September 26th, 2013



Zhang Enli (Chinese, b. 1965), Tree, 2003. Oil on canvas, 146 x 113.7 cm.

August 25th, 2013

Hide Kawanishi


Pond by Hide Kawanishi (1894-1965). Woodblock print.

Hide Kawanishi was born in Kobe as the son of an affluent family of merchants and ship-owners with a long tradition in commerce. The artist is considered a self-taught Sosaku Hanga artist. Typical for his print designs is the absence of black outlines. He did not like them and therefore had no admiration for classical Ukiyo-e. Hide Kawanishi took the subjects for his prints mainly from his hometown of Kobe. He preferred strong colors.

From artelino (via cacaotree)

August 25th, 2013

black table


Richard Diebenkorn. Black Table, 1960. Collection of the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

August 3rd, 2013

New York


‘New York’, Franz Kline , 1953.

February 13th, 2012

subtle sci fi

I like the paranormal if it’s subtle like this. But then again, I also like Ghostbusters.

Sassetta, The blessed Ranieri frees the poor from a Florentine jail, San Sepolcro Altarpiece, 1437-44, Musée du Louvre, Paris

July 27th, 2011

the backtrackings of time and the changes of heart

February 4th, 2011

the van gogh cake company

Google has a new project that allows you to “virtually” visit art galleries around the world and view super high resolution photos of paintings. You can zoom in so close that Van Gogh’s Starry Night starts to look like cake icing. So close that you can go for a walk in the woods in the background of Bruegel’s The Harvesters.

December 21st, 2010

the wine shop

Edward Hopper, 1909.

November 24th, 2010

wayne thiebaud

Blue Hill. 1967, Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920).

This retrospective book has some paintings of his I love but cannot find online in good quality, like Orange Grove (1966), Diagonal Ridge (1968), Coloma Ridge (1967), Ribbon Store (1957), Pinball Machine (1956), Sleeping Figure (1959), Study for Bluffs (1967), Hillside (1963), Half Dome & Cloud (1975), Caged Pie (1962), Five Hot Dogs (1961), Cigar Counter (19??), and Beach Boys (1959).

October 8th, 2010

A Vineyard Walk, Lucca (1874)

More John Ruskin paintings. Thanks Alice for the heads up.

October 5th, 2010

about suffering

Click to Enlarge.

Above: Brueghel’s The Fall of Icarus (1558). The painting is a scene of everyday life in which Icarus’ personal tragedy is given a tiny corner by the artist (see his white legs disappearing into the water in the bottom right corner). The painting is kept at the Museum of Fine Art in Brussels.

W.H. Auden wrote a poem inspired by the painting and named the poem after the museum in which it hangs:

Musée des Beaux Arts

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

This was given as an example of intertextuality in my first literature class.

July 30th, 2010


Jack Butler Yeats, O’Connell Bridge.

Dublinesque by Philip Larkin:

Down stucco sidestreets,
Where light is pewter
And afternoon mist
Brings lights on in shops
Above race-guides and rosaries,
A funeral passes.

The hearse is ahead,
But after there follows
A troop of streetwalkers
In wide flowered hats,
Leg-of-mutton sleeves,
And ankle-length dresses.

There is an air of great friendliness,
As if they were honouring
One they were fond of;
Some caper a few steps,
Skirts held skilfully
(Someone claps time),

And of great sadness also.
As they wend away
A voice is heard singing
Of Kitty, or Katy,
As if the name meant once
All love, all beauty.

July 30th, 2010

David Teniers The Younger has tagged you in a photograph

This interior of a public house by Flemish artist David Teniers The Younger, reminds me of an amateur photographic snapshot, so candid and honest is the scene. The expressions are perfect. I especially like how the smoking man’s eyes evoke that now-familiar, rabbit-in-the-headlights image of someone looking directly into the camera lens, caught unawares; he seems all the more real for it and the picture all the more truthful.

The painting resides at the Brukenthal palace in Romania.

Click the image to expand.

June 13th, 2010

Spencer Gore, Icknield Way


The sky of this landscape by Spencer Gore reminds me of a low compression jpeg. Probably not what the artist had in mind when he painted it in 1912.

In any case I think it’s a uniquely beautiful and evocative effect. I also like the simplified shapes in his Beanfield painting (see art inconnu for this and more)

June 11th, 2010

go go go

Van Gogh, Landscape with Cottages. Late 1890.

