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Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun by Gita May

Title: Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun

Author: Gita May

Publisher: Yale University 2005

Genre: Nonfiction – Biography

Pages: 256

Rating:  4 /5 stars

Reading Challenges: Dewey — 750s; Mixing It Up — Biography

How I Got It: Library Loan

The foremost woman artist of her age, Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun (1755—1842) exerted her considerable charm to become the friend, and then official portraitist, of Marie Antoinette. Though profitable, this role made Vigée Le Brun a public and controversial figure, and in 1789 it precipitated her exile. In a Europe torn by strife and revolution, she nevertheless managed to thrive as an independent, self-supporting artist, doggedly setting up studios in Rome, Naples, Venice, Milan, Vienna, St. Petersburg, and London. Long overlooked or dismissed, Vigée Le Brun’s portraits now hang in the Louvre, in a room of their own, as well as in all leading art museums of the world.

I first encountered Vigee Le Brun in my Women Artists class in college.  I instantly liked her neoclassical style of painting.  I can’t believe that I never picked up a biography in the intervening years.  Thankfully I snatched this from the library shelves.  May does not disappoint in giving insight to a talented woman painter of the late 18th century.  Vigee Le Brun had the fortune of natural talent, a family that supported her painting, and the acquaintances of many rich patrons.  Originally my favorite of her paintings was Marie Antoinette with Her Children (1787), but after reading more about her own life, I love her self portraits.  She had a way of capturing people in a moment.  The paintings are less static than more neoclassicists.  I get a sense of movement in the poses.  They are almost like candid photographs.  Behind her actual art, I loved hearing about her early life and later travels throughout Europe.  And I now have a deeper understanding of the French Revolution’s effects on the participants.  Overall,  a great biography of a great artists.

My current favorite painting: Self Portait in a Turban with Her Child 1786

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Posted by on September 21, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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Spring Break Vacation Part 3/3

See Part 1

See Part 2

Days 8-9 were spent in the Pittsburgh area.

Day 8: Carnegie Mellon Museum of Art and Museum of Natural History.  Awesomely they are in the same building and one admission price gets you into both.  The boys were over the moon with the dinosaurs.  J loved the art museum.  And I really liked everything.  I really am a museum whore and proud of it!

Pictures: Working lab, Allosaurus, boys in front of the T Rexes, Boys being paleontologists, main staircase, Terpsichore Muse of Lyric Poetry

Day 9: We drove about an hour outside of Pittsburg to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.  I’ve been to his house in Oak Park (Chicago) and see the designs there.  But I’ve always wanted to see Fallingwater.  The boys even enjoyed it!  Unfortunately you can’t take pictures inside the house.

 

Day 10: J and I drove back to Omaha.  On to the moving! 

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in Life

 

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Quote Wednesday — Moore

“To be an artist is to believe in life.” — Henry Moore

I don’t usually like abstract modern art, but something about Moore’s scupltures intrigue me.  I’m leaning toward form…

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2012 in Quote Wednesday

 

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Quote Wednesday – Michelangelo

I saw the angel in the marble and I just chiseled till I set him free. — Michelangelo

Created in 1494-1495, this marble statue resides in the Basilica of San Domenico, Bologna.

I love the simplicity of Michelangelo’s quote.  He saw the beauty that could be and created it.  There was no divine intervention, no long drawn out artistic speech.  He saw, he did.  Beside the fact that he had such great talent, I envy Michelangelo in his simple outlook.  When I want to create, I obsess.  I think about what I want to do, how to do it, where I could go wrong.  I don’t just create.  I need to focus on my crafting techniques.  I want to just do.  And however it comes out, it is.  I won’t obsess over perfection.  I am sure that Michelangelo had many pieces left unfinished.  We see only the greatness of his work.  But I want to not be shamed by the unfinished, the imperfect.  I want to create.  And if I create something beautiful, I want to revel in its beauty without boasting.  Wish me luck…

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2012 in Crafting, Quote Wednesday

 

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Quote Wednesday — Brancusi

“Don’t look for obscure formulas or mystery in my work.  It is pure joy that I offer you.” — Constantin Brancusi

I am absolutely loving that I can look back at all the books that I’ve read since November.  I can see how my reading ebbs and flows.  I can see my wild genre swings.  It’s like a personal reading diary, but public.  I love seeing all the comments from people (those I’ve met in person and those I haven’t met, they’re all great!).

Taking a look at my reading, I’ve noticed something: I read some crap!  I haven’t picked up anything that could be classified as “High literature.”  And that’s okay.  Because the books I’ve read, whatever the genre, bring me joy.  I love reading whether it’s children’s literature (Hello Percy Jackson! Love you!) or Christian fiction (At the Scent of Water, anyone?) or zombie schlock (A Zombie’s History of the United States) or contemporary romance (Under Cover).  I love it all.  There’s no deeper meaning to these books.  I don’t have to ponder over the intent of the author.  I don’t have to read a critical review of the book to understand.  I just read them and love the stories.  I love the characters.  I love the settings.  I love the books for the joy that they bring me.  So up next Love Finds You in Treasure Island, Florida, just for a light romance.  That’s it.  Just for joy!

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2011 in Books, Quote Wednesday

 

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Quote Wednesday — Picasso

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” — Picasso

There’s something very poetic about quote.  it makes me feel all inspired and creative; things I don’t think I am.  it is true that looking at a great piece of art, or hearing a beautiful piece of music, or writing a descriptive paragraph uplifts me.  I can escape the “dust’ of daily life and enter into a whole different world.  A world where things like doing laundry just don’t exist.  A world where I can really stop and appreciate the beauty of everything around me.  A world where worrying has no place.  Where tears are only expectable if they are because the beauty is too much to handle.  I need to visit there every once in a while.  It’s like getting a battery charged.  It helps me get through the rest of the crap that I encounter throughout the week.

The Dance of Youth

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2011 in Quote Wednesday

 

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Art of Reading

Lady Reading in an Interior -- Marguerite Gerrard

Girl Reading or In the Orangery -- Charles Perugini

 

Beautiful paintings of women engaged in reading.  I love the postures, the colors, the facial expressions.  Nothing is better than relaxing in a great setting reading a book.  Somehow I don’t think that taking a photo of me reading would  convey the same sense of serenity.  These paintings are much more expressive of how I see the art of reading.  Hope you appreciate these as much as I do!

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2010 in Life

 

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