Street art meets art history: French street artist Combo draws from iconic images and paintings (such as works by Delacroix, Magritte, and Wood) and revises them as a mean of contemporary critique.
Pretty medieval manuscript of the day is a fifteenth century map of England, Wales and Scotland. Confusingly, Scotland is at the bottom. Can you spot the cathedral city of St Andrews? And look, there’s Canterbury at the top. Can you see Ely, surrounded by water? What a beautiful book.
Image source: British Library MS Harley 1808. Image declared as public domain on the British Library website.
Imperial group as Mars and Venus
Between AD 120 and 140
Reworked c. AD 170-175
This group reproduced the features of the of the Emperor Hadrian and his wife Sabina, until her head was replaced during the late second century by another portrait, probably of Lucilla,e wife of Lucius Verus. It reflects the Hellenizing taste and the neoclassical style in fashion during this period. Hadrian (117-138 CE), the first Roman emperor to be portrayed as a god during his own lifetime, is depicted as Mars, god of war.
Jean Leon Gerome, Woman With Horns of a Ram, 1873
There’s something about this. Horns as an addition after an offense to the painter. Horns as a seduction. Horns as the opposite of an apology. All those things. And yet her buttons are fastened.
“Lucas I” - Chuck Close, 1986-87, Oil and graphite on Canvas, 100 x 84 in. (254 x 213.4 cm)
Associated with the Photo- or Super-Realist movement of the late-1960s and 1970s, the American artist Chuck Close initially became known for the minutely detailed portrait heads he painted on a monumental scale in black, white, and gray. These works, which were based on photographs, were factually rendered but magnified every pore and imperfection to unexpected and unnatural proportions. The subjects for all of Close’s portraits are drawn from his wide circle of relatives and friends, many of whom are connected to the art world as artists, dealers, and collectors. Their identification in the titles by their first names only lends a casual informality to otherwise imposing images.
Paintings such as “Lucas,” which depicts fellow artist Lucas Samaras, are representative of Close’s later, more colorful and painterly style. They go beyond the hyper-reality of his earlier portraits and elaborate on his pictorial investigation of the act of perception, breaking down the visual information into component parts that describe the actual process of seeing, not just the end result. To create these portraits, Close begins by taking photographs of the sitter, then draws a grid over the photo, from which he methodically reproduces the contents of each tiny square on a magnified scale with small dashes, dots of pigment, thumbprints, or applied pieces of colored paper. Viewed close-up, the elements of the picture are seen as separate abstract markings; from a distance, they coalesce into an illusionistic portrait. In order to assimilate all of the multi-hued daubs of color on an eight-foot-plus canvas, the viewer is forced to stand quite a distance from the work. From this perspective, the subject stares coolly, anonymously, and unwaveringly at the viewer.
Has your cat ever walked across your keyboard? Well, it’s not a new problem. Medieval book historian Erik Kwakkel recently Tweeted this photo of a 15th century book with… you guessed it… cat paw prints in ink on the pages! We’re part of a long and glorious historical movement, friends. (Source: Dr. Marty Becker)
Think history’s boring? Think again.
(It is not intentional that all of these pieces are from the 18th-19th centuries.)
Unlike other still life subjects, the shoes have been to all the places and have seen all of the struggles of the owner. To many, Van Gogh’s shoes with the worn leather and tired soles represent the rough life of the artist himself and the weathered journey he has endured.
Samuel F. B. Morse (American, Charlestown, Massachusetts 1791–1872 New York City)
Date: ca. 1836–37
The full-length portrait of Susan Walker Morse (1819–1885), the eldest daughter of the artist, was painted during the crucial years of the invention of Morse’s telegraph (ca. 1835–37). The painting shows the girl at about the age of seventeen, sitting with a sketchbook in her lap and pencil in hand with her eyes raised in contemplation. Although traditionally described as a Muse, the figure is more likely a personification of the art of drawing or design. Morse drew on the full extent of his European training, taking from the works of Rubens and Veronese in what was to be an ambitious farewell to his career as an artist. Stymied by a lack of financial success, he abandoned painting for science and inventing. This painting was first exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1837, where it won enthusiastic praise. Susan married Edward Lind in 1839 and moved to his sugar plantation in Puerto Rico, returning often to New York to spend extended periods with her father, who had been left a widower when Susan was just six. She gradually grew less and less happy with her husband and plantation life. Lind died in 1882; in 1885, Susan set out to return to New York permanently but tragically was lost at sea.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art