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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)

 

 



Art History

The Guggenheim Museum Shares Over 200 Free Art Books Through the Internet Archive

May 3, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Over the last few years, the Guggenheim Museum has slowly released an impressive library of modern and historic art books in collaboration with the Internet Archive. The rare and out-of-print titles include books about Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, Paul Klee, Jenny Holzer, Joseph Cornell, as well as several exhibition catalogs and books about the museum itself. You’ll also find publications on wide ranging topics from the Russian and Soviet avant-garde movement to collections of Chinese and Aztec art.

Many of the books first books appeared online in 2012 and the collection has grown to include over 200 titles that can be viewed online or downloaded in PDF or ePub formats. You can see the full collection here. (via The Creators Project, My Modern Met)

 

 



Art

Digital Artist Omar Aqil Interprets Picasso Paintings as Sleek Modern Sculptures

April 12, 2017

Christopher Jobson

For this series titled MIMIC, Pakistan-based digital artist and art director Omar Aqil took a random selection of artworks by Pablo Picasso and completely reimagined them as 3D renderings. While Picasso himself created hundreds of sculptures, Aqil’s interpretations add a bit of whimsy and his own personal touch to the 20th century artist’s oil paintings, bringing voluminous textures and unexpected depth to famous pieces like “Seated Woman” and “Monument to the Spaniard“.

Aquil says he has long been fascinated by Picasso’s artwork, and offers this project as a visual example of how different people might interpret an artwork. Indeed when looking back and forth between the two pieces you might find yourself seeing the original painting in a new way. Check out the entire project here, and prints are available by contacting the artist directly. (via Highsnobiety)

 

 



Art Photography

New Classical Paintings Reimagined as Part of Modern-Day Italian Life by Alexey Kondakov

January 30, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

For his latest works in the ongoing series Art History in Contemporary Life, Ukrainian artist and designer Alexey Kondakov (previously here and here) has staged classical paintings in scenes from modern day Naples, Italy. The figures effortless merge with their present day surroundings, two women looking perfectly bored flipping through comic books in the back of a dusty book store, while a different woman takes a nap beside a latte and half-eaten sandwich. You can view more of his digitally altered scenes on his Instagram and Facebook page. (via My Modern Met)

 

 



Art

A Playable Version of Pong Set Inside a Piet Mondrian Painting

March 24, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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Over at digital arts community B3ta, a user challenged others to create images of fake video games based off of famous artworks. The results are pretty phenomenal, but one user who goes by HappyToast envisioned a version of Pong set inside a Piet Mondrian painting. After seeing the GIF, designer Kristiana Hansen instantly set out to program the real thing. So here you have it: 2 player MondriPong 1.2. (via BoingBoing)

 

 



Art History

New Anonymous Portraits Liberated From Their Museum Frames by Julien de Casabianca

December 10, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

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We are often inundated with images of famous artworks, pieces even the most disconnected art viewer can name on the spot. These portraits however make up a very small percentage of the work in museums worldwide, the majority of faces either nameless or not burned into memory—men, women, and children immortalized by brushstroke but forgotten by time. These anonymous faces are the ones that French artist Julien de Casabianca (previously) is most drawn to, and has been “liberating” for the last few years by placing recreations of the unknown on urban street corners and abandoned buildings as a part of his Outings Project.

Since its inception the project has gone global—Oslo, Geneva, and Warsaw included in the recent cities that have received their own wheatpasted faces. De Casabianca was invited by the Cummer Museum in Jacksonville, FL to create a few pieces, including one that stands two-stories tall, a young girl in a bonnet peering away from the viewer and into the boarded-up brick wall on which she is placed. Other works of his are less conspicuous, characters hiding behind drooped plants or crouched on the ground at knee-level, glancing at the viewer from urban streets rather than behind museum quality glass.

The project has always been intended to be participatory, de Casabianca inviting anyone to photograph and “free” images from museums in their own city. De Casabianca will show his own work in Belgium next year at the Musée d’Ixelles from March 5th to April 10th. More of de Casabianca’s pieces can be found on his online gallery, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Art History Photography

More Figures from Classical Paintings Imagined as Part of Modern-Day Life in Kiev by Alexey Kondakov

November 9, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Ukranian artist Alexey Kondakov continues his ongoing digital collage project “Art History in Contemporary Life” (previously) with these latest additions. Kondakov uses his own photographs of urban Kiev as a backdrop for gods, angels, and other figures from classical paintings which look like they’re joining your daily commute. You can see a few more images scrolling through his Facebook page.

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