There are many links in this posting, and some of these may/will transfer you to sites containing nudity
and possibly other visual representations
of material you may find objectionable.
Hence, if you think this kind of art
may/will offend you, exit this
posting immediately – as
you must do if you
are under18, or if
censors such materials.
Art is a very important part of my life. I like looking at it, thinking about it, and creating it. I do all of this strictly as an interested amateur – it’s kind of a hobby with me, if you will.
Although I have champagne tastes in art my budget is, alas, not at that refined level. But what has come to my rescue over the years is modern printing and the computer.
In the former case, just think of all the wonderful reproduction of great, common, and banal art that is reproduced daily in newspapers and magazines– and not just those specifically devoted to the art world. I subscribe to a large number of magazines both for the reading material and also for the fine reproductions and originals they publish. The material includes not only “art” but also photographs and maps, all of which, if well executed, I consider art and like to cut and save. Indeed, advertising photography of the kind you find in men’s and women’s magazines is among the most sophisticated and interesting from a technical as well as artistic point of view. And of course one of the most versatile forms of printed art — of paintings, drawings and photographs — is the postcard, which is also rather easy to save and store.
As for the computer, well, get online to the internet, and in your pajamas and the comfort of your own home away from all those milling crowds and long lines you can surf the world’s finest, most spectacular museums for their breath-taking displays of our human artistic beauty (there are few more delightful ways to spend an evening ‘talking to and getting talked to’ by art through the millennia). Here are just a few museums, and you can spend ’computer weeks or months’ in just any one of these alone [not to mention the many, many further links at each of the following listed links!]: Amerindian Art, Art Institute, ArtnetAfrica, Beijing’s Museums, de Young (Oceanic art), the Getty, Guggenheim, Hermitage, Japanese Art Society of America, Musée du Louvre, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Musée d’Orsay, National Gallery of Art, Rijksmuseum, Smithsonian, the Tate, Uffizi, … and, believe me, I’ve barely scratched the surface here!
And if that tour doesn’t overwhelm you, then there are the hundreds if not thousands of museums and galleries devoted to individual artists – and here are, again, just a very few of my (eclectic that I am!) very favorites: Robert Bateman, Caravaggio, Richard Estes, Lucian Freud, ancient Greek Vase Paintings, Ingres (drawings [in my view one of the finest draftsmen ever!] and paintings), Roy Lichtenstein, Manet, Modigliani, Picasso, Sorayama, Vélazquez, Zurburan, et al., et al., … .
And, better yet, most of these sites make it possible for you easily to download your favorite pieces and build up a kind of computer gallery of fine art that you can view at your leisure any time of the day. If you are willing to go a little further and invest in a reasonably good graphics program and a good color printer (neither of which are all that expensive!), you can easily resize the downloaded art to whatever dimensions you want and then print it out – even inexpensive color printers yield astonishingly good color reproductions of the world’s greatest art – from those beautiful Greek vase paintings of early Greek art up to the latest Lucien Freud or Richard Estes. In this way you can get hardcopy from your virtual gallery whenever you feel the need to take something special away from the computer and sit, perhaps, in your favorite chair and study it.
Finally, here are some helter-skelter links to ‘uncategorized’ art that I just take great pleasure in looking at and thinking about: Automobile Art, Aviation Art, Botanical art, Dutch Still Lifes, Fayum Mummy Portraits, Medical Illustration (esp work by Max Brödel and Frank Netter), portraiture, Spanish Still Lifes, wild life art, etc. etc. … .
And I haven’t even mentioned books. Again, printing technology is so superb today that it has actually happened to me on a few occasions that when I finally saw in a museum the original of some famous painting that I was familiar with from reproductions of one sort or another I was a little disappointed that it didn’t quite sparkle and dazzle the way it did in that book! Of course, the opposite has also happened, namely that no reproduction could ever do justice to the unsurpassable magnificence of the original (a great example here is a ‘simple’ little 1889 self-portrait by Van Gogh that just ‘popped’ when I saw it within inches of my nose at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris).
But a problem with books that you obviate in going for postcards and cuttings from more ephemeral print media is that they take up a lot of space. You can store en enormous amount of art on your computer (or external/flash drives, if that is your wish) and in boxes. Hence, though I have a lot of art books, I have in the past few years tried to concentrate more on these slimmer resources.
One area that I have not mentioned so far but that I take quite seriously is comic art (e.g., check out Roy Lichtenstein above). There is a great deal of first-class art in comics, perhaps (?) more so in older stuff than the contemporary world, some of it clearly influenced by ‘high’ art of past ages (that is another essay or two!). A lot of this is available in outright reprints and in a plethora of books on and about comic art – the aesthetics, the techniques, the narrative lines, and so forth.
I just noticed recently on Amazon, for example, that several book are now in print on one of the all-time giants of American comic art, Hal Foster, who got his start in the thirties doing Tarzan and then veered off on his own to do the now famous series, Prince Valiant – which has some of the most beautiful pen-and-ink work of any artist in any medium since Doré. Some other truly greats worth looking at and pondering are Burne Hogarth [Tarzan] (his art and art instruction books are still in print and available at Amazon), Alex Raymond [Flash Gordon, Rip Kirby], Neal Adams [Ben Casey] (at Amazon), Frank Frazetta [ecumenical and ubiquitous!] (at Amazon), Joe Kubert (at Amazon – incl instruction books) and many, many others. Indeed, the degree to which I take ‘comic’ art seriously is illustrated by the fact that I published an academic paper on the work of Russ Manning (who drew Tarzan for many years) on Magnus Robot Fighter (at Amazon) long before this became a fashionable thing for academics to do: see, e.g., here (incl. bibliographic reference to my paper).
And then there is still one more source – not of really great art, but often of very good illustration (no put-down that, since Michelangelo was the “pope’s illustrator”, and par excellence at that): paperback book covers and the wrap-arounds on hardbacks. I have quite a few of these, and over the years have lost more than I want to think about! Some of this art is quite outstanding (I think, for example, of the Tarzan paperbacks of the late sixties and early seventies by Neal Adams, detective covers by Robert McGinnis, and so forth). These are easy to store – when I finish a paperback I tear off the cover, trim it, and trash the book (space demands it). For wraparounds, I trim down the front part that contains the art, and then save it. These are a lot of fun to look through. Incidentally, a good source for all kinds of popular (like collections of paperback cover art) and classical art books is Bud Plant (www.budplant.com).
Art is all around us (in addition to the sources noted above, consider art on book covers, stamps, cover art in general, calendars, box art on plastic model kits, postcards, bookmarks, etc. etc.), and I for one am very happy that today it is so easy to view it without being a millionaire or having to visit museums all over the world. If you want a tour, just google ‘museum’ or whatever, and you’ll be off on a tour of wonderful art that can last lifetimes. I’ve been doing it a long, long time, and am still happily at it.
And you, what are you going to do right now? Why not put in a little time ‘talking to and getting talked to’ by your favorite art: you won’t be disappointed – now or later, and all the rest of your life! You have my word for that. Go for it! And don’t ever tell me you’re bored to death – just look around you and check out all the links I’ve set up!
Now … begin clicking … and savoring … and starting your own priceless virtual museum …