Women in Photojournalism: Nepal


Maggie Steber, Nepal, 2000
Women in Photojournalism
By REID GUEMMER

It’s no secret photojournalism is a field largely dominated by men. The job demands a lot but both physically and mentally from the professional, and knowingly placing workers in harm's way to capture a shot creates even more of a gender bias. Typically, companies assume a male is more fit to take on the job for this reason. In the next five blog posts I plan to highlight women in the photojournalism field and their accomplishments as well as the ways in which they broke gender stereotypes, along with the stories behind the images they’ve captured. 

During Maggie Steber's career as a photographer she has focused on capturing humanitarian and social issues. Working in over 64 countries, Steber has decades of experience in the field and her work has been published in both National Geographic and The New York Times. Reaching such a successful point in her career was nothing short of difficult. Facing multiple accounts of sexual harassment, Steber refused to succumb to the pressure of men in the field and persevered with resistance to become a highly respected artist in the field of photojournalism. In an interview Steber addressed sex related to her career saying, “Clearly I’m a woman,” she continued, “But I think of myself as a photographer who just happens to be a woman. How my gender shapes my views is important and cannot be denied, but I just feel like it’s stating the obvious and sets women up in a male-dominated business, still to this day, as ‘them and us.'"

This interview really resonated with me and is the premise for the following series of posts addressing women working in the field of photojournalism. 

Nepal has one of the highest rates of blindness. In the image above, a nearly blind man peers through a pair of broken glasses while waiting to receive cataract surgery in a newly established clinic. Steber recalls hundreds of people lining to receive the surgery that Dr. Ruit, a leading surgeon at the clinic, has perfected in two simple incisions.
  • 7:00 AM

Awkward First Kiss: The Kiss

Gustav Klimt, The Kiss, 1907

Awkward First Kiss
By ELIZABETH ELLIS

Klimt’s painting evokes the comfort and pureness of the couple embracing. The Kiss was created during Klimt’s “Golden Period” where he used oil paint with layers of gold leaf when combining the Art Nouveau style with more organic forms. He leaves the couple enfolded in gold and flat patterns while highlighting the realistic form of the figures. Klimt was inspired to focus on gold a trip he made in Italy and the Byzantine style that focused on flat, depth-lacking figures and gold. Klimt combines and contrasts the two styles. He focuses on the flat patterns covering the gold to give detail to the painting, while giving a soft shadow and lightness to the realistic figures. 

His composition is linear, with the couple almost seems to jut up against the flowers and the woman’s feet forming a right angle, while the patterns he uses also following a linear direction. While the composition is very strict, Klimt softens the painting with his detailed flowers and his contrasting, harsh black lines on the man and softer circles on the woman. He also adds shadows to his gold background by adding a shimmery layer to the darker background, softening the sharp effect of the gold and linear composition and giving the painting a simultaneous modern and ethereal effect. 

The flowers surrounding the couple add a natural effect to the painting, even as Klimt uses flatter colors to emphasize the pattern. Klimt’s use of gold and full, colorful patterns adds to the emotion of the painting and the dreamy quality of the couple embracing. The quiet intimacy can be seen is the soft features of the woman’s face, eyes closed in trust and hands clasped around the man’s hand and neck. The man cradles the woman’s face delicately and seems content to just hold her. The emotions Klimt shows transcends the simple act of a kiss and shows the love and trust between the lovers.
  • 7:00 AM

Awkward First Kiss: The Kiss of Judas

Giotto, The Kiss of Judas, 1303
Awkward First Kiss
By ELIZABETH ELLIS

Judas and Jesus’ kiss is arguably the most awkward kiss of all time. Giotto’s painting, The Kiss of Judas, depicts Jesus and Judas in the garden of Gethsemane as Judas identifies Jesus by kissing him, alerting the Roman soldiers lying in wait to arrest Jesus. This betrayal is the turning point in Judas and Jesus’ bromance and one of the most important scenes in the Bible. Giotto emphasizes Judas and Jesus’ embrace by giving Jesus a golden halo and Judas a golden cloak. 

He balances the golden yellow at the center of the painting with the blue and red cloaks on each side of the painting. The golden spears and fire held by the Romans break up Giotto’s signature ultramarine blue sky. Giotto’s painting technique combines the Byzantine style of flat figures and affinity for gold with a more naturalistic style that would pave the way for the Pre-Renaissance. Giotto’s use of color, clothing, and ability to show characterization in his figures sets Giotto’s paintings apart from his mentor, Cimabue. His colors come through more vibrantly on his figures due to his shadows and folds in his clothing. Giotto adds depth to his painting with the placement of the figure’s feet at the bottom to show distance to combat the flatness of the figures at the top of the painting at their heads. 

