Like Us!

Worth Watching
  • 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 Spanish (3)

Friday
Mar312017

Goya: The Darkness of Life in Paint

Francisco de Goya - Duel with Cudgels - 1820-23 - Oil on canvas, 123 x 266 cm - Museo del Prado, Madrid (click photo for larger image)Rococo Era painter Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828) was a Spanish artist whose work reflected contemporary historical upheavals and influenced important 19th- and 20th-century painters. Although he was a revolutionary artist, he had no immediate followers. However, his work heavily influenced movements that would follow—including Romanticism, Realism and Impressionism—as well as Expressionism and Surrealism.   

There are fourteen Black Paintings (now in the Museo del Prado), “so called because of the dark tones and predominance of black.” They originally decorated the Quinta del Sordo (House of the Deaf Man). They were painted, in oils, on the walls of two rooms on the ground floor and first floor, and were transferred to canvas in 1873. Goya acquired the house in September 1819, but probably did not begin the paintings before the following year, after his recovery from serious illness.

Although Goya survived, a condition of deafness that pre-dated his illness remained. This changed his character in a way that is reflected in his art. A constant fear of a relapse made him impatient, and this is also evident in his vigorous technique. “As his monstrous imagining found expression, he darkened the walls in two rooms with terrible scenes of witches and visions of evil spirits. A fantastic horde of cynically grimacing hags and ghosts fill these rooms.”

In the work featured here, two men are battling each other with cudgels. Both are standing up to their knees in sand, so that neither can run away. Whether even the victor will be able to extricate himself remains unclear. There are no spectators in sight—only a bleak landscape with foreboding images.

Friday
Jan022015

Navarrete: A Spanish Mannerist

Juan Fernández de Navarrete - Baptism of Christ - c. 1568 - Oil on panel, 49 x 37 cm - Museo del Prado, MadridSpanish painter and draughtsman Juan Fernández de Navarrete (1538-1579) was a deaf mute, and the principal sources for his life and work are writings by Fray José de Sigüenza and Ceán Bermúdez. He received his early training in the Hieronymite monastery of La Estrella in Logroño, and as a young man he traveled in Italy, visiting Milan, Rome, Naples and Venice.The majority of Navarrete's paintings were commissioned for the royal monastery church of S Lorenzo at the Escorial near Madrid, which was then being built by Philip II. This painting is a trial piece that Navarrete executed for Philip II in 1565. The painting shows that the artist was familiar with the work of the later Michelangelo, and his follower Daniele da Volterra. This makes sense, since in the mid-1550s Navarrete stayed in Rome.

 

Wednesday
Apr092014

Francisco de Zubar├ín: Painter of Saints and Churchmen

Francisco de Zubarán - St Agatha - 1630-33 - Oil on canvas - Musée Fabre, Montpellier (click photo for larger image)Spanish Baroque painter Francisco de Zubarán (1598-1664) focused primarily on saints and churchmen in his work.

His use of sharply defined, often brilliant, colors, minute detail in simple compositions, strongly three-dimensional modeling of figures, and the shadowed light that brightly illuminates his subjects all give his paintings a solidity and dignity evocative of the solitude and solemnity of monastic life. His work at its best fuses two dominant tendencies in Spanish art, realism and mysticism.”

The name of Saint Agatha Agatha is invoked against volcano eruptions, lightning, fires and earthquakes.