FRANK COVINO, LONG-TIME FRIEND AND MENTOR, HAS PASSED

Covino Portrait1P1070431PaintingWorkshopCovinoFrank4-2015

Dear Artists and Friends,

It is with ineffable sadness in our hearts, that I must report this news.  Our friend and long-time art teacher and mentor, Maestro Frank Covino, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, February 16, 2016, after being pronounced “cleared of cancer” just last week.

If I may use a bold simile, his loss feels like looking up at the mountains in Sugarbush, where Frank worked hard to build the home he loved, and seeing that the grandest of summits has disappeared from our sight.

Here is a note from his wife, Barbara Covino, that you will all want to read:

Subject: It is with a deep abiding sorrow in my heart that I write this letter…forgive the delay but it has taken time to believe this is true…

Beloved friends and family , one and all,

After two days of profoundest shock, and countless tears I realize I must write you.  It is with a heavy, heavy heart that i must inform you that dear Frank has passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday night, February 16th.  It was quick and he did not suffer–a death we would all prefer–but he had been progressing so well, it was a gut-wrenching shock that still is unbelievable.

I truly cannot imagine a world, or a life without him…32 years of happiness and adventure.  Life was never boring with him!!! What an amazing talent, a brilliant man with a wealth of knowledge, a gentle and sensitive man who had to excel in everything he did, and was thus an inspiration to all who knew him.  He encouraged others to strive for excellence and to believe in themselves, giving them the tools to create a positive reality in their lives, whether it be art or health.  We all can repeat that golden maxim: IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO AMELIORATE! Wise encouraging words, those.

But he was more than the sum of his parts; he was a genuine force of nature, a real Renaissance man, but above all else, he had a kind heart and a very great soul. We all loved him so; there will never be another Frank.  But I know it is now time for each and every one of us who was touched by his life, to take that spark and pass it on.  He gave us wings and it is time for us to fly…Make him proud!!!

I am too choked up to continue writing.  God Bless each and every one of you who had a place in his heart…family, friends, students….He loved you all sincerely and without guile….

We are in the process of collaborating with the family and planning both a smaller family funeral as well as a larger set of celebrations of his life and legacy open to all who loved him–one in Vermont and one on Long island.  As soon as the Covino south clan and Mark and Jennifer and I hammer out the details, I will email you all, soon as can be done.

We are going to give that wonderful man a send off he won’t soon forget!!!

Love and blessings , Barbara Covino

PS: PLEASE FORWARD THIS to everyone you can think of. It has grown into a cast of hundreds, and forgive the delay but it has taken time to believe this is true.

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OPEN CONTENT WITH HI-RES AT THE GETTY

The Getty Museum, Los Angeles, has just announced their free open content program on the Internet, sharing 4,600 public domain paintings in high resolution, without restriction–meaning “free to modify or publish for any purpose.”  These are large, 100+ mb images that can actually be printed.

GodwardMischiefAndRepose189524x52

John William Godward [English, 1861 – 1922], Mischief and Repose, English, 1895, Oil on canvas, 60.6 x 133 cm (23 7/8 x 52 3/8 in.)

In addition, their next online release will be to make available a plethora of documentation, knowledge resources, research, digital publications, and images from special collections.  This will allow greater freedom of study, creativity, and exchange of ideas between students, artists, teachers, and art connoisseurs.

Getty now joins the ranks of other open content providers such as the National Gallery of Art https://images.nga.gov/en/page/openaccess.html and Harvard University.

Read their announcement here at the Getty Iris Blog:

http://blogs.getty.edu/iris/open-content-an-idea-whose-time-has-come/

Browse Getty images here:

http://search.getty.edu/gateway/search?q=&cat=highlight&f=%22Open+Content+Images%22&rows=10&srt=a&dir=s&pg=1

Download images from here:

http://www.getty.edu/art/

AND IN THE END…

Here are the remaining painting photos we took at the Getty and the de Young museums. The experience was unforgettable and I’m happy to have shared it all with you.  I will see you here again after my workshop (see April 17, 2013 post).

