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GALLERY 1 (2D)

William Blake (1757-1827)

The Garden of Love

Line-engraving combined with water colouring

 

William Blake was one of the key figures of the first generation of the Romantic movement in England. He was not only a poet but he was also an expert of drawing and engraving. Blake was a representative of composite art which means that he expressed his ideas verbally and visually at the same time.

Blake’s artistic ability became evident soon, and he attended Henry Pars’ drawing school before he became 10. At the age 14, he was apprenticed to an engraver and became a master of that craft. Later on, Blake’s drawings decorated Westminster Abbey tombstones and monuments. Blake was early influenced and inspired by spiritual visions and the Bible had a great effect on his life. Due to his idionsyncratic views and his rejection of the ideas of the Enlightenment, he was the disregarded artist of his age, and his talent was discovered posthumously, 50 years after his death. Additionally, his unusual way of publication of the poems contributed to his being neglected .

Nevertheless, one of his works was acknowledged by contemporaries, and it was the Songs of Innocence and of Experience which is a compilation of poems that show the “two contrary states of the human soul”. Blake believed that human beings are innocent and lack experience in early childhood but as time passes, they are affected by problems of life, such as oppressions, regulations, poverty, which leads to a mixed state of being innocent and experienced. The poem, The Garden of Love found its place in the book of Experience. Blake with this piece intended to point out that the church and religious regulations may result in that children loose their freedom, which brings about their loosing their soul. The artist in this sense was a rebel against the church, however, he believed in God himself.

I chose this piece of art because I was really impressed by the complexity of it and I found it interesting that different modes of art can complete each other in such a way. Blake, in addition, was a mysterious figure, who is a challenge to understand. Cseri Donatella

 

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Wes Borland (1975- )

Sloss, c.2008

oil on canvas, size unknown

 

 

 

Wes Borland is best known for being the guitar player of the band limp bizkit, always sporting a different bodypaint and costume combination for every live show. Before becoming a full-time musician, he attended Douglas Anderson School of the Arts studying sculpting and special effects in Jacksonville, Florida. Graphical and musical work always went hand-in-hand in his career. He designed and painted every limp bizkit album cover so far, except for Results May Vary, released in 2003, due to him quitting in 2001 and only returning in 2009.

His online gallery, launched in 2007, showing off works never seen before, including cover art for his new band’s debut record Cruel Melody. A lot of works, including the presented piece, Sloss, have been removed, presumably because these were portraits of his previous spouse Anna.

The title “Sloss” doesn’t really answer our questions of “what” or “why”, but rather the seemingly unimportant “where”. The scene is set in the outlandish environment of Sloss Furnaces. Between the towering red silos we can see a girl with black hair in a dress of black feathers on the back of a black bison. In her right hand she holds a trusty AK-47, whilst removing a devil mask concealing her face with her left hand.

No direct explanation can be given for this visual enigma, only thorough speculation. As the majority of Borland’s works, this picture also builds on the exaggeration of features to represent a symbolic meaning. A parallel of opposites can be found throughout the whole setting. The figure of the girl holding a weapon and a scary mask being the violent, and the bison with a sad stare represents the calm. Both of them represent  the organic and natural, in contrast to the furnaces representing the mechanical.  Without further elaboration we can state that it is obvious that this picture is swarming with symbolic parallels. Bikkes Gábor

 

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Brassai (1899-1984)

Lovers in a Café (c. 1932)

 

Brassaï was a 20th century photographer, sculptor, writer, filmmaker, and painter. Regarded as one of the fathers of street photography, he was known for his unconditional, inspired love for Paris. He was born as Gyula Halász in 1899 and took his name from the town of his birth, Brasov. He moved to Paris in 1924, which marked a turning point on both his artistic career and personal life. Working there as a journalist, he was completely uninterested in photography and only turned to it to document his articles, but he eventually became enchanted with the medium. Brassaï began wandering the streets of Paris, especially at night, as he was a self-described noctambulist, partly seeking documentation for his job, but mainly following his newly found passion. He spent most of the 1930’s taking photographs with the aim of capturing the essence of nocturnal Paris, taking powerful portraits of the city and characters that would only emerge in the hours of darkness. To this day, his most popular photo collections are Paris by Night (1933) and Pleasures of Paris (1935), both taken with the aforementioned concept in mind. He was an active photographer until his death, and his portfolio includes work for periodicals like Harper’s Bazaar and Picture Post, and surrealist magazines such as Verve and Minotaur. He died in 1984 and he is buried in Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris.

His photograph, Lovers in a Café (ca. 1932), was included in his first collection of photos, Paris by Night, the photo collection that set the basis for early street photography. This piece is a perfect example of Brassaï’s compositional skills, and the technique he used for his interior photographs. He worked with an assistant who prepared a flash powder gun and a reflecting screen, while Brassaï chatted up and posed his subjects. The exploding flash powder produced a softer light than flashbulbs, giving the pictures their distinctive lighting. This photograph also represents both Brassaï and the world’s perception of Paris. It’s the perfect mixture of darkness, decadence, and the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind when thinking about Paris, romance. Árvay Réka

 

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Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525 -1569)

The Fight between Carnival and Lent, 1559

Oil-on-panel, 118 cm × 164 cm

Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

 

Pieter Bruegel the Elder was one of the most influential and original painters of the Flemish Renaissance. It was in 1551 when he was admitted to the Antwerp painters’ guild, but soon after he travelled to Italy, to Naples, Rome and Sicily. He came back a year later and settled down in Antwerp, then in Brussels, and in 1563 married Mayken, who was the daughter of Coecke van Aelst, a leading artist, to whom Bruegel was apprenticed in the guild in the 1550s. The influence of his travels can be seen in his landscapes. However, the impact of Hieronymus Bosch, the peculiar painter and his late Gothic style is the strongest. Through his sons, Pieter the Younger and Jan, who copied their father’s work, Bruegel’s influence was significant. 

His subjects are various, ranging from religious pictures, such as the Tower of Babel, to landscapes, e.g. the Hunters in the Snow. He was interested in the diversity of nature and the dynamism of life. His most famous paintings are his genre pictures, depicting the everyday life of Flemish peasants, such as The Peasant Wedding. Because he used peasants as his main theme, he was nicknamed “Peasant Bruegel”. His compositions have free rhythm and the figures are scattered all around the picture irregularly. All of his works are extremely detailed and at the same time stress the absurd in life by displaying human folly and weakness.

This is the case with The Fight between Carnival and Lent, too. At first sight, it might seem chaotic with its more than 200 figures but Bruegel was an enigmatic character who liked using symbolism, which makes his paintings more meaningful. The picture can be divided into two parts, as the title suggests: the right hand side depicts Lent, the left hand side displays Carnival. Carnival, which means “absence of meat” or “leaving meat” in Italian, indicates the festive season and is the last opportunity to feast, sing, dance and have fun before the 40 days of abstinence of Lent. Since it is a fight, a battle, there must be two combatants: they are at the front of the painting. On the right is a thin and worn-out man dressed as a nun, sitting on a cart that is pulled by a monk and a nun. He is holding a baker’s peel with two herrings on it and is surrounded by bread, pretzels and raisins, which are some of the few things people can eat during Lent. There is a beehive on his head, which is the symbol of church. On the left is a fat man sitting on a huge beer barrel, holding a long skewer with a pig’s head at the end as his lance. His hat is a large pie and he also has large knives that indicate that he is a butcher, so he is the one who provides the meat for the feast.

On the right, people are coming out of the church where the mass has just ended. The sculptures are veiled inside the church, which was customary in Roman Catholic churches during Lent. The people are wearing ordinary clothes and showing utmost religious devotion, women even have ash on their foreheads. The rich give charity to the beggars and in the corner some men even stop to help a woman with a baby, who is mourning her husband, whose corpse is lying next to her, covered with a white sheet. It is interesting to note that there is another version of the painting where the corpse is not covered. We can see fish, bread and pretzels all around this part of the painting. 

On the left, is the complete opposite of Lent: the Carnival. Here, people are dressed in colourful clothes, some even wearing waffles on their heads. The main types of food that can be found on this side are meat, pancakes and waffles, which are prohibited during Lent and this is the last opportunity to eat them. An old woman is even baking some pancakes in the middle of the picture. Next to her is an intriguing couple with their backs to us and being led by a fool who is holding a lit lantern in his hand. Using lit lanterns during daytime is the symbol of folly. Some of the people are dancing, others are playing dice, like the two men in the corner, one of whom looks like an executioner or the devil himself. The main building on this side is the tavern, which is full of drunk people, most of whom are watching the popular farce, The Dirty Bride, or The Marriage of Mopsus and Nisa, where the coarse, bedraggled bride, Nisa, is being led from a shabby tent to the marital bed which is the earth by the prancing groom, Mopsus. At the back, there is a man dancing on a barrel while children are cheering him and a woman is pouring excrement on him. Next to them is the scene from the tale of Valentine and Orson. The story is about two twins who were born in the forest and separated at birth. Orson was raised by a bear and he became savage-like. He is located on the left, wearing a bluish-green outfit that looks like animal fur. Valentine was raised by a king and he became a knight. He is dressed in yellow and has a sword in his hand. He is located to the right of his twin brother. The scene depicts their final meeting. In general, people are having fun at the Carnival.

