Bertold Loffler’s most important painting, Youth Playing the Pipes of Pan (1912), reveals his passion for classicism, from the garlanded youth and draped female attendants to the vase at their feet, depicting Pan, the Greek god of untamed nature, playing a double flute. The flat, stylized composition and the bold patterns on the women’s cloaks reflect Loffler’s work as a designer for the cutting-edge Austrian artists’ association the Wiener Werkstätte. Eduard Ast, a major patron of the group, acquired the canvas and hung it in the dining room of his newly-built villa in Vienna, across the hall from Gustav Klimt’s painting of the mythological heroine Danaë(1907 – 08), which is in a private collection.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Kandler’s brilliantly composed figural group, The Judgement of Paris (1762) was intended as a table centerpiece that would appear with dessert. It depicts the story of the shepherd Paris awarding the golden apple to Venus, whose charms he preferred to those of Minerva and Juno. The splashes of color add a frivolous note, in tune with the frothy rococo spirit of the sculpture. Moreover, hints of naturalistic coloring deny these goddesses the timelessness of idealizing sculpture, making them instead into modern beauties who perform a titillating after-dinner entertainment.
Photographed in The Met Breuer (Now Closed) as Part of the 2018 Exhibit, Like Life: Sculpture, Color and The Body.
Above Photo and Playbill Image By Gail. All Other Performance Photos By Jeremy Daniel.
You just can’t keep a good thing down. Nine years after it debuted as a major motion picture, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical – based on the New York Times best-selling book, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, is back with a national theater run. The two-act rock musical, written by Rob Rokicki and Joe Tracz (Be More Chill), first played in NYC in 2017 for a short run. Due to the show’s popularity, fans of the book series demanded that the play be available to a larger audience, and a National Tour was launched in January. This past week, the tour made a four-day stop at NYC’s Beacon Theatre, and I was able to check it out.
The diminutive nude female figure in the upper right area of The Nymph Echo (1936) is often identified as Echo — a mountain nymph of Greek Mythology. Far more dominant, however, is the monstrous green vegetal creatures — or is it creatures — in the foreground. This wildly imaginative hydra-headed creation may represent Narcissus, whom Echo loved. Famously, Narcissus fell in love with his own beautiful image reflected in a pool and wasted away from unsatisfied desire, whereupon he was transformed into a flower. The various delicately colored floral effusions in Ernst’s painting recall this moment of metamorphosis.
The Belgian artist Jean Delville (1867 – 1953) was among the participating artists that feverishly shared Josephin Peladan’s beliefs in the spiritual power of art. Delville exhibited in the first four Salons de la Rose+Croix, earning particular admiration in 1894 for The Death Of Orpheus (1893). During the 19th century, Orpheus, the supernaturally talented poet of classical Western mythology, was a popular paradigm for the artist as enchanter, seer, and martyr whose creations transcend death. In one myth, after Orpheus is dismembered by wild female followers of Dionysus — the god of wine, fertility and madness — his head floats downriver, still singing, and becomes an oracle. Orpheus’s androgynous features, reportedly modeled after the artist’s wife, manifest the Symbolist belief in androgynes as ideal beings that represent the synthesis of opposites into a beautiful and perfect whole.
Photographed as part of the exhibit Mystical Symbolism: The Salon de la Rose+Croix in Paris, 1892–1897, at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.