December 15th, 2014
In the interest of changing the pace, I'm going to do a few posts on certain artists and styles which have really influenced me in some way. I am working on a new piece, but it's quite challenging and is going to take me awhile, but I still want to blog!
I'll start with my favorite artist. This person has been my favorite artist since as long as I can remember, maybe about 6 years old. I've traveled to other countries and states for the sole purpose of seeing his originals. This would be, the greatest artist of all time (in my mind) Jan Van Eyck, a Flemish painter of the 1400's.
My dad had a huge art history book I would always look through and one image always would suck me in, for hours. "The Last Judgement" which is pictured on the left. The Last Judgement has been painted countless times by many famous painters over the years. And indeed, this piece half of a diptych, the other half being "The Crucifixion".
This image always adorned my lockers through out middle and high school, on my current apt door, and was able to see it in person at the Metropolitan Meausuem of art in NYC. I love the representation of hell, the biazarre creatures ripping apart anyone from peasents to kings to religious leaders. The bottom portion can stand alone as an amazing piece but the geometry of the whole piece really pulls it together. The vibrant heavens, orderly and symmetric, polarized by the dark hell, twisted and chaotic. These two opposites seperated by the thin layer of earth, half land, half water. Showing the insignificence our lives are on the planet but the actions have lasting implications. Earth is a small, temporary portal of sorts which is easily malleable. Which is seen being on fire and clearly no one wants to be there.
I'm not religious by any means, but the uniqueness of the creatures and the fact Van Eyck is saying even kings and priests can belong in hell really struck a chord in me. For being so upfront in the early 1400's. Those in power are not immune to shortcomings and can in fact embody all the negative aspects of our species. Greed, coruption, manipulation, excess. Hmmmm. . .
Anyways, I love that piece. But it's definitely not what Jan Van Eyck is known for, that would go to the Portriat of Giovanni Arnolfini and His Wife painted in about 1434. Below
I love this one because it has more to it than what you'd initially think. In particular his play with the mirror. Above it says, "Jan Van Eyck was here", the life of Jesus is broken up into images in the circles around the mirror with the crucifixion at the top. The mirror shows the reflection of him painting the couple. But you can feel the weight of the fabrics, the furs, it's all so detailed and that's what I love about his work. So much attention to the most minut of details. This piece is filled with mystery and symbolism, I recommend looking into it. This piece is up in National Gallery of London, which actually has a few of his pieces- including an alledged portrait!
The last piece I really want to talk about of his is the Ghent Alterpiece. I decided to go to Ghent, Belgium just to see the original and was really not prepared for the awesome magnitude of it. Overwhelmed in beauty and admiration would be an understatement. The Ghent Alterpiece was a commisioned by a member/leader of the church. The guy and his wife are painted on the outside panels. This piece is huge, over 15 feet wide and over 11 feet tall. It's a triptych, 3 panels hinged together which can be opened and closed. Below is the piece opened
Again, the man on the bottom left is the one who comission the piece with his wife on the bottom right. But you can imagine the awe of seeing this piece in the original cathedral it was painted for over 11 feet high.
The piece on the left is possible self portrait. "Man in the Red Turban" (that fabric!!) I highly recommend checking out his other works and really looking into the symbolism, if you have time/interest. You can see more here: http://www.jan-van-eyck.org/
And that's my favorite artist of all time!! :) Here's the piece I'm working on. . . MOSS! OH GOD WHY
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Hello! I'm Cascadian colored pencil artist extraodinaire.