MIA: Our curators are now online. We’ll be posting some favorite (online) works from our collection today. Feel free to ask about these works or anything else.
Joe Horse Capture: great!
MIA: What’s your favorite work of art at the MIA? Our curators want to know.
Kudrun P.: My favorite is a little depiction of the slaughter of the innocents by a follower of Patinir. Like your wonderful Lucretia, there’s a story behind it. Unlike Lucretia, the whole narrative is contained in the painting.
Erika Holmquist-Wall: @Kudrun – I love that painting, too!
Carissa G.: Favorite? Are you kidding? I have a new favorite every visit. (Last spring, it was Calypso.) But I guess I always go back to Degas’ Hortense. I love Degas, I love that little girl’s expression, and I love the black streaks of the ribbons running down the back of her dress. -cg
Flaun C.: Definitely the Buddha sitting on lotus. I can still see the gold that once covered the wood in the creases.
Addy F.: The Studio, Larry Rivers: http://mwcapacity.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/amico_miniapolis_103820470.jpg
or Birth Place of Herbert Hoover, Grant Wood: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joethelion/2623700712/
Patrick D.: have you done anything physically to the painting? How do you remove dust, etc?
Erika Holmquist-Wall: Hi Patrick – thanks for your question. The painting is under glass, in order to further protect it. As you know, a lot of dust could get stuck in that fabulous impasto!
Carissa G.: That’s one of the things a person doesn’t get from pictures in books — the texture. Most paintings aren’t “flat.” It must be fun to discover things in conservation like the artists’ fingerprints or tool marks. -cg
Erika Holmquist-Wall: Yes, Carissa! One really needs to visit and see the works in person – so much can get lost in the reproduction of images in books or online.
Flaun C.: Understanding that it is behind glass, why was I accosted for standing too close to the painting? I wanted to see the gorgeous paint buildup and had my hands firmly behind my back. At worst, my face was 1 foot from the glass.
Was I merely the victim of an overzealous attendant.
Jennifer Olivarez: Flaun, our security staff are trained to let visitors know when they are getting too close to the “one-foot” mark, which is our rule when viewing works of art. They probably didn’t assume you knew about the rule if you were getting close. I’m glad you wanted a closer look, but that’s a blanket policy, so I hope you understand!
Flaun C.: Frankly, it put me off. I haven’t been down to that wing since.
Patrick Noon: Flaun, I do hope you weren’t accosted. Our attendants are trained to politely request that our visitors not get too close to the fragile artworks, glazed or not.
Adam H.: When did you acquired the painting and from whom? Are there any plans for when it will go to the archives?
Erika Holmquist-Wall: Hi Adam. We purchased the work from a dealer in New York in 1951. Prior to that, it had been in a Canadian collection since 1930. I’m not sure what archives you are referring to, though.
Shawn G.: How and when was the Van Gogh painting acquired? Any plans on acquiring another?
Erika Holmquist-Wall: Hi Shawn – see above for purchase information! We’d love to acquire another, of course, but unless it is a generous gift, the cost is prohibitive.
Craig E.: Why don’t the shadows fall away from the direction of the sun?
Patrick Noon: Craig, that would be too prosaic.
Ben M.: How do you feel this piece fits into the overall MIA collection?
Erika Holmquist-Wall: It’s one of the jewels in the crown!
David H.: When I attended MCAD, I would come over to stand in front of this piece for hours at a time. Sincerely one of my favorite paintings at the MIA, or any museum for that matter. I learned as much about painting from this piece as from any other source.
You should consider photographing such works in HDR. Some of my own paintings are quite textural in nature and the process really helps pull that out in a photograph.
Jennifer D.: I was just there admiring this a couple weeks ago.
Kate E.: How big is it? and the approximate depth of the relief carving?
Eike Schmidt: It measures 90 x 41 inches. Depth of carving varies, approximately 1-2 inches- but we haven’t climbed up recently to take detailed measurements.
Jennifer Olivarez: Kate, it is big–it’s an architectural fragment, one of many similar ones from an Assyrian palace. It’s 90 x 41 inches, I don’t have the depth, but it’s a couple inches deep.
Erica W.: Why portray this genius/demi-god on palace walls?
Christopher Atkins: EW: On the other hand, why not?
Jennifer Olivarez: I’m not a Mesopotamian specialist, but in the absence of ours today, I’m giving it a shot! Erica, it’s really about surrounding yourself (in this case, ruler Ashurnasirpal II) with deities and admirers to give a sense of his greatness. I suppose you could think of it a little bit like the Chinese tomb figures, but these geniuses were not meant to be warriors.
Corine Wegener: Erica, it had a lot to do with the King trying to emphasize his close relationship with the gods. The cuneiform text goes on and on about Ashurnasirpal II. Bottom line – he was totally fierce!
