Category Archives: Da Vinci

Outside the Lines: Art Trivia Segmation

The Expressive Vincent van Gogh

The Expressive Vincent van Gogh

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(1) Which Painter was a laborer in the Panama Canal?
(a) Vincent Van Gogh
(b) Charles Laval
(c) Paul Gaugin
(d) Emile Bernard

 
(2) English artist Andy Brown created a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by stitching what together?
(a) Old napkins
(b) 1,000 used tea bags
(c) Strands of colored yarn
(d) Scraps of paper

 
(3) Which country published the first illustrated children’s book in 1658?
(a) France
(b) England
(c) Japan
(d) Germany

 
(4) What was the building that is now famously known as the Louvre Museum and Art Gallery used for in 1190?
(a) A fortress
(b) A library
(c) A Justice Building
(d) A prison

 
(5) Whose painting, titled Impressions Sunrise, gave the Impressionistic style its name?
(a) Eugene Delacroix
(b) Edouard Manet
(c) Gustave Courbet
(d) Claude Monet

Answers found at the end.

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Answers: (1) c) Paul Gaugin (2) b) 1,000 used tea bags (3) d) Germany (4) a) A fortress (5) d) Claude Monet

Cold Case Paintings: When Mystery and Art Collide

When we hear the phrase “cold case,” we don’t apply it to paintings. However, the combination of mystery and art might be the type of subject matter that many of us find intriguing.

Five years ago a portrait of a women clad in Renaissance attire was re-discovered. The finding of this painting made headlines then, and it may be making headlines once again. The reason for this is that many believe the painting is the work of Leonardo da Vinci. If so, the portrait is worth far more than the $20,000 it originally sold for. Experts believe that if the painting is in fact a true da Vinci, it could be worth upwards of $100 million dollars.

Are you hooked yet? If you are, then you will be happy to know that NOVA has devoted a whole program to solving the mystery of who created the portrait of the Renaissance woman.

Be prepared to encounter a new group of experts; individuals focused on combating the world of art theft and doing their part to identify fraudulent pieces.

How do you identify the creator of a newly discovered piece of art? You will have to watch the program yourself to learn the tricks of the trade, but don’t be surprised to see these art experts tackle the mystery in the same manor that criminal investigators attack unsolved murders and missing persons report.

You will have the chance to follow the debate surrounding the portrait of the Renaissance woman. The debate is quite intense between those who believe the portrait was created by Leonardo da Vinci and those who do not. You will also be immersed in the world of art mystery and discover the actual techniques that experts use to identify a painting’s origin and creator. Put you knowledge to the test and learn alongside these expert art investigators.

Click on the link provided below to watch the mystery unfold for yourself! If you are an art enthusiast who is always up for a good mystery then be warned… you might just find yourself glued to the screen.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/mystery-masterpiece.html

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The Creative, Artistic and Inventive Mind of Leonardo da Vinci

Being an artist also means having a deep connection with the world around you, viewing life with a different set of lenses. To an artist, creativity and beauty encompasses just about every facet of daily life. The amount of individual interests available to an artist are limitless.

Like many artists, Leonardo da Vinci didn’t just consider himself to be a man of one concentration. One fascination of Leonardo’s was that of invention and design.

Throughout his life, Leonardo had taken time to document ideas for inventions that intrigued and inspired him. He did this by sketching them in his journal. However, the ability to create prototypes and test each of these inventions went unrealized in his life. Unfortunately, Leonardo died before any of the world would know of his true genius. His works were scattered and lost, many of them not seen again for hundreds of years.

In the example above, taken from the Museum of Sciences website, we can see that Leonardo da Vinci had a vision for a flying vehicle nearly 500 years before the first manned aircraft would be designed and piloted by Paul Cornu in 1907.

In his drawings, it is easy to see Leonardo’s dead on grasp of where the future of technology was headed. From tanks and parachutes, to diving and aircraft landing gears, Leonardo would touch upon them all in his pen and paper interpretations.

Was it because he was a supremely intelligent and enlightened human being, or that he had visions of a future far superior to our own? In any case we may never know, but it was likely a pairing of the two that lead him to jot down so many innovative and profound ideas.

It is startling to note how severely under noticed the conceptions went until the incredible discovery of some of Leonardo’s works; drawings that would captivate the imaginations of so many throughout the world.

It is a lesson to us that an artist is more than artist, he is an instrument in the progression of the world and its many views.

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The Louvre Museum in Paris

Did you know the Louvre Museum in Paris is the largest art museum in the world? It was also the residency to kings prior to the Palace of Versailles and is, to this day, a historic monument that represents most nations. Aside from numerous pieces of famous artwork and exhibits, it even houses a McDonalds! (Talk about an experience that crosses cultural divides.)

File:Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci, from C2RMF retouched.jpgIt is said that the museum is so large an individual who spends 4 seconds looking at each work of art would take 3 months to get through the entire institute. However, it’s hard to imagine how anyone could take only a glance at the famous masterpieces available in this setting — some of which include Leonardo da Vinci’s, “Mona Lisa” and Michelangelo’s Italian Renaissance sculpture, “The Rebellious Slave.”

Open to the public in 1793, the museum has spent the past 2 centuries securing its title as the “Museum among museums.” At the time, it was a home to France’s nobility, and throughout the ages has played a critical role in art history and world politics. Founded during the French Revolution the infamous infrastructure, like the country, was made to evolve, influence, and remain aware of all things new in Europe and throughout the world.

As kings took royal oaths and war raged, the Louvre never wavered under poor leadership or political stresses. She always remained a fortress. In fact, during World War I and II, the museum slowed acquisitions and removed most of the work, hiding them so they would not be taken by opposition forces. Such protective measures allowed the museum to remain the beacon of art history well into the 21st century.

To this day the Louvre advances itself as a “barrier-free” museum. It desires to attract all people within the nation of France as well as those outside the borders. Henry Loyrette, the current president and CEO of the Louvre notes how the museum continues to “play a major role in cultural diplomacy.” This is done through the intrinsic ability art has to dull the divides of contingencies and tensions. It also inspires dialogue between people of different cultures. Ultimately, art promotes respect and forges a common bond for all.

At the present time, the Louvre  houses upwards of 380,000 pieces of art work and has 35,000 of these on display in eight different departments (Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings). The Louvre also exhibits archaeological finds as well. It is the most visited museum in the world and averages 15,000 visitors per day. Aside from being a setting of many movies, the museum was a point of interest in best selling book, The DaVinci Code and the 2006 film. From this filming alone the museum collected $2.5 million and got to showcase its most prominent galleries.

If you’ve had the opportunity to visit the Louvre Museum in Paris, Segmation would love to hear about your experience. Please share your highlights in the comment box below.

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The Healing Power of Color (www.segmation.com)

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As an artist, you are probably aware of the effects that different colors can have on your state of mind and emotional well-being. In fact, in a past article we discussed the psychology of color and provided an overview of how each color can impact your mood.

In this article, we’ll take a look at color therapy, also known as chromotherapy, and how you can apply the basic principles of chromotherapy in your art.

Color therapy involves using, or meditating upon, specific colors to help you find balance and harmony, both inner and outer. There are many forms of color therapy, such as:

  • surrounding yourself with a color that represents characteristics that you feel are lacking in your life, to achieve balance
  • immersing yourself in a color that represents characteristics, or states of being, that you aspire to
  • using colors to “cleanse” your physical body and achieve physiological harmony (such as practiced in Chinese therapy)

While color therapy was once regarded as a New Age fad, today the effects of colors on a person’s mind, body and spirit are well-documented. Even commercial paint manufacturers recognize the connection; some offer a specific range of paint colors that are designed to promote healing and wellness.

To utilize the healing power of color in your art, you can create paintings or drawings based on specific colors to bring about a certain adjustment in your (or someone else’s) mental, emotional, or physical state of being. You can use a combination of colors to evoke a certain state of mind. Experiment with different patterns and compositions and take note of how the paintings affect you.

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Giotto di Bondone – Father of European Painting (www.segmation.com)


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Giotto di Bondone (c. 1267 – 1337), known simply as Giotto, was a Florentine painter and architect. He is now considered the first great master of the Italian Renaissance and the founder of modern European painting. Giotto’s natural and realistic style broke away from the symbolism of Byzantine art and was the catalyst that marked the start of the Renaissance.

Giotto was born in a small hamlet north of Florence. His father was a farmer and Giotto probably spent much of his youth as a shepherd. According to art historian Giorgio Vasari, the renowned Florentine artist, Cimabue, who was the last great painter in the Byzantine style, discovered the young Giotto drawing pictures of sheep on a rock. Cimabue was so impressed by the young boy’s talent that he immediately took him on as an apprentice. That story may be apocryphal but by around 1280 Giotto was working in Florence and by 1312 he was a member of the Florentine Guild of doctors and apothecaries, a guild that also included painters. He traveled to Rome with Cimabue and may well have worked on some of the master’s commissions.

