Friday, September 19, 2008

Under Pressure :: Michalangelos David

Under pressure from viewers Michalangelos David is Cracking:

In a single day the news brougt up Michalangelos David, the first was about fears that the historic statue in Florence was cracking from the vibrations of the viewers walking around it.

The second was  the concept of the "David Effect" (another explaination of that term here) about famed Harry Potter actor Danial  Radcliffe enbaresment at first preforming nude.

"Daniel Radcliffe was so nervous about getting naked on stage -- his penis shrank when he first stripped off in Equus.

The Harry Potter star, 19, made his stage debut in London on February 27 2007 in the revival of Peter Shaffer's play, in which he does a full frontal scene.

And Radcliffe was so scared about the performance that he suffered from "Michelangelo's David effect".

Daniel tells the New York Times, "He [David] wasn't very well endowed, because he was fighting Goliath.

"There was very much of that effect. You tighten up like a hamster.

He might have been refuring to a Gaurdian article:

Shrivelled from the fear of mortal danger ... Michelangelo's David.

One of the most intriguing, if least openly discussed, mysteries in art has been resolved.

Michelangelo's David is meant to be a representation in marble of the perfect male form. So why did his creator not make him - how would one say - a little better endowed?

As every visitor to Florence will know, the modest dimensions of David's "pisello" are a running joke with Italians, and the stuff of irreverent postcards.

But, in a paper to be published at the end of this month, two Florentine doctors offer a scientific explanation: the poor chap was shrivelled by the threat of mortal danger. Michelangelo's intention was to depict David as he confronted Goliath.

What the new study shows is that every anatomical detail - right down to the shaping of the muscles in his forehead - is consistent with the combined effects of fear, tension and aggression.

One of the authors of the paper, Pietro Antonio Bernabei, of the Careggi hospital in Florence, said one such effect would be "a contraction of the reproductive organs".

Last autumn he and his collaborator, Professor Massimo Gulisano, of Florence University, conducted a computer-assisted study of the 4.34 metre-high statue, in the Galleria dell'Accademia. They emerged, in Prof Gulisano's words, "stupefied" by Michelangelo's physiological accuracy.

The only mistake is at a point in the centre of David's back that is hollow and ought to be rounded. Michelangelo was aware of the error. But, as he wrote at the time: "Mi manco matera" ("I lacked [enough] material").

Dr Bernabei said allowance had to be made for the conventions of high Renaissance art, which depicted activity in a "much more composed and elegant fashion than today". But, anatomically, everything about Michelangelo's David was consistent with a young man "at the moment immediately preceding the slinging of a stone".

His right leg is tensed while the left one juts forward "like that of a fencer, or even a boxer". Tension is written all over his face. His eyes are wide open. His nostrils are flared. And the muscles between his eyebrows stand out, exactly as they would if they were tightened by concentration and aggression.

"You see the same thing on Japanese opera masks depicting anger," said Dr Bernabei.

David is holding something in his right hand, and it has conventionally been assumed that it is a stone. But Dr Gulisano said their studies suggested otherwise.

"He is holding the handle of the sling. The arrangement of the muscles in his right arm is consistent with someone making, or about to make, a rotary movement, but not with someone about to throw a stone," he said.

Their full findings are to be given in a paper written for the Dutch Institute for Art History in Florence. A summary was published in the latest edition of the Italian journal Il Giornale dell'Arte.

The two experts' examination of one of the world's most famous statues was carried out using a specially constructed scaffold that was wheeled into place when the gallery closed its doors to visitors in the evening and on public holidays. Michelangelo's masterpiece, completed in 1504, was put back on display last May after cleaning which allowed its anatomical details to be studied much more easily than before.

Now we all know why he is rather less substantial in one area than might have been expected, just one great puzzle remains: why, since David was Jewish, did Michelangelo sculpt him uncircumcised?

The real David's problume is more serious

Michelangelo's David 'may crack

By Mark Duff 
BBC News, Milan

Michelangelo's David
Major restoration works were carried out in 2004

Michelangelo's famous statue of David could collapse because of its exposure to mass tourism, Italian experts say.

They say the massive statue of the naked boy-warrior is in danger because of its size, shape and the weakness of the marble from which it was carved.

But they warn that the greatest risk comes from the footfall of many visitors who troop past it each day at Florence's Galleria dell'Accademia.

The experts want to protect the statue by insulating it from the vibrations.

This would cost about 1m euros (£785,000). Otherwise David could topple over, engineers from the University of Perugia say.

Iconic status

The warning follows a detailed study of the statue which showed that the cracks filled 

during major restoration works four years ago - on the occasion of its 500th anniversary - have already reopened.

That restoration was itself controversial because it involved using distilled water to clean the statue - which critics argued could damage it.

Michelangelo's David has had iconic status almost since its completion at the height of the Renaissance.

At the time it was seen as a powerful symbol of Florence's republican political ideals: David being the youthful warrior who felled the mighty Goliath in the Biblical Old Testament story.

Since then it has enjoyed mixed fortunes: attacked by crowds when it was first displayed, then hacked by a deranged painter in 1991.

