Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Closely Looking at Picasso's Woman in White at The Met + Food: Almond Snowballs

The Met Museum's Grand Entry Hall (NYC)

Picasso's "Woman in White", as it appears
hanging on the gallery wall of the Met Museum.

The Met Museum's descriptive wall plaque.

ART:
Closely
Looking At...
"Woman in White"
Painted in 1923
by Pablo Picasso 

Editor's Note:
As a Christmas / Holiday Present for all who love art and Picasso, I offer a very close look at one of my favorite paintings. A large high quality print of this Picasso work hung in the sun-parlor of my grandmother's house, where we spent many summers and holidays while growing up. Unlike many of Picasso's more difficult to appreciate works, "Woman in White" is preciously beautiful and its very easy to sit in front this work of for hours and admire. 

"Woman in White" is such a simple work that deep analysis can be difficult, how much is there to actually look deeply into? Let's just jump in and see, maybe for the first time, the details of this masterpiece. 

First some history...

Picasso's Woman in White is a masterpiece of his Neoclassical Period, which lasted from 1918 to 1925. Here, the artist depicts a seated figure as a dreamlike vision of fragile perfection and refinement. He achieves this effect through the application of several layers of white wash and superimposed contours in soft shades of brown and gray. As in many of his other figures of the period, the idealized treatment of her facial features reflects Picasso's study of classical art. Her informal pose, along with the loose-fitting, almost diaphanous dress, gives the figure a gentle and relaxed air. The muted color scheme adds a romantic and pensive tone.
Picasso painted this work upon his return to Paris after a summer sojourn in Cap d'Antibes. There he, and his Russian wife Olga Khokhlova, vacation with Gerald and Sara Murphy. Although the model for this work has always been thought to be Olga, Sara Murphy did have classical features and some believe this canvas could be a portrait of her. Countering that thought, photographs Picasso took of Olga posing with classical sculptures, especially classical heads, demonstrates he thought the classical sculptures resembled Olga. 

The Murphys were a wealthy American, expatriate couple, living in Paris in the 1920s, and their circle of friends included many artists and writers (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, etc.). Sara Murphy was an American beauty and Gerald Murphy was a liberal minded artist himself. Between 1921 and 1924 Picasso was infatuated with Gerald's wife Sara. They met in the fall of 1921 and the families remained close, as mentioned, they vacationed together in 1923.
We may never know the true identity of the sitter, but since Picasso frequently fused the features of different people into a single idealized portrait, it is possible that this is just such a case. If so, the features of Olga and Sara are integrated here into a masterful and striking composition, full of tenderness and classical beauty.

The painting is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC. This blog is intended for limited educational use only and photos are intentionally low in dpi. Do not reproduce. Photos were taken with permission of the museum.


This is a portrait of a classical young beauty,
painted in subtle white on white tones,
with some pinks and browns added to accent the flesh tones.
Combine that technique with pencil lines and painted outlines,
and you have the origins of why this painting is so magnificent.
Just look at the work! It does not take art history lessons
to feel the emotions Picasso felt for this beautiful woman,
the aesthetics of great painting and the appreciation of simple beauty.

For her head, notice the shadows are not painted, only the highlights are painted
and the contrast with the underpainting creates a sense of the shadows.
Only a few quick strokes of brown paint define the details of her face, neck and hair.

Shades of pink push her neck into shadow and separate her flesh from the gauze of her dress.

The proportions of the the arms are perfect, and by looking closely it appears Picasso reworked many areas of the painting again and again,
painting over his mistakes with a haze of white oil paint washes.
The white washes also softened the underdrawing
making all parts, good and bad, a working part of the finished masterpiece.

Let's now focus on the head and face.

With the ear redrawn,
the top of the head redrawn,
the right eye redrawn
and the nose altered in length,
the light washes of pink and white
do make the earlier marks both right and wrong simultaniously,
those marks add depth, energy and vibrations to the painting.

Both eyes are defined by three strokes of brown paint plus a dot for the pupil of the eye.
One can see the build up of paint, with new color being applied over older colors.
The nose is strong and straight. a Roman nose,
defined by a quick bright accent stroke along the ridge,
plus the pink on the side and the darker underpainting,
which is transformed from bold to subtle through Picasso's washes of light color on top.

