Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Information for a very Medieval Halloween

Momento Morti - pointers for a Very Medieval Halloween

If Halloween has once again caught you unprepared, you may, like many of us, be desperately casting your mind about for a suitable get-up for this evening’s revelries.  Have no fear!  The Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts section would like to offer the following last-minute costume ideas: 

This little bat is trying really hard to be spooky, but it is so cute....  #HebrewProject Harley MS 5699 …

Witches beware! 'Wizards or sorcerers... are to be zealously driven out, unless they cease and desist.' These laws of King Cnut aren't exactly getting into the #Halloween spirit, but they're the exhibit of the day from Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms …

Mirror, mirror, who's the scariest of them all? A female skeleton is creeping it real in a warning against vanity in the Office of the Dead from a C15th Book of Hours 

"Draw and wear this" -  #SurviveHalloweenIn4Words

"Bodyguard against demons and ghosts" according to this 1800-year old papyrus @BLMedieval . See more: …

It's Halloween today - here's a handy flowchart on how to deal with a vampire attack, based on a genuine 11th-c. English case. Print out and keep with you.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

French actress Olympe de Gouges. erased from history until now.

In 1793, the French actress Olympe de Gouges was guillotined by the Jacobins, after daring to demand political rights for women as well as men.

she was incredible. 'Why have I never heard of her?' you might ask, as I did. The answer is fairly obvious. Men went to great lengths to erase any trace of her from history. After her execution, by order of the authorities, all the papers found in her home were burned.

She was an abolitionist, who wanted a tax on capital, the legalisation of divorce and abolition of religious marriage (which she called 'the tomb of love and trust') in favour of a more egalitarian contract, a public health system, full equality between black and white people...

 "All is in stasis while the heartless rich stash away their wealth, that vile instrument of their cupidity... can it make them happier? These inactive treasures, what good do they do anyone? They must be offered interest-free to the State in the same way they are placed in safes”

She was included in the exhibition Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy (2015) precisely because she argued for the Rights of Women. She was a  very important figure. It took only 222 years for her to get the recognition that she deserved.

The prosecutor of Paris, Pierre-Gaspard Chaumette, published an article, weeks after her execution, which said she “abandoned the cares of her household to get involved in politics and commit crimes. She died on the guillotine for having forgotten the virtues that suit her sex.”

Les trois urnes, the 1793 poster by Olympe de Gouges that led to her arrest and execution

She was among the first to grasp that Robespierre was demagogue, publicly calling him a murderer and a dictator, and was arrested - and eventually executed - for distributing literature calling for a referendum on the most desirable regime that should replace the monarchy.
 "Whose blood do you still thirst for? But sacred philosophy will shackle your success, for whatsoever may be your momentary triumph or the disorder of this anarchy, you will never govern enlightened men. Tell me, what, actually, will be your place in the pages of history?”
  Olympe de Gouges actually foresaw her own erasure from history. She knew what men would do to her accomplishments, and the accomplishments of other women. From her Political Testament: “And if one day French women are recalled by posterity, maybe then my memory will be held dear”

First page of Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen
There is a short ad at the beginning of the video:

Olympe de Gouges and the Rights of Woman (Women and the French Revolution: Part 3)

From the twitter feed of Hanna Nina Jameson  @Hanna_Jameson


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Lee Kasner. Born on this day in 1908

October 27, 1908. Lenore "Lee" Krasner (October 27, 1908 - June 19, 1984) was an American abstract expressionist painter in the second half of the 20th century. She is one of the few female artists to have had a retrospective show at the Museum of Modern Art. Installation view. Photo by: Diego Flores / Paul Kasmin Gallery. © 2017 The Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. 

 "Lee Krasner is one of the most significant painters of the 20th century--an artist whose importance is only now being seen." This prophetic statement made by art critic Barbara Rose in 1977 leaves the reader questioning: What is it that has made the work of Lee Krasner such an integral and irreplaceable chapter in the progression of American art?

Lee Krasner's place in American art can be qualified in many ways, including through her role as a forerunner of the first original American art movement, Abstract Expressionism. This style can be seen as a manifestation of the horror felt in the wake of WWII. . . Emotions of helplessness and confusion overwhelmed these artists and created a state of mind that we can identify with today, in the wake of the tragedies of our own era.

