Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Six Hundred Years of Western Civilization

Berlin Master of Mary of Burgundy,
"Triumph of David" from a Book of Hours
c. 1490

Here are two pieces
 - both on temporary display at the Art Institute of Chicago -
 that offer a nice opportunity to contemplate
the passage of time in our civilization.
By the way -- I really like both of them

Mary of Burgundy was the great-great granddaughter of Philip the Bold - whose brother, Jean Du Berry, lent his name to those rapturous Tres Riche Heures.

This is such a sweet, humorous, and startling miniature.  It illustrates a Biblical story - but it feels so sophisticated and courtly. It must have been intended to entertain the ducal children.

It certainly entertains me.

Willem De Kooning , "Interchange" (1955)




DeKooning painted this five years after "Excavation" (1950) and twenty years before "Untitled XI" (1975) -- both of which are in the permanent collection of the Art Institute.

"Excavation" is better known --but it feels dull, ugly, and depressing.
"Unknown XI" is much prettier -- but if  you want pretty - so many other painters are much better.
"Interchange" is somewhere in between -- and it's my favorite.


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