Monthly Archives: October 2018

Odilon Redon 
Impressionism & Post Impressionism

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A self portrait by Odilon Redon, painted in 1867

Odilon Redon, born on the 20th of April in 1840, was a french artist categorized under the impressionist movement. Redon being categorized as an impressionist painter is an important distinction to make . While Redon’s work appears to be highly connected to the movement, Redon made publicly denounced both realism and impressionism, and thus defies clear categorization.

The eye like a strange balloon goes to infinity, 1882 - Odilon Redon
“The eye like a strange balloon goes to infinity” was one of the prints in a series dedicated to Edgar Allen Poe

His work was not only associated with the impressionist movement but also the symbolist movement, of which he was closely associated with. Poetry, was also a great influence for Redon, including his friendship with the poet Stéphane MallarméEdgar Allan Poe stands out in particular, as Redon used his work as inspiration for many of his works, and even dedicated a series of prints in his honour. However Redon takes yet another another unexpected approach when sourcing poems as inspiration, expressing a deeper understanding and appreciation of the poem. Rather than illustrate the events of the poem, his works reflect the inner torment and anguish of the poet.

Flowers in aa Brown Vase, c.1904 - Odilon Redon
“Flowers in a Brown Vase” painted in oils by Redon
Death: It is I who makes you serious; let us embrace each other (plate 20), 1896 - Odilon Redon
Redon’s lithography print “Death: It is I who Makes you Serious; Let us Embrace each Other


























Oils, pastels, and prints (in which he mainly used Lithography learned from the master Henri Fantin-Latour) were Redon’s main media. Interestingly enough, his prints and his pastels have a very clear division, almost as if painted by two different painters on divergent courses.     

Ophelia, c.1903 - Odilon Redon
Redon’s “Ophelia” completed in 1903

His pastels and oils show a more traditional approach to art, though he is differentiated from others through his masterful application of colour. His skill  with colour was even renowned by Henri Matisse who was likewise considered a great colourist. However, even in his most tame of works he still defies convention. Redon greatly believed in the power of imagination over that of observation, and such is shown in his work, which do not necessarily adhere to reality.He painted a variety of subjects, but still lives of flowers appear to be a favourite of his, as they are most prominently featured in his oil and pastel works

Vision, 1879 - Odilon Redon
“Vision” completed in 1879

As for his prints, I can think of no better summary than “a synthesis of nightmares and dreams“ as quoted by a critic reviewing his word, especially in regards to the print displayed above. His prints explored a much more macabre and haunting themes (which was not expressed in his oils and pastels). Interestingly enough his work would seem to appear joined with the surrealist and dadaist movements, his works were completed years before the first remanists of either movements would begin. It is difficult to pinpoint the intentions of this work as Redon himself stated “My drawings inspire, and are not to be defined. They place us, as does music, in the ambiguous realm of the undetermined.

I wasn’t sure what to think when I first saw Redon’s work but now I find the more I look at it, the more appealing it becomes. Redon has an immense artistic range, his black and white lithography prints look like they were completed by an entirely different person when compared to his oils and pastels. I greatly admire his flexibility when it came to his work, and find that I cannot decide which style I actually prefer. I love his unexpected use of colour in his oils and pastels, and the mood which he creates in his prints. In all, I didn’t expect to like his works so immensely.

* “Odilon Rendon.” Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica,
biography/Odilon-Redon. Accessed 26 Oct. 2018. * Redon, Odilon, and Raphaël Bouvier (2014). Odilon Redon. p. 2.
* Goldwater, Robert; Treves, Marco (1945). Artists on Art. Pantheon. ISBN 0-394-70900-4.


Source of Photos (In order from beginning to end)


Survey 6- Dreams & Designers (1895-1905)

Lecture Summary

This week during the lecture we covered the time between 1895 and 1905, a time period which is characterized by the immense progress in the arts and design . For example, during this time we see art nouveau rise from the ashes which the arts and crafts movement left behind. Art nouveau took many aesthetique inspiration from the arts and crafts movement which is seen through their shared usage of organic lines and geometric shapes. However they differed in their philosophy, the arts and crafts movement was a push against industrialization and mass production whereas art nouveau embraced it. Important figures in this movement include
Antoni Horta and most famously, Alphonse Mucha.  Other notable movements which we see are the secessionist movement which was inspired by the work of the Gaglslow Four (a group of groundbreaking artists from the Gagslow School). This movement included artists such as Gustav Klimpt.

