CARAVAGGIO: CONTROVERSIAL NEW WORKS STILL QUESTIONED

CaravaggioJudith

photo by http://www.thepassionforart.com/2013/03/02/art-world-divided-over-caravaggio-100-works-discovery/

Researchers say they are keeping an open mind to the possibility that some of the 100 new works found in a Milanese castle are those of Caravaggio:

http://www.thepassionforart.com/2013/03/02/art-world-divided-over-caravaggio-100-works-discovery/

For back story on the original discovery and the ensuing controversy:

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/news/too-good-to-be-true-the-caravaggio-conundrum-7936445.html

Did Caravaggio die of murder, fever, or lead poisoning from ingesting his paint?  DNA researchers have concluded he died in Tuscany of an undetermined illness but we’ll probably never know the answer for sure after 404 years. However, paleomicrobiologists have picked up the search, and as of late June, 2013, have so far discovered this:

http://cenblog.org/artful-science/2013/06/24/figuring-out-what-killed-crazy-caravaggio/

Here is a “what if” story about his probable fate, had he not placed himself in exile from Rome after his murder conviction (later pardoned by the pope):

http://caravaggista.com/2013/07/on-the-403rd-anniversary-of-caravaggios-death-what-if/

Whether researchers determine the newly discovered works are by Caravaggio, his teacher Peterzano, or a mixture of both plus Peterzano’s other students, an inexpensive reference has been published at only $6.50 per volume (not available in Italy) and you can preview it first. To find out more about  either of the two volumes, Young Caravaggio: One-hundred rediscovered works, V I and II (Kindle book only), go to:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=young%20caravaggio

The Arizona Renaissance Art Guild does one-week workshop intensives three times per year, and in addition, we get together to paint all day on the third Saturday of every month.  If you are in the Phoenix Metro area and are interested in finding out more or possibly joining our colony, please let me know through this blog.  ~Marsha

MONA LISA’S SKELETON FOUND?

Leonardo Da Vinci’s model for the Mona Lisa may have been found by a research team in Italy who discovered three skeletons in the basement of a old, now unused convent in Florence last year, where Lisa Gherardini likely spent her final months.

 MonaLisaTomb

Photo by http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/florence-tomb-opened-in-search-for-mona-lisa-1.1490726

Silvano Vinceti, of Italy’s National Committee for Cultural Heritage, said that another tomb in Florence contains relatives of Lisa Gherardini del Giacondo, probably her son Piero, and that, “Right now we are carrying out carbon-14 tests on three of the eight skeletons found in St. Ursula. The carbon-14 test will tell us which of the three dates back to the 1500s. Only then will we know which skeleton to do the final DNA test on.” After that, they plan to do a digital reconstruction of her face.

For more on this story, go to:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/researchers-open-florence-tomb-in-search-for-identity-of-the-real-mona-lisa-8755463.html

For a picture of the skull:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/archaeology/news/the-dig-that-may-have-unearthed-leonardos-muse-8196544.html

Another version of Mona Lisa discovered:

MonaLisaLouvrePrado

photo by http://www.theartnewspaper.com/articles/Earliest-copy-of-Mona-Lisa-found-in-Prado/25514

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/news/so-she-truly-was-leonardos-labour-of-love-7645955.html

The Arizona Renaissance Art Guild does one-week workshop intensives three times per year, and in addition, we get together to paint all day on the third Saturday of every month.  If you are in the Phoenix Metro area and are interested in finding out more or possibly joining our colony, please let me know through this blog.  ~Marsha

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.

VERMEER AT THE GETTY

VermeerWomanInBlue

Woman in Blue Reading a Letter, about 1663–64, Johannes Vermeer (Dutch, 1632–1675)

Oil on canvas (18 5/16 x 15 3/8 in.), Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. On loan from the City of Amsterdam (A. van der Hoop Bequest).

VermeerWomanInBlueBeforeRestoration

Woman in Blue Reading a Letter,  before restoration.

