Tag Archives: Art Flashes

Interpreting René Magritte’s The Rape

Mirjana Stojkovic-Ivkovic Belgrade, Serbia   The Rape. Oil painting by René Magritte, 1934. Menil Collection, Houston, TX, via Wikiart. Fair use. When exhibited by René Magritte in Brussels in 1930, The Rape was covered with a curtain so as not to cause a scandal. It depicts a woman’s face which, instead of eyes, nose, and […]

Farewell, dear pictures that I have loved so well

For nearly two decades Cardinal Jules Mazarin was the de facto ruler of France and the most powerful person in Europe. Born in Italy in 1602, he worked as a Papal diplomat but offered his services to Cardinal Richelieu and moved to Paris in 1640. When Richelieu died in 1642, he acted as the head […]

Daumier’s doctors

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   “Le médecin : Pourquoi, diable! mes malades s’en vont-ils donc tous?”. Caricature by Daumier. National Library of Medicine. No known copyright restrictions. “Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.” – Reinhold Niebuhr   Honoré Daumier (1808–1879) was a “fundamentally discontented” French social critic, painter, sculptor, and printmaker. He produced over […]

Ensor’s use of emesis in art

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   James Ensor, Seven Deadly Sins, Gluttony (1904). Royal Library of Belgium, Brussels. Image cropped to plate size. Via Wikimedia The Belgian artist James Ensor (1860-1949) was born to a Belgian mother, Maria Catherina Haegheman, and an English father, James Frederick Ensor. He was born and spent his entire life in […]

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 […]

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? […]