PAINTING & ILLUSTRATION
Every day thousands of tourists travel to Paris to see Mona Lisa at the Louvre among many other works of art.
In the beginning of March I made myself a birthday present and went to Paris for the weekend. Purpose? Art, naturally.
This was my first time at the Louvre and I knew that I needed a plan to organise the sightseeing and to know what artworks I want to see there.
The Louvre occupies three wings of a former royal palace. If you stretch out these wings into a straight line, the Louvre would run a whopping 14 kilometres!
It is so big. 80% of the visitors just come to take a photo of the Mona Lisa and then leave. But there is so much more to see.
If you don't want to wander aimlessly throught the maize of galleries at the Louvre you need a good plan. Frankly speaking, I didn't expect the Louvre to be so huge. I knew it's big but its dimensions and the number of artworks went far beyond my expectations. What do you need to know before visiting the Louvre? Let me share with you five practical tips that I checked on myself.
1. PRACTICAL TIPS
1. Buy a ticket in advance - you can do it online and this will save you long waiting in a line to enter the museum.
2. Try to avoid going there on Saturdays and Sundays. On the weekend there is a biggest number of people and tourists visiting the museum. I went there on a Friday evening, from 6 pm until 9 pm. Still, there were crowds, but I believe not so big as on a Saturday.
3. Have a decent meal and a good coffee before :-) Be prepared to spend there at least 3 hours, which actually, pass by very quickly.
4. Put on comfy shoes. Forget about high heels. Walking around for at least three hours is quite a challenge, so better be comfortable.
5. As soon as you enter the museum take a map with the plan of the floors - it will make strolling around the museum much easier, as you will more or less know where are the artworks that you want to see.
2. WHAT TO SEE BESIDE THE MONA LISA?
The Louvre houses much more than just the Mona Lisa. When I was making my plans for Paris I knew that while visiting this museum I would go either for seeing the Mona Lisa or for seeing artworks from my 'bucket list'. I chose option number two. Yes, I know that for some of you being in the Louvre and not seeing the Mona Lisa by Leonardo is something odd and extraordinary. This was definitely not my last time in Paris, so I could say that I saved the Mona Lisa for later.
In the museum not only you can see paintings, but also vast selection of ancient sculptures and the decor of the royal chambers.
What was my selection for this memorable visit?
If you love and appreciate paintings you are in paradise. I decided to focus on a couple of paintings from my bucket list. They are less known than the usual masterpieces of the Louvre advertised on the internet and the articles on "Top 10 paintings you need to see at the Louvre".
So, here we go:
1. JOHANNES VERMEER VAN DELFT
Johannes Vermeer van Delft "The lacemaker"
Johannes Vermeer van Delft is the author of such artworks as "The girl with a pearl earring", "The astronomer" or the above "Lacemaker".
This artwork dates back to 1670 and portrayes a young lacemaker, peacefully focused on her work. The delicacy and intimacy of this painting is breathtaking. However, I was surprised to see that this painting is so small.
2. JEAN COUSIN LE PERE
Jean Cousin le Pere "Eva Prima Pandora"
This painting likens Eve, who, according to the Bible commited original sin, which is suggested by an apple branch on her right hand, to Pandora. Jean Cousin le Pere portrays Eve as the first Pandora, who according to the Greek mythology was a curious woman and opened the vase belonging to the Titan Epimetheus, thereby releasing evil into the world. I love the way Eve was portrayed at rest, with natural curves of the body and delicate features of the face. An interesting point to this painting is the landscape of a city in the background.
3. HIERONYMUS BOSCH
Hieronymus Bosch "The ship of fools"
This oil on panel dated at 1505-1510 is one of the most famous paintings of Hieronymus Bosch. I very much wanted to see Bosch in Madrid at Museo del Prado, but the long queue, lack of time and freezing weather prevented me from seeing his "Garden of earthly delights".
"The ship of fools" is a satire on human society. A motley crew surrenders to drunkenness and gluttony as their boat drifts. I think Bosch was one of the first to portray a puking guy, which is visible to the right of the painting :-)
4. QUENTIN METSYS
Another unique painting - "The moneylender and his wife" by Quentin Metsys. This painting shows the double portrait of a jeweller weighing gold and his wife, distracted from her pious reading and looking toward him. This is a genre scene as well as an allegory of the vanity of all earthy possessions. As the saying goes: "Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas".
