I have not seen this painting before. It's called Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on 16 November 1581, and was completed in 1885 by Ilya Repin.
Warped Perspective has an article by Keri O'Shea on the painting:
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It took three centuries before this scene was committed to canvas with the gravitas and horror it deserved. The man who proved himself able is arguably Russia’s best-known painter, certainly its best-known Realist painter. That man was Ilya Yefimovich Repin, who returned to historical painting in 1885 to complete ‘Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan’. It is to my mind one of the most haunting pieces of art ever created.
The differences between the Realist style used here and the idealised, unrepresentative portraiture of the day is exaggerated hugely by the savagery of this piece. Repin chose to paint the exact moment of Grozny’s revelation; the awful moment of stillness after the manslaughter of his heir. The two men, one living, one dead, are presented alone in a room whose fire-lit warmth gives the lie to the scene and its circumstances. That warmth, and its crimson finery is ironically juxtaposed with the blood on young Ivan’s head, which is the brightest red here, and the rich, geometric-patterned drapery in the background forms another contrast with Ivan’s curved, inanimate body, fading into nothingness before the grisly focus of the scene. There is evidence of a struggle; furniture is upended, and Ivan’s leg has disarrayed the silk rug beneath their feet – but now all is still.
Irishman Colin Davidson painted the new official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.
"With anybody I paint, it's a human being in their own right, but with this particular painting I was aware of the gravity and sheer importance and weight which comes with the person I was painting."
Davidson sees it as symbolic of a closer relationship between Britain and Ireland, reports Robbie Meredith. Elizabeth became the world's longest-reigning head of state in October after the death of Thai king Bhumibol Adulyadej. Read the rest
and Shadow of the Colossus
were beautiful, moody video games; games with a sense of place, of weird looming silences. Before gamers realized they didn't want games to be art after all, these were the games they thought were art. And now, more than a decade on, you can finally get the legendary box paintings as gorgeous "giclee" prints.
They're expensive: $100 or so each
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For Christianity Today, theologian Michael Horton explores the "theology" of Donald Trump and his followers. It reads as superficially civil, yet completely contemptuous and comically unprepared: a growing trend among conservative and Christian commentary on the future president.
Vague on doctrine, infiltrated by consumerism and a sentimental moralism intent on helping us all “become a better you,” and sort of interested in “family values” as long as they don’t interfere with our own family breakdowns, many cultural evangelicals are tired of losing the culture wars. They want a winner—“a strong leader.” I’m hardly the first to point out that it’s the stuff of which demagogues are made.
It is not that Trump has caused this transformation in portions of the so-called “evangelical electorate.” Rather, his candidacy has revealed the inner secularization of significant portions of the movement, which surveys have documented for some time now. Four theological words highlight the problem.
I made the digital paintover above in honor of the trash fire currently consuming evangelical political hearts.
In other Trumpery news, a Republican National Committee member today suggested that they're going to freeze Donald Trump out of the nomination irrespective of how many delegates he secures. Riots it will be, then. Read the rest
On a mountain of skulls, in the castle of pain, I sat on a throne of blood! And let me tell you it was really great. And I have a great relationship with the Moldavian people. They love me. Read the rest
One of the most indelible images in art is Vincent van Gogh’s portrait of his bedroom in the Yellow House in Arles, France. I’m sure you’ve seen it dozens of times. You can learn more about it in an article on the website of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
He painted three versions, the second of which in 1889, less than a year before he committed suicide at age 37. It hangs in The Art Institute of Chicago (worth a trip to the city, by the way, all on its own).
Amazingly, the Art Institute has recreated the bedroom in full size and is taking reservations for it on airbnb for only 10 bucks a night!
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To be able to walk into one of the most famous paintings in the world must be quite an experience. It’s part of an exhibition in which all three versions of “The Bedroom” are exhibited together for the first time:
van Gogh’s Bedrooms features approximately 36 works by the artist, including paintings, drawings, and illustrated letters, as well as a selection of books and other ephemera known to have been in van Gogh’s possession. Enhancing the exploration of the artist’s works and his longing for a place of his own are several engaging interactive presentations. A digitally enhanced reconstruction of his bedroom allows viewers the chance to experience his state of mind and the physical reality of the space that so inspired him, while other enriching digital components bring to light significant recent scientific research on the three Bedroom paintings.
