Tackle

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Image courtesy of Chris Cosnowski

This oil on panel from 2014 by Chris Cosnowski represents an American Football trophy.  It is a theme very recurrent in Cosnowski’s work, which focuses a lot on American culture and the meritocracy. His reflection goes into the symbolic of the trophy, how it aims to be grand and metallic but is in fact only a small plastic figurine; so basically an illusion. I think the idea of the illusion works well because his paintings are also very good at creating this sensation thanks to his great technical skills in depicting metal (or in fact, gilded plastic).

If you’d like to check out some more of his work, this is his website.

Mummy Portrait of a Man

Image courtesy of the Chicago Art Institute

This mummy portrait was found in Fayum, Egypt (as were many others), and dates back to the second century A.D. It belongs to the collection of the Chicago Art Institute but isn’t currently on display.

Mummy portraits start showing up in Egypt by the Roman period. It’s a trend that lasts about 200 years. These portraits, as you may have already guessed, were included in the mummy of people. Studies were done to evaluate how realistic they were, using techniques of facial surgery, and it turns out that these portraits are generally quite accurate in their depictions.

Usually, these portraits were painted on wooden boards using pigments, wax, and gold leaf. Some of them can be dated by the hairstyles of fashion and jewelry represented on them (because typology is awesome like that).

Ibis Figurine

Image courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts

I saw this cute Ibis figurine on display when I visited the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Don’t let the picture fool you, it is actually only 3cm tall. This figurine is made of gold and two different tones of blue copper enamels. It dates back to the 4th century B.C.E (during the Ptolemaic period), and may come from Alexandria.

The Ibis was an important symbol in Ancient Egypt; as it was one of the forms that the god Thot took, and the hieroglyph that represented him. Thot was the god of learning, knowlege, culture, and the arts. There are many known depictions of ibises as well as some mummies  all over Egypt, going as far back as the Middle Kingdom.

Anthropométrie Sans Titre

Image courtesy of MAMAC

Today is Bastille day, so I thought I would pay tribute to a great French artist, Yves Klein. He is mainly famous for creating this shade of blue which is now named after him; but he was a great lover of color in general and he notably worked with gold and pink too.

This is my favorite painting of his. It is part of the Anthropométries series, which is possibly one of his most famous ones. For this series he asked nude female models to cover themselves in paint and imprint their silhouettes on the canvases. This series was realized in 1960. What I love the most about this painting is how well the gold and the blue complete each other. It’s like each color enhances the other.

This work is exhibited at the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain in Nice, along with a few other of Klein’s pieces.

Nefertum

Image courtesy of Sara Golish

Nefertum is one of the ten Sun goddesses illustrated by Canadian artist Sara Golish for her Sundust series (which you can take a look at here). This series is a project centered around the theme of the Summer solstice (June 21), a date celebrated in many cultures. Here, the artist focuses on Africa, and the striking lack of female sun-deities there. She depicts ten female sun goddesses as a response to this ; and as a vision of the future embodying fertility and light.

This collection is amazing, and you can buy the prints on Golish’s website (over here). Make sure you also look at the rest of her work and stay in touch for updates because I’m following her progress.

Paco Rabanne Spring-Summer 1991

Image courtesy of 90sfashion

We often hear nowadays that the nineties were an era of fashion missteps if not disasters. I beg to differ. Of course, Paco Rabanne has been creating metallic dresses since the 1960s, when he started his brand with the iconic collection “12 Unwearable Dresses”, but to me this is one of his most epic and glorious metallic creations. I honestly don’t know why it’s so underrated and little known. I wish I could give you more details about the collection and this particular piece but all I can do is post a picture of the front of the dress and let you admire the amazing metallic details.

Image courtesy of Corbis

Crown of Recesvinto

Image courtesy of Spainculture

This crown is part of the treasure of Gurazzar, a collection of votive crowns and crosses dating back to the Visigoth period in Gurazzar, near Toledo, Spain. This particular piece is now exhibited at the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid and dates back to 663 A.D. It is made of gold,decorated with blue gemstones; and has letters spelling Recesvinto’s name hanging around the base of the crown. This is a testimony to the fact that he was the one who offered it to the church. The whole treasure shows the influence of Byzantine art on Spanish culture during the 7th century, and you can admire parts of it at the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid, the Royal Palace of Madrid, and the Cluny Museum in Paris.