Michelangelo’s Isaiah

Michelangelo’s Isaiah is one of the iconic prophets from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Known during his lifetime as the Divine One, Michelangelo Buonarroti, was a High Renaissance Italian artist whose career spanned 70 years, The history of the Sistine Chapel is a long and complicated one that has resulted in a depository for […]

The Nativity at Night

The Nativity at Night by Geertgen tot Sint Jans, painted in 1490, was a devotional tool. Encouraging believers to contemplate the nativity was thought to bring the believer into greater communion with God. Specifically, contemplating Christ birth was meant to facilitate the viewer in bringing forth their own spiritual rebirth. Geertgen was an Early Netherlandish […]

IThemba Tower, Communicating Hope

IThemba Means Hope The iThemba tower, is a permanent public art installation that symbolizes the collective hopes of the residents of Troyeville in Johannesburg, South Africa. The tower is over 65 feet high and is made of over 7,000 plastic bottles on a redundant communications tower. Bringing attention to the informal waste collectors of Johannesburg, […]

JMW Turner’s The Slave Ship

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The Judgement of JMW Turner’s The Slave Ship Years ago, when I first saw this painting, I assumed I was just looking at another seascape with an interesting exploration of light. However, as I continued to look, small details came into focus. I began to wonder: What are those surprising dark lines in the water? […]

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Festival of Lights in Amsterdam During the long, cold winter months of December and January a magical Festival of Lights takes place in Amsterdam. Lighting the city with enchanting art installations, the city twinkles and glows, giving light and warmth to both citizens and visitors, during the darkest months of the year.  20 to 30 […]

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Botticelli’s Mystic Nativity is as beautiful as it is mysterious. With this work we venture into the realm of speculation and conjecture. I hope you find this painting as intriguing as I do. “I, Sandro, painted this picture at the end of the year 1500 in the troubles of Italy.” So begins the inscription at […]

Murillo’s Adoration of the Shepherds

Bartolome Esteban Murillo’s, Adoration of the Shepherds, brings to life the phrase, “the people who walk in darkness will see a great light.” Creating an intimate scene of adoration, Murillo invites us to join the shepherd’s in worshipping the Christ Child. Who was Murillo Bartolome Esteban Murillo, a Spanish Baroque painter spent his entire career […]

Rembrandt’s Dream of Saint Joseph

Rembrandt’s Dream of Saint Joseph emphasizes Joseph’s connection to the Joseph of the Old Testament, and to his role as the Saint of Hidden Things. Additionally, this work makes us reconsider the customary image of the sleeping Joseph. This painting is one of several that Rembrandt made of this story and I find it refreshing […]

Tintoretto’s Nativity

Tintoretto’s, Nativity provides the viewer with a unique portrayal of the familiar nativity story. Skillfully using light, and the distinctive architecture of a two story barn, Tintoretto connects the iconography of the Nativity with that of the Last Supper. Providing multiple examples of food, drink and nourishment, Tintoretto links our physical need for sustenance with […]

Caravaggio’s Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence

Caravaggio’s Nativity with St. Francis  and St. Lawrence is famous, not just because it is a masterpiece but because it is on the FBI’s 10 Top Art Crimes. The artist has given us a controversial depiction of the Virgin Mary that challenged the doctrines of Catholic church.  Rejecting the exaggerations of the Mannerists (see El […]

Pieter Bruegel’s The Census at Bethlehem

Pieter Bruegel’s Census at Bethlehem, shifts the Biblical story into the political and physical world of 16th century Netherlands. One of the first snow landscapes painted in Europe, the Census at Bethlehem is at once a beautifully composed genre painting and a biting social commentary. In many ways it is a painting of a broken […]

El Greco’s Annunciation

El Greco’s Annunciation was painted late in the artists career when his style had fully developed. Combining the exaggerated colors and figures of the Mannerists with the mysticism he practiced while living in Spain, we have a truly unique envisioning of the Biblical story. Here, El Greco has included the unusual iconography of the burning […]

The Annunciation by Titian

  The Annunciation by Titian is one of the artist later works displaying his innovative loose brushstrokes and dramatic lighting. Containing more of the heavenly realm than the earthly, Titian alters the traditional Renaissance envisioning of the story. Who was Titian The Venetian master, Titian was born Tiziano Vecelli. He was an Italian Renaissance painter […]

Grunewald’s Annunciation from the Isenheim Altarpiece

Grunewald’s Annunciation Panel on the Isenheim Altarpiece was painted to give comfort in a hospital that could offer little hope. With his mystic, emotional style, Grunewald’s Annunciation plays on the theme of Mary as the church, bringing Christ to a dark world. For the hospitals patients and family any hope was a welcome respite. Grunewald, […]

