Pintrest Boards….1600s Style

Pintrest Boards….1600s Style

Developing collections of images is really nothing new, just maybe how to go about it is. After having recently become interested in The Gallery of the Louvre I decided to compile my own collection of historic encyclopedic paintings, or Pintrest boards of long ago, if you will. This collection type painting became popular in the 1600s. Sometimes called cabinet paintings, because they displayed a collection of things in a cabinet, or small room, like setting, these paintings are monumentally detailed works of art. I am finding them fascinating particularly  when related to the present day obsession with Pintrest and other sites that provide a format for a personal collection of images in essentially  a cabinet like setting. So look with me at these interesting paintings, and remember collecting an image before 1850 was not an easy task, you painted it, drew it or carved it or had someone do this for you and this accomplishment was known as art. Put down your iPhone long enough to think about and grasp this unfamiliar concept.


The Gallery of the Louvre, Samuel B Morse, The Terra Museum of American Art

I have decided to place Gallery of the Louvre first in my collection of cabinet paintings although it is, admittedly, the weakest of the paintings I have collected as examples for this post. I think it is important to remember the development of fine art has always been about studying the great art that came before and learning the techniques. An American in 1832,  I am unsure where Morse would have had an opportunity for study that would enable him to develop, an in depth understanding of the techniques of the great masters until he went to Europe on his “study abroad.” So naturally, without this crucial training his painting would be weak in comparison. Unfortunately, when Morse brought the painting home to America, he did not develop the “followers” he had hoped. None the less his cabinet painting, Gallery of the Louvre, is considered a key piece in the development of American art.

The Tribuna of the Uffizi
The Tribuna of the Uffizi
The Royal Collection © 2012,
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
In the summer of 1772 Queen Charlotte commissioned Johann Zoffany to paint an encyclopedic rendering of the Tribuna of the Uffizi. Unfortunatly, when completed Zoffany’s magnificent “Pintrest Board” was rejected by the Queen. Apparently there was a great flap about the inclusion of so many unknown figures in the front of the painting and the King and Queen found them offensive. Queen Charlotte could “not suffer the picture to be placed in any of her apartments” So after this five year laborious undertaking of the copies of the great masters paintings, lamps, statues, bronzes and minute details of the frames and the exact representation of the room, Zoffany fell from favor and never was allowed to paint for the court again. Really?
Use the magnifier and closely look at exactly what so offended Queen Charlotte.
(FYI: The Uffizi Gallery, located in Florence, Italy,  is one of the oldest and most treasured museums of the Western World. The art contained within it’s stone walls is magnificent beyond imagining. The Tribuna of the Uffizi is a cabinet painting of the Tribuna, a depiction of a  gallery within the Uffizi in 1772, most likely the art shown was rearranged by the artist, to show contrasts thus making the painting more interesting and complete. Recently, I spent a day at the Uffizi, and could have spent a year.)
The Academicians of the Royal Academy
The Academicians of the Royal Academy
The Royal Collection © 2012,
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

I have included Zoffany’s Academicians, which has hung next to Tribuna for two hundred years in the Royal Collection. Believed to have been conceived as a pair the two paintings show an interesting contrast and tell an interesting story. Tribuna displays a collection of the art…Academicians displays a collection of the artists. Interesting side by side because of  the contrast of light and dark, and the contrast of  the amount of detail in one, the more casual interpretation in the other. However, both reflect the tools of the artistic trade…notice in the foreground of Tribuna the tools needed to stretch a canvas are meticulously conceived…probably also insulting to Queen Charlotte.


towerofsleep:</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Willem van Haecht, The Cabinet of Cornelis Van der Geest, 1628<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Currently working on a paper about early-17th-century Flemish paintings of painting collections. Early modern tumblr, kind of.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />  

Willem van Haecht, The Cabinet of Cornelis Van der Geest, 1628
This Flemish cabinet painting is interesting in more than one way. Not only does it show the important art collection of Van der Geest, but it also shows his collection of important friends. I guess there is more than one way to keep track of followers.