GeorgesDeLaTourTheMusicians'Brawl

The Musicians’ Brawl, about 1625, Georges de La Tour (1593-1652), French, oil on canvas

“In this painting, a brawling musician lifts his hand squeezing lemon juice into the eyes of his supposedly blind opponent. The imposter’s guide gasps with dismay while the two spectators all knowingly laugh at the spectacle of deception revealed. An early work by La Tour, this painting exhibits sharp diagonal rhythms, rapid calligraphic brushwork, and swift modulations in coloring to resonate with the violence of the subject.”

Interestingly, my husband made an important observation in this narrative painting that was not mentioned in the museum placard: the hurdy gurdy has the crank going into the right side of the instrument, yet the figure is holding the crank in his left hand. There is a reason for that–he has a knife in his right hand, prepared to stab the man that has called him out for being a fake. Can you see it?

GuidoReni

The Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist, 1640-42, Italian, Guido Reni (1575-1642) oil on canvas, 68 x 56

“In this depiction of a meeting between the young Christ and Saint John the Baptist, Guido Reni eliminated unnecessary detail and concentrated on the scene’s emotional qualities. The eyes of the two children meet as Mary looks on. The doves that the Christ Child gives to his cousin are an allusion to both Jesus’s future role as the King of Peace as well as his eventual sacrifice. Joseph enters through a doorway in the background.”

“Although using oil, Reni applied his color with the broad brushwork of fresco painting. He outlined important details with dark, jagged strokes. It was once thought that the sketchy appearance of Reni’s late works meant that they were unfinished, but like many aging artists, Reni pared form and color to the bare essentials for purely expressive purposes.”

CornelisBegaTheAlchemist

The Alchemist, 1663, Dutch, Cornelis Bega (1631/32-64), oil on panel, 14 x 12 1/2

CornelisBegaTheAlchemist1

Another view with a better angle, of this tiny painting packed with information and detail, The Alchemist.

“Oblivious to his cluttered surroundings, the unkempt figure of an alchemist sits among a chaotic jumble of paraphernalia. He holds a scale while weighing out a substance for one of his experiments in making gold. By the seventeenth century, alchemy was no longer considered to be a respectable science, and its practitioners were often the subject of ridicule. ”

“In this genre scene, Cornelis Bega commented on time wasted on materialistic and futile pursuits. Like other Dutch artists of his time, Bega was a close observer of natural appearances. Textures and surfaces of the assorted cracked clay and glass vessels are accurately described. Light pouring in through the open window and the harmonious tones of brown, gray, and blue give the painting a cozy warmth.”

CopleyMarySargent

Mrs. Daniel Sargent (Mary Turner Sargent), 1763, John Singleton Copley (1738-1815), oil on canvas, 49 1/2 x 39 1/4

Hovenden ThomasLast MomentsOf JohnBrown

The Last Moments of John Brown, ca. 1884, Thomas Hovenden (1840-1895), oil on canvas

You must go here and learn much about this artist, Thomas Hovenden, who seems to have “slipped through the cracks” of the American artists’ cannon: http://www.tfaoi.com/aa/8aa/8aa547.htm

Note: All text in quotes is taken from the Getty or de Young museum placards posted beside paintings.

AN AMAZING ALTARPIECE, MOSAIC, AND WOODEN SCULPTURE

Even though they didn’t fit into my “paintings” category, I just had to show you three unique pieces I saw at the Getty and de Young museums.  The altarpiece room was exceptionally dark, so the following photos are the best I could get. Click on the text photos to make them readable.

The first is the Ecco Homo Altarpiece by Maerten van Heemskerck (1498-1574), Netherlands. About the artist:

HeemskerckNetherlands

About the Ecco Homo Altarpiece:

EccoHomo

EccoHomoAltarpieceHeemskerck

EccoHomo1

EccoHomoRevealed

The central panel:

EccoHomo2

About fading and discoloration:

EccoHomoFadedPaints

The reds:

RedsDiscoloration

The blues:

BluesDiscolorations

The greens:

GreensDiscoloration

When the altarpiece is closed, the following two figures are what you see:

