Take 5 - Classic Art

True beauty is eternal.

I make no effort in hiding my affinity for classic art and those who are Facebook friends with me know this too well. My appreciation for classic art has always been there, but it has grown over the years. I am very aware of the pretentious nature that can come with those who like classic art, so I’ll be wary of waxing lyrical about truth, beauty and story whilst having an “experience” viewing art. Quite simply, I love looking at beautiful artwork, it makes me feel a range of emotions, elicit thoughts and experience (shit, I’ve already done it haha) different worlds.

Anyway, enough of the words, let’s see some art!

Thomas Cole

The Consummation - The Course of Empire, Thomas Cole, 1833-36. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

This English-born American painter had a major impact in the 19th century, specialising in American landscape and wilderness paintings as well as historical settings. One of his more notable works was a series called “The Course of Empire”, which the above painting is from, and depicts the rise and fall of civilisation. “Titan’s Goblet” is another fantastic illustration of Cole’s artistry and I used it as the cover image for this post. Seriously, do yourself a favour and search the internet for ‘Thomas Cole’ and prepare to be amazed, as one picture does not do the man justice.

Frederic Edwin Church

Cotopaxi at sunset, Frederic Edwin Church, 1862. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Influenced by the aforementioned Cole, Frederic Edwin Church became known for landscape paintings, particularly very large and expansive environments featuring mountains, waterfalls and sunsets (as seen above). Church really placed an emphasis on detail, lighting and panoramic views.

Albert Bierstadt

Yosemite, Albert Bierstadt, 1875. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

I must have a thing for 19th century American landscape artists, but their artwork is astonishingly beautiful. Albert Bierstadt was a prominent depicter of the Westward Expansion across America. A product on the Hudson River School art movement started by Thomas Cole, Bierstadt continued the romantic take on the American wilderness.

Sandro Botticelli

The Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli, circa 1485. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

I could have used all Renaissance painters for this week’s Take 5, instead I thought I’d highlight one of the most beautiful creations in existence. Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus”, estimated to have been completed around 1485, now resides in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence which I sadly didn’t have time to visit when I was there. The painting portrays the Roman goddess Venus having emerged from the sea as a fully-grown woman, being blown to shore on a seashell by the wind god Zephyr and about to be greeted by the Hora/goddess of spring. I currently have this as my desktop background although I have to sometimes resist the urge to keep my work minimised.

Raphael

School of Athens, Raphael, 1509-1511. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Before becoming one of the Ninja Turtles, Raphael was one of the most prominent Italian renaissance painters (and architect) with his most notable work being “The School of Athens”, as shown above, commissioned for the Vatican. Praised for his clarity, composition and visualisation of Plato’s ideals for human grandeur, Raphael has four rooms dedicated to his works at the Vatican (aptly though unimaginatively titled the “Raphael Rooms”, most noted for their frescoes). This was my previous desktop background and highlights Plato and Aristotle front and centre with what is believed to be Socrates just left of centre in a green robe (this is not a recreation of an actual scene, more an illustration, as Socrates died before Aristotle was even born – but it’s a wonderful piece of art!).

So, which ones did you like? Which ones didn’t you like? Do you have some others that you find a sight to behold?

If there is enough interest I may follow up with a “Part II” as there is no shortage of material. Or I may just do it for me haha!

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