The Miseries of War; No 11, “The Hanging” 1632, Jaques Callot Public Domain Copyright Expired from Wikimedia Commons
There will be many additions to this page, eventually. The only criteria for selection is that the work of art is visually or thematically interesting. All images are in the public domain.
Mathew Brady created an unparalleled photographic record of the US Civil War. The picture below is of a Zouave soldier, a member of a light infantry brigade. Both the Union and Confederate sides had Zouave brigades. These soldiers took their inspiration from similarly name North African units. Zouaves worked in looser formation than the traditional brigade and wore characteristic uniforms, as seen in the picture featured on this page.
Kudos to Mathew Brady and his Civil War photos.
A Zouave Soldier ca.1860-ca.1865
National Photographic Art Gallery
From Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain, Copyright expired
Vincent van Gogh
This picture was painted shortly before van Gogh’s death. He had recently been released from an asylum and had reported to his family that he was “feeling better”. Whether or not van Gogh shot himself or was accidently shot, it was a gunshot wound which ultimately took his life in July of 1890.
Street in Auvers 1890
From The Yorck Project:
10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. at the Athenaeum Museum
Pieter Bruegel the Elder
On his deathbed, Breugel instructed his family to burn some of his paintings, which were interpreted by some to be subversive. The element of social commentary is evident in The Triumph of Death. Not only does Bruegel depict the lower classes in the picture, but he also dwells upon the random brutality of war.
The Triumph of Death 1562
Museo del Prado
This photo is the best known of Lange’s depression era work. Florence Owens Thompson was traveling with her husband and children to find work when their car broke down and Lange came upon them.
Kudos to Dorothea Lang and her evocative photos of America.
Photo of Florence Owens Thompson and Her Children
Farm Security Administration
Anguissola was a Renaissance painter who was commissioned by the Spanish court. She was acquainted with Michelangelo, who recognized her talent. Anguissola lived into her 90s and produced a significant body of work. Unfortunately, much of it has been lost.The two self portraits below offer a fascinating study not only in the evolving skill of the artist, but also in her self-perception. Kudos to Sofonisba Anguissola and the enduring art she has left to us.
1564 Self Portrait
Monet is credited with founding the Impressionist Movement in painting. 1879 marked a kind of turning point in the artist’s life. He lost his wife, Camille, to tuberculosis that year. In the years preceding her death Monet had struggled to provide for his family. Grieving for his deceased wife and left with two sons to raise, Monet determined to never be poor again. He entered a very productive period and soon enjoyed the material rewards of a successful painter.
Veger en Fleurs1879
National Gallery in Prague
Faithful reproductions of two-dimensional work of art
El Greco (Doménikos Theotokópoulos) Born in Crete, El Greco lived the last 40 years of his life in Spain. This was a painter with a very individual vision. While critics in his lifetime were perplexed by surrealist elements in his work, appreciation of El Greco’s technique and artistic sensibility grew over the centuries. Toledo became the artist’s home and the place where he produced his greatest work.
View of Toledo C. 1596-1600
An important artist in the Tang Dynasty (8th Century China), Zhou Fang came from an aristocratic family. He chose as subjects either celestial beings, Buddhist themes or people of noble background.
Women by a Board Game
Freer Gallery of Art
Both Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans were employed by the U. S. government during the Great Depression to document life during this historic time. Because they were employees, their work is freely available to the public. The visual history of depression-era events is as significant as any written record. Through photographers such as Lange and Evans, we are given as sense of time and place which otherwise might be lost to us. Walker Evans is considered one of the most important photographers of the 20th century. The picture below is one in a series he took of New Orleans in the 1930s. Kudos to Walker Evans and his visual history of the Great Depression.
The Intersection of Felicity and Orange Streets, New Orleans, 1936
Library of Congress, Public Domain on Wikimedia Commons
The intersection of Fellicity and Orange Stree, New Orleans, 1936
Walker Evans, Public Domain on Wikimedia Commons
Odon Lechner was a Hungarian architect who worked in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He incorporated stylistic elements of the Magyars and Turks in his designs; the influence of these cultures is evident in the Museum of Applied Arts building (below). Constructed in the last decade of the 19th century, the Museum is the third oldest applied arts museum in the world and is an outstanding example of Art Nouveau architecture.
Odon’s work evolved over his career as he moved to different European cities and adapted the architectural styles of the day to his own artistic sensibilities. The result was a body of work that reflected a strong nationalist character. I selected the building below for kudostothat because I think the Museum is stunningly beautiful.
Karl Bulla was a Russian photographer who worked during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He captured images that tell the story of Russia during this transitional period in its history. Some of the memorable events he has immortalized on film: Members of the disbanded Duma arriving to sign the Vyborg Manifesto (1906); The Collapse of the Egyptian Bridge in St. Petersburg (1905); Nicholas II and family members arriving at Stavka (military command center) (1916) one year before his abdication.
It’s never easy to select just one photo from a collection as good as Bulla’s. I decided on a picture of trams negotiating the frozen Russian landscape. Not only is the picture visually affecting, but it reflects the brutal cold of a Russian winter, which proved a formidable adversary for more than one invading army.
Trams on the ice of the Newa River, St. Petersburg, Russia, circa 1900
By Karl Bulla, From the Collection at the Hermitage Museum
From Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain
Lewis Wickes Hine
The best part about maintaining this website is that I learn as I post. Today I was reading the newspaper, looking for good news and finding that in rare supply. Then I came across a review of a Lewis Hine exhibit. I was not familiar with Mr. Hine, though I should have been–he was a very influential photographer. In the first half of the twentieth century Hine traveled across the U. S., and then internationally, and recorded meaningful scenes. His method was not serendipitous–he saw social ills and believed that through photography he might be able to bring about change.
One area that received a lot of his attention was child labor. Hine is credited with helping to win popular support for the Keating-Owen Act of 1916, which restricted employment of children under the age of 14. The description accompanying the first picture below is typical of the way Hine incorporated social purpose into his photography: Rose Biodo,…10 Years old. Working 3 summers. Minds baby and carries berries, two pecks at a time. (Description and photo from Wikimedia Commons).
It is a cruel irony that this man, who dedicated his work to helping improve the lot of others, died at the age of 66 in poverty. Kudos to Lewis Hine and to his work.
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