Two sketches by Konstantin Ivanov showing his scenic designs for the famous Nutcracker ballet's first-ever production, which took place in Russia in 1892.
A fashionable portrait of a woman taking a walk on a winter's day, by French realism Jacques-joseph Tissot. Part of a fine art Advent calendar.
If you are seeing this (and I set the timer correctly), it means I am currently at a holiday ball. I figured the Advent Calendar should get in on the action, too. Interestingly, it is far easier to get a ticket to a glamorous and elegant holiday party than an artistic representation of one. It took me… Continue reading December 13th: Ball at the Russian Imperial Court by Dmitry Kardovsky
Painter and The Saturday Evening Post illustrator Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) is beloved in the United States for his images of American life during and after World War Two - soldiers, Boy Scouts, school children, mid-twentieth century family life, and, of course, Santa Claus. My family owns an entire set of Christmas ornaments featuring his Santas in a variety of scenes at rest, work, and… Continue reading December 12th: Santa with Elves by Norman Rockwell
I looked at a lot of Magi/Three Wise Men paintings today, but something about this one particularly stood out for me. It is by Austrian artist Joseph Binder (1798–1864). I think it's a combination of things - the clarity of the image, the colors (particularly the blues in the sky), the varying reactions of the… Continue reading December 11th: The Magi by Joseph Binder
George Inness, Christmas Eve, 1866. Montclair Museum of Art, Montclair, New Jersey. Photo via the-athenaeum.org. Nineteenth-century Tonalist landscape painter George Inness (1825-1894) is one of my favorite American artists. Many of his paintings feature locations in the northeastern United States that I'm familiar with. That's one of the reasons I feel connected to his works, although… Continue reading December 10th: Christmas Eve by George Inness
I've seen this image before, in a book about ice skating history. This work by Scottish-Canadian photographer William Notman (1826-1891) depicts an elaborate gala at Montreal's Victoria Rink in 1870. The event was to honor Prince Albert of the UK. It looks like a painting or print, but it's actually a colored albumen photographic print. I can't get… Continue reading December 9th: Skating Carnival Montreal by William Notman
Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, so it seems appropriate to feature this Annunciation by Fra Angelico for the Advent Calendar. I have known that I wanted to use this painting since the beginning of the month, it was just a question of when. I love the work of Italian monk Guido di Pietro,… Continue reading December 8th: Annunciation by Fra Angelico
Jasper Francis Cropsey, Winter in Switzerland, 1861. Private collection. Photo via the-athenaeum.org. Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823-1900) is one of my favorite American painters. He was once of the so-called Hudson River School artists - nineteenth-century American artists who painted the then-undeveloped landscape of the adolescent United States. Cropsey is best known for his depictions of north eastern… Continue reading December 7th: Winter in Switzerland by Jasper Francis Cropsey
I mentioned a few posts ago that I want to talk about some of the historical, religious, and mythological antecedents to Santa Claus. As today is Saint Nicholas's Day, this seems like a perfect time to get started. St. Nicholas (270-343) was a Greek/Turkish bishop and saint who became associated with gift giving due to… Continue reading December 6th: Saint Nicholas of Bari by Carlo Crivelli