Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Episode 34: Arts in the Arts (Part II- Literature)

The relationship between the written word and pictures has been around for ages. There are artists inspired by literature and books that use images to help support their work. Many children's books are written and illustrated by the same person. Believe it or not, there was even a time adult novels commonly had illustrations. The Pre-Raphealite Brotherhood were an early group of fan artists (something that Harry Potter brought back with a fervor) and modern films are using the images made for Lord of the Rings to recreate The Shire and Middle Earth.

Frederic Dorr Steele was an early illustrator of the Sherlock Holmes novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. His deerstalker cap and pipe have become iconic with the world's favorite detective, regardless of the fact that the description is nowhere to be found in the novels.

Many series of books have been perpetuated because of the images associated with them. Alan Lee is the man responsible not only for creating illustrations for the Lord of the Rings series, but in Peter Jackson's visual vision when the films were made in the past decade. The movies were specifically attempting to mimic the majesty in his beautiful illustrations.

And then, of course, there's this book:

Listening to fans of hist other books, Scott Westerfeld did something innovative by using the illustrator (Keith Thompson) while he was writing, instead of creating images afterwards. Here are some of his great images, included in the series:

Marie has even started her own photographic-illustration project:

This is one example of a few where she is writing and creating the photographs. You can check out the story on her blog.

I can't imagine there is anyone who doesn't like good pictures in their books! Who are your favorite illustrators?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Christmas in July!

This week we are revisiting our Christmas episode discussing the variety of approaches with Nativity paintings from different eras.

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! (... or think cold thoughts this July!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Episode 33: Art in the Arts (part I- film)

As self-proclaimed nerds, you won't find the Arts & Facts crew missing out on the subtle references to important pieces of art within different movies and television. In fact, we get positively giddy when we see a Gaugin or Vermeer in the background on a set. Nothing is better, of course, than works that point straight to artists and their arts.

Several movies have come out in past several years that involve the topic of Art History.

Woody Allen's most recent film, Midnight in Paris, mixes past and present in a montage of famous artists that the main character, Gil, gets to meet. (Our favorite is "DALI!"... with the enthusiastic wave of his hand.)

The Da Vinci Code, originally a controversial novel and HIGHLY fictionalized story involving mystery, action, and the most famous pieces by the renaissance artist named in the title, became a hit film. The way Dan Brown (fictionally) played with interpretation gave an interesting look at how art can be viewed and discussed... even if it was fictional.

Did we mention that the story is fictional?

And of course we can't miss such films about specific artists like Girl with  Pearl Earring, and Pollock.


And in case you missed it on our facebook page, even the Looney Tunes had some fun with art:

(Can you name all the pieces of art that Bugs and that gang go through? First person to do so in a comment below will win a print from Marie!)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Whistler vs. Ruskin Revisited


In a landmark trial, James Abbot McNeill Whistler (painter) sued John Ruskin (writer and critic) for libel.

Below is the painting in question. Ruskin calls it paint that's been flung on a canvas (good thing he wasn't around to witness Jackson Pollock's work), saying it isn't worth the 200 guineas. Whistler says he's charging for a lifetime of experience. Listen on the right to see who won this trial.

Nocturne in Black and Gold  by Whistler

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

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' in Domino's!

Flippycat recreated Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' with domino's'. It's pretty amazing, the way the domino's splay out when they're knocked over really look like Van Gogh's swirly strokes! I can't even imagine the kind of patience creating something like this would take, considering how many times the domino's are accidentally knocked over!

Flippycat also recreated the "Mona Lisa" or rather the "Domona Lisa" in 2007

Thanks to everyone for sticking with us over the summer! We have some great podcasts coming up and we really hope you like them. Also, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and give us some feedback, we'd really like to hear what you have to say.