The website Van Gogh Gallery has an easy to browse collection of hundreds of privately owned and publicly displayed paintings by the artist. Some of them you rarely see, like the above watercolour sketch.

May 13th, 2010

dune landscapes

Piet Mondriaan. “Duinlandschap”, 1911

Dutch artists have proven there’s more than one way to paint a dune. At the Volkskrant website there’s a collection featuring Toorop, Mondriaan, Van Gogh… and the Swiss Paul Klee.

May 13th, 2010

a procession of paintings

Rodolphe-Théophile Bosshard (1889 – 1960):

“Bissone”, 1943.

Ferdinand Loyen Du Puigaudeau (1864 – 1930):

“Nighttime procession at Saint-Pol-de-Leon”

“The Bourg-de-Batz church under moonlight”

There’s more to be admired at the gemlike Art Inconnu blog, which digs up widely unsung European artists from the 19th and 20th centuries. Not literally, mind.

May 11th, 2010

nature and the poet

Peele Castle in a Storm, 1805. Sir George Beaumont (1753 – 1827)

This painting was the inspiration for Wordsworth’s ‘Elegiac Stanzas’, written after the death of his brother John at sea in 1805. It was Sir George’s donation of a major part of his collection to the nation that was to have a decisive effect on the creation of a National Gallery.


Wordsworth saw the natural world as a stimulus for thinking about the emotional response it generated within him. It was man’s growing awareness of an inner, religious response to nature that interested Wordsworth, (not simply the physical ‘rocks, and stones. and trees’).

Most of all, it was the ‘Mind of Man’ that Wordsworth declared was his ‘haunt, and the main region of [his] song.’ The mind, through imagination, could reach beyond sensory experience;it could experience ‘absent things as if they were present’ and perceive the infinite. For Wordsworth, the mind was ‘creator and receiver both,/Working but in alliance with the works/Which it beholds.’ His poetry was the product of a collaboration with nature within the mind, emotions and imagination. It is the landscape of Wordsworth’s mind that we find in his poetry.

And finally, the man worthy of all these words (the poem is Nature and the poet):

I was thy neighbour once, thou rugged Pile!
Four summer weeks I dwelt in sight of thee:
I saw thee every day; and all the while
Thy form was sleeping on a glassy sea.

So pure the sky, so quiet was the air!
So like, so very like, was day to day!
Whene’er I look’d, thy image still was there;
It trembled, but it never pass’d away.

How perfect was the calm! It seem’d no sleep,
No mood, which season takes away, or brings;
I could have fancied that the mighty Deep
Was even the gentlest of all gentle things.

Ah! then, if mine had been the painter’s hand
To express what then I saw, and add the gleam,
The light that never was on sea or land,
The consecration, and the Poet’s dream,—

I would have planted thee, thou hoary pile,
Amid a world how different from this!
Beside a sea that could not cease to smile;
On tranquil land, beneath a sky of bliss.

A picture had it been of lasting ease,
Elysian quiet, without toil or strife;
No motion but the moving tide—a breeze—
Or merely silent Nature’s breathing life.

Such, in the fond illusion of my heart,
Such picture would I at that time have made;
And seen the soul of truth in every part,
A steadfast peace that might not be betray’d.

So once it would have been—’tis so no more;
I have submitted to a new control:
A power is gone, which nothing can restore;
A deep distress hath humanized my soul.

Not for a moment could I now behold
A smiling sea, and be what I have been:
The feeling of my loss will ne’er be old;
This, which I know, I speak with mind serene.

Then, Beaumont, Friend! who would have been the friend
If he had lived, of him whom I deplore,
This work of thine I blame not, but commend;
This sea in anger, and that dismal shore.

Oh ’tis a passionate work!—yet wise and well,
Well chosen is the spirit that is here:
That hulk which labours in the deadly swell,
This rueful sky, this pageantry of fear;

And this huge castle, standing here sublime,
I love to see the look with which it braves—
Cased in the unfeeling armour of old time—
The lightning, the fierce wind, and trampling waves.

—Farewell, farewell the heart that lives alone,
Housed in a dream, at distance from the kind!
Such happiness, wherever it be known,
Is to be pitied, for ’tis surely blind.

But welcome fortitude, and patient cheer,
And frequent sights of what is to be borne!
Such sights, or worse, as are before me here:—
Not without hope we suffer and we mourn.

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