Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
The legacies of Pablo Picasso are expansive and powerfully influential. The meanings and expressions of his artwork illuminate the immense influence Picasso’s environment and relationships had over his work. Over the course of ninety-one years, Picasso has lived through both World Wars, expatriation from his own country, and a series of wives and secret affairs. All of these experiences, especially Picasso’s explicit anti-war opinions and insatiable passion for women, are commonly expressed through his entire career, despite the wide range of art Picasso has participated in, from poetry to stage designing to paintings, which has led him though various themed eras like the Blue Period (19
01-1904) and Cubism (1909-1912).
Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain in 1881 and went to art schools in Barcelona and Madrid. Picasso’s art career started very early, for his father, also an artist and art teacher, noticed his talents early and helped develop Pablo Picasso’s skills and schooling opportunities. However, Picasso
never appreciated strict discipline and formal instructions, and thus quickly dropped out of schooling at the age of six
teen and left on his own to Paris. For a long time, Picasso lived in poverty often having to burn some of his artwork to keep warm (poverty is a common theme is his artworks). However, Picasso had the luck of attracting wealthy collectors that started him on a rather successful and internationally renowned path.
Among his m
any styles and techniques, which include sculpting and woodwork, Picasso is probably most known for his work in Surrealism. He uses extreme distortion and symbolism left for the viewer to draw upon and “interpret them” (Picasso).
An early sketch and final painting of
The Guernica (1937):
This famous painting and its sketched rough draft are a good example of both Picasso’s anti-war opinions and his means of surrealism to express them. Guernica was painted in response to the bombing of Guernica by German forces during the Spanish Civil War. Picasso refuses to interpret the two prominent images in the painting, the bull and the horse. Nevertheless, the
painting’s obscure orientation and symbolism does illustrate the painful tragedies of war with its dark tone and imagery of people screaming and dying.
A stencil drawing of one of Picasso’s mistresses, Francoise Gilot:
Many of Picasso’s works revolve around the women that encompass his life. He has spent very few years as a single man, even though he has never been able to remain faithful to a girlfriend for any more than ten years. His generally needy nature and the rare number
of single years illuminate the possibility of a lonely aspect of his character. However, his history of infidelity also marks an insatiable and loose sense of passion, for he often falls into obsession for a woman, and falls just as quickly for another at the cost of his previous relationship. This portrait of Gilot is one of many portraits of his wives and girlfriends, and is thus a good illustration of his simple, yet passionate style of drawing. Although most of his portraits are not intricately detailed, this sort of simplicity allows for the focus of distinct features of that particular woman. In this case, focus falls upon the flowing hair and Gilot’s large eyes.
A painting of a Reclining Nude:
This is one of my favorite paintings, and is one I had the honor of seeing in person. This painting is, once again, of one of his affairs—a woman with whom he had a child. This scene portrays Marie-Therese Walter after sex, reclining and “radiating” in the sun. Like most of his drawings and portraits of women, they are simple and abstract in a way that illuminates the defining features of that particular woman. In this painting and in many others that present Marie-Therese Walter, the style focuses on her voluptuous features and the sense of passion and satisfaction (maybe playing to his own narcissism) after love-making, as illustrated by the flowing image of her position, the blushing in her cheeks, and the visible radiation coming from her body.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
During my 7 years of living in Tokyo, Japan, I grew up watching Ghibli Studio movies. They would eventually be known in America as the studio who created major motion animation movies such as Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. I would go to the movies every time the studio produced another movie. Director, producer, and art director Miyazaki Hayao almost singlehandedly wrote every story that Ghibli Studio produced whether it was a short motion picture or feature length film after he co-founded the studio in 1984. He produced numerous movies that climbed to the top of Japan’s film charts as the highest glossing films
again and again. The success of his movies, I believe, lies in the depth of plot and the quality of the artwork. Miyazaki’s attention to detail over every part of the film is evident, as there is not a single moment when the artwork is not the very best or the flow of the story is not smooth.
Miyazaki Hayao started out as a manga artist. After a few years of moderately successful manga career, he began to work for animation studios. After producing dozens of successful storylines for animation movies, he paired up with his longtime friend to find a studio of his own – Ghibli. There he welcomed enormous success. By producing films of top quality he established himself and the studio apart from other animation studios in Japan, which was quite a feat as animation studios are abundant in japan. The ghibli studio in japan could be called akin to pixar or Disney in America.
Cavallaro, Dani. The Animé Art of Hayao Miyazaki. Jefferson, NC: McFarland &, 2006. Print.
White, Donna J. "The Art of Miyazaki." University of Buffalo: The State University of New York. University of Buffalo. Web.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Being from Belgium, and being the daughter of an art historian, I have been surrounded by and taught to appreciate and love Flemish painters. My favorite of these is Peter Paul Rubens. I have loved Rubens so much because I love the way that he draws the human body, personally it is my favorite thing to draw and Rubens is the master.
