baleanoptera: (Historical Cassiopeia)


A few years ago I went to Mont St. Michel in Normandy. It was a cold, windy February day – every now and then it would rain – but that didn’t stop me falling in love with the place.

There’s this oddity to why I like certain works of art that has nothing what so ever to do with the art works aesthetical qualities. For objectively I can look at a painting or a statue and see why it’s good or even famous. But this is not the same as liking it.

Liking implies something else. It’s that feeling you cannot pinpoint and that is best articulated with a near breathless "wow". I guess, in a way, it can be compared to having a crush on someone. One of those "love at first sight" crushes that makes you giggle a bit, and ignore any possible flaws. And those crushes, for me at least, are always connected to first impressions. So the first view of the art work, the feel and mood when I see it becomes highly important. ++++++++ )
So good people – have you had an emotional experience that forever colour and affect the way you view something? A work of art? A book? A film?

And to prove that I am indeed very much in love with Mont St. Michel here is a link to a previous post with some stunning photos.
baleanoptera: (Historical Cassiopeia)


A few years ago I went to Mont St. Michel in Normandy. It was a cold, windy February day – every now and then it would rain – but that didn’t stop me falling in love with the place.

There’s this oddity to why I like certain works of art that has nothing what so ever to do with the art works aesthetical qualities. For objectively I can look at a painting or a statue and see why it’s good or even famous. But this is not the same as liking it.

Liking implies something else. It’s that feeling you cannot pinpoint and that is best articulated with a near breathless "wow". I guess, in a way, it can be compared to having a crush on someone. One of those "love at first sight" crushes that makes you giggle a bit, and ignore any possible flaws. And those crushes, for me at least, are always connected to first impressions. So the first view of the art work, the feel and mood when I see it becomes highly important. ++++++++ )
So good people – have you had an emotional experience that forever colour and affect the way you view something? A work of art? A book? A film?

And to prove that I am indeed very much in love with Mont St. Michel here is a link to a previous post with some stunning photos.
baleanoptera: (SW Padme concept dark)
So yesterday it was all about Romanticism and savage nature - therefore I found it fitting to turn to post-modernism and a very clear urban setting.



I have a bit of a thing for Street Art, and a rather large crush on the images of the artist Banksy.
click here for a rather large number of images )
baleanoptera: (SW Padme concept dark)
So yesterday it was all about Romanticism and savage nature - therefore I found it fitting to turn to post-modernism and a very clear urban setting.



I have a bit of a thing for Street Art, and a rather large crush on the images of the artist Banksy.
click here for a rather large number of images )
baleanoptera: (Norge atlanterhavsveien)
This all started after a comment by [livejournal.com profile] schionatulander about how European Art is usually seen just as Italian, French, German and British art - with a few artists from other European countries thrown in for good measure. It's sad that this is the norm, as it all helps create a very narrow (and IMO very boring)Art Historical canon.

Now Norway has one shining star on the Art Historical map and that is Edvard Munch. This is not a post about him. He has plenty of attention already.(and secretly I'm not that fond of Munch, and I make it a habit not to write too much about art I don't like. Which is also the reason why you will never find large ramblings about Rubens and Van Gogh in this journal.)
Instead this is a post about a Norwegian painter I'm very fond of: Peder Balke. And if you are now saying "Who?" then please read on.



more stormy weather under here )
baleanoptera: (Norge atlanterhavsveien)
This all started after a comment by [livejournal.com profile] schionatulander about how European Art is usually seen just as Italian, French, German and British art - with a few artists from other European countries thrown in for good measure. It's sad that this is the norm, as it all helps create a very narrow (and IMO very boring)Art Historical canon.

