Friday, January 31, 2014

Blue horse

For the occasion of the year of the horse that starts today, what better choice than one of the horse paintings by my favourite painter, German expressionist Franz Marc (1880-1916)? It is the first in his blue horse series and dates back to 1911. More on Marc in the linked Wikipedia article.

Happy Chinese New Year!

To all our family and friends who celebrate the lunar new year: may you have a great time and a good year ahead of you! The year of the (wood) horse starts today, and this image was the most original one I found on the net (it is really too easy to use 2014 with a horse's head in the shape of the two like most do). Image sourced from here.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Jeans Bond

More photoshop brilliance taken from the advanced photoshop contest section of Worth1000. Here is a shot created by their member Teo75 for the Celebrity Plushie 4 contest - depicting celebrities as plush toys. Great choice for jeans as the fabric in this case. All rights retained by the creator.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Solvesborg Bridge

One of the most stunning pedestrian bridges I have ever come across, and incidentally also Europe's longest of that type, spanning about 800 m. This recently completed Swedish bridge connects the small town of Solvesborg with a new modern housing district across the bay. Its beautiful shape is further enhanced by a system of color changing LED fixtures. More on this bridge in the article linked to below.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Unusual concertos [64]: Rhythmicon

Before the purge of end 2008, one of the most popular topics of this blog was "Unusual concertos", classical concertos for all kinds of instruments and orchestra. I have decided to revive this, aiming for less familiar composers in general. In its original incarnation, I came to 40 different concertante instruments - realizing 60+ this time.

The sixty-fourth concerto deals with the rhythmicon (image source). Even among unusual concertante instruments, this stands out as one of the weirdest. This electronic rhythm box was conceived in 1930 by the avant-garde American composer Henry Cowell and Russian inventor Leon Theremin (most famous for the instrument of that name). Cowell went on to compose a concerto for the instrument in 1931 - but I have not been able to find a recorded version on CD of it.

Go here

Monday, January 27, 2014

Disturbing the Spirits

Disturbing the Spirits is a fascinating project by photographer Ellen Jantzen. She takes photographs of trees and manipulates them digitally to create a dream world unlike any other I have seen. All rights retained by the artist, as usual.


Sunday, January 26, 2014


A fun shot taken at the occasion of the reunion of two versions of van Gogh's Sunflowers in the London National Gallery - for the first time in 65 years. It was a great and very fitting idea to have twin girls pose for the picture to add a human element. As always, all rights retained by the photographer (Leon Neal/AFP Photo).

Saturday, January 25, 2014


The UK organization FishLove asked French photographer Denis Rouvre to set up a campaign to promote sustainable fishing. The results are stunning: a series of celebrities posing nude (but sufficiently covered to remain safe for work) with a fish that is on the potentially endangered list. The example above is Gillian Anderson (of X-files fame) with a conger eel, but the linked post has plenty more.

Creative Ads

Friday, January 24, 2014

Links [39]

Once more an overview of interesting links on topics related to the blog, that I encountered recently, but that will probably not make the blog as separate entries. The picture above is by myself.

The 54 Strangest Photos Of 2013.
The Best of Terry O'Neill.
Thirty Music Stars Banned by the BBC.
The 10 Greatest Classical Covers in Pop Music.
The 12 Greatest Operas in English.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


An appropriate time of the year to post this gorgeous abstract by (for me) the greatest living artist, German grandmaster Gerhard Richter. One of the rare examples where he gave his abstract a title rather than a catalog style number. As with the previous Richter painting post, I link to Wikipedia, but I really recommend visiting his own web site. More on Richter in the Wikipedia article linked to below.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


BevShots is a fascinating project on the unlikely border between science and art. Originally started by research scientist Michael Davidson to help fund Florida State University Labarotary, it is now continued by Lester Hutt. BevShots is about taking drops of alcoholic drinks, placing them on a lab slide and allowing them to crystallize before photographing them using a polarized light microscope with a camera attached. The result: stunning colourful images, resembling abstract art, as in the example above. Do click the link to see more of them, it is well worth it. As always, all rights retained by the creator(s).

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Life January 1924

Technically it is winter, although in practice here in the Netherlands we don't notice it too much. This cover seems appropriate for that combination: ice and snow combined with girls in clothes more suited for summer. Life has not figured in the blog yet, but since its first publication in 1883, it has been an important magazine in the American market.


