Sunday, June 20, 2010

Queen Victoria Danced to Offenbach Under Rosa's Skies-


- Pulling Museum Mile Uptown: "After more than a decade pursuing what some saw as an impossible quest Elsie McCabe Thompson is preparing to open the Museum for African Art’s new $95 million home on upper Fifth Avenue next spring. “Maybe I’m just contrary,” she said during an interview this month, “but the more people tell me it can’t be done, the more I want to prove that it can.”... read more-

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June 20, 1615: Salvator Rosa, Italian Baroque painter and etcher, was born. "Salvator Rosa (1615 – March 15, 1673) was an Italian Baroque painter, poet and printmaker, active in Naples, Rome and Florence. Rosa was indisputably a leader in the tendency towards the romantic and picturesque. In general, in landscapes he avoided the idyllic and pastoral calm countrysides of Claude Lorraine and Paul Brill, and created brooding, melancholic fantasies, awash in ruins and brigands. In a time when artists where often highly constrained by patrons, Rosa had a plucky streak of independence, which celebrated the special role of the artist. He wrote- Our wealth must consist in things of the spirit, and in contenting ourselves with sipping, while others gorge themselves in prosperity. He refused to paint on commission or to agree on a price beforehand, and he chose his own subjects."

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June 20, 1819: Jacques Offenbach, composer & musician, was born. "A German-born French composer and cellist of the Romantic era, Offenbach was one of the originators of the operetta form and one of the most influential composers of popular music in Europe in the 19th century. Offenbach's numerous operettas, such as Orpheus in the Underworld, and La belle Hélène, were extremely popular in both France and the English-speaking world during the 1850s and 1860s. They combined political and cultural satire with witty grand opera parodies. His popularity in France went down during the 1870s after the Second Empire, and he fled France, but during the last years of his life, his popularity rebounded, and several of his operettas are still performed. While his name remains associated most closely with the French operetta and the Second Empire, it is Offenbach's one fully operatic masterpiece, The Tales of Hoffmann (Les Contes d'Hoffmann), composed at the end of his career, that has become the most familiar of Offenbach's works in major opera houses."

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June 20, 1837: Victoria is crowned Queen of England. "Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was the Queen regnant of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837, and the first Empress of India of the British Raj from 1 May 1876, until her death. Her reign as the Queen lasted 63 years and 7 months, longer than that of any other British monarch before or since, and her reign is the longest of any female monarch in history. The time of her reign is known as the Victorian era, a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military progress within the United Kingdom."

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“Exposed. The Victorian Nude”
Edited by Alison Smith.
Published by Watson-Guptill Publications in 2002.

“This sumptuous and sensual volume focuses primarily on painting, though it does include drawings, sculpture, and early forms of photography and silent film stills. [Alison] Smith, whose Victorian Nude: Sexuality, Morality, and Art provided a broad cultural context of the topic, showcases work by John Singer Sargent, Frederic Leighton, John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and others.... The unlikely juxtaposition of Victorian mores with nude imagery provides an alternate sensibility to Victorian England, both enlightening the mind and pleasing the eye. Three richly illustrated essays by Smith, Martin Myrone, and Michael Hyatt frame the work.”

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