Let sleeping cats lie ~

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Despite the recent elevation of Norman Rockwell’s reputation in the art world, he’s still not my cup of tea, and I still see him more as an illustrator (albeit a superb one). But there are definitely things to admire about his art. For example, in his painting “Facts of Life,” which shows a father telling his embarrassed son about the birds and the bees, he has included a sleeping cat (shown above) under the father’s chair, and kittens playing on the boy’s chair. It’s subtext par excellence: a sly way of directly depicting the very topic—sex and reproduction—that is being so earnestly discussed in the abstract. It also cleverly pairs the adults (man and cat) and the young’uns (boy and kittens): experience on one side of the painting; innocence on the other. The boy might well envy the kittens for not having to endure an explanation of what’s eventually coming (pun intended).

This work is in the collection of the University of Kansas’s Spencer Museum of Art. See the full version at https://www.wikiart.org/en/norman-rockwell/facts-of-life.

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The hand that holds the handkerchief holds the power ~

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This is a small detail of another painting in the collection of the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas. The painting, done sometime between 1610 and 1628, is a portrait of Maria Maddalena, Grand Duchess of Tuscany and Archduchess of Austria. The duchess and her mother-in-law ruled Tuscany as co-regents for several years after the death of Cosimo II de Medici. In this detail I especially like the exquisite depiction of the lace bordering the handkerchief.

Crawfish, I guess ~

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I’m going to return to museums for a few posts now. This is a small detail of a large painting by Cristoforo Monari (1667-1720) titled “Still-Life with Dog and Fruit.” Given the scale of various objects in the painting, I’m assuming these are some kind of crawfish rather than lobsters. (Someone more familiar with crustaceans will undoubtedly be able to set me right.) I must say, the one in the front looks rather fearsome. The work is in the collection of the University of Kansas’s Spencer Museum of Art.

Blue moon ~

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This cool mural is on the side of the Aims Community College building in downtown Loveland. The letters are shorthand for the four DNA bases (adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine); the numbers are the Fibonacci series through double digits—89, to be specific. Perhaps the doves are meant to represent human aspirations, since this is an educational institution. I’m guessing this mural was designed and painted by students, since Aims focuses on degrees in art and graphics.

Palette 4/4/2016 ~

This is a copy of “Stormy Day,” the Isaac Levitan painting that I posted to my Facebook page recently. I applied a watercolor filter to the second palette crop. Actually, I think this palette is for another painting I’m working on that I’ll probably paint over. Whoops!

In searching for a photo of the Levitan painting, I came across many other paintings of his that I admire. See this site for a rich sampling of his work, especially “Shadows, Moonlit Night,” “Vladimirka Road,” and “Footpath in a Forest, Ferns.” The latter seems especially remarkable as a sort of Impressionism/Realism hybrid. Wow! Plaudits to I Require Art’s Facebook page for bringing to our attention the work of little-known artists such as Levitan, as well as lesser-known works by widely known artists such as van Gogh..