Salvator Mundi of Goa Fronting a Sitting Buddha
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Lee Krasner. Composition, 1949, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Jackson Pollock would be 102 year old today if he were alive. It's a good day to look at Lee Krasner's paintings.
Krasner, who was married to Jackson Pollock, was labeled an abstract expressionist. If you look at Krasner's painting Composition (1949 from her Little Images series) there's a calculated grid structure containing an invented calligraphic secret language that differs from the emotional release found in the work of abstract expressionism. The strategy of employing the grid was commonplace among non-representational artists of the 1970s. The grid allows the artist to make a work where there is not a contrast of large versus small, but where all visual information is equally weighed.
Lee Krasner. Noon, 1947
I could easily believe that Krasner's painting Noon (1947 also from her Little Images series) is a work of a current artist living in Brooklyn because it has a contemporary feel.
Lee Krasner's paintings should be seen as work that was exploring ideas that would later become picked-up other artists.
An online article about Lee Krasner's Little Images.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
David's Portrait of Pope Pius Vll and Cardinal Caprara composed of a seated pope and standing cardinal is a simple painting of two figures wearing white vestments on a dark brown background. What first captures your attention is it's a double portrait in profile. The pope points with his hand as the cardinal tilts his head forward and they both stare at a scene hidden from view by the artist. David's
par excellence as a painter is displayed by studying the surface of the panel. Despite few visual elements this painting visually radiates a magnetic pull that engages the viewer.
The painting can be found at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on the second floor in the less visited Gallery of European Art, 1500-1850.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Maybe I never spent time looking at Joan Miro's Horse, Pipe and Red Flower or the Philadelphia Museum of Art recently rotated the painting from storage to public exhibition. This is an early Miro painting from 1920.
I prefer the work of early Miro because it's less reductive and sometimes contains an encyclopedic grouping of visual information. A good example of Miro's early work is the 1921 painting The Farm from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Miro's later work is reductive and sometimes has qualities of surrealistic automation which does not appeal to me.
The Horse, Pipe and Red Flower painting has a collage-like composition where most of the space is flatten. The book, pipe and receding edge of the table describe a shallow dimensional spacial niche. There is a wonderful surface patterning and a strong tonal contrast of color.
This is a very complete painting that I desire to revisit at the museum.
An interesting article about Miro's life can be read online on The Guardian website.
Monday, January 20, 2014
Johannes Vermeer's Young Woman Seated at a Virginals, currently exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through March 2004, is 9.9 by 7.9 inches. It would be understandable to think of the painting as a sketch due to the small size. It is not a sketch, it is a finished painting. Viewing is affected by the size of the work, the rooms low light level and the frame casting a shadow on the edge of the painting.
The most interesting qualities are the superb mastery of the light and shadow rendered on the cloth and furniture. There is a delicate texture of the entire wall. The limited color palette cultivates the unification of a domestic scene. This is less a portrait of an individual and more a statement of a cultural time and societal lifestyle.
What I think of when I picture Vermeer's art is the description of domestic spaces, checked floor patterns, finely detailed objects, a rich color palette and a wonderful representation of light conditions. He is a master painter. Young Woman Seated at a Virginals does not included all the qualities one sees in a larger work, but there's a rich visual experience and is worth viewing because of the fact that so few of his paintings exist.