Giotto tells the story in his paintings through his faces. His faces have clear, definitive emotions that clearly show each of their motivations and set each of the figures apart. Giotto’s style comes through most vibrantly with the pure emotion between Judas and Jesus, embraced and staring into each other’s eyes as soldiers come angrily into the scene. Judas’ briss, or “bro-kiss,” is considered one of the worst betrayals of all time, making it onto this list of the most awkward kisses in art history.
  • 7:00 AM

Awkward First Kiss: Krishna Revels with the Gopis

Unknown, Krishna Revels with the Gopis: Pages from a Dispersed Gita Govinda, 1605
Awkward First Kiss
By ELIZABETH ELLIS

This painting shows an illustration of a part of the text from the Gita Govinda. The painting has the god Krishna on the bank of a river surrounded by gopis, maids who herded cows who were known for their unconditional devotion to Krishna in the stories of the Bhagavata Purana. The text above the painting sets the scene for the painting:

"A girl with curving hips, bending to whisper in his ear,
Cherishes her kiss on her lover’s tingling cheek.
Hari revels here as the crowd of charming girls
Revels in seducing him to play."
—Gita Govinda, canto 1, verse 41

This painting, similar to the illuminated manuscripts from medieval art, shows a scene from a larger story in the Gita Govinda, a work composed by the Indian poet, Jayadeva, in the twelfth century. He details the story between Krishna and the gopis of Vrindavana, and the girl he falls in love with, Radha. The story is written in couplets grouped in eights, called the ashtapadis.

Jayadeva’s story described the Krishnu’s love for Radha, how he turns away from her, and his final return to her. His story meant to show the human soul straying from God, but eventually returning to him at the end. The painting itself is an opaque watercolor and silver on paper. The bright colors within the painting and animals bring life to it. The distinct patterns on the painting gives detailing to catch the eye. The whirling of the waves in the water, the differences in leaf patterns on the trees, and layering of the opaque skirts of the stripes all add a sense of dimension to the painting and a place for the eye to fall. The monkeys and birds in the trees add to the sense of fun and liveliness of the scene. The playfulness of the scene is shown in the bright, contrasting colors, fun patterns, and full composition. 
  • 7:00 AM

Awkward First Kiss: The Stolen Kiss

Jean-Honoré Fragonard, The Stolen Kiss, 17
Awkward First Kiss
By ELIZABETH ELLIS

In Fragonard’s The Stolen Kiss, a young girl and boy attempt to steal a kiss hidden away in shadow. The young woman seems nervous in the painting, leaning towards the boy while refusing to make eye contact, scanning the room for anyone who could catch them in the act. The boy is hidden behind the door while trying to reel her in by the wrist. Everything in the room seems set to be romantic and dreamy; the light falls gently on the young couple, there is a softness of emotion in their faces, and the focus on clothing adds detail to an otherwise smoothness in the painting. 

Fragonard adds the sense of nervousness and intrigue to the painting by focusing on the emotion and body set of the young lady, leaning towards the boy while watching for the women at the party who could walk in at any time. Fragonard paints in the Rococo style with his attention to the detailing of the clothing. The focus on the painting goes from the smoothness of the young lady’s skin directly down to the satin sheen and heavy folds of her dress and then is drawn right by the blue-stripped cloth and shows the drama of the painting: the danger of being caught by the ladies on the far right, hidden in shadow. Fragonard’s focus on the heavy cloth extends to the pink heavy curtains on the doors, to the heavy cloth draped behind the chair, and finally ending on the embroidered, stylized rug. He adds to the intimate scene of the room by bathing it in warm light and keeping the room smaller to contrast to the darker tones of the hidden room on the right and the cool, intricate white detail of architecture above the party.

Fragonard’s painting seems romantic, but also shows the innocence of young love set in a court where gossip ruled and the emotion of the young girl shines through the cloud-like nature of the rest of the painting. 
  • 7:00 AM

Awkward First Kiss: Death and the Maiden

Hans Baldung, Death and the Maiden, 1545
Awkward First Kiss
By ELIZABETH ELLIS

We’ve all been there before: you’re dancing in the club, having a good time, when you feel some drunk guy start grinding into you from behind and grabbing at you to the beat of DJ Khalid’s new single, “I’m the One.” Your mood plummets from a twelve to about a three as you get pushed off the dance floor by the guy’s enthusiastic hip thrusts. Now imagine this time you turn around and the guy is a strangely muscular zombie-man with Trump hair and the dance floor isn’t a poorly lit room with a mass of writhing bodies but a desolate graveyard and your sequin dress has turned into a white sheet.