EccoHomoStMargaretVerso

StMargaretOfAntiochHeemskerck

EccoHomoStJohnVerso

StJohnTheEvangelistHeemskerck

Here, you can see another exceptionally worthy altarpiece, the Ghent Altarpiece by Hubert and Jan van Eyck with extreme closeup, X-radiography, infrared macrophotography, infrared reflectography and so much more, at http://closertovaneyck.kikirpa.be/#home/sub=altarpiece

Next, look at the amazing artistry and detail of this mosaic:

PortraitOfCamilloRospigliosi

Portrait of Camillo Rospigliosi, about 1630-40, glass mosaic, by Giovanni Battista Calandra, Italian, 1586-1644

“This mosaic depicts Rospigliosi, brother of Pope Clement IX and Knight Commander of the Order of Santo Stefano, whose cross insignia he wears. Because mosaics are composed of many pieces of small stones, ceramic, or glass tiles, they preserve their color more permanently than paintings–thus making them an appropriate medium for the commemorative art of portraiture. Like the painters of this period, Calandra rendered his subjects with great realism.”

Here are some closeups:

CloseupOfCamilloRospigliosi

CloseupOfCamilloRospigliosi-1

CloseupOfCamilloRospigliosi-2

And finally, this sculpture is made of wood, believe it or not. It is called Saint Gines de La Jara, about 1692, by sculptor Luisa Roldán (aka La Roldana), Spanish, 1650-1706. The one who painted the sculpture (aka polychromer) is Tomas de Los Arcos, Spanish, born 1661.

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It was so tall that this upward shot was the best I could get. See the hands?

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And the feet?

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“Saint Ginés de La Jara exemplifies La Roldana’s artistic talents. The body is relatively straight and self-possessed, while the arms stretch outward. La Roldana masterfully worked the hands and feet, sculpting the veins and bones so that they dramatically push against the taut skin. The painting by her brother-in-law, Tomás de Los Arcos, enhances the carving. The statue displays the realistic expression found in Spanish religious imagery made for churches and convents in the second half of the 1600s.”

Note: All text in quotes is taken from the Getty or de Young museum placards posted beside paintings.

DUTCH? FLEMISH? MORE DUTCH PAINTINGS

In my feeble attempt to clarify the impossible, a side note is in order here as to why some of these “Golden Age” painters are noted as being “Flemish” as opposed to “Dutch.” There was an area called Flanders just prior to 1800 (whose southern borders were nebulous) that encompassed parts of Belgium, the Netherlands, and France. Most of it became part of Belgium in 1830, but yet Flanders is still referred to as an autonomous area called the Flemish region with their own government including a congress. Ypres, Ghent, and Bruges are included in the area known as Flanders. To this day, some think of Brussels, Belgium as being in Flanders as opposed to Belgium. Also, they refer to part of the area as the Benelux Region (with it’s own flag) that encompasses Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. This area was formed in 1944 to promote free trade between these three countries. I don’t think I would want to be involved in a property rights dispute here. Confusing as all that seems, it must be clear to the millions that live there, although they are in a bit of political upheaval at the moment. If anyone can help describe it more clearly, please jump in and comment. Anyway, here are the last of the Dutch Golden Age paintings that I photographed at the Getty and the de Young:

JanSteenBathshebaAftereTheBath1

Bathsheba after the Bath, About 1665-70, Jan Steen, Dutch, 1626-1679, oil on panel

“Depicted here is the moment from the biblical story when Bathsheba receives a letter of summons from King David. In Steen’s interpretation, Bathsheba is a temptress rather than the innocent victim of the king’s passion. Unconcerned by her partial nudity, she stares brazenly at the viewer while her maidservant cuts her toenails. The shoe in the right foreground is a symbol of wantonness; the fountain probably alludes to fertility.”

JanSteenTheDrawingLesson2

The Drawing Lesson, About 1665, Jan Steen, oil on panel

“In a studio filled with artistic props, a painter corrects a drawing by one of his two pupils, a young boy and a teenage girl. The cool, clear light from the main window of this idealized interior reveals an array of materials and precisely rendered textures, from plaster to satin, fur, glass, and bone. Steen’s unusually refined technique suggests that this work was meant to celebrate the art of painting.”

