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CCH Interviews the Getty’s “Miraculous Encounters” curator Davide Gasparotto, about a Pontormo art mystery!!

Cultural Cocktail Hour is a registered trademark    Giorgio Vasari is pretty much the world’s first famous art historian. He was in the circle of Michelangelo, Pontormo,  Andrea del Sarto, and other world-class artists. Vasari book Lives of the Artists, first published in 1550, lays the foundation for art historical writing. Yet despite writing extensively about Pontormo, Vasari never once mentioned Pontormo’s resplendent painting, The Visitation. Why not? Once having viewed this mesmerizing painting, it would be impossible to forget it. Yet Vasari ignored it completely. Some have speculated that since Pontormo painted it during a historic siege, there may have been political reasons for the mysterious omission. At the time Vasari’s patron, the Medici Duke was an adversary of Bartolommeo Pinadori, the patron for Pontormo’s “Visitation.” Cultural Cocktail Hour’s Editor-In-Chief Leticia Marie Sanchez asks Davide Gasparatto, Senior Curator at the

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“Pontormo: Miraculous Encounters”- A MUST SEE exhibit at the Getty Center

“Pontormo: Miraculous Encounters” A MUST SEE Exhibit at the Getty Center By Leticia Marie Sanchez Organized by the Getty Museum in conjunction with the Gallerie degli Uffizi in Florence and the Morgan Library and Museum in New York, “Pontormo: Miraculous Encounters” is curated by Getty Museum Senior Curator of Paintings, Davide Gasparotto and Bruce Edelstein, coordinator of graduate programs and advanced research at NYU Florence. The paintings and drawings presented in the exhibition were created by Jacopo Pontormo between 1528 and 1530, during an intense historical period. Battles between Florentine Republican forces and the Medici family in 1527 resulted in a siege. Incredibly, all three Pontormo paintings in the exhibit were painted during this tumultuous time, when Mannerist painter Jacopo Pontormo bravely remained in Florence to guard his home. The opportunity to see the Visitation is somewhat of a miracle, not only because it’s

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In the news: Selfies and artistic collateral damage

Selfies: Artistic Collateral Damage? by  Leticia Marie Sanchez This article first appeared in Cultural Cocktail Hour in 2016  One cannot enter a gallery, museum, or even concert venue without encountering a selfie taker, some more subtle and thoughtful than others. Taking a selfie as a souvenir of an artistic experience is one thing. But what happens when I-phones become Weapons of Mass Destruction? Unfortunately, at the 14th Factory, a pop-up gallery in Los Angeles,  a clumsy student taking a selfie apparently caused more than $200,000 worth of damage to a series of crowned pedestals by Hong Kong based multimedia artist Simon Birch. Birch decided not to press charges against the individual because 1) she was a student and 2) it was an accident. In a statement released by Birch, the artist reveals: “Each sculpture was painstakingly designed and built from all kinds of

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Young Verdi: Altar Boy


By Leticia Marie Sanchez       Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered Trademark In his Book of Musical Anecdotes, Norman Lebrecht relates a revealing incident from Verdi’s childhood. The seven-year-old Verdi, born into a modest family, once served as an altar boy at the church of Le Rencole. During Fête Day, the young boy heard the organ for the first time. Transported by the emanating musical harmonies, the child did not hear the priest’s request for water. Three times did the priest make his demand, to no avail. Enraged at the child with his head in the clouds, the priest struck a severe blow, pushing young Verdi down the three altar stairs, knocking him into unconsciousness. When the child thankfully awoke from his ordeal, what was the first thing for which he asked his parents? A painkiller? A glass of

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This week in LA: Christie’s Preview of Old Masters Sale

