26 May 2014 | 1 Comments

Magic from Matisse and Michelangelo

What does Matisse’s figure from Dance II (1910) have to do with Michelangelo’s St Peter from the Last Judgment (1534-41). More than you might think. Bear with me. Both are nude against a blue sky, facing us and facing left; both look a little hunch-backed. Matisse’s dances;...

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10 Oct 2012 | 1 Comments

Art, Generalization and Sight

One of the keys to understanding art is generalization because many of the most creative artists donate their ideas not to contemporaries or to those in the generation afterwards, who might not even understand, but to other great artists centuries later in very different circumstances.


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01 Dec 2011

The Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini #2

For a late portrait Raphael was asked to paint a Neapolitan princess he had never seen, a problem he solved by sending Giulio Romano to Naples do a drawing from life. The painted portrait (left) was mostly done by studio assistants after a design by Raphael but the master himself painted the...

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27 Sep 2011

Matisse on Making a Portrait

In 1937 Henri Matisse made some charcoal portraits of Henry de Montherlant, a French playwright whom Matisse had met the year before. The artist’s account of the process is quite revealing. The issues which art historians traditionally assume to be important in a portrait – the personality...

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19 Nov 2010

Bronzino’s Ginger Hair

No-one knows how Agnolo di Cosimo gained his nickname, Bronzino, but the general view seems to be, without any evidence, that he may have had a dark complexion. Yet how about the color of his hair? A portrait of Bronzino by an unknown painter shows him with red hair while that in his own...

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