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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Entombment

Known as The Entombment, this canvas showing the body of Christ being carried is one of Titian's mature works dating to 1520-30. In this classical period, when frieze-like compositions were the norm, works were often dramatic. In The Entombment, the arrangement of the figures around Christ forms a tympanum, outlined by the stooped backs of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, on either side of John who gazes heavenward. The body of Jesus, placed in the shroud, lies in an inverted circular arc, forming an almond-shaped group of four central figures. Outside of, yet accompanying this group, the Virgin and Mary Magdalene, contemplating the body of Jesus being carried to his burial place, form a quarter-circle; the curve of one's back being extended by the other's head. Acting as backdrop to these figures is a landscape with a low horizon lit by a glowing red sun. The low-angled light effects create a doleful chiaroscuro that places Christ's bust and face in shadow - a prefiguration of the darkness of the tomb. Color assumes a tragic dimension here. The deathly pallor of Christ's body is accentuated by the creamy whiteness of the linen shroud on which he is laid, as well as by the russet-toned hair, and green and red clothes of the men carrying him. Joseph of Arimathea's strong, amber-colored arms holding Christ's legs form a striking contrast between life and death.

Mona Lisa

The world's most celebrated painting has lost none of its mystery. Should it be regarded as a portrait of Mona Lisa, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, painted in Florence between 1503 and 1507, or as a representation of ideal beauty? This painting may be the most well know portrait in history, but it’s size does not match the paintings fame. It may be one of the smallest portraits displayed in the louvre. The face of Mona Lisa is seen in front view, the bust in three-quarter view, with the sitter's hands crossed on an armrest. This manner of depiction is in keeping with Northern European portrait tradition, and would be borrowed by Leonardo's contemporaries. He nevertheless infused his model with an essential quality: he brought her to life. The life-sized scale, the nearness of the figure whose hands are in the foreground, and the treatment of the gaze turned towards the spectator all contribute to this sense of vitality. The famous smile, which Vasari described as "divine," invites the onlooker to meditate upon Platonic theories, according to which the smile on a graceful face is a reflection of the beauty of the soul. Could this smile lighting up her face simply be an onomastic reference that confirms La Gioconda's identity ("giocondo" in Italian meaning "light-hearted")? This impression of lifelikeness is also produced by Leonardo's use of sfumato, a technique that replaced firm outlines with hazy transitions from light to dark. It was the "right distribution of light" that gave rise to volume and suggested distance. The landscape behind the figure is bathed in a "light mist," and the mountains in the background are swathed in the atmospheric envelope.

The Mona Lisa is by far Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous painting, or perhaps the most priceless artwork of the Renaissance overall. Like many of Leonardo’s finished paintings they are surrounded by questions and theories of conspiracy and the Mona Lisa is no exception. Even though she is named Mona Lisa (which was not named by Leonardo, but actually by Vasari 31 years after his death) and has a hint of breasts it has been said that she is a man, Leonardo’s mistress, or even Leonardo himself.

Regardless of the random theories the Mona Lisa is important because of (again) the technical aptitude displayed in the artwork. The fading shadows, the perfection of the fading perspective in the landscape, and in her beautiful half smile that reveals a hint of sadness with an entrapping gaze.Surprisingly this enigmatic masterpiece was created in only four years and is now the most widely recognized painting in the world.

Giovanni Battista TIEPOLOVenise, 1696 - Madrid, 1770Apollo and Daphnec. 1743-44Musée du Louvre/A. Dequier - M. Bard This is a very interesting painting and one of my favorites, the women in the painting is actually a nymph. In Greek mythology, a nymph is a female entity in human form, that is either bound to a particular location, or landform, or is part of the retinue of a god.
The man to the left is actually chasing her because he wants the woman for himself. Nymphs were the frequent target of satyrs. In this painting the woman is changing into a tree to get away from what she believes to be a satyr trying to capture her. It is only after she changes forms that she realizes he is a god and immediately regrets her decision when it is too late. The symbolic marriage of a nymph and a patriarch, often the eponym of a people, is repeated endlessly in Greek origin myths; their union lent authority to the archaic king and his line. The painting itself is not displayed elegantly alone with huge significance, but the brightness of the painting’s colors and interesting narrative behind the figures is what drew me to this painting originally.
Tiepolo treats this dramatic episode from Ovid's Metamorphoses (I, 452-567) by showing the end of Apollo's chase and the beginning of Daphne's transformation: she half-turns towards Apollo, but already the laurel shoots sprouting from her fingertips make it clear how her flight must end.
A landscape provides the backdrop to this mythological scene from Ovid's Metamorphoses (I, 452-567), in which Daphne seeks to escape Apollo and the passion he has conceived for her. Tiepolo shows as simultaneous the end of Apollo's chase and the nymph's transformation into a laurel tree. Fair-haired and all but naked, Daphne flees as her garments fly about her and her fingers turn into laurel shoots. Likewise naked except for his Roman sandals, quiver and a crimson mantle swept back by the wind, Apollo reaches for her with his left hand, stunned by her metamorphosis. In the foreground, leaning on an urn and holding an oar, the river Alpheus attempts to halt her flight. The generous physiques are inspired by French models, a novel feature in the work of this profoundly Venetian artist.
The metamorphosis of Daphne
The luminous red and yellow fabrics offer a violent contrast with the deep blue of the background. The figures are shown as on the point of bursting out of the painting, although this does not hamper Daphne's merging with the landscape. The nymph has been placed just beneath a tree which, while protecting her as if it were a hat, also echoes the transformation of the human into the vegetal. The scene takes place against an idyllic landscape, with umbrella pines rising out of the woodland on the far bank of the river. To the left, houses at the foot of the blue-tinged mountains bathe in the pink glow of sunset. This urge towards whimsical ornamentation is a throwback to the artist's Venetian days.
After Bernini
The inspiration here was certainly Bernini's sculpture of 1622-1624 on the same theme - now in the Borghesi Gallery in Rome - which Tiepolo knew from an engraving. The work is thus a color transposition of the baroque sculptor's celebrated piece. The picture dates from the most productive decade of Tiepolo's career. Raised on the Venetian Renaissance tradition, he portrayed all the great mythological themes.

