Nothing says importance like being carved into a mountainside – Mount Rushmore National Memorial, near Keystone, South Dakota (Photo: Wikicommons)
The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme. This month we are focusing on Sculpture. We’ve got picks from all over the world and different time periods. Be sure to check out all the posts below!
Statues always remind me of monuments and I am fascinated by how cultures remember their heroes. Living in Washington DC, I am surrounded by monuments to great American men. A lot of artistic thought goes into these sculptures because subtle, and not so subtle, visual choices shape how we view and remember these famous people. I think no other figure is wrapped in as much symbolic meaning and myth as Abraham Lincoln. Whether in books, art, or movies, we continue to struggle with who this president was and how we remember him. Two statues in DC epitomize this debate for me.
This post is part of a larger on-line symposium to honor the late Hasan Niyazi, the self-taught art historian behind Three Pipe Problem. Hasan championed art history, critical analysis, valuable online discourse, and all things Raphael! As part of this April 6th celebration (Raphael’s birthday), you can read all of the posts here. He is missed by all those who knew him personally or through his active engagement with readers online.
The Mona Lisa’s mysterious sfumato being quantified. (Image from )
I always appreciated that Hasan advocated for scientific research and technical analysis as a complimentary approach to historical research and stylistic connoisseurship. Art is fundamentally material science even if the end result can be ascribed beauty or emotional intensity. Thus it makes sense to use analytical techniques to understand how a piece of art was constructed in order to understand to creative process and the end product.
Given the numerous Three Pipe Problem posts on Leonardo da Vinci and the continuing struggle to attribute two recent works – Salvator Mundi and La Bella Principessa, I thought it would be useful to return to this enigmatic artist. Da Vinci’s experimentation with material and techniques is anecdotally well-known. But really what do we know about his luminous sfumato faces? One recent study confirmed the nearly impossible.
El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) – “Saint Martin and the Beggar”, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (Photo)
This last Saturday, the National Gallery of Art, along with SPAIN art & culture organization, held a small symposium on the Renaissance/Mannerist artist Doménikos Theotokópoulos in honor of the 400th anniversary of this death. Better known as “El Greco” (the Greek), this Cretan painter stands out in Spanish art history for his unique, almost otherworldly compositions, bold use of color and fluid brushwork. Analysis of some recently rediscovered paintings was presented at the conference and helps shed some light on how the artist worked.
This Sculpture Garden inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is a beautiful and peaceful space – perfect for any traveler.
I’ve been meaning to write for some time about why every trip should include art museums. But when I read Robert Reid’s post “Are Museums Overrated?” on National Geographic’s blog, I knew it was time. In his piece, Reid argues that Museums don’t necessarily need to be on anyone’s “To See” list – unless of course that’s your thing. I would encourage the opposite! Even if you’ve never been to a museum in your own community, you must visit museums when traveling. Most travelers are skeptical about spending precious vacation hours looking at old stuff, so let me tackle some of the mental barriers for visiting museums and elaborate on the major pluses for this cultural experience.
The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme. This month we are focusing on National Art – whether iconic styles that remind us of a certain place, or a movements that developed in and became emblematic of a region. Be sure to check out everyone’s posts below!
Simple but very functional, I got this olive dish in Siena, Italy.
Every culture makes utilitarian objects like furniture, clothing and ceramics. Folk art is decoration applied to these functional items which reflects the tastes of a people. In addition to seeing works from professional artists in a national museum, I am always on the look-out for local craftspeople or cultural museums that show off local folk art. As a lens to compare several cultures, let’s take a look at some traditional ceramic styles around the globe.