Art Sunday #162: Jan Brueghel the Younger – Allegory of the Tulipomania


Jan Brueghel the Younger (Dutch:  13 September 1601 – 1 September 1678) was a Flemish Baroque painter, and the son of Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Jan the Younger’s best works are his extensive landscapes, either under his own name or made for other artists such as Hendrick van Balen as backgrounds.[2] His pupils were his older sons Abraham, Philips and Jan Peeter, his nephew Jan van Kessel, and his younger brother Ambrosius. Jan the Younger has fifteen paintings in National public collections in the United Kingdom.

Monkeys in contemporary 17th century Dutch dress are shown dealing in tulips. A satirical commentary on speculators during the time of “Tulip Mania”, an economic bubble that centered around rare tulip bulbs. At left, one monkey points to flowering tulips while another holds up a tulip and a moneybag. Bulbs are weighed, money is counted, a lavish business dinner is enjoyed. The monkey at left has a list of rare tulips, his sword denotes upper class status. Farther back, a monkey sits like a nobleman astride a horse. One in mid-foreground draws up a bill of sale; the owl on his shoulder symbolizes foolishness and ignobility. Brueghel is not only ridiculing tulip speculators as brainless monkeys, the work is an object lesson for the folly of speculating to such an extent in such a transient thing as a mere bloom. In the denouement at right, a monkey urinates on the now worthless tulips; fellow speculators in debt are brought before the magistrate or weep in the dock. A frustrated buyer brandishes his fists, while at the back right a speculator is carried to his grave.




Art Sunday #161: P. Buckley Moss – Our Night Out


Patricia (Pat) Buckley Moss, also known as P. Buckley Moss, was born on May 20, 1933, in the Richmond Borough of New York City. Raised on Staten Island, Pat was the second of three children of an Irish American-Sicilian marriage.

P. Buckley Moss is an American and Virginia artist, whose art expresses her interest in strong family values. Known as “the People’s artist,” her colorful and landscape rich original and limited edition prints and Giclees’ are recollections of her varied life experiences sketched and then painted from different places, at different times, artfully drawn to offer a richer perspective of the world we live in. In her own distinctive style, Pat’s art actively seeks inspiration from her surroundings—including the lovely landscapes of the Shenandoah Valley and eastern United States, an early exploration of simplicity of life through Amish communities and landscapes, modern and traditional floral, beautiful birds and animals in a variety of settings, beloved pets, and of course, her own children and grandchildren who fill her life with endless artistic adventures.

She currently lives in Radford, Virginia, and travels around the country to attend gallery shows so she can meet her collectors and sign her artwork.



Art Sunday #160: Georges Seurat – Le Chahut


Le Chahut (English: The Can-can) is a Neo-Impressionist painting by Georges Seurat, dated 1889-90. It was first exhibited at the 1890 Salon de la Société des Artistes Indépendants (titled Chahut, cat. no. 726) in Paris, where it eclipsed other works. Chahut became the prime target of art critics, and was widely discussed among Symbolist critics.

Le Chahut is an oil painting on canvas measuring 170 by 141 cm (67 x 55 in). Seurat employed a Divisionist style, with pointillist dots of color. The work is dominated by a color scheme that tends toward the red end of the spectrum, of earth tones that draw from a palette of browns, tans, warm grays, and blues, interspersed with not just the primary colors (reds and yellows), nor even with the six principal colors, but with eighteen mixtures on his palette prior to application on the canvas (any of which could be mixed with white).[1] A deeper blue border painted around the edge of the canvas culminates in a shallow arch on the upper edge.


Art Sunday #159: Raphael – Transfiguration

Transfigurazione_(Raffaello)_September_2015-1a (1)

The Transfiguration is the last painting by the Italian High Renaissance master Raphael. Commissioned by Cardinal Giulio de Medici, the later Pope Clement VII (1523–1534) and conceived as an altarpiece for the Narbonne Cathedral in France, Raphael worked on it until his death in 1520. The painting exemplifies Raphael’s development as an artist and the culmination of his career. Unusually for a depiction of the Transfiguration of Jesus in Christian art, the subject is combined with an additional episode from the Gospels in the lower part of the painting.

The Transfiguration stands as an allegory of the transformative nature of representation. It is now in the Pinacoteca Vaticana in Vatican City.

Raphael died on 6 April 1520. At the time of his death, the artist ‘who lived more like a prince than a painter’ lay in state for a couple of days at his house in the Borgo, with the famous Transfiguration, left unfinished at Raphael’s death, at his head.”


Art Sunday #158: Marc Chagall – The betrothed and Eiffel Tower


“The betrothed and Eiffel Tower” shows us the two favorite cities of Chagall. It’s hard not to notice the Eiffel tower – the bright blue recognizable, it fills the background. And under it – Vitebsk. Lower right corner leaves no doubt of the roof of the city huddled under the flying angel and the soaring tower. “Artist in Paris”– said Marc Chagall. And confessing to Paris in his infinite love and trying to say about him the best that you can, exclaimed: “Paris, you’re my Vitebsk!”. Indeed, in his paintings wonderfully side by side the two cities.


