baleanoptera: (Default)
The city where I live in is doing a wonderful thing. It is taking all the old photographic archives and making them available on the net. All the old photos left to the city or somehow in the city's care is being made available - with names if possible.


Cut for quite a lot of pictures )
baleanoptera: (Default)
The city where I live in is doing a wonderful thing. It is taking all the old photographic archives and making them available on the net. All the old photos left to the city or somehow in the city's care is being made available - with names if possible.


Cut for quite a lot of pictures )
baleanoptera: (Verweer girl with milk)
Grote Kerk )

Pieter Jansz Saenredam (1597-1665), was a Dutch painter and a contemporary to Rembrandt. His favourite subject to paint was churches. More specifically the huge, white interior of Protestant reformed churches.
Braavo Kerk )
There is an odd feel to his paintings. Look as I might I always end up feeling like I’m only seeing half of what is there. That the true motif is half hidden by that pillar and it is in fact the tiny man to the right that is seeing the whole of the thing. I, the viewer outside the frame, am reduced to a peeping tom by Saenredam. Forever trying to peer behind that pillar – to see what is really there.

In fact his paintings remind me more of photos than anything else. They have a feel of reality stopped and perfectly copied. A snap shot of urban Dutch life. The people in the paintings are not posing for the painter. They are not lined up for an easy overview. Contrast if you will with Raphael and his The School in Athens.
Interior of the Buurkerk )
I love his paintings because they make me feel like I’m inside the church room. It’s almost as if I can hear the chatter of the people and the echoes they must make in the room.


The key is that Raphael, and most painters after the Renaissance used the laws of the central perspective to form their images. This states that the image should be harmonious and easily recognisable to the viewer outside the frame. There is a vanishing point, usually in the centre of the painting – and all lines and compositions are adapted to this point. Why in the centre? Because that is where our, aka the viewers, eyes would look first. So we, outside the frame, are the paintings major form of reference. Man is the measure of all things, as Da Vinci and others were so fond of saying.
St. Odulph Kerk )
For Saenredam this is not the case. In his paintings man is just a small part in the integrated whole. The world he shows is not one that is shaped to soothe the eye of the beholder. Instead the beholder, inside or outside the frame, is again and again shown that they are just a small part in a larger picture. But since we are so used to seeing old paintings composed after the rule of the central perspective his images can at times look a little strange to us.
Braavo Kerk )
We are used to seeing images that shape man as the centre and orders the world into harmony around his eye. But this is not something natural; it’s just a visual convention. I’m going to borrow a line from Obi-Wan Kenobi and say that "the many truths we cling to depend greatly on our point of view." But I’m going to re-write it a little bit and say that "What we see depend greatly on our point of view".


"Looking is not commonly understood as a complex matter. Generally, vision is treated as autonomous, free and pure. However, looking is not a simple matter, and seeing is related both to what is known and to what counts as available to be observed. What is seen depends on who is looking, at what, in which site. Seeing is relative rather than absolute"
- Elaine Hooper-Greenhill from Museums and the Interpretations of Visual Culture
baleanoptera: (Verweer girl with milk)
Grote Kerk )

Pieter Jansz Saenredam (1597-1665), was a Dutch painter and a contemporary to Rembrandt. His favourite subject to paint was churches. More specifically the huge, white interior of Protestant reformed churches.
Braavo Kerk )
There is an odd feel to his paintings. Look as I might I always end up feeling like I’m only seeing half of what is there. That the true motif is half hidden by that pillar and it is in fact the tiny man to the right that is seeing the whole of the thing. I, the viewer outside the frame, am reduced to a peeping tom by Saenredam. Forever trying to peer behind that pillar – to see what is really there.

In fact his paintings remind me more of photos than anything else. They have a feel of reality stopped and perfectly copied. A snap shot of urban Dutch life. The people in the paintings are not posing for the painter. They are not lined up for an easy overview. Contrast if you will with Raphael and his The School in Athens.
Interior of the Buurkerk )
I love his paintings because they make me feel like I’m inside the church room. It’s almost as if I can hear the chatter of the people and the echoes they must make in the room.


