Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The "Final" Four: Leonardo da Vinci v. Sargent








Leonardo da Vinci
1452 - 1519
Italian
Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most intriguing personalities in the history of Western art. Trained in Florence as a painter and sculptor in the workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio, Leonardo is also celebrated for his scientific contributions. Leonardo’s curiosity and insatiable hunger for knowledge never left him. He was constantly observing, experimenting, and inventing, and drawing was, for him, a tool for recording his investigation of nature. Although completed works by Leonardo are few, he left a large body of drawings (almost 2,500) that record his ideas, most still gathered into notebooks. He was principally active in Florence and Milan, but spent the last years of his life in Rome and France, where he died. His genius as an artist and inventor continues to inspire artists and scientists alike centuries after his death.
- The Met's Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
  • Pounded Sir Peter Lely in Round 1.
  • Skunked Stanley William Hayter in Round 2.
  • Beat the Limbourg Brothers in Round 3 by a two-vote swing. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!!!
  • Made it easily past El Lissitzky, though many voters expressed mixed feelings, in Round 4.
  • Blasted past Klee in Round 5.
  • Trounced Timothy Ely in Round 6.
  • Beat Monet in Round 7.










John Singer Sargent
1856 - 1925
American
Although Sargent painted, showed, and won praise for both portraits and subject pictures at the Salons between 1877 and 1882, commissions for portraits increasingly demanded his attention and defined his reputation. Sargent’s best-known portrait, Madame X, which he undertook without a commission, enlisted a palette and brushwork derived from Velázquez; a profile view that recalls Titian; and an unmodulated treatment of the face and figure inspired by the style of Édouard Manet and Japanese prints. The picture’s novelty and quality notwithstanding, it was a succès de scandale in the 1884 Salon, provoking criticism for Sargent’s indifference to conventions of pose, modeling, and treatment of space, even twenty years after Manet’s pioneering efforts.
- The Met's Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
  • Beat Juan Sánchez Cotán easily despite crowd support in Round 1.
  • Skunked Roelandt Savery in Round 2.
  • Skunked Dutch still-life master Rachel Ruysch in Round 3.
  • Crushed Henri Rousseau in Round 4 by a two-vote swing.
  • Encountered some resistance, but prevailed, against Rembrandt in Round 5.
  • Scorched Charles Sheeler in Round 6.
  • Beat Vermeer in Round 7.







Monday, April 22, 2019

Saint of the Month: Pope St. Soter


Pope St. Soter

Feast Day: April 22.
Really Existed? Almost certainly.

Timeframe: Second century.
Place: Rome.

Credentials: The early Popes have a kind of automatic sainthood.
Martyrdom: Traditionally assumed to have been martyred, but there's no evidence of it.

Patron Saint of: no known patronage.
Symbolism: no known symbolism.

Pope Soter was the 12th Pope, with a pontificate stretching from December 166 to 175.  The Catholic Encyclopedia, after quoting by some length from a surviving letter that was sent to him by St. Dionysius of Corinth, comes right out and says it straight: "Nothing further is known of this pope."

Now, you might be thinking "hmm, if nothing is known about him, how do we know he was a model of sanctity?  Why is he a saint?"  Well, all the Popes are, if you go back far enough!  Starting with the well-known St. Peter, the first 35 popes are all saints by convention, even though the biographical sketches available tend to be more like that of Pope Soter than that of Pope Peter.  Popes #37 (Damasus I) through #49 (Gelasius I) are saints too.  Of the second fifty, about half are saints; it's only after that when you start to reliably get unsainted Popes.

I think it was once widely thought that the early Popes must have all been martyrs to Roman persecution, but Roman persecution, although horrifyingly real enough on occasion, was always pretty sporadic, and it wasn't really a thing during Pope Soter's time.

The Wiki article on Pope St. Soter lists two important things about him: he inaugurated the practice of Easter and declared that marriages needed to be blessed by a priest.  However, the reference cited is super-weak, and I have to think that if there was even the slightest likelihood that either of these things were true, the Catholic Encyclopedia would be all over it.

Happy Pope St. Soter's Day!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Ladder of Art -- Week #21


Cast your votes for up to four of these seven artists by Friday April 26.  For clarifications, consult the Ladder of Art FAQ.





Last Week's Results



This Week's Contest



Annibale Carracci
1560 - 1609
Italian

Tournament Record: Tied for 454th. Beaten by Carlo Carrà and George Catlin.





Sir Edwin Landseer
1802 - 1873
British

Tournament Record: Tied for 457th. Beat Nicolas Lancret before losing to Georges de La Tour and Thomas Cole.





Sir Joshua Reynolds
1723 - 1792
British

Tournament Record: Tied for 461st. Lost to Renoir and Guido Reni. 6 votes for, 17 votes against (.261).
  • Placed Second in Week #20





Bernardino Luini
c. 1481 - 1532
Milanese

Tournament Record: Tied for 461st. Lost to Mabuse, AKA Jan Gossaert, and to Aristide Maillol. 6 votes for, 17 votes against (.261).
  • Tied for First in Week #19.





Jacques Lipchitz
1891 - 1973
Lithuanian; worked in the U.S.A.

