Fernando Botero | Amedeo Modigliani

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 00:31 AM EDT, Sunday, 7 August 2011

Jean_Auguste_Dominique_Ingres,_La_Grande_Odalisque,_1814An Odalisque (Turkish: Odalık) was a female slave in an Ottoman seraglio. She was an assistant or apprentice to the concubines and wives, and she might rise in status to become one of them. Most odalisque were part of the Imperial Harem, that is, the household, of the sultan.

Many artists, especially classical artist such as Jean August Dominique Ingres, who in 1814 painted the Grand Odalisque, often portrayed female nudes in this style. Hence the original use of the word as a noun has morphed within the field of paintings into an adjective which used to describe a particular style of portraying a female nude.

Two of into my favorite artists, Amedeo Clemente Modigliani (July 12, 1884 – January 24, 1920 and Fernando Botero Angulo (born April 19,1932 - present), depict stylized Odalisque at opposite ends of the spectrum. Both artists portray women in exaggerated proportions, Modigliani chose to elongate his figures, while Botero chose to accentuate corpulence. I find in each a more  natural, albeit caricature, portrayal of women because these artists do not seek perfection through idealization.

Whereas the nudes of the great artists like Michaelangelo strive to not only portray physical perfection of the body types of their age, it seemed as if the artists sought to imbue the canvas with the very essence of the model's soul.  By contrast, Modigliani and Botero seek to explore other aspects of painting and the female nude.

Modigliani was born into an Italian-Jewish family from Livorno, Italy.  He moved to Paris in 1906 where he met a female poet,  Anna Akhmatov who became the inspiration for many of his paintings."

"One of the key-elements of Modigliani's portraitism were the slated heads, derived from Byzantine cariatides because of the horizontal placement of the eyes and mouth coupled with the curvature of the nose. The portraits subtlety is due to Modigliani's unique talent, but its essence, the facial constructions one of the most important artistic inventions of modern art." Source:  Paintings.Name

Such directness in figurative portraiture forms the basis for abstract art, and in fact, Picasso would later use this mask-like depictions of the human face in many of his paintings.

Born in 1932 in Medellin, Colombia, as Fernando Botero Angulo, he has worked in landscapes and still-lifes, but his fame rests on paintings and sculpture of human figures with almost comically exaggerated, rounded features. Colombians have loved him for decades, at least since he won first prize at the Salon de Artistas Colmbiano in 1959, and find his work emblematic of their nation’s identity.

The Latin American artist is often quoted as saying that he paints "the world as he sees it." His work though in the style of caricature is immediately recognizable, and captivating or repulsive depending upon the viewer's perception of corpulence. For those who like 'Zaftig' women, Botero's preference for bigger, richer, models versus thin and emaciated body types that are currently in vogue, makes his work fascinating and engaging.

For students of art history, even a cursory review of his work reveals a Baroque influence. One could reasonably argue that Botero uses the distortion of proportion as commentary on social mores and the stature of the subject.

Perhaps the tendency of Baroque art toward abundance and heightened proportion helped form his signature style. But for his part, Botero claims not to have known or understood the sources of his art when he began painting, calling it entirely intuitive.

Botero’s Baroque inspiration was recognized in the title of a major exhibition of his work, “The Baroque World of Fernando Botero,” which toured museums in North America from 2007 through 2008. The accompanying catalog, published by Yale University Press (2007), is the most extensive study of his life and work to date. Featuring 100 works from the artist’s private collection, the volume provides an informed review of his considerable body of work. Source:  Antique Trader

 

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2010 in Review | Nahmias Cipher Report

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Healthy blog!The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow!!

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here's a high level summary of its overall blog health:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 100,000 times in 2010. If it were an exhibit at The Louvre Museum, it would take 4 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 89 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 146 posts. There were 261 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 24mb. That's about 5 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was September 10th with 888 views. The most popular post that day was Happy Ethiopian New Year | Melkam Addis Amet!.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were Google Ad Words, Facebook, Networked Blogs, EN Wordpress, and Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for henna, gele, wife, ethiopian, and ethiopian new year.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Happy Ethiopian New Year | Melkam Addis Amet! September 2010 2 comments

2

Who We Are August 2009 36 comments

3

NCR in the News! August 2010 10 comments

4

Force Feeding Girls for Marriage April 2010 2 comments

Louise Bourgeois | Sculptor | Dead at 98

"Tell your own story, and you will be interesting. Don't get the green disease of envy. Don't be fooled by success and money. Don't let anything come between you and your work." ~ Louise Bourgeois Artist Louise Bourgeois died at Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan on Monday, 31 May 2010. She suffered a heart attack Saturday night, said the studio director, Wendy Williams. Although 98, she was still working and in fact finished her latest piece just last week.

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'Children of Africa, Children of the World' I Rama Yade

'Children of Africa, Children of the World' I Rama Yade

The ANI association has organized the "Fortnight of Children of Africa," a conference where leading proponents of the movement will publicly debate the issues and concerns of education in Africa. This is the 4th year of that this event has been held and the theme is "Children of Africa, Children of the World." Last year's event was hosted by Rama Yade, a Senegalese French politician who has served in the government of France since 2007. Watch the video of her speech here. Children are our most precious resource and we must ensure that all children regardless of their country of origin, religion or ethnicity are protected, nurtured, and availed of all the rights, privileges, freedoms and opportunities that are the hallmark of the best of humankind. The well worn statement that "it takes a village to raise a child," is as apropos today in this technological world as it was when we lived in more pastoral environs. We are the village and though most of us live in virtual worlds, when we choose to be physically present and engaged with people, we are truly powerful and can make a difference.

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