Toulouse-Lautrec at the Grand Palais, January 2020

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I first fell in love with the graphic works by Toulouse-Lautre in college.  Posters of his magnificent advertisements abundantly covered my dormitory room walls.  I still love his work.

 

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A stained glass design by the artist. I had no idea he had worked in this medium.

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The design for the glass:

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Yes, the ad for the magazine La revue blanche!  This design has always been a favorite!

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The exhibition was excellent.  I am becoming a very lazy art historian. I’m sorry to say that I don’t enjoy muscling my way through exhibitions anymore.  I am spoiled because, once upon a time, I could view these shows privately.  It’s not nice to be just another visitor.  Boo hoo.

Still, the show was magnificent and I’m glad I saw it!

Celebrating women art patrons: Isabella d’Este

Isabella d’Este (1474–1539)
Marchioness of Mantua

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As an influential and beloved politician, art patron, and fashion icon, Isabella d’Este, known as the “First Lady of the Renaissance,” turned the city of Mantua into an important cultural center. Her husband, Francesco Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua, quickly became jealous of her popularity in the region. To escape his resentment, Isabella traveled to Rome. She spent time in the influential circles of Pope Leo X—a prominent patron himself—and met artists including Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Titian, Pietro Perugino, Andrea Mantegna, Giovanni Bellini, and Giorgione. In these artists’ portraits of the patroness, Isabella appears as a pale and regal beauty with an exuberant taste in clothes.

 

In an unusual move for the time, Isabella arranged her apartments as a kind of museum. The studiolo and grotta in the ducal palace became places for her to entertain nobles, dignitaries, and artists, and to show off the works that she had commissioned. In this way, as scholar Rose Marie San Juan has explained, Isabella inserted herself into “spaces traditionally allotted to men.” After her husband died, Isabella became co-regent of Mantua with her son, Federigo II. Her people so admired her that they persuaded Federigo to reinstall his mother as their leader. Through her collecting and her noble background, Isabella established networks across Europe that furthered her influence.