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13 Caravaggio Paintings Performed Live


“Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio [c.1571- 1610] was probably the most revolutionary artist of his time, for he abandoned the rules that had guided a century of artists who had idealized both the human and religious experience. He can be said almost single-handedly to have created the Baroque style.” Caravaggio.org

“Under the direction of founder Ludovica Rambelli, eight members of the Italian company, Malatheatre,  create[ed] 23 tableaux vivants inspired by the master’s oeuvre. The video above shows 13 of those stagings .

The result is exquisite. The eight players have clearly devoted much thought to the emotional life of each character they embody, sustaining the moment with great focus and determination.

The action unfolds in the suitably ancient setting of Naples’ Church of Santa Maria Donnaregina Nuova.

When not called upon to model, the performers become stage hands, helping each other to arrange the simple, well chosen props and flowing mantles.

Performed live to selections from Mozart, Bach, and Vivaldi, this company has settled on the Lux Aeterna section of Mozart’s Requiem to accompany their archival footage.

The next opportunity to see the show performed live will be in Naples on December 28.

Have a look at the video below, for some comparisons between the original paintings and the 13 tableaux vivants seen in the video: OpenCulture

The Paintings

The Entombment of Christ

Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy,

Crucifixion of Saint Peter

The Beheading of St John the Baptist

Judith Beheading Holofernes

Flagellation of Christ

The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew


Rest on the Flight into Egypt


The Raising of Lazarus

Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy


More: Caravaggio the Complete Works

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“The Little House” in Gloucester


Little House installation view.

The Little House

“Once upon a time there was a little house.” – Virginia Lee Burton

The Story

“The story centers on a house built at the top of a small hill, far out in the country in 1900 America. Her builder decrees that she “may never be sold for gold or silver” but is built sturdy enough to one day see his great-great-grandchildren’s great-great-grandchildren living in her. The house watches the seasons pass, and wonders about the lights of the city, which grow ever closer in the year 1915. ” (wikipedia)


“The house [above] was fabricated in Japan for a highly-anticipated exhibition held at the Takenaka Corporation Gallery A4 in Tokyo last summer in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the publication of Virginia Lee Burton’s famous tale, “The Little House.”

“The exhibition paid tribute to Burton’s books and her work as the founder of the Folly Cove Designers, which have garnered widespread acclaim in Japan. ”


” The Cape Ann Museum in Glocester, MA  has now announced the opening of The Little House: Her Story, a special exhibition featuring the work of beloved children’s book author & illustrator and founder of the Folly Cove Designers in Cape Ann,MA  Virginia Lee Burton (1909–1968). In addition to Burton’s drawings, book illustrations and prints, an artfully-created scale model of her “Little House” is on display in the gallery. The exhibition opened on November 3 and will remain on view through March 31, 2019.” (Art Daily)

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Virginia Lee Burton (VLB)

“Virginia Lee Burton, lived and worked in the Folly Cove area of Gloucester for most of her adult life, was one of the 20th century’s most admired children’s book authors; a versatile and uniquely talented artist who enjoyed dance, design, writing, illustration and teaching. Through her children’s books – Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, Katy and the Big Snow, The Little House, and Maybelle the Cable Car among many others – she achieved her widest acclaim and was awarded the coveted Caldecott Medal in 1943 for The Little House. It was her fourth book, published by Houghton Mifflin Company, and was translated into Japanese in 1954 by Momoko Ishii, later becoming an international success. In 1964, Burton traveled to Japan for two weeks, invited by the American Cultural Center in Tokyo and was hosted by Ishii.” (ArtDaily)

Fine Art in the New Media

So, what if you couldn’t go to Japan, and can’t go to Gloucester? Below is a read along video of “The Little Book” to be enjoyed by everyone, everywhere.






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Portrait by AI program sells for $432,000. Sacred and Profane- A Tale of Two Pictures. Update: Beware the Hype.