An interesting fact - this Flemish painting was once owned by Rubens. What's even more interesting is the mirror at the bottom of the painting. The trick with putting a mirror with a reflection of a person in it serves as a new, additional opening, a new layer to the painting. The mirror uncovers a new world, which is behind the frames of the painting. This trick you can also find in a famous painting "The Arnolfini portrait" by Jan Van Eyck.
5. SALOMONE DE BRAY
The last painting on my bucket list was "The young woman combing her hair" by a Dutch painter Salomone de Bray. When I saw this lovely painting I was struck by the pose and the details of the hair. the light on the paintings makes this scene intimate and brings forth the beauty of a naked blonde woman. This painting is very similar in terms of the play of light and shadow to paintings of Rembrandt.
I found this piece unique and simply beautiful.
My first time at the Louvre was amazing, but also a bit tiring. My brain and my soul have seen so much beauty and inspiration there. I will definitely go again to see another portion of such splendid works, including the Mona Lisa, of course.
Paris is a breathtaking city with rich cultural options. Go there not only to try a freshly baked croissant but also to take a look and marvel at the artworks at the Louvre.
I hope you found this article stimulating.
Thanks for stopping by and do not hesitate to post a comment.
The 8th of March has arrived and it inspired me to ponder a while about what it means to be a woman.
Who is a woman? What she needs to be happy? Does she need to be beautiful and intelligent to attract men?
The beginning of March reminds me about the spring time coming, birds chirping, flowers blooming and women blooming as well :-)
The International Women's Day, for me, is a celebration of being a woman. The appreciation of the feminine part of the human spirit. The time to stop and think a bit what women give to this world. And they give something truly wonderful. Beauty, love, life, inspiration, smile, emotional excitement and an oasis to rest.
Woman is happy when she allows herself to be a woman.
1. WHO ARE WE, WOMEN?
We are delicate, light beings, smiling, beautiful in our bodies and minds. Emotional, tranquil and harmonious. Full of passions, dreams and ability to give and take love.
Women are different creations than men. Not only physically, but also energetically.
In contemporary world we hear so much about feminism, fighting for our rights, being equal at work and earning as much money as men. Before you define youself as a 'femininst', let me take you on a short trip into history and human psychology.
In ancient times or even in the pre-history men were the ones who were going to 'work'. They were leaving their houses or chalets to go out in the world, hunt a mammoth, sometimes even face death and danger outside. Then, they were bringing the mammoth to their women, who were preparing skin rugs, clothes and warm food. Women were the ones who were creating the internal world - home. Bringing up children, taking care about the house and supporting men. Exchanging sex for food. For the mammoth. Literally. This way, both men and women kept balance between their roles and energies. They were like yin and yang.
Yin - softness, tranquility, delicacy, feeling home, at rest, moon - female energy
Yang - action, way, strength, activity, doing something, pursuit in the external world - male energy
Is it still like in those times? Unfortunately not. Yes, I say unfortunately, because nowadays women work a lot, make a career, behave like men and simly forget that they are women... How sad is that.
I know women, who work hard, make a career, are beautiful and have successful relationships with children. Are all of them happy? No. Why?
Because in the fervour of everyday existence they forgot who they really were. Managing the deadlines, working 100% and bringing up children makes them tired. They don't feel beautiful and delicate anymore. They took the part of the masculine energy onto themselves. Working hard, no rest and enjoyment, no time to cherish life and awe about a butterfly crossing their path on a sunny day.
Simply ask yourself a question: when was the last time you took time off for yourself and enjoyed it?
2. WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY AS A WOMAN?
When you are young, they tell you: go to school, be a good girl, try hard, work more. Do this and that.
Of course, I understand that every woman has some dreams and plans to realize. But we haven't been taught how to be a woman. How to make use of our femininity. How to be a woman that attracts real men, and not mama's-boys.
Have you thought how pleasurable it is when you are a woman and a man opens doors for you, gives you flowers or gives you his hand while crossing the street?
Some would say that this depends if the man was brought up to be a gentleman. Yes, this can be an explanation. But I also have my own theory.
