Thursday, October 29, 2009

Van Gogh on Babies

If one feels the need of something grand, something infinite, something that makes one feel aware of God, one need not go far to find it. I think that I see something deeper, more infinite, more eternal than the ocean in the expression of the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning and coos or laughs because it sees the sun shining on its cradle. If there is a "ray from on high," perhaps one can find it there. (Letter 242)

Vincent Van Gogh

Thursday, October 22, 2009

John Knight's Pre-Raphaelite Photography

Photographer John Knight has a passion for the Pre-Raphaelites (and for vintage and fine art photography in general). Knight's specialty is the Art Deco period (his studio is actually called Art Deco Studio), but he began his work recreating Pre-Raphaelite images after using two models he felt strongly resembled Jane Morris and Lizzie Siddal. Since then, Knight has recreated a number of iconic Pre-Raphaelite images for modern audiences.

And here we have John Knight's photographic interpretation of the painting:

Of course, Knight uses a great deal of image editing software in order to reproduce the paintings, but it would be impossible to make them look much like the originals without it.

His interpretation of Frederick Sandy's "Love's Shadow" is spectacular, though it shies away from the energy and anger of the original. The girl in Knight's version is a quite a bit more coy and far less threatening than Sandys' (who you will recall is actually baring her teeth in the painting).

Knight's version:

Anthony Frederick Sandys' version - teeth bared, and looking a bit vicious:

I asked Knight what drew him to Pre-Raphaelite art. He replied that

"the images created by the PRB are amongst the most enduring of all art works ever created. They touch the soul and the heart, they challenge the eye and they transport the viewer back...back to fantasy, to chivalry, to folklore and myth to the stories of our childhood and the dreams of our imagination."

I couldn't agree more!

Be sure to check out John Knight's website for more of his Pre-Raphaelite images. Many are quite extraordinary--I think my favourites are the Venus Verticordia (shown above) and Flaming June.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Leonardo da Vinci's Fingerprint Discovered on Painting

Last year I did a post about a debate raging over whether or not the painting The Marriage Portrait of a Young Woman (pictured above) was an original Leonardo da Vinci.

One year later and the controversy is far from over. The battle is still raging among art experts over whether or not the painting is actually by da Vinci.

Most recently, a lab in Paris has discovered a fingerprint in the upper left hand corner that appears to belong to Leonardo da Vinci(it kind of surprises me that they are not able to tell definitively if the fingerprint matches - especially with all that pricey forensic equipment). Originally, Christie's auction house had valued the painting at under $20,000.00, but of course that was before the painting had been subjected to more detailed investigation.

Further investigation into the painting are ongoing, but this must be great news for Canadian art collector Peter Silverman. Silverman purchased the work for around $21,850 in 2007. If the painting does turn out to be a da Vinci, it will most likely be worth tens of millions of dollars. Not a bad investment!

The BBC has a video of the latest news about the painting, which can be viewed on the BBC News website.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Memphis Brooks Museum Hosts "Masterpieces from Museo de Arte de Ponce"

Now through January 10, 2010, the Memphis Brooks Museum will be hosting an exhibit of 56 paintings entitled "Masterpieces from Museo de Arte de Ponce."

The Museo de Arte de Ponce is well-known for it's spectacular Pre-Raphaelite collection, which will be featured prominently in this exhibition. However, the show will also feature paintings from a number of different periods, and includes works from Baroque artist Peter Paul Rubens and the Belle Époque master James Tissot

The Brooks Museum has a couple of events on October 15, 2009 to celebrate the collection, including a "Tea and Tour" from 1:30 - 3 pm. Enjoy tea and treats after a special tour with the docents ($3 per person). The event is sponsored by the Brooks Museum League. Reservations are required, please call 901.544.6242. A dinner will also be held the same night--call the number above for more information.

For more information, check out the Brooks Museum Website

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Victoria and Albert Museum's William Morris Print Book

The Victoria and Albert Museum has announced publication of a new William Morris Pattern Book. The book will come with a CD of the pattern images, so that designers can be free to research and modify the designs as they choose.

The collection was put together by Linda Parry, whom many William Morris buffs will immediately recognize as the author of some of the best books on Morris' design work. Parry served as curator of the V&A's 1995 William Morris exhibit, and is one of the world's foremost experts on Morris. Parry also worked as deputy keeper of the Furniture, Textiles and Fashion Department at the V&A for many years.

I just ordered my copy and I can't wait for it to arrive! I'm really curious to see what I can do with the CD--I'm thinking it will be perfect for adapting some of the designs to needlework, etc.

This title is available through The Earthly Paradise Bookstore.