Featured Artist at the e.Gallery: Frederic Edwin Church

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Featured Artist at the e.Gallery this week is a 19th Century artist of the Hudson River School movement, Frederic Edwin Church [American, 1826-1900] Link: http://fineart.elib.com/fineart.php?dir=Alphabetical/Church_Frederic_Edwin

Frederic Edwin Church, (born May 4, 1826, Hartford, Connecticut, U.S. – died April 7, 1900, near New York, New York), was an American Romantic landscape painter who was one of the most prominent members of the Hudson River school.

Church studied with the painter Thomas Cole at his home in Catskill, New York, and they remained friends throughout their lives. From the beginning Church sought for his subjects marvels of nature such as Niagara Falls, volcanoes in eruption, and icebergs. He was greatly influenced by the writings of Alexander von Humboldt, the German naturalist and in 1853, while he was in Ecuador, stayed in a house where Humboldt had lived. Church portrayed the beauties of the Andes Mountains and tropical forests with great skill. Through his use of light and colour and his depiction of natural phenomena such as rainbows, mist, and sunsets, he created renderings that were realistic and emotionally affecting. His combined interests in exotic locales and natural science caused Church, on occasion, to approach a subject systematically. For example, he painted the Ecuadoran volcano Cotopaxi over the course of several years, in several states of eruption.

In 1849 Church was made a member of the National Academy of Design. Among his major works are Andes of Ecuador (1855), Niagara (1857), and Cotopaxi (1862). In his lifetime, Church received great praise for his work and sold his paintings for high prices. He traveled widely in Europe and the Middle East, but after 1877 he was compelled to abandon painting because of crippling rheumatism in his hands. He died at Olana, his house on the Hudson River, which is now a museum. Enthusiasm for Church’s works was rekindled in the late 20th century, when art historians began to consider him one of the foremost American landscape painters. Church’s long-lost masterpiece, Icebergs (1861), was rediscovered in 1979.


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Cotopaxi

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The Heart of the Andes

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The Icebergs

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Niagara Falls

Featured Artist at the e.Gallery: Alexandré Cabanel

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Featured Artist at the e.Gallery this week is a 19th Century artist of the Academic Style movement, Alexandré Cabanel [French, 1823-1889] Link: http://fineart.elib.com/fineart.php?dir=Alphabetical/Cabanel_Alexandre

Cabanel, Alexandre (1823-89). French painter. The winner of the Prix de Rome in 1845, he ranked with Bouguereau as one of the most successful and influential academic painters of the period and one of the sternest opponents of the Impressionists.

By the time he was 22, he was a student at the Academy, near the end of his training, and already a consummate practitioner of all that was good and bad about academic art. First, the good. The academy was a boot camp for artists, as gruelling then as what medical school is today. There were daily drawing drills, long lectures, and tight discipline–regimentation at every turn. And the carrot on the end of the stick? It was the Prix de Rome, which amounted to a year’s free study in that hallowed, city-sized academy to end all academies, Rome, Italy, where a student could almost drown in all the academic art accumulated over the centuries. The contest had all the hallmarks of a single-elimination sports tournament. It was open only to unmarried males under the age of 30. Starting with a given theme, students first made studies of every aspect of their proposed work. These were judged and most were eliminated in this round. Then, those lucky enough to have survived, were locked into a deadline. The students slaved away in their studios for days and weeks at a stretch to complete the final painting.

In 1845, the theme was Jesus in the Praetorium (Jesus mocked). Alexandre Cabanel came in second. The winning painting was by Francois Leon Benouville. Who? If Cabanel is little known, the winner is even less so. Likewise his painting is less so as well. Cabanel was robbed. He was to have his day, however. In 1863, the year of the infamous Salon des Refuse’, Cabanel, by now an instructor at the Academy, submitted his The Birth of Venus to the annual Salon and won the gold medal. It is a lusciously languid nude reclining in all her titillating (but chaste) splendour tended by winged putti as she lazes upon the ocean waves. It was bought by no less the emperor himself, Napoleon III, who followed up his acquisition by doling out additional commissions to the lucky artist. And the bad? Cabanel was perhaps the most dogged opponent of the upstart, radical, barn-burning, antiestablishment, no-talent group of disruptive rapscallions known collectively by the derogatory term, Impressionists.