A woman who feels and behaves like a woman is in balance with her female energy. In this way she feels happy about the fact that she is a woman. When she allows herself to be a woman. To live in female energies. To unleash her vulnerability, delicacy, warm heart and fabulous smile. Not rushing from work to home, thinking about a thousand things she needs to do before midnight.
We were born to be happy dear women. To experience emotions, to feel the universe, to give inspiration and beauty to this world. In exchange, men give us what they were created for: to bring material goods and provide strength and support.
3. DO YOU NEED TO BE BEAUTIFUL (good looks) AND INTELLIGENT ( a high-paying job) TO ATTRACT MEN?
Tell me, how often have you seen on the street an amazing man with a mediocre woman? With a woman who looks far worse than you, even if you're far from a top model? What's the secret you may ask. The secret lies in your behaviour, in your feminine energy.
Imagine you're a man searching for a woman. Would you rather go for woman who earns more than you, is bossy and rules in the relationship, or rather for a woman who does not earn much, but is able to give you so much beauty arising out of her emotions and delicacy?
All you need to have is a correct balance of your feminine energy. This is not easy in today's world of women who put on the trousers and carry out masculine roles in the society.
Woman's energy is passive, man's energy is active.
Here are a couple of things you can do to take more feminine energy into yourself:
- rest in nature, walk in the forest, sit in the park
- learn to take rest and do nothing
- breathe through your belly
- eat healthy, green foods
- take pleasure from seeing something new: an art gallery exhibition, a trip to Paris, a new dress
- be happy about being a woman
- laugh a lot :-)
Not only the 8th of March is your day as a woman. Every day is a good occassion to celebrate your femininity.
With best wishes to all of you, women
Monica Bellucci - a dream woman for many. Both men and women are inspired by her amazing and ageless feminine looks.
Last month I organized art workshops on how to sketch Monica. She was a perfect model to teach the basics of face sketching. Taking the occassion we also had an interesting chat with the participants on what beauty means to them.
I bet many of us, women, seeing Monica Bellucci, think that we are never going to look so ravishing as she does. The thing is that we do not need to look like Monica Bellucci. We need to look like ourselves and feel great about the way we are. And we are always amazing!
Monica Bellucci once said: "I don't feel the need to prove myself to others, but to prove myself to myself". I totally agree with this statement. Don't try to please others or prove something to them, because you'll always fail. People prefer to be inspired by someone rather than convinced by their golden thoughts pouring out of their mouth. Prove yourself only to yourself. Be happy about the way you are, aappreciate and love your current beauty.
Getting back to sketching. To make a similar portrait of Monica Bellucci you might need the following materials:
- paper, size A4,
- pencils, B and HB
- mascara Dior Addict
- brown and black crayons
- orange and red acrylic colors
- delicate lipstick, the one that you have at hand
As you can see, the sketch is very basic. Most importantly, the proportions of the face are good and the symmetry is preserved.
After you have made your basic sketch there comes the time to give it more flavour and sharpness. This you can achieve with pencil and crayons. The shadowing will depend on the strength of your pencil touching the paper. For a more delicate result don't press it too hard.
I usually color the lips with a real lipstick. It gives a natural touch and glow. You don't need to buy a separate lipstick for your drawings. You can use the one you have at hand. If you are a man, just borrow the lipstick from your wife or girlfriend :-)
I put some eye shadows or rub the very same lipstick on the eyes of Monica. The same goes for counturing the face.
The last stage is paining the dress. I decided to use bright and juicy colors that match the blackness of the hair. Red and orange make her stand out and catch the attention of the viewer.
This was one of my 'model' photos for my drawing:
Here are some snaphots from the latest workshops in Zurich.
It was so inspiring to see that every woman holds a different type of beauty that she reflected on her drawing. Just take a look:
Next month there will be a chance to participate in another art workshops.
I hope the teaser from Monica Bellucci workshops inspired you to create something beautiful by reflecting the special inner beauty you have.
Fyodor Dostoyevski once said that "Beauty will save the world". You can interpret this in many ways, but for me, beauty has always been associated with women.
Women are here to bring beauty to this world. Have you ever awed about a naked man more than a naked woman? I guess not.
Wishing you a lovely start of the new week,
"Learning never exhausts the mind" - these words of Leonardo da Vinci can easily refer to his life. Not only a great painter, but also a sculptor and engineer. A man of the reneissance. A genius. A man who was constantly learning something new and understood gravity, before Newton figured it out.
