Friday, December 9, 2011

Restoration of Le Brun's Versailles Ceiling Paintings

I recently joined this online newspaper called Historical Fiction. Basically it's a community of history enthusiasts and writers who post stories and articles they have found. There are quite a few interesting reads and my pile of articles to be read is growing at a steady pace! Here's one about the restoration of the ceiling paintings at Versailles. I am jealous of restorers, I am pretty sure if I ever got that close to a painting I'd be bumrushed by a security guard! They get to touch these works and be part of their history. Imagine!

The MET's Christmas Tree

Happy Friday!
I know it's been a while. I came across this article about the MET's Christmas tree and I thought I would repost the article here. The photos are beautiful and the use of Baroque figurines is thrilling! Wish I could see it in person.

I love Hyperallergic! They always have insightful and fun articles about the art world, some of which I try to repost here.

Enjoy the article and I hope everyone has a restful and enjoyable holiday!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

"Spiral Jetty" up for grabs!

I've been following this story for a few weeks, if not more, and more news has surfaced which seems to have complicated the problem. Here are the two articles I read today concerning the lease issues concerning Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty.



And for fun, a video excerpt from Robert Smithson's film about the Spiral Jetty from YouTube:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Magic of London's V&A and National Gallery.

Hello All,

It has been a while since my last post and I must say quite a bit has happened. I am preparing myself for the application process to graduate school and have just returned from London, England. I know, London! I've never traveled and this was my very first plane ride! Exciting, to say the least!

The museums in London, as I am sure you are all well aware, are free...completely and totally free. I couldn't ask for anything more. I know these galleries have an extensive collection but their specific contents was not something I have a great knowledge of.  Needless to say, I found myself pleasantly surprised.

My trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum was fantastic. After making my way through the gallery, in a bit of a daze, I happened across a Bernini...I know, a Bernini! I flipped, literally. As I made my way through the sculpture atrium, I came across the work from behind, not really attuned to what it was.

I thought to myself " this is way Baroque is so brilliant. Look at the movement and weightlessness of the fabric." And then it happened. I turned the corner, face to face with the front of the sculpture and the name literally leaped off the plaque....BERNINI! I had lost my mom in the midst of the tourist crowd and was, therefore, alone, freaking out. It was a Bernini, a real Bernini. 

To be honest, it feels like a dream. I know I stood in front of it for quite a while as people came and went, but I don't feel like I actually saw it. The beauty of the V&A is you're allowed to take pictures, so I do have some physical evidence of my Bernini experience! Here are some of the many photos I took of the work:

 My trip to the National Gallery was a bit more surreal than the V&A. You're thinking how? Well, I was prepared to see Turner and Constable and others but not Caravaggio. I made my way through the maze of galleries looking for English favourites and excited to see their greatness in person. I turned into one gallery and there it was Supper at Emmaus.

Caravaggio's Supper at Emmaus, 1600, Oil on Canvas. Image from Wikipedia.

Again, my heart racing (I should probably have this checked out!) and I glided towards the work. I clutched the strap of my bag as I stood before it in utter amazement. I had to contain myself as I almost cried standing so close the painting. You can never prepare yourself for the actual work. You see it a great number of times in text books and online but in person it's completely different. It's as though its alive and real. The work is so much more dramatic in person. The extreme contrast between light and dark, positive and negative space is so much more jarring and fantastic than when you see it on a page of a book. You can see brushstrokes and the dabbing and mixture of paint on the canvas allowing one to feel the presence of the artist. I was standing before an actual Caravaggio. I could smell the oil paint and the quickness of some of his strokes. I was in awe, to say the least.

Turner and Constable was just icing on the cake. Rain, Steam, and Speed always ends up on a slide carousel but to be honest I've never grown sick of it.

J.M.W Turner's Rain, Steam, and Speed. 1844. Oil on Canvas. Image from Wikipedia.
 It's massive in person and so colourful and dramatic. I fell in love all over again with Turner. There were about 5 or 6 works, giving the artist half of the space in the gallery. On the other side was Constable's Hay Wain which, I suppose, is in stark contrast to the quick and ease of Turner's brushwork.