The strangest and most interesting figure is sitting in a window in the middle of the painting just at eye-level. He has a white mask on his face and is observing the square and the people. The way he is looking down at them suggests that he is not only literally but figuratively above them. He invites us to look at the scene from a detached viewpoint. He might be the persona of the painter who does not judge or take sides but rather ridicules both sides: one for its hypocritical abstinence, the other for its gluttony and excessive indulgence. The picture shows the folly in both and shows the faults in their extremisms. Csanádi Sára

SOURCES

Lyka, Károly. A művészetek története. (1977)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04xrv9n

http://www.andrewgrahamdixon.com/archive/readArticle/130

http://www.pieter-bruegel-the-elder.org/biography.html

 

 

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John Collier (1850-1934)

Lady Godiva (c.1898)

Oil painting on canvas, 142.2x193 cm

Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry, England

 

John Maler Collier was a leading English artist and author of the 20th century. He was born in 1850 into a successful family. His father was Sir Robert Perret Colier, later called Lord Monkswell, an excellent lawyer of his time.  John Collier had the chance to develop his artistic talent in many places. First of all, he studied at the Slade School of Art in London and after that he moved to Paris to study under Jean-Paul Larens, the talented French painter and sculptor. Collier was most notably known as a brilliant portrait painter. His range of portrait subjects were quite broad including several bishops and dukes, as well. He painted in Pre-Raphaelite style which was undoubtedly meticulous. At first, he painted the whole background of the picture white and only then he started to paint it over with thin layers of oil paints. He created nearly all his paintings using a wide range of colours and that is the reason why his masterpieces became so vivid.  He drew inspiration from different myths, for instance Lady Godiva, legends, and even from the works of Shakespeare and Keats.

Lady Godiva is presumably his most popular painting based on the legendary English tale. This lovely long-haired lady on the picture, now associated with Victorian beauty, sits on a beautifully dressed white horse in order to ride through the town of Coventry without any clothes for a noble goal: to help the people who are suffering because of the high taxation of her husband, Leofric. Collier used only warm colours here and Lady Godiva is situated exactly in the middle of the picture. Interestingly, we cannot see her face because it is covered with her hair probably. It is probably because she felt ashamed and guilty about her act.

Collier painted it in approximately  1898. Now, it housed at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry, England. I chosed this painting because I believe that the story behind the painting has an important message. Also, I am under the impression that this is the best work of Collier. Bathó Bettina

 

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Andreas Feininger

Portrait of a Young Man with a Camera, 1951,

published in LIFE Magazine, June 1955

 

The artist, Andreas Feininger was the son of a famous German-American expressionist painter, Lyonel Feininger. He was born in Paris in 1906, and graduated in architecture in schools in Germany. The camera became his mechanical sketchbook in creating his architectural designs. After a year's work in France for the legendary architect Le Corbusier, however he struggled to find employment after that, so he became a full-time photographer. He moved to the United States in 1939, and in 1943 he became a staff photographer for LIFE Magazine, where he completed 430 assignments within the twenty years he worked there. His main themes were buildings and skylines, however people and traffic jams in urban settings also inspired him, and were in the focus of his photography. He once said that he sees the city as a living organism: dynamic, sometimes violent, and even brutal. He published several textbooks and picture books on photography. Feininger died in 1999 in New York City.

The image, Portrait of a Young Man with a Camera was taken of fellow photographer, and US Army veteran, Dennis Stock. In his interview with John Loengard, for his 1998 book, LIFE photographers: What They Saw; he said he knew he "had to take a picture of this person and, frankly, didn't quite know what to do".  After some experimentation with the lights in the studio, Stock suggested the use of a single spotlight. The composition involves a single spotlight, some background lighting, and Stock holding the camera with its viewfinder before his left eye, and the camera lens before his right.

Although photographed in 1951, it only appeared in LIFE Magazine in the June issue of 1955. Some at the magazine thought it should make cover, however others said "It's gruesome! We can't have it!" Therefore it appeared within the magazine, however it later became one of the most popular, and most reprinted images LIFE Magazine had ever published.

The reason why I chose this image is because, on one hand I consider photography as an excellent form of visual art, on the other, I find this image to be visionary, and the photographer ahead of his time. This photograph not only represents photography in my viewing, but also has a depth that is intriguing. It draws attention, and takes a second look to realize what is going on within the frame. Catching, and then holding attention in a society that is constantly bombarded with images is very difficult to achieve. Lastly, to me the ability to create a still image, that is dynamic, and can remain relevant more than five decades after it was taken, displays a great measure of artistic talent. Hack Petra

 

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Caspar David Friedrich (1774 – 1840)

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (1818)

Oil-on-canvas, 98.40 cm x 74.80 cm

Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany

 

Caspar David Friedrich was a German Romantic painter in the 19th century, most famous for his vivid landscape paintings rich with meaning and symbolism, especially religious and spiritual allegories. He was greatly inspired by the landscape of his homeland. He was a misunderstood artist, since he refused to cater to the critis and always painted what he felt like. His work was regarded as too personal and was not very well received during his lifetime. Friedrich died unappreciated; however, later movements such as Symbolism and Surrealism rediscovered him and cited his art as a source of inspiration.

His painting Wanderer above the Sea of Fog is a prime example of Romanticism. The light, cold background colours immediately draw our attention to the central solitary figure in warm dark green coloured clothes. The man is contemplating something while standing with his back to us viewers, this way he invites us to see and experience the world through his eyes. Although we can’t even see his face, we cannot know what he is thinking, we do not feel alienated from him, it rather makes us drawn to him even more. The figure is generally believed to be Friedrich himself. According to another theory, this is high-ranking forestry officer, Col. Friedrich Gotthard von Brincken, of the Saxon infantry. The painting might have been a patriotic tribute to this military man who was most likely killed in a battle against Napoleon.

The landscape in the background was composed of various elements from the Elbsandsteingebirge (Elbe Sandstone Mountains) in Saxony and Bohemia. Friedrich made sketches of the different elements on the spot during his hikes, then retreated to his studio where he rearranged them and painted the picture itself. Each part of the background have been identified since then, for example the mountain on the right is the Zirkelstein, the one on the right is most likely the Rosenberg.

Many view the painting as an allegory of life or a metaphor for the unknown future. Some believe it to be about Kantian self-reflection, others about the duality of individuality and the insignificance of the individual in nature. I believe the reason behind its popularity and the reason I love it, other than it being simply breathtaking and beautiful, is its mysteriousness and how it invites everyone to invent their own stories for the man in the painting. Fila Enikő

 

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Henry Fuseli (1741 – 1825)

The Nightmare, 1781

Oil on canvas, 101.6 cm × 127 cm

Detroit Institute of Arts

 

Henry Fuseli (originally Johann Heinrich Füssli) was a Swiss painter and draughtsman. Although he was born in Zürich, he spent most of his life in Britain. He painted numerous paintings for the Shakespeare Gallery, created by John Boydell, and later he created his own Milton Gallery. He was a Professor of Painting at the Royal Academy from 1799, and four years later, he was appointed as Keeper. His style influenced many young artists, such as William Blake.

Fuseli was creating in the Romantic period, and his works also have Gothic features. He often depicted supernatural and mythological themes, and the works of Shakespeare and Milton, with a certain amount of exaggeration, since he believed that it is necessary. As far as his style is concerned, he was an expert of shadow and light. He sometimes used his paints in dry, powder form, which he dipped in oil, turpentine or gold size, regardless of amount, depending on the power of accident. He painted almost 200 paintings, however, he exhibited a very small amount of them.

Fuseli’s best known work is The Nightmare. It was first exhibited in 1782 at the annual Royal Academy exhibition in London, and since then, the painting became an icon of horror. Fuseli’s purpose was to shock and intrigue the audience. In the picture there is a voluptuous, young woman in a sexually perceptive position in a very elegant, 18th century bedroom. On her stomach there is an incubus figure, and behind them, there is a black horse with white, blind eyes, peeping through the curtains.

Art historians, anthropologists, literary critics, psychologists contemplated about the painting over the last two hundred years. The interpretations vary from a metaphor for sexual violence and rape, through a representation of Fuseli’s longing for an unrequited love, to a folklore tradition. Some also think that the title is a pun: the word ‘mare’ refers to a female horse, which can be the peeping horse. However, this theory does not explain the frightening incubus sitting on the woman’s stomach.

