If you've been around the art world for a while, chances are that you've heard the term "provenance". If so, you've probably gotten the sense that it is important, but you may not know what it is or why it matters. Provenance is an artwork's history of ownership, and it help you determine if a work is genuine and honest.
Before synthetic colors, it was important to choose your paints wisely. Some artists, like J.M.W. Turner, didn't always do this, and their paintings discolored quickly.
A few words about Victoria Finlay's Color: A Natural History of the Palette. Finlay travelled all across the world to research historical sources of color pigments. Her book is full of surprising and sometimes alarming facts.
In his Natural History, The ancient Roman historian Pliny the Elder tells a memorable tale about the world's first painter.
History painting was an important genre in 18th and 19th-century European art. The term is used all the time, but doesn't simply refer to paintings of history. Learn about the characteristics of a history paint and why all the most ambitious artists wanted to pursue it.
I've learned so many cool words I've learned studying art history. They're lots of fun to say. Here are six words along with definitions and artwork examples of each one.
Giorgio Vasari is considered to be the father of art history. In the mid-16th century, he wrote a set of biographies of Italy's most important artists and architects. It's been influential ever since then. A new biography of Vasari, published in 2017, takes a complete look at Vasari's life and work as both an artist and writer.
Did you know that not all paint colors are made the same way? This means that, at least at one time, some colors were much more difficult to get than others. What was the rarest color?
My review of a fascinating book, Rogue's Gallery, about the history of art dealers. As it turns out, it's not just the artists who have big personalities, and art dealers have affected art history a lot. A fun and informative book.
While stocking up on books for an impending snow storm, I found Jonathan Harr's The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece (Random House, 2006) on the library shelf and picked it up on a whim. During the actual storm the following day, I devoured the entire book in a few hours and only wished it were longer (the… Continue reading The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr