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A final Parisian art gallery post – can’t end the series without some works from the Louvre

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

A brief exposé of some of the lesser known works in the Louvre art gallery.

These were all shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II Micro Four Thirds camera with the Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 pro lens.

A touch of my own styling to some of the beautiful marble sculptures:

Louvre

Pierre Paul Rubens Portrait d’Helene Fourment 1636:

Louvre

Pierre Paul Rubens Clélie passant le Tibre (Cloelia crossing the Tiber) 1635:

Louvre

Antoon van Dyck Les Amours de Renaud et de l’enchanteresse Armide (The loves of Rinaldo and the enchantress Armida) 1641:

Louvre

Jacob Jordaens Le roi boit (The king drinks) 1638-40:

Louvre

My take on the Restoration of Melpomene Muse de la tragedie in marble 1st century AD Rome:

Louvre

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Saint Jean-Baptiste 1513-16 – sometimes reflections are impossible to get rid of, and I didn’t bring a polarising filter to help – my bad:

Louvre

Alessandro Filipepi dit Botticelli Un jeune homme presente par Venus 1483-85:

Louvre

Alessandro Filipepi dit Botticelli Venus et Le Trois Graces offrant des presents a une jeune fille (Venus and The Three Graces) 1483-85:

Louvre

My take on the Winged goddess of Victory of Samothrace 3rd-1st century BC Greece:

Louvre

Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson Pygmalion et Galatee 1824:

Louvre

Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson Atala au tombeau 1808:

Louvre

Louise David Les Sabines 1799:

Louvre

Louise David Les Amours de Paris et d’Helene 1788:

Louvre

Pierre Peyron La mort d’Alceste 1785:

Louvre

Anselm Kiefer Athanor 2007:

Louvre

Perhaps it is that we can’t appreciate life without seeing death, and perhaps we all too often take for granted the wonderful aspects of culture that history has betrothed upon us even though their permanence is not guaranteed in our violent world. Live in the presence and appreciate what we have, protect our past and look to a future enhanced by us being here – not a future of despair and destruction as has been the case so often in our past.

The beautiful Musee D’Orsay – a must see art gallery in Paris – part III

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

Part III of my little exposé of the wonderful Musee D’Orsay art gallery.

Let’s go onto some more of my favorite artworks – the gallery boasts an incredible range of beautiful nudes which I will limit here to hopefully ensure viewing is not an issue in workplaces although there is a bold male nude as an allegory to war at the end of this post!

These were all shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II Micro Four Thirds camera with the Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 pro lens.

A touch of my own styling to some of the beautiful marble sculptures:

D'Orsay

Denys Puech Aurore 1900:

D'Orsay

D'Orsay

Georges de Feure Panneau d’Elegante 1901-1903:

D'Orsay

Eduoard Vuillard Le Doctor Georges Viau dans son cabinet dentaire 1914:

D'Orsay

Pierre Bonnard La Loge 1908:

D'Orsay

Pierre Bonnard Le chapelle du chateau de Versailles 1917:

D'Orsay

Aristide Maillol La femme a l’ombrelle 1895:

D'Orsay

Felix Valloton Madame Alexandre Bernheim 1902:

D'Orsay

Felix Valloton Baigneuse Rose 1893:

D'Orsay

Georges Seurat Poseuse de profil 1887:

D'Orsay

Charles Angrand Couple dans la rue 1887:

D'Orsay

Paul Signac Femme a l’ombrelle 1893:

D'Orsay

Paul Signac Femmes au puits 1892:

D'Orsay

Paul Signac Entre du port de la Rochelle 1921:

D'Orsay

The beautiful Musee D’Orsay – a must see art gallery in Paris – part II

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

Part II of my little exposé of the wonderful Musee D’Orsay art gallery.

Let’s go onto some more of my favorite artworks – the gallery boasts an incredible range of beautiful nudes which I will limit here to hopefully ensure viewing is not an issue in workplaces although there is a bold male nude as an allegory to war at the end of this post!

These were all shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II Micro Four Thirds camera with the Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 pro lens.

Vincent van Gogh La Nuit étoilée (Starry night) 1888:

D'Orsay

Eugene Jansson Gryning over Ridderfjarden 1899:

D'Orsay

Edgar Degas Répétition d’un ballet sur la scène 1874, well we all know how much Degas loved painting and sculpting the ballet dancers, and he has left us all with his beautiful legacy of works such as this one:

D'Orsay

Edouard Manet La Dame aux éventails 1873:

D'Orsay

Pierre Auguste Renoir Danse à la ville 1883. one of my favorite painters who showed you don’t need the anatomic proportions to always be correct to have an aesthetic image (a yes, he often gets a bit of flack for this), and furthermore was brave enough to put blues and greens together without anything between in the majority of his works.

