Wednesday, March 10, 2021

ART WEEK continued . . .


Some miscellaneous art items . . .


Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1526 - 1593) was an Italian painter best known for creating imaginative portrait heads made entirely of objects such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish and books. His work became synonymous with the Renaissance obsession with riddles, puzzles, and the strange and bizarre, Emperors Maximilian II and Rudolf II adding quite a few of his strange paintings to the Kunstkammer (cabinet of curiosities).

Arcimboldo’s painting, The Vegetable Gardener, a bust made out of different vegetables, topped with a black bowl, belongs to a group called, “reversible heads.” Turn the image upside down and it creates a more traditional still life of a bowl of vegetables.


Another famous reverse image is that of Henry VIII’s Wife #4 Anne of Cleves, the bride he considered so ugly that he never consummated their marriage. Anne was the fourth of Henry’s six wives, sent over from Germany after he saw a flattering portrait by Holbein. On arrival, he called her the ‘Flanders Mare’. They divorced six months after marrying in 1540. He married twice more while she remained in England and was given a generous settlement.

Hans Holbein portrait of Anne from 1539

In the 1940s artist Rex Whistler portrayed the bridal couple in a reversible image:

Whistler's portrait of Anne of Cleves, although he has depicted her unfairly in a very unflattering manner.

The same work reversed depicts Henry VIII


Happy Brothers, Their Poor Mother! is an 1887 oil painting by the Serbian artist Uroš Predić. It shows four intoxicated youths walking through their village whilst the mother of one shouts her disapproval from the distance. The painting is said to have been inspired by a frequent sight in Predić's home village of Orlovat—that of drunken youths returning from the pub at dawn. Predić painted the composition hoping it would persuade the villagers to change their ways. He was disappointed that it not only failed to decrease the incidence of drunkenness in Orlovat, but was well received by the villagers themselves, who were happy merely to have been depicted.

On one of his visits home, Predić went to the local pub and encountered the patrons examining a calendar with a reproduction of his painting inside it. A number of patrons—some of whom were included in the composition—tapped him on the shoulder in drunken stupor and commended him on how accurately he had captured them.


Byter Graham E sent me an email stating “Discovered this weirdly fascinating location in Croaker, Virginia, USA.” This was accompanied by the following pics:

Thanks, Graham.

There are quite a few articles about the Presidents’ heads, here is a summary about them:

  • There are 43 statues and they were originally located in Presidents Park in York County. When it went bankrupt in 2010 they were left abandoned for a couple of years.
  • Howard Hankins was commissioned to destroy them but gave them a new life at his Hampton Roads Materials yard 20 metres (12 miles) down the road.
  • Hankins spent $50,000 of his own money for a crew of six to move the heads one by one to his property as a temporary home. Each statue weighs 90,000 kilos (20,000 pounds).
  • The statues were open to the public for some time but became a liability, which led Hankins to cut off access to the busts completely. But as they gained more notoriety online, it made people more interested and trespassers more prevalent.
  • Photographer and storyteller of abandoned places in Virginia, John Plashal worked with Hankins to organize public access to the statues. He now leads about one tour a month in the winter and two in the warmer months, which often sell out at 100 people.
  • The statues were sculpted by a Texas artist named David Adickes
  • Unfortunately the statues are decaying.

"The park went bankrupt while President Obama was in office, so there is not a full size bust of him, only a miniature sculpture," Plashal said. "Before they go full scale, they create a miniature and if like it, then go full scale. Obama had a miniature one and he was ready to go full scale but the park folded so he never went full scale here." A miniature bust of Obama is on site, but Plashal says it does not come out often after a visitor on site stole the Obama sculpture. After getting police involved, the Obama bust was returned to Hankins.


Artist Brenda Risquez uses embroidery and textiles to create portraits inspired by friends and pop culture icons:


Sheena Liam is a Malaysian-Chinese international fashion model who also works with embroidery art in her free time. In general, her work is dedicated to creating portraits of women with varied types of hairstyles, but there is a lovely and interesting differential: the hair of her figures strands fall off the embroidery hoops . . .

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