Art Review: A Master Opens the Door to an Empire ‘Dürer and Beyond’ By Karen Rosenberg

Hans Hoffman’s meticulous gouache of a hedgehog are examples of the bewildering styles and subjects

”The title of a new exhibition, “Dürer and Beyond: Central European Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1400-1700,” presents a bit of a conundrum. How do we get beyond Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), the ne plus ultra draftsman and all-around Northern Renaissance master, an artist so secure in his greatness that he painted himself as Jesus?
“Male Nude Lying on a Table,” an anonymous drawing in this Met show of Holy Roman Empire works.
We don’t, at least not often in this show, which surveys the Met’s holdings of drawings made before 1700 by artists working in the Holy Roman Empire (an area that today encompasses Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic and parts of other countries). But the offerings should nevertheless entice viewers to look more closely at the art of Central Europe, which absorbed diverse religious and stylistic influences from Italian, Dutch and Flemish art.

The Met’s curators are certainly giving the region more attention. Most of the drawings on view were acquired fairly recently, over the last two decades. Just outside the exhibition, in the Robert Wood Johnson Jr. Gallery, is a spillover show of related drawings, prints and manuscripts that entered the collection too late to make it into the catalog.

“Dürer and Beyond” was organized by Stijn Alsteens and Freyda Spira, curators in the Met’s drawings and prints department. It includes about 100 drawings, supplemented by prints, illustrated books and decorative objects.

The show sets the stage for Dürer with a drawing by an artist he admired, Martin Schongauer, of a man whose upturned gaze is accentuated by the wide brim of his hat. It’s thought to be a character study, but the features are distinct and specific enough to give it the presence of a portrait.

Strong as this image is, it can’t compete with what is probably the Met’s most outstanding drawing by Dürer: his “Self-Portrait and Studies of the Artist’s Hand and a Pillow” (1493). On this sheet of sketches the young artist furrows his brow and purses his lips in a look of withering intensity; he wears the same expression in a famous early self-portrait painting in the Louvre, for which this drawing is probably a study.

Dürer’s “Self-Portrait and Studies of the Artist’s Hand and a Pillow

His head is nonetheless overshadowed by a detailed and disproportionately large rendering of his left hand, and by an incongruous study of a squished pillow that occupies the bottom third of the page. Placed where his chest would be, it reads initially as an oversize heart. On the reverse side of the page (which is displayed in a double-sided frame) Dürer drew more pillows: six in all, scrunched and fluffed in various ways, their folds delineated by fishtail-like areas of cross-hatching.

                                               “Salvator Mundi”                                             

It’s tempting to linger here and among the other Dürers installed on a nearby wall: the unfinished oil painting “Salvator Mundi” (“Savior of the World”), with its visible underdrawing; a quick and tender sketch of the Holy Family in a garden; a spirited rendering of scampering, musical cherubs. But the show, which is organized chronologically, moves past the early 16th century.

Easing the transition is the gifted Hans Schäufelein, who spent time in the workshops of both Dürer and Holbein the Elder. In his “Portrait of a Man, Bust-Length, Wearing a Hat,” sprightly curls of red chalk give buoyancy to a subject with angular features and a generally serious mien.

As the exhibition works its way through the 16th century, and away from Dürer, it encompasses a bewildering array of styles and subjects. The shift from naturalism to allegory, or from an Italian Renaissance mode to a Netherlandish one, can be disorienting.

Joachim Lüchteke’s “Allegory of Art,” from 1595

Hans Hoffman’s meticulous gouache of a hedgehog and Virgil Solis’s profile of a greyhound, for instance, share a corner with Peter Flötner’s bronze plaquettes of figures representing Charity and Temperance. Nearby is a drastically foreshortened male nude by an anonymous German artist; the pose recalls Mantegna’s “Dead Christ,” but the strong contour lines resemble those in engravings from the Netherlands.

With a bit more clarity this part of the show also delves into the relationship between drawing and the decorative arts in Central Europe, with examples of bronze medals, glass roundels and stained-glass windows. Sixteenth-century drawings by Swiss stained-glass designers like Jost Amman, for instance, look unfinished because the artists did not bother to complete patterns that could easily be reproduced by the glassmakers.

The 17th-century drawings aren’t as compelling. Writing in the catalog, Mr. Alsteens admits that during this period in Central Europe “no dominating personality emerged — no Raphael or Dürer, no Titian or Bruegel, no Rubens or Poussin.” The lack of star power is felt most acutely in the final gallery, of competent but forgettable biblical and mythological scenes.

And so the standout in the show’s final gallery is not a Düreresque genius of a draftsman, but a humble genre painter: Nikolaus Knüpfer. He is represented by two eyebrow-raising treatments of Venus and Cupid, a drawing and a small painting.