Monday, January 20, 2014


Icarus is a worthwhile 2013 single by a South Korean band I had never heard of, but apparently they are doing well in the local indie scene. A YouTube version can be found here. The cover is excellent (looks like the picture is of lead singer Kim Yoon-Ah), and definitely makes you look twice. More about Jaurim on the linked Wikipedia page.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Potpourri: The Garden of Unearthly Delights

From time to time I will be highlighting some of my own favourite posts in my parallel blog, Art's Potpourri. These can be recent or from some time ago. This one was originally posted 2 May 2013.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Tender is the night

The American poster for this 1962 Henry King movie is rather dull, but the French version, which I came across in the fun blog If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats, is beautiful in its simplicity.

Friday, January 17, 2014


Once more one of my attempts at digital art based on my own photographs, created with the free software SuperPhoto that came with my new laptop. This is a photograph taken a few years ago in the picturesque Dutch harbour city of Enkhuizen, given a painting like treatment. The link leads to the original photograph.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Another example from the days that music sheets were regularly available and came with great cover designs. Precious dates back to 1926, with music by Pasternacki and Whiting and Lyrics by Egan.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The blue scarf

It's been a while since I last featured Art Deco queen Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980) from Poland in my blog. Here is another of her masterpieces, this one created in 1930. More on de Lempicka in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Unusual concertos [63]: Bass clarinet

Before the purge of end 2008, one of the most popular topics of this blog was "Unusual concertos", classical concertos for all kinds of instruments and orchestra. I have decided to revive this, aiming for less familiar composers in general. In its original incarnation, I came to 40 different concertante instruments - realizing 60+ this time.

The sixty-third concerto deals with the bass clarinet (image source). We have seen the soprano clarinet (which is the instrument normally referred to simply as clarinet) in post 30. The bass clarinet plays an octave lower, and has been used on many occasions in compositions by the likes of Berlioz, Wagner and Liszt. Concertos for the instrument are rather rare though. I have one in my CD collection, composed by Dietrich Erdmann. It is played by Renate Rusche and the Berliner Philharmoniker under Werner Hagen, available on an MDG CD.

Go here

Monday, January 13, 2014

Nooitgedagt skates

Winter is still not really on its way here, but recent speed skating contests like the qualification tournament for the Olympics, and this weekend's European championship (won by Dutch, both women and men) have put me in the mind to post this 1925 gem for a Frysian company. It was designed by Harm Visser.

Vintage Posters

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Aventine by Agnes Obel

In Desert Island Discs, I am focusing on albums that I love, with emphasis on the less well-known ones. They can be from all genres, from new age via pop/rock and jazz to classical. Live albums will be rare, compilation albums will be excluded. Images are created with the on-line programme Photoface Fun.

The second in the series is the 2013 album by Danish singer/songwriter Agnes Obel: Aventine. As interesting as her 2010 debut Philharmonics was, the follow-up turned out to be a masterpiece. The music defies description beyond stating that it has a breathtaking unhuried intimacy with beautiful soundscapes, excellent singing and well-chosen instrumentation. One of the best albums of the decade so far for me.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Vogue November 1934

A late Art Deco gem, this vintage Vogue cover, with the mask in the bell glass bearing an eerie resemblance to a platinum blonde female face. It was designed by Alix Zeilinger.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Cyborg Ziyi Zhang

More photoshop brilliance taken from the advanced photoshop contest section of Worth1000. Here is a shot created by their member Shorra for the Celebrity Mangapalooza 7 contest - depicting celebrities in manga style with an additional regular Worth1000 theme thrown in for good measure. In this case, we have a manganized portrait of Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi, depicted as a cyborg. All rights retained by the creator.


Thursday, January 09, 2014

Inside the windmill

One of my more popular photographs of recent months. I shot this in December in the nearby Hanseatic city Hattem, on one of the rare occasions where the local windmill was open for the public. What makes the shot inside the mill so special is the ambiguous perspective - you assume you are looking up, but then you realize you are actually looking down.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.05 (1/20) sec
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5 mm
ISO Speed: 1250
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Quella Vecchia Locanda

A first for this category: two album covers in one post, and both in the classic seventies album style spread of front and back. Quella Vecchia Locanda was one of the legendary Italian progressive rock bands of the early seventies. Although they only released two studio albums, these were strong enough to put them at a similar appreciation level as PFM and Banco. Both albums also have excellent covers, with the first one (Quella Vecchia Locanda, 1972) more fairytale-like and the second one (Il tempo della gioia, 1974) more imaginative. Incidentally, the second one has featured by itself before in the blog (front only). Both designs were credited to Kazvnori Akita.