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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.
  • 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 Surrealism (22)


Salvador Dali: The Paranoia-Critical Method

Salvador Dali - Swans Reflecting Elephants -1937 - Oils on canvas - 51 cm × 77 cm (20.08 in × 30.31 in) - Private Collection (click photo for larger image)The painting featured here is from what is known as Salvador Dali’s (1904-1989) “paranoiac-critical period”. It contains one of Dali's famous double images. Dali's "paranoia-critical method" was discussed in his 1935 essay entitled "The Conquest of the Irrational." He explained the process as a "spontaneous method of irrational understanding based upon the interpretative critical association of delirious phenomena." Dali used this method to represent the hallucinatory forms, double images and visual illusions that filled his paintings during the 1930s. 

Swans Reflecting Elephants uses the reflection in a lake to create the double image seen in the painting. “The three swans in front of bleak, leafless trees are reflected in the lake so that the swans' heads become the elephants' heads and the trees become the bodies of the elephants. In the background of the painting is a Catalonian landscape depicted in fiery fall colors, the brushwork creating swirls in the cliffs that surround the lake, to contrast with the stillness of the water.”


Jean Arp: Art Made of Anything

Jean Arp - Shirt Front and Fork 1922 - painted wood - inside the National Gallery of Art’s East Building, located on the National Mall, Washington. D.C. (click photo for larger image)Hans (Jean) Arp (1886-1966) was a French-German-American artist painter, sculptor, collagist and poet. Active in both the Dada and Surrealist movements, Arp was an artist who “could (and did) make anything into art. He’s among the first artists who regarded chance as a collaborator in the artistic process. He made it a point not to title his works until after they were completed, as a way of minimizing the influence of conscious mind on his art.

Arp’s works are abstract (as opposed to purely non-representational) and were always grounded in nature and reality. He was a master at placing recognizable forms into an unrecognizable context. Truly a “transitional figure” — Arp’s work forms a link between two of the most powerful movements of Modern Art.


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.


Marc Chagall: “The White Crucifixion”

Marc Chagall - White Crucifixion, 1938, Oil on canvas - 60 3/4 x 55 in (154.3 x 139.7 cm) The Art Institute of Chicago (click photo for larger image)“The White Crucifixion” by Marc Chagall (1887-1985) emphasizes the suffering of Jesus and the Jewish people. At the sides, violent acts against Jews occur, such as the burning of a synagogue and invaders. In the center, Jesus is shown crucified wearing a prayer shawl as a symbol that he is Jewish. The work is startling as the crucifixion, often seen as a symbol of oppression by the Jewish people, is instead being used to represent their suffering. A green figure carrying a bundle is shown crossing the foreground. This figure, who appears in several of Chagall's works, has been interpreted as being either a Jewish wanderer from Yiddish tradition or the Prophet Elijah. Two changes were made by Chagall to the work, a swastika on the armband of the soldier burning the synagogue was overpainted as well as the words "Ich bin Jude" on a placard around the neck of a man. There is also a Lithuanian flag in the upper right hand of the painting. Also, in the upper left hand portion of the painting there are the red flags of communism. Argentine-born Pope Francis was a well-established ally and friend of the Jewish people. He considered this painting to be his favorite.


Dali: Off the Beaten Path…

Salvador Dali - Soft Self Portrait with Fried Bacon - 1941 - Oil on canvas - 61 x 51 cm ( 24 x 20 in) - Teatre-Museu Dali - Barcelona (click photo for larger image)“The normally proud and seemingly self-assured Salvador Dali (1904-1989) has taken a bit of an off-ramp here – portraying himself in a melting mask of sorts, recalling his iconic melting watches. Numerous crutches – a favorite element in Dali’s arsenal of surrealist props – help support his flaccid face. The grilled bacon strip might represent Dali’s love of gastronomy, and its shriveled form echoes the “cooked,” melted morphology of his visage – but also adds a secondary ingredient of humor to this unusual and amusing feast for our eyes!” Of course, that divine handlebar mustache is still present.