From Visible to Invisible in Art

Long time ago, a close friend showed me a little picture at  the Prado Museum.The Death Crist supported  by an Angel “ An angel whose emotion is difficult to express with words The table has been part of the collections of the  Prado Museum  since 1965 and is currently exhibited in the magnificent temporary exhibition “A place of memory 1819-2019”

The Death Crist suppoted by an Angel

Antonello da Messina is probably the most important Renaissance painter in southern Italy, known for his early mastery of the Flemish technique in oil painting (Giorgio Vasari  at his book “ The lives of the most excellent painters…” thought that he was a formal  Jan Van Eyck student…maybe both met in 1456 in Naples). Many details of his life are unknown, we know he traveled through Italy, he learned the Florentine rules of mathematical perspective and foreshortening. We know that in 1475 he traveled to Venice where he received many commissions … he worked almost certainly for the Sforza Family  in Milan and died in his native Sicily at the age of 49 .

Crocifissione Triptic

Antonello da Messina elaborated a perfect combination between Flemish painting, the Italian experiences of the Quattrocento, the vision of color and the light of Venetian painting, which caused a great impact and certainly it was difficult to find something similar in other contemporary painters.

Following  the footsteps of an artist is a good excuse to  travel. Shortly after the Angel of the Prado caught me… I remembered that strange knight from the Thyssen Museum  that looks at you while you are trying to look at Giovanna Tornabuoni  by Ghirlandaio.

That man challenged me to visit “Saint Jerome in his Study” at the National Gallery. A work full of symbology, perspective and detail … but the expression in his portraits is something really prodigious … so I decided to meet the Christ of the Column of the Louvre and after this masterpiece many more portraits came, in Berlin, in Cefalù, in Manhattan.

And my curiosity forced me to visit Sicily in order to meet his “Annunziata” ( nickname the Sicilian Gioconda) We met in 2007, she was waiting for me behind a curtain, in a dark red room. Located  in a small museum in Taormina, Palazzo Corvaja. The summer was hot and when the curtain was removed, an icy wind paralyzed me.


Virgin Annunciate

Lofty/ Divine / Sublime

The Virgin is located in front of a book whose pages probably moved as a result of a small wind blow, or perhaps it was the wings of the Angel who was hurrying away. Her right hand is raised as if greeting or, possibly, expressing fear. Her other hand seemed to want to close the cape, conceivably to protect or guard her virginal breast that had just been visited. Her gaze, absorbed and peaceful at the same time, left no room for doubt: that woman had just been visited … then you feel that you are just a simple spectator of a glorious moment.

And you understand that  “Art can heal your soul “

It has taken me 11 years to visit her again, to have the great privilege of attending the opening of a temporary  exhibition  about Antonello at  Palazzo Abatellis,  that will last until February 10, 2019. The Annunziata has not moved from her room perfectly designed for her; the light enters through the Renaissance window from her left  side and before the lights of the museum are lit, the break of dawn is admirable on her wonderful blue robe.

The Abatellis is an intimate museum, a prodigy of mixture between modernity and classic art where you do not get tired of walking. I returned every day of my stay in Palermo, especially to admire every detail painted so prodigiously by this Renaissance genius, perhaps, not  recognized enough.

Antonello da Messina
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THE FAUVES

The Fauves. Passion For Color, journeys through the génesis and decelopment of Fauvism, controversial and exuberant movement thet entailed a renewing challenge towards the art of its time.manguin-ines

The exibition offers an overview of the first major avant-garde artistic movement of the 20th century.

The fauves, led by Henri Matisse, André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck, really shook up the art establishment of their day with their innovative approach to the use of color, their energetic brushwork and seemingly wild execution. In 1905, their works were exhibited in the Salon d’Automne, causing such a stir among the public and the critics that they named them the “wild beasts” –fauves in French.

Their development was as brilliant as it was intense: the movement barely lasted two years, but their impact was extraordinary, laying the groundwork for other avant-garde movements such as Expressionism and Cubism.

