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Category Archives: A TO Z’s OF ART

going through the alphabet one post at a time, Vickie explores the world of art from A to Z

LITTLE KNOWN STORIES ABOUT DA VINCI, MICHELANGELO, REMBRANDT AND MATISSE

I am a reader.  I read every day. In fact, I begin every morning with reading. So I decided to start jotting things down whenever I found interesting, little known facts about well known artists.

LEONARDO DA VINCI’s father was a lawyer and he never married his mother.  While he lived much of his childhood with his father, he had four step-mothers over the years.  He was left-handed, But he was also a vegetarian, often buying birds in the market to set them free.

When a 23 year old Michelangelo delivered the Pieta, he overheard someone say they didn’t believe he (Michelangelo) had done the piece, he was much too young. Enraged, he left and returned with a chisel and carved out his name – making it the only statue he ever signed apparently. He once got back at a critic by painting him into a painting being smothered by a snake.

REMBRANDT left school at 13 to study art and had his own studio by age 17.  In the famous painting The Night Watch, the models paid him to be in the painting. In fact, the people that paid the most were put in the front.

The Night Watch

The Night Watch

MATISSE began every day by playing the violin for two hours.  His wife Amelie supported him by opening a hat shop. She also raised a daughter of his by a previous girlfriend.

I think knowing a few little odd facts about artist’s make them more interesting and more human.  What do you think?

 

I DID IT!!!! BLOGTOBERFEST 2012

Blogtoberfest 2012

I did it – I posted a blog every day in the month of October, missing only one day – and I bought a car that weekend.

I am not going to lie – I’m glad it is over.  But, I did learn a few things.

1.  I need to take more photos. I did purchase a Smartphone during October, and that helped. But, I need more photos to illustrate my blog by making it more personal.

2. Sticking to a plan helps. Having a series – The A to Z’s of Art really helped keep me on track.

3. There are other things to write about other than my art and what I’m doing.  I researched artists.  And I learned some things that surprised me (see Q for Quills- I had no idea!).

4. Keep a journal – catch those ideas as they fly by!

5.  If I do it again, I will highlight fellow artists – which takes a little pre-planning!

So – I spent a day with every letter, and I participated in a Blog Circle where 12 women around the globe wrote about Courage.   Here are some of the links to past blogs here.

Courage in Art

A IS FOR ACRYLIC PAINT  through Z IS FOR ZIGGY, MY STUDIO ASSISTANT.

Posts in between are:

B is for David Bryne

C is for Creativity

D is for Dream

E is for Encaustic

F is for Fear

G is for Giclee

H is for Hue

I is for Inspiration

J is for Joel – Epiphany in the Dark

K is for Anselm Keifer

L is for Louvre

M is for My Studio

N is for Negative Space

O is for Georgia O’Keefe

P is for Photographing your Artwork

Q is for Quill Pen

R is for Rembrandt

S is for Surrealism

T is for Theft

U is for the Lady and the Unicorn

V is for the View from My Deck

W is for Warhol

X is for the Portrait of Lady X

Y is for Yellow

 

 

Z IS FOR ZIGGY, MY STUDIO ASSISTANT, THE A TO Z’S OF ART

Ziggy

 

Ziggy likes to help me in the studio.  He likes to keep the floor clean.

See the dog prints on the floor?

Usually when he finds something on the floor or on a shelf near the floor, he discards it through this door.

Dog door

He takes what he considers trash outside and to be neat and clean he buries it.

Occasionally, he will pick out a favorite piece of art.

Chewed portfolio pages

I think he got his love of books from me.

The first library book I had to pay for!

He likes to be comfortable on his pillow.

Living room pillow

You may notice, there are no pictures of him enjoying himself. Last time I took the camera out, he hid under the bed, he is quite camera shy.  You have to catch him on the sly.

He doesn’t look guilty at all, does he?

That Ziggy!   No  – he isn’t named after Ziggy Marlowe, but another Ziggy that is close to my heart and from my all-time favorite album.  Any guesses?

Yes, my other dog has a musical name too – Waylon – but I didn’t name him, but it does suit him.

Waylon

 

 

Y IS FOR YELLOW – THE A TO Z’S of ART

I have to admit, I had looked up the color yellow and found all this symbolism through the ages and I was going to post it. But, this impending disaster with Hurricane Sandy got my attention. I decided to just post a few images that show the color yellow – and you can decide yourself.  Among them, a yellow tree, Rothko, Van Gogh and Kandinsky.

X IS FOR THE PORTRAIT OF MADAME X, THE A TO Z’S OF ART

The Portrait of Madame X, by John Singer Sargent

This painting created quite a scandal when shown in Paris in 1884. Painted by John Singer Sargent, it is the portrait 0f Virginie Amelie Avegno Gautreau, an American expatriot married to a French banker. She became notorious for both her beauty and for her infidelities, and even though she craved attention, this portrait ruined her reputation forever. She retired from public life, and it is said she destroyed all the mirrors in her home.

The plunging neckline was considered seductive, and one of the straps was originally shown slipping off the shoulder. The portrait was considered sensual and decadent, even after Sargent returned the strap to the shoulder.

Sargent was considered a rising star at the time the portrait was painted. He fled to England and slowly recovered from the scandel.

This painting was not commissioned, and Gatreau refused to purchase it. Sargent kept it and hung it in his London studio.  He started displaying it in international exhibitions and sold it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1916 saying “I suppose it is the best thing I have ever done”.