Giotto signed his name to just three paintings. All other attributions to him are speculative and the unresolved controversy has raged through the art world for over a hundred years. Nevertheless, his work stands at the brink of a new age in art. He concentrated on representing human emotions, people in everyday situations, and capturing the human experience through his art.

Although he lacked the technical knowledge of perspective, he created a convincing three-dimensional pictorial space. His genius was immediately recognized by his contemporaries; he was lauded by great philosophers, writers and thinkers of his day, among them Dante and Boccaccio. Under Giotto’s leadership the old, stylized Byzantine art forms slowly disappeared from Florence, and later from other Italian cities. His freedom of expression influenced artists of the early and high Renaissance, and changed the course of European painting.

One of Giotto’s finest works is the series of frescoes painted 1304-1305 for the Scrovegni chapel in Padua, usually known as the Arena Chapel. The 37 scenes depict the lives of Christ and the Virgin Mary and are considered to be one of the masterpieces of the Early Renaissance. The figures in his paintings interact, gossip, and look at each other.

From 1306 to 1311 Giotto was in Assisi where some art historians believe he painted the fresco cycle of the Life of St. Francis. Although the style of the frescoes is realistic and breaks away from the Byzantine stylization, the controversy is caused by the stylistic differences between the St. Francis and Arena Chapel frescoes. Documents that could have proved the origin of the commissions were destroyed by Napoleon’s troops when they occupied the town in the early 19th century.

Giotto received commissions from princes and high officials of the church in Florence, Naples and Rome. Most scholars agree that he painted the frescoes in the Church of the Santa Croce in Florence and although he never signed the Ognissanti Madonna altarpiece, the Florentine work is universally recognized as being by him. It is known that Giotto was in Florence from 1314-1327 and the large panel painting depicting the Virgin was painted around 1310. The face of the Virgin is so expressive that it may well have been painted using a live model.

Towards the end of his life, Giotto was assigned to build the Campanile of the Florence Cathedral. In 1334 he was named chief architect and, although the Campanile is known as “Giotto’s Tower,” it was probably not built to his design specifications.

Giotto died in January, 1337. Even his burial place is surrounded by mystery. Vasari believed he was buried in the Cathedral of Florence, while other scholars claimed he was buried in the Church of Santa Reparata. But Giotto left an artistic legacy that could not be ignored. His disciples, Bernardo Daddi and Taddeo Gaddi continued in the master’s tradition and, a century later, the artistic torch lit by Giotto was passed on to Michelangelo and Raphael, the great masters of the High Renaissance.

Giotto made a radical break from the Byzantine (abstract – anti-naturalistic) style and brought more life to art. Giotto primarily painted Christian themes depicted in cycles and is best known for his frescos in various Chapels (Arene Chapel, Florence Cathedral, Assisi, Scrovegni).

Our pattern set collection features many of his more familiar works including the Ognissanti Madonna, The Mourning of Christ, The Marriage at Cana, The Mourning of St. Francis, Crucifixion and Madonna and Child.

Giotto di Bondone

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3 Ways that Artists Can Benefit from Blogging

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Before the invention of photography, artists had to work from real life. How did that affect artists’ working habits?

The necessity of working from life meant that in order to paint a portrait, the sitter had to pose for hours, days, weeks, and sometimes months before the artist was finished. To paint a still life, the artist would have to make sure the set-up stayed the same day after day, and could only paint when the lighting conditions were the same as the previous day. For landscape painting, artists would have to finish as much as possible on-site and often complete the final painting in their studio, often surrounded by smaller studies that contained notes on which hues and values to place where.

The invention of photography – especially digital photography – has changed the way artists work. Thanks to the convenience of affordable digital cameras, artists can easily take a variety of high-quality pictures of whatever they want to paint, and then instead of working from real li

The main goal of art marketing is to get your art out there. The more people that know about you and your work, the better. Blogging is an excellent – and free – way to put you and your art in front of a wider audience. In this article we’ll take a look at how artists like you can benefit from keeping a blog.

What is a blog?

“Blog” is short for weblog – a word that was first coined in 1997 when the general public was still getting its feet wet with the Internet. At first, blogs were merely online diaries – personal accounts of people’s daily lives. As the Internet has matured, blogs have turned into so much more. Blogs are now powerful marketing tools that are used by corporations and individuals alike to promote their businesses.

How can blogging be used as an effective art marketing tool?

