Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Episode 89: Winter Wonderlands

Happy Holidays everyone! For our holiday episode this year we all got together to talk about our favorite Winter Wonderland scenes and the artists who created them! This was a lot of fun to record, we hope you enjoy. (Listen all the way to the end to hear our impromptu rendition of Jingle Bells.)

We will be taking a break from recording and posting for the rest of December, but we will be back with a new episode on January 8th! If you are just lost without us, try catching up on missed episodes or listen to your favorites again!

Jo's Favorite:
Camille Pissarro, Road to Versailles at Louveciennes (The Snow Effect), 1872

Zach's Favorite:

Limbourg Brothers, Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, 1412-1416

Julia's Favorite:

Hendrick Avercamp, Winter Landscape with Skaters,1608
2.54 ft X 4.32 ft or 77.3cm X131.9cm
Alisha's Favorite:

Claude Monet, Snow Scene at Argenteuil, 1874-75
Carrie's Favorite:

Ivan Shishkin, In the Wild North, 1891
Lauren's Favorite:

Caspar David Friedrich, Winter Landscape with Church, 1811
We'll be back January 8th with a new episode! Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Episode 88: Greek and Roman Gods!

On this episode of Arts and Facts Jo and Alisha discuss the similarities and differences between Greek and Roman gods, and how they inspired art.

Aphrodite (Greek): the Goddess of love and beauty

Aphrodite (Venus de Milo) Between 130-100 BC Alexandros of Antioch

The arms of this sculpture were lost in its discovery and it is now permanently housed in the Louvre museum. It was very rare that a woman should be portrayed unclothed near that time period but it seems fitting in that she is Aphrodite and should be both sensual and alluring yet classical and innocent. Both aspects are achieved in this piece.

Venus (Roman): goddess of both physical and intellectual love

Venus (Birth of Venus) 1486 Sandro Botticelli
This painting of Venus was commissioned by the Medici family who were great patrons of the arts during which this was painted. Many different interpretations can be made of this piece, some say it is a sort of wedding painting, plato argued that there is a great link between physical and spiritual beauty within this piece. Here Venus is portrayed as an Italian Renaissance ideal: red-haired, pale-skinned, voluptuous. Botticelli has picked out highlights in her hair with gold leaf and has emphasized the femininity of her body (long neck, curviness). very classical looking, standing in contrapposto

Hermes (Greek): Messenger of Zeus and god of travelers, flocks, houses and communities. He is often portrayed carrying his heralds staff called a Kerykeion that ends  with two entwined snakes called a caduceus.

Hermes (lekythos) 480–470 b.c
Here Hermes is wearing his iconic winged shoes and Kerykeion.

Mercury (Roman): Similar to Hermes, also carries a Kerykeion. 
Mercury (the flying mercury) Giovanni da Bologna (1529-1608)
Giovanni da Bologna's famed Flying Mercury captures the Greek messenger of the gods speeding through the skies.  Mercury is depicted wearing a winged petasus on his head and winged sandals which give him speed in flight

Zeus (Greek): god of the skies, often shown holding one of his lightning bolts.  Brother of Zeus and Hades.

Zeus (George Washington), Horatio Greenough, 1840

Here, George Washington is symbolically portrayed as Zeus. He is holding the hilt of a sword out to the viewer representing him giving the power back to the American people.

 Jupiter (Roman): Pretty much Zeus with a Roman name


Jupiter (triumphator)

Athena (Greek): The goddess of wisdom, courage, civilization, justice, law, inspiration, just warfare, math, strength, strategy, arts and crafts and skill.

Minerva (Roman):  The goddess of music, poetry, commerce, crafts, weaving, magic, medicine, wisdom. She is often portrayed with the symbol which is an owl.

 22minervaStatue of Athena. Vatican Museum, Rome.

Hades (Greek): The god of the underworld, where souls went after they died. He is the brother of Zeus and Poseidon, all three the children of Jupiter.

Pluto (Roman): The roman god of the underworld.

Poseidon (Greek): The God of the Sea and horses. He is often shown carrying a trident. He is the brother of Zeus and Hades.

 Sousse neptune.jpg

Neptune (Roman): The Roman god of the sea. He was the brother of Jupiter and Pluto, comparable to Zeus and Hades.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Episode 87: Dale Chihuly

We’re coming at you today with a post on Dale Chihuly, glassblower extraordinaire!

