Simon Schama's Power of Art is available in full. Part 1 Caravaggio. Part 2 Bernini. Part 3 Rembrandt. Part 4 David. Part 5 Turner. Part 6 Van Gogh. Part 7 Picasso. Part 8 Rothko. [more inside]
Incorruptible Teeth, or, the French Smile Revolution
In 1787, Madame Vigée-Lebrun, painter to France’s royal and aristocratic elite, displayed a canvas at the Paris Salon. It was a self-portrait depicting the artist in an affectionate embrace with her daughter. Vigée-Lebrun is smiling—a sweet, broad smile revealing white teeth. There is little about this pose that seems in any way exceptional, yet exception was furiously taken. “An affectation which artists, art-lovers and persons of taste have been united in condemning,” wrote an anonymous commentator, “and which finds no precedent amongst the Ancients, is that in smiling she shows her teeth. This affectation is particularly out of place in a mother.”How the smile came to Paris (briefly), aka Grin City. [more inside]
Henrique Oliveira "paints" in three dimensions with plywood, as he describes it in a short interview with Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland. The video focuses on a 2012 work in progress, Carambóxido, which is made from, and still smells like, industrial debris found in the Flats and along the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland. The artist, who hails from São Paulo, is most recognized for his large installation pieces that burst through gallery walls and coil around pillars, appearing to grow from the spaces around them. You can see many more of his paintings, sculptures and installations at Oliveira's own website, which requires flash to navigate.
Five year old Iris Grace has taken up painting. Iris is autistic, and her parents introduced her to painting as a means to help with her speech therapy. She has attracted attention worldwide and her paintings have sold quite well. Iris in action. Originals, prints, and calendars can be purchased here. Iris has a constant companion, her name is Thula. The homepage of irisgracepainting.com.
“I want to install it in my house,” Ségalot recalls Bryant saying, “but my wife hates it. She can’t live with a work that says ‘SELL THE HOUSE SELL THE CAR SELL THE KIDS.’ So do you know anyone who might want to buy it?” What the 350,000% rise in value of a single painting by Christopher Wool says about the contemporary art world.
Paul Klee: The Silence of the Angel (2005; 51:14) is a documentary about the painter whose lectures/notebooks, The Thinking Eye and The Nature of Nature, have been called "the most complete presentation of the principles of design ever made by a modern artist ... it constitutes the Principia Aesthetica of a new era of art, in which Klee occupies a position comparable to Newton's in the realm of physics."
PixelThis is the first incremental game (previously, more) to use the movement of the mouse as its gameplay input rather than clicking. But if you don't want to play it as a game, you can make one simple tweak to it and transform it into an oddly relaxing web toy. [more inside]
Mario: animated short An animation of a chilling Italian children's (?) song, created by painting frames on glass! [via mefi projects]
A Piece of Monologue is a treasure trove of modern, contemporary, and avant-garde expression in literature, philosophy, art, design, painting, music, theater, and more. A smattering of insides: Flannery O'Connor on Ayn Rand. An online guide to the life and work of Samuel Beckett. Twin Peaks Behind the Scenes Photographs. Rare photographs of John Coltrane. And wow.
Where most other naturalists took samples, she used her paints to make a "unique snapshot of the world’s natural habitat more than 100 years ago." Although she didn't take up oil painting until she was nearly 40, North became a prolific painter of flora (and sometimes fauna) from around the world, often capturing not just the plant but the landscape around it. [more inside]
In the weeks following Kinkade’s death , his estate tried to protect his brand: the gag order on his mistress and a statement attributing his death to natural causes were among the efforts they made to prevent the public from learning about the seedier side of Kinkade’s life. They didn’t work—but it didn’t matter. The Thomas Kinkade Release Calendar
Hidden Paintings Revealed at Ancient Temple of Angkor Wat. "New, digitally enhanced images reveal detailed murals at Angkor Wat showing elephants, deities, boats, orchestral ensembles and people riding horses — all invisible to the naked eye." [Via]
Huge collection of (and commentary on) matte art from classic films that has been rescanned for HD releases. Much more on the process of creating and filming this type of setup at last month's post. (previously)
Was the pilfered painting worth it? Detroit's 555 Gallery saved a stencil from scrappers, but now wants to sell it.
