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Archive for the ‘Discovery’ Category

Albrecht Dürer, Hare (A Young Hare), 1502, Graphische Sammlung Albertina. Image and original data: Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

Albrecht Dürer, Hare (A Young Hare), 1502, Graphische Sammlung Albertina. Image and original data: Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

Easter is around the corner, and with it comes the inevitable barrage of images of the Easter bunny. The strange thing is that the only mentions of rabbits in the Bible are prohibitions against eating them in the Old Testament. So what gives?

The underlying idea is that rabbits are connected to the idea of rebirth—not only do they reproduce prodigiously, at one time they were believed to reproduce asexually. The connection of rabbits to rebirth also occurs in non-Christian societies: The Rabbit in the Moon (instead of our Man in the Moon) is a familiar symbol in Asia, and was part of Aztec legend, tying the idea of rabbits to a “rebirth” every night. But other qualities of rabbits and hares also get highlighted in folklore, including their mischievous side, playing the role of cunning tricksters in Native American and Central African mythologies. (more…)

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Rosso Fiorentino (Giovanni Battista di Jacopo), Angel Playing a Lute, 1521, Galleria degli Uffizi. Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com; scalarchives.com; (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

Rosso Fiorentino (Giovanni Battista di Jacopo), Angel Playing a Lute; detail, 1521, Galleria degli Uffizi. Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com; scalarchives.com; (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

Have you ever wondered why you rarely see the names of the greats from the Italian Renaissance reoccur in art history?  Why do we not see more than one artist with names such as Ghirlandaio, Masaccio, or Tintoretto? It’s because a lot of these were not really names, they were nicknames! Some, like Verrocchio (“true eye”), were flattering, while others, like Guercino (“squinter”), not so much.

Here’s a list of some of the most memorable names from the Renaissance and what they really mean:

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Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa, 1503-1506, Musée du Louvre. Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

In 2012, 150,000 people signed a petition asking the Louvre to return Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to its “home city” of Florence, Italy. Not surprisingly, the Louvre declined. The Mona Lisa has done its share of traveling in the past 500 years, and more often than not it has proven nerve racking.

Before we get to the travel stories, let’s look at Florence’s claim. Leonardo da Vinci did start painting the Mona Lisa in 1503 or 1504 in the Italian city, but in 1516 he was invited by King François I to work in France, and scholars believe he finished the painting there, and there it has remained. After Leonardo’s death, the king bought the Mona Lisa and exhibited it at the Palace of Fontainebleau, its home for more than 100 years, until Louis XIV took it to the Palace of Versailles. (more…)

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Raphael, Stanza di Eliodoro (Expulsion of Heliodorus), 1511-12, Vatican. Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; www.artres.com; scalarchives.com; (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

Raphael, Stanza di Eliodoro (Expulsion of Heliodorus), 1511-12, Vatican. Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; http://www.artres.com; scalarchives.com; (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

With the recent news that the Vatican’s Swiss Guard is releasing a book of recipes, I’m again hearing the myth, perpetuated by Dan Brown among others, that Michelangelo designed the uniforms of the Guard at the behest of his patron, Julius II.

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Alexandria, Map, 1619 | Image and original data provided by Bryn Mawr College

Alexandria, Map, 1619 | Image and original data provided by Bryn Mawr College

Navigating the tremendous number of images in the Artstor Digital Library can be daunting, particularly to those in fields outside of art history. Where to start looking for images for, say, an Introduction to Philosophy class? To address that hurdle, we are introducing curriculum guides – collections of images from the Artstor Digital Library based on syllabi for college courses.

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Reginald Marsh, Wonderland Circus, Sideshow Coney Island, 1930, The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the State Art Museum of Florida, a division of Florida State University. © 2008 Estate of Reginald Marsh / Art Students League, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Reginald Marsh, Wonderland Circus, Sideshow Coney Island, 1930, The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the State Art Museum of Florida, a division of Florida State University. © 2008 Estate of Reginald Marsh / Art Students League, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

When the weather starts getting unbearable New Yorkers—Artstor staff included—flock to the boardwalks of Brooklyn’s Coney Island or Rockaway Beach in Queens.

This ritual is nothing new and was, in fact, one of the pet subjects of Reginald Marsh (1898 –1954), an American artist famous for his paintings of New York City in the ’20s and ’30s. His city scenes are remarkable for their palpable sense of movement—bodies walk or loiter on street corners, crowds swell as New York’s lights pulsate and glow in the background.

That Marsh’s canvases seem to vibrate is due not only to his staccato brush strokes and bright, reflective colors, but also to his choice of subject matter. Rather than portray New York City’s elite, Marsh turned to everyday people and entertainments. Favorite subjects included burlesque and Vaudeville performers, pedestrians and, yes, public beaches. (more…)

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“It’s in the reach of my arms, / The span of my hips, / The stride of my step, / The curl of my lips. / I’m a woman/ Phenomenally. / Phenomenal woman, / That’s me.”

– Maya Angelou

Mickalene Thomas, Don't Forget About Me (Keri), 2009, exhibited at Lehmann Maupin, Spring 2009. Image and original data provided by Larry Qualls, © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / BILDKUNST, Bonn

Mickalene Thomas, Don’t Forget About Me (Keri), 2009, exhibited at Lehmann Maupin, Spring 2009. Image and original data provided by Larry Qualls, © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / BILDKUNST, Bonn

Women have long been used as inspiration for art. They have served as muses to both eastern and western culture, and our bodies have been used to represent the power and beauty of nature.

Yet the images of the female body that we see on a daily basis are often passive and hyper-sexualized. Women’s bodies are the go-to sales tactic in popular media and advertising. Yes, you might say, sex sells, but nothings sells as much as our sex sells. Women’s bodies sell beer, cars, perfume, burgers, chewing gum, and even animals rights (yes, you read that correctly – look up PETA’s campaigns) — and of course, the object that all of the women in these advertisements are ultimately selling is themselves.

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