Friday, April 20, 2018

April 20 IFJM A Sampling of Giorgio Vasari's Most Valuable Players






April 20 Friday 

Through the eyes of our first Art Historian, Giorgio Vasari.

Every painting in this exhibit was viewed, admired and critiqued by Giogrio Vasari almost 500 years ago. This sampling is just a small number from his 10 volume book called THE LIVES OF MOST EXCELLENT PAINTERS, SCULPTORS AND ARCHITECTS. He himself was not only a painter, but a sculptor and architect as well. He is considered not only the father of art history, but a a true 
renaissance man.


Well this is the beginning of the writing for the introduction essay to this exhibit. I have lots more writing to do. But at least I have the first paragraph started. And then on the next wall I want place a time line.

I can't decide if I am going to use this graphic above or a less readable but more detailed version like the one below. What do you think? On a huge wall I could make the fonts way bigger and more readable. What really struck me in the chart below is the variety of life spans. Some people live twice as long as others. And in the context of hundreds of years....well my own life spans feels kinda irrelevant. I so much want to make the most of it.  Izzy 2018



Thursday, April 19, 2018

April 19 IFJM The Marriage of the Virgin

This is a sketch from The Marriage of a Virgin



The Marriage of the Virgin 
by Raphael
circa 1504
on loan from the Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan




This painting is part of an altarpiece created for the Franciscan Church of San Francesco Citta di Castello, Italy. I thought it an interesting choice to paint people milling around in the background while this famous union takes place in the foreground. While the characters on either side seem to be calm they also seem somewhat resigned that they are not the ones getting married. 

The pointy hats in the background beg for more research? I colored them so we could see how they point towards the heavens. I don't know if that was a new style or is steeped in meaning.   Joseph is the only one who is barefoot. Is there a hidden meaning to that as well? If I were in art school I could type ten double spaced pages on this one! Back and front!! But there is much to do and my visit and so study on this new acquisition will be short. Perhaps in May, during the exhibit I can revisit and sketch some more. 

My personal take on this particular marriage symbolic. Marriage is a venue in which we can experience the melding of the divine and earthly. Like the animal kingdom, we mate, yes, but the ultimate promise is to love one another in the hopes of opening that love to others, and all of life.

I am quite grateful that my Zoeland friends will have an opportunity to visit these masterpieces. It will be a wonderful conversation starter





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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

April 18 IFJM The Baptism of Christ

Sketching Verrocchio Today


My sketch was fun to draw  I can see that I didn’t have John the Baptist leaning enough inwards. But I do like the way his wrap turned out.  I used a light pencil to get the proportions correct before diving in with the black pen. The pencil really helped. I know I was going to try to give up on the pencil, but with these later period pieces, I feel it is a must to try and get the proportions correct. 


The Baptism of Christ
By Adrea del Verrocchio
with help from his student Leonardo da Vinci
circa 1472-1475
On loan from the Uffizi Museum in Italy



Leonardo da Vinci was in his early 20’s when asked to help paint this one. He is thought to have worked on the back ground landscape, the trees and the young boy on the far left of the painting.  The boys pose was usual for paintings during this period but will be seen more as Leonardo continues to blossom into a master painter.




Meanwhile, the f RSVP for the Gala Opening are coming in!  The excitement is building! Cindy is working on a special design for my outfit. I have no idea what she is up to. We plan to meet early next week. 






Tuesday, April 17, 2018

April 17 IFJM Did I plan for everything?




Julio is just finishing up the glass display case for "Visconti Semideus." He thinks I should have a few blue viper sculptures in the case as well, lest anyone forget about the tactical recommendations delineated in the book. I'll have to get Zoey in on the project!




I have also sketched out the layout and flow of the exhibit which is going to be in the Olmsted Wing. This wing was a generous endowment of the arts by great philanthropist, Steven B. Olmsted. He was an  admirer of Frank Lloyd Wright as well as old and rare books.

Now I really have to get to making a long list to make sure this exhibit doesn't flop.

Monday, April 16, 2018

April 16 IFJM An Invitation to the Gala Opening!

Through the eyes of our first art historian...Giorgio Vasari



The invitations to the Gala Opening are in the mail! At very least Zoey, Julio and Cindy know about the up and coming exhibit. And although  know word travels fast in a small town, I don't know who else knows about this. So invitation are in going to each and every person with an address in Zoeland. Something tells me that people need to be invited personally. 

Cindy and I worked on the concept but then Cindy created the post card. Isn't it scrumptious? I love the soft colors and very bold eye that just draws you in. She is such a love!