The Birth of Venus (Musee d’Orsay, Paris) is his best-known work and typical of the slick and titillating (but supposedly chaste) nudes at which he excelled. It was the hit of the official Salon of 1863, the year of the Salon des Refuses, and was bought by the emperor Napoleon III, who gave Cabanel several prestigious commissions.


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The Birth of Venus

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The death of Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta

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Featured Artist at the e.Gallery: Correggio

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Featured Artist at the e.Gallery this week is a 16th Century artist, Correggio [Italian, 1494-1534] Link: http://fineart.elib.com/fineart.php?dir=Alphabetical/Correggio

Correggio (Antonio Allegri) (c. 1489-1534). Italian painter, named after the small town in Emilia where he was born. Little is known of his life, but his paintings suggest under whom he may have formed his style. Echoes of Mantegna‘s manner in many of his early paintings indicate that he may have studied that master’s work in Mantua, and he was influenced in these works also by Lorenzo Costa and Leonardo, adopting Costa’s pearly Ferrarese coloring and, in the St John of the St Francis altarpiece (Gemäldegalerie, Dresden, 1514), his first documented work, Leonardo’s characteristic gesture of the pointing finger. Later he initiated a style of sentimental elegance and conscious allure with soft sfumato and gestures of captivating charm. Correggio may well have visited Rome early in his career, although Vasari maintains that he never went there and the obvious inspiration of the paintings of Raphael and Michelangelo could be accounted for by drawings and prints which were known all over Italy.

He was probably in Parma, the scene of his greatest activity, by 1518. His first large-scale commission there was for the decoration of the abbess’s room in the convent of S. Paolo. The theme of the decorations is Diana, goddess of chastity and the chase, and the vaulted ceiling uses Mantegna’s idea of a leafy trellis framing putti and symbols of the hunt. The S. Paolo ceiling was followed by two dome paintings in which Correggio developed the illusionist conception — already used by Mantegna — of depicting a scene as though it were actually taking place in the sky above (sotto in su). The first of these domes was commissioned for the church of S. Giovanni Evangelista in 1520. The twelve Apostles sit on clouds round the base, while Christ is shown in sharp foreshortening ascending to heaven. In the commission six years later for an Assumption of the Virgin in the dome of Parma Cathedral he used the same principle, but on a much larger scale and with still more daring foreshortening. These works reveal Correggio as one of the boldest and most inventive artists of the High Renaissance and they were highly influential on the development of Baroque dome painting (one of the most important successors, Lanfranco, was a native of Parma).


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Holy Night (or Adoration of the Shepherds or Nativity)

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Madonna della Scodella

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The Apostles Peter and Paul (detail of cupola fresco)

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The Education of Cupid

Featured Artist at the e.Gallery: Nicolas de Staël

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Featured Artist at the e.Gallery this week is a 20th Century artist, Nicolas de Staël [Russian, 1914-1955] Link: http://fineart.elib.com/fineart.php?dir=Alphabetical/Stael_Nicolas_de

Nicolas de Staël was a Russian/French painter known for his highly abstract landscape painting created using thick layers of paint. A dedicated artist who lived for painting, de Staël achieved both wealth and fame in his life time.

Nicolas de Staël’s work shows the influence of Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso (especially Picasso in his Blue and Rose periods), Georges Braque, and Fernand Leger, as well as of the Dutch masters Rembrandt, and Vermeer.

His own highly distinctive and abstract style is similar to the near-contemporary American Abstract Expressionist movement but developed independently.

Nicolas de Staël was born on Jan. 5, 1914, in St. Petersburg, the son of a wealthy baron. Nicolas’s mother encouraged him to draw and paint at a very early age. In 1919 the Russian Revolution forced the family into exile in Poland. Within 2 years his parents were dead, and Nicolas was sent to Brussels to study humanities. In 1932 he entered the Royal Academy of Art there.

In the 1930s, he traveled throughout Europe, including Spain, Italy, Morocco, and Algeria eventually settling in Paris in 1938.

In 1941, he moved to Nice where he met Jean Arp, Sonia Delaunay and Robert Delaunay, and these artists would inspire his first abstract paintings

During the late 1940’s and 50’s de Staël had considerable commercial successes both in Europe and the USA. At the same time he was suffering from exhaustion, insomnia and depression and on March 16, 1955, he committed suicide in Antibes.