This is what life is like for the young girl in Death and the Maiden. Death has appeared behind her and starts to pull her into the grave burial place at the right bottom corner of the painting. Death tangles his hand in her hair to tip her face back and give her the kiss of death. He gropes at the skin by her breast which shows the tainting of the maiden’s innocent life by the plague and death spreading through Europe. As Death starts grabbing her, he grabs at the life within her as well. Her skin turns pallid and as pale as the bed sheet she wears around her waist. Her body seems to weaken from his grasp and her limbs go akimbo as she collapses. The emotional and physical turmoil within the maiden manifests itself as the bloody tears that leak down her face. This image of death and a maiden stems from the myth of the abduction of Persephone by Hades. Hades, god of the underworld, appeared from a crevice where Persephone had plucked a flower and took her to the underworld. The influence from the myth is plainly seen, as Death embodied tries to drag the young girl into her grave with his romantic advances.

For all the girls out there, remember, the  next time a guy is trying to hit it from behind in the club and fistbump you in the back of the head, he could be a ripped tan death zombie with surfer hair trying to pull you into a grave and you could be a maiden in the 1500s Germany, afraid of dying of the plague before you reach fifteen years old. So take that dude outside and bodyslam’em into an open grave.
  • 7:00 AM

Rock On: David Bowie

David Bowie, D Head V, 1998
Rock On
By ETHAN DOSKEY

A freakish and creepy image, Bowie's fifth self portrait is a haunting look at what the artist perceived himself as. The crazed look on Bowie's face combined with the rushed feel of the paint strokes around the edges of the painting give off an unsettling feeling in the viewer like from a nightmare. This leads one to wonder why Bowie would want himself to be portrayed this way—it's not flattering or accurate to an outsider perspective. But is this what David Robert Jones thought of himself as? One can't truly know. But what we do know is that he had painted this himself and that says enough.

1998 is regarded as the end of Bowie's "Electronic Period," which involved progressive techno and rock sound. The previous year, Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and released the album, Earthling. The tracks in that album were tech-heavy and featured songs called "I'm Afraid of Americans" and "The Last Thing You Should Do." Some of the lyrics: "I'm afraid of Americans / I'm afraid of the world / I'm afraid I can't help it / I'm afraid I can't," and "What have you been doing to yourself / It's the last thing you should do / Nobody laughs any more / It's the worst thing you can do," I feel are a soundtrack for D Head V. These two pieces reflect a fear for the world and give off a crazed energy. Of course I realize that not all music is auto-biographical, but I still think that his dark lyrics speak to his personality and emotions.

Born in England, but like a lot of other musicians upon reaching fame, he moved to America. His eccentricity and flamboyancy perhaps did not initially fit the American aesthetic and was way too "out there" for some, but fit well with the art districts of the Europe like Berlin and Paris. While Bowie could pull large crowds in America, I feel like most of the U.S. was not ready for him at first and preferred less liberal, experimental, and expressive forms of music, perhaps leaving him to write a song like "I'm Afraid of Americans" and painting something like D Head V.

Not much explanation has been given from the artist about what he was trying to convey with his painting or what motivated him to create in this medium. His other works are just as eerie and expressive and feature other self-portraits, frightening faces in his D Head series, and portraits of his friend and punk rock star, Iggy Pop. The haunting paintings Bowie made in the late nineties seem to coincide with his unsettling lyrics from his album, Earthling.

This series of blogs aims to discuss various paintings by or of famous classic rock musicians and inspect the correlation between the figures and the art involving them.
  • 7:00 AM

Rock On: Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan, Endless Highway, 2016
Rock On
By ETHAN DOSKEY

Bob Dylan’s series, “The Beaten Path” showcases many American landscapes through the eyes of the infamous folk singer. With these paintings, Dylan wanted to display his favorite parts of American culture from his time touring around the country. Often, Dylan chooses a subject and omits the aspects of the scene that he doesn’t like or think belong—office buildings, cars, skyscrapers. While this is not an accurate representation of modern America, Dylan explains that it is intentional.

