Episode #18: Diagnosis: Art History by Jennifer Dasal

Over the centuries, there have been numerous examples of fine artists creating works of art that deliberately work with and within contemporaneous medical thought, portraying people with particular ailments or diseases. But what about if we turn that concept around a little bit? What happens when those in the medical field turn to paintings or sculptures from the past and retroactively investigate the health of the individuals depicted therein? What happens when art history turns into a diagnosis?                

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Want more art-historical goodness? Check out the links below:

Boston Globe: Monet? Gaugin? Using Art to Make Better Doctors

New York Times: Studying Art with the Eye of a Physician

Wall Street Journal: Doctors Enlist Paintings to Hone Skills

The Guardian: The Fine Art of Medical Diagnosis

The Guardian: Did the Mona Lisa Have Syphilis?

Episode #17: The Casino of the Spirits by Jennifer Dasal

Venice-- it's the most serene and beautiful city in Italy, and possibly the whole world. But Venice at night-- all darkened and quiet-- takes up the most space in my imagination. I seriously love the depictions of Venice as enigmatic, shadowy, and even dangerous. Without cars or streetlights or other modern comforts, you might feel like you’ve stepped back in time and that around any given corner, you could find… anything. All of this lends Venice this air of inscrutability and mystery. And over time, locals and visitors alike have reveled in this sensation as fodder for myth-making and storytelling. Some stories really stick, lasting for centuries and becoming embedded into the city itself, through its buildings, monuments, and specific locations. And there’s one building that has had plenty of legends built around it. This particular elegant structure had an illustrious past, having once been a meeting place where Italian Renaissance artists discussed their craft, caroused, and gambled. But it’s also the location where relationships soured, crimes were committed, and death inevitably followed. Today, some people won’t even enter this particular building because it is feared to be haunted, cursed… or both.

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Want more art-historical goodness? Check out the links below:

Glory of Venice exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of Art

Read Vasari's take on Morto da Feltre

Wikipedia's Entry on Morto da Feltre

Mysterious Venice: The Casino of the Spirits (In Italian)

Italian Mysteries: Haunted Venice

 

Episode #16: The Muse by Jennifer Dasal

Sometimes when I am looking at a particularly fascinating work of art, I find myself overwhelmed with awe-- for the creative act itself and the technical prowess that was needed to bring it to fruition. I’ve often had those moments where I have thought to myself, “Wow. How did this all come about? What is the inspiration behind this piece?” And any conversation about inspiration in the arts inevitably brings up a discussion about muses. This episode looks at the relationship--and occasional romance-- between artists and their muses, with a particular emphasis on one woman whose connection to two brothers illustrates this exchange in a compelling way. 

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Want more art-historical goodness? Check out the links below:

Artventures Blog: Manet and Morisot: The Tale of Love and Sadness in the Portraits

Saper Galleries: The Women of Pablo Picasso

Huffington Post: Ten Amazing Female Artists and Their Male Muses

The Telegraph: Picasso's Muses

Projection Systems Blog: The Origin of Painting

Episode #15: Hans-Joachim Bohlmann and Serial Art Vandalism by Jennifer Dasal

A few months ago, I began looking into occurrences of art vandalism-- the purposeful destruction or harm of works of art that have occurred consistently, especially throughout the 20th century. As I read up, I saw that most of these events were one-offs: single moments where one person made a rash and ridiculous choice to lash out at a particular work of art. But then, I began to notice one name popping up over and over again- a German man who, over his lifetime, damaged over fifty works of art, creating a name for himself and a lasting impression on the art world. This episode, in a continuation of our Bigger Picture series, digs deeper into art attacks and examine the life and legacy of the vandal Hans-Joachim Bohlmann.

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Episode #14: Samuel F. B. Morse's Gallery of the Louvre by Jennifer Dasal

How many know that the inventor of the telegraph and co-creator of Morse code--Samuel F. B. Morse-- was a successful artist, too? And crazily enough, one of his paintings in particular, foreshadowed his interest in communication tools, providing the impetus for revolutionizing communication--and, indeed, the world as we know it. Listen in for details on Morse's masterpiece, Gallery of the Louvre.               

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If you're based in the Southern U.S., do not miss the exhibition Samuel F. B. Morse's Gallery of the Louvre and the Art of Invention at Reynolda House Museum of American Art. Buy your tickets here and check this site for further details! 

Want more art-historical goodness? Check out the links below:

The National Gallery of Art's exhibition page: with video, exhibition brochure, and more great info

The History Blog's Profile on Morse the Artist

Samuel Morse's Other Masterpiece: Smithsonian Magazine

Samuel Morse's Early Works

Six Things You May Not Know about Samuel Morse: History.com

Samuel Morse website for more details: Samuelmorse.net

                                                               

Episode #13: Diego and Frida, Part 2 by Jennifer Dasal

Glamour. Curiosity. Excitement. A love story for the ages. Such are the types of descriptors that you hear when you ponder the life and love of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Truly, in the pantheon of great artistic relationships, they are one of the top couples out there. And they had the great fortune, or whatever you want to call it, of living their exciting lives in front of the camera, as well as on canvas. Google them, and all kinds of lovey-dovey images come up-- images of Diego nuzzling Frida, images of them kissing, of her embracing him around his wide middle section. But what some people neglect, or possibly even forget, is that their relationship was by no means perfect. There were great ups, of course, but the downs? Incredible. Even Diego Rivera himself was aware of this fact, later writing, quote, “If I ever loved a woman, the more I loved her, the more I wanted to hurt her. Frida was the most obvious victim of this disgusting trait.” Harsh words. But would they always be that way?                       

