Petras Repšys (1940) painted a rather strange set of scenes on the ceiling and walls of a room at the University of Vilnius. It is worth a look. He is a graduate of Vilnius Art Institute (1967) Works in sheet, book, graphic arts, ex libris, easel paintings, frescoes, sculptures, medals. The exilibrisus began to develop in 1969 . Here are some photos of his fresco “Seasons of the Year,” executed from (1974-1984).
After an overnight in Dusseldorf, we flew in a prop jet into the small airpport in Graz, Austria. It’s a tiny airport, and but a 10 minute walk to train station. Before long we were exiting the system and taking the wrong exit, so we added a kilometer to our walk. We missed a turn and added a bit more, but then we got to the door.
Graz is 200 km southwest of Vienna, just about an hour by train. It is the second largest city in Austria and home to six universities with 44,000 students. The University of Gray is the city’s oldest. It was founded in 1585 under Archduke Karl II. There are over 30,000 students in it alone. The entire city is a World Heritage Site (1999). Slovenia is its nearest neighbor (to the south); Hungary is not far to the east. Graz is home to just 310,000 residents.
Graz was settled as far back as 5000 BC, likely for two reasons. First is the Mur River, which flows swiftly this time of year. This facilitated transportation and commerce. Second, there is a large and steep hill just off the river, not 5 minutes from our place, which made for an excellent natural fortification, which has never been breached.
Hitler visited in 1938 and was welcomed and the Jewish community subsequently destroyed. In 2000, on the anniversary of the the Kristalnacht pogroms the city presented the Jewish community with a new synagogue to replace they one destroyed. Some 15% of the city was destroyed by Allied bombing, but the Old Town was largely spared. Graz surrendered to Soviet troops at the end of WWII.
The city has dozens of museums. We bought a pass that allows entrance to 12 of them for 30 euros. So far we have just visited the Modern Art museum, largely given over to an incomprehensible installation. However there were some genuine works or art as well.
We’ve had a few snacks and light meals thus far. Soup. It’s June and the people are eating hot soup! With temperature in the low 20’s c (under 72f) the days are cool and the nights a bit on the chilly side, quite the contrast with Valencia, from where we just came, and where summer temperatures can hit 40C.
Here are views of Graz from the top of Schlossberg Castle.
Born in 1881 in Nagaevo, Russia, Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova, the daughter of Sergei, an architect. She moved to Moscow in 1892, and graduated from the Fourth Women’s Gymnasium in 1898.In 1901 she enrolled in the Moscow Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture to study sculpture, and in 1903 she began exhibiting in important venues. Goncharova then met Mikhail Larionov, also a student; shortly they began to live and work together. She switched to painting in 1904, drawing on Russian folk art and icons and with Mikhail created Rayonism, a style influenced by technology and modernity, with strong rays of contrasting colors.
Women were stuck in the chores of domesticity until comparatively recent times. Becoming anything other than a mother and domestic was nearly unheard of for almost all women. Therefore I decided to find out more about the ones that overcame this rigid social system and give them a bit of their due.
Sonfonisb Anguissola (1532, Cremona, Italy), was an Italian portrait painter working in Genoa, Palermo and Madrid in the 16th century. She was of noble birth, as one might expect, as was almost always the case with female artists at least until the 19th c. She apprenticed when quite young, as was common at the time for males, but in her case it was precedent setting.
As a young woman she went to Rome, spending her time sketching. There she met Michelangelo, who recognized her skills. In Milan she was commissioned to paint the Duke of Alba. He introduced her to the Spanish queen, Elizabeth of Valois and wife of Phillip II, an amateur painter in her own right. In 1559 she moved to Madrid as Elizabeth’s tutor and lady in waiting, becoming an official court painter. Upon the queen’s death, Philip arranged an aristocratic marriage for her. She moved first to Palermo, then Pisa and finally Genoa, where she remained an admired portrait painter, seemingly with the backing of both of her husbands. She died at ninety-three, having been a wealthy patron of the arts after her eyesight failed.
Her best portraits are of her family:
At age 20 she painted this, her most famous painting:
But she made her money doing portraits of nobility:
Most of her religious paintings are lost. Here most important early painting is Bernardino Campi Painting Sofonisba Anguissola (c. 1550). It’s a double portrait showing her art teacher in the act of painting a portrait of her.
She was not allowed to study the nude, as women weren’t permitted to do so.
You may expect future entries on the following artists: Gontcharova, Gwen John, Hepworth, Kahlo