In folklore tradition there are supernatural night-visitors preying on virgins. In this sense, the incubus itself is the nightmare. The term ‘nightmare’ derives from an ancient myth. In Norse mythology there is a spirit called Mara, who visits sleeping women and suffocates and molests them. There are also other traditional stories about women being impregnated by nocturnal fairies and giving birth to half-human, monstrous children (this can be represented in the figure of the incubus). In folklore tradition the horse is the “vehicle” of the incubus, used to ride through the night. Since Fuseli loved these themes, this interpretation seems to be the most valid.

However, there is also the possibility that the painting is an expression of Fuseli’s sexual desires. In 1799, Fuseli visited Switzerland, where he met Anna Landholdt, and fell passionately in love with her. However, because of Anna’s father, this love was never consummated. On the back of the canvas there is an unfinished portrait of a woman, most possibly Anna. Therefore, the main painting is often interpreted as a visualisation of Fuseli’s frustration over this unrequited love. Also, according to some critics, the incubus shares facial features with Fuseli.

Because of the success of The Nightmare, Fuseli painted at least two other versions of it. I personally like this picture, because, while it is disturbing and terrifying, it is also very fascinating and compelling, and the mystery of its meaning makes it even more interesting. Tujner Gabriella

 

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Vladimir Kush (1965- )

African Sonata

Oil on canvas, 53 x 61 cm

 

Vladimir Kush is a Russian surrealist painter and sculptor. He was born in 1965, Moscow; so, he is a contemporary artist highly appreciated in the United States. At the age of seven, besides elementary school he started to attend art classes where he became familiar with the great masters of the Renaissance, Impressionism, and other contemporary artists. When he was 17 years old he enrolled to the Moscow Higher Art and Craft School, but a year later he was conscripted to the Soviet Army. Since he proved to be more efficient in “benign” activities than military training, his commander ordered him to produce propaganda posters. After military service he graduated from the Institute of Fine Arts, and in 1987 he managed to exhibit a few paintings with the help of the Union of Artists organisation. People became more acquainted with him, not only in Russia, but also in Germany where he also managed to sell a few paintings. Then, he decided to immigrate to the US, to Los Angeles where his artistic life made it possible for him to make a living from painting. His big dream came true when he could travel to Hawaii and establish his own gallery called Kush Fine Art. There he was forming his own unique style, and later he became known as the prime representative of “metaphorical realism”.

Since surrealism is the most influential influence on him, Salvador Dali’s surrealistic paintings had a huge impact on his early works. The two artists have a lot in common; for instance, both are keen on using optical illusions. They also frequently wash two different shapes or figures into one element, such can be seen on the "L'Amour de Peirrot" by Dali or on the "Behind the Trees" by Kush. In addition, other defining characteristics of Kush’s artistic style are the ample use of animals, flowers, landscapes – which are often inspired by the island of Hawaii. Moreover, symbolism also embedded itself into many Vladimir Kush paintings.

The painting, "African Sonata", depicts a vivid Savannah scene with distinct animals, such as elephants, antelopes, and birds. The most conspicuous phenomenon, however, is that musical instruments constitute certain body parts of the animals, such as tubas for the proboscis of elephants, horns for the head of antelopes. It is also very interesting that the whole body of the birds in the lake can be seen as violin clefs, just the same as the clouds and the smoke from the volcano on the sky. Therefore, it becomes obvious that music is in the focus of the painting, and music has a symbolic meaning. When music is played we can conclude for some kind of a celebration. Since music is demonstrated with animals that are animate beings of nature, life itself is celebrated. Thus, animals are calling other animals to rejoice. They are also inviting the viewer to exultation through the sounds of instruments. It is visible that the central element is the enormous animals, the elephants. Elephants were one of the first animals on earth, so they had power over the world. Hence, they may symbolize attributions such as strength, compassion, wisdom, and loyalty – and existence itself.

Furthermore, not only the elephant has symbolic meaning, but also the antelope’s musical instrument, the lyre, whose importance dates back to the Greek myths. Lyre was owned by Apollo, the god of prophecy and music. He gave his lyre to Orpheus, who was a great musician and poet, and taught him to play it. Through his playing Orpheus managed to tame wild animals, charm trees, mountains, and even stones. He also wanted to bring back his wife, Eurydice, from the underworld. As a consequence, it can be tangible that lyre was the instrument of life, which is more evidence for the main theme of the painting: celebration of existence. Finally, the place where this scene is set is not accidental either. Africa is thought to be the birthplace of humanity, where life started and civilisation took shape. Pfeifenrót Fanni

 

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Edouard Manet (1832-1883)

A bar at the Folies Bergère (Un Bar aux Folies Bergère) 1882

oil on canvas, 96 x 130 cm.

Édouard Manet was a 19th century French painter who played a crucial role in the transition from Realism to Impressionism. He was one of the first artists to depict scenes from everyday life. Although many of his early works caused great controversy and gained sharp criticism at the time, today they are regarded as watersheds of modern art. Throughout his career, his innovative style contrasted the academic principles of The Salon, the most prominent annual exhibition of Paris. He took part in the lively social life of Paris and made friends with several famous artists at his time, such as Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Emile Zola, Monet, Degas and Cézanne.

He was born in Paris on 23rd of January in 1832 into an upper-class family with strong political connections. Despite a career in law envisioned for him by his father, Manet chose to devote his life to painting. After two unsuccessful attempts to join the Navy, his father came to terms with his chosen career as an artist. Before developing his own style, he studied under the academic painter Thomas Couture. Before he opened his own studio in 1856, he visited the most significant places in art, such as Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. He was a frequent visitor of the Louvre and copied the works of old masters in his free time. Moreover, he was influenced by the Dutch painter Franz Hals, and the Spanish artists Diego Velasquez and Francisco Jose de Goya. He died in 1883 in Paris and was buried in the Passy Cemetary in the city

The first piece of work which he submitted to the Salon was the Absinthe-drinker (1858-59). Although it was rejected, it shows the early painting style of the artist with its broad and loose brushstrokes, its suppressed transitional tones, the simplification of details and his common subjects, such as a drunken man, transmitted from everyday life.

Manet’s last major work, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (Un Bar aux Folies Bergère in French) was painted in 1882 and was exhibited in the same year in The Salon.  It depicts the interior of the prominent music hall, the Folies-Bergère in Paris. The place, which opened in 1869, had a joyous and lively atmosphere and was also well known of prostitutes. Although Manet visited the place often and made preparatory sketches, the painting does not give back the actual setting of the bar. He set up a constructed bar in his studio and asked a genuine barmaid from the Folies-Bergère, Suzon to serve as his model. The audience and critics found the painting unsettling because of the inaccuracy of the barmaid’s reflection and the off-centre perspective of the picture. Nevertheless, the piece served as a subject of several academic debates and scholarly articles. The contrast between the elegant and luxurious background and the detached and even melancholy expression on the barmaid’s face makes this painting powerful and mysterious. Some critics argue that the barmaid is a covert prostitute and the customer in front of her is not only interested in buying some drinks but also in further services for the night. While the viewer cannot be sure about that theory, the social class of the barmaid is clearly indicated. She belongs to the working class; it is observable from her bare, gloveless hands and by her cheeks which are reddened by the long night’s work. Seeing her hair from behind in the mirror, a critic even suggested that she had chopped off her lock to get some money. Although the barmaid is the central figure of the painting, Mane was a master of still life and the details on the bar and in the background are examples of his talent. The blinding white spots above the bar that are reflected in the mirror are the first depictions of electric light. Moreover, the strength of the light is applied by Manet to depict the different types of glasses on the bar in the form of the transparent vase and the massive crystal bowl with the tangerines.  Another telling detail is the bottle of beer in both the left and the right corner with the red triangle on its label. That label belonged to the American based Bass beer which counted as an exotic product at that time. It was the first brand registered by the Trade Mark Office in 1876. Next to the beer, on the label of the red absinthe the inscription of the artist can be read with his name and the date.

         The detachment of the barmaid from her surroundings makes this painting admirable for me. Despite the marvellous environment she is working in, her mind is occupied with something else. Her thoughts are far away, she is only present physically. Even if she is not worried about anything, she seems completely unaffected by the dazzling interior of the Folies-Bergère. Her distant look reminded me of situations when I felt similarly detached, unable or unwilling to fit in an environment. Zsuzsa Fruzsina

 

The Guardian-A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, Edouard Manet (1882)

Art and Architecture- A Bar at the Folies-Bergère http://www.artandarchitecture.org.uk/images/gallery/dfa40992.html

The Telegraph- Philip Pullman on Manet - What makes a masterpiece? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-features/8025267/Philip-Pullman-on-Manet-What-makes-a-masterpiece.html

The Courtauld Gallery-Édouard Manet- A Bar at the Folies-Bergère http://www.courtauld.ac.uk/GALLERY/collections/paintings/imppostimp/manet/foliesbergere/index.shtml

Híres Festők- Édouard Manet

Wikipedia Edouard Manet

 

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David Hockney (1937-)

 Pearblossom Hwy., 11 - 18th April 1986, #2

Chromogenic Print 181.6 x 271.8 cm

Getty Museum - Los Angeles

 

David Hockney is a contemporary pop artist, painter, and photographer. He was born in England and later moved to California, a place which inspired many of his pictures, one of which is Pearblossom Hwy. Now he is living and working mostly in Yorkshire.

