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Jun. 30th, 2017

Studio pic - pencil shaver

Zygmunt Andrychiewicz - Death of the Artist (The Last Friend) (1901)

Wrapping up this year's Art for the Month of June, I am pleased to share 'Death of the Artist (The Last Friend)' by Polish painter Zygmunt Andrychiewicz. This scene shows a unkempt bedroom where a young man—a struggling artist, as evident by the items throughout the room—is shown on his death bed. The cause of his condition isn't specified, but I wouldn't rule out suicide. He appears to be living in poverty, and the items throughout his room reflect a lonely existence wherein he's been consumed by his work, with no evidence of friends, family, or even interests outside his chosen craft.

The suited figure in the chair, obviously Death himself, is indentified a skeleton. Not only does Death grant our poor artist a release from this life, but he offers him the comfort of music, soothing the spirit as he is slips out of this worldly plane. If artists create as a way of coming to terms with their own mortality, it would seem fair that Death grant the living a few courtesy notes as well.

Jun. 29th, 2017

Studio pic - pencil shaver

William Ratcliffe - The Warped Table (1921)

Today I would like to share 'The Warped Table' by English painter William Ratcliffe. I'm largely unfamiliar with Ratcliffe's work, and I am quick to assume this is a scene from the artist's home. That said, I love how the Ratcliffe has utilized his fantastic talents to document this mundane possession, if not one which is also "warped." The table might be damaged, however I'm under the impression that the artist feels an affection toward it, possibly because of its imperfection. Perhaps that is makes makes this table special enough to function as the centerpoint of this scene. Would this painting be any less interesting if the table were pristine, like an item one might find in a home & decor catalogue?

Again, assuming this table is owned by Ratcliffe, this work is indicative of what the artist is willing to share about himself. Not everyone is racing to show off all of their worn-down and/or damages personal effects. It's a very personal item, if you think about it, one at which one might eat, read, converse, ect. Most folks would flaunt their fancy tea cabinet, however they might stop short of showing off the homely table at which they spend a majority of their time.

Jun. 28th, 2017

Studio pic - pencil shaver

William Holyoake - The Lover's Vow (circa 1800)

Tonight I will present ‘The Lover's Vow’ by English painter William Holyoake. In this work I enjoy the seriousness of the two adults as the man commits his promise into the snow. The gentleman’s formal posture, as well as his hand tucked in his pocket, seems to emphasize this tender gesture to his female companion. One would not think twice to find a pair of adolescents engaged in such an activity, but in the case of two adults it’s a different matter entirely. One would assume that through their years of experience these two adults are familiar with the complexities of love and faithfulness, and with that in mind I find the man’s vow in the snow to be very endearing, evident that they have not let cynicism get the best of them. Snow is only temporal, easily brushed away by a strong gust of wind, but the promise will remain true if the lover is indeed committed to his word.

Jun. 27th, 2017

Studio pic - pencil shaver

Wilhelm Bendz - The Sculptor Christen Christensen Working with a Live Model in His Studio (1827)

Tonight I am happy to share ‘The Sculptor Christen Christensen Working with a Live Model in His Studio’ by Danish painter Wilhelm Bendz. What appealed to me about this work is the body language between the subjects. I would assume the sculptor is guiding his model’s pose as reference for his work, however this image has a theatrical quality which brought to mind other creative possibilities. The sculptor’s stance, with his hand extended outward in a grand gesture, is very powerful, while the model almost appears as if he were shielding himself in response. Is these poses, one might think our subjects were engaged in an epic fight scene, wherein the sculptor would yield some wild supernatural power, causing the model to raise his arm, holding heavy shield, in defense against his opponent. But alas, they are merely working on a project. Oh well.

Also, yes, the sculptor, referenced in the title as male, does appear very feminine—so much that I checked around the interest for clarification that the artist might’ve been a woman. I didn’t uncover anything substantial, nor does it really detract from the impact of this piece.

Jun. 26th, 2017

Studio pic - pencil shaver

Talbot Hughes - Cinderella (no date)

Today I would like to share ‘Cinderella’ by British painter Talbot Hughes. I love how Hughes depicts our classic fairy tale heroine as she performs her thankless duties at home, cleaning out the fireplace with broom in hand. While stepping out from the shadows, a cool, soothing light reveals the hopeful expression on the face as she looks to an unspecified location outside our point of view. I love the contrast between this mysterious light and that of the warm fire behind her. As the viewer, which light source is more appealing to you? One might associate the fire with warmth and security, while the mysterious light leaves open the possibility that one may encounter evil or the unknown. In this work I would assert that Cinderella is willing to take a chance if it means attending the ball and meeting her prince--or escaping these sad confines, if only for one night.