Now Norway has one shining star on the Art Historical map and that is Edvard Munch. This is not a post about him. He has plenty of attention already.(and secretly I'm not that fond of Munch, and I make it a habit not to write too much about art I don't like. Which is also the reason why you will never find large ramblings about Rubens and Van Gogh in this journal.)
Instead this is a post about a Norwegian painter I'm very fond of: Peder Balke. And if you are now saying "Who?" then please read on.



more stormy weather under here )
baleanoptera: (Norge Stavechurch)
Well, it’s now official. I will be taking media studies this autumn, and in the spring I’ll hand in my master thesis in media studies. The fact that I already have a master in Art History points to the fact that I’m possibly a bit insane. (I’ve been through this shitstorm once – and now I’m doing it again? But I get to write about war films and Band of Brothers)
At any rate – both to keep me grounded and to hold on to whatever sanity I have left – I thought I’d post a bit about my favourite art objects.

(and if you are reading this Nol then know this is all you fault! The art posting I mean. Not the crazyness of doing media studies. Your question about my favourite art period got me thinking, and thinking, and thinking. Still no answer – but there is this:)

-----------------------------




Detail of Urnes Portal

The Portal of Urnes Stave Church



Portals and thresholds are dangerous places in all older, North European churches. They mark the division between the sacred inside and the profane outside –and thereby obtain a symbolic as well as practical function. The result is that most portals are lavishly decorated, often with saints and angels like the portals at Chartres or Vézelay.
text portal? )
baleanoptera: (Norge Stavechurch)
Well, it’s now official. I will be taking media studies this autumn, and in the spring I’ll hand in my master thesis in media studies. The fact that I already have a master in Art History points to the fact that I’m possibly a bit insane. (I’ve been through this shitstorm once – and now I’m doing it again? But I get to write about war films and Band of Brothers)
At any rate – both to keep me grounded and to hold on to whatever sanity I have left – I thought I’d post a bit about my favourite art objects.

(and if you are reading this Nol then know this is all you fault! The art posting I mean. Not the crazyness of doing media studies. Your question about my favourite art period got me thinking, and thinking, and thinking. Still no answer – but there is this:)

-----------------------------




Detail of Urnes Portal

The Portal of Urnes Stave Church



Portals and thresholds are dangerous places in all older, North European churches. They mark the division between the sacred inside and the profane outside –and thereby obtain a symbolic as well as practical function. The result is that most portals are lavishly decorated, often with saints and angels like the portals at Chartres or Vézelay.
text portal? )
baleanoptera: (Default)

Candida Höfer: Louvre VIII


Rather innocently I went to an art exhibition. I wasn't expecting anything, and that is when it always happens isn't it? You are blown away and end up thinking "wow!" A few days later, hopefully, more coherent thoughts sneak in - but for those few days your brains is just trying to sort out all the impressions. The artist in question was German born Candida Höfer. This is a few days later - and these are a few more coherent thoughts.

cut for the obligatory images )
baleanoptera: (Default)

Candida Höfer: Louvre VIII


Rather innocently I went to an art exhibition. I wasn't expecting anything, and that is when it always happens isn't it? You are blown away and end up thinking "wow!" A few days later, hopefully, more coherent thoughts sneak in - but for those few days your brains is just trying to sort out all the impressions. The artist in question was German born Candida Höfer. This is a few days later - and these are a few more coherent thoughts.

cut for the obligatory images )
baleanoptera: (Soldier with tounge)
Dear f-list (especially the North-American contingent).

I need some help here.
I'm working on an article about propaganda and art in the 1940's and one of the American pieces is by Norman Rockwell. Am I correct in remembering that there is a saying "it looked like a Norman Rockwell painting" to describe something nostalgic and sentimental - and it is his sentimental and idyllic paintings he is best known for?

You see all my books focus on his artistic development. They say nothing about his legacy in popular culture, and that is partially what I need. So I any of you could enlighten me in regards to the Rockwellian-pop culture I'd be every so happy.



And this is the specific painting in question )
baleanoptera: (Soldier with tounge)
Dear f-list (especially the North-American contingent).

I need some help here.
I'm working on an article about propaganda and art in the 1940's and one of the American pieces is by Norman Rockwell. Am I correct in remembering that there is a saying "it looked like a Norman Rockwell painting" to describe something nostalgic and sentimental - and it is his sentimental and idyllic paintings he is best known for?

