Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Did you know Da Vinci's Mona Lisa is actually quite small? Well, duh. Everyone knows that. And there it is behind guards, three layers of boundaries, and covered in bullet proof glass. Which I understand, knowing the history of the painting, and the stupidity of people.

And yet just "down the hall" you can walk up to Da Vinci's Virgin on the Rocks (sounds like the name of a cocktail, doesn't it) and practically stick your nose on it to get up close enough to see every last brush stroke and aging crack. You can't TOUCH the painting of course. Well, I suppose you could, if you'd like a guard to toss you out of the museum or perhaps worse, maybe you'd get arrested. I don't have a clue. Because I would certainly never try it. But I do like to get really close to see the creative process. Oh, but my point here was gonna be - this painting is quite large. This was going to be a post about SIZE. And size.

So I knew about the Mona Lisa actually being a shrinky dink painting. But I was surprised at how many famous paintings I had no idea of their real size. Like Whistler's Mother. It's really big. I should have stuck a person in the photo to prove it. But it is. Take my word for it. Or wait, I'll go get the size for you - 144.3 × 162.4 cm, 56.8 × 63.9 in. I'd always imagined it somewhere around 18 x 24 in.

Rose Harmony by Claude Monet. This was rather large as well. But I guess I hadn't drawn any preconceived assumptions about it's size, because it seemed like it was the size it should have been. But then there was Monet's Waterlilies series....

...which totally blew me AWAY! This is just one of many many paintings in the waterlilies series. Obviously the photo speaks for itself. These paintings measure huge X ginormous.

I've seen a few Georgia O'Keeffe in person as well and there my mind had drawn the reverse wrong conclusion. I imagined them as very large canvases and the few I've seen have, in fact, been surprisingly small, maybe a quarter of the size I had expected. Sorry, don't have any personal photos of them, but you can go see some of her gorgeous paintings here.

So, that's all to just give you some images to enjoy. The questions are - Do you general like your art larger than life or small and intimate? Do you like to work large or small? What's the largest you've ever worked? (I did a wall sized mural once.) What's the smallest? (Uhm, probably an ATC (Artist's Trading Card) 2-1/2" x 3-1/2". Hmmm, I might have made one even smaller, I think it was the size of a standard business card.) Do you find it easier to work in one size or another? Do you tend to plan all your work to be around the same size? Have you ever forced yourself to change the size you work in just for the challenge?

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