Friday, February 26, 2010
Utilizing New Technology for Art Education
Pretty soon we’ll be launching our updated digital version of our classic Famous Artist course. We’re excited to tap into a new generation of students who are used to having the world at their online fingertips. Utilizing technology for education has enormous possibility for all of us. More and more organizations are providing free audio and video podcasts. Most recently I discovered the National Gallery of Art’s podcast page which is a great resource for videos about artists, including a beautifully shot short film about Arshile Gorky and this excerpt from a movie about Edward Hopper, narrated by Steve Martin. Another great resource is NPR’s podcast directory which archives weekly art-related radio stories and chats. They can also be subscribed to weekly and downloaded right to your computer. The Information Age may be overwhelming at times, but when you can pinpoint your focus and use these new media tools to expand your knowledge base and keep you inspired you’re on the right track.
Friday, February 19, 2010
What Would Bruegel Think?
First the artist was born. Shortly thereafter - the art forger. Methods of uncovering fraudulent works of art have advanced along with technology. Most recently Math Professor Daniel Rockmore of Dartmouth College designed a software program, originally for Bruegel drawings, which analyzed the artist’s pen strokes. By scanning and digitizing the drawings Rockmore’s program could characterize which strokes were typical of Bruegel’s method of application and which were not. The inadvertent benefit to artists as Rockmore relays in a recent NPR article is that the software becomes a ” tool to deconstruct art — a way of describing what it means to be Picasso-like or Bruegel-like.” The idea of knowing how a master artist laid down their strokes is surely appealing to many who study the craft, but what would Bruegel make of his artwork reproduced, pixelated and broken down on a small glowing screen? Perhaps a surrealist might understand better.
Friday, February 05, 2010
A new look at Van Gogh
The popular view of Vincent Van Gogh, which probably most of us share, is of a wild-eyed mad genius, creating paintings full of colorful outbursts and eventually committing suicide while in the throes of mental illness. In their broad outlines, these facts are true, but there is so much more to know about this seminal artist. And once we know him better we can admire him even more for what he accomplished in spite of poverty and struggles with illness—and his early death becomes even more poignant.
The current exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, The Real Van Gogh, provides a very complete and full impression of Van Gogh the man, providing 35 of his original letters alongside 65 paintings and 30 drawings. For perhaps the first time, art lovers will have a glimpse into the life of this driven and conflicted great talent.
Van Gogh’s artistic career lasted only ten years. He was largely self taught, and the exhibition traces the development of his talent from early drawings of still life, landscapes, and the peasants who were his neighbors, to the stunning output of his last years, when he was tormented by mental illness but still managed to paint daily. And all the time he was drawing and painting, he was writing letters to his family and friends. Since he was a solitary person by nature, these letters were his way of staying in touch with the world around him. He was very well read, and his letters (in Dutch, French, and English) demonstrate his literary as well as artistic interests.
Van Gogh cared deeply about words. He wrote to a friend, Emile Bernard, in 1888: ‘There are so many people, especially among our pals, who imagine that words are nothing. On the contrary, don’t you think, it’s as interesting and as difficult to say a thing well as to paint a thing.’
An article, “A Beautiful Mind”, in the Royal Academy magazine has more detail on Van Gogh’s letters
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