These manipulated vignettes are not meant to have emotional meaning according to the artist and are supposed to contain images that are recognizable to any viewer. Dylan wants his art to be universal and understood by all and he aims to do that by de-personalizing his paintings.

Highway 61 Revisited, an exceptionally large canvas, took up an entire wall in the Halcyon Gallery. This gorgeous sunset scene succeeds Dylan’s aim in defining America’s landscape, but I believe utterly fails his intentions to not have work that evokes emotion for the viewer. In all of his paintings, there is common theme for a desire for nostalgia in the very premise of why he paints. His reverence for hay-day America motivates Dylan and it is quite apparent when seeing his paintings of hotdog stands, retro cars, and neon signs.

His expert use of brush strokes and color can’t help but remind me of masters like Cézanne and Monet—two painters known for their landscapes and expressive pieces. Dylan uses cameras and hand-built camera-obscuras to create his compositions and paint; this tool is not obvious when looking at his images because of how stylized they are, but in paintings such as Abandoned Hotel”and this one, it is a little more apparent because of the location and the strange use of angle. Discovering Bob Dylan’s painting has been an indulging experience for me and I hope that more people look into his painting whether or not they enjoy his music.

This series of blogs aims to discuss various paintings by or of famous classic rock musicians and inspect the correlation between the figures and the art involving them.
  • 7:00 AM

Rock On: Ronnie Wood

Ronnie Wood, Beggars Banquet, 1989
Rock On
By ETHAN DOSKEY

Ronnie Wood, the second most underrated Rolling Stones member, has taken up painting as he’s grown older and settled down from a rigorous touring schedule. His work often reflects his time on stage, his friends, and his life as a rock and roller. This painting is a visual representation of the Stones’ album, Beggars Banquet. Surprisingly, Wood does not appear on this album, as he later replaced Brian Jones after his death. In fact, this was Jones’ last album before he drowned.

Beggars Banquet was regarded by critics and fans as a mature revival of the Rolling Stones’ country, folk, and rock roots after their lowly rated psychedelic period. The album contains acoustic and vocal-focused tracks that are technically impressive and musically resonant. Of the ten tracks, “No Expectations” is particularly notable as it was Jones’ last musical performance. While Brian Jones had struggled with addiction, lead members Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had difficulty finding a place for the unreliable, yet undoubtedly talented, musician in the band and were contemplating scratching him out of the band completely. When Jones showed up to the studio on the day they were to record “No Expectations,” Keith asked Brian to add something to the piece which resulted in the most beautiful slide guitar fills ever improvised.

This painting in my eyes acts as a sentiment to Brian Jones’ life and his work on Beggars Banquet. Within this composition, members of the Rolling Stones are seen strewn across a red and brown dining room holding glasses and making a toast. I also want to point out how clever the oxymoron of Beggars Banquet is and what that possibly says about the band. Perhaps it speaks to making the best of what you have. The last song in the album, “Salt of the Earth,” asks the listener to “raise a glass to the hard working people,” thank, and recognize the people that are struggling on this planet for all that they do for the rest of us and for the hard times that they pull through. This painting and the album of the same name salute Brian Jones, all of those who experience hardships, and those who do the thankless jobs.

This series of blogs aims to discuss various paintings by or of famous classic rock musicians and inspect the correlation between the figures and the art involving them.

  • 7:00 AM

Rock On: The Beatles

George Dureau, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Two Nuba Wrestlers, 1970-1
Rock On
By ETHAN DOSKEY

Instantly eye-catching and even confusing, this painting asks many questions and does not give many answers. The composition alone—not considering who the subjects are—draws so much attention with Dureau’s effective use of washed out colors in the background and the ambiguous nude figures in the front, one on top of the other. But by either reading the title or noticing the easily recognizable Beatles in their “Sgt. Pepper’s” garb, a new meaning is inferred in the image. What is Dureau saying by illustrating perhaps the most famous band starring (or grimacing) at these two African wrestlers supporting each other?


Art critic D. Eric Bookhardt describes Dureau’s style as an “iconic mix of flamboyant elegance and earthy eccentricity,” which is evidently seen in this piece. The Beatles’ extravagant marching band outfits and white skin sharply contrast the bare dark-skinned models in the foreground, one of which seems to has a noose around his neck.

Victors of Nuba wrestling matches in Sudan are often carried on the shoulders of fans and other wrestlers becoming a town celebrity for the week until the next tournament. Perchance that is what is depicted here. Also it should be stated that traditional Nuba wrestling is done naked as clothes are not needed for the sport and can actually get in the way.

