Monday, April 12, 2010

Bartolomeo Veneto (active 1502-1546)

After studying with Gentile Bellini in Venice, a trip to Milan for the artist resulted in his adaptation of Leonardo de Vinci's sfumato technique. The painter's crisp edges softened and forms developed a smoky appearance.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Vincenzo Catena (c. 1470-1531)

As with all his work, Vincenzo Catena's portraits of men of the Venetian Renaissance show a color sense that is close to Giorgione's. Both artist's depiction of light seems inspired by each day's magic hour. Vincenzo Catena's forms have a distinctly simplified, almost geometric clarity. The great arc of shoulders of each sitter is surmounted by a head as elegant and focused as a bird's.

This Blogger Gets a Virtual Bear Hug!

I'm taking a moment out of my usual posts for an update...
Finally some love from the kindly, cuddly creatures of the (mostly) gay community. ART BEAR has posted images of a few of my bearded bloke paintings...

ART BEAR - Paper & Ink & Beards & Kink.

Check it out. Once you're there, click on the blog's title to see the latest hirsute related artwork.

See much more at

Friday, April 2, 2010

Is this the face of Velazquez?

After entering the collection of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1949 as a self portrait by Diego Velazquez (1599-1660), the image of a Spanish gentleman was demoted over the years to the "School of Velazquez' and then to the "Studio of Velazquez". The recent removal of the clumsy in-painting done during an aggressive restoration years earlier, as well as layers of yellowing varnish revealed a masterful study from life done by the master's hand. The restored painting (top) hangs proudly in the Met these days next to other Velazquez paintings. The question as to whether the man in the piece is Velasquez himself remains in the air. The portrait has a sketchy surface, painted with stunning confidence and sensitivity. It is clearly a study for a prominent figure gazing out at the viewer near the right corner of Velazquez's monumental composition "Surrender of Breda" (#2). While artists have often placed themselves in such compositions, some say the Court of Spain's strict etiquette would not allow such a move. One must keep in mind however, it was Velazquez who included himself prominently in his undisputed masterpiece "Las Meninas" (#3). The last painting shown is an acknowledged self portrait by the artist. Taking into account the time span between the Met portrait and the one here, the resemblance between them is intriguingly persuasive.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Lorenzo Lotto's lush life

Although he was active during the High Renaissance, the Northern Italian painter Lorenzo Lotto (1480-1556) seems to introduce Mannerism to the world with his model's angular poses and aesthetic surroundings. Lotto's simple self portrait (just above) forgoes the sumptuous costumes and artful poses of the other portraits, but shares with them an intensely direct gaze.

Hey Zeus! Good God, What a Beard!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Maarten van Heemskerck (1498-1574)

Dutch artist Maarten van Heemskerck (seen in a self portrait set against a view of the Colosseum) was a leading portrait and religious painter of the sixteenth century. He famously depicted the Seven Wonders of the World. His male figures have a taught countenance that hints of each sitter's focused energy.