Tagged: art blogs

Fayum Mummy Portraits: The Oldest Modernist Paintings

Portrait of a young boy, early 3rd century, Antikensammlung Berlin.
Portrait of a young boy, early 3rd century, Antikensammlung Berlin.

W.M. Flinders Petrie, a British archaeologist has discovered the Fayum in the years between 1887 and 1889. Fayum is a sprawling oasis region 150 miles south of Alexandria wherein he excavated a vast cemetery from the first and second centuries A.D., when imperial Rome ruled Egypt, he found scores of exquisite portraits executed on wood panels by anonymous artists, each one associated with a mummified body. Petrie eventually uncovered 150.

Mummy portraits have been found across Egypt, but are most common in the Faiyum Basin, particularly from Hawara and Antinoopolis, hence the common name. “Faiyum Portraits” is generally thought of as a stylistic, rather than a geographic, description. While painted Cartonnage mummy cases date back to pharaonic times, the Faiyum mummy portraits were an innovation dating to the Coptic period on time of the Roman occupation of Egypt.

Most of the preserved mummy portraits were painted on boards or panels, made from different imported hardwoods, including oak, lime, sycamore, cedar, cypress, fig, and citrus. The wood was made smooth and cut into thin rectangular panels. The finished panels were set into layers of wrapping that enclosed the body, and were surrounded by bands of cloth giving the effect of a window-like opening through which the face of the deceased could be seen. Portraits were sometimes painted directly onto the canvas or rags of the mummy wrapping (cartonnage painting).

By now, nearly 1,000 Fayum paintings exist in collections in Egypt and at the Louvre, the British and Petrie museums in London, the Metropolitan and Brooklyn museums, the Getty in California and elsewhere.

Portrait of a man holding a plant, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon.
Portrait of a man holding a plant, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon.

For decades, the portraits lingered in a sort of classification limbo, considered Egyptian by Greco-Roman scholars and Greco-Roman by Egyptians. But scholars increasingly appreciate the startlingly penetrating works, and are even studying them with noninvasive high-tech tools.

At the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek museum in Copenhagen, scientists recently used luminescence digital imaging to analyze one portrait of a woman. They documented extensive use of Egyptian blue, a copper-containing synthetic pigment, around the eyes, nose and mouth, perhaps to create shading, and mixed with red elsewhere on the skin, perhaps to enhance the illusion of flesh.

Stephen Quirke, an Egyptologist at the Petrie museum and a contributor to the museum’s 2007 catalog Living Images, says the Fayum paintings may be equated with those of an old master—only they’re about 1,500 years older.

Doxiadis has a similar view, saying the works’ artistic merit suggests that “the greats of the Renaissance and post-Renaissance, such as Titian and Rembrandt, had great predecessors in the ancient world.”

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

Abstract Art: A Visual Expression of Emotions

Abstract art started in the year 1911 by the Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944). It became a trend in the twentieth century and became famous because it breaks away from traditional representation of physical objects. Either it’s in the form of a canvas painting or a sculpture of different medium, abstract art is a visual language of forms, lines, colors and different shapes to interpret a concept, without necessarily providing a recognizable visual reference point for the viewers. Abstraction later manifested more formal terms, such as color, simple geometric designs and freedom from objective context.

Robert Delaunay - Premier Disque
Robert Delaunay – Premier Disque

The important connection is that abstract art engages and challenges the intellect but it also engages and challenges the emotions. To fully appreciate it, the viewer has to let go of a need to understand what the artist is trying to say and instead tune into their own interpretation and response to the piece.

As an abstract artist, you express yourself in a way that allows your audience to find his own personal response to the work. Many artists, who call their work abstract, actually do have a subject in mind when they paint. You can take a figure or landscape and simplify it, exaggerate it, or stylize it in some way. You can also use nature as a starting point but express it in different forms and shapes. Color, line, and form are more important than the details of the actual subject matter. The idea is you want to give a sense or feel for the subject rather than an exact replication.

Sonia Delaunay - Prisms Electriques (This painting is made extra special by the reference to great swiss/french poet Blaise Cendrars!)
Sonia Delaunay – Prisms Electriques
(This painting is made extra special by the reference to great swiss/french poet Blaise Cendrars!)

Abstraction indicates a departure from reality in depiction of imagery in art. May it be partial or complete, abstraction is departure of the image to its representation. Artwork which takes liberties altering for instance, the color and form in ways, are conspicuous and with a sense of continuum, can be said to be partially abstract. Total abstraction bears no trace of any reference to anything recognizable.

In summary, the simplified meaning of abstract art is an art that relies on the emotions and mood of the artist and the elements of design rather than exact representation of a subject. This broad definition allows you as an artist to almost unlimited freedom of ideas and expressions. You can create compositions that have no pattern in nature or any subject. You can also work from nature and then interpret your subjects in a non-objective manner.

Image source: http://www.holidayclubrecordings.co.uk

The Best Art Websites and Blogs of 2013

Large Paintings 3 by curseFROpurse www.deviantart.com
Large Paintings 3
by curseFROpurse

Since August 2000, deviantArt.com has empowered artists all over the world by sharing inspirations and ideas. This is the largest social media for artists and art enthusiast wherein you can share your insights and knowledge to other artist. It also serves a platform for a variety of new and established artists where they can promote and share their artwork to fellow artists and art lovers.

It is another great online platform for artists to showcase their work and for art enthusiasts to discover and experience variety of artworks. Members create their portfolio on this site to get feedback from more experienced artists and art lovers. Aside from online discussions, this community also brings art events around the world where members come in contact with each other up close and personal.

Launched in 2003, GalleryToday.com offers original paintings created by artists to customers in any part of the world. While other online galleries offer cheap reproductions, this website is known for their quality paintings that are created by the artist of the customer’s choice and delivered right to their doorstep in perfect condition. Their blog sites offer a lot of tips and insights written by great artists and art enthusiasts.

by Judith Brisson www.saatchionline.com
by Judith Brisson

Saatchionline is derived from the renowned Saatchi Gallery in London. It aims to promote new talents to a greater audience to empower them and enable them to showcase their work to art lovers around the world. It is also a paradise for enthusiast where they can easily purchase an artwork online to be delivered to them anywhere in the world. The website truly lived up to the legacy of the Saatchi Gallery in London.

It is a virtual community where various artists share artworks and create galleries for other artists and art lovers to see. It is also a support group for new artists where they can learn tips and suggestions from other more experienced artist on how to improve their craft and help them promote and sell their artwork in different ways.

Founded by Fine Art Graduate and art tutor, Sarah Ryan, she aims to uplift new artists to create income from their work by giving the general public access to their art. And of course, the easiest way to go is through the internet. She also conducts talks in schools and write blogs to inspire and help aspiring and new artists on how to promote their work and launch their careers as an artist.