Sabtu, 21 April 2012

Art Knowledge News - Keeping You in Touch with the World of Art...

Art Knowledge News - Keeping You in Touch with the World of Art...


The Brooklyn Museum Presents First Large-Scale Exhibition of American Art of the 1920's

Posted: 20 Apr 2012 06:57 PM PDT

artwork: Edward Hopper - "Lighthouse Hill", 1927 - Oil on canvas - 73.8 x 102.2 cm. - Collection of the Dallas Museum of Art. -  © All rights reserved Edward Hopper. On view at the Brooklyn Museum, New York in "Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties" from October 28th until January 29th 2012.

Brooklyn, New York.- The Brooklyn Museum is proud to present the first wide-ranging exploration of American art from the decade whose beginning and end were marked by the aftermath of World War I and the onset of the Great Depression. "Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties", which includes some 138 paintings, sculptures, and photographs by 67 artists, will be on view from October 28th through January 29th 2012 prior to a national tour. American life was dramatically transformed in the years following the Great War, as urbanization, industrialization, mechanization, and rampant materialism altered the environment and the way people lived. American artists responded to this dizzying modern world with works  that embraced a new brand of idealized realism to evoke a seemingly perfect modern world.


artwork: Thomas Hart Benton - "Self-Portrait with Rita", 1922 Oil on canvas - 104.5 x 100 cm. Collection of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. © T. H. Benton and R. P. Benton Testamentary Trusts/UMB Bank Trustee/ Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. The twenties saw a vigorous renewal of figurative art that melded uninhibited body-consciousness with classical ideals. Wheareas images of the modern body were abundant, artists represented American places and things as distilled and largely uninhabited arrangements of pristine forms. Encompassing a wide array of artists, Youth and Beauty celebrates this striking and original modern art and questions its relation to the riotous decade from which it emerged. The first section of the exhibition's two primary thematic sections is Body Language: Liberation and Restraint in Twenties Figuration, which investigates the realist portrait, naturally erotic figure subjects, and heroic types. Throughout the twenties, motion pictures, advertising, "healthy body culture," and the theories of Sigmund Freud all contributed to an era of physical liberation, sensuality, and a near obsession with bodily perfection. Many artists celebrated the modern physical ideal in nude subjects that pictured the newly exposed body freed from conventional restrictions and empowered through fitness or liberating forms of dance. Artists also responded to the rising influence of urban black culture with representations of the idealized black body. Although startlingly direct, these images are also restrained in a way that suggests an uneasiness with the accelerated energy and action of modern life. Works that celebrate this controlled modern physicality include George Wesley Bellows 1924 "Two Women", in which a nude and a fully clad figure are juxtaposed in a domestic setting.

Thomas Hart Benton's 1922 "Self-Portrait with Rita", which portrays the bare-chested artist beside his wife, who sports a daring body-revealing swimsuit. Works such as Alfred Stieglitz's "Rebecca Salisbury Strand", a voluptuous nude subject for which the wife of photographer Paul Strand served as a model, display a direct and frank sensuality. John Steuart Curry's 1928 "Bathers", a scene of robust male nudes cooling themselves in a water tank, channels heroic proportions and Renaissance ideals to foreground healthy physicality in an age of rampant automation and urbanization. The new realism was also apparent in portraits that portray natural beauty with decisive clarity and assertive immediacy. Often cast in the format of the newly popular "close-up," twenties portraiture emerged from a culture in which advertising prompted rigorous self-scrutiny and current theories of psychology suggested complexly layered personalities. The portraits on view will include Luigi Lucioni's magnetic 1928 likeness of the young artist Paul Cadmus; Imogen Cunningham's intimate photograph of the seminal writer Sherwood Anderson; and Romaine Brooks's stark 1924 portrait of Una, Lady Troubridge, lover of the English novelist Radclyffe Hall.

artwork: George Wesley Bellows - "Two Women (also known as Sacred and Profane Love)", 1924 - Oil on canvas  145 x 168 cm. - Private collection. - On view at the Brooklyn Museum, New York until January 29th 2012.

The exhibition's second half, Silent Pictures: Reckoning with a New World, explores subjects as diverse as still life and industrial and natural landscapes while highlighting their shared qualities of compositional refinement and muted expression. Painters and photographers depicted the ready-made geometries of industrial towers, stacks, and tanks, and the webs of struts and beams, with little reference to their utilitarian actualities or to human activity. In his masterful 1927 composition "My Egypt", Charles Demuth transformed the functional architecture of a massive grain elevator complex into a transcendent composition swept by fan like rays. Charles Sheeler paid homage to modern engineering in his pristine 1927 photograph "Ford Plant, River Rouge, Blast Furnace and Dust Catcher", commissioned by Ford's advertisers. In George Ault's 1926 "Brooklyn Ice House", the artist's reductive treatment of the industrial buildings and playful description of a black smoke plume result in a compelling combination of the modern and the naive. Challenged by the sensory assault of the modern urban-industrial world around them, artists also portrayed American landscape settings as precisely distilled and largely uninhabited. Intent on maintaining their own individuality in a new era of mass-production and mass-market advertising, they described the features of more remote American places with a marked intensity and austerity.

