American Gothic by Grant Wood

Nicole-Galpern[Grant_Wood_-_American_Gothic]
American Gothic by Grant Wood

American Gothic is a painting by Grant Wood in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. Wood’s inspiration came from what is now known as the American Gothic House, and his decision to paint the house along with “the kind of people I fancied should live in that house.” Created in 1930, it depicts a farmer standing beside a woman that has been interpreted to be either his wife or his daughter. The figures were modeled by Wood’s sister, Nan Wood Graham, and Wood and Graham’s dentist, Dr. Byron McKeeby. The woman is dressed in a colonial print apron evoking 19th-century Americana, and the man is holding a pitchfork. The plants on the porch of the house are mother-in-law’s tongue and beefsteak begonia, which are the same plants as in Wood’s 1929 portrait of his mother, Woman with Plants.

It is one of the most familiar images in 20th-century American art, and has been widely parodied in American popular culture.

In its first showing outside the United States, the painting was displayed in Paris at the Musée de l’Orangerie October 15, 2016 – January 30, 2017 and in London at the Royal Academy of Arts February 25 – June 4, 2017.

Artist of The Week: Georgia O’Keeffe

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Georgia O’Keeffe, 1918, photograph by Alfred Stieglitz

Georgia Totto O’Keeffe (November 15, 1887 – March 6, 1986) was an American artist. She was best known for her paintings of enlarged flowers, New York skyscrapers, and New Mexico landscapes. O’Keeffe has been recognized as the “Mother of American modernism”.

In 1905, O’Keeffe began her serious formal art training at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and then the Art Students League of New York, but she felt constrained by her lessons that focused on recreating or copying what was in nature. In 1908, unable to fund further education, she worked for two years as a commercial illustrator, and then spent seven years between 1911 and 1918 teaching in Virginia, Texas, and South Carolina. During that time, she studied art during the summers between 1912 and 1914 and was introduced to the principles and philosophies of Arthur Wesley Dow, who espoused created works of art based upon personal style, design, and interpretation of subjects, rather than trying to copy or represent them.

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt van Rijn

Rembrandt_Christ_in_the_Storm_on_the_Lake_of_GalileeThe Storm on the Sea of Galilee is a painting from 1633 by the Dutch Golden Age painter Rembrandt van Rijn that was in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum of Boston, Massachusetts, United States, prior to being stolen in 1990. The painting depicts the miracle of Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee, as depicted in the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It is Rembrandt’s only seascape.

Impression, Sunrise by Claude Monet

Nicole-Galperb[Monet_-_Impression,_Sunrise]
Impression, soleil levant

Impression, Sunrise (French: Impression, soleil levant) is a painting by Claude Monet. Shown at what would later be known as the “Exhibition of the Impressionists” in April 1874, the painting is attributed to giving rise to the name of the Impressionist movement. Impression, Sunrise depicts the port of Le Havre, Monet’s hometown, and is his most famous painting of the harbor.

Monet visited his hometown of Le Havre in the Northwest of France in 1872 and proceeded to create a series of works depicting the port of Le Havre. The six painted canvases depict the port “during dawn, day, dusk, and dark and from varying viewpoints, some from the water itself and others from a hotel room looking down over the port”.

History of Art: Art of Europe

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Pierre Mignard, Clio, muse of heroic poetry and history, 17th century

The art of Europe encompasses the history of visual art in Europe. European prehistoric art started as mobile rock, and cave painting art, and was characteristic of the period between the Paleolithic and the Iron Age.

Written histories of European art often begin with the art of the Ancient Middle East, and the Ancient Aegean civilisations, dating from the 3rd millennium BC. Parallel with these significant cultures, art of one form or another existed all over Europe, wherever there were people, leaving signs such as carvings, decorated artifacts and huge standing stones. However a consistent pattern of artistic development within Europe becomes clear only with the art of Ancient Greece, adopted and transformed by Rome and carried; with the Empire, across much of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt

Nicole-Galpern[The-Kiss-Gustav-Klimt]
The Kiss (Lovers), oil and gold leaf on canvas, 1907–1908.

The Kiss (Lovers) was painted by the Austrian Symbolist painter Gustav Klimt between 1907 and 1908, the highpoint of his “Golden Period”, when he painted a number of works in a similar gilded style. A perfect square, the canvas depicts a couple embracing, their bodies entwined in elaborate robes decorated in a style influenced by both linear constructs of the contemporary Art Nouveau style and the organic forms of the earlier Arts and Crafts movement. The work is composed of oil paint with applied layers of gold leaf, an aspect that gives it its strikingly modern, yet evocative appearance. The painting is now in the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere museum in the Belvedere palace, Vienna, and is widely considered a masterpiece of the early modern period. It is a symbol of Vienna Jugendstil—Viennese Art Nouveau—and is considered Klimt’s most popular work.

Artist of The Week: Leonardo da Vinci

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Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (15 April 1452 – 2 May 1519), more commonly Leonardo da Vinci or simply Leonardo, was an Italian Renaissance polymath whose areas of interest included invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography. He has been variously called the father of palaeontology, ichnology, and architecture, and is widely considered one of the greatest painters of all time. Sometimes credited with the inventions of the parachute, helicopter and tank, he epitomised the Renaissance humanist ideal.

Father’s Day Art Appreciation Post: Dad’s Coming! by Winslow Homer

Dad's Coming! by Winslow Homer
Dad’s Coming!

Homer spent the summer of 1873 in Gloucester, Massachusetts. On Sunday, August 24, an especially strong storm claimed nine boats and the lives of 128 men. This image was most likely inspired by that incident. The life of a fisherman was always dangerous, and storms and danger were constantly in the minds of the women and children left behind. One cannot resist speculating that the boy, with his straw hat as a symbol of his innocence, will himself soon be on one of those boats with someone waiting behind watching for him.

The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli

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The Birth of Venus

The Birth of Venus (Italian: Nascita di Venere [ˈnaʃʃita di ˈvɛːnere]) is a painting by Sandro Botticelli probably made in the mid 1480s. It depicts the goddess Venus arriving at the shore after her birth, when she had emerged from the sea fully-grown (called Venus Anadyomene and often depicted in art). The painting is in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.

Although the two are not a pair, the painting is inevitably discussed with Botticelli’s other very large mythological painting, the Primavera, also in the Uffizi. They are among the most famous paintings in the world, and icons of the Italian Renaissance; of the two, the Birth is even better known than the Primavera. As depictions of subjects from classical mythology on a very large scale they were virtually unprecedented in Western art since classical antiquity, as was the size and prominence of a nude female figure in the Birth. It used to be thought that they were both commissioned by the same member of the Medici family, but this is now uncertain.

Whistler’s Mother by James McNeill Whistler

Nicole-Galpern[Whistlers-Mother]
Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1

Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1, best known under its colloquial name Whistler’s Mother, is a painting in oils on canvas created by the American-born painter James McNeill Whistler in 1871. The subject of the painting is Whistler’s mother, Anna McNeill Whistler. The painting is 56.81 by 63.94 inches (144.3 cm × 162.4 cm), displayed in a frame of Whistler’s own design. It is exhibited in and held by the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, having been bought by the French state in 1891. It is one of the most famous works by an American artist outside the United States. It has been variously described as an American icon and a Victorian Mona Lisa. Whistler’s Mother was on display at the Art Institute of Chicago through May 21, 2017.