Paintings You Should Know: Girl With A Pearl Earring, by Johannes Vermeer (c.1665)

Vermeer Girl With A Pearl Earring 1665
‘Girl With A Pearl Earring’, Vermeer, c.1665

While the historical novel by Tracy Chevalier, and the movie based on it, have told us otherwise, the truth is that we have no idea who this girl is, or why she’s dressed up in Oriental garb, complete with the titular earring (which one Dutch astrophysicist has suggested might actually be made of tin). Perhaps this mystery is part of what makes the picture so intriguing. Continue reading “Paintings You Should Know: Girl With A Pearl Earring, by Johannes Vermeer (c.1665)”

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Paintings You Should Know: Caravaggio’s ‘The Death of the Virgin’, C.1602-06

2 Caravaggio Death of the Virgin 1604to06
Caravaggio, The Death of the Virgin, 1604-06

The interesting thing about this painting, beyond anything to do with the composition or the skill of the artist, is the fact that it was, and for some arguably still is, controversial to the point of outright offensiveness. Continue reading “Paintings You Should Know: Caravaggio’s ‘The Death of the Virgin’, C.1602-06”

Summer Holidays #4: Exploring Auckland Art Gallery

Auckland Art Gallery.pngAlthough I had gone to the Auckland Art Gallery specifically to see the Lindauer portraits it seemed rather a shame to leave without checking out some of the other exhibitions, so we didn’t. In this post I’ll be recording a few brief impressions of the other exhibitions we saw at the Gallery.

After our experience with modern sculpture at Brick Bay, we decided to largely eschew the modern art exhibitions and focus our attention on primarily on art from before the start of the 20th century. Fortunately, the Auckland Art Gallery is large and has numerous exhibitions to choose from. Continue reading “Summer Holidays #4: Exploring Auckland Art Gallery”

Paintings You Should Know: Artemisia Gentileschi’s ‘Self Portrait as the Allegory of Painting’, 1638-39

Artemisia Gentileschi Self Portrait as the Allegory of Painting 1638to9
Artemisia Gentileschi, Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting, 1638-9

That Artemisia Gentileschi (1590-c.1654) is one of the best-known female Baroque artists is, sadly, due less to her talent as an artist than it is to the scandal which marred her teenage years, when she was raped by Agostino Tassi, a ‘friend’ of her father Orazio Gentileschi. Having initially endeavoured to salvage her honour through marriage to Tassi (a horrifying thought today, but no more than Artemisia’s rights by the standard of the time), Artemisia and her father ultimately took Tassi to court and, impressively, won. Tassi went to prison, and Artemisia’s artistic skill was overshadowed by the drama. Continue reading “Paintings You Should Know: Artemisia Gentileschi’s ‘Self Portrait as the Allegory of Painting’, 1638-39”

A Very Short History of Art: The Baroque and Rococo

1 Caravaggio Bacchus 1595
Caravaggio, Bacchus, 1590s

In the seventeenth century the centre of artistic gravity in Europe began to shift away from Italy, leaving the Northern tradition to dominate the art of this period, but not before one of the greatest names in art could leave his mark on the art of Italy for generations to come. Continue reading “A Very Short History of Art: The Baroque and Rococo”

Treasure Trove: Two Women at a Window, by Bartolome Esteban Murillo

10 Murillo Two Women at a Window c1655to60
Murillo, Two Women at a Window, c.1655-60

I’ve looked at a lot of paintings since I started the Culture Project. Some have pleased me, some have challenged me, and some have confused me. One or two have offended or disgusted me, which was probably the point. But this one makes me smile. Continue reading “Treasure Trove: Two Women at a Window, by Bartolome Esteban Murillo”