In Edward Hopper's 1927 "Lighthouse Hill", the forms of architecture and landscape are stripped of incidental details and cast in a transcendent raking light. Georgia O'Keeffe's 1927 "Lake George Barns" (one of seven works by the artist in the exhibition), offers a similar hybrid realism, as does Ansel Adams's 1929 photograph of the sculptural Church at Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico. In their still-life compositions, American artists of the twenties applied a modernist penchant for essential form to exacting arrangements of insistently simple things. Objects as disparate as flowers, soup cans, razors, eggs, and cocktail shakers, appear in compositions that suggest the new tensions between the traditional and the modern in art and in life. Twenties images such as Peter Blume's "Vegetable Dinner", in which one modern woman enjoys a cigarette while her counterpart peels some humble vegetables, prompts consideration of the individual's relationship to the larger material world. Imogen Cunningham's 1929 photograph "Calla Lilies" embodies a precise, natural perfection akin to modern body ideals, while Gerald Murphy's 1924 "Razor" employs a hard-edged billboard aesthetic to foreground the required accessories of the well-groomed modern man.

artwork: Gerald Murphy - "Razor", 1924 - Oil on canvas - 81.4 x 92.7 cm. - Collection of the Dallas Museum of Art. © Estate of Honoria Murphy Donnelly.  -  On view at the Brooklyn Museum, NYC until January 29th 2012.

The Brooklyn Museum is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States. Its roots extend back to 1823 and the founding of the Brooklyn Apprentices' Library to educate young tradesmen (Walt Whitman would later become one of its librarians). First established in Brooklyn Heights, the Library moved into rooms in the Brooklyn Lyceum building on Washington Street in 1841. Two years later, the Lyceum and the Library combined to form the Brooklyn Institute, offering important early exhibitions of painting and sculpture in addition to lectures on subjects as diverse as geology and abolitionism. The Institute announced plans to establish a permanent gallery of fine arts in 1846. By 1890, Institute leaders had determined to build a grand new structure devoted jointly to the fine arts and the natural sciences; the reorganized Institute was then renamed the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, the forebear of the Brooklyn Museum. The original design of the new museum building, from 1893, by the architects McKim, Mead & White was meant to house myriad educational and research activities in addition to the growing collections. The ambitious building plan, had it been fully realized, would have produced the largest single museum structure in the world. Indeed, so broad was the institution's overall mandate that the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and the Brooklyn Children's Museum would remain divisions of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences until they became independent entities in the 1970s. The museum division of the Institute, which came to be popularly called the Brooklyn Museum, was conceived, moreover, as the focal point of a planned cultural, recreational, and educational district for the burgeoning city of Brooklyn. Although the scope of that envisioned complex of parks, gardens, and buildings changed after the once-independent Brooklyn was absorbed into New York City in 1898, many features of the plan were eventually realized and are reflected in what can be seen today. In the area of land once designated as the Brooklyn Institute Triangle can be found not only the Brooklyn Museum but also such other institutions and facilities as the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Prospect Park Zoo, Mount Prospect Park, and the Central Library of the Brooklyn Public Library system. Just beyond the western edge of the Institute Triangle complex stands the monumental entrance to Prospect Park, marked by the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Arch (1892) in the center of Grand Army Plaza.