The American Museum of Natural History will unlock thousands of old photos from their vault, they announced this week. The new online image database (officially launching on Monday the 28th) will take you behind the curtain, delivering images that span the 145-year history of the Museum. The collection features over 7,000 images—many never before seen by the public—and includes photos, rare book illustrations, drawings, notes, letters, art, and Museum memorabilia. They say "it’s like stepping into a time machine and seeing a long ago NYC or just catching glimpses of ghosts from a forgotten world now seen only by researchers and Museum staff." Previously. [more inside]
Royal Enfield motorcycles are built in Chennai, where they are painted by by hand.
Twenty Seven pieces of artwork that defy comprehension; not because of the quality of work, which is amazing, but for the quality of work performed in the mediums used. [more inside]
Gritty Cityscapes by Jeremy Mann. Dramatically and skillfully rendered, the cityscapes and figurative works of Jeremy Mann give visual form to the emotive essence of modern life (nsfw).
In a remarkably satisfying video, London city workers painting street lines, show off some excellent freehand typographic craftsmanship. [va]
Creation and Destruction of Sand Mandalas. Spontaneous Temporary Sand Paintings by Joe Mangrum. New Flower Mandalas by Kathy Klein. Geometric Paintings Inspired by Sacred Mandalas by Amy Cheng.
"[We] were looking at Hieronymus Bosch’s painting The Garden of Earthly Delights and discovered, much to our amusement, music written upon the posterior of one of the many tortured denizens of the rightmost panel of the painting which is intended to represent Hell. I decided to transcribe it into modern notation, assuming the second line of the staff is C, as is common for chants of this era." via Dangerous Minds
Witchsona Week is a week for artists, doodlers, webcomicers, and more to draw themselves as witches.
The 100 Greatest Painters in Western History (according to the editors of This Recording). [more inside]
Dating an Impressionist's Sunset. "Famed French Impressionist Claude Monet created a striking scene of the Normandy coast in his 1883 painting, Étretat: Sunset. Now a team of Texas State University researchers, led by astronomer and physics professor Donald Olson, has applied its distinctive brand of forensic astronomy to Monet’s masterpiece, uncovering previously unknown details about the painting’s origins." [Via]
B E A U T Y. "A path of sighs through the emotions of life. A tribute to the art and her disarming beauty." A short video by Rino Stefano Tagliafierro. [Via, possibly nsfw]
David Briggs' The Dimensions of Colour, a comprehensive online explanation of traditional (what you've probably been taught) and modern colour theory, and its applications to visual art. Invaluable for artists and non-artists alike. (The answer: probably some kind of brown. Yes, your kindergarten teachers fed you lies.)
Here's a mesmerizing 14 minute long video of a dude doing some water transfer printing on some boring car part things. Despite that glorious undersell, it's actually quite interesting. [more inside]
Tim's Vermeer - how a Texas inventor might have reconstructed the methods used by Dutch baroque painter Johannes Vermeer. [more inside]
The late 19th century Armenian-Russian painter Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky created some truly spectacular paintings of seascapes that capture the beautiful, shimmering essence of the tumultuous waters. The marine artist gained recognition for his impeccable ability to recreate the expressive quality of oceans with over half of his 6,000+ paintings from his lifetime being devoted to the subject.
Prosperous Suzhou (20,353 × 546 pixel JPEG) is a 1757 scroll painting by Xu Yang illustrating the everyday life of the city, including more than 4,600 figures and 400 boats. It combines Western perspective with traditional Chinese style, and is currently on display at the Masterpieces of Chinese Painting exhibition at the London V&A.
