Sunday, December 29, 2013

North Carolina Art Museum Visit

This museum is really something special. The collection is well rounded and the huge new building is amazing. Here are some highlights.

Roxy Paine's metal tree sculpture with a real hawk sitting in it.

My favorite piece in their collection.
I really fell in love with this painting.

Anthonie Palamedesz
Dutch, 1601–1673
Merry Company
Oil on panel

Andrew Newell Wyeth
American, 1917–2009
Winter 1946
Tempera on board

Although beloved as the illustrator of such children's classics as "Treasure Island" and "Robin Hood", N.C. Wyeth sought greater respect as a fine artist. Unfortunately, many critics dismissed his paintings of rural life as sentimental and old fashioned. Increasingly frustrated, N.C. transferred to his son Andrew the burden of his hopes.

The weight of that burden is apparent is "Winter 1946", which Andrew Wyeth painted in the aftermath of his father's tragic death in an accident at a railroad crossing–a crossing that lies on the other side of the hill. According to the artist, the hill became a symbolic portrait of his domineering father, and figure of the boy running aimlessly "was me, at a loss–that hand drifting in the air was my free soul, groping."

The brittle clarity of "Winter 1946" results from Wyeth's use of the egg tempera medium: ground earth and mineral colors mixed with yolk and thinned with water. The artist once said that he liked tempera for its "feeling of dry lostness."

Andrew Newell Wyeth
American, 1917–2009
Sea Dog
Tempera on board

Thomas Moran
"Fiercely the red sun descending / Burned his way along the heavens"
Oil canvas

This is some of the best brushwork...I adore this painting (also see detail below).

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem "The Song of Hiawatha" tells the story of a Ojibwa chief and his valiant struggle against evil. First published in 1855, "Hiawatha" inspired many artists, most notably Thomas Moran, The title of this painting sets the scene for Hiawatha's struggle against the magician who murdered his grandfather. Nokomis, the hero's grandmother, directs his journey across the black water to the West, where "fiercely the red sun descending/ Burned his way along the heavens." Just as the poet sought to create an indigenous American mythology, the painter imagines a mythic landscape, more emotional than real.

Bernardo Strozzi
Italian, 1581/1582–1644
Portrait of a Gentleman
circa 1625–1632
Oil on canvas

Cosmetic Tube and Applicator
Egyptian, Medieval
8th century
Blown glass

Using a cosmetic palette and small stone, Egyptians ground minerals to a fine powder and mixed them with oils or fats to create cosmetics for both men and women. Kohl–eye makeup that often contained galena (a lead ore)–was used to paint the rims of the eyes (like eyeliner) as well as the lashes (like mascara). Not only was kohl a popular beauty  product; it was also a remedy for inflamed eyes. Such eye makeup could be stored in a long, thin tube that held an applicator.

Cosmetic Palette in the Form of a Fish
Egyptian, Predynastic Period
Nagada II, crica 3500–3150 B.C.E.

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