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Showing posts from June, 2014

The Arnolfini Wedding Portrait

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The rays of the evening sun glisten on the waters of the Zwin, which flow with a steady calm.   Couples stroll leisurely on the banks of the canal and the cool evening breeze adds a crispness to the air. Fifteenth century Bruges (Belgium) is extremely rich and prosperous. The Dukes of Burgundy, the aristocrats and wealthy merchants are patrons of the arts and artists enjoy a very privileged place in society, and are commissioned for their work by the rich and famous.   Jan Van Eyck is the toast of this charmed circle. He is the painter to the Duke of Burgundy and one of the first artists to master the use of oil based paint as a medium for his artwork. When linseed or walnut oil is added to coloured pigments it dries slowly and allows the artist to make revisions, add details and has a luminous quality that makes the colours look like jewels. It also helps in achieving subtle variations in light and shade to heighten the illusion of three dimensional forms. Giovanni di Nic

Where the Wild Things Are

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Adam names the animals     The sky is overcast with dark grey clouds and the persistent drizzle is quickly turning into a downpour. It is the twelfth century in England and Emily is sitting next to her father, watching him work. At sixteen, she is already quite an accomplished artist and considers herself very fortunate to be the daughter of one of the most talented and respected illuminators in England. Her father is creating an ‘Illuminated Manuscript’. Emily knows the patron is extremely wealthy and suspects he may be from the royal family. Illuminated manuscripts were manuscripts decorated in real gold or silver and were fairly common in the medieval ages. They were painted on the best quality parchment called 'Vellum' and were written in Latin. The text was usually written first by a scribe and then given to the illuminator. Emily watches her father as he applies the gold to the painting. She knows the complex process well by now, the gold leaf pieces are ham

The Dual Nature of Christ

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As the group of pilgrims move slowly along the endless desert on their mules, Egeria is struck by the sheer inhospitality of the terrain. She feels humbled when she thinks of Moses, and how he had led his people through this very desert for forty years. It is the sixth century AD, and the pilgrims have travelled for many weeks to reach St. Catherine’s Monastery at the base of Mt.Sinai in Egypt. An old monk leads the tired pilgrims through the monastery. As Egeria follows her people, her eyes suddenly fall on an icon of Christ, she is instantly drawn towards it. This painting of Christ as the Pantocrator, which in Greek means ‘Ruler of All’ is regarded as one of the earliest examples of Byzantine Iconography (painting). Believed to have been painted by a highly accomplished artist from Constantinople (Turkey) during Emperor Justinian’s reign, this is a 33X18cm Encaustic painting on wood. Encaustic painting also known as hot wax painting, involves the use of heated beeswax to