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Posts Tagged ‘spring’

Spring has sprung—finally

Claude Monet, Water Lilies,  1919. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Claude Monet, Water Lilies, 1919. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

After the coldest recorded February in New York City since 1934, spring has finally sprung, and we could not be more relieved.

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Papilionidae; swallowtail butterfly | Collected: 8/1975, Madagascar, Africa | Yale University: Peabody Museum of Natural History; peabody.yale.edu

Papilionidae; swallowtail butterfly | Collected: 8/1975, Madagascar, Africa | Yale University: Peabody Museum of Natural History; peabody.yale.edu

Spring time is here and butterflies are already making their annual appearance, according to butterfliesandmoths.org. To celebrate, we’ve compiled a slideshow of selections from a wide variety of eras, regions, and fields of study, from science to art to costume design.

Search the Artstor Digital Library for butterfl* to find more than 1,000 images with the keywords “butterfly” or “butterflies.”

Click on any image to view the slideshow and to read the full captions.

Our slideshow includes an image of a very serious-looking butterfly collector from George Eastman House; several examples from the nearly 70 specimens of butterflies in Yale University’s Peabody Museum of Natural History; an 18th-century painting of a mischievous cat chasing a butterfly from Réunion des Musées Nationaux; a 1910 lithograph of the Ty-Bell Sisters, Aerial Butterflies from The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Circus Collection; a colorful illumination from the Book of Hours of Queen Isabella I, ca. 1495-1500, from The Cleveland Museum of Art Collection; and an evening dress and a bonnet from more than two dozen butterfly-themed dresses and accessories in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Brooklyn Museum Costumes.

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Sandro Botticelli | Primavera; Allegory of Spring | c. 1478 | Galleria degli Uffizi | Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com; scalarchives.com | (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

Sandro Botticelli | Primavera; Allegory of Spring | c. 1478 | Galleria degli Uffizi | Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com; scalarchives.com | (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

Spring is here! The return of sunshine inspired us to look at Botticelli’s Primavera, a masterpiece of the early Renaissance and arguably the most popular artistic representation of the season, even if – as we shall see – its interpretation remains inconclusive.

Botticelli painted Primavera sometime between 1477 and 1482, probably for the marriage of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco, cousin of the powerful Italian statesman (and important patron of the arts) Lorenzo Medici. The date is just one of the many facts surrounding the painting that remain unclear. For starters, its original title is unknown; it was first called La Primavera by the artist/art historian Giorgio Vasari, who only saw it some 70 years after it was painted. While it’s generally agreed that on one level Primavera depicts themes of love and marriage, sensuality and fertility, the work’s precise meaning continues to be debated (a search in JSTOR led us to almost 700 results, with nearly as many differing opinions). Here’s what we think we know:

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