Love & War~ May 31

Radha & Krishna

Radha, daughter of Vrishabhanu, was the mistress of Krishna during that period of his life when he lived among the cowherds of Vrindavan…So great was Radha’s love for Krishna that even today her name is uttered whenever Krishna is referred to, and Krishna worship is thought to be incomplete without the deification of Radha.

In many paintings (2003.178a), the divine couple is presented within a fertile, flowering landscape filled with pairs of birds.

 

“Krishna and Radha (Primary Title)”~ Though early textual sources make only brief mention of a favorite gopi, later devotional literature overflows with accounts of Krishna’s adored Radha. Their love began when they were young children and later erupted into a highly charged passionate affair. Metaphorically, their frequent trysts in the forest reference the soul’s (Radha’s) ardent desire for union with God (Krishna).
https://www.vmfa.museum/piction/6027262-79572376/

 

 

“Krishna and Radha under a Tree in a Storm”~ This painting depicts the Hindu god Krishna sitting beneath a tree while his beloved, Radha, runs to join him, seeking shelter from an impending storm…Krishna’s love affair with Radha is used as an analogy for the relationship between God and devotee: deeply satisfying but not without its challenges. Here, Radha turns to Krishna for comfort in much the same way a devotee would turn to God.
https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/objects/96785

 

 

“Radha and Krishna Dressed in Each Other’s Clothes”~ This unique visual motif of the clothing exchange serves as a metaphor for Radha and Krishna’s shared essence. Radha’s and Krishna’s donning of each other’s garments signifies that the two are identical.
https://archive.asia.si.edu/devi/fulldevi/deviCat80.htm

 

 

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Love & War~ May 29

Christo and Jeanne-Claude

The Gates / 1979-05 / 7,503 vinyl “gates” / Central Park, NYC, February 12, 2005-February 27, 2005

 

Christo Vladimirov Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude were a married couple who created environmental works of art. Christo and Jeanne-Claude were born on the same day, June 13, 1935; Christo in Gabrovo, Bulgaria, and Jeanne-Claude in Morocco. They first met in Paris in October 1958 when Christo painted a portrait of Jeanne-Claude’s mother.
Their works include the wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin and the Pont-Neuf bridge in Paris, the 24-mile (39 km)-long artwork called Running Fence in Sonoma and Marin counties in California, and The Gates in New York City’s Central Park.
Jeanne-Claude died, aged 74, on November 18, 2009, from complications of a brain aneurysm.  ~Wikipedia

The couple emigrated from Paris to New York in 1964. “We immediately loved New York,” Jeanne-Claude said. “As we were standing on the prow of the SS France, suddenly there it was in front of us. And Christo took me in his arms and said, ‘Do you like it? I love it! I give it to you, it’s all yours!'” (He proposed, but never got permission, to wrap several skyscrapers.)
Their relationship lasted 51 years, and they did everything together, Jeanne-Claude said, except three things: “We never fly on the same airplane… I do not draw. Christo is the one who puts on paper our ideas… And I have always deprived him of the joy of working with our accountant.”  ~The Guardian

Love & War~ May 27

Lovers Walking in the Snow (Crow and Heron) by Suzuki Harunobu

1764–72 / Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper, with embossing / 11 1/4”x8 1/8” / The Met

Courtesan Senri Receiving a Love Letter

Suzuki Harunobu (1725?-1770) played a pivotal role in the evolution of Japanese printmaking during its great period — the last half of the i8th and the first years of the 19th century. In the final years of his relatively brief life, he opened up a new dimension of expression in that tradition of graphics by introducing many colors to what had essentially been a mono-chromatic art form.

A Woman Sweeping up Her Love Letters

Just 20 or so years previously, the invention of so-called benizuri-e had made it possible to print ukiyoe in three or four colors, but already it was becoming possible to print about ten different colors on a single sheet of paper. It was Harunobu who first applied this new technique to ukiyoe prints. Such prints were called nishiki-e.

A Caged Bird and a Love Letter

Harunobu died in 1770, only five years after introducing the nishiki-e print. However, in those last few years of his life, he produced over one thousand print designs, chiefly depictions of willowy young girls, and also a fair percentage of shunga (erotic prints), as most ukiyo-e artists did. He is known to have produced at least seven shunga volumes.

Suzuki Harunobu / ukiyo-e.org
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Harunobu from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston / April 24 – June 24, 2018 / Abeno Harukas Art Museum

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Love & War~ May 25

Charles & Ray Eames

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Charles was a designer with an eye for form. Ray was an artist with an eye for color. They complemented each other on projects like coat hangers, films, their namesake chairs, and large architectural projects. Through four decades of creative work, they revolutionized design and created an indelible mark on American History. The duo was not without faults, but the pair proved to be inseparable and inspirational. They were the Eameses.

