Ancient Roman Art

Roman art includes sculpture, painting, architecture, and mosaic work, as well as luxury glass objects, gem engraving, metal-work, and ivory carvings. Roman artists were very creative, and often borrowed artistic styles from several cultures, including Greek, Etruscan, native Italic, and Egyptian.

Sculpture and figure painting were considered the highest forms of art by the Romans, but unfortunately, while a great deal of sculpture has survived to the present, very few paintings have survived. The best known and most important paintings to have survived are the wall paintings from Pompeii, Herculaneum and other nearby sites. These paintings show how wealthy residents of a seaside resort decorated their villas in the period preceding the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE, which decimated these areas. A large number of paintings from 3rd century CE Roman Catacombs, parts of painted rooms from Rome and elsewhere, and Fayum mummy portraits from Roman Egypt have also survived (prior to 200 CE, the themes of Catacomb paintings were pagan in nature, but after that, Christian themes were mixed in with the pagan themes).

Roman painters used a variety of themes, including portraits, mythological subjects, animals, still life, and scenes from everyday life. During the Hellenistic period, scenes of the countryside were common. These scenes included rural mountainous landscapes, shepherds with their herds, country houses, and rustic temples. Also, erotic scenes were quite common.

Roman sculpture borrowed heavily from both the Greeks and the Etruscans. As a result of the Roman conquests of Greek territory, many Greek sculptors were enslaved by the Romans and it was reported that, by the 2nd century BC, the majority of the sculptors working in Rome were Greek. Because of the vast numbers of Greek statues that were imported into Rome, and the large number of Greek sculptors working there (and presumably using their Greek training and experience in producing their works), it has been very difficult to identify which of the surviving sculptures were of Greek design and which were of uniquely Roman design (even Roman temples were often decorated with re-used Greek statues).

The Romans did not attempt to compete with the magnificent free-standing Greek statuary. Instead, they produced historical works in relief. The most famous works of this type are the great Roman triumphal columns, which were made with continuous narrative reliefs winding around them (the columns commemorating Trajan and Marcus Aurelius still survive in Rome).

All forms of luxury small sculpture (often of extremely high quality) were very popular, as well as molded relief decoration of pottery vessels and small figurines.

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Types of Graduate Degrees in the Arts

First, it is important to note that many schools offer graduate certificates (sometimes called “non-credit”) which are less extensive than masters degrees, but offer some focused expertise in a certain area. With the exception perhaps of art history, most of the degrees listed below can be obtained as a graduate certificate or a masters degree. Certificate programs are ideal for the arts professional who doesn’t have the time to commit to a full masters degree. New York University, for instance, offers a non-credit professional certificate in arts administration that is separate from the NYU Masters in Visual Arts Administration.

It is also worth mentioning that some programs offer different types of masters degrees: for instance, Boston University awards an M.S. in arts administration–not an M.A. And not to confuse my readers, but some programs call their graduate degree an M.F.A. even thought it’s not a studio art program. These distinctions may be superficial, but worth paying attention to.

Art History: The masters in art history is a very useful and flexible degree to have for the arts. Coursework for degrees in art history tend to solely focus on academic subjects, comprising a fairly well-rounded curriculum of world art–that is, there will likely be few to no “real world” courses, such as art law, or financial management, or other like-minded classes. That is not to say that art history classes are impractical: if you’re interested in being an art specialist of any kind–a curator, or auction house appraiser, for instance–you will need a sound and solid foundation of the stylistic history of art in order to make creative judgments, or set a price on an object. This degree is highly recommended for anyone considering a fine arts curatorial career. And remember, there are also even more specialized graduate degrees in art history, such as degrees in film studies.

Arts Administration/Management: Arts administration degrees focus, as one might guess, on the administration and managerial side of the arts. These types of degrees offer flexibility in that you can apply the skills you learn to management of fine arts, performing arts, music, and other public and private art sectors. Coursework for degrees in arts administration vary from program to program, but you will usually find a heavy emphasis on “practical” real world classes related to administration, finance, and business aspects of the arts, whereas elective courses may give you an opportunity to take an art history or studio course to supplement your degree. With these credentials, you will be well-qualified especially for development, grant-writing, and other administrative departments. Requirements and curricula do vary from program to program, so I encourage you to do the research necessary to find the one that suits your needs. The arts administration degree is an option for anyone who has an eye for museum directorship, someday.

Museum Studies: This kind of degree is similar to the arts administration degree, but of course, it is more specifically tailored for the student seeking a profession in museums, and less so in galleries, auction houses or other institutions. A museum studies degree offers some flexibility in the type of museum you can work in: anthropology and natural history museums, science museums, children’s museums as well as fine arts museums. With a museum studies degree, you may also find yourself able to work in various museum departments, such as a Registrar’s office, or in Museum Programming. Depending on the curricula of the program, you may acquire credentials that open up the door for more curatorial or exhibition design opportunities for non-fine arts museums, but again, if you’re looking to be a fine arts curator, the masters in art history is the way to go.

Curatorial Studies: As the name states, this type of degree focuses on the history and practice of curatorial work. Along with museum studies, this degree will offer flexibility in that you can curate or design exhibitions for various types of museum institutions. In curatorial studies programs, you may find the curricula to have more of a balance of academically oriented courses (in art history, theory, criticism, etc) and the practical courses on curatorial practice than you would with a masters in arts administration. For instance, the rigorous curatorial studies program at Bard College, which is well-regarded, is a good example of a program that balances the academic and professional applications of art. The Institute of Fine Arts, the doctoral program of NYU, interestingly has a Ph.D. program in curatorial studies, which is unusual. I must emphasize again, however, that for someone interested working in a fine arts institution, art historical or stylistic specialization will be more valuable, and thus the art history degree is recommended.

Art Education: If you know you’re interested in teaching the arts, a masters degree in art education could be a smart career move. This degree can land you a job as a museum educator: sometimes we forget that museums are educational institutions, and working in the education department of a museum can be extremely fun and rewarding. You can also teach art in schools or community centers. Although it is more geared for an artist, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, in conjunction with Tufts University, offers an M.A.T.–Masters of Art in Teaching in Arts Education.

