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“Maria By Callas”- A MUST SEE FILM

 “Maria By Callas: In Her Own Words”-



Leticia Marie Sanchez

Directed by Tom Volf, “Maria by Callas,” offers a sublime, moving portrait of a legendary opera singer using never-before-seen footage. The film dispels the notion that Callas reigned as a diva, revealing instead the grace, poise, and self-restraint she showed while perpetually facing intrusive harassment by the media. Through the film, one gains insight into the cruelty of the headlines towards the opera singer, who was called tempestuous, for instance, simply for having bronchitis. The world expected her to be beyond human, but the film revels in her humanity.

 As Callas herself noted, those around her, including her ex-husband seemed drunk on the glory of being in her orbit; meanwhile the star, no matter how successful, continued to focus obsessively on her vocal craft. Even in middle age, she nervously consulted with her teenage vocal coach prior to her performances, yearning always to perform each note to a flawless standard. What also came across in the film was the sensitivity that Callas felt towards her audience. The more energy and love she felt, the more of herself she poured into each performance, driving herself to the point of exhaustion.

 This film is a MUST SEE not only for the personal insights into Callas’ life, but for the many glorious footages of her performances, breathtaking and untouchable.

 Laemmle’s Royal Theatre

 Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 

 Laemmle’s Town Center 5

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The Key of D Minor? Vitamin D deficiency may have contributed to Mozart’s death

According to an article in Live Science, the lack of sunlight-induced Vitamin D may have contributed to Mozart’s young demise. The authors of the study surmise that the Vitamin D deficiency could have made the composer more susceptible to a plethora of infections during the winter.

According to the authors of the study,

Mozart did much of his composing at night, so would have slept during much of the day. At the latitude of Vienna, 48 degrees N, it is impossible to make vitamin D from solar ultraviolet-B irradiance for about 6 months of the year. Mozart died on December 5, 1791, two to three months into the vitamin D winter.”

The researchers include: D. William Grant, of the Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center in San Francisco, and Stefan Pilz of the Medical University of Graz in Austria

For the full Live Science article, “Mozart’s Death was written in the Key of (Vitamin) D,”

please see:

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Review: In the Raw: A fresh take on the Renaissance at the Getty Center- A Must See Exhibit

In the Raw: A Fresh take on the Renaissance at the Getty Center


Leticia Marie Sanchez

The Renaissance Nude

Oct 30, 2018- Jan 27, 2019

The exhibit on the Renaissance nude at the Getty does not pull any punches- it is authentic, raw, and illuminating. What makes it stand out is that idealization is not the name of the game. Instead, the exhibit gets to the heart of the matter. There are books on anatomy, studies from morgues, saints being tortured, bodies that are emaciated and infirm contrasting with ripe, seductive, athletic, forms. The lushness of a painting like Titian’s Venus Rising From the Sea is viewed within the context of the nude form in all its facets.

Unlike other Renaissance exhibits which focus on iconography alone, the Getty exhibit explores what proves more fascinating, the intriguing world behind the scenes: the courtly intrigue, royal mistresses, preparatory drawings, studies from the morgue, humanistic philosophy, and religious loopholes.

In addition to keeping the theme innovative, the exhibit allows one to see paintings that have never left their home countries and institutions and may never do so again. Getty director Timothy Potts revealed that “this is a major event for the Getty and a major event for art history.” The exhibition was curated by Thomas Kren, with Jill Burke and Stephen J. Campbell and with the assistance of Andrea Herrera and Thomas de Pasquale. Following its presentation at the Getty, the exhibition will travel to the Royal Academy of Art in London

While at the exhibit, do not miss these highlights:

1. Compare and Contrast Giambono’s “Man of Sorrows” with Antonello da Messina’s “Saint Sebastian”


Saint Sebastian

The stylistic evolution of the nude during the Renaissance can be understood when contrasting Giambono’s “Man of Sorrows” (1430) with da Messina’s “Saint Sebastian” (1476-1477).  Although only four decades apart, the progression in style is immense. The Man of Sorrows is emaciated, bloody, and realistic, contrasting sharply with the athletic, heroic form of Saint Sebastian who stands in a graceful contrapposto. The later work emphasizes the beauty of the body; even though his body is pierced with arrows, the idealized Saint Sebastian happens not to shed a drop of blood. The image of St. Sebastian pervaded the Renaissance, as it served as a way for artists to showcase their chops.

