Archive for February, 2016

Leaping for Leap Day

Leapin’ lizards! Some of the McDermott Interns celebrated Leap Day by putting a little spring in our step, following the footsteps of past interns and staff inspired by Jumping in Art Museums…

Source: Leaping for Leap Day

Six Years in Russia with Madame Vigée-Lebrun

Last week, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York opened an exhibition dedicated to Elisabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun, the 18th-century painter and favorite portraitist of Queen Marie-Antoinette. This exhibition, Vigée Le Brun: Woman Artist in Revolutionary France , brings together eighty paintings and pastels produced over the course of the artist’s career. It is the first retrospective and only the second exhibition dedicated to this important artist. But you don’t have to travel all the way to the Big Apple to see one of her paintings. The DMA is fortunate to have a portrait by Vigée-Lebrun hanging in our European Galleries on Level 2 as part of the Michael L. Rosenberg Collection.

Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Portrait of Madame Nakharovna, née Hitrova, 1799, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Michael L. Rosenberg Collection, 29.2004.13

Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Portrait of Madame Nakharovna, née Hitrova, 1799, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Michael L. Rosenberg Collection, 29.2004.13

Portrait of Madame Nakharovna, née Hitrova, painted in 1799, depicts a member of the Russian nobility. She is portrayed as a wealthy and educated woman, reading the play Iphigenia by Racine in French and wearing fashionable clothing and jewelry. The artist accentuates the translucent fabric of her scarf and the gold strands of Madame Nakharovna’s necklace as they catch the light. She creates a sense of spontaneity and interaction with the sitter, who seems to respond to our presence.

Because of her close association with Marie-Antoinette and the French monarchy, Vigée-Lebrun left France during the Revolution and spent six years in Russia, living in exile in St. Petersburg and Moscow. She was very successful in Russia as a portrait painter to the imperial family and the Russian nobility. She found many clients, such as Madame Nakharovna, eager to be painted by the favorite portraitist of the late queen of France.

Beyond success as an artist, Vigée-Lebrun seemed to have found, in the distant lands of Russia, the kind of life she had enjoyed in Paris. In her memoirs she wrote, “Every evening I went out. There were innumerable balls, concerts, and theatrical performances, and I thoroughly enjoyed these gatherings, where I found all the urbanity, all the grace of French company. It seemed as though good taste had made a jump with both feet from Paris to St. Petersburg.”

But the allure of Russian society didn’t stop her from lamenting the frigid winters: “I am perhaps the only person, who not suspecting how cold it was, ever took it into my head to pay a visit when the thermometer was at eighteen. . . . Everyone wears velvet, fur-lined boots in his carriage, and cloaks lined heavily with fur.”

So bundle up and come to the DMA to see Portrait of Madame Nakharovna by Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun.

Franny Brock is the Dedo and Barron Kidd McDermott Graduate Intern for European Art at the DMA.

#HeartsForArt

Love is in the air at the DMA! This Valentine’s weekend, DMA visitors shared their love for a favorite work of art in The Center for Creative Connections (C3) by participating in #HeartsForArt. Museums across the country invited visitors to place a paper heart on the floor in front of their most beloved work of art, then spread the love by photographing their art crushes and sharing them on Instagram or Twitter. At C3, visitors who tagged their photos with #HeartsForArt #DMAC3love were able to see favorite artworks on the #DMAdigitalspot wall of monitors.

Which are the most beloved DMA works of art in C3? We tallied up all of the #heartsforart time on Valentine’s Day to find that visitors have a soft spot for the DMA’s contemporary pieces. Jack Piersen’s Anytown USA (2000) was the most treasured artwork of the weekend, coming in at 106 hearts. The runners-up for Most-Loved artworks in C3 were Red and Yellow, Black and White (1982) by Vernon Fisher at 61 hearts, and Marcel Dzama’s The Minotaur (2008) at 58 hearts.

