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 […]

Nov 072007
Jean-Francois Millet: The Gleaners

The Gleaners stands out as one of Millet’s most familiar and iconic images: the highlight of his self-assigned mission to represent the minutiae and hardship of contemporary French peasant life. In many ways, it’s a triumph of that particular trend of the bucolic genre, which the artist himself largely plotted. Gleaning, which remains very much […]

Nov 012007
Jean-Francois Millet: The Wood Sawyers

In The Wood Sawyers Jean-Francois Millet departs from the static melancholy of his open landscape pieces, such as The Angelus and the Shepherdess with Her Flock, and focuses on a loud, inherently agile activity confined to a seemingly enclosed, vaguely defined, almost abstract space. This is a very dynamic scene: the bodies of the workers […]

Oct 302007
Jean-Francois Millet: Feeding the Young

Jean Francois Millet became a champion of the poor, disadvantaged peasant class by portraying farm workers performing everyday tasks. While he established himself as a proponent of realism — a movement that was in many ways the opposite of grand romanticism of the first half of the 19th century — he nevertheless romanticized his models, […]