The Brooklyn Museum has been building a collection of Egyptian artifacts since the beginning of the twentieth century, incorporating both collections purchased from others, such as the collection of American Egyptologist Charles Edward Wilbour, and objects obtained in archeological excavations sponsored by the museum. The museum's collection of American art dates back to its being given Francis Guy's "Winter Scene in Brooklyn" in 1846. In 1855, the museum officially designated a collection of American Art, with the first work commissioned for the collection being a landscape painting by Asher B. Durand. Items in the American Art collection include portraits, pastels, sculptures, and prints; all items in the collection date to between circa 1720 and circa 1945. Represented in the American Art collection are works by artists such as William Edmondson (Angel, date unknown), John Singer Sargent (Paul Helleu Sketching with His Wife, ca. 1889), Georgia O'Keeffe (Dark Tree Trunks, ca. 1946), and Winslow Homer (Eight Bells, ca. 1887). Among the most famous items in the collection are Gilbert Stuart's portrait of George Washington and Edward Hicks' "The Peaceable Kingdom". The oldest acquisitions in the African art collection were collected by the museum in 1900, shortly after the museum's founding. The collection was expanded in 1922 with items originating largely in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in 1923 the museum hosted one of the first exhibitions of African art in the United States. With over five thousand items in its collection, the Brooklyn Museum boasts one of the largest collections of African art in any American art museum. Although the title of the collection implies that it includes art from all of the African continent, in reality works from Africa are sub-categorized into a number of collections. Western and Central sub-Saharan works are collected under the banner of African Art, while Northern African and Egyptian art are grouped with the Islamic and Egyptian art collections, respectively. he African art collection covers 2,500 years of human history and includes sculpture, jewelery, masks, and religious artifacts from more than one hundred African cultures. Noteworthy items in this collection include a carved ndop figure of a Kuba king, believed to be among the oldest extant ndop carvings, and a Lulua mother-and-child figure. The museum's collection of Pacific Islands art began in 1900 with the acquisition of one hundred wooden figures and shadow puppets from New Guinea and the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia); with that hundred items as its foundation, the collection has grown to npw encompass close to five thousand works. Art in this collection is sourced to numerous Pacific and Indian ocean islands including Hawaii and New Zealand as well as less-populous islands like Rapa Nui and Vanuatu. The museum's center for feminist art opened in 2007 and is dedicated to preserving the history of the movement since the late 20th century as well as raising awareness of feminist contributions to art and informing the future of this area of artistic dialogue. Along with an exhibition space, and library, the center features a gallery housing a masterwork by Judy Chicago, a large installation called "The Dinner Party". Visit the museum's website at ... http://www.brooklynmuseum.org

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art Announces a Major Exhibition of Anselm Kiefer

Posted: 20 Apr 2012 06:56 PM PDT

artwork: Anselm Kiefer - Margarete, 1981, Oil and straw on canvas, 280 x 380 cm. (110 x 149 5/8 in.) - Saatchi Collection, London

GATESHEAD, UK -
BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art announces a major exhibition of the work of Anselm Kiefer, one of the foremost figures of European post-war painting. The exhibition includes a diverse body of work, offering a selection that spans four decades and ranges from early paintings to monumental installations. Presented over two floors of BALTIC's galleries, the exhibition is Kiefer's largest in the UK for many years and has been made possible by ARTIST ROOMS on Tour with the Art Fund.

The Heide Museum of Modern Art Presents "The Futile City"

Posted: 20 Apr 2012 06:55 PM PDT

artwork: Albert Tucker - "The Futile City", 1940 - Oil on cardboard - 45 x 54.5 cm. Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne © Barbara Tucker. On view at the Heide Museum of Modern Art in "The Futile City" from June 25th through October 9th.

Melbourne, AU - The Heide Museum of Modern Art is pleased to present "The Futile City", on view from June 25th through October 9th. Taking its inspiration from Albert Tucker's 1940 painting of the same title, "The Futile City" examines the rise of the city from the modern era to the present day. The exhibition juxtaposes several images of the city painted by Tucker over the course of his lifetime with those by contemporary artists for whom the city and its structures provide rich visual and thematic source material.


Nationalmuseum in Stockholm to Open Baroque Masters Rubens & van Dyck

Posted: 20 Apr 2012 06:53 PM PDT

artwork: Otto van Veen - "Allegory of the Temptations of Youth" - Oil on canvas, 146 x 212 cm. - © Nationalmuseum, Sweden

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - On Thursday 25 February, the Rubens & van Dyck exhibition opens at Nationalmuseum in Stockholm. From then until May 23rd, visitors will be able to see works by two of the 17th century's leading painters and some of their disciples. The exhibition brings together works by Peter Paul Rubens and Anthonis van Dyck, two of the leading painters of the 17th-century Baroque, highlighting the relationship between them and their unparalleled influence on Flemish painting in their day. The Rubens & van Dyck exhibition runs from 25 February to 23 May 2010.

artwork: Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) "Portrait of Maria Louisa de Tassis", c.1629. Oil on canvas, 129 x 93 cm. ©Sammlungen des Fürsten von und zu Liechtenstein, Vaduz - Wien.In all, 123 works will be on show - a mix of portraits, landscapes, historic scenes, kitchen still lifes and hunting scenes. Works from Nationalmuseums own fine Flemish art collection will appear alongside works on loan from other museums and collections.

Rubens often used mythological and historical motifs. He was inspired by Titian, the Italian Renaissance master, and painted free copies of several Titian works. Both masters versions of Adam and Eve will appear side by side in the exhibition. Van Dyck collaborated extensively with Rubens in the early stages of his career but soon became a master in his own right with his own distinct style. Best known for his portraiture, he painted many religious works as well. The exhibition also features historic scenes by Jacob Jordaens, kitchen still lifes by Adriaen van Utrecht, and dramatic hunting scenes by Frans Snyders, Paul de Vos and Jan Fyt.

Nationalmuseum is publishing a detailed catalogue in Swedish with a summary in English, containing images and descriptions of all the works in the exhibition.