Paulina Lopez is the McDermott Graduate Intern for Visitor Engagement at the DMA

The unofficial guide to the couples you will see this Valentine’s Day (as told through art)

The OG
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Move over Beyoncé and Jay-Z. Step back Kim and Kanye. The Adam and Eve couples of Valentine’s Day have been at this game for a while. If you happen to ask them for relationship advice, watch out—their knowledge on the subject seems to go back to the beginning of time itself. This couple has been through a lot together—from temptation to family drama—but they learned to love each other no matter what befell them. Their higher connections will probably get them excellent reservations at the most desired restaurants as well.

The Swoon Worthy
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Here come the new kids on the block, spending their first Valentine’s Day together. In their eyes they are the sun and the moon, and they will do absolutely anything for each other. At this point in their relationship, chivalry and romance is rampant, and Sunday will be a test of their affection. Much like the Muslim Princess Erminia disguised herself as a knight to find her precious Christian Knight Tancred during the Crusades, their love knows no bounds. These are the couples you will see around town undertaking grandiose gestures like renting hot air balloons, or casually forsaking their families, homeland, and religion for the love of another.

The #Relationship Goals

1991'107, 11/14/02, 1:46 PM, 8C, 5816x8782 (148+81), 112%, Repro 1.8, 1/30 s, R67.2, G32.6, B36.6

Dinner at 5, home by 7, and in bed by 9. This couple’s unconditional love is something to aspire to. Much like the god Shiva and his wife, the goddess Parvati, shown here entwined in a passionate embrace, this couple might partake in too much PDA, but it’s acceptable due to how perfect they are for each other. This couple does not need to go to elaborate lengths this Valentine’s Day, because every day is a chance for them to do an act of kindness for the other.

The Tinder Date Gone Awry
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The fear of being alone and celebrating Single Awareness Day led these individuals to take to dating apps to find their special someone. Much like the uncomfortable scene depicted here, you will find these forced couples in painfully awkward attempts at conversation. Some will try to woo their Valentine with their musical prowess, while others will rely on their good looks, lack of clothing, and charm. One or both members of the party may look to you in desperation, but remember it was they who chose to swipe right.

Images: Jean François de Troy, Adam and Eve, 1718, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund, 1990.145.FA; Guillaume Guillon Lethière, Erminia and the Shepherds, 1795, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund, 2013.1.FA; Uma-Maheshvara, India, Rajasthan (?), c. 8th century A.D., grayish green stone, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation in honor of Colonel and Mrs. Alvin M. Owsley, 1991.107; Pietro Paolini, Bacchic Concert, c. 1625-30, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle Collection, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation, 1987.17

Julie Henley is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the DMA

Monkeying Around

We’re celebrating the Year of the Monkey by highlighting a few works featuring the animal of the hour. Some of the monkeys are out in the open, but for others it takes a little more detective work to spot them in the paint. Happy Chinese New Year!

 

Kimberly Daniell is Senior Manager of Communications, Public Affairs, and Social Media Strategy at the DMA.

Puppy Love

We love hearing from our visitors about their experiences at the DMA. We especially enjoy learning about ways art touches lives. We recently received an e-mail from Mark and his granddaughter Fiona. Their story brought a smile to so many of the DMA staff that we asked if we could share their visit on Uncrated:

Earlier this month I took my seven-year-old granddaughter to the DMA. We visited the European galleries to look at paintings, more like glances as we raced by all the paintings. But we stopped at a large painting that depicts the myth of Zeus turning into a bull to woo his love. I asked Fi what she thought of this “crazy painting” when a woman paused near us. She shared the story the painting represented and then asked Fiona a question I should have asked at the beginning of our visit: “What kind of paintings do you like to see?”
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Without hesitation my granddaughter said animals. She told us that she had the perfect painting for us, one that Fiona would love. The painting was not where she expected it to be and a gallery attendant, named Joyce, told us the painting was “taking a rest” but that she knew of more work depicting animals. While we were touring these animal paintings, Fiona and Joyce swapped pet stories and advice, both agreeing that you need to tell your pets that you love them every day.
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After exploring the galleries we stopped at the hands-on area of the DMA (The Center for Creative Connections), where you can make your own work of art. Fiona drew and was able to make a rabbit sculpture with a piece of egg crate and pipe cleaners. She was very proud of her work and asked if she could keep it, and I told her yes. She then surprised me by saying she wanted to give it to the nice lady, Joyce.
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A museum can be a cold, intimidating experience, but we found such warmth from our two encounters with DMA staff.
– Mark

