Episodes

Episode #20: Sofonisba Anguissola: Great (Woman) Artist  

Earlier this spring, I saw a hashtag making the rounds online, especially on Twitter and Instagram. Half the time, I only just vaguely pay attention to the trending terms on social media, but this one hit me right away. For a lot of people, including myself, it was like seeing an old beloved friend again- because this isn’t a new hashtag. It’s over a year old and was initiated originally by the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with Women’s History Month, celebrated every year in March.  It read #5WomenArtists and was meant as a kind of dare. As the museum’s digital editorial assistant, Emily Haight, posted on their blog, “Ask someone to name five artists and responses will likely include names such as Warhol, Picasso, van Gogh, Monet, da Vinci—all male artists. Ask someone to name five women artists, and the question poses more of a challenge.”

It’s a sad, but true, statement. Can many of us--especially those without in-depth artistic training or interest-- really name five or more women artists? Maybe, if you’re lucky, you can remember Frida Kahlo or Georgia O’Keeffe. And bonus points if you can recall our previous discussion on Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun. But especially in terms of artists who were around prior to the 20th century, the game grows much harder.

Why? What’s the problem of the woman artist? And how can we fix it?  Today, we’re talking about women artists-- the historical difficulties in becoming an artist, the challenges present therein, and the limitations and legacies of one very important Renaissance painter.

Today’s special episode of ArtCurious is the end result of a collaboration with art historian Ellen Oreddson and her excellent blog, How to Talk About Art History. Ellen has her own contribution to this topic on her site, where she lists five artists, inspired by the five women artists hashtag, and briefly discusses why each has been left out of the traditional art historical canon. Don't miss this insightful and fascinating post!

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Want more art-historical goodness? Check out the links below:

Italy Magazine: Sofonisba Anguissola- A Renaissance Woman

Smarthistory: Sofonisba Anguissola

ArtNews: Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?

National Museum of Women in the Arts Blog: Challenge Accepted: Can You Name Five Women Artists?


Sofonisba Anguissola, Self-portrait, 1554. Oil on canvas.
Sofonisba Anguissola, Self-Portrait holding a medallion with the Letter's of her Father's Name, early 1550s.
Sofonisba Anguissola, Self-Portrait, 1556. Oil on canvas.
Sofonisba Anguissola, The Chess Game, 1555. Oil on canvas.
Sofonisba Anguissola, Portrait of Elizabeth of Valois Holding a Portrait of Philip II, 1561 - 1565. Oil on canvas.
Sofonisba Anguissola, Philip II, 1573. Oil on canvas.
Anthony van Dyck, sketchbook page featuring drawing of Sofonisba Anguissola, 1624.
Anthony van Dyck, Sofonisba Anguissola, 1624. Oil on panel.
Episode #19: Conservation and Controversy  

Conservators are art heroes: they transform damaged or dirty works of art into beautiful, fresh works for public consumption. Then why is it that conservation has been at the center of some of the biggest art historical controversies of the last fifty years? What does a conservator really do, and what happens when conservation goes too far?          

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Many thanks to the incredible Stephanie Pryor for research assistance!

There are some excellent books that I used for this episode. You can buy them at Better World Books, a bookstore for the socially conscious consumer. Click the links below for more information at a fair price. Please note: The ArtCurious Podcast is affiliated with Better World Books and will receive a small commission off of book sales. 

Want more art-historical goodness? Check out the links below:

NPR: Art Conservators at Work: A Living Exhibit

Smithsonian Magazine: "True Colors"

Hyperallergic: With Its Own Arts Center, Beast Jesus Rises Again

Huffington Post: “Elderly Woman’s Hilarious Failed Attempt At Restoring A 19th Century Fresco In Borja, Spain.”

ArtNet News: “Appalling Restoration Destroys Giotto Frescoes at the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi Parts of the priceless medieval frescoes are now lost forever.”


Does your family Bible look like this? I'd recommend calling a conservator.
The Parthenon Today, Athens, Greece
Computer Simulation of the Original Appearance of the Parthenon, Ancient Greece
The Sistine Chapel, Post-Restoration
Michelangelo's Daniel, before restoration (left) and after restoration (right)
Michelangelo's Creation of Adam, comparative images pre- and post-restoration
Michelangelo's Jesse Spandrel from the Sistine Chapel-- note that some details, including Jesse's eyes, are now missing, post-restoration (right)
Elias Garcia Martinez, Ecce Homo comparison-- original, before restoration, and after "restoration"
BONUS EPISODE: What is Art? (With A Thousand Things to Talk About)  

We are incredibly thrilled to release a bonus episode with our friend, Andrea Parrish, at A Thousand Things to Talk About! This daily podcast is the perfect start to your morning, with a brief 2-3 minute episode with thought-provoking questions and research. A Thousand Things to Talk About also offers the occasional "deep dive," and we're so excited to be a part of this one-- What is Art? It's a question that seems simple, but in reality, is it?