Research – Edwardian Fashion

As always, fashion is much more than the garments which we use to clothe ourselves. It is the a time capsule to its era, an expression of values, influences, and ideals. A time and place  fashion is a product of its time, and is affected by the the context in which it was placed.

Edwardian fashion for example, is an example example of this phenom. The major driving force at the time was the industrial revolution, which was in full swing, sending Europe headfirst into a totally foreign world.The revolution came with several effects, including the creation of the middle class, and the facilitation of garment making.Additionally, the creation of the sewing machine greatly facilitated the process of making garment and consequently resulted in a boom of clothing which was created from factories.

As a result, the newly created middle class could enjoy a new range of benefits which normally would have been reserved for the wealthy. Literacy rates, leisure time and money all increased due the effects of the industrial revolution which contributed to a culture which was capable of interesting themselves with other things.With the world which once was turned on its head, the role of its citizens was placed in a , especially women. The world began to stray from its strict Victorian ways, seeking out luxury, opulence and the lifestyle of the elite, such as the British Monarch Charles

The Gibson Girl – An Icon

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Charles Dana Gibson’s, 1898, “Gibson Girl”

To create a clearer picture of the aesthetic ideals of  the time, we can take Charles Dana Gibson illustrations of the unnamed women as the icons/role models of this movement in fashion. “The Gibson Girl”, as she was commonly referred to, was portrayed as bold, and fun loving,  all while retaining a cool sophistication. She was the icon of the century and embodied all the elements which the fashion savvy copied.

Image result for charles dana gibson gibson girl

Charles Dana Gibson’s illustration of the Gibson girl was the icon of the Edwardian period and exemplifies its traits, as well as the the figure which was sought after. These elements include her long, slender neck, small waist with an ample bust and hips and her iconic hair-do.

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Another one of Gibson’s illustrations of the so called “Gibson Girl”, and here we see her embodying the Edwardian Ideal, with the tailored jacket on the left, the iconic hairdo in the middle, and the high collared blouse on the right.


An Edwardian dress featuring the “monobosom”

One notable changes in this style was the silhouette, mostly due the change in corsets. Victorian fashion favoured the hourglass figure, whereas the Edwardian era leaned towards a soft s curve. In order to achieve this, “S-bend Corsets” (also known as “straight-back corsets, and “health corsets”) were popularised. Unlike the Victorian corsets, s bend corsets pushed the chest forward and the hips backwards and “promoted a proud posture”. The corset did not divide up the bust and created a “monobosom” (think pigeon) which was considered fashionable.

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An uncanny resemblance…

The shape of skirt also changed during the Edwardian era of fashion,as styles such as the bustles of the Victorian Era reached their death. 2 pieced garments were the most common, with skirts that cinched in the waist and flared as they reached the group. The new style of skirts created a lily or a trumpet silhouette. In 1901 skirts embellished with ruffled lace or fabric were also popular. The silhouette of the skirts began to change in 1904, the shape was made fuller and clung less to the hips, and as 1905 approached skirts began to gently fold inwards. Along with this trend, the waist line of these dresses began to rise until 1907.  However, throughout the entire period skirts did retain their length of their Victorian counterparts (often (often brushing the floor) but as time passed trains became more and more common (even for everyday attire!) . Tailored jackets were commonly paired with skirts, and they first began to appear in the 1880’s and increased in popularity until their peak in early 1900’s.




Photo Credit
(in order from beginning to first)




Realism, Pre-Impressionism & Pre-Raphaelites – Winslow Homer

Realism, Pre-Impressionism & Pre-Raphaelites – Winslow Homer

Winslow Homer by Sarony.jpeg

Winslow Homer, born on February 24th 1821 was an American Realist painter and is widely considered a distinguished figure in American art. While he painted a variety of subjects he is best remembered for his marine landscapes which

Homer was largely self-taught, and excelled in the arts in his early childhood. His mother, Henrietta Benson Homer was an amateur watercolour prodigy and is believed to have helped him develop his skills.  Throughout his life he worked with a variety of mediums, including watercolours and oils.

