Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

Lucas Museum of Narrative Art: Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Norman Rockwell, Charles Dana Gibson, Edward Henry Potthast, Harrison Cady, Frank Frazetta, George Herriman, John Berkey, Arthur Rackham, N.C. Wyeth, William de Leftwich Dodge, Walt Kelly, Jean Moebius Giraud, Winsor McCay, Dough Chiang
The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is a new museum, scheduled to open in Chicago in 2018, that will house a collection of art owned by film director George Lucas.

The collection and the museum are dedicated to art that, like film, is narrative in some way, telling stories whether overtly or by suggestion. This includes a number of works from history that would be considered museum paintings, as well as illustration, comics and concept art.

The museum has a website with a bit on information about the proposed museum building and the collection. The site features work from the collection in various categories. If you click through the initial images of individual works, there are nice sized enlargements.

Most of the art is to be found in the sub-sections under “Narrative Art“, but there is also artwork under the sections for “Digital Art” and “Art of Cinema (mostly under “Set Design“).

There are some great pieces here by a terrific range of painters, illustrators, comics artists and concept artists (though fewer of the latter than might be expected.)

The physical museum itself is apparently the focus of some controversy in Chicago, in regard to both its design and location, but I can’t fault Lucas for his taste in art.

(Images above, with links to my posts: Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Norman Rockwell, Charles Dana Gibson, Edward Henry Potthast, Harrison Cady, Frank Frazetta, George Herriman, John Berkey, Arthur Rackham, N.C. Wyeth, William de Leftwich Dodge, Walt Kelly, Jean “Moebius” Giraud, Winsor McCay, Dough Chiang)

 
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Rijksmuseum’s selection for US President’s visit

Rijksmuseum's selection for US President's visit:  Johnnes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Frans Hals, Jan Havicksz Steen, Bartholomeus van Bassen, Jan Havicksz Steen, Rembrandt
The current President of the United States is visiting the Netherlands (I’m reluctant to even mention his name, lest it bring out of the woodwork the internet trolls who feel that any mention of his name is a call to arms to use the comments section to decry how the Affordable Care Act marks the end of liberty as we know it, etc., etc., etc. — sigh).

At any rate, the President (you know which one) is there to attend a Nuclear Security Summit, but has taken a side tour to visit the Rijksmuseum and its world-renowned collection of Dutch art and artifacts.

The museum has taken advantage of the PR event and photo-op, and also published on its website images of a group of paintings that were the focus of the tour given the visiting President.

I don’t think they are indicative of the President’s taste in painting (I’ve never heard mention of him being particularly interested in art); I think he was actually there to view a historical document called the Act of Abjuration, on which the U.S. Declaration of Independence was in part based.

However, he was given a tour of the museum and I find it more interesting to see which pieces out of the Rijksmuseum’s superb collection the directors thought suitable for a Presidential visit.

Unfortunately, I can’t find a written description of the reasons for their choices. Some are obvious, of course, and come under the heading of the museum’s “greatest hits” — and one seems related to the signing of an official document by a legislative body, perhaps the document in question.

The choice of the street scene with the Mayor of Delft and the raucous family gathering, both by Jan Havickszs Steen, are more of a mystery to me.

You can click on any of the images in their feature to go to the large, zoomable versions, which can be downloaded (like any of their other high-res images) if you register for a free RijksStudio account (see my 2012 post on the New Rijksmuseum website).

(Images above, with detail crops: Johnnes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Frans Hals, Jan Havicksz Steen, Bartholomeus van Bassen, Jan Havicksz Steen, Rembrandt)

 
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Gallery of the Golden Age, Amsterdam

Gallery of the Golden Age, Amsterdam: Nicolaes Eliasz Pickenoy, Govert Flinck, Nicolaes Eliasz Pickenoy and Thomas de Keyser, Nicolaes Eliasz Pickenoy
Art museums are like icebergs, in that only a small part of their collection is visible at any given time. It’s always a plus when museums manage to display normally unseen works in different venues.