Pearblossom Hwy. is a photo collage, made up of hundreds of different pictures to create an illusion of a single image with a realistic perspective. He photographed everything from close up and then arranged the pictures so that they make a coherent whole. The two sides represent the different viewpoints that the driver of the car and the passengers have. The passenger sees all the little details of the road and can take time to appreciate nature, while the driver has to concentrate on signs and markings, which does not leave much time to notice anything else. He made the picture while living in California, where he had to learn how to drive. He was practicing on roads that were not high in traffic, like Pearblossom Hwy. He realized how differently he sees the road when he is the one driving the car and this was an inspiration for this picture.

The picture is one of his “joiners” series, where he applies the process he uses as a painter to the medium of photography. He has to make decisions about lines and forms, he can leave out or include anything he likes, and he takes a long time to study each individual element of the picture. Therefore these pictures are somewhere between a drawing or a painting and a photograph. 

Here are two videos where he explains how and why he made this picture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTKYb8iVJQ4 (please ignore the annoying voice of the narrator) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sD123svCFHQ

And this video is about the thought process behind his joiners series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGtraVb_0vY  

I chose this picture because he is an artist who fascinates me both visually and intellectually and I think Pearblossom is a great example of that. For me the thought process behind it is amazing and it is a great representation of how interestingly his mind works while making his pictures. I think that many of his pictures show the love he has for people, places, and life. I can see this love and attention in this, which makes me love the picture even more. I wouldn’t say that this is one of his most visually pleasing pictures, and I would rather put one of his paintings on my wall, but it is the best representation of the two sides of him for me. Droste Julia

 

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Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)

Henry Ford Hospital, 1932

Oil on tin sheet, 32.5 x 40.2 cm,

Collection Museo Dolores Olmedo Patiño

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter born on July 6, 1907. She was born to a Mexican mother and a German father a year before the Mexican revolution.  Frida had a rather hard and turbulent life. At the age of 6 she contracted polio and only 10 years later she had an accident that immensely changed her life. The bus that she was riding hit a trolley and left her spine and abdomen wrecked for life. However, the bus accident made Frida quit medical school and she dedicated her life to painting. Throughout her life-time Frida created around 140 paintings. She was fairly famous for her self-portraits which were highly influenced by Mexican culture.  

As a young artist, Frida met her husband Diego Rivera. They had a somewhat turbulent marriage which inspired a lot of Frida’s work. Due to the bus accident Frida could not have children, which led to three miscarriages during their marriage.

The painting Henry Ford Hospital was influenced by one of those misfortunes.  On July 4, 1932, Frida suffered a miscarriage in the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. The painting represents Frida lying down in a hospital bed whose legs are floating in the air, showing Frida’s feelings of helplessness and vulnerability. The bed is surrounded with six rather morbid objects. All of the objects seem to be connected to Frida by an umbilical cord. First object on a left hand side is a pink torso which is Frida’s idea of explaining the inside of a woman. The next object is a male foetus ‘’Diegutio’’ which represents a child she longed to have. The snail suggests the slowness of miscarriage. The first object in the second row is a machine that Frida invented to show the mechanical part of the process. The orchid was a gift from Diego and her fractured pelvis was the reason why she could not have children. Also, this painting is a typical Frida ex voto style. The painting is small in size and painted on tin. Moreover, it depicts a tragic event and has an element of a saviour. Malnar Lucija 

 

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Steve McNiven (1967-)

Steve McNiven is a Canadian comic book artist who has been a member of the creative team of Marvel Comics since the early 2000’s. He pencilled and worked as cover artist on various comic titles including famous Marvel events such as Civil War #1-#7, Old Man Logan and the recently released Death of Wolverine storyline where he collaborated with co-creators Jay Leisten, Justin Ponsor and writer Charles Soule.

The character of Wolverine was created 40 years ago by Roy Thomas, Len Wein and John Romita, Sr. on the pages of the Incredible Hulk #180 (October 1974). In the fictional Earth 616 universe of Marvel Comics he was born in Canada in the 19th century with the name James Howlet. As a mutant this hero, latter known as Wolverine/Logan, was gifted with a unique healing ability that enabled him to recover from virtually any injury he sustained. He has assumed many roles during those 40 years in Marvel Comics. Logan has been a father, teacher, mentor, warrior, a fellow X-Man and the member of the equally famous team the Avengers. During a special government project dubbed the “Weapon X Program” he received his trademark adamantium skeleton and his iconic metal claws.

The story Death of Wolverine (September-October 2014) is a continuation of Wolverine volume 5 and volume 6. The limited four issue comic book storyline follows the last adventure of the titular superhero Wolverine/Logan who, having lost his iconic healing ability due to a virus from the microverse, embarks on a mission to stop an old foe who has placed a bounty on his head. During his investigation he encounters both enemies and friends from his past before he reaches Paradise Valley, Nevada, the very same place where he became the Wolverine. The four issues include small references from past comic book stories, including his Avengers membership, contribution in the Weapon X Program and his famous adventure in Japan.

The very last issue of Death of Wolverine concludes the story of Logan in an epic manner. Issue number four, which is subtitled “History”, features the one of the most beautiful covers Steve McNiven has ever created. The cover page features the embodiment of Death carrying away Wolverine’s battle worn and lifeless body to the land of the dead. Death, who is a female character in the Marvel Universe, personally escorts Logan to a land that resembles the fields of Elysium, the realm of the dead in Greek mythology. According to the artists the pose in which the two characters are shown was inspired by the Pieta, or at least that is what story writer Charles Soule suggests. According to McNiven this was not the original concept that they have intended for the final issue. Originally they planned a cover were Death was dragging the hero’s body through the field, but the three artists ultimately agreed on the “Pieta inspired” version. With McNiven working as a penciller and Ponsor and Leisten doing the shading and colouring with the guidance of Soule, the artists provided the best possible solution to commemorate Logan’s last adventure. Death of Wolverine #4 is a worthy ending both visually and contextually and a must for every comic book lover and fan of Wolverine.  Kling Adam

Death of Wolverine #1-4

http://marvel.com/news/comics/22841/covering_the_death_of_wolverine_pt_4

http://marvel.com/comics/issue/50949/death_of_wolverine_2014_4

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_McNiven

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolverine_%28character%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Wolverine

https://prezi.com/7qio0evs9ace/death-of-wolverine/

 

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Clause Monet (1840-1926)

Water Lilies, 1906

Oil on canvas, 89.9 x 94.1 cm

Art Institute Chicago

 

The artist, Claude Monet was born in Paris in 1840, and moved to Le Havre with his family at the age of 5. Monet always loved to be outside in nature, and started drawing at an early age, encouraged by his mother. In Le Havre, he met Eugene Boudin, a local landscape artist, who introduced him to “plein air” painting – in other words, outdoor painting. Monet was one of the first artists who painted out in nature. He moved back to Paris in 1859, and inspired by the Barbizon school (French landscape painters), he enrolled at the Academie Suisse, where he met several talented artists. Later he established the Societé Anonyme together with Renoir, Pissaro, or Manet. After the first exhibition in 1874, a critic insultingly dubbed Monet's style “impression”, because his creations were more concerned with form and light than realism, and people thought his works looked more like sketches than actual, finished paintings. After his first wife, Camille's death, Monet moved to Giverny with his second lover, Alice Hoschedé, where he continued painting for the rest of his life.

Monet built up a flower garden in his Giverny house, which also had a pond with water lilies, and a bridge over it. These flowers had a great appeal for him, and he painted approximately 250 water lily paintings, which became his timeless motifs. In the first water lily series, Monet painted the pond environment with the lilies, the bridge, and the trees surrounding the pond, but he later lost his interest in the conventional pictorial space, and focused only on the lilies. He wrote to a friend: “These landscapes of water and reflection have became an obsession for me.” He called his garden the haven of peaceful meditation, which always helped to soothe his nerves. This piece is from his third water lily series, painted in 1906. The painting perfectly exemplifies Monet's style: he captured the essence of nature with strong colors and short brushstrokes, he painted what he saw instead of copying from old masters. He was a revolutionary artist, who turned away from blended colors and the evenness of classical art, and helped to create a new artistic style – Impressionism.

The reason why I choose this painting is because Monet is my favorite artist,  and the greatest Impressionist painter in my opinion. This piece reflects the “haven of peaceful meditation” that Monet was talking about. I find his works unique and exemplary, and I specifically love them because of the unusual lines and colors, which evoke a dreamlike feeling in the observer. Szemes Zsófia

 

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Hein Neuner 1910 – 1984

graphic designer, illustrator

 Jugend Dient Dem Führer, 1939, Berlin

Paper, Offset, Photomontage

 84 cm × 59.2 cm

 

Hein Neuner (1910 – 1984) was a German graphic designer and illustrator working mostly as a freelance artist. Before moving the Berlin he was the assistant of László Moholy-Nagy at the Bauhaus. In Berlin he worked for Die neue Linie – the trend-setting magazine for Germany at the time and Freude und Arbeit, which was a propaganda magazine distributed in 44 countries.

