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Art

Tin Cans Transformed into Famous Art Historical Self-Portraits by Allan Rubin

April 24, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Allan Rubin, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera (2017), all images via the artist.

Allan Rubin, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera (2017), all images via the artist.

Allan Rubin‘s aptly named series CANON presents a range of famous artists throughout history, all rendered from an amalgamation of tin cans. The works are each painted in the style of the artist’s self-portrait, such as a Post-Impressionist Vincent Van Gogh or Neoclassical Angelica Kauffmann.

The body of work grew out of the painter’s desire to work on a smaller scale in his cramped studio. The can sculptures proved to be a perfect solution, and provided an intriguing challenge for Rubin to transform flat images into three-dimensional works.

Throughout the years he has learned the best formula to build his portraits, like realizing that the shape of tomato sauce cans are well suited for heads. “Cookie tins sometimes make good torsos,” he told Hyperallergic. “Bean cans are just right for arms and necks. Sardine cans make great hands. Lids have rings embossed on them that work perfectly for ears, and also become noses that I have learned to bend, slot, and tab onto the faces.”

Rubin’s solo exhibition CANON continues through May 5 at the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance in Narrowsburg, New York. You can see more of Rubin’s uncanny renderings on Facebook. (via Hyperallergic)

Mary Cassatt (2017)

Mary Cassatt (2017)

Claude Monet (2018)

Claude Monet (2018)

Judith Leyster (2017)

Judith Leyster (2017)

Uemura Shōen (2017)

Uemura Shōen (2017)

Vincent Van Gogh (2016)

Vincent Van Gogh (2016)

Angelica Kauffmann (2017)

Angelica Kauffmann (2017)

Suzanne Valadon (2017)

Suzanne Valadon (2017)

Niki De Saint Phalle (2017)

Niki De Saint Phalle (2017)

Edgar Degas (2017)

Edgar Degas (2017)

Leonor Fini (2018)

Leonor Fini (2018)

 

 

 



Art

Traditional Paintings by Lino Lago Mysteriously Revealed Beneath Fields of Color

April 9, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

 

Lino Lago paints realistic portraits and scenes in oil and adds a layer of abstracted intrigue using bright fields of color. His recent series, Fake Abstract, is comprised of classically-styled portraits of women, mostly obscured by solid blocks of red, pink, or blue. A thin sliver or squiggle, reminiscent of a finger dragged across a foggy window, reveals a peek at the figure beneath the color. It is up to the viewer’s imagination whether Lago paints a full portrait and covers it in color, or, uses the color as the base and adds the portrait into the blank canvas left by the squiggle.

The artist has also explored juxtapositions of traditional European interiors—dining rooms, parlors, and museum galleries—with unexplained splashes of bright color that appear to explode into the rooms from doorways and windows.

Lago, who is Spanish and resides in Spain and Lithuania, exhibits widely and has upcoming shows at Bredgade Kunsthandel in Copenhagen (April 12), Geraldine Banier in Paris (June 7th), Moret Art in Coruña, Spain (end of June), and Goodwin Fine Art in Denver (November). You can see more of Lago’s artwork on his website.

 

 



Art History

A Seamstress’s Autobiographical Text Embroidered Onto Her 19th-Century Straitjacket

April 3, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

German seamstress Agnes Richter (1844–1918) was a patient at the Heidelberg Psychiatric Clinic during the 1890s. While held at the asylum she would densely embroider her standard issue straitjacket, stitching the object with words, phrases, and diaristic entries in deutsche schrift, an old German script. The layers of language make it difficult to distinguish a beginning or end to the writing, and only fragmented phrases have been deciphered from the jacket such as “I am not big,” “I wish to read,” and “I plunge headlong into disaster.”

The object is a part of the Prinzhorn Collection at the University of Heidelberg Psychiatric Clinic, named after collector and psychiatrist Hans Prinzhorn. The collection contains over 5,000 paintings, wooden sculptures, sketches, and other art-based ephemera from patients at the hospital, collected by the psychiatrist during the early 20th-century. This vast collection of work made by psychiatric patients has had a major influence on a modern understanding of “outsider art,” or the artwork created by self-taught artists who have had little to no contact with the mainstream art world.

Over a century later, the jacket remains a powerful item, a lasting object that showcases how one woman transformed a sterile and impersonal garment into a rich record of her life’s journey. (via #WOMENSART)

Update: Sources vary as to whether this article of clothing was Richter’s straitjacket, a regular jacket, or part of a non-restrictive institutional uniform.

