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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Art History, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 60
1. A conversation with Alodie Larson, Editor of Grove Art Online

We are delighted to present a Q&A with the Editor of Grove Art Online, Alodie Larson. She began at Oxford last June, coming from JSTOR, where she spent four years as part of their editorial team, acquiring new journals for the archive. In the below interview, you’ll get to know Alodie as Editor, and also learn her thoughts on art history research and publishing. You can also find her Letter from the Editor on Oxford Art Online.

Can you tell us a little about your background?

When I was young, I would draw house plans (with elevations in the shape of animals) and make artwork with whatever I could find. In college, I studied architecture and the history of art; I completed my MA at the Courtauld Institute of Art, focusing on the architecture of Georgian England. Afterward, I moved to New York and lived in a comically small apartment with my brilliant friend who studied with me in London. She worked at Christie’s, and she kept me from straying too far from the art world while I worked at Random House. I began in the audio/digital department and later moved to the children’s division; I was lucky to learn from talented editors who were generous with their time. I became intimately familiar with Louis L’Amour novels, and I read Twilight when it was a stack of 8 ½ x 11 copy paper. I joined JSTOR in 2009, where I managed their list of journals in art and architecture. I contributed to a project to digitize a group of rare art journals like 291 and The Crayon, as well as to an effort to build a database of historical auction catalogs, all of which JSTOR made freely available along with their other content in the public domain. I also worked on business and sociology, which helped me to appreciate how research methods differ between disciplines. I am delighted to be here at Oxford as the steward of the Grove Dictionary of Art. In my free time I like to travel, visit museums, go to the opera, and refinish furniture. I am still somewhat disappointed that my current house plan is not shaped like a giraffe.

What is your favorite piece of art, of all time, and why?

I love Bernini’s David – the artist’s skill and inventiveness make this sculpture a singularly perfect object. In Bernini’s hands, marble seems to melt, as if it could be smoothed and stretched to his design. Grove’s biography explains this gift: “He felt that one of his greatest achievements was to have made marble appear as malleable as wax and so, in a certain sense, to have combined painting and sculpture into a new medium, one in which the sculptor handles marble as freely as a painter handles oils or fresco.” Unlike Michelangelo’s calm, anticipatory David, Bernini’s figure projects determination and energy. His body twists in motion, and as you circle him, you feel you are both being wound up together. I leave this sculpture feeling as if I have been flung out of the gallery, propelled by his purposeful strength.

David stands in my favorite museum, the Galleria Borghese, which adds to its grandeur as it is the original location intended for the sculpture. In the early 17th< century, Cardinal Scipione Borghese oversaw construction of the building—then the Villa Borghese—and commissioned David as well as a number of other stellar works from Bernini including Apollo and Daphne and Pluto and Proserpina. I relish seeing these sculptures in the magnificent home of Scipione’s original collection.

NLW Larson

Galleria Borghese, Rome. Photo courtesy of the Alodie Larson.

Since it’s impossible to get someone with an art background to answer this question briefly, I must add that I also particularly admire the work of Eduard Vuillard, Mark Rothko, Grant Wood, James Turrell, William Morris, Daniel Burnham, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Franz Kline, Xu Bing, and McKim, Mead & White. Closer to home, I have two favorite works of art that belong to me. The first is a watercolor sketch of Piccadilly Circus that I bought at a market in the courtyard of the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio in Milan. With minimal strokes it evokes the London crossroads on a rainy night in the late 50s (back when Gordon’s Gin and Wrigley’s Chewing Gum took up prime real estate in the neon collage).

Piccadilly_Circus_in_London_1962_Brighter

Piccadilly Circus in London, 1962. Photo by Andrew Eick. Creative Commons license via Wikimedia Commons.

The second is a watercolor illustration of “Dradpot the Inverted Drool” drawn by my grandfather, Max V. Exner. He devoted his life to music but was a terrific artist as well, and our family lore has it that he was offered a job with Walt Disney Studios in the 1930s when a member of the company saw him doodling in a restaurant.

Also, in a beautiful, financially responsible future, I will have enough disposable income to buy an original work by David Shrigley. I urge him to try to become less famous so that I can afford this.

What is your favorite article in Grove Art Online?

