Category Archives: Artists

The Imperfect Perfections of the Spanish Forger

Manuscript_Illumination_Spanish_Forger

The Spanish Forger

was an unknown artisan who fooled the art world in the early part of the 20th century creating medieval artwork, specifically miniatures. Using original parchment and sometimes scraping the  words from the leaves of genuine medieval books, he created many forgeries that are still found in museums around the world. To date, about 200 pieces have been identified as belonging to the Spanish Forger. What is surprising is that now these pieces earn  a respectable price in the auction houses in their own right. His notoriety was such that his work was the subject of an exhibition at the Morgan Library in New York City in 1978.

Belle da Costa Greene

Medieval culture scholar from the British Library, Mary Wellesley, has made a fascinating detective-like film about the woman who uncovered his deception, Belle da Costa Greene. This intriguing lady was not averse to keeping secrets – her own true identity was kept hidden from the wider world too. It was Greene who felt that the perfect ‘sugary’ world depicted felt out of place in a world where pious and pensive were more appropriate than sweet and cloying.

Watch this cleverly made film for more on Greene and the Spanish Forger.

Iconic Images: Dali Atomicus

Dali Atomicus

Dali Atomicus
Lovely short film about the story behind this famous image taken in collaboration with Salvador Dali. The Photograph was taken by Phillipe Halsman who worked closely with Dali constructing many “outrageous” images.  It’s title is Dali Atomicus and his idea was to celebrate Dali’s painting, Leda Atomica (seen on the right) take the word atomicus in its literal meaning, putting everything in  suspension. So after hanging certain elements from invisible wires it was decided that three cats and a bucket of water needed to be added to complete the composition. It took 26 takes before Halsman was satisfied.

Moco Museum in Amsterdam with Banksy and Warhol

AMSTERDAM, March 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The Modern Contemporary – aka, Moco Museum will open its doors to the public at the end of March. The opening exhibition will combine works of art by Pop Art-protagonist Andy Warhol and Street Art-legend Banksy. The new museum for modern and contemporary art located on the Museum Square in Amsterdam wants… Continue reading Moco Museum in Amsterdam with Banksy and Warhol

Step Into Virtual Reality of Salvador Dali’s Imagination

What do you get when you mix Salvador Dali‘s surreal art with Disney’s entertainment creativity? The ability to go inside one of Dali’s paintings and explore the surreal surroundings from every angle. The video below details”Dreams of Dali” a virtual reality art exhibit at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. GET THE GOOD NEWS FROM… Continue reading Step Into Virtual Reality of Salvador Dali’s Imagination

Frankfurt gallery celebrates paintings of Joan Miro

The Farm by Joan Miro
Early painting of the farm where Jean Miro spent his childhood – a kaleidoscopic painting brimming with detail.

Frankfurt (dpa) – A major exhibition of Catalan painter Joan Miro spanning over half a century of his works opens in Frankfurt on Friday. The exhibition showcases 50 of the Barcelona-born artist’s paintings and demonstrates his departure from the traditional rules of painting, organizers of the display at Frankfurt’s Schirn Kunsthalle said Thursday. “It’s an exhibition… Continue reading Frankfurt gallery celebrates paintings of Joan Miro

Jonathan Yeo paints actress for new retrospective

Jonathan Yeo is one of the UK’s most highly regarded portrait artists. He is known for his portrayal of famous subjects, from Kevin Spacey by Jonathan Yeopoliticians and royalty to Hollywood celebrities. Yeo’s latest work explores different ways of looking at the same person. He is preparing an exhibition at the Museum of National History in Denmark with a series… Continue reading Jonathan Yeo paints actress for new retrospective

Bruegel – The Harvesters 1565

The Harvesters by Pieter Bruegel the elder, 1565

This panel is part of a series showing the seasons or times of the year, commissioned from Bruegel by the Antwerp merchant Niclaes Yongelinck. The series included six works, five of which survive. The other four are: “The Gloomy Day,” “Hunters in the Snow,” and “The Return of the Herd” (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna); and “Haymaking” (Lobkowicz Collections, Prague). The Harvesters (and the others in this series) is arguably the first modern landscape in western Europe and represents the months of August and September. Bruegel suppresses any obvious religious pretext in favour of a new humanism, depicting a rustic peasantry, a timeless study of man in nature through an unidealised description based on natural observations.

It shows a ripe field of wheat that has been partially cut and stacked, while in the foreground a number of peasants pause to picnic in the relative shade of a pear tree. Work continues around them as a couple gathers wheat into bundles and three men cut stalks with scythes. The vastness of the panorama across the rest of the composition reveals that Bruegel’s emphasis is not on the labours that mark the time of the year, but on the atmosphere and transformation of the landscape itself.

You become a pilgrim in these people’s lives.  The detail is amazing – the group in the lower right hand corner are having their lunch break, their food laid out before them, and we can see the pears they are eating have been collected by another character who is climbing a pear tree and shaking down the fruit in an other part of the painting. The composition draws you in – never allowing us to stop for too long in any one place as your eye leads you on to another scene. Rest for lunch for some... detail from The HarvestersThe narrow path between the corn takes us to the women in the middle distance carrying corn on their heads through the field, which in turn leads us further away to a pool where monks have stripped down and are swimming. Children are playing in a clearing. You can feel the heat of summer.

Bruegel was living in Antwerp when he painted this. It was the most important economic centre of Europe at that time. with shipping making important connections across the world.  Farming is important not only locally, but transporting goods across the seas, especially wheat.

The subject was chosen by Yondelick who was deeply interested in  classical literature and wanted something to decorate his villa. But why would a wealthy patron want a picture of peasants working in fields? A universal love of Virgil who celebrated the love of nature and those who worked the fields. A strong reminder of when man and nature where much closer together and those closest to nature experience the truest life. Bruegel turns the traditional view of peasant life on its head, previously always sidelined and corse, he makes their lives monumental and to be envied. The higher classes are diminished – the Castle hiding in the middle distance and the monks not praying but naked in a pool.

Mid and far distance - detail from The Harvesters

Bruegel is very delicate thin. When you look closely at the canvas you can see not only each stalk individually made but the under drawing – in the sleepers face and neck – and the lucidity of his brush strokes. Use this  link to Google’s Art Project to zoom in and examine his style more closely.

The sleeper's head - detail The Harvesters

 

Brush marks - detail The Harvesters

The effect is very calming, you can feel the heat of summer and want to discover more about the scene. It gives us insight, takes us to a place we have never been to and wish we could enter.

 

 

Liverpool Biennial 2014

“The Liverpool Biennial is the largest international contemporary art festival in the United Kingdom.”

Liverpool Biennial 2014…according to Wikipedia, which does make me very proud. Liverpool is famously renowned for its music, but to have become ‘the largest’ art festival in the UK demonstrates the city’s thriving interest in the arts – not just conventional, but the more challenging art at that. Continue reading Liverpool Biennial 2014