May
12
2010

Venus to Olympia: An Art Timeline by Heather Goldstein

 

Titian. Venus of Urbino. C. 1538 Oil on Canvas

One of the most highly acclaimed Italian painters of the Renaissance, Titian, is well known for his beautiful portrait of a reclining nude, Venus, for the duke of Urbino. Titians mastery of color and ability to please his patrons gave him great success in his practice as an artist. This particular painting has been a hot topic of discussion among art historians for many years and continues to have numerous interpretations. Aside from the title, there are a number of clues in this painting that suggest it is a portrait of Venus. The maids in the background and bedroom setting suggest high status and domestication. The red flowers in her hand represent love. The white sheet she lays on represents purity. And the dog curled up at the foot of the bed represents fidelity.

However, there is more to this painting than a beautiful image of Venus. Images such as this were popular in the Renaissance's sophisticated court circles where men could enjoy these images under the guise of appreciating classical mythology. Venus of Urbino lends itself to this interpretation through its sexualized and provocative nature, not usually associated with Venus. For one, her relaxed, seductive pose and coy tilting of the head is inviting to the viewer. There is also a dark curtain behind her dividing the canvas and leading the eye to her hand, which is strategically placed to cover herself.

This is one interpretation of this work and as we study we always learn more.


Edouard Manet. Olympia. 1863. Oil on Canvas

The French painter, Manet, sometimes referred to as the father of modernism, was definitely ahead of his time and liked to stir things up in the art world. Titian's Venus of Urbino inspired one of his most famous paintings, Olympia. However, the interpretation of this image caused quite a stir when it was presented at the 1865 Salon. For one, the technique used was extremely avant-garde for the traditional smoothly modeled taste of the academic French Salons. Olympia is painted mostly as an outline with very abrupt changes in color and a more raw, unfinished, preliminary appearance.

More shocking at the time, however, was the implication that Olympia was a prostitute. Unlike Titian's Venus coy look, Olympia stares confidently with confrontation at the viewer. Instead of a loyal dog at her feet, there is a cat with its back arched. There is also an African-Caribbean woman with flowers instead of the maids. At that time, painting black women was another sexualized reference. But of course, Manet took the compositional cues from Titian as well, such as the curtain leading to her hand that covers her, but in a more assertive way than Venus' relaxed pose.

Olympia was displayed in the last gallery over the door. After awful reviews from art critics, people attended to see this "offensive" piece of art.

Some effects on contemporary art...

Wafaa Bilal. Midwest Olympia. 2005 Photography.

This is the artist's interpretation of Olympia as a woman of today.

Yasumasa Morimura. Olympia. 1999. Photography.

Morimura is known for his appropriated images of Western art. He uses himself and costume, painting, cosmetics, and computer manipulation.
May
12
2010

Go Green with Lil' Jerry!

 

Here at Jerry's, we are very aware of our impact on this amazing planet that we live on and we want to make it easier for you to do your part as we will do ours! As you shop our Eco Friendly Art Supplies, you will notice our "earth friendly" Lil Jerry logo next to green products. These items have been chosen based on the following criteria:
- Items that are environmentally and socially friendly because of the way they are formulated, manufactured, or packaged
- Less wasteful and less toxic than mainstream products
- Safe to humans, animals, and the environment
- use materials, which are relatively benign in their 'extraction' phase, such as: reused, recycled, renewable, organic, etc.

Here are some great green art supplies to look for!

Aller Air Studio Air Products




Ampersand Boards







Cachet Earthbound Portfolios





Canson Recycled Pads









Daylight Natural Lamps and Bulbs







Fabriano Eco White Pads







Gloves in a Bottle







Jack's Linseed Soap







Richeson Lyptus Easels







Turpenoid Natural
May
12
2010

Mixed Up Media? by Wilson Bickford



Here are a couple of paintings that I've done over the past couple of days. Both utilized some Acrylic underpainting, but are essentially "Oil paintings."
The sunflowers were started yesterday and finished today. I had added Alkyd medium to the Oils to speed the drying, so that it was virtually dry over-night. That made it easy to glaze and brighten the final highlights this morning.
The barn was tackled in the same way; Acrylics underneath with Oils over the top. The difference is that I was able to get the amount of detail I desired without having to wait for it to dry, so it was all done in one sitting.
I use this approach quite often, (more and more, it seems) and it is one of my favorite ways to work. It eliminates a lot of the drying time associated with Oils and literally cuts the "working time" in half.
Acrylics, Alkyds and Oils,........ is that mixed-media? And does that matter? Not to me. It's still predominantly 90+% Oils, so I still call it an Oil painting.
All I know is that it works great for my style and work pace.
Every artist will eventually stumble upon the medium, approach, style and techniques which work for THEM. Don't be afraid to experiment until you find the right combination for YOU!

www.wilsonbickford.com

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