I’m grateful that this role allows me to learn about artists I’ve never studied, and my favorite articles to read are those on subjects with which I’m not particularly familiar. Our forthcoming update includes new biographies on an outstanding group of contemporary artists from Nigeria, Kenya, Sudan, Ghana, Senegal, and South Africa, which I have enjoyed.

I am partial to the articles written by some of my favorite architectural historians, particularly Leland M. Roth, whose Understanding Architecture (1993) is, I think, one of the most engaging introductory texts. His Grove article on the urban development of Boston gives a great overview of the subject. I also like David Watkin’s article on Sir John Soane. An excellent summary of Soane’s life and work, it is an absorbing narrative with entertaining flourishes. (“Despite Soane’s high professional standing, his idiosyncratic style was often ridiculed by contemporaries in such phrases as ‘ribbed like loins of pork’.”) I have always admired Soane’s work and his unconventional museum.

The breakfast parlour at Sir John Soane's Museum as pictured in the Illustrated London News in 1864

The breakfast parlour at Sir John Soane’s Museum as pictured in the Illustrated London News in 1864. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

What are some of the challenges of transitioning art history resources to an online environment?

Together, Grove and Benezit contain over 200,000 entries and images, and it is a challenge to organize that much information online in a clear, intuitive way that ensures researchers will find the articles they need. Many Grove entries first appeared in the print publication, The Dictionary of Art, and the article titles weren’t designed to fit well with modern keyword searches. Important essays can be buried within several layers of subheadings in long articles, sometimes with only date ranges as section titles. For a print work, it makes sense; you’d want all of the articles on a topic or region to be gathered together and located within the same physical volume. However, in an online environment, ideal heading structure would aid successful keyword matches and avoid cumbersomely long entries.

Despite the challenges, an online environment offers more powerful research options. Both Grove and Benezit are organized under a robust taxonomy, and this information allows users to narrow content by categories such as art form, location, or period. Rich search functionality and linking helps users to move between topics more swiftly than print research would permit. An online environment also allows our resource to respond quickly to new developments. We constantly update and expand the body of articles in our encyclopedia (though updates are not instantaneous, as our content is peer-reviewed, supervised by our distinguished Editorial Board and Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Nicola Courtright).

Oxford Art Online hosts thousands of images. Are there any challenges in hosting these on the site?

Yes, as with our articles, the volume of objects presents a challenge. Grove Art contains over 7,000 images, including many well-known artworks that would be discussed as part of an introductory survey course. Keyword searches usually connect researchers with the images relevant to their work, but we’re working to develop more powerful tools with which to both search and view images.

Obtaining image permissions can also be a challenge, but we are grateful for our partnerships with organizations like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art Resource, Bridgeman Art Library, and the National Gallery of Art, which have brought a rich group of images to GroveBenezit, too, benefits from important partnerships with the Frick Art Reference Library and ArtistSignatures.com, which provide thousands of artists’ portraits and signatures on Oxford Art Online.

How do you envision art history research being done in 20 years?

I believe research in art history will become more collaborative, interdisciplinary, and international. Art libraries have undertaken enormously useful digitization projects, making objects in their collections available to scholars in far flung locations. I’m impressed with primary source projects like the collaboration between the Met and the Frick libraries to digitize the exhibition materials of the Macbeth Gallery, and Yale’s Blue Mountain Project, which digitized a collection of avant-garde art, music, and literary periodicals from 1848-1923. A number of other university libraries have excellent digital collections for art research, including the University of Washington, the Harry Ransom Center at UT Austin, Harvard University, University of Wisconsin, and Columbia University, which hosts the addictively interesting Robert Biggert Collection of Architectural Vignettes on Commercial Stationery.

Courtesy of The Biggert Collection of Architectural Vignettes on Commercial Stationery, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

Courtesy of The Biggert Collection of Architectural Vignettes on Commercial Stationery, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

Whether through local collections or collaborative projects like the HathiTrust, JSTOR, and the DPLA, libraries and publishers are bringing a terrific breadth of important materials online. As content becomes more accessible, I think researchers will select online resources based on the caliber of their material and on the functionality provided the platform. Even as publishers’ brands may fall further behind the façade of library discovery services, I believe scholars will continue to value sources they can trust to maintain high standards of quality.

Art has always been an interdisciplinary field, involving history, politics, economics, and cultural exchange. In the coming years, I think it will be important to emphasize how art connects with these other fields. With the current national focus on careers in science and technology, art is sometimes cast as an academic luxury, but it is not. Its study involves issues fundamentally relevant to all of us. In the words of Albert Einstein: “All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual toward freedom.”

