Manuel Sánchez Art Gallery

Manuel Sanchez Art Gallery

Original Oil Paintings & Museum Quality Prints On Sale. 

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Posted by Manuel on April 1, 2013 at 3:30 AM Comments comments (3)

This is an Website Link Exchange Page.

Link my site to your site and send me the link and I will do the same.


80´s Girl Art

Designs by Judy Art

7 keys to selling Art online

Posted by Manuel on March 16, 2013 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)


 

 

7 KEYS TO SELLING ART ONLINE

 

Too often, artists start down the online art marketing

path and quickly find themselves bogged down in “how-

to” details. They reach burn-out before they ever get a

fundamental marketing plan in place. Trying to connect

the dots in a half-baked, half-finished marketing plan is

disheartening and counter-productive.


If you make good art

the world is filled with people

who would love to

buy, own and enjoy your work.

Isn’t that comforting to know?


they don’t know you exist.

They would buy it right now except...


So what can you do to change that?


7 KEYS TO SELLING ART ONLINE

It all comes down to Inbound Marketing, which means:

 1) Getting people to find you online.

 2) Turning your visitors into followers, then leads,

then customers.


As you read through this book you may occasionally think

“I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THAT.”

When that happens, remember Universal Rule #1:

Those who know HOW work for those who know WHY.

YOU(or, soon to be you)

OTHERS


In other words:

 • You don’t have to do everything yourself.

 • You don’t even have to fund everything yourself.

 • Stop the self-torture. When needed, enlist the help of friends, family,

patrons and freelance writers/designers.

 Let’s take “how-to” off the table for the next

12 minutes. Instead, let’s focus on WHAT to do

and WHY you’re doing it. HOW is easy. HOW will

take care of itself.

 Now let’s fix your online marketing > > >


YOUR WEBSITE & BLOG

KEY

Your Website & Blog are the center

of your online sales universe. You

can roll them both into a single site

(best) or keep them separate, but

artists need both components.


Your WEBSITE is your well-organized art gallery, showcase and

museum. It stays still, it stays dependable and it looks awesome.

Ideally you want your own dedicated domain with a streamlined URL,

not a sub-domain hooked to someone else’s site with a confusing

(or too-long) URL.

Serious buyers will visit your

website several times before

buying. Make it easy for them.


• Make sure your website looks like it was designed RECENTLY.

• Make sure your website is optimized for search engines (SEO).

• Make sure your visitors can easily find what they’re looking for,

again and again.

• Make sure your visitors can easily opt-in to your mailing list.

• Make sure your pricing is clearly visible. Do not force people to call

you or email you for pricing.

• Make sure buyers can easily BUY your art, right from your site,

when they’re ready.

Thinking of using Flash? Don’t. Flash is virtually

invisible to search engines. Further, it is banned on

some newer devices, which means visitors with those

devices literally cannot view your site.


Your BLOG is an ongoing, linear dialog and running commentary

on you and your art. The primary purpose of your blog is to drive

visitors to your website, whether through search rankings or through

social channels.

• It moves, it’s exciting.

• It expands and explains.

• It builds trust.

• It updates and highlights your creative activities.

• Visitors can comment and you can respond.


Unless you’re a naturally gabby person and a good writer, blogs

are HARD WORK. Be prepared for some serious starts and stops before

you get a rhythm going. The important thing is to get your blog firmly

in place and online. Start posting. Make mistakes. Your blog is the engine

that keeps people coming back to your site.

The more you update your

blog, the more visitors you

attract. More visitors mean

more fans for you and your art,

which leads to more sales.


If you find that you can’t keep your blog current

and functioning, farm it out.

Yes, it’s that important.


7 KEYS TO SELLING ART ONLINE

KEY YOUR OPT-IN MAILING LIST

Email is the best way to keep in touch

with your patrons, collectors, buyers

and fans. If any of the 7 Keys are

magic, it’s this one.


Your opt-in mailing list contains

peoples’ names and email addresses

who have specifically given you permission

to send them periodic emails about you and

your art. It is the single most powerful

online sales tool you can have.


Building your opt-in list is

tedious work that yields amazing results.

It enables you to send anticipated, personal and relevant emails to

PEOPLE WHO WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU.

• Display an email subscription sign-up form (preferably “above the

fold”) on your website and blog.

• Your social media profiles generally allow for multiple web addresses.

Make one of them your email sign-up form.

• Include a link to your subscriber sign-up page in your email signature.

• Mention your free email Newsletters/Updates/Status Reports in all

outside communications: press releases, postcards, feature articles.

Capture email addresses in person at your art shows with guest sign-in

books. When you exchange business cards, ASK your new contact if

you can keep in touch with them by newsletter.


Use a professional

email service provider such as

MailChimp, AWeber, Emma or Constant

Contact. They range in price from free

to inexpensive and provide automatic

subscription and list management,

tracking, customizable templates and

have many other advantages.


An important distinction: Your newsletter is not your blog. It should

contain more valuable content. If you promise your subscribers “inside”

information, then do not send them a recycled blog post. Your opt-in list is

your “inner circle.” Treat them with respect.

Write directly to ONE person. “Hiya Gang” is the worst possible way to

start your newsletter. You may have hundreds or even thousands of names

on your list, but each email is sent to a single address and (first) read by

a solitary reader. That person has INVITED YOU into their inbox and

TRUSTED YOU with their email address.

Finally, always remember that your newsletter is a prospecting and

lead generation tool. Gently SPRINKLE your offers into your email, and

always ASK your readers to take action. (buy now, read more, forward

to a friend, etc.). Otherwise, there’s no reason to send it.


7 KEYS TO SELLING ART ONLINE

KEY YOUR BACKLINKS

BACKLINKS (also known as Inbound

Links) originate on other websites

and point to yours. Search engines

grant higher priority to sites with

large numbers of quality backlinks.


Okay. So where do quality backlinks come from?

Blog Comments — Find active blogs on topics that interest you, preferably

with large commenting communities. Write comments that add value to

the discussions. Like-minded folks often reward quality input with a click

through to your site to learn more about you.

Guest Blogging — Start by leaving several first rate comments on high

quality, high-traffic sites. Then write informative, relevant posts for those

websites and offer them to the owners. These will increase your search

engine visibility and provide a steady flow of visitors to your website.

Forum Links — Join online forums. Answer questions. Make comments.

Be helpful. Before long you will be viewed as a reliable source of

information, and folks will click on your signature link to visit your website.


Social Bookmarking — Common bookmarking sites are Digg,

Stumbleupon, and Delicious, and there are literally hundreds more.

Bookmark your favorite sites, stories, blog posts, art and photographs from

all over the web. Each bookmark you add also creates a backlink to your

site. Just ONE good bookmarking site can send thousands of visitors a

month to view your art.

Article Marketing — One of the earliest and still widely used ways to

build backlinks. Write an article (or 10, 20 or 50), submit it to an article

directory and get a backlink. There are thousands of article directories on

the internet today, so choose the highest quality directories you can find.


Press releases — When you have newsworthy announcements (new

art, upcoming shows, large purchases from prestigious clients) craft press

releases for submission to popular distribution services. Identify the correct

channels by searching for related stories on Google News or Yahoo News,

and noting where the top results originate.

Popular Websites — Can you showcase your work on popular, relevant,

local or regional websites? Do it. Costs generally range from free to

inexpensive to pricey-but-worth-it. These can generate the highest

quality backlinks you’ll have


KEY YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA

Social Media is a process. Start by

building on existing relationships,

make new connections, and adopt

this simple strategy: Be Helpful.


Converting your social media friends, fans and followers into

buyers of your art can be an EXTREMELY difficult thing to do. But it’s not

impossible. Artists who take the time to understand the process are reaping

sweet rewards.

Social media has a long, slow sales curve. It’s SOCIAL, meaning it’s

not about the transaction, it’s about the experience. In addition to

building genuine friendships and revealing a more personal side of yourself,

it’s about getting people to spend more time with your art.

Over time, a thousand little

nudges will ultimately drive

purchasing. But that won’t

happen overnight.


The sheer number of social networks is staggering.

You simply can’t be on all of them, nor should you try.

Monitor several networks that appeal to you. Then choose no more

than a handful (2-5) to become involved with. Be sure and set a budget for

time, otherwise you’ll quickly become overwhelmed and burned out.

Even though it may take years to find your rhythm, build your tribe and

see the larger payoff, know that each of your tweets, texts, video links

and status updates are magnifying your presence in organic search

results. So even when it feels like nothing is happening, keep at it, since

organic search is vital to your long-term, online success.

BE SELECTIVE. CHOOSE WISELY.


KEY YOUR OFFLINE EFFORTS

Traditional methods of connecting

with people still work.

Offline marketing will drive traffic to

your website and boost online sales.


Artists need POSTCARDS. They are mini works of art (your art!) that

are cheap to print, colorful and easy to carry. Print several versions and

keep them in your car, backpack, art supply box, laptop case, cargo pants

— you get the picture. Make sure they include your contact information

and your WEBSITE address. Hand them out at networking meetings and

art shows. When appropriate, MAIL THEM to Galleries, Patrons and

Decorators.

If you’re a public speaker, teacher or workshop coordinator — bring

your postcards.

Your Press Releases and Guest Articles for your online promotions can

do double duty in your local newspapers, regional magazines, even

national publications. Always include your WEBSITE address.


KEY YOUR BUYERS,

COLLECTORS & PATRONS

All of your marketing and sales

efforts come down to attracting and

holding the people who like you,

promote you, support you and who

will ultimately buy your work.


Many artists feel that selling art to total strangers is an important rite

of passage. ”Finally! Someone besides Mom appreciates my work!”

Once you begin reaching people you WILL get response, and you WILL

make random sales.

EVEN SO, in order to generate momentum and

attract repeat buyers, you must be willing to

open conversations and build relationships.

Your talents, which may seem so normal to you, are often viewed as

MAGIC by others. These are the people who love art, love artists, and

believe it is their civic duty to

bring art into the world.