Listen here, and subscribe and review A Thousand Things to Talk About. Follow the show at the links below! And don't forget to  SUBSCRIBE and REVIEW our show along the way, too!

@musetopics on Twitter

@musetopics on Instagram

@musetopics on Facebook

Want more art-historical goodness? Check out the links below:

The Art Story on Dada

The New York Times: Is it Art? Is it Good? And Who Says So?

The Brooklyn Rail: Is it Possible to Define Art?

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: The Definition of Art

First Principles: The Treasonous Clerk: St. Augustine and the Meaning of Art

Book recommendation: Mosche Barasch, Modern Theories of Art 2: From Impressionism to Kandinsky

MoMA: "But is it Art?" Constantin Brancusi vs. the United States

Obscenity Case Files: Miller vs. California

Art on Trial: The Arts, the 1st Amendment, and the Courts


Claude Monet, Impression: Sunrise, 1872, oil on canvas (Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris)
Marcel Duchamp, 'Fountain' 1917, replica 1964, urinal and black paint
Constantin Brancusi, Bird in Space, series from 1923-1940, polished brass (this example: Guggenheim Museum, New York)
Episode #18: Diagnosis: Art History  

Over the centuries, there have been numerous examples of fine artists creating works of art that deliberately work with and within contemporaneous medical thought, portraying people with particular ailments or diseases. But what about if we turn that concept around a little bit? What happens when those in the medical field turn to paintings or sculptures from the past and retroactively investigate the health of the individuals depicted therein? What happens when art history turns into a diagnosis?                

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Want more art-historical goodness? Check out the links below:

Boston Globe: Monet? Gaugin? Using Art to Make Better Doctors

New York Times: Studying Art with the Eye of a Physician

Wall Street Journal: Doctors Enlist Paintings to Hone Skills

The Guardian: The Fine Art of Medical Diagnosis

The Guardian: Did the Mona Lisa Have Syphilis?


Théodore Géricault, Portrait of a Kleptomaniac, 1822, oil on canvas, 61 x 50 cm (Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent)
Théodore Géricault, Portait of a Woman Suffering from Obsessive Envy (The Hyena), 1822, oil on canvas, 72 x 58 cm (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyons)
Detail of Night, Michelangelo, Tomb of Giuliano di Lorenzo de' Medici with Night and Day, 1533, Florence, Italy
Quentin Massys, The Ugly Duchess (c. 1513), Oil on wood, 64.2 × 45.5 cm. National Gallery, London
Vincent Van Gogh, Sunflowers Arles, 1888, oil on canvas, 92.5 x 73 cm, Vincent van Gogh Foundation / National Museum Vincent van Gogh, Amsterdam
Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night, 1889, oil on canvas, 73.7 x 92.1 cm. (The Museum of Modern Art)
Vincent van Gogh, Portrait of Dr. Gachet, 1890, Oil on canvas, 23.4 in × 22.0 in, Private collection
Piero di Cosimo, The Death of Procris c. 1500 Oil on panel, 65 x 183 cm
Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa (La Joconde), c. 1504, Oil on poplar wood, 76.8 × 53 cm (30.2 × 20.9 in), Musée du Louvre, Paris
Episode #17: The Casino of the Spirits  

Venice-- it's the most serene and beautiful city in Italy, and possibly the whole world. But Venice at night-- all darkened and quiet-- takes up the most space in my imagination. I seriously love the depictions of Venice as enigmatic, shadowy, and even dangerous. Without cars or streetlights or other modern comforts, you might feel like you’ve stepped back in time and that around any given corner, you could find… anything. All of this lends Venice this air of inscrutability and mystery. And over time, locals and visitors alike have reveled in this sensation as fodder for myth-making and storytelling. Some stories really stick, lasting for centuries and becoming embedded into the city itself, through its buildings, monuments, and specific locations. And there’s one building that has had plenty of legends built around it. This particular elegant structure had an illustrious past, having once been a meeting place where Italian Renaissance artists discussed their craft, caroused, and gambled. But it’s also the location where relationships soured, crimes were committed, and death inevitably followed. Today, some people won’t even enter this particular building because it is feared to be haunted, cursed… or both.

