In this post, I'm doing something a little bit different. Instead of writing about my own art, or an issue artists deal with, I'm sharing some of my favorite facts from art history.
The term impressionist was meant as an insult.
Yes, art critics at the time of the emerging impressionist movement called these artists' work nothing but worthless impressions and the artists adopted the name and owned it.
Titian defied the church…by using blue.
In Mideval Italy, blue was right up there with gold, in terms of value, and was tightly controlled by the church. It was really only supposed to be used for the swath of the Virgin Mary. But in this painting and this one, Titian uses blue with a screw you type of freedom.
Picasso and Matisse both painted highly realistic paintings before adopting the styles they’re now known for.
That’s right. It’s actually not uncommon for artists who become known for a modernistic or pop art style, to work in realism first. Drawing accurately is something every artist should know how to do and something I’m striving for myself.
Women were actually taught watercolor painting in finishing school.
Mhhhm. During the Victorian era, watercolor was considered a ladylike pastime and a way to snag a husband. Of course women were expected to put away their brushes once they were safely married.
Leonardo Da Vinci spent twelve years working on the Mona Lisa ...and never finished it.
Albrecht Durer showed arrogance...by painting portraits of himself head on.
During this time, portraits of people were painted from the three quarter angle as a rule. The only figure that was painted head on was Christ.
Leonardo Da Vinci revolutionized painting by choosing to paint in, of all things...oils.
That’s right. While a young Leonardo was apprenticed to Verrocchio, the standard type of paint used by artists was something called tempera, which was a paint made by mixing pigment with egg yolk. It dried very quickly and was very unforgiving. Leonardo used oil paint to paint his figure when he and his fellow apprentices were assigned to paint angels in Verrocchio’s “The Baptism of Christ”. The results were so remarkable that legend has it, according to the doc referred to, Verrocchio told his apprentices that from then on, Leonardo would paint all the faces and he, having been surpassed, would never paint again.
Many art historians believe that the figure kneeling in the foreground of Raphael’s fresco “School Of Athens” was Michelangelo. Michelangelo and Raphael were bitter rivals. This and the fact that the figure is not in any of the preparatory drawings for the fresco and therefore must have been added at the last minute, fuel this speculation.
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Painter of portraits and wildlife