Updated October 31, 2018.  First published August 22, 2018.

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Portrait of Edmond de Belamy (Detail)

Fine Art in the New Media

This blog reports on the subject of Fine Art in the New Media. The portrait above, “Portrait of Edmond de Belamy,” was created by an artificial intellegence program has been sold at auction for $432,000.  bbc.news ,and reported as a phenomon  by news outlets throughout the world.

The portrait below, “Ecce Homo” (“Behold the Man”), was ridiculed by news outlets  throughout the world.



“Ecce Homo” (“Behold the Man”) (Detail)

What Does This Mean?

We believe that there is a striking similarity between the two works which raises to important questions:

1). Is this difference in acceptance by the art world warranted? 

2). Is this AI portrait such a phenomenon in the art world?

The first question is answered and discussed in detail in the text below published in the original post on August 22, 2108.

The second question is answered and discussed in detail in an editorial,  “What the Art World Is Failing to Grasp about Christie’s AI Portrait Coup,” by Ahmed Elgammal published in Artsy.net on October 29, 2018, key portions which are excerpted below:

“This off-the-chart price comes as a result of a two-month media circus ahead of the auction, which started with a well-crafted article in Christie’s online magazine. The news then ricocheted around the media, with lots of unfounded claims, such as “the first portrait being generated by AI” to “’the first AI art to be sold at auction’” to “’the art made is by the machine with no human artist.’”

“These claims were refuted by Hugo Caselles-Dupré, one of the three makers of the work. In an interview with Jason Bailey at Artnome, he said: “’I’ve got to be honest with you, we have totally lost control of how the press talks about us. We are in the middle of a storm and lots of false information is released with our name on it. In fact, we are really depressed about it.’”

“The claim that the art is made by a machine, without a human artist, is, of course, not true. The creative process heavily involves the artist. The artist chooses a collection of images to feed the algorithm (pre-curation); in the case of Edmond de Belamy, this was a set of traditional art portraits. These images are fed to a generative AI algorithm that tries to imitate these inputs. Finally, the artist heavily sifts through many output images to curate a final collection (post-curation). Basically, the algorithm fails in making correct imitations of the pre-curated input, and instead generates distorted images that surprise us. If the algorithm would succeed in imitating the input data, it would not be even be interesting as art. Several artists have been exploring this process in the last three years, such as Tom White, Mario Klingemann, Anna Ridler, Robbie Barrat, and others.”


As stated by Christie’s prior to the sale, “The portrait  of Edmond de Belmy depicts a gentleman, possibly French and — to judge by his dark frock coat and plain white collar — a man of the church. The work appears unfinished: the facial features are somewhat indistinct and there are blank areas of canvas. The portrait, however, is not the product of a human mind.” Art Daily.

The AI Process

Hugo Caselles-Dupré, representative of Obvious, [Studio] described the process. “Created by an algorithm composed of two parts, The Generator and the Discriminator, the system was fed a data set of 15,000 portraits. The Generator made new images based on the set and the Discriminator reviewed all outputs until it deemed the result imperceptible whether done from a human-hand or attributed to the algorithm. The work included in the October sale is Edmond de Belamy, the ‘youngest’ documented member of the family or the ‘newest’ born creation of the algorithm.”

The Significance

The artsy editorial raises serious ethical questions,

“The auction raises unprecedented ethical questions about the attribution of AI art. In the weeks leading to the auction, the Edmond de Belamy portrait has received heavy criticism by the AI-art community for being derivative and not original. AI artist Robbie Barrat also said that the code and the dataset used to produce the work is written by him.”


“Ecce Homo” (“Behold the Man”)

“In 2012, an 83  year old woman Cecilia Giménez, amateur painter tried to restore an old fresco in her local church (Borja), but failed utterly.” The painting, called “Ecce Homo” (“Behold the Man”) was ridiculed throughout the world. 42spain.com.