The key is that Raphael, and most painters after the Renaissance used the laws of the central perspective to form their images. This states that the image should be harmonious and easily recognisable to the viewer outside the frame. There is a vanishing point, usually in the centre of the painting – and all lines and compositions are adapted to this point. Why in the centre? Because that is where our, aka the viewers, eyes would look first. So we, outside the frame, are the paintings major form of reference. Man is the measure of all things, as Da Vinci and others were so fond of saying.
St. Odulph Kerk )
For Saenredam this is not the case. In his paintings man is just a small part in the integrated whole. The world he shows is not one that is shaped to soothe the eye of the beholder. Instead the beholder, inside or outside the frame, is again and again shown that they are just a small part in a larger picture. But since we are so used to seeing old paintings composed after the rule of the central perspective his images can at times look a little strange to us.
Braavo Kerk )
We are used to seeing images that shape man as the centre and orders the world into harmony around his eye. But this is not something natural; it’s just a visual convention. I’m going to borrow a line from Obi-Wan Kenobi and say that "the many truths we cling to depend greatly on our point of view." But I’m going to re-write it a little bit and say that "What we see depend greatly on our point of view".


"Looking is not commonly understood as a complex matter. Generally, vision is treated as autonomous, free and pure. However, looking is not a simple matter, and seeing is related both to what is known and to what counts as available to be observed. What is seen depends on who is looking, at what, in which site. Seeing is relative rather than absolute"
- Elaine Hooper-Greenhill from Museums and the Interpretations of Visual Culture
baleanoptera: (Verweer girl with milk)
Lot's Wife by Anselm Kiefer )


title of piece: Lot’s wife
artist: Anselm Kiefer
medium: Painting, made with paint, pieces of straw, twigs and soil. It shows two railroad tracks, stretching into the distance – the horizon a bleak, white sky.



The painting takes its title from the Bible story of Lot’s wife, who was told not to turn back and look at the destruction of Sodom, but who did – and was turned to salt.

Kiefer’s art has a tendency to deal with history and memory, and specifically German history, and this is no exception. Just as Lot’s wife, Kiefer looks back, seeing what he has left behind.
What kind of Sodom has existed, and been destroyed, in his past, as well as what kind of Sodom he has escaped from. Keeping in mind that this picture deals with German history, the presence of the railroad track, makes me think of the railroad to Auschwitz.

But unlike Lot’s Wife neither Kiefer nor we, the viewers, are turned to salt – and the picture seems to say that sometimes we have to look back. Sometimes we have to view the evil we leave behind us.

The pieces of straw, twig and soil incorporate the very land itself into the picture and makes it tangible. The land becomes present in the painting in a way it would not have been had Kiefer used just paint. The result is a grounding of the picture. What Kiefer shows isn’t just a parable or a biblical reference, it is real as the twigs and soil is real.

In short this painting gives me chills.


cross posted to [livejournal.com profile] newtranschool
baleanoptera: (Verweer girl with milk)
Lot's Wife by Anselm Kiefer )


title of piece: Lot’s wife
artist: Anselm Kiefer
medium: Painting, made with paint, pieces of straw, twigs and soil. It shows two railroad tracks, stretching into the distance – the horizon a bleak, white sky.



The painting takes its title from the Bible story of Lot’s wife, who was told not to turn back and look at the destruction of Sodom, but who did – and was turned to salt.

Kiefer’s art has a tendency to deal with history and memory, and specifically German history, and this is no exception. Just as Lot’s wife, Kiefer looks back, seeing what he has left behind.
What kind of Sodom has existed, and been destroyed, in his past, as well as what kind of Sodom he has escaped from. Keeping in mind that this picture deals with German history, the presence of the railroad track, makes me think of the railroad to Auschwitz.

But unlike Lot’s Wife neither Kiefer nor we, the viewers, are turned to salt – and the picture seems to say that sometimes we have to look back. Sometimes we have to view the evil we leave behind us.

The pieces of straw, twig and soil incorporate the very land itself into the picture and makes it tangible. The land becomes present in the painting in a way it would not have been had Kiefer used just paint. The result is a grounding of the picture. What Kiefer shows isn’t just a parable or a biblical reference, it is real as the twigs and soil is real.

In short this painting gives me chills.


cross posted to [livejournal.com profile] newtranschool

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