The Royal Collection © 2007, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II; used with permission

 A Cabinet of Pictures, 1659 Jacob de Formentrou (Flemish, 17th century). The Royal Collection © 2007, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Probably first recorded in The Royal Collection during the reign of George III. The Queen seems to have the market cornered on these most magnificent of all the cabinet paintings. I wonder if she is on Pintrest…I have heard she has an iPhone.


File:Frans Francken (II), Kunst- und Raritätenkammer (1636).jpg

Chamber of Art and Curiosities
Franz Francken
Many times cabinet paintings of this type included not only an art collection but also other collected curiosities. Remember with only the painted image for reference, many unknown and unseen before images were interesting and educational. Such as this collection of shells and other sea creatures.

Ancient_Rome_PaniniAncient Rome, Giovanni Panini , Metropolitan Museum of Art

This painting depicts many of the most significant architectural sites of Ancient Rome. Even though really placed in the category of architectural paintings this is still an exquisite example of an encyclopedic painting.

Art, an interesting concept. Collecting art an even more interesting concept. Collecting an image without an iPhone, to most,  an unimaginable concept.

The Rug Studio, Overland Park, Ks…interpret Brady Legler’s art as rugs.

This week when I was in The Rug Studio they had just received their latest shipment of rugs…these unbelievable vibrant and beautiful works of art. They are all pieces exclusive to The Rug Studio and they are luscious.

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This is an excerpt from information Becky sent me about the artist.

Brady Legler’s color palette is often as bright and vibrant as any Impressionist painting. Splashes of electric turquoise vibrate against fiery reds. Slashes and spirals infuse the abstract paintings with a sense of movement. The overall effect is emotional and optimistic. People meeting Brady for the first time might think he is reserved, but the paintings tell a different story. “I like to work on big canvases because I like to see walls covered in color.”

His use of acrylic paint and non-traditional application methods give his work a sense of depth and texture. Layers appear on the canvas as paint is slathered on, then scraped away. “I see my paintings the same way I see people—in layers. Sometimes the layers have to be peeled away to see the true meaning.”

The artist, Brady Legler, is a student at the Parsons School of Design in New York and a native of Kansas City. His life, much like his art, is multi-faceted. He began his creative process designing jewelry. The jewelry is sold at high-end retailers throughout the United States and select boutiques.

The Rug Studio is part of the inter sanctum of the design world of Kansas City, a wonderful designer only showroom. I can take you by appointment, or I can bring anything they have to you.

The Gallery of the Louvre

The Gallery of the Louvre

Unknown-1I keep having the oddest little starts and stops with this discussion.  I am unsure why. I think maybe because there are several aspects to my subject and it is hard to pull them all together into a unit that makes sense to anybody but me. These random issues presented in a somewhat convoluted way are; the ubiquitous drawing and painting talked about throughout history, the captured images and the artists that made them and my iPhone. My iPhone, that amazing device, that I use to capture an image of everything that holds still and some things that don’t. My little invaluable implement that brings me images from everyone and everywhere.

When I realize I have six thousand images on my iphone from this last year alone, I am again aware that, any more,  everybody takes a picture of everything and sends it off to someone, or adds it to something, or uses it to tell a story, or in some way make a point, or view a topic to a better understanding. Odd how that all works now, and how complicated and difficult it once was to capture an image and share it.

I have in the last few months read several books, the story line of which was formed in the 1700s or 1800s and even earlier, and I am once again made aware that everyone used to paint…imagine. I am reminded that before the mid 1800s if you wanted to share an image or remember an image, you had to paint it or draw it or, I suppose, carve it…imagine.  Now, instead, practically everyone I know has an iPhone and they are all constantly capturing random images the easy way.

Thinking of some of the books I have recently read, the epic novels by authors such as  Wilbur Smith come to mind. He reminds me, that on every great journey of exploration an artist  went along to capture the images and validate the journey. A foreign and unusual thought for now, when you think about it. Yet, I wonder how was it that everyone seemed to know how to paint and draw, and in some ways everyone seemed to be expected to paint and draw not necessarily to express themselves but to capture an image. I spent some time this morning looking for the Saturday Night Live sketch of years ago when Woody Allen said something classic like, “It is the Renaissance, everybody paints.” which was hugely funny at the time, but really, when you see the art in Europe, and watch for the reference in the books you read, it does indeed seem like every one used to paint. Which brings to mind another soapbox…art in the schools…but that is for another day.

