Sunday, June 06, 2010

Velazquez, Trumbull & Flaxman Go to Heist School-


-Heist School: On Friday, May 21, the day after five paintings worth roughly $125 million, including works by Braque, Matisse, Modigliani and Picasso, were discovered stolen from the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris, an ebullient scandalmonger known as Turbo Paul, who runs two art-theft blogs, sent me an e-mail message: “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” Cheers, Turbo Paul. You scare me... Read more-

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June 6, 1599 - Diego Velazquez, painter, was baptized. "Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez was a Spanish painter who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. He was an individualistic artist of the contemporary Baroque period, important as a portrait artist. In addition to numerous renditions of scenes of historical and cultural significance, he painted scores of portraits of the Spanish royal family, other notable European figures, and commoners, culminating in the production of his masterpiece Las Meninas. From the first quarter of the nineteenth century, Velázquez's artwork was a model for the realist and impressionist painters, in particular Édouard Manet. Since that time, more modern artists, including Spain's Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, as well as the Anglo-Irish painter Francis Bacon, have paid tribute to Velázquez by recreating several of his most famous works."

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June 6, 1755 - John Flaxman, English Neoclassical sculptor, was born. "When he was 19 years old he was employed by Josiah Wedgwood and his partner Bentley, as a modeller of classic and domestic friezes, plaques, ornamental vessels and medallion portraits. It was in these inventive jasper" and "basalt" ware compositions that the manufacturers of the age, who had conceived and perfected the style, earned their great reputation. By 1780 Flaxman had also begun to earn money by sculpting grave monuments. His early memorial work included monuments for Thomas Chatterton in the church of St Mary Redcliffe in Bristol. During the rest of Flaxman's career memorial bas-reliefs of this type made up the bulk of his output; and may be found in many churches throughout England. What gained Flaxman his general fame was not his work in sculpture proper, but those outline designs to the poets, in which he showed the principles of ancient design in vase paintings and bas reliefs. The designs for the Iliad and Odyssey were commissioned by Mrs Hare Naylor; those for Dante by Hope; those for Aeschylus by Lady Spencer; they were all engraved by Piroli, not without considerable loss of the finer and more sensitive qualities of Flaxman's own lines."

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June 6, 1756 - John Trumbull, painter, was born. "John Trumbull was an American artist during the period of the American Revolutionary War notable for his historical paintings. His Declaration of Independence was used on the reverse of the two-dollar bill. Trumbull was born in Lebanon, Connecticut, to Jonathan Trumbull, who was Governor of Connecticut from 1769 to 1784, and his wife. Due to a childhood accident, Trumbull lost use of one eye, which may have influenced his detailed painting style. As a soldier in the American Revolutionary War, Trumbull rendered a particular service at Boston by sketching plans of the British works, and witnessed the Battle of Bunker Hill. In 1780 he traveled to London, where he studied under Benjamin West. At his suggestion, Trumbull painted small pictures of the War of Independence and miniature portraits, of which he produced about 250 in his lifetime. In 1784 he painted his Battle of Bunker Hill and Death of General Montgomery at Quebec. Both works are now in the Yale University Art Gallery. In 1785 Trumbull went to Paris, where he made portrait sketches of French officers for Surrender of Lord Cornwallis. With the assistance of Thomas Jefferson, he began Declaration of Independence, well-known from the engraving by Asher Brown Durand. This latter painting was purchased by the United States Congress, along with his Surrender of General Burgoyne, Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, and Washington Resigning his Commission. All now hang in rotunda of the United States Capitol."

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“Medieval and Renaissance Treasures from the V&A”
Edited by Paul Williamson & Peta Motture.
Published in London by V&A Publications in 2007.

“This compact, beautiful book spotlights 35 major masterpieces from the Victoria & Albert Museum's holdings of European art from the period 300–1600 AD. It includes superb examples of sculpture, metalwork, ceramics, and glass, setting in artistic and historical context such works as the enameled Becket reliquary casket, the iv0ry Figure of the Crucified Christ by Giovanni Pisano, Donatello's bronze fountain figure Winged Putto with a Fantastic Fish, and gilded bronzes by Hubert Gerhard”.


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