Rubens was born in 1577 in Siegen, Germany but his family soon left Germany and moved to his mother’s hometown of Antwerp, Belgium due to the Counter-Reformation.
This may be a reason for why Rubens is widely know for his altarpieces, landscapes, and portraits that all are focused on the subject of Counter-Reformation. Early in his career, Rubens worked under Antwerp’s leading painters of his time Adam van Noort and Otto van Veen. Later he took a trip to Italy and became inspired by the Italian masters such as Titian, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Caravaggio. Rubens died in a castle outside of Antwerp in 1640 of gout.
Drawings and Style
Rubens did many of his drawings with black or red chalk on paper. He often tinted his sketches with a “bistre” wash. I had to look up what bistre wash was but it is a brown pigment made from boiling the soot of wood.
It is spread at a transparent liquid over a drawing to create a brownish tint, which is typical of the “old master drawings” of the 17th and 18th century.
Peter Paul Rubens – Laocoon c 1600-1608
Here we can see an example of the bistre wash used.
Rubens also made many sketches with oil paint and black chalk as a way of doing an “under-painting” being very similar to what is an under-drawing or a study sketch.
Here is one of Rubens’ anatomical studies. We see how in depth he goes into drawing all the muscles in the body – although they are probably not visible on the live model.
This is a study that Rubens made after Titian, Studies of a woman. Something that I found very fascinating about Rubens is that since there were not many female models willing to pose nude during the time, Rubens used many male models and just made them female. This is why many of Rubens/ women and very muscular and broad.
Rubens “Judith Killing Holofrenes” c. 1609-10
Here is a little bit different than the previous drawings, Rubens uses pen and ink and a brown wash. This drawing also seems like it was made with a little less precision than his previous drawings.
Here we see “Battle of the Standard” by Rubens and this shows more of the characteristics of his paintings, which are very energetic, but also focus a lot of detail on anatomical precision and detail.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Albert ("Al") Hirschfeld is one of the preeminent modern caricaturists. Despite the fact that he is most famous for his minimalistic black and white line drawing caricatures of Broadway actors, he also worked in a number of different mediums, subjects, and experimented with color.
Born in St.Louis in 1903, he began his art training at the Art Students League of New York in New York City.
Hirschfeld began working with with Samuel Goldwyn Studios on ads. Then he moved over to Selznick Pictures where he became the art director-- at the age of 17. After Selznick went out of business several years later, Hirschfeld traveled to Paris and then London where he studied an array of artistic mediums: from sculpture, to painting, and finally, drawing.
His career in theater caricature because with his portrait of Sacha Guitry, a French star, in 1926 (image on right).
Hirschfeld went to the theater with his friend Dick Maney, a press agent. He began to scribble a drawing of Guitry. His friend thought the scribble was good and asked Hirschfeld to redraw the image on a clean sheet of paper. Hirschfeld gave Maney the image and the next Sunday it was in The New York Herald Tribune. For the next 20 years, Hirschfeld made a weekly contribution to drama section of the Sunday edition of the Tribune. Shortly after his drawing of Guitry, Hirschfeld began drawing for The New York Times.
Early in his career, Hirschfeld was still trying to define his style. He "flirted" with pointlism (Florence Reed, 1926), shading, and line weight (Cafe Crown 1942). However, he eventually turned his focus towards clean, black and white lines.
In 1927, Hirschfeld went to Russia. Russia was undergoing a revolution. While there, he spent some time drawing Russian theater greats like Stanislavski. He also drew images of the Russian people in the first decade of Communism. He planned on creating a book out of these sketches. However, many of the drawings were lost and the book was never published.
Many of his drawings were of political figures or offered some sort of political commentary.
Art and History 1931
Peace in Our Time 1939
As Hirshfeld' name because synonymous with theater caricature, it became a right of passage for the theater greats to be drawn by him.
Danny Kaye - 1953
Woody Allen and Diane Keaton - 1977
Newspapers often tasked him with trying to capture the heart of a play prior to opening night.
Carousel - 1945
Rent - 1996
Process and "NINA"
I have always been passionate about theater and was interested in learning about its' intersection with drawing. I remember how captivated I was going to Sardi's (a restaurant in New York with hundreds of Hirschfeld's) and wanted to learn more about the artist.
Caricature also fascinates me. I am interested in how one can convey an idea in the simplest way possible. How does one capture the true essence of a subject? How do you break a person down into component pieces?
Also, in caricature, the physical form is stretched and mutated-- yet the human brain still understands who the subject is. I am also interested in experimenting with that idea.
Finally, in this class, we first started learning about line drawing. Line drawings are the most fundamental form of drawing and I wanted to examine an artist who manages to convey idea only with line.
Hirschfeld, Al. Hirschfeld on Line. New York: Applause, 1999. Print.
|Joan Miro 1893-1983|
|1949 - etching with color|
|Tumbler with Guitar - Painting|