OMG! Chinese!

New Year’s Eve 2019 Media Corporation of China gala concert. Amazing, wonders Russian blogger Alex Exler (exler.ru)  in his post, and I quote, imprecisely translated,  “How is it possible to set such a large-scale spectacle, where a huge number of people not only move synchronously (music usually helps here), but also gets to the right point at any given time, and very precisely.”

I have found a plausible explanation in one of the comments to the post. Roughly translated: The choreography of movement here is rather simple: at each given moment of time each Chinese should know exactly who are the other Chinese he should run after, and beside which Chinese he should stop. And only a few Chinese should know exactly where to run and where to stop.

But then again, they aren’t simply synchronously run and stop en masse. They perform en masse!

Prado 200

img-interiors-museo-pradoOn 19 November 1819 Ferdinand VII of Spain inaugurated the Museo Real de Pinturas. Two centuries later the present-day Museo Nacional del Prado is commemorating its Bicentenary.

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Francisco Goya Portrait of Ferdinand VII of Spain in his robes of state (1815). Museo del Prado

The Prado Museum Art Collections

The works housed at the Prado Museum (link to the collection) are displayed on three floors, and illustrate the history of the cultural politics of the Spanish court.
Therefore, there are paintings by court painters and great artists of the past, such as the Venetian painter Titian,who was the official portrait painter of Charles V, who loved the Flemish painters, as well.

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Titian. Danae Receiving the Golden Rain. 1553. Museo del Prado

We owe to Philip II, instead, the world’s greatest collection of paintings by Hieronymus Bosch; whereas Philip IVallowed Velazquez to express himself to the best of his talent, and bought works of the Italian Renaissance for this art collection.

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Hieronymus Bosch. Fantasía moral (Visio tondali). Museo del Madrid

Thanks to Philip V paintings by French painters enriched the collection; whereas the court of Charles IV was dominated by the personality of Francisco Goya, on display at the Prado Museum with almost 130 works.

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Francisco Goya. The Clothed Maja. Museo del Prado

A large section of the Prado Museum is characterized by religious paintings, not only because the Church has played a dominant role in Spain over centuries, but also because in 1872 paintings coming from the collection of the Museo de la Trinidad, full of medieval works coming from all over Spain and painted by artists who hadn’t work for the sovereigns, entered the museum.
That’s why you’ll find works by El Greco, who worked especially in Toledo.

As for Spanish, Flemish and Dutch art you can’t miss: The Triumph of Death by BrueghelArtemis by Rembrandt; the three paintings of mythological subject by Rubens (Perseus and Andromeda; The judgement of Paris; The three Graces)Las Meninas by Velazquez. (The Art Post Blog).

 

Stages Of Life — Degrés Des âges De L’homme

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Stages of Life. 1785-1798.

The source of this post references Les Collections -Le Musée de l’Image | ville d’Épinal and RMN Grand Palais for images. 

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Stages of Life.  1800.

It is fascinating to see how clothes and accessories have changed over the years. Baby walkers are present in all the paintings whereas toys are varied: dolls, butterfly nets, drums, puppets, hoops.

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Stages of Life. 1805.

Not too surprising  that in most of the pictures men are dressed in military uniforms. Boys often attired as little military man as well.

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Stages of Life. 1817.

Angels are ever present on prints ranging from XVIII to the first half of the XIX century, but nearly disappear around 1850s.

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Stages of Life. 1822.

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Stages of Life. 1826.

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Stages of Life.  1840-1852.

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Stages of Life. 1854.

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Stages of Life.  1858.

This fabulous selection of prints with a brief overview I found on this Russian site  А МОЖЕТ БЫТЬ, ВСЕ БЫЛО СОВЕРШЕННО ИНАЧЕ…

The logo of the site may be interpreted as And, perhaps, everything was completely different… To those who reads Russian and interested in, yes, French history, the site is worth a visit. As it often turns out, if not entirely EVERYTHING, still SOMETHING most definitely was completely different.

Happy New Year!

Meet The Artist: Vladimir Stakheev

Стахеев.PNGVladimir Stakheev, born in 1963, is a Russian painter from Moscow, member of the Union of Creative Artists of Russia.
He restored frescoes and wall paintings in ancient temples, worked in mixed technology, combining pencil, pen, brush, needle (scratching the top layer of paint), airbrush, and different materials: watercolor, ink, gouache, tempera.

He collaborated with various publishing houses — artistic design of books, newspapers, magazines, illustrated  V. Bianchi, N. Zadornov, S. King, D.R.R. Tolkien.

At the same time — surprise or not — he is the author of several famous graphic series in the style of HARD KITCH.

Here is his FUNNY CATS series:  airbrush, pen, brush, pencil, acrylic, watercolor.

 

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Hard kitch, all right. I like cute kitties as much as millions of others. His, in my opinion, combine an amazing tenderness and elegance of composition with an absolute ironic desperation of content.

