The Wadsworth Athenaeum, in Hartford, CT, is one of America's oldest art museums. It was founded by Daniel Wadsworth in 1842. However, it has been expanded several times since them. The museum has a little bit of everything, from paintings to porcelain, ancient Egyptian to contemporary European. It's a very pleasant place to spend an afternoon.
For those of you new to the art-viewing, museum-going experience, do you feel unsure what to see first? If so, I can make a few suggestions. I've come up with three areas that I think are particularly accessible and enjoyable to new viewers. You'll find them in most major museums, and they also happen to be among my favorites.
I just finished reading Thomas Hoving's King of the Confessors, which is about Hoving's adventures in acquiring what's now called The Cloisters Cross. Thanks to him, this English Romanesque carved ivory cross is one of the highlights of the Met Cloisters. The story is wild, and I couldn't put it down.
I recently learned an interesting skating fact while working on an art history project. It has to do with the fashionable way to skate in the 18th and 19th centuries. Find out why I don't recommend skating that way today, then read my piece about Gilbert Stuart's "The Skater" on DailyArt app on Jan 19th.
Here in the United States, paintings play a big role in how we experience the story of our country's origins. Portraits of our Founding Fathers and other paintings of the Revolutionary War appear on our money, in our textbooks, and decorating our government buildings. These paintings have become a huge part of our national consciousness. Paul Staiti's Of Arms and Artists: The American Revolution Through Painters' Eyes is about the five American painters most responsible for depicting the Revolution era.
Over Christmas break, I saw Agents of Faith: Votive Objects in Time and Place at the Bard College Graduate Center Gallery in Manhattan. The show's almost over, so instead of writing a review, I thought I would tell you what votives are and what I learned about them in the show.
I just love the work of Florine Stettheimer! It's fun, colorful, and completely unique. I'm always so happy when I spot one of her paintings at a museum. Because I enjoy Florine's work so much, I wrote an article about her for DailyArt Magazine. Give it a read to learn about her one-of-a-kind life and work.
James Hall's The Self-Portrait: A Cultural History (London: Thames & Hudson, Ltd., 2014) is a really interesting assessment of self-portrait painting as a cultural phenomenon. It's well thought-out, researched, and written, and I greatly appreciated it.
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.