Hidden in the shadow of her mythic husband, Krasner herself had to wait a long time before receiving her due as a painter. 

Things began to change with her career retrospective, which she saw in Houston in 1984, the year of her death, and which subsequently traveled to the Museum of Modern Art. A second retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum in 2000 taught a new generation to acknowledge a missing link in the canonical Abstract Expressionists.

"Krasner never stopped exploring and utilizing lessons from the past. Her life's work is an intricate balance of both her past and present, one that did not take any experience for granted. Her work is rich in experience, reflection and understanding. Barbara Rose said it best, Lee Krasner is indeed one of the most important painters of the 20th century."

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Pablo Picasso. Born on this day in 1881, the most famous painter of the 20th century.

Les demoiselles 1907

Guernica, 1937
Famous as no artist ever had been, he was a pioneer, a master and a protean monster, with a hand in every art movement of the century.

To say that Pablo Picasso dominated Western art in the 20th century is, by now, the merest commonplace. Before his 50th birthday, the little Spaniard from Malaga had become the very prototype of the modern artist as public figure. No painter before him had had a mass audience in his own lifetime. The total public for Titian in the 16th century or Velazquez in the 17th was probably no more than a few thousand people — though that included most of the crowned heads, nobility and intelligentsia of Europe. Picasso's audience — meaning people who had heard of him and seen his work, at least in reproduction — was in the tens, possibly hundreds, of millions. He and his work were the subjects of unending analysis, gossip, dislike, adoration and rumor.

There seems little doubt that the greatest of Picasso's work came in the 30 years between Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907) and Guernica (1937). But of course he didn't decline into triviality. Consistently through the war years and the '50s, and even now and then in the '60s and '70s, he would produce paintings and prints of considerable power. Sometimes they would be folded into series of variations on the old masters and 19th century painters he needed to measure himself against, such as Velazquez and Goya, or Poussin, Delacroix, Manet and Courbet. In his last years particularly, his production took on a manic and obsessive quality, as though the creative act (however repetitious) could forestall death. Which it could not. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Andrea della Robbia. Born on this day in 1435

Andrea della Robbia. Saint Michael the Archangel, ca. 1475. Glazed terracotta; wood frame. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1960.

October 24, 1435. Andrea della Robbia (October 24, 1435 - August 4, 1525) was an Italian Renaissance sculptor, especially in ceramics. Born in Florence, Robbia was the son of Marco della Robbia, whose brother, Luca della Robbia, popularized the use of glazed terra-cotta for sculpture. Andrea became Luca's pupil, and was the most important artist of ceramic glaze of the times. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Gabriel Metsu. Buried this day in 1667

Lady at home, reading a letter from her sweetheart. But what does it say? Is he overseas, as painting on wall suggests? Or is that seascape about turbulence of love? By Gabriel Metsu, who died (alas!) on this day in 1667.

He: let me tell you about my brave soldierly exploits. She: I’ll be needing a refill on the wine soon. By Gabriel Metsu, whose day was today.

The refill of the wine plus bread and herring.

Woman has taught her dog to dance. Viola de Gamba by Metsu.

This woman is composing music. Dog (very small) is all ready to perform. Man is being seriously annoying. By Gabriel Metsu, 1662.

He: I'm old and ugly but very rich please marry me. She: you're kidding right? By Gabriel Metsu

He: I could show you a better way to play those chords. She: I have heard that line way too many times. By Gabriel Metsu, 1661. 

He: do you want this lovely dead bird? I shot it just for you. She: please go away, but you can leave the dog here. By Gabriel Metsu of Leiden.

Gabriel Metsu, Metsu also spelled Metzu, (born January 1629, Leiden, Netherlands—buried October 24, 1667, Amsterdam), Dutch painter of scenes of everyday life who was best known for his use of the window format to frame his subjects.

Captions by Peter Paul Rubens on Twitter.ël_Metsu

The Black Female Figure in Modern Art

...The importance of the representation of the black female figure in Modern art.

The day the world began....according to Archbishop Usher.

October 23, 4004 BCE: Date arrived at by 17th C Irish Archbishop James Usher for the beginning of the world, based on the events from the book of Genesis. He counted through all the Biblical "begats" and decided the world began at 9:00 am on this day (Book of Hours, ca.1243 CE).