Not too long ago I finished reading The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, David McCullough’s book about the American migration to Europe to study the arts, more specifically, Art, Literature and Medicine, an 1800s version of “study abroad”, if you will. For some reason, I was particularly interested and intrigued by Samuel Morse’s decision, in 1831, to paint The Gallery of the Louvre. His plan was to capture thirty eight, primarily Renaissance and Baroque, images from the galleries of the Louvre and reproduce them in miniature on to one painting to take home to enlighten Americans about the great art of Europe. Having not to long ago been to the Louvre, even I, considered a manic by many, am having trouble understanding why anyone would decide this undertaking to be reasonable and then spend a year doing it. Determined to become a famous painter Morse was certain this encyclopedic painting, when he displayed it in America, this reproduction of these thirty eight significant, mostly Renaissance works, would cement his future as a painter. Unfortunately, the energetic and diverse people of the new world, were less interested in the works of the old masters and a  painting of the Louvre than they were in the telegraph whose invention idea Morse also brought home from his “study abroad”.  Eventually, Morse was forced to give up his dream of becoming a painter and had to settle for just being a genius inventor.

Once again I can’t seem to stay on track with my thread and I am wandering off to other areas. When really the point I was wanting to make ultimately was, I would really like to see Morse’s painting, The Gallery of the Louvre. I am charmed by his idea, and impressed with his dedication and drawn to this painting through the writing of David McCullough. I am ready with my iphone to text, tweet, email, and Facebook and blog, even if forbidden, a picture of this very fascinating painting to everyone I know and many I don’t, and see what I can do to help Samuel B. Morse become known by American school children as a painter, rather than an inventor, as he had wished.


FYI: The Gallery of the Louvre is owned by  The Terra Museum of American Art in Evanston, Illinois.The Louvre was purchased, in 1982 for the highest price ever paid at that time for an American painting, $3.25 million, by Daniel Terra, one of Ronald Reagan’s fund raisers and Ambassador-at-Large for Cultural Affairs. It is recognized today as a key work in the development of American Art.

Key to the Paintings shown in The Gallery of the Louvre. 1. Veronese, The Marriage at Cana 2. Murillo, The Virgin 3. Jouvenet, The Descent From the Cross and the Preparation for Burial 4. Tintoretto, Portrait of Himself 5. Poussin, The Deluge 6. Caravaggio, The Fortune Teller 7. Titian, The Crowning With Thorns 8. Van Dyck, Venus Entreating Vulcan 9. Lorrain, Cleopatra Disembarking at Tarsus 10. Murillo, The Holy Family 11. Teniers, The Knife Grinder 12. Rembrandt, Raphael Leaving Tobias 13. Poussin, Diogenes Throwing Away His Bowl 14. Titian, The Pilgrims at Emmaus 15. Huysmans, Landscape 16. Van Dyck, Portrait of a Lady and Her Daughter 17. Titian, Portrait of Francis I 18. Murillo, A Beggar Boy 19. Veronese, Christ Carrying the Cross 20. Correggio, Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine of Alexandria 21. Rubens, The Flight of Lot and His Family From Sodom, Conducted by Angels 22. Lorrain, A Seaport at Sunset 23. Titian, The Entombment 24. Da Vinci, The Portrait of Mona Lisa 25. Le Sueur, Jesus Bearing the Cross 26. Rosa, Landscape 27. Raphael, La Belle Jardiniére 28. Van Dyck, Portrait of a Man in Black 29. Guido, The Union of Design and Color 30. Rubens, Suzanne Fourment 31. Guido, The Repose of the Holy Family 32. Rembrandt, Head of an Old Man 33. Van Dyck, The Adulterous Woman Taken Before Our Savior 34. Vernet, A Marine View by Moonlight 35. Guido, Dejanira and the Centaur Nessus 36. Rubens, Thomysris, Queen of Nassagetae 37. Mignard, Virgin Mary and Child 38. Watteau, Embarkation From the Island of Cythera.

