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My Featured Painting: Birches

Nurtured by many Russian novels while growing up, I developed a special feeling towards the omnipresent birches, which not only aptly set the scenes and evoke the particular melancholy especially associated with Russia and Russian people, and finally, I made effort in 2006 to try to capture such feelings with a painting titled Birches, which is currently showing at the McGuire Real Estate gallery in Berkeley as part of the “Crowded by Beauty” exhibit.

I love the slender shapes of the trees, the softness of the finely-layered birch barks and their eerie silver color, and above all, the eye-shaped knobs imprinted on the trunks from bottom to top, as if birches were meant to be the chosen observers from silent world, so as to judge humankind.

Birches / 樺樹 / Birken
Birches
Oil on Canvas
22" x 28"
Completed in 2006

That painting is also a play of optical illusion - amongst the eyes on the trunks, there was a singular eye floating in the space, unattached, between two indifferent birches.   Inundated by so many eyes, this oddity was not immediately obvious; once detected, one might ask, if this is a most determined birch eye, the eye of an invisible human, or just a wandering independent eye belong to nothing and no one. 

Originally posted on matthewfelixsun.com

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Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 8/23 | tags: painting realism landscape surrealism traditional




My Favorite Paintings at Liaoning Provincial Museum, Shenyang, China

The main museum in my hometown, Manchurian city Shenyang, Liaoning Provincial Museum, boasted some magnificent artifacts and Chinese paintings, due to the fact that the last imperial dynasty was originated from Manchuria, and had kept a rich trove of art treasures in Shenyang, especially during and after World War II, when Manchu elites retreated back to northeastern China.

Like many cities in China, Shenyang has experienced rapid expansion in the last decade or so, resulting in the move of its administrative and cultural centers southward, including the relocation of the Museum, which traded a round, nondescript building with a rectangular, nondescript building.  Below are two pictures of the Museum before and after the move.

DSCN6180 _ Liaoning Museum, Shenyang, China


Former site of Liaoning Provincial Museum

DSCN3748 _ Liaoning Provincial Museum


Current site of Liaoning Provincial Museum

The most treasured painting of the Museum was a painting from Tang Dynasty by 周昉 Fang ZHOU, Tang Dynasty, (active 766~779 - 785~804), titled "簪花仕女图 (Court Ladies Adorning Their Hair with Flowers)".

Of my several visits to this museum, I was only able to encounter it once, due to the typical fragility of Chinese paintings, and the preciousness of this piece of extreme sublimity and exquisity, which captured the luxury and easy of the court life during the most prosperous period in Chinese history. The dark and dull background was a perfect foil for the array of richly though never gaudily attired and confidently posed high-ranking ladies and retinue, whose pale skin glittered, underneath their crowning jet black coiffures, while denoting the high ranking of these ladies, together with strategically placed darker veils and belts, created much visual highlights and accents to the otherwise utterly sweet and soft sphere.

DSCN6222 _ 簪花仕女图 (Court Ladies Adorning Their Hair with Flowers), 周昉 Fang ZHOU, 46x180cm, Liaoning Museum, Shenyang, China


簪花仕女图 Court Ladies Adorning Their Hair with Flowers

DSCN6221 _ Enlarged replica of 簪花仕女图 (Court Ladies Adorning Their Hair with Flowers), 周昉 Fang ZHOU, 46x180cm, Liaoning Museum, Shenyang, China


Enlarged replica of 簪花仕女图 Court Ladies Adorning Their Hair with Flowers



Another striking painting was "红衣西域僧图 (Red Robed Western Monk)" by 赵孟頫 Mengfu ZHAO (1254-1322) of Song Dynasty. Here, the western world meant Western Asia.  The painting was interesting, not only for the sitter, who was obviously exotic-looking to Chinese, but also the composition and the employment of a single viewpoint, which was more typical in western art idioms. The triangle form of the monk, the rock and the tree behind him, almost invoked a feeling of Italian Renaissance painting, and the single and closeup viewpoint was also an abrupt departure from Chinese painting tradition of a multiple viewpoints, such as the painting above.  Here, instead of showing a huge swatch of landscape, and the complete form of the tree, the painter chose to show only the tree trunk and a few barely visible leaves and branches on the very edge of the painting, thus forcing the viewers to concentrate on the figure.  Instead of a picturesque tableau, the painting became a character study, via his upright posture, his brilliant red robe, which contrasted strongly to and complemented by the verdant, moss-covered rocks, whose strangely lined surfaces per chance also echoed the monk's weathered and wise face and irregularly shaped head. An unforgettable glimpse of his inner world.

