Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Almost done with my first angel painting. I added in fibers, gold leaf, and iridescent details in the wings. And a close-up to see more detail...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Albert Bloch - Winter in the Dead Wood

Albert Bloch
American, 1882-1961

Winter in the Dead Wood, 1934-1938
Oil on Canvas

After returning to the United States from Germany in 1922, Albert Bloch became the head professor of drawing and painting at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. He painted Winter in the Dead Wood early in his 25 year tenure there. Rendered with a stark palette, this bleak winter landscape suggests haunting desolation and Bloch's own pessimistic world view. The scene depicted within its thick, encrusted surface evokes not only bitter cold, but also memory and loss. Bloch titled the painting after a poem by the Austrian poet Karl Kraus (1874-1936) written in protest of World War I. Lacking explicit references to war, the painting may, nonetheless, reflect obliquely Bloch's horror at the rise of Hitler as well as the despondent mood of Depression-era America.

The original work can be viewed at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.
Photo by me, text references by the museum.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, David with the Head of Goliath

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called II Guercino
Italian (Bolognese), 1591-1666

David with the Head of Goliath, ca.1618

This David and Goliath is an early work by Guercino painted in fresco, a technique in which paint is applied to fresh plaster which, as it dries, bonds with the pigment. A good portion of the tree on the right, however, has been painted on top of the dry plaster, using pigments bound with glue or egg. Fresco painting was normally used for large scale, architectural decorations rather than individual, smaller scale works such as this. It is possible that Guercino did this painting as an exercise in mastering the fresco technique. It depicts the Biblical story of David, who against all odds, killed the Philistine giant Goliath and beheaded  him with the giant's own sword.

The original work can be viewed at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.
Photo by me, text references by the museum.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bernado Strozzi, Saint Cecilia

 Bernado Strozzi
1581/82 to 1644

Saint Cecilia, 1620-1625

The classical columns allude to Saint Cecilia's aristorcratic Roman family who secretly practiced Christianity. Her martyrdom is symbolized by the palm frond in her right hand. Cecilia is flanked by an organ and a violin, her attributes as the patron saint of music.

This work can be seen at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.
Photo by me, text references from the museum.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Vincent van Gogh, Olive Orchard

Vincent van Gogh
Dutch, 1853-1890

Olive Orchard, 1889
Oil on canvas

This is a late work by van Gogh created at a time when his style was at its most agitated and expressive. It is one of a series of olive orchards painted while the artist was a patient at the asylum at Saint Remy de Provence, where he had committed himself after a series of mental breakdowns.
Van Gogh refers to the painting in a letter of July 1889 as an orchard of olive trees with gray leaves, "their violet shadows laying on the sunny sand". These shadows admirably convey the scorching heat of the Provencal sun, and the repetitive, rectangular brush strokes establish curving patterns of energy that heighten the emotional effect.

This work can be seen at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.
Photo by me, text references taken from the museum.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Paul Raphael Meltsner, Paul, Marcella and Van Gogh

Paul Raphael Meltsner
American, 1905-1966

Paul, Marcella and Van Gogh ca. 1937
Oil on canvas

This self-portrait by New Yorker Paul Meltsner features not only likenesses of his stately model, Marcella, and charming wirehaired terrier, Van Gogh, but also a view of one of the artist's industrial scenes, which brought him considerable fame in the 1930's. Holding a hammer instead of a typical brush and palette, Meltsner expresses identification with workers like the one included in the painting behind him. The composition's smooth and volumetric forms, which appear like products of an assembly line, tie Meltsner more subtly to proletarianism, a celebration of workers' culture that attracted many American artists throughout the period. Meltsner's style translated easily and successfully into the widely accessible medium of printmaking, a pursuit that further strengthened his affiliation with 1930s proletarianism.

Original work can be seen at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.
Photo taken by me, references taken from the museum.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Stuart Davis, Hotel de France

Stuart Davis
American, 1892-1964

Hotel de France, 1928
Oil on canvas

Hotel de France is the first painting Stuart Davis completed during a 14 month stay in Paris beginning in 1928. The bright palette, jaunty composition and picturesque street scene convey the American artist's delight in the city's unique sites, particularly in the area of Montparnasse, where he settled. Vertically oriented, the composition calls attention to the white hotel facade, red pissotiere (public urinal), green advertising kiosk and black lamppost. Signs of the influence of French Cubism are evident in the interplay between two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional space as well as in the inclusion of prominent textured forms. The visual rhythms of Davis' work approximate the syncopation of American jazz, which enjoyed international popularity for its rebellious and youthful spirit.

This work is part of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Resurrection Day

 Resurrected Jesus and Mary Magdalene, early 1900s Bible Card illustration, publisher unknown.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Thomas Hart Benton

 Thomas Hart Benton
American, 1889-1939

Persephone, 1938-1939
Tempera with oil glazes on canvas, mounted on panel

Benton’s Persephone appears as a sunbathing farm girl. Hades is shown as a lustful, aging farmer with a rickety cart for his chariot. His facial features appear similar to Benton’s own, although he used a local model.

Note: It is rumored to be Benton and his wife in this painting.

This painting is displayed at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Scream

April Fools! I feel kinda bad desecrating the work of Edvard Munch like this, but what the heck.