Information from the Getty Museum, Los Angeles:

http://news.getty.edu/press-materials/press-releases/vermeer-masterpiece-woman-in-blue-reading-a-letter.htm

One of Johannes Vermeer’s most celebrated masterpieces, Woman in Blue Reading a Letter, “comes to the Getty on special loan from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which is completing ten years of extensive renovations this year. Since October 2012, Vermeer’s masterpiece has traveled the world as an “ambassador” for the Rijksmuseum’s remarkable collection of Dutch paintings. Following presentations in Shanghai and São Paulo, Los Angeles is the last and only North American stop on the painting’s tour, after which it will return to Amsterdam in time for the Rijksmuseum’s much-anticipated opening on April 13, 2013.”

“’This truly represents an extraordinary opportunity for Southern California,” explains Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Vermeer’s Woman in Blue is one of his greatest and most famous masterpieces. It has very rarely traveled outside of Amsterdam and this is the painting’s first visit to the West Coast. Vermeer’s paintings of women reading letters and engaged in other private, domestic activities have a unique intimacy and reality to them that can only be fully appreciated in the flesh. His finest works, like the Woman in Blue, have a magical immediacy that has never been rivaled.’”

“Praised as one of Vermeer’s most beautiful paintings, Woman in Blue Reading a Letter demonstrates the artist’s exceptional command of color, light, and perspective. Portraying a young woman absorbed in a letter, it exemplifies the artist’s ability to create innovative scenes of everyday life imbued with great emotional intensity.  The mystery of the painting makes it even more compelling— although it is most likely a love letter, we do not know who the letter is from, what it is about, or why the painting’s subject is so engrossed by the correspondence.”

“’This small but powerful painting is exquisitely nuanced, with a marvelously balanced composition and refined use of light that creates a soft, diffuse atmosphere,” suggests Anne Woollett, curator of paintings at the Getty Museum. “Vermeer’s extraordinary command of color is apparent here and visitors will surely be taken with the varied hues of blue that he used throughout the painting.’”

“Woman in Blue Reading a Letter was recently cleaned and studied in Amsterdam by the Rijksmuseum’s restoration department. Past treatments were rectified and the yellowed varnish was removed, reestablishing the legibility of the composition. Significantly, the treatment revealed Vermeer’s brilliant range of blue hues, visible in their remarkable intensity for the first time in generations, along with a subtle palette of taupes, yellows, ochres, and whites, which themselves have a bluish tint.”

“Technical studies of the painting, also done at the Rijksmuseum, have revealed that Vermeer made important adjustments to the composition while working on the painting. For example, he extended the left vertical edge of the map on the wall behind the woman toward the window, narrowing the field of white created by the wall. He also eliminated the flared shape of the back of the woman’s blue jacket, emphasizing her vertical presence. Both changes serve to focus the viewer’s attention on the female subject and her thoughts.”

I feel so fortunate to have seen this painting. It is a work of fine, delicate beauty that one must really see to fully appreciate.

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

REMBRANDT AT THE MUSEUM–NOT AN ALL FOOLS’ DAY JOKE

Here are more museum postings, which I will continue to do in order to give you the flavor of all we saw. Please keep in mind that there were many unavoidable light reflections, not only from the skylights and track lighting, but also from the surprising fact that many of the works were covered with glass; and no matter how good the museum quality of that glass, there were still added light aberrations in a few of the photos.

Today is Rembrandt’s day:

An Old Man in Military Costume, About 1630-31, Rembrandt Harmensz, van Rijn, Dutch, 1606-1669, Oil on panel

“This fantasy portrait belongs to the type known as a tronie, or a character study of a head. These pictures were created for sale on the open art market in Holland. Rembrandt frequently dressed the models for such portraits in fanciful costumes, as in the case of this man in military garb. The attire probably symbolizes Dutch fortitude and patriotism during the struggle for independence from Spain.”

RembrandtAnOldManInMilitaryCostume

The Abduction of Europa, 1632, Rembrandt Harmensz, van Rijn, Dutch, 1606-1669, Oil on panel (2 photos)

From the Getty:  “In the Metamorphoses , the ancient Roman poet Ovid told a story about the god Jupiter, who disguised himself as a white bull in order to seduce the princess Europa away from her companions and carry her across the sea to the distant land that would bear her name.

