Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sunday's Posts. Salvator Mundi. Medieval graphic design, Happy Birthday to German Art Historian Winckelmann, & Sappho

Salvator Mundi (detail; c. 1500), Leonardo da Vinci. Image courtesy Christie
Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism says it is the organization that bought Salvator Mundi. the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism announced that it has acquired Leonardo’s Salvator Munidi. Earlier this week, they announced that the painting, bought at Christie’s for $450million, will be traveling to the Emirate’s newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi. Yesterday, Prince Bader, the Saudi royal who was previously believed to have purchased the work, issued a statement expressing surprise at the report of his involvement.
How Medieval Manuscript Makers Experimented with Graphic Design

 Designing English: Graphics on the Medieval Page at the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries considers how early English manuscripts approached graphic design.

December 9th marked 300 years since the birth of Johann Joachim Winckelmann, the first historian of classical art. Winckelmann's writings are key to understanding the modern European discovery of: ancient (sometimes idealized) Greece; neoclassicism; and the doctrine of art as imitation (Nachahmung). The mimetic character of art that imitates but does not simply copy, as Winckelmann restated it, is central to any interpretation of Enlightenment classical idealism. Winckelmann stands at an early stage of the transformation of taste in the late 18th century.

Investigating an ancient mystery: how or why were Sappho's works lost? …

The @GettyMuseum is housing firefighters from out of town who are fighting the Skirball Fire, with cots and open areas for them to bed down.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, born on December 7th, 1598

Ecstasy of St. Theresa

Head of Medusa
Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Italian pronunciation: [ˈdʒan loˈrɛntso berˈniːni]; also Gianlorenzo or Giovanni Lorenzo; 7 December 1598 – 28 November 1680) was an Italian sculptor and architect. While a major figure in the world of architecture, he was the leading sculptor of his age, credited with creating the Baroque style of sculpture. As one scholar has commented, "What Shakespeare is to drama, Bernini may be to sculpture: the first pan-European sculptor whose name is instantaneously identifiable with a particular manner and vision, and whose influence was inordinately powerful…."  

In addition, he was a painter (mostly small canvases in oil) and a man of the theater: he wrote, directed and acted in plays (mostly Carnival satires), also designing stage sets and theatrical machinery, as well as a wide variety of decorative art objects including lamps, tables, mirrors, and even coaches. As architect and city planner, he designed both secular buildings and churches and chapels, as well as massive works combining both architecture and sculpture, especially elaborate public fountains and funerary monuments and a whole series of temporary structures (in stucco and wood) for funerals and festivals.

Born in Naples to a sculptor, the sixth of nineteen children, he was early recognized as a prodigy (Age 8). He soon caught the attention of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, nephew to the reigning pope, Paul V, who spoke of the boy genius to his uncle. Bernini was therefore presented before Pope Paul V, curious to see if the stories about Gian Lorenzo's talent were true. The boy improvised a sketch of Saint Paul for the marveling pope, and this was the beginning of the pope’s attention on this young talent. Once he was brought to Rome, he only left once to go to France and soon returned. Rome was Bernini’s city. “For Bernini there could be only one Rome. ‘You are made for Rome,’ said Pope Urban VIII to him, ‘and Rome for you’”. It was in this world of 17th-century Rome and religious power that Bernini created his greatest works,

Apollo and Daphne is another example of an erotic moment in Bernini's work. Commissioned by Cardinal Borghese - so much for the religious life in 17th century Rome - Apollo's frustrated touch on Daphne's face as she begins to turn into a tree to escape him, reveals the futility of some kinds of human desire. 

Apollo and Daphne

In the 1630s he engaged in an affair with a married woman named Costanza (wife of his workshop assistant, Matteo Bonucelli, also called Bonarelli. His bust of her, now in the Bargello, Florence, made during the during the height of their romance. She later had an affair with his younger brother, Luigi, who was Bernini's right-hand man in his studio. When Gian Lorenzo found out about Costanza and his brother, he went crazy. In a fit of mad fury, he chased Luigi through the streets of Rome and into the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, threatening his life. To punish his unfaithful mistress, Bernini had a servant go to the house of Costanza, where the servant slashed her face several times with a razor. The servant was later jailed, and Costanza was jailed for adultery. Slashing a woman's face was the kind of treatment given to prostitutes so in his anger, he treated this aristocratic woman as a prostitute. 

