Sunday, October 22, 2017

#Wombat Day

It’s #WombatDay! Did you know Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriele Rossetti had two pet wombats? He described owning them as ‘a Joy, a Triumph, a Delight, a Madness’. 

Here are two drawings by Rossetti that show Jane Morris with one of the marsupials, and Rossetti lamenting the death of his wombat in 1869. Instead of being buried in the tomb shown in his drawing, this one was stuffed and placed in Rossetti’s entrance hall.

Friday, October 20, 2017

On this day. Aelbert Jacobsz Cuyp

Aelbert Jacobsz Cuyp (October 20, 1620 – November 15, 1691) was one of the leading Dutch landscape painters of the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. The most famous of a family of painters, the pupil of his father Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp (1594–1651/52), he is especially known for his large views of the Dutch countryside in early morning or late afternoon light.

Cuyp was the great interpreter of the Dutch landscape in the Italianate manner. Early landscapes like 'A River Scene with Distant Windmills' are influenced by van Goyen, some of whose paintings show Dordrecht, Cuyp's home town. The work of Utrecht painters, especially Jan Both, who returned from Italy about 1641, helped to turn Cuyp's interest towards large-scale landscapes in the Italianate manner.

Cuyp was the son of the Dordrecht portrait and animal painter, Jacob Gerritsz. Cuyp. His occasional portraits, like the 'Portrait of a Bearded Man' in the Collection, reflect his training with his father. Though based in Dordrecht throughout his life, Cuyp travelled widely in Holland, making drawings. In 1658 he married a wealthy widow and appears to have painted little thereafter.

Sunlight in his paintings rakes across the panel, accentuating small bits of detail in the golden light. In large, atmospheric panoramas of the countryside, the highlights on a blade of meadow grass, the mane of a tranquil horse, the horn of a dairy cow reclining by a stream, or the tip of a peasant's hat are all caught in a bath of yellow ocher light. The richly varnished medium refracts the rays of light like a jewel as it dissolves into numerous glazed layers. Cuyp's landscapes were based on reality and on his own invention of what an enchanting landscape should be.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

On this day. Umberto Boccioni

October 19, 1882. Umberto Boccioni (19 October 1882 - 17 August 1916) was an Italian painter and sculptor. Like other Futurists, his work centered on the portrayal of movement (dynamism), speed, and technology. He was born in Reggio Calabria, Italy. He died in WW I, only thirty-three years old. This made him an iconic and tragic symbol of the Futurists' celebration of the machine and the violent destructive force of modernity.

In the above image: Francesca Rossi, curator in charge of the Sforzesco Castle drawings collection, looks at a work by Umberto Boccioni, in the same room where sketches by mannerist painter Simone Peterzano are preserved, in Milan, Friday, July 6, 2012.

During his short life, he produced some of the movement’s iconic paintings and sculptures, capturing the color and dynamism of modern life in a style he theorized and defended in manifestos, books, and articles.

Although Boccioni deserves a great amount of credit for evolving the style now associated with Italian Futurism, he first matured as a Neo-Impressionist painter, and was drawn to landscape and portrait subjects. It was not until he encountered Cubism that he developed a style that matched the ideology of dynamism and violent societal upheaval that lay at the heart of Futurism. Boccioni borrowed the geometric forms typical of the French style, and employed them to evoke crashing, startling sounds to accompany the depicted movement.

Boccioni believed that scientific advances and the experience of modernity demanded that the artist abandon the tradition of depicting static, legible objects. The challenge, he believed, was to represent movement, the experience of flux, and the inter-penetration of objects. Boccioni summed up this project with the phrase, "physical transcendentalism."

Despite his fascination with physical movement, Boccioni had a strong belief in the importance of intuition, an attitude he inherited from the writings of Henri Bergson and the Symbolist painters of the late 19th century. This shaped Boccioni's approach to depicting the modern world, encouraging him to give it symbolic, almost mythical dimensions that evoked the artist's emotions as much as the objective reality of modern life. In this respect, Boccioni's approach is very different from that of the Cubists, whose work was grounded in an attempt to closely describe the physical character of objects in a new way.

The City Rises. Oil on canvas - Museum of Modern Art, New York

"The City Rises" is considered by many to be the very first truly Futurist painting. Boccioni took a year to complete it and it was exhibited throughout Europe shortly after it was finished. It testifies to the hold that  Neo-Impressionism and Symbolism maintained on the movement's artists even after Futurism was inaugurated in 1909. It was not until around 1911 that Boccioni adapted elements of Cubism to create a distinct Futurist style. Nevertheless, "The City Rises" does capture the group's love of dynamism and their fondness for the modern city. A large horse races into the foreground while several workers struggle to gain control of it, suggesting a primeval conflict between humanity and beasts. The horse and figures are blurred, communicating rapid movement while other elements, such as the buildings in the background, are rendered more realistically. At the same time, the perspective teeters dramatically in different sections of the painting.

Twenty works on line:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

National Chocolate Cupcake Day

Miyukti Tsurukawa. Ceramic Frankenstein
The celebrations for foods that are so delicious and yet, must not be eaten roll in. But since I can't eat much chocolate, I can enjoy the ceramics at Creativity Explored as it celebrates National Chocolate Cupcake Day.