Homer became his work as commercial illustrator, and created many scenes of urban and country social life which were part of magazines such as Ballou’s Pictorial and Harper’s Weekly.
Here in these early works we can see the beginnings of his style emerging, qualities which would be recognisable in his later works as well. In general, these pieces utilised dramatic contrast in shading, simplified shapes, and clean outlines.

The Bathers, one of Homer’s earlier works published in Harper’s Weekly, 1873

It wasn’t until later where Homer would begin to start working with oils. From there his most iconic pieces would be created. Before submitting his work the National Academy of Design, Homer went to Paris and began to familiarise himself with landscape paintings in the area. He mostly focused on portraying pictorial landscapes and social life.

Homer’s “Crossing the Pasture” painted between 1871–72 is a good example of this
“Artists Sketching in the White Mountains” painted in 1868 is another later example of Homer’s work with landscapes

Homer’s work is considered to have reached its maturity in accordance to his work doing marine landscapes when he moved to Maine. He remained there and spent the majority of the 1880’s perfecting marine landscapes. Critics noticed the jump in his style and stated that “They are works of High Art.” During this time he also did many more watercolour paintings. During this period of his life we see many of his realistic tendencies come across. Homer’s paintings never shy away from the brutality of the ocean or the struggle to survive, idea which he painted with bold brushstrokes and bold colour choices.

The Gulf Stream painted in 1899 is an example example of Homer’s unique portrayal of the ocean

I had actually unknowingly come across Homer’s marine landscape paintings, which I loved. I had only seen his later works, and I was unfamiliar with his scenes depicting social life. More than anything I think they’re interesting to analyse knowing where he ended up. Over time, I think his work became bolder, more confident, a quality which I greatly admire. While I enjoy his earlier work, I don’t think they compare to more recent works.


Northeaster, 1895


“Winslow Homer.” Wikiart,

Pictures Taken from and first photo taken taken from wikipedia.

Survey 4 – Steam and the Speed of Light & the Brotherhood that Reformed 1850’s Art

Lecture Summary

Today’s lecture, “Steam and the Speed of Light” focused on the years 1750-1850 encompassed a massive time period of political and industrial revolutions, and inmmense scientific progress. Our group was focusing in art and the effects of the industrial revolution were imminent. As technology allowed for production to increase, communserum increased as it became more and more affordable. This created an explosion in the arts, especially in fonts as the mass production of posters became more and more common. Examples of this include the invention of fat-face typefaces (by Robert Thorne), Slab serif or “egyptian” typeface (by Vincent Vincent Figgins) and Sans Serif or “gothic” (by Adrian Frutige). Similarity, the first Christmas cards were mass produced in this time. However, our group was more interested in the fine arts of the time. For example, the Romantic period, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and Ukiyo-e. In particularly we are interested in dissecting the differences and similarities between these movements of art. Specifically, the techniques they used, their philosophies, and influences.

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a movement of art which lasted between the years 1850 and 1854. Refers to a group of artists who set out to reform the art world, for what they thought was the better. It began as a secret society which later grew more recognition. Originally began with only three members, William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Later on, the brotherhood grew to include 4 other artists. The selection process they used is largely a mystery, especially considering the mismatched group they ended up with. This group included a painter who did not appear to support any of their philosophies (James Collision, he is largely believed to have been accepted due to his engagement to Rossetti’s sister, Christina), a sculptor (Thomas Woolner) and two “non-practicing artists” (Frederic George Stephens and William Michael Rossetti, although it should be noted that the two went on to become art critics).

The group can be seen as the antithesis of the teachings of the Royal Academy and Victorian Genre Paintings. At the time, The Royal Academy strongly favoured styles of the Old Masters, such as their characteristic use of strong lighting and dark shadows (known as “chiaroscuro”). The goal of genre painting was to render the daily lives of individuals (who were commonly not of social importance).The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood rejected these ideas, instead they cultivated a more serious earnest philosophy to artwork. It was a philosophy which was largely inspired by the works of John Ruskin, an art critic (who would later help popularize their work) which is best summed up by the quote “To go to the nature in all singleness of heart…rejecting nothing, selecting nothing and scorning nothing”. The Pre-Raphaelites stood in revolt against the “triviality” of genre paintings, and believed that art should be be limited to serious subjects. The works of art prior to the renaissance, particularly Raphael (Thus the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood), especially 15th Century Flemish artists, acted as a basis of inspiration for their own works. This influence is clear, as their style was defined by simple linework and large areas of canvas rendered with brilliant colour, all render with immense detail and precision. 