Alodie Larson is the Editor of Grove Art and Oxford Art Online. Before joining Oxford, she studied the architecture of Georgian England at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London and worked for Random House and JSTOR.

Libraries are a vital part of our communities. They feed our curiosity, bolster our professional knowledge, and provide a launchpad for intellectual discovery. In celebration of these cornerstone institutions, we are offering unprecedented free access to our Online Resources, including Oxford Art Online, in the United States and Canada to support our shared mission of education.

Oxford Art Online offers access to the most authoritative, inclusive, and easily searchable online art resources available today. Through a single, elegant gateway users can access — and simultaneously cross-search — an expanding range of Oxford’s acclaimed art reference works: Grove Art Online, the Benezit Dictionary of Artists, the Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, The Oxford Companion to Western Art, and The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms, as well as many specially commissioned articles and bibliographies available exclusively online.

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2. Back to (art) school

By Kandice Rawlings


Summer is over and it’s back-to-school season. Art students are heading back to their classrooms and studios, receiving a course of training that will help them become professional artists. Much of the general public today likely has an image of the working artist as a glamorous intellectual, a socially-conscious provocateur, or a tradition-busting bohemian who has received a course of formal training, resulting in a fine arts degree. But these stereotypes and the reality they approximate—and the institutions that have contributed to it in one way or another—are relatively recent phenomena.

For most of history, the artist in the West (Europe and its colonies) was a craftsman who was trained as an apprentice in the workshop of a senior artist (‘master’). By working under the master and paying him a fee, an apprentice would learn the technical aspects of his craft—how to mix pigments, prepare wood panels for painting, or handle a chisel and hammer—as well as standard motifs and compositions that would suit his patrons. (I use the male pronoun here deliberately—professional women artists were unknown until the Renaissance period and were still extremely scarce until the 19th century.) After several years of training (usually in adolescence), an apprentice could apply for guild membership and open his own workshop.

Students painting ‘from life’ at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris. Late 1800s.

Students painting ‘from life’ at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris. Late 1800s. Photograph in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

This model persisted in most of Europe until the 17th and 18th centuries, when state-sponsored art academies became widely established. The institution of the academy has its roots in Renaissance Italy, where humanist scholars, famous artists, and their patrons set out to reshape the visual arts as intellectual endeavors. While the medieval artist was a craftsman, the same as a cobbler or a weaver, the Renaissance artist—a good one, anyway—was a genius and a scholar. He (and, increasingly, she) therefore required a new kind of education, to learn about classical culture, literature, philosophy, theology, science, and mathematics, all of which were deemed essential to the production of good art. The first academy (named after Plato’s school in ancient Athens) was established in Florence in 1563, soon followed by one in Rome. By the end of the 18th century, every major European state boasted at least one academy of art. The National Academy of Design was founded in New York in 1825, based on the British model of independence from government involvement. The course of study at the academies was highly standardized and was based largely on classical forms and subjects, and the study of live models and plaster casts. Artists not trained at academies might instead learn similar skills in a successful artist’s studio, similar to the medieval master/apprentice relationship, with an updated curriculum.

By the late 19th century, after decades of political upheaval throughout Europe and the United States, the academy came to be seen by many artists as a sclerotic arm of the state. Academic artists turned out technically astute but formulaic work, some of it openly propagandistic. The emergence of the avant-garde prompted many artists to break institutional ties, forgoing academy-sponsored exhibitions (in France, these were the famous Salons) and trying to make their way without the help or influence of the establishment. (Thus the image of the artist as a struggling outsider was born.) In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, groups of artists established schools that were alternatives to the academy, such as the Art Students League in New York and the Bauhaus design school in Germany. A break from academic norms also opened doors for so-called self-taught artists with no formal training at all.

Exterior of the Bauhaus workshops

Exterior of the Bauhaus workshops, Dessau. Photo by PeterDrews (Own work). CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Today artistic training happens in the contemporary academy, in post-secondary art schools or fine arts departments of colleges and universities, and in some cities and countries, beginning in specialized high schools. Programs awarding bachelor’s and graduate degrees require a variety of studio courses, as well as exposure to art theory through seminars, and sometimes professional internships or additional coursework in art history. Typically, graduating students participate in a capstone exhibition of their work (‘thesis show’).

How do artists fare after their formal education has finished? Statistics and studies from different countries provide a mixed picture, but a recent survey revealed that Americans holding fine arts degrees have a rate of unemployment (4%) well below the national average and report a high level of satisfaction in their jobs.

Kandice Rawlings is Associate Editor of Oxford Art Online at Oxford University Press. Before joining OUP, she studied Italian Renaissance art and taught art history at Rutgers University. Her students included many talented artists and performers studying at the Mason Gross School of the Arts.

Oxford Art Online offers access to the most authoritative, inclusive, and easily searchable online art resources available today. Through a single, elegant gateway users can access — and simultaneously cross-search — an expanding range of Oxford’s acclaimed art reference works: Grove Art Online, the Benezit Dictionary of Artists, the Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, The Oxford Companion to Western Art, and The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms, as well as many specially commissioned articles and bibliographies available exclusively online.

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3. Renoir's Red Hat : Prezi

Renoir's Red Hat is a whimsical poem about a kid who goes to the art museum to steal some art (be it literal or figurative is up to the reader).

Each time our little thief fills a pocket, another artist is identified.  This story will help kids learn to recognize artists and their work through playful yet effective visual clues.





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4. RENOIR’S RED HAT


RENOIR’S RED HAT
A poem about Art History


What makes a happy heart
Is seeing modern art 
The museum’s where I start
To put art in my pocket
I put art in my pocket


Renoir and his red hats
Those hats are always red
They won’t fit in my pocket so
I put them on my head
I put them on my head


From a bench I sat
And stared at Pollock’s splats
He splattered out of vats
I put splats in my pocket
Pollock splats in my pocket


Pollock and his splats
Renoir and his red hats
Those hats are always red
I put them on my head
I put them on my head



Next I see Seurat
He painted little dots
I like those dots a lot 
I put dots in my pocket
Seurat dots in my pocket


Seurat who painted dots
Pollock and his splats
Renoir and his red hats
Those hats are always red
I put them on my head
I put them on my head


Kandinsky looks like candy
Candy would be dandy
I’d like some dandy candy
I put them in my pocket
Kandinsky in my pocket


Kandinsky looks like candy
Seurat who painted dots
Pollock and his splats
Renoir and his red hats
Those hats are always red
I put them on my head
I put them on my head




I also like Keith Haring
I find his line so daring
Wait till the guard’s not glaring
Then put them in my pocket
Keith Haring in my pocket


Haring’s daring line
Kandinsky looks like candy
Seurat who painted dots
Pollock and his splats
Renoir and his red hats
Those hats are always red
I put them on my head
I put them on my head





Warhol copied soup cans
Campbells is the name brand
Using only one hand
I put them in my pocket
Warhol in my pocket


Warhol’s copied cans
Haring’s daring line
Kandinsky looks like candy
Seurat who painted dots
Pollock and his splats
Renoir and his red hats
Those hats are always red
I put them on my head
I put them on my head




Van Gogh made Starry Night
A Swirly whirly site
Makes me think I might
Put it in my pocket
Van Gogh into my pocket



Van Gogh’s painted swirls
Warhol’s copied cans
Haring’s daring line
Kandinsky looks like candy
Seurat who painted dots
Pollock and his splats
Renoir and his red hats
Those hats are always red
I put them on my head
I put them on my head



-------------


Now it’s time to go
This is how I know
My pants are hanging low
There’s no room in my pocket
There’s no room in my pocket

I’m almost down the block
That’s when I hear the cop
He hollers at me STOP!
He knows about my pockets
The art that’s in my pockets

Run!

Down the street I dart
My pockets full of art
I lose some from the start

Seruat falls out my pocket
Van Gogh falls out my pocket

I turn the corner fast
Can tell I’m running past
Not sure the art will last
Pollock leaves my pocket
Kandinsky out my pocket

I hear my heart go pound
It’s making a loud sound
I fall and hit the ground
Haring out my pocket
Warhol out my pocket

And looking up I see
The guard stands over me
And says to me with glee

I think you dropped your hat

Those hats are always red
I put it on my head
I put it on my head

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5. Recently found: original 1941 concept sketches for Wonder...



Recently found: original 1941 concept sketches for Wonder Woman.

