Category Archives: Arts & Literature

Cocktails With A Curator: Manet’s “Bullfight” (Video)

n this week’s episode of “Cocktails with a Curator,” Curator Aimee Ng explores the turbulent history behind Édouard Manet’s “Bullfight,” once part of a larger work that the artist exhibited at the Salon of 1864. The original canvas was derided and caricatured by critics, prompting Manet to cut it into pieces. The two surviving fragments were brought together for the first and only time during a 1999 exhibition at the Frick. This week’s complementary cocktail is, fittingly enough, the Toreador.

To view this painting in detail, please visit our website: https://www.frick.org/manetbullfight

Arts Podcast: ‘Lives Of Leonardo da Vinci’ (Getty)

In this episode, Getty curator Davide Gasparotto discusses early accounts of Leonardo’s life and how they shaped our understanding of the artist. Passages from these biographies were recently collected in the Getty Publications book Lives of Leonardo da Vinci.

“He was a great artistic personality, crucial for the development, in some way, of what we think as the modern science. But he was not alone.”

Leonardo da Vinci died more than 500 years ago, but he is still revered as a genius polymath who painted beguiling compositions like the Mona Lisa, avidly studied the natural sciences, and created designs and inventions in thousands of journal pages. Even during Leonardo’s lifetime, contemporaries marveled at the artist’s great skill and wide-ranging pursuits, but many also noted his perfectionism and difficulty completing projects. Since his death, the legends surrounding his life and personality have continued to grow. Today Leonardo’s story inspires novels and his work brings record-breaking prices, demonstrating his enduring relevance and mystique.

Read more at Getty Museum Store

Paintings: ‘The Son Of Man’ By Belgian Surrealist Rene Magritte In 1946 (Video)

The “Son of Man” is an iconic painting by Belgian Surrealist artist Rene Magritte.

Rene Magritte was an internationally acclaimed surrealist artist of all time, yet it was not until his 50s, when he was finally able to reach some form of fame and recognition for his work. Rene Magritte described his paintings saying, “My painting is visible images which conceal nothing; they evoke mystery and, indeed, when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question, ‘What does that mean?’ It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing, it is unknowable.”

Magritte was born in 1898, to a wealthy manufacturer father. In 1912, his mom was found drowned in the River Sambre. She had committed suicide, and the family was publicly humiliated because of it. From 1916 to 1918, Rene decided to study at the Academie des Beaux-Art, which was located in Brussels. He left the school, because he thought that it was a waste of time. All his paintings afterward reflect cubism, the movements which were introduced by Pablo Picass and was very popular at the time. In 1922 he married Georgette, and took a number of small jobs, including painting cabbage roses for a wallpaper company, in order to be able to pay the bills.

During the early period of his career, shortly following his marriage, Rene Magritte would spend the free time that he had, creating art forms and worked on a number of pieces; it was during this time period that he realized surrealism was the art form which he most enjoyed. The Menaced Assassin was one of his earliest pieces in 1926, which showcased the surrealist style which he had been working on; The Lost Jockey was another piece that he introduced in 1925, which also showcased this art form. Over the course of his career, he produced a number of variants on this piece, and changed the format to recreate what the viewer was experiencing.

Travel & Architecture: 14th Century Florence Baptistery Restoration

Four sides of the internal walls of Florence Baptistery have been restored, with the remaining four to go by the end of 2021. “Here come all those who wish to see admirable things” is the English translation of the words set in the marble inlay of the floor of Florence’s baptistery, as visitors enter through the Gates of Paradise.

These worthy items include the fourteenth-century mosaics depicting prophets, bishops and cherubs, which are enjoying renewed vigour after the restoration of four of the eight sides of Florence’s oldest monument. The internal walls of the baptistery began to be restored towards the end of 2017 following a restoration campaign on the external walls and roof.

Many discoveries emerged from the diagnostics, the first of their kind to be conducted on the monument, including the original technique used in the parietal mosaics; the presence of a pigmented wax on the green Prato marble, used to cover the white limestone that had formed due to water coming in through the roof, now removed to reveal the stone’s natural hue; and traces of gold leaf on one of the capitals of the matroneum, which could form evidence that the capitals were all originally covered in gold leaf.

