Love has been one of the most important subjects of the arts for centuries. Some of the most moving plays, songs and paintings have been about or been inspired by desire, attraction, passion, selflessness, loss and despair, all of which can be attributed to falling in love. SomeÂ of these works have lasted longer than the love that inspired them, as if an immortal reminder that while love may change or be denied, the ones that truly move will leave a trace to be felt by others. Below are some of the works of art that have stood the test of time and the great stories of passion behind them.
Le RĂŞve (Pablo Picasso)
“When I love a woman, that tears everything apart especially, my painting.” – Pablo Picasso
Le ReveÂ orÂ The DreamÂ has recently been one of Picassoâ€™s most talked about works. First, because it sold to Casino Mogul Steve Wynn for $122 million dollars, and second because not long after Wynn bought it, he accidentally tore a hole through the canvas with his elbow. However, the painting which Picasso allegedly painted in just one day, has been the subject of fascination for many years.Â Â This is because Le Reve is one of the most sensuous portrayals of Picassoâ€™s true love and most enduring muse, Marie-Therese Walter.
While it hasnâ€™t always been considered the most important period of Picassoâ€™s career, the late 1920â€™s to late 30â€™s was witness to how Pablo Picassoâ€™s work changed the day he met Marie-Therese Walter.
She was 17 and he was 45 when they met at a Paris department store. â€śYou have an interesting faceâ€ť the artist said to her, â€śI am Picasso.â€ťÂ Â To the young woman with a distinct profile and coy smile, this meant nothing as she did not know of the Artist at the time. However, Marie-Therese was still seduced by a charismatic Picasso who was then married to Russian ballerina Olga. Despite the artistâ€™s marriage, a secret affair between Picasso and Marie-Therese began.
As the affair progressed Picasso started including clues of Marie-Therese in his work. Â First in codes so his rightfully jealous wife wouldnâ€™t suspect anything, but soon he put her likeness in everything he created. â€śWhen I love a woman, that tears everything apart especially my painting.â€ť He said.
The two would never marry but during the course of their relationship Marie-Therese bore a daughter, Maya. Two months after Mayaâ€™s birth, Picasso, infamous for his many women, took on another mistress. Marie-Therese and Picassoâ€™s affair may have ended but the gentle, submissive Marie-Therese continued to love Picasso until her dying day and the artist continued to be inspired by her. His depiction of her nose, her eyes, her hair and purplish skin were often seen drawn or painted, or even sculpted into marble and wood for over 3 decades.
Picasso died in in 1973 and 4 years later Marie-Therese took her own life. She was 68 years old.
La Fornarina (Raphael)
La FornarinaÂ has been shrouded in much controversy and clues about it continue to surface. Who was she? The sensual, beguiling, loving look of an intimately posed woman holding her left breast â€” is this a look directed at a lover, a friend or a potential husband?
Of the many stories surrounding this painting, one of them has the makings of a novella.
As a young man, Raphael was easy-going, possessed great looks and, according to 16th Century writer Giorgio Vassari, very much sought after by women in that period. He began a promising painting practice with the help of Cardinal Bernardo, one of his more influential patrons. It was said that Cardinal Bernardo wanted to marry off his niece, Maria Bibbiena to Raphael. This joining would be advantageous for the young painter. Â Heâ€™d have a position in court and a patron would continuously support his art. However, Raphael had already fallen in love with a young woman named Margherita Luti, often called the little baker (La Fornarina). It was believed that the two had a secret affair while Raphael was engaged to Maria Bibbiena, and so he delayed the date of their wedding several times.
Maria Bibbiena never became Raphaelâ€™s wife as the painter died at the young age of 37. Margherita, the young woman depicted in the painting, resigned herself to a convent and not much was heard of her after that.
Now, this story could stand on its own and it has for a lot of analysts, but recent extensive x-ray analysis of the painting revealed that on the left ring finger of La Fornarina, is a square cut ruby and gold ring. Experts say that such a ring is unusual for a young single woman and this perhaps provides us with more information on the significance of the relationship between the two. One can also see a band on La Fornarinaâ€™s left arm bearing the artistâ€™s name, leading to the possible conclusion that Raphael may have been engaged to two women at the same time.