Brooklyn-based artist Michael Kagan creates oil paintings of astronauts and other space-themed subjects. They are indeed out of this world. Read the rest
Danny Galieote's series of vivid paintings of feminine figures with fists and weapons clenched behind their backs is extremely satisfying. Something about the savage strength and defensive might lurking beneath the pinafores and bows. He's currently exhibiting a one-man show of recent works (including these) at the Arcadia Contemporary in NYC.
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One of Pablo Picasso's most famous works, The Blue Room, was painted over an earlier work now revealed by infrared imaging. The hidden image, of a large man in formal attire resting on his hand, would have been created early in the artist's career, reports The Associated Press.
Though the existence of an earlier work beneath The Blue Room was long-suspected, it took years to develop techniques to expose it in detail. Earlier X-rays showed an image so "fuzzy" it wasn't even clear that it was a portrait. Now there's a new mystery: The identity of the subject himself.
Picasso's The Blue Room
Scholars are researching who the man might be and why Picasso painted him. They have ruled out the possibility that it was a self-portrait. One candidate is Paris art dealer Ambrose Villard, who hosted Picasso’s first show in 1901. But there is no documentation and no clues left on the canvas, so the research continues.
Ms Favero has been collaborating with other experts to scan the painting with multi-spectral imaging technology and X-ray fluorescence intensity mapping to try to identify and map the colours of the hidden painting. They would like to recreate a digital image approximating the colours Picasso used.
Curators are planning the first exhibit focused on The Blue Room as a seminal work in Picasso’s career for 2017. It will examine the revelation of the man’s portrait beneath the painting, as well as other Picasso works and his engagement with other artists.
We covered multispectral imaging ourselves in a trip to the Library of Congress. Read the rest
A selfie by the artist.
Artist Nastya Nudnik
's ‘Emoji-nation’ series adds elements of computer user interface to great, historic works of art. Read the rest
The work of Ben Frost. If you're in Los Angeles, check out more of his paintings on packages in his show at Sozer Gallery through June 27, 2014. I seriously want to buy every single piece.
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Man, I love this guy's work--particularly the cats. Eldar Zakirov is on DeviantArt, and you can support his high weirdness by purchasing prints. He is based in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Website here.
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For the past two months, my daughter's and my main bedtime reading has been The Cats of Tanglewood Forest, a modern folktale written by Charles de Lint and illustrated by Charles Vess, a power duo if ever there was one. This is a story set on an American prairie farm sometime in the 20th century, about Lillian, a kind-hearted girl who sets out saucers of milk for the wild cats, scatters grain for the songbirds, and leaves a biscuit by the oldest, most gnarled apple tree in the orchard for the Apple Tree Man. And it's because of her good heart and her wild spirit that the cats of Tanglewood Forest defy the king of cats, and work cat-magic to rescue her when she is bitten by a snake and brought near to death. Now she has been reborn as a kitten, and she must find out how she can once again become a girl.
The book is lavishly illustrated with Charlie Vess's amazing art nouveau paintings (you may recognize these from his frequent collaborations with Neil Gaiman, such as the beautiful picture book Blueberry Girl). The paintings -- which appear as full pages, but are also worked into the margins, endpapers, and jacket -- are a wonderful and gripping accompaniment to the story. Although this story is too sophisticated for my six-year-old to have read to herself, the combination of the illustrations and my reading it aloud made it absolutely accessible to her. And these paintings are so gorgeous that she was more than happy to sit and thumb through the book, enjoying them on their own. Read the rest
Canadian artist Bradley Hart makes pixelated paintings by filling the bubbles in large sheets of bubble-wrap with carefully chosen paints.
Bradley Hart Portfolios
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Artist Robert Shetterly's ongoing series of portraits of "Americans Who Tell The Truth" includes a recently-unveiled painting of John Kiriakou, the former CIA agent and counterterrorism adviser who became a torture whistleblower and was sentenced today to 30 months in prison:
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