Bernini himself was exonerated by the pope, even though he had committed a crime in ordering the face-slashing. Soon after, in May 1639, at age forty-one, Bernini wed a twenty-two-year-old Roman woman, Caterina Tezio, in an arranged marriage, under orders from Pope Urban. She bore him eleven children, including youngest son Domenico Bernini, who would later be his first biographer.  

After his never-repeated fit of passion and bloody rage and his subsequent marriage, Bernini turned more sincerely to the practice of his faith, according to his early official biographers. He did become more devout, attending daily mass and practicing the counter reformation religious practices of the time. 

Thanks for a recent biography by Sarah McPhee, we know a lot more about Constanza. She belonged to the nobility and paid dearly for her affair with Bernini’s brother. She spent several months in a convent for prostitutes but was taken back by her husband and later, became one of Rome’s most successful art dealers, had a daughter by a highly placed prelate (never identified for the sake of discretion. The daughter married well with a large dowry provided by her mother. 

Bernini, Self Portrait

Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi
Bernini, who lived until 1680 never saw Constanza again (as far as we know) but went from success to success. He had enough confidence in himself to snub an offer from Louis XIV to come to Versailles. He remained active until two weeks before his death, building secular palaces and religious edifices, fountains, chapels.. all that his wealthy patrons required of him. He created Baroque architecture and Rome is still full of the works that he built. When he died, he was buried with little fanfare in a simple tomb.This inscription was carved later. 

"Here lived and died Gianlorenzo Bernini, a sovereign of art, before whom reverently bowed popes, princes, and a multitude of peoples."

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Gilbert Stuart, Born December 3, 1755

The most successful and resourceful portraitist of America's early national period, Gilbert Stuart (1755–1828) possessed enormous natural talent, which he devoted to the representation of human likeness and character, bringing his witty and irascible manner to bear on each of his works, including his incisive portraits of George Washington. This publication accompanies a retrospective exhibition of Stuart's work, the first since 1967, and takes the standpoint that investigation of Stuart's sitters reveals the artist's practice of portraiture. His clients were facilitators of his progress, and knowledge of them is crucial to interpreting the artist's unique talents. The organization of this study follows Stuart through the eight cities in which he worked: Newport and Scotland (1755–75), London (1775–87), Dublin (1787–93), New York (1793–94), Philadelphia (1794–1803), Washington (1803–5), and Boston (1805–28). A short essay about the artist's experience in each city precedes catalogue entries on more than ninety portraits, all illustrated in color. A special section is devoted to Stuart's celebrated portraits of George Washington. Free download (PDF File) 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Tis the Season - benefit for two organizations empowering women

First event of the Christmas season from Joe Content's North Beach Blog.

"First on the horizon: Tis The Season SF, coming on Thursday, December 7th to North Beach’s Real Old Paper Gallery. Benefiting two extraordinary organizations committed to empowering women, WOMAN, Inc. and Dress For Success, the event will focus on local bloggers, and others who celebrate the San Francisco Bay Area.

 It’s billed as “Not Your Grandma’s Holiday Party,” and as one might expect this time of year, there will be plenty of food, wine and spirits to keep the conversation flowing. Even better, BloomThat will be hosting a bloom bar that lets you design your own custom holiday bouquet. It’s all included in the ticket price of $45, and when you consider the fact that you could easily spend that on flowers alone, it’s a darn good deal.

This is your chance to get in the holiday spirit by eating, drinking and rubbing elbows with artists, locals and Bay Area taste makers. And the location couldn’t be any better: Real Old Paper is one of the newest galleries in the city, and it’s truly a beautiful space. Owner Andrew England’s stunning collection of colorful vintage posters creates a killer backdrop for any proper party–and you might just find that perfect Christmas gift in the bargain.

WOMAN, Inc. (Women Organized to Make Abuse Nonexistent) is a community-based organization established in 1978 to serve survivors of domestic violence in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area. Started in 1997, Dress for Success is an international nonprofit that helps women achieve financial independence by providing professional attire, a support network, and the tools they need to thrive; since starting ten years ago, they’ve helped nearly a million women.

