The Guggenheim

October 21, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, TRAVEL, Ulalume |
(photo of the Guggenheim exterior by Vermonster)

(photo of the Guggenheim exterior by Vermonster)

21 October, 1959: The Guggenheim Museum opened to the public. Frank Lloyd Wright’s rather cramped exhibit spaces, commissioned by Solomon R. Guggenheim, certainly had ‘monumental dignity and great beauty,’ but were also as confining as the orchestra pit at the Sydney Opera House. In other words, a wonderful piece of art in itself, but of less than perfect utility. The art on the curving walls takes third or fourth place to the zany spaces created by the architect, thus breaking a principle canon of architecture: a public structure should be a servant, not a master. But it is still an inspiration that…

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Italy – The Grand Tour

October 20, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY, TRAVEL, Ulalume |
Oil painting on canvas, A Grand Tour Group of Five Gentlemen in Rome, attributed to John Brown (Edinburgh 1752 - Leith 1787), inscribed: on the plinth of sculpture: CAVILLA / TOREM / LEONI ('mocker of the lion), circa 1773. Four travellers stand or sit under a tunnel-vaulted structure with a niche (in which one of them sits), with a view to a valley with two cypresses and some buildings, bounded by mountains behind; a cicerone indicates the Antique group of A Lion devouring a Horse on a plinth, closing the picture on the right, to another of them. The five men are: The Rt. Hon. John Staples MP (1736-1820), James Byres (1734-1817), Sir William Young, 2nd Bt, MP, FRS, FSA (1749-1815), Thomas Orde-Powlett, 1st Baron Bolton of Bolton Castle, PC, FSA (1746-1807), and Richard Griffin, 2nd Lord Braybrooke, Baron of Braybrooke MP, FSA (1751-1825).Another example is at Audley End (EH), Essex which is recorded as having been there since at lest 1836 and descended with the house's owners, the barons Braybrooks.

Oil painting on canvas, A Grand Tour Group of Five Gentlemen in Rome, attributed to John Brown (Edinburgh 1752 - Leith 1787), inscribed: on the plinth of sculpture: CAVILLA / TOREM / LEONI ('mocker of the lion), circa 1773. Four travellers stand or sit under a tunnel-vaulted structure with a niche (in which one of them sits), with a view to a valley with two cypresses and some buildings, bounded by mountains behind; a cicerone indicates the Antique group of A Lion devouring a Horse on a plinth, closing the picture on the right, to another of them. The five men are: The Rt. Hon. John Staples MP (1736-1820), James Byres (1734-1817), Sir William Young, 2nd Bt, MP, FRS, FSA (1749-1815), Thomas Orde-Powlett, 1st Baron Bolton of Bolton Castle, PC, FSA (1746-1807), and Richard Griffin, 2nd Lord Braybrooke, Baron of Braybrooke MP, FSA (1751-1825).Another example is at Audley End (EH), Essex which is recorded as having been there since at lest 1836 and descended with the house's owners, the barons Braybrooks.

Lecture by Robert Reason, Curator, Roche Museum, 19 October 2017 The Varnished Culture having among its burgeoning numbers a life member of the Dante Alighieri Society, we attended this lecture by Mr Reason, who had attended Rome and Naples under the auspices of the prestigious Attingham Trust Italian Art History Programme. It was an interesting, wide-ranging affair that provided a taste of the kind of Italianate antiquity that appealed to David Roche, presented in a manner akin to a whirlwind Women’s Weekly world discovery tour. Even the serene visage of the Capitoline Venus would be deranged: From Palazzos Nuovo of…

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Luca Giordano

October 18, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY |
Presentazione della virgine al tempio

Presentazione della virgine al tempio

Giordano (18 October 1634 – 12 January 1705) was a Neapolitan artist who, in terms of Allegory, went for baroque. He was as fast at the canvas as Hurricane Higgins at the billiard table, and thus acquired the nickname “The Thunderbolt.” His draftsmanship was slightly glib, not as good as the great artists of the Renaissance, but his use of colour was striking, giving his pictures a fuzzy, slightly over-developed quality that impressed people like the florid landscape artist, Fragonard. “Sound but not outstanding” quoth German Bazin, in his A Concise History of Art (1958). He was what we once called a minor…

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Wish We’d Said That

Photo of Wilde by Napoleon Sarony (1882)

Photo of Wilde by Napoleon Sarony (1882)

Oscar Wilde (16 October 1854 to 30 November 1900) The Divine Oscar is recalled daily by defamation lawyers, cautioning their prospective clients.  But we prefer to recall his playfulness, his essential kindness, and gargantuan wit. Richard Ellmann, in his biography of Wilde (1987), said of him that he “had to live his life twice over, first in slow motion, than at top speed. During the first period he was a scapegrace, during the second a scapegoat…His language is his finest achievement. It is fluent with concession and rejection. It takes what has been ponderously said and remakes it according to…

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Russian Futurism

Mayakovsky_books_kruchyonyx_stixi

(by Vladimir Markov) (1969) Markov quotes Nikolai Lossky: “Ideas are not thoughts, they are a special kind of reality.”  Isms we can sneer at, at least as soon as their individual shells are rent and the flesh within wastes. Futurism was an avant-garde conceit borne from impressionism, via the blind alley of ‘Ego-Futurism,’ and turned to something even vaguer by Marinetti, who came like a royal progress to Moscow and made something of a fool of himself. The ‘manifesto’ was nothing of the sort, really – a hatred of all things old, a desire for all things new, it represented stunning narrow-mindedness…

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