Tag Archives: leonardo da vinci

{PHOTOBLAST} ‘SELFIE’-CENTERED SOCIETY

 

ROBERT CORNELIUS - 1839- SLFIE CENTERED- THE EYE OF FAITH VINTAGE BLOG

Robert Cornelius – Self Portrait – 1839

The FIRST ‘Selfie’ , as well as the first ever photograph of a human being in history. Not bad for a dead guy . . .

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KIM K - SELFIE CENTERED - THE EYE OF FAITH VINTAGE BLOG

“Why do you like me more when I was prouder and wilder, more full of words, yet emptier?”
― Friedrich Hölderlin

Don’t quote me on this one, but I feel like I’ve been hearing/reading a lot of talk about Kim K being the inventor of the selfie. She released her book SELFISH , and whilst you can attribute the ‘success’ of her following (52.8 million and counting) to her candid take on life posting bits and bites of her online constantly, she wouldn’t be the first or last to take a picture of themselves.

Nowadays ‘selfies’ are rampant on the internet, and its quite curious to see a generation of children growing up with the notion that there is an essential need to post one’s image ‘online’ at all times. There’s a saying these days that ‘if you don’t see it on Instagram, it didn’t happen‘ – which by all standards seems a little reductive to the actual experience of life and living, don’t you find?

While Kim may have been one of the forerunners in the popularization of the ‘selfie’, and even pushing the boundaries of the process of raising your phone in front of your face and pushing a button to some form or medium that one could consider ‘art’ . . . ? ? ?

Too much self-centred attitude, you see, brings, you see, isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centred attitude is the source of suffering.

-Dalai Lama

Yes, that’s what’s strange and hilarious about this whole ordeal, when in fact, if you take a look at a ‘selfie’ from the past, they are a whole lot more interesting than the run-of-the-mill duck face, booty-tooched, tiara-faced, bicep crunched, mid drift bared, grainy narcissism that is usually made to elicit some form of hype or attention; rather they are candid, curious moments immortalized by light and silver taken in a manner that is even more technically advanced and complicated than your phone or tablet.

Hope I didn’t offend anyone and their phone or tablet, but its the gosh-darn truth. And even before the advancements of the photograph in general, we had artists who painstakingly mixed pigment and with brushes artfully illuminated their souls onto canvas in what are often the best works by any artist- the self portrait, as we have come to call it.

It’s good to be selfish. But not so self-centred that you never listen to other people.

-Hugh Hefner

It would seem as a collective whole; as a community through history – we have always been fascinated by our true image, or at least, the image we leave behind of ourselves when we are gone. Perhaps its a stab at not being forgotten, or perhaps it is the artists own way of insuring they remember the times that were.

So in true E.O.F. style, we want to take a look back at the great ‘selfies’ of the past, remembering where we came from, and hopefully we can invigorate some imagination to add a flux to our inevitable futures.

Some things never change . . . certain aspects can change drastically on a dime, but as a whole, I think our tendencies tend to stay consistent.

The oldest ‘selfie’ we included in the gallery is of Ancient Egyptian sculptor Bak, who was chief sculptor to the pharaoh Akhenaten (father to the very famous Tutankhamun) who drastically shifted Ancient Egyptian customs during his rule which included their religion, as well as the world of art. Amazingly, this sculpture that depicts Bak and his wife dates from 1345 BC and is one of the earliest known examples of an artist taking to their own self image. 

My personal favourite is that of Grand Duchess Anastasia (fourth from last) which dates from 1913. 13 at the time, she uses a Kodak Brownie (circa. 1900) propped on a chair in front of a mirror to curiously capture her own self image and remains one of the most famous ‘selfies’ ever taken (sorry Kim…) due to the circumstances of her death just five years after she took this photo.

Curious how things change. Curious how they stay the same, also.

Keep your eyes open. The past lives everyday around us.

Just takes a little squinting of the eye to see it so clearly.