During his long career Rembrandt rarely painted mythological subjects. Here he conveys a narrative story through dramatic gesture and visual effects. Bewildered, Europa grasps the bull’s horn, digs her fingers into his neck, and turns back to look at her companions on the water’s edge. One young woman falls to the ground and raises her arms in alarm, dropping the flower garland intended for the bull’s neck into her lap, while her friend clasps her hands in consternation and watches helplessly. The carriage driver above rises to his feet and stares at the departing princess in horror. In the background, a city shrouded in mist extends along the horizon, perhaps serving as an allusion to the ancient city of Tyre as well as to contemporary Amsterdam.The dark thicket of trees to the right contrasts with the pink and blue regions of the sea and sky. Sunlight breaks through the clouds and reflects off the water, but the sky behind the trees is dark and foreboding.

A master of visual effects, Rembrandt took pleasure in describing the varied textures of sumptuous costumes and glittering gold highlights on the carriage and dresses.”

RembrandtTheAbductionOfEuropa

RembrandtTheAbductionOfEuropa

A Portrait of a Rabbi, About 1640-45, Rembrandt Harmensz, van Rijn, Dutch, 1606-1669, Oil on panel

“Rembrandt painted and drew numerous elderly male subjects in contemplation throughout his career. Here, strong light illuminates the man’s chest and face, which is energetically modeled with fine, textured brushstrokes. In contrast, the heavy folds of his gown and soft material of his hat are more loosely executed. Rembrandt was sensitive to Jewish tradition, and sought to capture its character through the representation of physical appearance and an internal spiritual state.”

RembrandtAPortraitOfARabbi

Portrait of a Girl Wearing a Gold Trimmed Cloak, 1632, Rembrandt Harmensz, van Rijn, Dutch, 1606-1669, Oil on panel

RembrandtPortraitOfAGirlWearingAGoldTrimmedCloakCropped

RembrandtCloseupPortraitOfAGirlWearingAGoldTrimmedCloak

And from the Getty http://www.getty.edu/art/installation_highlights/rembrandt.html:

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn‘s Portrait of a Girl Wearing a Gold-Trimmed Cloak is on temporary view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center. The work, which has not been on public view since the 1970s, is on loan from a private collection in New York.

The sitter, an unknown woman, is richly dressed in the fanciful costume Rembrandt favored for biblical and mythological paintings. He scratched in the thick, wet paint to create the pleats of the subject’s white shirt, and rendered gold embroidery on her black gown with almost an abstract series of daubs. Light from the painting’s upper left creates atmosphere behind the sitter and strongly illuminates one side of her rounded face, along with the strand of pearls in her hair and one of her large pearl earrings.

Portrait of a Girl Wearing a Gold-Trimmed Cloak inspired the facial types of many of Rembrandt’s heroines in the early 1630s.

RembrandtPortraitOfAGirlWearingAGoldTrimmedCloakGettyImage

We’re off on a three-day job, so more photos in a few days….

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

GETTY AND DE YOUNG TREASURE TROVE

We have returned from our 1,870-mile anniversary vacation and we practically killed ourselves trying to see everything! But alas, we proved it impossible. We allowed a whole day for each museum but it wasn’t close to being enough. Plan for three solid days at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, and at least two complete days at the Getty Center in Los Angeles–and that is just to see each piece of art for a mere minute.  To really see the paintings, a much longer analyzing/examining/admiring time is required. And of course, this doesn’t include all the other attractions both museums have to offer.

In addition to rooms full of famous art, we saw Vermeer‘s Girl with a Pearl Earring at the de Young,

GirlWithAPearlEarringDeYoungAd

and his Woman in Blue Reading a Letter at the Getty.

WomanInBlueReadingAletter

Sadly, the de Young did not allow photos of Vermeer’s Girl, or of any other Dutch paintings on loan. The Getty was much less restrictive and allowed photos of Vermeer’s Woman, and virtually all paintings on exhibit. However, the skylights at the Getty were disconcerting at times. It caused some of the paintings to have excessive reflections and made them difficult to see.  It wasn’t a huge problem, but worth mentioning; standing farther back from the works helped with this, as did the time of day affecting the angle of the light.

Both museums are much easier to navigate than their online directions suggest. The de Young is slightly more difficult to drive to, and we found the layout a bit more confusing and involved–like a maze you can’t find you way out of–but that was probably because it’s a bit larger than the Getty, and because the Getty is organized by separate buildings in very close proximity to each other, but that serve to break up the collections in a more logical way.