To me, this painting speaks about fame and questions what hard work is. From Liverpool, the Fab Four became a massive sensation across America and achieved great wealth and popularity within four years of forming. Meanwhile Nuba wrestlers sacrifice their bodies to the sport for very little money, if any, and only local recognition if they win a match. I feel that the bottom wrestler’s noose signifies that to attain fame, one must kill himself or die—a notion that the Beatles don’t agree with.

This series of blogs aims to discuss various paintings by or of famous classic rock musicians and inspect the correlation between the figures and the art involving them.
  • 7:00 AM

Rock On: Mick Jagger

Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger 142, 1975
Rock On
By ETHAN DOSKEY

One of the ten portraits Warhol made of Mick Jagger, 142 shows the rock icon laughing unlike the other nine renditions. Often with pop stars, their stage personality is mistaken with their personal identity. This is especially true with the Stones’ “bad boy” status and their disreputable actions on and off stage. In 1975 The Rolling Stones were in the height of their popularity and Mick Jagger had become a common household name in the U.S. and in the U.K. This print, done that same year, continues Warhol’s series of celebrity portraits; a fascination in public figures like Marilyn Monroe to Mao Zedong saturates most of Warhol’s portfolio. But in actuality, it was the Stones who approached Warhol asking for cover art for their album, “Sticky Fingers.” They were looking for a simple and grabbing image in Warhol’s sensational style to which he delivered. The scandalous picture Warhol produced soon became perhaps the Stones’ most recognizable cover art. This contract began the two subversive icons’ friendship which lasted until Warhol’s death in 1987.

With this print, I feel it is a closer look at the human being Jagger and not the chicken-dancing persona that he took up on stage. Warhol’s screen printing technique begins with a snapshot—a frozen moment of humor that is then pulled away and simplified. This abstraction of Jagger’s face in executed in a way that fundamentally breaks it down to an exaggerated state divided in blocks of color. The yellow rectangle resembles a post-it-note as if Warhol is jotting down only the essential aspects of Jagger’s physique. Overall, there is an experimental and loving feel to this piece in trying to capture Warhol’s friend in a piece of art.

This series of blogs aims to discuss various paintings by or of famous classic rock musicians and inspect the correlation between the figures and the art involving them.
  • 7:00 AM

Fine Tuning: Guitar and Violin

Picasso, Guitar and Violin, 1912

Fine Tuning
By NATALIE BEYER


As I write my last blog post of my Junior year in Renaissance Art History late on a Friday night, I would like to thank all the wonderful people I have been able to work with this year in this class. I have learned much, and have much more to learn. I think that this painting might reflect my year in Art History. Abstract, colorful, and strange. At first glance, it seems like a mess of shapes and colors, but really there's more to it. Put together is supposedly a guitar and a violin, and just like my year in this class, all the miscellaneous information that I have learned in the class adds up to something meaningful. 

Picasso, whose full name has actually twenty three words in it, originated in Spain. When he was born, he was so darn small that his midwife thought he was a stillborn. His uncle would come to his saving on that occasion. Picasso completed his first painting at just the age of nine and was known not to be the best student, frequently given detentions. As he got older, he progressed into being a co-founder of the style of Cubism - paintings or works made of simple geometric shapes, interlocking planes, and later, collages. He experienced different periods of art which included the rose period, the blue period, each of which he used a theme of blue or rose in his paintings.  

His earlier paintings, before he got into the Cubism style were not so abstract. When viewing one of his early paintings, one can see what he was actually trying to paint instead of using one's imagination. The Guitar and Violin that he painted in 1912 looks nothing like a guitar and violin. (Definition of a Violin: a bowed stringed instrument having four strings that range from G to E having a shallow body, shoulders at right angles to the neck, a fingerboard without frets, and a curved bridge) The violin is played in the treble clef, just like how a guitar and piano are. However, bits and pieces from each instrument in this painting are sprawled out throughout the painting. The scroll from the violin is in the top right corner, the strings from the guitar are in the left-middle of the painting and so is the body of the guitar. 
  • 7:00 AM

Fine Tuning: Nostalgia in Slow Motion

 Rafal Olbiński, Nostalgia in Slow Motion, 1945
Fine Tuning
By NATALIE BEYER

Similar to René Magritte, Rafal Olbiński paints in the style of Surrealism - producing incongruous imagery or effects in art through unnatural or irrational juxtapositions and combinations. When asked to describe his artwork, he describes is as "poetic surrealism" and says his influences are "everybody." He takes everyday objects and turns them into different worlds, allowing the viewer to only imagine what goes through Olbiński's head when he paints.

