Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Left Bracket Seventh Round Elimination: Vermeer v. Wyeth



Vermeer beat Michelangelo, and Michelangelo beat Wyeth, so do we even need to play this round?  OF COURSE WE DO!!!  Vermeer and Wyeth, two of the last eight artists standing!


Jan Vermeer
1632 - 1675
Dutch
With Rembrandt and Frans Hals, Vermeer ranks among the most admired of all Dutch artists, but he was much less well known in his own day and remained relatively obscure until the end of the nineteenth century. The main reason for this is that he produced a small number of pictures, perhaps about forty-five (of which thirty-six are known today), primarily for a small circle of patrons in Delft.... His compositions are mostly invented and exhibit the most discriminating formal relationships, including those of color. In addition, Vermeer’s application of paint reveals extraordinary technical ability and time-consuming care.
- The Met's Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History











Wyeth's "oblique self-portrait," Trodden Weed.
Andrew Wyeth
1917 - 2009
American
Wyeth’s technical resources are remarkable. His work displays a strong linear quality, and within his limited palette—consisting mostly of earth tones—he achieves a subtly extensive range of colour. His paintings are precise and detailed, yet he moves them beyond photographic naturalism by imbuing them with a sense of subjective emotion. This work also exemplifies his use of unusual angles and his mastery of light.... Art historians have often characterized Wyeth’s work as sentimental and antithetical to the abstract trajectory of 20th-century art. In the face of such criticism, Wyeth’s work has always been popular.
- The Britannica







Monday, May 27, 2019

Element of the Month: Manganese!

May's Element of the Month:

Manganese!
Mn
25

Atomic Mass: 54.938 amu
Melting Point: 1246 °C
Boiling Point: 2061 °C

Let's get this out of the way right up front: Everybody dislikes Manganese a little bit in their heart of hearts. Why? Because it has almost the exact same name as Magnesium, and nobody's sure what which one is which or really even, for that matter, what either one of them are, and that makes us feel stupid, and we resent that. It's not Manganese's fault, it's kind of a shame, but it's an Element that just kind of pisses us off a little tiny bit, just because we've been reminded that it exists. Am I right?

So, having said that, Manganese is really just like a lot of other elements: a silvery metal that oxidizes easily and is therefore not naturally found in its pure state. It's relatively low down (or rather "high up," I suppose) on the periodic table -- it is a lightish Element with a low atomic number, in other words -- and since it gets generated in stellar collapse and supernovae along with its more popular buddy Iron, it is one of the more common not-Hydrogen-or-Helium Elements in the universe. It makes up a tenth of a percent of the Earth's crust, which is enough to make it the 12th most abundant Element in town. Arguably we should try to get to know it a little better.

People more practical-minded than you and I, it must be said, have known what Manganese is for a long time. Manganese compounds were used from antiquity up to modern times both as a pigment in glassmaking and, somehow, to remove color from glass. That made it a substance in fairly common artisanal use, so alchemists would occasionally borrow some from the local glassmakers and tinker with it in their various experiments.

When alchemy grew up into Chemistry, it was one of those brainy Swedes, Johan Gottlieb Gahn, who figured out how to isolate the Elemental form in 1774. A practical-minded man to the core, Gahn threw his life away on things like building some of the early proto-industrial factories that would lay the foundation for Sweden's modern industrialized, prosperous society, and improving methods of smelting high-quality copper -- stuff like that -- and could not even be bothered to publish about the whole Manganese-discovery thing. Instead, he just told his pals Torbern Bergman and Carl Wilhelm Scheele what he'd done, so they could write it up, get mad tenure, and become (Scheele, anyway) well-known figures in the history of science. Whereas, who's ever heard of Johan Gottlieb Gahn?

I imagine he cried all the way to the bank.

Final Score:

Carl Wilhelm Scheele - 26.8K Wiki Article
Torbern Bergman - 7.3K Wiki Article
Johan Gottlieb Gahn - 3.4K Wiki Article


The Centerfold!


Humans use a lot of Manganese in alloys. It makes steel harder, and it makes Aluminum more resistant to corrosion. Your basic beverage can is around one percent Manganese. Your basic hunk of industrial steel could be anywhere from zero to fifteen percent Manganese. It's also ubiquitous in old-style pre-NiCd batteries, and then has supporting roles in a zillion more esoteric industrial processes as well.

You yourself -- yes, you -- rely on Manganese for the proper function of your proteins and enzymes. You don't need much, and indeed you should only have the equivalent of about 1/40th the mass of a small paperclip (that is, 1/120th the mass of the larger and, in my opinion, much more satisfying "jumbo" paperclip) in you at any given moment. Take it away, and frankly you'd be toast. Too much Manganese, on the other hand, is bad for the brain, and chronic overexposure can lead to Parkinson's-like disorders in adults or developmental problems in children. Like so much else in the material world, it's all a matter of getting your ratios right.


Tournament artist Patrick Heron, Manganese in Deep Violet: January 1967.  (1967)   Mr. Heron dropped
eleven spots to 485th in Week #12 of the Ladder of Art.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

The Ladder of Art -- Week #26


Cast your votes for up to four of these seven artists by Friday May 31.  For clarifications, consult the Ladder of Art FAQ.


Last week's new guys all got votes, but none of them got enough votes to stick around for a second week.  This week's new guys must find that rather sobering -- but since there are FOUR new guys this week, at least one of them should still be clinging to the Ladder when the dust settles.  Or maybe all of them!


Last Week's Results



This Week's Contest



Luca Signorelli
1450ish - 1523
Italian

Tournament Record: Tied for 439th. Beaten by Paul Signac and Riley. 6 votes for, 14 votes against (.300).