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Want more art-historical goodness? Check out the links below:

Glory of Venice exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of Art

Read Vasari's take on Morto da Feltre

Wikipedia's Entry on Morto da Feltre

Mysterious Venice: The Casino of the Spirits (In Italian)

Italian Mysteries: Haunted Venice

 


The Casino degli Spiriti, as seen from the water, Venice, Italy
The Casino degli Spiriti, as seen from the back garden, Venice, Italy
Carlo Lasino, after Lorenzo Luzzo, Portrait of Morto da Feltre, color mezzotint, ca. 1789
Morto da Feltre, Virgin and Child, Virgin and Child, Civic Museum of Feltre
Giorgione, Self-Portrait, 1510
Giorgione, Madonna and Child between Saint Nicasius and Saint Francis, also known as Castelfranco Madonna, c. 1502, tempera on panel
Detail of the Castelfranco Madonna, based on Cecilia
Episode #16: The Muse  

Sometimes when I am looking at a particularly fascinating work of art, I find myself overwhelmed with awe-- for the creative act itself and the technical prowess that was needed to bring it to fruition. I’ve often had those moments where I have thought to myself, “Wow. How did this all come about? What is the inspiration behind this piece?” And any conversation about inspiration in the arts inevitably brings up a discussion about muses. This episode looks at the relationship--and occasional romance-- between artists and their muses, with a particular emphasis on one woman whose connection to two brothers illustrates this exchange in a compelling way. 

// Please SUBSCRIBE and REVIEW our show—we can’t thank you enough! Check our website for images from today’s show, as well as information about our other episodes. And come find us on Twitter and Instagram!       

Want more art-historical goodness? Check out the links below:

Artventures Blog: Manet and Morisot: The Tale of Love and Sadness in the Portraits

Saper Galleries: The Women of Pablo Picasso

Huffington Post: Ten Amazing Female Artists and Their Male Muses

The Telegraph: Picasso's Muses

Projection Systems Blog: The Origin of Painting


Joseph Wright of Derby, The Corinthian Maid, 1782–1784
Artist and Model, photography, c.1900
Giulio Romano's depiction of the Muses in Dance of Apollo and the Muses, 1540
Pablo Picasso, Girl Before a Mirror, 1932
Pablo Picasso, The Dream, 1932
Photograph of Édouard Manet, c. 1875
Photograph of Berthe Morisot, c. 1875
Édouard Manet, Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets (in mourning for her father), 1872
Édouard Manet, The Repose, 1870
Édouard Manet, The Balcony (Le balcon), 1868
Berthe Morisot, Eugene Manet on the Isle of Wight, 1875
Berthe Morisot, Julie and Eugene Manet
Episode #15: Hans-Joachim Bohlmann and Serial Art Vandalism  

A few months ago, I began looking into occurrences of art vandalism-- the purposeful destruction or harm of works of art that have occurred consistently, especially throughout the 20th century. As I read up, I saw that most of these events were one-offs: single moments where one person made a rash and ridiculous choice to lash out at a particular work of art. But then, I began to notice one name popping up over and over again- a German man who, over his lifetime, damaged over fifty works of art, creating a name for himself and a lasting impression on the art world. This episode, in a continuation of our Bigger Picture series, digs deeper into art attacks and examine the life and legacy of the vandal Hans-Joachim Bohlmann.

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Episode #15: Hans-Joachim Bohlmann and Serial Art Vandalism  

A few months ago, I began looking into occurrences of art vandalism-- the purposeful destruction or harm of works of art. Along the way, I learned that so many of the most famous artists and works of art have been affected by these terrible actions: Van Gogh, Picasso, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci. And as I read up, I saw that most of these events were one-offs: single moments where one person made a rash and ridiculous choice to lash out at a particular work of art. But then, I began to notice one name popping up over and over again. Just as there are famous artists who rise to the top of the canon of art history, it turns out that there was a granddaddy of all of the art vandals in the world-- a German man who, over his lifetime, damaged over fifty works of art, creating a name for himself and a lasting impression on the art world. In this episode, And today, in a continuation of our Bigger Picture series, we are going to dig deeper into art attacks and examine the life and legacy of the vandal Hans-Joachim Bohlmann.