Art Business: For someone who views the art market as just that–a market–a masters in art business will give you the business acumen you need to compete in the international business of buying and selling art. These degrees are fairly new, founded on a new sensitivity to the globalization and commercialization of art, although I do believe a the more versatile M.A. in arts administration opens the same doors as an M.A. in art business. A degree in art business prepares someone well for a career in the commercial sector of art–i.e. an auction house or gallery. It is no surprise, then, that Sotheby’s Institute of Art offers a masters in art business. Sotheby’s, and Christie’s as well, does offer some specialized graduate degrees (in contemporary art, design or arts of china, to name a few examples), and as might be expected, the programs are very object-oriented and geared for professional development. Ergo a degree from Christie’s or Sotheby’s of course can set someone up very well for a career in their own institutions, although their websites do boast to have alumni in museums and galleries too.

Art Therapy: Interested in the psychology of art? It is an undisputed fact that creating art and interpreting art are both powerful methods of self-expression and recovery. With a combined focus on the visual arts (and sometimes music) and psychotherapy, programs in art therapy that can train you to help people use art to express themselves, or to use it as a tool for recovery from medical procedures or trauma. Patients can range from children, to the mentally-disabed, to the elderly in senior care centers or assisted living homes.

Combined degrees: It is becoming more popular for top art administrators to get joint degrees–M.A.s and M.B.A.s–so they can be truly well-rounded leaders of cultural and non-profit institutions. The University of Cincinnati and Southern Methodist University, for instance, both offer an M.A./M.B.A. in Arts Administration. For someone interested in being a deputy director or director of an arts institution, this may be the type of degree you want.

There are scores of graduate degrees one can pursue in the arts–these, I would say, are probably the most common and popular. But you can also get a Masters in “Modern Art, Connoisseurship and the History of the Art Market” from Christie’s. My point is that there are other specialized degrees out there, so do the research you need to in order to find the program that best fits your career interests. Good luck!

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The Dehumanization of Art – Ortega Y Gasset’s Pernicious Theory of Art

Because I have admired the Spanish philosopher and art critic Jose Ortega y Gasset (1883 – 1955) for many years, I have been reluctant to review any of his books. His writing style offers a peculiar angle of vision about culture, philosophy, and art. As a result for years I’ve been a consumer, always taking from his work and never giving anything back.

But now it’s time to give something back. So, here are some very personal likes and dislikes.

Ortega’s title of the book -The Dehumanization of Art- is now a constant in music, literature, aesthetics, and philosophy, having come to mean that in post-modern times human-shaped mimesis (representation of the human) is irrelevant to art.

According to Ortega, the arts don’t have to tell a human story; art should be concerned with its own forms-and not with the human form. The essay, divided into 13 subsections, was originally published in 1925; in these brief sections Ortega discussed the newness of nonrepresentational art and sought to make it more understandable to a public much benumbed with the traditional forms of art.

A search for the substance of traditional art

In the first section entitled, “Unpopularity of the New Art,” Ortega draws from his political credo which one can say it is elitist, aristocratic, and anti-popular. His analysis concludes with the belief that some people are better than others; that some are superior to others: “Behind all contemporary life lurks the provoking and profound injustice of the assumption that men are actually created equal.”

That unbending political point of view colors his aestheticism.

The masses, he holds, will never understand the “new art” that was emerging with Debussy and Stravinsky (music), Pirandello (theater), and Mallarme (poetry). A lack of understanding will mobilize the masses -a term that Ortega uses frequently to refer to the common people- to dislike and reject the new art. Therefore, the new art will be the art for the illustrious, the educated, and the few.

To bring that kind of divisive tool -the few versus the many, aristocrats versus democrats- into the arts seems not only narrow minded, but also disingenuous. Yet my main objection to Ortega’s analysis and conclusions is more fundamental. In my estimation, ‘understanding’ in the arts is of secondary importance. The arts are created by humans to reach out and touch other humans by means of appeals to their passions and emotions-through their senses.

When I was 14 years old, by accident, I heard a musical composition that was so different and strange to my young ears that prompted me to call the radio station to find out about that piece. It was Appalachian Spring, a ballet composition by Aaron Copland. What 14-year old boy from the Andes (Peru) can be familiar with ballet or Aaron Copland to even begin to understand the composition? Yet, I liked it. And that is all that mattered to me.

Understanding that piece of music, or even knowing the name of the composer, was as far away from my mind as was Einstein’s theory of relativity, since I had no idea who Einstein was either. Delight, enjoyment, and rapture one feels without expressed understanding.

By extolling the new forms and promoting the vanguard artists and their efforts to produce non-traditional art, Ortega’s book had a significant influence in the rejection of realism and romanticism. So seductive and convincing was Ortega’s prose that many artists and critics began to equate both realism and romanticism with vulgarity.

To allow a brilliant writer to exert so much authority should be a sin. For years Ortega’s authority has bothered me. Yet, despite that inner annoyance, my respect for the man’s writings inhibited me from protesting. So, by stripping Ortega’s dazzling prose of its seduction -by “bracketing” and performing a phenomenologist reduction- we can see it in its own nakedness for what it is: an elitist and harmful point of view.

People should never be made ashamed of their taste, likes, and dislikes in art. We should enjoy that touch of aesthetic delight whether it comes from primitive, Greek, Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque, realism, or romanticism, surrealism, or any period or movement.

Ortega advocates the ‘objective purity’ of observed reality

Following Plato’s division of reality into the forms (universals) and their simulacra, Ortega invents his own corresponding terms: ‘observed reality’ and ‘lived reality.’

The representation of real things (lived reality) – man, house, mountain- Ortega calls “aesthetic frauds.” Ortega totally dislikes objects be they man-made or natural: “A good deal of what I have called dehumanization and disgust for living forms is inspired by just such an aversion against the traditional interpretation of realities.”

