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.
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 finished reading a book that told a wild, but true story about a work of art. Laura Cumming's The Vanishing Velasquez: A 19th-Century Bookseller's Obsession with a Lost Masterpiece tells the story of an English bookseller who believed that he owned a lost masterpiece by Spanish artist Diego Velasquez. It ends with a huge, still-unsolved mystery.
Continuing with my earlier theme of art that inspires me, here is another example from the ancient world. During Egypt's Roman period (c. 30 BCE - 330 CE), many beautiful portraits were made in and around the area of Faiyum. They were mummy portraits, which means that they were attached to mummy wrappings to cover the mummy's head.
Unlike his father, George Vanderbilt wasn't a huge art collector. He collected prints, but beyond that, he generally preferred to spend his money on his home and lands rather than paintings and sculptures. However, he still managed to acquire quite a few notable works of art that are now on display at Biltmore. Here are some of my favorites.
Please read my article for DailyArt Magazine about Thomas Gainsborough's portraits of his two daughters.
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.
Many people find John Singer Sargent's work to be very appealing, but this isn't always the case. He has received sometimes-contradictory criticism both in his own time and now. What makes Sargent's work so compelling?
John Singer Sargent's 1882 painting The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit is compelling and a bit mysterious. While reading Erica Hirshler's book about the painting, I learned that interpretations of the work have changed over time, and Sargent's contemporaries didn't read the same tone into it that we do.
A little backstory on John Singer Sargent's portrait of French siblings Edouard and Marie-Louise Pailleron. In this unusual case, animosity between the artist and one of the sitters made for surprisingly effective painting.