The Secrets of Roentgen Writing Cabinet

Discover the hidden features and intricate interior of this cabinet.

One of the finest achievements of European furniture making, this cabinet is the most important product from Abraham (1711 – 1793) and David Roentgen’s (1743 – 1807) workshop. A writing cabinet crowned with a chiming clock, it features finely designed marquetry panels and elaborate mechanisms that allow for doors and drawers to be opened automatically at the touch of a button. Owned by King Frederick William II, the Berlin cabinet is uniquely remarkable for its ornate decoration, mechanical complexity, and sheer size.

This cabinet is from Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, and is on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the exhibition Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens: http://www.metmuseum.org/en/exhibitions/listings/2012/roentgen

Footage courtesy of VideoART GmbH and Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

The Secret Victorian Language of Flowers (Hyperallergic)

by Allison Meier on May 30, 2014 original article here.

Sir Edward Burne-Jones, “The Love Song” (1868–77), oil on canvas, 45 x 61 3/8 in. (courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Alfred N. Punnett Endowment Fund, 1947)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened an exhibition on the Pre-Raphaelites of the 19th century last week, with 30 pieces showing wistful figures in draped clothing often surrounded with flowers. But while the floral touches might seem like colorful accents to us, to Victorians there was a language in the flowers (h/t @timothywroten).

Here are 10 flowers with symbolic meaning in the Victorian era to keep an eye out for as you peruse the Met’s The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy British Art and Design, using some of the paintings in the exhibition and others from their contemporaries. And it should be noted that flower symbolism of the 19th century was far from restricted to art  — Oscar Wilde was said to have worn a green carnation, a symbol recorded as having been worn by gay men in 19th century Europe, as immortalized in Robert Hichens’ controversial 1894 novel The Green Carnation.

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The Secret Victorian Language of Flowers

Sir Edward Burne-Jones, "The Love Song" (1868–77), Oil on canvas, 45 x 61 3/8 in. (courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Alfred N. Punnett Endowment Fund, 1947)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened an exhibition on the Pre-Raphaelites of the 19th century last week, with 30 pieces showing wistful figures in draped clothing often surrounded with flowers. But while the floral touches might seem like colorful accents to us, to Victorians there was a language in the flowers (h/t @timothywroten).

Here are 10 flowers with symbolic meaning in the Victorian era to keep an eye out for as you peruse the Met’s The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy British Art and Design, using some of the paintings in the exhibition and others from their contemporaries. And it should be noted that flower symbolism of the 19th century was far from restricted to art  — Oscar Wilde was said to have worn a green carnation, a symbol recorded as having been worn by gay men in 19th century Europe, as immortalized in Robert Hichens’ controversial 1894 novel The Green Carnation.

The Poppy

Dante Gabriel Rossetti & Henry Treffry Dunn, “Lady Lilith” (1867), Watercolor and gouache on paper, 20 3/16 x 17 5/16 in. (courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1908)

Seen in the bottom right corner of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s “Lady Lilith” (1867) — which is crowded with symbolic flowers — the red poppy often meant imagination and eternal sleep, but also pleasure. As the sonnet Rossetti included with the painting goes: “The rose and poppy are her flowers; for where / Is he not found, O Lilith, whom shed scent / And soft-shed kisses and soft sleep shall snare?”

The Primrose

Edwin Long, “The Daughters of Our Empire. England: The Primrose” (1887), oil on canvas (via Yale Center for British Art)

The primrose’s meaning changed with its color, but yellow symbolized youth and young love, here used deliberately in Edwin Long’s “The Daughters of our Empire. England: The Primrose” (1887).

Daffodils

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “Veronica Veronese” (1872), oil on canvas (via Wikimedia)

Daffodils, with their sunny hues, could mean unrequited love and chivalry, and here rest alongside the scrap of sheet music in Rossetti’s “Veronica Veronese” (1872).

Violets

Ford Madox Brown, “Convalescent, Portrait of the Artist’s Wife” (1872), Pastel, 18 3/8 x 17 3/8 in. (courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1909)

Violets are a symbol of modesty and faithfulness. Here in a portrait of his wife Emma Hill, Ford Madox Brown gives his beloved ravaged by alcoholism the redeeming bouquet of the wilted flowers. He wrote: “Now that she is lying in bed thinned with the fever she looks very pictorial and young as ever again.”

Apple Blossoms

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “A Vision of Fiametta” (1878), oil on canvas (via Collection of Lord Lloyd-Webber)

An apple blossom could mean good fortune, the promise of better things ahead, or preference, and here Rossetti wraps an idolized woman from a Giovanni Boccaccio poem in its blooms.