In contrast, the representation of ideas (observed reality) is what he views as the true art. Therefore, he praises the new art as the destroyer of semblance, resemblance, likeness, or mimesis. In that destruction of the old human forms of art lies Ortega’s “dehumanization.”

Yet one must recall that more that more than 2500 years ago, the pre-Socratic philosopher Protagoras said, “Man is the measure of all things: of things which are, that they are, and of things which are not, that they are not.” Ortega’s will to “dehumanize” art will always run head on against Protagoras’ wall. Art by definition – anything that is man-made- is profoundly human and cannot be otherwise, Ortega notwithstanding.

Even in the stark canvases of painters such as Mark Rothko one feels the artist’s humanity in search of the human soul through color and luminosity. Even in the random drippings of Jackson Pollock’s works one can sense man’s struggle for freedom. And what is freedom but a human aspiration?


Whenever I look at the shapes of primitive African art, the Paleolithic images of animals in the caves of Lascaux, or even the colorful and balanced grids of Mondrian-I’m in awe of the human spirit. And at such times I feel that labels, signs, markings, and explanations and descriptions (theories) are totally unnecessary.

What we need are theories of art that can unite people rather than divide them. Ortega’s “dehumanization” is a toxic theory not because it advocates a detestable elitism, but because it attempts to deny the pleasures of art to the common people.

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The Fine Art Of Nude Photography

Many people don’t consider getting involved in the fine art of nude photography. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are against this form of art, rather they just haven’t seriously considered it because they didn’t know of anyone who would want to pose for them. Asking someone to pose for a nude photo can be a very difficult task. However, there is a different between nude photography. Be sure you differentiate the difference when asking someone to pose. You don’t want a risqué or explicit photo rather you just want to take something tasteful. Once you have someone who is willing to pose for you photos then you can begin. Consider the following tips to get the best possible nude photography.

The first step in nude photography is to be prepared. Look up some examples in magazines or on the internet of how to pose for the shots you want. Decide on a pose you want and a part of the body you want to focus on before you start shooting. When you know the type of shot you want to achieve you will have greater success in nude photography. You can’t simply grab a camera and start taking pictures; rather you need to take some time to properly prepare.

Next consider doing your nude photography is black and white pictures. Even the most beautiful of model you can find will have some blemishes on their skin which can come out in photos. For this reason it can be a good idea to shoot nude photography in black and white. This will completely change the look and feel of your photos. The shots will become more about the shape, lighting and shadows rather than on the body in the shots.

When it comes to nude photography anonymity can work for the photo as well as the model. Often photos with the face turned away or not shown will help make the pictures more photogenic. This doesn’t mean the model isn’t pretty it is simply the fact that the face can detract from the fine art of the photo. It can also add mystery to your photos. For the first time model this can also make it a little less uncomfortable for them as well.

It is also helpful if the mood in the room is as relaxed and enjoyable as possible. Even under the best of circumstances, nude photography can be a nervous experience for everyone. Even if you are friends with the model it can be a good idea to make the location as relaxed as possible. Make sure the environment is warm and funny this way it will be a lot easier to move beyond the awkward stage and be able to get comfortable with the situation.

Doing nude photography is a great way to expand your photography horizons and learn new experiences. You may decide not to nude photography again or you may choose to continue exploring this fine art form. Either way it can be helpful to use the above tips to get the best possible nude photos.

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Mastering the Art of Polarity

We all know that we live in a world of duality, whether we are all aware or conscious of that, however, is another story. Knowing and being aware are two different states of consciousness. Did you know that the Law of Polarity is one of seven of the most important Hermetic Cosmic and Universal Laws? This Law of Polarity states simply, that everything is dual in nature and everything has its pair of opposites. It states that opposites are the extremes of the one and the same thing. The difference is in the degree of their intensity. According to this law everything is and is not, at the same time. Every truth is half false because there are two sides to everything. There is heat and there is cold, and although they are opposites, they are really the same of the one thing, the difference is in the degree of temperature, the difference is in the rate of the vibration of the form. This is again in accordance with another law, namely the Law of Vibration as everything vibrates in nature.

The same goes for all the opposites, hard and soft, high and low, love and hate, good and evil. Change the rate of the vibration and you change the state of the form. One very good example is the energy of love and hate. Most of us have experienced personally how quickly feelings can change from hate to love and from love to hate. Why is that and how does that happen and where is that line between the two that divides, meaning at which exact moment does love stop and hate takes over or the other way round? This is impossible to pin down. According to the Hermetic teachings, rather than you being swayed by your moods and feelings here and there, being thrown from one extreme swing of the pendulum to the other extreme side, you can change this by becoming the Master of circumstances through the use of your Will to change the state of your Mind. When you change the state of your Mind you can change your environment and your role therein. This is known as Mental Alchemy.

Hermes Trismegistos is referred to as the ‘Scribe of the Gods’ and all the fundamental and basic teachings embedded in the esoteric teachings of every race may be traced back to Hermes. He is the ancient of the ancients. The most famous quote that is known comes from him ‘As above so Below, or as Below so Above.’ To escape persecution his teachings were embedded in mystery and constituted the basic principles of ‘The Art of Hermetic Alchemy,’which contrary to the general belief, dealt in the Mastery of Mental Forces, misunderstood by many who believed it to mean the transmutation of material forces for example metal into gold, but the teachings were well understood by all students of true Hermeticism. True Hermetic Transmutation is a Mental Art. This was what was taught in Hermetic Mystery Schools several thousands years ago and it still holds today because it deals with a Universal Law that is infinite. The secret Hermetic teachings were all about mental work with one goal only in mind, to advance the human being to a higher divine being through self transformation.