DSCN6209 _ 红衣西域僧图 Red Robed Western Monk, 赵孟頫 Mengfu ZHAO, 1304, 26x52cm, Liaoning Museum, Shenyang, China


红衣西域僧图 (Red Robed Western Monk)" by 赵孟頫 Mengfu ZHAO (1254-1322)



My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 127: My Favorite Paintings at National Art Museum of China, Beijing
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 125:My Favorite Paintings at Pinacoteca Nazionale di Ferrara, Italy

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited

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Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 8/19 | tags: Chinese Shenyang China Liaoning painting figurative realism traditional




My Favorite Paintings at Pinacoteca Nazionale di Ferrara, Italy

Pinacoteca Nazionale (National Gallery) di Ferrara, also known as Palazzo dei Diamanti, named for its rusticated façade of diamond spikes, impressed with effortless elegance of the building and its collections.

DSCN3905 _ Pinacoteca Nazionale di Ferrara (Palazzo dei Diamanti)



The first striking piece greeted visitors was an "Assunzione di Santa Maria Maddalena" by Maestro della Maddalena Assunta.

DSCN3773 _ Staircase and Assunzione di Santa Maria Maddalena, Maestro della Maddalena Assunta, Pinacoteca Nazionale (Palazzo Diamanti), Ferrara, 17 October



The highly stylized landscape was an idealized world, where animals, plants, and humans mingled together in harmony. The low vantage point and the receding flat landscape helped to generate a visceral sense of witnessing Saint Mary flying up. Hovering just above the ground, the pious and still youthful Mary, borne by several cherubim and greeted by a pair of angels with enormous wings, though delicate and even fragile, commended attention through her centered position, contorted pose, and brilliant bloody red drapery. The small V-shaped hills framing the base of the painting, also added the sense of uplifting.  

DSCN3903 _ Assunzione di Santa Maria Maddalena, Maestro della Maddalena Assunta, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Ferrara, 17 October


Assunzione di Santa Maria Maddalena, Maestro della Maddalena Assunta


I was also very moved by another Mary painting - Madonna col Bambino, which featured the tender Mary and a very trusting and adorable baby Jesus, engaging in silent and intimate communion, demonstrating the palpable love and trust between the mother and the baby. A touching sweetness permeated the painting, yet the painting never fell to the level of saccharine; the sweetness was manifested in the simplicity of these figures, their most natural exhibition of pure emotions, and the delicate and harmonious hues of pink, rose, and blue, all artfully woven together.

DSCN3833 _ Madonna col Bambino, santa Lucia e san Matteo, Sebastiano Filippi detto Bastianino


Madonna col Bambino,  Sebastiano Filippi  detto Bastianino


My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 126: My Favorite Paintings at Liaoning Provincial Museum, Shenyang, China

<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 124: My Favorite Sculptures at Palazzo Municipale in Ferrara, Italy

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited

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Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 8/10 | tags: painting figurative realism traditional




My Favorite Paintings at Castello Estense, Ferrara, Italy


DSCN3756 _ Statue of Girolamo Savonarola, Castello Estense, Ferrara, 17 October



The formidable and somewhat gloomy fortress, Castello Estense in Ferrara, Italy was surprisingly  airy and even cheesy inside.

Such as this whimsical ceiling painting, one of many, depicting carousing nude men and cherubim, who, despite in the drunken stage, allowed their stances and gestures to be regulated by some tidy order.  Their pale flash tone worked really well against the elegant background of blue and pink walls and windows of a building façade, thus introduced another dimension of order and regulation.  Finally, the fantastic drawn floral borders on milky colored background firmly planted this hedonistic scene in a florid paradise.

DSCN4178 _ Castello Estense, Ferrara, 17 October



DSCN4178 _ Castello Estense, Ferrara (detail)



Opposite to that ceiling painting's festive atmosphere,  a triptych of grisaille frescoes in a courtyard depicted some serious and highly-placed personalities, was all somberness and world-weary.  Despite the lacking colors, or because of that, these "veiled" paintings were memorably atmospheric and evocative. 