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Figure by the Sea

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Nice

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Ressentiment

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Blue Reclining Nude

Featured Artist at the e.Gallery: Andrea Mantegna

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Featured Artist at the e.Gallery this week is a 15th Century artist of the Early Renaissance movement, Andrea Mantegna [Italian, 1431-1506] Link: http://fineart.elib.com/fineart.php?dir=Alphabetical/Mantegna_Andrea

Mantegna, Andrea (1431?-1506). An Italian painter and engraver, Mantegna painted heroic figures, often using a dramatic perspective that gives the viewer the illusion of looking up from below. The effect is somewhat the same as looking up from ground level at statues mounted on a pedestal.

Mantegna was born about 1431 near Vicenza, Italy. When he was about 10 years old he was adopted by Francesco Squarcione, an art teacher in Padua. Mantegna’s skill as an artist developed quickly, and at the age of 17 he set up his own workshop, declaring that he would no longer allow Squarcione to profit by exploiting his talent.

There was much interest in Padua at that time in collecting and studying Roman antiquities. Mantegna knew many of the scholars and antiquarians who were involved in this work, and his knowledge of the culture of ancient Rome is apparent in his art. His paintings helped foster the growing interest in the revival of classical forms. In 1453 Mantegna married Nicolosia Bellini, whose brothers, Giovanni and Gentile Bellini, were also artists, and both of whom did work that shows Mantegna’s influence.

Mantegna remained in Padua until 1459, when Ludovico Gonzaga persuaded him to move to Mantua. He worked for the Gonzaga family for the rest of his life. For them Mantegna created some of his greatest paintings. In one famous work, called the Camera degli Sposi (wedding chamber), he painted the walls and ceiling of a small interior room, transforming it into an open-air pavilion. On the ceiling a painted dome opens onto a painted sky, with painted men and women looking down from above. Rooms creating this sort of illusion became very popular in the baroque era of the 1600s.

A series of nine paintings, Triumph of Caesar, that Mantegna started in 1486 shows his interest in imperial Rome. Mantegna died in Mantua in 1506 and received the special honor of having a funeral chapel in the church of Santa Andrea dedicated to his honor.

The image accompanying this article is a Self-portrait — a Grotesque Self-portrait of Andrea Mantegna — painted between 1465 and 1474. It was created using walnut oil on plaster, and is hanging at the Palazzo Ducale in Mantua.

From October of 1916 through January of 1917, Rudolf Steiner gave a series of nine lectures known as the Art Course. These lectures were given the title of: The History of Art. Click here to discover what Steiner said about Mantegna in the first lecture, or in the entire lecture series.


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Madonna

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San Sebastian

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Parnassus

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Adoration by the Wise Men

Featured Artist at the e.Gallery: Anton Raphael Mengs

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Featured Artist at the e.Gallery this week is a 18th Century artist of the Neoclassicist movement, Anton Raphael Mengs [German, 1738-1779] Link: http://fineart.elib.com/fineart.php?dir=Alphabetical/Mengs_Anton_Raphael

Mengs, Anton Raphael (1728–1779), a German painter, was born in 1728 at Aussig in Bohemia, but his father, Ismael Mengs, a Danish painter, established himself finally at Dresden, whence in 1741 he took his son to Rome. The appointment of Mengs in 1749 as first painter to the elector of Saxony did not prevent his spending much time in Rome, where he had married in 1748, and abjured the Protestant faith, and where he became in 1754 director of the Vatican school of painting, nor did this hinder him on two occasions from obeying the call of Charles III of Spain to Madrid. There Mengs produced some of his best work, and specially the ceiling of the banqueting-hall, the subject of which was the Triumph of Trajan and the Temple of Glory. After the completion of this work in 1777, Mengs returned to Rome, and there he died, two years later, in poor circumstances, leaving twenty children, seven of whom were pensioned by the king of Spain. Besides numerous paintings in the Madrid gallery, the Ascension at Dresden, Perseus and Andromeda at St Petersburg, and the ceiling of the Villa Albani must be mentioned among his chief works. In England, the duke of Northumberland possesses a Holy Family, and the colleges of All Souls and Magdalen, at Oxford, have altar-pieces by his hand. In his writings, in Spanish, Italian and German, Mengs has put forth his eclectic theory of art, which treats of perfection as attainable by a well-schemed combination of diverse excellences: Greek design, with the expression of Raphael, the chiaroscuro of Correggio, and the colour of Titian. His intimacy with Winckelmann, who constantly wrote at his dictationhas enhanced his historical importance, for he formed no scholars, and the critic must now concur in Goethe’s judgment of Mengs in Winckelmann und sein Jahrhundert (Winckelmann and his Century); he must deplore that so much learning should have been allied to a total want of initiative and poverty of invention, and embodied with a strained and artificial mannerism.


