At School With Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Hellooooooo!!! Greetings darling Museworthy readers. We are a few more days closer to spring since I last posted here. Ain’t that grand? I thought I saw some crocus bulbs poking out of the ground the other day. :happy dance:

My friend Francisco Malonzo was recently profiled in The Palette Pages with a splendid Q & A interview and magnificent images of his work. One of them is a portrait of yours truly that also appeared in this Museworthy post. More of Francisco’s paintings of me can be seen here and here. He and I have known each other for some time through the National Academy, and I’m delighted that he’s enjoying exposure and success :-)

Here in the Big Apple our newly-elected mayor Bill de Blasio is waging a war against charter schools. The whole thing is a shitstorm of local politics that involves the teachers’ union, irate parents, and de Blasio’s personal vendetta against Eva Moskowitz, the founder of Success Academy Charter Schools. Lost in the midst of this imbroglio? The children of New York City, who deserve better. I was reminded the other day of an engraving I’d seen once by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Flemish painter and printmaker of the Northern Renaissance period. I found it on the Web. It’s called The Ass in the School, from 1556. The humorous scene depicts a classroom – more like a barn – of unruly children and a teacher about to discipline one with a spanking on his bare butt. A mysterious woman peers from behind a window, and a donkey, aka “the ass”, studies what appears to be sheet music from his perch. The inscription reads something to effect of “the ass goes to school but will never become a horse”.

BruegeltheElder-AssSchool

Bruegel could have been making a satirical statement about the folly of education, or rather certain aspects of it. Or perhaps a broad comment about human failings and our inherently flawed nature in the spirit of Hieronymus Bosch. If you enlarge the image and look closely, the faces of the “children” in the drawing don’t appear like true children but more like mini-adults. So Bruegel might be trying to suggest something there. Apart from the hidden commentary, the print is really great, in composition and character. Truthfully, I just wanted to post it because Bill de Blasio kind of looks like a donkey :lol:

Click on this link for a nice gallery of more Bruegel prints. Have a great weekend everyone!

Vestiges

Song, from The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, by Rainer Maria Rilke -

You, whom I do not tell that all night long
I lie weeping,
whose very being makes me feel wanting
like a cradle.

You, who do not tell me, that you lie awake
thinking of me:–
what, if we carried all these longings within us
without ever being overwhelmed by them,
letting them pass?

Look at these lovers, tormented by love,
when first they begin confessing,
how soon they lie!

You make me feel alone. I try imagining:
one moment it is you, then it’s the soaring wind;
a fragrance comes and goes but never lasts.
Oh, within my arms I lost all whom I loved!
Only you remain, always reborn again.
For since I never held you, I hold you fast.

Edvard Munch, Man and Woman I, woodcut, 1905:

Munch-ManandWoman

The Return

Aaannnnd . . . we’re back! It’s official. The fall 2013 school years have begun. Yay! Studios are open for business, students are ready to create, models are ready to pose, and instructors are ready to impart their brilliance and expertise ;-)

It felt great to walk into the New York Academy of Art for my first modeling booking there of the new term, John Jacobsmeyer’s printmaking class. The class created ink sketches of my nude figure which they would later make into prints. I’d love to see how they turned out. I may have to find those students and ask if I could take a gander at the final results, as I’m a huge printmaking fan.

Few institutions undergo a transformation as dramatic from first week to end of the year quite like art schools. Summer cleanups are very thorough. New coats of paint brighten things up, supplies are stored neatly away, and everything is scrubbed spotless. When classes begin, the immaculate surroundings transform into smudges, splatters, and spills. Ink, clay, and oil paint start to appear on chairs, stools, and the floor, stacks of rolled up papers and unfinished canvases occupy every corner, fabrics are strewn about, and unidentified sharp objects stick out from various spots. So to models and students alike I say enjoy the tidiness while it lasts, which is about a week!

The New York Academy’s printmaking room, a great space, on day three of the new semester. Not yet sullied from the dirty work of making prints.

IMG_5731

Actually, the Academy is one of the least disorderly art schools I’ve seen. It’s a spacious facility with a conscientious staff and student body. The atmosphere is terrific. Great vibes. The Art Students League, on the other hand, is a cluttered mess . At least it was when I worked there years ago.

Did I mention how good it feels to be back at steady work? Yes, I believe I did. Off we go!

IMG_5733

Figure and Verse

As in the midst of battle there is room
For thoughts of love, and in foul sin for mirth;
As gossips whisper of a trinket’s worth
Spied by the death-bed’s flickering candle-gloom;
As in the crevices of Caesar’s tomb
The sweet herbs flourish on a little earth:
So in this great disaster of our birth
We can be happy, and forget our doom.
For morning, with a ray of tenderest joy
Gilding the iron heaven, hides the truth,
And evening gently woos us to employ
Our grief in idle catches. Such is youth;
Till from that summer’s trance we wake, to find
Despair before us, vanity behind.

- Sonnet XXV, George Santayana

Relief print of me by Christian Johnson:

IMG_2882

A Little Chagall

Helloooo friends! Hope you all had a great weekend. Mine was lovely. I posed for my last booking with Peter Cox, a modeling job I enjoyed immensely, and attended the Fountain Art Fair where I hung out with my pal Daniel Maidman. Throw in springlike warmer temperatures and now longer days, life is fine and fabulous :-)

I’m flying out the door soon to pose for Mario D’Urso”s sculpture class but would like to post a quick Music Monday before I go. My oldest and dearest friend is a huge fan of Marc Chagall. Sadly, she and I are estranged and have not spoken in over two years. She used to read this blog regularly but I don’t know if she still does. In any case, I’d like to post this charming, colorful lithograph by Chagall titled The Accordionist, in the chance she might see it. I want her to know that I think of her often and hope she is as happy as I am these days. Miss you S. With love, sincerely, Claudia. xo

Chagall_Accordionist

Linocuts by Lill

This week’s Music Monday is a special treat for me, although I’m sure many of you artists, creatives, and Museworthy darlings will appreciate it too. As you may know, my recent experiences in printmaking class have introduced me to the joys of making linocuts and woodcuts – relief printing techniques. As much as I enjoyed learning intaglio, relief really won me over. Imagine my delight – excitement actually – when I stumbled upon an image for Music Monday that is the work of a tremendous printmaker I never knew of until now. She is Swiss-born Lill Tschudi, and if she were still alive I’d write her a fawning fan letter. Tschudi worked primarily in lino, short for linoleum, which is a material commonly used for floor covering, made of linseed oil and cork. In printmaking it is carved into fairly easily with cutting tools. For color prints Lill Tschudi used multiple blocks, inking each one with a different color and printing on top of each other to achieve the desired effect. Very labor-intensive process.

Here are two music themed linocuts by Lill Tschudi:

The Cornelia Siegel FIne Art Gallery is the exclusive representative for Lill Tschudi’s prints. Visit their site for more images by this gifted linocutter. And check out this beauty from the Met Museum collection. As for me, I’m on my own now since class has ended and I’m without the guidance and instruction of my wonderful teacher Lisa Mackie. But it’s all good. I’ll buy a set of carving tools and some lino blocks from the art supply store and just let it rip and see what happens! My composition skills could use some help. But if I can create one decent, artistic print within a year I’ll be happy :-)