Here we have a piece of comic book history from early-1941 in the form of a letter from cartoonist Harry G. Peter, written to William Moulton Marston, in which he unveils some very early sketches of Marston’s new superheroine, Wonder Woman; Marston’s handwritten response to Peter can also be seen, penned in red below the original message. Wonder Woman’s subsequent debut came just months later - December - in All Star Comics #8 (cover). The rest is history. Transcript follows. (via Letters of Note: The birth of Wonder Woman)


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6. Letters of Note: How to Train an Animator, by Walt Disney A...



Letters of Note: How to Train an Animator, by Walt Disney

A letter written by Walt Disney in 1935 to Don Graham, tasking him with organizing art classes for the Disney animators. To put the timing in perspective, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released in 1937, and Pinocchio and Fantasia in 1940.

Disney was a business tycoon, but he understood his business was in storytelling and emotion. From the letter:

Comedy, to be appreciated, must have contact with the audience. This we all know, but sometimes forget. By contact, I mean that there must be a familiar, sub-conscious association. Somewhere, or at some time, the audience has felt, or met with, or seen, or dreamt, the situation pictured. A study of the best gags and audience reaction we have had, will prove that the action or situation is something based on an imaginative experience or a direct life connection. This is what I mean by contact with the audience. When the action or the business loses its contact, it becomes silly and meaningless to the audience.


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7. Great Flickr set of Magic Lantern slides.



Great Flickr set of Magic Lantern slides.



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8. J.C. Leyendecker up close Illustrator Scott Anderson spent some...



J.C. Leyendecker up close

Illustrator Scott Anderson spent some time studying a few original Leyendecker covers for the Saturday Evening Post, and has posted a series of close-up photos on his blog. Clicking through to the full-res images reveals an incredible amount of detail, allowing you to truly study Leyendecker’s brushstrokes.



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9. Lady Madonna, Baby at Your Breast

 

Madonna del’latte, Ambrogio Lorenzetti c. 1330

I really enjoyed the museums in Siena in part because they were small enough to manage with children, and not so packed. But the best part was their troves of early Renaissance art. I like the early stuff because it’s not so all-fired perfect like the late Renaissance art. During the early period, artists had figured out a few things about perspective, but they hadn’t yet cracked the whole code. 

The art from the early period also seems brighter and more colorful than the later Renaissance. I find myself relating to it because it’s more like what I’d want to create myself. Perfection in artwork doesn’t really interest me that much, probably because I’m living after the invention of photography. So the beautiful but imperfect early Renaissance paintings (as well as pre-Renaissance works) have an almost modern feel to me.

Disclaimer: this isn’t an all that scholarly perspective, so bear that in mind.

St. Bernardino Preaching, by Sano di Pietro (above)—This scene takes place in the same Piazza del Campo from my previous post. I couldn’t find a better image of it, but in real life the colors are much brighter. The building behind St. Bernardino is the color of papaya flesh. 

Datei:Simone Martini 018.jpg

(detail from The Siege of the Castle of Montemassi, by Simone Martini)

The image above is just a tiny bit of a beautiful and famous painting. You can see the artist has made an attempt to show the dimensionality of the castle, but it’s still a bit flat, with an almost cubist feeling. I love it.

Our favorite pieces in the museum were the nursing Madonnas. I had never seen anything like them and was so moved by their tenderness. Whoever thought of Mary breastfeeding Jesus? Evidently plenty of artists have, but I hadn’t. I found the images so intimate, so human. So different from some other Madonnas where she’s looking away from baby Jesus, holding him like she’s not sure whose kid this is but would someone please take him?

Evidently there are a lot of these lactating Madonnas from 14th century Tuscany. According to Wikipedia,  they were “something of a visual revolution for the theology of the time, compared to the Queen of Heaven depictions.”

Madonna del latte, Paolo di Giovanni Fei

“During the Council of Trent in the mid-16th century, a decree against nudity was issued, and the use of the Madonna Lactans iconography began to fade away.”

Sigh. At least they didn’t burn them.

The coolest thing about seeing these paintings was how much my small children responded to them. I think the idea of baby Jesus being so like themselves, so like oth

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10. What makes an image an icon?

Image, branding, and logos are obsessions of our age. Iconic images dominate the media. In his new book, Christ to Coke, art historian Professor Martin Kemp examines eleven mega-famous examples of icons, including the American flag, the image of Christ's face, the double helix of DNA, and the heart.