Good and Evil are but the poles of the same thing, and the follower of the Hermetic teachings understands the art of transmuting evil into good by means of applying the principle of Polarity. The Art of Polarization becomes a phase of Mental Alchemy known and practiced by the ancient and modern Hermetic Masters. Understanding this principle will enable you to change your own Polarity, as well as that of others. This is the principle of Mentalism which is ‘The All is Mind, the Universe is Mental.’ To change your mood or mental state, change your mind, by changing your vibration. This is the way it’s done. To kill out a negative quality concentrate on the positive pole of the same quality and the vibrations will gradually change from the negative to the positive until finally you will become polarized on the positive pole instead of the negative. To change the quality of fear, to rid yourself of any fear, concentrate mentally on the opposite quality of courage. Breathe courage, think it, live it, constantly in your daily life and in time you will polarize yourself at the other end of the pole, that of courage. It needs time and study to master the art but it is possible if you are willing to exercise your will power and excel your mental focus.

By changing your polarity you may master your moods, change your mental states, change your state of emotions, build up your character and gradually master your environment. Much of the mental mastery is due to this application of Polarity, which is one of the important aspects of mental transmutation. The mastery of Polarization is the mastery of the fundamental principles of Mental Transmutation or Mental Alchemy.Unless we acquire the art of changing our own polarity, we will be unable to have any affect on our environment. We can only achieve this by devoting the time, care, study and practice necessary to master the art. The Universe is wholly mental in its substantial nature, therefore, it makes sense that it may be ruled only by Mentality. If the Universe is mental then Mind must be the highest power affecting its phenomena. Nothing has changed since ancient times and the requirements of the student are still the same, PPP, persistence, patience and practice. The only thing that has changed is that the results are achieved much faster in our time today. To eliminate the undesirable concentrate mentally upon the opposite pole of what is desirable. This is Mental Alchemy. Remove the undesirable by changing its polarity. This is done by an effort of Will, by deliberately fixing you attention upon the more desirable state. Cultivate the art of concentration, of focus, of attention by means of the Will.

We are spiritual beings having physical experiences and in that itself we live a schizophrenic life, a life of duality and paradox. A part of us, the spirit, lives a life of higher existence on higher realms and a part of us, our physical body, lives a life on earth deep in the material world and we are torn between the two. Some settle down to the easy way out by denying one or the other realm and so live half a life only, because they have blocked out half of themselves. They either live a harsh materialistic life void of all that is divine, spiritual and good or they live in the other extreme, in an airy fairy space floating about without a purpose in the physical world. Some sway back and forth in constant search to find a balance between the two not sure which one is right for them. The material world is competitive, harsh, painful, distrustful, unjust and promotes separatism, whereas the spiritual self is driven by love and unity. So while living in the material world if we focus our attention to the higher self, a very real part of ourselves, that dwells on the higher planes, it makes sense that we will gradually acquire these feelings of love and unity which can make our life on the physical plane much more bearable. Our Higher Self connects us to the Universal Unified Field of Energy,it knows it is a God Divine force, and it is aware that it creates its own reality in a friendly universe that is supportive, it also knows it can access all the knowledge and information it needs from the universal field of energy. We are here on earth and our task is to blend the two and to move from a life of ignorance or less awareness, to a life of higher awareness and divine knowledge, and this we can do by focusing on the Higher part of the Self.

Both Energy and Matter are subordinates to the Mastery of the Mind. An old Hermetic Master wrote: ‘He who grasps the truth of the mental nature of the Universe is well advanced on the path of Mastery.’ And these words are as true today as at the time they were written. The wise one, it is said, serves on the higher realms, but rules on the lower realms. They obey the laws from above and rule below them and in so doing they form a part of the principle instead of opposing it. The wise one falls in with the Law and by understanding its movements operates it instead of being its blind slave. A good example is the skilled swimmer who masters the waters, by swimming in any direction desired, instead of being carried away with the waves unable to take control with a possibility of drowning. A negative example is the one who is too lazy to take responsibility for his/her own mental state of mind, thoughts and actions and allows him/herself to be brainwashed into false beliefs, depending blindly on religious dogmas and other destructive forces to run his/her life. In other words live a life of slavery and a victim of circumstances.

Spirit is universal, infinite and a living Mind, in which we live and move and have our being. We live in a Mental Universe and we, with our God given intelligence, can apply great mental laws to our own advancement and well being instead of using the energies in a hap-hazard ways. With our every thought and every action we are activating the universal laws, the difference is if we are doing this blindly to our own detriment and that of others around us or consciously for our wellbeing and to the wellbeing of all concerned. My challenge to you is this, how aware are you of your own thoughts and actions and the affect they have on your environment and fellow human beings. Are you putting your mental abilities to good use and activating the Law of Polarity in your life? Are you the Master of your life? Or are you a slave and victim to circumstances and the indoctrination of others and if this is the case, what are you doing about it? Remember no one has control over your thoughts, only you can control your thoughts. Only you can control your mental world only you control your Mind. This is your birth right and no one can take that away from you.

We are all living witnesses to a very special time in our earth history and the history of humanity as one family on this earth. This requires us all, each and every one of us, to be aware of our own individual mind and our mental powers. Through connecting with the Higher Self and the Universal Mind, we can activate our mental powers to put them to constructive use for the good of all humanity and mother earth.

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Source by Margo Kirtikar Ph.D.

Fine Art and Display Lighting

Fine art and display lighting requires excellence in three arenas. First, it requires top quality equipment that will maximize artistic expression and not inadvertently damage art or create fire hazard in the process. Second, it requires trained, licensed electrical professionals who know how to install the equipment for safe and reliable performance. Third, and perhaps most overlooked in our industry, it requires the installer to view the project with the eye of an artist to achieve the maximum aesthetic outcome. For twenty-seven years, Illuminations Lighting and Design has built a reputation as Houston’s premier lighting design firm equally skilled in the technical and creative aspects of fine art museum and display lighting. Our trained and certified staff of electrical contractors has worked throughout greater Texas illuminating works by premier artists from around the world. Our team consists of experts in all types of accent lighting, display lighting, and fine art illumination.

