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Monthly Archives: January 2017

Characteristics of Cubism

The basics of cubism can be seen in another art movement known as pointillism and fauvism. Cubism is basically the art of creating abstract shapes of three dimensional objects on a two dimensional surface. An artist who wants to opt for cubism should be able to represent an object in multiple planes. Therefore, in simple terms, a cubist basically shows more than one layer/planes on a single piece of canvas. The overall look of a painting that is created in this style appears in the form of geometric shapes. And as it depicted in different layers, it gives an illusion of depth, giving the painting a 3-dimensional look – hence the name cubism. An artist uses the style of little cubes to depict an object or a person from different views.

Artists such as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque popularized this style by painting forms in distorted versions. A look at their paintings reveal how these two geniuses cut up space in different planes to create a composition. Upon observation, the paintings of these artists show the use of geometric shapes and the use of edges. These paintings are not based on the basic theories of art that make the use of perspective with precise angles and shapes.

Cubism was further divided into two main branches – analytical cubism and synthetic cubism. Cubists who painted using the analytical style of cubism, basically analyzed and broke up natural forms into little cubes or other geometrical shapes. They used a monochromatic color scheme for these paintings. Picasso and Braque, both used the analytical style of painting. Apart from this style, they also developed synthetic cubism. This was based on the art of creating compositions that focused on objects together. Besides, artists also made use of the technique of mixed media. Mix media is the use of different mediums of paint used to create a composition on one surface. Synthetic cubism is about creating flatter compositions with minimum shading as compared to analytical cubism.

Cubism basically started on a simplistic version, which later reached an abstract stage. During the Renaissance period, artists depicted compositions on one plane. Cubism was considered to be a complete contrast in this regard. For example, a cubist artist may paint the face of a person wherein the eye may be shown looking towards the viewer, however, the nose may be painted facing the side.

Apart from artists such as Pablo Picasso and Braque, Fernand Leger, Francis Picabia and Roger de la Fresnaye also used the basics of cubism. Today, this style continues to inspire young talents to try something that is far apart from reality.

Amedeo Modigliani

The bohemian artist Amedeo Modigliani was a very complicated personality. However, going by Picasso’s comment about never seeing him drunk anywhere except ‘at the corners of the boulevard Montmartre and the boulevard Raspail’, it seems he made an extra-special effort to be obnoxious. When he forgot to keep up appearances, he could be a charming and soft-spoken man, who was popular with the ladies and could converse intelligently on a variety of topics. He was very fond of poetry, particularly that of Lautreamont, the man who wrote ‘Maldoror’, a copy of which Modigliani always carried everywhere with him. He was an excellent painter and sculptor – if not as daringly innovative as some of his contemporaries, then with a distinct individuality expressed in the trademark sensual elongations of the face and neck.

Known as ‘Modi’ to his friends and ‘Dedo’ to his family, he was born in Livorno, Italy on 12 July 1884, the fourth and youngest child of Flaminio Modigliani and his wife Eugenia. Flaminio was an unsuccessful businessman with a small money-changing enterprise, while Eugenia, an unconventional and strong woman, ran an experimental school and was known for her somewhat radical political views. Her views filtered down to her sons and led Modigliani’s older brother Emmanuele to be imprisoned as an Anarchist for six months in 1898, at the age of twenty-six. The Modiglianis were also Sephardic Jews. Although he was in no way religious, Amedeo’s Jewish identity strongly influenced his life, and he was known to often introduce himself to people as ‘Modigliani, Jew’. Being a Jew was not easy in the Europe of that period. They were not widely persecuted as they would be later on, but they were not regarded with a great degree of acceptance either. This becomes more evident in Amedeo’s life when the Roman Catholic family of his mistress Jeanne Hebuterne, disowned her for associating with a Jew. He faced many more such circumstances in the daily course of his life.

He also had to contend with poverty and constant ill-health. He suffered from Tuberculosis since his early childhood, and this was to dog him throughout his life. His mother, perhaps to entertain him while he was sick, had encouraged him to take up art. As he showed a marked talent for it, she arranged for him to take proper lessons in 1898 when he was fourteen. His teacher, Guglielmo Micheli was a student of Giovanni Fattori, the leader of the Italian Impressionists (the Macchiaiola). In May 1902, at the age of eighteen and after having toured Naples, Amalfi, Capri, Rome, and Florence with his mother, he decided to leave home and study under Fattori at the Scuola Libera di Nudo dell’Accademia di Belle Arti (Free School of the Nude) in Florence. It was here that he first tried his hand at sculpture. However, the next year in March 1903, he transferred to the Scuola Libera del Nudo in Venice. Here, he met Umberto Boccioni and Ardengo Soffici, future Futurists, and also Ortiz de Zarate, an artist friend with whom he attended the Biennial Exhibition of Modern Art in Venice and studied the works of Cezanne and Van Gogh. In this period, he also made his first trip to England and, unfortunately, also got initiated into drinks and drugs.