The Process

“The result was a botched repair where the intricate brush strokes of Martinez {the original artist]  were replaced with a haphazard splattering of the octogenarian’s paint. Years of carefully calculated depth of expression simply washed out by copious amounts of red and brown.” telegraph.co.uk.

The Significance

“News of the pensioner’s improvised restoration started spreading like wildfire across Spain and as soon as the international press and social media platforms got hold of the story, Gimenez’s “monkey Jesus” became a global phenomenon.”

“France’s Le Monde newspaper ran the story with the title ‘HOLY SHIT – the restoration of a painting of Christ turns into a massacre’ and The Daily Telegraph with ‘Elderly woman destroys 19th-century fresco with DIY restoration’.”

“Faced with a barrage of international media attention, Spanish newspapers reported that Cecilia Gimenez suffered an anxiety attack. I couldn’t understand why everyone was talking about me,” she later told Spanish daily ABC. “All I wanted to do was save the fresco.” thelocal.es.”

Side by Side Comparison:


– Jack Dziamba

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British Library opens largest ever exhibition on the history, literature and culture of Anglo-Saxon England. Can you see it online?

Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 4.45.12 PM.pngCodex Amiatinus on loan from Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana to Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms at the British Library © Sam Lane Photography.

The Exhibition

“Treasures from the British Library’s own collection, including the beautifully illuminated Lindisfarne Gospels, Beowulf and Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, sit alongside stunning finds from Sutton Hoo and the Staffordshire Hoard. The world-famous Domesday Book offers its unrivalled depiction of the landscape of late Anglo-Saxon England while Codex Amiatinus, a giant Northumbrian Bible taken to Italy in 716, returns to England for the first time in 1300 years.” (British Library).

“Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War,” is the largest ever exhibition on the history, literature and culture of Anglo-Saxon England spanning all six centuries from the eclipse of Roman Britain in the 5th century to the Norman Conquest of 1066. (Art Daily)

The Anglo-Saxons

“In the wake of the breakdown of Roman rule in Britain from the middle of the fourth century, present day England was progressively settled by Germanic groups. Collectively known as the “Anglo-Saxons“, these were Angles and Saxons from what is now the Danish/German border area and Jutes from the Jutland peninsula.” (wikipedia).

The Exhibition, From Here

In this blog we report on the Book, and Fine Art in the New Media. For the exhibition above, we want to find out how the New Media was used to make the Exhibition available to everyone, everywhere.

      The British Library Site

The British Library site does not make much of the Exhibition available on its website to us sitting here. It consists of one page. It has one image from the exhibition, along with a snappy video (below.) There is a link to Download Digitised Manuscripts from the AngloSaxon Kingdoms, but it is not displayed on the Exhibition web page,  so it is difficult to locate, and is cumbersome to use.

    The Print Media

The British Library site contains links to articles in the The Guardian and the Evening Standard. It is in these two articles that the range and depth of the exhibition is shown. Here are some  of the images published by the print media.

The Guardian

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An early text of Beowulf. Photograph: British Library.

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The Codex Amiatinus, Photograph: Alicia Canter for the Guardian.

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Spong Man, sculpyure, early or mid-fifth century, found on Spong Hill in Norfolk. Photograph: Alicia Canter for the Guardian.

      The Evening Standard

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Vercelli Book, Biblioteca Capitolare de Vercelli, Italy

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St Cuthbert Gospel, Sam Lane

The Book in the New Media

Unfortunately the British Library site does not make access the manuscripts from the Exhibition easy to find or easy to use. One has to independently search the Library online, beginning with the Explore the British Library page, then click on the “View online British Library web page, image or document” then to the Press page, then go to the Blog page even to find the link to Download Digitised Manuscripts from the AngloSaxon Kingdoms.

October 24, 2018 by Jack Dziamba. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday.
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Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” to be restored in public, and live – streamed.