The tip of her nose almost loses its definition as it rounds up.

Her lips are petit and her neck and chin
are strong but elegant.
Notice the quickness of the defining outlines
in the center of the lips and on the chin and neck.

Notice the dark underdrawing and underpainting,
then a swipe of red, followed by the defining center line,
and finally the quick dabs of light pink for highlights.
When viewed at a distance, her lips are seductive and perfect.


The original pencil or charcoal marks are easy to see within and outlining her dress.
All overpainting in this area seems to be quite slowly applied with
consideration, thought and care. (Not quick and snappy.)

Her folded arms add tension to the pose.
Is she simply resting comfortably, or upset and
about to be authoritarian or is this a defensive pose?

The messy underpainting is tamed by the hazy white overpainting
and her fingers seem to be digging into the flesh of her upper arm.
Her fingers appear perfect, but are barely defined.

Something difficult to define has been painted over in her forearm. Looping rounded shapes
can be seen. It could even be an older painting (say of birds) started and abandoned.

Her left arm seems to have been shortened
and the elbo comes to a very sharp poin and angle.



Her dress finishes the painting with very little detail
and the folds created with the charcoal (graphite?)
and the light highlights creating the depth
through creative use of 
negative space.

More folds with the original drawing showing through.

Brushwork in the dress.

Brushwork in the dress.

Finally we will check out her hair.
Notice the top ridge was lowered dramatically.

The hair appears to have been almost solid black
during an earlier incarnation of the painting,
then painted over to make soft  subtle.

Quick brown strokes of paint make the hair flow down.

Again the highlights look deliberate in their application of paint, not quick strokes.

Hair continues to flow with only a few fresh strokes
and many more messy strokes underneath.

Her hair fades to a conclusion.

The hair points to  his signature
as Picasso concludes the masterpiece.

Detail of Picasso's signature.

(Source: Met Museum press website, close inspection of the artwork and photography by Jack A. Atkinson)
FOOD:
Almond Snowballs

Like Russian or Mexican Wedding Cookies
but for Winter Solstace!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
parchment paper
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Instructions:
- Preheat oven to 350°. Bake almonds in a single layer in a shallow pan 6 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool completely (about 20 minutes). Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
- Process almonds in a food processor 30 seconds or until finely ground.
- Beat butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add vanilla and 1 cup powdered sugar, beating well. (Dough will be crumbly.)
- Combine flour, salt, and almonds; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended.
- Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls, and place 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
- Bake at 325° for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Transfer to wire racks, and cool 10 minutes. Roll cookies in 1/2 cup powdered sugar.
(Source: family 3 x 5 recipe card)

Until later,
Jack

ARTSnFOOD is an online magazine dedicated to providing artists and collectors around the world with highlights of current art exhibitions, and to encourage all readers to invest in and participate in "The Joy of Art"® and culture. All rights reserved. All Concepts, Original Art, Text & Photographs in this posting (which are not credited) are © Copyright 2015 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. All gallery, event, museum, fair or festival photographs were taken with permission. Images © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Holiday Lights Set the Mood + FOOD: Savory/Sweet Hawaiian Roll Ham Sandwiches


HAPPY
HOLIDAYS
2015!

The art of holiday lights in the trees & bushes at the Denver Botanic Gardens.







 



(source: ARTSnFOOD staff photos Dec. 2015)

FOOD
Savory/Sweet 
Hawaiian Roll 
Ham Sandwiches

BEST HAM SANDWICHES YOU'LL EVER HAVE!
2 -12 packages of sweet Hawaiian rolls (the small dinner roll looking ones)
1 1/2 lbs of virginia ham (NOT honey ham)
12 slices swiss cheese
1 stick of real butter
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
Directions:
You will need two 9 x 13 pans. Place the bottoms of 12 rolls in each pan. Place ham (about 2 shaved slices or so) on the rolls. Cut the cheese slices into 4 parts and place 2 small pieces on each sandwich. Put the dinner roll tops on. In a sauce pan, mix butter, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder and poppy seeds. Wait until all butter is melted and then brush the melted mixture over the ham sandwiches. Cover with foil and let sit in fridge for 1 hour or over night. (If you want to bake them right away, you can also.) Preheat oven to 375 and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve. They are great hot and even at room temperature.
(Source: publicly shared on Facebook)
Until later,
Jack

ARTSnFOOD is an online magazine dedicated to providing artists and collectors around the world with highlights of current art exhibitions, and to encourage all readers to invest in and participate in "The Joy of Art"® and culture. All rights reserved. All Concepts, Original Art, Text & Photographs in this posting (which are not credited) are © Copyright 2015 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. All gallery, event, museum, fair or festival photographs were taken with permission. Images © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

It's the Holidays, How About A Dance Party!