Born in 1941, Dale earned a Fulbright scholarship, studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, and taught glassblowing for years. He’s a prolific artist and has pieces all over the world, receiving numerous accolades for his contribution to the artistic community.
These are some of the pieces we talked about in our podcast this week:

This was an early work by Dale, and features an interesting combination of weaving and glass. I’m thankful that Dale didn’t stop here but did more glassblowing, because compared to his later artwork, this one is nowhere near as amazing.

This is the ceiling to the Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s almost like a rainbow has been bolted into the ceiling!


 Two Opalescent Putti In Tree With Lovely Fairy-Wrens, 1999

This one is called “Blue and Purple Boat” and is at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Arizona. Looking at those colors one might think the image has been Photoshopped, but that’s one of the beautiful things about glassblowing- you can get gorgeous saturated colors.

Those kids need to start running for their lives! The “Palm House Blue Peacock Tower” looks kind of intimidating, but it again showcases those lovely blues.

We love the color blue, don’t we? These “Blue Herons” were at the New York Botanical Gardens in 2005. The shapes that can be created with glass are incredible- It’s hard to believe that these abstract shapes suggesting birds began life as a blob of molten glass!

Lastly, here’s the “Olympic Tower” in Salt Lake City, Utah. A permanent addition to Abravanel Hall, it’s a beautiful addition to the many sights and sounds of Salt Lake (and it’s not blue!).

Check out images of "Chihuly Over Venice" at http://rolfgross.dreamhosters.com/ChihulyWeb/Installations.html 

Dale Chihuly's official website is http://www.chihuly.com/

Next week Jo and Alisha will be talking about Greek vs. Roman gods.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Episode 86: Thanksgiving: Norman Rockwell

Happy Thanksgiving! We hope that everyone enjoys their day of turkey, football, and family. Today we have a special holiday episode in honor of Thanksgiving, and what better artist to talk about than Norman Rockwell.

In the United States, Thanksgiving takes place on the 4th Thursday in November and has been a tradition since 1863, when during the civil war President Abraham Lincoln declared that a day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens" be held.

The event that Americans commonly call the "First Thanksgiving" was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in 1621.

Today, Thanksgiving is about being together with family and friends, eating turkey and pumpkin pie and watching football!

Freedom from Want, 1941-43

Ye Glutton, 1923
This Rockwell illustration was on the cover of Life Magazine, Nov 22, 1923. It is located at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA.

Thanksgiving: Girl Praying, 19443
This painting shows us a girl in worn torn Europe during World War II, giving thanks for a portion of an American soldiers field rations.

Thanksgiving Mother and Son Peeling Potatoes, 1945
This was painted during WWII. A mother and her son sit next to each other peeling potatoes, it looks like they are chatting while they work and are happy to be spending time together.
We hope you enjoyed this episode and HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Next week Chloe and Zach will be introducing you to Dale Chihuly.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Episode 85: Spanish Baroque

Hola listeners! Today we bring you the last of our Baroque installments:

Si, you guessed it, el Barroco español!

This art period is characterized by its Caravaggio-esque lighting (mucho dark), and heavy religious symbolism often involving Catholic saints and martyrs.

José de Ribera, The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew, c1639. Museo del Prado, Madrid.

Feeling inspired yet? Take note of the upturned head, and the cross-like image of Bartholomew's body. Chock full of religious imagery!!

Ribera, Boy with Club Foot, 1642-43

Cute cute cute! The boy is the central focus of this image, so much so that he takes up almost the entire composition - the effects of humanism are in full swing ladies and gentlemen.

Francisco de Zurbarán,Saint Francis in Meditation, c1639, National Gallery

Take a moment to appreciate the clothing in this image, which alludes to the poverty that Saint Francis of Assisi put himself through in order to distance himself from worldly possessions and focus more on God and the salvation of others. He was a pretty rad dude.

Zubaran, Still Life with Lemons, Oranges, and Roses, 1635

Now, don't be fooled into thinking that this is merely your average, Joe-schmoe still-life. Oh no, this is again bursting with religious symbolism. The fruit is associated with Easter, the rose with the Virgin Mary, and the cup of water with baptism.

No Spanish Baroque discussion would be complete without a mention of that illustrious painting powerhouse, Velazquez!

Diego Velazquez, Las Meninas, 1656, Museo del Prado, Madrid

Isn't that dog adorable! The princess herself is pretty darn adorable as well, but I think most awesome of all is how much Velazquez felt the need to insert himself directly into his art, and this piece. Way to put yourself on a high pedastal man.

