it’s polite to stare
When we look closely at a work of art, we carry with us something we didn’t have before. We take with us the artist’s view of the world. Why is this valuable? Because it widens our awareness of the beauty and diversity found in nature and history. Thank you for reading The Shy Museumgoer — named one of the “20 best art history blogs and websites to follow in 2023.” I promise to keep adding new stories….
Old Masters: The dog stays in the picture
Is a dog more than “just a dog” in an Old Master painting? “Dogs give an honest bark of truth,” said Diogenes, an ancient Greek philosopher who may be onto something. Diogenes lived in a clay wine barrel on the streets of Athens. He knew dogs.
On the road with Hiroshige’s other women
Volumes have been written about Andō Hiroshige’s evocative series “Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō” and the men who pursued the great road’s prurient pleasures. It’s time to take a closer look at the women — all of the women, not only the courtesans.
Why isn’t artist Norman Lewis famous?
Abstract Expressionism — the first uniquely American art movement to attain international influence — trumpets the limitlessness of artistic horizons. But limitless for whom? How many Black abstract expressionists can you name?
Henri Matisse and that cursed armchair
Anxious by nature, Henri Matisse painted quiet moments of repose in order to catch his breath before returning to the turmoils of life. Peace of mind is what he craved and what he wanted to bestow on us. Does this mean he wasn’t quite serious enough as an artist?
Stuart Davis was hip to the jive
Can a modern artist take the same passionate risks as a jazz musician? Or is that hard to bring off? Likewise, can Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra transform the colors, lines, and layers of a painting into live music? Let’s compare notes.
Sheeler, Rivera, and machine-age anxiety
Charles Sheeler and Diego Rivera jumped at the chance to portray Henry Ford’s revolutionary factory. Do their pictures celebrate the potential of machines to liberate us from drudgery? Or do they warn us about the dangers of living in a technology-driven society?