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.


Chief Sitting Bull – Sioux – Tatanka-Iyotanka

Sitting Bull, Sioux Chief (circa 1831 to 1890)

Sitting Bull, the man who would later become the Hunkpapa Sioux chief, was born in South Dakota, near the Grand River. His Lakota name was Tatanka-Iyotanka. In his thirties, he began to build his reputation as a warrior, leading war parties in Red Cloud’s War against a number of Dakota Territory forts. Although the U.S. negotiated with the Sioux in order to end the war and [...] Click here to continue reading.


Gouache – Definition

Gouache vs. Watercolor

Gouache (sometimes referred to as body color and pronounced “gwash”) and watercolor paintings are often not clearly distinguished as being different, perhaps because making the distinction just based on a visual examination can be difficult, perhaps because both techniques are often used in the same work, but they are different in fundamental ways. Watercolors have pigment, a binding agent, any additives an artist might use to manipulate durability and texture, and [...] Click here to continue reading.


Russell, Charles Marion

Charles Marion Russell (1864-1926)

Charles Russell was as famous for his personal character as he was for his artistic career. A simple and modest man, he left the Midwest to pursue a life on the frontier. While residing primarily in Montana for the remainder of his life, Russell, or “Cowboy Charlie”, went on to become the state’s favorite son and achieve great renown for his depictions of the American West.

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


Wood, Grant – American Artist

Grant Wood (1891 to 1942)

Grant DeVolson Wood was born February 13, 1891 in Anamosa, Iowa. When he was ten, his father died, prompting the family to relocate to Cedar Rapids, where he eventually found work in a metal-working shop. Finishing high school at Washington High School, he entered art school in Minneapolis in 1910. After a year in Minneapolis, he returned to Iowa and taught at a one-room school. In 1913, he returned [...] Click here to continue reading.


Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola

Dr. John Stith Pemberton (1831 to 1888), an Atlanta pharmacist, invented Coca-Cola in 1886. A year earlier, he had introduced an alcoholic beverage called “Pemberton’s French wine coca”, but the temperance movement was then gathering momentum in the United States, prompting him to develop an alcohol-free product. Pemberton mixed a combination of lime, cinnamon, coca leaves, and kola nuts to make the famous beverage. When Coca-Cola was first introduced, the syrup was mixed [...] 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.


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.


Lithography

Lithography

The word lithography comes from Greek lithos, meaning “stone” and grapho, meaning “writing.” Although “stone writing” is sometimes done today with a metal plate, traditionally the process gets its name from the use of limestone.

Lithography is made possible by one of the simplest scientific phenomena – the repelling relationship between water and oil. A hydrophobic (water-repelling) substance with a fat or oil base is used by the artist to draw the image [...] Click here to continue reading.


Cartouche – Definition

Cartouche – Definition

The decorative arts world has many “squishy” and vague vocabulary words, but few are “squishier” and vaguer than cartouche. Originally, the term comes from Egyptology and is used to describe a oval enclosing hieroglyphics and having a horizontal line at one end. (The line denotes royalty.) The oval had significance not unlike that of a closed circle, in that it was believed that an oval around a person’s name provided protection [...] Click here to continue reading.


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