The Getty was very easy to get to and, once there, a tram takes you to the top of the hill and drops you off. The idea of having to use a tram sounded cumbersome at first, but it was so much easier than traffic and cars would ever be, and the parking garage was right at the base of the tram–a very easy and short walk. The Getty is FREE except for a $15 covered parking fee that also covers the tram ride. You honestly can’t lose your way here, even if you try, and the views are wonderful.

I took lots of pictures and will post many of them over the next few days, so settle in for a mini online tour of paintings.

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

WE’RE OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD (OF PAINTING, THAT IS)

Vermeer's original painting, Girl with a Pearl...

Vermeer’s original painting, Girl with a Pearl Earring from 1665 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember in my first posts I said we were going to see Vermeer‘s Girl with a Pearl Earring at the deYoung Museum in San Francisco, and Woman in Blue Reading a Letter at the Getty Center in Los Angeles? Well, the day has finally arrived!  We’re loading the car right now and we will be on our way ASAP.  We plan to go up Highway 1 for its luscious scenery and photo ops (a.k.a. painting fodder), even though it will take a lot longer. If I can post anything on the way, I will, but no promises since we’re “winging it” for fun. But I’ll show and tell all when I return.

The museums allow no-flash photography only, on pieces they themselves own, but not for anything on loan–bummer, so I’ll have to settle for gift shop prints.

I’m taking a giclée of my GWAPE (see earlier post) so that I can compare it directly with the real version.

We got so lucky with the timing of our visit to the deYoung because it just happens to fall in that one week each year when San Francisco’s floral designers display their creations at the museum for a show called, Bouquets for Art. From the pictures I’ve seen, I imagine it will be exquisite.

Soon, I will be posting lots of photographs for you to see.  Until then, I hope you have a wonderful week.

Johannes Vermeer - Woman in Blue Reading a Let...

Johannes Vermeer – Woman in Blue Reading a Letter – WGA24657 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HOMAGE TO MY TEACHER AND MENTOR, FRANK COVINO

There is a difference between instructors and teachers–instructors show you how, but teachers provide the “who, what, where, why,” and “how” of a subject.  A teacher teaches you the theoretical aspects of the subject, helps you understand where you are going, why you’re going, and what to do when you get there. To me, that makes a tremendous difference.

All too often, I read articles by painters that parrot my teacher, Frank Covino, but fail to thank him for all they learned.  Since I have been taught by him, I recognize his phraseology instantly. Well, to quote Frank, “It’s never too late to ameliorate,” so, as not to become one of those painters who forgets where they came from, I want to say that Frank’s giving, unselfish nature has truly been a gift I will forever cherish. I learned more about painting in my first week’s study with Frank Covino than I learned in all past workshops (that shall remain nameless), put together. What I learned from him way back then (and continue to learn) led me to see art and painting as truly a process and not a haphazard accident, with logic and a systematic method that removes the guesswork. This allows me to concentrate on creating and making fine-tuned judgments on value and color in my paintings. I will be always grateful to Frank for starting me on this path, as his dedication and striving for perfection in all aspects are inspirational and a great model to emulate. I wonder if he realizes how much so many of his students hold him in awe, and love and respect him for all the lives he has affected in such profound ways.

Covino Portrait1

Photo of Frank Covino

Is there some kind of knowledge transference at birth? Perhaps there is, given that Frank Covino has been painting portraits since he was six years old. His mission: “To pass on the classical academic system of painting to the young so it doesn’t get lost.” This craft has been in the Covino family for centuries and, with over fifty years of teaching experience, Frank has made it his life’s work to impart the secrets of the Old Masters.

He reflects, “I teach because I was given an extraordinary, innate gift which revealed itself very early in my life.  History has proven that the most extraordinary artists and musicians were also the best teachers and I like to think that I stand on the shoulders of those giants. Therefore, to exploit that gift would be a sacrilege. Thus, I will continue to teach as long as there are students who seek my guidance as it is my obligation to preserve this ancient tradition of my Italian ancestors.”

In this blog I’m writing, A Pigment of Your Imagination, I hope to pass on some of what I have learned as well.