Tournament Record: Tied for 467th. Lost to Jean-Étienne Liotard and John Constable. 6 votes for, 18 votes against (.250).
  • Placed Second in Ladder Week #16. 
  • Tied for First in Week #17.
  • Placed Fourth in Week #19. 
  • Tied for Third in Week #20





Sassetta
1392ish - 1450
Siennese

Tournament Record: Tied for 469th. Lost to Roelandt Savery and Juan Sánchez Cotán. 5 votes for, 15 votes against (.250).
  • Tied for First in Week #15.
  • Tied for First in Week #17.
  • Placed Third in Week #19. 
  • Tied for Third in Week #20.







Edward Wadsworth
1889 - 1949
British

Tournament Record: Placed 490th. Lost to Édouard Vuillard and Alfred Wallis. 4 votes for, 16 votes against (.200).
  • Tied for Third in Ladder Week #6.
  • Tied for First in Ladder Week #7. 
  • Tied for First in Week #9. 
  • First Place, Week #11. 
  • In a three-way tie for First in Week #13. 
  • In a three-way tie for First in Week #15. 
  • Third Place in Week #17. 
  • Placed Second in Week #18. 
  • Tied for First in Week #19. 








Cast up to four votes in the comments by Friday morning!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Left Bracket Seventh Round: Degas v. Homer



This Left Bracket Seventh Round match pairs Edgar Degas, who made it all the way to the "Elite Eight" before falling to Pieter Brughel, with Winslow Homer.  After an early loss, Homer has now won more matches (11) and received more votes (104) than anyone else in the Tournament.  Will he receive enough votes to win this match?  You'll help decide!


Edgar Degas
1834 - 1917
French
Edgar Degas seems never to have reconciled himself to the label of “Impressionist,” preferring to call himself a “Realist” or “Independent.” Nevertheless, he was one of the group’s founders, an organizer of its exhibitions, and one of its most important core members. Like the Impressionists, he sought to capture fleeting moments in the flow of modern life, yet he showed little interest in painting plein-air landscapes, favoring scenes in theaters and cafés illuminated by artificial light, which he used to clarify the contours of his figures, adhering to his academic training. - The Met's Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
  • Whupped it up on sculptor Richard Deacon in Round 1.
  • Stomped on Eugène Delacroix in Round 2.
  • Crushed countryman Honoré Daumier in Round 3.
  • Bested Caravaggio in Round 4.
  • Beat Albrecht Dürer in a tough Round 5 match.
  • Beat Gustave Caillebotte in Round 6 by a two-vote swing. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!!!
  • Lost to Pieter Bruegel in the Elite Eight round.










Winslow Homer
1836 - 1910
American
...this great painter of the American scene did not lose the edge when it came to the probity and drama of his art.... In works such as Fox Hunt (1893) and Right and Left (1909), Homer dealt with profound issues of existence, while in his paintings of the pounding surf of the Maine coast he brought nature to center stage.
- Smithsonian







Saturday, April 13, 2019

The Ladder of Art -- Week #20


Cast your votes for up to four of these seven artists by Friday April 19.  For clarifications, consult the Ladder of Art FAQ.


Way back in Week #9 of the Ladder of Art, we had our first artist who had actually won a match in the main Tournament.  Pietro da Cortana, who managed to eke out a 1-2 record from a 7-24 vote count, placed 484th initially and then quietly dropped six rungs down the Ladder to 490th.

After that outlier, starting this week we will start to see more artists that did not go two-and-out.  Adam Elsheimer, one of four artists taking their first step on the ladder today, managed a tie on his way to a 10-26 voting record. 


Last Week's Results



This Week's Contest



Adam Elsheimer
1578 - 1610
German; worked in Italy

Tournament Record: Placed 458th. Beaten by Thomas Eakins; tied with Sir Jacob Epstein before falling to Edvard Munch. 10 votes for, 26 votes against (.278).





Antoine Bourdelle
1861 - 1929
French

Tournament Record: Placed 459th. Beaten by Louise Bourgeois and Dieric Bouts. 7 votes for, 19 votes against (.269).





Georg Baselitz
1938 -
German

Tournament Record: Tied for 460th. Lost to Jean-Michel Basquiat and Pompeo Batoni. 5 votes for, 14 votes against (.263).





Sir Joshua Reynolds
1723 - 1792
British

Tournament Record: Tied for 461st. Lost to Renoir and Guido Reni. 6 votes for, 17 votes against (.261).






Jacques Lipchitz
1891 - 1973
Lithuanian; worked in the U.S.A.

Tournament Record: Tied for 467th. Lost to Jean-Étienne Liotard and John Constable. 6 votes for, 18 votes against (.250).
  • Placed Second in Ladder Week #16. 
  • Tied for First in Week #17.
  • Placed Fourth in Week #19.





Sassetta
1392ish - 1450
Siennese

Tournament Record: Tied for 469th. Lost to Roelandt Savery and Juan Sánchez Cotán. 5 votes for, 15 votes against (.250).
  • Tied for First in Week #15.
  • Tied for First in Week #17.
  • Placed Third in Week #19.





Charles-François Daubigny
1817 - 1878
French

Tournament Record: Placed 505th.  Lost to Salvador Dali and Aelbert Cuyp. 4 votes for, 26 votes against (.133).
  • Finished First in Ladder Week #2.
  • Finished First again in Week #4.
  • ...and again in Week #6.
  • ...and in Week #8.
  • ...and in Week #10. 
  • ...and in Week #12. 
  • ...and in Week #14. 
  • ...and in Week #16.
  • ...and in Week #18.








Cast up to four votes in the comments by Friday morning!