Happy 75th birthday to Chuck Close, known for his photorealistic paintings. Early in his career Close shot black-and-white portraits and reproduced them in large scale on canvas. Here, you can see his system at work in this study for his iconic 1968 self-portrait.

[Chuck Close. Study for Self-Portrait. 1968. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2015 Chuck Close]


By Anne Leader

Italian painter Paris Bordone was baptized on 5 July 1500 in Treviso. He moved with his widowed mother to Venice in 1508 and was an excellent student in grammar and music before embarking on a painting career in 1516 when he joined the workshop of Titian. Unfortunately, he seems to have clashed with the great artist, reportedly because he too closely imitated his style, and Bordone was on his own by age 18. He also looked to Giorgione for inspiration and, like his mentors, he excelled at portraiture, mythologies, and history paintings. Working in both oil and fresco, Bordone worked for patrons in Venice, France, Poland, Spain, and the Netherlands. While eclipsed by his rivals Titian, Veronese, and Tintoretto, Bordone found favor with elites and royals throughout Europe and is appreciated today for his attention to female beauty.

Reference: Corinne Mandel. “Bordone, Paris.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. <http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T010089>.

Allegory (Venus, Flora, Mars and Cupid), 1558-60. Oil on canvas, The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Sleeping Venus with Cupid, c. 1540. Oil on canvas, Galleria Franchetti, Ca’ d'Oro, Venice

Venus and Mars with Cupid, 1559-60. Oil on canvas, Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome

Bathsheba Bathing, c. 1549. Oil on canvas, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne

Annunciation, c. 1555. Oil on canvas, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena

Portrait of a Woman, 1550s. Oil on canvas, Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence

Portrait of Nikolaus Körbler, 1532. Oil on canvas, Liechtenstein Museum, Vienna

Portrait of a Bearded Man, 1533. Oil on canvas,Liechtenstein Museum, Vienna

Young Woman at Her Toilet, c. 1550. Oil on canvas, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Presentation of the Ring to the Doge, 1534. Oil on canvas, formerly Scuola Grande di San Marco (Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice)


Misty Copeland, we celebrate you as the first Black principal dancer in the 75 year history of the American Ballet Theatre!

It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman” from And Still I Rise. Copyright © 1978

Profile: James McNeill Whistler

James McNeill Whistler, Arrangement in Gray: Portrait of the Painter, c.1872, oil on canvas, Detroit Institute of Arts. Source

Realist painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1843-1903) was born in Massachusetts, but he primarily worked in London and Paris throughout his career. He was one of the key artists associated with the development of Tonalism, a style of landscape painting that involved blending hues to create a powerful, intense atmosphere. The titles of Whistler’s works were inspired by musical language; words such as ‘symphony’, ‘arrangement’, ‘harmony’ and ‘nocturne’ are frequently used to introduce compositions.

James McNeill Whistler, Arrangement in Grey and Black: The Artist’s Mother, 1871, oil on canvas, 144.3 x 162.5 cm, Musée d'Orsay, Paris. Source

James McNeill Whistler, Nocturne in Black and Gold, The Falling Rocket, c.1875, oil on canvas, 60.3 × 46.6 cm, Detroit Institute of Arts. Source

Though his most famous piece is Arrangement in Grey and Black: The Artist’s Mother, Whistler should probably be more known for suing the art critic John Ruskin over criticism made towards his Nocturne in Black and Gold, The Falling Rocket, a highly controversial painting at the time of its execution. Though the artist triumphed at court, the trial left Whistler bankrupt, and he never really recovered.

Syd Bee is a Seattle-based painter that creates figurative paintings that often appear to exist in a dreamlike state. Working in oils, the artist employs a technique of creating a pastel-hued glow around her subjects. Bee enjoys the way the soft outer edges of the paintings feel optically; which enhances the mysterious effect produced by her oil paintings.

Interview: Syd Bee Discusses Her Latest Dreamlike Figurative Paintings for “In My Bones”

Been struggling for a month with this painting!! Was about to throw it away but took one more shot on it tonight… I’m On cloud 9 about these brush strokes and colors, Sooo happy it pulled through! Used real mother of pearl for her dress!! And gold beneath the blue background:) dripping in magiccccc ✨✨✨✨✨✨✨✨

Portrait artist Mary Jane Ansell may dress up her female subjects in the traditional European fashions of men, but they evoke a strong femininity. Her near-hyper realistic oil paintings portray young girls who step into the roles of regents and soldiers, roles that women were not eligible for. Their clothing, such as the red coat, also takes on a modern connotation in fashion as being punk and fashionably forward. However, her subjects’ personalities are more refined than tomboyish, with a delicate beauty in the way she draws eyes and features. Ansell’s newer works mix such political elements with those of nature, such as flowers and animal skulls.

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