Friday, October 10

Reviewing European Art to 1850

Today’s Image

In the Studio

I put what I thought were the ‘finishing touches’ on my acrylic of the view from Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara that I worked on for a couple of weeks and gave it a name—Vista Santa Barbara. It’s Today’s Image.

I told you last blog that my next painting was going to be a building in the Spanish Colonial architectural style so prevalent in California. Well, I changed my mind. I started working on it from a photo taken at dusk, and I just could not get it started right, in my mind. I ‘gesso-ed’ over my first attempt, then started again on the main composition, but was just not satisfied with the way it was coming along. I refer to that as being ‘in the zone,’and I was not in it. So instead of continuing to be frustrated, I put it away. Maybe I’ll go back to it in a few weeks, maybe not.

If this has happened to you with your art, and I feel sure it has if you’ll admit to it, do not fret. I think it’s just a natural part of the creative process where we strive to comprehend our vision. Sometimes it works on the first try, and sometimes it doesn’t.

In the Art Library

I want to tell you about an art book I finished reading last week. Actually it’s an art history book. I haven’t spent much, if any, time discussing art history in the Orbisplanis blog. Although I am interested in history per se, and more recently in art history, I never studied art history when I was a student. I now think that’s a plus, because the history is all new information, which makes it that much more interesting (to me anyway).

Anyhow, the book is European Art to 1850 by Tony Lucchesi and Fulvio Palombo. It appears to be one in a series of books called the International Encyclopedia of Art. If you are an art historian, or you have studied art history, or you consider yourself educated on the subject, you may think this is not a serious enough book on the subject. But for the rest of us, I believe it is perfect. Here’s why: it starts with cave art and covers all the major eras up until 1850; it is relatively short (63 pages) and to the point; and most importantly, you will actually learn something and retain what you read.

The book is not terribly in depth, but it covers the major points you need to know. It gives you the broad overview of the history of art (to 1850) so that you know enough to start digging for more information if that’s what you want to do. It puts the eras and events in context with a timeline up front so that you can easily follow along and find where you are in art-history time.

It starts with cave art then moves right along with early Christian art and covers all the eras up through the romantic art movement. Here are some of the eras covered (there are 19): Byzantine, early Medieval, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance (early and high), Baroque (four eras ), Rococo, and Neo-classic. Two others of which I had never heard, were also presented—Carolingian/Ottoman and Mannerist.

Another thing I like are the many sidebars on almost every page. The sidebars have information, not only including examples of the art and sculptures, but also relevant topics that relate to the life and times of the era. Here are just a very few examples: the catacombs, Viking daily life, women in art, crusades, the Sistine Chapel, and the invention of printing. Many of the sidebars are about individuals, most of whom I was not very familiar if at all, such as the Limbourg Brothers, Luca della Robbia, Titian, Alessandro Algardi, Frans Hals, Angelica Kauffman, and Antonio Canova. I won’t tell you who they were, but if you’re like me, maybe you’ll like doing a little research on them.

As I said, I like this book because it provides a lot of information in context so that you have enough of a foundation to continue studying if you so desire. Did I mention it was only 63 pages? I told you you would learn something.


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