He went to Paris in the winter of 1906 on a small allowance from his mother, settled in Montmatre, and attended the Academie Colarossi. Paris was a happening place for art then, with many talented artists converging around the avant-garde influence of the poet Guilliame Apollonaire. Modigliani came to be greatly influenced by the works of artists like Cezanne, Ganguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen. However, being Jewish and being made strongly aware of this for the very first time by French Anti-Semites, he remained on the periphery of the art scene and associated mainly with other Jewish artists like Chaim Soutine, Kisling, the sculptor Lipchitz, and the poet Max Jacob (Picasso’s friend). He also befriended Cocteau, Gris, Rivera, and art dealers Paul Guillaume and Zborowski. In 1907, he came into contact with Dr. Paul Alexandre, who became his first patron and paid for him to stay with other artists in a sprawling tenement building in rue Delta 7. Modigliani sold him paintings until the First World War. He also exhibited paintings in the ‘Salon d’Automne in 1907 and in the ‘Salon des Independants’ in 1908. It would seem that he was doing well, but in reality, he was spending more and more time in binging and had gained quite a reputation in all quarters for drunken, disorderly behavior. It was his penchant for stripping stark naked while on a binge that gave him the nickname ‘Modi’ – it was not just a take on his surname, but a pun on the French word for accursed ‘maudit’. Finally, in 1909, his excesses became too much for him to take, and he went home to Livorno to recuperate.

Soon, he decided to become a sculptor rather than a painter, returned to Paris, and took up residence in the new artists’ quarter of Montparnasse. His sculptures, stark and minimalist, were influenced by the African and Oceanic Art that he had seen in the Musee de l’Homme, and by the work of Brancusi, whom he had met earlier in ‘Cite Faulguiere’ in Montparnasse and had worked with for a while. While he found artistic fulfillment in sculpting, his finances and his health showed no improvement. He couldn’t afford to buy stones for carving, so he stole them from the building sites that were cropping up all over Paris, and then ruined his health with the long hours and hard physical labor needed for sculpting them. With the outbreak of the First World War, most of the building projects got shelved and the easy supply of stones dried up. Modigliani, who was by now extremely frail, was once more forced homewards.

Returning yet again to Paris, he began painting delicately stylized, elegant, and amazingly insightful portraits that showed an undoubted influence of his sculpting experience. In 1910 and 1911, he exhibited his work again at the ‘Salon des Indépendants’, and in 1912 at the ‘Salon d’Automne’. His painting ‘Cellist’ had won favorable reviews from the Art Critics in 1910, and he had exhibited sculptures as well as paintings at the artist Souza Cardoso’s Montparnasse Studio in 1911. He went to Normandy with his Aunt Laure, and then back to Livorno for a while. Returning to Paris, he met up often with Lipchitz, Augustus John, and Jacob Epstein. He received his first art contract from the dealer Cheron in 1913, and around the same time began sharing a studio in Boulevard Raspail 216 with Chaim Soutine. After the War broke out and he gave up sculpting, he moved to a studio in Montmartre. He also began a passionate, two-year affair with the South African Poetess Beatrice Hastings. She was five years older than him, had a grander drinking reputation, and they had major brawls in public. The fact that it was her money that was more or less supporting him in this period did not stop him from throwing her out of their window on one occasion.

It was a good time for him professionally, as not only was he working well, but he was also taken on by the upcoming and ambitious art dealer Paul Guillaume in 1916, thanks to Max Jacob. He also held an exhibition of his work at Emile Lejeune’s Studio in Paris. However, he couldn’t keep a steady course for long. By 1917, he had broken contact with Paul Alexandre and many of his old friends, got rid of both Beatrice Hastings and Paul Guillaume, and embarked on new personal and professional relationships with Jeanne Hebuterne and the Polish dealer Zborowski, respectively.

