Monday, October 15, 2018

TINTORETTO'S LASTING IMPACT ON VENETIAN ART: Review By Polly Guerin

Seated Nude ca. 1549
The breathtaking mural panorama of the magnificent Palazzo Ducale and Scuola Grande of San Marco sets the stage for what lies ahead at the entrance to the Morgan Library and Museum's current exhibit, DRAWING in TINTORETTO'S VENICE on view through January 8, 2019. 
      Organized to mark the 500th anniversary of Jacopo Tintoretto's birth (1518/19-1594), this exhibition focuses on the artist's drawing practice and lasting impact on Venetian art. The dramatic canvases of their muscular expressive bodies reveal Tintoretto's famous quickness (prestezza) capturing both the spirit and characteristics of the sitter. Image: Tintoretto's seated male nude, ca. 1549. Black and white chalk on blue paper. Musee du Louvre, Paris, inv. 5385 (c) RMN-Grand Palais/Art
Resource NY. 
      Drawing in Tintoretto's Venice is the first exhibition since 1956 to present the drawing practice of this major artist. It also offers a new perspective on Tintoretto's evolution as a draftsman, his individuality as an artist, and his influence on a generation of painters in northern Italy. 
     
Inside Palazzo Ducale
Who was Tintoretto? Born to the son of a fabric dyer (tintore in Italian) from whose profession the young artist derived his nickname, the artist rose to prominence in the 1840s. By the time of his death in May 1594, he was the pre-eminent artist in Venice, responsible for the vast pictorial cycles in the Palazzo Ducale and the Scuola Grade di San Rccco as well as paintings found through-out 
the churches and palaces of Venice.  Even during his lifetime, he was considered an impetuous genius, an artist who worked hastily without careful design or studied consideration.  However, he was an innovator and over the course of his career he forged his own distinctive style of drawing and his own way of producing a prolific oeuvre. As Tintoretto's fame grew, his expanding workload required more assistants, and his drawing practice evolved. In training those assistants, he influenced a generation of artists.
      The Evolution of His Drawing Practices:  A decisive moment in Tintoretto's careers was the unveiling in 1548 of his Miracle of the Slave. the work of a monumental drama, and richness unseen in his paintings to that point. The confraternity of San Rocco then commissioned Tintoretto to take up the decoration of their church. Tintoretto also painted two vast painting for the church of the Madonna dell'Orto, the last Judgment and Making of the Golden Calf.    

These highlighted Tintoretto's abilities and soon led to the commissions at the Palazzo Ducale and the Scuola Grade di San Marco, a project that would take nearly 20 years and occupy him on and off for the rest of his career. Although there are no extant drawing directly related to the Miracle of the Slave, the exhibition includes studies connected with each of these other projects.
         PUBLIC PROGRAMS and gallery talks, adult workshops and concerts are scheduled. Visit the museum's website for further details www.themorgan.org. 
      Gallery Talks, Drawing in Tintoretto's Venice, are led by John Marciari, Charles W. Englehard Curator and Department head, Drawings and Prints. Tours are free with museum admission, no tickets or reservations required. Mark your calendar for the following dates: October 26, 6 pm and Friday, November 16 at 1 pm.
     Ta Ta Darlings!!! It's plain to see that Tintoretto's famous quickness (prestezza) was a break with tradition and yet, produced works of great beauty.  Please send fan mail welcome and comments to pollytalknyc.gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click in the left hand column links to the Blogs that resonate with your interest.
      
    