In the beginning of February I have travelled to the amazing city of Madrid with an aim to visit the Prado Museum and make a video there. Unfortunately, this dream has not yet been realized, because of the long queues to enter to the museum. Instead of focusing on feelings of disappointment and anger I decided to see some other museums and make the best of my stay in freezing Madrid. If you allow yourself to relax, even if your plans fall apart, you can be sure that the universe has some surprise for you :-)
Such a surprise for me was the discovery of an interesting installation inspired by Leonardo da Vinci's flying device projects.
On a Saturday morning, my friend and I, despite the cold, decided to go jogging to the Buen Retiro Park in the center of Madrid. Though the sun was shining the temperatures did not exceed three degrees of Celsius. Frankly, we were expecting to have at least plus ten. Now I can tell you that it's better not to make any expectations and just appreciate all that there is. The park turned out to be one of the most beautiful parks I have ever seen and inside there was a small museum of contemporary art - with a focus on modern installations.
The museum was Palacio de Velazquez, erected by the architect Ricardo Velazquez. Don't confuse it with a famous painter - Diego Velazquez.
The thing that surprised me most of all was the installation of a flying penis, directly inspired by Leonardo's sketches and projects of a flying machine.
Leonardo da Vinci at the time when he was painting Mona Lisa (circa 1503) was engaged in another fascinating project - the pursuit to make humans fly. He extensively studied the flight of birds and the phenomenon of flight. He produced many studies of birds and avian inventions. In his notes, he revealed bats, birds and kites as a source of inspiration. Just take a look at one of his sketches:
Most of Leonardo's aeronautical designs were ornithopters, machines which involved flapping wings to generate lift. He sketched such machines with a pilot prone standing vertically, using arms and using legs. The projects were never realized in practise. But still, in XVI century, long before airplanes were invented, the thought of flying machines germinated in Leonardo's mind. He was aware of a limited muscle power of humans, compared to that of flying birds. He also hinted at the force Newton would later call gravity. Leonardo was a real visionary.
The artistic installation in Madrid was entitled "The force of the masculine power". This force is represented by a silver penis with wings, which by pressing a button will flopp. What was the artist trying to say through such adaptation of da Vinci's work?
For sure, he wanted to give tribute to the masculine energy, or masculine power. Both masculine and feminine energies create a unity. Oneness. Life. Creation. Just note that when a man and a woman unite in sex, the result is unleashing of the strong creative power, which later finds its embodiment in the beginning and growth of a new life - baby. The masculine energy has different properties to the feminine. Masculine energy is a straight line, concentration on action, it goes in one direction with full power. Like a waterfall. Feminine energy is that of a river, flowing in many directions, calm, with swirls and turns, concentration on nurturing and sheding light.
Masculine power protects the feminine. Provides resources, acts in battles of everyday life and gives balance. Feminine energy develops, appreciates, gives pleasure and inspiration. Where does it all start? Where you can find your masculine energy?
For every man it's essential to honour his father, because it's there where his masculine force comes from. From learning and taking the energy from his father. Standing by him. Taking action, being a man and not a mama's boy. Taking more from the masculine in his family, rather than from the feminine.
A masculine energy is essential to create a harmonous relation with the feminine. It's all about polarity. A woman should be a woman, and not a man in skirt. A man should be a man and not a hidden woman underneath. It's all very fascinating and I feel hapy that "The force of the masculine power" inspired me to write a post about it.
Please share if you find this article valuable.
Thanks for stopping by.
Can you imagine starting your day without a cup of good coffee? I believe not.
I'm a huge coffee lover and I must say I drink my coffee for 'buongiorno', in other words, for a good morning:-) Sometimes I wonder whether it's a coffee addiciton or simple likeness and appreciation of its taste.
Coffee is poetry. You can get lost in its dark color, the tempting aroma and the way it penetrates the taste buds in your mouth. Coffee is life. It wakes you up and welcomes you to a new day. Coffee is power. The way it stimulates you to pursue your plans and actions in your every day life. Coffee is a moment of pleasure on a hasty day.
In today's post I'd like to share with you my favourite coffee places in Zurich and how coffee inspired my artwork.
