Connect with us – Art History Stories

Windy Paintings for a Breath of Fresh Air

Diego Rivera, The hammock, 1956, Dolores Olmedo Museum, Mexico, Mexico.


Windy Paintings for a Breath of Fresh Air

It’s so hot in where I live at the moment, the air is stale and inert, everything seems to be suspended in time and space. I’m producing waterfalls of sweat, praying on my balcony for a tiny breeze and hoping to call the winds with windy paintings.

Waiting on a Balcony

Francisco Goya, Majas on a Balcony, 1808, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, USA.

There are two versions of this work and this one hosted by the MET has been believed since 1995 to be a copy. Nevertheless, the iconography is the same, it shows two elegant courtesans, the ‘maja‘, taking a break at a balcony and watching the passersby, accompanied by two sketchy masked men, most probably their pimps.

Windy Paintings
Victor Borisov-Musatov, On a Balcony, 1899, Serpukhov Museum of History and Fine Arts, Serpukhov, Russia.

Or on a Hammock

Windy Paintings
Diego Rivera, The Hammock, 1956, Dolores Olmedo Museum, Mexico, Mexico.

Rivera, known for his communist links, was receiving medical treatment for cancer in Moscow but he didn’t later make it to the list of patients sent to a cure house. Therefore, he returned to Mexico where his old-time friend Dolores Olmedo invited him over to her house in Acapulco (much better a place than Moscow for convalescence, I bet). The house was located near La Quebrada, which was an ideal location for the painter who painted the spectacular beach and the bay at different times of the day. To kill his time, but also to express his gratitude for the hospitality of his friend, he portraited the daughter of Dolores Olmedo and a friend (notice the notebooks on the ground, somebody was supposed to study…).

And When the Wind Finally Arrives…

Windy Paintings
Yves Tanguy, Wind, 1927, private collection.

Tanguy decided to become a painter by chance. He saw a work by Giorgio de Chirico in one of the Parisian cafes and that was it. In 1924, he moved together with his friend and poet Jacques Prévert, and Marcel Duhamel, which in 1925 became a hub for the Surrealist movement, after André Breton had welcomed Tanguy into the group. Tanguy didn’t have formal training in fine arts (he was a merchant and a soldier), he quickly developed an original style and already in 1927 had his first solo show at the Galerie Surréaliste in Paris. The style is distinctive for landscapes with the recurring various rock formations which Tanguy remembered from his times as a soldier in Africa.

… and Turns into a Tornado…

Windy Paintings
Thomas Cole, A Tornado in the Wilderness, 1835, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA.

Ever heard of Thomas Cole? Yes, he was the father of Hudson River School, the American Romantic movement in art from the 19th century. Born in the UK, he emigrated to the US with his family at the age of 17. First he lived in Ohio to then move to Philadelphia, to eventually settle in the state of New York. He was a self-taught painter since he was trained and worked as an engraver.

…that You Need Some Proper Help

Albrecht Durer, Four Angels Staying the Winds and Signing the Chosen, 1498, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany.

What ‘Chosen’ are we talking about? In this woodcut we have a scene from the Book of Revelation, in which at the end of times the Four Angels will come to calm the four winds (which are also symbols of the great empires of antiquity) while another angel has marked with the protective `seal of the living God’ the foreheads of all the Christians (Rev. 7:1-3).

Magda, art historian and Italianist, she writes about art because she cannot make it herself. She loves committed and political artists like Ai Weiwei or the Futurists; like Joseph Beuys she believes that art can change us and we can change the world.


More in Seasons

  • dailyart

    10 Beautiful Kimono from the Victoria & Albert Museum Collection


    Victoria and Albert Museum in London is one of the leading museums focusing on art and design. It’s special for me due to the vast range of their collection, excluding no material or technique. V&A collects everything from ancient Chinese ceramics to Japanese kimonos to Alexander...

  • Alexander McQueen, F/W 2009 Collection, Source: aeworld. Alexander McQueen, F/W 2009 Collection, Source: aeworld.

    Artists' Stories

    The Majestic Art of Alexander McQueen


    A Champagne Supernova, as Maureen Callahan calls him in her book, Alexander McQueen, was a pioneer of the 90s fashion. Along with Marc Jacobs, he was one of the most influential designers of the industry, remembered for his raw and powerful shows and his theatrical designs. Today,...

  • Contemporary Art

    W|ALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine at the Annenberg Space for Photography


    “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” Robert Frost begins. His poem Mending Walls is emblazoned next to the entrance, setting the tone for the Annenberg Space for Photography’s latest exhibition. Even before stepping inside, we are primed to explore walls’ ambiguity and ubiquity in...

  • dailyart

    Iconography of Ganesh


    Ganesh is the patron God of writers and intellectuals, and arguably the most well-known of the Hindu Gods. He is worshipped across all sects of Hindus and also by Buddhists and Jains. Mantras and rituals dedicated to Ganesh are offered before the commencement of any sacred rituals...

  • dailyart

    The Gift of Pomona – Pears in Art


    Since ancient times the pear tree has been honoured as a sacred tree symbolising good health, happiness and prosperity. At this time of the year, farmers and growers are storing their precious harvest, laying down fruits to last us through the darker days. So this is...

To Top

Just to let you know, DailyArt Magazine’s website uses cookies to personalise content and adverts, to provide social media features and to analyse traffic. Read cookies policy