This propaganda poster was made in 1939 in Berlin. The text on the poster says: “Youth serves the leader” and “All 10-year-olds into the Hitler Youth”. The piece of work was made with techniques popular in the decade: it was printed on paper with offset technique in which “the inked image on a printing plate is printed on a rubber cylinder and then transferred (i.e., offset) to paper or other material.” The image is originally black-and-white and it was later coloured in by the artist, which is called hand-colouring, hand painting or overpainting, a method usually used to heighten the realism of the photograph. In the poster a strong, blond, blue-eyed boy can be seen who is a typical Aryan-looking person. He is looking up to a God-like version of Adolf Hitler. Hitler was usually depicted in posters as God or a normal guy playing and talking to children. In this case the placement of the figures suggests that the young German boy is in complete subordination to the ideas of the Führer.

This piece of work was one of the many propaganda posters (around 60,000,000) The Third Reich used during their campaign. The aim was to bring every child in the Hitlerjugend: in the beginning by posters and propaganda, later by making it compulsory to join. By 1936 Hitlerjugend had close to 4 million members.

To my mind, it is fascinating that The Third Reich was so persuasive and so good in propaganda that they managed to brainwash a big portion of Germany and make them believe that the notion of the Nazi leadership (Aryan race, Lebensraum) was in fact necessary and the best choice available so this is why I chose this piece of art. Simon Klaudia

Quoted sources: Offset printing. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/425722/offset-printing

Other sources:

Cinamon, G. (2013). Hein Neuner. Retrieved from http://www.germandesigners.net/designers/hein_neuner

DHM Objektdatenbank. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.dhm.de/datenbank/dhm.php?seite=5&fld_0=PLI12196

Kitchen, M. (2008). The Third Reich: Charisma and community. Harlow, England: Pearson Longman.

 

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Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

Guernica/Gernika, 1937

oil on canvas, 349 cm × 776 cm

Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid

Gernika is one of the most famous paintings of Pablo Picasso. He was a very famous Spanish painter, who was born in 1881 in Malaga; nevertheless, during his life he moved to several cities; for instance Madrid, Barcelona and Paris.

The beginning of the Spanish civil war pushed him to a greater political awareness, and he did one of his most famous works in 1937, when the Germans bombed the Basque village of Gernika, in the north of Spain, causing the death of numerous innocent people and important material damage. The meaning of the painting is not totally clear but it can show the impact of the war and the horror of fascism in Spain. At that time, he was living in Paris. The incident, thus, is set in the development of the Spanish Civil War, which confronted two groups. On the one hand there was the government of the republic, democratically elected and, on the other hand,  the army of the fascist Francisco Franco, who wanted to eliminate the republic in Spain; indeed, he received help from the Germans and the Italians.

The Basque village of Gernika did not have any strategic importance. In fact, before the Second World War started, the Nazi army wanted to prove the power of their aviation technology for the war and they focused in this village, as it is small and vulnerable.

The Spanish Civil War finished with the defeat of the republican government, and Picasso's desire for the painting was that it should not return to Spain until the country was a democracy again; nowadays the painting is in Madrid.

In the painting there are some symbols.

-There is a lamp, which represents technological advance, which can have positive but also negative consequences, and one of the negative consequences is the massive destruction in wartime, as happened in Gernika.

-The horse is a symbol of the country. The animal is injured by a lance, which signifies that Spanish people are injured and suffering.

-The bull is turning his head, looking at around what is happening. For Picasso, the bull symbolizes darkness and brutality, perhaps of the society and of people.

-Under the bull a woman can be seen; she is screaming, looking up while she holds her dead son in her arms.

-Down below there is a dead soldier; in one of his hands he is holding a broken sword and a flower, which signifies the hope of ending all the wars.

-The woman with the candle lights up the place, she is upset,  maybe she is a ghost who recalls the republic with her light.

-In the background, between the bull and the horse there is a dove. One of her wings is broken, as peace in society.

-On the right side, we can see a desperate man, looking up  and screaming because his house is burning, symbolizing the need to stop the bombing. Pena Goizane

 

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Livio Scarpella

 

Livio Scarpella is a modern Italian sculptor. According to him, he became an artist not because of choosing to be one, but thanks to the consequence of choices he had to make during his life. Following his natural inclination and sticking to his determination were the things which led him to become interested in the divergent forms of art. In order to develop he attended to schools of art such as the Accademia di Brera in Milan.

Regarding the techniques, his favoured method is using terracotta, ceramic and copper as basic elements and then combining these with other materials and techniques such as gilding or inclusion of precious and semi-precious materials like gold or hard stones.  His works often resemble the sculptures of the 1700s, which is understandable since he is a follower and admirer of the Venetian Rococo sculptor Antonio Corradini.

Underground Ghosts was part of a bigger exhibition called 'Fuori dal Tempo' ('Out of Time') and it was first shown at the Gallery Gomiero in Milan roughly a year ago. The sculptures were inspired mainly by one of Giuseppe Sanmartino?s sculptures called ?Cristo Velato? (Veiled Christ). Not only the source of inspiration, but the topic of the exhibition is also in connection with the Christian religion. It focuses on the issue of sin without repentance. The sculpture portraits are androgynous characters meaning that they have feminine and masculine characteristics as well. The most popular among these are the Damned and the Blessed which are faces carved out of stone and are hidden beneath a transparent veil. The minerals embedded in their chests are replacing the human hearts and symbolize whether the soul is damned or blessed. Thus, the dark amethyst stands for evil while the purple quartz represents repentance and resignation in faith.

The reason why I chose these sculptures is basically the fact that they are beautifully formed out of one of the toughest materials ever. Even though some of them might be rather scary, they are still capable of drawing our attention and make a huge impact on us. The faces might evoke contradictory and ambiguous feelings but religion is, in some ways, similar to it as wellPikó Noémi

 

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Jan Vermeer (1632-1675)

The Love Letter, c.1669-1670

oil on canvas, h 44cm × w 38.5cm

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

 

Although he was forgotten for many decades, today Jan Vermeer is one of the most celebrated Dutch painters of the 17th century.  His paintings were thought to be other artists’ works until the 1870s, when he was rediscovered. Vermeer lived and painted in the Dutch town, Delft; he was a son of a silk worker who also dealt with arts. His father's name was originally Reyner Jansz van der Meer, but he changed it to Vermeer before the birth of Jan. After being an apprentice of a fellow townsman, Carel Fabritius, he joined the local artists’ guild in 1653. Vermeer’s early paintings represent historical scenes that show the impact of the Utrecht Caravaggists. His later paintings represent interiors with men and more often women while they are doing everyday activities: domestic scenes, illuminated by a nearby window.

He has no exact self-portrait; he is said to be present in one of his paintings, The Procuress. He painted many pictures about Delft; the view from the riverside is represented realistically and compellingly on all of his works. Probably his most famous painting is The Girl with a Pearl Earring, which has been reproduced and processed in many versions. The Milkmaid is another very famous and typical painting by Vermeer. His works can be found all over the world; there are paintings in Amsterdam, Dresden, London, New York and they are usually exhibited in other cities all over the world.

In The Love Letter Vermeer used an unusual point of view. There are two spaces: one frontal and one further away. The centre is the background, where a very elegant woman looks in surprise at her maidservant. The floor is paved with marble tiles, which was extremely rare in the painter’s time; it represented very considerable wealth. We can see a pair of slippers at the front of the painting. These refer to the actual fashion and were present in most of the paintings of Vermeer’s contemporaries. Their meaning was altering according to the context: usually it had sexual reference, but here it shows that someone didn’t put them away. The crumpled piece of sheet music is also really interesting, because according to a music expert it doesn’t make musical sense. But the presence of music is an obvious sign of love in the common Medieval and Renaissance era. The cittern in the mistress’ arms, which is usually mixed up with a lute, has a very flat body and produces a metallic, stronger sound. If it is not yet obvious for every spectator that the woman holds a love letter, they can notice other indications as well. For example the typical Dutch hearth which also shows the warm presence of love. The two paintings in the background are worth examining: one of them shows a sea scene, the other is a painting of a lonely wanderer. Both tell us that someone misses a lover, a person who is far away. In Vermeer’s painting pictures in the background are usually not only decorative elements, but refer to the scenes which unfold before them: here to the mistress and the maidservant. There are other important details as well, for example, the floral patterned tapestry that separates the two rooms. It suggests that we are watching a scene which we shouldn’t, that we are peeking somehow. We get an insight into a very personal affair. This piece of material is present in various paintings of Vermeer, which is interesting, because it was probably not his possession: it did not appear it in the inventory of his moveable goods after his death. The map of the Netherlands on the left side of the frontal space is also interesting; it must have been a personal favourite of the painter, because it was also present in three more paintings of his. This is almost the only piece which only serves decorative purposes.

The most interesting part of the painting are the two central figures; a mistress sitting on a chair, and a maid who stands behind her. The clothing of the mistress shows unbelievable richness and wealth: her skirt is probably made of caffa, a special kind of silk. Moreover, she is wearing pearl jewellery, which is not only the sign of richness, but also symbolises innocence, vanity and virginity. But why is the maid standing? She is in the leading position in the picture; she places herself above the mistress. She is smiling suspiciously, while the young mistress seems to be surprised or shocked. At this point, the viewers might take into consideration that there is also a cloth hamper full of laundry and a mop left in the room. Why didn’t she put them away? What did the maidservant do instead of her job? There are several solutions for these questions, for example that the maid was the one who wrote the letter, or who wasn’t supposed to give it to her mistress. It is also possible that she is innocent, but then people have to find out other reasons for her standing so mysteriously. Pálinkás Eszter

 

http://www.essentialvermeer.com/catalogue/love_letter.html#.VQRpVI6G-FM

https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/nl/ontdek-de-collectie/overzicht/johannes-vermeer

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Vermeer

 

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GALLERY 2 (3D)

Jón Gunnar Árnason (1931 – 1989)

Sólfar (The Sun Voyager), 1990

Stainless steel, 9 × 7 × 18 m

Sæbraut, Reykjavík, Iceland

 

Jón Gunnar Árnason (1931–1989, Reykjavík) was an Icelandic sculptor. He studied at the Icelandic College of Arts and Crafts from 1945 to 1946. In 1952, he graduated as an engineer from the Technical University of Reykjavík. In 1965, he decided to continue his studies; he attended the University of Hornsey in London until 1967. His works have been exhibited in prestigious galleries in Iceland, the Netherlands, Germany and Norway. He was a founding member of the Icelandic Sculptors Society, which was established in 1972. He died of leukaemia in 1989.

His most famous work is Sólfar (meaning “The Sun Voyager”), which is located on the seafront in Reykjavík. In 1986, the district association of the west part of the city funded a competition for a new outdoor sculpture to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the city. Jón Gunnar’s Sólfar won the competition, and the aluminium model (42.5 x 88 x 36 cm) was presented to the city for enlargement. The full-sized Sólfar was eventually unveiled on Sæbraut on the birthday of the city of Reykjavík, 18th August, 1990, a year after Jón Gunnar’s death. The work is constructed of quality stainless steel and stands on a small headland (which Jón Gunnar jokingly called Jónsnes: Jón’s Peninsular) of granite slabs surrounded by so-called “town-hall concrete”.

There are more than one interpretation of the sculpture. Some people have suggested that Jón Gunnar conceived the work during his illness with leukaemia, at a time when he might have been preoccupied with death, and argued that Sólfar should be seen as a vessel that transports souls to the realm of death. It is also a common misunderstanding that Sólfar is a Viking ship. It may resemble a Viking ship, but that was not Jón Gunnar’s original intention. In a 1987 interview he stated that Sólfar is in fact a dreamboat and ode to the sun, symbolizing light and hope. Intrinsically, it contains within itself the promise of new, undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress and freedom. He also talked about how this whole idea occurred to him.

In 1985 he took part in the Saari-Vala Environmental Art Action with a group of Scandinavian artists in the Bockholm archipelago, in Finland. He claimed that he sensed the historical origins of Icelanders there. He said: “I had an uncanny feeling that I had been on this island before, when travelling on my way from Mongolia to Iceland, hundreds of years ago” (Þjóðviljinn, 1987). He had a vision about the migration of Icelanders: Alexander the Great asked his bravest warriors to go on an exploratory expedition to find and conquer new, unknown territories. The warriors divided into four groups and departed to the four cardinal directions, north, south, east and west. Those who went east and followed the rising sun settled down in Mongolia. Several centuries later they decided to gather their belongings and head back to west, towards the setting sun. They followed the sun for years and years. They eventually reached the ocean, constructed huge ships and sailed westwards, until they arrived at Iceland. As a result of this vivid experience, he carved the image of Sólfar into a rock in Bockholm.

The ship has quite an irregular form, ever-flowing lines and kind of poetic movement, which are distinctive features of many of Jón Gunnar’s works. These features make it seem as if the ship is floating on air. Sólfar has the unique quality of being able to carry each and every observer to wherever their minds take them. Few of Jón Gunnar’s works have a simple and obvious interpretation. As he stated himself, it is the observer who bears the eventual responsibility for interpreting the works in his/her own way, thus becoming a participant in the creation of the work. Jón Gunnar’s works often make such demands on the observers, giving them the opportunity to discover new interpretations as a result of their experiences.

We chose this piece of art, because it is quite compelling and a stunning sight with Mount Esja and the sea in the background. The sculpture can also be interpreted in hundreds of ways, therefore it has a puzzling feature too. Eszter and Gabriella

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Su Blackwell

Su Blackwell is one of the most prominent and recognized paper artists of our time, best known for her paper sculptures created out of pages of well-beloved novels. Born in Sheffield in 1975, Su has been a very artistic person all her life. She studied textiles at Bradford College, but moved on to work with paper, which made her world-wide famous. Sue currently resides in West London, where she both pursues her own projects and takes commissions as well. She prefers young girls as central characters, and her works often include themes from fairly tales and folklore.

Su Blackwell’s 2014 book sculpture Matilda serves as an illustration to the popular children’s book of the same name, written by Roald Dahl. The work was commissioned by a client for his mother, who had a hand in bringing Matilda the Musical to the stage. Inspired by the original illustrations for the children’s book by illustrator Quentin Blake, the sculpture depicts Matilda standing on top of a large stack of books, reaching out to the sky to catch even more books.

This composition expresses the innocence and vulnerability of childhood. Matilda reaching for the sky nicely symbolizes all the hopes and dreams a bookworm young girl might have for the future. At the same time, the piece also conveys a sense of childhood anxiety and melancholy and has a dreamlike quality to it.

Blackwell was drawn to this form of art when she visited Asia, and on her trip she saw how paper was used in spiritual rituals. She saw intricate origami, and rituals that involved burning and destroying paper. She saw the beauty in this and when she found a beautifully illustrated book at one of the second hand booksellers she started thinking about creating art out of it. 

Her work process starts by picking out a second hand book that speaks to her visually. She usually reads the books a few times and decides on a passage that she finds inspiring. She goes on to work directly on the paper without sketching because she has to have a feel of the particular type of paper and what is possible with it. She likes to use the original illustrations from the books as we can see in this piece as well. Enikő and Julia

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Marcel L. Breuer (1902-1981)

Club Chair B3, second version, 1926

Steel and canvas, 71.8 × 78.1 × 71.1 cm

Bauhaus Archiv, Museum für Gestaltung, Berlin

 

The Bauhaus was the world’s first academy for design, located first in Weimar, then in Dessau and finally in Berlin. It only existed from 1919 until 1933 but during this short period it became the most important college of architecture, design and art in the twentieth century. Its intention was to rethink design entirely and not to accept any traditions and conventions. The artistic avant-garde gathering in the Bauhaus wanted to reunite the previously separated forms of art and thus change society and create a modern type of human being.

Marcel Lajos Breuer was born in Pécs, Hungary but soon, in 1920, he moved to Germany and joined the Bauhaus. From 1920 until 1924 Breuer studied at the carpentry workshop at the Bauhaus under Walter Gropius. After passing his exams, he became an associate journeyman at the workshop and a year later Gropius appointed him to the position of junior master, to be the director of it. He remained there until 1928 when he finally left Bauhaus. After working in Europe for a time as an interior and furniture designer, he left for the United States in the 1930s, where he opened his own architecture office. He grew to be one of the most influential figures of architecture and design in the twentieth century.

He revolutionised furniture design with his use of seamless tubular steel. By his own account, it was the handlebars of his own Adler bicycle that inspired him to use that material – he thought that if they can be bent for bicycle handlebars then they can be used for furniture as well. He was lucky – his idea was only feasible because a German manufacturer had developed the process of making seamless steel tubes, which could not break if the tube was bent.

One of Breuer’s most well-known and influential designs is his Club Chair B3, which received the nickname “Wassily Chair” after Kandinsky, who was the first admirer of his friend’s handiwork. The combination of steel and canvas in this chair was radical. It was intended to be a club chair but it is the complete opposite of the traditional, stuffy club chairs found in old and dusty libraries. The gleaming steel and the black canvas, fastened there with springs, give elegance to the simple yet practical design. Pure strength flows from the chair and the person sitting in it seems to be floating, their legs and arms not touching the steel. The avant-garde look of the chair achieved with the use of these two materials perfectly represents the Bauhaus mentality. Sára

 

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Aníbal González (1875-1929)

Plaza de Espana, 1928

Floor area: 45,932 m2 (494,410 sq ft)

Sevilla, Spain

The Plaza de España is a principal building, a great architectural complex with two tall towers and a beautiful curved red-brick facade, located in the Maria Luisa Park, in Seville, Spain. Although it is quite easy to find it because of its huge size, the Plaza de Espana is located near the entrance of the Park that is just in front of the University of Seville. It was built in 1928 for the Spanish-American Exhibition of 1929.