Ophelia by John Everett Millais is an excellent example of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood’s usage of literature as a source of inspiration, as well as the immense detail which the style required. (photo taken from

Themes of death and love were among their favourite to depict, and they heavily drew off from literature. In the group’s beginning, religious scenes such as biblical stories were common themes. However, Arthurian legends, Shakespeare’s plays, and medieval romances were also sources of inspiration.


However, after some trials and tribulations (ruthless criticism from their first exhibit in 1850 and then praise from the art critic John Ruskin)the movement began to dissolve, with Woolner immigration to Australia (1852), and Hunt’s trip to the Holy Land in order to better paint religious scenes. The movement was formally ended when Millais to the appointed to Royal Academy in 1853.

William Holman Hunt - A Converted British Family.jpg
A Converted British Family Sheltering a Christian Priest by William Holman Hunt (photo taken from
John Everett Millais - Christ in the House of His Parents (`The Carpenter's Shop') - Google Art Project.jpg
John Everett’s Millais’s Christ in the House of his Parents (photo taken from

(These two paintings were shown to the Royal Academy among others  in 1849, and were ruthlessly criticised by Charles Dickens, who claimed they more clearly  resembled a medieval manuscript than art. In response, Collinson resigned and Rossetti decided to no longer publicity exhibit his work.)

The movement lasted only five years, yet its impact can not be understated. Its seven members all became successful in an industry which first ruthless criticized their work. Additionally, its existence laid the foundation for other art movements. For example, it was one of the first groups to consider painting outside in nature to fully capture the details that was necessary for the realism they wanted to achieve. This was a milestone in art, and paved the road for other art movements to build upon. Another milestone technique they perfected was the

And in the end, Millais was appointed to the Royal Academy, which means that the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood did indeed achieve its goal ; to reform art and its philosophy.  

Neoclassicism, Romanticism, and Rococo – Theodore Gericault (Week 5, blogpost 4)

Théodore Géricault by Alexandre Colin 1816.jpg
Portrait of Théodore Géricault by Alexandre-Marie Colin, 1816

Théodore Géricault born on the 16th of November 1791 was a French artist who despite his short lifespan (dying in 1824) had a remarkable impact on 19th century art, and is considered a pioneer of the Romantic movement.

In total, he only had three years of formal art education, having been trained in English sporting art by Carle Vernet and Pierre-Narcisse Guérin. Afterwards he set to France to study the old masters on his own, by copying artwork in the Louvre. He continued this way from 1810 to 1815, absorbing the techniques of various artists such as Rubens. From 1816-1817 he visited Florence where he similarly studied classical art, being particularly influenced by Baroque art and Michelangelo.

For example, his first major success “The Charging Chasseur” painted in 1812 clearly shows influence from Rubens colorist style as well as an a contemporary subject matter. This painting would mark the beginning of many more works with the subject matter of horses, which he seemed like to like a lot.

The Charging Chasseur, 1812 shows influence from Ruben’s style

However, Géricault is most well remembered for his The Raft of the Medusa” for its sharp political commentary and its unflinching take on the event. It was highly controversial in France for it appointed blame to the French Government, but received much attention nonetheless. Géricault was disappointed with the paintings reception and went to England where it was met with the success he desired. Like the rest of his works, The Medusa was highly highly contemporary. Throughout his works Géricault demonstrated an uncharacteristically keen eye for detail and the Medusa was no exception. Géricault even studied a model of a raft and rotting cadavers in preparation for the piece. This piece marked a turning point in romanticism and helped it prevail against neoclassicism.

The Raft of the Medusa, 1819


  • Théodore Géricault.” The Art Story, The Art Story Foundation, Accessed 2 Oct.

  1. “Theodore Gericault.”
    Britannica, 22 Sept. 2018,

    Theodore-Gericault. Accessed 2 Oct. 2018.


  • “Theodore Gericault.” The J. Paul Getty Museum, J. Paul Getty Trust,

    Accessed 2 Oct. 2018.


All photographs are taken from wikipedia.

