Monday, October 20, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tiepolo's romance of Rinaldo and Armida

Rinaldo and Armida in Her Garden, 1742-1745
Rinaldo Enchanted by Armida, 1742-1745
Armida Abandoned by Rinaldo, 1742-1745

Rinaldo and the Magus of Ascalon, 1742-1745

{from Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata}

Friday, September 26, 2014


Caspar David Friedrich, 1803
[Pierpont Morgan Library]

Friday, September 12, 2014

Prunus in flower

William James Mildenhall, ca. 1900 
[National Library of Australia]

Monday, August 25, 2014

Young Woman with Peonies

 Frédéric Bazille, 1870
This painting can be seen as Bazille's homage to Manet. The flower vendor appears to be a reference to the black woman with the extravagant bouquet in Manet's infamous Olympia. The flowers themselves, especially the prominent peonies, also offer a kind of tribute. Manet cultivated peonies and often painted their lush blooms. 

National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Thursday, July 17, 2014


The Pilot ACE computer, designed by Turing, at the National Physical Laboratory

Friday, June 13, 2014


Diane Arbus ~ Albino Sword Swallower at a Carnival, ca. 1970

"There's some thrill going to a sideshow - I felt a mix of shame and awe.  I mean, there's a sword box where they don't cut the girl in half, they stick a lot of swords in and none of them really go through her and besides they're not sharp and ... it's fun because the girl is almost looney."

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Production Line of Happiness

Christopher Williams ~ Bergische Bauernscheune, Junkersholz, Leichlingen, September 29, 2009

Friday, May 23, 2014

@ Universal Studios in Los Angeles

Ara Güler ~ Alfred Hitchcock, 1974 

Our meeting was to be in his office at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, with all the normal precautions and rules.  Hitchcock was very imposing.  From the start, he was silent and reserved, no doubt thinking: why do I have to waste my time with a Turkish photographer?  Nonetheless, he soon changed his mind and joined the fun.  For the two whole hours the old elephant struck poses, mimed and looked for props to spice up the decor.  Hitchcock directed himself, crossed my field of view, thought up a new composition and dreamt up apparitions of himself, like those that were obligatory in his films.  A silent film, as it turned out, as we exchanged barely a word.  Everything was in gestures and looks.  He understood and I understood - something I have never had with another subject. - Ara Guler

Creating the 20th Century: 100 Artists, Writers and Thinkers by Ara Guler  and Alberto Manguel

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Rembrandt ~ An Elephant, in the Background a Group of Spectators, ca. 1637
This is probably a representation of the (Asian) elephant called 'Hansken' which arrived in Amsterdam in 1633 on a ship from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) as a gift for the Prince of Orange. The animal was kept in Frederik Hendrik's palace in Rijswijk and in 1636 it was given to the stadtholder's cousin Johan Maurits who sold it that same year to a private person who taught the animal thirty-six tricks. From 1637 'Hansken' left the Netherlands on a journey through Germany and Denmark and Rembrandt may have seen the animal in Amsterdam before the shipping. The elephant is shown in front of three figures, illustrating its size. Another drawing of the same elephant dated 1637 is in the Albertina, Vienna. The elephant returned to Amsterdam in 1641 and was drawn again by Rembrandt in different poses between 1644 and 1646; the animal now looking older. The animal toured in France (1642-1646), Germany and Switzerland (1646-1647, 1649-1652) and died in Florence in 1654 (possibly drawn by Stefano di Bella, drawing now in Biblioteca Reale, Turin).
Curator's comments @ The British Museum

Sunday, April 27, 2014