The seventh and final in an image series highlighting the Portland Art Museum exhibition: Gods And Heroes: Masterpieces from the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris. Thank you to all at the Portland Art Museum for bringing this wonderful, beautiful, and informative exhibition to Portland. Go see this show!!
School of Pierre Puget | French, 1620-1694
Hercules Seated, c. 1700 | Terracotta
Hercules is depicted sitting on the corpse of the vicious Nemean lion he has just slain. He does not seem triumphant, but scornful and restless, ready for his next challenge.
Puget was skilled in architecture, sculpture, and painting, and no other French artist ever attained such versatility. Although the great sculptor and architect Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) recognized Puget as his equal, Louis XIV did not value his free, expressive spirit. The Sun King was more comfortable with artists whose works presented more definitive celebrations of heroism and majesty.
(Excerpt from the Portland Art Museum exhibition description)
The fifth in an image series highlighting the Portland Art Museum exhibition: Gods And Heroes: Masterpieces from the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris. Julie Duvidal de Montferrier (Countess, Madame Hugo) French, 1797-1865 Self-Portrait, (detail) c. 1820 | Oil on canvas Julie Duvidal de Montferrier portrays herself as a modern-day Mona Lisa in a turban and shawl, exotic fashions popularized in the wake of Napoleon’s campaigns in Egypt and Syria. Many women artists of the period specialized in portraiture, often bringing greater sensitivity than their male counterparts to the expression of character. Excluded as a woman from the École, the artist became a private pupil of Baron François Gerard (1770-1837), and her history paintings and portraits were shown at the Salon from 1819 to 1827. She married the elder brother of the great Romantic writer Victor Hugo who, though he celebrated her in an ode, denounced her loose lifestyle. (Excerpt from Portland Art Museum exhibition description)
William-Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825-1905)
Zenobia Discovered by Shepherds on the Banks of the Araxes | Detail | 1850 | Oil on canvas
This was the final painting Bouguereau submitted for the Prix de Rome competition of 1850. The subject was taken from the Annals of the Roman historian Tacitus. He tells of Zenobia, the pregnant wife of a king of Armenia, who is forced to flee with her husband after he is defeated in war. Fearing that she would be captured and tortured, the king decides to kill Zenobia. He stabs her and flings her body into the river, but she survives. Some shepherds find her and tend to her wounds, as Bouguereau depicts. (Excerpt from Portland Art Museum exhibition description)
Unknown artist | Female Torso | 1st century BC | Roman copy after the Aphrodite of Cnidus by Praxiteles. The second in an image series highlighting the great Portland Art Museum exhibition: Gods And Heroes: Masterpieces from the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris. This torso is one of countless Roman variations on the form of the Aphrodite of Cnidus by Praxiteles, one of the most renowned marble sculptures of ancient Greece. The great artist and painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres shipped it from Rome to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. For Ingres, it epitomized female beauty and inspired many of his depictions of sensual female nudes. The torso was long located in the courtyard of the École, and when students faced a competitive exam, they would caress her hips for luck. (Excerpt from the Portland Art Museum exhibition description)
The Portland Art Museum treats our great city to another beautiful exhibition: Gods And Heroes: Masterpieces from the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris. This week, pdx|cept will feature a series of images from the show, beginning with this striking exhibition banner outside the museum’s entrance.
“This rich overview of masterpieces from the École des Beaux-Arts—the original school of fine arts in Paris and a repository for work by Europe’s most renowned artists since the seventeenth century—will include approximately 140 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper dating from antiquity through the nineteenth century.
The exhibition will focus on epic themes such as courage, sacrifice, and death, as well as the ways that changing political and philosophical systems affected the choice and execution of these subjects. Among the featured works will be paintings by Jacques-Louis David, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Anne-Louis Girodet, and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres; sculpture by Antoine-Louis Barye, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Jean-Antoine Houdon, and François Rude; and drawings by Simon Vouet, Antoine-Jean Gros, and Théodore Géricault.
Gods and Heroes will offer unique insight into the development of an aesthetic ideology that fostered some of western art’s most magnificent achievements. The epic deeds of gods and heroes, enshrined in the Bible and the works of Homer, were the primary narratives from which both aspiring and established academicians drew their inspiration. At the École, learning how to construct persuasive and powerful paintings from carefully delineated anatomy, expressive faces, and convincing architectural and landscape settings was understood to be the route to success and recognition. The ideology was rooted in the study of the idealized human form as envisioned in classical art. The exhibition will feature extraordinary works that served as models for the students, including ancient sculpture, a drawing by Raphael, and prints by Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt van Rijn.” (Excerpt from the Portland Art Museum website)
Tonight at the Portland Art Museum there will be a special 35mm screening of “Drugstore Cowboy”, the second feature of Portland’s own acclaimed filmmaker Gus Van Sant. This event is part of the Northwest Film Center’s series “Essential Gus Van Sant (& His Influences)”—and in honor of this series, pdx|cept is featuring an image and comment that originally posted on November 13, 2013:
Twenty-five years ago, in the fall of 1988, director Gus Van Sant and crew shot Drugstore Cowboy on location in Portland. A rare film on the subject of drugs that neither romanticizes nor moralizes their use, it would go on to become both a highly-acclaimed critical success as well as an independent film classic.
Van Sant and Daniel Yost adapted the screenplay based on an unpublished autobiographical novel by James Fogle, which follows a ‘family’ of drug addicts who rob pharamcies throughout the Pacific Northwest to feed their habits. Matt Dillon plays Bob Hughes (in an outstanding performance that won him the Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead in 1989), with Kelly Lynch, James Le Gros, and a young Heather Graham rounding out the cast. The city of Portland also plays a lead role, as many distinct locations provide the background and set the tone. In the opening scenes, accompanying Matt Dillon’s poignant narration, we see a series of ‘home movie’ flashbacks, with glimpses of what was then the old industrial section of the city. This area—now the thriving and popular Pearl District—used to be known as the Northwest Industrial Triangle, a vast railyard with a viaduct going over it. The scene of the first drug store robbery takes place in the former Nob Hill Pharmacy on the corner of Glisan and NW 21st Avenue (which is now a sports bar). The Irving apartment complex (at 2127 NW Irving Street) is used prominently in the film, and has since been revitalized and turned into condominiums. The entrance gate displays a plaque noting the Drugstore Cowboy filming location and the building’s inclusion on The National Register of Historic Places. The overall look of the film was created by Production Designer David Brisbin, who based his color palette on the vast, green Pacific Northwest locations. The film features every imaginable shade green— from lime green vehicles and kelly green clothing to unusual period furniture in green shades ranging from forest to chartreuse.
Under the brilliant and innovative direction of Gus Van Sant, the production design of David Brisbin, and the beautifully desaturated cinematography of Robert Yeoman, Drugstore Cowboy captures on film scenes of old Portland that, for good or bad, no longer exist.