Michelangelo’s The Holy Family

Michelangelo’s The Holy Family portrays an intimate moment of the Holy Family done on a round panel and encased in an elaborate frame. The work, often referred to as the Doni Tondo, was completed just before Michelangelo began work on the Sistine ceiling and gives hints of Michelangelo’s movement toward Mannerism. The work shows the […]

Giorgione’s Adoration of the Shepherds

Giorgione’s Adoration of the Shepherds exemplifies the distinctives of this Venetian artist. In this work his penchant for enigmatic themes is fully expressed as he paints Christ as the Eucharist and Mary as the Altar. Surrounded by the evocative landscape we have the shepherd’s arriving to worship the baby Jesus and learn from Mary. As […]

Dürer’s Nativity Woodcuts

Albrecht Dürer’s Nativity Woodcuts Albrecht Dürer’s Nativity Woodcuts communicate complexity with nothing but lines, and it is astounding. Realistically representing space, emotion, perspective, with nothing but lines cut into wood amazes me with the delicacy he achieves. Dürer has always been my favorite artist and I’m looking forward to sharing some of his work with […]

The Portinari Altarpiece by Hugo Van Der Goes

Hugo Van Der Goes’ Portinari Altarpiece, was shocking when first revealed to the public. The unprecedented portrayal of the shepherd’s amazed viewers and emphasized Van Der Goes theme of humility. A monumental work that challenged both the art world, and the individual, to reconsider what is truly important. This work stands as a testament to […]

Lippi’s Annunciation with Two Donors

Filippo Lippi’s Annunciation with Two Donors Filippo Lippi’s, Annunciation with Two Donors, is a beautiful Renaissance work that brings together the iconography of the nativity story. Today we’ll explore both the art and the controversial artist. Lippi, Artist and Scoundrel Filippo Lippi…his art and his life are fairly incongruous. He was a bit of a […]

Van Eyck’s Annunciation, The Hidden Meanings.

Jan Van Eyck’s Annunciation, is a work that shimmers with a luminous clarity, infusing spiritual meaning into every small detail. Van Eyck is true to the Flemish tradition of hiding symbols in the everyday, and using complicated iconography. In particular, Van Eyck explores the connections between the Old and New Testament of the Bible, the […]

Rogier Van Der Weyden’s The Visitation

Rogier Van Der Weyden’s, The Visitation Roger Van Der Weyden’s, The Visitation, explores the story of Mary’s visit with her cousin Elizabeth. Today we will be focusing on a small panel painting of the Visitation, and then taking a look at a Nativity by Van Der Weyden’s workshop which has another version of the Visitation. […]

Donatello’s The Annunciation

Donatello’s Annunciation Donatello’s Annunciation is the focus of today’s post. I’m excited that today we get to examine a work by one of the esteemed Ninja Turtles. I have four sons and the Ninja Turtles hold a special place in my heart because my son’s started checking out books from the library about the artists […]

Fra Angelico’s The Annunciation in the Cortona Altarpiece

Fra Angelico’s Annunciation Fra Angelico’s Annunciation in the Cortona Altarpiece is beautiful, and filled with religious symbolism meant to expound on the doctrines surrounding Christ incarnation. You can view this post in a video here.  Who was Fra Angelico Fra Angelico was a Dominican friar, who was also an early Italian Renaissance painter. He was […]

Limbourg Book of Hours

The Limbourg Brother’s Book of Hours Today we journey into the Limbourg Book of Hours, or the wonderful world of illuminated manuscripts. These manuscripts are one of my favorite art forms, tiny perfection. The Limbourg Brothers (there are 3 of them) wrote and illustrated the Belles Hours for Jean de France, the Duc of Berry. […]

Martini’s Annunciation

Simone Martini’s Annunciation Simone Martini’s Annunciation is a wonderful example of Gothic art. Martini captures the moment Gabriel tells Mary that she will bear a son. We’ve explored Duccio’s, ‘Maesta’,  earlier in this series, Martini is one of Duccio’s students and is believed to have worked on portions of the Maesta. In that post we […]

Giotto Arena Chapel Nativity

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The Giotto Arena Chapel Nativity is the subject for day 3 on our Advent in Art Series. Background of the Giotto Arena Chapel In a Northeast corner of Italy is the city of Padua. Even in 1303, Padua was a cosmopolitan center boasting a prestigious University. One of the residents was a man named Enrico […]

Mosaic in the Chora Church

A mosaic in the Chora Church will be the focus of todays advent art. The mosaics and frescoes of the Chora Church are some of the finest examples of Byzantine art that have survived to our modern times. History of the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora The Church of the Holy Saviour in […]

Nicola Pisano Nativity Panel in the Baptistry in Pisa.

Background on the Pisano Nativity Panel The Piazza dei Miracoli The work we will be considering is the Nativity panel in the Baptistry in Pisa from a pulpit designed and sculpted by Nicola Pisano completed in 1260.  This information is also available in video here. A bit of background is necessary to put this work into […]