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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Georges-de-La-Tour-Nativity

Merry Christmas!

Dear friends and readers, All my best wishes of a spiritual, peaceful and joyful holiday. As for me, I will brave the snows of this unusually harsh winter (yes, Paris and its region are still blanketed in white) to join my family for the occasion. I wish to share with you this beautiful Nativity by […]

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Luigi-Loir-Paris-snow

Paris under the snow…

This year we did not even wait until December to find Paris and much of Northern France under a thick coat of snow. Traffic is totally gridlocked in and around the capital. This promises us a harsh winter, and a white Christmas! I love this very evocative painting by French artist Luigi Loir (late 19th-early […]

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Meet Saint Nicholas

Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, born in the year 270 into a wealthy Greek family of modern-day Turkey. The veneration for his memory was such that his bones were stolen by adventurous sailors from his original tomb in the Church of Myra in 1087 and brought to Bari, in Italy, […]

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chrysanthemums-James-Tissot

Chrysanthemums and French painters

They have no fragrance, but they are among the last flowers of the season. Imports from China, symbols of imperial Japan, blossoms of gold, flowers of the dead, they are one of my favorites. I am not alone, of course, and they have inspired painters, in particular in France. Let’s begin with James Tissot, who […]

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Salvator-Rosa-allegory-of-poetry

Salvator Rosa, painter of witches, bandits and allegories

Salvator Rosa, a 17th century Italian painter, should be better known. Judge for yourself… Innovative, provocative, disturbing, haunting, macabre… one cannot remain indifferent to Salvator Rosa’s art. See for instance this allegory of Poetry. The dark palette, stark, almost neutral background, brooding expression of the model create a powerful image. So does this self-portrait of […]

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A great voice silenced: Dame Joan Sutherland

I still remember hearing her for the first time, on television. What an impression she made on the child I was then… Listen to her, with Marilyn Horne, in the magical Duo des Fleurs, from Delibes’s Lakmé

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Murakami-Versailles-Hall-of-Mirrors

Manga at Versailles: the Murakami exhibition

After the Jeff Koons exhibition in 2008, it seems that the Grands Appartements at Versailles are destined to showcase contemporary art. This fall, starting September 14, it will be the turn of Japanese artist Takashi Murakami to exhibit there. Mr. Murakami’s art, with which I was not heretofore familiar, is strongly influenced by manga and […]

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Vigee-Lebrun-Lady-Hamilton-as-the-Persian-Sibyl

Emma, Lady Hamilton, seen by Louise-Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun

I enjoy following Louise-Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, one the most famous and successful portraitists of her time, to the private apartments of Queen Marie-Antoinette at Versailles, to Regency England, or to the salons of Napoléon’s sisters. Today we will accompany Madame Vigée-Lebrun to Italy, where she emigrated as early as 1789, at the onset of the French […]

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renoir-le-dejeuner-des-canotiers

Happy birthday to the United States, and to me!

One thing I have missed since leaving the United States is the fireworks on my birthday. My son used to think it was a appropriate way for the entire country to celebrate my achievements. Now he knows better… Don’t cry for me, though. I celebrated with a wonderful lunch on the Ile Saint-Germain, one of […]

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Louise-Elisabeth-Vigee-Lebrun-self-portrait

Madame Vigée-Lebrun, Regency England and Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

Frequent visitors to Versailles and more have become familiar with Louise-Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, one of the most successful painters of her time and Marie-Antoinette’s favorite portraitist. Madame Lebrun left France as early as October 1789, after the royal family relocated, much against their wishes, to the Tuileries. She traveled extensively in search of new patrons, in […]

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