collecting colours over a cup of coffee...

If you are a lover of printed words, you would know how much of your time is taken by books alone. Then one day, sooner or later, you discover a huge vacuum within that you know next to nothing about other art forms. This blog is an attempt to fulfil one such lacunae in the art of painting. We intend to look up a random painting and upload it with a link here every day whilst having our daily cuppa coffee. In this way at least we hope to be better acquainted with colours, colourers and the schools than what we are now.If you wish to be a part, you know where to shout.
Find lost art

Friday, December 31, 2010

Solitary Tree

Only when the mind is completely alone can it know what is beauty, and not in any other state.
-J Krishnamurti

Solitary Tree, 1821, Caspar David Friedrich

PS: A happy new year to Pigmentium readers!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Giovanni Agostino della Torre and His Son, Niccolò

Giovanni Agostino della Torre and His Son, Niccolò, (c.1513-16) Lorenzo Lotto
(image taken from the LRB article linked to below)

Powerful writing has the ability to show things newly, to make memorable that which might have slipped by unnoticed. Colm Tóibín's piece on the painting above in the London Review of Books some months ago does just that. I cannot look at this painting without seeing what he made me see. Remarkable.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

500 years of Women in Art

Found this rather creative montage of close-ups of some of the famous female portraits in art history and thought I'll share them here. You can find the list of all the paintings and painters on the montage here, but may I suggest a rather more stimulating exercise of identifying them on your own ?

PS- For my musical taste ( which is not the best informed in classical music) I find Bach can be slightly jarry esp. if it's very early in the day. So, I suggest a warm and soothing cup of green tea as you watch.

Women In Art from Philip Scott Johnson on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Man with the Blue Sleeve

Man with the Blue Sleeve,1510,  Titian

My favourite elements from this painting are the fluffs and ridges on the expansive blue sleeve and the thin gold chain running along the line of the collar.

There is something about the Man that is alluring, whether it is his sidelong glance or his expression which seems to suggest that he is not too happy about his sleeve getting all the attention from the artist. I love the shades of darkness in the background, the cloak like garment draped on his left shoulder both visible and invisible. The Man's hair is again a combination of black on the crown and brown on the sides. The eyes are appealing as well. I wonder how he would have looked with eyelashes. If you look long enough, the left eye takes on a life of its own.

The ledge on which he rests his arm is a tease. You want to know what is written on it; alas, you can only see so much and you are welcome to imagine the rest.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Helene Fourment in a Fur Coat

Helene Fourment in a Fur Coat, Peter Paul Rubens

What did Paul Rubens have in mind when he thought of painting Helene such? Surely not the pleasure of a generic observer who might have been more pleased with a traditional rendering of the naked female body; in other words, the standard nude. Instead, Rubens has given this painting such a feeling of intimacy that one feels like an intruder to even look at Helene who is directing a meaningful glance elsewhere.

In writing about the difference between painting nakedness and nudity, John Berger opens a new way of looking at the nude in painting. Is she naked? Or is it another nude? Who is it intended for?

Helene Fourment in a Fur Coat is an 'exceptional painted image of nakedness', says Berger in Ways of Seeing.
Her body confronts us, not as an immediate sight, but as experience - the painter's experience. Why? There are superficial anecdotal reasons: her dishevelled hair, the expression of her eyes directed towards him, the tenderness with which the exaggerated susceptibility of her skin has been painted. But the profound reason is a formal one. Her appearance has been literally re-cast by the painter's subjectivity. Beneath the fur coat she holds across herself, the upper part of her body and her legs can never meet. There is a displacement sideways of about nine inches: her thighs, in order to join on to her hips, are at least nine inches too far to the left. 
Rubens probably did not plan this: the spectator may not consciously notice it. In itself it is unimportant. What matters is what it permits. It permits the body to become impossibly dynamic.

The structure of the naked body looks like a nod to Venus de'Medici says Wikipedia.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Renaissance of sorts

As you would find on the Header, we started this site with a view to make ourselves more acquainted with the different painting schools and painters. Assorting paintings here over the last few years has been immensely fruitful as well as enjoyable. It has not only given us a good fundamental grasp of the history but also enabled us to appreciate and judge art , both the skill and the context.

With that purpose served, it would only be pointless to assort a painting everyday. Instead we propose to spread it out over random days to upload paintings that we find interesting, either the painting itself or its artistic background. We will also share along information in the form a brief missive of why we find it interesting.

