Final week! This month it graced the cover of Artforum, and this week will be your last chance to see it: “Michael Snow: Photo-Centric,” a survey of the Canadian artist’s photography-based work.
Artforum April 2014 cover
“In Medias Res,” 1998, by Michael Snow (Centre National des Arts Plastiques—Ministry of Culture and Communication, France)
Happy birthday to American painter Max Weber (1881–1961). Born in Russia, raised in Brooklyn, Weber headed to Paris in 1905 and immersed himself in the city’s avant-garde, absorbing the work of Rousseau, Matisse, and Picasso. When he returned to the US in 1909, he became a major figure in introducing Cubism to a skeptical (at first) American public. This canvas from 1911 speaks to the revolutionary impact Cézanne had on Weber and his generation of artists.
“Group of Figures,” 1911, by Max Weber
Forget Throwback Thursday—today is Maundy Thursday, which commemorates the final meal Jesus shared with his apostles in Jerusalem prior to his crucifixion. One of the most represented biblical events in art history, the Last Supper is the scene in which Jesus predicts his betrayal and Peter’s denial, and is also the scriptural source for the Eucharist, or Holy Communion.
See other versions of the Last Supper in our collection.
“The Last Supper,“1578, by Cornelis Cort (after Livio Agresti)
Celebrate the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare next Wednesday, and get a sneak preview of our Summer of Shakespeare! Decorate your neck by making a ruff. Check out a sword-fight performance by Revolution Shakespeare. Oh, yes—there will be cake!
“Night Battle” (plate from William Shakespeare’s “Henry IV”), 1785, by Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki
A very happy birthday to John Chamberlain, born on this day in 1927. Chamberlain was a remarkable sculptor who combined the worlds of painting and poetry in his sculptures made of discarded sheet metal. In this piece, he sandblasted the metal to achieve the bright colors, and then fitted the large, twisted sheets together.
“Glossalia Adagio,” 1984, by John Chamberlain (© John Chamberlain/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)
The history of nude sculptures in America is a complex one. Victorian-era Americans clung to their deep Puritan roots well into the 1800s, essentially requiring artists to provide explicit written explanations on how to interpret nude statues in a moral and chaste way. Hiram Powers, keenly aware of the strict social mores of his audience, did just that when he introduced his famous sculpture, “The Greek Slave,” in 1844.
Here you see a bust of the original full-bodied work carved in white marble; this medium, preferred for nude sculptures at the time, disallowed for indecent thoughts and ultimately promoted two female ideas: purity and virginity. An account of Turkish slavery during warfare, the statue also communicates Powers’s powerful feminist and abolitionist ideals during a time when gender inequality still plagued American society.
”Bust of ‘The Greek Slave,’ ” 1846–73, by Hiram Powers
See more of Powers’s work here.
Happy birthday to Charles Willson Peale (1741–1827), patriarch of the highly artistic Peale family. Full of American playfulness, this trompe l’oeil (French for “deceive the eye”) shows two of the artist’s sons, Raphaelle and Titian, heading up to the family’s attic to scratch their creative itch. Raphael holds a palette, brushes, and mahlstick as he looks back out of the real wooden doorway. Charles Willson Peale purportedly did such a great job that he even pulled the wool over the eyes of his friend George Washington, who tipped his hat hello at the youngsters during a visit to the home.
You can stop by and meet the boys in gallery 107, in our American Art wing.
”Staircase Group (Portrait of Raphaelle Peale and Titian Ramsay Peale I)" 1795, by Charles Willson Peale
See more of Charles Willson Peale’s work here.