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Matthew Felix Sun
My Favorite Frescos at Cappella degli Scrovegni in Padova (Padua)  
Posted 4/26/16

Cappella degli Scrovegni in Padova (Padua), Italy, boasts a thrilling fresco cycle by Giotto, whose works were so delicate, that the viewers were limited to 10- to 20-minutes guided tours, and could only enter the chapel after a 15-minutes temperature and moisture modulation sessions. That cycle was simply breathtaking - enormous scope, brilliant colors, remarkable compositions, "modern" technique of rendering volumes and understanding of human anatomy and perspectives, and above all, exotic... [more]

My Featured Painting: Trot  
Posted 4/22/16

The motive behind my oil painting Trot was my wish to explore tonal contrasts and arrive at a certain balance of playfulness and menace. The subject of this study is a cat, or two. Before I started my oil, I made several preliminary sketches and once I committed my ideas to the canvas, I proceeded with a cat with upright head. Somehow, after the composition had more or less taken shape, I noticed a more dynamic and emotional sketch with a cat whose head was bending down, thus I incorporated that cat in... [more]

My Favorite Paintings at Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padova (Padua), Italy  
Posted 5/2/16

The great Basilica di Sant'Antonio in Padua, famed for its relics of Saint Anthony, houses some wonderful artworks underneath its almost Byzantinesque domes. My favorite of such was the great altar, which dazzled with brilliant blue, yellow, white, red, and gold hues. A bit kitschy from distance, perhaps; but on the spot, I was quite easily transported by the mysterious shimmering light. My second favorite was a fragmented mural, with cleanly delineated figures, animals and walled city, evoking the ideal of early Rena... [more]

My Favorite Sculptures at Musei Civici degli Eremitani, Padova (Padua)  
Posted 4/8/16

Musei Civici degli Eremitani, (Museo Archeologico e del Museo d'Arte Medievale e Moderna) in the ancient Italian city Padua impressed me, especially many artifacts from their Archaeological Department. I was most taken by small a bronze sculpture of a winged foot for its elegant shape in an assertive yet delicate style and the absence of the rest of the body made this piece more intriguing and unforgettable. My second favorite was a stone sculpture of a squatting bird-woman. Comparing the he sleek foot above, this one looke... [more]

My Featured Pastel Painting: Typhoon  
Posted 2/10/16

My first successful pastel painting, Typhoon, is an abstract piece inspired by devastating typhoons unfortunately have been creating ever-heavier havoc recently, due to the undeniable climate change. Exploring spatial relationships, subtle variations of tones and shifting of patterns, I tried to capture the something unpredictable and the menacing. Typhoon / 颱風 / Taifun Pastel on Paper 8.5” x 11” Completed in 2015 This painting is currently being exhibited at Expressions Gallery in Berkeley, in a show aptly titled "Into the Future". Origi... [more]

New Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive Opened  
Posted 2/4/16

Last week, UC Berkeley's Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive opened its new building to guest. Thursday was the gala opening day for donors; Friday, opening day for students; Saturday for members of the Museum/Archive; and Sunday, a community open house. I visited the Museum on 30 January, Saturday and it was nice to see so many members and their families and friends exploring the space and artworks on display. The place was full of excitement and high energy but the visitors didn'... [more]

“Shadow” Over the Land – Featured Painting  
Posted 1/24/16

My landscape/allegorical oil painting, Shadow, depicts a fantastic world - a vast furrowed dark brown field, whose parallel ridges converge towards the distant horizon, which was dotted with a cluster of very insignificant white buildings, centering on a little church spire, which was barely visible. The contrast between the enormous dark fields and the tiny white village is highly dramatic, yet that is topped by several huge leaden and apparently weighty clouds, which curiously cast no shadows;... [more]

My Favoritate Artwork at Ca' Pesaro, Venezia (Venice), Italy  
Posted 2/20/16

Ca' Pesaro in Venice is known for its modern collections, including paintings by Gustav Klimt, Pierre Bonnard and Marc Chagall. When I visited the museum, Klimt was not on display so I chose these two pieces as my favorites. The sculpture "Cardinal" by Giacomo Manzù was a very striking piece. From the front, it looked like a well formed symmetrical shrub, or an over-sized checkers piece, which definitely was nothing but simple and had multiple layers of meanings. The side view of th... [more]

