Art For Arts' Sake

What artist (painters, sculptors etc.) or school of art do you admire? Do you collect or have anything in your home? Let’s share, even if it’s clowns on velvet or dogs playing poker.

I’m a huge fan of Surrealism, because I love rhe absurdity. I’m also starting to appreciae Mexican folk art, particularly Dia de los Muertos themed stuff, although it can be hard to find the really good stuff among the shlock.

A couple of prints we have hanging in the house:

Dali’s portrait of Mae West.

Les Amants by Magritte

There’s a lot of art I love, but I get really passionate about architecture. And none of that godawful modernist stuff! I’ve been fascinated for awhile by this bridge between buildings in Barcelona, which was built in the 1920s, with the intent of matching the local medieval neighborhood. I think it might be perfect.

I love medieval churches and cathedrals. I haven’t seen many of them in person, but I did get to see Cologne Cathedral when I was there for Gamescom (pic is mine):

I guess even with the visual arts, I like something a bit architectural. I love the artist Joseph Cornell, who built shadow boxes filled with photographs and maps and little bits and bobs he gathered up from antique stores:

And lately I’ve really found some baroque and rococo art really appealing–the kind where stuff is just kind of swirling and pouring out of every side, like Tiepolo:

(It’s only actually impressive when you see it life-size.)

Love me an El Greco:

But at the end of the day, nobody paints like Caravaggio:

Yeah, Baroque might be my favorite historical period, and I think Caravaggio might be my favorite Baroque painter, along Rembrandt (but Rembrandt I appreciate more because of the technique, while Caravaggio I love because of what he makes me feel). I also like a lot of modernist art movements and artists. The Gernika might be one of my favorite paintings.

But I’d like to point out two sculptures I discovered when I was talked into teaching Art History at a college level and that I felt in love with.

First, the Martydom of Saint Cecil’s by Stefano Maderno. Really early Baroque, and very close in its principles to Caravagio’s Best work, I think, albeit in a conpletely different medium:

The other piece is this specific Roman portrait of a patrician. In general good Roman portraiture does still surprise me in how it provides certain access to the soul of people so distant in every way:


You can’t fool me. That’s Patrick Stewart.

Love me some Lucian Freud.

But the prints we have around the house tend to be more whimsical, like this one by Luke Chueh:


Thanks for sharing both of those, Juan! That Maderno piece is exquisite. Love the baroque tendency to think about setting and framing for their sculpture. (Although I guess there’s a chance that setting was made later. Do you know?)

I like Asian art and architecture.

I find it relaxing to look at. And I can leave all the baggage of Western culture behind me when appreciating it.

OTOH, being yet another dumb Western tourist visiting these locations probably wouldn’t earn me a lot of respect from locals.


Traditional Asian styles of roofing are especially fascinating to me. This is 8th C. Korean: