Saturday, May 26, 2018

My Venus

Another example of digital art made possible with the on-line program at the DeepArt site (blogged here). In this case, I took a photograph of my wife and an excerpt of the Botticelli painting The birth of Venus (link).

Copyright statement: image created via the DeepArt site from one of my original images. Copyright Hennie Schaper.

Friday, May 25, 2018

City guard

One of Kampen's remaining three medieval city gates (Cellebroederspoort), as seen through the eyes of my wife. Instantly recognizable, yet very much her personal style.

Copyright statement: image created by Lu Schaper. Copyright Lu Schaper.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Classical music of the past 100 years [6] 1968-1977

Too many listeners of classical music think that over the past 100 years or so, nothing worthwhile has been composed. In this recurring series, I will be posting one composition per year from 1918 until 2017, with every selected composer featuring only once (and not necessarily with their imo best work). I'm aiming for composers who represent the more modern age, skipping many famous names from before 1918 who also composed in this time slot (such as Sibelius and Richard Strauss). Overall I wanted to get a reasonable mix of symphonies, concertos, other orchestral works, chamber music, solo instrumental compositions, and vocal creations, but excluding opera altogether. I have grouped the works per period of ten years, with one post per month for each subsequent decade. Youtube links are not included as they tend to disappear with time - they are easily googled anyway. If you like classical music, but are reluctant to explore the 20th and 21st century works, this series of posts might give you a bit of a nudge to start listening.
  • 1968 Stockhausen - Stimmung
  • 1969 Berio - Sinfonia
  • 1970 Kabeláč - Symphony 8 'Antiphonies'
  • 1971 Crumb - Black angels 
  • 1972 Tippett - Symphony 3
  • 1973 Maderna - Oboe concerto 3
  • 1974 Englund - Piano concerto 2
  • 1975 Silvestrov - Silent songs
  • 1976 Dutilleux - String quartet 'Ainsi la nuit' 
  • 1977 Berkeley (M) - Oboe concerto
The sixth helping introduces two of the biggest names of modern classical music along with others that really deserve more attention. Stockhausen and Berio are surely two of the main composers of the past century. Stockhausen, perhaps most notorious for his helicopter quartet, also composed etherical compositions like Stimmung. Berio's Sinfonia, with its ample Mahler quotations, is a symphony which most classical music listeners should be able to appreciate. Other modern takes on the ancient symphony form are presented by Czech composer Kabeláč (a reaction to the end of the Prague spring) and Britain's Tippett. Both employ vocals, with the Tippett even literally quoting Beethoven's 9th. Another old composition form, the concerto, is represented by two totally different works for oboe and orchestra, one by Italy's Maderna and one by Britain's Michael Berkeley, son of composer Lennox Berkeley, and one for piano by Finland's Englund. Then we have two very different string quartets, by American Crumb and Frenchman Dutilleux. Finally, a personal favourite of mine, the subdued and very moving song cycle Silent songs by Ukraine's Silvestrov. As always, I hope you explore these and find something you like.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

How iconic artists overcame creative block

Creative block is a weird condition that many artists face one time or another. The linked article gives examples for nine famous artists, including Picasso and Pollock.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Bat out of hell

For me this is one of the best albums and one of the best covers of all time. This 1977 multi-million seller is surrealistically bombastic, completely over the top, and I love every second of it. Design and illustrations are credited to Ed Lee.

Copyright statement: lower resolution images of album covers considered fair use.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Shadow of the Hierophant

The solo career of guiatrist Steve Hackett after leaving Genesis in the late seventies has been a bit of a mixed blessing to my taste. There's one original song that stands out for me: Shadow Of The Hierophant. I came across this amazing live rendition with Steve being assisted by Steven Wilson on guitar and Amanda Lehmann as vocalist. A beautiful version. Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player).

Copyright statement: screenshot from the video - deemed fair use.

Sunday, May 20, 2018


I came across this culture blog yesterday and immediately bookmarked it for frequent returns. Well informed intelligent articles, highly recommended.