We have consulted and lighted some of the world’s most prestigious public and private art collections, including works from renowned artists such as Chagall, Picasso, Matisse, Renoir, Rockwell, Salvador Dali and Rembrandt. Many of these pieces are one of a kind and extremely sensitive to certain elements of light. Poorly installed equipment and inexperienced lighting design can damage these works of art irreversibly, so careful consideration needs to be taken when contracting an organization for display and fine art lighting services. It is essential to find a team like the one here at ILD who knows the destructive characteristics of the invisible light spectrum and that can harness and control infrared and ultraviolet radiation to prevent deterioration and fading of priceless art. Illuminations Lighting brings to the table an impeccable wealth of knowledge in fine art and display lighting fixtures combines with years of hands on experience working from one end of the lighting design spectrum to the other. Our expertise ranges from the very best low voltage accent lights on up to the complex Wendelighting™ optical projectors.

In addition to distributing only the most sophisticated fine art and display lighting equipment from the world’s top manufacturers, we also manufacture unique projectors and strip lights found nowhere else in the fine art and display lighting industry. Our Phantom Contour Projector dramatically highlights fine art work and sculpture on display by shaping the light to follow the exact contour of the object, producing a lighted look from within. Many premier galleries in Houston prefer the Phantom Projector as the optimal tool for fine art and display lighting because the projector itself installs above the eye line in the ceiling and produces a magical effect that brings out the full beauty of the world’s finest creativity. Regardless of whether you have a simple painting, a grouping of paintings or a tapestry, or a collection of three-dimensional art and sculpture, the results are simply spectacular.

For custom display lighting, Illuminations invented and patented the Phantom Strip Lighting System, which is marketed and distributed worldwide. Phantom Lighting is a low-voltage strip lighting system that illuminates coves, furniture, bookcases, breakfronts, and built-in displays. This patented adjustable shelf lighting method makes it possible to move and relocate individual shelves without the need for tools or rewiring while the light source itself remains hidden from the field of view. It also provides the perfect solution for bookcases and kitchen cabinetry with permanent or adjustable shelves. From a ballroom’s perimeter to very small spaces, such as coves, niches, corner cabinets and window valances, Phantom Lighting is the ultimate choice in residential and commercial linear illumination.

Whomever the artist and wherever the artwork is located, you can trust the professionals at Illuminations Lighting Design to design and implement a fine art lighting theme that will showcase your collection in the best possible light on a budget you can afford. Let a trained art lighting consultant help you with your collection.

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Source by Russell Neal

Sponsoring the Study of Art: Learning From The Renaissance Age

One of the enterprising, most important and breathtaking professions and area of study is Art. The great impacts exerted by art in our lives as humans are very severe such that scholars in the field synonymously interchange life with art and vice versa. This is true because from personal adornment through to the enhancement of our societies and the carrying out of our everyday activities pivots on art. It is, however, sad to realize how people rate and value art today. Art receives low patronage and recognition in the pool of other disciplines. Students who would want to pursue the study of art due to their awe-inspiring talents in sculpture, graphics, leatherwork, basketry, ceramics and the other vibrant fields of art do not receive the due sponsorship. These young enterprising artists end up shattering their great talents and resort to engaging in petty chores like cleaning, helping in construction works, housekeeping, and trading. The situation is escalated even in developing countries in Africa. The patronage of art is so low such that students from affluent homes who would want to pursue art are discouraged by their parents and even mocked at by their mates as timid students. The few who courageously take up the cross of art lack funding from funding agencies who prioritize the sponsorship of the so-called sciences and maths! Yet, the multi-million question we must ask ourselves is that ‘Are the other disciplines better than art?

Some argue that health sciences, economics, mathematics, and geography are enterprising because their industries have been established already and those professions are well paid and as such highly respected. Moreover, they are pursued by academically giants and gurus who had higher grading points. Though somehow true, these professions are no better than the arts. A retrospection into the renaissance age stresses this assertion.

Staunch scholars who were well versed theoretically and practically in various fields of human endeavor like Science, Mathematics and Engineering pursued art in the renaissance age. For instance, Leonardo da Vinci who was a leading figure in art, particularly painting and sculpture, was a scientist and engineer at the same time. He reckoned that art played quintessential roles in the society that either surpassed or equaled the sciences and maths. Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Donatello and the other great artists in that era were brilliant scholars! Even today, great scholars and students who attain high grading points study art. This clears the wrong notion that art is pursued by the academically weak and as such receives low patronage and sponsorship.

In addition, art received great sponsorship in the renaissance period. The Medici family from Florence in Italy sponsored art programs, seminars, workshops and competitions that were to hunt for talents in art. Projects in art received high sponsorships from governmental authorities, famous personage and wealthy businessmen in the society. This great support raised the patronage of art and its recognition was commonplace. The situation is different today. Art programs and workshops aimed to raise the standards of art receive low or no sponsorship from funding agencies, institutions and wealthy well-meaning persons in the society. This situation must cease if we want to realize the advancement in our societal, national and global development.

Art must be associated with respect and status in our societies due to the great impact it wields on societal events and activities like its counterparts in other disciplines. In fact, the so-called successful fields of study like architecture, engineering, mathematics, and the health sciences depend on art in the discharge of their duties.

The time is now for scholars, governments, funding agencies and well-meaning personage in the societies to support and fund art programs, education and other activities that would assist in its development. The accolade of art is still true today that ‘art is life’. Sponsorship of art is greatly needed and it must be attended to with all seriousness to facilitate and speed up the grooming of young talents, arrest the unemployment crisis of the numerous young persons and unemployed in societies to make our world a better place. Indeed life is art, and art is life!