1. COFFEE AND INSPIRATION
I bet when you travel, especially in the spring or summer time, you like to sit outside by a coffee table and look at passers-by, slowly sipping your cappuccino. It's a great occassion to take things slowly, look at people at nearby tables or the birds picking the rests of food.
Do you want to know what I usually do while having a coffee?
I pull out my paper notebook and make some sketches. Some are just for fun and some serve as a draft for a future painting. The above illustration was inspired my stay in Paris last year. Though it was in January, it was warm enough to sit outside in a heated garden with a view on one of the Parisian streets. I remember then that I wondered which city Paris or Milan would win in a 'fashionista' competition. Both Parisians and Milanese inhabitants dress very fashionably. Drinking my coffee at Cafe Les Deux Magots in Saint-Germain-des-Pres area I spotted a woman. Crocodile green coat, pink pastel gloves like skin of a newborn baby, no make up and her hair pulled up in a bun. This is what they call an 'effortless chic'. I quickly made a sketch of her. She smiled as she saw me drawing her.
Quite often I am fascinated by people savouring coffee. I wonder where their thoughts drift in that moment, what they think about or what they feel.
2. MY FAVOURITE COFFEE PLACES IN ZURICH
Zurich has a rich variety of nice coffee places, where the coffee is really decent. By decent I mean very good. Because as you know, the best one is in Italy.
1. Numero uno on my list is John Baker. They have two spots - one at Stadelhofen, where I take my coffee every morning and the other at Helvetiaplatz. Their cappuccino is excellent! And in case you want to grab a bite of delicious croissants - they only use regional, eco-friendly and organic products, including flour and chocolate. Coffee and a croissant from John Baker's is my daily sweet indulgence :-)
Lately, after finishing the cappuccino I drew with my pen a small unicorn. I had dreamt about it the night before.
As you see, you can use literally everything for creative drawing, including paper take-away cups.
2. Another place to try a good coffee with exceptional foam is Maison Blunt, located at Gasometerstrasse 5.
I like their interior design inspired by Morocco. Located in a cool neighbourhood near Zurich HB they serve some oriental dishes with wonderful flavors and a nice cappuccino, which I call "cloudy cappuccino". I have never seen a cappuccino with a foam like this! Plus they have beautiful cups of emerald green and great design.
A place I would definitely recommend.
3. The third place is an option for you if you've had enough of coffee. It's a hot chocolate place.
In Zurich there are quite a few places with good and thick hot chocolate - exactly the way I like it. One of them is at Niederdorf, at Napfgasse 4 - Conditorei Stober. They have homemade chocolate and cakes and they are more than 100 years old.
What I particularly love about this place is a cute garden in their courtyard. When I look at it, even in winter it becomes green in my heart.
I am curious to know what are your favourite coffee places in Zurich.
Feel free to post a comment :-)
Wishing you a lovely weekend!
Can you imagine being stuck at a mountain village high in the Alps with no information when you will come back home?
Last week thousands of tourists staying in Swiss ski resort in Zermatt (me included) were trapped because of heavy snowfall and exceptional risk of avalanches.
I was there on short winter holidays with my friend. Our stay was so wonderful! So much snow, great views, skiing, hiking and generally enjoying ourselves.
We were supposed to leave by train on Sunday, but we learned that the village was completely cut off. There was no possiblity to come in or come out. By any means - bus or train.
Nobody knew for how long such a situation would stay on.
What would you do if you were there, knowing you cannot return home, go to work or take an important flight?
Would you complain, go out of your senses or be fed up?
I guess we cannot 100% predict how we would behave in such circumstances, but I would like to share with you my incredible story. The story of what my stay in Zermatt has given me and the potential it has unleashed regarding my attitude to certain things.
Our first day of being trapped was Monday 22nd January. It was snowing heavily and there were literally tons of snow everywhere, which you can see on the above picture. Our families were worried about us, especially if you consider that the avalanche alert was at the highest level (5) and it was all over the news everywhere.
I must say I also got a bit worried. But what you can do when you know you cannot do anything about it?
This was the case of 'Force Majeure' as lawyers would call it.
When I realized that by worrying I can change nothing, I decided to act in a totally opposite way.
Namely: Why don't I create something positive out of this experience?
When I couldn't leave the hotel because of the avalanche danger, instead of complaining or reading a book I decided to make a painting. Yes, I'd like to pre-empt your question on how come I had a canvas and materials to paint?