The Kiss (Auguste Rodin)
Rodin picked a moment in the story where a deeply disturbingÂ tragedy was about to occur.
This Valentineâ€™s Day edition of the blog wouldnâ€™t be complete without one of the most popular allusions to romance, Auguste Rodinâ€™sÂ The Kiss. Looking at this sculpture it is easy to think that this is about the pure love between two people, after all both seem to be completely enraptured with one another. However this sculpture is Rodinâ€™s depiction of the story of Francesca and Paolo, the two adulterous characters in Danteâ€™sÂ Divine Comedy.
Francesca da Polenta and Paolo Malatesta were from two rival families in Italy. Francesca was married off to Paoloâ€™s crippled brother Giovanni as a means to solidify a truce between the families, while Paolo was married to Countess Orabile Beatrice. Despite their own marital commitments Francesca and Paolo carried on a 10 year affair. The sculpture shows us the pair on the verge of a passionate tryst, their bodies in different stages of submission. A walk around the sculpture reveals Paoloâ€™s hand holding a book.
Rodin picked a moment in the story where a deeply disturbingÂ tragedy was about to occur. Francesca and Paolo are sitting together in her bedroom. He is reading to her the story of Sir Lancelot and Guinevere, when Francesca, deeply enamored by Paolo, decides to throw herself at him. In the midst of this sweeping passion, there is a loud knock at the door. It is Francescaâ€™s husband Giovanni who is determined to interrupt their affair and face down the lovers.Â Â When Francesca opens the door Giovanni sees Paolo on the verge of escape. Giovanni, deep in anger, kills his brother first and his wife next.
In Danteâ€™s novel we find Francesca and Paolo in the second circle of hell, the part of damnation reserved for the lustful. There they are destined to be forever trapped in an eternal sweeping whirlwind and storm as they allowed themselves to be completely swept up by their passions.
For the fan of the classics
Ah, we love them. The classical art aficionado is probably the easiest to buy forÂ asÂ their favoriteÂ artists or subjects are well known and the art is easy to find. A taste for the classics is something thatÂ a great numberÂ of artists and collectors alike seem to share. Still life, figurative works like portraits, landscape works, etc. make great gifts.
Frame : Composite Framed Size : 16 x 12 x 1 in. Unique work. Includes free shipping.
For theÂ contemporary connoisseur
You can spot them easily, and if youâ€™re friends with one, consider yourself lucky. They are the people who are either on trend or better yet, settingÂ the trend. They know their way around art and design so well you had once dreamedÂ about them decorating your apartment or overhauling your closet. However, this can also beÂ the most difficult group to buy art for, especially on a limited budget. But donâ€™t worry, theyâ€™re also typically adventurous and are â€śtakenâ€ť with a great piece of art regardless of the modest cost.
For those who like a little bit of edge
If your friend or loved one enjoys the aesthetic of industrial places â€“ think steel + hardwood floor + distressed leatherâ€“ chances are they would enjoy pieces with a bit more funk. The strong expressionist brush strokes of certain abstract pieces, darker moods and subjects definitely match this style preference.
For the whimsical one
Lightness, fantasy, and playfulÂ are just some of the words associated to art that projects whimsy. If someone you care about isÂ into soft tones and magical themes, Christmas is the best time to give them this kind of art. After all, isnâ€™t it this particular season that brings out the lightness in all of us?
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PerhapsÂ no one else is more synonymous to everything Japanese, cute and kitschy than Takashi Murakami. Most renowned for his inanely grinning stylized flowers, Murakami has spread his brand of art to some of the most important art venues in the world, among them the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, Chataeu de Versailles in France, and the Serpentine Gallery in London.
