Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Greek Mythological Scene by Guercino

A Mythological Scene, Chronos Admonishes Eros in the presence of Aphrodite and Mars (Cena Mitológica - Cronos Admoesta Eros na Presença de Afrodite e Ares) oil on canvas painting created between 1624 and1626, dimensions 127 cm x 173.4 cm (50.00 in x 68.27 in), presently located in São Paulo Museum of Art, São Paulo, Brazil. Though the painting was traditionally attributed to Guercino (1591-1651), now most art historians ascribe it to his workshop.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Manet's 'Self-Portrait with Palette' sold for $33.4 million

Photo: Self-Portrait with Palette (1879), oil on canvas painting by Edouard Manet, dimensions 83 cm x 67 cm (33 in x 26 in), private collection.

A self-portrait by French painter Edouard Manet, titled Self-Portrait with Palette, has sold for a record price of over $33.4 million at an auction in London, Sotheby's said. It was the highest price paid for a picture by Manet.

The French artist Edouard Manet’s 1879 impressionistic painting ‘Self-Portrait with Palette’ (also known by names such as Autoportrait a la palette, Portrait de Manet par lui-même, Manet à la palette, Selbstporträt mit Palette), is one of his two self-portraits and the only one in private collection, the other being ‘Self-Portrait with Cap’ (1879) currently in the Bridgestone Museum of Art in Tokyo, Japan.

Self-Portrait with Palette has been described as one of the greatest self-portraits in the entire canon of art history. It is the only self-portrait by Manet in which he depicted himself as an artist, though he depicted himself in several other paintings as one of many figures in large compositions in such works as Fishing (1860-61), Music in the Tuileries (1862), and The Ball of the Opera (1873). The painting shows Manet working with his left hand, but it is believed for certain that he was not left-handed, and hence the painting shows a mirror image of him. Also, watch his coat lapel and pocket that clearly indicates a mirror reflection of him, which was used as a model for the painting.

When art historian and Manet’s biographer Adolphe Tabarant asked Manet's stepson Léon Leenhoff about the time at which Manet had been stricken with Syphilis, Leenhoff said it was in 1879, which explains why Manet, who had never before painted a self-portrait, had painted two within that year, possibly with the reality of near-future death, he felt a need to come to terms with himself.

At the auction of the Loeb collection (owned by the collector couple John and Frances L. Loeb from New York) on 12 May 1997, the painting was sold for $18.7 million to the Casino developer Steve Wynn, though it was acquired by the Loebs for $176,800. Steve Wynn displayed Self-Portrait with Palette in his hotel, Hotel Bellagio and Wynn, Las Vegas. In March 2005, it was privately sold to Steven A Cohen, a high profile art collector and hedge fund manager, who, it is speculated, might have paid between $35 million to $40 million.

According to 7 May 2010 reports, Steven A Cohen decided to auction the painting at Sotheby's on 22 June 2010, at an expected price of $30-$45 million. Though it could not live up to his maximum expectations, the painting was sold for a record $33.4 million to the New York dealer Franck Giraud, who was bidding at Sotheby’s sale in London. The Manet painting was among 51 lots in Sotheby’s sale of Impressionist and Modern Art works in a series of auctions in London over the fortnight.

The previous highest price paid for a Edouard Manet was £17.8 million ($26.4 million) for the 1878 street scene ‘La rue Mosnier aux drapeaux’ at Christie’s in New York in November 1989.

Henri Matisse’s ‘Odalisques jouant aux dames’ (1928) was sold for more than £11 million. In February an Alberto Giacometti bronze sculpture has become the most expensive piece of art to be sold at an auction after it was sold in London for more than £65 million.

London this week is hosting a number of auctions of Impressionist and Modern Art works with sales at Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonhams. The other highlights of the auction were paintings by Henri Matisse, André Derain and Chaïm Soutine, which have never appeared at auction before.

Art investment pundits predict that works by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet and Henri Matisse will lead auctions at the top end of the art market, as it is recovering from the biggest slump since 1991.

The Luncheon on the Grass by Edouard Manet

The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l'herbe), originally titled Le Bain (The Bath), created in 1862-1863 by Edouard Manet, oil on canvas painting of dimensions 208 cm x 265.5 cm (81.9 in x 104.5 in) is located in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. A smaller, earlier version can be seen at the Courtauld Gallery, London.

The Stadium at Olympia, Greece

The Olympia Stadium with the surface made of grass and stones with a capacity of 20,000 spectators, tenanted by 2004 Olympic Athletics.

Olympic Race Track in modern Olympia, Greece

The 'Exedra', the stone platform on which the judges sat, located on the south embankment of the stadium.

The stadium is located at the ancient archaeological site of Olympia, to the east of the sanctuary of Zeus in Greece. It was the location of the sporting events at the Ancient Olympic Games. It is considered a holy place for the ancient Greeks, because here sports and games dedicated to Zeus were held. The original location was within the temenos, and spectators could view the sports events from the slopes of Mt. Kronos. But, gradually, it was relocated east until it reached its present location in the early 5th century BCE.

