Category Archives: Mona Lisa

Did you ever wonder about How Works of Art Become Famous?

Have you ever wondered why certain works of art are so famous? For instance, why does the Mona Lisa enjoy celebrity status, even though there have been scores of other well-painted portraits throughout history?

Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is currently known as the most famous painting in the world, but in previous centuries, it was merely regarded as a well-executed portrait by one of the Renaissance’s greatest luminaries. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the painting skyrocketed to fame. It was stolen in 1911 and recovered in 1913 – two dramatic events that catapulted the painting into the limelight. Mechanical reproduction and commercialism further propelled the fame of the painting, with the image being sold on various types of merchandise as well as appearing in countless advertisements. By now, the Mona Lisa’s fame is self-perpetuating and her legend is well-established.

The Venus de Milo is another example of a work of art that became famous not just for its beauty. Although it is one of only a few extant sculptures from the Classical period, the Venus de Milo enjoys its particular fame due to the massive propaganda efforts put forth by the French in the early 19th century, in an attempt to proclaim that their Venus was a better work of art than an Italian version of the Goddess.

The relative fame of an artwork depends on far more than just skill or execution; factors such as the timing and location of the piece, the social and political atmosphere of when it was created, and the artist’s ability to create an emotional resonance between the artwork and the viewers all play a part in why some artworks are more coveted than others. In the end, a healthy dose of fate, luck or chance doesn’t hurt, either.

Be an Artist in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

Segmation

SegPlay® Mobile iTunes now available for iPhone and iTouch

www.segmation.com

The Woman Who Inspired Mona Lisa

Arguably the most famous painting in the world, Mona Lisa is an iconic oil painting created by acclaimed artist Leonardo da Vinci in the 16th century. For centuries, the piece has been the subject of much fascination, scrutiny, and admiration.

One of the longest-running questions pertained to the identity of the woman depicted in the painting. Although many believed it to be the wife of an Italian businessman, Francesco del Giocondo, the artist left no record to confirm that, and there were several other obscure references that implied other possibilities.

But in 2005, the mystery was finally laid to rest. At the University of Heidelberg in Germany, a library researcher named Armin Schlechter discovered a note made in the margin of the works of Roman philosopher Cicero. In the note, a friend of da Vinci’s, Agostino Vespucci, confirmed the sitter’s identity to be Lisa del Giocondo. Shortly after the birth of their second son, her husband had commissioned the painting to display in their new home. The Italian title loosely translates to “Lady Lisa”.

Today, the original painting is displayed in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France, and is widely renowned as a timeless symbol of enigmatic femininity.

Be an Artist in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

Segmation

SegPlay® Mobile iTunes now available for iPhone and iPad

www.segmation.com

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.

Be an Artist in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

Segmation

SegPlay® Mobile iTunes now available for iPhone and iPad

www.segmation.com

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


Free Trial Downloads for Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

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

Have fun and relax with beautiful online painting art. So fun and easy to use with no mess but just a mouse!

Be a Artist in 2 minutes with Giotto di Bondone from Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

Segmation

FREE Newsletter

Join us on Facebook

SegPlay® Mobile iTunes now available for iPhone and iTouch

www.segmation.com

3 Ways that Artists Can Benefit from Blogging

Free Trial Downloads for Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

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!

Segmation

FREE Newsletter

Join us on Facebook

SegPlay® Mobile iTunes now available for iPhone and iTouch

www.segmation.com

How to Photograph Your Art

Be a Great Photographer of Your Art in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

It’s important to take good photos of your Art for many reasons.  Photos of your work will be used for several purposes:

  • To show your work to prospective galleries
  • To display on your website
  • To use on your business cards and other promotional materials
  • To serve as a record of what you have created

Back in the day, manual SLR cameras were the norm for taking high-quality photographs of artwork.  These days it’s possible to take good photographs of your art using consumer-quality point-and-shoot digital cameras – the kind you use for everyday purposes.  If you plan to print any of the photos of your art, keep in mind that the higher the pixels, the larger you’ll be able to print while maintaining a sharp clarity.

You can choose to shoot your artwork indoors or outdoors.  If you photograph your work indoors, drape a black velvet cloth on the wall and hang your artwork in front of it, at level with the camera, which should be placed on a tripod for ultimate stability.  Place two tungsten light bulbs inside two clamp lights and space them at equal points on either side of the camera, pointing towards the art at an approximate 45 degree angle.  Then point and shoot!

These days it’s not necessary to create an indoor photo set-up to get decent pictures of your art.  Many artists take photos of their artwork outside, because it is far easier than setting up a photo area indoors.  By using a digital camera and a photo-editing program, you can almost always get good photos of your art even if outdoor conditions aren’t 100% perfect.