Help them help you. They are not mere buyers of your work.

They are people who will ultimately become your Collectors and

Patrons. Your well-being, comfort and survival are important to them.

If you allow it, they will support your efforts in any number of ways, both

large and small:

Some will offer studio space,

 gallery space,

 art supplies,

 equipment,

 even (yes!) cash.

They’ll help you with marketing and sales, introduce you to their friends,

and open doors you never knew existed. EMBRACE these opportunities

and treat these special people like the angels they are.


KEY YOUR SHIPPING

& FOLLOW-THROUGH

Your buyers might come from down

the street or from the other side of

the planet. Either way, you need to

be prepared when things go right.


“I’ll take it!”

When you see or hear those words, are you ready?

Can you deliver?

How are you getting the payment? Do you have to find a box, build

a crate, fill out forms for international delivery, decide on a shipper?

Have you chosen a high-quality Print On Demand (POD) service that is

professional and efficient?

The time to figure all that out is BEFORE the orders start rolling in.

Your customers’ buying experience should be flawless every time.

Remember, you’re building relationships.


Within three days after the sale, send your

buyer a separate THANK YOU card or letter . Then

KEEP IN TOUCH. Make sure they receive your regular

email newsletter. Send them a stamped, hand-

written postcard greeting every 90 days.

Make sure they know that you appreciate their

purchase and look forward to a long relationship.


Opt-In Subscribers

Over time, your art marketing will look like this:

Social Media

SEND Newsletters

SEND Newsletters

Your

Website/Blog

BUILD Relationships

Personal Networking

UPDATE Website

WRITE Blog Posts

Paid Advertising

MAKE SALES

Postcards to Gallerie,

Patrons & Decorators.

Showcases on Relevant Local

Websites. SEO & Backlinks

SHIP & Follow Through

Now that you know the WHAT and WHY of art marketing,

always remember:

“you’re braver than you believe,

and stronger than you seem,

and smarter than you think.”

— Christopher Robin (to Pooh)

 

Michaelangelo

Posted by Manuel on July 2, 2012 at 6:20 AM Comments comments (1)

Michaelangelo

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564), commonly known as Michelangelo. He was an Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western Art Despite making few forays beyond the arts, his versatility in the disciplines he took up was of such a high order that he is often considered a contender for the title of the archetypal Renaissance man, along with fellow Italian Leonardo da Vinci.

Michelangelo was considered the greatest living artist in his lifetime, and ever since then he has been held to be one of the greatest artists of all time. A number of his works in painting, sculpture, and architecture rank among the most famous in existence. His output in every field during his long life was prodigious; when the sheer volume of correspondence, sketches, and reminiscences that survive is also taken into account, he is the best-documented artist of the 16th century. Two of his best-known works, the Pietà and David, were sculpted before he turned thirty. Despite his low opinion of painting, Michelangelo also created two of the most influential works in fresco in the history of Western art: the scenes from Genesis on the ceiling and The Last Judgment on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. As an architect, Michelangelo pioneered the Mannerist style at the Laurentian Library. At 74 he succeeded Antonio da Sangallo the Younger as the architect of St. Peter's Basilica. Michelangelo transformed the plan, the western end being finished to Michelangelo's design, the dome being completed after his death with some modification.

In a demonstration of Michelangelo's unique standing, he was the first Western artist whose biography was published while he was alive. Two biographies were published of him during his lifetime; one of them, by Giorgio Vasari, proposed that he was the pinnacle of all artistic achievement since the beginning of the Renaissance, a viewpoint that continued to have currency in art history for centuries. In his lifetime he was also often called Il Divino ("the divine one"). One of the qualities most admired by his contemporaries was his terribilità, a sense of awe-inspiring grandeur, and it was the attempts of subsequent artists to imitate Michelangelo's impassioned and highly personal style that resulted in Mannerism, the next major movement in Western art after the High Renaissance.

 

Early life Michelangelo was born on 6 March 1475 in Caprese near Arezzo, Tuscany. (Today, Caprese is known as Caprese Michelangelo). For several generations, his family had been small-scale bankers in Florence, but his father, Ludovico di Leonardo di Buonarotto Simoni, failed to maintain the bank's financial status, and held occasional government positions. At the time of Michelangelo's birth, his father was the Judicial administrator of the small town of Caprese and local administrator of Chiusi. Michelangelo's mother was Francesca di Neri del Miniato di Siena. The Buonarrotis claimed to descend from the Countess Mathilde of Canossa; this claim remains unproven, but Michelangelo himself believed it. Several months after Michelangelo's birth, the family returned to Florence, where Michelangelo was raised. At later times, during the prolonged illness and after the death of his mother in 1481 when he was just six years old, Michelangelo lived with a stonecutter and his wife and family in the town of Settignano, where his father owned a marble quarry and a small farm. Giorgio Vasari quotes Michelangelo as saying, "If there is some good in me, it is because I was born in the subtle atmosphere of your country of Arezzo. Along with the milk of my nurse I received the knack of handling chisel and hammer, with which I make my figures."

Michelangelo's father sent him to study grammar with the Humanist Francesco da Urbino in Florence as a young boy. The young artist, however, showed no interest in his schooling, preferring to copy paintings from churches and seek the company of painters. At thirteen, Michelangelo was apprenticed to the painter Domenico Ghirlandaio. When Michelangelo was only fourteen, his father persuaded Ghirlandaio to pay his apprentice as an artist, which was highly unusual at the time. When in 1489, Lorenzo de' Medici, de facto ruler of Florence, asked Ghirlandaio for his two best pupils, Ghirlandaio sent Michelangelo and Francesco Granacci. From 1490 to 1492, Michelangelo attended the Humanist academy which the Medici had founded along Neo Platonic lines. Michelangelo studied sculpture under Bertoldo di Giovanni. At the academy, both Michelangelo's outlook and his art were subject to the influence of many of the most prominent philosophers and writers of the day including Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola and Poliziano. At this time, Michelangelo sculpted the reliefs Madonna of the Steps (1490–1492) and Battle of the Centaurs (1491–1492). The latter was based on a theme suggested by Poliziano and was commissioned by Lorenzo de Medici. While both were apprenticed to Bertoldo di Giovanni, Pietro Torrigiano struck the 17-year-old on the nose, and thus caused that disfigurement which is so conspicuous in all the portraits of Michelangelo.

Early adulthood Lorenzo de' Medici's death on 8 April 1492 brought a reversal of Michelangelo's circumstances. Michelangelo left the security of the Medici court and returned to his father's house. In the following months he carved a wooden crucifix (1493), as a gift to the prior of the Florentine church of Santo Spirito, which had permitted him some studies of anatomy on the corpses of the church's hospital. Between 1493 and 1494 he bought a block of marble for a larger than life statue of Hercules, which was sent to France and subsequently disappeared sometime circa 18th century. On 20 January 1494, after heavy snowfalls, Lorenzo's heir, Piero de Medici, commissioned a snow statue, and Michelangelo again entered the court of the Medici.

In the same year, the Medici were expelled from Florence as the result of the rise of Savonarola. Michelangelo left the city before the end of the political upheaval, moving to Venice and then to Bologna. In Bologna, he was commissioned to finish the carving of the last small figures of the Shrine of St. Dominic, in the church dedicated to that saint. Towards the end of 1494, the political situation in Florence was calmer. The city, previously under threat from the French, was no longer in danger as Charles VIII had suffered defeats. Michelangelo returned to Florence but received no commissions from the new city government under Savonarola. He returned to the employment of the Medici. During the half year he spent in Florence, he worked on two small statues, a child St. John the Baptist and a sleeping Cupid. According to Condivi, Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici, for whom Michelangelo had sculpted St. John the Baptist, asked that Michelangelo "fix it so that it looked as if it had been buried" so he could "send it to Rome...pass [it off as] an ancient work and...sell it much better." Both Lorenzo and Michelangelo were unwittingly cheated out of the real value of the piece by a middleman. Cardinal Raffaele Riario, to whom Lorenzo had sold it, discovered that it was a fraud, but was so impressed by the quality of the sculpture that he invited the artist to Rome. This apparent success in selling his sculpture abroad as well as the conservative Florentine situation may have encouraged Michelangelo to accept the prelate's invitation.

Rome Michelangelo arrived in Rome 25 June 1496 at the age of 21. On 4 July of the same year, he began work on a commission for Cardinal Raffaele Riario, an over-life-size statue of the Roman wine god Bacchus. However, upon completion, the work was rejected by the cardinal, and subsequently entered the collection of the banker Jacopo Galli, for his garden.

In November 1497, the French ambassador in the Holy See commissioned one of his most famous works, the Pietà, and the contract was agreed upon in August of the following year. The contemporary opinion about this work – "a revelation of all the potentialities and force of the art of sculpture" – was summarized by Vasari: "It is certainly a miracle that a formless block of stone could ever have been reduced to a perfection that nature is scarcely able to create in the flesh."

In Rome, Michelangelo lived near the church of Santa Maria di Loreto. Here, according to the legend, he fell in love with Vittoria Colonna, marchioness of Pescara and a poet. Michelangelo's house was demolished in 1874, and the remaining architectural elements saved by the new proprietors were destroyed in 1930. Today a modern reconstruction of Michelangelo's house can be seen on the Janiculum hill. It is also during this period that skeptics allege Michelangelo executed the sculpture Laocoön and His Sons which resides in the Vatican.

Michelangelo returned to Florence in 1499–1501. Things were changing in the republic after the fall of anti-Renaissance Priest and leader of Florence, Girolamo Savonarola, (executed in 1498) and the rise of the gonfaloniere Piero Soderini. He was asked by the consuls of the Guild of Wool to complete an unfinished project begun 40 years earlier by Agostino di Duccio: a colossal statue portraying David as a symbol of Florentine freedom, to be placed in the Piazza della Signoria, in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. Michelangelo responded by completing his most famous work, the Statue of David, in 1504. This masterwork, created out of a marble block from the quarries at Carrara, one that had already been worked on by an earlier hand, definitively established his prominence as a sculptor of extraordinary technical skill and strength of symbolic imagination.