// Please SUBSCRIBE and REVIEW our show—we can’t thank you enough! Check our website for images from today’s show, as well as information about our other episodes. And come find us on Twitter and Instagram!       

Want more art-historical goodness? Check out the links below:

Art Damaged Tumblr page

Cabinet Magazine's Partial Guide to the Tools of Art Vandalism

Durer's Virgin on Show Again After Acid Attack (2010)

Washington Post: Museums' Fine Art of Protecting Masterpieces

Hans-Joachim Bohlmann Profile in Der Spiegel (in German)










Episode #14: Samuel F. B. Morse's Gallery of the Louvre  

How many know that the inventor of the telegraph and co-creator of Morse code--Samuel F. B. Morse-- was a successful artist, too? And crazily enough, one of his paintings in particular, foreshadowed his interest in communication tools, providing the impetus for revolutionizing communication--and, indeed, the world as we know it. Listen in for details on Morse's masterpiece, Gallery of the Louvre.               

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If you're based in the Southern U.S., do not miss the exhibition Samuel F. B. Morse's Gallery of the Louvre and the Art of Invention at Reynolda House Museum of American Art. Buy your tickets here and check this site for further details! 

Want more art-historical goodness? Check out the links below:

The National Gallery of Art's exhibition page: with video, exhibition brochure, and more great info

The History Blog's Profile on Morse the Artist

Samuel Morse's Other Masterpiece: Smithsonian Magazine

Samuel Morse's Early Works

Six Things You May Not Know about Samuel Morse: History.com

Samuel Morse website for more details: Samuelmorse.net

                                                               









Episode #13: Diego and Frida, Part 2  

Glamour. Curiosity. Excitement. A love story for the ages. Such are the types of descriptors that you hear when you ponder the life and love of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Truly, in the pantheon of great artistic relationships, they are one of the top couples out there. And they had the great fortune, or whatever you want to call it, of living their exciting lives in front of the camera, as well as on canvas. Google them, and all kinds of lovey-dovey images come up-- images of Diego nuzzling Frida, images of them kissing, of her embracing him around his wide middle section. But what some people neglect, or possibly even forget, is that their relationship was by no means perfect. There were great ups, of course, but the downs? Incredible. Even Diego Rivera himself was aware of this fact, later writing, quote, “If I ever loved a woman, the more I loved her, the more I wanted to hurt her. Frida was the most obvious victim of this disgusting trait.” Harsh words. But would they always be that way?                       

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Want even MORE information? Check out the links below:

http://kcur.org/post/tempestuous-relationship-between-frida-kahlo-and-diego-rivera#stream/0

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/1995/09/frida-kahlo-diego-rivera-art-diary













Episode #12: Diego and Frida, Part 1  

There’s something a little strange about the pairing of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Certainly it’s the surprise of a pairing of seeming opposites, at least from a physical standpoint-- she the small, seductive, and somewhat frail painter whose subject matter referred to the most intimate sides of her own life; he, the large and somewhat brutish muralist whose large-scale works touched upon revolution and justice and larger issues of Mexican history. There’s almost a Beauty and the Beast quality there, and for many of us, the relationship between these two artists is just as intriguing as their creative output. And especially when it comes to Frida’s art, it’s very hard to separate their love from their artistic legacy. But how did it begin? And what is it about these two that makes them so fascinating, even 60 years later?

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Want even MORE information? Check out the links below:

http://kcur.org/post/tempestuous-relationship-between-frida-kahlo-and-diego-rivera#stream/0

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/1995/09/frida-kahlo-diego-rivera-art-diary











Episode #11: Art Attack!  

Throughout art history, there have been multiple occasions where people have entered into a museum or gallery with the explicit intention of harming or outright destroying a work of art. And some of the most iconic and greatest works of art in the world have been the targets of these disastrous missions. The big question, though, is why? What motivates people into a full blown art-attack?   

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Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/artcuriouspod/                                                                  Twitter: https://twitter.com/artcuriouspod

Want even MORE information? Check out the links below:

The Top 12 Most Horribly Defaced Art Pieces of All Time

Art Abuse: 11 Vandalized Works of Art

Mugged: How the Mona Lisa was Attacked

Vatican Marks Anniversary of 1972 Attack on Michelangelo's Pieta

Whatever Happened to Laszlo Toth?