Jennifer Olivarez: Thanks for jumping in, Cori!
MIA: Yes, Cori, thanks for joining us. Where are you and what are you up to?
David G.: What colors was it originally painted? And has anyone ever created a representation of its likely original appearance?
Corine Wegener: Hi! I’m in Washington, DC for a meeting. Went to the Antico Golden Age of Renaissance Bronzes exhibition at the National Gallery this morning – beautiful!
David, there have been some attempts to digitally recreate the Palace of Nimrud. We’ll be reinstalling the Winged Genius sometime next year and I’d like to use some photos of what it might have looked like in situ. Stay tuned!
Carleen B.: Is the winged genius possibly derived from winged victory, Nike, but appropriated for Achaemenid culture?
Eike Schmidt: Carleen, we don’t know for sure about Nike in the 9th-10th century before, so most likely it was just the other way around. The Winged Genius is Assyrian (now Iraq), whereas the Achaemenid Empire (Persia) came a few centuries later.
Diane W.A.: So when is Lucretia coming home to Minneapolis???
Rachel McGarry: Diane, it is one of the highlights of the “Rembrandt in America” show, now at the North Carolina Museum of Art, which goes to Cleveland in January, and then opens here at the MIA June 24. It will be a spectacular show! And when that exhibition closes on Sept. 16, you can find Lucretia back in her rightful place in our Dutch gallery (G310).
Carissa G.: Going to Rembrandt in America will be my “milestone birthday” present to myself. (I live 350 miles away.) -cg
Thomas Rassieur: Hi, Carissa. That’s a totally cool way to celebrate. By the way, 350 miles is a long drive, but you’d have to travel several thousand miles to see these incredible paintings in their regular homes! I hope you’ll have a great visit.
Kate E.: No, but I LOVE this work. It never fails to spark discussion among students.
Joe Horse Capture: it’s a courting scene–she is documenting how she fell in love with her mate. One of my favorites.
oh, and it is extremely rare to find beadwork that is signed . . .
Mary Beth Z.: Hello, Joe! My friend Kate just told me you were online! I enjoyed meeting you last fall at Dartmouth, and I am looking forward to the Hood publication.
Joe Horse Capture: hi Mary- glad you enjoyed the exhbition at the Hood Musueum, it was a great fun working on the project. The publication should already be out, they sent me a catalog right after the opening.
Shawn G.: We are curious what Ellsworth Kelly was attempting to communicate through his series of prints you have on display?
Dennis Michael Jon: @Shawn: Kelly explored various ideas in his print work, including seriality, spatial relationships, contrasts & parallels, and how form and color (or absence of color) mediates meaning. The Kelly prints on view are a portion of the series called Third Curve, in which the artist created “pairs” of prints that vary slightly in orientation, shape, orthe subtle details of embossing vs. debossing. For me, the prints are both visually and intellectually compelling, yet the simplicity of their forms requires close examination.
Eike Schmidt: We don’t know her name, but we do know that Monti made a clay model first and then sculpted the marble after his own clay, which was common workshop practice at the time. The clay model hasn’t survived, but his Veiled Ladies became so much sought-after that he was busy sculpting variations of her for the rest of his life.
Whittier S.: Do we have any details on who Frank was, besides an acquaintance of Close’s?
Carissa G.: You would think Frank would be startling, given his size, but I find this a very calming painting. Has Chuck Close ever spoken at the MIA? Any chance he will visit in the future? -cg
Christopher Atkins: Good question…I know that Chuck only painted close friends, family, and, of course, himself. Let me see if I can get more info for you…He also worked from photographs quite a bit too so I don’t think that Frank would have sit for him while he was being painted.
CG: not that I know of but we were just saying that he is a very good speaker, very interesting and funny too. Have you seen him before?
Carissa G.: I just have seen him on PBS — I don’t get out much. -cg
Christopher Atkins: WS: some have speculated that this could be a portrait of a young Frank Stella but I don’t see much resemblance.
Rachel McGarry: Chuck Close is a wonderful speaker–very interesting and smart, and also humble and funny. He was actually on my suggestion list this year for lecturers the MIA should consider inviting here to speak. Frank’s identity is a bit of a mystery.We assume it is a friend of the artist’s, as Chuck Close reportedly portrayed only friends and family in these early years.
Chris C.: I’ve had a print of this in my home for years and have always loved the image.
Sara P.: Frank is in my home too in Colorado!
MIA: Also, check out this Radiolab episode where Chuck Close and Oliver Sacks talk about their inability to recognize faces. The Chuck Close portion is fascinating because it relates to how he creates artwork: http://ow.ly/7LFk3
MIA: Last call for questions to our curators!
Jennifer Olivarez: Thanks for all your well-considered questions and comments!
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