The statue has also acquired kitsch status - its copies adorn everything from casinos in Las Vegas to tacky Mediterranean beach bars.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Painting by Hugo Chávez president of Venezuela sells at Auction

A canvas painted by Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez, when he was in prison after his failed 1992 coup attempt has sold at auction for $255,000. Photograph: Reuters

"The mill of the gods grinds slowly!"

It was painted by a young army officer languishing in jail and it conjures loneliness and yearning: a full moon seen through the bars of cell. A message written in red letters beneath the portrait says: "The mill of the gods grinds slowly!"

Sixteen years later it seems the mill was not so slow in effecting dramatic change. The artist, Hugo Chávez, is the president of Venezuela and the painting has just sold for $255,0000 to help fund his socialist revolution.

Three Venezuelan businessmen paid the sum at an auction last week, surpassing all expectations for the picture, titled The Yare Moon, which opened bidding at $14,000.

The money will go to the PSUV, a socialist party that is carrying the president's banner in municipal and regional elections next month on the eve of the anniversary of Chávez's 10th year in power. He did the painting during a two-year jail sentence for leading a coup attempt in 1992, a military fiasco which nevertheless paved his path to electoral victory.

Hiroshima Bravo, a congresswoman and "chavista" loyalist, said she was surprised by the price but considered the painting a symbolic part of Venezuelan history.

Nelson Mandela's paintings of landscapes glimpsed through jail bars also fetched high prices, though subsequently doubts were raised about their authenticity.

Chávez's artistic credentials are not in question. As a boy in Sabaneta, a dusty, poor town in the plains, he used to paint friends, animals and landscapes. As a military cadet he drew caricatures of his comrades for their graduating yearbook.

Asked last year why he wanted to abolish term limits so he could run indefinitely - he has spoken of ruling until 2025 - the president said his revolution was like an unfinished painting and he was the artist. Giving the brush to someone else was risky, "because they could have another vision, start to alter the contours of the painting".

Three other World leaders were noted painters: Hitler, Churchill & Eisenhower

An article in Newsweek : The Art of Politics What happens when world leaders get creative. Hint: it isn't always pretty.

"Churchill bonded over painting with the American general, later president, Dwight Eisenhower. Eisenhower's tastes ran to plashing streams, dilapidated barns and birch-studded snowscapes in a style that might be called Greeting Card Pastoral. (In fact, when a small collection of his works was marketed as Christmas-gift prints, the publisher was Hallmark.) He was appropriately modest about his oeuvre, which he described as "daubs." Churchill, a far more accomplished and ambitious artist, was well aware of his amateur status, in comparison, say, to his hero Cézanne. "When I get to heaven," he once remarked, "I mean to spend a considerable portion of my first million years in painting, and so get to the bottom of the subject." But Hitler for many years regarded himself as an artist by profession. An authorized book of his watercolors referred to him in 1937 as "at once the First Fuehrer and the First Artist of our Reich."

Thursday, September 11, 2008



CHICAGO (September 10, 2008) – Chicago-based sculptor Miklos P. Simon has been invited by the Art & Design Department of the University of Notre Dame to exhibit work at the ISIS Gallery on the Notre Dame Campus. The show will open on September 25 and will run through October 23. This one-man show marks the 20th anniversary of attending Notre Dame and is a retrospective of his body of work.

Miklos P. Simon is a Hungarian-American, an artist and educator born 1960 in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary. (Birthplace of the famous Hungarian Sculptor Zsigmond Kisfaludi Strobl) After four years in the School of the Arts at Pecs, and one-year additional study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest, he left his homeland for the United States and settled in Chicago.

He continued his studies at the University of Illinois Chicago campus and later earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Simon Miklos was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1987. The following year, he enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Notre Dame.

"The title of the show is 'Round and Round We Go, Cycles in Art' and I am exploring the cycle and internal revolutions of myself as an artist – from the perspective of deflecting from Hungary to my current life as a naturalized American, as well as the smaller, more mundane rotations and orbits experienced – what emerges is a re-thinking of my body of work and new whimsical installations that explore the literal and figurative play of cycles," said Simon.

Opening night is September 25, 2008 at 6:30pm
with an artist lecture followed by a reception – open to the public and runs through October 23, 2008. Isis Gallery is located on the Campus University of Notre Dame, ISIS Gallery (located in O'Shaughnessy Hall) Notre Dame, IN 46556. Phone: (574) 631-7085. Accessible by the Metra South Shore Line (

Since graduation he has taught art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Chicago. Since the fall of 1999, he has been a part-time faculty member at Columbia College Chicago. He has participated in numerous national, international, group and solo exhibitions such as with SOFA Chicago, Art Chicago/Thomas Blackman & Associates Gallery and Fernando Silio Galeria de Arte, Santander, Spain, and at Liget Gallery, Budapest, Hungary. He is the principal of Simon Sculpture Studios and has received commissions for the Naval Monument in D.C., Roosevelt Road Viaduct Project, and his work appears in many Chicago-area architectural buildings and public displays including the Fine Arts Building, Harold Washington Library, Garfield Park Conservatory, The National Kidney Foundation (read about here) and the Looking Glass Theatre Company.