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11. Émile Cohl’s Fantasmagorie, from 1908, considered to be...



Émile Cohl’s Fantasmagorie, from 1908, considered to be the first animated cartoon.



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12. A nice collection of old bookplates over at BibliOdyssey, which...









A nice collection of old bookplates over at BibliOdyssey, which remains one of the richest resources on the Internet.









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13. Video: Milton Glaser

Really classy short video portrait of designer, Milton Glaser, by Hillman Curtis.

Lots of other great short films about artists on his site.

Also of interest:
Video: Milton Glaser, Chip Kidd and David Eggars

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14. Top Ten Cities in Comics – chosen by an architect

Marlinspike Hall - Herge

The Architects Journal blog has a neat Top Ten list of cities in comics (posted by Rory Olcayto). Because it is obviously written for people who know nothing about comics, it probably doesn’t go in-depth enough for comics experts on Drawn, but it does provide some interesting extras like this pairing of Marlinspike Hall with its inspiration, from Herge’s classic Tintin series. There are also some amusing picky comments from architects in the comments: “Just to be pedantic – you are mixing up Aztec and Inca influences and how Herge used them,” writes Tintin buff Chris Tregenza, who made this map of Tintin’s voyages.

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15. Japanese Graphic Design

japanese-graphics

An inspiring collection of Japanese graphic design images from the last half-century over at A Journey Round My Skull (which incidentally is an awesome blog). The above image is tagged, “Yoshitaro Isaka, 1966, ad”.

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16. Tropes and scopes: a collection of magic lanterns and optical toys

a82a091685

Dick Balzer’s collection of magic lanterns, zoetropes, thaumatropes, phenakistoscopes, and other optical toys is one of the finest in the world. He has been collecting “anything and everything invented before the movie camera that produces an optical effect” for 30 years.

The site’s boasts some new flash galleries which replicate some of the pieces’ effects (note: doesn’t seem to work in Safari).


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17. Caricature research blog

caric

In the world of art history there is increasing attention being paid to caricature. A rather large bulk of the research seems to be getting done in French. For those interested in a blog full of links to resources and books and conferences on historical caricature, caricatures et caricature.com is just the thing – in French. However, the links work for English-speakers too ;-).


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18. Lowell Hess’ Tiny Collier’s Spots

Lowell Hess is one of the forgotten giants of the mid-20th century cartoon art business.  Among his many laudable accomplishments is a year-long series of tiny spots done for Collier’s magazine in the early 50’s.

Hess202

These spots appeared regularly in a column called “48 States of Mind” and, although tiny in stature, they are huge in the excellence of their content.  Brilliant character design, hilarious oddball concepts and meticulous execution make Hess’ tiny Collier’s spots well worth a closer look.  You’ll find several more at Today’s Inspiration.


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19. Pictorial Webster’s: A Visual Dictionary of Curiosities

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Pipe Pagespread

Fans and students of engraving, traditional printing processes, art history, and 19th-century ephemera alike should, like I did, fall instantly in love with Pictorial Webster’s: A Visual Dictionary of Curiosities.

Bookmaker John M. Carrera meticulously restored thousands of engravings from the pages of 19th-century Webster’s dictionaries, and has compiled an extraordinary visual account of Victorian history.

In his introduction to the book, Carrrera suggests that the very juxtapositions of the illustrations tell a story:

The conceptual underpinning is that this book can act as a springboard for individual creativity. It was printed with a belief that the human compulsion to find meaning would lead readers to create stories that explain whole pages and perhaps even inspire some to derive unifying threads that might, in a Joycean fashion, enable a narration of the entire book.

It is a creative and romantic way to look at what amounts to a collection of images very purposefully arranged in alphabetical order, but he continues to admit the book is invaluable even just as pure reference:

The surface function of the book as a visual reference needs little explanation. The book contains many great examples of how to solve problems of illustration. … By virtue of the magnitude of engravings, their varying density and size, the book also becomes a study in design.

In this video I found on Vimeo, John Carrera gives us a detailed tour of the process, tools, and machinery used to print and bind the hand-made jaw-dropping deluxe edition of the book. It is nothing short of book-making porn:

The pricetag of this lovingly crafted tome? $4600.00.

But not to worry. The trade edition of Pictorial Webster’s is an affordable $35.