Copyright statement: image is a screenshot of the linked blog; pictures are thumbnail size, texts, if readable at all, are excerpts, both deemed fair use.

Saturday, May 19, 2018


My wife and I are currently working together to revamp her part of our web site. I came across this painting that I'm pretty sure has not featured yet in the blog - and it really should.

Copyright statement: image created by Lu Schaper. Copyright Lu Schaper.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The sensual world

The album of the same name has already featured under "Beautiful album covers" (blogged here), but the cover of the title track released as a single is if anything even more impressive. Absolutely stunning. More about Kate Bush on the linked Wikipedia site.

Copyright statement: lower resolution images of single covers considered fair use.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The man who painted Aqualung

The cover of the Jethro Tull 1971 album Aqualung is one of the most iconic in the history of rock. The linked article gives an overview of its creation by Burton Silverman (now 89), who did not reap the expected rewards from his work, as he signed over the copyright and use of his paintings to Chrysalis Records for a flat fee of 1500 $. Recommended reading.

Copyright statement: image created via the Photofunia site, who explicitly state that their images have no copyright issues. The depiction of the album cover is thumbnail size and considered fair use.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

View from a bridge

Well, this seemed a logical follow-up post from yesterday's Munch. Kim Wilde was one of the faces of the eighties, and this for me is her best song. Art Rock score: 9/10 (very strong song, one of 1000 best songs of all time).

Copyright statement: screenshot from the video - deemed fair use.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Girls on a bridge (variation)

Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863-1944) has featured a couple of times in the blog already, among others with his famous painting Girls on a bridge (blogged here). I recently found out that he created a whole series of paintings from this viewpoint, and I quite like this version from 1901 (see also here). More about Munch in the linked Wikipedia article.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Sunday, May 13, 2018


When I saw this impressive album cover recently for the first time in my life, somehow it screamed "Eighties!" at me. And indeed, this album by the Motels is from 1985. The design is probably by Tony Viramontes, who is credited for the album's illustrations and photography.

Copyright statement: lower resolution images of album covers considered fair use.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Admission exams for Chinese Fine Art universities

The linked article gives a fascinating insight in the things aspiring fine art students in China already have to know before they can even enter university - if they're lucky. A short excerpt: “It’s an unforgettable experience and I don’t want to participate in it again,” said Li Yulong, a graduate student who studies creative product design at the China Academy of Art in Shanghai. “The standards are very professional, and it’s incredibly hard. When I applied, I had to do a charcoal drawing of a man’s face, a color still-life painting of flowers and fruits, and a sketch.” Full story in the link.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Robin Hood

The poster for the upcoming Bathurst movie Robin Hood, the umpteenth on that particular subject, looks like nothing special - until you see what's different.

Copyright statement: low resolution images of movie posters considered fair use.

Thursday, May 10, 2018


Covers of sheet music from the twenties are often great pieces of art, but this stylish one from 1921 by Art Phillips may be the most beautiful I've seen so far. And if you wonder what the song sounds like, I found it on YouTube here.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018


The most important music news of last week was the announced reunion, complete with new songs, of Sweden's ABBA, one of the best bands of the seventies. All four are now around 70, so one does wonder how viable this project is... Anyway, here they are in their golden time, with one of their very best songs.  Art Rock score: 9/10 (very strong song, one of 1000 best songs of all time).

Copyright statement: screenshot from the video - deemed fair use.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Vogue November 1912

A vintage Vogue cover of over a century ago. Although it is meant to evoke autumn, I find it also works as a spring image. An early work by the famous Helen Dryden.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Monday, May 07, 2018

New York Restaurant

Last week we went to an exhibition "The American Dream" in the Drents Museum Assen. Dozens of art pieces by the likes of Warhol, Wyeth, Katz, and of course Edward Hopper. His 1922 painting New York Restaurant was one of the absolute highlights. More about Hopper in the linked Wikipedia entry.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.