Mar 182008
Todd Bonita: Cows

Cows are sizable animals, yet in two of these paintings the artist makes them appear small. This contrast characterizes them as helpless, as if a part of a machine controlled by an invisible giant, possibly a tyrant. We realize that the machine is the cattle industry whereas the giant is the man behind it. I […]

Dec 232007
Raphael: The Sistine Madonna

This painting (Gem√§ldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden) combines secular and earthly clerical elements with the divine in an ostensible theatrical interplay. The lid of the coffin of Pope Julius II forms the stage, while the tableau curtains are drawn apart to reveal the divine action. This hierarchical pastiche communicates the heavens to the devout in a […]

Oct 092007
Claude Monet: Poppy Fields

In contrast to his Water Lily, Haystacks and Poplars landscapes, Claude Monet did not organize the poppy field paintings into series. These are his earlier works, and they do not yet possess that particular intensity and focus that makes the later “harmonies” so captivating. While the artist reveals a good eye for finding original compositions, […]

Oct 042007
Claude Monet: The Water Lily Ponds Series

Since Claude Monet’s celebrated “Sunrise, Impression” aquatic reflections became a common motif in impressionist painting. It seems that the mutability of water is inherently impressionistic: the ripples and the mirrored colors — all in continuous motion — suggest themselves naturally as subject matter for a style that strives to capture the passing and the momentary. […]

Oct 022007
Claude Monet: The Poplars Series

Poplars were a bold choice of subject matter on Monet’s part: he portrays some of the trees as nearly naked, wire-like, unable to compress their blooming canopies into the composition. In fact, when combined with their aquatic reflections (a recurring motif in Monet’s work, from the seminal Impression, Sunrise to the later Water Lily Series) […]