The festive season brings with it a significant wardrobe change. Woolly Christmas jumpers appear at the office party. Or, perhaps you prefer a wintery onesie or Santa-patterned socks? Looking back through art history, it’s clear that it has always been the season to make an effort. And these characters have out-dressed us all.
1. Adoration of the Magi by Rubens
There ain’t no party like a Rubens Christmas party. Richly embroidered dresses, flowing silk loin cloths, and jewelled capes make it hard to choose a best-dressed guest. That feather, though.
2. Hand-coloured Etching for Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol First Edition by John Leech
The Ghost of Christmas Present makes quite an appearance with this faux fur-lined green robe and crown of holly. Shame on you Scrooge, you need some new pyjamas.
3. The Three Magi, Byzantine Mosaic
Nothing screams sovereignty like Christmas sparkle on your leggings. Not only that, but these three Queens Kings have also coordinated in matching caps.
4. The Glorification of the Virgin by Geertgen tot Sint Jans
Not wanting to be outdone by his mother’s red cape and crown, a very tiny baby Jesus has stolen baubles from the tree and is about to appropriate them as earrings. It’s all about the accessories.
5. A Holiday at Mentone by Charles Condor
Going abroad for the holiday season? Make sure you pack your sunscreen, suit and top hat. Although, one beach guest has already overheated and passed out on the sand. Swimming trunks might be a smarter choice, after all.
6. The Procession of the Magi Benozzo Gozzoli
Whose family doesn’t force them on a winter’s walk at some point over Christmas? If you’re taking the horses too then make sure you’re matching, like this lot. Red and gold is a strong look.
7. Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (The Very Rich Hours of the Duke of Berry)
Even in Medieval times crazy Christmas socks were considered cute. Want to look fit for a feast? Select odd socks, and pull them right up.
Time to re-think that Christmas jumper?
Ruth Millington is an arts and culture blogger, freelance writer and art historian.
London-based artist Dawn Beckles reinvigorates the classic still life style by incorporating in her works vibrant colour, contemporary settings and exotic flora inspired by her native Barbados. Her maximalist interiors and characterful ceramics explore the relationship between people and the environments they construct around themselves. We catch up with Dawn to find out more about her process and the philosophy underlying her art.
What is it about the still life that appeals to you and how have you reinterpreted this classic style of painting?
For me, still life paintings are a reflection of childhood memories and travelling. The idea of a solid object that is selected to accentuate an interior or exterior based on its colour and aesthetic, is fascinating. Ceramics can often be an afterthought with little meaning or relevance - it’s my intention to bring them to the forefront. They can add colour, vibrance and life to an environment.
Can you tell us a bit about your process?
With all of my paintings I like to start with a neon base, from there I will build the room or setting using collated imagery. I use a room layout that I find appealing and I set about dressing it, layer by layer. Adding collage paintings, paintings, plants and furniture. For me it’s important for them to be inviting, warm and happy and to give the viewer an insight to something imagined.
Are the interiors you create based on real spaces or are they imagined?
All of the interiors that I create are imagined. I find maximalist interiors and clashing colours intriguing and every 6 months I put together a collection of these, with pieces of furniture, artwork, plants, flowers and patterns that I have come across. I then print these and create a mood board that works in conjunction with my colour wall and this is used as inspiration in my upcoming body of work.
How do your roots in Barbados influence your work?
The light is most definitely different in Barbados and therefore my approach to colour reflects that. I find the local plants and animals extremely inspiring and am actively including some of these in my newest pieces. For example “Flying Blossoms” depicts flying fish which is on the Barbados Coat of Arms.
What are your ambitions for the future?
If the last year has taught me anything, it’s that when you do what you are most afraid of it challenges the way you think and perceive your practice and for me it has opened the door to possibilities.
Often we can become stuck in boxes created either by others or ourselves and it’s important to realise that you and only you are in control. I am going to continue to work hard to produce and show my work, and see where that takes me.
Jamie Ford is our newly-appointed Managing Director of Asia Pacific and she'll be leading Rise Art's expansion into Asia. Jamie has extensive experience in cross-cultural, interdisciplinary management and cultivation. She has spearheaded strategic initiatives in both the US and Greater China.
Jamie's appointment comes as Rise Art looks to expand internationally. Over the last two years, we've hosted a handful of pop-ups and events in Hong Kong. Now we'll be doubling the size of our operations and customer service team to support this growth.
Earlier this month, Rise Art CEO Scott Phillips and Curatorial Director Matthew Hockley Smith (above) joined Jamie in Hong Kong to host a number of events focused on the rise of digital platforms and China's place in the global art market.
We look at 4 key trends that will determine the future of the art market, for 2019 and beyond.
We ask Nick Malone about his new exhibition at Bermondsey Project Space, The Disappearance of Makepeace - A Tale of Two Lives, which focuses on the interplay of text and imagery. The artist, who is also a successful writer of poetry and prose, crosses art forms to explore metamorphosis, dissolution and change.
Where do you go for your art and culture fix? A museum or gallery? What about a restaurant? Thanks to collaborations between artists, curators and restaurateurs, you can now banquet beside a Banksy or dine with a Damien Hirst. Here are 6 of London’s best restaurants serving art à la carte.
British artist and illustrator Victoria Topping describes her work as “music for the eyes”. By playing with colour, texture and form, Victoria synthesises elements of Jazz, Soul, Gospel and Disco into visual form.
What’s an A/P? How important is provenance? What is flipping? The art market has a language of its own. Even if you’re already an art lover, as a new collector it’s easy to get confused. Are you on the way to finding your perfect piece of art? Here are 8 terms you need to know.
You can spot Nelson Makamo’s expressive portraits from a mile away. The Johannesburg-based artist uses printmaking techniques as well as charcoal, acrylics, watercolours and oils to create spontaneous works that capture the characters of his native South Africa.
Copenhagen-based collector Peter Ibsen has a thing for abstract contemporary pieces, particularly monochrome and minimalist works. Peter has collected contemporary art for more than 20 years and runs Copenhagen Contemporary, a blog that supports emerging international artists. We catch up with Peter to find out more about his sophisticated Scandinavian taste and what he looks for in up and coming talent.