This Might Be Fun: Post A Link To Your Favorite Work Of Art

Subtitled: The Cafe Society ‘Less Pop / More Culture’ Thread.

Even though jpg images on the internet rarely do justice, I thought it’d be interesting to have a thread where people can post a link to their favorite piece and maybe write a sentence or two about what affect it has on them.

Remember: In art there are no rules, if you wanna post alink to a paper mache statue of R2D2, feel free. Just a suggestion: preview and test your links before posting.

Who: Parisian Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux.

What: Ugolino and His Sons

When: 1860-1862.

Where: Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC.

Why: It’s difficult to say. I have to stare whenever I see it. If I had to whittle it down; I guess it’s the blend of beauty and sorrow. Unlike most pieces, it’s easy to identify with - the subject of the piece is from Dante’s Inferno; where Count Ugolino & his children were imprisoned without food & eventually offer themselves as food for their father.

Who: Dutch painter, Johannes Vermeer

What: ‘Het melkmeisje’ (the mild maid)

When: ca. 1658-1660

Where: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands (although it “tours” a lot, too)

Why: It’s mesmorising. Stare at it long enough, and the milk actually starts to flow. I have never seen such a real painting, so… lifelike. It’s superb in detail, colour, and simplicity. Stunning!

My Music Match Jukebox is on shuffle here at the office. Within a minute of clicking the link and following your ‘stare at it long enough’ recomendation, Twelfth Night’s ‘The Collector’ started playing.

Who: Vincent Van Gogh
What: Starry Night
When: June 1889
Where: New York: The Museum of Modern Art
Why: I dunno. I like all of Van Gogh’s work, but this one for some reason stands out for me. It could be as much the story behind the painting as the painting itself. Van Gogh painted it from a mental image while in an asylum. But the texture of his works, the movement and flow of the swirling clouds, and the tree in the foreground stretching upwards and mimicking the spire(?) of the church in the midground, I never tire of looking at it.

Who: Caravaggio
What:Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness
When: 1604-05
Where: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City MO
Why: The best online version I could find doesn’t begin to do justice to this work. Nor will my pitiful attempts to explain why the painting is breath taking and soul searing. There are three color elements in this painting: the darkness of the background and St.John’s hair, the scarlet of the draped fabric, and the flesh of St.John. The darkness is rich and palpable. The crimson fabric is rich (if you only got to see the fabric, you would still know it was the work of genius). The flesh is exquisite, and something about it connects you to the soul of the man in the painting. The contrast of these three colors in startling.

**Crunchy ** beat me to mine. I absolutely love Starry Night.

Who: Frenchman Jules Bastien-Lepage
What: Joan of Arc
When: 1879
Where: Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC
Why: I love the eyes. They aren’t captured well even in the large image I linked. Everytime I see this painting I just stop and stare and wonder how the other people could just pass by. It hits me at that low of a level.

Who: Michelangelo Buonarroti
What: “Daivd”
When: 1550
Where: Galleria dell’Accademia, Flornce
Why: That a man walked up to a block of marble, placed his chisel against the block, and said “I’ll start here,” amazes me. That he was able to produce something so beautiful is even more amazing still.

You want scary? That is my favourite song of all time. And how many people in the world even know it? 200? :slight_smile:

Who: Henri Rousseau.

What: Sleeping Gypsy

When: 1897.

Where: The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Why: The colors and texture are what first attracted me to this painting and the rest of Rousseau’s work. But I think it’s the little things in his work that hold my interest – the lion’s eye in this one. The first time I saw the painting in the museum I was looking at it for a while and my partner came up next to me and asked, “What happens next?”
“Oh, the lion walks away.”
“Oh yeah, no doubt.” I was a little surprised at how sure I was and I think that’s why I like this painting so much.

Bathers With a Toy Boat by Picasso. I love both the style and the innocence of this piece. I especially like the figure peeking curiously over the horizon.

Hieronymous Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights:

Why – we still don’t understand it entirely. Most interpretations don’t really touch on a few of the things that we know, and don’t mention what we don’t know about it. For instance, we have no idea what Bosch titled it, if anything. The earliest title we have for this is The Strawberry Plant, which is almost certainly not what Bosch called it. The Garden of Earthly Delights is the common name, but hasn’t really got any authority behind it, and is probably misleading.

On the other hand, outlandish mavericks like Wilhelm Fraenger, whose interpretations are highly improbable and off-the-wall, get way too much press.
Note that, in the center panel, Bosch has placed a lot of black people, male and female, among the revellers. Regardless of what’s going on, Bosch was incredibly open-minded for a 15th century Dutchman.

Who: Pierre-Auguste Renoir

What: ‘Monet painting in his garden at Argenteuil’

When: 1873

Where: Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut

Why: Hard to explain. I guess because it stands alone as a masterpiece, but also captures the creation of another masterpiece (I assume). I had never seen it as a print (or even heard about it) when I saw it for the first time. It was part of a touring Renoir exhibition - I saw it a the Dallas Museum of Art around 1998. I saw it again last week at the Kimble Art Museum in Fort Worth as part of the Caravaggio to Dalí: 100 Masterpieces from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art exhibition. I wasn’t expecting to see it there, and when I turned the corner and saw it, it stopped me in my tracks exactly the same way it did before.

We’re only allowed one? And it has to be part of the visual arts? Here goes:

Who: René Magritte

What: La condition humaine

When: 1933

Where: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Why: There are so many different reasons… I’ve always liked the surrealist school, but Dali is a little too popular. Escher is almost assumed for anyone with a technical mindset. But Magritte is often overlooked, which is a shame, because his works are strikingly simple on the surface, yet hide complex issues beneath. “La condition humaine” is an example of a “painting within a painting,” an artist’s easel and canvas on the larger canvas. But what is the smaller canvas obscuring? Is it that which is depicted on the smaller canvas, or something else? We will never know; perhaps we are not meant to know, and that is what the title “the human condition” means.

“David” was produced in 1504, not 1550. I have no idea where that came from.

Who: Edward Hopper

What: Gas

When: 1940

Where: MOMA New York

Why: The sense of anticipation I get with all of Hopper’s work is the strongest in this painting. I’m waiting for something, while I see that man, almost lingering on the gas pump. The contrast between the soft background and the harsh light in which the station is painted is breathtaking. And a tad scary.
As is the fact that it really can’t be a gas station - with that small road and no traffic…can it?

[there’s another one of Hopper called ‘Solitude’. Magnificent as well]

Who: Raphaelle Peale

What: Venus Rising from the Sea – A Deception

When: 1822

Where: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City MO

Why: Because it cracks me up every time I see it; unfortunately, that wing was closed the last time I was at the Nelson. The Nelson also has quite the collection of 17th century religious paintings which I also enjoy.

I would have posted a link to another favorite painting of mine (no doubt some of you have prints of it–or have seen one), but I can’t think of the name: an older fellow standing on a ladder in a library, holding books while reading a book. It looks 19th century-ish.


Titian’s Young Englishman (1540s, Pitti Palace, Florence).

Makes the Mona Lisa look like a big, steaming pile o’ crap.

Same as CalMeacham’s- Hieronymous Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthy Delight”.

Why? I remember the first time I saw it. I was flipping through my Art History book (bored in class) and I was stunned when I came across it. The rest of the lecture went past while I gazed through this piece of art bit by bit.

First you look at the Triptych’s doors. Very desolate. Dark. Almost menacing.

Then the doors open.
The colors amaze me. The oddness of it entrances me. Hell scares me.