Daisies

John Everett Millais, “Ophelia” (1851), oil on canvas (via Tate Britain)

When John Everett Millais painted the doomed Ophelia of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, he gave her all the flowers of the original text in the lush scene of death. Included are daisies for innocence, which could also symbolize purity and even “farewell.”

Hawthorn

Edward Burne-Jones, “The Beguiling of Merlin” (1874), oil on canvas (via Wikimedia)

Hawthorn was used to symbolize hope, and also could be used as a charm against magic. Here Merlin is tangled in its branches in an 1874 painting by Edward Burne-Jones.

Roses

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “Jane Morris – Study for ‘Mariana'” (1868), Red chalk, 35 3/4 x 30 3/4 in. (courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Jessie Lemont Trausil, 1947)

Still a common symbol, roses for the Victorians also meant love. Depending on their color, they could indicate the deepness or innocence of that love, ranging from white for purity to burgundy for a unconcious adoration. Here they are pink in a vase in a Rossetti study.

Crocuses

William Blake Richmond, “Venus and Anchises” (1889-90), oil on canvas (via Walker Art Gallery)

Crocuses meant cheerfulness and the gladness of youth, and William Blake Richmond included them here in the spring flowers under the feet of Venus and Anchises.

Honeysuckle

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “Venus Verticordia” (1868), oil on canvas (via Wikimedia)

While roses fill the area behind Rossetti’s “Venus Verticordia” (1868), honeysuckle flourishes in the foreground, representing sweetness and the bond of love.

Monkshood

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “La Ghirlandata” (1873), oil on canvas (via Guildhall Art Gallery)

Poisonous monkshood, its blue flowers representing that the viewer should beware of a danger that might be ahead, rests at the foot of this harp topped with the beguiling honeysuckle and roses in Rossetti’s “La Ghirlandata.” Or at least that’s what he intended. He accidentally depicted the innocuous larkspur instead.

For more on the Victorian meaning of flowers, here’s an index of the Victorian Flower CodeThe Pre-Raphaelite Legacy British Art and Design continues at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 5th Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan) through October 26. 

Metropolitan Museum of Art Releases 400,000 Images, with Restriction (Hyperallergic)

May 19, 2014 original article here.

Two Met images now available for free scholarly use: (left) Johannes Vermeer, “Study of a Young Woman” (c. 1665–67), oil on canvas, 17 1/2 x 15 3/4 in (44.5 x 40 cm),

Late last Friday, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that it has made 400,000 images of artworks in its collection available for free download — but the move comes with a major caveat: the images are only intended for noncommercial, scholarly use.

The new initiative, titled Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC), provides easy access to high-resolution images of hundreds of thousands of pieces in the Met’s collection that are believed to be in the public domain and free of copyright restrictions. Available files now have a small OASC marking underneath the image on its online collection page, as well as a download arrow. New images will be added “on a regular basis,” according to the press release.

But unlike the Getty Museum’s big image release last summer or the Wellcome Library’s earlier this year, both of which allow for commercial use, the Met images are meant for only scholarly use. The museum defines this as “scholarly publication in all media,” including:

All school and academic work … , conference proceedings, journal articles, essays in Festschrifts, museum exhibition catalogues, non-commercially produced textbooks and educational materials, books published by university presses or the academic/scholarly imprint of commercial publishers, self-published books, and documentary films.

That designation omits a wide swath of people, namely artists, writers, filmmakers, and any one else working commercially (e.g. this blogazine; I had to obtain special permission to use images for this post). And the exception is particularly frustrating given the copyright-free nature of the work in question — we’re not talking about the thornier questions that come with pictures of copyrighted contemporary art. The Met’s image release is a welcome and vital move towards encouraging fair use, but it’s more like a cautious tread than a full step.

Tourists buy $31K Banksy art for just $60 each (New York Post)

Now this was priceless.

British graffiti artist Banksy, whose socially conscious works have commanded six figures at auction, made his biggest statement yet over the weekend — offering his signed original spray paintings for $60 apiece at a streetside stall outside Central Park.

But the deal of a lifetime lured just three buyers in a city known as the center of the art world.

The three lucky customers — including one woman who haggled a 50 percent discount — snatched up eight paintings for a total of $420 during the seven hours an anonymous elderly man manned the booth.

The works have an estimated total value of a quarter-million dollars.

The missed opportunity had New Yorkers besides themselves Monday.

“Wow!!!! How many of us are kicking ourselves now,” tweeted Marianne Russo. “Famous artist Banksy sells original pieces cheap in Central Park.”

“Wow. I was in Central Park this Saturday and TOTALLY missed this,” tweeted Michael Alvarado. “I’m an idiot!!”

