Sculpture (7)

Friday
Apr122019

Ghiberti: The Gates of Paradise

Lorenzo Ghiberti - Entry into Jerusalem - 1403-24 - Gilded bronze, 52 x 45 cm (inside molding) - Baptistry, Florence, Italy (click photo for larger image)Ghiberti - The Gates of ParadiseThe work featured here is one of the 20 scenes from the life of Christ depicted on the north doors of the Baptistry in Florence. Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455) was one of the most important Early Renaissance sculptors; his work and writings formed the basis for much of the style and aims of the later High Renaissance.

Like many of his contemporaries, Ghiberti trained as a goldsmith. His sculpture embodies the lyrical grace and technical perfection associated with that craft, as well as a concern for classical clarity of weight and volume. In 1403, competing against such formidable rivals as Filippo Brunelleschi and Jacopo della Quercia, Ghiberti won his first major commission, the making of the second pair of bronze doors for the baptistery of the cathedral of Florence. He spent more than 20 years completing them, with the help of such students as Donatallo and Paolo Ucello. These artists, as well as Brunelleschi and della Quercia are discussed elsewhere on What About Art?

Michelangelo would later dub the door “The Gates of Paradise” and they have been referred to as such ever since then.

Friday
Apr052019

Duane Hansen: It’s Alive!

Duane Hanson - Woman Eating - 1971 - polyester resin and fiberglass with oil and acrylic paints and found accessories - Smithsonian American Art Museum - Washington, DCAmerican figurative sculptor Duane Hanson (1925-1996) created lifelike figures made of cast fiberglass and polyester resin and dressed in everyday clothes. They often fooled the public into believing that they were viewing real people. Because of its faithfulness to reality, Hanson’s work is often categorized with that of the Photorealist painters of the same era, who based their paintings on photographic images.

Unlike the two-dimensional paintings, however, Hanson’s three-dimensional objects, life-size and realistic down to the hair on their arms, are uncanny in that they are simultaneously familiar in their lifelike appearance and yet strange as static works of art.

Hanson’s subjects of the late 1960s were political, including war, gang victims, and the homeless. Though he later tempered his political message, he continued to address the largely thankless roles of the working class—housewives, repairmen, office cleaners, dishwashers, museum guards, and janitors, whose bowed heads and vacant gazes reveal boredom and exhaustion.

Friday
Mar292019

Mary Frank: The Emotional Impact of Memory and Loss

Mary Frank - Persephone - 1985 - Terracotta - 27 x 73 x 40 in (68.6 x 185.4 x 101.6 cm) - Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York, NY (click photo for larger image)Mary Frank (born 1933) is a British-born American artist “best known for her abstract paintings and sculptures which depict the emotional impact of memory and loss”. Frank has developed a unique process of creating art in which she works with the medium until the form of the piece reveals itself to her. (The great Renaissance artist, Michelangelo, claimed to have worked his sculptures this way, as well.)

During World War II, Frank was sent from London to live with her mother’s parents in Brooklyn, where she remained for several years. As an art student, she studied under German painter Max Beckmann at the Brooklyn Museum of Art School, as well as under Hans Hofmann, at his private studio school in Greenwich Village. (Both of these artists are discussed elsewhere on What About Art?.

Although Frank was trained as a painter, she was inspired to pursue sculpture after purchasing her first kiln in 1969. Since then, she has been recognized for her dramatic and emotive sculptures of animals and human subjects. Today, her works are in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Museum of Art at Yale University in New Haven, CT, among others. Frank lives and works between Lake Hill, NY and New York, NY

Friday
Apr212017

Elizabeth Catlett: An Icon of Expressionism

Elizabeth Catlett - Woman Fixing Her Hair - 1993 - Magogany and opals - 27 x 18 x 13 in. (68.6 x 45.7 x 33 cm) - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York African-American born sculptor and printmaker Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012) is best known for the sculptures and prints she produced during the 1960s and 1970s—which are seen as politically charged. Her works often focus on the female experience.

Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Catlett graduated from Howard University in 1935. She later received a master’s degree from the State University of Iowa.  During the 1940s, Catlett taught art at a number of schools and began to exhibit with other African American artists who would go on to equally illustrative careers, including Robert Blackburn, Jacob Lawrence, Hughie Lee-Smith, Norman Lewis, Archibald Motley, and Charles White. She became the “promotion director” for the George Washington Carver School in Harlem. In 1946, she received a Rosenwald Fun Fellowship that allowed her to travel to Mexico, where she studied wood carving and ceramic sculpture at the Escuela de Pintura y Esculture, in Esmeralda. She later moved to Mexico, married, and became a Mexican citizen.

Her work is a mixture of the abstract and the figurative, in the Modernist tradition, with clear influences from African and Mexican artistic traditions, as well. According to the Catlett, the main purpose of her work is to convey social messages rather than pure aesthetics. While not very well known to the general public, her work is heavily studied by art students looking to depict race, gender and class issues.

Woman Fixing Her Hair is a late sculpture that embodies the characteristics of her best work. Its subject, a nude woman caught in the act of her daily toiletry, is familiar and empathetic. Melding human form and furniture into a seamless whole, the artist navigates a line between abstraction and realism, cubism and biomorphism. Her exquisite handling of natural material-the smoothly polished mahogany and luminous opals-conveys the beauty that she sees in her subject matter.” (Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC)

Monday
Jun132016

Picasso’s She-Goat

Pablo Picasso - She-Goat - Vallauris - 1950 (cast 1952). Bronze, 46 3/8 x 56 3/8 x 28 1/8" (117.7 x 143.1 x 71.4 cm). Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund - Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) New York (click photo for larger image)Pablo Picasso's studio in the town of Vallauris (in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France) where he worked beginning in 1948, was next to a yard into which potters threw debris—pieces of metal and shards of ceramics. After deciding to sculpt a goat, Picasso (1881-1973) searched the yard for discarded materials that could suggest parts of the animal's body. He crafted a skeleton with these objects, and filled out the sculpture with plaster. A wicker basket forms the goat's rib cage; two ceramic jugs were modified to serve as its udders. Flat palm fronds shape the slope of the goat's spine and the length of its snout, and metal scraps are used as structural units throughout.