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.
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 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
The image of Santa Claus is pretty much omnipresent in the month of December, but how many people actually know where it comes from? Santa has his origins in numerous characters from the myths, legends, and stories of many different cultures; Saint Nicholas is his best-known but not only antecedent. As such, Santa Claus takes many diverse forms and personalities… Continue reading December 2nd: Santa Claus according to Thomas Nast
The first installment of an art historical advent calendar - features Christ in the House of His Parents by John Everett Millais.