Fine Art in the New Media

So, we chose this clip to report the news of the restoration of  Rembrandt’s Night Watch over all other video and print media reporting on the same topic. The BBC, The New York Times. The Guardian, The Telegraph, Artsy.net, and The Rijksmuseum itself ,among others because it is a simple demonstration of Fine Art in the New Media.

The video above was produces by YouTube under its brand “Breaking News Today.” The video focuses only on the painting, there are no talking heads, and no break-aways to other scenes.

More importantly, the video is a “speaking video,” with written subtitles. This puts the emphasis on the visual of the painting, and the spoken voice.

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While this may seem a simple concept, we are so wedded to the printed word that we expect to receive all of the story via the print media. This is a concept which, even in the digital age, attempts to elevate the printed word as the most authentic reporting of an event. This may even be seen in the museum where typically visitors spend more time attempting to read the wall tags, rather than stepping back and really looking at the art – the composition, brushwork, the interplay of color, light and shadow, the story  and meaning it suggests to the you as an individual – and giving free rein to you imagination and creativity.  Less will be said about the attempt to “capture” the image on a phone …


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Two Questions on Banksy’s Shredded “Girl with Balloon” Painting

October 10, 2018 by Jack Dziamba. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday.


Banksy Girl with Balloon Shredded

On Friday night [October 5, 2018] at Sotheby’s New Bond Street salesroom in London, auctioneer Oliver Barker opened bidding on Banksy’s Girl With Balloon (2006) at £100,000. Clients on the phone pushed it beyond the high estimate of £300,000. It hammered at £860,000, or slightly over £1 million with fees.

Seconds later, the small canvas with a blood-red balloon slid through a shredder the artist had secretly installed in the frame, emerging in strips. A video that Banksy posted to his Instagram account has been viewed more than 10 million times in a matter of days. (Artsy).

Questions on The Shredding and Value of the Painting

1. Is the Work More Valuable Now?

“One could argue that the work is now more valuable,” Sotheby’s Alex Branczik said after the sale. As the thinking went, if the Banksy series was already well-known—the original stencil topped a 2017 poll of the best-loved work of British art—an event that Sotheby’s called in a release an “unexpected incident” and “instant art world history” would only make the work more valuable. (Artsy).


Stephan Keszler, an art dealer who has sold more than two dozen large Banksy works over the last few years, disagreed. Keszler argued that the deep-pocketed Banksy collectors he counts as clients are more interested in acquiring the graffiti pieces that first appeared as guerilla tags on buildings, rather than works on canvas such as Girl With Balloon. He thinks the $1 million price is already an inflated figure—“a very, very, very high price,” as he put it.
“This work should have sold for £200,000—if he hadn’t shredded it no one would be talking about it,” said Keszler, who has sold Banksy art that appeared on buildings for as much as $1.2 million. “Now they’re saying it’s going to be $2 [million] or $3 [million] or $4 million, which is totally crazy.” (Artsy).

2. Did Sotheby’s Have Prior Knowledge?

Sotheby’s wouldn’t comment further, apart from insisting its top brass had no prior knowledge of the stunt—a stance that is becoming less believable according to commentators, who point to the logistics of installing a shredder in a frame. There’s a low probability such a device could get past Sotheby’s inspectors.

Suzanne Gyorgy, the head of Citi Private Bank’s art advisory and finance division, explained to a wealth management publication that simple due diligence from an advisory firm retained by a potential buyer would have uncovered any irregularities in the frame.

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Dieter Rams and Modern Design


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“Dieter Rams (born 20 May 1932 in Wiesbaden, Hessen) is a German industrial designer and closely associated with the consumer products company Braun and the functionalist school of industrial design. His unobtrusive approach and belief in “less but better” design generated a timeless quality in his products and have influenced the design of many products, which also secured Rams worldwide recognition and appreciation.” (Wikipedia)

October 3, 2018 by Jack Dziamba. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday.

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