John Constable's The Hay Wain. 1821. Oil on Canvas. Image from
 Constable is so detailed and concise, varying his brushwork from minimal, barely visible strokes, to long, wide strokes. However, there is never a quickness in his work. You stand before it and know this took time, patience, and motivation. Turner, on the other hand, is quick. You can feel his concentration and rhythm when you look at the work. You can feel the artist quickly applying paint, in long, sweeping strokes. It was pure magic!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Caravaggio and the National Gallery in Ottawa

Happy Sunday to all.

I cannot believe I have not posted about this before. This June the National Gallery in Ottawa will be host to a show entitled "Caravaggio and his Followers in Rome." The show runs from June 17 to September 11 (happy birthday to me!!!) and will display ten of the artist's works as well as fifty by the Caravaggisiti. Among one of these works is Caravaggio's The Ecstasy of Saint Francis which is one of my very favourites.
The Ecstasy of Saint Francis, Caravaggio, c.1595

Curated by art historian, Sebastian Sch├╝tze, author of Caravaggio: The Complete Works and professor at the University of Vienna, has said that the show will include a work which is disputed to be by the hand of Caravaggio but refuses to name the work. Upon hearing of this my heart quickly skipped a beat as I quickly hoped and prayed for it to be The Taking of the Christ.

The Taking of the Christ, Caravaggio, 1602-1603

If Saint Francis and The Taking of the Christ are shown in the same room together I will be calling the National Gallery my home from June to September! I cannot contain my excitement!

Here's the article which, aside from the Caravaggio show, lists the gallery's other up and coming exhibitions.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Top 50 Art History Blogs on

I recently received an email stating that I am part of the Top 50 Art History Blogs from Not believing the email to be true, I followed the link and there I was! For the Love of Art!!

Here's the link to the top 50 Art History Blogs from Blogger. There are some really good art history blogs out there. Have fun reading.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Google's Art Project and the "aura"

It has been a while. I just realized that I have three followers, which is exciting, considering I thought no one visited this blog, never mind wanting to follow it. So hello to you and I hope you are having a lovely evening!

Have you visited the Google Art Project yet?
      A professor of one of my courses this semester brought it to the class' attention. I immediately ran home and tried it out. It is pretty amazing. You can visit all sorts of museums and view a wide range of works up close. I am a little disappointed that many of my favourite works are not up there and you can only zoom in on specific works. "Wandering" through the galleries is wonderful but if a work catches your eye you can't get close enough to it.

Here's a video of how Google went about creating this project:

How amazing would it be to get that close to a work? To wander through a gallery without other visitors?

I hope other galleries will join in. Its a fantastic tool for those with a bit of an interest in art to get close enough to see the details of a specific work. Maybe it will be the seeds of a love for art for those who do not wish to visit a museum.

     My professor posed a question that was quite interesting. Do you think this will replace the museum and the physical art piece?
     My reply would be no, not for me. It's great to be able to visit museums online and look at works close up, possibly closer than if you were actually in the museum (such is the case with the Mona Lisa, or so I am told). It brings to mind Walter Benjamin's theory of the "aura" and how photographic reproductions of works can never totally replace the experience of the work. Each art work contains its own "aura" that is lost in reproduction. I could not agree more. A couple of years ago I took a fantastic Bernini seminar course, in which the professor allowed us to experience learning art in a way that was only open to her graduate students. We attended a Bernini conference, which was a little piece of heaven on earth, as well as visiting the Ottawa National Gallery for the Bernini Portraits exhibition. It was amazing. As I have stated a great many of times, my love for Bernini is undying and fervent. Many of the portrait busts at the show were ones we had looked at, a great number of times, in class. You know they're great but you don't know how great until you stand before them. One such work was Bernini's Scipione Borghese. 

                                           Portrait Bust of Scipione Borghese, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Marble, 1632

Studying it, you understand he was a large man, therefore, the work is a large piece. You are taught that the work has a life-likeness to it and it seems as though the marble is about to speak. Nothing I had read prepared me to see the actual work. It is massive, solid, and shiny. The man has such presence and you feel as though you are in conversation with him. As though his thoughts are rendered in his eyes and his tongue is about to speak what he his thinking. He was, and is, a large man. The shininess of the work tells you he's large, as though he is sweating because of the extra weight. There's a feeling, an emotion that every art piece has and it is something that cannot be captured by photography or Google. You have to physically stand before the work and feel it (although don't touch it!). It is in this way that the Art Project can never replace visiting the museum. Something I am sure the countries featured, tourist sites and museums are quite glad to hear!

Until next time. Thanks for reading.