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Want even MORE information? Check out the links below:

http://kcur.org/post/tempestuous-relationship-between-frida-kahlo-and-diego-rivera#stream/0

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/1995/09/frida-kahlo-diego-rivera-art-diary

Episode #12: Diego and Frida, Part 1 by Jennifer Dasal

There’s something a little strange about the pairing of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Certainly it’s the surprise of a pairing of seeming opposites, at least from a physical standpoint-- she the small, seductive, and somewhat frail painter whose subject matter referred to the most intimate sides of her own life; he, the large and somewhat brutish muralist whose large-scale works touched upon revolution and justice and larger issues of Mexican history. There’s almost a Beauty and the Beast quality there, and for many of us, the relationship between these two artists is just as intriguing as their creative output. And especially when it comes to Frida’s art, it’s very hard to separate their love from their artistic legacy. But how did it begin? And what is it about these two that makes them so fascinating, even 60 years later?

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Want even MORE information? Check out the links below:

http://kcur.org/post/tempestuous-relationship-between-frida-kahlo-and-diego-rivera#stream/0

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/1995/09/frida-kahlo-diego-rivera-art-diary

Episode #11: Art Attack! by Jennifer Dasal

Throughout art history, there have been multiple occasions where people have entered into a museum or gallery with the explicit intention of harming or outright destroying a work of art. And some of the most iconic and greatest works of art in the world have been the targets of these disastrous missions. The big question, though, is why? What motivates people into a full blown art-attack?   

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Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/artcuriouspod/                                                                  Twitter: https://twitter.com/artcuriouspod

Want even MORE information? Check out the links below:

The Top 12 Most Horribly Defaced Art Pieces of All Time

Art Abuse: 11 Vandalized Works of Art

Mugged: How the Mona Lisa was Attacked

Vatican Marks Anniversary of 1972 Attack on Michelangelo's Pieta

Whatever Happened to Laszlo Toth?

The Attack on the Pieta: An Archetypal Analysis (Access to JSTOR required)

Having an Art Attack: A Brief Look at Stendhal Syndrome

Stendhal Syndrome: Overdosing on Beautiful Art

Episode #10: When Statues Cry by Jennifer Dasal

Nearly ten years ago, my then-boyfriend, now husband, and I were backpacking through the Balkans region of Europe. After arriving in Bosnia, we opted to take a day trip to a small town called Medjugorje, in Herzegovina. We had heard that it was a popular place with tourists from all over the world, and we were eager to check it out. But what we didn't quite expect were the reasons why the town was so well-known. And the reasons are twofold: first, it was the location of a sighting in 1981 of the Virgin Mary, who was said to have appeared to a group of teenagers there. As such, the town became a holy pilgrimage site, particularly for Catholics around the world. Even though the vision of the Virgin hasn't been promoted or officially accepted by the Vatican, it hasn't stopped the flow of visitors clamoring for the chance to visit this seemingly holy place. In remembrance of the miraculous vision, a beautiful church was erected. And in the church’s garden, a bronze statue of the risen Christ was also placed.   But here's the further reason for the pilgrimage- since 2000, that statue has had a so-called weeping knee- miraculously producing a clear fluid each and every day for the last 16 years.

We saw this statue with our own eyes. We touched it, and we watched as dozens of people collected the clear fluid- not water, not oil, but something else- into souvenir bottles that were sold all over the town. Still, I didn't know what to think, or how to react. Was this statue for real? I think that belief and faith are beautiful, incredible things. But I also felt skeptical, too. I found myself torn in the middle- religious yet unbelieving, living in a gray area. But like Fox Mulder, I want to believe.

In honor of the holiday season, we are going to look into the phenomenon of the miraculous in art, focusing on weeping statues and bleeding icons.                                                                                                                                                                                  

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Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/artcuriouspod/                                                                  Twitter: https://twitter.com/artcuriouspod

Want even MORE information? Check out the links below:

The Mystery of the Weeping Statues

Science Debunks Miracle of Weeping Madonna

Mary Statue in California Appears to Weep Miraculous Tears

Miraculous Microbes: They Can Make Holy Statues "Bleed"-- and Can Be Deadly, Too

 

Episode #9: The CIA/AbEx Connection by Jennifer Dasal

If there is one thing that’s true in this world, it’s that there sure isn't a lack of conspiracy theories out there. Think about it: almost every big mystery or question has a slough of alternative explanations involving everything from Big Brother to the Illuminati to the Masons...and of course we can’t overlook aliens. Oswald wasn’t the lone gunman; the Apollo moon landing never happened and was filmed instead on a Hollywood sound stage; the government is hiding proof of alien life; the Mona Lisa on view at the Louvre is a fake.  Every day we might hear a new, wacky  theory, even in the art world, like how the CIA funneled money into the arts, towards revolutionary painters like Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, in order to fight the Cold War. Crazy, right? I mean, what a bizarre way to attempt to covertly bring down the Russians?

Except that this last one isn't a crazy conspiracy theory at all. It’s actually a true story of propaganda, secrets, lies, and fine art. The pen is mightier than the sword, the saying goes. Well, it turns out that the same could be said about the paintbrush.

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Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/artcuriouspod/                                                                Twitter: https://twitter.com/artcuriouspod

Want even MORE information? Check out the links below:

How the CIA Spent Secret Millions Turning Modern Art into a Cold War Arsenal

Unpopular Front

A Visit to the CIA's "Secret" Abstract Art Collection

BBC Culture: Was Modern Art a Weapon of the CIA?