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Portrait of Clement XIII Rezzonico

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The Penitent Magdelene

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Maria Luisa of Parma

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Adoration of the Shepherds

Featured Artist at the e.Gallery: Aubrey Vincent Beardsley

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Featured Artist at the e.Gallery this week is a 19th Century artist of the Art Nouveau movement, Aubrey Vincent Beardsley [British, 1872-1898] Link: http://fineart.elib.com/fineart.php?dir=Alphabetical/Beardsley_Aubrey

Aubrey Vincent Beardsley, 1872–98, was an illustrator and writer, born in Brighton, England. Beardsley exemplifies the aesthetic movement in English art of the 1890s. In his short working span of only six years, he developed a superbly artificial and graphic manner, expressed in flat, linear, black-and-white designs. His works were by turns erotic and cruel in emphasis. The art editor of the famous Yellow Book quarterly (1894–96), Beardsley also edited and contributed some of his best work to Leonard Smithers’ periodical, The Savoy, and illustrated many books including Wilde’s Salomé (1894), Pope’s Rape of the Lock (1896), Aristophanes’ Lysistrata (privately pub., 1896), and Jonson’s Volpone (1898). His fiction, distinguished by an elaborate and erudite prose style, was collected and published in 1904 as Under the Hill. Criticized for the erotic character of his work and condemned for his association with Oscar Wilde, Beardsley fell from public favor. Ravaged by tuberculosis, he died at the age of 25.


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How Four Queens Found Lancelot Sleeping

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Le Morte D’Arthur; How King Arthur saw the Questing Beast

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Illustration from le morte d arthur

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How a Devil in Woman’s Likeness Would Have Tempted Sir Bors

Featured Artist at the e.Gallery: James Joseph Jacques Tissot

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Featured Artist at the e.Gallery this week is a 19th Century artist, James Joseph Jacques Tissot [French, 1836-1902] Link: http://fineart.elib.com/fineart.php?dir=Alphabetical/Tissot_James

James Joseph Jacques Tissot (1836-1902), was a French painter and graphic artist. Early in his career he painted historical costume pieces, but in about 1864 he turned with great success to scenes of contemporary life, usually involving fashionable women. Following his alleged involvement in the turbulent events of the Paris Commune (1871) he took refuge in London, where he lived from 1871 to 1882. He was just as successful there as he had been in Paris and lived in some style in St. John’s Wood; in 1874 Edmond de Goncourt wrote sarcastically that he had ‘a studio with a waiting room where, at all times, there is iced champagne at the disposal of visitors, and around the studio, a garden where, all day long, one can see a footman in silk stockings brushing and shining the shrubbery leaves.’

His pictures are distinguished most obviously by his love of painting women’s costumes: indeed, his work — which has a fashion-plate elegance and a chocolate-box charm — has probably been more often reproduced in works on the history of costume than on the history of painting. He also, however, had a gift for wittily observing nuances of social behavior. In 1882, following the death of his mistress Kathleen Newton (the archetypal Tissot model — beautiful but rather vacant), he returned to France. In 1888 he underwent a religious conversion when he went into a church to ‘catch the atmosphere for a picture’, and thereafter he devoted himself to religious subjects. He visited the Holy Land in 1886–87 and in 1889, and his illustrations to the events of the Bible were enormously popular, both in book form and when the original drawings were exhibited.

For many years after his death Tissot was considered a grossly vulgar artist, bug there has been a recent upsurge of interest in him, expressed in sale-room prices for his work as well as in numerous books and exhibitions devoted to him.