Jeanne Hebuterne, whom he met at the Academie Colarossi, was nineteen at the time and a subdued, colorless personality in comparison to Beatrice. However, she too wasn’t spared any public scenes, and stories abounded around Montmatre of her ill-treatment at the hands of a drunken Modigliani. She remained devoted to him despite all that, and he painted a number of her portraits. They started living together, to her conservative family’s outrage, in a studio rented for them by Zborowsky in rue de la Grande-Chaumiere in Montparnasse. About this time, Modigliani had his first solo exhibition at the Berthe Weill Gallery. Unfortunately, his sensual nudes offended the local Police Chief and the exhibition was shut down on the opening day itself.

In early 1918, Zborowski arranged for Modigliani as well as his other clients, Soutine, Kisling, Survage, Foujita, Cendrars, and Osterlind, to move to Southern France. It was here in Cagnes that he painted the only four landscapes of his career. It wasn’t a genre that interested him, and he spent the rest of his time painting portraits indoors and missing the ambiance of Paris. He also missed a group exhibition at the Paul Guillaume Gallery, featuring his works as well as those of Picasso and Matisse. Jeanne became pregnant during this period and gave birth to a daughter, Giovanna, on 29 November 1918. Although he acknowledged her as his daughter (he hadn’t acknowledged a child by an earlier girlfriend), he never got around to registering the child officially. It seems he got drunk on the way to the Registry Office and forgot about the matter entirely.

On 31 May 1919, temporarily leaving behind the once again pregnant Jeanne and his new daughter in Nice, he returned to Paris. His paintings had begun to sell well at long last – one of his paintings, exhibited in a critically successful group show called ‘Modern French Art’, organized by Zborowski at the Mansard Gallery in London, had been sold at a very high price to the famous writer Arnold Bennett. Jeanne and their daughter joined him in June and they moved into their first real home together, an apartment in the Rue de la Grande Chaumiere that was immediately above the one previously occupied by Gauguin. However, the end was near for the artist.

He had refused to give up drinking despite its obvious ill-effects on his health, and right after the New Year Celebrations of 1920, he collapsed. For nearly five days, he writhed in bed in excruciating pain and high fever. Jeanne, who was now nine months pregnant, sat with him, but extraordinarily enough, did not think of summoning a doctor in all this time. This was left to his old friend Ortiz de Zarate, who lived downstairs, and not having seen the couple in a while, came to check on their whereabouts. By then there was really nothing any doctor could do beyond diagnosing the illness as Tubercular Meningitis, and moving the now comatose artist to a clinic. He died without regaining consciousness on 24 January 1920. The whole of Montmatre turned up for his funeral. Two days later, Jeanne committed suicide by throwing herself out of the fifth floor window of her parents’ home. Her embittered family buried her at the Bagneux Cemetery, agreeing only in 1930 to let her rest beside Modigliani at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

Their daughter Giovanna was adopted and brought up by Modigliani’s family. She later wrote a definitive book on her father, titled ‘Modigliani, Man and Myth’.

The Hellenistic Art

Hellenistic Period Art: History and Characteristics
◾ The years following the demise of Alexander the Great saw his generals take over the reins of his widespread empire by dividing it into smaller kingdoms. For instance, Ptolemy took charge of Egypt and the Middle East, whereas Seleucus got hold of Syria and Persia.
◾ The regions, though separate, were unified when it came to adapting Greek culture, education, language, and lifestyles, commissioning extravagant sculptures, mosaics, and other artwork, and investing heavily in building libraries, universities, and museums.
◾ The Hellenistic World is an umbrella term, which refers to the geographic reach of the Greek Empire, along with the roughly 300-year period it covered. Hellenistic Art is hard to be contained in a definition, but is used to refer to all the artistic designs and concepts which emerged and were established during this time.

Hellenistic Architecture
◾ Hellenistic cities were rather expansive, and comprised several dedicated recreational areas like parks, museums, and even zoos. These cities were meticulously planned, confirming to the natural settings of the region.
◾ In the instance of Pergamon, the Greeks built a colossal complex, which included structures used to house their political, administrative, and military offices. The Pergamon Altar was a part of this very complex comprising sculptures depicting the battle between the Olympian Gods and the Giants. The structure, or what remained of it, was restored by a team of Italians, and is now housed in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany.
◾ Gigantic architectural designs dominated the scene during the time―the second temple of Apollo at Didyma, Ionia, is a fitting example. Designed by Daphnis of Miletus and Paionios of Ephesus at the culmination of 4th century B.C., its construction went on until 2nd century A.D., but was eventually never completed. The sanctuary is regarded as one of the largest ever to be built in the Mediterranean region.