You see all my books focus on his artistic development. They say nothing about his legacy in popular culture, and that is partially what I need. So I any of you could enlighten me in regards to the Rockwellian-pop culture I'd be every so happy.



And this is the specific painting in question )
baleanoptera: (Norge bryggen detalj)
Maybe you noticed that a few of my post titles are called "Picturing History"? You might have chalked this up to bad title-imagination, and you wouldn’t be far wrong – but there is also an underlying method to the madness.

This then is a meta-like post trying to sort out all the different arguments and views I’ve played with in the Picturing History posts. I’m not rightly sure this will interest any one but me, but it might. And if you’d like to take peek at that part of by brain that revels in academic geekery – well this is a good opportunity.

The present post considers the difference between, and the juxtapositions of, history and memory. With history being the science concerned with correct historical facts and an objective view. Memory would be its bastard baby – filled with emotion, value and pathos. It’s sometimes wrong, but it’s never uninteresting. To simplify: history would be the encyclopedic reference, and memory the bloody, lusty and colourful tale spun around the same event.

In which I say a quick definition, but clearly mean a rather long one. It can be skipped. )

So in conclusion; memory doesn’t have to be factually correct to work or have value. Take for instance Casablanca. Rick never says "Play it again Sam", but "Play it Sam. Play As Time goes bye" Yet "play it again" is the one people remember and the one most often quoted when referencing the film. So just because some thing is recalled incorrectly does not mean it’s not functional. (The disclaimer here would be that if it is just one person that remembers incorrectly the memory will not work. The memory aspect needs to be a collective thing – a common base of reference.)

Memory comprises of anecdotes, tales and phrases within a culture. I felt The Wire season two did a beautiful job portraying how memory forms the backbone of a collective identity. This is probably why I did a huge post on it.

Sometimes we remember based on slightly crooked information – like the World war II photos by Robert Capa. Or we remember and form a view based on how we want things to look and how we are used to things looking more than the way things were. There is our habit of recalling the Middle Ages as dark, mysterious. Or our recollection of Antiquities as dotted with white marble statues, when in most of them were painted. Quite festively.

Cut for Caligula - in colour! )
The question then arises; Even if we remember all these things slightly incorrectly, does that make our memory without value? I would say no. For if memory, as I proposed earlier, is part of what forms our identity - then all these memories, even the factual wrong ones, are important in understanding of who we are. To say the white marble statues are wrong, simply because they aren’t historically correct, would be false. For we have grown used to seeing the white marble, and for us it holds all manner of significance in addition to being a historical artifact.

Memories in the forms of Memoirs can also be important in that they give us a more emotional, sometimes personal, dimension that has a habit of being sidetracked by historical facts. For me the beauty of the HBO series Band of Brothers is not its historical dimension, but that it brings to life memories and a memory culture.

Somethings we need to remember. And we don’t need facts to be reminded either – a painting, like Anselm Kiefer’s Lot’s Wife, can do just as much to trigger memory as a list of historical artifacts can.
a finishing quote, aka the words of wisdom )
baleanoptera: (Norge bryggen detalj)
Maybe you noticed that a few of my post titles are called "Picturing History"? You might have chalked this up to bad title-imagination, and you wouldn’t be far wrong – but there is also an underlying method to the madness.

This then is a meta-like post trying to sort out all the different arguments and views I’ve played with in the Picturing History posts. I’m not rightly sure this will interest any one but me, but it might. And if you’d like to take peek at that part of by brain that revels in academic geekery – well this is a good opportunity.

The present post considers the difference between, and the juxtapositions of, history and memory. With history being the science concerned with correct historical facts and an objective view. Memory would be its bastard baby – filled with emotion, value and pathos. It’s sometimes wrong, but it’s never uninteresting. To simplify: history would be the encyclopedic reference, and memory the bloody, lusty and colourful tale spun around the same event.