Thank you.


Today being the day of 500 years of Sandro Botticelli’s death, I’m kicking off the venture by uploading what could arguably be one of the greatest paintings of renaissance and perhaps of all time. The Birth of Venus.

The Birth of Venus which Botticelli drew from the Venus Medici has become , to use a modern term, gold standard to represent  beauty esp. feminine beauty. It is believed that the Botticelli painted Venus entirely from memory, modelling her after his love interest  Simonetta Vespucci nine years after her death. Simonetta was a great beauty of her times and was married to a nobleman Marco Vespucci. Well, given her beauty it is said that she courted a number of men including Botticelli. However, it isn’t clear if they did have a relationship or an affair. But it is said she had such a tremendous impact on Botticelli that he painted her portraits including Birth of Venus after her death. She died at a young age 22 , suspected of pulmonary Tuberculosis.[1]  He remained unmarried throughout his life and after his death was buried near Simonetta’s grave as per his request. Details, as of any such medieval affairs often tend to be hazy and hence controversial.

[1] I am reminded of John Keats , another young victim of Pulmonary Tuberculosis. He died aged 25  studying medicine . Interestingly Keats has been buried in Rome, Italy where he died.  Quite strangely both Keats and Simonetta - young victims of TB -  were key figures in two important artistic movements in human history , namely, Renaissance and Romanticism.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Nude and Cactus

One of the famous Tarsila do Amaral paintings - Nude and Cactus. Love the perspective moving proximo-distal on the human nude. The Toe is bigger than the face, yet amazingly aesthetic. A tribute to early 20th century experimentation.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Independence or Death

I must apologize for my patchy contributions to the group here. Hopefully, I should be able to contribute more regularly. I had been thinking about doing a series on South American painters and while was looking about stumbled upon the brazilian painters. I was surprised to see how little we knew about them. Hence the following:

Starting with the well known Independence or Death by Pedro Americo, which depicts the moment of Independence for Brazil from Portugal.

Independence or Death, Pedro Americo

Monday, April 05, 2010

Cristina of Denmark

Cristina of Denmark, 1538, Hans Holbein the Younger

Notes: Apparently Holbein executed this painting in three hours. Cristina was a prospective bride for Henry VIII (read more)

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Henry VIII in 1540

Portrait of Henry VIII, 1540, Hans Holbein the Younger

Notes: another portrait of Henry VIII by Hans Holbein

Friday, April 02, 2010

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve (Unfinished), 1917-1918, Gustav Klimt

Monday, March 08, 2010

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve, 1597, Peter Paul Rubens

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve, 1570, Titian

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Friday, March 05, 2010

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Seamstress

The Seamstress, Thomas Wade

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Shoemaker

The Shoemaker, 1945, Jacob Lawrence

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Milliner

The Milliner, 1881, Édouard Manet

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Dressmaker

The Dressmaker, 1746, François Boucher

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Monday, February 08, 2010

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Saturday, February 06, 2010


Repos, 1939, Cesare Bacchi

Friday, February 05, 2010

A Game of Croquet

A Game of Croquet, 1872, Louise Abbéma

picture courtesy: 1st art gallery

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Card-Players

The Card-Players, 1595, Caravaggio

Notes: Card-Players was a very popular theme and many paintings have used this theme in very interesting ways. Worth doing an entire series on.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Chess-Players

The Chess-Players, 1876, Thomas Eakins

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Ball-Players

The Ball-Players, 1908, Henri Rousseau

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Self-Portrait (Fiesole)

Self-Portrait (Fiesole),1948, Oskar Kokoschka

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Three Graces

The Three Graces, approx 1505, Raphael

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Suicide of Lucretia

Suicide of Lucretia, 1515, Titian

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Route 6, Eastham

Route 6, Eastham, 1941, Edward Hopper

Friday, January 08, 2010

Portrait of Henri Matisse

Portrait of Henri Matisse, 1905, André Derain

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Portrait of André Derain

Portrait of André Derain, 1905, Henri Matisse

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Interior of the Buurkerk at Utrecht

The Interior of the Buurkerk at Utrecht, 1644, Pieter Saenredam

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Red Tower

Red Tower,1911, Robert Delaunay

Monday, January 04, 2010


Merry-Go-Round, 1916, Mark Gertler

Curators |Finny| [ A ] | Sunil | [ S ] | Lavanya | [ L ]
Following the Rainbow | Louvre | | Tate |