D'Orsay

Paul Cezanne Les Jouers de cartes 1890-95:

D'Orsay

Edgar Degas Danseuses bleues 1893:

D'Orsay

Claude Monet Femme à l’ombrelle tournée vers la gauche 1886:

D'Orsay

Edouard Manet Sur la plage 1873:

D'Orsay

Pierre Auguste Renoir La Liseuse 1874-76:

D'Orsay

Berthe Morisot Le Berceau 1872:

D'Orsay

Pierre Auguste Renoir Bal du moulin de la Galette 1876:

D'Orsay

Paul Cezanne Louis-Auguste Cezanne – the artist’s father 1866:

D'Orsay

Paul Cezanne Dominique – the artist’s uncle 1866-67:

D'Orsay

Luc Olivier Merson (1846-1920) La Fortune:

D'Orsay

Henri Camille Danger Fléau 1901, an allegory of war and a rather bold recent acquisition by the gallery to expand their late Academic period works – turn away now if you cannot cope with a full frontal male nude:

D'Orsay

Just Becquet L’Abîme marble 1901 (This apparently translates as the abyss):

D'Orsay

The beautiful Musee D’Orsay – a must see art gallery in Paris – part I

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

The Musee D’Orsay has to be one of my favorite art galleries with its art works primarily from the late 19th century and early 20th century, dominated by beautiful sculptures, and paintings from the Romanticism, Pre-Raphaelite, Symbolist and French Impressionism movements to name a few, and set in the wonderfully transformed train station.

It does have a rather strange lack of toilets though, and the only one I found had a long line of ladies queued up and forced to stand outside the open door of the men’s room with full view of the line of urinals – well when in Paris, you just have to not worry about these things – although I suspect it was more awkward for the ladies who are not used to such experiences!

But let’s go onto some of my favorite artworks – although the gallery boasts an incredible range of beautiful nudes which I will limit here to ensure viewing is not an issue in workplaces.

These were all shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II Micro Four Thirds camera with the Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 pro lens.

I had to adjust the lights a bit for this one :)

D'Orsay

Amaury-Duval Madame de Loynes 1862:

D'Orsay

Ernest Hébert La Lavandera ou Jeune lavandiére songuese 1869:

D'Orsay

Honoré Daumier Crispin et Scapin 1864:

D'Orsay

Maxwell Armfield Faustine 1904:

D'Orsay

Edward Burne-Jones Princess Sabra 1865:

D'Orsay

Ford Madox Brown a pioneer in the Pre-Raphaelite movement – Haydée découvrant le corps de Don Juan 1878:

D'Orsay

Edgard Maxence La Légende bretonne 1906:

D'Orsay

Ferdinand Hodler Madame Valentine Godé-Darel malade 1914:

D'Orsay

Gustave Moreau Orphée 1865 (Moreau continues the myth of Orpheus, with the vision of a girl dressed in Oriental finery rescuing the poet’s head which rests on his lyre, and the girl is gazing at him with a melancholy air. The diagonal compositions suggests a playing card, in which the musicians in the top left corner are balanced by the turtles, lower right, whose carapace, according to the myth, was used to make the first lyre – Moreau counts as a decisive figure in the Symbolist movement):

D'Orsay

Gustave Moreau Hésiode et la Muse 1891:

D'Orsay

Henri de Toulouse-Laetrec Rousse (La Toilette) 1889:

D'Orsay

Henri de Toulouse-Laetrec Femme de profil Madame Lucy 1896:

D'Orsay

Philipe de Laszlo La comtesse Anna de Noailles 1913:

D'Orsay

Pablo Picasso La Buveuse d’absinthe dit aussi Buveuse accoudée 1901:

D'Orsay

Henri de Toulouse-Laetrec Au Nouveau Cirque, Papa Chrysantheme 1894:

D'Orsay

A. Carrier Belleuse 1873:

D'Orsay

Denys Puech Sirene 1889:

D'Orsay

Gustave Courbet L’Atelier du peintre 1855:

D'Orsay

Jean-Francois Millet Femme nue couchée 1844-1845:

D'Orsay

It is indeed a privilege to be able to view these works in reality, and it is not something to be taken for granted with the world going crazy yet again and destruction of culture rampant.