In which I say a quick definition, but clearly mean a rather long one. It can be skipped. )

So in conclusion; memory doesn’t have to be factually correct to work or have value. Take for instance Casablanca. Rick never says "Play it again Sam", but "Play it Sam. Play As Time goes bye" Yet "play it again" is the one people remember and the one most often quoted when referencing the film. So just because some thing is recalled incorrectly does not mean it’s not functional. (The disclaimer here would be that if it is just one person that remembers incorrectly the memory will not work. The memory aspect needs to be a collective thing – a common base of reference.)

Memory comprises of anecdotes, tales and phrases within a culture. I felt The Wire season two did a beautiful job portraying how memory forms the backbone of a collective identity. This is probably why I did a huge post on it.

Sometimes we remember based on slightly crooked information – like the World war II photos by Robert Capa. Or we remember and form a view based on how we want things to look and how we are used to things looking more than the way things were. There is our habit of recalling the Middle Ages as dark, mysterious. Or our recollection of Antiquities as dotted with white marble statues, when in most of them were painted. Quite festively.

Cut for Caligula - in colour! )
The question then arises; Even if we remember all these things slightly incorrectly, does that make our memory without value? I would say no. For if memory, as I proposed earlier, is part of what forms our identity - then all these memories, even the factual wrong ones, are important in understanding of who we are. To say the white marble statues are wrong, simply because they aren’t historically correct, would be false. For we have grown used to seeing the white marble, and for us it holds all manner of significance in addition to being a historical artifact.

Memories in the forms of Memoirs can also be important in that they give us a more emotional, sometimes personal, dimension that has a habit of being sidetracked by historical facts. For me the beauty of the HBO series Band of Brothers is not its historical dimension, but that it brings to life memories and a memory culture.

Somethings we need to remember. And we don’t need facts to be reminded either – a painting, like Anselm Kiefer’s Lot’s Wife, can do just as much to trigger memory as a list of historical artifacts can.
a finishing quote, aka the words of wisdom )
baleanoptera: (BoB Roe syringe)
Sometimes we forget how a thing looks. The precise details of an event or the faces of people we knew. Memory can be a fickle thing. But we are in luck, because we have things that can remind us, we have words, films and photographs that can show us how things were. Right?

cut for picture )

This picture was taken in Normandy on the 6. June, 1944, also known as D-Day. It was taken by Robert Capa who was known for saying that "If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough." True to his own motto Capa joined the Allied landing as part of the first assault wave, armed not with a gun but a camera.
and another picture )

Sadly for Capa, but interestingly for posterity, Life magazine who had commissioned the pictures had a little dark room mishap, and thereby destroyed most of the film.
Of the over a hundred pictures Capa had taken, only 11 frames survived, and the photos developed a grainy, shaky feel. Life magazine printed them anyway and claimed the pictures where unclear and out of focus because Capa’s hand was shaking with excitement, and he therefore couldn’t focus properly.
and further pictures )

~~~~

A big thanks to [livejournal.com profile] semyaza who made the comment about how we could forget how things looked - and somehow that comment started all this.
And also to [livejournal.com profile] applegnat who had some very good points about Troy, as well as what happens to fiction when we try to turn it into fact. Cheers! :)

ETA: Somehow the introduction fell out. *facepalm* It's there now, and hopefully it makes more sense now.
baleanoptera: (BoB Roe syringe)
Sometimes we forget how a thing looks. The precise details of an event or the faces of people we knew. Memory can be a fickle thing. But we are in luck, because we have things that can remind us, we have words, films and photographs that can show us how things were. Right?

cut for picture )

This picture was taken in Normandy on the 6. June, 1944, also known as D-Day. It was taken by Robert Capa who was known for saying that "If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough." True to his own motto Capa joined the Allied landing as part of the first assault wave, armed not with a gun but a camera.
and another picture )

Sadly for Capa, but interestingly for posterity, Life magazine who had commissioned the pictures had a little dark room mishap, and thereby destroyed most of the film.
Of the over a hundred pictures Capa had taken, only 11 frames survived, and the photos developed a grainy, shaky feel. Life magazine printed them anyway and claimed the pictures where unclear and out of focus because Capa’s hand was shaking with excitement, and he therefore couldn’t focus properly.
and further pictures )

~~~~

A big thanks to [livejournal.com profile] semyaza who made the comment about how we could forget how things looked - and somehow that comment started all this.
And also to [livejournal.com profile] applegnat who had some very good points about Troy, as well as what happens to fiction when we try to turn it into fact. Cheers! :)

ETA: Somehow the introduction fell out. *facepalm* It's there now, and hopefully it makes more sense now.
baleanoptera: (Bauer troll hag)
Apparently this is my day for double posting - but his article struck me as very interesting:

Return of the Roman


It deals with the popularity of historical novels, and particularly about novels set in the ancient world. He also list some points on how historical fiction can lead to an increased interest in history, even if the novel isn’t “historically correct.”

Some quotes:
Why are so many novelists in the modern age drawn to write about the ancient world, especially Rome but also, to a lesser extent, Greece? [...] what's clear is that the classical world still holds attraction for both authors and readers. Some of this interest may be "superficial," but by no means all of it is. In any case, it is natural that there should be such interest. There is still an appreciation in our culture of the fact that our civilisation has its roots in Greece and Rome—as well, of course, as in biblical Israel—and that Greek and Roman history, legend and myth are part of our inherited culture.

[...] People read historical novels, it may be assumed, for information, enlightenment and amusement. They represent an agreeable way of learning a little history. There's no reason why authors should bridle at this. Nabokov wrote that novelists are three things: storytellers, teachers and enchanters. We may not all be able to enchant—Nabokov thought only the masters could do that—but we can all aspire to tell a story and even to teach. I am happy when a teacher of classics tells me he or she recommended my Roman novels to pupils, and that some admitted to enjoying them. I recall with pleasure how often my own interest in particular periods of history was first stimulated by a novel.

Unlike the historian, the novelist usually writes from the point of view of one character or group of characters, thus offering a limited picture. On the other hand, the novelist does something that academic historians rarely succeed in doing. He reminds us, as Carlyle said of Walter Scott, that people now long dead were not abstractions, but living beings made of flesh and blood. The novelist may perform another service to historical understanding. By its nature the historical novel teaches, or reminds, the reader that events now in the past were once in the future. You won't find a novelist writing, as lazy historians sometimes do, that such an event "changed the course of history." When he describes, for instance, Caesar crossing the Rubicon, the novelist shows that this is the course history took and, because he must imagine Caesar's state of mind before he takes that decision and calls out "let the dice fly high!" he dramatically reveals its significance.



The full article is here.
baleanoptera: (Bauer troll hag)
Apparently this is my day for double posting - but his article struck me as very interesting:

Return of the Roman


It deals with the popularity of historical novels, and particularly about novels set in the ancient world. He also list some points on how historical fiction can lead to an increased interest in history, even if the novel isn’t “historically correct.”

Some quotes:
Why are so many novelists in the modern age drawn to write about the ancient world, especially Rome but also, to a lesser extent, Greece? [...] what's clear is that the classical world still holds attraction for both authors and readers. Some of this interest may be "superficial," but by no means all of it is. In any case, it is natural that there should be such interest. There is still an appreciation in our culture of the fact that our civilisation has its roots in Greece and Rome—as well, of course, as in biblical Israel—and that Greek and Roman history, legend and myth are part of our inherited culture.

[...] People read historical novels, it may be assumed, for information, enlightenment and amusement. They represent an agreeable way of learning a little history. There's no reason why authors should bridle at this. Nabokov wrote that novelists are three things: storytellers, teachers and enchanters. We may not all be able to enchant—Nabokov thought only the masters could do that—but we can all aspire to tell a story and even to teach. I am happy when a teacher of classics tells me he or she recommended my Roman novels to pupils, and that some admitted to enjoying them. I recall with pleasure how often my own interest in particular periods of history was first stimulated by a novel.