Work on the Plaza de Espana began in 1914 and was supervised by its creator, the Sevillian architect Anibal Gonzalez. He was also the chief architect of the event and designed other buildings such as the Mudejar Pavilion which is also in the Maria Luisa Park. It was the most expensive and laborious construction of the fair, employing at some poins more than 1,000 workers. Obviously, the project went through aesthetic criticism and financial difficulties, especially because Seville was in very bad economic shape. In 1926 Anibal Gonzalez resigned from his position and the Plaza de Espana was finished in 1928 by Vicente Taverner, who added the central fountain.

This massive building is Seville's most impressive one after the cathedral, for its sheer scale and grandeur. It represents the so-called regionalist architecture and stands out because of the skilful combination of a brick structure, tiles and many different polychrome ceramic decorations. The square's main attractions are its semicircular lake, its twin towers, the beautiful coffered ceiling in the building and here you can see the benches that depict 48 provinces of Spain in ceramic tiles which are situated all along the wall by the canal. Each with a relevant tableau and map, all designed on colourful azulejos which are basically painted ceramic tiles. The benches are ordered alphabetically and each one has the name, coat of arms, map and some historical facts. In spite of the state of some of the tiles, they are absolutely spectacular for their artistic value and their representations of the history of Spain. The complex has a balanced structure of a central building with long arms that end in two towers, named South Tower and North Tower. The materials used are typically Spanish: the red bricks, the ceramics and tiles, the marble works and the wrought-iron decorations. There are four magnificent bridges and in a further regional reference, the four bridges represent the four ancient kingdoms of Spain: Castille, Aragon, Navarre and Leon. As for the overall dimensions, the Plaza is the size of five football pitches. The building has a ground level portico and first-floor balustrade with balconies stretching along its length. Its plan is semicircular. It is dominated by two towers, one on each side of the enclosure frame the central building where the rooms are. Between the two towers runs a network of galleries with semicircular arches that lead onto different areas of the square, where a fountain stands. The central fountain is said to break the emptiness of the square. Bettina and Donatella

 

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Rob Guz

Guitar, 2009

Body: Basswood

Neck:  Maple

Fretboard: Rosewood

Neck scale: 26.5” (semi-baritone)

Custom yellow and red lacquer finish

Rob Guz is a Swedish multi-instrumentalist best known for his guitar work in the industrial metal band M.A.N. For the second album in 2010 they decided to give their music a twist, and to mimic eastern music. To achieve this, he remodeled the fretboards on his guitars, to include 48 fret spaces, the double of the traditional 24. This enabled him to play quarter-tones instead of semi-tones.  He called this the “full-scale quarter tone system”.

In a Western perspective 8 tones or 12 semitones make up an octave, an equal distance between the a musical tone and its higher or lower counterpart. However in this simplified eastern approach one octave includes 24 quarter tones, the halves of semitones. These tones vary very little in frequency, and would sound “out of tune” for the untrained ear. 

Rob has a history of constructing and modifying instruments. He built his 11 string electric guitar in 1997, moreover had built a fretted medieval style cello and a so called “harp fiddle”. Among his guitars we can find one covered in old and tattered bark of wood, looking like a dead tree in a desert, while another is perfectly covered in circuit boards and cables, making a “guitarborg”. All his instruments are fit for playing.

He blends this tonal chaos into M.A.N’s aggressive music with skill, resulting in guitar solos resembling middle-eastern prayer calls from the throat of the instrument, and droning machine-like hopping patterns among many other crazy, yet beautiful and clever techniques.

The guitars were originally produced by Schecter guitars, two retail seven string models. The matte finish had been sanded off, and the body and headstock had been carved to resemble a western-eastern hybrid carvings. The new color finishes were layers of lacquer including a drop of Rob’s blood. Gábor

“prayer call solo” at 3:15 - https://youtu.be/dmKiW_L1Qlw?t=181
“drone hop” at 2:30 - https://youtu.be/hD46kr8Kw0s?t=146

Rob’s introduction for the first album - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tX7iq5tlJzE

Tolgahan Cogulu, turkish guitarist demonstrating his microtonal guitars:
demonstration - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRsSjh5TTqI
studio recording of him playing Kara Toprak - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rekt_-oaAuo

 

 

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Alexander MacQueen (1969-2010

Alexander McQueen (1969-2010, London) was a London-based, English fashion designer, who was also the head designer of Givenchy fashion line (1996-2001), before starting his own line. He dropped out of school at the age of 16 and started working on Savile Row, a street in London's Mayfair district that is famous for offering made-to-order men's suits. This was his first main influence in the art of fashion as that was the workplace where he learned the impeccable tailoring that would later define his career. He moved on from Savile Row and began working with theatrical costume designers Angels and Bermans, and learned to master 6 methods of pattern cutting, from melodramatic 16th century to razor sharp tailoring.He enrolled at Central Saint Martin's College of Art & Design, and received his master’s degree in fashion design in 1992. His graduation project, entitled “Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims”, was inspired by the story of Jack the Ripper. Soon after obtaining his degree, McQueen started his own business designing clothes for women. He met enormous success with the introduction of his "bumster" pants that had extremely low-cut waistline. He won many awards during his career, including International Designer of the Year, and A Most Excellent Commander of the British Empire by the Queen of England. He opened stores in New York, Milan, London, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and many other fashion centres of the world. On February 2, 2010, McQueen's mother died, and one day before her funeral, on February 11, 2010, McQueen was found dead in his apartment. The cause of death was determined to be suicide. His longtime co-designer Sarah Burton took over the still-operating Alexander McQueen brand, and McQueen's contribution to fashion was honored by a 2011 exhibition of his creations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

His final collection, for A/W 2010-2011, consisted of sixteen outfits, and 80% of their creation and design was finished by the time of his death. The aim of this collection was to reflect poetic, medieval beauty, and the grace of medieval Madonnas and Byzantine empresses. As stated by Sarah Burton, head of design of the brand, McQueen turned away from the world of the internet for the creation of this collection, and mainly studied the period of the Dark Ages, but finding light and beauty in it. At the time of creation, he was also trying to go against the plain and restricted direction fashion was taking, by being inspired by a period where a certain degree of flamboyance was present. For some of the pieces, he used fabrics that translated digital photographs of high-church angels and Bosch demons. All of the pieces he had ever done were made with the haute couture method, being entirely handmade. This collection blends romanticism, fragility and strength, tradition and modernity, and is a great juxtaposition in itself. Réka and Zsófia

 

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Mikulas

The Prague Astronomical Clock, or Prague Orloj is a mediaeval astronomical clock located in Prague. It was first installed in 1410, which makes it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still working. The oldest part of the Orloj, the mechanical clock and astronomical dial, dates back to 1410 when it was made by clockmaker Mikuláš of Kadaň and Jan Šindel The first recorded mention of the clock was on 9 October 1410. Later, presumably around 1490, the calendar dial was added and clock facade was decorated with gothic sculptures. There were a few legends connected to the clock. One of the most famous ones was connected to the maker of the clock Master Hanuš. This legend does not acknowledge Mikuláš of Kadaň as the author of Orloj but Master Hanuš. Based on the legend Master Hanuš was chosen by the councillors of Prague to construct a unique time measuring device. Hanuš did what he had promised. After he had introduced his perfect machine to the councillors they got scared. They wanted the machine to stay unique and they worried that the clockmaker could make a similar machine for another town. So they were thinking how to get rid of him. One night a group of people broke into the master´s house and they blinded him with a piece of iron. Hanuš knew very well who was behind that and therefore he asked one of his pupils to accompany him to the very heart of the astronomical clock. The pupil did what he was told and Hanuš, despite his blindness, stopped the clockwork. Based on the legend it took more than a century before the astronomical clock was in operation again.

