Tag Archives: Art Flashes

The trouble with the belly button

Tonse N. K. Raju Gaithersburg, Maryland, United States   It is a simple dimple in the mid-abdomen. Yet for medieval artists, it caused mighty headaches while painting portraits of Adam and Eve. Painting the dimple as a natural anatomic feature could be construed as sacrilegious, implying that Adam and Eve were connected by umbilical cords […]

The Girl with a Pearl Earring—a vanitas?

James Lindesay Leicester, United Kingdom   Girl with a Pearl Earring. Johannes Vermeer. circa 1665. Mauritshuis. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. It is a truism that you only have one opportunity to see a picture for the first time. However, in our image-saturated age, by the time you get to see a famous painting in […]

Battling poverty, injustice, ignorance and fear, and despair

Tonse N. K. Raju Gaithersburg, Maryland, United States   Figure 1: Don Quixote de la Mancha and Sancho Panza (1982), by Maurice D. Pearlman, MD (1915-1985), University of Illinois, Class of 1938. Donated in his memory by his daughter, Martha Pearlman. Assemblage approximately 7’ X 11’. This picture was taken when the statue was on […]

Erich Heckel: In a lunatic asylum

Erich Heckel (1883–1970) was one of the founding members of Die Brücke (“The Bridge”), formed in Dresden in 1905 as a bohemian group of artists in rebellion against the older, established norms. In this painting, he depicts four inmates confined to a mental institution for reasons not explained. The squalid and disheveled man in the […]

A very early Picasso painting

Pablo Picasso was sixteen years old and obviously was not yet famous when he made this painting. His father, an artist himself, had encouraged his son to paint but favored traditional forms such as country scenes and conventional portraits. He himself sat as model for Science and Charity (1897) and is depicted as the conventional […]

Beauty actualized

Vincent P. De Luise New Haven, Connecticut   Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss, Antonio Canova, First version, completed 1793, Louvre Museum “First of all, move me, surprise me, rend my heart; make me tremble, weep, shudder; outrage me; delight my eyes afterwards if you can . . .” – Denis Diderot   What is beauty? […]

Arthritis in Albrecht Durer’s “Praying Hands”

Ariana Shaari New York, New York, United States   Figure 1. Life of the Virgin 4: The Birth of the Virgin. Alfred Durer. 1503, Woodcut, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich. Source Albrecht Durer is considered one of the masters of German Renaissance art and has been dubbed “the da Vinci of the North.” He is especially […]

Christ at the bedside

Jesus sits by the bedside of the girl he has just raised from the dead. He is holding the girl’s hand and looks tenderly into her eyes. He has just truly affected a cure, unlike the physicians of old confined by necessity to the dictum of “guérir parfois, soulager souvent, consoler toujours”*—usually attributed to the […]

Unnamed surgeon

In this painting an unknown Netherlandish artist features some of the attributes of a surgeon’s profession: a skull, a tool for cauterizing skulls, a saw, and several keys on the surgeon’s belt. The unnamed surgeon seems composed, serious, with a firm jaw and wrinkled eyes. This is fitting of his position and reputation among the […]

Lovis Corinth and the sick father

Franz Heinrich Lovis Corinth (1858-1925) began his career as a realistic painter, showing things on canvas as they are seen in reality. Thus in His Father on his Sickbed (Stadel Museum, Frankfurt) we see the father in bed, sick but perhaps not mortally so. His loving daughter keeps watch by the bedside. She has arranged […]