The exhibition focuses on the huge success enjoyed by Flemish painters in the 17th century. A distinctive style, featuring vivid and colourful motifs, appeared in portraits, landscapes, hunting scenes and still lifes. Art trading flourished, and paintings were exported to all parts of Europe. As a result of this high demand, artists chose to specialize, and close working relationships developed. Rubens, for instance, collaborated with Jan Brueghel, Frans Snyders and Anthonis van Dyck on various details in his paintings.

Many Flemish works reached Sweden in the 17th century as a result of close trading links. Queen Kristina was very interested in Flemish art, and in the 18th century Carl Gustaf Tessin purchased works for the Swedish royal collection. Many influential families from the Netherlands emigrated to Sweden to escape religious persecution, bringing their art collections with them. A number of the works that arrived in Sweden in the 17th and 18th centuries are now part of Nationalmuseums collection.

Visit the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm at : http://www.nationalmuseum.se/

The Zimmerli Art Museum shows Pop Art and After:Prints & Popular Culture

Posted: 20 Apr 2012 06:53 PM PDT

artwork: Mel Ramos - ' Five Flavor Frida ' 2006 - Lithograph; edition of 199 & 50 AP - 25 1/4 x 37 1/4 inches  

Brunswick, NJ - Since Andy Warhol's Campbell Soup can images first appeared in the 1960s, Pop Art has remained a pervasive force in contemporary art. Numerous artists have created bold, colorful pictures inspired by every day reality and the American Dream: advertising, comics, food, mass-produced consumer goods, the media, political turmoil, and sexy nudes. On exhibition through 14 December, 2008 at the Zimmerli Art Museum.

The Orange County Museum of Art Surveys The Art of Peter Saul

Posted: 20 Apr 2012 06:43 PM PDT

artwork: Peter Saul - Cold Sweat, 1999 - Acrylic on canvas - Private collection - Courtesy David Nolan Gallery, NY

NEWPORT BEACH, CA - Long considered the quintessential "bad boy" of postwar American art, Peter Saul (born 1934) is also among the most innovative and influential artists of his generation. The Orange County Museum of Art presents the most comprehensive overview of Peter Saul's career. On view through 21 September, 2008.

The Jewish Museum Vienna Shows "Bigger Than Life: 100 Years of Hollywood ~ A Jewish Experience"

Posted: 20 Apr 2012 06:42 PM PDT

artwork: "Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in front of Sid Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, 1953" (Photo Fest Archives, New York). On view at the Jewish Museum, Vienna in "Bigger Than Life: 100 Years of Hollywood: A Jewish Experience" until April 15th 2012.

Vienna.- The Jewish Museum Vienna is proud to present "Bigger Than Life: 100 Years of Hollywood: A Jewish Experience" on view through April 15th 2012. There can be few places in the twentieth century whose star has risen so steeply and whose name evokes so many expectations as Hollywood. It all began with a group of young central and eastern European Jews who came to the USA to seek a better future. They included Adolph Zukor (Paramount), William Fox, Louis B. Mayer (MGM), Carl Laemmle (Universal) and the Warner Brothers. They arrived in New York on overcrowded immigrant ships at the end of the nineteenth century and two decades later they "invented" Hollywood: the studio system, the stars, and the happy ending. How did they manage this cultural revolution? How did they succeed not only in establishing a whole industry but also in reinventing the American myth?


"Bigger than Life" traces one of the most fascinating stories in twentieth century culture. Milestones in the history of the cinema are set in the context of the European Jewish experience: the first two minutes of sound in film from 'The Jazz Singer' (Warner Bros.) are a dialogue between a Jewish mother and her returning son. "Bigger than Life" shows how Hollywood regarded the arrival of Austrian and German refugees in the 1930s, the Golden Era, and incorporated them in its pictures. It analyzes the initially hesitant anti-Nazi propaganda and the various attempts made by Hollywood and its producers of the decades to communicate the horror of the Holocaust. "Bigger than Life" takes visitors behind the scenes of the twentieth century. It features excerpts from film, huge and hitherto unseen film posters from the silent movie era, and surprising exhibits including a cigar box owned by the chain-smoking head of Paramount Adolph Zukor, a chair from Rick's Café Américan from Casablanca, and costume and set designs for Gone with the Wind, the first Hollywood blockbuster.

artwork: Charlie Chaplin in the film "The Immigrant", 1917. -  (Photo Fest Archives, New York). On view at the Jewish Museum, Vienna in "Bigger Than Life: 100 Years of Hollywood: A Jewish Experience" until April 15th 2012.

artwork: "Inglourious Basterds", 2009 Publicity poster. © Universal Pictures Courtesy Photo Fest Archives, NY. At the Jewish Museum, Vienna in "Bigger Than Life: 100 Years of Hollywood: A Jewish Experience" The great Vienna- born producer Eric Pleskow, president of the Viennale, has lent the museum three of his fourteen Oscars, which he won for films as diverse as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), Rocky (1976), and Annie Hall (1977). At the end of the exhibition is the baseball bat used by Bear Jew in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, which the museum has acquired, a "fictional Jewish weapon" that symbolizes a new approach by Hollywood to the Shoah.

