The Sarcophagus in Decorative Arts

The Sarcophagus in Decorative Arts

Derived from the Greek sarx, meaning flesh, and phagein, meaning eat, a sarcophagus is, essentially, a container for a body, much like a coffin or casket. Historically, sarcophagi were typically made of stone (though sometimes of other materials, such as wood or metal), with a relief-carved or pediment top, and designed to be above ground, and have been used by many cultures since ancient times.

An ancient [...] Click here to continue reading.


Hoosier and the Hoosier Group

Hoosier and the Hoosier Group

The word “Hoosier” is one of those words whose origins are lost to time. Even The Oxford English Dictionary offers no real guidance about where the word came from. What we do know is that “Hoosier” was first documented in the mid-1820s, and within a decade, it had entered general usage. John Finley, a Hoosier himself from Richmond, write a poem titled, “The Hoosier’s Nest” that was published in [...] Click here to continue reading.


Grisaille – definition

Grisaille

Grisaille, from the French word gris meaning grey, is a term used to describe works of art painted entirely in a monochromatic palette. Technically speaking, there are other terms that apply when the monochromatic palette used is of a different color (brunaille for brown, verdaille for green, for instance), but grisaille is often misused to cover all monochrome works, regardless of hue. There are also plenty of works that are considered grisaille that [...] Click here to continue reading.


Miro, Joan – Spanish Artist

Joan Miro (Spanish, 1893-1983) Joan Miro lithograph, Signes Et Meteores, printed in colors, 1958, p4A item E8972489

Joan Miro was born in Barcelona, Spain, on April 20, 1893, the son of a watchmaker. From 1912 he studied at the Barcelona Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Academie Gali. In the first quarter of the 20th century, Barcelona was a cosmopolitan, intellectual city with a craving for the new in art, music, and literature. But, it [...] Click here to continue reading.


Moses, Grandma (Anna Mary Robertson) – American Folk Artist

photograph of Grandma Moses, photograph by Rudolph Rissland (p4A item E8981620) Anna Mary Robertson Moses ‘Grandma Moses’ (1860-1961)

Anna Mary Robertson, more commonly known as Grandma Moses, was born in 1860 in Greenwich, New York. She grew up in a large family, where the girls were taught how to perform a variety of domestic tasks. After she married Thomas Salmon Moses, Grandma Moses spent nearly 20 years raising her children on their farm. [...] Click here to continue reading.


Apocryphal – definition

Apocryphal – Definition

Apocryphal, the adjective form, means “of doubtful authenticity,” according to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary. Apocrypha, the noun form, means “writings or statements of dubious authenticity,” again according to Merriam-Webster.

Apocrypha is actually a Greek word that means something closer to “obscure” or “hidden away.” The original meaning of the word, the Apocrypha in the proper noun sense, refers to religious texts outside of the traditional or accepted religious canon. Through connection with [...] Click here to continue reading.


Parrish, Frederick Maxfield – American artist

Frederick Maxfield Parrish (1870 to 1966)

Frederick Maxfield Parrish was born July 25, 1870 in Philadelphia to Stephen Parrish, an American artist famous for his landscapes, illustrations and engravings and his wife Elizabeth Bancroft Parrish. It’s not surprising that, finding himself surrounded by the tools of his father’s trade, that Frederick (he would begin to use Maxfield as his name later in life) would begin to draw to amuse himself. Around 1881, the Parrish [...] Click here to continue reading.


Panoramic – Definition

Panoramic Views

Accurately rendering a panoramic view has long challenged, obsessed and inspired artists. The trend seems to have sprung up in the 17th century, with works that served both as slightly more helpful, more detailed maps with various public or important buildings marked, but also as advertisements for towns and cities. Matthaeus Merian, a Swiss engraver who spent most of his career in Frankfurt, where he also ran a publishing house passed to [...] Click here to continue reading.


Hires Root Beer, Googly Eyed Man

Hires Root Beer

While traveling in 1875, Charles E. Hires, a Philadelphia pharmacist, first tasted root beer. Root beer, traditionally made with sassafras, was a popular “small beer” or low-alcoholic drink in the colonial era, and was becoming popular in an alcohol-free format. While root beer has a long history, it has a wide range of recipes that call for everything from birch bark to vanilla, molasses to juniper berries, so Hires set out [...] Click here to continue reading.


Prior, William Matthew – American Artist

William Matthew Prior (1806 to 1873)

In the decades just before the advent of photography, a solid middle class began to form in America, a middle class that sought to aspire to and attempt to replicate some of the finer things of the upper class. Portraits were some of the most visible and sentimental of these objects, and as a result, portrait painters (or limners, as they were sometimes called) began to flock to [...] Click here to continue reading.


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