The Eidophusikon, an early form of motion picture, is a theatrical technology developed by fine art painter and theatrical set designer Philip de Loutherbourg using sound, colored filters, mechanical works, light from newly invented Argand lamps, mirrors and more . It was first exhibited at his home in 1781, featuring five scenes of land and seascape. In recent years, recognition of this as an early chapter in cinema history has prompted several institutions to recreate the experience. Among the most successful is the 2005 storm at sea depicted in Eidophusikon Reimagined by the Australian National University.
Denis Forkas Kostromitin is a Russian artist that considers himself to be a modern symbolist painter (symbolism mentioned previously). The dark and dreamy quality of his work has lead him to be a frequent collaborator with metal musicians. Here he explains the process that led to the cover of Horseback's Half Blood and recently he was commissioned to create the cover of Polish blackened death metal stalwart, Behemoth's, new album, using lead singer Nergal's own blood.
Combining famous historical paintings with images of 21st century technology, Art X Smart has transported them into another time. [more inside]
It took me nine minutes to notice that the shape of the boy’s ear precisely echoes that of the ruff along the squirrel’s belly—and that Copley was making some kind of connection between the animal and the human body and the sensory capacities of each. It was 21 minutes before I registered the fact that the fingers holding the chain exactly span the diameter of the water glass beneath them. It took a good 45 minutes before I realized that the seemingly random folds and wrinkles in the background curtain are actually perfect copies of the shapes of the boy’s ear and eye, as if Copley had imagined those sensory organs distributing or imprinting themselves on the surface behind him. And so on. What this exercise shows students is that just because you have looked at something doesn’t mean that you have seen it.
Although best known for iconic photographs of his Weimaraner dogs, artist William Wegman is also a painter. While Wegman's combined the two before, recently painting atop commercial travel postcards, he's just published Flo & Wendell, a children's storybook illustrated by dog photos painted over to tell a whimsical tale. Images and review (LA Times); video (YouTube).
Francesco Francavilla is an artist who has been producing minimalist posters for each of the last 8 episodes of Breaking Bad.
In the aftermath of one of the strangest political scandals ever to plague the mayor of a major North American city, Rob Ford oversees the unveiling of a high-profile portrait of himself by a sitting councilor, made at the request of Ford's mother. The artist describes the piece as complex, but a lot remains unsaid regarding the weight Ford's personality carries into the realm of portrait.
"A few days ago Colleen Theisen who helps with outreach and instruction at the Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa shared an amazing gif she made that demonstrates something called fore-edge painting on the edge of a 1837 book called Autumn by Robert Mudie. Fore-edge painting, which is believed to date back as early as the 1650s, is a way of hiding a painting on the edge of a book so that it can only be seen when the pages are fanned out. There are even books that have double fore-edge paintings, where a different image can be seen by flipping the book over and fanning the pages in the opposite direction. When I realized the book Theisen shared was only one of a series about the seasons, I got in touch and she agreed to photograph the other three so we could share them with you here."
You know how Van Gogh liked to really slather paint on and his paintings were rather 3D but you couldn't touch them but really wanted to? Now you can. Fujifilm has created a process called Reliefography, which creates 3D-printed versions of paintings called Relievos. They are exclusive to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam for three years, but will move on to other instituions after that time. They can only produce three copies a day, but "the torn labels and hand written notes on the back of a canvas are perfectly recreated". [more inside]
Njideka Akunyili's acrylic painting over photocopies combines figurative, domestic scenes with the cacophony of globalism and traditional decorative motifs.
The Pixel Painter is a short documentary about Hal Lasko, a 97-year-old artist who paints in Microsoft Paint. [more inside]
Lorenzo Triburgo has photographed what he calls "Transportraits". He shoots his transgender subjects from a slightly upward-facing angle in order to portray a sense of heroism. Triburgo painted the backgrounds of his portraits himself after learning how from Bob Ross's The Joy of Painting.
Martin Machado's short and serene documentary about his experiences working on a container ship. [more inside]