MIKLOS P. SIMON Artist Statement

In my most recent work I am posing individual questions or problems per piece, not so much as developing a theme. With materials such as electric fans, charcoal, garden hose or a man‘s wool flannel suit, I realize in objects, installations, and performance pieces personal, cultural or purely aesthetic issues. A few of these works explore impossibilities, others are therapeutic and some are humorous.

For example, the impossible manifests itself in the piece „Suit of a man who was cut in half and survived“. The viewer is faced with an impossible truth or a contradiction. The suit has been tailored to be worn by someone who has been split in half. „My Private Island“, a private space defined by a garden hose, is a tongue-in-cheek metaphor of the need for escape and refuge. A vacation delineated on the gallery floor.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

Artist Statement : Sandra Ginter , Sculptress

Artist Statement

"Through the use of clay I have developed a strong desire to address the issues of touch. However, it is not just the touch which is transmitted by the fingertips that intrigues me, but the feeling of being surrounded and transformed. Large or small, we all want space. We are surrounded at every moment of every day by space, but we are seldom consumed by it.suit (detail)

I am currently working on a series of single chamber "suits." These suits are constructed primarily out of clay. The images I draw from are airplanes, shark's and the human body. Airplanes and sharks resmbel the human body's basic form, but they contrast it in their nature.

The human body's suit is its' skin, it is soft supple organic and sensitive to the environment around it. Because of this, we often need additional shelter. This shelter not only protects but often furthers our boundaries. For example, we design hard, metallic airplanes so we may fly with speed and power. Similar to airplanes, sharks have speed and power, but they are also stereotyped as fearless eating machines with wet, leathery suits.

I have chosen these three images not only for their basic resemblance in form, but for the metaphors I am able to draw between them. As an airplane, you may attempt to climb inand fly away. As a shark, you are invited to possible change your persona, feeling sharper, stronger, harder, or fearless. One may not always view the texture covering the interior as a safe haven. However, once you have climbed inside you've become shielded, and if only for a minute, you are consumed.

I want my work to create a space that lures the viewer in, entwining them with the sense of touch....

It is interesting to compare this self-statement, with a reviewer statement. Clearly the reviewer must have gotten their facts from the artist. But the description becomes more explanatory rather than the almost metaphysical tone of the artist statement.

"Ginter, who received a MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and currently teaches at Saint Mary’s College in South Bend, Ind., uses her work to satire issues that surround being a mother and living in the Midwest and examines bits of Midwestern iconography with the piggyback perspective of a busy, working mom with three small children. She uses color and symbolic form to create small narratives that are all part of a larger tale in which cows and pigs hold particular significance. Larger issues are hinted at, such as genetic cloning, the significance of the individual and the ritualistic nature of living day to day."
October 9-November 6, 2008:

Hammes Gallery goes….PINK! A ceramic sculpture exhibition curated by Prof. Sandi Ginter and Helen Otterson. Featuring work by: Tom Bartel, David East, Jeannie Hulen, Lisa Conway, Erin Furimsky, Sandi Ginter and Helen Otterson.

Hammes Gallery is located in the Moreau Center for the Arts at Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, IN. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10am-4pm; closed campus holidays


This is another interesting artist statement, part of our new collection of artist statements of contemporary artist.


Clay is my chosen material; ceramics is my chosen medium. I cannot do what I do with any other material or process; clay and its firing process usually allow me to manifest my ideas best.

I have always been fascinated by human form and tend to use this as a starting point in my work. My work questions various stages of life, which are determined primarily by the biological development of the body from birth to death. I see the human life cycle as an experience containing many beginnings and endings many "births and deaths"; the connection between the beginning and ending of life is a continual source of inspiration. I am observant of how powerful time can be and am intrigued by the many ways in which we are affected by its passage. The changes that take place over time are frighteningly subtle.

Some of my work is directly concerned with the relationship between clothing and growth and clothing and skin. Each has the potential to encompass physical as well as emotional concerns. The body, when patterned, usually refers to clothing... to some degree. I enjoy the ambiguity that this situation presents. Furthermore, I see our clothing and/or appearance as being capable of summing up who or what we are yet it is only a facade; the ideas of mask, disguise, transformation and identity are fundamental to my concerns.

The ceramic surfaces I obtain are a vital component of my work through which I intend to confront the viewer's attention with the outermost "skin" of the work. I am attracted to heavily worn, patinated surfaces that reveal the "history" of an object. I see our skin as having the same potential as the surfaces by which I am intrigued. Throughout our life as we age our appearance inevitably and slowly changes and in the process our skin records this story.

Tom Bartel
If interested in contacting Tom Bartel, please send e-mail to
His Bio is at

He will in a group show at October 9-November 6, 2008:

Hammes Gallery goes….PINK! A ceramic sculpture exhibition curated by Prof. Sandi Ginter and Helen Otterson. Featuring work by: Tom Bartel, David East, Jeannie Hulen, Lisa Conway, Erin Furimsky, Sandi Ginter and Helen Otterson.

Hammes Gallery is located in the Moreau Center for the Arts at Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, IN. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10am-4pm; closed campus holidays
*/ /* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */