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

Jerry's Knows the Average Joe by TMNK

 


Forgive me if this sounds like an advertisement or some sort of paid endorsement. It's not. Jerry's Art Arama is, for this artist, more than a corporate entity that merchandises the art supplies we use. They're real people who dig art and have made a business from supporting that which they love.


I was discovered by one of the owners of Jerry's on the streets of New York. And shortly thereafter he and his wife began to collect my art. They never tried to pressure me to switch from purchasing my supplies from "The House the Oyster Built." Instead, they just offered to be a resource for exposing me to new products and supplies, and continued to be patrons. More importantly, my new found friend was always accessible, responsive, and supportive.


So, I of course have links on my blog to Jerry's, and have featured their logo on some of my exhibition flyers and web page. It's the least I could do. Besides it being an expression of the friendship I feel, it's just good business, one hand washing the other. But as an artist, I'm not much into promoting corporate interests, business out to just profit off the little guy. But like I've said, from day one, my experience with Jerry's has been that these are "real people" who, like myself, are in the business of art, but REALLY love art, artists, and collectors. Art is in there blood, literally.


So, why now, do I decide to write this, what amounts to a public endorsement? Well, much like my initial encounter with Jerry's, just call it fate. I was at the building hosting the G40 - The Summit exhibit, working on my Installation, when I decided to take a walk around and check out the other artists. That's when I encountered Joe Iurato and the awesome mural he was painting.



As I scanned the area trying to get a sense of what he used to create his work (as I am always trying to learn, grow, get inspired), I saw a plastic bag laying on the floor that looked like... Could it be? Yes it was, Jerry's Artarama. I smiled a private smile, and walked over and said "Yo, Joe, you get your supplies from them too?" His reply, and I quote, "Dude, they're the greatest, I love Jerry's, I'm there all the time." I smiled and shared my Jerry's story with him, then snapped this picture.


It made for the perfect story for me to share with my patron, the unofficial sponsor of G40. In this day of ATM machines and corporate entities with their overseas customer service call centers, it's special to have a relationship with a business that cares about the "Average Joe" and a "nobody" like me.
MeNobodyKnows.com

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