WTF Art History

For everyone interested in art history who has asked, WTF?

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  1. Picabia: Transparent but Veiled

    From 1927 until the early 1930s, Francis Picabia created an entirely original series of paintings known as Transparencies.  Preceded by Dada and Cubism and contemporary with Surrealism, Picabia’s Transparencies offer a unique dialogue between modern art and antiquity.  This theme is explored in the exhibition Modern Antiquity: Picasso, De Chirico, Léger, and Picabia at the Getty Villa, Los Angeles (November 2, 2011-January 16, 2012).  For those art history buffs out there, can you recognize which ancient sculpture inspired Picabia’s painting Adam and Eve below?  Hint:  It has nothing to do with Adam and Eve.

    Fancis Picabia, Adam and Ever, about 1931, oil on canvas.  Private collection. © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, ParisFancis Picabia, Adam and Ever, about 1931, oil on canvas.  Private collection. © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

    Hopefully you guessed the Orestes and Elektra group, a Roman Imperial work of the 1st century A.D. that was created in imitation of the Severe Style of the 5th century B.C.  Trying to remember the relationship between Roman copies of Greek originals is WTF enough!  Does anyone else think that the figures look like two dudes (with breasts tacked onto the one on the right of course)?

    Orestes and Elektra, Roman, 1st century A.D., marble.  Museo Archeologico Nazionale, NaplesOrestes and Elektra, Roman, 1st century A.D., marble.  Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples

    Here they are side-by-side so you can see the relationship more clearly.

    Orestes and Elektra, Roman, 1st century A.D., marble.  Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples  Fancis Picabia, Adam and Ever, about 1931, oil on canvas.  Private collection. © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

    If you like Picabia, then check out this website dedicated to him.

     
     
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