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Johannes Vermeer (1632 - 1675 ), "Girl with the Red Hat"

Johannes Vermeer (1632 – 1675 ), “Girl with the Red Hat”

Jan or Johannes Vermeer van Delft, b. October 1632, d. December 1675, a Dutch genre painter who lived and worked in Delft, created some of the most exquisite paintings in Western art.(webmuseumparis)

Then Vermeer was forgotten for 200 years. “The “rediscovery” of Vermeer is predominantly attributed to scholar, collector, French Salon critic and co-founder of L’Alliance des arts, Etienne Joseph Théophile Thoré (1807-1869), alias Thoré-Bürger. (essentialvermeer)

So Few Paintings

“John Montias, who has analyzed every shred of historic evidence regarding Vermeer’s art and life, has speculated that the total number of paintings executed between his first dated work, The Procuress (1656) and 1675, range approximately between forty and sixty, a truly paltry number if compared to the standard output, often counting into the hundreds, of Dutch painters of the Golden Age.” (essentialvermeer)

“Though Vermeer himself achieved modest fame during his own lifetime in his hometown of Delft and in The Hague, he died in debt in 1675, and was subsequently forgotten. Since then, of course, he has become one of the most famous European painters in history, with as much name recognition as fellow Dutch stars, Rembrandt and Van Gogh.” (open culture)

Download All 36 of Jan Vermeer’s Beautifully Rare Paintings

Now,  thanks to Open Culture, you can Download All 36 of Jan Vermeer’s Beautifully Rare Paintings (Most in Stunning High Resolution):

A note from Open Culture: “Note: Although most images listed below are in high res, several aren’t, and they tend to appear toward the bottom of the list.”. All of the images in the list above are opensource.

More: “EssentialVermeer 2.0”

To learn about the composition, technique, history, and influence of Vermeer’s  thirty-six paintings, you should visit the excellent “Essential Vermeer 2.0, a thoroughly comprehensive site with an interactive catalogue, bibliographies, research links, interviews, essays on technique, list of Vermeer events and online resources, and much, much more.” (openculture)

November 30, 2016. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday, by Jack Dziamba


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Did You Ever Think Edvard Munch Could Be THIS Exciting?

November 17, 2016 by Jack Dziamba


Click Here Edvard Munch, Girls on the Bridge. (Image: France4)

What Every Art Video Should Hope to Be*

This video is what every art video should hope to be. This presentation is on fire with the joy that should come with experiencing art. In this digital age, a lot has been done to eliminate many of the barriers – geography, wealth, ability to travel, as well as eliminating the hush-like atmosphere of many of the world’s museums – thus  fulfilling the critical mission of making art accessible to everyone, everywhere.

This is Not the Talking Heads

This is not an erudite “talking head” video. The presenter conveys the enthusiasm and joy which  should be a major part of looking at art. (We’ve written before on the fact that most museum goers spend immensely much more time reading wall tags or listening to audio presentations than actually looking at the art itself.)

The camera work and video editing is of the highest professional quality. The video immediately cuts to the art to illustrate every point in the presentation, making the integration seamless.


The script of this presentation is clear, direct, informative, exciting, understandable by everyone, and actually teaches you something about the art.. These should be the goal of every art video. The whole video grabs your attention, keeps it, and presents the art in a way that will stay with you forever.


*H/T Leon Russell, “A Song for You.”
H/T 2 Art Daily

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Vladimir Nabokov [Christopher Plummer] Teaches Kafka at Cornell

November 9, 2016. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday by Jack Dziamba

The Metamorphosis – A Study: Nabokov on Kafka (Played by Christopher Plummer)

Nabokov, Kafka, and You

In this era of shortening attention spans, the following is quite meaningful,

“The most dangerous thing about an academic education is that it enables my tendency to over-intellectualize stuff, to get lost in abstract thinking instead of simply paying attention to what’s going on in front of me.”
David Foster Wallace, This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life.