Founded in 1983, Creativity Explored gives artists with developmental disabilities the means to create and share their work with the community, celebrating the power of art to change lives.

Devil Girl Monster (Detail) by Christina Fong © 2017 Creativity Explored Licensing, LLC, acrylic, paint markers and permanent markers on canvas, 26.5 x 15 inches
Current Exhibit:

Shop Art:

3245 16th St @ Gurerrero St
San Francisco, 94103
(415)  863-2018

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

International Pasta Day

It is probably a good thing that I did not know about this earlier. I love pasta but it is not good for my waistline. But that does not prevent me from enjoying literary references to pasta. Even those in a cook book of the Tolstoy Family

Leo Tolstoy's recipe for Mac n' Cheese - or to be more honest, his wife's recipe. How interesting. But if I am going to have macaroni, I prefer the description in Lampedusa's "The Leopard" in which Sicilian macaroni is described in loving, sensual terms. Not sure that Russian macaroni would fit the same bill but would love hear from those who tried. Amazon for $3.99

 A grand, luxurious and filling dish of macaroni and meat encased in pastry, Timballo del Gattopardo translates as ‘The Leopard’s Pie’ and is named after Giuseppe di Tomasi di Lampedusa, a nineteenth century Sicilian prince who wrote Il Gattopardo, one of Italy’s most famous novels. The original recipe contained eggs from the ovary of a chicken, but hard boiled eggs work just as well today. 
Cuisine of Sicily: "Carluccio's assistant has spent a day preparing the stock for the pie, from vegetables and a large joint of beef. But first, he has to make the pastry case. The dough is spread, liberally sprinkled with flour, over an earthen vessel and the excess removed, so that the vessel is coated with the pastry dough on the inside. The original recipe calls for the unborn eggs from the ovary of a chicken, but the yokes of plain eggs will do as well. While the pasta is boiling, finely chopped onions are added to abundant olive oil, to fry along with chicken and chicken livers and truffles (or Porcini mushrooms), two glasses of beef stock, cubes of cooked ham, a smattering of wine, and finally the eggs. Add everything to the pasta, which is very al dente, and the last touch - liberal quantities of Parmesan. Fill up the pastry case with the mix and cover with a dough lid, brushed with oil to give a nice crust. Sprinkle cinnamon and put into the oven for half an hour...."

Cuisine of Sicily:

On this day in 1577. Cristofano Allori

October 17, 1577. Cristofano Allori (17 October 1577 - 1 April 1621) was an Italian portrait painter of the late Florentine Mannerist school. Allori was born at Florence and received his first lessons in painting from his father, Alessandro Allori, but becoming dissatisfied with the hard anatomical drawing and cold coloring of the latter, he entered the studio of Gregorio Pagani, who was one of the leaders of the late Florentine school, which sought to unite the rich coloring of the Venetians with the Florentine attention to drawing. Allori also appears to have worked under Cigoli. In this image: Judith with the Head of Holofernes (1613). Oil on canvas, 139 x 116 cm. Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence.

This is his most famous work. It exists in at least two versions by Allori, of which the prime version is perhaps that in the British Royal Collection, dated 1613, with various pentimenti. A version of 1620 in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence is the best known and there are several copies by studio and other hands. According to the near-contemporary biography by Filippo Baldinucci, the model for the Judith was his former mistress, the beautiful "La Mazzafirra", who is also represented in his Magdalene, the head of Holofernes is a self-portrait, and the maid is "La Mazzafirra"'s mother

Monday, October 16, 2017

Celebrating the birthdays of Faith Ringgold, Dorothea Lange, Richard Mier, Paul Strand

I am a week behind in celebrating artist's birthdays so I am doing catch up.

October 08, 1930. Faith Ringgold (born October 8, 1930, in Harlem, New York City) is an artist, best known for her narrative quilts. Ringgold's artistic practice was extremely broad and diverse, and included media from painting to quilts, from sculptures and performance art to children's books. She was an educator who taught in the New York city Public school system and on the college level. In 1973, she quit teaching public school to devote herself to creating art full-time. In this image: Faith Ringgold, American People Series, The Flag is Bleeding, 1967, oil on canvas. Collection of the artist, c. Faith Ringgold. Courtesy ACA Galleries, NY.

October 10, 1965. Dorothea Lange (May 26, 1895 - October 11, 1965) was an influential American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange's photographs humanized the consequences of the Great Depression and influenced the development of documentary photography. In this image: A large photo of "Migrant Mother" by Dorothea Lange hangs in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum with the other photos, background, that Lange took while photographing the mother and children, as part of the "This Great Nation Will Endure" exhibit on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2004, in Hyde Park, N.Y.
October 12, 1934. Richard Meier (born October 12, 1934) is an American architect, whose rationalist buildings make prominent use of the color white. In this image: Architect Richard Meier speaks as he honored at the Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards on Ellis Island on Thursday, April 19, 2012.

October 16, 1890. Paul Strand (October 16, 1890 - March 31, 1976) was an American photographer and filmmaker who, along with fellow modernist photographers like Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston, helped establish photography as an art form in the 20th century. His diverse body of work, spanning six decades, covers numerous genres and subjects throughout the Americas, Europe and Africa. In this image: Wall Street, 1915.