Bhaja Caves, Caves 6 & 7; 2nd c. BCE-1st c. CE; Maharashtra, India. Image and original data provided by David Efurd © David Efurd
Professor David Efurd’s collection of nearly 10,000 photographs of Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain art and architecture was recently released in the Artstor Digital Library. We were particularly impressed by the variety and complexity of the rock-cut cave temples he photographed, and he was kind enough to answer our questions.
Artstor: What is the importance of caves as the sites of some of these temples, as opposed to more typical, free-standing temples?
David Efurd: Regarding Buddhist caves, monks appear to have lived in natural caves and rock-shelters since the time of the Buddha. In fact, texts describe the Buddha as spending nights in caves at a variety of locations in northeastern India. Over time, simple shelters were enlarged by cutting away stone, and masonry walls may have been added to the front to make them more architectural.
In western India, these Buddhist sites are a bit later, perhaps dating from the second century BC at the earliest. Unlike the caves the Buddha lived in, they do not appear to be natural caves that were enlarged. Rather, they were carved deeply into outcroppings of stone or cliffs and tend to be architectonic, meaning that they resemble the interior spaces of architecture, despite being hewn into stone. Few free-standing buildings and monasteries from this period survive, so these caves provide crucial insight into a tradition of architecture that has all but disappeared. Rock-cut or cave architecture from this period draws upon both this early tradition of living in natural caves and the later monastic complexes consisting of residential buildings and places for instruction and worship. (more…)
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Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano, Endymion Asleep, c. 1505-10. Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y. ; artres.com, (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.
Nicolas Guy Brenet, Sleeping Endymion, 1756. © Worcester Art Museum, all rights reserved.
Luca Giordano, Diana and Endymion, 1675. National Gallery of Art
Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Diana and Endymion, 1753. National Gallery of Art
If you’re still trying to adjust to the start of Daylight Saving Time, we’d like to give you a little bit of advice: don’t let the mythological gods of Greece and Rome catch you napping. Seeing mortals sleeping seems to bring out the worst in them.
Here are three of the most notorious examples:
Endymion and Selene
Depending on whom you ask, Zeus either offered the beautiful shepherd Endymion a wish and Endymion chose to sleep and remain youthful forever, or the eternal sleep wasn’t a gift at all, but rather a punishment because Endymion had attempted to seduce Zeus’ wife, Hera. (more…)
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Diego M. Rivera, Self Portrait, 1921. Image and original data provided by Detroit Institute of Arts, © 2010 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Diego M. Rivera, Self Portrait, 1941. Image and original data provided by Detroit Institute of Arts, © 2010 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Frida Kahlo is world-famous for her self-portraits, which were a big part of her relatively small oeuvre (55 out of 144 paintings), while her husband Diego Rivera, despite producing much more work than Kahlo, only painted himself approximately 20 times. Why is that?
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Posted in Discovery on November 23, 2015 |
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Attributed to John James Audubon, Pomarine Jager; Lestris Pomarinus, 1827-38. Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y.; artres.com
No doubt you are familiar with the work of the renowned wildlife artist John James Audubon, most likely his famous prints from The Birds of America. But did you know he wasn’t the only artist in the family? His son, John Woodhouse Audubon, spent much of his career supporting the work of his father, but he made a valuable contribution to wildlife documentation himself. (You can compare the two Audubons’ styles in the images below: the father’s are on the left, the son’s on the right.)
John James Audubon, Lepus gacialis; Leach; Polar Hare, 1844. Amon Carter Museum of American Art
John Woodhouse Audubon, Lepus texianus; Aud. & Bach; Texian Hare, 1848. Amon Carter Museum of American Art
John James Audubon, American Beaver, 1854. Amon Carter Museum of American Art
John Woodhouse Audubon, Arctomys pruinosus; Pennant; Hoary Marmot, 1846. Amon Carter Museum of American Art
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Sandro Botticelli, Primavera; Allegory of Spring, c. 1478, Galleria degli Uffizi. Image and original data provided by ©SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com; scalarchives.com
Kenyon Cox (1856-1919) might now be best remembered for his murals in the Library of Congress, as well as in the state capitol buildings of Des Moines, St. Paul, and Madison, but he was also a respected writer and influential teacher. In 1911, he delivered a series of lectures on painting at the Art Institute of Chicago, later published as The Classic Point of View. His accessible writing style and his infectious enthusiasm for the Old Masters still speak to us today. Following is an excerpt from his lecture on the importance of drawing, focusing on the work of Botticelli and Michelangelo.
Drawing is a great expressional art and deals with beauty and significance, not with mere fact. Its great masters are the greatest artists that ever lived, and high attainment in it has always been rarer than high attainment in color. Its tools are the line and so much of light and shade as is necessary to convey the sense of bulk and modelling, anything more being something added for its own beauty and expressiveness, not a part of the sources of the draftsman. Its aims are, first, to develop in the highest degree the abstract beauty and significance possessed by lines in themselves, more or less independently of representation; second, to express with the utmost clearness and force the material significance of objects and, especially, of the human body. According as one or the other of these aims predominates we have one or the other of the two great schools into which draftsmen may be divided. These schools may be typified by the greatest masters of each, the school of Botticelli, or the school of pure line; the school of Michelangelo, or the school of significant form. Between these lie all the law and the prophets. Of course no artist ever belonged entirely and exclusively to either school. It is always a matter of balance and the predominance of interest. Even a Botticelli tried to put some significant form inside his beautiful lines, and even Michelangelo gave thought to the abstract beauty of his lines apart from the significant form they bounded. (more…)
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