It’s best to take photos of your art on a sunny day, to bring out the best in your artwork’s colors, but be careful to position your artwork either at an angle to the sun or place your artwork in the shade so that the direct sunlight does not cause a glare.  It may take some experimentation to get it just right, but the great thing about digital cameras is that you can take all the photos you want without worrying about wasting film.

After you’ve taken the photos and uploaded them to your computer, choose the best ones and edit them in a program like Photoshop or GIMP.  In these photo-editing programs, you can adjust the image’s brightness and contrast, hues and saturation, as well as crop the image.

Thanks to digital photography and photo-editing programs, taking accurate photos of your artwork is easier than ever!

Be a Great Photographer of Your Art in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

Segmation

FREE Newsletter

Join us on Facebook

SegPlay® Mobile iTunes now available for iPhone and iTouch

www.segmation.com

Tips for Making the Most of Your Next Art Museum Visit www.segmation.com

Visiting art museums can be both fun and daunting. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, for example, contains over 2 million square feet of exhibition space – now that’s a lot of art! With room upon room filled with treasures from various civilizations, a visit to a major museum such as the Met is certainly an eye-opening, educational experience… but it can also be exhausting. Almost against your will, you’ll find that after awhile, your mind shuts down as you stare blankly at artwork after artwork.

Follow these tips to avoid that zombie-like state and glean the most from your visit to an art museum:

  • Study the museum map before you enter to familiarize yourself with everything the museum has to offer, then plan out a logical route that takes you through everything you want to see.
  • Don’t try to see everything at once. Prioritize your visit by planning to see the artwork you’re most interested in at the beginning of your museum visit, while your mind is still fresh.
  • Read the placards that explain what each exhibit and artwork is about. If you start to get burned out after awhile, don’t try to retain all the information. Just let your eyes skim over the information and absorb the key information. Look for artist, time period, medium, and location, if applicable.
  • Linger awhile in front of the pieces that most interest you, and contemplate why you like that particular piece. It is better to spend time examining the artwork you really enjoy, rather than to rush through rooms full of art that you really don’t care about.
  • If photographs are allowed, take photos of the pieces that most interest you. You should also photograph the title card of the piece, so that you can research the artist and artwork later.
  • Carry a sketchbook with you to jot down notes, ideas, impressions, and sketches of artwork that catches your eye. If photographs are not allowed, a sketchbook can be a useful substitute.
  • If you need a break, sit down in the museum cafe and rest your eyes for awhile. Fresh air can help if you’re feeling burned out, but if you leave the museum to step outside, make sure it is okay for you to re-enter without having to pay the entry fee again.

Follow these tips and your next trip to an art museum will leave you happily saturated with creative inspiration!

Be a Artist in 2 minutes with Segmation SegPlay® PC (see more details here)

Segmation

FREE Newsletter

Join us on Facebook

SegPlay® Mobile iTunes now available for iPhone and iTouch

www.segmation.com

All About Yellow Pigments www.segmation.com

Yellow is one of the three primary colors, which means it is often used in painting – from capturing the warm rays of a golden sun, to a field full of sunflowers, to the flickering flames of fire. Here is an overview of some of the most common yellow pigments you’ll use when painting:

Yellow Ochre (sometimes called Mars Yellow) is a non-toxic natural clay pigment. In fact, it is one of the oldest pigments in the world, used by our prehistoric ancestors. Yellow Ochre has a tan, sandy appearance.

Naples Yellow was once made from toxic synthetic pigments that were used abundantly by the Old Masters, but today’s version is made from modern, non-toxic substances. Naples Yellow usually has a light, pale appearance.

Cadmium Yellow is another historically toxic pigment (Cadmium Sulfide) that was used by artists in the late 19th century. It now contains a non-toxic replacement (usually Azo pigments), but is still called Cadmium Yellow. Cadmium Yellow has a very bright yellow appearance.

Azo Yellow (also called Hansa Yellow) is a dye-based synthetic pigment invented in the early 20th century. Azo Yellow is usually bright but it is also pale and translucent compared to Cadmium Yellow.

Each of these yellow pigments adds something different to your palette. If you are painting a still life, landscape or portrait that requires the use of yellow, consider the different properties of these yellows to decide which one (or more) would work best for what you need.

Segmation

FREE Newsletter

Join us on Facebook

SegPlay® Mobile iTunes now available for iPhone and iTouch

www.segmation.com

Figure Drawing Tips

The human figure is one of the hardest things to draw accurately. When drawing a human figure, you need to be aware of technical issues such as proportions, shading and foreshortening, but you must also be able to portray the figure with emotion and sensitivity. Even if your figure drawing isn’t 100% accurate in terms of resembling real life, a drawing imbued with creative energy can create a powerful effect upon the viewer.

