Thursday, March 6, 2008

If you could own one piece of art ...

If you could own one piece of original art, what would it be? I've always been partial to Johannes Vermeer's "The Geographer", with its quiet intensity (click for maximum effect):

"The Geographer" and "The Astronomer" are the only two paintings of solitary men by Vermeer. Painted in 1668 and 1669, Vermeer obviously intended the two men to be scholarly types. Although the astronomer has no telescope (which probably explains why this painting was originally called "The Astrologer"), he is shown touching a celestial globe. The painting of the geographer was originally called "A Mathematical Artist". He is holding a pair of compasses and has a terrestrial globe nearby. The light flows in from left to right. He appears to be caught looking up in abstract thought.

The model for both paintings is widely presumed to be Antony van Leeuwenhoek. Leeuwenhoek was a draper who became an official civil surveyor in 1669 and gained a reputation for skills in navigation, astronomy and mathematics. Best known for improving the microscope, he is commonly referred to as The Father of Microbiology.

For many years sold as a pair, the paintings are now separated. I find this quite sad. I think they should be re-united.

"The Geographer" is currently on display at The Stadel in Frankfurt, Germany.

"The Astronomer" is housed in The Louvre in Paris.

For more info on the possible connection between painter and scientist, see Leeuwenhoek and Vermeer. For an interesting interactive analysis using your mouse to highlight various objects in "The Geographer", click here. For "The Astronomer", click here.

Click here for Vermeer's biography. If his name sounds familiar, but you can't quite place it, you've probably seen the movie, "Girl with a Pearl Earring" with Scarlett Johansson.

So, if you could own one piece of original art, what would it be?
Here are some interesting paintings to consider ... more than 500 years of "Women in Western Art" (in 3-minutes):

23 comments:

Fran said...

Wow DK that is a beautiful art montage & I love the music. Thanks for posting this. I grew up being able to visit the Art Institute in Chicago. The place is so huge, you can;t even cover it all in 1 day. Often I found myself just drawn to the French Impressionists. What a thrill to be in the same room with an actual original. They have the large pieces set up in huge rooms with sitting benches both near & far, across the room & how they change to look from a different perspective.
Monet & Van Gogh are pretty amazing artists.
Our little campus museum nearby has a visiting Renoir "Vase de Fleurs" & Cezanne's
"Maison dans la verdure" painted circa 1881.

Again, such a treat.

Off to bad- thanks for the lullabye

enigma4ever said...

ahhhhhh this is sooooo beautiful...wonderful...and I love the way the video moves and shifts....sigh...

thank you....

Now about art....I have alot of art in my bedroom...( ha, no one except the dog and cat admire them...)Over my bed I have Klimt's the KISS....and of course Flaming June....both I acquired at yard sales....for a mere nothing....both needed frames to be repaired...My bedroom is all about mainly those two paintings, although I have 5 others...the Colors are Pumpkin, Deep Burgundy and Plum.....with celery silk curtains.....and the final touch....Christmas lights on both windows, draped like ice sickles.....it is my sancutary.....but it is really Flaming June's Room...

enigma4ever said...

( Fran....I too love the impressionists....they were sooo amazing..)

Cart said...

Now for a greedy bloke like me one piece is rather limiting. Starting where you began I wouldn’t reject Vermeer’s girl with pearl. I love some of the small impressionist works of Manet, Renoir and even Degas. One representative piece would do, but I can decide which.
Then I’d like a good example of the Australian impressionism, perhaps a Tom Roberts ‘Coming South’ a long time favourite.
Oh and given a warehouse wall I think I could live with a Jackson Pollock to go with the Brancuzzi sculpture I covert. How is that for greedy?

D.K. Raed said...

Fran:
one thing about spending a day at those impressionist gallery exhibitions, when you leave, the world looks so vivid & harsh, too REAL (if that is possible).

Enigma (or should I say "Flaming June"):
you have really set up a perfect bdrm! There can be no better venue to display Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss".

Cart: You ARE greedy! I was unfamiliar with Tom Roberts, so I googled him. Wow, he really captures it, huh? Shearing the sheep, etc. "Coming South" is quite poignant. Funny too, because I always think of transport as heading sideways, but it would be south from Britain ...

Cart said...

I will try again, blogger dumped my last effort.
I'm pleased you checked out Tom Roberts. It's called Shearing the Ram BTW, but more often called Ramming the Shears here.
Now if my greed is limited I would stick with Going South. My ex always hated it, but I still had a print on the wall. I've lost it now.
I love the way it literally portrays going from the dark of the old world to the light of the new. Well, I just love the painting...

enigma4ever said...

okay....I am going to look for that Ramming Shear again...turns out I had the name totally wrong..ooooooopsssss...( I had it reversed)....

Cart said...

Shearing the rams -
http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/collection/
or a clooection at
http://www.whitehat.com.au/australia/People/Roberts.asp

D.K. Raed said...

Cart:
aah yes, apparently rams must be sheared separately? hmmm...

I relooked at "Going South" --- wow, all those dark, drearily dressed people in the shadows on the left side & then the sunny, brightly dressed people on the right. From the old world to the new. Thanks for pointing that out! sorry you lost the print.