We caught up with Joyce in the galleries to talk about her encounter with Mark and Fiona. She told us one of her favorite things about the job is being able to interact with our visitors, especially the youngest visitors like Fiona, and share her love of art. She was extremely moved by Fiona’s gift, which she has fondly named Fiona in her honor, and can’t wait to run into them on their next visit.

Kimberly Daniell is the Senior Manager of Communications, Public Affairs, and Social Media Strategy at the DMA.

The Soundtrack to Vermeer Suite

Viols, virginals, flutes, and lutes! The small, masterful paintings in Vermeer Suite: Music in 17th-Century Dutch Painting, each featuring an individual playing or holding an instrument, indicate the popularity and prevalence of music—both as artistic subject matter and as activity—in the Netherlands during the 17th century.

Interestingly, the associations with music at the time ran the gamut from divine gift to causing irreparable moral damage. On one side of the spectrum, music was spiritual medicine, played solely to glorify God. On the other side, music making was perceived as a worldly pleasure and at odds with Protestant values, diverting one’s attention away from spiritual salvation. Somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, music playing and listening functioned as a polite form of entertainment for the elite upper classes. It was played in the household in the same way we might gather around and play charades or watch a football game today. Playing music was also a means for solidifying social and professional relationships, and it was a socially acceptable way for unmarried people to interact—to essentially be on a date without a chaperone. Beyond the household, elites could find a quasi-public outlet for practice and performance in a collegium musicum—a small group of amateur musicians that convened in one of its members’ homes or a location approved by the city council. Members of the lower classes could visit muziekherbergen (music inns), which made instruments available for patrons. At a music inn, a capable player who refused to perform was required to purchase a round of drinks for the whole tavern as penalty!

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With the artists’ careful attention to detail and intricate treatment of surfaces, the realistic paintings in Vermeer Suite: Music in 17th-Century Dutch Painting transport us to a lively Dutch street corner or an intimate living room gathering. While we can almost hear the music that likely accompanied these scenes, visitors to the exhibition do not have to imagine it. In the exhibition’s adjacent gallery, visitors can actually listen to the paintings’ soundtracks. Songs by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621), one of the most prolific Dutch songwriters to achieve international renown, will be played continuously. A professional organist who served the Oude Kerk (Old Church) in Amsterdam for forty-four years, Sweelinck was one of the first major composers of keyboard music in Europe.

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Additionally, a sound bar in this interactive gallery offers visitors the opportunity to listen to the distinct sound of each of the instruments depicted in the paintings and learn about how they were played. Visit the DMA through August 21 to enjoy the visual and aural experience of Vermeer Suite: Music in 17th-Century Dutch Painting, which is included in the Museum’s daily free general admission.

Andrea Severin Goins is the Interpretation Manager at the DMA.

Images: Jacob Adriaensz Ochtervelt, A Singing Violinist, c. 1666–70, oil on panel, © The Leiden Collection, New York; Gerard ter Borch, A Musical Company, c. 1642–44, oil on panel, © The Leiden Collection, New York; Lutes, Michael Praetorius, Syntagma Musicum, 1619. Syntagma Musicum is a three-volume treatise written by the German musicologist Michael Praetorius between 1614 and 1620; Jan Steen, Self-Portrait with a Lute, n.d., oil on canvas, © The Leiden Collection, New York

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