Saturday, February 27, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Jerry Pinkney, one of the top illustrators and authors of children's books, recently won his first Caldecott Gold Medal for The Lion and The Mouse. I stopped by his studio to have him autograph a copy of the book for my granddaughter, Amanda Deyo, and he showed us the watercolor paintings he is creating for his next book Three Little Kittens Who Lost Their Mittens, as well as the stuffed animal his used as his model for the artwork.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
Copy of Michelangelo's The Bathers in the Battle of Cascina, by Aristolie da Sangallo, ca. 1542, oil on wood, 30 1/8 x 51 1/4. Collection of the Earl of Leicester, Holkham Hall, Norfolk, England.
Two exhibitions of Old Master drawings that are currently on view in New York explore several interesting issues, including the influences of two of the most important figures in the history of art, Raphael and Michelangelo, and the changing opinions about their art. The Morgan Library & Museum is showing drawings in Rome After Raphael (through May 9, 2010), and The Metropolitan Museum of Art is displaying The Drawings of Bronzino. The Morgan show "takes Raphael as its starting point and ends with the dawn of a new era, as seen in the innovations of Annibale Caracci;" while The Met's exhibition (through April 18, 2010) presents "nearly all the known drawing by, or attributed to, this leading Italian Mannerist artist."
Even though Raphael lived a relatively short life (1483-1520), his elegant, sweet representations of biblical figures and monumental compositions had a profound influence on generations of painters; and while Michelangelo lived a long and productive life (1475-1564), his depictions of muscular, powerful figures changed the way artists presented the human form -- even into modern times.
While generations of artists found inspiration of the work of Raphael and Michelangelo, critics were not nearly as impressed with the way their influence played out. Bronzino's reputation seems to have suffered greatly from the changing opinions about figurative art based on the Renaissance example, and it wasn't until the 1960's that scholars developed a sincere appreciation of Bronzino's talents.
So what insights can we gain from reviewing the work in these two exhibitions? One is that there is great value in looking at the way Old Masters presented the human figure; composed paintings of figures within architectural spaces and in the landscape; and used drawings as a way of defining the images they would expand in paintings, tapestries, and frescoes. Another is that it is perfectly acceptable, prudent, and valuable to copy some of the poses and compositional schemes worked out by great artists like Raphael and Michelangelo. Finally, it is important to remember that critics will love something one day and hate it the next. Artists must lead and critics must follow, not the other way around, because artists search for a truth while critics deal with a reflection of that truth.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Narrow Canal, Venice, by Stephen Scott Young, 2009, silverpoint on tinted, coated paper, 9" x 7 1/4". Coutesy Adelson Galleries, New York, New York.