My Featured Painting: Dichotomic “In Distant Country”  
Posted 12/22/15

One of my paintings selected in a recent exhibition at Berkeley Central Arts Passage, Today's Artists Interact with Major Art Movements from the Renaissance to the Present, is a painting of part cityscape and part animal figure study. In Distant Country / 在遙遠的国度 / In fernem Land Oil on Canvas 22″ x 28" Completed in 2011 The left side of the painting, in shades of washed-out gray, depicts the Old St. John's Hospital, an 11th-century hospital in Bruges, Belgium while the right side zooms in one of the om... [more]

My Favorite Artworks at Ca' d'Oro, Venezia (Venice)  
Posted 1/9/16

Almost every major old mansion, or Ca', as called by the locals, in Venice, are an impressive museum. Ca' d'Oro, is the most iconic of them all, famed for its Gothic columns, arched windows and fascinating asymmetrical façade, and it not only boast artifacts demonstrating the life in the begone era, it also houses some impressive artworks as well. My favorite work my saw during my 2012 trip was a painting from the workshop of one of my favorite Renaissance artists, Andrea del Sarto, titled Madonna and Child w... [more]

My Favorite Artworks at Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venezia (Venice)  
Posted 11/22/15

Collezione Peggy Guggenheim (Peggy Guggenheim Collection), located in an unfinished 18th-century palace, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, boasts many modern masterpieces ranging in style from Cubism and Surrealism to Abstract Expressionism. One of my favorite work there was a sculpture in the garden: The Cloven Viscount (Il visconte dimezzato) by Mimmo Paladino, which was simultaneously formal and fluid, familiar and strange, comforting and unsettling. The figure, installed inside a small square brick conf... [more]

My Favorite Artworks at Ca' Rezzonico, Venice  
Posted 12/13/15

Venice has almost as many museums as its numerous Palazzi; one of these stately buildings stands along the Grand Canal is Ca' Rezzonico, whose art collections are fully in line with the peculiar tastes of the 18th century Venetians, decorative, precious, and a bit silly, but redeemed somewhat by whimsical playfulness and perhaps self-mockery. The favorite piece I saw there was a fresco titled "Mondo Novo" by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, featuring vivid and even theatrical figures populating the streets in... [more]

My Favorite Artifacts in Il Ghetto and Museo Ebraico (Jewish Museum) in Venice  
Posted 11/18/15

Il Ghetto and Museo Ebraico (The Ghetto and Jewish Museum) in Venice were poignant places to visit and unsurprisingly, one of my favorite artifacts there was a series of reliefs mounted on the wall of the huge courtyard, depicting momentous experiences of the Jewish people: Another favorite of mine was an ancient map/landscape of a walled city (Jerusalem?) housed inside the museum. I was struck by the harmoniously interwoven pleasing blue and green tones throughout the lovely piece, and... [more]

My Favoritate Paintings in Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice  
Posted 10/4/15

A grand building in Venice, Scuola Grande di San Rocco, houses a huge cycle of paintings by Tintoretto, commissioned in 1564. For next twenty-seven years, he and his assistants, including his son Domenico, created this opus magnum. From this cycle, I cite these two below as my favorites. The first one is "The Annunciation" which depicted this familiar subject in a startlingly dramatic way and the dynamic momentum and the stark tonal contrast were overwhelming. The Annunciation from the Tintoretto cycle, Image courtesy of Wik... [more]

My Favorite Painting & Sculptures in Il Redentore, Venezia  
Posted 9/19/15

Il Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore (Church of the Most Holy Redeemer) is located on a small island facing Venice across a lagoon, and a short trip by boat brought me to see some of its eclectic artworks. My favorite painting in the church was Baptism of Christ by Veronese. This painting did not present a panoramic scene of the event; rather, it brought viewers to the close proximity of the main characters in the drama -- Jesus and John the Baptist, presented as virile young men, vigo... [more]