Man of Sorrows, about 1430

Michele Giambono, Italian, active 1420-1462

Tempera and gold on panel

Painted Surface: 47 X 31.1 cm (18 ½ X 12 ¼ in.)

Lent by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1906




Saint Sebastian,

Antonello de Messina

Italian, about 1430-1479

Saint Sebastian, 1476-1477

Oil on Canvas

Unframed: 171 X 86 cm (67 5/16 X 33 7/8 in)

Photo credit: bpk Bildagentur/Gemaeldegalerie Alte Meister/Elke Estel/Hans-Peter Klut/Art Resource, NY


Titian Venus rising from the sea 2. Titian’s Venus Rising from the Sea is a Showstopper!

The lush texture of Venus‘ hair, coiled in a braid, mesmerizes us as she emerges from the sea. The skin in Titian‘s painting appears soft to the touch; all the elements conspire to seduce the viewer. Venus, the Roman goddess of Love, had become a ubiquitous image by the 1520′s, when major artists throughout Europe, were representing her in different media. The image of Venus also proved to be an intellectual and artistic exercise: artists used this figure to illustrate their mastery of the nude and to compete with the artists of antiquity. For instance, the depiction of “Venus Rising from the Sea” was a competition among Venetian artists. The Getty exhibit also showcases the work of Jan Gossaert, whose very flesh and blood-like Venus appears on a platform, suggesting that she might step off pedestal and join the viewer at any moment.

Venus Rising from the Sea, 1520 Titian (Tiziano Vecellio); Italian, about 1487-1576 Oil on Canvas; Unframed: 75.8 X 57.6 cm (29 13/16 X 22 11/16 in.); Framed: 103 X 84.7 cm (40 9/16 X 33 3/8 in)

National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh Accepted in lieu of Inheritance Tax by HM Government (hybrid arrangement) and allocated to the Scottish National Gallery, with additional funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund; the Art Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation), and the Scottish Executive. 2003. Ex. 2018.1.88

3. Religious Voyeurism and Bathsheba Bathing


In the Bible, King David is a voyeur; he secretly watches the married young woman Bathsheba as she bathes and becomes so besotted with her that he has her husband Uriah sent to the front lines of battle where he is killed.

It is surprising to see such an unabashedly nude image in a prayer book. Thomas Kren explained that at the time, Bathsheba was used as a cautionary figure against wantonness for young women.

But there is a second reason, one that links back to the notion of voyeur. According to Thomas Kren, these prayer books were also collected by wealthy male patrons as objects of prestige. The religious narrative gave them the veneer of propriety for collecting this erotic image. Interestingly enough, Queen Anne eschewed the image of the nude Bathsheba for her Book of Hours, preferring instead the images of several unclothed male saints. Even during courtly life during the Renaissance what was good for the goose was good for the gander.
Leaf from the Hours of Louis XII; Jean Bourdichon (French, 1457 – 1521) Bathsheba Bathing 1498–1499; Tempera and gold on parchment; Leaf: 24.3 × 17 cm (9 9/16 × 6 11/16 in.) The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, MS 79 recto 2003.105.recto


Flogging Barbara4.  The Flogging of St. Barbara- the nude through a religious lens

This visually arresting piece depicts the torture of Christian martyr Saint Barbara. This work has never before been seen outside of Finland and comprises the bottom portion of a wood and oak panel. What is also significant about this piece is its contextual parallel to the image of Bathsheba in the book of prayers: the depiction of a beautiful topless female was allowed because of the Christian narrative.

Konrad von Vechta; German, about 1380-about 1440 The Flogging of St. Barbara; 1420; Tempera on wood and oak relief; Unframed: 193 X 56cm (76X22 1/16 in.) National Museum of Finland; Photo: The Picture Collections/The Finnish Heritage Agency; EX.2018.1.43.2


5. Jean Fouquet- Another Showstopper- The King’s Mistress as Virgin

Jean_Fouquet_-_Virgin_and_Child_Surrounded_by_Angels_-_WGA8039In a bold, risqué move, King Charles VII of France, asked that his mistress, Agnès Sorel, famed for her beauty, be depicted as the Virgin Mary. What is even more unusual, is that the Virgin’s bare breast was not used in context of nursing an infant, as the child is not cradled to her breast. Instead, Agnès Sorel’s body is proudly displayed for its beauty alone. Jean Fouquet- or Charles VII- may have been inspired by the legendary tale of the ancient painter Apelles who represented Campasque, the mistress of Alexander the Great, nude. What is different between Fouquet’s painting and that of Appeles is the mistress being depicted as a religious icon. Thomas Kren revealed that Foquet’s painting was one of the only times he could recall a mistress being painted unclothed as the Virgin. Kren, also revealed that this iconoclastic style was so shocking for the era, that it was not repeated or emulated after King Charles VII’s time.

