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Archive for March, 2013

RenoirPiano

This is a good time to visit the Art Institute of Chicago because you won’t have to even glance at Renoir’s “Woman at the Piano” as you pass through the Impressionist Gallery just off the staircase.  Lifeless, insipid.  Notice the pink hands on the piano keys, no energy there at all.  They look wilted and dead, like something shredded and overcooked. Flounder?  Flop, drip, melt.  I can’t relate to this tired image at all, except to learn from it’s failure.

I’ve made an effort to see it as a plea on Renoir’s part to let women out of the house once in a while—it was painted in 1875, when respectable women, the kind who would have a piano in the house, were actually encouraged to stay inside as much as possible and if they had to leave, to take a parasol as protection against the sun, that awful bright daylight.

This is the first post on the topic of taking time to look at art you don’t like, first mentioned in post 2.23.13.

Next, I’ll flip this boring and bored woman left-right in the hope of finding something there.

This painting in now on loan at the Met for the exhibit “Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity,” which will be there til May 27.   http://www.metmuseum.org/en/exhibitions/listings/2013/impressionism-fashion-modernity

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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13AleOmiDraw2Old family photos are great to work from.  They’re usually pretty grainy, which is good because you won’t get interested in details.  Enlarge the photo on a Xerox machine to a comfortable 13AleOmiPhoto8-1/2 x 11.   Pick one from two generations ago or more.  If you can, go back to 1910-1920.  Folks wore hats then and elaborately tailored coats.  Don’t forget the umbrella.  Dressing for the photographer was serious business.  All for you, you know, coming along a century later.  Look at that costume—gives you something to work with.  It has angles and pleats and drapey effects—all zig-zagging from collar to hem for maximum drama.  And then on top, ta-tah, an ellipse just with you in mind, so that you can practice swinging your wrist.

Let me point out just three things that make this drawing by Alejandra exiting:

13AleOmiDraw2numbers

Green: the zigzag line, always energetic in a visual work.

Yellow: here the contour is omitted completely, engaging the viewer, who has to fill in the gap.

Red: the shading of the cuff and the shading of the background mimic one another, adding depth to the drawing.

You can be sure, the photographer back in 1910 also knew what he was doing when he set up this pose. Ma’am, the umbrella just a little bit over, ah,  yes, that’s right, hooooold.  Thank you!

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

www.khilden.com 

http://facefame.wordpress.com

http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com

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