Whenever I'm on travel I carry with me a small set of painting materials and a canvas or a piece of paper. I had many photos of Matterhorn taken on this trip and I decided to make a small painting of it.
All around was silent. Tourists were staying at the hotels, the window blinds were shut down to protect us in an event of an avalanche coming down. Overwhelming silence. The only noise I could hear were the helicopters shooting down the avalanches with explosives.
I must say it was the first time I was painting in bed! I usually have a big desk to do it, but my hotel room didn't have it. Anyway, the canvas was small, so I could arrange something to hold it for me.
There was also the time where there was no electricity for some hours. Just before I wanted to make myself hot tea in my thermos.
You cannot imagine how much I appreciated the hot tea when they turned the electricity on again. This made me think that sometimes the simplest moments escape our everyday attention.
But the best was yet to come.
We heard the news that there would be a possibility to be airlifted by a helicopter. As soon as we came to the Bahnhofplatz we discovered that the tourist information office, where they were supposed to sell the tickets for a heli, was flooded by thousands of people queuing to get the ticket!
I thought it would be an unforgettable experience to take a flight by a helicoper. In fact, it was on my dream list!
So we queued. On Monday - 5 hours in a line. With no ticket bought because of the amount of people. There were more than 700 people in the line that stretched on the main street of Zermatt!
Next day, Tuesday, we stood in the line again from early morning. Another 4 hours. And we got the ticket. The number of people interested in taking the flight was exceeding the capacity of the three helicopters, which were in operation.
Nonetheless, we managed to fly out of Zermatt on Wednesday morning and not only did one of my dreams come true, but also I had a chance to feel like in James Bond movies :-)
My insights from being trapped in Zermatt:
- Worrying does not help. Organize your time to spend it in a more positive and creative way. Go for a walk, make a painting, talk to your friend.
- Passion can be pursued in all circumstances. Even in the face of possible avalanche fall.
- Patience and persistence pays off. Thanks to queuing for long hours I took a flight by helicopter and have unforgettable memories.
Life is too short to be overwhelmed by fears and worries.
Sometimes you need stamina and patience, because thanks to them you can realize your biggest dreams.
I hope you found this article inspiring.
If yes, please share it among your friends.
See you soon!
Last Saturday I made a small trip to Basel to see the exhibition of Marc Chagall's artworks. It was a great occassion that I couldn't imagine to miss!
Maybe some of you do some shopping on Saturdays, but I prefer to stay away from the crowds and start my day in a more creative way.
A nice city trip definitely fited well in my agenda for a lovely weekend. As well as seeing the colorful and symbolic paintings of Chagall.
After taking the morning train from Zurich HB, we arrived to the museum in Basel and saw a long queue of people willing to buy the ticket.
I like when people appreciate art and are willing to discover something new, spending a Saturday morning exploring the visions of Marc Chagall.
Marc Chagall's poetic, colorful and figurative style made him one of the most popular modern artists. However, he only got famous when he was in his fifties and sixties.The personal story of tha artist is always essential to interpret his paintings. Therefore, here are some interesting facts about Marc Chagall:
1) He was born in 1887 in Vitebsk, Belarus and was one of the nine children.
2) His family was Jewish and being Jewish played a big role in is life and the artworks he created.
3) Saint Petersburg, Vitebsk, Paris, New York - these are just a few cities in which he lived.
4) He used to dress up like a dandy and put make up on, which caused speculations regarding his sexuality.
5) Paris is one of the places where he spent a significant part of his life.
6) He knew Modigliani, Picasso and other members of the French Boheme, however, he was not a frequent party-goer. He prefered to stay in at his atelier and devote to his painting passion.
Throughout the exhibition, I decided to choose a couple of the paintings which I liked most of all. They are not his top and well-known paintings, which you see when you type "Marc Chagall" in google.
One of them is "The fight in the moonlight", painted in 1911.
This small painting, to me, has an intricate philosophical message. We see two figures fighting with each other, up on some hill. The moon and the stars are shining. Take notice of the moon - in fact, it's portrayed with a smiley. Quite unusual, especially in times when there was no internet or 'smileys' culture.
The colors divide this painting in half. This is the fight between the light and darkness, between good and evil. The dark blue color stands for the evil, whereas the greyish-brown for good.
