Men in Red and Red Men




Shirt, camelid fiber, cotton, 1300-1470.  Chimu culture, Peru.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY


Portrait of a Man, tempera on panel, 1450.  Andrea del Castagno, 1417/19-1457, Italian, Florence.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC


Portrait of a Young Man, 1465-70, tempera on panel.  Sandro Botticelli, 1445-1510, Italian, active Florence and Rome.  Philadelphia Art Museum


Adoration of the Magi and detail, early 1500’s.  Hieronymus Bosch, c.1450-1516, Netherlandish.  Philadelphia Museum of Art


St. Maurice and detail, 1520-25, oil on wood.  Lucas Cranach the Elder and Workshop.  1472-1553, German.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY


Portrait of a Young Man, 1520-30, oil on panel.  Attributed to Hans Holbein the Younger, 1497/98-1543, German.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC



Portrait of Joachim II, Elector of Brandenburg, 1529, oil on wood panel.  Lucas Cranach the Elder, German active Wittenberg, Weimar, Vienna, 1472-1553.  Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The museum points out that the beading on the jacket is of crowned hearts surmounts the letter M for Magdalena, the elector’s first wife.  These alternate with a jester’s cap to point to the folly of love.



Portrait of a Man in a Red Cap, 1532-35, oil on parchment laid down on wood.  Hans Holbein the Younger, 1497/98-1543, German.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY



Cardinal Fernando Nino de Guevara (1541-1609), c. 1600-1604.  El Greco, 1540/41-1614, Greek.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

  I don’t know the meaning of the discarded piece of paper at his feet although this was a man who left the direction of the Inquisition to take up duties as a cardinal.


Pancake Baker and detail, c. 1625, oil on panel.  Attributed to Adriaen Brouwer, 1608-1634, Dutch.  Philadelphia Museum of Art


Winter Games on the Frozen River Ijssel, c. 1626, pen and ink with watercolour, gouache and graphite. Hendrick Avercamp, 1585-1634, Dutch.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC


Charles I of England (1600-1649, beheaded), 1629, oil on canvas.  Daniel Mijtens, c. 1590-1647, Dutch.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY


The Last Drop (The Gay Cavalier), c. 1639, oil on canvas.  Judith Leyster, 1609-1660, Dutch.  Philadelphia Museum of Art




Olivier Journu and detail, 1724-1764, pastel on blue-grey laid paper laid down on canvas.  Jean-Baptiste Perroneuau, 1715-1783, French.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY


Portrait of the Willett Children, 1789-91, oil on canvas.  George Romney, 1734-1802, English.  Philadelphia Art Museum


Portrait of the Toreador José Romero and detail, c. 1795, oil on canvas.  Francisco Goya, 1746-1828, Spanish.  Philadelphia Art Museum





  Lorenzo and Isabella, oil on canvas, 1849. John Everett Millais, 1829 – 1896, British.   Walker Gallery of Art, Liverpool, United Kingdom. Taken from the net.  A painting remembered from when I was quite young.

The artist had not turned 20 when he painted this scene from Boccaccio’s (1313-1375) Decameron about which John Keats (1795-1821) wrote a poem:  Isabella, or the Pot of Basil.

Very luxurious cloth:  a voided velvet on the wall.  The velvet on Isabella’s neighbor and paramour is so full of sheen that it can only be of silk.  Isabella in silver-blue silk with a pattern of faint gold.  She is totally absorbed with her neighbor and he with her.

 A dazzling white damask  on the table to hold the eye. 

A greyhound tilted towards Isabella and very still.  Another under the table near her brother.

There are two foils in the right quarter of the picture frame to highlight all this luxury.  A serving  man in simple black, waiting.   And a summer sky  familiar to us all.   Potted climbing white roses some of whose flowers have strayed horizontally across the back of the frame.




Maharaja Sardar Singh of Bikaner, c. 1860-1870, opaque watercolour, ink, and gold on paper.  Painted by Chotu.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY




 Horses at a Fountain, 1862, oil on canvas.  Eugene Delacroix, 1798-1863, French.  Philadelphia Museum of Art




Romeo and Juliet and detail,  1869-70, oil on canvas.  Ford Maddox Brown, 1821-1893, British.  Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington


Boy in a Red Vest and detail, 1888-1890, oil on canvas.  Paul Cézanne, 1839-1906, French. Solomon R. Guggenheim, NY


Harlequin, 1888-1890, oil on canvas.   Paul Cézanne, 1839-1906, French. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC


Portrait of the Most Reverend Dennis J. Dougherty, 1903, oil on canvas.  Thomas Eakins, 1844-1916, American.  Philadelphia Museum of Art


Fugue, 1913, tempera on canvas.  Otto Friedrich, 1862-1937, Hungarian.  Philadelphia Museum of Art.  One of five paintings made by the artist after a style of music.  These decorated a music room in Vienna


Costume design for Vaslav Nijinsky in the role of  Iksender in the ballet ‘La Peri’ (The Flower of Immortality);  watercolour and gold and silver paint over graphite; 1922. Leon Bakst, 1866-1924, Russian.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY



Portrait of a Boy, 1928, oil on canvas.  Chaim Soutine, 1893-1943, Russian.  National Gallery of Art, DC



Rooster Quilt and detail made in cotton in 1930-31 by Mary Clara Milligan Kindler Moore in Huntingdon, 1879-1978, American, in  Indiana, USA.  Metropolitan Museum of Art

Early Norman Lewis-18

Thought to be a self-portrait made in the 1940s by Norman Lewis,  1909-1979.  Gauze, plaster of Paris, cloth, steel wool, and Styrofoam over chicken wire. 

Estate of the artist on loan in 2015 to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia


Vir Heroicus Sublimis, 1950-51, oil on canvas.  Barnett Newman, 1905-1970, American.  MOMA, NY


Choir Boys, 1942, oil on canvas.  Ricardo Martinez de Hoyos. 1918-2009, Mexican.  Philadelphia Museum of Art


Hydrogen Man, 1954, colour woodcut.  Leonard Baskin, 1922-2000, American.  Philadelphia Museum of Art.

On March 1, 1954, the United States detonated the Castle Bravo thermonuclear hydrogen bomb on the remote Bikini Atoll islands in the Pacific Ocean. 

This print shows the effect of this blast on one man: his skin has been torn off and his blood vessels are visible. His right arm is torn off.  His right leg is barely attached to the body.  His head is no longer firm.  A walking dead man.

Leonard Baskin said:   “Art is man’s distinctly human way of fighting death.”



My Last Name Exaggerated 14 Times Vertically and detail, neon tubing, glass tubing suspension frame, 1967.  Bruce Nauman, American born 1941. On exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2017.

The museum’s notes explain that the artist is representing a Ludwig Wittgenstein statement that a name has a very tenuous connection to the person named. 

Nauman transcribed his own name into neon.  His signature, elongated by a factor of 14  (twice 7 which the classical sculptor Polykleitos proposed as the ideal proportion of the human body) is all but illegible. 

Which raises the question of what is authentic about an artist’s signature or what is an authentic artist signature.


The Little Concert and detail, 1968, oil on canvas.  Marc Chagall, 1887-1985, French born Russia.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY


Sir Charles, alias Willie Harris and detail, 1972, oil on canvas.  Barkley Leonard Hendricks, 1945-2017, American.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC


Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) and detail, 1972.  David Hockney, British born 1937.  The Lewis Collection on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in 2017/18.  


Mao and detail, 1972, silkscreen on white bond paper.  Andy Warhol, 1930-1987, American.  Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia



Portrait of Joseph Beuys and detail, 1980, acrylic and silkscreen with diamond dust on canvas.  Andy Warhol, 1928-1987, American.  Philadelphia Museum of Art


Wall painting and detail at 8th and South Street, Philadelphia depicting the African American intellectual, researcher and teacher, W. E.B. Dubois with his study, centered in the seventh ward of Philadelphia, of the lives and work of African Americans. 

This was published as ‘The Philadelphia Negro’ in 1899.


The only man not dressed in black, blue or brown in the vast and busy lobby of the Metropolitan Museum of Art at Christmas, 2015; with his partner.

Thank you, I said to him: my eyes seem always to be looking for colour.

DSC00252_edited-1A poster of an American Indian eating an ice cream cone.  The Tabard Inn, Dupont Circle, Washington, DC


The 14th Dalai Lama.  Photo taken by Chris Levine in 2015


Putin, 2017, insulation foam.  Tim Rusterholz, American born 2017.  Woodmere Museum, Philadelphia

With the best wishes of this season to you all!


Santa Claus on an American postcard dating to the 1920s




American Christmas postcards dating to the 1920s.

It was always the boys who wore the Santa Claus red! Perhaps Little Red Riding Hood complicated the Christmas red for girls?


2 thoughts on “Men in Red and Red Men

  1. Your Men in Red began my day on a high note. Love the mix of beauty, invention, humour and kind observation. I would pay for a print out. You must publish your Vin De Vie!

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