- 100 years on, this article discusses the effect of 1913’s ‘Armory Show’ containing work by Marcel Duchamp, amongst others. In it, Leah Dickerman of New York’s Museum of Modern Art argues that,
this marks a reordering of the rules of art-making — it’s as big as we’ve seen since the Renaissance.
- Similarly, in a discussion of a major UK exhibition of Duchamp’s work, this article argues that he is,
the most dominant single influence over the art of the late 20th and early 21st century.
- Those who claim to be acting in the tradition of Duchamp in the early 21st century can, however, find themselves imprisoned…
- Walter Benjamin discusses how cultural forms such as film are more amenable to mass audiences than those such as painting. This is illustrated quite vividly in this news story regarding the work of an artist from Renaissance Florence.
- One wonders, though, what Benjamin would have thought of the impulses behind this new reproduction technique being used by Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum. (The product website notably delivers the news that these will be ‘limited editions’).
- A Van Gogh painting, however reproduced, ultimately has a single authentic original, and Benjamin argues that this kind of authenticity does not apply to fundamentally reproducible forms. But does it? The legal developments around William Egglestone‘s photography may lead us to think again.
- The 21st century can get even more confusing. Instagram is a world of ephemeral, reproducible, valueless images? Not when artist Richard Prince prints them and sells them for $100,000.
- Mass-media artists can still reap economic value from scarcity in a reproducible age. The Wu-Tang Clan provide perhaps the most extreme recent example of this selling the only existing copy of their last record for a reported $2 milllion in 2015 to Martin Shkreli, who explained,
I wanted to show respect for art
Painted in the early 1600s by Caravaggio, also known as ‘Amor Victorious’, ‘Cupid As Victor’, ‘Love Triumphant’ and other names in English.
Cupid, the god of love, stands upon the trampled symbols of music, science, war, and government, illustrating Virgil’s line: “love conquers all; let us all yield to love!” Caravaggio’s depiction of Cupid, rather than the cherub-like, idealized boy, is realistic, from the crooked grin to the tousled head of hair.
- ‘The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass)’. Left “definitively unfinished” in 1923, Marcel Duchamp said of this work
“that he wanted to “put painting once again at the service of the mind.” Since the time of Courbet, he felt, art had been exclusively “retinal,” in that its appeal was primarily to the eye. Duchamp went beyond the retinal for the first time in 1912, when he painted his famous Nude Descending a Staircase; a year later, with his early notes and studies for what would become The Large Glass, he entered a new terrain where words and images fused and where the rules of tradition and logic and sensory impression gave way to a state of mind that can only be described as ecstatic. Again and again in Duchamp’s notes, there is the joyous sense of a mind that has broken free of all restraints—a mind at play in a game of its own devising, whose resolution is infinitely delayed.
The setting of Near the Lake [1879-80] has not been identified, although it could perhaps be the popular tourist destination of Lac Enghien, about 50 minutes by train from Paris via Argenteuil. Pierre-Auguste Renoir used his friends as models to celebrate the pleasures of leisure and companionship away from the city center.
Robert Delaunay was four years old when the Eiffel Tower was erected in Paris in the public green space known as the Champ de Mars. One of many artists to depict the landmark, Delaunay did a series of Eiffel Tower paintings.
The artist infused the dynamism of modern life into this image by employing multiple viewpoints, rhythmic fragmentation of form, and strong color contrasts. […] This is one of the most imposing of a series of about eleven paintings that Robert Delaunay devoted to the Eiffel Tower between 1909 and 1911. Erected for the 1889 World’s Fair on the Champs de Mars, a military parade ground, the Eiffel Tower had become a widely recognized symbol of modernity. It was originally painted a brilliant red, a color that, together with its steel-girded construction and size (it was the tallest structure in the world, reaching a height of 984 feet), set it apart from the prevalent grayness of the surrounding city.
The City Rises (or La città che sale in Italian) is a vibrant, colourful Futurist work by Umberto Boccioni from 1910 to 1911 and is painted in oils. It depicts the labours of men on a construction site utilising the power of horses in their labours.