Sunday, October 7, 2018

HARRY POTTER: A History of Magic: Review by Polly Guerin

The Wizarding World will have one of its busiest years ever in the United States, with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway and the film Fantastic Beasts and Crimes of Grindelwald opening in cinemas.                Nonetheless, the most spectacular show of all is the British Library's exhibition HARRY POTTER: A History of Magic which opened recently at the New York Historical Society. It showcases an extravagant exploration of the traditions of folklore and magic at the heart of the Harry Potter stories with an vast selection of historical objects that are on view to the public for the first time. The exhibition features centuries old treasures including rare books, manuscripts and magical objects as well as original griffins to the origins of the sorcerer's stone from the collections of the British Library, the New York Historical Society an other museums. 
      Aficionados of the Potter books can explore the subjects studied at Hogwarts and see J.R. Rowling's hand written first draft of the Philosopher's Stone and Deathly Hollow. From descriptions of dragons and griffins to the origins of the sorcerer'stone, visitors can explore the subjects stuided at Hogwarts and see the original work of Harry Potter illustrators Jim Kay, Mary GrandPre, Kazu Kibuishi and Brian Selznick.
      Image: Study of the phoenix by Jim Kay. On loan from Bloomsbury Publishing. Background image; detail from a Medieval Bestiary (England, 13th century) Phoenix illustration by Jim Kay (c) Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016.
       This exhibition marks 20 years since the U.S. publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and the worldwide phenomenon that is the Harry Potter stories.  In writing the books, J.K. Rowling drew on rich traditions of folklore, mythology from across the globe.
      In this expansive exhibit you can explore some of the subjects learned by Harry an his friends at Hogwarts School of Magic and Wizardry, through magical and historical collections from the British Library and New York Historical Society, together with original manuscripts penned by J.K. Rowling.     
Harry Potter: A History of Magic delves into a magical world with centuries-old treasures, including rare books, manuscripts, and magical objects. The breath and scoop of the exhibition
is accompanied by a special audio tour featuring the voice of actress Natalie Dormer, available to ticket holders as a free audible download providing in-depth contents on the subjects on view. 
     Image: Jacob Meydenbach's Horus Sanitatis (Latin for "The Garden of Health") 1491, the first printed encyclopedia of natural history featuring sections devoted to plants, animals, birds, fish, and stornes. The hand-colored woodcut illustration shows a Potions class. (c0 British Library Board. 
      Harry Potter: A History of Magic is organised around the subjects studied at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry including; POTIONS and ALCHEMY showcasing the bezoar stone that reputedly provided a powerful antidote to poison, the tombstone of Nicolas Flamel, the medieval Parisian rumored to be an alchemist who inspired a character in Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's stone. Then too, visitors are invited to create a potion in a hands-on installation and this seems to particularly delight the youngsters.
     Herbology, also on the curriculum at Hogwarts features herbals (directories of plants and their powers), such as Giovanni Cadamosto's 15th century manuscript showing the harvesting o a mandrake plant with a root that resembles the human form. CHARMS includes the first record of the incantation "abracadabra,' dating from the 13th century and much more. A 1690 celestial globe by famed cartogrpaher Vincenzo Coronelli highlights ASTRONOMY.     
CARE OF MAGICAL CREATURES includes a 13th century bestiary manuscript depicting a phoenix rising from the ashes and John James Audubon's watercolor of snowy owls. Image: John James Audubon Snowy Owl (Bubo Scandiacus) New York Historical Society by public subscriptions from Mrs. John J. Audubon.
     First year students at Hogwarts were allowed  to bring an owl, a cat, or a goat to school---all animals with historic magical significance. Here you can see a pair of Snowy Owls, the same breed as Harry's owl, Hedwig.
     THE NEW YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY is presenting a wide variety of exhibition related events for grown-up Harry Potter fans throughout the run of the exhibition through
January 27 2019, including trivia nights, art workshops, creative writing classes, social meet-ups, open mics, book clubs, and engaging courses that explore the Hogwart's curriculum. Programs include a special evening with actor Jim Dale, for his narration of all seven Harry Potter U.S. audiobooks. Family activities feature history of Magic Family days with hands-on activities and crafts, a Harry Potter family book club, historical Halloween celebration, and trivia for families.  Additional programming information is available at harrypotter.nyhistory,org. TICKETS: TIMED ENTRY TICKETS for the exhibition Harry Potter: A History of Magic can be booked in advance. Visit the New York Historical Society's website
     Ta Ta darlings!! It's wonderful to know that magic can still enthrall us with its mesmerizing
stories. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's other Blogs at www.pollytalk.com.

Monday, October 1, 2018

POSING MODERNITY at Wallach Art Gallery: Review By Polly Guerin

Edouard Manet's Olympia
Not every student of art history could become the inspiration for an art exhibition, but one such student, Denise Murrell's Thesis indeed  inspired the Wallach Art Gallery's upcoming exhibition,  POSING MODERNITY at Columbia University. This groundbreaking investigative show focuses on a seemingly neglected subject; "How Black people have been pictured across art history."
        It all came about when inquisitive Columbia University student, Denise Murrell viewed Edouard Manet's Olympia, his brazenly un-idealized take on the odalisque theme. In his rendering a black maidservant is bringing a bouquet of flowers to a naked prostitute who stares directly out at the viewer. What struck Ms. Murrell most about the art instructors discourse was the absence of any reference to the black maidservant. She said, "His neglect to ignore her, to say nothing about her, to not knowledge her presence rendered her invisible." 
      This experience motivated Murrell to find out more about the black figure as portrayed in art. So she embarked on a journey that began was a seminar paper, expanded into her PhD thesis and on OCTOBER 24, POSING MODERNITY, will open as an exhibition at the Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University, which will be expanded at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris next year.     

Posing Modernity is an eye-opening investigation into the legacy of that influential work of art, specifically the evolving representation of the black female figure. Image: Henri Matisse, Dame a la robe blanche (Woman in White) 1946, oil on canvas. Des Moines Art Cener, ACC.No. 1959-40. Courtesy: The Matisse Foundation (c) 1917. Succession H Matisse//Artists Rights Society. The exhibition explores the little-known interactions between avant-garde artists in the 19th century Paris and the city's post-abolition community of free black people.
        Archival photographs, correspondence, and films shed light on artists' relationships with their models, students, entertainers, and others. 
        HARLEM IN THE 1930s: Includes paintings, drawings and prints executed by Henri Matisse before and after his visits to Harlem in the 1930s, portraiture of the Harlem Renaissance; and the influence of these earlier depictions on artists of the post-war period and beyond. Bazille, Nadar, Carpeaux, Bearden, and Ringgold are just a few of he names featured. 
Edouard Manet's Baudelaire's Mistress Jeanne Duval
Image: Edouard Manet's Baudelaire's Mistress (Portrait of Jeanne Duval) from 1862 is part of the "Posing Modernity" exhibition, Photo: Csanad Szeszlay(c) The Museum of Fine Art Budapest/Scala/Art Resource NY.
Wallach Art Gallery; wallach.columbia.edu. 
        Ta Ta Darlings!!!  I hope this review invites your interest to see how one student's challenge brought about Posing Modernity to give black women in paintings their due recognition.
      Fan mail welcome at pollytalk@gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click in the right-hand column for the subject that resonates with your interest on fashion, visionary men, determined women and poetry.