Unlike the historian, the novelist usually writes from the point of view of one character or group of characters, thus offering a limited picture. On the other hand, the novelist does something that academic historians rarely succeed in doing. He reminds us, as Carlyle said of Walter Scott, that people now long dead were not abstractions, but living beings made of flesh and blood. The novelist may perform another service to historical understanding. By its nature the historical novel teaches, or reminds, the reader that events now in the past were once in the future. You won't find a novelist writing, as lazy historians sometimes do, that such an event "changed the course of history." When he describes, for instance, Caesar crossing the Rubicon, the novelist shows that this is the course history took and, because he must imagine Caesar's state of mind before he takes that decision and calls out "let the dice fly high!" he dramatically reveals its significance.



The full article is here.
baleanoptera: (Default)
So in a week I’ll be off to Rome, and mostly it will be work, but parts will be leisure. One thing I always do is go to St. Maria del Popolo. Partially to see the Caravaggio paintings in the Cerasi chapel and partially to see if the bag ladies with horrific smell are still there.

I remember them from my first visit, many years ago. They were praying before the Caravaggio pictures our professor had taken my group there to see. To give a picture of the professor he looked a little like Santa Claus and sounded a lot like the Swedish chef on the Muppets, and the old ladies peeved him no end. They were blocking our good view to the pictures – the very paintings he had gone there to talk about. So he placed himself at the left corner of the chapel and started talking – about lines and composition, about chiaroscuro and the use of theatrical imagery. He talked quite a lot and very loudly, all while the old ladies kept praying.

Is it possible to have epiphanies? If it is I supposed a church is a good place for them – for standing there listening to the professor drone on I realised something. It’s all very well about art, and I love art and visual imagery, but it doesn’t do much good if you forget the people. For the professor Caravaggio was all about the composition and the furthering of artistic innovation. But for these ladies the pictures were something more. These paintings told stories about sacred people and sacred things.

I began to feel pretty certain that if asked the ladies wouldn’t cite chiaroscuro and tenebroso light as the most important aspects about the paintings. Truth is I don’t know what they would answer but I suspect it to be personal and possibly religious.

And I’m starting to feel that this aspect of art should also be taken into consideration. Not just the artistic techniques or innovation, but the personal side – and the context. Above all the context. For could you not argue that a Caravaggio in a museum is one thing, but a Caravaggio in a church is something else?
baleanoptera: (Default)
So in a week I’ll be off to Rome, and mostly it will be work, but parts will be leisure. One thing I always do is go to St. Maria del Popolo. Partially to see the Caravaggio paintings in the Cerasi chapel and partially to see if the bag ladies with horrific smell are still there.

I remember them from my first visit, many years ago. They were praying before the Caravaggio pictures our professor had taken my group there to see. To give a picture of the professor he looked a little like Santa Claus and sounded a lot like the Swedish chef on the Muppets, and the old ladies peeved him no end. They were blocking our good view to the pictures – the very paintings he had gone there to talk about. So he placed himself at the left corner of the chapel and started talking – about lines and composition, about chiaroscuro and the use of theatrical imagery. He talked quite a lot and very loudly, all while the old ladies kept praying.

Is it possible to have epiphanies? If it is I supposed a church is a good place for them – for standing there listening to the professor drone on I realised something. It’s all very well about art, and I love art and visual imagery, but it doesn’t do much good if you forget the people. For the professor Caravaggio was all about the composition and the furthering of artistic innovation. But for these ladies the pictures were something more. These paintings told stories about sacred people and sacred things.

I began to feel pretty certain that if asked the ladies wouldn’t cite chiaroscuro and tenebroso light as the most important aspects about the paintings. Truth is I don’t know what they would answer but I suspect it to be personal and possibly religious.

And I’m starting to feel that this aspect of art should also be taken into consideration. Not just the artistic techniques or innovation, but the personal side – and the context. Above all the context. For could you not argue that a Caravaggio in a museum is one thing, but a Caravaggio in a church is something else?

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