Caspar David Friedrich – The Monk by the Sea (1808 – 1810)

“I am not so weak as to submit to the demands of the age when they go against my convictions,” a defiant Caspar David Friedrich declared as his art and the Romantic ideals of the early nineteenth century were falling out of favor towards the end of his life. “I spin a cocoon around myself;…

Lawren Harris on Creativity and Despair

“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change” — Mary Shelley Fewer things are harder than to change one’s self, one’s mind. Neuroscientists would blame it on the loss of brain plasticity that comes with aging. Behaviorists blame the habits themselves, ingrained in our everyday actions and thought patterns….

Julio Romero de Torres – Mystical and Profane Love (1908)

Part of the reason why art can often be so intimidating is the constant name-dropping and the unrelenting attempts to place each and every artwork within a given temporal, spatial and cultural framework. People should be able to enjoy art without thinking of the movement it belongs to, the various influences exerted over the artist…

Ferdinand Hodler – The Disillusioned One (1892)

Sometimes pain can be overwhelming, stopping in its tracks the most basic instincts: moving, talking, eating, sleeping … the very will to live. Swiss artist Ferdinand Hodler may have known a thing or two about pain, having lost both his parents and all five of his siblings to tuberculosis by the time he reached adulthood….

Tomás Sánchez – Man Crucified in a Dump (1992)

He is arguably Cuba’s most prolific contemporary painter, enchanting his fans with his idealized depictions of luxuriant vegetation, imbued with a sense of meditation and perfect stillness. Just like Russian realist artist Ivan Shishkin, Tomás Sánchez searches for spirituality in his nature-inspired artworks, with the distinction that he often recreates landscapes from his own memory…

Ivan Meštrović – Contemplation (1924)

With his proud nationalism and deep yearning for spirituality, Ivan Meštrović was the leading figure of Croatian modern sculpture. His art, encompassing Yugoslavia’s diverse influences, tells a story about religion, folklore, mythology and the heroism of accepting one’s fate, often times with an underlying nervous energy that simmers beneath the surface. Irrespective of the medium…