Also during this period, Michelangelo painted the Holy Family and St John, also known as the Doni Tondo or the Holy Family of the Tribune: it was commissioned for the marriage of Angelo Doni and Maddalena Strozzi and in the 17th century, hung in the room known as the Tribune in the Uffizi. He also may have painted the Madonna and Child with John the Baptist, known as the Manchester Madonna and now in the National Gallery, London, United Kingdom.

In 1505, Michelangelo was invited back to Rome by the newly elected Pope Julius II. He was commissioned to build the Pope's tomb. Under the patronage of the Pope, Michelangelo experienced constant interruptions to his work on the tomb in order to accomplish numerous other tasks. Because of those interruptions, he worked on the tomb for 40 years. The tomb, of which the central feature is Michelangelo's statue of Moses, was never finished to Michelangelo's satisfaction. It is located in the Church of S. Pietro in Vincoli in Rome.

During the same period, Michelangelo took the commission to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which took approximately four years to complete (1508–1512). According to Michelangelo's account, Bramante and Raphael convinced the Pope to commission Michelangelo in a medium not familiar to the artist. This was done in order that he, Michelangelo, would suffer unfavorable comparisons with his rival Raphael, who at the time was at the peak of his own artistry as the primo fresco painter. However, this story is discounted by modern historians on the grounds of contemporary evidence, and may merely have been a reflection of the artist's own perspective.

Michelangelo was originally commissioned to paint the 12 Apostles against a starry sky, but lobbied for a different and more complex scheme, representing creation, the Downfall of Man and the Promise of Salvation through the prophets and Genealogy of Christ. The work is part of a larger scheme of decoration within the chapel which represents much of the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

The composition eventually contained over 300 figures and had at its center nine episodes from the Book of Genesis, divided into three groups: God's Creation of the Earth; God's Creation of Humankind and their fall from God's grace; and lastly, the state of Humanity as represented by Noah and his family. On the pendentives supporting the ceiling are painted twelve men and women who prophesied the coming of the Jesus. They are seven prophets of Israel and five Sibyls, prophetic women of the Classical world.

Among the most famous paintings on the ceiling are The Creation of Adam, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the Great Flood, the Prophet Isaiah and the Cumaean Sibyl. Around the windows are painted the ancestors of Christ.

In 1513, Pope Julius II died and his successor Pope Leo X, of the Medici family, commissioned Michelangelo to reconstruct the façade of the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence and to adorn it with sculptures. Michelangelo agreed reluctantly. The three years Michelangelo spent in creating drawings and models for the façade, as well as attempting to open a new marble quarry at Pietrasanta specifically for the project, were among the most frustrating in his career, as work was abruptly canceled by his financially strapped patrons before any real progress had been made. The basilica lacks a façade to this day.

Apparently not the least embarrassed by this turnabout, the Medici later came back to Michelangelo with another grand proposal, this time for a family funerary chapel in the Basilica of San Lorenzo. Fortunately for posterity, this project, occupying the artist for much of the 1520s and 1530s, was more fully realized.

In 1527, the Florentine citizens, encouraged by the sack of Rome, threw out the Medici and restored the republic. A siege of the city ensued, and Michelangelo went to the aid of his beloved Florence by working on the city's fortifications from 1528 to 1529. The city fell in 1530 and the Medici were restored to power. Completely out of sympathy with the repressive reign of the ducal Medici, Michelangelo left Florence for good in the mid-1530s, leaving assistants to complete the Medici chapel.

Last works in Rome The fresco of The Last Judgment on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel was commissioned by Pope Clement VII, who died shortly after assigning the commission. Paul III was instrumental in seeing that Michelangelo began and completed the project. Michelangelo labored on the project from 1534 to October 1541. The work is massive and spans the entire wall behind the altar of the Sistine Chapel. The Last Judgment is a depiction of the second coming of Christ and the apocalypse; where the souls of humanity rise and are assigned to their various fates, as judged by Christ, surrounded by the Saints. In that work, the position of the figure of Christ appears to pay tribute to that of Melozzo's Christ in the Ascension of our Lord, once in the Santi Apostoli, now in the Quirinal Palace.

Once completed, the depiction of Christ and the Virgin Mary naked was considered sacrilegious, and Cardinal Carafa and Monsignor Sernini (Mantua's ambassador) campaigned to have the fresco removed or censored, but the Pope resisted. After Michelangelo's death, it was decided to obscure the genitals ("Pictura in Cappella Ap.ca coopriantur"). So Daniele da Volterra, an apprentice of Michelangelo, was commissioned to cover with perizomas (briefs) the genitals, leaving unaltered the complex of bodies. When the work was restored in 1993, the conservators chose not to remove all the perizomas of Daniele, leaving some of them as a historical document, and because some of Michelangelo’s work was previously scraped away by the touch-up artist's application of “decency” to the masterpiece. A faithful uncensored copy of the original, by Marcello Venusti, can be seen at the Capodimonte Museum of Naples.

Censorship always followed Michelangelo, once described as "inventor delle porcherie" ("inventor of obscenities", in the original Italian language referring to "pork things"). The infamous "fig-leaf campaign" of the Counter-Reformation, aiming to cover all representations of human genitals in paintings and sculptures, started with Michelangelo's works. To give two examples, the marble statue of Cristo della Minerva (church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome) was covered by added drapery, as it remains today, and the statue of the naked child Jesus in Madonna of Bruges (The Church of Our Lady in Bruges, Belgium) remained covered for several decades. Also, the plaster copy of the David in the Cast Courts (Victoria and Albert Museum) in London, has a fig leaf in a box at the back of the statue. It was there to be placed over the statue's genitals so that they would not upset visiting female royalty.

In 1546, Michelangelo was appointed architect of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, and designed its dome. As St. Peter's was progressing, there was concern that Michelangelo would pass away before the dome was finished. However, once building commenced on the lower part of the dome, the supporting ring, the completion of the design was inevitable. Michelangelo died in Rome at the age of 88 (three weeks before his 89th birthday). His body was brought back from Rome for interment at the Basilica of Santa Croce, fulfilling the maestro's last request to be buried in his beloved Florence.

 

Homage to a Genius

Posted by Manuel on June 1, 2012 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (1)

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci   April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519, ) was an  painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, zoologist, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the  a man of "unquenchable curiosity" and "feverishly inventive imagination".He is widely considered to be one of the painters of all time and perhaps the most intelligent and diversely talented person ever to have lived. According to art historian  the scope and depth of his interests were without precedent and "his mind and personality seem to us superhuman, the man himself mysterious and remote". Marco Rosci points out, however, that while there is much speculation about Leonardo, his vision of the world is essentially logical rather than mysterious, and that the empirical methods he employed were unusual for his time.

Born  to, Piero da Vinci, and a peasant woman, Caterina, at Vinci in the region of Florence, Leonardo was educated in the studio of the renowned Florentine painter, Verrocchio. Much of his earlier working life was spent in the service of Ludovico il Moro in Milan. He later worked in Rome, Bologna and Venice, and he spent his last years in France at the home awarded him by Francis I.

Leonardo was and is renowned primarily as a painter. Among his works, the Mona Lisa is the most famous and most parodied portrait and The Last Supper the most reproduced religious painting of all time, with their fame approached only by Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam.Leonardo's drawing of the Vitruvian Man is also regarded as a cultural icon, being reproduced on items as varied as the euro, textbooks, and T-shirts. Perhaps fifteen of his paintings survive, the small number because of his constant, and frequently disastrous, experimentation with new techniques, and his chronic procrastination.Nevertheless, these few works, together with his notebooks, which contain drawings, scientific diagrams, and his thoughts on the nature of painting, compose a contribution to later generations of artists rivalled only by that of his contemporary, Michelangelo.

Leonardo is revered for his technological ingenuity. He conceptualised a helicopter, a tank, concentrated solar power, a calculator, and the double hull, and he outlined a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics. Relatively few of his designs were constructed or were even feasible during his lifetime, but some of his smaller inventions, such as an automated bobbin winder and a machine for testing the tensile strength of wire, entered the world of manufacturing unheralded. He made important discoveries in anatomy, civil engineering, optics, and hydrodynamics, but he did not publish his findings and they had no direct influence on later science.



Homage to THE MASTER of the 20th Century

Posted by Manuel on April 30, 2012 at 5:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Pablo Ruiz  

" PICASSO "

Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso, known as Pablo Picasso, 25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973), was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer. One of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, he is widely known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a portrayal of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

Picasso, Henri Matisse and Marcel Duchamp are commonly regarded as the three artists who most defined the revolutionary developments in the plastic arts in the opening decades of the 20th century, responsible for significant developments in painting, sculpture, printmaking and ceramics.

Picasso demonstrated extraordinary artistic talent in his early years, painting in a realistic manner through his childhood and adolescence. During the first decade of the 20th century his style changed as he experimented with different theories, techniques, and ideas. His revolutionary artistic accomplishments brought him universal renown and immense fortune, making him one of the best-known figures in 20th century art.

 

Early life Picasso was baptized Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Crispiniano de la Santísima Trinidad, a series of names honoring various saints and relatives. Added to these were Ruiz and Picasso, for his father and mother, respectively, as per Spanish law. Born in the city of Málaga in the Andalusian region of Spain, he was the first child of Don José Ruiz y Blasco (1838–1913) and María Picasso y López. Picasso’s family was middle-class. His father was a painter who specialized in naturalistic depictions of birds and other game. For most of his life Ruiz was a professor of art at the School of Crafts and a curator of a local museum. Ruiz’s ancestors were minor aristocrats.

 

The house where Picasso was born, in MálagaPicasso showed a passion and a skill for drawing from an early age. According to his mother, his first words were “piz, piz”, a shortening of lápiz, the Spanish word for ‘pencil’. From the age of seven, Picasso received formal artistic training from his father in figure drawing and oil painting. Ruiz was a traditional, academic artist and instructor who believed that proper training required disciplined copying of the masters, and drawing the human body from plaster casts and live models. His son became preoccupied with art to the detriment of his classwork.