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The Annunciation

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Berthe

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The Gallery of H.M.S. ‘Calcutta’ (Portsmouth)

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In the Conservatory (Rivals)

Featured Artist at the e.Gallery: Walt Otto

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Featured Artist at the e.Gallery this week is a 20th Century artist, Walt Otto [Unknown, ????-????] Link: http://fineart.elib.com/fineart.php?dir=Alphabetical/Otto_Walt

Otto is another of the Elvgren-style pin-up artists, creating beaming American beauties in lushly painted oils on canvas (for Gerlich-Barclaw, among others). Research has neither confirmed nor denied Otto as part of the Sundblom shop. Despite hyper-realism typical of the Elvgren school, Otto varies considerably from the Elvgren pattern in several key ways. His paintings contain cartoonish elements, particularly in the expressions of his winsome girls (as well as his cartoonist-style signature). Additionally, his women are less coy than Elvgren’s: an Otto girl typically attired in short shorts or bathing suit, occasionally tugged along by a cute mutt or two, stares unabashedly at the viewer. Also, Otto eschews any suggestion of setting for a solid black background, and frequently uses Petty-style cartoon outline shorthand for a phone cord or dog leash or whatever to better focus the attention on the pretty subject at hand.


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Featured Artist at the e.Gallery: Giorgio de Chirico

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Featured Artist at the e.Gallery this week is a 20th Century artist of the Surrealist movement, Giorgio de Chirico [Italian, 1888-1974] Link: http://fineart.elib.com/fineart.php?dir=Alphabetical/Chirico_Giorgio_de

The Italian painter and graphic artist Giorgio de Chirico was born in Volvos, Greece, on July 7, 1888. He attends the drawing class of the Polytechnic School in Athens, later he and his brother — who became a famous composer, painter and writer under the pseudonym Alberto Savinio — go to Munich, where he studies at the Academy of Fine Arts from 1906 to 1909. He encounters paintings by Arnold Böcklin, Max Klinger and Alfred Kubin in Munich for the first time, which leave a great impression on him. Giorgio de Chirico also deals with music and the philosophical writings of Arthur Schopenhauer and especially of Friedrich Nietzsche.

Giorgio de Chirico goes to Italy in 1909, living in Milan, he visits Turin, Florence and other cities. He is in Paris from 1911 to 1915, participating in exhibitions in the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Indépendants. The choice of topics and the atmosphere of his paintings show the strong influence of Friedrich Nietzsche’s works. Reality and dream worlds mingle, he paints fantastic ideal architecture and city and landscapes views, strictly following the rules of perspectives, in them he places single statues and the “Manichini” — faceless manikins, that seem to be lost in the surroundings. The artist focusses more and more on the artistic quality of his paintings. He makes the first paintings of the “Piazze d’Italia” as of 1912. Guillaume Apollinaire writes a critique on occasion of a salon exhibition of Giorgio de Chirico’s “Metaphysic Landscapes.”

In a military hospital in Ferrara he meets the painter Carlo Carrà in 1917, who decides to join him. They express the basic theories of the “Pittura Metafisica” after the war, which Chirico will publish in form of articles for the magazine “Valori Plastici.”

The artist goes to Paris again in 1925. He is a friend of the surrealist painters Max Ernst, René Magritte, Yves Tanguy and Salvador Dalí. The surrealists acknowledge his painting just as much as the painters of New Objectivity and Magic Realism.

Giorgio de Chirico also makes stage and costume designs, for instance for Sergej Diaghilew’s “Ballets Russes.” In 1929 he writes the autobiographic novel “Hebdomeros, Le peintre et son génie chez l’ecrivain.” He executes numerous series of lithographs in the 1930s, he illustrates, for instance, the “Calligrammes” by Apollinaire in 1930, and Jean Cocteau’s “Mythology” in 1934. As of 1937 he works on the series “Bagni Misteriosi.” He stays in the USA from 1935 to 1937, then returns to Italy and finally settles in Rome in 1945.

Giorgio de Chirico’s compositions become more conventional as of the late 1930s. He draws some of his earlier metaphysic works again, some of them he even dates back. Giorgio de Chirico dies in Rome on November 11, 1978.


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The Archaeologists

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Metaphysical Interior with Biscuits

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The Child’s Brain

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Christ and the Storm