If you want to know more about the painting, there is an interesting book – Strapless by Deborah Davis which also goes into the world of American ex-patriots living in Paris,  where many of the characters could be from fiction rather than non-fiction.

 

 

 

W IS FOR WARHOL, THE A TO Z’s OF ART

Andy Warhol

I don’t  know what you think of Warhol, in fact, I’m not sure what I think of Andy. Everybody knows his name, and outside of Dali’, no artist has been better at marketing art.

Coming from the world advertising, I ask when does self -promoting hurt your art? I don’t know the answer.

I talked to a gallery owner in New York, and he felt Warhol would come to “a door if it was opening”.

What does 15 minutes of fame really mean?  It was interesting to find the saying has a Wikipedia page – here

I have read the books – here are the links

The Andy Warhol Diairies

Popism, The Warhol Sixties

Edie, An American Girl  – my personal favorite

Then there are the movies – how many actors have portrayed Warhol? Actually seven to eight depending on where you look.  Here are my favorite movies.

Another personal favorite – David Bowie – in Basquiat

Guy Pierce in Factory Girl 

Crispen Porter in The Doors

Who was the best Warhol?

Guy Pearce

David Bowie

          .

Crispen Porter

The images of Crispen Porter and Guy Pierce as so similar I had to quadruple check the images!   Who do you think was the best?

What is your favorite Andy Warhol painting?  Marilyn, Jackie O, Campbell Soup Cans (which I bought the limited edition at Target)

 

V FOR THE VIEW FROM MY DECK, THE A TO Z’S OF ART

It is fall in Atlanta. You know – the time of year when the air is crisp and it feels good to just kick back and relax and reflect. Enjoy the view from my deck – yes, there are woods behind us!

Artist Trading Cards drying before being shipped to San Francisco

bonsai trees

Redwood bonsai tree

I think I lost my lounge chair. My assistant Ziggy

U IS FOR UNICORN, THE LADY AND THE UNICORN, THE A TO Z’S OF ART

THE LADY AND THE UNICORN is the modern title of six tapestries from Flanders, woven in wool and silk in the late 15th Century. They are on display at the Musee’ du  Moyen-Age in Paris (I was lucky enough to see them!)

It is generally agreed five of the tapestries depict one of the five senses – touch, taste, hearing, hearing and sight. The sixth tapestry displays the words “A mon seul desir”- and interpreted to depict love and understanding. Each tapestry shows a noble woman with a unicorn on her left and a lion on her right, and some include a monkey in the scene.

These six tapestries are generally considered one of the greatest works of art in the Middle Ages.

Now, I want to reread The Lady and the Unicorn  by Tracy Chevalier!

 

T IS FOR THEFT (AS IN ART), THE A TO Z’S OF ART

Vermeer, The Concert

I find the world of stolen art and forgeries fascinating.  The above Vermeer was stolen from the Gardner Museum – considered by many to be the greatest unsolved art heist in history.  Theft of art is thought to be the third largest crime on the planet, after drugs and arms.

Here is a list of books I thoroughly enjoyed which all about forgery or theft.

The Forgery of Venus – this fictional book was the book that started my fascination with forgery and theft.  It is a wild ride, dealing with drugs, forgery, time travel and the Nazi’s plunder.

The Vanished Smile, The Mysterious Theft of the Mona Lisa – yes, this iconic painting was stolen from the Louvre, with Picasso actually being questioned.

Priceless, How I Went Undercover To Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures – written by former FBI agency Robert Wittman, who began the agencies Art Crime Team.

Provenance, How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art – so interesting about how a con man created provenance for forged pieces of art!  A good read about art history too.

The Gardner Heist, the True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft – another good art history read, but also an nail biting look at a long investigation that travels the globe, even suspecting the IRA at one time.

Stealing Rembrants, the Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists  – a great ride across the planet investigating the underworld of art theft.

The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece – starts with the theft of The Scream by Munch

Here is an article about the most recent heist in Rotterdam last week.

 

 

 

S IS FOR SURREALISM, THE A TO Z’S OF ART

Max Ernst

 

What is surrealism? Well, there isn’t a simple definition.  Briefly, the surrealist works will have elements of surprise with  unexpected and very illogical things together.  Andre’ Breton, the founder of surrealism called is “pure psychic automatism in it’s pure state”.  He went on to write the Manifesto of Surrealism.

The Surrealists were interested in children’s art, folk art, and outsider art. They were also very interested in the insane. They were tired of trivial every day living, they loved exploring dreams, magic and the subconscious.  In fact, the movement really began with literary men exploring automatic writing.

They loved to play games, one of which was called “exquisite corpses”. This was a verbal game where three or more people were assigned part of a sentence, usually the subject, verb, a predicate and so forth, which was unknown to the rest of the group. The game got it’s name from the first sentence produced in this method “The exquistie/corpse/shall drink/the bubbling wine”.  The visual artists did much the same game by drawing and folding the paper so the next artist could not see what was drawn already. The Surrealists loved chance, and as Breton said “they stood for something that couldn’t possibly be the work of a single brain.”

This is a very simplified version of what surrealism is – there have been tomes and tomes written about it. Not wanting to bore you, I thought I’d just share some examples of surrealist art.  From left to right, the artists are: Valdimir Kush, George De Chirico, Joan Miro, Yves Tanguy, Rene’ Magritte, and Salvador Dali.