William Merritt Chase
1849 - 1916
American

Tournament Record: Tied for 439th. Beaten by Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin and Christo. 6 votes for, 14 votes against (.300).





Alexander Archipenko
1887-1964
Ukranian; worked in France and the United States.

Tournament Record: Tied for 443rd. Defeated Karel Appel, lost to Arcimboldo and Antonello da Messina. 11 votes for, 26 votes against (.297).






Correggio
c.1489 - 1534
Italian

Tournament Record: Tied for 443rd. Lost to Corot and Francesco Del Cossa. 8 votes for, 19 votes against (.296).





Canaletto
1697 - 1768
Italian (Venetian); also worked in England

Tournament Record: Placed 447th. Beat Robert Campin, then lost to Caravaggio and Alexander Calder. 7 votes for, 17 votes against (.292).
  • Placed First in Week #24.






Willem Kalf
1622 - 1693
Dutch

Tournament Record: Tied for 454th. Lost to Wassily Kandinsky and Richard Parkes Bonington. 7 votes for, 18 votes against (.280).
  • Tied for First in Week #22.
  • Placed Second in Week #24.
  • Tied for Third in Week #25.






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. 
  • Placed First in Week #21. 
  • Placed First in Week #23. 
  • Tied for Third in Week #25. 








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

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Fifty States: Wyoming


Harem Garden, by the astonishingly versatile Wyoming artist Harry Jackson.
Wyoming!

Size: 253,600 km2 (10th)

2018 Population: 577,737 (50th)

Statehood: 1890 (44th)

American Human Development Index: 5.10 (25th)


Art Mecca:


When I enter "Wyoming museum" into the ol' search engine, it autofills withh "of military vehicles," which hints that we might be barking up the wrong tree if we're hoping to find the Louvre this month.  But, as there's a dusting of population across the least populous U.S. state, there's a dusting of art, too.  Several of the towns have arts centers, and some may sneak a little art into their local historical museums.

The National Museum of Wildlife Art, in a shambling faux castle in Jackson Hole, looks like fun.  I mean, paintings of animals, am I right?  They've got lots of the bigger names in American painting in their collection.  And yes, they have a Landseer.  I wondered too, so I checked.  

Do they have anything less... thematic?  Well, at the opposite corner of the state, in cosmopolitan Laramie, we've got the University of Wyoming Art Museum.  It shares a building with an archive and rare book library, and it couldn't really go head-to-head with the collection of your average New England liberal arts college, but it's clearly got some good stuff to look at.  It's got pieces by a handful of Tournament artists -- Thomas Hart Benton, Maillol, Rauschenberg, Signac -- and some interesting special collections, like Persian and Indian miniatures and 20th century Haitian art.  Hats off to 'em for not being all "Go Cowboys!" despite being in the heart of the Western Art Belt.

The UW Museum is free, y'all!  Free!  Whereas, Jackson Hole is tourist country and they are awake to the opportunity of generating revenue accordingly.  It's also child-friendly, obviously a bit of a drawback unless you are planning on bringing children.



Michael 5000's Wyoming

First Visited: May 2, 1992 (14th)
Most Recently Visited: August 6, 2013 (34th)

Run In: No
Raced In: No.
Have Admired the Visual Arts In: No.
Have Slept Overnight In: Yes, I'm pretty sure.

Counties Visited: 12/23 (37th)
% Complete: 52.2% (23rd)


Mrs. 5000's Counties Visited: 12/23 (34th)
% Complete: 52.2% (20th)
Mrs.5000 First Visited: Infancy (order unclear)
Mrs.5000 Most Recently Visited: July 20, 2014 (17th)



Atlas of All Roads Travelled



Plans and Aspirations

If I ever have the chance to take a slow drive across the country, which is not impossible, I might mosey down the central tier of Wyoming.  The Avatar enjoyed it a lot when he did it.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Ladder of Art -- Week #25


Cast your votes for up to four of these seven artists by Friday May 24.  For clarifications, consult the Ladder of Art FAQ.



Ooh, Ladder of Art! you exclaim -- Is it Wadsworth week or Daubigny week?  PLOT TWIST!  With Canaletto claiming the bye week, this time it's Wadsworth week AND Daubigny week!  Not only that, but both of our other veterans have had their moment in the top spot as well.  That will make it tough for the new guys!  Or will it?  Let's take a look!


Last Week's Results




This Week's Contest




Andrea del Castagno
1421 - 1457
Italian

Tournament Record: Tied for 443rd. Lost to Mary Cassatt and George Catlin. 8 votes for, 19 votes against (.296).






Alberto Burri
1915 - 1995
Italian

Tournament Record: Tied for 443rd. Lost to Edward Burra and Alexander Calder. 8 votes for, 19 votes against (.296).





Antoine Watteau
1684 - 1721
French

Tournament Record: Placed 446th. Lost to Waterhouse, then beat Tom Wesselmann before falling to Whistler. 10 votes for, 24 votes against (.294).






Willem Kalf
1622 - 1693
Dutch

Tournament Record: Tied for 454th. Lost to Wassily Kandinsky and Richard Parkes Bonington. 7 votes for, 18 votes against (.280).
  • Tied for First in Week #22.
  • Placed Second in Week #24.






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. 
  • Tied for Third in Week #21. 
  • Placed Third in Week #22. 
  • Tied for Fourth in Week #23.
  • Placed Fourth in Week #24.





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. 
  • Placed First in Week #21. 
  • Placed First in Week #23. 





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. 
  • ...and in Week #20. 
  • Tied for First, Week #22. 
  • Placed Third in Week #24.








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