In the Middle Ages, Vienna was home to a thriving Jewish community, one of the largest and most important in Europe. Famous Rabbis taught and worked here, making Vienna into an influential center of Jewish knowledge. This lively and creative environment was forced to an abrupt and violent end in 1420-21, with the expulsion and murder of the Viennese Jews. The ruins of the then-destroyed synagogue, excavated under the Judenplatz in 1995, bear witness to the life and destruction of that medieval community.

In 2000, the Museum at Judenplatz was opened as a branch of the Jewish Museum Vienna. On the square itself, the city unveiled the solemn Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial: a reinforced concrete cube resembling a library with its volumes turned inside out, designed by British artist Rachel Whiteread.

Work started on the refurbishing of the Jewish Museum Vienna in Palais Eskeles, in Dorotheergasse 11, at the end of January 2011. In nine months not only the infrastructure has been modernized - from the installation of new elevators to the complete replacement of the air conditioning and building engineering system—but visible improvements for visitors have also been made. The façade has been completely restored and the foyer returned to its original state. There is now a large welcome area with a central ticket and information office and new Museumscafé Felber. Bookshop Singer is in its old place but has been completely modernized and offers an even greater selection. The new and larger event room is now on the second floor. Finally, the internationally renowned artist Brigitte Kowanz has designed a distinctive light installation for the façade. The permanent exhibitions are distributed over three exhibition areas. In the Visible Storage the collections are displayed and set in a historical context, with the places where the objects originated, the synagogues, and the collectors themselves like Max Berger or Martin Schlaff. The Atelier will not only be a workshop but also an exhibition area. The rituals in Jewish life are illustrated by both museum exhibits and everyday objects. In the audio guide two young people explain to visitors, young and old alike, the rituals and customs in Jewish life, from birth to death. Visit the museum's website at ... http://www.jmw.at

A Retrospective Of Artwork By Sylvester Stallone In Galerie Gmurzynska, St. Moritz

Posted: 20 Apr 2012 06:40 PM PDT

artwork: US Actor Sylvester Stallone poses in front of one of his artworks entitled Sylvester Stallone. 35 Years of Painting, at the Gmurzynska Gallery in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The retrospective which shows 30 pieces painted by Stallone opens to the public from 18 February to 15 March.

ST. MORITZ, SWITZERLAND .- From February19th until March 15th 2011, artworks by Sylvester Stallone will be exhibited at Galerie Gmurzynska, St. Moritz. Stallone's exhibition at Galerie Gmurzynska is a retrospective of his work. The pictures will document different periods of the creative work. About 30 pictures of the action star will be presented, including various self-portraits. Stallone's pictures are as action-packed as his movies: colorful, expressive and abstract. Referring to Automatism and abstract Expressionism, his paintings merge to a new, very personal expressive style. Thereby the Hollywood star uses the Expressionism concept of presenting art in a spontaneous manner without caring about conventional shapes. On exhibition Until 15 March, 2011.

The Crocker Art Museum Presents First Major Retrospective of Sculptor Clayton Bailey

Posted: 20 Apr 2012 06:36 PM PDT

artwork: Clayton Bailey - "Pitcherbot Chasing Cups", 2006 - Aluminum and found kitchen wares - 24" × 18" × 28". Courtesy of the Artist. On view at the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento in

Sacramento, CA.– The Crocker Art Museum is pleased to present the first career-spanning retrospective of the work of contemporary sculptor Clayton Bailey in the new exhibition "Clayton Bailey's World of Wonders." This exhibition features 180 works and ephemera encompassing Bailey's 50-year career, and is now on view.A ceramist, sculptor, and self-proclaimed "mad scientist," Bailey aims to surprise and delight with his art. This exhibition presents the full range of his inspired eccentricity in clay and metal, including his signature "exploding pots," disarming robot sculptures, and ray guns inspired by science fiction and fashioned from discarded aluminum. Also included are the artist's pseudo-scientific discoveries made under the name of his alter-ego Dr. George Gladstone.


The Prado Museum opens Exhibition of Armour & Paintings of the Spanish Court

Posted: 20 Apr 2012 06:34 PM PDT

artwork: "Muhlberg Armour of Emperor Charles V" by Desiderius Helmschmid during the media presentation of the exhibit "The Art of Power.  The Royal Armoury and court portraiture" at Madrid's Prado Museum. "The Art of Power. The Royal Armoury and court portraiture" comprises works on loan by the Royal Armoury in Madrid as well as a selection of works from the Prado displayed for the first time.