My Favorite Sculpture at Punta della Dogana  
Posted 8/22/15

When I visited Venice for the second time, I spent some time at the slightly flooded Punta della Dogana to admire some sculptures on the plaza. One of my favorite, “Boy With Frog,” by Charles Ray, has since been unfortunately removed, due to locals' demand of the return to the spot of a "romantic" lamppost. Without that amazing and controversial work, which would be my most favorite, I move on to cite other two sculptures as my favorites. The first one was a 2010 metaphoric one titled... [more]

My Favorite Artworks at Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Venezia  
Posted 7/1/15

Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute in Venezia, though so-called a minor cathedral, due to its strategic location near the tip of Punta della Dogana, visible when entering the Piazza San Marco from the Grand Canal, was a natural stop for many visitors to the city. Its interior was relatively sparse, understated and unassuming, but that it didn't prevent Salute from accumulating some muted splendors. Amongst several interesting and moving works, I cite these two as my favorites (below). The one l... [more]

My Favorite Artwork at Piazza di San Marco  
Posted 6/18/15

Piazza di San Marco in Venice is a marvelous museum itself, featuring valuable historical artifacts and artistic treasures, too numerous to list. One of my two favorites is the iconic sculpture of "I Tetrarchi (The Tetrarchs)" at the foot of Basilica di San Marco, depicting four ebony colored Tetrarchs huddling together, either in fear, or treacherous congregation. Very intriguing and engaging: The second favorite sculpture of mine is actually a capital, which has some very peculiar looking heads sticking out of the column, some with the spirits of... [more]

My Oil Painting - Intense "Mackerel"  
Posted 3/21/15

I am very proud of my 2007 oil painting "Mackerel", in which I managed to capture both beautiful and sinister elements of a daily object, fulfilling a most tantalizing pursuit of mine. With its intense colors and bold strokes, this painting economically presents a sleekly fish, intently staring upwards, as if ready to confront its captor; at the meanwhile, its eye also betrayed the fish's sad resignation to its imminent demise. The background of the painting was plain drop cloth, hatched lightl... [more]

Allegorical Painting "Birds and Men"  
Posted 2/25/15

I don't consider myself as a colorist; yet, sometimes, I managed to utilize some vibrant colors to create paintings with vibrant colors, bold, striking, yet harmonious, such as my 2003 oil painting, Birds and Men. Birds and Men / 鳥與人 / Vögel und Menschen Oil on Canvas 30" x 40" 2003 With that painting, and several others made in 2003, I started my Apocalypse Series, intended to document human sufferings inflicted by reckless or repressive political, religious or cultural forces. The dire... [more]

My Favorite Artworks in Palazzo Ducale, Venezia (Doge Palace, Venice)  
Posted 5/22/15

The vast compound of Palazzo Ducale, Venezia (Doge Palace, Venice) is a trove of architectural and art treasures scattered around within and without the highly decorated walls of the palace, therefore it took me some concentration to choose my two favorites. My first choice was a painting by Titian, depicting the giant Saint Christopher carrying baby Jesus on his back, across a river before the child revealed himself as Christ. The composition was powerfully dynamic, with the Saint startlingly sinewy and serious, a personificatio... [more]

Andy Goldsworthy's Stone River in a Lush Setting  
Posted 1/1/15

The unique artist Andy Goldsworthy's installation Stone River (2001) on Stanford University campus was an amazing creation, which was, according to the University's website, "a wall-like serpentine sculpture set in about three acres of land to the northeast of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts. It is about 3 1/2 feet high and about 4 feet wide at its base. It is made of more than 6,500 stones, including about 700 triangular coping stones weighing between 20 and 50 pounds each tha... [more]

