Friday Art: The Spice Shop by Paolo Antonio Barbieri (1637)

Barbieri was a Bologense painter of still lifes and animals, mostly. His more famous older brother Guercino got the big Papal invite to play the big-time at Rome. Paolo helped him out on some material, but also produced some nice work of his own, most notably this one.

I like how all the containers of raw spices look like gumball machines. The kid grinding out the mix with the mortar & pestle has a lot to choose from.

I’m thinking about what kind of spice rub to give my steak tonight, in case you’re wondering why this painting is today’s subject. Even though the prices are relatively cheaper now than in 1637, not much else has changed about spices. They’re still better freshly ground and kept whole. And I even have a small mortar and pestle to do it with.

I guess now all I need is that kid’s outfit. The hat is really me.


A Post For The Last Day Of Summer Vacation

“Despair” (1892) by that ray-o-sunshine Edward Munch.

My summer is over. As usual, I got some stuff done but not as much as I wanted. I goofed off some, but NEVER as much as I want to.

Watched a lot of old movies, a lot of Yankees baseball, read a lot of books too.

In some ways, I don’t mind switching routines back to the work routine, but I’d still rather it be June. June always feels like I have endless time in front of me to do all sorts of things, to explore all sorts of possibilities, to switch gears whenever I want. Thinking about June is the smaller version of thinking about my 20s, I guess.

June, my 20s… all of it’s gone. Over. Done. Can’t get it back. So, it’s time for Munch’s faceless bummed out guy on what looks like the identical bridge locale from “The Scream.” He’s got a nice hat, at least.

And at least there’s a next June, I guess.

Don’t ask. I just need some pasta & wine, pronto.

And no, the myth this painting is based on has nothing to do with my life. Let’s not get too excited.

Friday Art: A Hare In The Forest by Hans Hoffmann (1585)

I see bunny rabbits every morning when I take my walk so it looks like nothing has changed for five hundred years as far as walks in the woods go. Bunnies are still just as cute as they ever were, still just as wary and easily terrified.

16th century Hans Hoffmann is not to be confused with the 20th century abstract expressionist artist Hans Hoffmann (unless it’s actually the same guy and he’s a vampire… someone ought to look into that). The 16th century Hoffman was an acolyte of Albrecht Durer, and copied a lot of Durer’s work as well as Durer’s style. Hoffman’s hare, above, certainly evokes the amazing illustration of a hare that Durer did earlier in 1502:

Durer gets more reality in the fur (it’s like he painted every follicle separately) and a little more individual character in the face… but I like the way Hoffman sets his more cuddly-lookin’ hare in a wonderfully detailed forest background. Like any of the “Durer Renaissance” school (or Northern European art in general) the attention to small detail is amazing. The leaves, flowers, trees… all of it looks somewhat realistic, yet somehow Hoffmann stylizes them in a way that harkens back to simpler medieval art. It almost looks like a tapestry. There’s almost a slightly cartoon-y quality to those Dandelion-esque greens and other surroundings. Maybe it’s the colors being a bit too bright and unnatural, but it works.

Bunnies are cute and harmless… or are they? I understand that if they’re insulted by a mere 2 cent bounty, they fly off the handle and cut Florida loose among other things…

South America, take it away!

Friday Art: Cats by Franz Marc (1910) + A Pair of Peter Cushing Films

Marc is considered a German Expressionist, although this work, with its super-bright colorful thick swirly brushstrokes, suggests a lot of Van Gogh and general post-impressionist influence.

Marc loved painting animals with a wild color palette. Most of his works depict animals and wildlife. He got drafted into the German army in World War 1 and put into the infantry. By the middle of the war, Germany realized artists were valuable and started transferring notable ones out of the army. But before the orders reached him, Marc was killed at the Battle of Verdun, along with lots and lots of other people.

It’s best to think more about the kitties, isn’t it?

I visited a local pet supply store today just to pet the black cat who lives there. Turns out he’s got a case of the fleas, since one of the tiny little bastards bit me on the hand. If I die from bubonic plague, let it be known that I went out the way I wanted to – petting some lazy ass cat.

I’d like to think Marc went out the same way. It’s the romantic in me.

And yes, more cat pictures and stories. I can’t help myself. I’m fascinated, hypnotized and soulfully owned by the furry little bastards, I admit it. I’ll even watch stupid movies if they’re centered around cats, like my review of “Eye of The Cat” a while back. This time, cats led me to a Peter Cushing film which was not that good, and then another Peter Cushing film that was out and out excellent.

Continue reading “Friday Art: Cats by Franz Marc (1910) + A Pair of Peter Cushing Films”

Friday Art: Hot Sun by Stephen Etnier (1966)

It’s 105 out today and I just got back from driving around and running various errands. I think I feel more like the horse in this painting than the guy driving the carriage.

Etnier, a Maine-based American realist, specialized in outdoor scenes using vibrant sunlight, so the way that he captures the heat of the day with his colors alone in this work is particularly good. All those yellows and oranges on the road surface, as well as that hazy golden glow along the horizon give you the sense of a hot day by the beach. Someone get that poor horse some water.

Continue reading “Friday Art: Hot Sun by Stephen Etnier (1966)”

Friday Art: Wonderful landscapes by Peder Monsted

Monsted (1859-1941) was a Danish realist painter of landscapes. He used the sorts of light and color techniques of the old Dutch masters applied to the subject matter of nineteenth century pastoral romantics and the results are quite striking. You get some wonderfully real lines and shapes, beautiful bright colors, and hints of fuzzy-impressionistic pastel effects in a lot of his work. He was the most successful Danish landscape painter of his time.

I like “The Forest Path” since it’s the past-century version of my daily walk. Where I live, there are paved and fenced pathways all interlocked between wooded areas called paseos that had been planted in between housing developments. You can actually walk anywhere in the city using them, but mostly they’re nice for the three to four mile walk I’ll try to take every day, partially through the neighborhood and partially through the paseos. It’s all planned and irrigated, but I’ll still see rabbits a lot, and occasionally a hawk, bobcat or coyote, since they probably see rabbits a lot too.

Continue reading “Friday Art: Wonderful landscapes by Peder Monsted”


I may have to create an Instagram just to follow Indonesian artist Fransdita Muafidin on it since his entire account is devoted to photoshops of giant cats in various scenes.

Here’s a video compilation of some of his work.

Why can’t the bad traffic I deal with daily be caused by giant cats? At least then it’d be worth it.

Friday Art: The Cheese Vendor by Eduard-Jean Dambourgez (1844-1890)

Dambourgez was a French engraver and painter of the late 19th century who loved painting grocery stores. He painted pork butchers and fish shops and dairy merchants… and this cheese vendor. The date of the painting can only be traced to a period. I doubt it took him over 40 years to paint this, although I’d like to think it did. It’s the workaholic in me.

He painted other impressionist riverscapes around Paris and Venice, but he really liked painting fatty foods.

I just got my cholesterol numbers back, and it looks like the closest I should be to an assortment of cheese is this painting. Cholesterol numbers going up is mapped into my genes, alas… I’ve been trying to avoid meds to control it as long as I can via diet & exercise, but the genetic destiny seems stronger. We’ll see what my doc says. In the meantime, I’m sure Dambourgez’ cheese vendor can find other customers.

Powered by

Up ↑