art

Photo of the Day

Freedom of Speech. Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), “Freedom of Speech,” 1943, Story illustration for “The Saturday Evening Post,” February 20, 1943.

Norman Rockwell’s American Dream

Without thinking too much about it in specific terms, I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed

—Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell (1894 – 1978) is celebrated as “the Dickens of the paintbrush”. His warm and often humorous images captured a unique vision of Americana. In addition to story illustrations, advertising campaigns, posters, calendars and books, Rockwell’s paintings were showcased on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post for more than forty years. In 1957 the United States Chamber of Commerce cited Rockwell as a Great Living American, saying: “Through the magic of your talent, the folks next door – their gentle sorrows, their modest joys – have enriched our own lives and given us new insight into our countrymen.”

Rockwell was viewed as a cornball and a square, a convenient symbol of the bourgeois values Modernism sought to topple. His long career overlapped with the key art movements of the 20th century, from Cubism to Minimalism, but while most avant-garde were heading down a one-way street toward formal reduction, Rockwell was driving in the opposite direction—he was putting stuff into art.

What would Norman Rockwell be painting now, if he were with us and in his sad-eyed, penetrative prime? Gay weddings and hockey fights; piquant scenes at the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through window; the signing into law of the Affordable Care Act, with particular attention to the round-faced child at the president’s elbow. Rockwell was as American as the Grateful Dead. He painted America, and nothing but, and the fascination of his story lies in the genius by which this rather strange, marginal-feeling man contrived to represent the inner life of a mass audience.

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Photo of the Day

It’s a hundred and six years since the man who stole the Mona Lisa was finally caught, two years after vanishing with the masterpiece. Today it’s easily the most famous painting in the world, but it took a theft to cement its status.

The Mona Lisa

Art Crime of The Century

Even at the beginning of the 20th century — before mass reproductions, package tours to France and The Da Vinci Code — Mona Lisa was different from other pictures. The woman with the enigmatic smile got so many love letters that her portrait was the only artwork at the Louvre to have its own mailbox. A heartbroken suitor once shot himself to death in front of her.

So is it any surprise that somebody finally eloped with her?

The surface story is simple: Former Louvre employee Peruggia wanted to restore the “Mona Lisa” to her native Italy. He said it was a matter of national pride (though it seems like profit was a pretty good motive, too). So he went into the Louvre, hid, and snuck the painting out underneath his coat after the museum had closed. It took a day for the Louvre to even notice, and for two years Peruggia kept the painting before being caught when trying to unload it on a gallery in Florence.

He made more money as a handyman than as an artist, but Vincenzo Peruggia’s personally responsible for making the Mona Lisa what it is today. Leonardo da Vinci painted Lisa del Giocondo in the early 16th century, but Peruggia made her famous worldwide by walking out of the Louvre with the painting wrapped in his smock on August 21, 1911. With that daring daylight robbery, the Mona Lisa began her ascent into the stratosphere of cultural fame, while Peruggia sank further and further into the hazy mists of vague infamy. How and why did Peruggia do it? More importantly, what would have happened if he hadn’t?

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Rebel American Political Artist Sabo

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Incredible timelapse painting

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Where is the concept of forgiveness in Islam?

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A Jordanian writer has been shot dead outside court where he was due to face charges for sharing a caricature on social media that was seen as insulting Islam.

The gunman was arrested at the scene, state news agency Petra said. A security source said he was a 39-year-old Muslim preacher in a mosque in the capital.

Writer Nahed Hattar, a Christian and an anti-Islamist activist was arrested last month after he shared a caricature that depicted a bearded man in heaven smoking in bed with women and asking God to bring him wine and cashews.

In the cartoon, the man also asks God to clear his dishes and put a door on his tent and knock before entering. Read more »

More provocative artworks by Luis Quiles

Luis Quiles is a talented Spanish Artist on Deviantart. His images provoke a response from the viewer and he has been censored by the admins on the website who have removed many of his images.

Today’s artworks are called  Censure killed the meaning of art and Against censure in Art.

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Do not give me a holy book give me a holy sandwich

Luis Quiles is a talented Spanish Artist on Deviantart. His images provoke a response from the viewer and he has been censored by the admins on the website who have removed many of his images.

Today’s artworks are called, Do not give me a holy book give me a holy sandwich and Teaching religion.

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Face of the day

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Image copyrightMAARTEN SCHETS

Lita Cabellut is one of Spain’s most successful artists, but she’s barely known in her home country. What’s more, the woman whose paintings now sell for six figure sums spent her early years living on the street.

“My childhood was like that of thousands of street kids around the world,” says Lita Cabellut. She used to roam the streets of Barcelona with other homeless children and slept in the open air.

“We looked after one another – we did whatever we liked. We took coins out of the fountains, begged Zippo lighters from sailors and stole tourists’ wallets. We used to go into restaurants and say our father was in the toilet when they served us, before wolfing down the food and running off.”

Cabellut was born in a village in Aragon, north-east Spain, in 1961. While she was a baby, she and her mother moved to Barcelona. Her mother ran a brothel in the city and Cabellut was left with her grandmother – but in reality she spent most of her time out on the streets.

“I ran errands for the prostitutes. They gave me money to buy packs of cigarettes, sandwiches, condoms or jewellery, and I kept the change.”

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Apparently Maori are as special as Muhammad

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The outrage started yesterday on Twitter and naturally it is now news, that some Maori are mortally offended by…shower curtains.

An American online store selling shower curtains depicting historic Māori is being called deplorable for the culturally inappropriate items.

Images of about 15 of Gottfried Lindauer portraits, including those of Māori leaders, are being sold as shower curtains for just under $100 by the Fine Art America website. Lindauer painted the detailed portraits of Māori in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Art historian Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, also a descendent of some of the Lindauer subjects, said Māori culture was being exploited, and it was appalling.

She said Māori images on teatowels and crockery were bad enough – but this was much worse.

“To actually see Wiremu Kingi as a shower person is absolutely extraordinary and profoundly hurtful. The arrogance of art producers in Western creators’ commerce never fails to amaze me.

“In traditional cultural terms, in the context of tikanga Māori of Māori values around the sanctity of the body and the intimacy of the bathroom, to have an ancestor as a shower curtain is profoundly insulting.”

The images include iwi leader Rewi Manga Maniapoto, and the Taranaki leader and chief of the Te Ati Awa Tribe, Wiremu Kingi Te Rangitake.

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Face of the day

The mural by artist Earnest Bradley.

The mural by artist Earnest Bradley.

A widely praised mural of a Maori woman’s face on the wall of a school in Whangarei has been erased over Maori protocol issues.
Artist Earnest Bradley was allegedly asked by the board of trustees at Tikipunga High School to cover the mural he had been commissioned to paint.
The school’s principal, Alec Solomon, declined to explain why it had to be painted over, beyond saying there were “tikanga” or Maori protocol issues.
The mural at Tikipunga High School was painted over with white paint.
The mural at Tikipunga High School was painted over with white paint.

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