The exhibition, comprising over 150 pieces, is divided into five chronologically-ordered sections, which lay out the truly intense stylistic development these artists underwent in just two years. In addition, there are two small sections devoted to drawings and ceramics, disciplines that will help to appreciate the versatility and creativity that characterized these audacious, young painters.

The first of these is devoted to the early pictorial experiments carried out by the artists who were to later form the fauve group while they were still learning. Here we can appreciate the influence that the painting of Van Gogh, Gauguin and Cézanne exercised on these artists.

manguinSelf-Portraits of the Fauves clearly manifests the close friendship that bonded the members of this group and was key to the creation and development of the movement. Most noteworthy is the pair of portraits produced by Matisse and Derain during the summer they spent together in Collioure.

In the third section of the exhibit, Acrobats of Light, we can witness the impact of the Mediterranean light on how the fauves used color. They increased the intensity of the tones on their pallets following their stays on the Côte d’Azur, creating paintings that caused a sensation at the 1905 Salon d’Automne.

The Wildness of Color includes the works that the fauves produced after their success at the Salon d’Automne, which consolidated their identity as a group and encouraged them to continue their pictorial investigations.

Worthy of note are Derain’s depictions of London, as well as the incorporation of Le Havre artists such as Raoul Dufy, Georges Braque and Othon Friesz, who brilliantly revitalized the movement.

The final section, Fork in the Road, presents the different paths the fauves took from 1907 onward. The influence of Cézanne can be seen in a series of paintings of bathers and the geometrizing of landscapes that were a prelude to Cubism, while the emaciated women of Van Dongen, Rouault and Vlaminck heralded expressionism.

The exhibition, produced by Fundación MAPFRE, has proved possible thanks to the support and collaboration of the 80-plus lenders. Among these are such major institutions as the Tate, the Pompidou Center, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen of Düsseldorf, the Milwaukee Art Museum or the National Gallery of Denmark, which have lent some of their most emblematic works.
The generosity of more than 30 private collectors must also be underscored. They agreed to lend works which are unknown to the general public yet of extraordinary quality, thus making this exhibition a unique opportunity to appreciate them


Master of Candlelight & Shadows

Born in France in 1593 George de la Tour early artistic career is somewhat of a mystery but it is documented that at the age of 27 he petitioned to the Duke of Lorraine to move to wife’s nearby hometown of Luneville and work there as a professional artist.He was granted permission and set up as a master painter with a studio and apprentice.

 

La Tour became a successful provincial artist, painting mainly religious scenes.He became recognised for his nocturne paintings, where night scene narratives were dramatically lit as if by the light of a candle.

The Duke of Lorraine became a patron of his work and the local bourgeoisie (wealthy Middle Classes) provided plenty of work for La Tour.Enjoying increasing popularity, in 1639 he was appointed as painter to King Louis XIII.Disaster did however strike in 1638 when La Tour’s house and studio were destroyed by fire.The whole town of Luneville was sacked and burnt.A great number of his pictures were lost.

Delatour (2)

After his death in 1652, La Tour’s work became unfashionable and his name slowly forgotten. It was only in the early 20th Century that his works were again unearthed and his artistic talent and historical importance again recognised. He is now regarded as one of the most important artists of his time working outside of Rome.

The Prado Museum presents the most famous works of La Tour, one of the most important painters in France during the seventeenth century. From the 23rd of February to the 12th of June

30 out of 40 of the painter’s well-known paintings will be on display. Georges de La Tour paints scenes with religious subject matter and themes. His sensitivity and realistic treatment of subjects stand out.  For a long time, some of his paintings were attributed to Spanish artists such as Velázquez, Zurbarán, Juan Rizzi, Murillo and Maíno
Come to Madrid and enjoy this wonderful rediscovered …Be as amazed as Louis XIII was, by simply walking into this exciting new experience.

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Around the work of great master of the Neoclassical line, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.

