27 January 2018
Dr Great Art Podcast Episode 29: 7 Fun Art Artecdotes
The newest Dr Great Art podcast, Episode 29: 7 Fun Facts in Art History. A lighter episode relating seven stimulating facts about Vincent van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Georgia O'Keeffe. At Apple Podcasts, Spotify or
Dr Great Art Podcast 29: 7 Fun Artecdotes
Hi this is Mark Staff Brandl, with the 29th "Dr Great Art" brief podcast. I hope you enjoy it and come back for each and every one.
After a series of rather resolutely critical podcasts, today my episode will be a string of more congenial artecdotes, 7 fun facts.
So let's get right into it.
First, Vincent van Gogh's name is strange to pronounce. We all do it wrong. Ask any speaker of Dutch. It is "van Go" to you Americans and French, "van Gof" to you Brits, and something like "fan Chhhochhh" really. We art historians have settled on the German version, which is about half right and not impossible for most of us: "fan Gochhhh."
Second, Vincent produced more than 2,000 works during his life: 900 paintings and 1,100+ drawings and sketches. He probably only sold one painting while he was alive, The Red Vineyard at Arles of 1888. Anna Boch, a Belgian artist, bought the painting in early 1890 for 400 Belgian francs. (I really like her own Pink and Yellow Houses painting, by the way.)
Third, van Gogh didn't even begin art until he was twenty-seven years old, died when he was thirty-seven, and the most important paintings were largely the ones in the two years before he died. He was almost entirely self-taught, an autodidact, and the speed at which he became so great and so independently original in his art is astounding. Especially in the face of being for the most part ignored.
Fourth, Leonardo da Vinci's name is NOT 'da Vinci' !
Leonardo's full name at birth was simply 'Leonardo.'
As an illegitimate child, the son of a notary and a serving girl Caterina (seen as and possible really was something like a slave). His father Piero took him away from his mother and rather ignored him, but nevertheless Leonard could then sign his name Leonardo di Ser Piero.
Leonardo was born just outside the tiny hamlet of Vinci. So people would sometimes tack his origin onto his name: "of Vinci." Leonardo di Ser Piero da Vinci. But that was not a name --- it would be like calling me "of Chicago" or " of Peoria" instead of 'Brandl.' And thus, the 'da' is not capitalized as well.
As he considered Florence to be his real hometown, the artist himself often signed his name "Leonardo the Florentine" or Leonardo the Florentine, the painter." 'Leonardo Fiorentino Pittore.'
Leonardo had twelve half-siblings, who ignored him and caused him difficulty in a dispute over his small inheritance. Yet later, after his great fame, after his death, parts of the family apparently took his place designation as a family name, thus there are "da Vincis" in Italy now. The Renaissance, by the way, was the time in Europe when surnames were being created.
In art historical circles he is simply called 'Leonardo.' Any other Leonardo needs a surname, yes, even "DiCaprio." There is only one, great "Leonardo." On the street, you can say "da Vinci" but never to an art historian.
Fifth, Michelangelo HAD a surname! 'Buonarroti' --- or in full Italian-style 'Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti.'
He is, however, as is well-known, SO important that he is simply called 'Michelangelo.' Which should be pronounced with a short 'i', thus Michelangelo, not 'Michael-Angelo,' but as with 'da Vinci,' on the street we can accept that. Maybe.
In his lifetime, Michelangelo was often called Il Divino ("the divine one"), as even then, and for about 600 years afterwards he has been immensely revered. That has even made the Church nervous on occasion, as Michi is, in a way, we artists' and art historians' chosen saint.
Sixth, while we are on the subject of names, Pablo Picasso was baptized 'Pablo Diego José Fransisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruiz y Picasso.' In Spanish style the last two words are the father's surname, the 'y' for 'and,' and then the mother's surname. So he would be Senior Ruiz. But he took his mother's family name alone in France, supposedly because it was less common, but we also know that he had serious difficulties with his father.
Seventh, not everyone needs a huge studio. Although I usually do. Georgia O'Keeffe's most unique one was a car! When she lived in the Southwest of the US, she removed the driver's seat of her Model-A automobile, unbolted the passenger seat, and turned it around to face the back seat. She put canvases on the back seat and painted. The car's limited space seems to have appealed to her because it helped further concentration, shaded her from the heat, and protected her from bothersome bees.
Thanks for listening. Podcast number 29.
7 Fun Artecdotes
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If you wish to hear more cool, exciting and hopefully inspiring stuff about art history and art, come back for more. Also I, Dr Mark Staff Brandl, artist and art historian, am available for live custom Performance-Lectures. In English und auf Deutsch.
I take viewers inside visual art and art history. Entertainingly, yet educationally and aesthetically, I analyze, underline, and discuss the reasons why a work of art is remarkable, or I go through entire eras, or indeed through the entirety of art history, or look at your desired theme through the lens of art history. The lectures often take place with painted background screens and even in my painting-installations.
Some recent ones were on the entire history of Postmodernist Art from 1979 through today, on Metaphor(m) in Art History, and on Mongrel Art. Once again, I'd like to thank Chloe Orwell, Brad Elvis, and the rock band the Handcuffs for composing, performing and recording my theme song, "Shut Up and Paint," a tiny portion of which begins and ends every Dr Great Art Podcast.
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