Anne Vallayer-Coster (1744-1818) was an 18th-century French artist who specialized in still life painting. She was so good at it that she became official painter to Marie-Antoinette.
I recently enjoyed an art exhibition at my local library. I saw many wonderful works there, but I noticed that the majority of the pieces I was drawn to were still lives. So I started to think about why that is. Back in the days of the European and American artistic academies, still life was considered the least prestigious of the painting genres, but it's one of my personal favorites.
This installment of Art That Inspires Me features a Japanese Buddhist statue that appeared on a poster sent to me by the Yale University Art Gallery.
Over the weekend, I visited Lyndhurst mansion to take the Christmas tour. Lyndhurst is a 19th-century Gothic Revival mansion in Tarrytown, New York. It was designed by Alexander Jackson Davis (1803-1892) and owned by three families, lastly that of railroad magnate Jay Gould (1836-1892). The house has all its original contents, including Tiffany stained glass windows and Gothic Revival furniture by Davis and by Herter Brothers.
Somebody recently asked me why most museums display only a small portion of their collections. The obvious answer is that museums have limited exhibition space, but that raises many more questions. Why do museums own so much more than they could ever hope to exhibit? Why do they keep all the objects they don't use? In this article, I'll do my best to present some of the relevant ideas as I've observed them on my art history adventures.
This post was inspired by a conversation with my cousin, who expressed frustration about feeling that she doesn't know how to approach art museums. I'm sure she's not the only person to struggle with this, so I've come up with a few strategies that I hope will help.
When Leonardo da Vinci painted his famous The Last Supper for the Santa Maria delle Grazie monastery in Milan, he used some cool tricks to make the painting seem to be part of the room itself. Leonardo da Vinci, The Last Supper, 1490s. Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan. [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons. The Last… Continue reading A Matter of Perspective (a fun fact)
I just finished reading a book that told a wild, but true story about a work of art. Laura Cumming's The Vanishing Velasquez: A 19th-Century Bookseller's Obsession with a Lost Masterpiece tells the story of an English bookseller who believed that he owned a lost masterpiece by Spanish artist Diego Velasquez. It ends with a huge, still-unsolved mystery.
For the past few months, I've been working with Citaliarestauro.com, a Portuguese e-learning company specializing in art history, to create an online course about the history of Gothic architecture. I'm so excited to announce that it is now available for purchase!
In the ancient city of Knossos, on the Aegean island of Crete, archaeologists found lots of beautiful frescos while excavating. Lots of them depicted scenes of everyday, real and imagined animals, and gorgeous foliage, but one of them depicted something far stranger - a trio of people vaulting over a bull.