Visual & Decorative Arts Blog
As the leading figure of Impressionism, Claude Monet is renowned for his portrayals of light and water and his skills as an artist have secured the enduring popularity of his paintings. His collection of masterpieces continues to draw great interest, and this is especially true within the collector’s market, where his paintings are sold for jaw-dropping monetary sums. Last year one of his Waterlilies paintings sold for over £31 million, and earlier this month his painting of Le Grand Canal went for over £23 million at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Sale, becoming the highest seller of the night. There were five paintings by Monet in the evening auction, with their sales totaling a massive £55.74 million – certainly not a sum to be sniffed at.
Wassily Kandinsky is considered to be the 'Father of the Abstract.' From an early age he had a strong connection to colour and throughout his artistic career he was interested in the portrayal of colours and shape. It took a simple mix up, when his wife accidentally set his work in progress on its side, for him to find artistic truth. Kandinsky's art was an extension of his spiritual thoughts and the abstract works that he created inspired many artists and art movements.
The recent claim that two previously unaccredited bronze statues were actually made by Michelangelo have caused a stir in the art world. The two anatomically 'perfect' panther-riders are thought to be the only lasting sculptures in bronze made by the late master.
Such is Michelangelo's pedigree, that even a relatively modest set such as this can cause art forums to go into meltdown. The reason for this is simple: Michelangelo is one of the most highly revered artists of all time. His work on the the Sistine Chapel and of course, the statue of David, are arguably two of the most iconic pieces of art of all time.
Piet Mondrian is best known for his abstract work. His grid-like art represents the harmony of the universe through simple empty space and black lines. Mondrian's work was crucial to the development of modern art and even had a massive impact on architecture, furniture and popular culture. In his early years as an artist, however, he created traditional pieces and even rejected modern art. So how, then, did Mondrian become the artist as we know him today? We are going to look at his early influences and development as an artist to find out.
In anticipation of of our new sketch books arriving next week - one of which features a beautiful design by Hokusai - today in the blog we're going to take a look at the different schools of artists that reflect the history of this traditional art form. We have blogged about Japanese Woodblock prints before, click here to read our articles 'How I Learned to Love Japanese Art' and 'Japanese Woodblocks: Influences and Outcomes'.
Last Wednesday saw the return of the popular ‘Museum Selfie’ day, a Twitter project initiated last year by the group of Museum professionals behind the website CultureThemes. The hashtag ran rife, with people posing in front of famous paintings, re-sharing the altered Vermeer image, and making museum exhibits look desperate to take a picture of themselves. The craze of the selfie in recent years – ‘selfie’ was named Oxford Dictionary’s 2013 Word of the Year – highlights what could be described as an addiction to self-portraiture, and the enthusiasm for the ‘museum selfie’ in particular indicates a fundamental need or desire to acknowledge that self: for the photographer to become a part of the photo and exist within its created art. With the upcoming release of Flame Tree’s ‘Edvard Munch: Masterpieces of Art’, we thought we’d have a look at how Munch’s tormented and emotionally vibrant paintings depict the self, and how his emotions and experiences flavour as well as constitute the subject matter of his work
2015 marks the 125th anniversary of the death of beloved, world-famous artist Vincent van Gogh. Through in his life he was little known, he has become hailed as one of the greatest Dutch painters, after Rembrandt. Similarly to today’s celebrities, it is impossible to separate van Gogh’s troubled life from his works of art. He suffered from severe mental illnesses and relied on the creation of his art as a means of keeping his illness at bay.
The general feeling from all of the critics that have reviewed Frederick Wiseman's documentary on the National Gallery is that it captures the gallery magnificently. Time Out called it 'Wiseman's densest and best' work and gave it five stars. It is said to be a fascinating look at not only behind the scenes, but a detailed look at the people who visit – tourists, school groups, professionals and students. Geoffrey MacNab, reviewing the documentary in The Independent writes, 'Some of the time, Wiseman gives viewers the sense that they are inside the gallery alongside other visitors. At other points, his camera scrutinises the faces of museum-goers with the same fascination that the artists whose work hangs in the gallery treated their subjects.' The documentary gets into all the nooks and crannies and no small detail is left out.
As explored in our previous Kandinsky blogpost, this is an artist who had a strong awareness of colour from an early age. This is brought out with great intensity in his later, more abstract paintings: the works that we now recognise most clearly as ‘Kandinsky’s’. Paintings like ‘Yellow, Red, Blue’ (1925) demonstrate the play of colour that Kandinsky used as a way of echoing, and influencing, emotions.