The family moved to A Coruña in 1891, where his father became a professor at the School of Fine Arts. They stayed almost four years. On one occasion the father found his son painting over his unfinished sketch of a pigeon. Observing the precision of his son’s technique, an Apocrypha story relates, Ruiz felt that the thirteen-year-old Picasso had surpassed him, and vowed to give up painting, though paintings by him exist from later years.

In 1895, Picasso was traumatized when his seven-year-old sister, Conchita, died of diphtheria. After her death, the family moved to Barcelona, where Ruiz took a position at its School of Fine Arts. Picasso thrived in the city, regarding it in times of sadness or nostalgia as his true home. Ruiz persuaded the officials at the academy to allow his son to take an entrance exam for the advanced class. This process often took students a month, but Picasso completed it in a week, and the impressed jury admitted him, at just 13. The student lacked discipline but made friendships that would affect him in later life. His father rented him a small room close to home so he could work alone, yet he checked up on him numerous times a day, judging his drawings. The two argued frequently.

Picasso’s father and uncle decided to send the young artist to Madrid’s Royal Academy of San Fernando, the country's foremost art school. At age 16, Picasso set off for the first time on his own, but he disliked formal instruction and quit attending classes soon after enrollment. Madrid, however, held many other attractions. The Prado housed paintings by Diego Velázquez, Francisco Goya, and Francisco Zurbarán. Picasso especially admired the works of El Greco; elements like the elongated limbs, arresting colors, and mystical visages are echoed in his later work.

Career beginnings

Portrait of Gertrude Stein, 1906, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. When someone commented that Stein did not look like her portrait, Picasso replied, "She will".Picasso made his first trip to Paris in 1900, then the art capital of Europe. There, he met his first Parisian friend, the journalist and poet Max Jacob, who helped Picasso learn the language and its literature. Soon they shared an apartment; Max slept at night while Picasso slept during the day and worked at night. These were times of severe poverty, cold, and desperation. Much of his work was burned to keep the small room warm. During the first five months of 1901, Picasso lived in Madrid, where he and his anarchist friend Francisco de Asís Soler founded the magazine Arte Joven (Young Art), which published five issues. Soler solicited articles and Picasso illustrated the journal, mostly contributing grim cartoons depicting and sympathizing with the state of the poor. The first issue was published on 31 March 1901, by which time the artist had started to sign his work simply Picasso, while before he had signed Pablo Ruiz y Picasso.

By 1905 Picasso became a favorite of the American art collectors Leo and Gertrude Stein. Their older brother Michael Stein and his wife Sarah also became collectors of his work. Picasso painted portraits of both Gertrude Stein and her nephew Allan Stein. Gertrude Stein became Picasso's principal patron, acquiring his drawings and paintings and exhibiting them in her informal Salon at her home in Paris. At one of her gatherings in 1905, he met Henri Matisse, who was to become a lifelong friend and rival. The Steins introduced him to Claribel Cone and her sister Etta who were American art collectors; they also began to acquire Picasso and Matisse's paintings. Eventually Leo Stein moved to Italy, and Michael and Sarah Stein became patrons of Matisse; while Gertrude Stein continued to collect Picasso.

 

Portrait of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, 1910, The Art Institute of Chicago. Picasso wrote of Kahnweiler What would have become of us if Kahnweiler hadn't had a business sense?In 1907 Picasso joined an art gallery that had recently been opened in Paris by Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. Kahnweiler was a German art historian, art collector who became one of the premier French art dealers of the 20th century. He was among the first champions of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and the Cubism that they jointly developed. Kahnweiler promoted burgeoning artists such as André Derain, Kees Van Dongen, Fernand Léger, Juan Gris, Maurice de Vlaminck and several others who had come from all over the globe to live and work in Montparnasse at the time.

In Paris, Picasso entertained a distinguished coterie of friends in the Montmartre and Montparnasse quarters, including André Breton, poet Guillaume Apollinaire, writer Alfred Jarry, and Gertrude Stein. Apollinaire was arrested on suspicion of stealing the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911. Apollinaire pointed to his friend Picasso, who was also brought in for questioning, but both were later exonerated.

Personal lifeIn the early 20th century, Picasso divided his time between Barcelona and Paris. In 1904, in the middle of a storm, he met Fernande Olivier, a Bohemian artist who became his mistress. Olivier appears in many of his Rose period paintings. After acquiring some fame and fortune, Picasso left Olivier for Marcelle Humbert, whom he called Eva Gouel. Picasso included declarations of his love for Eva in many Cubist works. Picasso was devastated by her premature death from illness at the age of 30 in 1915.

 

Portrait of Igor Stravinsky, c. 1920 After World War I, Picasso made a number of important relationships with figures associated with Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. Among his friends during this period were Jean Cocteau, Jean Hugo, Juan Gris and others. In the summer of 1918, Picasso married Olga Khokhlova, a ballerina with Sergei Diaghilev’s troupe, for whom Picasso was designing a ballet, Parade, in Rome; and they spent their honeymoon in the villa near Biarritz of the glamorous Chilean art patron Eugenia Errázuriz. Khokhlova introduced Picasso to high society, formal dinner parties, and all the social niceties attendant on the life of the rich in 1920s Paris. The two had a son, Paulo,  who would grow up to be a dissolute motorcycle racer and chauffeur to his father. Khokhlova’s insistence on social propriety clashed with Picasso’s bohemian tendencies and the two lived in a state of constant conflict. During the same period that Picasso collaborated with Diaghilev’s troup, he and Igor Stravinsky collaborated on Pulcinella in 1920. Picasso took the opportunity to make several drawings of the composer.

In 1927 Picasso met 17-year-old Marie-Thérèse Walter and began a secret affair with her. Picasso’s marriage to Khokhlova soon ended in separation rather than divorce, as French law required an even division of property in the case of divorce, and Picasso did not want Khokhlova to have half his wealth. The two remained legally married until Khokhlova’s death in 1955. Picasso carried on a long-standing affair with Marie-Thérèse Walter and fathered a daughter with her, named Maya. Marie-Thérèse lived in the vain hope that Picasso would one day marry her, and hanged herself four years after Picasso’s death. Throughout his life Picasso maintained a number of mistresses in addition to his wife or primary partner. Picasso was married twice and had four children by three women.

 

Dora Maar au Chat, 1941The photographer and painter Dora Maar was also a constant companion and lover of Picasso. The two were closest in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and it was Maar who documented the painting of Guernica.

War years and beyondDuring the Second World War, Picasso remained in Paris while the Germans occupied the city. Picasso’s artistic style did not fit the Nazi ideal of art, so he did not exhibit during this time. Retreating to his studio, he continued to paint, producing works such as the Still Life with Guitar (1942) and The Charnel House (1944–48). Although the Germans outlawed bronze casting in Paris, Picasso continued regardless, using bronze smuggled to him by the French Resistance.

Around this time, Picasso took up writing as an alternative outlet. Between 1935 and 1959 he wrote over 300 poems. Largely untitled except for a date and sometimes the location of where it was written (for example “Paris 16 May 1936”;), these works were gustatory, erotic and at times scatological, as were his two full-length plays Desire Caught by the Tail (1941) and The Four Little Girls (1949).

In 1944, after the liberation of Paris, Picasso began a romantic relationship with a young art student named Françoise Gilot. She was 40 years younger than he was. Picasso grew tired of his mistress Dora Maar; Picasso and Gilot began to live together. Eventually they had two children: Claude, born in 1947 and Paloma, born in 1949. In her 1964 book Life with Picasso, she describes his abusive treatment and myriad infidelities which led her to leave him, taking the children with her. This was a severe blow to Picasso.

Picasso had affairs with women of an even greater age disparity than his and Gilot's. While still involved with Gilot, in 1951 Picasso had a six-week affair with Geneviève Laporte, who was four years younger than Gilot. Eventually, as evident in his work, Picasso began to come to terms with his advancing age and his waning attraction to young women.[citation needed] By his 70s, many paintings, ink drawings and prints have as their theme an old, grotesque dwarf as the doting lover of a beautiful young model. Jacqueline Roque (1927–1986) worked at the Madoura Pottery in Vallauris on the French Riviera, where Picasso made and painted ceramics. She became his lover, and then his second wife in 1961. The two were together for the remainder of Picasso’s life.

His marriage to Roque was also a means of revenge against Gilot; with Picasso’s encouragement, Gilot had divorced her then husband, Luc Simon, with the plan to finally actually marry Picasso to secure the rights of her children as Picasso's legitimate heirs. However, Picasso had already secretly married Roque, after Gilot had filed for divorce. This strained his relationship with Claude and Paloma.

By this time, Picasso had constructed a huge Gothic home, and could afford large villas in the south of France, at Notre-dame-de-vie on the outskirts of Mougins, and in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. He was an international celebrity, and there was often as much interest in his personal life as his art.

In addition to his artistic accomplishments, Picasso made a few film appearances, always as himself, including a cameo in Jean Cocteau’s Testament of Orpheus. In 1955 he helped make the film Le Mystère Picasso (The Mystery of Picasso) directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot.

DeathPablo Picasso died on 8 April 1973 in Mougins, France, while he and his wife Jacqueline entertained friends for dinner. His final words were “Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink any more.” He was interred at the Chateau of Vauvenargues near Aix-en-Provence, a property he had acquired in 1958 and occupied with Jacqueline between 1959 and 1962. Jacqueline Roque prevented his children Claude and Paloma from attending the funeral. Devastated and lonely after the death of Picasso, Jacqueline Roque took her own life by gunshot in 1986 when she was 59 years old.