ART
DANCE !

We're out shoppin', and partyin' so here is a dance party for you! Enjoy!



YouTube link: <iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/M1F0lBnsnkE?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!


(Source: YouTube)

Until later,
Jack

ARTSnFOOD is an online magazine dedicated to providing artists and collectors around the world with highlights of current art exhibitions, and to encourage all readers to invest in and participate in "The Joy of Art"® and culture. All rights reserved. All Concepts, Original Art, Text & Photographs in this posting (which are not credited) are © Copyright 2015 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. All gallery, event, museum, fair or festival photographs were taken with permission. Images © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

ARTSnFOOD GIFT GUIDE 2015 + FOOD: Fluffy Eggnog

Bugle Alarm Clock
MoMA $55 / $44 member
Give yourself an old-fashioned wake-up call with this nostalgic alarm clock from 1906, which sounds like a telephone in an old Hollywood movie. 
(Requires C-size battery, not included.)

ART
ARTSnFOOD
ANNUAL HOLIDAY
GIFT GUIDE
Issue #1 in a series
The holidays are 
filled with wishes!
Here is a start on our recommended gifts for 2015.



Picasso Sculpture Book 
MoMA $85 / $68 member
Published in conjunction with the first large-scale retrospective of Picasso's sculpture in the United States since The Museum of Modern Art's historic 1967 show, Picasso Sculpture is a sweeping survey of the artist's innovative and influential work in three dimensions. Over the course of his long career, Picasso devoted himself to sculpture wholeheartedly, if episodically, using both traditional and unconventional materials and techniques. He kept the majority of his sculptures in his private possession during his lifetime, and it was only in the late 1960s that the public became fully aware of this side of his oeuvre.
Picasso Sculpture presents approximately 150 sculptures—many of them captured in newly commissioned and multi-view photographs—alongside a selection of works on paper and photographs. Organized into chapters that correspond to distinct periods during which Picasso devoted himself to sculpture, the publication features an introduction by the exhibition curators as well as a richly illustrated chronology focusing on the sculptures included in the exhibition.
Spherovelo Rider 
MoMA $99 / $79.20 member
Designed for tots who have just learned the thrill of standing and walking, this foot-propelled vehicle helps accelerate a child’s motor development by simplifying the most challenging aspects of riding a bike in a stable design that is safe for early ambulators. Spherovelo glides along large spheres instead of wheels, allowing tykes to travel in any direction without resistance. Includes removable training wheels. Ages 10 to 24 mos.


Bonsai Forest Growing Kit
MoMA $50 / $40 member
Bring nature and tranquility to your life with this bonsai garden kit. These miniature trees were thought to be extinct until 1946 until when one was discovered growing in a rice field in central China. Appropriately named the "discovery tree," the bonsai symbolizes the bountiful surprises found in nature. You can cultivate your own grove of miniature trees with this easy-to-use indoor kit. While the seeds will sprout within a few weeks, just as full-sized trees take decades to reach their full height, it takes time and patience for your sprouts to mature into a fully grown forest. Trees pictured are approximately three years old.
Kit includes: dawn redwood tree and moss seed; recycled steel seedling training pots; seed starting wafers; growing medium; bonsai scissors; rake with spade; river stones; and directions. Kits assembled in Idaho, USA. Boxed. 3.25h x 9.5w x 9.5"d


Met Musuem: Charles Albert Lopez: 
The Sprinter Sculpture 
$995 / $895.50 member
Molded directly from the original, our sculpture reproduces a work by Charles Albert Lopez (American, b. Mexico, 1869–1906) now in the Museum's collection. The original sculpture by Lopez depicts a sprinter in a crouched position, his muscles tensed and face set in concentration, as he anticipates the start of a race. At the time the original sculpture was made, the crouching start had recently been introduced into track events. Lopez's The Sprinter was exhibited at the St. Louis fair, and a cast of the work was selected by the United States Navy to be used on a track trophy.