MADRID.- 35 paintings will be seen alongside 31 full suits of armour and pieces of armour loaned from the Royal Armoury in Madrid, considered the finest collection in the world along with that of the imperial collection in Vienna. Together, they will narrate the evolution and impact of the court portrait in the period from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Particularly noteworthy is the juxtaposition of Titian's portrait of Charles V at Mühlberg and the impressive suit of equestrian armour belonging to the Emperor: a masterpiece of the art made by Desiderius Helmschmid, one of the leading armourers of the 16th century. On exhibition through 23 May, 2010.

Based on the exhibition held at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, last year, "The Art of Power" to be held at the Prado offers a more complete presentation of the subject. It focuses on the meaning and symbolism of armour and its representation in painting. From the viewpoint of an exhibition, this is an unprecedented subject that has only previously been analysed as a subsidiary issue in a few studies on the history of the portrait.

The Royal Armoury, Madrid
The Royal Armoury in Madrid was founded at the height of the Spanish crown's international splendour and prestige. Largely created by the Emperor Charles V (1500-1558) and his son Philip II (1556-1598), it houses the personal arms and armour of the Spanish monarchs as well as military trophies and diplomatic and family gifts. These objects became key vehicles in the transmission of an ideology of power, while they also functioned as witnesses to the historical reality of Spain and Europe in the Renaissance and Baroque periods up the end of this chapter in Spanish history, which concludes with the 18th-century Bourbons.

The Armoury's collection includes items dating from as early as the 13th century. In its entirety, it responds to the wish of Philip II (as expressed in his will) and that of his successors to tie the sovereign's personal possessions to the Crown so that they were not subject to testamentary divisions.

The exhibition takes the form of an introductory section and four monographic ones, entitled "The Court Portrait and the Armouries of Charles and Philip II", "The Absence of Portraits in Armour in the second half of the 16th century and their Revival under Philip III prior to his Accession", "The Royal Armoury in 17th-century Court Painting", and "The Bourbon Armed Portrait: the French and Spanish Tradition". Overall, the exhibition offers a broad overview of the issues pertainingto the relationship between armour and painting. Along with the 35 paintings and 27 pieces of armour that constitute the core of the exhibition, visitors can also see a tapestry, medals and sculptures that further explain the connections between the two principal groups.

The exhibition opens with an introductory room that aims to explain the importance of the royal collections of armour and painting at the Renaissance and Baroque courts as well as ideological and thematic connections. Notable exhibits in this room include the Parade Helm of Charles V with the symbol of the Golden Fleece, an object that emphasises the monarch's position as Grand Master of that prestigious knightly Order, and the Burgonet of Charles V, symbolising the victory of Christianity over Islam. These objects are seen alongside paintings by Velázquez, Rubens and Teniers. Also on display are documents containing orders given to the Royal Armoury allowing Velázquez and Rubens access in order to copy details of arms and armour.

artwork: Armadura "La labor de las flores" montada como el retrato de Pimentel, Desiderius Helmschmid. Acero repujado, grabado y dorado. Augsburgo, ca. 1550. Madrid, Patrimonio Nacional, Real Armería. Don Juan Francisco Pimentel, X Conde de Benavente,  Diego Velázquez. Oil on canvas, 109 x 88 cm. 1648. Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado.

The exhibition is then structured into four different sections:

1. The Court Portrait and the Armouries of Charles V and Philip II
The first section analyses the influence of the armouries of Charles V and Philip II (prior to his accession) on the court portrait. It will introduce the visitor to the rise and splendour of the armed portrait, a genre that was closely associated with the triumphant image of the Spanish monarchs as victors in war and during their majestic and opulent trips to Italy and Germany. Suits of armour such as the one worn by Charles V at the Battle of Mühlberg (made in 1544 by Desiderius Helmschmid), together with Titian's impressive portrait of the Emperor, or the Burgundian Cross worn by Philip II at the Battle of Saint Quentin (made by Wolfgang Grosschedel) and its inclusion in Anthonis Mor's portrait, indicate the symbolic importance of these objects.

2. The Absence of Portraits in Armour in the second half of the 16th century and their Revival under Philip III prior to his Accession
The second section of the exhibition looks at Philip II's new use of the armed portrait with respect to its earlier manifestations. The king either favoured the classical image "alla romana" with its heroic connotations, or the use of court dress, except in compositions relating to the Battle of Lepanto. These concepts are illustrated through objects such as the Parade Armour of Philip II, a suit of ceremonial armour that is exhibited next to Leone Leoni's sculpture, and the Helmet of Ali Baja, a trophy from the Battle of Lepanto, shown alongside Titian's painting that commemorates that victory.

