Vincent Desiderio

Vincent Desiderio, “Cockaigne”, 1993-2003, Oil on Canvas, 284.5 x 388.6 cm, Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Desiderio is a senior critic at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the New York Academy of Art. He lives and and works in Sleepy Hollow, NY. Desiderio received a BA in fine art and art history from Haverford College in 1977. He subsequently studied for one year at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, Italy, and for four years at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts between 1979 and 1983.

He is a recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, two National Endowment for the Arts Grants, the Everson Museum of Art Purchase Prize, a Rome Grant from the Creative Artists Network and a Cresson Traveling Scholarship from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In 1996, he became the first American artist to receive the International Contemporary Art Prize awarded by the Prince Ranier Foundation of the Principality of Monaco.

N C Wyeth

N C Wyeth, “Herring”, Oil on Canvas, 1935, Collection of Phyllis and Jamie Wyeth

Newell Convers Wyeth (1882-1945) is best known as one of America’s foremost book and magazine illustrators of his era. Born and raised in Needham, Massachusetts, N.C. Wyeth learned drafting at the Mechanics School and then studied at the Massachusetts Normal School (now Massachusetts College of Art and Design). He was advised by one of his teachers to become an illustrator, and he soon followed two of his student friends to study illustration in 1902 under the renowned American illustrator Howard Pyle in Wilmington, Delaware.

In February 1903, Wyeth got his first commission, from Saturday Evening Post.  This was the beginning of a long and successful career in which he illustrated more than a hundred books, among them many popular novels for Scribner’s, including Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Robin Hood, The Last of the Mohicans, Robinson Crusoe, and Rip Van Winkle.

Cornelis van Haarlem

Cornelis van Haarlem, The Fall of the Titans”, Oil on Canvas, 1588-90. Statens Museum for Kunst (National Gallery of Denmark)

The Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses relate the story of a reigning race of gods consisting of the titans, the cyclopes, and the giants who were challenged to a cosmic battle by the Olympian gods headed by Zeus. The fierce battle, the so-called titanomachia, ended with the defeat of the titans whom Zeus cast down into Tartaros, the underworld, from where they cause earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem brought all his artistic ideals to bear in the naked muscular bodies and the complicated poses. Studies from the nude did not become common until the late 17th century; but in Haarlem, Karel van Mander (1548-1606) founded an academy that did not only use academic nudes for practice, but which also debated art theory.

This painting is an example of the resultant Haarlem Mannerist style. Mannerism is a designation used for a style between the Renaissance and the Baroque that celebrated the artificial and the sensual. The style was cultivated in places such as the court of Rudolph the Second. (1552-1612) in Prague. The style travelled north, winning over royals such as the Danish King Christian the Fourth. (1557-1648). The Fall of the Titans was among the Dutch paintings purchased by King Christian the Fourth in 1621.

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso, “The Crucifixion”, Oil on Canvas, 1930, Musee Picasso, Paris

In this work, Picasso returns to his fascination with the ‘life in death’ paradox, encapsulated perfectly by the Western world’s foremost symbol: the Crucifixion. The whole notion of rebirth and transformation has fascinated artists for centuries, as they see themselves as actively participating in an alchemical process while recreating life in their chosen medium.

“The Crucifixion” has no particular religious significance, although its interpretation of pain and suffering is intensely captured and it is a fascinating forerunner, with the use of certain shapes and expressions, to Picasso’s most famous work, Guernica (1937).

Mithra is the orange and red solar figure to the right of the cross (to the viewer)…in between three Marias: the Holy Mother in white before Christ, Marie-Thérèse Walter in the middle and the blue, skeletal head of Mary Magdalene below Mithra.  The head of Stephaton to the left with his giant moon-like sponge “doubles as a crescent moon, an emblem of Virgin Mary.”

Costa Dvorezky

The Artwork of Costa Dvorezky

Costa has drawn inspiration for his prolific works of art from board travels and his abundant life experiences as both a visitor and resident of numerous countries around the world. Born in Russia in 1968, Costa developed his unique brand of art through his extensive schooling at the Art College and the Academy of Arts in Moscow. His passion and talent for art was recognized by Russia’s Union of Young Artists when he received the Development of The Year Award in 1997.

Through his paintings Costa goes beyond the obvious to uncover the symbolism within the human aspect of daily life. His creativity and style come alive through his works depicting dark and surreal imagery. As a viewer of Costa’s images, one is transported to a world of fictional proportions that exists in the recesses of the artist’s mind.