Velazquez, Water Carrier of Seville, 1619
This is quite an interesting piece. Notice the three stages of age - boy, older man, and really old man. There are also three different parallel water vessels. This can probably linked with the same riddle that the Sphinx asked of Oedipus - "What walks on 4 legs, then two, then three?" Hopefully this man didn't follow Oedipus' lead, but it makes for a good painting.

Finally some architecture, my favorite!

Cathedral of Saintiago de Compostela

Now there is some architecture! If French and Italian Baroque had a baby, it would look like this. Reknowned for its fanciful carving, this takes artistry to a whole new level. If only all of our buildings could look so beautiful!

Muchas gracias for listening and checking out our installment on the Spanish Baroque! Stay tuned next week for our Thanksgiving special on Norman Rockwell with Julia and Chloe.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Episode 84: 10 Architecturally Beautiful Museums

Hello blog listeners! Today we offer you our favorite architecturally beautiful museums. Obviously there are so many beautiful museums in the world that we did not choose to be part of this episode and we are not discounting them by any means, but for now here are 10 museums that we believe should be recognized for their architectural achievements, innovation and beauty.

NUMBER 1: Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum
Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum, Oscar Niemeyer assisted by Bruno Contarini


Located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and built in 1996 this museum reminds us of a UFO in shape and is surrounded by an enormous reflecting pool. It is fitting that this should be a contemporary art museum, it is very contemporary in style.

NUMBER 2: Milwaukee Museum of Art
Milwaukee Museum of Art, Eero Saarinen, David Kahler, and Santiago Calatrava

The War Memorial center designed by Eero Saarinen was completed in 1957 and was created to house a veterans memorial collection. It is shaped like a floating cross and Saarinen received a great amount of praise for his innovative design. The Quadrraci Pavillion was completed in 2011 and looks much like the sails of a ship.

NUMBER 3: Guggenheim Bilboa Spain
Guggenheim Bilboa, Spain. Frank Gehry

This Guggenheim Museum is located in Bilboa, Spain and is one of several belonging to the Soloman R. Guggenheim Foundation. The Guggenheim Bilboa was built to help the city regain its civil pride. After looking at the stucture for awhile it begins to take on shapes like a fish, a ship and a cruise liner.

NUMBER 4: Hanoi Museum

Hanoi Museum, Meinhard von Gerkan, Nikolaus Goetze, Klaus Lenz
Located in Vietnam, this stylistically modern museum has very simplistic elements which make it very aesthetically pleasing. The museum looks like an upside down pyramid which makes it very functional, as the largest galleries are on the top floor and can be lite very easily using natural light. Natural lighting is used throughout the structure and gives it a very authentic effect.

NUMBER 5: The Louvre Museum
Louvre Museum, Paris France
Interior of pyramid entrance

Unfortunatly know one really knows who designed the original Louvre palace, but it is a wonderus site to behold. In the heart of Paris, France the Louvre is perhaps the most iconic museum in the world and is home to countless art treasures. It was originally the seat of the French monarcy until 1682 when Louis XIV moved his court to Versailles. In 1789 it became the Louvre Museum.

NUMBER 6: Weisman Art Museum
Weisman Art Museum, Frank Gehry
Can you tell we like Frank Gehry? Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota this structure has every element of design that Gehry is known for. The building presents to faces, depending on which side it is viewed from.

NUMBER 7: The Royal Ontario Museum
The Royal Ontario Museum, Frank Gehry designed the "Crystal"

The modern addition added to the original structure was added in 2012 and designed by, yet again, Frank Gehry! It is known as "The Crystal" for very good reasons.

NUMBER 8: Dali Museum

The Dali Museum, Yann Weymouth
This museum combines all things rational and fantastical just as Dali's artwork did. Located in St. Petersburg, Florida this structure consists of a simple rectangle with free-form geodesic known as "the enigma" made of 1062 triangular pieces of glass.

NUMBER 9: National Museum of the American Indian
National Museum of the American Indian, Washington DC.

Another exterior view
Located in the National Mall in Washington, DC this structure embodies an Native American spirit. The structure was built with curvilinear lines meant to mimic nature. The entrance faces East, as is part of Native American culture and the dome opens to the sky, also an aspect of traditional Native American homes.

NUMBER 10: The Guggenheim New York City
Guggenheim, Frank Lloyd Wright
The Guggenheim museum is located in New York City and is an example of Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural genius. Sadly Wright passed away before its completion in 1959.

We hope you enjoyed this podcast! Please share with us your favorite museums and join us next Wednesday for the final episode in our mini series on Baroque art! Julia and Lauren will be talking about Spanish Baroque.