An undertaking beyond imagining.

Happy Birthday Edgar

Last year when I was in Paris, I was lucky enough to be at the Musee d’Orsay  the same time as the most beautiful collection of the work of Degas. Of all the lovely pieces the most memorable was a tiny sketch book of little ink drawings Degas had used when he wanted to catch a quick image of a figure.  It was the most amazing thing, the pages were filled with ink line drawings of  figures in motion.  I have seen many ink drawings in my day but I had never before seen a line drawing that was immediately recognizable. Yet looking at this little book, I would immediately have know the drawings were Degas. The beauty of his form was present in just a single stroke of ink.  Amazing.

This article from the Huffington Post today, (HuffPost Arts and Culture twitter feed)….is in honor of Edgar Degas’ birthday, originally published last year honoring the artist’s life and work.

Today is the birthday of Impressionist extraordinaire Edgar Degas. The dreamy painter who idealized the beauty of ballet would turn 179 if he were magically still alive today.

Degas was born on July 19th, 1834 in Paris, France. His love for painting developed at an early age, and by the age of 18, he had turned his bedroom into a makeshift studio. In 1853, the young artist became a copyist, but in line with his father’s requests, also enrolled in law school. He made little progress in his legal studies, and his admission to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris solidified his decision to abandon academia for the world of art. He traveled to Italy to marvel at masterpieces by Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian, and upon returing to France in the late 1850s, fell headfirst into his new career.

degas1Self-portrait (Degas au porte-fusain), 1855
Degas first exhibited at the Salon in 1865, during the time of his historical paintings and studies of horses. After a short stint in the National Guard during the Franco-Prussian War, he ventured to New Orleans, Louisiana, focusing more on works depicting his family members. Back in France in the 1870s, the artist became disillusioned with the inner-workings of the Salon and joined a group of young independent creatives who would later be known as the Impressionists. Although Degas abhorred the label, his association with the group that included Claude Monetand Camille Pissarro led to a betterment of his financial situation, allowing the painter to begin collecting works from the artists he revered.

Degas’ opposition to the plein air studies of the Impressionists set him in a class of his own, despite the persistent inclusion of the artist in the movement by others. Instead of landscapes, he focused more on indoor scenes of Parisian life, such as the inside of dance studios and crowded restaurants. He retained his love of classical techniques, using clouded brushstrokes and exaggerated shadows to create his signature off-center compositions. His color choice ranged from the dark palette of Dutch artists to the vivid choices of contemporary French painters, but his knack for leaving the viewer wanting with his seemingly unfinished creations persisted. Throughout his career, he moved from oil painting to pastel to sculpture to even photography, demonstrating the depth of his true artistic brilliance.

degas10The Dance Class (La Classe de Danse),1873–1876
Degas passed away on September 27th, 1917, at the age of 83. But his legacy lives on through his work, which is repeatedly shown in museums across the world. Images like “Dancers at the Bar” and sculptures like “The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer,” continue to be revered by art lovers regardless of their age, gender, or dance regimen.

So raise your glass to Edgar Degas’ birthday today, and thank the heavenly beings that he didn’t opt for a career in litigation! See a slideshow of his work below, and let us know your thoughts in the comments section:

Marcel Duchamp, Ernest Hemingway, Richard Mutt and Me

Marcel Duchamp, Ernest Hemingway, Richard Mutt and Me

It seems today this might just be true.  I have been thinking about writing a little informative blip about Marcel Duchamp. “Why,” everyone I know would ask…”Why, today would you care about Marcel Duchamp?” Well, rather than being accused of completely loosing it, and remembering things from the past that absolutely no one I know cares about, I guess I should explain what prompted this behavior and sudden interest in the Marcel Duchamp of Modern Art History 323.  I ran across this picture of what at first looked like Nude Descending A Staircase No.2 . The painting, you might remember, is from the controversial 1913 Armory Show in New York.  The same Armory Show that had America in a roar over this new artistic style, that flaunted traditional cubism and moved forward to a whole new movement, now termed Modernism.

