An update on the Vermeer of the century!

Folks, I was too quick to urge all of you to travel to Amsterdam and visit the amazing Vermeer retrospective at the Rijksmuseum there.    Well, if you have not renewed your passports yet, you may want to take your time. It turns out that the Rijksmuseum issued about 450,000 tickets to the Vermeer, this world-class event that has been in planning for the past seven years, but all of them were bought out within the first four days of the show. The Vermeer, as of now, is completely sold out!    Of course, the show had been well advertised for months, but no one expected this kind of surge in demand and for all these tickets to be snatched up so quickly. So now the Rijksmuseum is trying to find ways to either extend the exhibition or open the museum to more visitors during the period of the show. The curators are letting it be known that they may be able to issue more tickets by mid-March, but even those are expected to be grabbed within hours. Apparently scalping of tickets is not just an

Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum

If you were planning a trip to the Netherlands early this year, now is the time to start making your travel arrangements. For, starting this week, February 10, 2023, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is opening the most comprehensive exhibition of Johannes Vermeer paintings to date, with a show including 28 of the artist’s paintings. Considering that the great master of the Dutch Golden Age supposedly only made 40 to 45 paintings in all his life, and that only about 37 of those are still in existence today, this show represents one grand retrospective of this illusive artist of the 17 th  century.    Born in 1632 in Delft, the Netherlands, he lived a reclusive life in poverty there, and died in 1675, at the young age of 43. If he ever managed to paint a self-portrait during those years, that has been lost. We still today do not know what he looked like, but that has not detracted from making him one of the most recognized, and recognizable artists of all times. His paintings have inspired g

Han Yuchen – Presentation of an artist

I want to introduce to my readers a great Chinese painter I have discovered recently, and whose paintings I very much admire. The painter is Han Yuchen, a man celebrated in his own country as a grand master, and recognized internationally for his multidimensional work, which includes poetry, photography, Chinese calligraphy, and European-heritage oil painting. Yuchen was born in 1954 in the Chinese province of Jilin, and showed early signs of a great talent, so that, while still a teenager, he was able to apprentice near some of the best artists of the time and take art classes in engraving (under Li Hua) and oil painting under Su and Liang Yulong. But he was forced to end his art studies when, during Mao Tse Tung’s Cultural Revolution (1966 to 1976), his family was forced to move to the countryside and, apparently because of the family’s politics, he was unable to pass the “political examination” that would allow him to pursue formal art studies, until 1978, when he already was 2

Georgia O’Keeffe, Photographer

In Santa Fe this past spring I spent a good day wandering through the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and actually spending time in front of each of her paintings, trying to understand what made it so beautiful, so interesting, so penetratingly different, and so moving  to the viewer. It seems Georgia had put such intense observation, but also so much love and emotion, into each one of her subjects, that she was able to find, and paint, “the soul” of the object, be it a part of a flower or the red mountains of her beloved New Mexico desert.   A great new exhibition at the Denver Art Museum provides wonderful new insights into our  understanding of O’Keefe’s art. The exhibition was originally organized by the Houston  Museum of Fine Arts with the collaboration of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in  Santa Fe. In  Georgia O’Keeffe, Photographer , this exhibition presents and offers for analysis ways in which O’Keeffe saw the shaping of objects and landscapes under different light conditions and from

Music in the Footsteps of El Greco

A few kilometers west of Candia, the Arab, Byzantine, Venetian, Turkish and Greek city we today call Irakleio, there is a small village called Fodele. Famous for its orange groves, hidden in a beautiful valley crossed by a little river, shaded with gigantic sycamores, this village is a little paradise in a small corner of this big, arid island. Just outside the village, next to an ancient Byzantine church, there is a little cluster of buildings that still today is called “Ta Theotokiana” (the place of the Theotokopouloses). The local lore, and the local store owners will tell you why: this is the place where Dominikos Theotokopoulos, the great Greek-Spanish painter El Greco who revolutionized renaissance art, was born.   Now, not everyone agrees with that lore. While Spain has recognized it as the birthplace of one of the giants of Spanish art and have confirmed it with a glorious plaque and a bust of the artist, others argue that no, he could not have come from such a small village,
 A bout Greek music I recently promised a couple of friends to put together some information about what I consider to be a good representation of Greek musical expressions of the 20th century. This is no expert  treatise , just some incomplete reflections on my personal musical preferences. So here it goes: Greek music has been so strongly tied to the social and political movements of the 20th century, that I couldn't explain it without making reference to them and their dynamics and impacts.  In the beginning of the 20th century, Greek music was copying the songs and trends of popular music in France and Germany. It included silly tunes talking about silly love, wealth and prosperity, and in general the good bourgeois life that was the dream of the Europeans already expecting wars. It had no character of its own, to the point that many of the songs of that time were outright translations of European - and even Mexican - songs. Then the First War happened, and at its end the Greeks