My Favorite Altar and Fresco at Barmherzigenkirche, Graz  
Posted 12/7/14

Though thee baroque monastery church, Barmherzigenkirche (Brotherhood of Compassion), in Graz, Austria, was founded by the Archduke Ferdinand and Max Ernst in 1615, the present construction was from later period - built in 1735-40, was by J. G. Stengg and it presented visitors stark contrasts between its austere though flowing architectural elements and the overstuffed, overwrought religious paintings, sculptures and altars. For the latter, it was their almost naïve sincerity and th... [more]

My Favorite Sculptures at Schloßberg, Graz  
Posted 11/22/14

The hill in the city of Graz, Austria, Schloßberg, boasted many monuments, on the ground of the fortress destroyed by the conquering Napoleon's army, such as the Lion: Major-Hackher-Denkmal, Bastion of Schloßberg (above). Amongst many memorable sculptures, my favorite one was a large relief, titled Untersteiermark unvergessene Heimat (Lower Styria Unforgotten Home) (Graz 1945), whose poignantly depiction of displayed people by the raging war. In regardless of political situati... [more]

My Favorite Artworks at Stadtpfarrkirche zum Hl. Blut, Graz  
Posted 9/22/14

The Graz parish church, Stadtpfarrkirche zum Hl. Blut (Parish Church of Holy Blood), nestling quietly in the the busiest street of the city, Herrengasse, had a wonderful baroque façade containing my favorite sculpture of the church, a scholar or a clergyman in a distinctive long robe and cornered hat, holding a large folio and a paper roll. Face serene and intelligent, pose determined and a bit defiant, the figure was shrouded in a slight mystery. The outline and the coloration of the figure and the background were so cleanly... [more]

My Favorite Altar Pieces at Mariahilferkirche, Graz  
Posted 9/19/14

There are many interesting churches in Graz and one of them I visited in 2012, Mariahilferkirche and cloister, impressed me very much with its startling altar pieces. The most striking one was an altar of Pietà, whose particularity was that there was a sword piercing into Maria's breast. It was a very disturbing and moving image and hard to forget. I happened to have seen quite a few similar images during that trip; in the very same church, on the side wall, I also saw this standing alone Maria pierced by... [more]

My Favorite Sculptures at Institut für Klassische Archäologie, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz  
Posted 9/13/14

As I reported shortly after my trip to Graz in 2012, I was delighted by my visit to Institut für Klassische Archäologie at Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, for its collections of many classical Roman and Greek marble sculptures and reliefs. According to the university, "the Institute is home to significant archaeological collections of ancient vases of Greece, objects from local sites as well as casts of ancient sculptures." There were many beautiful sculptures to admire, many... [more]

My Favorite Paintings at Neue Galerie, Graz, Austria  
Posted 9/6/14

The other important museum I visited in Graz, besides Kunsthaus, was Neue Galerie, which housed many important Austrian art. My favorite painting there was, again, by Egon Schiele (1890, Tulln an der Donau, Austria - 1918, Vienna), titled Stadtende (Häuserbogen III) (City End, Houses Arc III). It depicted a jumble of houses in various shades and shapes and the whole composition was quite dynamic, full of contrast and movements. Despite the many colors employed by the artist, the pai... [more]

My Favorite Artworks in Kunsthaus, Graz, Austria  
Posted 8/25/14

The ultra-modern museum, Kunsthaus, in Graz, Austria, was a distinctive architecture and its attraction is itself. That said, I did see some very interesting works in this museum during my 2012 visit to Graz. My favorite item was an installation - a wooden forest flourishing under several intense circular florescent lights, suggesting a giant incubator, or an solemn, almost spiritual outer space, where several stars or planets converging upon alien soil. Very intriguing. My second fa... [more]

My Favorite Artworks in Schloss Eggenberg, Graz, Austria  
Posted 8/20/14

Schloss Eggenberg in Graz, Austria is a magnificent Baroque palace and in 2010 was included in the listing of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites. In 2012, when I made a brief stop at Graz, though I was not able to visit the museum housed inside the Schoss, Universalmuseum Joanneum, I was able to tour the building and its lovely garden ground. Though I couldn't go inside many marvelous rooms, I was able to see this wonderful triptych below through the window and though it was medieval in styl... [more]

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