Is Titian’s “Danaë” a dirty picture or an example of great, elevated art? The truth is it’s a little of both. […] Painted between 1544 and 1545, it depicts a naked woman lying on an unmade bed, a piece of fabric draped lightly over her thigh in a faint attempt at modesty.
The Eiffel Tower was built by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 Exposition Universelle, which was to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the French Revolution. Its construction in 2 years, 2 months and 5 days was a veritable technical and architectural achievement. “Utopia achieved”, a symbol of technological prowess, at the end of the 19th Century it was a demonstration of French engineering personified by Gustave Eiffel, and a defining moment of the industrial era. It was met immediately with tremendous success. […] As France’s symbol in the world, and the showcase of Paris, today it welcomes almost 7 million visitors a year (around 75% of whom are foreigners), making it the most visited monument that you have to pay for in the world.
Fountain is one of Duchamp’s most famous works and is widely seen as an icon of twentieth-century art. The  original, which is now lost, consisted of a standard urinal, laid flat on its back rather than upright in its usual position, and signed ‘R. Mutt 1917’. […] Altogether fifteen authorised replicas of Fountain were issued, one in 1951, 1953 and 1963 respectively and a further twelve in 1964.
In the church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence is one of the best examples of the early Renaissance scientific approach to creating the convincing illusion of space within a painting. It is here, on one of the walls inside the church, that Masaccio painted his fresco of the Holy Trinity in 1424. The title of the painting comes from the three key figures: Christ on the cross, God the Father standing on a ledge behind Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Interestingly, God the Father is shown standing on a platform in the back, which is not an “otherworldly” place (where he would be traditionally depicted), but instead a realistic space which follows the laws of physics.
L.H.O.O.Q., a cheap postcard-sized reproduction of the Mona Lisa, upon which Duchamp drew a mustache and a goatee. The “readymade” done in 1919, is one of the most well known act[s] of degrading a famous work of art. The title when pronounced in French, puns the [ph]rase “Elle a chaud au cul”, translating colloquially in “She has a hot ass”.
Mutiny on the Bounty took almost two years in the making, attaining an expenditure of almost $2 million – an extremely high budget at the time […] Happily, the film not only earned critical recognition (it won the Best Picture Oscar [in 1936]) but it would prove to be one of the biggest moneymakers in the 1930s, returning a gross of $4,460,000 during its initial run
One of his most important works, Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2) (1912) (a second version of a work on cardboard from 1911), however, reflects Duchamp’s ambivalent relationship with Cubism. […] Provoking negative reactions from even the Parisian avant-garde, the painting was rejected by the Salon des Indépendants for both its title and the artist’s mechanistic, dehumanizing rendering of the female nude. The following year, it sparked controversy at the New York Armory Show, helping to establish Duchamp’s reputation as a provocateur overseas and paving the way for his arrival in New York two years later.
Shot on October 14, 1888 by French inventor Louis Le Prince, the Roundhay Garden Scene is believed to be the first film ever made, or at least the oldest one in existence.
Of the many self-portraits Rembrandt painted over a lifetime, this is perhaps the greatest, not only for its poignant revelations of the self, but for his sure handling of paint. […] The wariness and impatience seem like a veil shadowing the man’s real expression, which is blurred and scarred — by time, by sorrows, and by illness. Yet Rembrandt was only fifty-two in 1658 when he signed and dated this portrait.
Belgian Henri Evenepoel was only 26 in 1898 when he took this hypnotic photo of himself in Paris–with an early Kodak hand-held camera in front of a three way mirror. He must have been excited by the prospects of the new century in both art and technology. Among his friends was Henri Matisse, who at his death in 1954 would be praised as one of the world’s artistic giants. However, Evenepoel died of typhoid fever, within a year of his innovative self portrait.
This  work embodies the dynamic and energetic qualities of Analytic Cubism, a revolutionary artistic style pioneered by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso to depict three-dimensional objects on a flat canvas without the use of traditional Renaissance perspective. In this conceptual approach to painting, perceived forms are broken down, fractured, flattened, and then reconstructed in multiple-point perspective within a shallow space. Braque described this kind of fragmentation as “a technique for getting closer to the object.”