Met Musuem: 
Unicorn Pop-Up 
Advent Calendar  
$9.98 / $8.98 member (clearance)
This freestanding, pop-up Advent calendar from The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a captivating lead-in to Christmas. Underneath each of the twenty-four die-cut windows is a detail from the celebrated medieval tapestry The Unicorn in Captivity. On the reverse of each window is a brief description about the selected detail, from the mille fleur background to a butterfly and dragonfly to the irises and lilies. Filled with rich colors, religious symbolism, and remarkable detail, this Advent calendar evokes all the warmth and serenity of the Yuletide season.

Met Museum:  Louis C. Tiffany
Grapevine Double Old-Fashioned Glass 
$12/ $10.80 member
Drink differently! Our delightful glass is based on a stunning window panel by master decorative artist Louis Comfort Tiffany (American, 1848–1933). The window panel, now in the Museum’s collection of the American Wing, features jewel-like clusters of grapes on trailing vines silhouetted against a distant sky. The panel's textured glass lends a three- dimensional quality and a dazzling iridescence to the grapes. Our glass evokes the rich colors of the original piece. Glass. Hand wash only. 14 oz. 4 1/8''H; 3 1/4'' diam.

Met Museum:  The Three Graces Sculpture $195 / $175.50 member
Created in the second century A.D., the Museum's marble The Three Graces is a Roman copy of a Greek statue group from the second century B.C. These three young girls, linked in a dance-like pose, represent Aglaia (Beauty), Euphrosyne (Mirth), and Thalia (Abundance). Young, beautiful, and modest, they personify the graceful sensuousness of the female form; their closest connection is with Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, whom they serve as handmaidens. This frieze-like composition in the Museum's collection is typical of classicizing art of the second and first century B.C. Our reduced-scale reproduction was created using a combination of three-dimensional imaging and traditional sculpture techniques.



Met Museum 
Rodin: 
Eternal Spring Sculpture 
$325 / $292.50 member
The marble carving of the Metropolitan Museum's Eternal Spring (1906–7) has a sensuous, veiled quality that creates an impressionistic play of light and shade on the surface, characteristic of the marbles of Rodin's later career. Based on Auguste Rodin's (French, 1840–1917) original, our exquisite reproduction of Eternal Spring was created with a combination of three-dimensional imaging and traditional sculpture techniques.


Met Museum: (Front) 
Gerhaert von Leiden: Medieval Standing Virgin and Child Sculpture

Met Museum: (Back) 
Gerhaert von Leiden: Medieval Standing Virgin and Child Sculpture 
$450 / $405 member
Nikolaus Gerhaert von Leiden (North Netherlandish, active in Strasbourg, 1460–73) was the finest and most influential sculptor in the third quarter of the fifteenth century, a pivotal period in the development of late Gothic sculpture in northern Europe. This Standing Virgin and Child (ca. 1470) in the Museum's collection is especially notable for its sense of drama, monumentality, and elegance. The rhythm and balance of the drapery folds are counterpoised by the linear details and textural contrasts; naturalistic elements include the delicate manner in which the Virgin holds the child’s chubby flesh. The statuette, which continues a long tradition of devotional works in boxwood, may have been commissioned by a member of the Viennese court. Our sculpture in hand-patinated bonded bronze is based on this splendid fifteenth-century original.

Met Musuem: 
Amedeo Modigliani: Reclining Nude Poster 
$24/$21.60 member
Amedeo Modigliani's (Italian, 1884–1920) exquisite Reclining Nude Poster (1918) is featured in our poster. Poster measures 30'' x 40''. 

Editor's Note: A "Reclining Nude" painting by Amedeo Modigliani fetched $170.4 million this fall at a Christie's auction in Manhattan, setting a world record for the artist and achieving the second highest price ever garnered for a work of art at auction.