Whither the Book? The Book in any Form.

As you watch the Nabokov Lecture above, concentrate on “simply paying attention to what’s going on in front of [you].”


                                                                                Detail from Franz Kafka portrait, journalofseeing.wordpress.com

For a transcription of the Lecture, see The Kafka Project.

H/T Open Culture

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CUBA MODERNA and More -The Highest Valued Latin American Art Auction to Date

November 2, 2016. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday by Jack Dziamba
Diego Rivera (18861957), Niña con vestido rosa. 1930. (Source: Google Images)

Diego Rivera , Niña con vestido rosa. Copyright, Christie’s

There may come a time, soon we hope, when all artists are known as “Artists,” without designation of gender, or nationality.

Until then, every artists’ gender, and nationality should be stated for world-wide recognition.

From Art Daily:
“NEW YORK, NY.-Christie’s announces the fall season of Latin American Art with the live auction taking place November 22-23 and an online sale running November 16 – December 1. Combined, the sales include nearly 300 lots and is expected to realize in excess of $30 million, making it one of the highest valued Latin American auctions to-date at Christie’s.
                                 Latin American Art, Christie’s 22 – 23 November 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza


                                                 Wifredo Lam’Sur les traces (Transformation) (Source: Google Images)
 “Masterworks from a Private Collection, is an unprecedented single-owner collection of modern and contemporary Cuban art of nearly forty works that span from the historical vanguardia through modern masters, artists that experimented in abstraction and Surrealism, and contemporary painters. The collection is led by Wifredo Lam’s Sur les traces (Transformation), painted in 1945 (estimate: $2,500,000-3,500,000), and Mariano Rodriguez’s Pelea de gallos, painted in 1942 (estimate: $800,000-1,200,000). “
 Browse All Lots From the Sale
Rufino Tamayo's Sandías (Watermelons) Copyright, Christie's

Rufino Tamayo’s Sandías (Watermelons) Copyright, Christie’s

“Also highlighting the sale are works by distinguished Mexican artists, Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991) and Diego Rivera (1886-1957), with exceptional provenance. From The Lewin Family Collection comes Rufino Tamayo’s Sandías (Watermelons), painted in 1969 (estimate: $1,200,000-1,800,000); from The Private Art Collection of Marta and Plácido Domingo is Tamayo’s Tierra quemada, painted in 1951 (estimate: $500,000-700,000); and from the Audain Collection is Diego Rivera (1886-1957), Niña con vestido rosa, painted in 1930 (estimate: $500,000-700,000).”


“Fernando Botero (b. 1932) has strong representation with over ten works, led by his large-scale oil-on-canvas, A Family, painted in 1997 (estimate: $1,200,000-1,800,000), from The Collection of Ruth and Jerome Siegel. The family was the subject “par excellence” for Botero, for its formal possibilities and historical resonance. This work boasts a carefully calibrated palette and a grouping of his iconic figures around a formidable matriarch figure. “


“Matta (1911-2002), Dar a la luz un mundo, painted in 1960 (estimate: $500,000-700,000).”
“Joaquín Torres-García (1874-1949), Port of New York, painted in 1923 ($300,000-400,000).”
                                                           Joaquín Torres-García , Port of New York (Source: Google Images)
Sergio Camargo Untitled (Relief No. 325), (Source: : Google Images)

Sergio Camargo Untitled (Relief No. 325), (Source: : Google Images)

“Featured contemporary works include Sergio Camargo (1930-1990), Untitled (Relief No. 325), executed in 1970 (estimate: $1,000,000-1,500,000); Pablo Atchugarry (b. 1954), Untitled, executed in 2015 (estimate: $150,000-200,000); and Guillermo Kuitca (b. 1961), Deng Haag – Praha, painted in 1989 ($600,000-800,000).” (Source: All quotes from  Art Daily)
To view more contemporary Cuban Art visit: Pintores Cubanos Contemporáneos
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Great Chinese State Circus – SWAN LAKE

October 26, 2016. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday by Jack Dziamba

Since its premiere in Shanghai in 2005, the SWAN LAKE Acrobatic Ballet has performed more than 150 shows in China, Russia, Japan and Europe. This performance of Swan Lake is one like you have never seen before.