Three museums in Amsterdam, the Rijskmuseum, the Amsterdam Museum and the Hermitage Amsterdam, are launching a joint long-term exhibit, called “Gallery of the Golden Age”, in which seldom-seen large scale works from the first two museums will be exhibited in display space available in the latter.

There is an article on nrc.nl that offers zoomable images of some of these large-scale group portraits, described as being in the same tradition as Rembrandt’s famous Night Watch (The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq). The zooming features take a bit of time to load, and the text is in Dutch, but you can use a little patience and Google Translate, respectively.

There is an article in English on the Amsterdam Museum site for more on these works and others.

You can also search the collections of the Amsterdam Museum and the Rijksmuseum.

(Images above: Nicolaes Eliasz Pickenoy, Govert Flinck, Nicolaes Eliasz Pickenoy and Thomas de Keyser, Nicolaes Eliasz Pickenoy)

[Suggestion courtesy of Aelle Ayres]

 
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The Monuments Men at the Met: Treasures Saved During World War II

The Monuments Men at the Met: Treasures Saved During World War II: Jean Simeon Chardin, Philips Konick, Claude Monet, Thomas de Keyser, Giovanni di Paolo, Abraham van Beyeren, David Teniers, Gustav Klimt, Jan van Goyen
As well they should, a number of art museums are seeking to increase public interest by arranging tours, virtual or otherwise, of works in their collection relevant to the new feature film, The Monuments Men.

These can be works either recovered, or preemptively protected from the Nazi’s attempt to accumulate — and potentially destroy — much of the cultural heritage of Europe during WWII.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has created a tour itinerary of relevant works in their collection. The museum’s relationship to the events in Europe is tied to James Rorimer, a member of the Monuments Men team who later became the Met’s director.

As always, for those of us who can’t conveniently stop by the Met to view the works in person, the great advantage of the Met’s website is their provision of access to high-resolution images of most of the works featured.

(Images above: Jean Siméon Chardin, Philips Konick, Claude Monet, Thomas de Keyser, Giovanni di Paolo, Abraham van Beyeren, David Teniers, Gustav Klimt, Jan van Goyen)

 
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Museum Day, 2013

Museum Day, 2013: Delaware Art Museum; Brandywine River Museum, Rosenbach Museum; Newark Museum, Montclair Museum
This Saturday, September 28, 2013, is Museum Day, when hundreds of museums across the U.S. offer free admission.

Participation is limited to two tickets per household, and must be ordered online in advance (I think you can order on Saturday before you go).

Search for participating museums near you by address or by state.

The event is coordinated by Smithsonian magazine.

(Images above, a few museums I like to visit in Delaware: Delaware Art Museum; Pennsylvania: Brandywine River Museum, Rosenbach Museum; and New Jersey: Newark Museum, Montclair Art Museum)

 
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New website for National Gallery of Art

New website for National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. is one of the great art museums in the U.S., and a national treasure on which I am happy to see my tax dollars spent.

The NGA has long had a web presence, but it has never been quite what those of us who admire the museum’s collection might have liked, with small images of items in the collection and less than ideal presentation overall.

That has all changed, as the museum recently rolled out a beautiful new website.

Searching or browsing the collection is much easier, and many of the individual objects are now provided with zoomable high resolution images.

You can also still download images, as you could before, through the NGA Images database. Though the basic system for that hasn’t changed since my post on NGA Images in 2012, it is now more gracefully integrated into the main website.

I’ll point out again that though you can download a reasonably large image without an account, registering for a free account with a simple email address gives you access to wonderfully large high-resolution images.

As an example, an image of John Constable’s landscape, Wivenhoe Park, Essex (images above, third from bottom) can be downloaded without an account in a size from which I’ve taken the crop shown above, second from bottom. The bottom image shows a crop from the size available to those logged in to a free account (essentially the same as maximum zoom in the website interface, if you’re not concerned about downloading).

In addition to better presentation of exhibitions and items from the collection, there are other treasures to be found by looking around, with excellent features on subjects like Conservation Projects.

(By the way, the detail image of the hand from Vermeer’s exquisite Woman Holding a Balance in the examples above is not blurred; the extreme close-up just shows Vermeer’s brilliantly soft edges.)

 
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