Showing posts from May, 2011

A Whistlestop Tour of Western Painting from the Early Renaissance to the 20th Century

Italian Renaissance (c1420-1600)
An earlier influence on the Renaissance was GIOTTO di Bondone (c1267-1337). A master of GOTHIC painting, Giotto depicted realistic 'architectural' space, i.e. figures in scale to the surrounding landscape. Gothic style began with the architecture of the 12th Century. The most notable features of Gothic art was its increased naturalism compared with ROMANESQUE and BYZANTINE styles.

Late Gothic artists include:
GERARD DAVID (c1460-1523). His paintings include the instantly appealing The Rest on the Flight into Egypt (c1510), a peaceful, touching picture of the Madonna and the infant with the faithful donkey behind.
HIERONYMUS BOSCH (c1450-1516). Most famous work The Ship of Fools.
MATHIS GRUNEWALD (c1470/80-1528).

Italian Early Renaissance
The founder of Renaissance painting was MASACCIO (1401-1428). He was born over 60 years after the death of Giotto, but the intervening years were the period of the Black Death in Europe (Italy 1347).

Artists of the Ear…


I was sitting on the lavatory one day, just contemplating life, wondering what contribution I could make to the cause of popular nudity, when I was filled with the overwhelming desire to visit the Alps.

I first went there as a teenager with a party. Our guide took us to a plateau with one of the deepest precipices in the range. Some brave souls walked to the edge and calmly looked over. I walked to within ten feet (better make then twenty!) and crawled on my belly the rest of the way. I just don’t like heights, my one and only phobia, my heightophobia. 

But anyway, back to talking about the present (the past, actually, though you can read it as the historic present if that makes it more lively for you), about 4 weeks later I flew out to Chamonix in the French Alps. The hoteliers of Chamonix must have been tipped off that I was coming and raised their tariffs by 300%.

It was a good winter for snow, everyone said so, and the town was full of happy skiers. I don't ski myself, in fact I&…

Franz Marc - The Blue Rider

With his bright colours and instantly appealing depictions of heroic animals Franz Marc has become one of the most popular artists in the reproduction posters and calendars market.

He was born in Munich in 1880 and in 1903 spent several months in Paris where he discovered the work of the Impressionists and post-Impressionists, in particular van Gogh. But back in his native Germany he suffered deep depression and got entangled in a mistaken marriage engagement which he only got out of by running away to Paris on the eve of the wedding.

Around 1910, however, his fortunes improved substantially when he developed a lasting friendship with fellow German artist August Macke. A year later he launched Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), a journal which became the focal point for the expressionist movement in Germany.

He developed a predilection for painting animals and in 1913 completed his best known work, a piece entitled The Fate of the Animals, and which he later described as a premonition of…