Royal armour was not commissioned for much of Philip II's reign, but there was a revival of this art form arising from the uncertainty surrounding Philip III's survival as the last possible heir in the dynastic succession. This revival saw the creation of a series of portraits in armour associated with Philip taking the oath as Prince of Asturias, for example, the portraits by Pantoja de la Cruz and Justus Tiel, which are displayed next to child armour made by Lucio Marliani and Pompeo della Cessa.

The tradition was continued during the reign of Philip IV in works such as the Portrait of Philip IV with two Servants by Gaspar de Crayer, in which the monarch is depicted in the ceremonial armour sent to him in 1626 by Isabel Clara Eugenia.

artwork: Willem de Pannemaker, Netherlandish, active 1535-78; after designs by Pieter Coecke van Aelst, Flemish, 1502-1550, and Jan Cornelisz Vermeyen, Netherlandish, c. 1500 - c. 1559. Review of the Troops at Barcelona, from the series "The Conquest of Tunis", Brussels, Brabant, c. 1554, gold, silver, silk, and wool tapestry, 532 x 715 cm.  © Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid

3. The Royal Armoury in 17th-century Court Painting
The third section, entitled "The Royal Armoury in 17th-century Court Painting", shows the different phases in the relationship between the collection of the Royal Armoury in Madrid and the court portrait, ranging from its close links with the image of royal power to its use as a mere repository of motifs applicable to different types of painting from the second third of the 17th century onwards. During that period armour and the way it had been used by Charles V and Philip II to convey symbolic notions of power continued to be a source of inspiration for a number of court portraits (such as Philip II on Horseback by Rubens, and Charles II in Armour by Carreño de Miranda). At this period, however, we see the holdings of the Armoury being used as accessories in portraits of nobles such as the Count of Benavente by Velázquez, that of the 3rd Marquis of Santa Cruz at the Relief of Genoa by Pereda (a recently restored canvas), and the image of the Count Duke of Olivares seen in The Recapture of Bahía in Brazil by Maíno. The sitters in these compositions appear wearing armour from the "Felicísimo Viaje" and with the ceremonial sword of the Catholic Kings.

4. The Bourbon Portrait in Armour: the French and Spanish Tradition
The final section of the exhibition looks at the ascent to the throne of Philip V, a monarch who combined the French taste for the portrait in armour with the Spanish Habsburg tradition. The most telling example of this fusion is the anonymous portrait of the new monarch as a young man wearing Philip II's armour that had once been depicted by Titian. This section also includes portraits of Ferdinand VI in part-armour by Jean Ranc, and that of Charles III by Mengs, which is the last example of a portrait of a Spanish monarch in armour and the final work in the exhibition.

Visit The Prado Museum in Madrid at : http://www.museodelprado.es/

Figurative Paintings From the La Caixa Foundation Collection on View

Posted: 20 Apr 2012 06:33 PM PDT

artwork: A. R. Penck dedicates a triptych to Jean-Michel Basquiat, with great influence from the graffiti he saw in NYC. Photo: EFE/Alberto Estévez

BARCELONA.- The La Caixa Foundation has cleaned the dust from its contemporary art collection, which was started in 1985, to show at CaixaForum in Barcelona the revitalization the painting experienced in the 1980s from the hand of artists such as Miquel Barceló and Ferran García Sevilla. The exhibition "Figurations" comprises 12 large works of art, owned by the private entity, many of which had never before been seen in Barcelona or only in the exhibition "26 Painters, 13 Critics: Panorama of Young Spanish Painting" that was organized in 1982. For "Figurations", which will remain on view through September 27, the most expressionist was selected, and not only from Spanish artists: Anselm Kiefer, with his Dionysius the Aeropagite - Hierarchy of Angels (1984-1986) Italian Enzo Cucchi, with a remembrance of Arthur Rimbaud in exile, and American Julian Schnabel, with The Quixote Meets Corleone (1983), are some of them.

Art 42 Basel's Art Unlimited ~ Large-Scale Art Projects Announced

Posted: 20 Apr 2012 06:32 PM PDT

artwork: Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla - "Forecast", 2010 - C-print mounted on aluminium, 70 x 105 cm., Edition of 5 Courtesy of Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris

BASEL.-
This year's Art Unlimited features 62 projects. The artists showing at this exhibition of ambitious contemporary art represent a cross-section of leading figures from the international art scene, with works by artists of five different decades. Many pieces have been created especially for Art Unlimited. In the 17,000-square-meter exhibition hall, Art Unlimited offers artists and galleries a platform for works that exceed the possibilities of the conventional gallery booth, showcasing outsize sculptures, video projections, installations, wall paintings, photographic series, and performance art.