ChildrenPaulo (4 February 1921 – 5 June 1975) (Born Paul Joseph Picasso) — with Olga Khokhlova

Maya (5 September 1935 – ) (Born Maria de la Concepcion Picasso) — with Marie-Thérèse Walter

Claude (15 May 1947 –;) (Born Claude Pierre Pablo Picasso) ) — with Françoise Gilot

Paloma (19 April 1949 – ) (Born Anne Paloma Picasso) — with Françoise Gilot


 

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EL GRECO

Posted by Manuel on April 1, 2012 at 1:50 PM Comments comments (0)

 Homage to

"EL GRECO "


Domenikos TheotokopolosEl Greco (1541 – 7 April 1614) was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. "El Greco" (The Greek) was a nickname,[a][b] a reference to his ethnic Greek origin, and the artist normally signed his paintings with his full birth name in Greek letters, Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος (Doménikos Theotokópoulos), often adding the word Κρής (Krēs, "Cretan").

El Greco was born on Crete, which was at that time part of the Republic of Venice, and the centre of Post-Byzantine art. He trained and became a master within that tradition before travelling at age 26 to Venice, as other Greek artists had done. In 1570 he moved to Rome, where he opened a workshop and executed a series of works. During his stay in Italy, El Greco enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and of the Venetian Renaissance. In 1577, he moved to Toledo, Spain, where he lived and worked until his death. In Toledo, El Greco received several major commissions and produced his best-known paintings.

El Greco's dramatic and expressionistic style was met with puzzlement by his contemporaries but found appreciation in the 20th century. El Greco is regarded as a precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism, while his personality and works were a source of inspiration for poets and writers such as Rainer Maria Rilke and Nikos Kazantzakis. El Greco has been characterized by modern scholars as an artist so individual that he belongs to no conventional school. He is best known for tortuously elongated figures and often fantastic or phantasmagorical pigmentation, marrying Byzantine traditions with those of Western painting

 

Early years and family

Born in 1541, in either the village of Fodele or Candia (the Venetian name of Chandax, present day Heraklion) on Crete, El Greco was descended from a prosperous urban family, which had probably been driven out of Chania to Candia after an uprising against the Venetians between 1526 and 1528. El Greco's father, Geórgios Theotokópoulos (d. 1556), was a merchant and tax collector. Nothing is known about his mother or his first wife, also Greek. El Greco's older brother, Manoússos Theotokópoulos (1531 – 13 December 1604), was a wealthy merchant and spent the last years of his life (1603–1604) in El Greco's Toledo home.

El Greco received his initial training as an icon painter of the Cretan school, the leading centre of post-Byzantine art. In addition to painting, he probably studied the classics of ancient Greece, and perhaps the Latin classics also; he left a "working library" of 130 books at his death, including the Bible in Greek and an annotated Vasari. Candia was a center for artistic activity where Eastern and Western cultures co-existed harmoniously, where around two hundred painters were active during the 16th century, and had organized a painters' guild, based on the Italian model. In 1563, at the age of twenty-two, El Greco was described in a document as a "master" ("maestro Domenigo"), meaning he was already a master of the guild and presumably operating his own workshop. Three years later, in June 1566, as a witness to a contract, he signed his name as μαΐστρος Μένεγος Θεοτοκόπουλος σγουράφος ("Master Ménegos Theotokópoulos, painter").

Most scholars believe that the Theotokópoulos "family was almost certainly Greek Orthodox", although some Catholic sources still claim him from birth. Like many Orthodox emigrants to Europe, he apparently transferred to Catholicism after his arrival, and certainly practiced as a Catholic in Spain, where he described himself as a "devout Catholic" in his will. The extensive archival research conducted since the early 1960s by scholars, such as Nikolaos Panayotakis, Pandelis Prevelakis and Maria Constantoudaki, indicates strongly that El Greco's family and ancestors were Greek Orthodox. One of his uncles was an Orthodox priest, and his name is not mentioned in the Catholic archival baptismal records on Crete. Prevelakis goes even further, expressing his doubt that El Greco was ever a practicing Roman Catholic.

 

Spain

 

In 1577, El Greco emigrated first to Madrid, then to Toledo, where he produced his mature works. At the time, Toledo was the religious capital of Spain and a populous city with "an illustrious past, a prosperous present and an uncertain future". In Rome, El Greco had earned the respect of some intellectuals, but was also facing the hostility of certain art critics. During the 1570s the huge monastery-palace of El Escorial was still under construction and Philip II of Spain was experiencing difficulties in finding good artists for the many large paintings required to decorate it. Titian was dead, and Tintoretto, Veronese and Anthonis Mor all refused to come to Spain. Philip had to rely on the lesser talent of Juan Fernándes de Navarrete, whose gravedad y decoro ("seriousness and decorum") the king approved. However, he had just died in 1579; the moment should have been ideal for El Greco. Through Clovio and Orsini, El Greco met Benito Arias Montano, a Spanish humanist and agent of Philip; Pedro Chacón, a clergyman; and Luis de Castilla, son of Diego de Castilla, the dean of the Cathedral of Toledo. El Greco's friendship with Castilla would secure his first large commissions in Toledo. He arrived in Toledo by July 1577, and signed contracts for a group of paintings that was to adorn the church of Santo Domingo el Antiguo in Toledo and for the renowned El Espolio. By September 1579 he had completed nine paintings for Santo Domingo, including The Trinity and The Assumption of the Virgin. These works would establish the painter's reputation in Toledo.

El Greco did not plan to settle permanently in Toledo, since his final aim was to win the favor of Philip and make his mark in his court. Indeed, he did manage to secure two important commissions from the monarch: Allegory of the Holy League and Martyrdom of St. Maurice. However, the king did not like these works and placed the St Maurice altarpiece in the chapter-house rather than the intended chapel. He gave no further commissions to El Greco. The exact reasons for the king's dissatisfaction remain unclear. Some scholars have suggested that Philip did not like the inclusion of living persons in a religious scene; some others that El Greco's works violated a basic rule of the Counter-Reformation, namely that in the image the content was paramount rather than the style. Philip took a close interest in his artistic commissions, and had very decided tastes; a long sought-after sculpted Crucifixion by Benvenuto Cellini also failed to please when it arrived, and was likewise exiled to a less prominent place. Philip's next experiment, with Federico Zuccari was even less successful. In any case, Philip's dissatisfaction ended any hopes of royal patronage El Greco may have had.

 

Mature works and later years

 

Lacking the favor of the king, El Greco was obliged to remain in Toledo, where he had been received in 1577 as a great painter. According to Hortensio Félix Paravicino, a 17th-century Spanish preacher and poet, "Crete gave him life and the painter's craft, Toledo a better homeland, where through Death he began to achieve eternal life." In 1585, he appears to have hired an assistant, Italian painter Francisco Preboste, and to have established a workshop capable of producing altar frames and statues as well as paintings. On 12 March 1586 he obtained the commission for The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, now his best-known work. The decade 1597 to 1607 was a period of intense activity for El Greco. During these years he received several major commissions, and his workshop created pictorial and sculptural ensembles for a variety of religious institutions. Among his major commissions of this period were three altars for the Chapel of San José in Toledo (1597–1599); three paintings (1596–1600) for the Colegio de Doña María de Aragon, an Augustinian monastery in Madrid, and the high altar, four lateral altars, and the painting St. Ildefonso for the Capilla Mayor of the Hospital de la Caridad (Hospital of Charity) at Illescas (1603–1605). The minutes of the commission of The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception (1607–1613), which were composed by the personnel of the municipality, describe El Greco as "one of the greatest men in both this kingdom and outside it".

Between 1607 and 1608 El Greco was involved in a protracted legal dispute with the authorities of the Hospital of Charity at Illescas concerning payment for his work, which included painting, sculpture and architecture; this and other legal disputes contributed to the economic difficulties he experienced towards the end of his life. In 1608, he received his last major commission: for the Hospital of Saint John the Baptist in Toledo.

El Greco made Toledo his home. Surviving contracts mention him as the tenant from 1585 onwards of a complex consisting of three apartments and twenty-four rooms which belonged to the Marquis de Villena. It was in these apartments, which also served as his workshop, that he passed the rest of his life, painting and studying. He lived in considerable style, sometimes employing musicians to play whilst he dined. It is not confirmed whether he lived with his Spanish female companion, Jerónima de Las Cuevas, whom he probably never married. She was the mother of his only son, Jorge Manuel, born in 1578, who also became a painter, assisted his father, and continued to repeat his compositions for many years after he inherited the studio. In 1604, Jorge Manuel and Alfonsa de los Morales gave birth to El Greco's grandson, Gabriel, who was baptized by Gregorio Angulo, governor of Toledo and a personal friend of the artist.

During the course of the execution of a commission for the Hospital Tavera, El Greco fell seriously ill, and a month later, on 7 April 1614, he died. A few days earlier, on 31 March, he had directed that his son should have the power to make his will. Two Greeks, friends of the painter, witnessed this last will and testament (El Greco never lost touch with his Greek origins). He was buried in the Church of Santo Domingo el Antigua, aged 73.


Francisco Goya

Posted by Manuel on February 27, 2012 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Francisco Goya

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (30 March 1746 – 16 April 1828) was a Spanish romantic painter and printmaker regarded both as the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. Goya was a court painter to the Spanish Crown, and through his works was both a commentator on and chronicler of his era. The subversive and imaginative element in his art, as well as his bold handling of paint, provided a model for the work of later generations of artists, notably Manet, Picasso and Francis Bacon.

 Biography Early years

 Goya was born in Fuendetodos, Aragón, Spain, in 1746 to José Benito de Goya y Franque and Gracia de Lucientes y Salvador. He spent his childhood in Fuendetodos, where his family lived in a house bearing the family crest of his mother. His father earned his living as a gilder. About 1749, the family bought a house in the city of Zaragoza and some years later moved into it. Goya may have attended school at Escuelas Pias. He formed a close friendship with Martin Zapater at this time, and their correspondence from the 1770s to the 1790s is a valuable source for understanding Goya's early career at the court of Madrid. At age 14, Goya entered apprenticeship with the painter José Luzán. He moved to Madrid where he studied with Anton Raphael Mengs, a painter who was popular with Spanish royalty. He clashed with his master, and his examinations were unsatisfactory. Goya submitted entries for the Royal Academy of Fine Art in 1763 and 1766, but was denied entrance.

