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Art

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.

Architecture....

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.

Requires Flash 10 player, free at http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer

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.

     

Spain....

In Spain in August 2003, I had the opportunity to visit the Prado and Thyssen 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" - third picture below).

   

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 thumbnailed below.

   

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.

   

Philadelphia....

At the Philadelphia 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" - second 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 below.

     

Germany....

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 Aachen Cathedral with artwork dating from the ninth century. The fourth picture below shows the Ivory Panel - carved with scenes from the life of Christ.

I will expand this page as my explorations continue. If anyone visiting this page has advice to help set my course of learning, I would welcome your input.

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