The astronomical clock marks the hours of the day in a quadrant with 24 hours and represents the positions of the sun and of the moon in the sky. This element has the oldest mechanism of the clock, and dates from 1410. The clock is decorated around with some figures. Above the clock, there are two windows, where every hour the apostles can be seen walking in line; actually, they are the only statues that move in the clock. When the windows close a statue of a cock flutters and sings, and the bells sound afterwards. Below there are other 4 statues. These represent four allegories that were disliked at the time of the clock's making. The first is vanity, represented by a figure admiring himself in a mirror. The next one is avarice, represented by a trader holding a bag of gold, wanting always more and more. In the other side there is the figure that symbolizes Death, which is a skeleton that kills time. The last figure is a Turkish prince who represents carnal desire. Finally, below the clock can be seen the Calendar, made by the Czech painter Josef Mánes. The calendar was added to the clock some years later, in 1870. It has 12 painted medallions, each one represents 1 month of the year. The calendar was replaced by a copy in 1880. Thus, the original calendar is stored in the Museum of Prague. In the sides of the calendar there are also four figures: An angel, a philosopher, an astronomer and a chronicler. Lucija and Goizane

 

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Victor Nizovtsev (1965-)

A Magical Time

Oil on canvas, 32x48

McBride Gallery, Annapolis MD

 

Victor Nizovtsev was born in 1965 in a Central Siberian city near Lake Baikal but after a few years his family moved from the Russian Federation to the Republic of Moldova and this was the place where he grew up. During his childhood he attended several art institutions such as Kotovsk’s Art School for Children, Ila Repin College for Art in Chisinau and finally the prestigious Vera Muhina University for Industrial Arts in St. Petersburg, Russia. After his graduation in 1993 he began to work as a professional painter. In 1997 Nizovtsev moved to the United States with his family, where he enjoyed a high degree of success due to his unique style.

Nizovtsev is a great oil painter of theatrical and figurative composition. He does not really have a specific source of inspiration since it comes from what he sees and touches, though it can be said that Russian folklore, Greek mythology, the masters of the past and, of course, childhood memories have a great influence on him. In his works he likes to depict landscapes and still life and what makes it interesting is that he combines these everyday themes with fantastic elements; hence, most of his paintings recall the characters of children’s book illustrations. The arrangement of paintings in a narrative composition is also one of his specialties.

A Magical Time” is an oil painting on canvas and it resembles the characteristics of an Andersen or Brothers Grimm fairy-tale. The vibrant, energetic and rich colours and hues are inviting the viewers into a different universe which, at first glance, is rather a place for children but this is not true. Its highly symbolic nature hides a number of meanings and messages that can only be interpreted by a grown up person. For example the white swan is in the centre of the painting not only because it stands for love, grace, purity and transformation, but also because it is a creature that lives harmoniously amongst the three of the four Aristotelian elements: earth, air and water. The ship represents transformation or the wide range of possibilities available for all of us while goldfish refers to clarity, fertility and tranquillity. The most important thing that holds these three together is water and it signifies union.

Nizovtsev’s paintings are excellent reminders of what we forgot or what we lost by growing up. I think that these paintings are actually trying to motivate us to use our own imaginations and not to get trapped in the monotonous way of everyday life but rather to pay attention to the little miracles of life. Noémi

 

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Sandy Powell

Cinderella’s ball gown

The artwork appears in the new Disney adaptation of Cinderella, directed by Kenneth Branagh. The dress appears in the focal point of the film, the centre scene of the ball. The magically created ball gown has had a place on its own in the collective consciousness of our civilization ever since Disney studios created the classic original in 1950. For the 2015 retelling of the story, three-time Academy Award winner Sandy Powell was given the task of re-imagining the iconic costumes for the film.

Powell was born in 1960, and grew up influenced by the vibrant colours of the large West Indian communities in Brixton, the South London neighbourhood where she still lives. She won an Oscar for her designs in The Aviator, Shakespeare in Love and The Young Victoria. She has great competence with historical costumes, and she claimed that for this film, she aimed for the look of a 19th century period film made in the 1940s and ‘50s. When starting the design process, she watched the original animated film out of curiosity, but she was influenced subconsciously by the size of the ball gown. However her version differs in certain details, and is more historically accurate.  She said in an interview, “I wanted to make the gown look enormous. The gown had to look lovely when she dances and runs away from the ball. I wanted her to look like she was floating, like a watercolour painting.” 

To convey a weightless, flowing dress; the voluminous skirt was composed of more than twelve layers of fabric that included gossamer-fine silk, printed polyester, and iridescent nylon in different shades of pale blue, turquoise and lavender. The neckline includes butterfly decorations, which are also part of the ‘creation’ process, when the original dress is transformed into this ball gown. Nine versions of the dress were created, each featuring more than 270 yards of fabric and 10,000 Swarovski crystals. It took 18 tailors more than 500 hours to complete per dress. Petra

Videos to see the dress 'in action':

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDcs6T_vE8A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBODay1OoSs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZgmA-tkwWU

 

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Andy Scott (1964-)

The Kelpies, 2013

Structural and stainless steel

Flakirk District, Scotland

The Kelpies are 30-metre high horse-head sculptures built of structural steel with a stainless steel cladding, and weigh 300 tonnes each. They can be found next to the new extension of the Forth and Clyde Canal in Falkirk District, Scotland. The sculptures were made by Scottish figurative sculptor Andy Scott who works in galvanised steel, fibreglass and cast bronze. Scott graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 1986 with a BA Hons of Fine Art Sculpture and a year later he got his postgraduate degree. His sculptural practice is characteristic of the combination of traditional dexterity, draughtsmanship and contemporary fabrication techniques.  The Kelpies greatly represent his sculptural style as many of his works are site specific, creating narratives and exploiting the powerful sense of urban places.

The sculptures were created in the framework of the Helix Project whose aim was to improve the connection between sixteen communities in Falkirk District. The land transformation project of Helix includes the eastern end of the Forth and Clyde Canal and the area where the canal joins the River Carron. Although the project includes a canal extension that reconnects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the River Forth, the most visible part of the development are the Kelpies. The construction of the sculptures began in June 2013, was completed in October 2013 and the Kelpies were opened to the public in April 2014.  As part of the Helix project, they will also have their own visitor centre.

In addition to the background of The Kelpies, it received its name from the Scottish mythology according to which, kelpies were shape-shifting water spirits living in the lakes of Scotland. They were described as a horse being able to adopt human forms. There are different beliefs connected to the kelpies. The first interpretation is that they were malevolent water horses desiring human sacrifices to appease the gods of water. Another belief is that the kelpies served a practical purpose in keeping children away from the dangerous stretches of water and warning young women not to let themselves be seduced by handsome strangers. Since horses are said to be powerful and enduring animals the name given to the sculptures was intended to represent these good qualities instead of the malevolent and practical use of the mythical kelpies. Therefore, The Kelpies symbolize Scotland’s heavy horse industry and economy, and the improvement of the country’s waterways. Scotland’s inland water connections are transforming and developing in just  the same way as the kelpies transformed into humans. Andy Scott claims about The Kelpies that they serve as “references towards a socio-historical monument intended to celebrate the horse’s role in industry and agriculture as well as the obvious association with the canals as tow horses.” Fruzsina and Fanni

 

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Robin Wight

One O’clock Wish, 2014,

Wire sculpture

England

Fairies and fairy tales have always been part of the European folklore. They have been described in many ways throughout history. In the Medieval Age they were described as rather horrifying creatures. In medieval description they either appeared as wizened trolls or tall, radiant angelic creatures. The category of fairies also included various other magical creatures such as goblins, gnomes, sprites and other mischievous spirits. However they were also referred to as good folk, or wee folk in some traditions. The little, winged humanoid appearance is a modern idea.

The word fairy originates from the Middle English word “faierie”, a word that derived from Old French originally used to describe a land, realm where these legendary people from the folklore lived.

The inspiration came from a photograph Robin Wight, the artist, took one day in his garden. When he took a closer look he could spot a fairy-like creature standing on a tree branch which was a trick of the light but was enough to envision the fairy creatures. He currently lives in Staffordshire, England and claims that the sculptures are only his hobby for now but he would like to make them his career if there is interest.

Robin Wight’s works range from miniatures to human sized statues. The fairy statues titled “Wishes” are 5 foot tall constructions, most of which are located at the so called “Fairy Trail” in the Trentham Estate’s garden. The construction “One O’clock Wish” is an exception, because it can be found on the private property of Mr. Wight.

One O’clock Wish is a 3 feet tall wire sculpture. It holds a dandelion clock which tells the time by blowing on it. The other part of its name originates from the idea that making a wish with a dandelion will carry you wish in the wind and because the seeds have the ability to take root in the harshest conditions the wish will be strong as well and have a better chance of surviving

Mr. Wight uses 3 types of wires, all of them made of stainless steel, to construct his works. Thick metal wires to build the main body, thin wires for adding the skin and the details and finally some springy wires to construct the wings of the fairy. First he draws the concept of the fairy, then he constructs the skeleton of the statue while also bending the wires in the desired pose. A stone, with a personal message engraved on it, is placed into the body before he continues to add the skin to the fairy along with the wings as a final step.

If someone wants to have their own fairies in their garden they can simply order a customized piece from Robin or they have the opportunity to order a DIY kit with which they can assemble their own 8-inch tall fairies.

With Robin Wight’s brilliant idea we can turn our very own garden into a land full of magic, into a land of wonders and fairy tales. Adam and Klaudia

SOURCES

https://www.facebook.com/Fantasywire

http://www.fantasywire.co.uk/

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