Until we meet again,

{theEye}

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God is in the Details: Revealing the Early Renaissance @AGOToronto

Revealing the Renaissance at the AGO - secrets in florentine art - the Peruzzi Altar Piece

Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art (March 16 – June 16, 2013)

ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO (317 Dundas Street West)

$25 adult admission (includes admission to the rest of the gallery)

When thinking of the Renaissance, one might automatically conjure up images of Da Vinci, his Vetruvian man, and Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. It is a period in history renowned for its surge of creativity, knowledge, and innovation in areas of art, literature, music, architecture, and science.

It is a period that is also become more and more in vogue due to its resurgence in popular culture with T.V. shows like “The Tudors”, “The Borgias”, and the upcoming “Da Vinci’s Demons”, all putting their spin to this exciting and important moment in history.

But, what is rarely captured is the true birth of this period, and the movers and shakers who brought it all to life.

Perhaps its the fact that most art historians do not even know the names of most of the incredible artisans who painstakingly brought the churches of Florence to life with incredibly illuminated manuscripts, carvings, stained glass windows, and beautifully detailed panel paintings, between the years 1300 and 1350, that truly did start it all.

Revealing the renaissance: stories and secrets in florentine art

This is what Sasha Suda and the curators of the Art Gallery of Ontario‘s latest exhibition, “Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art“, aim to bring to the forefront, allowing visitors to explore the lost masterworks that truly sparked a revolution, and would change the face of history forever.

In partnership with the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the curators have painstakingly worked on this exhibition for the past 10 years, travelling far and wide to analyze and bring overseas for the first time some of the most elaborate examples of work from this period that define the breaking point from the flatness of Medieval art to a more expressive and “humanized” perspective that has come to characterize the Renaissance.

Many of these pieces have been shut away from the public for centuries, making this one of the most impressive exhibits the AGO has ever premiered, and one that is sure to capture the imagination of all those lucky enough to visit.

The main gallery at Revealing the early renaissance- stories and secrets in florentine art - AGO- March 12, 2013

Sasha Suda Talks Art With Culture Minister Michael Chan

Curator Sasha Suda talks art with Michael Chan, Ontario Minister of Culture, Tourism, & Sport.  

One might, at first, be intimidated by the prestige of such an exhibit, but fear not, as this portal on the past is as much a reflection of our present day, as it is the 14th Century.

Whether or not you know a great deal about Renaissance art, the exhibition is packed full of information, from the audio guide, to the i-pads strategically placed amongst the exhibition to give you the full backstory on some of the exhibition’s most intriguing pieces. The curators have created an easy to understand story, that truly captures all the excitement and mystery of the artists and the works they created amidst the social context of Florence during this period.

Detail of the Peruzzi Altarpiece - christ wounds- revealing the early renaissance: stories and secrets in florentine art at the AGORevealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art at the AGO -

God is in the Details . . .

As you first step into the gallery, it may not immediately strike you how these works differ from the Medieval illustrations and paintings you are used to, but upon closer examination, you will find how rich, textured, and full of emotion each piece truly is.

They are not works of art to be admired from afar, but works that deserve an acute eye, and a willingness to get lost in the stories being told within them.

There is a certain excitement generated as you begin to see the layers of colour, and painstakingly small brush strokes that capture the most miniscule details of hair and embroidery. While our culture might be used to multiple images rapidly flashing before our eyes (surely a luxury akin to witchcraft for the men and women of the Renaissance), one must note that the multi-faceted panels and illuminated manuscripts are akin to the cinema of the Renaissance, with all the drama, suspense, horror, and spectacle you could expect from a film of today, with even a bit of special effects here and there.

Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art at the AGO

An exquisite panel painting. Blood, gore, and devotion. The piece reads almost like an expensive 14th Century comic . . .

It”s all for devotion sake, of course; used to invoke prayer, meditation, deep-thought, or contemplation. There’s definitely that sense of entertainment in the midst, often showcasing the more brutal and tumultuous moments of martyrs and Christ: Agatha with her breasts being cut off, another martyr is grilled on coals in ecstasy, and check out any crucified Christ in the mix and you’re bound to see more than your year’s worth of blood squirt (the most impressive, hands down, being Pacino Di Bonaguido’s “The Crucifixion” from 1315-1320, whose flowing blood rains on the spectators of the scene, as well as a juicy squirt from the chest for the viewer).