The Eames studio—part workshop, part circus— was a partnership of two free spirits: one, an architecture school dropout who never got his license; the other, a painter trained by Hans Hofmann who used objects or any other surface as her canvases. They shunned the term “artist” as pompous.

Charles and Ray Eames arrived in Los Angeles in 1941, a year after they met at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Charles was married to his first wife, Catherine at the time, but Ray began assisting him and Eero Saarinen in their designs for the Museum of Modern Art’s Organic Design in Home Furnishings Competition, and soon he divorced Catherine and married Ray.

There is always a karmic danger in marrying someone with whom you committed adultery. The women at the company almost uniformly describe him as charismatic. At one point (that we know of), Charles was looking to leave Ray, and was only stopped because the woman confesses, she couldn’t do that to Ray. (, Pasadena Art & Science Beat, https://ageofthegeek.org/2011/11/23/eames-the-architect-and-the-painter-or-why-feminism-matters/ )

Their partnership, which obliterated the distinctions between private and professional lives, inspired numerous contemporary working marriages…Charles and Ray, architect and artist, wanted to do everything — disciplinary boundaries meant nothing to them — and, by and large, succeeded.

The Work of Charles and Ray Eames: A Legacy of Invention
AD Classics: Eames House / Charles and Ray Eames
The Love Letters of Charles & Ray Eames

Love & War~ May 23

Weddings in the Renaissance

It should be emphasized that marriage itself in this period was chaotic, without uniform boundaries or legal consistency. The scholars Silvana Seidel Menchi and Diego Quaglioni, who directed an impressive research project carried out through investigation of documents involving matrimony litigation housed in the ecclesiastical archives of Italy, provide startling information demonstrating just how informal the act of marriage could be and how it could take place in almost any location. “People got married in stables or in a tavern, in the kitchen or in the vegetable garden, in the pasture or in the attic, in a wood or in a blacksmith’s shop, under the portico of one’s house or near the public fountain.” This suggests that many weddings were extraordinarily spontaneous, and the fact that why often took place on a balcony or at a window bears this out: “With the assistance of a ladder, the groom, flanked by witnesses, reached the bride, and facing each other they pronounced the formula of the ritual, balanced in an equilibrium as unstable as the tie that thus bound them.” Indeed, before the edicts of The Council of Trent systematized the requirements of a proper wedding in 1563, only mutual consent was an absolute necessity for marriage. People did not need to be married in church or by priests; they did not need to post banns or to appear before a notary; they did not need to exchange rings nor were witnesses required (although most weddings were public acts). Clandestine marriages, undertaken to outwit disapproving parents, were common.
Art and Love in Renaissance Italy / MetPublications / The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Love & War~ May 21

Hannah Höch (1889-1978)

Liebe [Love] / 1931 / Drawing, collage / 8.5”x8.25” / National Gallery of Australia

Hannah Höch was a German Dada artist. She is best known for her work of the Weimar period, when she was one of the originators of photomontage.

In the summer of 1918, while Höch and [her lover of the time, Austrian-born artist Raoul Hausmann] were on vacation at the Ostsee, they claimed to have discovered the principle of photomontage in the form of the cut-and-paste images that soldiers on the front sent to their families. This find would significantly affect Höch’s artistic production, for photomontage became the preferred medium for her shrewd social and political critiques of the 1920s.

While she may have been remembered by her bombastic Dada colleagues for her “sandwiches, beer and coffee”, her lifetime of artistic practice reveals a vital and critical woman who could magically collide disparate reproductions of needlepoint patterns, political figures, film stars, animal life and non-Western artifacts into explorations of androgyny, Aryan activity, gender roles, imperialism, race and lesbianism.

The Coquette I (1923-1925)

Hoch began the Love series as early as 1923, and worked on it intermittently through about 1931. Each of the six or seven works in this series depict sexuality in some way. My understanding is that the following pieces were in this series:

Love in the Bush (1925)
Peasant Wedding Couple (1931)
Love (1926)
Love (1931)
The Coquette I (1923-1925)
The Coquette II (c.1925)
The Large Step (1931)

 

MoMA’s catalog for their 1997 exhibition “The photomontages of Hannah Höch” is available to download in pdf format~
https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/241

Love (1926)

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Love & War~ May 19

Windsor Castle: The Quire of St George’s Chapel by Charles Wild

1818 / Watercolor and bodycolour over pencil / 9.8”x8.3” / Royal Collection

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle in Windsor, near London, England, Saturday, May 19, 2018. (Danny Lawson/pool photo via AP)

On May 19, 2018, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding took place in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. Prince Harry was baptised in St George’s Chapel in December, 1984.