The Attack on the Pieta: An Archetypal Analysis (Access to JSTOR required)

Having an Art Attack: A Brief Look at Stendhal Syndrome

Stendhal Syndrome: Overdosing on Beautiful Art











Episode #10: When Statues Cry  

Nearly ten years ago, my then-boyfriend, now husband, and I were backpacking through the Balkans region of Europe. After arriving in Bosnia, we opted to take a day trip to a small town called Medjugorje, in Herzegovina. We had heard that it was a popular place with tourists from all over the world, and we were eager to check it out. But what we didn't quite expect were the reasons why the town was so well-known. And the reasons are twofold: first, it was the location of a sighting in 1981 of the Virgin Mary, who was said to have appeared to a group of teenagers there. As such, the town became a holy pilgrimage site, particularly for Catholics around the world. Even though the vision of the Virgin hasn't been promoted or officially accepted by the Vatican, it hasn't stopped the flow of visitors clamoring for the chance to visit this seemingly holy place. In remembrance of the miraculous vision, a beautiful church was erected. And in the church’s garden, a bronze statue of the risen Christ was also placed.   But here's the further reason for the pilgrimage- since 2000, that statue has had a so-called weeping knee- miraculously producing a clear fluid each and every day for the last 16 years.

We saw this statue with our own eyes. We touched it, and we watched as dozens of people collected the clear fluid- not water, not oil, but something else- into souvenir bottles that were sold all over the town. Still, I didn't know what to think, or how to react. Was this statue for real? I think that belief and faith are beautiful, incredible things. But I also felt skeptical, too. I found myself torn in the middle- religious yet unbelieving, living in a gray area. But like Fox Mulder, I want to believe.

In honor of the holiday season, we are going to look into the phenomenon of the miraculous in art, focusing on weeping statues and bleeding icons.                                                                                                                                                                                  

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Want even MORE information? Check out the links below:

The Mystery of the Weeping Statues

Science Debunks Miracle of Weeping Madonna

Mary Statue in California Appears to Weep Miraculous Tears

Miraculous Microbes: They Can Make Holy Statues "Bleed"-- and Can Be Deadly, Too

 



Episode #9: The CIA/AbEx Connection  

If there is one thing that’s true in this world, it’s that there sure isn't a lack of conspiracy theories out there. Think about it: almost every big mystery or question has a slough of alternative explanations involving everything from Big Brother to the Illuminati to the Masons...and of course we can’t overlook aliens. Oswald wasn’t the lone gunman; the Apollo moon landing never happened and was filmed instead on a Hollywood sound stage; the government is hiding proof of alien life; the Mona Lisa on view at the Louvre is a fake.  Every day we might hear a new, wacky  theory, even in the art world, like how the CIA funneled money into the arts, towards revolutionary painters like Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, in order to fight the Cold War. Crazy, right? I mean, what a bizarre way to attempt to covertly bring down the Russians?

Except that this last one isn't a crazy conspiracy theory at all. It’s actually a true story of propaganda, secrets, lies, and fine art. The pen is mightier than the sword, the saying goes. Well, it turns out that the same could be said about the paintbrush.

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Want even MORE information? Check out the links below:

How the CIA Spent Secret Millions Turning Modern Art into a Cold War Arsenal

Unpopular Front

A Visit to the CIA's "Secret" Abstract Art Collection

BBC Culture: Was Modern Art a Weapon of the CIA?

 








Episode #8: What Happened to the Amber Room?  

This fall, I was greeted by a thrilling opportunity- a ridiculously low air fare from the U.S. to St. Petersburg, Russia. It allowed for the chance to experience the glory and and splendor of the Russian tsars through the extant palaces in St. Petersburg proper and its environs. One of the most awe-inspiring is the Catherine Palace, a rococo summer residence for the imperial families of yore, commissioned by the Empress Elizabeth in the early 18th century. And up until World War II, the Catherine Palace housed something so incredible, so coveted, and so gorgeous that for hundreds of years, travelers from all over the world flocked to admire it. So extraordinary was this treasure that it was frequently referred to as the "Eighth Wonder of the World." And then, in the early 1940s with the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, this priceless creation was stolen, removed from its Russian stronghold and hidden away. And to this day, it has still never been found.

What happened to the Amber Room?

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Want even MORE information? Check out the links below:

The Mystery of the Nazis and the Vanished Amber Room

Could Long-Lost Amber Room Be Stashed in a Nazi Bunker in Poland?

A Brief History of the Amber Room

Mystery of the Amber Room: Video










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