Hellenistic Art
◾ This was an era that saw a meteoric rise in the popularity of various forms of art. A growing number of affluent citizens of the empire began to appreciate art, and even began to commission replicas of original Greek statues. Their homes and lawns were decorated with exquisite bronze fittings, marble sculptures, and intricately-designed pottery.
◾ The Romans sought these works of art in great numbers. By the 1st century B.C., Rome became the center of Hellenistic art production, with numerous Greek artists making the city their base.
◾ Hellenistic art was characterized by its attention to detail, and placed emphasis on naturalism. Artists began to create figures which realistically depicted the human physique and facial features.
◾ Sculptures belonging to the era were known to be carved in a manner that allowed them to be admired from all angles. The Nike of Samothrace, also known as the Winged Victory of Samothrace, is regarded as one of the finest examples of the artist’s mastery over aesthetic conventions and techniques. The sculpture has the winged Goddess of Victory, Nike, appearing to be animatedly suspended with her wings outstretched gracefully. The figure seems breathtakingly life-like, with an imaginary wind shaping its drapery, creating a fine confluence of physical and imagined entities.
◾ Eroticism also featured prominently in these designs, as statues of female nudes became increasingly popular during the period. The Venus of Milo, pictured above, is considered to be the ultimate expression of beauty, with her close-to-perfect proportions. Artists during the era did not limit themselves to depicting physical characteristics; they were known to strive hard to display the inner feelings and emotions of the subject in their work.
Venus de Milo
◾ The paintings and mosaics of the Hellenistic Era have mostly perished along the passage of time. Hellenistic pottery designs were found as far as Taxila, in modern-day Pakistan, where a lot of Greek artisans took up residence following Alexander’s conquest.

The Hellenistic Era culminated in 31 B.C., following the battle at Actium, where the Romans defeated Marc Antony’s Ptolemaic fleet. Despite its relatively short span, however, the cultural and intellectual life of the Hellenistic Period managed to leave a lasting impression on artists and scientists.

Arts and Crafts

Since it is so much fun and can actually be useful, it is no wonder why arts and crafts are so popular for many people. However, if you want to truly have fun with it, there are some things you need to know. Read on for some useful arts and crafts information.

Incorporate recycling into your arts and crafts activities. No matter what you are into, from ceramics to oil paints, there are many ways to involve using objects and supplies that you would have otherwise thrown away. Save paper, tinfoil, aluminum, cardboard and more and stash it away for your next project.

Browsing the internet for new ideas is a great way to expand your arts and crafts skills. You can see what other crafters are creating and gain a new perspective on what you can create with your crafting skills. So go online to find new ways to expand your creativity when you are doing your favorite craft or hobby.

Get your kids involved with your next arts and crafts project. Kids love to play and learn, and a cool family project will do all that and more. It makes for an exceptional bonding experience between you and your little one. The child gets to learn from you, and you can have some smiles and laughs along the way!

You should organize your crafting supplies. Your supplies can be stored in many various ways, just find one that works the best for you. It’s going to be easier for you to locate the things you need this way. You will also be able to keep track of your supply inventory.

Store arts and crafts supplies in old show boxes. If you organize your supplies well, you will belle likely to be able to find what you need when you need it. Being able to find your supplies can make your projects go much more smoothly. It will also give you a bigger picture of the supplies you have.

When working on an arts and crafts project, do not throw away any unused materials. Even if you do not need them for the current project you are working on, you may be able to use them on a future hobby. In the end, this could save you a lot of money.

Pine cones are excellent materials for holiday crafts. Not only do they feel like the holidays, they also smell great too! Plus, if you live in the country, you can find them for free around your neighborhood. You can get very creative with pine cones, including making pine cone figurines.

Do you need an easy way to store your ribbon? Grab a standing paper towel holder. Simply slip each roll of ribbon on your paper towel holder for an easy organization tool. The paper towel holder allows you to remove the ribbon you need with one hand. Simply cut the amount you need and place the paper towel holder back in its original location.

This article has given you helpful arts and crafts advice that when used properly, can help you get into this popular hobby. If you feel like you need to know more, continue to do your research on it. In the end, you will be glad you found something so enjoyable.