Category: blog things

A short note on photography and reposts

Long-time followers may have noticed I occasionally repost the same pictures, sometimes months or years apart.

The way I work on this blog is simple: I try and find good paintings by women that are in the public domain*, then I upload then here, always with a link back to the source. I occasionally crop the images (when frames are shown in the original pictures for instance) but I never alter them in any other way. What this means is that the quality of the painting you get here is pretty much always the same as the original photography of said painting. Whenever a picture comes up for auction, it will be photographed again. Some pictures, inevitably, will be better than others, and that will occasionally warrant a repost from me.

Sometimes new information will come up as well. The first time I posted the portrait of the lady in black above, Uppsala Auktionskammare called it, quite simply, “Portrait of a young woman in black”. When it was up for auction again about ten months later in Stockholm, though, the sitter was identified as follows: “Portrait of baroness Catharina Eleonora Fredrika Märta Sparre (1832-1912), at the age of 21″.

And sometimes the same auctions houses will just take new pictures of artworks. “Bathsheba at her Bath” by Artemisia Gentileschi was sold at least twice by Sotheby’s, once in 2014 and once quite recently. I’ll let you be the judge of which picture is best.

Let this be a reminder to all of us never to assume we’ve “seen” a painting until we have actually been in the same room with it. We’re all looking at the invisible work of photographers here.

*As an aside, the law in the US as far as copyright goes, states that if a two-dimensional work of art is in the public domain, then a faithful photographic image of said work of art is also in the public domain.

Links to the original posts:

Thinking of creating an Instagram account for this blog. Thoughts? Advice?

Here are the blog’s nine most reblogged pictures of 2018, in no particular order:

As for the most reblogged post of 2018, it is this great quote by Caitlin Dover about Swedish painter Hilma af Klint:

Imagine a woman in the long skirts and high collar of the early 20th century standing in front of the painting she created. It is a massive piece—about 10 feet tall by 8 feet wide—and it is not a landscape, a portrait, a still life, nor a scene from myth or history. Dominating the composition is a bold yellow form reminiscent of a plant or sea creature, glowing amid colorful, biomorphic shapes and vigorous lines. This is just one of 10 such works that she has created almost entirely alone—sometimes walking on her work as she lays down the paint—and one of 193 radically abstract paintings that she has made in a few short years, between 1906 and 1915.

None of these details fit with the story told in museums and art history courses. We know the first abstract painters so well that we often refer to them by last names alone: Kandinsky, Malevich, Mondrian. We know who is celebrated for doing “action painting” on giant canvases laid on the floor—Pollock. Each of these men has been lauded for opening a way into new territory. As it turns out, that territory had already been explored by another artist. Her name was Hilma af Klint.

Tumblr is flagging all of my posts that show even a hint of nudity (and many more that do not show any at all)… I really hope that I can keep posting amazing works by women painters in history without having to pixel the nipples out or whatever. I’ll keep you posted.

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