Royal Collection Presents Exhibition of 42 Paintings of Dutch 17th-Century Art

Posted: 20 Apr 2012 06:30 PM PDT

artwork: Aelbert Cuyp - "The Passage Boat", 1650's - Photo: Royal Collection (c) 2010, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

LONDON.-
This exhibition of 42 paintings draws on the Royal Collection's rich holdings of Dutch 17th-century art and landscapes, including works by Jacob van Ruisdael, Aelbert Cuyp, Jan van der Heyden, Anthony van Dyck and Meyndert Hobbema. By the 17th century, landscape painting was well established as a distinct art form and one in which Netherlandish artists excelled. The fine detail and meticulous finish of Dutch pictures appealed to British taste, and 34 of the works in the exhibition were acquired by the future George IV between 1809 and 1820. On view from April 15 through October 9, 2011.

The ability of Dutch artists to depict mood and emotion through landscape and the subject-matter drawn from everyday life influenced the great British painters John Constable and JMW Turner. Constable admired the 'acres of sky expressed' in Ruisdael's Evening Landscape: A Windmill by a Stream, and on seeing a seascape by Willem van de Velde the Younger, Turner remarked, 'Ah! That made me a painter'.

At the conclusion of the Eighty Years War with Spain, the newly formed United Provinces of the north gained independence from the Spanish-controlled south. With a sense of national optimism came the rapid expansion of Dutch cities and towns. Civic pride manifested itself in the building of town halls and churches, and in paintings such as Jan van der Heyden's minutely observed The Town of Veere with the Groote Kerk. A programme of land reclamation saw the northern peninsular of the United Provinces grow by a third between 1590 and 1650. Outdoor Merrymaking by Jan Miense Molenaer shows a typical Dutch 'polder' (reclaimed field) surrounded by a drainage ditch, dyke and windmills.

artwork: Rembrandt van Rijn - "The shipbuilder and his wife", 1633 - Courtesy of the Royal Collection


artwork: Anthony van Dyck - 'Charles I with M. de St Antoine' 1633, Oil on canvas The Royal Collection, LondonBetween 1610 and 1630 a 'tonal' school of landscape painting emerged in Haarlem. It created a style that sought to convey through subtle transitions of colour the atmospheric effects of water, land and sky. In A River Landscape with Sailing Boats, Salomon van Ruysdael skilfully evokes the mood of dawn over the estuary through the blending of colour and texture. The thinly painted areas allow the grain of the wood to suggest ripples in the water.

The Royal Collection contains an outstanding group of works by Aelbert Cuyp, the most poetic of all Dutch landscape artists. Cuyp painted both recognisable views around Dordrecht and landscapes of his imagination, such as A Page with Two Horses. All are imbued with an extraordinary luminosity and spectrum of light. The earliest painting in the group, Cows in a Pasture beside a River, before Ruins, may have been intended as a celebration of the end of war and the anticipated benefits of peace.

As protectors of the land, sand dunes became a symbol of Dutch national pride. They are recurring motifs in landscape painting, either as the setting for seaside pastimes, as in Adriaen van de Velde's Figures on the Coast at Scheveningen, or as the temporary home of hunters and soldiers, as in Paulus Potter's Two Sportsmen outside an Inn. In A Hilly Landscape with a Hawking Party, Jan Wijnants exploits the decorative forms of twisting paths, broken fences and the rutted mud of the track. The artist may have been influenced by landscape decoration on contemporary Delftware or on Chinese porcelain imported by the Dutch East India Company.

As the foundation of trade and empire, the sea was the most important force in Dutch life. Ships were built in unprecedented quantities – around 40,000 vessels during the 17th century. The 'Great Fishery', as the herring trade was called, directly or indirectly employed one fifth of the population. The importance of the sea is reflected in the large number of marine artists active at this time. In The Royal Escape in a Breeze and A Calm: A States Yacht under sail Close to the Shore, Willem van de Velde the Younger skilfully depicts the changing effects of light and air, the direction of the sun and wind, and the behaviour of boats under different weather conditions.

While many Dutch painters found inspiration in their immediate surroundings, others, such as Karel du Jardin, Nicolaes Berchem and Cornelis van Poelenburgh, travelled to Italy in pursuit of the mountainous vistas and golden light. Since the early 16th century there had been a colony of northern artists in a small quarter of Rome immediately inside the Porta del Popolo. Figures before a Locanda by Johannes Lingelbach is set in the street where the artist lived and, rather than idealising the city, gives a realistic account of the squalor of low-life Rome. Karel du Jardin's A Herdsman with an Ox, an Ass, and Sheep in the Campagna places its subject against the backdrop of the Roman countryside suffused with southern light, but the painting's muted palette and careful observation remain typically Dutch. Aelbert Cuyp never ventured to the Mediterranean, but saw Italy through the works of his contemporaries. In his Evening Landscape with Figures and Sheep, the distinctly Dutch terrain is bathed in the warm colours and soft tones of Italy.

Visit the Royal Collection in London at : http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/

This Week in Review in Art Knowledge News

Posted: 20 Apr 2012 06:29 PM PDT

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