Takashi Murakami was born in 1962 in Tokyo but lives and works in either Asaka, Saitama or in Brooklyn, NY. His origins perfectly positioned him to comment on the culture’s obsession on ‘cuteness’ which is evidenced by the ever-marketable characters that came from Japan — Hello Kitty, Pikachu and others. In the same vein, Murakami, who may have been inspired by Warhol and Koons has taken on the business of art by easily straddling popular art and commerce. His factory Kaikai Kiki Co produces toys and t-shirts that bear icons from his art. And who could forget the collaboration between Murakami and the fashion power house Louis Vuitton? This partnership,Â whichÂ started in 2003 and only recently concluded in the middle of this year, produced some of the most iconic bags from the fashion brand and Murakami.
Perhaps due to this wide popularity of his ventures both in art and commerce, it would be easy to dismiss Murakami as just another pop artist, lacking any depth but his work, dubbed ironically as “superflat” is informed by the same Japanese art-historical tradition that brought to the international art fore manga and anime. This flatness, Murakami suggests is also a comment on Japan’s eradication of the distinction of class, where the country’s modern society seems to do away with recognition of high and low cultures.
Written by Jing Palad
|Buying first art piece shouldn’t have to be intimidating. In fact, it should be an exciting first step to falling in love with art and eventually building a collection that is uniquely your own. Many a great collector got started as a result from the thrill of their first purchase. Following are some tips on how to navigate through the experience of your first art buy.|
|1. Set aside a budget for art.
While an exclusive number of experienced collectors have huge allocations for art, not all of us have a-mile-deep pockets. However, you donâ€™t need a huge budget to venture into the pleasure that art provides. Many of the artworks that do not make the headlines areÂ well under the $2000 mark, which means if you allocate $5000 of your annual income to art, you could purchase 2 – 3 pieces every year. It’s important to ask yourself how much of your income you’d like to set aside for your first purchase/s as this will help you control spending, especially when you’re still in the early stages of collecting.
|2. Understand what’s out there.
Research. It’s not unusual for collectors to fall out of love with their early purchases as they develop their preferences. This is because the tendency to rush to buy is higher when one is just beginning to collect. As a result it is best to immerse yourself in learning when you don’t quite know what to buy yet. Take your time and visit museums, gallery openings and art school graduations. Spend some time on online art galleries to find out what is making the waves in different art circles around the world. This will hone your perspective and will help you get an idea what constitutes good, quality art. Talk to gallery owners, and make sure you don’t talk to just one gallery but several. Build a network of galleries and establish an understanding of who represents which artist at what price. You’ll be amazed at the deals you will be able to strike when you’re able to demonstrate that you’re serious about buying art.
3. Understand your own taste.
Buy what you like. During the course of your research you will find out that you like some pieces over others, that you’re drawn to a certain movement instead of others. Take note of this. This is you honing your taste and your own art preferences. This is essential especially if you’re seriously considering building an art collection. Your taste will set your collection apart from everyone else’s. The best collections in the world demonstrate a narrative that is unique to its collectors, which is why it’s ever so important to know what it is that you like and to let that guide your buying decisions.
|4. Consider the space.
Most of us start buying because there’s a wall in our house that could use an artwork or a space that looks like it needs a sculpture. If you’re buying with a specific space in mind, don’t forget the dimensions when buying a piece. A lot of artworks get sold with a space in mind but when it comes to mounting it buyers sometimes find out that the piece is too large for the wall or too heavy to be mounted properly. Also, some forget to consider the effects of direct sunlight on a piece. The result is poor installation or irreversible damage to the artwork.
Malibu 5, 2013
by Kevin Brewerton
|5. Be diligent about paperwork.
Not too long ago, my father was gifted with a very precious contemporary art work from the Philippines. It was a work from one of the country’s National Artists who has since passed away. However, aside from the artist’s signature on the piece itself, there’s not a lot else that accompanied the artwork when it was handed to him. Why is this a problem? Well, aside from making it difficult to verify the piece’s authenticity, the provenance which may eventually elevate the price of the artwork will be very difficult to establish as well. The lesson in this story is this, when buying your first artwork, do not forget to ask the artist or the gallery for a certificate of authenticity. Along with this, keep everything that’s related to the artwork – programs from the exhibition in which it was shown, receipts of purchase, articles in the newspaper or art magazine mentioning the artwork and its previous owners. If you bought the artwork from an auction, ensure that it comes with a condition report.
Written by Jing Palad