Jun. 25th, 2017

Studio pic - pencil shaver

Romà Ribera - Epilogue for Masked Ball (circa 1891)

Tonight I will share 'Epilogue for Masked Ball' by Catalan painter Romà Ribera. This work depicts an early morning scene in which several people come to the aid of a masquerade ball patron who had apparently passed out on the sidewalk—or was possibly even assaulted—after the previous night's event. For those who are quick to associate a masked ball—or any other lively nightlife affair—with festivities, companionship and glamour, Ribera's painting provides a sobering perspective, illustrating the consequence of one's poor judgment, or just plain ol' bad luck, after such an occasion. One can only guess the story to which this "epilogue" serves, or the severity of the situation, but nonetheless this ambiguity is what makes the scene so intriguing. That said, the artist maintains a narrative that's fairly objective. refraining from passing judgment, which I find refreshing.

Jun. 24th, 2017

Studio pic - pencil shaver

Ralph Hedley - John Graham Lough in His Studio (1881)

Today I will share ‘John Graham Lough in His Studio’ by British painter Ralph Hedley. The most noticeable aspect of this scene is the large hole in the ceiling in which Lough’s sculpture appears to be reaching. There doesn’t seem to be any debris from the ceiling found on the floor, so perhaps this hole has been there for a while, and I would assume that the artist, needing more space for his work, created this hole with that purpose in mind.

For me this painting symbolizes how our dedication to art can influence us to make seemingly unusual decisions in regards to our personal space. Sure, most of us won’t sledgehammer a gaping hole in our ceilings to make room for a sculpture, but we might decorate a room around a painting we have hanging on the wall. That’s how today’s piece by Hedley spoke to me.

Jun. 23rd, 2017

Studio pic - pencil shaver

Pierre-Jacques Volaire - View of the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius (1770s)

Today I will share 'View of the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius' by French painter Pierre-Jacques Volaire. In this work I love the striking contrast between the lively orange and yellow of volcanic blast and the soothing blue of the night sky with that wonderful full moon. My eye is also drawn to the lower half of the painting where two groups of silloetted figures are seen against the reflections in the water. Though only a short distance away from each other, these two groups seem to be inhabiting completely different worlds. From there I explore the shadows to find even more people lurking within the scene, obviously there to observe the volcanic display. Lastly, I enjoy how the smoke from the eruption seems to be falling downward, an effect in which resembles stalactite in a cavern, creating another interesting aspect to this extraordinary landscape scene.

Jun. 22nd, 2017

Studio pic - pencil shaver

Marie Cornelissen - He Loves Me; He Loves Me Not ... (no date)

Today I will share 'He Loves Me; He Loves Me Not ...' by French painter Marie Cornelissen. I enjoy this work for its simple yet effective narrative. We see young woman plucking peddles off a flower while another figure, presumably the source of her woe, is visable behind the tree. Though his identity a mystery to the us, we can clearly see the young woman's face as she pines for her companion.

Surely his love isn't worth this sad display, is it?

All judgments aside, I love the straight forward display of emotion in this quiet, thoughtful piece. It also provides a peaceful woodland scene, perfect for inward contemplation regarding matters of the heart.

Jun. 21st, 2017

Studio pic - pencil shaver

Marià Fortuny - Portrait of the Painter Joaquim Agrassot (1864)

Tonight I would like to share ‘Portrait of the Painter Joaquim Agrassot’ by Spanish painter Marià Fortuny. Though I’m unfamiliar with the subject, I can still appreciate the dramatic atmosphere and handsome presentation of this work. This is one of many paintings which I discovered while browsing Pinterest. As a 1 ½ inch image viewed on my smartphone, what stood out to me about this piece was the subject’s cool composure while leaning back against the wall. In this respect he reminds me of a nightclubber or a punk rocker striking the classic James Dean pose from the movie ‘Rebel Without a Cause.’ I’ve even done it myself from time to time. It’s a great way to kill time if you don’t want to stare at your phone.

Of course, this Agrassot fellow did not have a smartphone, so that skull he’s casually clutching in his left hand will have to suffice, I guess. Again, I love the attitude exhibited by our subject’s simple body language.

Upon viewing Fortuny’s ‘Portrait,’ I admired it enough to save to my own Pinterest wall. Several weeks later I revisited the image, this time on my large screen monitor at home, and was struck by the amount of detail within the scene. I love Fortuny’s rendering of the glassware, stool, and shelf—all of which was lost when first viewing the image on my phone. This makes me wonder how much more of impact this painting would have if I could observe it in person.

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Studio pic - pencil shaver

June 2017


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