Christie’s Preview of Old Masters sale including Masterworks from The Estate of Lila and Herman Shickman and an Important Private Collection Christie’s Los Angeles 336 N. Camden Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210 VIEWING January 10–16 Weekdays: 10am – 6pm Saturday: 12pm – 4pm Sunday: Closed Angelenos have a chance to preview works from the estate of Lila and Herman Shickman, in advance of an Old Master sale in New York in May. A prominent art dealer of the 20th century, Herman Shickman fled Nazi Germany and moved to New York where he dealt Old Master works on paper and still life paintings. Until he retired in 2003, Shickman ran his eponymous gallery on New York’s Upper East Side. Juan van der Hamen y León’s Still Life with Flowers and Fruit is expected become the most expensive Spanish still life ever auctioned. For more information, please

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This weekend’s highlight- at the Colburn School: Met Opera Auditions Western Region Finals

Metropolitan Opera National Council 2019 WESTERN REGION FINALS Sunday, January 13, 2019 1 P.M. THE COLBURN SCHOOL 200 So. Grand Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90012 TICKETS – Reserve Seating — $40 To order tickets please contact Molly Siefert email:  phone: 626.437.5944 The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions is a program designed to discover promising young opera singers and assist in the development of their careers. Notable past winners include: Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Deborah Voigt, and Sondra Radvanovsky Photography  © 2018 Leticia Marie Sanchez

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2011 Art Crime: Stolen Rembrandt found in Encino Church

This post first appeared in Cultural Cocktail Hour in 2011: Only three days after a Rembrandt drawing valued at $250,000 was snatched from the Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Rey, “The Judgement,” turned up mysteriously at St. Nicholas of Myra Episcopal Church in Encino. An assistant priest noticed the drawing placed inside his boss’ office. He assumed that it was a donation by a parishioner before recognizing the work as the stolen Rembrandt. Questions abound: Why did the art thief dump the painting in the church? Was it a spiritual crisis of conscience? Or a convenient place without security cameras? Did the title of Rembrandt’s drawing, “The Judgement,” give the thief pause? How did the art thief get access to the church’s inside office? Did he watch Ben Affleck’s heist-caper “The Town” too many times and don a nun disguise?

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George Gershwin and the Parisian Taxi Horns

Thanks to Brian Lauritzen of KUSC for today’s Cultural Trivia! His show revealed that George Gershwin purchased taxi cab horns in Paris to produce the effect of bustling city streets for American in Paris. The taxi horns were used in the New York premiere of the piece at Carnegie Hall in 1928 with the New York Philharmonic. Since then, orchestras have often rented taxi horns to perform the piece. If you listen to it again, you will be sure to hear the unmistakable honk!

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This weekend in LA: CCH Highlight- Zubin Mehta, Yefim Bronfman, and Brahms

  This weekend’s Cultural Cocktail recipe includes  a splash of Zubin Mehta, a dash of Yefim Bronfman , and 2 Oz. of Brahms Enjoy! Former LA Phil director Zubin Mehta returns to conduct the music that started his tenure with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the age of 24: Brahms! Thurs. Dec 13th 8:00 P.M Brahms Symphony No. 1 Friday Dec 14th 8:00 P.M Brahms Symphony No. 1 Saturday Dec 15th 8:00 P.M Brahms Symphony No. 2 Sun Dec 16th 2:oo P.M Brahms Symphony No. 2 Walt Disney Concert Hall. 111 S. Grand Ave. LA, CA USA 90012 (323) 850-2000 Zubin Mehta Toast at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Opening Night on December 6, 1964. Photo Credit: LA Philharmonic Archives

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Review: Family Day at the Norton Simon “Artful Weaving”

Review: Family Day at the Norton Simon “Artful Weaving” by Leticia Marie Sanchez Family Days at the Norton Simon are always a treat for parents and children, due to a wonderfully engaging formula that packs a two-fold punch: 1) A kid-friendly tour of the latest exhibition 2) A children’s craft project  inspired by the latest exhibition Educator Gorman Bentley is a natural with children, with an ebullient personality and insights about art history. He patiently explained the concept of a loom and taught my four year-old to complete his own tapestry. With his friendly spirit, Mr. Bentley welcomed all the children sitting at the tables, making each of them feel included and welcome.   Following the craft project, Educator Fabrizio Flores took us on a child-friendly the visually arresting new exhibit, “Once Upon a Tapestry: Woven Tales of Helen and

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