There was a wonderful exhibition on Edgar Degas at the Musee d’Orsay when I was there recently. Here are some of the works that caught my eye:
I had a copy of the print below hanging in my childhood bedroom. I know and love this beautiful work as well as I know my own hands.
Below, I wonder…little dreamers? And, if so, dreaming of being a ballerina or a painter?
I first fell in love with the graphic works of Toulouse-Lautrec in college. Posters of his magnificent advertisements covered my dormitory room walls. I still love his work.
I also love the Grand Palais. I mean, just look at it! Construction of the building began in 1897 following the demolition of the Palais de l’Industrie as part of the preparation works for the Universal Exposition of 1900, which also included the creation of the adjacent Petit Palais and Pont Alexandre III. It has been listed since 2000 as a historique monument by the French Ministry of Culture.
Although the Palais appears to be in the style of Beaux-Arts architecture as taught by the École des Beaux-Arts of Paris, and the building reflects the movement’s taste for ornate decoration on its stone facades, its structure, in fact, is made of iron, light steel framing, and reinforced concrete. These were very innovative techniques and materials at the time, and included the glass vault.
A stained glass design by the artist. I had no idea he had worked in this medium.
The design for the glass:
Yes, here is the ad for the magazine La revue blanche! This design has always been a favorite!
The exhibition was excellent. I am becoming a very lazy art historian. I’m sorry to say that I don’t enjoy muscling my way through exhibitions anymore. I am spoiled because, once upon a time, I could view these shows privately. It’s not nice to be just another visitor. Boo hoo.
Still, the show was magnificent and I’m glad I saw it!
And, because so much of Lautrec’s work was devoted to the entertainments of Montmartre, the curators included this great film clip:
Isabella d’Este (1474–1539)
Marchioness of Mantua
As an influential and beloved politician, art patron, and fashion icon, Isabella d’Este, known as the “First Lady of the Renaissance,” turned the city of Mantua into an important cultural center. Her husband, Francesco Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua, quickly became jealous of her popularity in the region. To escape his resentment, Isabella traveled to Rome. She spent time in the influential circles of Pope Leo X—a prominent patron himself—and met artists including Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Titian, Pietro Perugino, Andrea Mantegna, Giovanni Bellini, and Giorgione. In these artists’ portraits of the patroness, Isabella appears as a pale and regal beauty with an exuberant taste in clothes.
In an unusual move for the time, Isabella arranged her apartments as a kind of museum. The studiolo and grotta in the ducal palace became places for her to entertain nobles, dignitaries, and artists, and to show off the works that she had commissioned. In this way, as scholar Rose Marie San Juan has explained, Isabella inserted herself into “spaces traditionally allotted to men.” After her husband died, Isabella became co-regent of Mantua with her son, Federigo II. Her people so admired her that they persuaded Federigo to reinstall his mother as their leader. Through her collecting and her noble background, Isabella established networks across Europe that furthered her influence.
VENICE PINK paper design by Giulio Giannini e Figlio
Hand printed paper cm 50×70, pink flowers in the vase.
Xilography by Eleonora Gallo reproducing ancient Italian regional motifs
Hand printed paper cm 50×70, red peacock on ivory background. Xylography by Eleonora Gallo reproducing ancient Italian region motifs.