Metamorphosed human and animal figures shrouded in darkness, suggest the existence of a distorted world-order. These images evoke one to closely examine and question the reality of what one sees. Through his artwork, Costa challenges the observer to not only understand the scope of the actual image, but to also comprehend the feelings that the image provokes. His paintings are as bold as the statements that they make, and it is up to each individual to decipher what the meaning behind the image really is.

Michelangelo Merisi de Caravaggio

Michelangelo Merisi de Caravaggio, “Conversion of St. Paul”, Oil on Canvas, 1600-01

“The Conversion of Saint Paul (or Conversion of Saul” by the Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi de Caravaggio, is housed in the Odescalchi Balbi Collection of Rome. It is one of at least two paintings by Caravaggio of the conversion of Paul. Another is “The Conversion of Saint Paul on the Road to Damascus”, which is housed in the Cerasi Chapel of Santa Maria del Popolo.

The painting, together with a “Crucifixion of Saint Peter”, was commissioned by Monsignor (later Cardinal) Tiberio Cerasi, Treasurer-General to Pope Clement VIII, in September 1600. According to Caravaggio’s early biographer Giovanni Baglione, both paintings were rejected by Cerasi, and replaced by the second versions which hang in the chapel today. The dates of completion and rejection are determined from the death of Cerasi in May 1601.


Titian, “Polyptych of the Resurrection: St Sebastian”, Oil on Canvas, 1520-22, Santi Nazaro e Celso, Brescia, Italy

In 1520 to 1522, Tiziano Vecellio, known as Titian, painted the “Polyptych of the Resurrection”, also known as the Averoldi Polytych, for the Catholic church Santi Nazaro e Celso, located in Lombardy region of Itlay. The work was commissioned by Alberto Averoldi, the papal legate to Venice. The use of a compatmentally-divided polytych, rather old-fashioned for that time, was likely a specific request from Averroldi. The work was delivered in 1522 and placed behind the high altar, replacing the existing altarpiece by Renaissance painter Vincenzo Foppa.

The five panels in the polyptych are: “The Resurrection of Christ”, “Saints Nazarius and Celsus with Donor”, “Saint Sebastian”. “Angel of the Annunciation”, and “The Annunciation of the Virgin”. Titian unified the panels of the polyptych to a certain degree by chromatic-dynamic, converging the sense of light towards the central scene of the Christ.

The panel showing St Sebastian (bottom right panel of the polyptych) was finished by 1520. Jacopo Tebaldi, the representative of the Duke of Ferrara, was so impressed by the painting when he saw it in Titian’s workshop that he urged his master buy it. Tebaldi offered to pay Titian 60 ducats for this single panel – Averoldi was paying him only 200 ducats for the entire altarpiece. In the end, however, the Duke of Ferrara shied away from making the purchase, probably afraid of annoying the powerful legate Averoldi.

Titian approximates sculpture in the figure of St Sebastian, taking inspiration from one of the slave of Michelangelo’s tomb for Julius II. He shows as much of the saint’s back and front as he can and endows his flesh with a richly tinted marble-like sheen that both absorbs and reflects the light.

François-Léon Benouville

François-Léon Benouville, “The Wraith of Achilles”, 1847, Oil on Canvas, Musee Fabre, Montpelier, France

François-Léon Benouville’s splendidly modelled figure of Achilles intrudes into the space of the viewer. He literally steps beyond the surface of the canvas. Thus, in the painting’s careful attention to the human form and in the precision of its modelling of paint, it fulfils ideally the task of the painted academic figure studies required of Prix de Rome winners.

Benouville’s painting of Achilles, a popular subject for nineteenth-century painters, shows the Greek hero at the moment where, after quarrelling with his leader, Agamemnon, he retreats from battle to his tent in a rage. Humiliated, Achilles refuses to continue fighting with the Greeks, who subsequently suffer a series of catastrophic defeats. As Agamemnon’s envoys enter Achilles’ tent, in the hope of convincing him to return to battle, Achilles springs to his feet, launching into a tirade. With a dramatic realism, Benouville renders this precise, violent moment.

Thanks to for the image.

Ross Dickinson

Ross Dickinson, “Valley Farms”, Oil on Canvas, 1934, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transferred from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Long before Ross Dickinson received any formal training, he experimented with oil paint and educated himself through reading. Awarded a scholarship to the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, Dickinson studied with Frank Tolles Chamberlin (1873–1961) and became interested in mural painting. In 1926 Dickinson spent nine months in New York City studying with John Costigan at the Grand Central School of Art and Charles Hawthorne at the National Academy of Design; he also received a scholarship from the Tiffany Foundation. Dickinson returned to California later that year and studied at the Santa Barbara School of Fine Arts, where he received his first mural commission.

