Entries in art history (8)


Sunday Art History 101 - Eugène Delacroix

Eugène Delacroix
La Mort de Sardanapale (Death of Sardanapalus), 1827.
Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions: Height: 3.9 m (12.8 ft); Width: 4.9 m (16.2 ft)
Louvre Museum

Sardanapalus, king of Assyriais, is portrayed as a decadent figure who spends his life in self-indulgence and upon hearing of his incipient defeat, had all his precious possessions, including concubines, female and male, destroyed in an orgy of destruction.



Deadpool vs. Caracalla: Portrait Lesson

Deadpool vs. Marcus Aurelius Severus Antoninus Augustus (Emperor Caracalla)
Acrylic on canvasboard

This started out as a step by step portrait painting of Emperor Caracalla using a photograph of his marble bust as a reference, but the experiment on the left side went foul and I quickly covered it with a likeness of the cartoon character Deadpool. I still use this example to try and engage the students with some history. I have used it with art histroy; ceramics, making a bust, and life drawing, portraits.

I might say, "Who would win in a street fight? Deadpool or Caracalla?" The students might say, "Who is Caracalla?" and it's off to the races. Then you might ask, "Aren't you promoting violence?" To which I would respond, "Was the Roman Empire violent?"


Students will gain knowledge of human anatomy and form through observation, research, and fundamental exercises. These exercises will develop skills in gesture, contour, outline, and tonal modeling. Students will explore and experiment with portrait representation. The artist’s self portrait is a tradition we will also explore within the history of art.


If the student is challanged by the materials have them try finger-painting the portrait. Even high school students enjoy finger-painting.

If you would like to see the complete ciricullum for this unit please contact me.


Secret Knowledge

In this video, based on the book by the same name, published in 2001, Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters, David Hockney does a convincing job at explaining how things are always the way they seem. By connecting a timeline to the discovery of such tools as curved mirrors and camera lucida we see how it is possible that the famed artists of the renaissance may have used the same “cheats” many artists use today. 


How to recognize Baroque art.

Another good video and lesson from SmART History.

Once referred to as a deformed pearl, “baroque” was used to disparage the artists who reformed the lessons of the renaissance. By adding dramatic realism, bold light and dark contrasts (chiaroscuro), and physical and emotional immediacy, baroque art comes to life.

The list of artists associated with period speaks for itself; Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer. Historically these artists raised the bar of craftsmanship that stills moves us today.


The Next Rembrandt

I wonder if Rembrandt van Rijn ever wondered if people would admire his work in the future? I'd like to believe that he would have enjoyed this project.
"On [11 Apr 2016] in Amsterdam, an artwork called “the Next Rembrandt” will be unveiled for the first time.
It is the result of an 18-month project which asks whether new technology and data can bring back to life one of the greatest, most innovative painters of all time.
Advertising executive Korsten, whose brainchild the project was, admitted that there were many doubters. “The idea was greeted with a lot of disbelief and skepticism,” he said. “Also coming up with the idea is one thing, bringing it to life is another.”
The project has involved data scientists, developers, engineers and art historians from organizations including Microsoft, Delft University of Technology, the Mauritshuis in The Hague and the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam.
The final 3D printed painting consists of more than 148 million pixels and is based on 168,263 Rembrandt painting fragments." - The Guardian
“Data is used by many people today to help them be more efficient and knowledgeable about their daily work, and about the decisions they need to make. But in this project it’s also used to make life itself more beautiful. It really touches the human soul.”– Ron Augustus, Microsoft
“We looked at a number of Rembrandt paintings, and we scanned their surface texture, their elemental composition, and what kinds of pigments were used. That’s the kind of information you need if you want to generate a painting by Rembrandt virtually.”- Joris Dik, Technical University Delft