Friday, April 13, 2012

Artistic Inspiration

This month our dear Professeur Gothique's homework assignment is to talk about our artistic inspirations. This is timely for me, as I am currently working on a series of paintings, to be shown in January 2013, at the Cr8ery Gallery . The work I am doing is based on a medieval/Northern Renaissance series, done by several artists of the day, called the "dance of death". My particular inspiration is the series by Hans Holbein (the younger). Mine has contemporary subject mater, with some of the figures changed up, but the idea is the same.Here are some examples from his series.

The Monk - Hans Holbein 1538

The Priest - Hans Holbein 1538

I am a big fan of medieval art and literature. When I was in university I studied history and English (history major, english minor) for three years, with an emphasis on the medieval period. When I switched to Fine Arts, I studied art history as part of my honors degree, again focusing on this period.

Agony in the Garden - Hans Holbein 1505

Living in western Canada, there aren't a lot of opportunities to see actual medieval art. Sometimes art tours through, but when I do travel to major cities, on occasion, I take the chance to go to their art galleries. I was thrilled when I got to go to the National Gallery in London in 2008, and in April last year, and was able to view some of their fabulous collection. Here's one of my favorites.

Wilton Diptych - artist unknown 1395-99

I really enjoy gothic era diptychs (two panels), triptychs (three panels) and polyptychs (many panels). There's something neat about these folding, ornately designed devotional pieces that I find charming.

Another favorite artist, also from the Northern Renaissance era, is Albrecht Durer. His detailed work, often of biblical scenes, I find to be dark and inspiring.

The Revelation of the Four Horsemen - Albrecht Durer 1497-98

Expulsion From the Garden - Albrecht Durer 1510

The list of inspirations for me goes on and on, but I think it's worth mentioning one more for me - Francisco Goya. A court painter for the Spanish crown During the late 18th and early 19th century, he did more than just paint portraits, he chronicled the events of the day in a dark and sometimes subversive manner.

The Third of May 1808 - Fransisco Goya 1814

Works like the one above, broke from depicting war as a heroic endeavor, and instead showed the horror and debasement of humanity. He also used art to criticize the long running Spanish Inquisition 1408-1834. His series of works called the Black Paintings comment on the superstition that dominated the mindset of this horrific episode.

Witch's Sabbath - Francisco Goya 1823

These are just a few of the works and artists I find inspiring. I can't wait to read everyone else's. :)

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  1. I am alos a fan of Durer and Goya. I was just introduced to them in my Art History class and was instantly drawn to them. Lovely post

  2. I have a huge love of morbid engravings! Thank you for sharing the Holbein pieces; I don't think I'd ever seen his work before.

  3. YAY! I am so happy that someone else knows the Hans Holbein book "The Dances of Death." It's such a fabulous art object containing some striking images. Fabulous!!! Will you post your paintings? Thanks for participating!