Monthly Archives: February 2014

Napoleon’s all “I got it from here” when it comes to crowning his wife, Josephine in this massive work from Jacques-Louis David. Sketches kept at the Louvre illustrate Napoleon crowning himself, but one can only do so much narcissism in those ballet flats.

luncheon of the boating party

There’s so much to say about this work. The girl on the left is Renoir’s girlfriend; she was drawn talking across the table, but he didn’t want his lady to be chatting for eternity with another man. Gustave Caillebotte (fellow Impressionist, known for the “Rainy Day in Paris”) sits backwards in his chair and sports a fedora. Cute.

Flash forward to 1923, when Duncan Phillips buys the painting. Contemporary collector Albert Barnes visits DC. The man owned plenty of Renoir works and sneers, “Is this your only Renoir?”

“It’s the only one I need,” Phillips responded.

Sofanisba Anguissola painted this portrait of one of her mentors, Bernardino Campi, painting her portrait. Notice how much bigger she is and the controlling mahl stick he uses? Those both serve as sixteenth-century zingers, suggesting total girl power.

Norman Rockwell’s triple self-portrait features other artists that investigated the selfie, including Rembrandt, Durer, Picasso, and van Gogh. He was also a major fan of the afternoon Coca Cola.

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With Gauguin, blood and sex have the edge over ambition.” 

Naturally, Vincent. No wonder Emile Bernard thought you were weird as hell.

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Caravaggio made this painting in exchange for a Knights of Malta membership to avoid on-purpose-stabbing/accidental-death charges.

Talk about life imitating art imitating life, am I right?

When “The Railway” was sent to the Salon, it was rejected almost immediately. One critic said, well, paraphrased: “Not only do these women look like they’re in prison, but so should Manet for submitting this crap.”