Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Day at the Art Museum

Today was a free day at the Denver Art Museum, so I took the light rail downtown (half-price fare for senior citizens, hurrah!) to see the exhibit on Renaissance Venetian painters.

My favorite painting was Virgin and Child with Saints and Donor by Carlo Crivelli (1430/1435 - 1495) from about 1490.

Exhibit caption:  "Although active in central Italy for most of his career, Crivelli continued to sign himself "venerus" (Venetian), a proud reference to the city of his birth and early training.  In this panel, Crivelli places the Virgin and Child between Saints Francis and Bernardino of Siena, while the small figure of the donor who commissioned the painting kneels in adoration.  Still influenced by a late Gothic decorative taste, Crivelli dazzles the viewer with his illusionistic skills, effortlessly rendering at the same time the transparency of Christ's undergarment and the smooth hardness of variegated marble."

I especially like the Virgin's expression.  She is not a woman to be trifled with.

Another wonderful painting was The Annunciation by Vittore Carpaccio (1465 - 1525/1526).

Exhibit caption: "Vittore Carpaccio shows the influence of Netherlandish art in the domestic interior of the Virgin's chamber in the Annunciation.  Details such as the open book on a ledge, or the curtain drawn to reveal Mary's tidy (and thus virginal) bed, echo the carefully described interiors found in Northern European art and highlight the artist's fondness for narrative scenes."

There are many things to appreciate in this 1504 painting.  I especially like the Holy Spirit coming down from heaven in the form of a supersonic dove.  Also, Gabriel's striped wings are sporty.  Mary appears to take it all in stride.

In addition to viewing the Renaissance art, I had a look at the art museum's exhibit on pre-columbian art.  I saw this strange figure.

Exhibit caption:  "Incense Burner with Fantastic Reptile.  Potosi Applique style, about A.D. 500-800, Costa Rica or Nicaragua, Greater Nicoya region earthenware."

"Fantastic Reptile" my foot!  The wheels and gears are the unmistakable record of an ancient invasion of alien lizard robots.  Who knows when they will come again?  Mankind, you have been warned!

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