Tag Archives: Art Essays

The Portrait of Doctor Gachet

Nicholas Kang Auckland, New Zealand   Portrait of Doctor Gachet, by Vincent van Gogh. June 1890. Private collection. Via Wikimedia. On a spring evening in New York, a portrait is unveiled before a crowded auction room. It pictures an older man wearing a dark blue coat with luminous green buttons. His elbow rests on a red table beside two […]

How black turned white

Kateryna Tsoi Kharkiv, Ukraine   The Gross Clinic, 1875. By Thomas Eakins. Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. Via Wikimedia. In 1876, the World’s Fair was held outside Europe for the first time, taking place in Philadelphia and coinciding with the centenary of the US Declaration of Independence. Thomas Eakins, not yet a […]

Pieter Bruegel and “The Parable of the Blind”

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   The Blind Leading the Blind, 1568, Pieter Bruegel, Museo di Capodimonte, Naples. Wellcome Collection “Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the ditch.” —Matthew 15:14, King James Version 21st Century   The Netherlandish painter Pieter Bruegel […]

Love and death; painting the farewell

Giovanni Ceccarelli Rome, Italy   Image from Ein Maler vor Liebe und Tod. Katalog und Ausstellung von Jura Bruschweiler. Page 123. Collection of Josef Muller, Solothurn. Exhibited in Kunsthaus, Zurich, from April 9 to May 23, 1976. When Ferdinand Hodler met Valentine Godé-Darel, a thirty-five-year-old woman divorced from a Sorbonne professor ruined by gambling, at […]

Strabismo di Venere—Michelangelo’s David

Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Figure 1: Eyes of David. Photo by George M. Groutas. 2019. Via Wikimedia. CC BY 2.0. It is one of the most recognizable sculptures in Western art, the work of an acclaimed Renaissance artist. For over 600 years, it has been viewed by millions of tourists and […]

The Potato Eaters: brushstrokes of sickness and sustenance

Jeanne Dsouza Manipal, India   Figure 1. Portrait of The Potato Eaters showing 5 members of a family around a table eating potatoes and sipping coffee, four of whom have skin eruptions and limb changes suggestive of leprosy. One wants to be an honest man, one is so, one works as hard as a slave but […]

Art appreciation under the radar

Lawrence Climo Lincoln, Massachusetts, United States   Photo by Matheus Viana from Pexels I was on my way to an art gallery in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, to view the art of a painter who once lived there, Normal Rockwell. On the way, I stopped first at an exhibit at a local psychiatric hospital where I had […]

Art and alcohol

Giovanni Ceccarelli Roma, Italy   Fig. 1: Drinking Bacchus. Guido Reni, 1623, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden. Via Wikimedia. In the late 1940s Elaine de Kooning, wife of one of the most eminent exponents of American abstract expressionism (Willem de Kooning), commented that the whole art world of her time had become alcoholic. Yet even earlier, perhaps […]

The striking social tableaux vivants of Lejaren à Hiller (1920s to 1940s)

J.T.H. Connor St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada   A social tableau vivant by Lejaren à Hiller dated 1935 illustrating his characteristic dramatic photographic style and striking compositions depicting a medical hero, the human body, and often religious icons. The signature of the photographer/artist is visible in the lower left corner of the image. From “Sutures in […]

Diego Rivera and Hernan Cortes

Nicolas Robles Badajoz, Spain   The author in Guadalupe, Mexico, with two local guides (on the left) and a Texan friend (on the right). Photo courtesy of the author. Diego Rivera was one of Mexico’s most famous artists. Nowadays he is also known for his marriage to Frida Kahlo, another great Mexican artist. Born in […]