The opposite of art is not ugliness, it is indifference....
I have always preferred angry art that can stir the senses. In
high school and college I bought Van Gogh and Rousseau prints and
became a fan of the impressionists. In my forties and fifties, I began a
personal mission to explore new avenues and periods.
Some of the most interesting art is also
functional when it is incorporated into buildings. Frank Lloyd Wright's homes in Oak Park, IL and Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin
are excellent examples. The Flash file below is a
"walk-around" of Taliesin and some of the homes in Oak Park set to a
2001 Dave Mathews song, "The Space Between". Press the play button to begin.
The four pictures below
show examples from Vienna (Schonbrunn Castle), Prague (Rasin
Embankment - dubbed the Dancing Building), Glasgow (Mackintosh's
Glasgow School of Art)
and Toledo (the one in Spain - Cathedral).
Great art can be found most anywhere....
I have recently had the opportunity and inclination to visit
museums around the world. In the
Netherlands in 2000, I
visited three periods in two days covering the Dutch golden era
(1500s - first picture below - next to Rembrandt's "Nightwatch"),
Van Gogh and the impressionists (second picture below "Wheatfield
with Crows"), and modern art. In Belgium in 2001, I learned the difference between
expressionists like Ensor (third picture below) and the impressionists that came before
him. In Prague in 2001 I enjoyed the
Mucha Museum. The fourth picture below is Mucha's 1912 "The
In Spain in August 2003,
I had the opportunity to visit the
museums in Madrid (Velázquez's "Las Meninas" - first picture below
and de Goya's "Maya" clothed and naked - second picture below) and
the El Greco museum in Toledo (El Greco's "Plan de Toledo" -
In the small chapel, Santo Tome' in
Toledo, is El Greco's masterpiece "Burial of Lord Orgaz". The
painting, explanation and call-outs are in the three pictures
Most great art has a story that helps
explain what makes it a masterpiece. The first picture below, Alejo
Fernandez's "Virgin of the Navigators", located in the Alcazar in
Seville, includes one of the only images of Columbus (blond guy on
right next to Ferdinand and Isabel) under the Virgin's protective
cape along with a rare glimpse of Indians in the dark background.
The second picture below, de Goya's "Assumption of the Virgin",
temporarily at the Prado, is focused on the moment of the Virgin's
ascent as she rises up to heaven assisted by angels and cherubim. He
omitted the figures of God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost, who are
replaced by a strong white light. The realistic angels are given
emphasis, ranging from very young children, to androgynous, sensual
youths. The third picture below is a tapestry in Seville's Alcazar
Gothic wing depicting an aerial world perspective centered over
Barcelona of Charles V's victory over the Turks in 1535.
Museum of Art
in 2002, I saw an incredible example of a three-dimensional effect
from the two-dimensional painting "Still Life With Terms and a Bust
of Ceres" c 1630 by Frans Snyders (first picture below). While
there, of course I can never resist a Van Gogh ("Sunflowers" -
picture below) or a good Monet (next to Ben - third picture below).
Philadelphia also has the largest collection of Rodin sculptures outside of Paris at its
Rodin Museum. Rodin
had a dark side in many of his later works such as "The Hand From
the Tomb" and "Bacchus (the God of wine) in the Vat" in the
first and second pictures below. I am poised at Rodin's "The Gates Of Hell" in the
third picture below. An example of Rodin's marble sculptures is in
the fourth picture
In Germany in September 2002 I visited the
Kathe Kollwitz museum in her
native Cologne. An
expressionist influenced primarily by the Nazi rule of her times,
her work mostly has anti-war themes depicting shelter and fear. I
preferred her works where there was also an overlay of human
relationships (first three pictures below). On the same trip, I
visited the Treasury of
Cathedral with artwork dating from the ninth century. The fourth picture below shows the Ivory
Panel - carved with scenes from the life of Christ.
New York MOMA....
In December 2004 I visited the recently reopened
Museum of Modern Art
in New York City.
The collection has always been one of the best and now they have a
midtown venue worthy of the art. A few of my favorites from that day:
I will expand this page as my explorations
If anyone visiting this page has advice to help set my course of
learning, I would welcome your inputs.
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