JacobVanRuisdaelBridgeWithASluice

Bridge with a Sluice, About 1648-49, Jacob van Ruisdael, Dutch, 1628/29-1682, oil on panel

“Ruisdael’s ability to create complex, monumental images from humble motifs helps explain why he is considered one of the finest landscape painters of the 1600s. Here a rustic sluice, used to regulate water levels and irrigate farmland, is illuminated by a shaft of sunlight. Although the picture contains only one figure, evidence of human activity dominates the scene. Set against a background of productive pastureland, the sluice testifies to man’s continual struggle to control nature.”

JacobVanRuisdaelTwoWaterMillsAndAnOpenSluice

Two Water Mills and an Open Sluice, 1653, Jacob van Ruisdael, oil on canvas

JanVanHuysumVaseOfFlowers

Vase of Flowers, 1722, Jan van Huysum, Dutch, 1682-1749, oil on panel, 31 1/4 x 24

JanVanHuysumVaseOfFlowersCloseup

Vase of Flowers closeup

“In this work, flowers from all times of year–roses, anemones, hyacinths, and tulips, among others–have been painted directly from life. Van Huysum’s painstaking application of multiple layers of think oil glazes captures the brilliant colors and delicate textures of the petals. His vivid greens, however, were fugitive; here the leaves have faded to blue. Because he insisted on only painting each kind of flower while it was in season, it sometimes took the artist years to complete a picture.” http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=817

JanVanHuysumFruitPiece1

Fruit Piece, 1722, Jan van Huysum, oil on panel, 31 1/4 x 24

JanVanHuysumFruitPieceCloseup

Fruit Piece closeup

“This lavish still life of fruit and flowers combines the lustrous realism of Dutch paitnings of the 1600s with the bright colors and sinuous rhythms characteristic of the Rococo style of the 1700s. The effect is lush and extravagantly varied–van Huysum deftly captured the translucence of overripe fruit, the weight of heavy blooms, the crisp surfaes of leaves, and the wiry tension of vines. The artist jealously guardedd his technical secrets, allowing no one to visit his studio.” http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=818

Oh, if only we knew something about van Huysum’s working methods! We could learn so much from him. These paintings were affected by the skylights so that I had a very difficult time photographing them sans reflections.

Note: All text in quotes is taken from the Getty or de Young museum placards posted beside paintings.

FINISHING UP THE DUTCH/FLEMISH PHOTOS

Today, I am posting a lot of photos I took of Dutch/Flemish works that were on exhibit at the de Young and the Getty museums, beginning with Frans van Mieris the Elder (Dutch, 1635-1681). The first is Pictura (Allegory of Painting), 1661, oil on copper. This one was behind glass so please excuse the reflection.

The caption reads, “The allegorical figure shown here represents the art of painting. She holds a palette,, brushes, and a small plaster sculpture. The mask on a chain may refer to art’s deceptive illusions. Instead of being hung on a wall, a painting of this size, like a precious object, would have been kept in a cabinet for close examination. ”

FransVanMierisOilCopperPicturaAllegoryOfPainting

FransVanMierisTheDoctor'sVisit

The Doctor’s Visit, 1667, oil on panel

“Van Mieris was well known for his finely painted works. Here a young woman faints as a doctor examines a vial of her urine. The ostentatious doctor, whose extravagant clothes suggest that he is a quack, was a stock figure in contemporary theater. The erotic painting over the fireplace hints that the woman suffers from lovesickness, while the burning ribbon held by the crying girl was seen at the time as a sign of pregnancy.”

FransVanMierisAYoungWomanFeedingAParrot

A Young Woman Feeding a Parrot, 1663, oil on panel

Painted in the same year as Vermeer‘s “A Woman Holding a Balance,” Van Mieris’ elegant scene was one of the most celebrated and most copied compositions of the time.

The following two Frans Hals paintings are quite large–larger than life.