 

He then relocated to Rome, where in 1771 he won second prize in a painting competition organized by the City of Parma. Later that year, he returned to Zaragoza and painted parts of the cupolas of the Basilica of the Pillar (including Adoration of the Name of God), a cycle of frescoes in the monastic church of the Charterhouse of Aula Dei, and the frescoes of the Sobradiel Palace. He studied with Francisco Bayeu y Subías and his painting began to show signs of the delicate tonalities for which he became famous.

 Goya married Bayeu's sister Josefa (he nicknamed her "Pepa") on 25 July 1773. This marriage, and Francisco Bayeu's membership of the Royal Academy of Fine Art (from the year 1765) helped Goya to procure work as a painter of designs to be woven by Royal Tapestry Factory. There, over the course of five years, he designed some 42 patterns, many of which were used to decorate (and insulate) the bare stone walls of El Escorial and the Palacio Real del Pardo, the newly built residences of the Spanish monarchs near Madrid. This brought his artistic talents to the attention of the Spanish monarchs who later would give him access to the royal court. He also painted a canvas for the altar of the Church of San Francisco El Grande in Madrid, which led to his appointment as a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Art.

 Mid-careerIn 1783, the Count of Floridablanca, a favorite of King Carlos III, commissioned Goya to paint his portrait. He also became friends with Crown Prince Don Luis, and spent two summers with him, painting portraits of both the Infante and his family. During the 1780s, his circle of patrons grew to include the Duke and Duchess of Osuna, whom he painted, the King and other notable people of the kingdom. In 1786, Goya was given a salaried position as painter to Charles III. After the death of Charles III in 1788 and revolution in France in 1789, during the reign of Charles IV, Goya reached his peak of popularity with royalty.

 In 1789 he was made court painter to Charles IV and in 1799 he was appointed First Court Painter with a salary of 50,000 reales and 500 ducats for a coach. He painted the King and the Queen, royal family pictures, portraits of the Prince of the Peace and many other nobles. His portraits are notable for their disinclination to flatter, and in the case of Charles IV of Spain and His Family, the lack of visual diplomacy is remarkable.[4] Modern interpreters have seen this portrait as satire; it is thought to reveal the corruption present under Charles IV. Under his reign his wife Louisa was thought to have had the real power, which is why she is placed at the center of the group portrait. From the back left of the painting you can see the artist himself looking out at the viewer, and the painting behind the family depicts Lot and his daughters, thus once again echoing the underlying message of corruption and decay.

 

Goya received orders from many within the Spanish nobility. Among those from whom he procured portrait commissions were Pedro Téllez-Girón, 9th Duke of Osuna and his wife María Josefa Pimentel, 12th Countess-Duchess of Benavente, María del Pilar de Silva, 13th Duchess of Alba (universally known simply as the "Duchess of Alba"), and her husband José María Álvarez de Toledo, 15th Duke of Medina Sidonia, and María Ana de Pontejos y Sandoval, Marchioness of Pontejos.

 

At some time between late 1792 and early 1793, a serious illness, whose exact nature is not known, left Goya deaf, and he became withdrawn and introspective. During his recuperation, he undertook a series of experimental paintings. His experimental art—that would encompass paintings, drawings as well as a bitter series of aquatinted etchings, published in 1799 under the title Caprichos – was done in parallel to his more official commissions of portraits and religious paintings. In 1798, he painted luminous and airy scenes for the pendentives and cupula of the Real Ermita (Chapel) of San Antonio de la Florida in Madrid. Many place miracles of Saint Anthony of Padua in the midst of contemporary Madrid.

 Later yearsFrench forces invaded Spain in 1808, leading to the Peninsular War of 1808–1814. Goya's involvement with the court of the "Intruder king", Joseph I, the brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, is not known; he did paint works for French patrons and sympathisers, but kept neutral during the fighting. After the restoration of the Spanish king, Ferdinand VII, in 1814, Goya denied any involvement with the French. When his wife Josefa died in 1812, he was processing the war by painting The Charge of the Mamelukes and The Third of May 1808, and preparing the series of prints later known as The Disasters of War (Los desastres de la guerra). Ferdinand VII returned to Spain in 1814 but relations with Goya were not cordial. He painted portraits of the kings for a variety of organizations, but not for the king himself.

 

Leocadia Weiss (ne Zorrilla,[5] b. 1790)[6] the artist's maid, younger by 35 years, and distant relative,[7] lived with and cared for Goya after Bayeu's death. She stayed with him in his Quinta del Sordo villa until 1824 with her daughter Rosario.[8] Leocadia was probably similar in features to Goya's first wife Josefa Bayeu, to the extent that one of his well known portraits bears the cautious title of Josefa Bayeu (or Leocadia

 Not much is known about her beyond her fiery temperament. She was likely related to the Goicoechea family, a wealthy dynasty into which the artist's son, the feckless Javier, had married. It is believed she held liberal political views and was unafraid of expressing them, a fact met with disapproval by Goya's family. It is known that Leocadia had an unhappy marriage with a jeweler, Isideo Weiss, but was separated from him since 1811. Her husband cited "illicit conduct" during the divorce proceedings. She had two children before the marriage dissolved, and bore a third, Rosario, in 1814 when she was 26. Isideo was not the father, and it has often been speculated– although with little firm evidence –that the child belonged to Goya.[11] There has been much speculation that Goya and Weiss were romantically linked, however, it is more likely the affection between them was sentimental.

 Goya's works from 1814 to 1819 are mostly commissioned portraits, but also include the altarpiece of Santa Justa and Santa Rufina for the Cathedral of Seville, the print series of "La Tauromaquia" depicting scenes from bullfighting, and probably the etchings of "Los Disparates".

 

In 1819, with the idea of isolating himself, he bought a country house by the Manzanares river just outside of Madrid. It was known as the Quinta del Sordo (roughly, "House of the Deaf Man", titled after its previous owner and not after Goya himself). There he created the Black Paintings with intense, haunting themes, reflective of the artist's fear of insanity, and his outlook on humanity. Several of these, including Saturn Devouring His Son, were painted directly onto the walls of his dining and sitting rooms.

 

Goya lost faith in or became threatened by the restored Spanish monarchy's anti-liberal political and social stance and left Spain in May 1824 for Bordeaux and then Paris.[13] He travelled to Spain in 1826, but returned to Bordeaux, where he died of a stroke in 1828, at the age of 82. He was of Catholic faith and was buried in Bordeaux; in 1919 his remains were transferred to the Royal Chapel of St. Anthony of La Florida in Madrid.

 

Leocadia was left nothing in Goya's will; mistresses were often omitted in such circumstances, but it is also likely that he did not want to dwell on his mortality by thinking about or revising his will. She wrote to a number of Goya's friends to complain of her exclusion but many of her friends were Goya's and by then old men and had died, or died before they could reply. Largely destitute she moved into rented accommodation and passed on her copy of the Caprichos for free.

 Goya painted the Spanish royal family, including Charles IV of Spain and Ferdinand VII. His themathic range extended from merry festivals for tapestry, draft cartoons, to scenes of war and human debasment. This evolution reflects the darkening of his temper. Modern physicians suspect that the lead in his pigments poisoned him and caused his deafness since 1792. Near the end of his life, he became reclusive and produced frightening and obscure paintings of insanity, madness, and fantasy, while the style of the Black Paintings prefigure the expressionist movement.

 Maja

The Nude Maja, ca. 1800. Said to be the first explicit depiction of female pubic hair in a large Western painting, though others had hinted at it before.

The Clothed Maja, ca. 1803, the more chaste companion, but teasing, provocative, panelTwo of Goya's best known paintings are The Nude Maja (La maja desnuda) and The Clothed Maja (La maja vestida). They depict the same woman in the same pose, naked and clothed, respectively. Without a pretense to allegorical or mythological meaning, the painting was "the first totally profane life-size female nude in Western art".[15]

 

The identity of the Majas are uncertain. The most popularly cited models are the Duchess of Alba, with whom Goya was sometimes thought to have had an affair, and Pepita Tudó, mistress of Manuel de Godoy; Godoy subsequently owned them. Neither theory has been verified, and it remains as likely that the paintings represent an idealized composite.[16] The paintings were never publicly exhibited during Goya's lifetime. They were owned by Manuel de Godoy, the Prime Minister of Spain and a favorite of the Queen, María Luisa.[17] In 1808 all Godoy's property was seized by Ferdinand VII after his fall from power and exile, and in 1813 the Inquisition confiscated both works as 'obscene', returning them in 1836 to the Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando.

 In a period of convalescence during 1793–1794, Goya completed a set of eleven small pictures painted on tin; known as Fantasy and Invention, they mark a significant change in his art. They no longer represent the world of popular carnival, but rather a dark, dramatic realm of fantasy and nightmare. Yard with Lunatics is a horrifying and imaginary vision of loneliness, fear and social alienation, a departure from the rather more superficial treatment of mental illness in the works of earlier artists such as Hogarth. The condemnation of brutality towards prisoners (whether criminal or insane) is the subject of many of Goya’s later paintings.

 

As he completed Yard with Lunatics, Goya was himself undergoing a physical and mental breakdown. It was a few weeks after the French declaration of war on Spain, and Goya’s illness was developing. A contemporary reported, “the noises in his head and deafness aren’t improving, yet his vision is much better and he is back in control of his balance.” His symptoms may indicate a prolonged viral encephalitis or possibly a series of miniature strokes resulting from high blood pressure and affecting hearing and balance centers in the brain. The triad of tinnitus, episodes of imbalance and progressive deafness is also typical of Ménière's disease. Other postmortem diagnostic assessment points toward paranoid dementia due to unknown brain trauma (perhaps due to the unknown illness which he reported). If this is the case, from here on—we see an insidious assault of his faculties, manifesting as paranoid features in his paintings, culminating in his black paintings and especially Saturn Devouring His Sons.