  1. Blogs provide exposure. The search engines love frequent-updated blogs. Each update you post gives you another chance to be found on the Internet – by a gallery owner, a potential collector, or anyone who might be of benefit to you and your business in some form.
  2. Blogs provide insight. When you blog about your art, you can write about everything from your inspirations to your struggles and everything in between. Blogs give gallery owners and potential collectors insight into your working process, which shows them that you are a serious artist.
  3. Blogs facilitate connections. People who buy artwork online are more willing to purchase art from someone with whom they feel a connection. Blogging allows you to connect with your fans and collectors on a personal level – showing them that you are a real, live, trustworthy human being, as opposed to an impersonal collection of pixels on the screen.

These are just some of the many ways that artists can benefit from blogging.

One final note: remember that a blog is better as a supplement to your website, and not a substitute. While some artist blogs double as an online gallery and a blog, it is generally better to keep the two separate, so that it is easier for your site visitors to navigate from your new content in your blog to your static content on your website (such as your gallery).

Ready to set up your art blog? You can start a blog for free through WordPress or Blogger. Have fun!

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Google Art Project Makes Art More Accessible

La Primavera by Botticelli - one of 1000+ artworks you can view in fine detail at the Google Art Project

The new Google Art Project, unveiled in early February 2011, allows viewers to digitally check out hundreds of important artworks from the leading art museums around the globe. The project offers digital images of paintings, drawings, sculptures, and artifacts that are extremely high-resolution, which means you can easily zoom right in on a Van Gogh painting (for example) to see the richness of every brushstroke!

The key feature of the Google Art Project that separates it from other “online museums” lies in the sheer quality of the images. The ability to view fine details such as brushstrokes and the texture of the canvas creates a more tactile approach to viewing artwork remotely – a quality that is typically missing from most art that is posted online.

The Google Art Project is handy for artists, students, teachers and countless others who would like to study specific paintings or artists, but who do not have convenient access to a major art museum. The Google Art Project allows everyone to browse art museums for free from the comfort of home.

Participating museums hail from the US, Europe and Russia, including NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of art and MoMA, the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, the National Gallery in London, the Palace of Versailles in France, and the Uffizi in Italy.

While the experience of browsing art on the Google Art Project is not quite the same as standing in front of the artwork in person, it is a worthy experiment in bringing the arts closer to the general public.

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Toxicity of Oil Paints: Past and Present

Self-Portrait by Vincent van Gogh

Many people attribute the shimmering, swirling colors and bold, choppy brushwork in Vincent van Gogh’s paintings to his lifelong battle with mental illness. Although his world-famous paintings now sell for millions, during his life van Gogh lived and worked in poverty, surviving on financial assistance from his devoted brother Theo. At times, van Gogh was so poor that he couldn’t even afford food because he had spent all his money on oil paints; his passion for painting overriding his basic human instincts.

As his mental instability worsened, van Gogh ate some of his oil paints, which contained lead. Ingesting the lead in his oil paints may have led to van Gogh’s seizure in 1890, precipitating his mental and physical decline that would lead to his self-inflicted death half a year later.

Lead is just one of the many toxins that were once a common ingredient in many oil paints. Mercury, chromates, sulfides, barium and antimony are just some of the other toxic ingredients that were used to create oil paints. The popular Cadmium Reds, Oranges, and Yellows contained cadmium, while cobalt contributed to Cobalt Blue and Cerulean Blue. Scheele’s Green rose to popularity in the 19th century, replacing the previous green pigments to become the green of choice for artists, used by Turner and Manet. Sheele’s Green contained arsenic.

Thankfully, the oil paints that are manufactured today contain very little of these toxic substances. Oil paint tubes are required to carry a warning label if they contain even the slightest traces of toxic materials. Although these labels cause some artists concern, the risks of becoming poisoned from modern commercial oil paints are quite minor if the paints are used as intended.

Although it may go without saying, artists should never follow in van Gogh’s lead by eating their oil paints. Likewise, artists should never put paintbrushes in their mouths or open stubborn tubes of paint with their teeth. Although you’d actually have to eat an entire tube of paint to become sick, it’s not worth the risk of getting oil paints anywhere near your mouth to begin with. Maintaining clean studio habits, which includes minimizing skin contact with oil paints, will assure that today’s artists run minimal risk of toxic exposure through their oil paints.

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Saint Patrick’s Day www.segmation.com

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Saint Patrick’s Day is originally a Catholic holiday which is celebrated annually on March 17. The day has evolved to become a secular celebration of Irish culture. Saint Patrick was a real person who joined the Church in Britain around the year 432, and among other legends, used the shamrock to teach the Christine doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people. Today many participate in this event by wearing green clothing and other items. Our pattern set contains many elements of this holiday including leprechauns, pots of gold, rainbows, clovers, large green hats, and of course drinking green beer.

This set contains over 21 paintable patterns.

Saint Patrick’s Day

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