I thought at first glance it was the very recognizable painting as the movement and composition of the lines and the color is hard to miss. Then, when I came to my senses, I recognized the robot like figure was really not at all the cubistic nude of the Duchamp I was remembering.

I was somewhat relieved by a quick search to find a picture of the original, look at it again after many years of it never even entering my conscious and remember the words of my professor, Olli Peter Valaine as he tried to explain Modernism.  Remembering his words,  I am now again interested, and drawn to the compelling fearlessness of  Duchamp as he presented this entirely new look to cubism. Of course, he was practically kicked out of the French art world for it, and was ridiculed even in the cartoon media of the day when it was first shown at the New York Armory Show in 1913.

The point of this whole story, I guess, is somewhat varied, first I thought the robotic art piece was a bit of a slur on the original and some how almost sacrilegious, but then I remembered it was Marcel Duchamp that practically started this concept, of using famous art and turning it into your own. Talk about sacrilegious…he is the one that drew a mustache and beard on the Mona Lisa and called it “Ready Made” art, named it L. H. O.O. Q. which loosely translated from French slang means “a hot tail.” Marcel Duchamp was the one who signed his name, well sort of… he really signed it Richard Mutt… to a urinal, set it on a pedestal, entered it into an art show and called it “Fountain”  and then defended it with some esoteric thought process of what constitutes art.

So I guess my, “What in the world is that about,”  reaction to the robots, harks back to Duchamp and his art and brings me full circle, as I remember the convoluted sometimes entertaining story of Marcel Duchamp.

The rest of the circle is the Hemingway quote at the beginning. At first I was going to write this serious art history lesson about Marcel Duchamp  and his role in the development of Modernism and the Cubustic movement and the Armory Show of 1913 and the artistic family of Duchamps, and how line development and repetition go hand in hand with art and interior design and on and on…well, that just became too much work and too uninteresting, thus the bleeding that lucky for us all did not happen. Instead, I decided to help you win a trivia contest. Question:

What artist added a mustache and beard to the Mona Lisa and got by with it?


Who signed a urinal and called it art?

Now you have the answer if it ever comes up.

Note: For some reason I can’t capture a picture of the Fountain and post it here, but if you are interested you can google it further.  You will notice it is signed R. Mutt  which was the name Duchamp used to enter it into an art show.  All of that is another story, amusing and interesting, and like all art forms a pathway to the thinking of the artist. There is also an interesting article on Google by Sara Shea, that explains the tongue in cheek attitude of Duchamp.

Nude  Descending a Staircase, No. 2 is part of The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.           Fancy – Bleed.

Art of the Day… a lesson in transparent watercolor.

The artist of this lovely painting was impossible to identify, it had been re-blogged so many times.  However, I am certain it is a watercolor painting. I am also certain that it required, of the artist, an accomplished technical skill…so in honor of this lovely painting, I think I should pass on a little knowledge of watercolor technique.

It appears that the artist used a block out technique and a series of washes.  I find it particularly beautiful, not only for it’s visual expression, but because of the exquisite technique. The technical planning that goes into a watercolor is similar to the technical layering achieved in a silk screen print (serigraph). When working in either medium a constant vigilance to the layering colors and the transparency of the colors is paramount. I would surmise the trees in the foreground were blocked out first, with a layers of light washes as more trees were blocked out to create the depth. These block out areas, meaning an area covered with a masking substance  used to protect the paper as layers of pigment are applied, must be planned first. Notice the small areas of sky, that area would also have to be planned first. A somewhat crazy watercolor purist attitude is the use of technique such as this, never would those trees have been painted with an opaque medium later, however, the white line of light in the very back is probably opaque watercolor. My professor, Thomas Currey, a transparent watercolor purist to the core might have allowed that one line of opaque, but rest assured, he never would have allowed two.

  Like all good design it is all in the planning.

If anyone happens to recognize this work I would appreciate the name of the artist, as I am unable to recognize the style.

Crush Cul de Sac.