As sophisticated and worldly as he is, it’s not often you see James Bond contemplating works of art in museums. In the new movie, Skyfall, he’s forced to do just that as a nerdy young museum-goer (played by Ben Whishaw) introduces himself to 007 (Daniel Craig)
as his new “Quartermaster”. The two are sitting on a bench at the National Gallery in
London, facing a celebrated masterwork by eighteenth century British painter, J.M.W.
Turner. The painting is of the “Fighting Temeraire,” a vast and resplendent warship that
sailed to victory in the Battle of Trafalgar among many other glories. Turner depicts it
against a setting sun, still magnificent but no longer under sail, and being towed by a
smaller, plainer and contrastingly modest tugboat, powered by the new technology of
steam. The Quartermaster (“Q”) has the role in Bond films of providing 007 with his
arsenal of gadgets and weaponry. Bond is dismissive of the new Q’s youth and this has
obviously been anticipated in arranging their introductory rendezvous in front of the
painting, whose full title is “The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last Berth to be broken
up,” to provide a resonant context for Q’s riposte: “I can do more damage on my laptop,
sitting in my pajamas, before my first cup of Earl Grey than you can do a year in the
The first Bond novel was published in 1953, with the first movie, Dr. No, being released
in 1962. Even if Daniel Craig is a relatively recent Bond incarnation, the implication is
always that Bond himself has been doing his stuff since long before the era of the internet
and cyber-terrorism. The wry humor of this scene draws upon our appreciation for the
challenges even a heroic figure like Bond must face in the radical shifts caused by the
inexorable growth of new technology. That pleasure is deepened as the movie asks us to
reach across two centuries to appreciate the similar irony Turner considered as he saw the sun set on the golden age of sailing ships in the face of the radical new technologies of
the industrial age.
A reproduction of Turner’s 1839 painting of “The Fighting Temeraire” is available here.
Jean Guichard is inspired by the traveling and photography that he carried out during his military service. His first camera, a Nikon, was financed by photos that he sold to the crew of his ship. Guichard’s technical skills were further developed during his time with the Department of Commerce.
He has since published several award winning books on lighthouses and is constantly creating new lighthouse images.
To see the full Jean Guichard collection, click here.
There are some artists whose work is so recognizably unique in its style and transcendent in its execution that it no longer seems rooted in the familiar earthbound challenges of compromise and self-improvement. Mystified and enchanted, we yield to understanding it as genius.
Van Gogh’s notorious difficulties with mental illness have made it all too easy to see those as his personal struggle, and the magical artistic output of the last two years of his short and tormented life as the genius outcome of that struggle. At the Denver Museum of Art until January 20th 2013 is a rare opportunity to see van Gogh hard at work exploring possible artistic paths before his genius took flight. Becoming van Gogh is an exhibition that focuses primarily on the artist’s calmer years in Paris, staying with his brother Theo and studying color theory, grappling with life drawing and dabbling in Impressionism. It includes twenty works by other Parisian artists that van Gogh had admired, such as Toulouse-Lautrec and Pissarro, alongside seventy of his own works, loaned from prominent collections around the world. In showing van Gogh’s early awkwardness in draftsmanship and in finding his artistic voice, it demonstrates the sheer persistence and determination that ends up flourishing into the astounding masterpieces he created in the south of France (several of which are included in the show).
Details of the exhibition are here. Images that can be seen at the exhibition are below.
We have been celebrating our 15th Anniversary with 15 days of great sales, and here are our last five days of discounts:
December 6, 2012: Canvas Sale w/ 35% Off All Canvas Framed and Unframed
December 7, 2012: Vintage Advertising Art Sale w/ 35% Off All Vintage Advertising Art
December 8, 2012: Abstract Art Sale w/ 35% Off All Abstract Art
December 9, 2012: Map Sale w/ 35% Off All Maps
December 10, 2012: Sale to be announced at 12:00 AM CST on our website.
And as if that was not enough, everything else is 25% off!
*All sales are 24 hour hours only. Sales will begin at 12:00am and end at 11:59pm CST.
Congratulations to Brian @brianmanis1 !
You are the winner of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night on canvas!
Starry Night, Vincent Van Gogh
retails for: $144.99
image size: 22 x 17 5/8 in.
finish style: gallery wrap