Stakheev’s illustrations of The Lord of the Rings: Tolkien

 

 And some of his other works:S7

 

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Meet The Artist: Vida Gábor

vida gaborThe paintings of Hungarian artist Vida Gábor’ provide a view into a world that disappeared during the course of the twentieth century.  The cultural heritage of Old Europe encased in dimly lit interiors. His touching and often humorous depictions of his native Budapest, with its ageing citizens often in crowded shops or studios surrounded by precious objects, combine a sense of humor and nostalgia that is perfectly matched by his self-taught technique more akin to the nineteenth century than the late twentieth.vida gabor 7

Vida Gábor was born on January 24th, 1937 in Budapest. His mother was an opera singer and his father an architect. When he was 10 year old, his parents noticed that Vida was able to play on his flute just about any classical melody after hearing it just once. He was celebrated as a wunderkind and admitted to the “Ferenc Liszt Music Academy”. There he was a student of Professor Ferenc Hochstrasser.
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In 1950 he began to paint auto-didactic pictures with water and oil paints. Gábor came from a well educated background.  A child prodigy in music, particularly in flute, he was educated at the Ferenc Liszt Music Academy studying under Ferenc Hochstrasser. In 1956, he began working as a flute soloist in the Philharmonic orchestra for the Budapest Opera and continued for 25 years. Although, he has always been painting and sculpting throughout his life, he decided to dedicate himself completely to painting in 1977.

Being a perfectionist, he decided to achieve the highest standards in this fine art and to create his own unique style.  His artistic ability has been influenced by his many talents and great technical skills. For example among his hobbies, he is a goldsmith, restorer of antique clocks, and an avid astronomer who builds his own telescopes among other things. vida gabor 5
Vida Gabor is considered mostly as self taught. However he did not only learn existing painting processes and techniques, but he also invented many of his own. In fact, he had to design and make his own set of fine brushes and tools to satisfy his high standards. The technique that Gabor uses in his painting is referred to as Scumbling. Gábor’s technique involves the application of a thin layer of color placed over a darker under paint. The artist also has to apply numerous translucent layers on top of each other. It is a very complicated process and it shares some elements with Glazing. vida gabor 1
Glazing is a technique of mixing color pigment with a mixture of oil, turpentine and varnish. The color floats in this medium and is therefore transparent. Each layer of paint has to dry first before adding the next one. The result is a very crisp, translucent enamel-like effect.
vida gabor 4The artist usually spends several months to finish just one painting. He prefers to paint at night to fully focus on his composition. In fact, most of his paintings depict night scenes. The viewer will notice a source of light such as lamp or candle often used in his themes evoking emotions of warmth and magic. vida gabor 3 The characters of his paintings are colorful folks in the tradition of the nineteenth century with no reference to anything that threatens the happy illusion based in Budapest’s proud past. His characters are very realistic and yet whimsical depicting a variety of scenes. He takes the viewer deep into his own world which combines reality with fantasy.

Meet The Artist: Igor Samsonov

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Igor Samsonov. Salomea.

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Igor Samsonov. Opinio. 

These amazing paintings, which could well be considered as works of classical masters, are the works of Igor Samsonov, an artist from St. Petersburg.

Born in Voronezh in 1963, he began to draw at the age of ten. In 1980 he graduated with honors from the School of Art and, in 1996, from the I.E. Repin State Academic Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in St. Petersburg. After graduating from the Academy, a thoughtful artist painfully searched for his style, that, by his own admission, he found only in 2003.

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A great influence on the artist had a period in the history of late Gothic art. Mixing modern artistic techniques and that of the Renaissance give originality to the works of Igor Samsonov. The rich imagination of the artist,  the refined embodiment of images and the exquisite color scheme make the artist’s works unique.

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Lolita

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Igor Samsonov. Birdman.

The original style makes his paintings easily recognizable, and although the influence of Dutch artists is felt in each painting, the works of Samsonov are quite self-sufficient depicting a unique world.

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Igor Samsonov. Praftor Domus.

Samsonov’s  most favorite works are paintings by Piero della Francesca, an Italian artist of the Early Renaissance, whose works are distinguished by a special harmony of images, balance, verified perspective and a notable solemnity and nobility.

samsonov-05Participation in numerous exhibitions in Russia, Germany, France, Italy, China, America confirms his undeniable talent. Igor Samsonov is considered one of the most talented contemporary artists of the famous school of St. Petersburg.

The original style makes his paintings easily recognizable, and although the influence of Dutch artists is felt in each painting, the works of Samsonov are quite self-sufficient depicting a unique world.
Samsonov’s  most favorite works are paintings by Piero della Francesca, an Italian artist of the Early Renaissance, whose works are distinguished by a special harmony of images, balance, verified perspective and a notable solemnity and nobility.

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Igor Samsonov. Music in the Garden.

Damien Hurst Conceives Fetuses

hurstPHOTO: STRINGER / AFP

Health authorities at a hospital in Qatar are braced for an outcry after unveiling 14 giant bronze sculptures by British artist Damien Hirst that graphically chart the voyage from conception to birth.

The vast open-air installation greets patients arriving at the $8bn (£6bn) Sidra medicine hospital and is the centrepiece of a modern art collection that officially opened this week in Doha. Named The Miraculous Journey, it shows a foetus growing in the womb and culminates with a 14-metre (46ft) newborn.

