I love the American artist John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), and I have wanted to write an Art That Inspires Me post about him for a while. However, there are just so many things that inspire me about Sargent, and I struggled to pick a few to focus on. This is my all-time favorite Sargent painting. It depicts Lady (Gertrude) Agnew of Locknaw, the wife of a Scottish nobleman.
Why do people talk about "walking like an Egyptian"? This strange phenomenon, which became a cult hit at one point, involves an unnatural posture where your shoulders face the side while everything else faces the front. When people try it, they usually also add strange head and arm movements. There's even a song about it.… Continue reading Don’t Walk Like an Egyptian, Because They Didn’t, Either! (a fun fact)
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 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.
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.