Ruins of the Philippeion, Greece

Photo: Temple of Philip II of Macedon in Olympia, photo taken in July 2006

The Philippeion in the Altis of Olympia, an Ionic circular memorial built of ivory and gold and the only structure inside the Altis dedicated to a humans, contained statues of Philip II's family, Alexander the Great, Olympias, Amyntas III and Eurydice I. It was created by the Athenian sculptor Leochares in celebration of Philip's victory at the battle of Chaeronea (338 BC).

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Portrait of Ria Munk III by Gustav Klimt sold for £18.8 million

Image: Frauenbildnis (Portrait of Ria Munk III) an oil and charcoal on canvas work created by a leading Viennese artist at the turn of the 20th century Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), sold at Christie’s London for £18.8 million on June 23, 2010 – image scanned from an art catalogue.

The full length portrait Ria Munk III (Frauenbildnis) depicts a wealthy young Jewish girl, Ria Munk, niece of Klimt’s major patron Serena Lederer. Ria Munk committed suicide after a row her lover in 1911. Monk’s mother Aranka commissioned Klimt to paint a deathbed portrait of the girl, after his first two efforts were rejected by the family. He began work on Ria Munk III in 1917, painting it in bright colors and showing Ria in repose against a richly decorative background.

After Klimt’s death the following year, the painting hung in the Austrian industrialist family’s lakeside villa at Bad Aussee until 1941. During the Second World War, as part of Hitler’s Ethnic Cleansing plan, that later became notorious as the Holocaust in which an estimated six million Jews were murdered, Nazis captured the house and all the belongings of the Munk Family and ejected them from their property because they were Jewish.

The portrait passed to William Gurlitt, an art dealer. In 1953, Ria Munk III was donated to a gallery in Linz, that later became the Lentos Museum where the portrait remained till last year when it was voluntarily returned to the heirs of the Munk family who had sent it for sale at Christie's on June 23.

Portrait of Ria Munk III sold for £18.8 million, more than its estimated price -- £14-18 million ($20-26 million). According to Giovanna Bertazzoni, Christie’s director of Impressionist and Modern art, ‘the picture was only the second or third comparable example of the artist’s work to be offered at auction over the past 20 years’.

Works by Klimt are on the list of the world’s most expensive paintings. According to reports, collector Ronald Lauder purchased Klimt’s 1907 ‘Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I’ for his New York-based Neue Galerie in 2006 for $144.8 million.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Capitoline Venus, marble copy of Venus by Praxiteles

Photo: Capitoline Venus, one of the best preserved copies of Cnidian Venus by Greek sculptor Praxiteles (4th century BC), height 1.93 m (6 ft. 3 ¾ in.), a gift of Benedict XIV in 1752, located at Palazzo Nuovo, First Floor, Cabinet of Venus, Capitoline Museums, Rome, Italy.

Aphrodite of Cnidus, marble sculpture

Photo: copy of ‘Aphrodite of Cnidus’, marble sculpture by Praxiteles of Athens who lived in the 4th century BC, restored by Italian sculptor Ippolito Buzzi (1562-1634) for Cardinal Ludovisi, Cnidus Aphrodite, currently located at National Museum of Rome, Palazzo Altemps, Rome, Italy. The sculpture is a Roman copy after a Greek original of the 4th century. Original elements in the statue are the torso and thighs and the restored elements are head, arms, legs, drapery and jug.

The Aphrodite of Cnidus, one of the most famous works of the ancient Greek sculptor Praxiteles and its copies, are sometimes referred to as the Venus Pudica (modest Venus), and its variants are the Venus de' Medici or the Capitoline Venus. It is claimed that Praxiteles used the courtesan Phryne as a model for the statue.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Capitoline Venus, copy of Venus by Praxiteles

Image: Capitoline Venus (after the Aphrodite of Cnidus), a marble sculpture belonging to Roman artwork of the Imperial Era (2nd century CE), from Anzio, Italy, located at Department of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Sully, ground floor, room 17, Louvre Museum, Paris, France.

Praxiteles of Athens was the most renowned of the Attic sculptors of the 4th century BC. It is widely believed that Praxiteles was the first to sculpt the nude female form as a life-size statue. While no unquestionably attributable sculpture by Praxiteles is in existence, numerous copies of his works have survived. The Thespian courtesan Phryne is believed to be his beautiful model, and a speculated relationship between Praxiteles and the model has inspired works of art ranging from painting (Gerome) to shadow puppetry.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Woman Standing in Front of a Mirror by Eckersberg

Image: Woman Standing in Front of a Mirror (1841) by Danish painter Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg (1783-1853), oil on canvas, dimensions 33.5 cm x 26 cm (13.19” x 10.24”), current location at Hirschsprungske Samling, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, often referred to as the Father of Danish painting, was born in Blåkrog, now in the southern part of Jutland in Denmark, to painter and carpenter Henrik Vilhelm Eckersberg and Ingeborg Nielsdatter. He is credited with laying the foundation for the period of art known as the Golden Age of Danish Painting. His greatest contribution to painting was during his professorship at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. He used to teach students by taking them out into the field and encouraging them to study from nature. He, thus, introduced direct study from nature into Danish art and encouraged his students to develop their individual strengths and to create their own unique styles.