The Prado Museum  current exhibition gives a close look at the technique of one of the most revered artists in the history of drawing and provides an occasion to learn from his example.

The exhibition presents itself touches on his complex relationship with the art of portraiture, (the sacred art which has secured his place as one of the great painters of history), torn between ambition and repulsion.

LA GRAN ODALISCA. 1814

The works of Ingres and his very individual aesthetic represent a key movement towards the artistic revolutions of the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.

He inspired the rejuvenation of the European schools of the 19th century, particularly in Spain, but also foreshadowed the genius of Picasso by employing anatomical distortion, like in his Grande Odalisque (1814, Louvre Museum) which lengthened the back, an image of pure nudity with no narrative justification, has been one of the most influential images in the history of modern painting. “Ruggiero rescuing Angelica” depicts a sensual, voluptuous woman who is a clear paradigm of contemporary eroticism, while “The Turkish Bath” from the Louvre, a legendary work that summarises Ingres’ fascination with repetition, champions the curve as the ideal form for expressing his tireless enthusiasm with the female body, once again located in an exotic context.

Louis-Francois_BertinThe numerous portraits that he realised for tourists in his early years in Italy he portrayed an uncanny control of a delicate yet firm line and an inventiveness in posing sitters to reveal their personalities. He captured his figure with an impressive photographic likeness. The numerous portraits that he realised years later remain a mirror of the bourgeois society of his time, as Ingres knew particularly well how to render the texture of clothes and fabrics, indicators of a social level.

Ingres painted the grace and splendor oh his female elite sitters with photographic realism

Ines Montpessier

 

 

During his 87 years he had frequently seen the critical response to his work go from unabashed scorning to enthusiastic accolades.Today, Ingres is still viewed as a master of the 19th century. He continues to spark the interest of modern art critics and galleries of his work are in wide reception.

From 24 November 2015 to 27 March 2016

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Sorolla Museum by Alicia Fornery

There are few places in the world where you can enjoy works by artists of the first order uncrowded and quietly. The Sorolla Museum is one of those places.

Jardines

Walking through its elegant garden inspired by the Andalusian gardens of Granada, Cordoba and Seville, time stops for a moment just before starting to recede until the early twentieth century, when it was built as a main residence of the painter and his family at Madrid.

Once inside, something happens. It’s lighter indoors than outside … it’s the bright and crispy light of Valencian beaches, of the white that contains every color, of the reflected sunlight at sea, reflections that do not blind, but that illuminate everything.

We walk through the rooms and corridors followed by the looks of the Sorolla family, Clotilde, beloved wife and muse of the artist, represented a thousand times; Mary, eldest daughter of the couple and one of the artist’s main main models, Joaquín and Elena, the little ones.familia sorolla

 

But they aren’t looks that make us feel intrusive, in contrast, the portraits receive us kindly, with elegance. They welcome us to their world of light and color while in the distance, we can hear the cries of a group of children playing on the beach.

Joaquin_Sorolla_-_Paseo_a_la_orillas_del_marMaybe all these elements were responsible for Sorolla to become one of the first Spanish artists to conquer the Northamerican art market. Of course, there were other determining factors in this success, including the sponsorship of major fortunes like Archer Milton Huntington’s, or Thomas Fortune Ryan’s, and the void left at that time among the portraitists who worked for the gentry, having ceased his activity John Singer Sargent.

Since its first exhibition on US soil and in just three years, Sorolla portrayed a high number of influential figures in American society, among which President William Howard Taft or designer and entrepreneur Louis Comfort Tiffany.

In addition to his portraits, the Valencian artist had a great success with his beach scenes, his patios and gardens, as well as his genre scenes of Spain in the early twentieth century. His optimism, strength and vitality were perhaps the main causes for the rapid identification of the American public with his paintings.

Joaquín-Sorolla-Louis-Confort-Tiffani

In the Sorolla Museum, we can see how prolific his work was and the variety of themes covered before one of the best known works of his American experience, the decoration of the Hispanic Society of America in New York.

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