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The Art Of Love: Sun Tzu’s The Art Of War In Romantic Endeavour/

The Art Of Love Military historians have often speculated that Napoleon Bonaparte may have utilized Sun Tzu’s timeless treatise The Art of War in his victorious campaigns, losing only when he failed to follow its rules. Certainly, his often stunning mobility would indicate that perhaps he did. One thing is certain; The Art of War, written over two and a half centuries ago, had been translated into French in 1782 by the Jesuit, Father Amiot and was available to the Emperor. But if he did read and utilize it, he wisely kept it to himself. Mao Tse-tung however made no secret that Sun Tzu formed the source of his copious works on military strategy, tactics and guerilla warfare and his writings follow the master almost word for word. And, clearly, the fingerprints of Sun Tzu are indelible when one examines the military defeat of France and, in what may be his shining hour, the defeat of the United States of America in Vietnam. The Art of War is probably the finest treatise on the conduct of warfare ever written. But what about its application in other fields, other endeavours?

   In recent years we’ve seen a spate of books applying Sun Tzu’s rules of war to business strategy which includes most notably Mark McNeilly’s Sun Tzu and the Art of Business, David H. Li’s Art of Leadership by SunTzu and The Art of War for Executives by Donald G. Krause. And by all accounts they work very effectively. But this should be no surprise. By any measure, The Art of War can be applied and lead to victory in many conflicts, international relations, politics, business and in our personal struggle for survival in the socio-economic battles we daily face. But what about love? What about the sexual battleground?

   My father was a British professional soldier. He caught the tail end of the Second World War serving in the Burma campaign at Imphal and Kohema. He returned to South East Asia in 1948 for the Malayan Emergency, Britain’s victorious 12 year battle to defeat communist insurgency in what is now Malaysia. And it was there that my father came into contact with Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, an encounter that altered the course of his life. The final years of my father’s military career were spent in what he called the “backwater” of NATO, a military organism he learned to despise as an expensive tax free social club for well connected civilian and military elites. His experiences there led him to firmly believe that in a confrontation with the armies of the Warsaw Pact, NATO would have been swept aside like a flimsy cobweb.

   Throughout his career, my father made no secret of his belief that Sun Tzu should be on the curriculums of all military colleges and even schools and universities and that military promotion should be contingent on a high passing grade in knowledge of Sun Tzu. Unfortunately, As Sun Tzu was obligatory in the political and military organisms in the Soviet Union and of course China, it was considered part of the philosophy of the Warsaw Pact, and my father’s open advocacy of him cost him dearly in terms of promotion in my view.  When he retired with the rank of Colonel, he moved back to England and took up his love of fly fishing. But military history was his real passion. And he enjoyed re-visiting historic battles and applying Sun Tzu’s rules of engagement to the great battles of the past.

   Visiting dad was, for me, always a pleasure in itself. But it was especially enhanced by the many delightful and lovely ladies who shared his life. My mother died when I was young, a schoolboy, and my father never remarried. Yet he had an endless coterie of lovely girlfriends. I was always puzzled since my father, while a charming and intelligent man, was no film star. Nor was he, strictly speaking, a ladies man. But he was a very successful lover. And his greatest conquest was Tam.

   Tam was Eurasian, born in Saigon to a Vietnamese schoolteacher mother and a Danish diplomat father. A lawyer, Tam specialized in international law and worked in SHAPE, the headquarters of NATO’s Allied Command Operations in the Belgian town of Mons. She was employed in the civilian section of NATO and it was there that my father, working in military intelligence, met her. A woman of great beauty, very well educated and of independent means, she was also a linguist in fluent command of Danish, Vietnamese, French, German and English. When I first met her in Brussels she was working on Flemish (Dutch). At 35, she was closer to my age than my father’s and for a while I was jealous. I wondered how he was able to woo such a lovely, young woman, a speculation that was only answered after his death.

   After he passed away, as his only offspring, I took on the responsibility of winding up his estate. I had known since childhood that he kept daily journals, but only after his death did I come to know how copious a diarist he had been. Fascinated, I steeped myself in the volumes of neat handwritten records that filled his library shelves. And it became clear that, for my father The Art of War was more than just a military text. For him it was about an overall life strategy for overcoming obstacles, a tool to attain specific goals. Consequently he applied it to most aspects of his life. And this included matters of the heart. In his diaries my father wrote frankly on the methods used to win the ladies who attracted him. He was not always successful as sometimes the ladies were simply not interested, and not even Sun Tzu could overcome that. But in the cases where he had a glimmer of a chance, but where the conditions were difficult or unfavorable, the application of the Sun Tzu’s Rules won the day. This was especially true in the case of Tam.

   As they moved in very different circles and worked in different areas, he saw her rarely and then usually in dry, stuffy meetings in the company of others. She had a luxurious home in Brussels in the exclusive suburb of Uccle, while dad rented a simple Mons flat. But whenever he encountered her alone as he occasionally did, such as in the office cafeteria, she offered a ready smile and he made a point of joining her. Sensing he had a chance, he moved quickly. Above all else, he needed to know everything about her. And so he used spies.

   He hired an expensive, high quality and very discreet private detective agency and set them to task. And they were more than thorough. Apart from their normal surveillance they penetrated Tam’s citadel by replacing her cleaning lady for a single visit and that was enough. They handed my father everything he needed. He now knew her tastes in music, literature and art as well as her favorite foods and sports: she was an accomplished and keen sailor and sea kayaker. An accomplished pianist herself, she loved classical music and was a especially fond of Elgar as well as being a jazz buff and a Stan Getz fan. He knew where she shopped for clothes and even the brand name of her underwear. Divorced, she had been married once to a Danish business man and had a teenage son in school in Denmark. With photocopies of her diary in his hands, dad had her social intinery for several months ahead. He also now knew something about the men in her life: his adversaries and how formidable they were. She had many men friends and, it appeared, four serious suitors: an American Major–General in NATO, a senior French Diplomat with the French Embassy in Brussels, a successful Belgian artist, a painter of impressive quality, some of whose works hung in her apartment. The fourth was a rich Swiss socialite. My father’s next step was to know more about them, specifically about their foibles, weak points and vulnerable areas. He was well aware of his own particularly with reference to the ground where the contest would unfold. Sun Tzu said: “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” My father would quote the Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz who said: “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act. Action will delineate and define you.” As Sun Tzu said: “All warfare is based on deception.” And so it was with father’s winning of Tam. He began laying plans.

