Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Episode 14: German Expressionism

As Mary and Kenna talk about in the two different, coinciding movements within German Expressionism. Though each group's approach varied, their influences were quite the same.
The Scream by Edvard Munch
Guitar Player by Picasso
Where do we come from... by Paul Gauguin

 These are examples of artist both groups of German Expressionists were looking to for their style. Mostly, they took away from the black outlines, the odd coloring, and the expressive use of brushstrokes. From artists like Gauguin (who has a great amount of work inspired by Tahiti and its people), they also found the sense of primitivism inspiring.

Street, Dresden 1908 by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
 Kirchner was one of the leaders of "The Bridge" movement--whose goal was to "build a bridge to a better future". The Bridge group often painted what they didn't like seeing in the world, such as children being ignored as the women of the street go about their business.
Crucifixion by Emil Nolde

The German Expressionists often pulled from religious reminders to try and bring a sense of morality back to society as well.

Composition 8 by Wassily Kandinsky

Kandinsky was a main painter in the Blue Rider movement, the second half of the German Expressionists. They were more likely to paint either what they saw as the solution, or the beauties they wished to preserve in the world. Kandinsky, especially, worked with the idea of "synesthesia"--  a condition where other senses come into play where they might not with others. For example, looking at a Kandinsky can immediately give a sense of music (rhythm, tone, key, etc). Many of his pieces often pulled from music, which is why many are named with musical terms.
Blue Horses by Franz Marc

Happy Yellow Cow by Marc

Fate of the Animals by Marc
 Marc had his own sense of color symbolism. While he more often painted in line with the Blue Rider movment, Fate of the Animals was seen, even by himself, as a prophesy of World War I, which would end the German Expressionist movement. Marc also often used animals, as he found them much purer than man.

If you have topics in art history you're just itching to hear more about, leave us a comment or email us at:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Episode 13: Nativities

We were lucky to get Dr. White on the podcast with us to talk about one of the oldest Christmas traditions: putting up the nativity scene!
Nativity at Night by Geertgen Tot Sint Jans

This Northern piece is a good example of an early Renaissance approach to the Nativity. Light becomes a huge focus in this one: the light emanating from the Christ child and the light in the background from the Angel's visit to the shepherds.
Adoration of the Magi by Fabriano

As an International Gothic piece, Fabriano really pulls from both Northern and Southern styles to build this piece. Then, of course, you have the Strozzi family in their illegal clothing, moonlighting as the Wisemen.

Nativity Guido Da Siena

Byzantine artists had to live by certain ideals set by the iconoclast, which prohibited realistic-looking figures because that was believed to be idolatrous. They still incorporate plenty of the typical symbols, including the star, the ox, and even a little bit of a continuing narrative. The patterned angel wings are a great touch too.  

Nativity Brian Kershisnik

 Brian Kershisnik is a local artist who has brought the Nativity into the 21st century with this piece! While he depicts the birth of Christ with some more realistic elements (see the midwives and Mary breastfeeding the newborn Christ), Kershisnik uses his unique style to give a sense of rejoicing among the angels that can be seen in centuries of work before this.

In closing, the Arts & Facts crew wishes everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa,  or just hope that you stay warm this December season!

If you have topics in art history you're just itching to hear more about, leave us a comment or email us at:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Episode Twelve: Lost Pieces of Art

As the title of this episode indicates these pieces are...well... not really around anymore. What we do have for you to look at here are either sketches and illustrations of what we believe it may have looked like according to written record, photographed replicas, and even other examples of the artists' work discussed.
Babylonian Gardens

The Babylonian Gardens were not only beautiful, according to legend, but being in modern-day Iraq, would have also been an amazing feat of architecture with its intricate irrigation system.

 The Colossus of Rhodes is another piece that only lives in written record. The image on the left is how it was thought by some historians to have been built, though the image on the right is probably more accurate in terms of the statue being more contained.

Primevera by Botticelli

While the pieces discussed in the podcast were lost and we can't even account for what their subject matter would have been prior to the fire, this is an example of the typical Botticelli mythical scene that would have been viewed by Savonarola as sinful and needing to be destroyed.

Sir Henry Irving
 Mary wasn't very forgiving of this actor who cut up his painting because he wasn't pleased with what he saw.

Stonebreakers by Courbet

This was the one piece that we still have record of thanks to photography! The original was destroyed in transport to safety during WWII.

The image on the left is a piece by Graham Sutherland, a painter who did a portrait of Winston Churchill that was destroyed by Churchill's wife. She didn't like the weakened state it showed him in, so today all we have left are paintings and photographs such as the one on the right, showing Churchill as the leader we remember him as.

What pieces of art do you wish we could have seen?

If you have topics in art history you're just itching to hear more about, leave us a comment or email us at:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Episode 011: Artists and their Muses

The Muse has always been attached to the artist in one form or another.
Three Graces

Just before the Renaissance, there were many ancient sculptures that were being discovered and inspiring artists. The Three Graces inspired the use of the female form as a representation to the muse.

Pastoral Symphony by Titian

This is an example of the Three Graces being implemented in painting.

Bathsheba at her Bath by Rembrandt

Although his wife made sure Rembrandt couldn't marry his mistress after her death, he consistently used her within his works of art.


Luncheon on the Grass
Street Singer

These are all pieces by Manet, who found himself using Victorine (his "muse") often in his art.

Make sure you catch the Elizabeth Gilbert Ted Talks presentation this episode was inspired by-- in fact, Elizabeth can be said to have been the muse for the podcast brought to you today!

If you have topics in art history you're just itching to hear more about, leave us a comment or email us at: