Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Episode 106: Christian Dior: Fashion Designer

Christian Dior
This week Jo and Alisha will delve into the world of fashion for the first time on Arts & Facts and talk about Christian Dior.

Dior was born in Granville, France in January 1905. His father wanted his son to go into politics but Christian was interested in the arts. He opened a successful art gallery with a business partner which closed during the Great Depression.

During World War II, one of Christian's sisters fought in the Resistance and was eventually caught and sent to a concentration camp. She was eventually released and Christian created his first perfume in her honor, Miss Dior.

While Paris was occupied during WWII Christian got a lot of experience in fashion design creating clothes for Nazi officers and their wives. Not the most glamorous way to become a fashion designer, but he did learn a lot.

The House of Dior was founded December 16, 1946. His first collection was shown in 1947.

Bar Suit from the New Look Collection, 1947 & example of his full skirt design
The House of Dior is known for it's fabulous evening gowns. Wouldn't it be fantastic to have a place to wear such a creation in this day and age?

Junon Evening Dress, Autumn/Winter 1949-50

Dior's first accessories 1949



In 1955 Yves Saint Laurent, who was only nineteen at that time, came to work with Dior. He apparently made a huge impression because two years later Dior told Saint Laurent's mother he had chosen her son to succeed him. This was rather bizarre at the time because Dior was only 52 years old, and showed no signs of ill health. Later that year on October 24, 1957, Dior suffered a fatal heart attack.

Yves Saint Laurent after Dior's funeral 
We hope you enjoyed this episode on Christian Dior. If you enjoyed learning more about fashion on Arts & Facts please let us know in the comments and tell us which designers we should talk about in the future.

Next Wednesday will be another Short but Sweet! Have a great week!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Short But Sweet: Episode 13: Hindu Art

Shiva with three faces
In Hinduism there are four goals in life while on earth and a person should aspire to all four. These four goals are: Dharma (righteous living), Artha (wealth earned through the pursuit of a profession), Kama (human and sexual love), Moksha (spiritual salvation).
Hindu temples are dedicated to a deity and aimed at helping the devotee toward his or her spiritual salvation, but the other three goals of life are often represented as well, mainly in sculpture. When a viewer understands these goals they will better understand the many sensuous and seemingly secular themes that can be found on the walls of Indian temples.

Unlike Christianity, Islam, Buddhism or many other religions, Hinduism had no single founder or prophet. Parts of Hinduism can be traced to the sacred literature of the Aryans called the Vedas, which are sacred Sanskrit hymns of praise dedicated to the gods. Other parts of Hinduism came from faith in the power of the mother goddess, a belief prevalent among indigenous peoples. How Hinduism is understood in the present day emerged at about the beginning of the Christian era.

Shiva the Lord of the Dance

This modern form of Hinduism emphasizes the supremacy of the god Vishnu, the god Shiva and the goddess Shakti.

In Hinduism there are many gods, this is called polytheism and can be confusing to people who believe in one god, or monotheism. Hindu’s view their gods as different facets of one diamond.


Shakti, also known as Durga

In Hindu art the viewer will notice deities often portrayed with many arms, this multiplicity emphasizes the power of the deity and the ability to accomplish many astonishing acts of power at one time. If two arms is good, six arms is great. Demons are often depicted with many heads, this is done to indicate their supreme power. When deities are shown with more than one head this is generally an attempt to show the different aspects of their character. For example, if you see the god Shiva portrayed with three heads, the head in the center is his “essential” character while the other two heads could depict his fierce and blissful characteristics.

In Hindu art, just like any religious art, the more you understand of the religion, the more you will appreciate and understand the art.

Lord Rama with Arrows
We apologize for not having the Kandinsky episode up, illness in the ranks prevented us from recording it. We hope you enjoy this SBS on Hindu Art. Join us next week for or first episode delving into fashion! Jo and Alisha will be talking about Christian Dior.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Episode 105: Victorian Fairy Painting

Fairy painting started in Victorian England and is uniquely British. It was heavily influenced by Shakespeare, especially Midsummer's Night Dream and The Tempest but was also influenced by books such as The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser and The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope.

Cultural issues, the difficulties of the Industrial Revolution, poverty and the fast changes in society were overwhelming for the general populous. People found their happy place in Fairy Paintings.

Fuseli, Fairy Mab,  c. 1815

Fuseli, Titania Awakening, 1785

William Blake, Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing, c.1786

 Fuseli and Blake can be considered the prototype of the Fairy genre.

Richard Dadd, Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke, 1855-64, Tate Britain
Richard Dadd is probably the most well know Fairy painter of the Victorian Age, but he was unknown in his lifetime, having spent most of his life in Bethlem Psychiatric Hospital.

Joseph Noel Paton, The Reconciliation of Oberon and Titania, 1847

Joseph Noel Paton was the most well known Fairy painter of the Victorian era.

Turner, Queen Mab's Cave, 1846, Tate Britain

Even artists who were well respected for other genre's of painting, like JMW Turner, dabbled in Fairy Painting.

Edward Robert Hughes, Midsummer's Eve, 1908

John Anster Fitzgerald, The Captive Robin, 1864

John Anster Fitzgerald, Fairies looking through a Gothic Arch, C. 1864

John Atkinson Grimshaw, Spirit of the Night, 1879
Rackhum, A Fairy, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, 1906

Rackham, The Fairies of the Serpentine, 1906

The beginning of World War I brought the popularity of Fairy painting to an end, but Arthur Rackham created amazing fairy illustrations.

Here's a bonus painting for you! I love the rabbit.

We hope you enjoyed this episode. Next week Carrie and Carolyne will be talking about Kandinsky!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Episode 104: Deconstruction Art

Deconstructionism, by it's simplest definition, is the process of taking concepts apart and putting them back together again sideways or inside-out. It began in France in the late 1980's and is often associated with the philosopher Jacques Derrida. He was very interested in fragmentation and taking things apart, to use objects in a way that they were not typically used.

Bernard Tschumi, Parc de la Villette, 1984-87
Parc de la Villette, Dragon Slide
Daniel Libeskind, Zhang ZhiDong and Modern Industrial Museum
Peter Eiseman, Wexner Center For the Arts
 Eiseman, City of Culture of Galicia

Zaha Hadid, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, 2012
Dancing House, Prague, Czech Republic

Lou Ruvo Brain Institute, Las Vegas, Nevada

Los Carpinteros, Cama,
Los Carpinteros, Free Basket

We hope you enjoyed this episode on Deconstruction Art! Next week Julia & Alisha will be talking about Victorian Fairy painting! See you next Wednesday!