And Cindy, who also designs the dresses in town has offered to help with ball gown orders. I think I am going to ask for a green and yellow dress that matches the eyes of the post card.

 I am not sure how to tell my friends to dress up! But it's time to make a fuss. This exhibit is the best thing to every happen in this town. To pull this off , I am calling Chris the newspaper reporter start a rumor about what I am wearing. Maybe it is time for a plunging neckline! Nothing like a little town gossip to stir up interest.





Sunday, April 15, 2018

April 15 IFJM The Visconti Semideus

 Fed Ex delivered today's package directly from Russia! It has quite a history and I am so excited it can end up in my museum for a few weeks.

Julio is coming over to construct a glass display case that can sit in the middle of the room. Then, I will need to choose which page to leave open. Argh, that will be tough.

Here is a sketch of the cover. The actual book will remain in the packaging until the glass display case is built.



I first read about this manuscript from a book by Christopher de Hamel called "Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts, Twelve journeys into the Medieval World" circa 2016.

The Visconti Semi Deus is a practical treatise for princes on armaments and warfare, composed by a humanist and lawyer. His name was Cantone Sacco and was from a city near Milan called Pavia. He wrote it for Filippo Maria Visconti who was to become the Duke of Milan.

In it he explains methods for doing battle on the high seas. A handbook that is quite useful for the princes studying about how to keep their kingdom safe from invaders. One such story is about putting venomous snakes in pottery and then throwing them on to your enemy's ships in the hope that the pottery breaks and the snakes go about biting the sailors! 

This book made it into several hands over the years and I have taken the following notes to detail the books journey's over the centuries finally arriving to Russia. 





Saturday, April 14, 2018

April 14 IFJM The Nativity


And here is my sketch of the visiting angels






 found in

The Nativity
circa 1460
Piero della Francesco
B 1416  D 1492

On loan from the National Gallery, London







This was most probably his last work and it might be unfinished at that. Also, some damage may have occurred during a cleaning in the 19th century.

Here places Jesus in humble surroundings and includes both a landscape and cityscape in the back ground. It sits in great contrast to Lorenzo Monaco's Adoration of the Magi in 1422, where opulence was the order of the day. 

This painting was completed decades later and you can a new style emerging.




Here is a wonderful write up on this painting



Friday, April 13, 2018

April 13 IFJM The Bjorn Museum



April 13,

I headed outside for lunch and to enjoy a little time sketching my Museum. The grass is still a little wet after the morning rain and I notice a bird nesting under the eaves. I’m pretty sure they are swifts. This building was designed by Frank Loyd Wright. But he was never to see it built as he died in 1959. The plans were drawn for this space but my grandfather also died before the project could begin.  It was my father who had it built this in 70’s and so I lived in it for much of my childhood. After he died in 1993, I didn’t have the means to keep it as a family home so I turned to art patrons who have helped me convert the space into to a museum for everyone to enjoy. Sometimes I wish I had never never changed my married name to McDougal as Izzy Bjorn packs such a punch. But at least my my initials are IBM and well that has nice heft to it. So it all works out.

I thank my lucky stars for the contributors that keep this museum running. There are so many heros in the background of life. Our common goal of preserving beauty is what its all about. 



Below is a sketch of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright from a famous photograph.





Okay back work as there is so much to do before the gala opening!  Izzy Bjorn McDougal 2018

Thursday, April 12, 2018

April 12 IFJM The Last Judgement in Initial C


The Last Judgement in Initial C
 A Miniature from a 20 Volume set of Choir Books 
Created for 
The Camaldolese Convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli, Florence
 It was 135 years in the making
1370-1505 AD 




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An eye for eye, tooth for a tooth. "It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye." Jesus said this in 30 AD. Ok I am paraphrasing, but you get the idea. 
There is everlasting peace for those who believe in love and compassion, even for our enemies. That is what this illustration is alluding to.

According to the sixteenth-century biographer Giorgio Vasari these illuminated texts were the most beautiful in all of Italy.  He even contemplated taking them for the Basilica of Saint Peter’s. as even Pope Leo admired them.

This pages has the  initial C on it which represents one of the responses for the celebration of the Office of the Dead. (who knew the dead had an office? I must look into other translation of this word) 


The response in latin

Credo quod redemptor meus vivit, et novissimo die terra resurrecturus sum, et in carnee mea videbo Deum, Salvatorem meum


The response in English

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 I believe that my Redeemer lives, and that on the last day I shall rise from the earth and in my flesh I shall see God, my Savior.

This song continues to be sung by the young and old in choirs all over the world.