Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Miraj by Sultan Muhummad

Miraj by Sultan Muhammad (active early 16th C.)

I can't remember how I bumped into
Greg Roberts' site ,
but what a thrill.

The artist lived during that exciting period
when Babur , Shah Ismail I, and Selim I
were building three great Islamic empires.
(Moghul, Persian, and Ottoman)

This is one of the greatest paintings of the 16th C.

(and that was a great century for painting!)

Greg will continue
to post large images
of this great period of painting
which looks so good on a computer screen
since the paint is so thin
and the original images
are of a similar size.

it's the last thing
an art museum
would ever think of doing)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Antonio Salemme

"The art of sculpture is not commonly understood or appreciated.

If it's a piece of sculpture,
even if it's small standing figure,
it's very important.

And if its not a piece of sculpture,
it has no importance whatsoever.
It's just another little figure,
and the world is full of little figures"

.... Antonio Salemme (1892-1995)

As quoted on this network news feature from 1990.

Do you agree?

This is the catechism
that I remember being preached
by Milton Horn (1906-1995),
(where the difference
between "sculpture" and "little figures"
is visual rather than conceptual,
so it would not apply in the artworld of Jeff Koons)

with this quote about "style":

"Style is most important, whether it be a book, a piece of music, a painting, or a piece of sculpture. But style is recognized only in retrospect. If one has style in mind while one is painting, one becomes stylistic. One produces a style after the Gothic, or Renaissance, or African. The style becomes superficial and becomes a manner, and we call that stylistic. My style comes out of my whole life.

The above piece of sculpture
fits well into the social idealism
of early 20th C. America (or Germany or USSR).

But Salemme is most famous
for his portraits
of famous people.

After WWII
social idealism
was a dead issue,
and sculptors like Horn or Salemme
were out of work
(except in the USSR).

Horn moved to Chicago
and would
re-invent the unlikely genre
of sacred Jewish sculpture,
while Salemme moved 90 miles west
to Allentown, Pennsylvania
to develop a new
version of Hindu mythology



Shiva and Parvati


I like these,
but I do wonder
whether there's a single Hindu
who would consider them
suitable for worship.

This is a scene
within what Salemme describes as
"a Buddhist symbol of the search for God"
in the following video:

(the landscape elements
remind me of Chinese brush painting,
and kind of resemble
the sculpture of his NY comrade,
William DeKooning)

But he also does
from the Western religious tradition
(above is David and Goliath)

and my favorite,
Adam and Eve.

What a fine, curious snake,
emerging from the foliage.

And here's
a visit
the sculptor's studio:

So... obviously I'm hooked on this guy
whom I only discovered
after someone from
The Antonio Salemme Foundation
found my figure sculpture website

If only Al Gore had invented the internet
20 years earlier!

Here's the space
which the Antonio Salemme Foundation
has acquired
to display his work
in downtown Allentown.

I hope they can keep it going!

Following a different strategy,
The Milton Horn Trust
dedicated itself to distributing
his work to various public sites
including the Art Institute,
the Lincoln Park Zoo,
a hospital garden,
and various Jewish institutions.