“Holy cow. What I wouldn’t have given to have stopped by Central Park on Sat to purchase a Banksy,” tweeted Katie Morse, of Brooklyn.

Some art lovers, however, were more proactive.

One New York Banksy fan posted an ad on Craigslist bright and early, hoping one of the Saturday buyers might part with a canvas.

“I am definitely prepared to pay a very fair premium for the piece,” the seller told The Post in an e-mail.

Banksy had apparently been planning the fire sale for months.

“Two or three months ago, the old guy came by and inquired about using the space,” said Thuptin Kunkhen, 48, who sells art near the same spot outside Central Park.

Kunkhen said the old man — the same who was manning the booth Saturday — asked him how much he made at the stand on a normal day and paid him and a partner about $500 to use the space on Saturday.

“The next day, we heard the paintings were worth over $40,000,” Kunkhen told The Post. “Had he known they were such expensive paintings, we would have bought them all.”

Several men, including a man with a video camera, helped the older man set up the stand, but Kunkhen couldn’t tell whether any of them was the elusive Banksy, whose image may have been revealed last week.

The world-famous street artist couldn’t help but mock the Big Apple’s masses, posting video of the slow sales day on his Web site.

“Yesterday I set up a stall in the park selling 100% authentic original signed Banksy canvases. For $60 each,” the artist wrote in text intercut in the video.

The booth, which consisted of a table and folding fence, was set up off Fifth Avenue at Central Park South next to other art peddlers at around 11 a.m. Saturday. Signs advertised nothing more than “Spray Art” for $60 — with no mention of the reclusive Banksy.

The elderly man went about four hours before making a sale.

The video shows him repeatedly yawning, eating lunch and otherwise looking bored as people strolled by without a second glance at the famous works.

Finally, at 3:30 pm, the first two pieces sold.

“First sale. A lady buys two small canvases for her children. But only after negotiation a 50% discount,” Banksy noted on the video.

Half an hour later, a New Zealand woman bought two of the pieces, paying $120, and earning a kiss from the man selling the art.

The stall minder hit the jackpot at around 5:30 p.m., when a man from Chicago stopped and said he was decorating his new house back home.

“I just need something for the walls,” he told the salesman before buying four large canvases and getting a big hug in return.

That turned out to be the last sale of the day, and Banksy’s street rep closed up shop around 6 p.m. with most of the pieces unsold.

The BBC estimated that the art pieces could be worth as much as $31,000 a piece.

But Banksy won’t be repeating the stunt.

In a note posted to his Web site, the artist wrote: “Please note this was a one-off. The stall will not be there again.”

Among the art lovers kicking themselves for missing out on the clearance sale was Emily Christensen-Flowers, a video producer at NBC News who describes herself as a “street-smart New Yorker” who “studied art history in college.”

While most pedestrians paid the sidewalk setup no mind, Christensen-Flowers actually derided the salesman when she walked by, assuming he was selling knockoffs.

“I know a fake Banksy when I see one — I thought,” Christensen-Flowers wrote on NBC’s Web site after learning each of the signed “knockoffs” was the genuine article.

“All day, I’ve been replaying my brush with Banksy through my head, trying to figure out if I missed any tip-offs that a pot of art-world gold was right under my nose.”

Meanwhile, the Craigslist buyer was still hoping for a bite from one of the buyers.

“I am simply a fan of his and in my late 20s, and not by any means part of the ultra-affluent crowd who his pieces usually end up with on the secondary market,” he said.

“I am in no way looking to get a ‘bargain’ but rather to pay something reasonable — yet enticing for the seller — for a piece that I would like to hold onto for the very long term.”

He also commended Banksy for the pop-up stand idea.

“I believe that he had a very pure intentions in wanting his pieces going into the hands of everyday people, and this is a way of making that statement,” he said.

Banksy is in the middle of a monthlong “residency” in New York, during which he has promised to complete a new work in the city and post it on his Web site.

Some of Banksy’s New York installations have included a slaughterhouse truck filled with stuffed animals touring the Meatpacking District, a concrete “confessional” on cement slabs in Manhattan, a beaver stenciled into a Brooklyn wall and a depiction of war horses sporting goggles behind a chain link fence on Ludlow Street.

Happy Birthday Mr. Warhol!

Today is the birthday of Mr. Andy Warhol who was born today in 1928. Imagine whatandy-warhol-self-portrait Warhol would have done had he lived just 10 more years. Our art scene especially in NYC would not look as it does today. Or imagine if The Factory were still open today what would be coming out of it or the “happenings.”

 

Check out his work at The Met here.