What is the secret of the paintings of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, which inspired Dali and other surrealists of the XX century
Fantastic talent and eccentric portraits made Giuseppe Arcimboldo, one of the strangest Renaissance artists, world famous. His compositions of portraits of flowers, fruits, leaves, fish and books are unique in…

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Secrets of self-portraits of famous artists: Reflection in the mirror, portrait-bacon and other oddities
Self-portrait in most cases is an instrument of narcissism, an attempt to leave your image in eternity. But if a genius takes up the matter, his image on canvas can…

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What are the secret meanings of the image of a parrot in the paintings of great artists of different eras
For artists of the Gothic, Early Renaissance and High Renaissance, birds were part of a rich visual symbolism. In a society with limited literacy, allegorical images were vital for the…

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“Love Letter” by Jan Vermeer: Why the lute is central to the picture

Cristobal Balenciaga once said that “a good fashion designer should be an architect for patterns, a sculptor for form, an artist for design, a musician for harmony, and a philosopher for fit.” And it is not surprising that in the 20th century he ruled high fashion with innovative clothing inspired by unusually traditional Spanish sources. The Basque fashion designer took replicas from regional clothing, folk costumes, bullfights, flamenco dances, Catholicism and, of course, from the history of painting. And in the end, he created what conquered the world for centuries.

The Balenciaga collection is full of stocky silhouettes, stooped shoulders and neat trouser lines. But the fashion house today, under the leadership of Demna Gvasalia, represents a completely different aesthetic than what Cristobal himself did during his lifetime. “They cannot be compared,” explains Eloy Martinez de la Pera, curator of the new Balenciaga and Spanish Painting exhibition in Madrid, which combines ninety works of the Balenciaga couture with 56 masterpieces of Spanish painting that inspired the designer. “Balenciaga’s story ended when he stopped making clothes. His story was extremely personal, but today Balenciaga has a completely different story, and it is also worth telling. ” And in order to truly recognize Cristobal himself, it is important to know the key elements of Spanish art that shaped his aesthetic vision. Continue reading

Unknown portrait of Da Vinci’s brush: Did the great master really write “Princess Leonardo” and whom he portrayed

It may seem that the legacy of Leonardo da Vinci has many paintings – this artist, who died five hundred years ago, is mentioned too much and too often in the modern world. In fact, only one and a half dozen paintings by da Vinci and a few more works are known, whose belonging to Leonardo’s brush is only supposed. Therefore, any loss of the work of a great artist, as well as the sudden discovery of previously unknown, becomes a sensational event, affecting the history of fine art itself. Moreover, each such episode is reminiscent of a detective story, where there are victims, and criminals, and the hero revealing the secret, and most importantly – the priceless masterpiece of Leonardo.

How at the end of the 20th century another Renaissance masterpiece was discovered. Continue reading

How Pavel Tretyakov competed with the emperor to create the most famous art gallery in Moscow

Before the revolution, patronage of the arts was considered not only charitable, but also beneficial for the donor himself, and the point here was not taxes at all. According to the ideas of merchants in the old days, this activity avoided the terrible temptation – the power of money. Most often, wealthy industrialists became patrons of shelters, hospitals, and educational institutions. At first, the partners and competitors laughed at the Tretyakov brothers’ passion for painting, but time, of course, put everything in its place.

Pavel and Sergey Tretyakov were the eldest children in a well-known merchant family. This dynasty of industrialists has flourished since the 18th century, and for several generations from the retail of buttons, it has been able to grow to manufacturers – the family owned paper dyeing and finishing industries. I must say that, despite the huge investment in art, by the time of his death, the state of Pavel Tretyakov was estimated at 3.8 million rubles. Continue reading

Other worlds in pastel-candy paintings with mysterious subjects
Syd Bee is an artist from Seattle whose work seems to have been torn straight from the world of dreams. Bee uses rich, pink tones in many of his works,…

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Ciphers, signs and self-portraits: How artists of the past signed their paintings
Not every masterpiece of painting contains the signature of the artist. There were reasons for this, both at the dawn of the Renaissance and in the modern era; they are…

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Vincent Laurence van der Winne and his still lifes vanitas: where did the artist hide his portrait?
Vincent Laurence van der Winne (1628–1702) is a Dutch artist and writer. Initially, van der Winne was engaged in weaving, but then, sensing a craving for fine art, he decided…

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