Engraved illustration from Harper’s Weekly newspaper of the wedding of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and Alexandra of Denmark / Harper’s Weekly newspaper dated 11 April 1863 / Artist unknown

St. George’s Chapel was built in the 15th century and is a towering piece of Gothic architecture. It is lauded for its stone fan-vault ceilings, but the intricate stained glasswork along each of its walls, and the tall arched windows, intricate woodwork, and ironwork doorframes add to the historic feel of the grand room. The tombs of ten sovereigns also lie within the chapel, including Henry VIII and Charles I.

Princess Eugenie of York and Mr Jack Brooksbank will marry in St George’s Chapel on October 12, 2018. A list of past Royal Weddings in St George’s Chapel can be found here: https://www.stgeorges-windsor.org/about-st-georges/royal-connection/marriage/

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Love & War~ May 17

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

Among Mexico’s most captivating and provocative artists, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera had a relationship that never failed to amaze and astonish. Though they created some of Mexico’s most fascinating art, it’s the bizarre Beauty-and-the-Beast dynamic that has captivated the world and enshrouded both figures in intrigue. https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/fodors/top/features/travel/destinations/mexico/mexicocity/fdrs_feat_101_9.html

Two years after [her] accident, in 1927, [Kahlo] met the painter Diego Rivera, whose work she’d come to admire and who became her mentor. In 1929, despite the vocal protestations of Kahlo’s mother, Frida and Diego were wedded and one of art history’s most notoriously tumultuous marriages commenced.  https://www.brainpickings.org/2013/04/19/frida-kahlo-diary-love-letters/

“I did not know it then, but Frida had already become the most important fact in my life. And she would continue to be, up to the moment she died, twenty-seven years later,” Rivera wrote about knowing the adult Frida for only a few days. https://www.thedailybeast.com/what-happened-to-frida-kahlos-missing-adultery-painting

Kahlo…believed that her relationship with Rivera transcended the bodily, physical, even painterly world. “It’s not love, or tenderness, or affection, it’s life itself, my life, that I found when I saw it in your hands, in your mouth and in your breasts,” she [wrote] to him. “I have the taste of almonds from your lips in my mouth. Our worlds have never gone outside. Only one mountain can know the core of another mountain.” https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-frida-kahlos-love-letters-diego-rivera-reveal-volatile-relationship

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Love & War~ May 15

Venus de Milo / Musée du Louvre

Venus, ancient Italian goddess associated with cultivated fields and gardens and later identified by the Romans with the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite.

In Roman mythology, Venus was the goddess of love, sex, beauty, and fertility. She was the Roman counterpart to the Greek Aphrodite. However, Roman Venus had many abilities beyond the Greek Aphrodite; she was a goddess of victory, fertility, and even prostitution.

Venus de Milo, the ancient statue commonly thought to represent Aphrodite…was carved from marble by the artist Alexandros* about 150 BCE. It was found in pieces on the Aegean island of Melos on April 8, 1820, and was subsequently presented to Louis XVIII (who then donated it to the Louvre in 1821).

*Alexandros of Antioch (Greek: Ἀλέξανδρος) (2nd-1st century BC) was a Greek sculptor of the Hellenistic age. His dates of birth and death are unknown.

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What Happened to the Venus De Milo’s Arms?
http://mentalfloss.com/article/62722/what-happened-venus-de-milos-arms
The Mystery of What Venus de Milo Was Once Holding
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/3-d-printing-offers-guess-what-venus-de-milo-might-have-been-holding-180955176/

Love & War~ May 13


Happy Mother’s Day

The artist’s mother, comtesse Adèle de Toulouse-Lautrec, at breakfast, Malromé Chateau
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
c.1881-1883 / Oil on canvas / 36.8”x31.8” / Musée Toulouse-Lautrec, France

Portrait of the Artist’s Mother / Vincent van Gogh
1888 / Oil on canvas / 16”x12-3/4” / Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena

The Artist’s Mother / Paul Gauguin
Between 1890 & 1893 / Oil on canvas / 16.1”x12.9” / Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany

The Artist’s Mother / Pablo Picasso
1896 / Pastel on paper / 19.6”x15.3” / Museu Picasso, Barcelona

Portrait of the Artist’s Mother / Henry Ossawa Tanner
1897 / Oil on canvas / 29 1/4”x39 1/2” / Philadelphia Museum of Art

Mrs. Robert S. Cassatt, the Artist’s Mother / Mary Cassatt
c.1889 / Oil On Canvas / 38”x27” / Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Woman with PlantsGrant Wood
1929 / Oil on upsom board / 20 1/2”x17 7/8” / Museum of Art Cedar Rapids, Iowa

The Painter’s Mother IV / Lucian Freud
1973 / Oil on canvas / 10 3/4”x 7 1/3” / Tate, London

Julia Warhola / Andy Warhol
1974 / Silkscreen ink and synthetic polymer paint on canvas / 40”x40” / The Andy Warhol Museum

Mum / David Hockney
1988 / Oil on canvas / 16 1/2”x10 1/2” / The David Hockney Foundation

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