Dickinson depicted the varying California landscape and men and women at work, which often aligned him with California regionalism. By 1934 he was involved in the Public Works of Art Project, which led to numerous mural commissions in the mid-1930s. His later work displays a stylistic change, as he moved toward freer brushwork in fast-drying acrylics through the 1950s and 1960s. He continued to work and exhibit in the southern California area until his death in Santa Barbara in 1978.

Juan Gris

Juan Gris, “Still Life with Checked Tablecloth”, Oil on Canvas, 1915, Private Collection

Juan Gris was born in Madrid. He later studied engineering at Madrid’s School of Arts and Sciences. There, from 1902 to 1904, he contributed drawings to local periodicals. From 1904 to 1905, he studied painting with the academic artist José Moreno Carbonero. It was in 1905 that José Victoriano González adopted the more distinctive name Juan Gris.

In 1906 he moved to Paris and became friends with Henri Matisse, Georges Braque and Fernand Léger. In Paris, Gris followed the lead of another friend and fellow countryman, Pablo Picasso. He submitted darkly humorous illustrations to journals such as Le Rire, L’assiette au beurre, Le Charivari, and Le Cri de Paris.

Gris began to paint seriously in 1910 (when he gave up working as a satirical cartoonist), developing at this time a personal Cubist style. In A Life of Picasso, John Richardson writes that Jean Metzinger’s 1911 work, Le goûter (Tea Time), persuaded Juan Gris of the importance of mathematics in painting. Gris exhibited for the first time at the 1912 Salon des Indépendants (a painting entitled Hommage à Pablo Picasso).

Alireza Saadatmand

Alireza Saadatmand, “Soil of Road”, 2010, Oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm, The Islamic Arts Museum, Malaysia

Ali Reza Saadatmand is a painter, calligraphist, photographer from Iran. In pursuit of achieving a new and contemporary expression, he has benefited
from old calligraphies and plain symbolic forms. His intent is not to recreate the past but to show humans in contrast with tradition and modernity, This sometimes leads him to abstraction and symbolic forms.

He has never considered handwriting as a decorative element. Every time he
works with it, he finds new compositions which are rooted in the 1000 years
of his fore-fathers tradition but which simultaneously face the future. In his mind Saadatmand analyzes the appearance of the words and creates abstract, personal and aesthetic forms extracted from the patterns,

Paul Beel

Paul Beel, “Stefano with Wood”, O2000, Oil on Canvas, 90 x 100 cm, Private Collection

Paul Beel received his BFA and MFA from the School of Art at Bowling Green State University, Ohio.  He did Post-Baccalaureate work at Studio Art Centers International, Florence, Italy, where he later taught painting and drawing.

Beel has had solo shows in Venice, Milan, Florence, Mantova, as well as in the US, and group shows in Spain, Germany, San Marino, Switzerland, London, and throughout Italy. He now lives and works in Germany.

Jacques de l’Ange

Jacques de l’Ange, “Chained Prometheus”, c. 1640-1650, Oil on Canvas 52 x 62 cm, Private Collection

Jacques de l’Ange or the Monogrammist JAD (fl. 1630 – 1650) was a Flemish painter and draughtsman known for his genre scenes and history paintings executed in a Caravaggesque style. The artist was only rediscovered in the mid-1990s as his work was previously attributed to other Northern Caravaggists and in particular those of the Utrecht School.

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso, “Dying Bull”, 1934, Oil on Canvas, 33.7 x 55.2 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Picasso’s father took him to see his first bullfight in 1889, when he was only nine years old. The spectacle so impressed him that he made it the subject of his very first painting that same year. In 1934 Picasso again took up the subject in an extensive series of drawings, prints, and paintings in which the choreography of the corrida became a metaphor for life and death. Here, Picasso focuses solely on the agony of the dying bull, eliminating the spectators, horses, and matador.

Graham Sutherland

Graham Sutherland, “Estuary”, 1946, Oil on Canvas

A neo-Romantic inspired by the pastoral subjects of Samuel Palmer, Graham Sutherland’s haunting paintings captured the rugged beauty of the countryside and the oppressive forces of creeping industrialisation upon it.

For much of the 1930s he chose to paint the Pembrokeshire landscape, attempting to express ‘the intellectual and emotional’ essence of the place. By using dramatic shifts in light, unnaturalistic colouring and animal skulls, he would transform the countryside into a bleak, primordial world in which man and nature were at odds with one another.

Estuary (1946) was one of the last paintings the artist made before fleeing the sulphurous realities of post-war Britain for the sunny environs of South of France. His palette was already changing from the tempestuous greys and ochres of the Welsh countryside for the scorching yellows of the Riviera.