Met Museum: 
Minoan Pendant-Disc Necklace 
$125 / $112.50 member
The inspiration for this unusual jewelry came from a rare, flat gold ornament from the Aigina Treasure, one of the most important groups of gold objects from the Greek Bronze Age. When the Treasure first came to the British Museum in the late 19th century, it was reported to have been found on the island of Aigina, yet its identification was a puzzle and its age greatly underestimated. Some five decades later, the Aigina Treasure was identified as being largely of Minoan Cretan workmanship and is now thought to have been made between about 1850 and 1550 BC.



Met Musuem Art: 
365 Days of Masterpieces 
Desk Calendar 2016 
$16.99 / $15.29 member
A different Met masterpiece greets you each day with this desktop design. Virtually every Museum department is represented, reflecting the enormous breadth and depth of the collection, to nurture you with a daily dose of art.


ART IS... Met Museum 
$16.95 / $15.95 member
ART IS... Practice
ART IS... Mastery
ART IS... Study
ART IS... Craft
ART IS... Symmetry
ART IS... Craft
ART IS... (etc)
With over 180 works from The Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection, ART IS... looks at art with short, concise observation, reflections, and reactions. Because there are no absolute explanations, readers are encouraged to observe, to debate, and to develop their own definitions of art.
This engaging book from The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers nearly two hundred illustrated definitions of art, all presented as simple, concise observations and reactions: a Da Vinci sketch is study; a Louis Comfort Tiffany vase is craft; a Nigerian mask is symmetry; a Van Gogh still life is composition; a Babylonian lion is fierce; a Duccio portrait is tender.
Reaching across time and form, from ancient statues to medieval tapestries to Baroque instruments to Impressionist paintings to contemporary costumes, the selected works represent the Metropolitan Museum's vast collection and are sure to inspire both novice and seasoned art lovers to create their own definitions of art.


Met Museum 
Egyptian Jackal Sculpture 
$25 / $22.50 member
Small and precious, this handmade tagua nut carving recalls jackal-shaped figures in the Met’s collection of ancient Egyptian art. Anubis, the god of mummification, is often represented as a jackal, while the jackal-headed deity Duamutef was one of the Four Sons of Horus and was under the protection of the goddess Neith. Tagua nut is the seed of a tropical tree; when carved, its smoothness is akin to that of ivory.




Met Footed Bowl $25
One of the most unusual—and favorite—objects in the Metropolitan Museum’s Egyptian Collection is a red-polished ware bowl with supports shaped like human feet. Although the human feet add a touch of levity to its appearance, they were not created solely as an element of humor. This ceramic form should most likely be read as the three-dimensional hieroglyph for the word “w’b,” meaning pure or clean. Our reproduction is a copy of a bowl from the Predynastic period (ca. 3750–3550) in Egypt. Terracotta. For decorative use only. 3 1/2''H; 5 1/4'' diam.



Met   Han Female Dancer Sculpture $395.00 / $355.50 member
The Museum's collection houses a ceramic figure of a female dancer from the Western Han period, which is made of earthenware accented with pigment. A quintessential example of early Chinese sculpture, this beautiful figure illustrates the artist's achievement in conveying a sense of motion in a still object. The sculptor imbued the dancer with life force by capturing a tension-filled instant in her movement when she throws one sleeve back, gently stoops, and flexes her knees. Based on this evocative work, our expressive reproduction was created with a combination of three-dimensional imaging and traditional sculpture techniques.


MORE GIFTS TO COME ! ! !

(Source: Museum Shops for MoMA and Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC)

FOOD
HOLIDAY
FLUFFY 
EGG NOG
PUNCH

Ingredients
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pint whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites*

Directions
In a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. 
Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. 
Add the milk, cream, and nutmeg and stir to combine.
Place the egg whites in a mixer and beat to soft peaks. 
With the mixer still running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
Fold the egg whites into the mixture. (Incorporate 3 jiggers of bourbon - optional)
Chill and serve in a punch bowl.

(Source: Atkinson family cookbook, Ann's Egg Nog)

Until later,
Jack

ARTSnFOOD is an online magazine dedicated to providing artists and collectors around the world with highlights of current art exhibitions, and to encourage all readers to invest in and participate in "The Joy of Art"® and culture. All rights reserved. All Concepts, Original Art, Text & Photographs in this posting (which are not credited) are © Copyright 2015 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. All gallery, event, museum, fair or festival photographs were taken with permission. Images © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.