Tomorrow, Thursday May 18, 2017, is Art Museum Day here in the U.S.
Organized by the Association of Art Museum Directors, it’s an event in which participating museums open their doors for free and often feature events, tours and museum shop discounts.
Unlike the broader Museum Day, organized by the Smithsonian and generally held in September, this event has no requirement for advance tickets or limitations on the number of museums you can visit on the day.
This page devoted to Art Museum Day, though it may not be obvious at first, offers a list of participating museums, arranged by state.
The images above are of some of the participating museums here in the Philadelphia area: the Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Brandywine River Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum of American Art and the Barnes Foundation.
“Over a Balcony,” View of the Grand Canal, Venice; Francis Hopkinson Smith
Watercolor; roughly 32 x 21 inches (80 x 53 cm); in the collection of the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. On their page, click on “Explore Object” at the top of the image for a zoomable view, or use the “Download Image” link.
This superb late 19th century watercolor of Venice by American artist and engineer Francis Hopkinson Smith is remarkable on several levels.
Not only is it a beautiful evocation of a view from a balcony in the Academia section of the city toward one of its great landmarks — the church and basilica of Santa Maria della Salute — it also captures the variation in light through the scene caused by the scattered cloud cover. The church domes are in sharp sun and shadow, as is the landing forward of that; but the foreground and other parts of the middle distance are in the muted light of an overcast day.
In addition, Smith has delineated the architecture with lines visible through the areas of color, giving the picture the charm of both a drawing and a painting simultaneously.
Most appealing to me, however, is the way he has shifted our view from far to near — essentially in three steps, from the distant curve of the main island beyond the mouth of the canal, to the succinctly delineated middle ground of the church and its environs, to the immediate foreground of the flower pots and ledges, the nearest only an arm’s reach from the artist’s vantage point.
Originally from Bulgaria, where he also received his initial artistic training, Ignat Ignatov is an artist now living and working in California.
Ignatov paints landscape, wildlife, figurative and still life subjects with a painterly and at times gestural, semi-abstract approach. I particularly enjoy his figurative and portrait subjects, in which he often plays with moody or theatrical lighting, colored accents and abstract backgrounds.
The images on his own website are frustratingly small; you can find some larger examples of his wok on the LePrince gallery site (click through twice from the thumbnails) and in this article on Tutt’ Art.
Though not large, the images on Ignatov’s instructor bio page on the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art are a particularly nice selection of his work.
Ignatov offers two DVDs on his website, one is a documentary on the artist, the other is an instructional video on portrait painting.