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Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Romantics

The Yale Art Gallery  has every style and form imaginable, more or less, under it’s awesome old ‘sock drawer,’ by way of neo-Florentine Gothic and Ruskinian Gothic roofs.

Jen and I could’ve wandered there forever. OK -- no. After a couple of hours serious gallery exhaustion hits. There’s only so much ‘holy fuckin’ wow’ I can experience in one day. This is the best, most comprehensive yet small-ish, museum I’ve ever been to. Ever! Check out the New York Times article. Go to the Yale Art Gallery site. Then go visit the joint. It’s mind bending.

My art likes cover a lot of ground. The romantics (not necessarily to be confused with The Romantics and What I Like About You. I guess) are appealing in the same way as Pierre Marcolini chocolates, 2010 Melville Pinot Noir and Raw Silk Kurta Pajamas. You know -- luxurious, a wee bit decadent and their beauty inspires fits of weeping.

I first saw Lawrence Alma-Tadema's work at, can ya believe it, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. they have a piece of his in their permanent collection but, eons ago, they had a huge special exhibit.

Alma-Tadema was big with the pre-raphaelites, like Dante Gabriel Rossetti.  Later in life they saw the rise of the Postimpressionists, the Fauves and Cubism. The DFH's of their time.

Alma-Tadema was distinctly unthrilled.

Of course. He was of the establishment, the Academy that all these hot new painter dudes were rebelling against. All that romanticism was anathema to the Rousseaus, Matisses and Gaugins of the day
He was declared "the worst painter of the 19th century" by John Ruskin, and one critic even remarked that his paintings were "about worthy enough to adorn bourbon boxes."
and now he’s loved again.  To paraphrase the great Arlo Guthrieif you wait, everything’ll come around again and this time with four part harmony and feeling.

Related in romanticism is The Hudson River School and boyhowdy, Yale has some sweet ones!
The Hudson River School was America's first true artistic fraternity. Its name was coined to identify a group of New York City-based landscape painters that emerged about 1850 under the influence of the English émigré Thomas Cole (1801–1848) and flourished until about the time of the Centennial.
The Yale Art Gallery has works by Bierstadt, Frederic Church, Edmund Coates, Thomas Cole and Sanford Robinson Gifford.

Utterly and stunningly breathtaking. Pass the Pierre Marcolini please.

Styles change, fashion shifts, the world grows and evolves. The Bonnards, Degas’ and Hoppers of the day move in with their own tremendous visions.




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