   He steeped himself and became erudite in her interests. He developed a taste for jazz and the Big Bands of the ‘forties; he learned to appreciate Miles Davis and enjoy Stan Getz. He attended a sea kayaking symposium in England and took courses in the sport. And having knowledge of Tam’s social itinerary, he was able to surprise her and appear when he was not expected; such as at music concerts. Often he would bring another lady, but just as often he would appear alone It was at one such “surprise” encounter, a Mozart event, that he hit her for a date and she accepted for dinner and an evening of jazz in a Brussels club the following week. His foot was in the door. He was in her network. He had joined her club.

    My father was entirely objective and quite pitiless in the handling of his adversaries. The French Diplomat was a handsome, charming, smooth tongued roguish character. My father found him, very likable. He was also a roué with a secret vice: a penchant for occasional sex with low class underage hookers in a rough Brussels immigrant quarter whorehouse. A police raid found him with two of them one well under age. Faced with arrest he tried bribery: it failed forcing him to use diplomatic immunity. This worked, but resulted in publicity, embarrassment and his fast recall to Paris. And, of course, the news did not pass Tam by and he was out of her life.

   Shortly after the demise of the Frenchman, Tam celebrated her thirty sixth birthday. Dad gifted her a boxed set of CD’s, Stan Getz: The Bosa Nova Years – and a nice bound copy of Sun Tzu. She threw a party in the garden behind her home. According to my father it was an impressive event which included an excellent jazz trio, a great buffet prepared by Tam and superb wines. And, according to dad’s diary entry, it was there he began his campaign to dismantle and discredit the American General in Tam’s eyes. Dad engaged him on the American’s hobby horse – Vietnam. Influenced by drink the General became unpleasant and offensive to dad. Tam diplomatically suggested he apologize which he did, and he then left the party early. My father learned that despite his high tax free salary, the General had a gambling problem and considerable debts, in consequence of which he had engaged in serious black market dealings with a Belgian group based in Liege. A Financial Police raid on a warehouse revealed the General’s connection. To save face, not to mention his pension, and because of his profile, he was allowed to resign his NATO post ahead of his time and quietly moved back to America.

   It turned out the Belgian painter was no threat at all, dad discovered; he was never more than a good friend of Tam’s. My father met him, liked him and bought a small painting from him. But the Swiss playboy was another matter. Tam and he were old lovers and dad could see why. In his early forties, Hans had everything: a friendly outgoing personality and an infectious smile, good looks, a great athletic physique – and money to burn. He’d never worked or had employment of any kind. He played fine tennis and often coached Tam with her game. But his big passion was motor racing and he drove well and with panache, winning many races. He’d wanted to be a world class professional, but lacked the required discipline and commitment. And it was at a race meeting at Spa Franco-Champs that my father met him. Tam took my father to watch Hans race a Porsche in a sports car event. Unfortunately he crashed out of the race at the complex and infamous Eau Rouge corner while in contention for the lead and ended up in hospital with broken bones and concussion.

   My father had no wish to share his women and Tam was no exception. He liked Hans and wished him no ill but he needed to move him from all proximity to Tam’s bed. He was working on that when fate took a hand. Hans suddenly announced from Zurich that he was going to be married for the first time. The lady was a lovely young French fashion model of 21 years. He sent out invites to all his friends including Tam and my father. Tam declined. Instead, she sent him a card signed by her and dad.

   Tam remained with my father for many years. I last saw her after his death when she came over to England for his wake. No longer young, but still impressively beautiful, she had retired to live in Denmark. She invited me to visit, but I never took the offer up. She remains to this day one of the most beautiful women I have ever known.

   Did The Art of War work for me in romantic endeavor? Yes it did. Following my father’s lead, and being already well aware of its potency in overcoming conflict and achieving victory, using The Art of War as a tool in developing romantic relationships came natural to me. Using the 13 Rules of Engagement to win on the sexual battlefront was remarkably easy. I have also come to believe it has been used this way by many other people. And not just by men. I believe that the great diva, Pamela Harriman, probably the 20th century’s most prominent courtesan used Sun Tzu in her many conquests. I read an article on her and the writer mentioned seeing The Art of War on her book shelf. And reading of her exploits suggests she applied deception in her strategic and tactical drive to get the men she wanted. But if she did use him, like most people who utilize SunTzu, she kept it a secret and took it to her grave. There is no question that the Art of War provides us with powerful tools that can be applied to deal with conflict and difficulties in business or personal objectives. In sexual relationships, for men and women both, it excels no less.

Should the reader be curious and seek more knowledge, go to:

Michael J. Villiers Manchester, England.

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Source by Michael J. Villiers

Renaissance and Neoclassical Historical Arts

Renaissance is a cultural movement that started in Europe during the early 14th to 17th century or a period between the Classical and Modern era. More than its cultural essence, the Renaissance period was known for its developments in art, painting, philosophy, architecture and other intellectual aspects. It was an era that witnessed the largest growth and development in Western Europe.

A1. Renaissance art took its shape from the social conditions that existed at that time that carved Europe’s political structure. The cultural rarity of Italy existed, as there was no political form during the early modern period that resulted in artistic and academic advancements. This freedom opened gateways to trade and commerce across the globe that brought wealth in Italy through commissioning its artistic work.

Renaissance artists looked for human emotions and realism in art. They focused on making human portrays with a natural background. They took the Humanism approach, placing more emphasis on man than god, which was reflected in their sculptures and paintings. The Early Renaissance period focused more on creating sculptures on the basis of personality and behavior, whereas the High Renaissance was more towards balance and drama. Renaissance artists were greatly inspired by Roman and Greek art that used nude human bodies of personality in their art. Their attempt to gain perfection in human arts for expression, personality, and emotions reduced social hierarchies in the status of people resulting in everybody wanting to learn and share their ideas and skills.

