I’ve been to Windsor with visiting friends twice in the last couple months. Strangely enough, it doesn’t do that much for me, which is shocking considering what an awesome history it has and the fact that the Queen still lives there part time. I think having first seen the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg might’ve spoiled me completely.

But there are some fantastic rooms in Windsor and some great art. One of the pieces that’s been on my mind lately is the Massacre of the Innocent by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. According to the official description, the scene is based on a passage from the Bible: “…after hearing from the wise men of the birth of Jesus, King Herod ordered that all children in Bethlehem under the age of two should be murdered. Bruegel set the story as a contemporary Flemish atrocity so that the soldiers wear the distinctive clothing of the Spanish army and their German mercenaries.”

The Massacre of the Innocents by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1566

The Massacre of the Innocents by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1566.

I’m not a great connoisseur of art, but I know what I like. Always been a fan of the Pre-Raphaelites. Prefer Realism, Romanticism and Impressionism to Modernism or Abstract Expressionism. Can’t stand Picasso. While in Belize I began to appreciate Primitivism a bit more, particularly stuff by Henri Rousseau. Lately I’ve discovered a growing affection for Folk Art.

Now Folk Art is a HUGE and sweeping style and is defined as “art produced from an indigenous culture or by peasants or other laboring tradespeople” and/or “characterized by a naive style, in which traditional rules of proportion and perspective are not employed.” (Wikipedia…I know, I’m entirely too lazy and rely too much on questionable sources.)

If you skip over the tragic theme of Bruegel’s painting and the fact that he’s technically a Rennaissance painter, it very much reminds me of a particular Folk artist…Grandma Moses, which apparently is a common comparison. I don’t know how familiar she was with Bruegel’s works, but she was basically self-taught and started painting in her 70s.

Sugaring Off by Grandma Moses, 1955.

Sugaring Off by Grandma Moses, 1955.

The other thing these two images have in common is snow. So if you want to get really specific, you could say that I’m particularly fond of Winter Folk Art Scenes. If you simply do a Google image search on that phrase, you get back all kinds of lovely contemporary artists like Catherine Holman, Rene Britenbucher, Kori Vincent, Wendy Presseisen, Michele Beyar-Tetreau, and Carol Dyer.

Recently I also came across Jane Ray who lives in London and is an English illustrator of children’s books. Here’s one of her lovely illustrations from The Twelve Days of Christmas.

And don’t even get me started on how much I love Russian lacquer boxes (bottom).

From The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jane Ray, 2011.

From The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jane Ray, 2011.

Winter Troika in Moscow by Strunin Mikhail.

Winter Troika in Moscow by Strunin Mikhail.

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