DSCN4278 _ Castello Estense, Ferrara, 17 October



DSCN4278 _ Castello Estense, Ferrara (detail)




My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 125: My Favorite Paintings at Pinacoteca Nazionale di Ferrara, Italy
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 123:My Favorite Sculptures at Palazzo Municipale in Ferrara, Italy

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited

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Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 8/6 | tags: painting figurative traditional




My Favorite Sculptures at Palazzo Municipale in Ferrara, Italy

During my brief day trip to Italian city Ferrara, I admired two bronze sculptures on top of the arch entrance to its Palazzo Municipale (City Hall) — Arco del Volto del cavallo (Arch of Horse Front).

DSCN3700 _ Duca Borso d'Este & Marchese Niccolo III d'Este outside the entrance arch - the Volto del Cavallo to Palazzo Municipale, Ferrara, 17 October



On the left, there was the seated statesman Duca Borso d'Este & Marchese Niccolo III d'Este and on the right, equestrian sculpture of Marchese Niccolo III d'Este. 

DSCN3747 _ Statue of Duca Borso d'Este (l) and Marchese Niccolo III d'Este (r), Palazzo Municipale, Ferrara, 17 October

Of these two equally impressive sculptures, the more flamboyant equestrian made more immediate impressions.

DSCN4068 _ Statue of Borso d'Este (seated), Palazzo Municipale, Ferrara, 17 October



The overt masculinity and grandeur was reflected with his insolent expression, his immobile pose, and his easy on the schlepping charger. The silhouette of the powerful horse and the rider was as solid as a mountain, as if nothing could challenge and stop his marching supremacy.

DSCN4030 _ Statue of Marchese Niccolo III d'Este, Palazzo Municipale, Ferrara, 17 October


Marchese Niccolo III d'Este

DSCN4025 _ Statue of Marchese Niccolo III d'Este, Palazzo Municipale, Ferrara, 17 October



The seated Duca Borso d'Este, on the contrary, was all self-confident serenity, radiating innate strength, as if so confident of his divine invested power that he needed no military poses and trappings to uphold his control over his domain.

DSCN3700 _ Duca Borso d'Este outside the entrance arch - the Volto del Cavallo to Palazzo Municipale, Ferrara, 17 October (detail)
Duca Borso d'Este

DSCN3747 _ Statue of Duca Borso d'Este (l) and Marchese Niccolo III d'Este (r), Palazzo Municipale, Ferrara, 17 October (detail)




My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 124: My Favorite Paintings at Castello Estense, Ferrara, Italy
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 122:My Favorite Artworks at Duomo in Ferrara, Italy

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited

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Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 8/3 | tags: figurative sculpture realism




My Favorite Artworks at Duomo in Ferrara, Italy

My brief excursion from Bologna to Ferrara led me to the wonderful Duomo, whose distinct façade of triple gables immediately brought me to a purified world of classicism.

DSCN3750 _ Cattedrale di San Giorgio (Duomo), Ferrara, 17 October



DSCN3748 _ Cattedrale di San Giorgio (Duomo), Ferrara, 17 October



True to the expectation, my favorite sculpture inside was a sculpture of a bishop (and a saint?) standing in a niche with minimal decoration.  The most striking feature was the resolute and clean lines of the soaring figure, reminiscent the works of the great Bernini, such as his masterpiece of "Ecstasy of Saint Teresa", though much less florid and baroque.

DSCN3714 _ Cattedrale di San Giorgio (Duomo), Ferrara, 17 October



I also really liked a fresco of Saint Michael of similar narrow shape. The interplay of ethereally pale blue and pink hues was wonderfully subtle and satisfying, forming and contrasting the saint, who, even engaged in battle, never lost his balance and grace.  Utterly enchanting.

DSCN3730 _ Cattedrale di San Giorgio (Duomo), Ferrara, 17 October




My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 123: My Favorite Sculptures at Palazzo Municipale in Ferrara, Italy
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 121:My Favorite Paintings at Palazzo D'Accursio (Palazzo Comunale), Bologna

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited

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Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 7/31 | tags: painting figurative sculpture




My Favorite Paintings at Palazzo D'Accursio (Palazzo Comunale), Bologna


DSCN5049 _ Palazzo Comunale, Piazza Maggiore, Bologna, 18 October



The Palazzo D'Accursio (Palazzo Comunale) in Bologna hosted a large museum with amazing art collections.  Among numerous interesting works, I found two portraits most engaging.