Art Sunday #157: Claude Monet – The Magpie


The Magpie (French: La Pie) is an oil-on-canvas landscape painting by the French Impressionist Claude Monet, created during the winter of 1868–1869 near the commune of Étretat in Normandy. Monet’s patron, Louis Joachim Gaudibert, helped arrange a house in Étretat for Monet’s girlfriend Camille Doncieux and their newborn son, allowing Monet to paint in relative comfort, surrounded by his family.

The Magpie is one of approximately 140 snowscapes produced by Monet. His first snowscape, A Cart on the Snowy Road at Honfleur, was painted sometime in either 1865 or 1867, followed by a notable series of snowscapes in the same year, beginning with the Road by Saint-Simeon Farm in WinterThe Magpie was completed in 1869 and is Monet’s largest winter painting. It was followed by The Red Cape (1869–1871), the only known winter painting featuring Camille Doncieux.

The canvas of The Magpie depicts a solitary black magpie perched on a gate formed in a wattle fence, as the light of the sun shines upon freshly fallen snow creating blue shadows. The painting features one of the first examples of Monet’s use of colored shadows, which would later become associated with the Impressionist movement. Monet and the Impressionists used colored shadows to represent the actual, changing conditions of light and shadow as seen in nature, challenging the academic convention of painting shadows black. This subjective theory of color perception was introduced to the art world through the works of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Michel Eugène Chevreul earlier in the century.


Art Sunday #156: Camille Pissarro – The Boulevard Montmartre at Night

The Boulevard Montmartre at Night

Camille Pissarro (French: [kamij pisaʁo]; 10 July 1830 – 13 November 1903) was a Danish-French Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist painter born on the island of St Thomas (now in the US Virgin Islands, but then in the Danish West Indies). His importance resides in his contributions to both Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Pissarro studied from great forerunners, including Gustave Courbet and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. He later studied and worked alongside Georges Seurat and Paul Signac when he took on the Neo-Impressionist style at the age of 54.

In 1873 he helped establish a collective society of fifteen aspiring artists, becoming the “pivotal” figure in holding the group together and encouraging the other members. Art historian John Rewald called Pissarro the “dean of the Impressionist painters”, not only because he was the oldest of the group, but also “by virtue of his wisdom and his balanced, kind, and warmhearted personality”. Cézanne said “he was a father for me. A man to consult and a little like the good Lord,” and he was also one of Gauguin’s masters. Renoir referred to his work as “revolutionary”, through his artistic portrayals of the “common man”, as Pissarro insisted on painting individuals in natural settings without “artifice or grandeur”.

Pissarro is the only artist to have shown his work at all eight Paris Impressionist exhibitions, from 1874 to 1886. He “acted as a father figure not only to the Impressionists” but to all four of the major Post-Impressionists, including Georges Seurat, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin.


Art Sunday #155: Jan Steen – Children Teaching a Cat to Dance


Daily life was Jan Steen’s main pictorial theme. Many of the genre scenes he portrayed, as in The Feast of Saint Nicholas, are lively to the point of chaos and lustfulness, even so much that “a Jan Steen household”, meaning a messy scene, became a Dutch proverb (een huishouden van Jan Steen). Subtle hints in his paintings seem to suggest that Steen meant to warn the viewer rather than invite him to copy this behaviour. Many of Steen’s paintings bear references to old Dutch proverbs or literature. He often used members of his family as models, and painted quite a few self-portraits in which he showed no tendency of vanity.

Steen did not shy from other themes: he painted historical, mythological and religious scenes, portraits, still lifes and natural scenes. His portraits of children are famous. He is also well known for his mastery of light and attention to detail, most notably in Persian rugs and other textiles.



Art Sunday #154: Caravaggio – Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence


The Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence (also known as The Adoration) is a painting believed to have been created in 1609 by the Italian Baroque master Caravaggio. Recent discoveries link the painting to that commissioned by Fabio Nuti in April 1600, and thus sent from Rome to Palermo.

It was stolen on October 18, 1969 from the Oratorio di San Lorenzo in Palermo, Sicily.

The Nativity is one of the most famous unrecovered stolen works of art; its theft is on the FBI’s top ten list of art crimes. The value, if the work was ever sold, is estimated to be $20 million; though resale value on the black market, especially for an infamous work of art, is nowhere near the actual value. On the black market, stolen art fetches perhaps a tenth of its estimated value if it can even be sold at all.

In 2016, a reproduction of the painting was produced by Factum Arte for a documentary on the painting and its theft. This reproduction was then permanently installed in the chapel, in the place of the original.


Art Sunday #153: Erte – Symphony on Black


Romain de Tirtoff (23 November 1892 – 21 April 1990) was a Russian-born French artist and designer known by the pseudonym Erté, from the French pronunciation of his initials (pronounced [ɛʁ.te]). He was a diversely talented 20th-century artist and designer who flourished in an array of fields, including fashion, jewellery, graphic arts, costume and set design for film, theatre, and opera, and interior decor.

His work may be found in the collections of several well-known museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); as well, a sizable collection of work by Erté can be found at Museum 1999 in Tokyo.