HalsLucasDeClercque

Lucas de Clercq, Dutch, about 1635, Frans Hals, oil on canvas, 49 13/16 x 36 5/8

HalsFeynaVanSteenkiste

Feyna van Steenkiste, Dutch, about 1635, Frans Hals, oil on canvas, 48 7/16 x 36 5/8

HalsFeynaVanSteenkisteHandsCloseup

Closeup of Feyna’s hands

These two paintings came to the Getty as part of the conservation partnership program. For information on the restoration and removal of old varnish on these two paintings as well as stories about Lucas and Feyna’s lives and additional insights into Hals’ working methods, go to http://www.getty.edu/museum/conservation/partnerships/rijksmuseum_hals/index.html

This painting by Anthony van Dyke was huge. I include the first photo to give you an idea of just how large it was:

AnthonyVanDyckPortraitOfAgostinoPallavicini

AnthonyVanDyckPortraitOfAgostinoPallavicini2

Portrait of Agostino Pallavicini, About 1621, oil on canvas, Anthony van Dyck, Flemish, 1599-1641

“This portrait commemorates the sitter’s service as ambassador of the Republic of Genoa to the newly elected Pope Gregory XV. The artist depicted Agostino Pallavicini, the future head of the state of Genoa, in his sumptuous robes of office, seated before a billowing curtain that bears his family’s coat of arms. The elegant formality of the image exemplifies van Dyck’s highly influential approach to portraiture.”

Note: All text in quotes is taken from the Getty or de Young museum placards posted beside paintings.

RUBENS AND BRUGEHEL COLLABORATE

I had an impossible time photographing this painting due to the skylight reflections, a problem I’ve mentioned previously.  I took a general one (had to get my picture beside it :-)), and then I took a few closeups. Here is the painting and the information posted alongside:

RubensBrughelMarsha

The Return from War: Mars Disarmed by Venus, 1610-12, Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish, 1577-1640; Jan Brueghel the Elder, Flemish, 1568-1625, Oil on panel

“In a secluded corner of Vulcan’s forge, Venus disarms her lover Mars, the god of war, with the playful help of her cupids. Love’s victory over Strife was understood in this period as an allegory of peace, and the subject may reflect contemporary hope for concord following the signing of the Twelve-Year Truce that ended the decades-long conflict in the Netherlands. The harmonious combination of reflective armor and creamy flesh resulted from the collaboration of Brueghel, who painted the setting and armaments, and Rubens, who painted the figures.”

Here are some closeups:

RubensBrueghelTheReturnFromWarCloseup

RubensBrueghelTheReturnFromWarCloseup1

RubensBrueghelTheReturnFromWarCloseup2

The Calydonian Boar Hunt, about 1611-12, Peter Paul Rubens, oil on panel

“This recently discovered painting is Ruben’s earliest hunt scene. In the early 1610s Rubens devised new and highly influential imagery of great physicality and emotional intensity–heroic combats between man and beast that transformed Baroque art.”

“The hunt of the Calydonian boar, a terrifying beast sent by the goddess Diana to punish King Oeneus, was a rare subject in painting. Rubens depicts the climax of the myth, when Meleager delivers the mortal thrust of the spear into the boar’s shoulder. The robust figures recall the classical sculpture from which he drew his inspiration. Rubens’ energetic and varied brushwork relates both to his brilliant oil sketches and to his polished cabinet paintings. He may have kept this work in his studio as a source of inspiration.”

RubensTheCalydonianBoarHunt1

A second take:

RubensTheCalydonianBoarHunt2

And some closeups:

RubensTheCalydonianBoarHuntCloseup

RubensTheCalydonianBoarHuntCloseup1

RubensTheCalydonianBoarHuntCloseup2

And lastly for today, a Rubens’ sketch:

The Meeting of King Ferdinand of Hungary and the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Spain at Nordlingen, 1635, Peter Paul Rubens

“This sketch was made for a monumental canvas that decorated a triumphal arch erected for the ceremonial entry into Antwerp by the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Spain. It celebrates an alliance between Catholic rulers shortly before their combined armies scored a victory over Protestant forces in 1634. Rubens’ oil sketches are admired for the spirit and economy with which they present the main elements of his grand compositions.”

RubensSketchTheMeetingOfKingFerdinandOfHungary1

Note: All text in quotes is taken from the Getty or de Young museum placards posted beside paintings.