One was "Ritratto di vecchino (Portrait of an Old Man)" by Jacopo Robusti, known as Tintoretto.  This portrait presented a robust old man with a striking set of abundant white beard, contrasting and echoing the black cap atop his broad forehead.  The unwavering, penetrating, yet not-unkind gaze of this old man told all we needed to know about this steadfast character - a general? a statesman? or a successful seafaring merchant?  Whoever he might have been, he commanded our respect. A sliver of outside world at the edge of the painting indicated his adventures beyond the serenity of old age.

DSCN4722 _ Ritratto di vecchino, Jacopo Robusti, detto il Tistoretto, Palazzo D'Accursio (Palazzo Comunale), Bologna, 18 October


Ritratto di vecchino, Jacopo Robusti, detto il Tintoretto (1518-1594)

My second favorite was "Suntto per la testa di Gian Galeazzo (Sketch of the Head of Gian Galeazzo)" by Bologna's native son, Pelagio Palagi, whose fluid rendition of the melancholic young man captured his intelligence and sensitivity tenderly and economically. Even in this perhaps unfinished state, this portrait was just as full-bodies as any extra layers of paints and varnish could provide.

DSCN4750 _ Suntto per la testa di Gian Galeazzo, Pelagio Palagi, Palazzo D'Accursio (Palazzo Comunale), Bologna, 18 October


Suntto per la testa di Gian Galeazzo, Pelagio Palagi (1775-1860)


My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 122: My Favorite Artworks at Duomo in Ferrara, Italy
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 120: My Favorite Artworks at Basilica Santuario Santo Stefano, Bologna



List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited

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Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 7/27 | tags: traditional realism figurative painting portrait




My Favorite Artworks at Basilica Santuario Santo Stefano, Bologna


DSCN4989 _ Basilica Santuario Santo Stefano, Bologna, 18 October

DSCN4979 _ Basilica Santuario Santo Stefano, Bologna



Basilica Santuario Santo Stefano, the oldest church in Bologna, was very atmospherically evocative and romantic, and the many unique artefacts in its often darkish chambers added much allure. 

The artwork left the strongest impression on me was a small plate of relief on the exterior of its nave, featuring three primitive looking figures with haloed heads resembling astronauts' in headgear, and  stiffly raised hands sending signals of warning or blessing. The central figure, the only seated one, held a commanding upright staff with a cross top, which dissected the plate into two uneven parts, lending some dynamism to this restrained tableau. These rigid figures, perhaps Jesus and his disciples, in their strange garbs, along with their enormous and somewhat stunned eyes, formed a society beyond our worldly reach.

DSCN4976 _ Basilica Santuario Santo Stefano, Bologna, 18 October



My second favorite was a fresco painting of some wild or domestic animals accented with some scrolls, like an early day almanac, whose pale inviting atmosphere, coloration, and the wonderful sense of continuity and unity were particularly appealing.

DSCN4957 _ Basilica Santuario Santo Stefano, Bologna, 18 October




My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 121: My Favorite Paintings at Palazzo D'Accursio (Palazzo Comunale), Bologna

<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 119: My Favorite Monuments at Il palazzo dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited

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Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 7/24 | tags: painting figurative sculpture traditional




Featured Painting – “Forest Within” – When Reality Met Illusion

My 2005 oil painting Forest Within, currently showing at the McGuire Real Estate gallery in Berkeley as part of the “Crowded by Beauty” exhibit, is a play of optical illusion - the painting is a seemingly outdoor scene, yet the landscape is framed within a boxy confinement, and beams of light cast from behind and the shadows fall on the real or imaginary wall further enhances the blur of the boundary, where interior met exterior, reality met illusion. Forest Within /  内置森林 / Innerhalb Wald

Forest Within Oil on Canvas 24" x 30" Completed in 2005

 

Originally posted on matthewfelixsun.com

Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 7/19 | tags: painting abstract conceptual




My Favorite Monuments at Il palazzo dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna


DSCN4385 _ Il palazzo dell'Archiginnasio



Il palazzo dell'Archiginnasio (The Palace of Archeology) in Bologna is a fantastical enclosed palatial building, whose corridors are adorned with numerous decorative emblems, all of them can be viewed as relief sculptures.

DSCN4558 _ Il palazzo dell'Archiginnasio



My favorite was a monument of a tower wrapped by a snake and topped by a huge cross. I didn't like stare at that animal and couldn't decipher the exact meaning of the symbol, other than it resembled a reverse caduceus; but it stood out in the pack.