Somehow, when I've seen this painting, I thought straightaway about the 'Star Wars' saga. This fight, has roots, deeper than humanity itself.
We live in the world of contrasts and 'doubles'. Night and day, good and evil, black and white. Two sides of one.
We have seen many artworks inspired by the Belorussian and Jewish folklore, including those with famous cows.
I really cannot tell how many paintings include a cow or a goat. I'd say 80% of Chagall's paintings. I think it would be a nice entertainment for children to come with them and arouse their interest in doing 'the cow count' on the paintings :-)
Another painting - note the way Chagall signed this painting. He put the letters of his name in colors, that he used on his painting (green, blue and red). Moreover, he arranged his signature in a vertical way. Very unusal in comparison to standard horizontal signatures.
Here, we see the painting "Full Moon". I bet you have heard that during the full moon people are not at rest with themselves and strange things can happen.
Some research was made, that the biggest number of murders and other crimes are committed during the full moon. There must be something about it.
Notice how the man on Chagall's painting looks like. For me, he looks a bit crazy or scary. Maybe some subconscious instincts come to the surface during the full moon. The way the moon influences our behaviour and our minds is very interesting to look into. Just the way the stars and their wandering path on the skies has a hidden impact on our lives. If you're curious, have your date of birth analyzed by a numerologist. You will be amazed at the accuracy of the information pertaining to your personal life.
"The falling angel" is a sign of the apocalypse coming. Of the fight between the good and evil. The fight for our souls.
I love the way Chagall used color - there's plenty of blue, red and green on his paintings.
His artwork is so different to any other painter, thus easily recognizable. He followed his own path, without copying Picasso, Modigliani or impressionists.
For those of you who would like to see Marc Chagall's colorful paintings I advise you to visit Paris, Nice, New York and Vitebsk.
Unfortunately, the exhibition in Basel came to an end. I was happy I was able to see it and be inspired to write about it.
Wishing you a great Sunday,
Have you ever left your home place to take up a job abroad or move to a different city? Some of you did, including myself. I remember quite well when I moved to Switzerland, over three years ago, that the rented apartment was empty, to my big surprise. No bed, no table, even no chandeliers! Virtually nothing.
Before the delivery of my furniture came, I had to sleep on the floor on my air mattrace, which the very first night turned out to have a small hole and the air came out before the morning arrived. Now I'm smiling to myself remembering this story and my beginnings in Switzerland.
You might wonder why I am telling you this?
Lately, when I was reading the story of Perugino (for those of you who don't know him - don't worry, I will write below some 'need to know it' facts) I got inspired by his life and the works he created.
1. WHO WAS PERUGINO?
Perugino was a Reneissance painter, one of the greatest painters before Raphael. In fact, he was the direct teacher of Raphael.
In around 1467 Pietro Perugino came to Florence from his home town in Perugia, Italy. As art historian Giorgio Vasari says, he came desiring to make a position for himself by his talents. For many months, having no bed to lie on, he slept in a box, applying himself with the utmost fervour to the study of his profession - painting.
The story of his beginnings is so fascinating and while I was reading it I recalled my beginnings in Switzerland. Though I didn't have to sleep in a box, I somehow felt I could relate to Perugino, at least in a similar regard :-)
2. HIS ARTWORK "FANO ALTARPIECE". WOMAN AS A MOTHER AND PROSTITUTE
Here we see one of the most interesting, in my view, paintings of Perugino. It's an altarpiece showing Madonna (the Virgin Mary) with the child and Mary Magdalene (the prostitute) among saints. What amazed me in this painting is the two spectacular feminine portraits.
Take a closer look at the faces of the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene.
Both women share some angelic features, mild-eyed faces and feminine beauty.
The Virgin Mary has her hair done in the same way as Mary Magdalene, according to the canon of beauty at that time. The rosy cheeks, small lips and delicacy of the lines of the face is mutual to both figures. The shape of their robes is also the same.