Monet’s water lilies and the Musee D’Orangerie in Paris – some of my favorite artworks from the gallery

Friday, July 21st, 2017

The Musee D’Orangerie is adjacent to the Louvre and is a wonderful art gallery mainly of late 19th century and early 20th century art works, but in particular, Claude Monet’s water lily series.

These were all shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II Micro Four Thirds camera with Olympus mZD 7-14mm f/2.8 pro lens such as the above and below image, and the Olympus mZD 25mm f/1.2 pro lens.

Here are some of Claude Monet’s famous water lily paintings:

Monet

Monet

Monet

Monet

Monet

Despite their dominance in the gallery, there is far more to see such as these:

Claude Monet’s Argenteuile 1875:

D'Orangerie

Pablo Picasso’s Femme au tambourin 1925:

D'Orangerie

Paul Cezanne’s Arbres et maisons 1885-86:

D'Orangerie

Henri Matisse’s Les trois soeurs 1916-17:

D'Orangerie

Marie Laurencin’s Danseuses espagnoles 1920-21:

D'Orangerie

The unmistakable style of Amedeo Modigliani and in this case, Femme au ruban de velours 1915:

D'Orangerie

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955), who even in his early life was plagued with mental illness, was essentially raised by his grandmother, and was the son of an 18 yr old artist’s model with speculation that his father may have been Renoir or one of the other artists she had modeled for. He was born in Montmartre and like many artists, lived a very bohemian life style. His mental illness was exacerbated by alcoholism and he spent some time in mental asylums.

I am guessing these ladies walking with a painter made Maurice Utrillo’s world go round after the war ended – La Maison Bernot 1924 – the bell tower of the Sacré Coeur basilica which was completed in 1912 was cropped when I took the photo and is not shown:

D'Orangerie

Gustave Moreau’s La Toilette 1885-90:

D'Orangerie

Pablo Picasso’s Saltimbanque aux bras croises 1923:

D'Orangerie

And, for something completely different – Hans Hartung’s T 1963 K7 1963:

D'Orangerie

An afternoon at the Australian War Memorial with just one lens – 25mm f/1.4 on a GH-1

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Spent a couple of days in Canberra, Australia’s capital city, mainly to visit the Australian National Art Gallery which was hosting the Musee d’Orsay French Impressionists works.

Unfortunately, unlike the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, the State art galleries in Australia, the National Gallery bans photography even for its permanent collection – so I can’t show what they have on offer for you – but I do have lots of photos of famous art works here, including my favorites from the Musee D’Orsay collection.

Next day, my daughter and I had an awesome time walking around the Australian War Memorial, and as usual, backpacks had to stay in the cloak room – don’t know why I walked around with my Canon 1D Mark III all day anyway as I had to walk an hour each way to and from the Memorial – my back is killing me now and I only used it for 1 shot!

If there is only one place you are going to see in Canberra, make it the War Memorial, you can spend all day there and it is not comnmercialised – just give a small donation at the door, plus there is a very nice cafe with good food at reasonable prices to rest your legs.

Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself, I had to leave my Canon 1D MIII and my other lenses in the cloak room, so I chose just one lens – the Leica D 25mm f/1.4 for Four Thirds to use on my Panasonic GH-1 Micro Four Thirds camera.

This was the perfect outfit for indoor work – if I had the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 – that would have done a similar job and be less heavy!

I shot most of the images at ISO 800 or 1600, many in dynamic B&W filter, and none with Photoshop processing other than resize or minor cropping for web.

War Memorial

and in low light, a fighter pilot’s outfit at ISO 1600:

pilot

You have to love their sense of humour in trying to work out ways of getting soldiers to remember the features of various Japanese war planes by creating cartoon versions of nude playmates to emphasise the differences:

Emily
Kate
Nell

And the joy and romance of the returning soldier which was beautifully captured on this photo:

Home

While for other soldiers on leave, it was a day at the beach on a Sunday afternoon in Townsville, Queensland:

Beach

The other photos from the day can be seen here.

Some tips on photography of museums and art galleries (if they let you):

Light levels in most museums and art galleries tend to be quite low and you will not be allowed to bring tripods or backpacks, thus keep it simple.

With the GH-1, I would advise a fast lens such as either:

  • Panasonic 20mm f/1.7
  • Olympus ZD 50mm f/2.0 macro
  • PanaLeica 25mm f/1.4

In a museum, with the often harsh lighting, you should also consider using your flash as a fill-in flash at minus 1-2EV flash compensation and try taking the shot in B&W to address the difference in colour temperature of museum lighting and your flash.

