The very last painting of Francis Bacon

bacon last painting
Francis Bacon, Study of a Bull, 1991
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Art History Lessons Online

Today I listened to some very educative lectures by Dr. Vida Hull, art historian at the East Tennessee State University, who’s field of interest include Italian Renaissance Art, Jan Van Eyck, Northern Renaissance Art etc.

In this video she talks about Sofonisba Anguissola, a Renaissance Italian female artist, whose biography is pretty unusual for the time. She was an aristocrat, well educated, and married pretty late, around 30 or 40. She painted mostly portraits, because at the time (16th century) women were not allowed to draw nudes, which artists needed for the exact study human anatomy.

Sofonisba Anguissola. Bernardino Campi Painting Sofonisba Anguissola. Wikipedia.
Sofonisba Anguissola. Bernardino Campi Painting Sofonisba Anguissola. c. 1559, Oil on canvas, 111 x 110 cm, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena. Source: Wikipedia.

However, I think she took her artistic “career” very seriously and with pride. For the time, says Dr. Hull, painters had to be innovative in their works and Sofonisba Anguissola has some very unusual works like her self-portrait in which her teacher, Bernardino Campi, is actually making a portrait of her. A little bit more about this painting you can find here: Sofonisba Anguissola the “Miracolo di Natura”.

It is fantastic how much contextual information about the society and the status of noble women in Italy as well as about the artistic practices at the time Dr. Hull gives while talking about Sofonisba’s biography and artworks. This of course gives the key to understanding her work. Last but not least, Vida Hull is a fascinating lecturer, which makes her lectures also so enjoyable :) It is also motivating that you can find many lectures of hers on YouTube.

Happy 70 Mr. Mc Dowell

Today Malcolm Mc Dowell is turning 70. Happy Birthday and thanks for the great movies! The Kubrick classic and one of my favourites, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, is playing today in Filmmuseum for the occasion.

History of Typography

I’ve just watched a very fun stop motion short video about the history of typography made by graphic designer Ben Barrett-Forrest. It looks very cool :) All the Info about it is in the YouTube description. You can also visit Barrett-Forrest’s website forestmedia.org.

Peter Greenaway: Cinema is Dead, Long Live Cinema

Peter Greenaway on “New Possibilites: Cinema is dead, Long live Cinema!”, a lecture at the Berkeley University on new and different ways of thinking about and making cinema.

Greenaway starts his talk with a brief history of cinema, with its invention, highest peak and disintegrating, questions the categories, in which we think about cinema and names the boundaries we have put on it: text-based film-making, actors and even the camera. Greenaway then presents some of his projects as examples of what else can be created though cinema as a medium such as the The Tulse Luper Suitcases or Writing on Water.

I would recommend this video to all interested in art and film history, new media, intermediality and of course to all Peter Greenanway fans :)

Historically “ugly”

I just found a very funny blog about renaissance paintings: Ugly Renaissance Babies. It definitely shows a different perspective on renaissance art. It’s not only interesting for art historians but it’s also real fun for people who are not interested in art at all:) Enjoy!

P.S.: and the comments are really cool ;)

Hans Richter: Vormittagsspuck

I saw this beautiful peace of art yesterday evening in Filmmuseum in Munich. They have now these series of artistic films, which are totally non-mainstream even for the time, when they were created, and experiment with the possibilities of analog film in any thinkable ways. This short film was made by Hans Richter, an avant-garde artist who also was part of the DADA-movement in Zurich for some time. Inspired by the dada-artists he created his first abstract film, Rhythmus 21, a film with no story, no actors, just rectangles that move in an undefined space.

Vormittagsspuck (Ghosts Before Breakfast) deals with much more concrete themes and has an actual setting but it still has no narrative. This also makes it so interesting. The unexpected and surreal things that take place in Vormittagsspuck are extremely enjoyable, ironic and really funny to watch. From the technical perspective Hans Richter uses stop motion, slow motion, time flowing backwards or film negative (I don’t know the exact cinematography terms) and the film looks more like a collage of possible and impossible actions than something we are used to see on screen.

This is why I enjoy watching non-mainstream films no matter of the year of their “birth”: Independent and experimental cinema are in many ways much more creative, unexpected and imaginative than the most super cool, 3D, HD, etc, visual effects we see in modern block-busters.

PS: The film is available for download on archive.org ^_^. The film rates as the “Manifesto of Dada film”.