Enigma:
Ramming Shears sounds like a quite painful, possibly psychotic, medical condition! or, ummm, a jailhouse nickname for the eventual cellmate of Dick Cheney.

We had a good herding dog years ago that I kept threatening to get a few sheep for to give her something to do. She loved to line up the 2 cats and herd them around the house.

enigma4ever said...

DK:
Our little black Scottie used to do that to...always herding...and he would check all the cages at night to make sure all was in order.....( we named him after Humphey Bogart- he really looked like Bogie- every dark serious eyes...)

enigma4ever said...

oooops I meant to let Cart know the Going South is beautiful...the Light and the Dark...striking....( the shearing one made me cry...)...for some reason the way he uses Light reminds me of Hopper...

A Ball of Light said...

If I could own one piece of original art it would have to be that art which inhabits the caves of Lascaux, and of course the grounds surrounding them... I suppose i would finally have to learn French as moving them to my house is of dubious value. They probably would like the humid pennsylvania climate as much as i do... however if somehow i could transport them to new mexico they would feel right at home near Bandolier National monument

Fran said...

dk Sirens Chronicles is looking for a few good writers. Your writing style would fit in well & you can repost stuff from your blog that would be new to the readers there. Think you might be interested?
Please please?

D.K. Raed said...

(Sorry, I'm only just getting back here after attending a tennis tournament all weekend) ...

Enigma: I didn't know Scotties were herders! Our old herder (the one I threatened to buy sheep for) was a hound mix (some whippet, some fox terrier, maybe some basenji). She herded the cats. Our current herder is an actual herding dog, an australian shepherd. He herds everything, including me!

Ball of Light: I would NEVER want to OWN Lascaux! Being the earliest surviving & possibly finest art ever, it MUST remain public forever. Altamira, too. But thanks for the links. I love thinking about what drove those original artists to paint the walls.

Fran: I keep meaning to stop by Sirens & check how you're doing there. It sounds like you like it. For me, I can't visualize ever putting that much effort in. It's all I can do to throw up something here once in awhile. Thanks for the invite, though. You make me blush to think I might fit in anywhere. I'm usually the odd duck.

azgoddess said...

a bit late but here's mine -Bosch - the garden of earthly delights:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Garden_of_Earthly_Delights

thanks for all the great links video - superb!

Newsguy said...

Nice piece of work.

One of my favorites: Edward Hopper, anything by Hopper. Early Sunday Morning is a favorite, and Nighthawks, a piece that has been endlessly parodied, but it still reflects urban isolation.

D.K. Raed said...

AZ:
It's never too late! Thanks for the link. I did not realize the Bosch triptych had painted exterior panels, too. A painting like that could keep you busy for decades trying to decifer.

Newsguy:
aaah, Hopper. I started to use a video montage of his paintings set to Philip Glass score from Koyaanasqatsi (Life out of Balance). But the music irritated me, so I switched to the Western Women montage w/soothing cello.

Cart said...

I thought you might get a buzz out of this lot Turner
to Monet

I hope this works :(

TomCat said...

Beautiful stuff, Red. My piece of art has not been created yet. I would like to own an original portrait of GW Bush in his cell, serving a life term for crimes against humanity.

D.K. Raed said...

OK, once again my comments aren't being sent to my email. Rats, here we go again ...

Cart:
That is wonderful, thanks! I will spend time looking at it. Your link worked perfectly. sometime you'll have to tell me the secret, because I can't link in comments.

Tomcat:
I don't know that I'd want to hang that piece of art where I'd have to see it everyday. It should be in a museum, maybe the Smithsonian. I think Thomas Jefferson could've painted it -- maybe he did, by writing the declaration of independence!

A Ball of Light said...

i know iam not cart (hey cart) but i do like being helpful...

this:
<a href="http://url of the linked item goes here inside quotes"> linkword or words here</a>

gives this:
linkword or words here
-=-=-=-

DK: i'd sure like to know which hopper montage set to glass's koyaanasqatsi score you were considering ... i was absolutely amazed and was affected beyond words by that movie. btw, I found the whole Qatsi trilogy on Veoh, as well as several other films by the director Godfrey Reggio... at about 3:12 in Evidence there is a little redheaded girl whom i imagine looks a lot like both you and enigma at age 3 or so... ;)

Cart said...

A ball of light I have so many weird and curious things happening in my life I'm more than pleased to forgo the teaching role.
You posted what I would have eventually posted for the delightful red.

D.K. Raed said...

Ball of Light:
thanks for trying, but it still doesn't work for me. I am HTML-impaired, I guess.

The whole "Qatsi" trilogy was amazing, one of my first DVD purchases ... mesmerizing, scary, haunting, yet stunningly beautiful all at the same time. I can't seem to re-find that Hopper set to Glass score, but if you check YouTube for "Philip Glass", there are tons of different koyaanisqatsi pieces as well as much of his other scores.

ps, at that age, I think I looked more like Pipi Longstocking than the little girl you cited!

Cart:
"delightful red"?!! sounds like a nice dinner wine, maybe a peppery petite sirah, which the doctors say is good for cholesterol.