 Caprichos and Tapestry cartoonsMain article: Caprichos

In 1799 Goya published a series of 80 prints titled Caprichos depicting what he described as "the innumerable foibles and follies to be found in any civilized society, and from the common prejudices and deceitful practices which custom, ignorance, or self-interest have made usual".[19]

 

The dark visions depicted in these prints are partly explained by his caption, "The sleep of reason produces monsters". Yet these are not solely bleak in nature and demonstrate the artist's sharp satirical wit, particularly evident in etchings such as Hunting for Teeth. Additionally, one can discern a thread of the macabre running through Goya's work, even in his earlier tapestry cartoons.[note 1] Mostly popularist in a rococo style, the cartoons were completed early in his career, when he was largely unknown and actively seeking commissions. In 1774, he was asked, on behalf of the Spanish crown, by the German artist Anton Raphael Mengs, to undertake the series. While designing tapestries was neither prestigious nor well paid, Goya used them, along with his early engravings, to bring himself to wider attention.[20] They afforded his first contact with the Spanish monarchy that was to eventually appoint him court painter.

 The Disasters of WarMain article: The Disasters of War

 

What more can one do?, from The Disasters of War, 1812–15In the 1810s, Goya created a set of aquatint prints titled The Disasters of War. Although he did not make known his intention when creating the plates, art historians view them as a visual protest against the violence of the 1808 Dos de Mayo Uprising, the subsequent Peninsular War of 1808–14 and the setbacks to the liberal cause following the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in 1814. The scenes are singularly disturbing, sometimes macabre in their depiction of battlefield horror, and represent an outraged conscience in the face of death and destruction.[22] They were not published until 1863, 35 years after his death. It is likely that only then was it considered politically safe to distribute a sequence of artworks criticising both the French and restored Bourbons.[23]

 

The first 47 plates in the series focus on incidents from the war and show the consequences of the conflict on individual soldiers and civilians. The middle series (plates 48 to 64) record the effects of the famine that hit Madrid in 1811–12, before the city was liberated from the French. The final 17 reflect the bitter disappointment of liberals when the restored Bourbon monarchy, encouraged by the Catholic hierarchy, rejected the Spanish Constitution of 1812 and opposed both state and religious reform. Since their first publication, Goya's scenes of atrocities, starvation, degradation and humiliation have been described as the "prodigious flowering of rage"

 Black PaintingsMain article: Black Paintings

 

Witches' Sabbath or Aquelarre is one of 14 from the Black Paintings series.In later life Goya bought a house, called Quinta del Sordo ("Deaf Man's House"), and painted many unusual paintings on canvas and on the walls, including references to witchcraft and war. One of these is the famous work Saturn Devouring His Son (known informally in some circles as Devoration or Saturn Eats His Child), which displays a Greco-Roman mythological scene of the god Saturn consuming a child, possibly a reference to Spain's ongoing civil conflicts. The series has been described as "the most essential to our understanding of the human condition in modern times, just as Michelangelo's Sistine ceiling is essential to understanding the tenor of the 16th century".At the age of 75, alone and in a lot of mental and physical despair, he completed the work as one of his 14 Black Paintings,[note 2] all of which were executed in oil directly onto the plaster walls of his house. Goya did not intend for the paintings to be exhibited, did not write of them,[note 3] and likely never spoke of them.[26] It was not until around 1874, some 50 years after his death, that they were taken down and transferred to a canvas support. Many of the works were significantly altered during the restoration, and in the words of Arthur Lubow what remain are "at best a crude facsimile of what Goya painted."[27] The effects of time on the murals, coupled with the inevitable damage caused by the delicate operation of mounting the crumbling plaster on canvas, meant that most of the murals suffered extensive damage and lost a lot of paint. Today they are on permanent display at the Museo del Prado, Madrid.


 

Art review: Kristen Morgin's 'Snow White' at Marc Selwyn Fine Art

Posted by Manuel on February 20, 2012 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)


“Snow White in Evening Wear and Other Works” is Kristen Morgin’s fourth solo show in Los Angeles. It’s also her best. That’s saying a lot because her first three, in 2006, 2008 and 2009, are among the most memorable of the last decade.

This one is unforgettable: tragically sad and heart-wrenchingly bittersweet, it sings of loss with unsentimental intensity. Rather than coming off as despairing or even depressing, Morgin’s installation is quietly inspiring, not glibly uplifting but profoundly heartening in its clear-eyed insightfulness.

At Marc Selwyn Fine Art, nearly all of Morgin’s new sculptures are made of unfired clay, on whose fragile surfaces she draws and paints with great delicacy. Many pieces take the form of old-fashioned toys, most broken, and handcrafted puppets whose missing limbs have been replaced with ad hoc prosthetics. Others are low-relief collages, homemade renditions of such cartoon characters as Mickey, Popeye and Jiminy, whose heads, bodies and limbs are mismatched. Put together with devilish purpose, these piecemeal talismans often include worn playing cards and frayed game boards alongside comic books, paperbacks, bottle caps and jar lids. Even Morgin’s thumbtacks and pushpins are made of clay.

On the floor, Morgin has laid out two multipart pieces. Each is masterful.

Their setups recall the way kids play with toys, combining unrelated objects to create worlds that work in their imaginations. Using clay trains, guns, blocks and various fairy-tale figurines, “Two Thirds of May” recasts Goya’s famous painting of Spanish citizens being executed as a violent nightmare from which humanity has still not awakened.

“In the Conservatory, With Mr. Bill, On A Silent Night” features an even stranger cast of characters: Mr. Peanut, Mr. Bill, Colonel Mustard, Dorian Gray, Cinderella, Superman, the holy family and the Jetsons. The narrative that unfolds under a wobbly ladder and chair is as harrowing as it is open-ended, just the stuff for a culture in which forgetfulness and the inability to grow up go hand in glove.

 


 

 


 

 

 

Master van Gogh

Posted by Manuel on February 1, 2012 at 4:15 AM Comments comments (0)

 

Willem Vincent van Gogh 30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890) was a Dutch post-Impressionist painter whose work, notable for its rough beauty, emotional honesty, and bold color, had a far-reaching influence on 20th-century art. After years of painful anxiety and frequent bouts of mental illness, he died at the age of 37 from a gunshot wound, generally accepted to be self-inflicted. His work was then known to only a handful of people and appreciated by fewer still.

Van Gogh loved art from an early age. He began to draw as a child, and he continued making drawings throughout the years leading to his decision to become an artist. He did not begin painting until his late twenties, completing many of his best-known works during his last two years. In just over a decade, he produced more than 2,100 artworks, consisting of 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolors, drawings, sketches and prints. His work included self portraits, landscapes, still lifes of flowers, portraits and paintings of cypresses, wheat fields and sunflowers.

Van Gogh spent his early adulthood working for a firm of art dealers, traveling between The Hague, London and Paris, after which he taught for a time in England. One of his early aspirations was to become a pastor and from 1879 he worked as a missionary in a mining region in Belgium where he began to sketch people from the local community. In 1885, he painted his first major work The Potato Eaters. His palette at the time consisted mainly of somber earth tones and showed no sign of the vivid coloration that distinguished his later work. In March 1886, he moved to Paris and discovered the French Impressionists. Later he moved to the south of France and was taken by the strong sunlight he found there. His work grew brighter in color, and he developed the unique and highly recognizable style that became fully realized during his stay in Arles in 1888.

The extent to which his mental health affected his painting has been a subject of speculation since his death. Despite a widespread tendency to romanticize his ill health, modern critics see an artist deeply frustrated by the inactivity and incoherence brought about by his bouts of illness. According to art critic Robert Hughes, van Gogh's late works show an artist at the height of his ability, completely in control and "longing for concision and grace".[

 Letters

Vincent c. 1871–1872 aged 18. This photograph was taken at the time when he was working at the branch of Goupil & Cie's gallery at The Hague.[3][4]

Theo in 1878 at 21. Theo was a life-long supporter and friend to his brother. The two are buried together at Auvers-sur-Oise.

The most comprehensive primary source for the understanding of van Gogh as an artist is the collection of letters between him and his younger brother, art dealer Theo van Gogh.[5] They lay the foundation for most of what is known about the thoughts and beliefs of the artist.[6][7] Theo provided his brother with both financial and emotional support. Their lifelong friendship, and most of what is known of van Gogh's thoughts and theories of art, is recorded in the hundreds of letters they exchanged between 1872 and 1890: more than 600 from Vincent to Theo and 40 from Theo to Vincent.