The Greek Slave by Hiram Powers

Photo: The Greek Slave (1851), marble sculpture by American sculptor Hiram Powers, 165.7 cm x 53.3 cm x 46.4 cm, located at Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut.

The original of the marble statue ‘The Greek Slave’, the most famous and most popular work of the American sculptor Hiram Powers is in Raby Castle, situated near Staindrop in County Durham, one of the largest inhabited castles in England. The statue was carved in Florence in 1844. Critics claim that the design of the statue was based on the ‘Venus de' Medici’ in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Powers himself described his work, “The Slave has been taken from one of the Greek Islands by the Turks, in the time of the Greek Revolution; the history of which is familiar to all. Her father and mother, and perhaps all her kindred, have been destroyed by her foes, and she alone preserved as a treasure too valuable to be thrown away. She is now among barbarian strangers, under the pressure of a full recollection of the calamitous events which have brought her to her present state; and she stands exposed to the gaze of the people she abhors, and awaits her fate with intense anxiety, tempered indeed by the support of her reliance upon the goodness of God. Gather all these afflictions together, and add to them the fortitude and resignation of a Christian, and no room will be left for shame.”

Hiram Powers made replicas of the original Greek Slave for sale to collectors, such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Vermont State House, and Westervelt Warner Museum of American Art in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Eve Disconsolate by Hiram Powers

Eve Disconsolate, marble sculpture by American neoclassical sculptor Hiram Powers (1805-1873), designed in 1859-61 and carved in 1873-74, currently in Cincinnati Art Museum.

The Birth of Eve by Paul Dubois

Photo: The Birth of Eve (Ève naissante), bronze statue by French sculptor and painter Paul Dubois (1829-1905), located at Musée du Petit Palais, Paris, France, credited as Gift of Messrs. Paul-Dubois, sons of the artist in 1910.

Statue of Jesus Christ on Svatý Hostýn hill

Statue of Jesus Christ on Svatý Hostýn hill, Czech Republic, with quotations from John 14:6 and Mathew 11:28.

Schlosspark Statue: Adam and Eve

Photo: Schlosspark Statue (Germany): Adam and Eve, photo taken on 25 October 2009.

‘Adam, Eve and the Snake’ in the mosaic garden, kibbutz Eilon, Israel

Photo: ‘Adam, Eve and the Snake’, mosaic sculpture in the mosaic garden situated in kibbutz Eilon, in northern Israel. It is located a mile south of the Lebanese border and six miles east of the Mediterranean coast. Kibbutz is on a ridge between the streams, Nahal Betzet and Nahal Kziv.

Botanical Garden, Berlin

The Botanical Garden in Berlin (Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem) with an area of 43 hectares, home to around 22,000 different species of exotic plants brought in from erstwhile German colonies is one of the most important gardens in the world. Located in Dahlem neighborhood of the borough of Steglitz-Zehlendorf, it was constructed between 1897 and 1910 under the supervision of architect Adolf Engler.

Now, being a part of the Free University of Berlin, the Botanical Museum complex, with a large herbarium and a large scientific library, consists of several buildings and glasshouses, such as the Cactus Pavilion and the Pavilion Victoria, and its arboretum is spread over 14 hectares. The Great Pavilion, the largest glasshouse in the world, is a 25-meter tall steel structure covered by glass with floor area of width 30 meters and length 60 meters, with a constant temperature level at 30 °C and high air humidity.

Bronze sculpture: Young Girl at Botanical Garden in Berlin, side view

The Young Girl (Junges Mädchen), a bronze sculpture by German sculptor Fritz Klimsch (1870-1960) located at the Botanical Garden in Berlin (Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem), which is one of the most important gardens in the world, spread over an area of 43 hectares with around 22,000 different plant species (photo taken on 2 September 2006). Permission to reuse this photo: This is NOT a public domain photo, but Axel Mauruszat, © the copyright holder allows anyone to use it for any purpose, provided the copyright holder is properly attributed. Redistribution, derivative work, commercial use, and all other uses are permitted.

Young Girl at Botanical Garden in Berlin by Fritz Klimsch: front view

Bronze sculpture, ‘Young Girl’ (Junges Mädchen) by German sculptor Fritz Klimsch (1870-1960) at the Botanical Garden in Berlin (Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem), which is considered one of the most important gardens in the world, with an area of 43 hectares and around 22,000 different plant species. The photo was taken on 2 September 2006 by Axel Mauruszat. Permission to reuse this photo: This is NOT a public domain photo, but Axel Mauruszat, © ‘the copyright holder of this file allows anyone to use it for any purpose, provided that the copyright holder is properly attributed. Redistribution, derivative work, commercial use, and all other uses are permitted’.