The dominant colors of Virgin Mary's wardrobe are red and blue. These two colors have deep meaning and mystical connotations. She doesn't wear any jewellery and is rather portrayed as a Mother. Mary Magdalene, in turn, wears some jewellery on her head as well as on her neck. She's dressed in violet and green. You can also notice that she looks as if she has some make up on, some eye color on her eye lids. They both look womanly, but it's Mary Magdalene that definitely looks more attractive and eye-catching. She is portrayed here more as a Woman, than as a Mother. Some sources say that she was a prostitute, some - that she was the wife of Jesus and played even a more significant role than the Virgin Mary herself. This is disputable, and I will leave it for your consideration.
Both woman figures, if you don't focus too much on the details, look pretty much the same. I would even dare to say that they are ONE. One woman in two representations. A caring and loving Mother, a giver of life and nurturer and on the other side - a Woman in bloom of her sexual power, seductiveness and feminine energy.
We, dear women, in fact, are both. There are stages in our life when we are as Mary Magdalene and the stages of motherhood when we are more like the Virgin Mary. Take note, that both women have "Mary" as their name. Therefore, I would say that they represent different aspects of the divine feminine.
3. PERUGINO'S INFLUENCE ON MY WORK
I made my portrait of "Deva" being inspired by the delicacy of the feminine faces that I've seen on the Fano Altarpiece. I transferred the sweetness and tenderness of the facial features, including the rosy cheeks and small lips.
It's amazing when you start to think that the basic impulse whch inspired me to create this piece of art was Perugino's biography and how it related to my beginnings in Switzerland. I think all of us have some memorable stories, that can inspire others to create something unique and beautiful. Beauty is created also from the hardships and periods, when not everything was perfect. When you didn't have a bed to sleep on or when you quit everything to pursue something totally new.
I would like to finish this article with a quote by Marcus Aurelius, which helped me to understand, that things 'happen' for a purpose and everything we face in our life is there to teach us something valuable.
"Whatever the universal nature assigns to any man at any time is for the good for that man at that time"
Thanks for stopping by.
Please share if you find this article valuable.
It's 1st of January 2018. Another return of the year. An exciting further journey into this world.
This is the time when I sit over a cup of coffee and make the evaluation of the past year and new plans for the 'Grand Opening', as I call the beginning of the New Year.
Why it's important to make plans and put them on paper?
Let me share with you my personal experience related to this issue.
I've always made lists of things I want to achieve, of inspirations or my dreamed travel destinations. Last year, in January of 2017, I have comprised a list of ten goals or dreams that I would like to pursue and make them happen. Now seeing them in my 2017 notebook, I smile to myself. Why? Because the goal number one on my list was to "develop and sell my artworks and travel around the world having exhibitions".
Above, you can see a photo from my last art exhibition in Vienna, Austria. Incredible. I made it happen. How?
I have simply put it on my list as my goal number one. If you don't put your dreams on paper there is a slim chance that they will come true. Why?
1) You don't know what you want or where you're going
2) You cannot track your progress
3) You don't see the dreams when you open your calendar or notebook, thus, you're not focused on realizing them
Some of my greatest ideas were born out of random moments. If I hadn't opened my notebook and written them down immediately, I would have forgotten about them.
It doesn't matter if you put your new resolutions on paper or on your phone. But, you need to put them somewhere, so that they will not evaporate from your memory.
Some people don't know what they want from life or where are they going. If you feel stuck with your life or uncertain about the future I have a solution for you. Book one hour of your time, so that no one can disturb you. You can put your favourite music on or light a candle. Allow yourself to dream. Ask yourself what do you want. Where do you wanna go, what would you like to accomplish. Maybe you've always dreamed of visiting New York or doing skydiving? Maybe you want to change your job for a better one? Or start a family? You dream and you decide. It's your life and you are the capitain :-)
I am sure you'll find many new ideas and new resolutions to go after.
What is my resolution for 2018?
As some of you have already seen, I have opened up my You Tube channel called "Let's talk ART". My goal is to give short art talks about the most interesting artworks in the history of art. I love art and have always been crazy about it. I asked myself: why don't I share my knowledge with the world and maybe inspire others to appreciate art and beauty? I didn't have to think about it for too long - I decided to go for it!
Making videos is something new and pretty exciting for me. I hope you'll learn some interesting facts not only about artworks but also about sometimes turbulent life of artists. This is the link to my channel and the two paintings I talk about:
1) "Frenzy of exultations" Wladyslaw Podkowinski:
2) "Naked woman in front of the mirror" Giovanni Bellini
Happy New Year and happy planning!