DSCN4414 _ Il palazzo dell'Archiginnasio



My second favorite was a dark stele flanked by two semi-nude females at the base, and furthered augmented by some colorful small coats of arms in formation, and as a whole, they resembled fancy peahens.

DSCN4392 _ Il palazzo dell'Archiginnasio



My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 120: My Favorite Artworks at Basilica Santuario Santo Stefano, Bologna
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 118: My Favorite Paintings at Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, Italy

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Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 7/18 | tags: figurative sculpture surrealism traditional




My Favorite Monuments at Il palazzo dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna


DSCN3267 _ Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna, 16 October
Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna

The Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna (National Gallery of Bologna) boasts a vast array of paintings dating from 13th through 18th century, such as this glorious "Jesus Christ and the Good Thief" by Titian and his assistants. 

DSCN3363 _ Gesù Cristo e il buon ladrone, Tiziano Vecellio e aiuti, c 1563
Gesù Cristo e il buon ladrone (Jesus Christ and the Good Thief), Tiziano Vecellio e aiuti (Titian and aid), c 1563

Yet, my favorite paintings in Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna are two panels from mid-15th century.  The circa 1435 piece "Paradiso e Inferno", a portal-shaped pentagon, presented a clearly contrasted two realms: colorful and buoyant paradise and somber and grim inferno.  In the middle of the pediment, haloed by red aureole, Virgin Mary, Jesus and the God formed an "eye", surrounded and supported further by numerous similarly radiant saints, in very decorative formations, which also attempted to observe rules of perspectives. The bottom third of the painting was more sparsely populated, dominated by an oversized demon, who was devouring condemned, directly below a serenading angel underneath the "eye", while other lost souls, scattered in earth trenches, being tortured and tormented by black-winged demons, systematically, methodically, and devoid of melodrama.

DSCN3302 _ Paradiso e Inferno, Maestro dell'Avicenna, c 1435
Paradiso e Inferno, Maestro dell'Avicenna, c 1435

My second favorite was also an allegorical piece, titled "Triumph of Fame, Triumph of Time", another 15th century piece with symmetrical composition.  The most striking aspect of the painting was its vivid colors - brilliant red, sensuous pink, and heavenly azzurro, accented by bone white figures of the Triumph and the stallions drawing her Apollonian chariot.

On the left half of the painting, many crowned personalities converged towards her - personifications of the tributes from Fame; the mirroring right side was populated by similar grandees representing different sectors of society, all in their venerable ages - the tributes from Time.

This painting was very visually enchanting and its enigmatic nature added more to its allure.

DSCN3301 _ Trionfo della Fama, Trionfo della Tempo, Zanobi di Benedetto di Caroccio degli Strozzi, c 1440-45


Trionlo della Fama, Trionlo della Tempo (Triumph of Fame, Triumph of Time), Zanobi di Benedetto di Caroccio degli Strozzi, c 1440-45


My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 119: My Favorite Monuments at Il palazzo dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 117: My Favorite Sculptures at Legambiente Bologna & Emilia Romagna, Italy

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Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 7/13 | tags: painting traditional




My Favorite Sculptures at Legambiente Bologna & Emilia Romagna, Italy

Italian City Bologna itself is like an open museum, full of sculptures and monuments of distinction. I was quite impressed by several groups of sculptures around Legambiente Bologna & Emilia Romagna, an old city portal and the surrounding park.

DSCN3615 _ Legambiente Bologna & Emilia Romagna, 17 October



The two mirroring bronze relief sculptures at the base of the gate impressed with their incredible beautiful lines and their economic way of presenting something deeply disturbing and touching.

DSCN3616 _ Legambiente Bologna & Emilia Romagna, 17 October



DSCN3618 _ Legambiente Bologna & Emilia Romagna, 17 October



Inside the park, there were some marble high reliefs and one of them was particularly striking due to its unbridled dynamism of the figures, in contrast to the classical composition and austere patterns of the sea shell backdrop.

DSCN3591 _ Giardino della Montagnola, Via dell'Indipendenza, Bologna, 17 October




My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 118: My Favorite Paintings at Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, Italy

<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 116: My Favorite Artworks at San Giacomo Maggiore, Bologna

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Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 7/9 | tags: sculpture figurative traditional




My Favorite Sculptures at Legambiente Bologna & Emilia Romagna, Italy

The richness and depth of artworks in numerous Italian churches, large or small, are astounding. Basilica di San Giacomo Maggiore in Bologna was just one of those enchanted me in my 2012 trip to Italy.

