Giovanni Stanchi (Rome c. 1645-1672). Oil on canvas. 38 5/8 x 52½ in. (98 x 133.5 cm.) / Courtesy Christie’s
Old master work paintings are frequently cited for their depiction of historical events, documentation of culture, or portraiture of significant people, but there’s one lesser known use of some paintings for those with a keen eye: biology. One such instance is this Renaissance still life of various fruits on a table by Giovanni Stanchi painted sometime in the 1600s that shows a nearly unrecognizable watermelon before it was selectively bred for meatier red flesh.
Horticulture professor James Nienhuis at the University of Wisconsin tells Vox that he’s fascinated by old still life paintings that often contain the only documentation of various fruits and vegetables before we transformed them forever into something more desirable for human use. You can read a bit more about the science behind the changes in watermelons over the last 350 years here. (via Kottke)
Update: Greg Cato writes: “The painting depicts a rare outcome of sub-par growing conditions, known as ‘starring.’ It’s perfectly normal, still happens, and is not the result of selective breeding (although it would be cool if it were).” You can see an example here.
Salvador Dali, “The Ship,” 1942-43, watercolor on paper, remake by Justin Nunnink
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “The Day Dream,” 1880, oil on canvas, remake by Tania Brassesco and Lazlo Passi Norberto
Four years ago, Booooooom creator Jeff Hamada asked the internet to join in on an art challenge to recreate their favorite old master paintings as contemporary photographs. The Remake Project sparked many professional and amateur artists to create elaborate sets, paint their bodies, paint their friends’ bodies, and take their own shot at works by artists from Dali to Magritte. This collection of original paintings and their contemporary counterparts has now taken the form of a book released through Chronicle Books titled Remake: Master Works of Art Reimagined.
The book features side-by-side page layouts of a selection of works from the original contest, displaying the photographic re-interpretations next to their old-world inspiration. Photographs range from the strikingly similar to loose interpretations, a grand spectrum of re-creations represented from the project’s open call. Remake: Master Works of Art Reimagined is now available in the Colossal Shop.
Rene Magritte, “The Lovers,” 1928, oil on canvas, remake by Linda Cieniawska
Ramon Casas i Carbo, “After the Ball,” 1895, oil on canvas, remake by Tania Brassesco and Lazlo Passi Norberto
Jacques Louis David, “The Death of Marat,” 1793, oil on canvas, remake by Adrianne Adelle
Edward Hopper, “Nighthawks,” 1942, oil on canvas, remake by Bastian Vice and Jiji Seabird
Trying to pin down exactly what makes these urban landscape paintings by British artist Nathan Walsh (previously) so unusual is difficult, in part because of the variety of techniques he employs to get from a vision in his mind to the final, exacting artwork.
Starting with his own photographic references, Walsh first draws an elaborate blueprint of sorts by establishing a horizon line and a host of perspective strategies that varies from piece to piece. This is followed by several months of painting with oils to achieve the final landscape that appears to be a strange hybrid of both illustrative and photorealistic styles. Photography, architecture, and painting converge to create a “painted world which in some ways resembles the world we live in,” says Walsh. “The work aims to create credible and convincing space which whilst making reference to our world, displays its own distinct logic.”
Walsh is currently preparing for a group show titled “Cityscape Paintings: Looking from the Outside In” at Bernarducci Meisel Gallery in October, followed by a solo show during the same period in 2016. You can follow more of his work in progress on Facebook.
Mary Iverson fills natural and manmade landscapes with colorful shipping containers, objects haphazardly stacked on each other and taking up a majority of the otherwise tranquil scenes. The containers and boxes are cross-hatched with overlaid lines, connecting them a predetermined pattern seemingly known only by the artist.
Iverson explains her work by saying, “My paintings are colorful abstractions that spring from the theme of the industrial shipping terminal. The canvases feature mass accumulations of shipping containers and container cranes in various perspectives. My work employs a network of searching perspective lines and layers of interlocking, colorful planes and rectangles that suggest both deep space and flat surface.”
Part painting and part collage (the pieces often incorporate found photography), her artworks address what happens when globalization and the environment collide, material possessions doubling and tripling until they spill into the natural world around them. The Seattle-based painter gathers the bulk of her source imagery for her sketches through yearly trips to parks across the country, camping and photographing the landscape around her.
Iverson received her MFA in Painting from the University of Washington in 2002 and currently teaches painting and drawing at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, WA as a tenured faculty member. Iverson has two upcoming October exhibitions, one at Gallery FB69 in Munster, Germany and another at G. Gibson Gallery in Seattle. Check out more images of Iverson’s work on her Instagram here. (via Juxtapoz where she’s the cover artist for the August issue)
We continue to be awed by Serbian artist Endre Penovác's ability to somehow control the unforgiving nature of water on paper to produce ghostly paintings of felines. As the mixture of water and black ink bleeds in every direction it appears to perfectly mimic the cat’s fur. In his newest pieces Penovác introduces elements of color and negative space to add a slightly new dimension. You can see more of his recent work on Facebook and Saatchi Art.
Completed in 1660, Charles Le Brun’s painting of Everhard Jabach and His Family had seen better days. The 355-year-old family portrait was covered in a badly tinted varnish, had multiple superficial scratches and structural damage had split the painting nearly in half. This video documents the 10-month restoration at the Metropolitan Museum of Art lead by Michael Gallagher that involved retouching, structural work, re-varnishing, and numerous other conservation techniques to bring this giant painting back to life. The Met also documented the process in some 20+ blog posts over on their website. (via Sploid)
Egg thief #3 (acrylic, resin, found bowl, quail eggs, sticks and branches, 12″ diameter)
Ottawa artist and carpenter Drew Mosley paints forest-dwelling characters encased in wooden bowls filled with layers of resin. Each scene is further embellished with found bits of flora and fauna: twigs, leaves, eggs, and more, creating artworks that walk a fine line between storybook illustration and sculptural dioramas. Mosley has an extensive studio practice and also pursues a wide range of building and woodworking projects around Ottawa Valley. His paintings have been exhibited throughout Canada and Greece and he currently has a show at the Ottawa Art Gallery through July 27, 2015. You can follow him on Instagram and Flickr. (via Colossal Submissions)