VIew From the Edge - Apr/May 2019


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The Visitation, 1528-30 by Jacopo Pontormo

Currently on view at The Getty Center until April 28, 2019, The Visitation is a beautiful example of Jacopo Pontormo's artistic talent.  The painting depicts Mary and her cousin, Elizabeth, meeting when both are pregnant - Mary with Jesus and Elizabeth with John the Baptist.  It has recently been restored and the colors are breathtaking.  The altarpiece is from a small church in the town of Carmignano about 12 miles outside Florence, Italy.  This is the first time the painting has been exhibited outside of Italy.  I had the pleasure of viewing this painting on a visit to Carmignano in 2003 and could not resist seeing it again.  

Pontormo painted in and around Florence in the early to mid 16th Century.  He was a leading painter of his time and became the first painter of the early Medici court.  He is classified as a Mannerist which has many definitions.  Frederick Hart describes "Mannerism" as a "derivation of the Italian word mano(hand), the ascendancy of manual practice over visual observation and intellectual clarity".   Other definitions more readily obvious in The Visitationinclude the elongation of the human figure, distortion of perspective, emphasis on atmospheric effects, and the use of pure and intense hues (color).  It is thought that Pontormo's color palette may have been influenced by Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel where the colors are exceptionally bright and full of light.  Pontormo and Michelangelo were contemporaries.  As you will see when you view The Visitation, the robes are voluminous, the figures seem to float in their space, and there is an ethereal quality to the composition.

As mentioned above, this exhibit closes Sunday, April 28th.  If you have the time to take a drive to The Getty Center, it will be well worth your while and the price of parking ($20), there is no admission fee.  

I hope to have another View From the Edge posting in May for an exhibit with a longer viewing time.

Where you can find me:

Alta-Pasa-Dena Open Studios
May 24th  6-9 PM
Reception and Silent Auction
Altadena Library
600 E. Mariposa St.
June 1st and 2nd - Studio Tour
4283 Aralia Rd., Altadena

Art On Palm at Loma Alta Park
June 8th and 9th - 10 - 4 PM 
3330 Lincoln Ave. and Palm St.
Altadena, CA
Yes, 2 days and back on Palm St.!

More to come!

View From the Edge - July 2018

Two cool ways to enjoy art and history this Summer.

This month I visited the California Science Center in Exposition Park and the Ronald Regan Presidential Library in Simi Valley for a full dose of historical art and artifacts. 

The California Science Center is hosting King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh.  This exhibit is quite extensive although it does not include the "death mask" which remains in Egypt.  Nonetheless, there are many amazing artifacts on exhibit and quite a few that have never been shown outside of Egypt.  The skill and knowledge needed to create the works of art on display speak to the technical advancement of the Egyptians.  As you may know, King Tut was a young pharaoh who lived some 3,000 years ago.  He was just 9 years old when he began his reign which oddly lasted only 9 years.  Quite a number of artifacts created for the "boy king" were tailored to his small size.  His tomb was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922.  There are many videos and narratives that explain why and how Carter located the tomb.

The Ronald Regan Presidential Library is hosting Genghis Khan the Exhibition, a rather uninspiring title for a very interesting exhibit.  It is also quite extensive with educational videos, narratives and many, many artifacts.  There is even an actual yurt (traditional circular tent) that gives us an idea of how the Mongols lived.  Genghis Khan founded and ruled the Mongol Empire, the largest contiguous empire in history.  He lived from 1162 - 1227, was a fierce and brutal conqueror and left the world many things still in use: paper currency, pants, and the pony express (insert USPS or FedEx) just to name a few.  I was so inspired by this exhibit that I have since purchased two historical accounts of Genghis Khan and the Mongols: William of Rubruck's Account of the Mongols written from 1253 - 1255 and Marco Polo's Il Milione published c. 1300.

King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh
on exhibit through the end of the year
Tickets: general admission $29.95  
Parking: $12
Purchase tickets at

Genghis Khan the Exhibition
on exhibit through August 19th
Tickets: general admission $25.00
Parking is free
Purchase tickets at


King Tut the Boy King

Genghis Khan ruler of the Mongol Empire

Where you can find me:
October 2 - 20, 2018 - Pasadena Society of Artists presents
                                    By Hand, Printmaking & Drawing
                                    McGinty's Gallery at the End of the World
                                    869 E. Mariposa St., Altadena
                                    Opening reception Sat. Oct. 6 from 5 - 7 PM
November 2 - 4, 2018 - Creative Arts Group annual Fall Art Fair
                                    108 N. Baldwin Ave., Sierra Madre
                                    Opening reception Fri. Nov 2 from 7 - 9 PM
December 1 - 2, 2018 - 7th Annual Open Studio and Artist Marketplace
                                     3061 Ridgeview Dr., Altadena
                                     10 AM - 4 PM both days
December 8, 2018 - Art On Palm at Arlington Garden
                                 corner of Pasadena Ave and Arlington St.
                                  10 AM - 4 PM




Copyright © 2018 Kathleen Swaydan, Artist, All rights reserved. 
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Kathleen Swaydan, Artist

3061 Ridgeview Dr.

Altadena, Ca 91001
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