For paintings YOU MUST TURN OFF FLASH, try to do a custom white balance prior to each shot – perhaps wise to bring a white or grey card for this purpose although you can as a last resort use the hopefully white item descriptor – but these may actually be off white or yellow.

Additionally for paintings, you lens should not have barrel distortion (the above ones won’t), and you must try to be in the centre of the painting and square on.

Unfortunately, paintings with spot lights or glass are very difficult to do well, a polariser filter may help with glass but you will have to increase ISO to deal with 2-2.5EV reduction in light.

Another option is using a prime legacy lens such as a 50mm f/1.4 (shoot at f/2.0 for better image quality) with a shift adapter or a shift lens which allows you to be more square on with paintings that are higher than yourself, and may also allow you to remove self reflections from the image.

Also, wear a dark shirt so you are less likely to get yourself in the reflections.

You can see examples of photos I have taken at French, Italian and Australian art galleries here
, including most of the famous paintings, even Mona Lisa.

Good luck

White balance, digital photos of paintings, bushfires and Olympus dSLRs

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

Yesterday I had a couple of hours to kill in Brisbane, Queensland and so I thought a trip to the State art gallery would be worthwhile.

Fortunately, photography is allowed in permanent collections of most of Australia’s National and State art galleries, and for this, my favorite kit is the Olympus E510 (you could use E520/620/E30/E3 as they all have image stabiliser built in) and the Olympus ZD 50mm f/2.0 macro lens – you usually do need f/2.0-f/2.8 for hand held shots with IS at ISO 400 and the flat field of the macro dedication helps ensure that even at f/2.0, the corners remain in focus. In addition, this lens is one of the sharpest around, and has minimal barrel distortion.

If you have a Nikon dSLR then you could use their “VR-micro” lens which has image stabiliser built in.

If you use Canon, then you will have to resort to using a higher ISO – perhaps ISO 1600 with their 60 or 100mm f/2.8 macro lenses as unfortunately image stabilisation is not available either in the camera or in a Canon macro lens. If you use the 24-105mm f/4 IS L lens, you will probably need to use ISO 800 at least and then you have the issues with all the distortion this lens creates.

So, when I visit art galleries, I bring my Olympus E510 with 50mm macro lens.

As all paintings are lit by artificial light, and often do not contain any true neutral gray or white tones, you are unlikely to get accurate color renditions using auto white balance or white balance presets.

Luckily the Olympus dSLRs have a REALLY easy mechanism for doing custom white balance.

In the menu, set the Fn button to be custom WB.
Press the Fn button an it will tell you to aim camera at neutral subject (eg. white balance card) which is in the same lighting as your subject and take a photo. You will then be prompted to accept this.
Custom WB is set (don’t forget to revert to AWB when finished taking photos – just press WB button on rear and select AWB).

So let’s do a demonstration of what we can achieve:

Quite topically, there just happened to be a bushfire painting by Australian painter Russell Drysdale which was painted in 1944, so here is the first effort with auto white balance (AWB) on:

Drysdale awb

Now these colour look great but they are NOT how the painting really was – the sky was much more yellow in the painting. Time for custom WB. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to bring along my White Balance pocket cards so I had to do with using the white wall (almost certainly not photographically neutral but close enough hopefully).

Drysdale custom white balance

Now we are talking – although it still did not look exact on the camera’s preview, but on my laptop monitor it looks pretty close.

As an aside: unlike my Canon 1DMIII LCD screen, the Olympus LCD screen tends to correlate quite closely with how the jpeg will be, and usually I do not need to post-process the Olympus images as their in-camera jpeg image engine is superb – I can’t say the same for my Canon 1DMIII jpegs – I rarely use them and have to do lot’s of post-processing of Canon RAW files.

So here is a tip: if you don’t want to spend lots of time in front of a computer post-processing RAW files or you don’t know how to, strongly consider getting an Olympus dSLR just for that reason - not to mention a whole host of others – built-in image stabilisation, edge-to-edge image sharpness, compact & light size outfits, tilt-out LCD and with electronic spirit level (E-30) and weather-proofing (E-3).

None of these photos have been edited in Photoshop other than to crop and resize for web. You can click on them for larger view.

Lastly, here is a close up shot showing the beautiful detail in this work:

Drysdale custom white balance

There is a commentary on this painting provided by the NGV here.

More Australian paintings of bushfires:

More of my photographs of my favourite famous paintings - see here.