Research & Appreciation

Rembrandt painting sales pitch from the experts at Sotheby’s Auction. Worthy of our watching for its unique small size, commentator’s analysis, and only recent availability after 150 years or so. Under 4 minutes duration, because it does not need more! Have your debit card at the ready.

Rembrandt analysis and auction pitch

Second analysis opportunity, but very different: subject matter, length, history. An American painting this time with a strong historical story well told by the author for The New York Times. This writer viewed the whole thing.

It’s not a video, but a presentation with imagery and captions to the side, self-paced. Linger or speed through, either way a fascinating view of what goes into a historical painting. Opened my eyes!

The Myth of North America, in One Painting

Now for a starling video on what big-time artists are worth. Shocking in the huge valuations of several that I have never heard of and whose artwork causes me to say: “Really?”

Possibly a little crass to view and consider, but such a contrast with our lives as artists and art fans that I had to include it as adult entertainment.

Richest Artists Today

Washington Post art: Francisco de Zurbarán (b. 1598)

Contemplate Francisco de Zurbarán’s 1633 painting “Still Life With Lemons, Oranges and a Rose”.

Ah, that’s 1633, mind you!

Gorgeous painting worth a quick look. The write-up is very short.

Zurbaran Still Life from 1633

Jacob Lawrence, Profile in Art History School

He was one of the most important American artists of the 20th century, widely renowned for his modernist depictions of everyday life as well as epic narratives of African American history and historical figures.

Enjoyable biographical sketch of 16.5 minutes that goes by fast. Narrated by a Brit so it’s fun to listen to discussing an American artist.

I have now subscribed to this channel. Yay! Something new!


Another venue for art appreciation: Couresa

Offered by the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) here’s a multi-session course on American Abstract Expression Painting, you know, Jackson Pollack, Mark Rothko, Willem De Kooning, etc. I’m taking it starting March 2. It’s not a push-over with not-so-easy required quizzes even for me as a life-long fan. Coursera may have other topics that might interest you as well.

De Kooning’s painting pictured.

In the Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting | Coursera

Liquid Charcoal? Huh?

Here’s a new one for me: liquid charcoal, really. This Jackson Art article is great as it describes “HOW SCHMINCKE LIQUID CHARCOAL COMPARES WITH TRADITIONAL CHARCOAL”. Love it!

Liquid Charcoal at Jackson Art

Mondrian: the long(ish) version by the Art History School

This video gives a very comprehensive view of a key 20th century artist who is widely acclaimed, but often under appreciated. His growth from skilled representational work to cubist variations to pure abstractions to paintings only Mondrian could paint is a journey we all can envy.

Since we know knowledge is acquired, not gene-based, understanding his contribution therefore is fundamental to comprehending the seismic shift to abstract art in the 20th century. Same Brit commentator as last month, same fun.

­ Mondrian: the Art History School

A second, short, sweet 5.5 minute look is also excellent for getting a feeling for his evolution as an artist with much the same content as above, but abbreviated… for those on the run! This video’s narrator has more patience for folks who just don’t relate to Mondrian but are trying to figure out why. So important, so valuable, so verified by one hundred years of inspiring abstract art work.

 Mondrian: speed overview

The Louvre’s 800-year Evolution Pictured

Terrific graphical evolution of The Louvre, an art museum like no other. A bird’s eye/drone’s view simulation of the palace’s architectural growth over 800 years in animation. Very short and very interesting.

Louvre growth simulation

Recently Discovered Chinese Paintings at Edge of Gobi Desert

Introduction to a fascinating exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London 2013 on Chinese cave paintings along with ancient scroll paintings found in the early 1900s after 500 years in hiding. Beginning in 700 CE and full of superlatives, the friendly and knowledgeable tour guide covers what is important to us from afar.

One viewer’s opinion: “Beautiful documentary. Just long enough.”  

My opinion: “Not to be missed.” Fifteen minutes long and ends abruptly.

Ancient Chinese Paintings at edge of Gobi Desert

A Special Landscape Painter: George Inness
Here’s an exhaustive review of George Inness’ artwork. If you are not familiar with his output, you will be surprised. A 19th century American artist who produced 1,150 works and each is uniquely expressive, different and special. As an abstract artist, I can appreciate his compositional skills enhanced by lighting that together render me speechless because there is so much to see and feel.
And the video is also voluminous, so do not be disappointed that you will not view all in one sitting.