Posted by John Martz on Drawn! The Illustration and Cartooning Blog | Permalink | One comment
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1 Comments on Pictorial Webster’s: A Visual Dictionary of Curiosities, last added: 10/23/2009
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20. How to Draw Monsters! with ‘Scary’ Harry Borgman

Only two more sleeps ’til Hallowe’en, kiddies! If you youngsters need a little help drawing monsters, then Monsterman ‘Scary’ Harry Borgman can help.

Way back in 1974 Harry drew a little booklet called “How to Draw Monsters”. By then, Harry had been drawing cars, people, landscapes and just about anything else you can think of for more than three decades. Harry began his commercial art career in Detroit in 1946.

In the early 70’s not only was Harry drawing cartoon Draculas… he also drew some gorgeous realistic Dracula illustrations for a book called “Great Tales of Horror and Suspense”.

Harry’s varied career has given him a wealth of esoteric experiences. For instance, though he was never one of “Mad’s maddest artists” he was one of Sick’s sickest artists. The cartoon creeps below are a great example of his ’sick skills’.

Harry is now 81 and still going strong. In fact, he’s just celebrated the first anniversary of his blog. Drop by Harry Borgman’s Art Blog and you’ll see for yourself that this amazing illustrator can teach you how to draw monsters… and a whole lot more!

* I’ll be featuring a dozen scans from “How to Draw Monsters” on my own blog on Saturday October 31st, but you can preview them all ( and tons of other amazing Harry Borgman art) in my Harry Borgman Flickr set.


Posted by Leif Peng on Drawn! The Illustration and Cartooning Blog | Permalink | One comment
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2 Comments on How to Draw Monsters! with ‘Scary’ Harry Borgman, last added: 10/30/2009
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21. Don Ivan Punchatz R.I.P.

Larry Roibal alerted me this morning with this post on his blog to the death of Don Ivan Punchatz. Its always sad when a legendary illustrator pass away… but this passing is especially unfortunate when we learn that Punchatz’s widow is now burdened with massive health care bills due to the artist not having had health insurance.

For those who are unfamiliar with the name Don Ivan Punchatz, you may have seen his work for Playboy, Esquire, National Lampoon, Time, Newsweek, and a host of other magazines, countless paperback book covers, the first Star Wars film poster, the cover of the Doom video game… truly a giant. We will miss him.

Punchatz’s obituary at Spectrum


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1 Comments on Don Ivan Punchatz R.I.P., last added: 11/2/2009
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22. Evaline Ness Collection Auction

Have you ever heard of Evaline Ness? She was an illustrator of many children’s books during the mid-20th century period. At a time when most illustration was still being done in a style of literal realism, Ness was among that group of stylistic pioneers whose work still influences the look of illustration today.

She also has the unusual distinction of having been married for a time to the famous FBI agent, Elliot Ness.

The Bloombury Auction House in New York has an upcoming auction featuring a collection of children’s books signed by Evaline Ness, her Caldecott medal for Sam, Bangs and Moonshine and some never before seen sketchbooks and dummies all of which come from her family collection.

The sale will take place at Bloomsbury Auctions New York on Wednesday, December 9th, but those who won’t be able to attend can view nearly a dozen pieces from the Ness collection in my Evaline Ness Flickr set.


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23.

The Balloon Mosaic

This was our last Art History project. The idea was to create a 40' x 46' mosaic of the Mona Lisa out of balloons. We create a grid using yard then started blowing up the 2,000 balloons.

Unfortunately, the weather did cooperate. The wind kicked in by afternoon, twisting our grid and popping our balloons. In the end we decided to dismantle. However, we may try again with a new approach...










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24. Art Words


“Every corner of the canvas should be alive,”  Said Henry Matisse and I think he was right. I guess you can't always take everything into account on a tight deadline but I always try. I had forgotten the wording of this quote until I read this article. This was also taught to me at art school (Nova Scotia College of Art and Design) I'm not sure which teacher said it but to paraphrase them " You should be able to remove a square inch from anywhere in your paining and have it be as beautiful as any other," I'm probably getting it wrong but it's always stuck with me. 

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25. The Anatomy Lecture of Nicolaes Tulp (by Scott Campbell) While I...



The Anatomy Lecture of Nicolaes Tulp (by Scott Campbell)

While I think this image speaks for itself, check out Scott’s process documented on his blog.



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