In the first couple of decades of the fourteenth century, having completed the colossal feat of the mosaics inside the baptistery’s dome, the decision was made to extend the technique to the parietal sides, something that wasn’t part of the original plans.

It was a solution that allowed the mosaics to be superimposed over the marble covering and solve the issue of the monument’s static nature. Made-to-measure hollow terracotta tiles were used, cut and fixed to the marble on the baptistery’s walls with central iron linchpins driven back and welded in a straight line.

“A hurried sinopia was then conducted on the tiles and later the mosaic with a direct method and over days, which can still be identified and interpreted today,” explained Beatrice Agostini, planner and head of the restoration campaign of Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore. “Even the mixture used to apply the mosaic tiles is absolutely unique. Ordinary mortar wasn’t used. Instead it was more of a glue, and it’s the decline of this compound that has caused the most problems in this restoration.”

Art: ‘Rembrandt – Master Of The Dutch Golden Age’

Arguably the greatest master of the Dutch Golden Age, Rembrandt is famed for several types of works: his monumental history paintings, his self-portraits and, as beautifully exemplified by the transcendent Abraham and the Angels, his intimate biblical scenes.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was a Dutch draughtsman, painter, and printmaker. An innovative and prolific master in three media, he is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history.

The Dutch Golden Age was a period in the history of the Netherlands, roughly spanning the era from 1581 to 1672, in which Dutch trade, science, and art and the Dutch military were among the most acclaimed in the world. The first section is characterized by the Eighty Years’ War, which ended in 1648.

Cocktails With A Curator: Boucher’s “Four Seasons”

In this week’s episode of “Cocktails with a Curator,” take a closer look at the extraordinary flickers of paint in the colorful canvases of François Boucher’s Four Seasons series with Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator Xavier F. Salomon. Acquired by Henry Clay Frick late in life, the four paintings were commissioned by Boucher’s great patron Madame de Pompadour—the longtime mistress of King Louis XV—to be placed over doors, hence their unusual shape. The complementary cocktail this week is the Time Regained.

To view these paintings in detail, please visit our website: https://www.frick.org/fourseasons

Art: ‘Masterpieces From Buckingham Palace – A Curator’s Tour’ (Video)

Join exhibition curators Desmond Shawe-Taylor and Isabella Manning as they tour the highlights of the exhibition ‘Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace’. With an introduction from Director of the Royal Collection Tim Knox.

The exhibition brings together some of the most important paintings in the Royal Collection from the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace. Usually on public view during the annual Summer Opening of the Palace, the paintings will be shown in The Queen’s Gallery while Reservicing works are carried out to protect the historic building for future generations. The Picture Gallery was originally designed by the architect John Nash for George IV to display his collection of Dutch, Flemish and Italian Old Master paintings. Artists represented in the exhibition include Titian, Guercino, Guido Reni, Vermeer, Rembrandt, van Dyck, Rubens, Jan Steen, Claude and Canaletto.

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The Arts: ‘Louvre Museum’ In Paris Revives As Visitors Drop 72% In 2020 (Video)

After six months of cumulative closure since the beginning of the health crisis and only a reopening for a few short months between two confinements this summer, the #Louvre​ lost 72% of attendance by 2020. But despite the absence of visitors, the heart of the museum has not completely stopped beating. The Louvre is even taking advantage of this period to carry out #renovations​.

Art: French Impressionist Berthe Morisot’s ‘Young Girl With A Basket’ (Video)

Berthe Marie Pauline Morisot was a French painter and a member of the circle of painters in Paris who became known as the Impressionists. In 1864, Morisot exhibited for the first time in the highly esteemed Salon de Paris.

Art Views: French Painter & Illustrator Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (Video)

Henri Marie Raymond de ToulouseLautrec-Monfa (24 November 1864 – 9 September 1901) was a French painter, printmaker, draughtsman, caricaturist and illustrator whose immersion in the colorful and theatrical life of Paris in the late 19th century allowed him to produce a collection of enticing, elegant, and provocative …