Donatello was a fifteenth-century Florentine sculpture who helped to establish the increasing naturalism and growing emulation of Classical models that would be central to early Italian Renaissance. According to Volume II Art History, “Donatello’s bronze David was the first life size, free standing nude since antiquity” (Marilyn Stokstad and Michael W. Cothren 1995).
David stands 5’2 ¼” and was recorded to be in the courtyard of the Medici Palace in 1469. David is shown nude with a sword in his right hand and his foot placed gently over Goliath’s severed head. David doesn’t stand triumphantly over Goliath, but has a calm demeanor and lowered sword. Possibly to show humility and peacefulness. Or a deep reliance on God. It may even be considered by some more of a naivety in his stance. This sculpture is based on the old testament biblical story of a young shepherd boy with no military training who slays an undefeated giant. It is unclear the circumstances as to why this sculpture was created and so it has piqued the interest of many speculators.
We do know, according to Volume II Art History, “David was a potent political image in Florence, a symbol of the citizens’ resolve to oppose tyrants regardless of their superior power, since virtue brings divine support and preternatural strength.” (Marilyn Stokstad and Michael W. Cothren 1995). When these things, the slaying of a giant, the culture, the story, and how Donatello sculpted the boy’s stance, are brought together it creates a sense that David is gracefully poised between childish naivety and great responsibility. I think Donatello mastered this sculpture paying close attention not only to the things mentioned in the previous sentence but also by adding details to bring the sculpture to life. Like the helmet with the leaves sculpted around it. The ground below his feet is not just a flat surface but looks like rugged ground with a wreath surrounding it. He captured enough to really tell the story and bring us to this event that’s very real according to their history.
This summer I slowed down on a lot of my writing. Worked on the screenplay and some poetry here and there but mostly just backed off and you know what? I realized I have been working my booty off the past two years and not realizing it. And not appreciating my own best efforts. Not in a bragging type of way but in a way that made me realize This Is my best effort. And I feel like the artist Eyck reached through time and confirmed that for me.
Above the portrait painted on the frame which isn’t show here (but you can see it here) the words As I can or “Als Ich Can” written in Greek are painted on the frame. Now there are different ways that line has been interpreted. One is that it is simply a self portrait and he is playing on the pun Ich and his last name Eyck.
Another interesting idea is that as I can is coming from part of a motto that scribes would put at the end manuscripts that they have copied. They would write the entire motto “As I can not as I would.” Or in other words this is the best I can do, I wish I can do better. So he dropped I wish I could do better and just wrote As I can or This is the best I can do.
For some of us artists this is a profound realization. Coming to the place where you accept that you are doing your best work and having the ability to appreciate that. I think that this is a portrait of that moment for him. He found his niche his sweet spot. Makes me wonder if he ever looked at sculptures or mathematicians and thought man I wish I could be more them. But learned to find joy in the talents he excelled in. Oil paints, adding depth, and making sure to add the minute details made his work stand out from the rest even to this day. His works evoke feelings, thoughts, curiosity, and even with me his work confirmed that I need to accept my best efforts for my best efforts.
Paul Cézanne was a post-impressionist painter born January 19th 1839 in France. Cézanne felt that art should go hand in hand with nature. In a letter to one of his pupils, Emile Zola, he says, ” But you know all the pictures painted inside, in the studio, will never be as good as the things done outside.” He felt that an artist should see nature in a way that no one has seen it before. That they must make a vision for themselves. Not in an extremely cryptic way, but by being fully conscious of their own sensations. Of both feelings and visual sensations in unison. And then, using intelligence, organize it into their work.
I really like that he says we must make visions for ourselves. I think at this point it’s so easy for people to say “everything’s been done” but I don’t think everything’s been done. If we take things that have already been done and mingle it with our own beliefs and experiences I truly believe we could create something that’s never been done. However if we get too caught up on trying to create the thing that hasn’t been done, we miss out on the act of creating. And that’s where the connection, or the uniqueness, lies. I don’t think creating something that hasn’t been created yet is as important as creating something that truly reflects who you are. And to create something that truly reflects who you are requires a consciousness of yourself, your feelings, your experiences, and the world through your eyes.
Thanks for reading check out some more art tidbits
According to Mutualart.com, “Jan Toorop was a Dutch visual artist who was born in 1858. He has had numerous gallery and museum exhibitions, including at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and at the Rijksmuseum. Many works by the artist have been sold at auction, including ‘Portret van mevrouw M.J. de Lange – Portrait of Mrs M.J. de Lange’ sold at Christie’s Amsterdam ‘TWENTIETH CENTURY ART INCLUDING BELGIAN ART’ in 2005 for $964,318.
I don’t know much about art sales but that’s a lot of money. It’s not only impressing that he sold a piece for that much but that he dabbled in many different styles of art including book covers, sketches, and portraits. And according to Wikipedia, Toorop was the center of an artist group in the seaside town Domburg, Walcheren, Zeeland.
The versatility in Toorop’s art is astounding! Here’s a link to see more of Toorop’s art showing how versatile he truly was.
Whistlers early and consistent use of musical titles ‘nocturnes’, ‘symphonies’ and ‘arrangements’, helped to confirm the impression that the visual arts ought to aspire towards the condition of music; and his decorative ideas- such as the use of a peacock- feather pattern in the room which he painted for his patron F.R. Leyland- were extensively plagiarized.
According to Edward Lucie-Smith in his book titled Symbolist Art, “There is some current disposition to underrate Whistler and write him off as an essentially isolated artist. To do this is to distort the history of the art of his time, in which he was, and remained an influential, even central, figure.” I think very often we as artists forget how much effort it takes to stay in solitude to complete a piece. Outside of the art world they may never understand the amount of copious hours we spend hacking away at our projects. If you’re all in, it’s a constant battle to stay focused and build your piece into something you can be proud of. Even here with Whistler people are ready to write him off as an isolated artist, but how we work on our art is how we inspire others and help other creators of our time. This is being part of something. So those of you who are struggling to focus because people say you’re spending too much isolated time on your masterpiece, you’re part of the crowd and you are not alone.
You can check out where I got the pics from here:
File:Whistler James Symphony in White no 2 (The Little White Girl) 1864.jpg