Although many are undated, art historians have generally been able to put them in chronological order. Problems remain, mainly in dating those from Arles although it is known that during that period, van Gogh wrote 200 letters to friends in Dutch, French and English.[8] The period when Vincent lived in Paris is the most difficult for historians to analyze because the brothers lived together and had no need to correspond.[9]

In addition to letters to and from Theo, other surviving documents include those to Van Rappard, Émile Bernard, van Gogh's sister Wil and her friend Line Kruysse.[10] The letters were first annotated in 1913 by Theo's widow Johanna van Gogh-Bonger who explained that she published them with 'trepidation' because she did not want the drama in the artist's life to overshadow his work. Van Gogh himself was an avid reader of other artists' biographies and expected their lives to be in keeping with the character of their art.[5]

BiographyMain article: Vincent van Gogh chronology

Early lifeSee also: Van Gogh's family in his art

Vincent Willem van Gogh was born on 30 March 1853 in Groot-Zundert, a village close to Breda in the province of North Brabant in the south of the Netherlands, a predominantly Catholic area.[11][12] He was the oldest child of Theodorus van Gogh, a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church, and Anna Cornelia Carbentus. Vincent was given the name of his grandfather, and of a brother stillborn exactly a year before his birth.[note 3] The practice of reusing a name was not unusual. Vincent was a common name in the Van Gogh family: his grandfather, Vincent (1789–1874), had received his degree of theology at the University of Leiden in 1811. Grandfather Vincent had six sons, three of whom became art dealers, including another Vincent who was referred to in van Gogh's letters as "Uncle Cent". Grandfather Vincent had perhaps been named in turn after his own father's uncle, the successful sculptor Vincent van Gogh (1729–1802).[13][14] Art and religion were the two occupations to which the Van Gogh family gravitated. His brother Theodorus "Theo" was born on 1 May 1857. He had another brother, Cor, and three sisters: Elisabeth, Anna and Willemina "Wil".[15]

Vincent c. 1866, approx. age 13

As a child, Vincent was serious, silent and thoughtful. He attended the Zundert village school from 1860, where the single Catholic teacher taught around 200 pupils. From 1861, he and his sister Anna were taught at home by a governess, until 1 October 1864, when he went to Jan Provily's boarding school at Zevenbergen about 20 miles (32 km) away. He was distressed to leave his family home as he recalled later as an adult. On 15 September 1866, he went to the new middle school, Willem II College in Tilburg. Constantijn C. Huysmans, a successful artist in Paris, taught van Gogh to draw at the school and advocated a systematic approach to the subject. Vincent's interest in art began at an early age. He began to draw as a child and continued making drawings throughout the years leading to his decision to become an artist. Though well-done and expressive,[16] his early drawings do not approach the intensity he developed in his later work.[17] In March 1868, van Gogh abruptly left school and returned home. A later comment on his early years was in an 1883 letter to Theo in which he wrote, "My youth was gloomy and cold and sterile".[18]

In July 1869, his uncle Cent helped him obtain a position with the art dealer Goupil & Cie in The Hague. After his training, in June 1873, Goupil transferred him to London, where he lodged at 87 Hackford Road, Brixton, and worked at Messrs. Goupil & Co., 17 Southampton Street.[19] This was a happy time for Vincent; he was successful at work and was, at 20, earning more than his father. Theo's wife later remarked that this was the happiest year of Vincent's life. He fell in love with his landlady's daughter, Eugénie Loyer, but when he finally confessed his feelings to her, she rejected him, saying that she was secretly engaged to a former lodger. He became increasingly isolated and fervent about religion; his father and uncle arranged for him to be transferred to Paris, where he became resentful at how art was treated as a commodity, a fact apparent to customers. On 1 April 1876, Goupil terminated his employment.[20]

Van Gogh returned to England for unpaid work as a supply teacher in a small boarding school overlooking the harbor in Ramsgate, where he made sketches of the view. When the proprietor of the school relocated to Isleworth, Middlesex, van Gogh moved with him, taking the train to Richmond and the remainder of the journey on foot.[21] The arrangement did not work out and he left to became a Methodist minister's assistant, following his wish to "preach the gospel everywhere."[22] At Christmas, he returned home and found work in a bookshop in Dordrecht for six months. He was not happy in this new position and spent much of his time either doodling or translating passages from the Bible into English, French and German.[23] His roommate at the time, a young teacher named Görlitz, recalled that van Gogh ate frugally, and preferred not to eat meat.[24][note 4]

Van Gogh's religious zeal grew until he felt he had found his true vocation. To support his effort to become a pastor his family sent him to Amsterdam to study theology in May 1877, where he stayed with his uncle Jan van Gogh, a naval Vice Admiral.[25][26] Vincent prepared for the entrance exam with his uncle Johannes Stricker; a respected theologian who published the first "Life of Jesus" in the Netherlands. Van Gogh failed the exam, and left his uncle Jan's house in July 1878. He then undertook, but failed, a three-month course at the Vlaamsche Opleidingsschool, a Protestant missionary school in Laeken, near Brussels.[27]

The house where Van Gogh stayed in Cuesmes in 1880; while living here he decided to become an artist

In January 1879, he took a temporary post as a missionary in the village of Petit Wasmes[note 5] in the coal-mining district of Borinage in Belgium. Taking Christianity to what he saw as its logical conclusion, van Gogh lived like those he preached to, sleeping on straw in a small hut at the back of the baker's house where he was staying. The baker's wife reported hearing van Gogh sobbing at night in the hut. His choice of squalid living conditions did not endear him to the appalled church authorities, who dismissed him for "undermining the dignity of the priesthood." He then walked to Brussels,[28] returned briefly to the village of Cuesmes in the Borinage but gave in to pressure from his parents to return home to Etten. He stayed there until around March the following year,[note 6] a cause of increasing concern and frustration for his parents. There was particular conflict between Vincent and his father; Theodorus made inquiries about having his son committed to the lunatic asylum at Geel.[29][note 7]

He returned to Cuesmes where he lodged with a miner named Charles Decrucq until October.[30] Increasingly interested in the people and scenes around him, van Gogh recorded his time there in his drawings and followed Theo's suggestion that he should take up art in earnest. He traveled to Brussels that autumn intending to follow Theo's recommendation to study with the prominent Dutch artist Willem Roelofs, who persuaded him, in spite of his aversion to formal schools of art, to attend the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, where he registered on 15 November 1880. At the Académie, he studied anatomy and the standard rules of modeling and perspective, about which he said, "...you have to know just to be able to draw the least thing."[31] Van Gogh aspired to become an artist in God's service, stating: "...to try to understand the real significance of what the great artists, the serious masters, tell us in their masterpieces, that leads to God; one man wrote or told it in a book; another in a picture

Etten, Drenthe and The HagueSee also: Early works of Vincent van Gogh

Annotated by the artist in ink at lower left: At Eternity's Gate, 1882, lithograph, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art[32]

In April 1881, van Gogh moved to the Etten countryside with his parents where he continued drawing, often using neighbors as subjects. Through the summer he spent time walking and talking with his recently widowed cousin, Kee Vos-Stricker, the daughter of his mother's older sister and Johannes Stricker, with whom he stayed in Amsterdam in 1878.[33] Kee, who had an eight-year-old son, was seven years older than van Gogh. He proposed marriage, but she refused with the words, "No, never, never," (niet, nooit, nimmer).[34] Late that November, van Gogh wrote a strongly worded letter to Johannes,[35] and then hurried to Amsterdam where he spoke with him on several occasions.[36] Kee refused to see him, and her parents wrote, "Your persistence is disgusting." In desperation, he held his left hand in the flame of a lamp, with the words "Let me see her for as long as I can keep my hand in the flame."[37] He did not recall the event well, but later assumed that his uncle blew out the flame. Kee's father made it clear to him that Kee's refusal should be heeded and that the two would not be married[38] because of van Gogh's inability to support himself.[39] Van Gogh's perception of his uncle and former tutor's hypocrisy affected him deeply. That Christmas he quarreled violently with his father, to the point of refusing a gift of money, and left for The Hague.[40]

Rooftops, View from the Atelier The Hague, 1882, watercolour, Private collection.

In January 1882, he settled in The Hague where he called on his cousin-in-law, Anton Mauve (1838–8 who was a Dutch realist painter and a leading member of the Hague School. Mauve introduced him to painting in both oil and watercolor and lent him money to set up a studio[41] but the two soon fell out, possibly over the issue of drawing from plaster casts.[42] Mauve appears to have suddenly gone cold towards van Gogh and did not return a number of his letters.[43] Van Gogh supposed that he had learned of his new domestic arrangement with an alcoholic prostitute, Clasina Maria "Sien" Hoornik (1850–1904) and her young daughter.[44][45][46] He had met Sien towards the end of January when she had a five-year-old daughter and was pregnant. She had already borne two children who had died, although van Gogh was unaware of this.[47] On 2 July, she gave birth to a baby boy, Willem.[48] When van Gogh's father discovered the details of their relationship, he put considerable pressure on his son to abandon Sien and her children, although Vincent at first defied him.[49][50]

Van Gogh's uncle Cornelis, an art dealer, commissioned 12 ink drawings of views of the city, which van Gogh completed soon after arriving in The Hague, along with a further seven drawings that May.[51] In June, he spent three weeks in a hospital suffering from gonorrhea.[52] During the summer he began to paint in oil.[53] In autumn 1883, after a year together, he left Sien and the two children. He had thought of moving the family out of the city but in the end made the break.[54] It is possible that lack of money pushed Sien back to prostitution—the home became less happy, and van Gogh may have felt family life was irreconcilable with his artistic development. When he left, Sien gave her daughter to her mother and baby Willem to her brother. She then moved to Delft, and later to Antwerp.[55] Willem remembered being taken to visit his mother in Rotterdam at around the age of 12, where his uncle tried to persuade Sien to marry in order to legitimize the child. Willem remembered his mother saying, "But I know who the father is. He was an artist I lived with nearly 20 years ago in The Hague. His name was van Gogh." She then turned to Willem and said "You are called after him."[56] While Willem believed himself van Gogh's son, the timing of his birth makes this unlikely.[57] In 1904, Sien drowned herself in the River Scheldt. Van Gogh moved to the Dutch province of Drenthe, in the northern Netherlands. That December, driven by loneliness, he went to stay with his parents who had been posted to Nuenen, North Brabant.[58]         To see Full article >>>>>

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Master of Masters

Posted by Manuel on January 1, 2012 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (0)

     Homage To Master of Masters

          

"Diego Velázquez"

                 

                

             Diego Rodriguez de Silva Velázquez

June 6, 1599 - august 6, 1660 was a Spanish painter whos was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. He was an individualistic of the contemporary Boroque period, important as a portrait artist. In addition to numerous renditions of scenes of historical and cultural significance, he painted scores of the Spanish royal family, other notable European figures, and commoners, culminating in the production of his masterpiece Las Meninas (1656)

From the first quarter of the nineteenth century, Velázquez´s artwork was a model for the realist and impressionist painters, in particular Edouard Manet. Since that time, more modern artist, including Spain´s Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, as well as the Anglo-Irish painter Francis Bacon, have payed tribute to Velázquez by recreating several of his most famous works.

To read the full article>>> Diego Velazquez

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