The sculptures were originally unveiled in October 2013 but then covered from public view until recent weeks following an outcry on social media. The official reason was to protect them from building work at the hospital.

Hirst acknowledged that the set might prove controversial when they were first unveiled in 2013. “You know culturally, it’s the first naked sculpture in the Middle East… It’s very brave,” he told Doha News.

But Layla Ibrahim Bacha, an art specialist at the government-supported Qatar Foundation, which owns most of the artwork, said this month: “We are not expecting everyone to like them. We are not expecting everyone to understand them. This is why they are there to actually create this element of debate, this element of thinking.

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The finishing touches are put to the sculptures, which were originally unveiled in 2013. Photograph: -/AFP/Getty Images

“We believe it reflects very much the mission of Sidra, taking care of the healthcare of woman and babies,” said Bacha. “I think it’s perfect for the location, as you can see a lot of people are taking pictures, I think it’s becoming iconic.”

Not a great admirer of Hurst’s art in general, I’m impressed nonetheless.

Meet The Artist: Marcus Stone

Ready For A Morning Ride

 

Marcus Stone was a British painter and illustrator best known for his realistic depictions of garden parties, literary scenes, and sentimental portraits.

Notably, Stone also produced illustrations for books by Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope. Born on July 4, 1840 in London, United Kingdom, he was the son of the renowned painter Frank Stone  ARA. Taught painting techniques and trained by his father, a precocious talent, Stone had already begun exhibiting his paintings at the Royal Academy by the time he was 18 years old.

A few years later he illustrated, with much success, books by Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and other writers who were friends of his family.

On the Road from Waterloo to Paris, 1863

Although his works were presented to the public in 1858, only in 1863 Stone gained fame when his painting “On the Road from Waterloo to Paris” brought him wide recognition. In this painting and in his further work, to everyone’s admiration, he succeeds in depicting female figures and historical scenes.

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Claudio, Deceived by Don John, Accuses Hero. 1861

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An Interrupted Duel (fragment)

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Le Roi Est Mort Vive le Roi!

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Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn Observed By Queen Katherine

 

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Married For Love

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The Soldier’s Return 

The artist died on March 24, 1921 in London, United Kingdom. Today, his works are held in the collections of the Manchester Art Gallery, the Tate Gallery in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the de Young Museum in San Francisco, among others.

 

Marcus Stone on WikiArt

 

 

Cross-eyed Leonardo

LeonardoNot long ago, I wrote a post about the diagnoses of poor Mona Lisa, Feed Lisa Some Stake, whom the researchers could not leave alone and saddled Gioconda with multitude of health problems. Recently, scientists turned their attention to the master himself, Leonardo da Vinci.Leonardo1

Professor Christopher W. Tyler, PhD, DSc of City University of London, published an article Evidence That Leonardo da Vinci Had Strabismus in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.

Key Points

Question  Did Leonardo da Vinci, the preeminent artist-scientist of the Italian Renaissance, have a form of strabismus that could have facilitated his artistic work?

Findings  Examination of 6 likely portraits and self-portraits of da Vinci in which the direction of gaze of each eye is identifiable shows that most paintings exhibit a consistent exotropic strabismus angle of −10.3°, supported by a similar Hirschberg angle in the recently identified da Vinci painting Salvator Mundi.

Meaning  The presence of exotropia, particularly if it was intermittent, may have contributed to da Vinci’s exceptional ability to capture space on the flat canvas.

Abstract

Importance  Strabismus is a binocular vision disorder characterized by the partial or complete inability to maintain eye alignment on the object that is the target of fixation, usually accompanied by suppression of the deviating eye and consequent 2-dimensional monocular vision. This cue has been used to infer the presence of strabismus in a substantial number of famous artists.

Objective  To provide evidence that Leonardo da Vinci had strabismus.

The researcher analysed eyes in six pieces of art thought to be based on da Vinci: David (Andrea del Verrocchio); Young Warrior (Andrea del Verrocchio); Salvator Mundi (da Vinci); Young John the Baptist (da Vinci); Vitruvian Man (da Vinci).

Professor Tyler fitted circles and ellipses to the pupils, irises, and eyelid apertures on the artwork and then measured the relative positions of these features.

He found that there was evidence of strabismus in all six pieces of work.Leonardo

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In this diagram, the degrees of optical axial angles of the left and right eyes of all the studied characters of paintings and sculptures are shown, and the difference between them just shows a slightly stronger deviation of the left in almost all cases. And this, according to Tyler, can serve as evidence of the divergent squint of da Vinci. Well, maybe…

Indeed, such an eye position significantly improves stereoscopic vision and the ability to see spatial depth. “The first thing to consider is whether the objects have the necessary contrasts corresponding to their [three-dimensional] position,” Leonardo wrote in his Treatise on Painting.  Leonardo was one of the first artists to incorporate three-dimensionality into his work. It seems very likely, is it not, that the cause of this brilliant innovation is physiological.