Jean Fouquet

French, born about 1415-1420, died before 1481

Madonna and Child Surrounded by Angels, 1454-1456

Oil on panel

Unframed: 92 X 83.5cm (36 ¼ X 32 7/8 in.)

Courtesy of Koninlijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen.

Image © in Flanders vzw, photo Dominique Provost


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Making a Splash at Christie’s Beverly Hills- October 23-27 (Post War Contemporary Sale-Los Angeles Tour)



Leticia Marie Sanchez

Art-loving Angelenos will have a chance to check out iconic Post-War paintings at Christie’s Beverly Hills this week!

The works on view include David Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) and Edward Hopper’s Chop Suey- which is no chopped liver,- it’s estimated to be worth about$ 70 million!

According to Christie’s the Hockney’s painting is “poised to become the most valuable work of art by a living artist ever sold at auction.”

Post War Contemporary Sale – Los Angeles Tour:

David Hockney David Hockney (b. 1937), Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), 1972. Acrylic on canvas. 84 x 120 in (213.5 x 305 cm). Estimate on request. Offered in the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 15 November 2018 at Christie’s in New York © David Hockney




Edward HopperEdward Hopper, Chop Suey (1929).

Oil on Canvas.

32X 38 inches

This painting is  from the collection of Barney A. Ebsworth, Courtesy of Christie’s New York.





In addition to the Edward Hopper painting, other works on view from the THE BARNEY A. EBSWORTH COLLECTION include”

JASPER JOHNS (B. 1930) Gray Rectangles encaustic on canvas with objects 60 x 60 in. Painted in 1957

JACKSON POLLOCK (1912-1956) Composition with Red Strokes oil, enamel and aluminum paint on canvas 36 5/8 x 25 5/8 in.

GEORGIA O’KEEFFE (1887-1986) Horn and Feather oil on canvas 9 x 14 in. Painted in 1937

STUART DAVIS (1892-1964) Still Life in the Street oil on canvas 10 1/8 x 12 1/8 in. Painted in 1941

GEORGIA O’KEEFFE (1887-1986) Beauford Delaney charcoal on paper 24 1/2 x 18 5/8 in. Executed in 1943

Los Angeles October 23-27

10am-6pm, Sunday 12pm – 4pm

Christie’s Beverly Hills

336 North Camden Drive Beverly Hills, CA

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Beautiful Day at the Norton Simon Fall Family Festival

All Photography  © 2018 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Norton Simon Family DayNorton Simon33

Norton Simon Family Day 11

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Art world crime: In the news: Joshua Bell impersonator robs hotel room of celebrity violinist

Throwback Tuesday to an Art Crime from 2012

Art World Crime:

Joshua Bell Impersonator robs hotel room of world-famous Violinist


Leticia Marie Sanchez




So while Joshua Bell is performing the Brahms Concerto with the London Philharmonic in Zaragoza, Spain, a man goes to the front desk of his hotel claiming to be the world-famous violinist.

The Hotel clerk does not bother checking the guy’s ID. (Ever try Google Image, buddy?)

The hotel hands over the key to Joshua Bell’s room to a man off the street while poor Bell fiddles his heart out on stage.

The thief no doubt could not wait to get his sticky fingers on Bell’s 1713 Stradivarius, worth about 4 million dollars. But, unlike the thief, Bell was actually working that night and had his trusty Stradivarius with him.

Instead of leaving the room, the thief decides to indulge in a hot, steamy shower in Bell’s room. I suppose that once he saw that the hotel bathroom was stocked with lavender-scented mini soaps, he may as well try to get some aromatherapy out of it. 

You would think that sudsing up in the shower of the Musical Director of St. Martin’s in the Fields would be enough. But instead, the thief wrapped a towel around his waist, called the front desk, and asked them to help him open the safe. Who needs a Rat Pack of code-breaking accomplices when you can outsource all your safe-cracking needs to the dimwits in hotel security?

The whiz kids in the hotel security team proceeded to assist the half-naked thief in his quest to crack the safe of the high-profile celebrity whose safe they were hired to protect. They never once checked his ID. 