Rafal Olbiński was born in Poland in 1943 and he migrated the United States in 1981 after finishing schooling at the architectural school at Warshaw University of Technology in Poland. For his works, he has won over 150 awards including Gold and Silver Medals from the Art Directors Club of New York, Gold and Silver Medals from the Society of Illustrators in New York and Los Angeles, and the Big Crit 2000 award by Critique Magazine in San Fransisco. Even the President of the Republic of Poland awarded Oldiński the highest award in the field pf arts, the gold medal, "Gloria Artis."

In his painting of Nostalgia in Slow Motion, he features a woman's soft face in the strings of a golden harp. (Definition of a Harp: a plucked stringed instrument consisting of a resonator, an arched or angled neck that may be supported by a post, and string of graded length that are perpendicular to the soundboard). If a person were to play the harp, they would play off of the treble clef, a clef placing the note "G" above the middle note "C" on the second-lowest line of the staff. A purple orchid accents the yellow in the harp that contrasts the white clouds and light blue sky in the background. This woman however, is just a random woman that Olbiński decided to paint, and just like most of his other paintings, his subjects are people he finds off the street. I like to think that he called this painting Nostalgia in Slow Motion because the woman in the harp used to play, and is remembering her past, letting her hair flow in the wind.
  • 7:00 AM

Fine Tuning: The Musicians

Caravaggio, The Musicians, 1595
Fine Tuning
By NATALIE BEYER

Do these boys want to be together, practicing their instruments? Do they look as though they are having a good time? I would say "no" for the sole fact that the boredom washing over their faces looks like they've been sitting through a two-hour ACT prep class late on a Monday night. 

However, many of Caravaggio's subjects show true emotion instead of the bliss that other artists placed on their subjects' faces. His style allowed for a darker setting, with little to no light source and in many of his paintings, he would leave space pitch black. He brought a new level of emotion and intensity to the table for artists at the time, and many criticized him for painting in such a way. He would paint grotesque images such as decapitations and violent struggles. Caravaggio would paint from life instead of drawing and planning what he was going to paint first, and artists at the time saw this as bizarre and against the grain. He, like many struggling artists in Italy, faced problems with patrons, and even had a bad temper.

Unable to control himself, he was known for brawling and even was accused of killing multiple people while in Italy. He gambled and got in trouble with the authorities, eventually getting himself exiled multiple times, each time returning to the thing he loved the most - painting. Caravaggio never married and had no known children. Art Historians today are not completely sure the sexuality of Caravaggio, but many argue that because of the homoeroticism in his paintings could hint to his homosexuality.

Getting to this painting in particular, The Musicians feature a lute and a tiny violin. (Definition of a Lute: a stringed instrument having a large pear-shaped body, a vaulted back, a fretted fingerboard, and a head with tuning pegs which is often angled backward from the neck). By pressing your fingers on the strings at different parts of the finger board, the player shortens or lengthens the length of the desired string the is vibrating, like a guitar, producing higher and lower pitches or notes. The boy in the middle of this painting seems to be tuning his lute while his friend looks at the sheet music. The boredom on their faces shows just how interested they are in playing instruments.
  • 7:00 AM

Fine Tuning: The Mandolin Player

Anselm Feuerbach, The Mandolin Player, 1865
Fine Tuning
By NATALIE BEYER

Anselm Feuerbach realized his artistic talents just at the age of fifteen when he left his family to go to the Düsseldorf Academy of Fine Arts in Germany. He wanted to be a painter, like the "old masters." But to be like the "old masters" he traveled to Munich, Antwerp, and then Paris. All of these places however, did not satisfy him. With a scholarship from Baden's Grand Duchy, he makes his way over to Italy where he will pursue his talents for seventeen years. In Italy, he finds other German artists just like him who want to be lie the "old masters" and even a model that fits his exact beauty standards for a woman. 

However, just like the the great artists that he looks up to and admires, he has trouble with clients and money. With too many commissions coming in all at once, disputes over what his art his supposed to look like with his clients, and even the separation with his lover - Anna Risi - happens. 

