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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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The Art Renewal Center is an amazing Web treasure! I cannot believe how many high-quality renderings of great art works they have (23,376 images) and the breadth of their catalog is stunning (2,602 artists). All of my favorite artists are here—and probably a good many that aren’t my favorites but should be.

The site’s Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema gallery comprises 105 pictures. There’s many I’ve never seen and I’ve only cruised through three of the eleven pages. My favorite, so far, has to be The Discourse. They’ve even got an excellent and extensive biography of the man.

Other favorite artists of mine include Maxfield Parrish, my personal favorite. His gallery, with only 72 high-quality images, lacks a biography and gets the qualitative order of his pictures completely wrong. The William Bouguereau gallery shows a remarkable amount of polish and boasts 188 images of his artwork. Unfortunately, Thomas Cole only has 17 images up but with a fairly decent biographical sketch. Johannes Vermeer has 24 images, of which the famous Girl with a Pearl Earring is my favorite. Lastly, Joseph Wright weighs in with 11 images and Joseph Mallord William Turner’s gallery boasts all of two pictures—neither of which does the master justice.

The Living Masters section showcases living Realist artists. I especially liked the Steve Hanks gallery, an artist that Larry thankfully made me aware of. (At this point, I should tell you that there’s another great source for living masters: the Quent Cordair Gallery. I’ve been visiting his site since it was created and longing for the day when I could afford some of my very own masterpieces. If you can afford them, I’d suggest you take a gander their way.)

I haven’t fully read it yet, but it’s refreshing that the Center has a philosophy behind it that is well-thought out enough to encompass six “pages” and is subtitled “The Great 20th Century Art Scam: or How Arrogance, Greed, and Folly Nearly Destroyed 2500 Years of Western Art.” Sounds like a great start, there!

If you know of any great sites like this one that offer up non-“abstract” art, please leave a comment. I’d love to expand my horizons!