Enthusiasms

Containing whatever I enthuse over

Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Krazy Kat January 21st 1922

Posted by clissold345 on December 23, 2014

The photo shows panels 1 and 5 from the strip published on January 21st 1922. This strip was one of a small number of experimental colour strips published in 1922. Quoting Krazy Kat I’m going to call it the “Door Mice” strip. (The mouse is not Ignatz. He’s presumably a cousin of Ignatz. Ignatz appears (brick ready to hand) at the end of the strip.) Krazy Kat is concerned that such a small and delicate creature is carrying round “a door so heavy with weight”. He/she knocks at the door and enters the mouse’s non-existent house to point out politely that (amongst other defects) the door “lacks the very very essentials of helpfulness”. In the last panel the mouse raises the door above his head to block the brick thrown (as usual) from the hand of Ignatz. Krazy Kat does not notice.

Advertisements

Posted in Art | Leave a Comment »

Hiroshima August 6th 1945

Posted by clissold345 on December 22, 2014

Apparently only five photos have survived from the day the bomb fell on Hiroshima, all by the same man — Yoshito Matsushige, a 32-year-old newspaper photographer. He was at home on the morning of August 6th 1945 (the bomb exploded at 8:15 a.m.), a little more than a mile and a half from ground zero. Later, he made his way into the city. One of the photos he took (shown here), around 11 a.m., was of badly burned junior high school students on the Miyuki Bridge. Police are attempting to treat their burns with cooking oil. What appears to be rags are, in many cases, skin hanging from arms and legs.

Posted in Art | Leave a Comment »

Acme Novelty Library (hardcover)

Posted by clissold345 on January 19, 2008

The full title of the book is “The Acme Novelty Library Final Report to Shareholders and Rainy Day Saturday Afternoon Fun Book”. This is the large (9.5″ x 15.5″) hardcover book by Chris Ware, published in 2005, with 108 numbered pages (and a few extra unnumbered ones). The book contains comic strips about many characters, including Rusty Brown, Chalky White, Big Tex, Quimby Mouse, an unnamed superman, Jimmy Corrigan, and others. There are also project pages (telling you how to build a variety of paper models) and many pages of spoof adverts.

I’m fascinated by Ware’s visual inventiveness and energy. For example, there are two strips, in tiny panels, on the edges of the cover. On pages 10 and 11 he gives the board for an elaborate game (the game of life?). The project pages for creating the “Miniature Working Acme Novelty Library” include tiny books, which (of course) are about Jimmy Corrigan, Quimby Mouse, etc.

Many of the characters are male, middle-aged, lonely and frustrated. Quimby Mouse himself is tired, no longer young and in love. I don’t understand why Chris Ware spends so much time exploring such characters, after all there isn’t much character to explore. Chalky White starts as Rusty Brown’s stooge but he develops more character. The strips I was most moved by (well, more moved by) are those, near the end of the book, dealing with Chalky and his teenage daughter Brittany. I’d like to see more of Brittany as she grows up.

The photo shows Chalky and Rusty at school sports. Monday 26th March 1973.

Posted in Art | Leave a Comment »

The Waterseller

Posted by clissold345 on December 31, 2006

In The Waterseller by Velazquez the focus of attention is the glass (with a shadowy fig in it to sweeten the water). The hands of the waterseller and the boy almost touch on the stem of the glass and they look past each other. My eye is also drawn to the boy’s crisp white collar and to the two earthenware vessels (the larger vessel has three drops of water on it). In the current state of the picture the drinker in the background is (thankfully) much less visible than in the photo given here.

Posted in Art | Leave a Comment »

Room A at the National Gallery

Posted by clissold345 on December 1, 2006

Room A at the National Gallery in London contains hundreds of close-packed pictures. These are the reject pictures, the ones that the gallery doesn’t have space to display elsewhere. If I look at these pictures I have to make up my own mind about them. The labels don’t tell me what to think. Crowds of tourists don’t direct me to the masterpieces amongst them. It’s thought-provoking to see a Botticelli displayed beside a “Workshop of Botticelli”? Can I see why the second has been labelled “Workshop of Botticelli”? In Room A you’ll also find paintings by Signorelli, Sebastiano del Piombo, Sodoma, Honthorst, Hooch, and many others.

One of my favourite pictures in Room A is “The Story of Papirius” by Domenico Beccafumi. The figures are often lively and graceful, there are strong contrasts of light and shade under the arch, and the trees are strangely fragile.

Posted in Art | Leave a Comment »

Velazquez Exhibtion

Posted by clissold345 on November 30, 2006

The Velazquez exhibition is on in London until 21 January 2007. The best time to go (that is, the quietest time) is probably toward the end of the day. In a given room there’s usually at least one picture with few people looking at it, so (ignoring the catalogue numbering) I look at that picture first. I look at that picture with all the concentration I have, walk round the middle of the room a few times to rest my eyes, and then decide on my next picture. If I like a picture I sometimes look at it from the left, from the right, from near and from far.

In paintings of the 1630s and later Velazquez sometimes paints fabrics with what seem flicks (or flickers) of paint. The flicks of paint don’t attempt to be an exact representation of the fabric, but on the other hand they never become arbitrary or casual. The fabrics are sometimes contrasted with the machined lines of armour or stirrup or sword. For example, in the picture of Guzman on horseback (from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York):

Posted in Art | Leave a Comment »