Left image via This Is Not Modern Art tumblr, right image via The Lulubird

 

 



Art History

Archaeologists Discover What May Be the World’s Oldest Crayon

March 13, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Archaeologists working on a site near an ancient lake in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, UK say they may have discovered one of the earliest examples of a crayon. The reddish-brown piece of ochre is thought to have been used 10,000 years ago to color animal skins or produce artwork during the Mesolithic period.

The oblong discovery is just 22 mm long and 7 mm wide, yet shows a heavily striated surface where it was most likely scraped to create red pigment. One side of the tool is sharpened, another hint that the piece was used to draw or color. Dr. Andy Needham from the University of York’s Department of Archaeology explained the discovery helps archaeologists understand how significant color might have been to the hunter-gatherers of the Mesolithic period.

“For me it is a very significant object and helps us build a bigger picture of what life was like in the area; it suggests it would have been a very colourful place,” said Needham in a press release.

This has been a year of many art historical firsts. Within the last few months our knowledge of Greek civilization has been completely altered by the discovery of this tiny carved stone, and archaeologists found the first known use of a smiley face on an off-white jug in Southern Turkey. You can read more about the discovery of the ochre crayon, and other pieces found near the ancient lake in North Yorkshire, in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. (via Hyperallergic)

 

 

 



Animation Art

One Minute Art History: A Hand-Drawn Animation in Myriad Historical Art Styles

February 9, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Filmmaker and educator Cao Shu captures the history of art in an experimental short film that lasts for less than one minute. Throughout the film, the central character goes through the small motions of everyday movements like checking the time and having a drink, with each frame rendered in a different art historical style. The film starts in ancient Egypt and progresses through Chinese ink paintings and Japanese block prints to Modigliani and Basquiat-style portraits. Cao renders a vast array of art styles in a manner that is evocative without being overworked. He lives and works in Hangzhou, where he teaches at the China Academy of Art.

 

 



Colossal Design Illustration

Enamel Pins by Nia Gould Reimagine Famous Artists as Cats

February 1, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

When creative design manager Nia Gould isn’t busy running an arts venue, she dreams up ninth lives for famed artists from throughout history. A declared feline fan herself, Gould reimagines painters like Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keefe, and Jean-Michel Basquiat as creative cats. She includes iconic elements of the artists’ personality and painting styles in each pin, like Kahlo’s flower crowns, van Gogh’s lopped-off ear, and Dali’s over-the-top mustache and look of perpetual surprise. Artist Cat Pins are available in The Colossal Shop.

 

 



Art History

An Astonishingly Small Stone Carving That Has the Power to Change Art History

November 10, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

The Pylos Combat Agate, an intricately carved 3,500-year-old sealstone discovered in a the tomb of a Greek warrior. All images courtesy of The Department of Classics, University of Cincinnati

More than two years ago researchers from the University of Cincinnati unearthed a 3,500-year-old tomb in the southwest of Greece. The tomb belonged to a Bronze Age warrior nicknamed the “Griffin Warrior,” and contained many treasures, such as four gold signet rings, that have challenged previous notions about the origins of Greek civilization.

Perhaps one of the most important and visually captivating finds from the tomb occurred a full year after its discovery. Researchers uncovered a carved sealstone no larger than an inch and a half wide. The “Pylos Combat Agate” meticulously displays two warriors engaged in battle with bodies strewn at their feet, with some details less than a millimeter wide. The carving is perhaps most astonishing because it predates artistic skills that were not associated with Greek civilization for another millennium.

“What is fascinating is that the representation of the human body is at a level of detail and musculature that one doesn’t find again until the classical period of Greek art 1,000 years later,” said Jack Davis, Carl W. Blegen professor of Greek archaeology at the University of Cincinnati in UC Magazine. “It’s a spectacular find.”

In a testament to the anonymous artist’s skills, it’s also worthy to note that magnifying glasses were not believed to be used for another thousand years. This ability and sophistication shows that the inhabitants of the area were creating art with an interest and knowledge of representational art not previously imagined. This new discovery, explained Davis and fellow dig leader Shari Stocker, is a catalyst to completely reevaluate the timeline and development of Greek art.

You can read more about the miniature carving and the Griffin Warrior’s tomb in UC Magazine. (via Neatorama and The History Blog)