In the year of 1860, at the age of thirty-one, Anselm Feuerbach met Anna Risi. Nicknamed "Nanna," she will act as a muse and mistress to Feuerbach for four years. But before Anna first encounters Feuerbach however, she had stood as a model for numerous nineteenth century artists. Her most painted pose is her sitting and gazing softly over her right shoulder. Her long dark hair and sculpted nose are her most notable features. The softness of her hands and facial expression give reason for why Feuerbach called her "Nanna" and over the next four years, he will paint her twenty-eight different times out of sheer fascination for her. 

In this painting in particular, "Nanna"poses in her most painted position holding a mandolin. (Definition of a Mandolin: a musical instrument of the lute family that has a usually pear-shaped body and fretted neck and four to six pairs of strings). Just like a guitar, the player can lengthen or shorten the desired string to produced different pitches or notes. The most common clef of the mandolin is the Treble clef just like the violin or piano. This painting of Nanna is one of the last portraits he painted of her, around the time he was having difficulties with clients and financial issues. Because of these tensions happening in his life, the viewer can feel the tension of both Feuerbach and Nanna, both of them knowing that their lives together was coming to an end soon.
  • 7:00 AM

Fine Tuning: Man with a Guitar

Fernando Botero, Man with a Guitar, 1948
Fine Tuning
By NATALIE BEYER

Fernando Botero, before becoming an artist known for his oversized depiction of people, nature, and animals, went to a matador school. He was born in Columbia, Spain in 1932 and in 1948, when he was just sixteen years old, he had his first painting exhibition. Just two years later, he would have his first one man show in Bogota. In his early years of art, he was inspired by the pre-Columbian and political murals of Diego Rivera and he would copy famous paintings from artists and sell them to tourists on the streets. He was married three different times and is currently married to Sophia Vari, a Greek artist.

By the 1950s, he had mastered his style of painting oversized people and often his paintings suggest an element of political satire. He uses bright color and flat dimensions most similar to Latin-American folk art. In most of his paintings, he paints people in situational portraiture or centering his models in the center of his easel. Just as the man with his guitar is sitting in this painting, many or all of his paintings are similar.

Man with a Guitar was painted for the same first exhibition of Fernando Botero in 1948. The inflated man in this painting holds a balloon-esqe guitar that rests on his right leg. (Definition of a Guitar: a flat-bodied stringed instrument with a long fretted neck and usually six strings played with a pick or with the fingers). Although the man seems to not have any strings on his guitar and he stares into space as though he has no idea why he is holding a guitar, Botero was able to capture the image of a musician. A red ribbon also sits on the headstock of the guitar. Could it be that he just received this particular guitar as a gift? Or could he be showing the viewer how to play so that they can have the guitar?
  • 7:00 AM

Magnificent Beards: Antonietta Gonzalez

Fontana, Antonietta Gonzalez, 1595
Magnificent Beards
By HARPER TRUOG

This child doesn’t have a beard so much as mutton chops, but I could not resist including it. The image is jarring to see such a hairy person in royal garments. The child’s round cheeks combined with facial hair also creates confusion over her gender. 

The painting of the hair itself is good, it looks thin and soft like a baby’s should. Fontana was known for doing portraits of royal family members. She is considered the first female painter to work within the male sphere. Paintings of babies were often used like pictures are today; to show other family members how cute it is and that it is healthy. Think of the family of a distant cousin huddling around a canvas and cooing over the new family member. Fontana puts great detail into the clothing which shows status. The paper and writing also signifies status and education. There is a hint of a crown on top of the child’s head, signifying royal blood. Fontana is not my favorite painter, but she does not shy away from weird subject matter.

There is an actual condition where some children are born with hair all over their bodies, but usually it falls off and they look normal within a couple years. It is very interesting to see a child painted like this. I would have thought that the parents would have told Fontana to not paint the excess hair. The hair and beard make her look much older than she probably is.
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Magnificent Beards: Jesus

 Bernini, Bust of Jesus,1679
Magnificent Beards
By HARPER TRUOG

Jesus’ beard is majestic and curly. His long, flowy hair matches and enhances the beard’s affect, it looks like he used curlers and he’s rocking it. It is the iconic Jesus beard. The beard is nicely trimmed and kept, not the unruly type of curly. Bernini really made the beard look realistic.

