Caravaggio, “Judith Beheading Holofernes” (1598-99)

The model for Judith is probably the Roman courtesan Fillide Melandroni, who posed for several other works by Caravaggio around this year; the scene itself, and especially the details of blood and decapitation, were presumably drawn from his observations of the public execution of Beatrice Cenci a few years before.

St. Bridget of Sweden, from an altarpiece in Salem, Södermanland, restored digitally.

Moses Shown The Promised Land (1801)

Met’s Artwork of the Day drills it (to use a term frequently thrown around in Rob Lowe’s autobiography) today:

Benjamin West.

The family later moved to Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, where his father was the proprietor of the Square Tavern, still standing in that town.

So it is!  Regrettably it doesn’t look like you can have a drink there anymore.  LAME.

The Jolly Flatboatmen (1846)

George Caleb Bingham was, among other things, the first chief of police in Kansas City.  I’d like to visit his house next time I’m in Arrow Rock, Missouri.

This painting is apparently in the collection of Detroit industrialist Richard Manoogian.  Manoogian’s father was a refugee from the Armenian genocide.  Arriving in America at age 19, he worked as a machinist before founding the Masco Screw Company.

Manoogian’s redesign and production of the Delta faucet, which allowed one-handed use, resulted in best-selling status for the plumbing fixture and generated substantial profits for his business wealth. In 1995 his company had $3 billion dollars in sales and had 38 percent of the domestic market for faucets.

A Delta faucet:

Scott Prior

This guy is good at painting, right?  Am I crazy?

His “Nanny and Rose” used to hang in the lobby of the MFA and whenever I saw it as a kid I was like, oh that guy must be the best painter in the world.

But nobody ever talks about him.

Images from his website.

Theodosius Is Shown The Cave Of The Seven Sleepers

What?  You’ve never heard of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus?  Remember?  The persecutions of Decius?  Instead of submitting to his authority they went into a cave to pray?  Remember?  And they fell asleep?  Decius sealed the cave?  Then two centuries later Theodosius decides to open the cave, to use as a cattle pen?  They’re still alive?  One of them tries to spend his coins with the face of Decius?  When the sleepers see crosses they’re like, “oh? all of you worship Christ?  how wonderful the Lord has proved to be.” People lose it?  When the bishop heard about it he dropped dead?

Did you just, what, did you just sleep through CCD?

Oh, you’re Muslim?  NICE TRY STILL A BIG DEAL IN THE Q’URAN TOO!  They would’ve made pictures if the Q’uran didn’t also ban images of humans.

(photo from The Cloisters, great place to learn about a lot of “off center” medieval Christianity)

Look at this asshole

Anthony Van Dyck, Self-Portrait.

“Possibly 1620-1.”  Art historians, DO YOUR JOBS and get that “possibly” out of there.

“A precocious talent…” yeah I bet he was, The Met.

Trying to learn how to pronounce “Childe Hassam,” found this.

Childe hassam

President Barack Obama in the Oval Office 1/28/09. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

That’s his “The Avenue In The Rain” past Barry.  Pronounced “Child HASS-m.”

Hildegard von Bingen receives a vision and dictates it to the monk Volmar

(if I don’t cite a picture’s source it’s from wikipedia commons or I took it myself)

St. Patty’s Roundup, #2

The statue of Molly Malone in Dublin is basically a sculptural softcore boobie pic for dudes who fetishize fishmongers, right?

Also of note in Dublin statuary, Oscar Wilde.  I mean, c’mon dude.  Sit up!  :

Fitzhugh Lane

Western shore

Fitz Hugh Lane:  When he was eighteen months old, in his father’s yard, Fitz Hugh Lane grabbed a handful of some kind of weed and put it in his mouth.  John J. Babson’s History of the Town of Gloucester (1860) says it was “apple-peru.”  It may have been jimsonweed.  No matter.  Fitzhugh “was so unfortunate as to lose the use of his lower limbs in consequence, owing to late and unskillful medical treatment.”  He was paralyzed.

Apprenticed to a printmaker in Boston, he soon became famous for his paintings of ships and sunsets.  He decided to go back home.  On a peninsula called Duncan’s Point in Gloucester, he designed and built his own home.  He didn’t like the name Fitz Hugh and with some difficulty had it changed legally to Fitz Henry.  So in catalogs or museum signs he’s sometimes called that.  He was well-known and loved in Gloucester.

Fitz Hugh had a very close friend, all his life, Joseph Stevens, who was from an old Gloucester family.  The story’s told that one day, when they were boys, Joseph Stevens rigged up a special contraption of ropes and pulleys to lift Fitz Hugh high up in the masts and rigging of a ship, so he could look out at the harbor.*  Fitz Hugh died in Joseph Stevens’ house, with Joseph Stevens at his bedside.

– from Crawley’s Lives of The Heroes Of Boston (1958), which I cannot recommend highly enough. Get yourself the reissued 1998 paperback for like a dollar on Amazon.

Once in winter I drove up to Gloucester to the Cape Ann Museum (got the top picture from their website) to view the Fitz Hugh Lanes.**  On the streets of Gloucester with the wind I was as cold as I can ever remember being.

Fitz Hugh Lanes: good name for a Gloucester bowling alley.

*Crawley notes here that he is citing John Wilmerding‘s book Fitz Hugh Lane.  Crawley always acknowledges, often at tedious length, that he has done no scholarship of his own and relies on the work of others.

** Much like the Scottish guy Indiana Jones pretends to be in “Last Crusade” drives up to the castle “to view the tapestries.”

Lighthouse at Two Lights by Edward Hopper (1929)

Met’s Artwork of The Day a couple back.  Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

More C. W. Peale, and the Falkirk Wheel

The Exhumation of the Mastodon 1805-1808:

The wheel pictured reminded one correspondent of The Falkirk Wheel:

The Artist In His Museum, by Charles Wilson Peale, 1822

“To Peale, the behavior of animals served as a model for a moral, productive, and socially harmonious society,” says Wikipedia, citing David R. Bingham in the Huntington Library Quarterly.