“Historical records, ancient carvings and decorative patterns on utensils show the origin of Chinese acrobatics more than two thousands years ago in the period of the Warring States. During the Quin and Han Dynasties (221 B.C. – 220 A.D.) acrobatic artistes developed a wide repertoire, and acrobatics was thus called “the show of a hundred tricks.” It reached a high level as a performing art by the Han Dynasty.” (Source: wikipedia)


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James Joyce Live! James Joyce Reads ‘Anna Livia Plurabelle’ from Finnegans Wake

October 19, 2016. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday, by Jack Dziamba.

James Joyce Reads ‘Anna Livia Plurabelle’ from Finnegans Wake

Many of us have gone to an author’s “reading,” only to feel that the author “just read it,” many times  in a monotone, without inflection or character. Not so with this reading by James Joyce from Finnegans Wake:

“[In] an August 1929 recording of Joyce reading a melodious passage from the “Anna Livia Plurabelle” chapter of his Work in Progress, which would be published ten years later as Finnegans Wake.

The recording was made in Cambridge, England, at the arrangement of Joyce’s friend and publisher Sylvia Beach.

“’How beautiful the ‘Anna Livia’ recording is,”’ wrote Beach in her memoir, Shakespeare and Company, “’and how amusing Joyce’s rendering of an Irish washerwoman’s brogue!”. (Source: Open Culture.)


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Beyond Words – Whither the Book c. 1400?

The "Divine Comedy." Printed by Bonino De Bonini, (1487).

The Divine Comedy. Printed by Bonino De Bonini, 1487

Whither the Book in the 1400s?

Just as we, today wonder about the continued existence of the Print Book, ” Beyond Words: Italian Renaissance Books,” at the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, Boston, deftly puts this “new” wonder into perspective,

“Just as we question today whether printed books will become extinct in the digital age, this exhibition invites you to revisit the era when the advent of printing made hand-painted manuscripts obsolete.”

“In the 1400s book production witnessed groundbreaking advances in design and technology that transformed pages from parchment (animal skin) to paper, script to font, and vividly colored illuminations to black and white prints.”


                                                                                             Divine Comedy (Detail)

    “A surge in literacy and demand for books drove innovation. These radical changes did not occur instantly but through a gradual process of experimentation marked by notable leaps in achievement. ” (Source: Gardner Museum)

The Exhibition

The exhibition explores “how the ancestor of the modern book was perfected around 1500, thanks to innovations of the previous century.” (Source: Gardner Museum).

It includes “the first copy to enter an American collection of the Botticelli- illustrated edition of Dante’s Divine Comedy.” (Source: “At the Gardner,” Museum publication, Fall 2016)

What We Can See From Here

The Purpose of this blog is to review how museum and publishers use the tools of the New Media to make Art accessible to everyone, everywhere.  There is an impressive Exhibition Catalog, 378 pages with 325 color plates, $58.00), which ” documents one of the most ambitious exhibitions of medieval and Renaissance,” and illustrates the depth and richness of the exhibition.

At present, it doesn’t appear that an e-copy or a PDF copy is available, and the museum’s website provides access to only 3 of the 325 color plates. It is hoped that before the exhibition closes in January, these will become available. The museum may well consider archiving the exhibition so that is is accessible to everyone, everywhere, and for all time. However, if ever in Boston, a  visit to the Gardner is a must.

Gardner Museum Cortyard

Courtyard Gardner Museum

Beyond Words: Italian Renaissance Books

SEPTEMBER 22, 2016–JANUARY 16, 2017– Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 25 Evans Way, Boston, MA 02115.

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