The fold of the cloth adds to the motion of the bust. The hair and clothing make Jesus look like he is moving or Bernini caught a moment in time. The facial expression is serene and serious. Jesus’ hand is in the iconic position often associated with him and he looks like he is about to bless someone. The bust is much more life-like than most other busts. The clothing really sets it apart. Usually busts are just of the head and maybe shoulders, but this one is more complete; it has an arm and hand. The beard adds to his seriousness. The beard shows that he is a young Jesus because it is short. He was not an old man when he created miracles and was crucified.

Images of Jesus usually portray him without expressive emotion, opting for a more detached feeling. This alludes to Jesus being part divine or existing outside of the human realm. His indifference is often seen as compassion as he performs miracles or saves someone.
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Magnificent Beards: God

God from the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo, 1512
Magnificent Beards
By HARPER TRUOG

It is only fitting that God have an awesome beard. The beard looks like thunder clouds; he must have created clouds in his beard’s image. God’s face even has a stormy expression. The beard invokes power and majesty; it is full and poofy. A great beard is an aspect of the divine. Michelangelo wanted God to look like the all-powerful deity he is, so God had to have a beard. The image of God as a muscular, bearded, man is the default setting in Renaissance art and in western culture.

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel features nine scenes from the book of Genesis, The Creation of Adam being one. The ceiling shows just how talented Michelangelo is at creating a mass of figures. The Creation of Adam is one of the most famous scenes from the Sistine Chapel and has been turned into a Renaissance icon. Replicas and parodies have been produced for years. The image of God and Adam’s hands almost touching has become the image of God reaching down and impacting human lives. 

Just like Michelangelo’s painting of God creating Adam is an iconic image, God’s beard reflects the characteristics of the western, Christian God. This picture is supposed to invoke a feeling of power and strength, and what better figure to give God than a muscular, white man. The beard only adds to the severity of his face and demeanor. It also alludes to God being immortal. He looks old and wise in the face, but his body is not one of an old man’s.
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Magnificent Beards: St. Jerome

Caravaggio, Saint Jerome, 1608
Magnificent Beards
By HARPER TRUOG

Saint Jerome’s beard is long and white, not curly. It goes well with the red robe which gives him a real saintly look. His bald head looks like the skull on his desk. The lighting is great, especially on the beard. Does he ever get ink in his beard? Do long beard enhance holiness and wisdom? Saint Jerome is sitting at his desk working like anyone else would, putting holy figures in human scenes in Caravaggio’s specialty.

Caravaggio’s use of light never fails to impress. The skull on the desk is highlighted and bright against the dark, almost black, background. Skulls in paintings usually mean the ever presence of death. Saint Jerome translated the Bible into Latin, a dead language. He also died of old age and since that is the age being depicted in the this painting, he is close to death. The red cloak indicates his rank as cardinal even though there were no cardinals during his lifetime. It is added in for artistic interpretation because he was secretary to the pope and those people were depicted as cardinals.

Caravaggio rarely puts halos on holy figures, but he chose to in this painting. It is thin and small, but stands out against the dark background. Saint Jerome is associated with encyclopedias literature, so he is usually depicted writing a book. Saint Jerome’s beard adds to his experience living as a hermit. It’s long and shaggy signifying his religious status and living conditions.
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Magnificent Beards - Da Vinci Self-Portrait

Self Portrait, Da Vinci, 
Magnificent Beards
By HARPER TRUOG

Here is one of the greatest beards of the Renaissance. It makes Da Vinci look old, wise, and reminds me of Dumbledore. The beard is long and flowing and curly. It is the secret to his inventions. Not only is it big enough that he could store some of his inventions in it, but a beard like that must have special powers. He doesn’t really have any hair on the rest of his face/head, just the voluminous beard. He looks like and angry and tired Father Christmas. This is an iconic image of him as an older man with a long beard. A truly amazing beard to go with an amazing man.



Da Vinci is credited with creating plans and inventing an early helicopter, armored vehicle, solar power, a calculator, and the double hull for ships. Many of his inventions could not be built because they were so ahead of the time period. Da Vinci made great strides in engineering, math, and science. He linked art and science by studying the human body and proportions. His notebooks contain some of the most accurate body sketches of the Renaissance. He was left handed and used mirror writing in his sketchbook which can only be read when holding it in front of a mirror. Da Vinci’s paintings reflected his knowledge on human proportions and science. Few of his works have survived, but the ones that have become cultural icons.

This self portrait sketch is probably the most associated with Da Vinci than any other self portrait.This sketch gives us an idea of what he looked like and it is the image our brains go to when we think of his face. The beard is an essential part of Da Vinci’s iconic image.
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