The Crucifixion by Pacino Bonaguida at the AGO - March 12, 2013 - Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and secrets in florentine art Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art at the AGO - Detail of Bonaguida's "THE CRUCIFIXION"

Pacino De Bonaguida’s “The Crucifixion” and Detail of (1315-1320)

And while, we might cringe at the sight of this, its patrons felt the bloodshed and pain was the human aspect of their faith, and that one day perhaps, they may themselves reach divination, as did their faithful predecessors.

Getting lost in each piece, you begin to see that this society was obsessed with their idols, and their chance to be a part of them was as easy as getting a master to paint them into a panel or manuscript. In essence, it equated a wealthy merchant to the status of celebrity, having made his way onto the pages alongside the kingdom of heaven complete with Christ, the Virgin, and all the many martyrs who gave their life to the dedication of their fate.

The most entertaining example of this is the Laudario of Sant’Agnesse; an illuminated choir book commissioned by the Compagnia di Sant’Agnese, a fraternity of merchants, for use in charitable events and prayer, and who are also illustrated along the margins of the music. This remarkable collection of 24 illustrated manuscripts have been framed and reunited for the first time since the early 1800s, and will be performed by musical guests Lionheart on April 6 in the Walker Court of the AGO (click for more details).

Detail of Daddi's "Crowned Virgin Martyr" - Revealin ghte Early Renaissance at the AGO - Toronto

Detail of “A Crowned Virgin Martyr {Catherine of Alexandria}” (1334 – 1338) by Bernardo Daddi. 

It is amazing to think that at one time, masters like Botticelli, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Michelangelo must have set their gaze on these exact works to hone their own craft, and garner inspiration to create the masterpieces of the Renaissance we marvel at today. For when staring at the suggestive expression of Bernardo Daddi’s “A Crowned Virgin Martyr” (1334-1338), a glimpse of Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”  with her mysterious stare, and face full of subtle shadows that delicately sculpt her face, can definitely be seen,  which make the exhibition all the more exciting, and relevant.

In many ways, the exhibition brings to light that not much has changed in the world of art and commerce; citing the importance of banking and the prosperous merchant class to the creation of these vital works of art. Being so wealthy, members of the merchant class became so concerned that they may not  reach heaven, that they began spending their fortunes on commissioning buildings, and filling them with new art that expressed their hopes, fears, ideals, and emotions.

Revealing the Early Renaissance at the AGO-A view of Bernardo Daddi Italian The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula and 11,000 Virgins

With prosperity, comes art – and not much has changed today, as many of the world’s most successful artists rely on wealthy investors and corporate big wigs to the cut the cheque on a commission. Perhaps they no longer fear purgatory for their sins, but they are most definitely keeping their fingers crossed that their commission could strike them big dollars, and in that way, achieve idol status, and a bit of heaven.

The exhibition has already been lauded by the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times as one of the most important exhibitions in recent years, so don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel through time, and take in 90 once-hidden masterworks that came to redefine life as we know it today.

Agony and the Ecstacy - Blood and Gore - Revealing the Early Renaissance at the AGO

All the Agony & The Ecstacy . . .

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Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art” opens at the AGO on March 16 and runs until June 16, 2013. To book your tickets today, click here!

Also be sure to check out the event schedule at the AGO for exciting insights inspired by this latest exhibit (Click here).

Sasha Suda, Michael Chan (Ontario Minister of Culture), and CEO at the AGO, Matthew Teitelbaum - March 12, 2013 - AGO Press Preview

Matthew Teitelbaum (CEO at the AGO), Sasha Suda (Assistant Curator of European art at the AGO), and Michael Chan (Ontario Minister of Culture, Tourism, & Sport) – March 12, 2013. 

Until next time,

{theEye}

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