Visual & Decorative Arts Blog

Kandinsky, Known For More Than Just Doodles | Art of Fine Gifts

Posted by Matt Knight

The star of today's (16/12/14) 'Google Doodle', Wassily Kandinsky was an abstract painter born in 1866. Considered by many to be the 'Father of the Abstract', Kandinsky's art focussed on the portrayal of colours and shape – he compared the compositions of his paintings to the creations of the cosmos, beauty borne from catastrophe. In today's blog we look at the master's early years and how it was that he selected abstract as his form of choice. 

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Topics: Wassily Kandinsky, Masterpieces of Art

Paul Klee and Degenerate Art's Battle with the Nazis

Posted by Matt Knight
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Topics: Paul Klee, Masterpieces of Art

Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Looking Towards the Future

Posted by Catherine Taylor

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was an artist in the 19th century. More than this, he was a multi-talented artist-craftsman: painter, architect, furniture designer; the list goes on and on. His art was incredibly influential, and a lot of the motifs, patterns and principles of his work are still popular with today's audience and artists. 

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Topics: Charles Rennie Mackintosh, art deco, Masterpieces of Art

Mr. Turner in the Cinema and on the iPad

Posted by Matt Knight

Reviews for the new film Mr. Turner are out, and the general consensus is that this film is just as great as Turner's original paintings. Timothy Spall's performance even won him the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival, and a lot of people are saying that his portrayal of J.M.W. Turner could even win him an Oscar. Robbie Collins, of The Telegraph, says, 'His repertoire of grunts alone comfortably extends past a hundred, and you wonder if perhaps Spall went Method for the role, living for years in a sty until he got the voice, posture and smell just right. But beyond the troughfuls of fun tics, Spall makes Turner tenderly and totally human, which has the effect of making his artistic talents seem even more God-given.'

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Topics: J. M. W. Turner, Masterpieces of Art

The Art of the Brick and How To Keep Classic Art Relevant

Posted by Matt Knight

In Shoreditch right now, you can visit The Art of the Brick. This unique exhibition hosts a variety of artwork consisting of over 1 million Lego bricks and 80 pieces of art. The exhibition has received mixed reviews far, with some reviewers lauding Nathan Sawaya's art as an excellent blend of classic art and contemporary playthings (great for children interested in art), with others outlining the pointlessness of the whole project (rubbish for art connoisseurs). A re-occurrent question certainly seems to be, 'Well, why?'.

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Topics: Masterpieces of Art

Hokusai's Paris Exhibition (Or, How I Learned to Love Japanese Art)

Posted by Matt Knight
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Topics: Japanese woodblock prints, art nouveau, Masterpieces of Art

Masterpieces of Art: The Kiss

Posted by Matt Knight

The Kiss is one of Gustav Klimt's most iconic works. Representative of many emotions and themes, Klimt broke the mould with this work by portraying the woman as someone who is submissive in her erotic love, yet still essentially feminine. The Kiss stands at the peak of Klimt's Golden Phase, melding together his passion for the colour and all that it represents. Spiritual, elegant and conveying the deepest sense of love, Gustav Klimt's masterpiece is a fascinating work of art full of influence and allegory. 

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Topics: Gustav Klimt, Masterpieces of Art

Masterpieces of Art: Illuminated Manuscripts

Posted by Matt Knight

A University of Kentucky scholar is returning to England on a mission to study one of the greatest masterpieces of art, or, more precisely, of religious art and literature: the St Chad Gospels, an eighth-century illuminated manuscript housed in Lichfield Cathedral. William Endres has studied the manuscript before, but this time around he hopes new imaging could explain the mystery of its design. His goal is to make the illuminated manuscript digitally available to all scholars across the globe. It’s not likely that this manuscript could ever be lost, after surviving centuries through invasions and revolutions, but Endres is just another in a long line looking to preserve literature for the foreseeable future. 

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Topics: illuminated manuscripts, Masterpieces of Art

Art of Fine Gifts: J.M.W. Turner

Posted by Laura Bulbeck

Mr Turner, a new movie about beloved classic British artist J.M.W. Turner has been one of the breakout successes of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, with lead actor Timothy Spall winning the award for Best Actor. The movie explores the real person behind the legendary landscape painter, an eccentric man from humble beginnings. Let us take a look back at the life of the man which inspired this film…

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Topics: J. M. W. Turner, Masterpieces of Art

Van Gogh's Letters: The Bedroom

Posted by Esme Chapman

Throughout his life Van Gogh wrote many letters to his friends, family and fellow artists. In these letters he often discussed his own artworks, and one such example regards Van Gogh’s 1888 oil painting The Bedroom, which he discusses in a letter to his brother Theo, shown below:

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Topics: Vincent van Gogh, Masterpieces of Art, art calendars

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