The Birth of Venus is a painting by Sandro Botticelli. It depicts the goddess Venus, having emerged from the sea as a full grown woman, arriving at the sea-shore. The painting is currently in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
The second painting is a less recognized version of the goddess in Germany surrounded by controversial war and Nazis. This painting is presently held in a modern museum in the city of Aachen, Germany.
This large picture by Botticelli may have been, like the Primavera, painted for Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici's Villa di Castello, around 1482, or even before. Some scholars suggest that the Venus painted for Lorenzo. Some experts believe it to be a celebration of the love of Giuliano di Piero de' Medici. It must be noted that Botticelli himself also privately loved the beautiful Simonetta, who was de' Medici's mistress. Whatever inspired the artist, there are clear similarities to Ovid's Metamorphoses and Fasti, as well as to Poliziano's Verses. Simonetta is also believed to have been the model for Venus in this painting, as well as for several other women in other Botticelli works, such as Primavera.
The classical goddess Venus emerges from the water on a shell, blown towards shore by the Zephyrs, symbols of spiritual passions. She is joined by one of the Horae, goddesses of the seasons, who hands her a flowered cloak.
The effect, nonetheless, is distinctly pagan, considering it was made at a time and place when most artworks depicted Roman Catholic themes. It is somewhat surprising that this canvas escaped the flames of Savonarola's bonfires, where a number of Botticelli's other alleged pagan influenced works perished. Botticelli was very close to Lorenzo de Medici. Because of their friendship and Lorenzo's power, this work was spared from Savonarola's fires and the disapproval of the church.
The anatomy of Venus and various subsidiary details do not display the strict classical realism of Leonardo da Vinci or Raphael. Most obviously, Venus has an improbably long neck, and her left shoulder slopes at an anatomically unlikely angle. Such details only enhance the great beauty of the painting, and some have suggested it prefigures mannerism.
The modern version of this masterpiece is not classical enhanced by distinct mechanical lines and dull pale colors of contemporary realism. The Goddess, Venus, is flanked by both raging citizens, and modern controversial rule. Both painting have a sense of controversy for similar political reasons but distinctly different eras and genres.
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (Montauban, 1780-Paris, 1867)Une OdalisqueLa Grande Odalisque1814Oil on canvasH. 0.91 m; L. 1.62 mPurchased 1899R.F. 1158PaintingsSigned and dated in the lower right-hand corner: "I. A. INGRES P. AT 1814 ROM."

All of my pictures are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/desaraev/sets/

The work was thought to have been originally housed in the Benedictine Monastery of St Ambrose. There is however an anomaly, neither St Ambrose nor any of the other Benedictine patron saints are pictured, rather Cosmas and Damian, saints traditionally associated with the Medici kneel at the feet of the Madonna. Also portrayed in the work are Mary Magdalen, John the Baptist, St Francis and St Catherine of Alexandria. The presence of St Francis suggests that it may be the Botticelli panel Vasari saw in the church of San Francesco in Montevarchi in the 16th century.
The painting is also known as Of the Converted Sisters) as it was believed to have originated from the alterpiece of that convent, but since disproved.
This is the first known alterpiece by Botticelli and it shows the influence of his teacher Lippi and Verrocchio (once again for the metallic quality of the clothing). He became Botticelli's master in 1467 which would tally nicely with the proposed dates for the work.
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Senior UI/UX web designer at a large-scale IT contractor for defense, intelligence, and civilian government solutions. Adventurist and certified Yoga / Barre Instructor. Love aviation, books, and travel.Prefer long light hearted series in mystery, comedy, fantasy, and romance.

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