George Inness in Review­
Monet at Chicago Art Institute: “Monet and Chicago”
Brand new virtual tour almost 24 minutes long, but with so many paintings. Many of his I have never seen even having lived in Chicago and as an Art Institute member for 25+ years. If you didn’t go (it just ended), then this is the next best thing. It feels like a walk through the galleries, but please do not expect it to be interactive as is the Des Moines Art Center tour below. Still a real treat. 

Monet Masterpieces at Art Institute
Our Des Moines Art Center Visit and its Virtual Tours
We visited the Art Center in the state’s capital a few weeks ago, and upon viewing even a few works, I was flabbergasted! Such quality, such diversity, such architecture, and so cool.

Many of my favorite artists are represented there. I ask: how did that happen in the capital of Iowa? Each gallery was an “ooh & aah” moment for me. I made so much noise, the security personnel knew someone with a verbal opinion was just around the corner! 

Presented here are two images showing the range of works: a John Singer Sargent and a Gene Davis. Both beautiful in my humble opinion. Also evident in the video is a dot on the description card that is a call-out of the work! So cool. Using the mouse buttons for panning and zooming as in Google Earth, one can move though, and up close, in the range of rooms of any specific tour, and there are several on the page below.

What a trip!

Des Moines Art Center Virtual Tours
David Hockney Exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts, London

This exhibition is a surprise since the most recent David Hockney videos seen by me have been the artist setup outside painting his landscapes. These in the video are landscapes to be sure, but they’re all digital. The galleries are full of monitors, large monitors showing his works. Wow!

A quick aside: I have been using Microsoft Paint for 30 years with all of its limitations, and this year I converted to ArtRage for more functionality to edit my paintings. Late in a painting’s evolution I need to decide those final steps but don’t know what they are without trying. The cognitive ideas show up first as “I should do this or that”, but I need to get beyond those dumb imperatives to natural impulses. That’s too much painting on the actual painting to get it right. Hence digital import of the painting’s current state, and layers of revisions are accomplished in ArtRage. Then back to the real painting.

And now back to Hockney.
Here Hockney is making art works that are completely digital. Not exactly new, but he is older than I by 10 years. Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks? There is even an instructional sequence of a painting’s development.

28+ minutes long and fascinating the whole way through.
Hockney Digital at Royal Academy
Interview with a mature Bridget Riley

So wonderful to see an interview with such a mature artist. Bridget Riley may not be a quickly recognizable name, but she is a significant innovator in the Op Art movement. She’s an exceptional artist so intelligent, nice, thoughtful, open-minded, disciplined, and yes, very successful. I have always been a fan. In this video interview she says so many “right” things that I am going to keep it near. It includes many examples of her work and terrific explanations of her thinking. Plus she sounds so good!

Bridget Riley Interview 12:25 long
The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570

Just available on the famous Italian family name: the Medici at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. This stunning exhibition features over 90 works in a wide range of mediums, from paintings, sculptural busts, medals, and carved gemstones to drawings, etchings, manuscripts, and armor. Included are works by the period’s most celebrated artists, from Raphael, Jacopo Pontormo, and Rosso Fiorentino to Benvenuto Cellini, Agnolo Bronzino, and Francesco Salviati.
This video blends power, politics and art for us to understand Florence 450 years ago and its art scene!
Pictured is an unfinished portrait of Michelangelo!

Medici Portraits 28:30 long
Francis Bacon’s origin, early and late artwork by Art History School

The art of British artist Francis Bacon explores adult themes and subjects in his wildly inventive and tortured paintings. His work reflects a life lived to extravagant extremes (for those days). Some experts consider him to be one of the very best painters of the 20th century.

Such an excellent biography! I have nine books on Bacon and this pulls all together. So well done. Although Bacon is one of my favorite artists, not all the paintings selected for the video are to my liking. His van Gogh copies/interpretations are in my humble opinion just ugly as are a few more. Unfortunate for the first time viewer, but it’s the trajectory of his work that is most important and how valuable his revelatory imagery is to the modern esthetic.

Francis Bacon history lesson 18:28 long