Visual & Decorative Arts Blog

Masterpieces of Art | Art Deco | Raymond Loewy and American Modernism

Posted by Matteo Middlemiss

The Art Deco movement came to fruition in the early 1900s. In 1925 the Exposition Internationale, which focused on Art Deco design then called Moderne, opened for a six-month run that garnered over sixteen million visitors. The United States did not exhibit at the show because, according to then-Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover (1874–1964), they did not have a sufficient collection of modern products to display. The United States did, however, attend the show. They sent over eighty delegates who were captivated by the designs they saw. It fell in sync with American optimism and American wealth and would come to heavily shape the style we now associate with classic Americana. They didn’t just replicate the art deco style but developed it in to something that was specific to American design.

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Topics: Art Deco, Masterpieces of Art, raymond loewy

Masterpieces of Art | Egon Schiele | Klimt’s Protégé

Posted by Matteo Middlemiss

Egon Schiele (1890-1918) made no attempt to hide his desire to befriend Gustav Klimt (1862-1918). His admiration for Klimt, the star of the Viennese art circle, grew from his domination of the avant garde art scene in the early 20th century. In 1907 he became determined to meet Klimt. He had heard that Klimt had his own admiration for those who sought to be successful.

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Topics: Masterpieces of Art, Modern Art, art, egon schiele

Why Was Art Nouveau the Art Revolt People Were looking for?

Posted by Matteo Middlemiss

The Culture Shock that was Art Nouveau

To understand Art Nouveau you first have to understand the ground it grew out of. The cultural and political shock of the French Revolution had left deep wounds throughout Europe and caused artists to resort to traditional art styles. In these traditions there was a familiarity, recognisability and in some sense a safety. With the advent of Gothic Revival, in England, and Neoclassical, Neo Renaissance and Neo Baroque styles emerging across Europe there was a clear demand for visual art that harkened back to past eras.

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Topics: Art Nouveau, art, blog

Masterpieces of Art | John Singer Sargent | The Many Facets of John Singer Sargent

Posted by Matteo Middlemiss

John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) is hailed as one of the greatest portrait painters of his era. He is famed for his portraiture of aristocratic subjects and these have been compared with the work of painters like Velázquez (1599–1660) and Van Dyck (1599–1641) for their theatrical quality. Portraits are probably what he is most known for, but Sargent painted many subjects with many mediums. In this week’s blog we will be exploring some of these other avenues and looking at the many sides of John Singer Sargent.

 

 Image Courtesy of Boston Library

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Topics: Masterpieces of Art, Art Movements, blog, john singer sargent

Top 10 Flame Tree Calendars | Illustration | Moomin & Others

Posted by Laura Bulbeck

The end of our Top 10 calendars for 2018 series is here, and to round it out we have our illustrious illustration calendars! Featuring childhood favourites, humorous drawings, and posters from the romantic years of tourism, this week’s Top 10 is a feast for the eyes.

 

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Topics: Moomins, Art Nouveau, Art Calendars, Flame Tree Calendars

Top 10 Flame Tree Calendars | Photography | NPG and Others

Posted by Laura Bulbeck

This week it’s the turn of our fabulous photography calendars to take to the stage. Including stunning images of our awe inspiring night sky, to intimate portraits of Hollywood’s golden age stars, and the beauty of ‘The City of Love’. Here are 10 of our best photographic 2018 wall calendars.

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Topics: art of fine gifts, photography, Flame Tree Calendars

Top 10 Flame Tree Calendars | 19th and Early 20th Century Art | Van Gogh and Others

Posted by Laura Bulbeck

The nineteenth and early twentieth centuries encompassed some of the most exciting periods in the history of art. With an explosion of new styles and movements, the variety is duly reflected in our 2018 calendars. Take a look at this week’s Top 10!

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Topics: Gustav Klimt, art of fine gifts, Flame Tree Calendars, Impressionism, Post-impressionism

Top 10 Flame Tree Calendars | Gothic & Fantasy Art | Celestial Journeys and Others

Posted by Laura Bulbeck

With the end of the year fast approaching, we are returning with the Top 10 calendars series for 2018! This week we are taking a look at the range of gothic and fantasy art calendars. Be it sci-fi monsters or colourful unicorns, we have something up our sleeve for everyone.

 

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Topics: art of fine gifts, Gothic Fantasy, Flame Tree Calendars

Painting Techniques | Pastel

Posted by Laura Bulbeck

In this week's Painting Techniques blog we'll be taking a look at pastel. Used mainly for portraits and occasionally landscapes, pastel is known for its vibrant range of colour and ability to blend. Its versatile nature also allows it to be mixed with other mediums to create richer pallets and textures.

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Topics: art of fine gifts, how to paint, Painting Techniques

Painting Techniques | Tempera

Posted by Laura Bulbeck
Similar to Fresco, Tempera was a medium popular among Renaissance painters before the emergence of oil painting. The popular medium for religious-themed works, these paintings were often done in neutral tones to reflect the nature of their subjects. Such famous works as Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper are among the most well-known tempera paintings today.

What is Tempera?

Broadly speaking tempera (Italian for ‘temper’) was a process that involved some sort of binding material (other than oil). Traditionally this was egg-yolk, a substance that was also extensively used in fresco painting, but any albuminous, gelatinous or colloidal material could be mixed with pigments to achieve similar results. 

The terms fresco and tempera are sometimes used as if they were synonymous, but the distinction lies not so much in the mixture but the material to which it was applied. Thus tempera is more commonly associated with the paintings on mummy cases and papyrus rolls in pharaonic Egypt, or medieval paintings on ivory or wood panels, although some wall paintings in ancient Egypt, Knossos, Mycenae and Classical Rome probably relied on this technique.

Medium

Egg-yolk, sometimes diluted by a little vinegar, was the preferred medium, though a thin glue produced by boiling animal skins was also extremely effective, while Pliny mentions milk as a binding substance. Although tempera is mainly associated with relatively small paintings executed on wood panels, the paint was not applied directly on to the wood. The surface had to be prepared and this entailed a process that was not unlike the plastering of walls, but on a much smaller scale.

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Topics: art of fine gifts, painting, how to paint, tempera, Painting Techniques

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