A2. Neoclassicism was a predominant movement during the mid 18th century and the late 19th century in European art and architecture. It focused on the western classical art forms of ancient Greece and Rome. It was partly a movement that had initiated as a reaction to the Baroque and Rococo styles. It became a predominant part of academic art that continued into the 19th century to become visible as museums of neoclassical architecture.

Neoclassical art aimed in reviving the European Age of Enlightenment that was the Greek and Roman classical art forms. It aimed to contain the ‘purity’ of Roman arts and criticized Baroque and Rococo styles. Neoclassicism gained importance in France and England spreading towards Sweden. It made use of the classical essence relating to courage and nationalism.

Neoclassicism aimed to resurge classical styles through usage of sharp colors and classical subjects. They avoided light and soft colors in their paintings that depicted calmness and grandeur. Neoclassicists revived the Greek painting styles by using mosaics, columns, engravings and other ornamental elements in their work.

A3. Renaissance signified the rebirth of arts, science, and medicine and was an era that was responsible for most radical developments and movements in Europe. So much so, that it is also used to describe other major cultural and historical moments. Classical Renaissance gave birth to the Baroque style that was more dramatic and direct. Therefore Neoclassicism was nothing but a reaction to the Baroque style so as to preserve the purity of ancient Roman arts. Moreover, neoclassicism remained one of the foremost in academic arts.


  • Renaissance period was known for its Humanist approach in art while neoclassical art focused on more classical and pure elements of style;
  • The Renaissance period brought about radical developments in arts, philosophy, and medicine while neoclassical art was foremost in academic arts;
  • Renaissance artists believed in more natural and expressive nude sculptures of art while neoclassical artists incorporated ornamental elements in their work;
  • The Renaissance period opened gateways to new ideas and developments, while the neoclassicism period focused on retaining the Age of Enlightenment.

A3b. The Renaissance era was one of the most influential and flourishing period during the 15th and 16th centuries and gave birth to major cultural developments for almost three centuries. Renaissance art was born out of an evolving civilization whose quest for Realism and scientific perfection resulted in some of the greatest works and achievement in arts, science, architecture, and philosophy. The distinguishing feature of Renaissance art is its dedication to classical arts with a renewed interest in Roman styles that included naked human sculptures with no landscapes in a natural environment. It was an important era that brought wealth to Europe and its artistic freedom enabled skilled artisans to flourish.

A3b1. Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) was one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance period. Also known as the ‘Renaissance Man’, was born in Italy and was a renowned painter who became a polymath in many fields such as music, science, mathematics, and botany. He is considered as one of the greatest diversely talented persons to have lived. Mona Lisa is one of the most renowned works of his time that was greatly appreciated. The Mona Lisa is a 16th century half-length portrait that was made in oil and of a seated woman.

Andrea Appiani (1754-1817) Born in Milan, was an Italian neoclassical painter. He trained under Carlo Maria Giudici and learnt painting by copying sculptures. His best works are in the church of San Maria presso San Celso and the royal palace at Milan. Among some of his works of oil paintings are Venus and Love, and Rinaldo in the garden of Armida.

A3b2. Madame Hamelin (1776-1851) was one of the neoclassical painter Andrea Appiani’s work that bears a similar resemblance to Leonardo Da Vinci’s Monal Lisa. Both are half-length oil portraits of women who are half-seated that reflects the natural facial expressions wherein their hands are folders bearing similar artistic values and styles to one another.

A3c. Neoclassicism reached its most influential period in arts during the 1780s to 1850s. New archeological discoveries and settings paved the way for classical themes that also resulted from the reaction of the Rococo styles. Neoclassicism retained its classical antiquity and co-existed with its much opposite form of Romanticism art. Artists of the neoclassical era replaced religious and mythological objects with realistic, simple, and bold ones. IN the 1830s, the Neoclassicism era was replaced by Romanticism.

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Art Prints. What is a Giclee? Comparing Lithograph to Giclee

What is a giclee? comparing Lithograph to Giclee

This more recent then lithography method of making higher quality prints is gaining very high standard popularity.

Why is a Giclee more modern and higher quality then a lithograph?

A giclee (zhee-CLAY) is an individually produced, high-resolution, high-fidelity reproduction done on a special large format printer. Giclees are produced from digital scans of existing artwork. Also, since many artists now produce only digital art, there is no “original” that can be hung on a wall. Giclees solve that problem, while creating a whole new vibrant medium for art.

Giclees can be printed on any number of media, from canvas to watercolor paper to transparent acetates. Giclees are superior to traditional lithography in several ways. The colors are brighter, last longer, and are so high-resolution that they are virtually continuous tone, rather than tiny dots. The range, or “gamut” of color for giclees is far beyond that of lithography, and details are crisper.

 Lithography uses tiny dots of four colors–cyan, magenta, yellow and black–to fool the eye into seeing various hues and shades. Colors are “created” by printing different size dots of these four colors.

Giclees use inkjet technology, but far more sophisticated than your desktop printer. The process employs six colors–light cyan, cyan, light magenta, magenta, yellow and black–of lightfast, pigmented inks and finer, more numerous, and replaceable printheads resulting in a wider color gamut, and the ability to use various media to print on. The ink is sprayed onto the page, actually mixing the color on the page to create true shades and hues.

They are priced midway between original art and regular limited edition lithographs. Limited edition litho prints are usually produced in editions of 500-1000 or more, all at once; but giclees rarely exceed 50-100 reproductions, one at a time.

Giclees were originally developed as a proofing system for lithograph printing presses, but it became apparent that the presses were having a hard time delivering the quality and color of the giclee proofs. They evolved into the new darlings of the art world. They are coveted by collectors for their fidelity and quality, and desired by galleries because they don’t have to be produced in huge quantities with their large layout of capital and storage.

In addition, Giclees are produced directly from a digital file, saving generations of detail-robbing negatives and printing plates, as with traditional printing.


giclee, lithographs, fine art, prints, posters

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Source by Al Dubinsky