Okay, so to board a plane from Duquesne to Hibbert’s Gore you need to show a driver’s license, lose the overpriced sunblock, and your Red Velvet Cupcake, but to access the private safe of one of the world’s most famous violinists, all you need to do is ask. Duly noted.

 After his refreshing shower, the thief made off with Joshua Bell’s laptop, cash, and a $38,000 watch.

No word yet if the thief stole any Sangría or Croquetes de Jamon from the mini-fridge.                                                                                                 For the news story, please see:

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The Banksy Self-Destructing Art Mystery

The Banksy Self-Destructing Art Mystery


Leticia Marie Sanchez


Last week in London, after being sold for 1.4 million dollars at auction, a Banksy painting self-destructed. Banksy’s “Girl with a Balloon” had just sold at Sotheby’s when a hidden shredder inside the painting began to slice and dice the work, to gasps from the auction crowd.

Photo Credit: Sotheby’s

After the stunt, Banksy posted a quote from Picasso on his Instagram account. “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.” Sotheby’s Senior Director of Contemporary Art stated in a news released, “”It appears we just got Banksy-ed,”

But many questions remain.

Was Sotheby’s in on the stunt? Was the shredder operated remotely? How was Banksy able to get the perfect video of the stunt which he later posted on his Instagram? Some speculate that a curly-haired man at the auction videotaping the painting as it self-destructed was Banksy himself.

Perhaps the whole episode was a wry commentary on the nature of the contemporary art market.

After all, let’s not forget that in 2007, after his work sold at Sotheby’s for millions, Banksy posted a picture of the auction patrons with the words:  ”I Can’t Believe You Morons Actually Buy This” followed by an expletive. His inelegantly phrased but candid observation has merit; many now believe that the shredded painting will go up in value after this stunt.

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Making the Fig and Other Artistic Insults

An Eye for an Eye, a Fig for a Fig


Leticia Marie Sanchez

Even noble literary figures need to blow off steam. Shakespeare’s Capulets and Montagues deliver the shocking, duel-provoking insult of thumb-biting.  Only a duel could avenge such a slur on one’s honor.

Sampson: I will bite my thumb at them, which is disgrace to them if they bear it.

Abram: Do you bite your thumb at us, Sir?’

Romeo and Juliet. Act I. Scene I.

Melee ensues.

 Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy contains another impish affront,“Making the Fig.”  This slur involves thrusting out the thumb between the first and second fingers to express anger or disdain.

 In Dante’s Inferno, Vanni Fucci, a thief convicted of stealing from the Church of San Zeno, “raises his hands, points in mockery, and cries, ‘Take them, God.’” (Canto XXV)

The next time you are in Rome look very carefully on the Sistine Ceiling, at the putto behind the Cumaean Sybil, the one with his arm around his friend.

Is he making the fig?

 To whom could Michelangelo’s gesture be addressed? Could it be a protest against the censorship of the Counter Reformation? Against those who “for decency’s sake” insisted on covering Michelangelo’s exquisite marble statutes with drapery and fig-leaves…

 An eye for an eye, a fig for a fig?

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San Francisco art heist: “The Preppy Sockless Picasso Thief”


Flashback to 2011 when a Picasso sketch was stolen by a man who preferred to go sockless..

Who: Preppy Sockless Picasso Thief

What: Steals Picasso 1962 sketch ““Tête de femme,” valued at $275,000 before heading to party in Napa

Where: San Francisco’s Weinstein Gallery at Geary and Powell Streets

When: Tuesday the 5th of July, 2011

The man calmly removed the sketch from the wall of the gallery, wrapped it newspaper, and then walked out into the crowds at Union Square.

The brazen Picasso pilferer then hopped into a taxi, carefree as a lark, to join friends at a party in Napa, before being caught by police, who had caught his image from a security camera at a restaurant near the gallery.

For more on the story, please read:

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Life of an artist…Philip Glass..

Philip Glass, the creative and celebrated modern composer, courageously blazed a trail despite all the absurdities facing artists.

According to Elizabeth Lundy, in Secret Lives of Great Composers, Mr. Glass took on sundry jobs to pay the bills during the 60′s and 70′s, even while his operas were being performed at the Met in Lincoln Center:

Shortly after the New York premiere of Einstein on the Beach, Glass was driving a taxi. A well-dressed woman got into the cab, looked at his name [tag], and said in surprise, ‘”Young man, do you realize you have the same name as a very famous composer?’”

[Secret Lives of Composers, 278]

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