Sunday, February 1, 2015

Quilting Inspiration at the Museum

Yesterday my husband, Bob, and I visited the St. Louis Art Museum.  It was amazing.  I had not been there since I was a child!  We usually visit historical museums when we travel, but not the Art Museums. So what, you may ask, does this have to do with quilting??? Well....

Last fall a friend of mine, Casey York (Studiolo Blog) gave a program to one of my Quilt Guilds. She talked about using Art and Archtecture for quilt inspiration.  With a background in Art History, Casey gave one of the most interesting programs I've heard in a long time. A room full of about 80 quilters, so quiet you could hear a pin drop! Everyone's attention was completely focused on Casey.

So intreging was it, that I decided we needed a trip to the Art Museum.  There was quite a variety of style in the exhibits. Every thing from Modern to early 14th century to Ancient Egyptian mummies. Some I loved, some I laughed at, some were not my favorites and some I simply did not understand. After asking for the rules on photographing the art (no flash, stay behind the black lines) we began exploring.

My favorites were the Reneaisance paintings.  The absolute best was this painting, Judith and Holofernes c. 1554 by Giorgio Vasari, Italian, 1511-1574. I felt the detail in her clothing was just amazing. That strap across her back is extrodinary in it's fine details. I kept going back to view it again and again, finding new aspects each time. Right now, Giorgio Vasari is my favorite painter. I don't know what "quilty" inspiration I get from this painting, but I will eventually.

Moving right along on our Art tour, we come to the Ancient Egyptian mummies.  It's very easy to see how this could influence a quilter. Row after row of quilting motifs. 

This a piece of French wallpaper.  It was hard to see and photograph thru the glass.  In my eye this would be ideal for a thread painting. I can also see a few quilting motifs and patterns.

This painting, Interior of St. Peter's, Rome, 1731 by Giovanni Paolo Panini (1691-1765) almost looked like a photograph. The illusion of depth makes you feel like you could step right in.  Casey's book Modern Applique Illusions has a lot of good information on depth and perspective.  Be sure to check out Grand Canal, the one I quilted for the book.  This is another painting I kept going back to view.  It speaks to me, my brain is trying to create a 'depth' quilt with the arches. 
For more information on the quilting of Grand Canal, click here --> Grand Canal

Another painting, Portrait of a Woman, c1606, by Nicolas de Largilliere (1656-1746) caught my attention.  I'm not sure if it is because of the vivid colors or the amount of items painted in such detail, but I like it.  Maybe a scrappy sampler?

This painting, St. Helena and the Emperor Constantine Presented to the Holy Trinity by the Virgin Mary, 1741-42 by Corrado Giaquinto, Italian (1703-1766),  amazed me mostly because of the sheer size, including the long name. I'm curious how many hours were involved in painting this? Another painting with lots of vivid colors and fine details, it had a feeling of wave movement to me, swirling from the bottom up.  I like quilts that have the illusion of movement and give direction for the viewer's eye to follow.  My friend, Kevin (the Quilter) and I incorporated the illusion of movement and direction in our quilt Radar giving the viewer's eye a path to follow. 
For more information on our quilt click here -->  Radar 

Although the color in this painting did not photograph well, I still like the flow of color in the background. I started playing with painting and dying fabric last summer, so this caught my eye. I plan on doing a little research to see if I can find a better picture of this painting.  
Sadak in Search of the Waters of Oblivion, 1812, John Martin, British (1789-1854)

A metal door just inside the Museum is definitely quilt worthy!

A fun exhibit by Nick Cave rounded out our tour.

Lots of bling! Each is maybe 6 foot in diameter.
Sock monkey covered costume. Maybe 7-8 foot tall!
Yes, those are buttons! Full size figures.

I hope you enjoyed my little Museum Tour and go check out your local musuems.  Bob and I had a great day exploring.  Thank you Casey for inspiring me to go to the Art Museum. 
Thank you for visiting my blog.
Happy Quilting,

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