Survey 5 – Block Books and Baroque (1450-1750)

Lecture Summary Block Books and Baroque (1450-1750)

In this week’s lecture we focused on the agest between 1450 and 1750, a span of three hundred years included a variety of time periods of immense progress in various areas. The renaissance brought on the renewal of the Greek and Roman classics which drove investigations in architecture and human anatomy. The Greek and Roman classics acted as anew foundation for the growth and renewal of many subjects, not just limited to the ones I listed, typography, for example was greatly influenced by the renaissance. Humanism which began to develop at the same time, also pushed people to make scientific discoveries as they looked for their own answers instead of looking to the Church. Even past the renaissance science began developing at breakneck speed with critical discoveries from Galileo, Sir Isaac Newton to name a few. For example, The scientific Revolution(beginning with Nicolaus Copernicus) and the Age of Enlightenment created a demand a place for scientific books to be published. In turn, it also created the genre of scientific illustration. Essentially, science this period of time was crucial to many scientific discoveries which we take for granted.

My group (which focused on science and technology) found this span of time particularly easy to consider. Science is an incredibly broad subject, and we chose to narrow our research down to biology. Advancements in biology began in the renaissance with the work of Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo and continued throughout this time period.

Research – Discovery of microorganism


Image result for antoni van leeuwenhoek google doodle artist
Google’s “google doodle” celebrating Leeywenhoek’s 384th birthday (photo taken from

While the science of microbiology is a relatively new science, having had about only one hundred fifty years of applicable history, its origins are much older. The foundations of microbiology, bacteriology and protozoology were built in the 1600’s by a man found by a man who had no intent of finding them.

The credit of discovering the first microorganisms goes largely to a Dutch man by the name of Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. He was the first to declare the existence of life which was not visible to the naked eye. Many modern day microbiologist argue that his work with microorganisms build the foundations of the science.  Leeuwenhoek was no scientist, by profession he was draper,and it is evident that fact is evident in all of his work. He had a notable interest in lens making, however most of this came from necessity. Originally his lenses were made with the sole purpose of of examining small pieces of thread. And yet, in 1644 when he looked into his microscope (which had magnification between x30 and x226) he observed protozoa which he had isolated from various different sources (including rainwater, well and pond water, intestines, and the human mouth). He dubbed the microscopic organisms “animalcules’, the word protozoa would not be used until much later.


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Leeuwenhoek’s self made microscope (photo taken from


As amazing as his discovery was, his research was anything but scientific , especially in organization (or better said a lack of organization).However, he demonstrated unparalleled skills of observation, as he is credited with given the first correct report of microorganisms ( although this information would have no practical application until later).


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Some of Leeuwenhoek’s illustrations of microorganisms

In 1676 Leeuwenhoek submitted his discovery to the Royal Society in London where they were later published in the group’s book “Philosophical transactions”. In later years he ___ a letter to the Royal society which detailed the various microbiological investigations he carried out. These letters where published in 1684 and contained the first illustrations of bacteria. He specifically illustrated microorganisms such as bacilli streptococci, volvox, vorticella and euglena.. Amazing enough, these illustrations are still viable and extraordinarily accurate.  Other discoveries he made at roughly the same time include his observations of free-living protozoa (which include various species of paramecium), the first parasitic protozoa and the discovery of Giardia Lamblia.

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Robert Hooke’s “Micrographia” published in 1655 (photo taken from Wikipedia)

While Leeuwenhoek was the first to illustrate bacteria, Robert Hooke was the first to illustrate filamentous microscopic fungi. Robert Hooke was a man of many talents, as he was an astronomer, map maker, architect, and a biologist. He was the first person to use the microscope in an academic study, which was crucial to the Leeuwenhoek’s discovery. In 1655 (21 years before Leeuwenhoek’s publication) he published the first book about microbiology entitled “Micrographia” which introduced the topic of microbiology to the world (however it did not document any microorganisms).



Works Cited

  • “Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek.” Britannica, Britiannica, 22 Aug. 2018, Accessed 4 Oct. 2018.
  • “A Brief History of Microbiology.” Cliffnotes, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Accessed 4 Oct. 2018.
  • “Introduction to Microbiology.” Lumen, Accessed 4 Oct. 2018.
  • Wainwright, Milton, and Joshua Lederberg. “History of Microbiolog.” The Joshua Lederberg Papers, pp. 1-19. US Nation Library of Medicine, Accessed 4 Oct. 2018.