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Showing posts with the label art history

John Berger's Ways of Seeing

"The way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe"- John Berger. The book is one of the greats for understanding art and how perception makes all the difference in our lives. In any painting there are the perceptions of the painter and the perceptions of the audience. Each person sees something a little different from the painting based upon how they perceive the world around them. The concepts in his book have broader implications. We know this through this experience but his book helps highlight this for the artistic crowd. Most of us have experienced two people seeing the same thing but interpreting what they are seeing differently. This can lead to all types of arguments and discussions on whose interpretation of the version is real. To us our perceptions are real. What we see is real and what we feel is real. Despite this belief it is not necessarily true. Most of us have a single way of seeing the world and simply can't comprehend the ways ot

Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci

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Virgin of the Rocks painted by Leonardo da Vinci depicts the virgin Mary, Jesus, and John the Baptist, and an Angel. There are actually two different pictures painted nearly identical except for some changes in the hands. Even though da Vinci completed most of the work it is believe that his assistants produced some of the musical angels. The angle is believed to be either Angel Gabriel or Angel Uriel. Its story is based on the non-biblical accounts of John the Baptist fawning over Christ on the road from Egypt. According to the legend, when King Herod ordered the Massacre of Innocents the Holy Family fled to Egypt and came across their cousin John the Baptist ( 1 ). Uniquely Leonardo uses darker rocks in the background to highlight the faces of members making them brighter. In the background is a odd set of rocks that are believed to be still in the river Arno near Florence that have nothing to do with the biblical region  (2 ) . The entire picture seems more mystical than real

Art History: Reunion of the Officers of the Guild of Archers of St. Adriaen

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Each art pieces is accompanied with a story and paintings like the Reunion of the Officers of the Guild of Archers of St. Adriaen provides a rendition of Holland’s independence against Spain. Painted by Frans Hals, it depicts those who survived the battles and have joined again in celebration.  Frans Hals (1581-1666) was an emigrant from Spanish Netherlands that settled the rest of his life in Haarlem ( 1 ).   Around the age of 27 he became a member of the city’s Guild of Saint Luke.   They followed their Patron Saint Luke and shared resources in their painting expeditions.  Hals was a wild one in his lifetime and spent a large portion of his life painting ( 2 ). He worked restoring artwork, painting notables in the area, and an art advisor to the city.   He is known to have enjoyed his life just a little too much.  His creative breakthrough came from paintings like the Archers of St. Adriaen. He spent a great portion of his time working and practicing until his skil

Art Review: “Ugly Duchess” by Quentin Matsy

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“Ugly Duchess” by Quentin Matsys is either an attempt to mock vanity or based upon a real person suffering from Paget’s disease. Quinten Massys was a Flemish artist who painted the picture in 1513 leaving many pondering its meaning ( 1 ). To many it is a picture of an old lady attempting to look beautiful with all the accessories of a wealthy person. The items we buy and the impressions we give others cannot hide our beauty or ugliness to the world.  Such a painting could also be as simple as an expression of age. The problem with fleeting beauty is that it is a slow process of decline where a once beautiful women fights against its demise by becoming more accessorized and gaudy in her dressing style. The same happens to men who desire to keep the strength and vigor of their youth alive and well through superficial means.  We hope to cover our flaws with cosmetics, fancy clothing, and expensive accessories but we only manage to make ourselves look less attractive by cove

Art History: The Allegory of Spring

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The Allegory of Spring ( Primaver) was painted in 1842 during the Italian Renaissance by Sandro Botticelli ( 1 ). He was raised as a tanner and made considerable fame in his lifetime. Some of his works were destroyed by himself later in life when he followed the direction of a famous monk. His works were powerful and he was once invited to paint in the Sistine Chapel ( 2 ). Only the best in Europe would be invited to engage in such activities and work for the Papacy. There are a number of theories as they relate to the painting. One seems to stand out against the others in terms of a combination of a popular poem and mythology of the time. It is believed the painting exists in the realm of Venus with Zephyrus (blue face) chasing Flora, Flora who scatters flowers to create spring, and Venus who protects men ( 3 ). She appears pregnant as a sign of giving new life. To the left are three Graces who dance and Mercury who dissipates the clouds above. It is a mythological story ab