Presented by Bay Area doyens Girl & The Bay, One Fine Day SF and the SF Wine Society, this promises to be a memorable evening in support of a worthy cause. It’s a great chance to connect with a group of active locals in a bright new gallery space, all while supporting female empowerment and entrepreneurship in the Bay Area and beyond. See you there!"

For tickets, visit Eventbrite here. 

Tis The Season SF
Thursday, December 7th, 2017

Real Old Paper Gallery
801 Columbus Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94133

Women Organized to make abuse nonexistent: (there is also a Spanish web page): 

Page of posters from Real Old Paper Gallery:

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Born on this day in 1612. David Rijckaert the Younger or David Ryckaert III

Peasant woman with her cat

So often we don’t have real dates for painters before the 20th century but this is one of the rare occasions when we do. David Rijckaert III, David Rijckaert the Younger or David Ryckaert III (2 December 1612 (baptized), Antwerp - 11 November 1661, Antwerp) was a Flemish painter known for his contribution to genre painting, in particular through his scenes of merry companies and peasants.

The Alchemist
He enjoyed the patronage of prominent patrons and was a painter to the court of the governor of the Southern Netherlands. As with so many artists of this era, he came from a family of artists. A member of the Ryckaert (or Rijckaert) family of artists, he was the son of David Ryckaert II, the grandson of David Ryckaert I, and the nephew of Martin Ryckaert.

The Toothpuller

Rustic Interior

Images from Wikipedia Commons

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Born on this day. in 1508. Andrea Palladio. Why we love columns

One way or another, most of us have encountered Andrea Palladio. His presence has been, and remains, quietly insistent in our daily lives - even though this great Italian architect was born 500 years ago, almost to the day, and his working life was spent in a relatively contained landscape between his birthplace, Padua, and the scene of some of his greatest triumphs, Venice.

Every building Palladio designed, from a simple farmhouse to his grand monastic churches such as San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, was a gem. Designed inside and out according to a sophisticated play of perfect geometry, each one remains an ideal to live up to. Handsomely crafted, imaginatively sited and bringing the best of classical Roman architecture up to date, his buildings had a profound influence on architecture worldwide.

 Andrea Palladio (30 November 1508 - 19 August 1580) was an architect active in the Republic of Venice. Palladio, influenced by Roman and Greek architecture, primarily by Vitruvius, is widely considered the most influential individual in the history of Western architecture. All of his buildings are located in what was the Venetian Republic, but his teachings, summarized in the architectural treatise Quattro Libri dell'Architettura (The Four Books of Architecture), gained him wide recognition. The city of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The frescoes in the Villa Caldogno main hall depict the different moments of the life in villa at Palladio's age

Images from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Born on this day in 1933. James Rosenquist, sign painter turned pop artist

November 29, 1933. James Rosenquist (born November 29, 1933 - March 31, 2017) was an American artist and one of the protagonists in the pop-art movement. In this image, he stands in front of his art work 'Brazil' which he created in 2004 at the art museum in Wolfsburg, Germany on Thursday, 17 February 2005.

The piece was part of a retrospective which included 150 works of art spanning across three decades, allowing an insight into the work of a leading representative of US American Pop Art. The exhibition ran until  June 5, 2005. The billboard painter-turned-artist's early works are also considered emblematic of a burgeoning consumer culture in America during the 1960s. Throughout his career, Rosenquist continued to create massive, provocative paintings, whose relevance hinges on their engagement with current economic, political, environmental, and scientific issues.

The artist was among the first to directly address the persuasive, even deceptive, powers of advertising by applying the Surrealist practice of juxtaposing seemingly unrelated subjects to fragmented commercial images and ads in a manner that highlights the omnipresence of ads.

An advocate for his fellow artists, Rosenquist used his prominent artistic reputation to help lobby for federal protection of artists' rights during the 1970s and was soon thereafter appointed to the National Council on the Arts.

Because he successfully moved beyond his early fascination with popular culture and mass media to address new issues, such as the intersection of science and aesthetics, Rosenquist is credited with being one the few Pop artists whose later work continues to be relevant.