DSCN3443 _  Basilica di San Giacomo Maggiore, Bologna, 16 October
Basilica di San Giacomo Maggiore, Bologna

I was very taken by one of its murals, depicting enthroned Virgin Mary, flanked by several martyr saints, underneath a pediment of resurrected Jesus.  The Virgin and most of the saints were in vivid blue and red colors, contrasting strongly to the paleness of Saint Sebastien and Jesus.

DSCN3447 _  Basilica di San Giacomo Maggiore, Bologna, 16 October
Basilica di San Giacomo Maggiore

I also like very much a relief depicting a beheading scene - dramatic yet restrained, and much more moving because of that.

DSCN3446 _  Basilica di San Giacomo Maggiore, Bologna, 16 October
Basilica di San Giacomo Maggiore

My Favorite Museum Collection Series
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List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited

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Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 7/3 | tags: painting figurative sculpture traditional




My Favorite Artworks at Palazzo della Ragione, Padova (Padua), Italy


DSCN0808 _ Palazzo della Ragione, Padova, 12 October


The gracefully proportioned Palazzo della Ragione in Padova (Padua), Italy, was a unique building, which was not only enormous in dimensions, but functions uniquely as a market place in its lower level, and a civic center on the top tier.

The most outlandish thing, and my favorite, was a huge wooden horse, basked in blue light (or was it painted blue?). According to Padovaincoming.it,

"the big wooden horse kept in Palazzo della Ragione was ordered by Annibale Capodilista in 1466: it was one of the big machines - and the only one that has survived - made for an extraordinary celebration that was organized in Padua, in the squares Piazza dei Signori and Piazza del Capitanio. The parade saw the participation of all the people in town, and of more people who had been attracted to town for this exceptional event." [Source: Padovaincoming.it]

Apparently, Padova artists and civic leaders were the vanguard of flashy blockbuster installations almost mandated in today's art markets.  Cynicism aside, the horse was indeed eye-catching and exhilarating.

DSCN0854 _ Palazzo della Ragione, Padova, 12 October

DSCN0856 _ Palazzo della Ragione, Padova, 12 October


On the four walls of this gigantic hall, surrounding and contrasting the blue horse, were a series of marvelous allegorical frescoes, all in wonderfully aged colors, subtle and harmonious.  Collectively, they were my second favorite there.

DSCN0848 _ Palazzo della Ragione, Padova, 12 October



My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 116: My Favorite Artworks at San Giacomo Maggiore, Bologna
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 114: My Favorite Artworks at Duomo, Padova (Padua), Italy

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited

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- Castello Estense, Palazzo Municipale and Duomo in Ferrara
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Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 6/6 | tags: surrealism installation sculpture painting




My Favorite Frescos at Cappella degli Scrovegni in Padova (Padua)


DSCN0709 _ Cappella degli Scrovegni (Scrovegni Chapel), Padova, 12 October

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 and even bizarre visual symbols, not all of them could be understood readily by modern casual viewers, though that fault could hardly dampen visitors' collective awe.

One of my favorite was the Final Judgement Scene - restrained and classical, without baroque sentimental exaggeration of the later period.  Giotto captured the essence of human conditions which were almost primordial and touching in its piety and simplicity.

DSCN0707 _ Giotto Frescoes in Scrovegni Chapel, Padova, 12 October
Final Judgement

My second favorite depicted the scene of the Kiss of Judas — menacing yet becalming, with its ritualistic violence cloaked/contained in stylized manners, simultaneously timelessly still and dynamic. Unique and unforgettable.

DSCN0705 _ Giotto Frescoes in Scrovegni Chapel, Padova, 12 October
Kiss of Judas (Lower)

My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 112: My Favorite Paintings at Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Padova (Padua), Italy
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 110: My Favorite Sculptures at Musei Civici degli Eremitani, Padova (Padua)

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited

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Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 4/26 | tags: fresco Giotto painting figurative traditional




My Featured Painting: Trot

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 into the canvas. Trot / 小跑 / Trab Trot / 小跑 / Trab Oil on Canvas 22" x 22" Completed in 2016 The finished painting more or less achieved my goals, though the subject can be seen as two cats running side by side, or just a cat captured at different time.

 

Originally posted on matthewfelixsun.com

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Posted by Matthew Felix Sun on 4/22 | tags: figurative abstract painting cat





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