In the painting a careless Venus is awkwardly half-seated on her bed, having just knocked over her chamber pot. The drawing is even more outrageous; here, a urinating Cupid misses the pot — possibly on purpose, to judge from his mischievous grin.

Knüpfer is normally considered a Dutch artist; he was born in Leipzig but settled in Utrecht. But his inclusion in this show of Central European drawing, however tenuous, catapults us from the Northern Renaissance into the world of Jan Steen, Gabriel Metsu and Vermeer: the “beyond” in “Dürer and Beyond.”

“Dürer and Beyond: Central European Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1400-1700” continues through Sept. 3 at the Met, (212) 535-7710,


johnlewis: radio update 

The first internet radio. Photographed in 2002...

The first internet radio. Photographed in 2002, but dated from 1999 or 2000. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Listen to your computer

Internet radio is a term for the subscription-free audio broadcasting service transmitted via the Internet, and also a device that can be used to listen to it on.

Why would I want it?

One word: choice. With internet radio services usually accessible from anywhere in the world, there are literally thousands of stations to choose from – far more than you’d be able to pick up locally through an aerial.

If you’re an expatriate living abroad, you can use it to catch up with your favourite station back home. Or if your music or listening tastes are not being served – you’re a fan of world music for example, or if you’d like to listen to a foreign news station – you can hunt down something for your listening pleasure elsewhere on the planet!

What do I need to get it?

If you already own a PC with sound card and speakers, and have an active broadband connection – nothing. You can use your computer to listen via a media player that will normally be part of your computer’s operating system, or can be downloaded for free via the web.

Or- if you don’t want to be restricted to listening with your PC – there are other ways of getting Internet Radio, as long as you have a wireless broadband router:

A standalone internet radio such as the ROBERTS Stream 106X Internet Radio is ideal. It’s compact enough to go anywhere in the house – including the kitchen worktop.

The PURE Evoke Flow DAB internet radio is one to consider if you still fancy the option of receiving FM and DAB transmissions, in addition to web broadcasts. There’s even a handy auxilliary input so you can plug in your MP3 player too.

Got an iPod? You’ll love the powerful digital sound the Avanti Flow produces. It’s all thanks to this table-top system’s high quality D-Class amplifiers, with an integral 5.25” subwoofer adding extra ‘oomph’. A top-mounted iPod dock can be used to charge your player, and there’s even a large display so you can see which song – or Internet radio station – you’re listening to, without even having to stir from the comfort of your sofa.

God Is A Radio by T Scott

God Is A Radio
March 23, 2012 by T Scott

Everything that is, vibrates on a particular frequency; even down to the strings in particle physics, everything is vibrating. Vibrations of course create sound that can only be detected with the proper listening apparatus. Recently scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California were able to listen to the recorded voice of Thomas Edison. Recording on what was to become known as the phonograph, Edison was able to speak some eighty plus years into the future, to anyone that could hear him. Although they’d had it for some time these scientists had to develop a 3-D optical technology that scans surfaces and then converts them into digital audio files before they were able to hear what had been recorded.

There is a sea of waves surrounding us at all times, sound waves, radio waves, microwaves and many more. However, we can only pick up on these waves, again, with the proper device.

We come equipped with our very own receiver, amp and transmitters; they go by, outer, middle and inner ear. The outer ear receives vibrations, the middle ear amplifies and converts them into nerve impulses and the inner ear transmits the signal to the brain by way of electric current. Now, we’ve all heard the saying that you are what you eat, well everything that you experience is a form of knowledge and knowledge is ‘food’ for thought. So, what goes in is what comes out or you become what has been suggested to you. If you’ve ever wondered why all of our music is starting to sound the same, it’s because everyone is starting to listen to the same music.

If you think about it, everything revolves around words, dialogue or Language and the Art of it. That seems to be why (in my opinion) we have two ears and one mouth; we should do twice as much listening as we do talking. It’s also funny that you can find the word silent in the word listen. (ha) Listen simply means to tune into or pay attention to a particular frequency.

So, how does this make God a Radio? Well, there is a scripture in a book I read once that says: In the beginning was the word… now I’m not sure how this relates to this place we live being called the uni(one)- verse(collection of words) but I’m guessing it’s probably relevant. It goes on to say, “The Word was with God and the Word was God. Once you’ve put all the pieces together, you’ll see that we’re all mobile loud speakers. Even when you go to church, an event of you go to listen to a….’speaker’. Whatever you’re continually talking about is the station that you’re tuned into.

So, the next time someone tells you that they don’t believe in God, tell them it’s because they don’t have the proper listening device. Instead of looking for God, you should be listening for him….

– Dehypnotize

http://www.dehypnotize.     Thanks to  from Will Of Heart for the repost!