To better study and render the human figure, Renaissance artists dissected and studied corpses, taking detailed notes and making realistic drawings from their anatomical observations. Learning about the structure of muscles and other internal organs helped Renaissance artists create more precise artwork. These days, you don’t need to visit a morgue to brush up on your figure drawing skills. Ample books and websites focus on drawing the human form, providing countless illustrations of body parts, both externally and internally.

Figure drawing classes are invaluable for enhancing your ability to draw the human form. Most community art centers offer figure drawing classes with instructors who can critique your artwork and give you pointers. Most figure drawing classes are conducted with live nude models, which may come as a shock for people who have never been to one before, but this is standard. Drawing the nude figure helps artists gain a better grasp of the human body and how it looks in various positions.

If you are unable to attend a drawing class, you can search for free reference photos online. Many “artist community” websites offer a bank of free reference images that you can use without worrying about copyright or obtaining a model release. For specific poses, expressions or costumes, you’ll need to take your own reference photos. Hire a model or bribe a friend to do the posing for you.

If you want to draw a person is a specific pose but you do not have a model and can’t find the right reference photo, use a poseable mannequin, such as the one shown above. The poseable mannequin will give you a general idea of where to place the various body parts, but you’ll have to “invent the details”, such as facial features, clothing, etc. For this reason, a wooden mannequin is usually more ideal for gesture drawing, rather than a figure drawing that needs to be true to life.

Segmation

FREE Newsletter

Join us on Facebook

SegPlay® Mobile iTunes now available for iPhone and iTouch

www.segmation.com

Putting Together an Artist’s Packet

If your dream is to show your artwork in a gallery, one of the most common ways to get your foot in the door is to “wow” them with your artist’s packet.

What is an artist’s packet?

An artist’s packet is the first thing that most galleries will see when you approach them with your work. Most gallery owners are far too busy to let artists drop by and show off their portfolios, so instead they require hopeful artists to send an informative artist’s packet through the mail. This allows them the chance to look through your artwork and relevant information at their own pace.

Before you mail off your artist packet to every gallery in your city, first you should conduct due diligence by either researching the art galleries in person or online. Look at the type of art they show; would your work fit in with the styles and subjects they show? If so, call the gallery or check their website to see if they accept submissions. If they do, you’re good to go.

An artist’s packet is basically your way of “introducing” yourself to a gallery owner and/or curator. Be sure to include:

  • Reproductions of your art – In the old days, it was the norm for artists to send slides to galleries. These days, while some galleries may still prefer slides, many galleries now prefer CDs or inexpensive, but true-to-life, print-outs. You can call the gallery or check their website to see which format they prefer. In any case, make sure you take high-quality scans or photographs of your artwork so that the gallery owner can get a strong feel for what your work looks like.
  • CV or resume – Your CV or resume really shows the what, where, and when of your art career thus far. You should include things like: education, previous exhibitions (such as gallery or museum showings, art festivals, etc), previous and current gallery affiliations, major commissions, works sold or notable private collections, awards and grants, magazine and newspaper mentions, interviews and reviews, workshops you’ve led, artist-in-residence programs you have participated in, and any other art-related accomplishments.
  • Press Clippings – If your work has been reviewed by the press, include photocopies of those reviews.
  • Artist Statement – The artist statement explains the “why” and “how” of your work. It should answer questions like: What are you trying to express? What does the viewer need to know when he/she looks at your work, in order to understand it correctly? The artist statement should never be more than 1 page in length. Remember that gallery owners are busy people – they wouldn’t have time to read more than a page!
  • Bio – Your bio should also not be more than 1 page in length; usually a paragraph will suffice. Your bio will be more casual than the artist statement, letting the gallery owner know who you are and what makes you unique.
  • Business card – A business card shows that you are professional, so be sure to include a high-quality business card in your packet.
  • A letter of introduction – When you put your artist packet together, put the letter of introduction on top of everything else. Address the letter to the gallery owner by name. (If you don’t know the person’s name, call to find out.) Explain to him or her how you first heard of their gallery and tell them why you feel your art would be a good fit. Again, keep your letter of introduction short and sweet – it should fit easily on 1 page.
  • SASE – If you want your materials returned, include a self-addressed stamped envelope.

After you send off your artist packet, you can relax and paint! It is polite to give them a follow-up call a week later to make sure they received the packet, but try not to be pushy. Gallery owners are busy people and they will review your work in their own time.

Good luck!
Segmation

FREE Newsletter

Join us on Facebook

SegPlay® Mobile iTunes now available for iPhone and iTouch

www.segmation.com