I'm sharing this blog entry under our ministry page as it relates to art and influences on my development as an illustrator for CEF.
Brandywine River Museum
While in the States this summer we had the opportunity to visit two art museums. For the past 15-20 yrs. I've been wanting to get to the Brandywine River Museum (Chadds Ford, PA). Howard Pyle (often referred to as the father of American Illustration) had an art school in the area and the handful of gifted students coming from this school had a big impact on the course of illustration in America at the turn of the century. Among those students was N. C. Wyeth (father of Andrew Wyeth). N.C. Wyeth would be in my top 5 list of artists whose work had an impact on my development as an illustrator. It was exciting to see the large original oil paintings he did for Treasure Island. I studied the paintings for a few hours. Touring his studio was another real treat – seeing all his authentic props for the Treasure Island illustrations, a birch bark indian canoe suspended from the ceiling, viewing his resource/research library on the shelves (no touching!), palette with paint on it left untouched from his last painting, etc.. I can highly recommend a tour of the museum and studio.
An added surprise was the opportunity to meet a local who posed for one of Andrew Wyeth's paintings (motorcyclist at stop light). We also met Victoria Wyeth who shared many insights about Andrew Wyeth, debunking much of what the "expert" art critics were saying about his work. Art critics often look for all these deep subtle meanings for every detail in a painting, analyzing it to death, when the artist may have simply loved the effects of light falling on an object or the bull in the field got too close and he had to stop painting! Sometimes the artist will include extra meaning to an image – for example, NC Wyeth's book illustration for King Arthur shows a knight blowing a trumpet for a royal proclamation [illustration top right]. NC Wyeth completed this painting on the day his son Andrew was born, announcing his birth. :-)
Bob Jones University Museum & Gallery
The other art museum we visited was on the campus of Bob Jones University. We toured the museum while taking Heather (3rd yr.) and Sarah (1st yr.) to start school at BJU the end of August.
BJU has the second largest collection of religious art in the world, second only to the Vatican. Most of the artwork was purchased immediately after WWII when many churches in Europe (especially Italy) were destroyed and they needed the money to repair the churches or had nowhere to put the priceless artwork, etc.. I'm sure they wouldn't mind having them back now!
[St. Joseph and the Christ Child by Carlos Francesco Nuvolone, 1609-1662.]
If you get to BJU at the right time of year try to attend the Living Gallery, when the students create exact duplicates of certain paintings or sculptures in the gallery using actors and having 2D artwork transform and come to life on stage.
You can also read about my visit to the Bern Museum earlier this year marking the 100th anniversary of Albert Anker, another artist near the top of my favorite artists list.