Sunday, March 19, 2023

Links [2]

Before the blog restart in January 2022, one of the regular topics was “Links” - recently encountered articles or sites that have a link with the blog’s subjects, but would not result in blog posts. I have decided to re-introduce such a subject with a twist.  The links are distributed over twelve subjects, there will be some more text than in the past to describe what the link is about, and I will post them to the blog when each of the twelve subjects has at least one entry. If necessary I will throw in a few of my favourite links encountered in the past as well. The image above was taken by myself (copyright Hennie Schaper).
Paint, Painters and Paintings

This will mostly be about more obscure artists, more recent artists (where copyright restrictions would hamper a dedicated blog post), or the subject of paints itself. Image used is in the public domain.
Edward Hopper’s Views of Isolation
He was interested in a kind of realism, inseparable from the cold structures and isolated people that populate his compositions. An extensive art-icle on Hyperallergic.

Photographers and Photography

Given that photography is a relatively recent art, complete blog posts would usually run into copyright issues. This topic will be both on the photographs themselves (like contests or special series), photographers, theory (like composition), and hardware. Image used is in public domain.
The Wildlife Photographer Of The Year People’s Choice Award 2022 
This year, just like every year, the London Natural History Museum has selected 25 wildlife photographs, from which they ask the public to choose the recipient of the People's Choice Award 2022. They are amazing!

National Geographic Picture of the Year 
A collection of stunning photographs, including the winner 'Dance of the Eagles'.
Vintage Posters

Vintage is of course a flexible word, but anything interesting about artistic posters would be found under this heading. Image used is a compilation of thumbnails and deemed fair use.

Dutch Tobacco Posters
A two part overview in the excellent blog Art and Artists.

Classical Music
Basically, any classical music subject that I do not think is suitable for a separate blog post. Image used is in the public domain.

Hyperion now part of Universal
Universal Music has acquired the famous classical music label Hyperion, renowned for their projects that are not commercial. Worrying.
The Rediscovery of Florence Price
Being an Afro-American woman, Florence Price in the American South in the early 20th century, Price did not have a chance to become recognized as a composer. That is slowly changing. A facinting article in the New York Times.

Non-Classical Music
The same as above, but now for any music that does not fall under the classical umbrella - from new age via pop and rock to jazz. Image used is in the public domain.

The Dark Side of the Moon at 50
An interesting article about "how Marx, trauma and compassion all influenced Pink Floyd’s masterpiece".
Album Covers
A place for any links that have something to do with album covers. Image used is a compilation of thumbnails and deemed fair use.

LEGO versions of popular album covers
Seventeen creative renditions of album covers in Lego, from Beatles to Blur.
Magazine Covers and Illustrations
A place for links that have anything to do with magazine covers or illustrations. Image used is in the public domain.
The Long Lost Asia Magazine
Some Exquisite Covers and a Short History of the magazine (which also featured in the blog).

Movies and TV
Any link that has to do with the more artistic sides of movies and television programs, be it posters or something else. Image used is in the public domain.
Death in Paradise Wiki
A wiki style site dedicated to one of my favourite TV shows of this century.
This used to be a separate topic of the blog, and occasionally pops up in the Anything Goes topic. Look specifically for the artistic site of architecture under this heading. Image used is in the public domain.
A Hundred Times Architects Really Outdid Themselves
... and Created These Beautiful Buildings, to finish the complete title of the linked Bored Panda contribution. An interesting mixture of styles, periods, and sizes.

From Amazing To Downright Scary
Fifty cold war design and architecture decisions  that are far from boring, as collected by the Bureau for Art and Urban Research (BACU).

Special Designs
This used to be a separate topic within the blog, but it is difficult to post given copyright constraints. Links can now be posted here. Image used is by myself (copyright Hennie Schaper).

Möbius Bookcase
The Möbius Bookcase concept was designed by talented architect with passion for creative furniture Deniz Aktay. Books are placed on the inside of the loop, making a visually striking display. I want one!

Anything Goes

Articles and links on other interesting subjects, advertising, book covers, whatever. Image used is from an old poster, deemed fair use.

The World Has One Less Jeff Koons “Balloon Dog”
An art collector accidentally shattered a $42,000 “Balloon Dog” by Koons at an art fair in Miami.

Just for Fun

Anything funny, as long as it has some connection to the theme of the blog. A bit like the Potpourri blog I used to run in parallel. Image is in the public domain.
Cat Hats For Every Occasion
This Artist crochets hats for cats - watch her best (and funniest) work in the link.

Copyright statement: see under each image used.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

The Art of Umberto Boccioni

Umberto Boccioni (1882 - 1916) was an influential Italian painter and sculptor. He helped shape the revolutionary aesthetic of the Futurism movement as one of its principal figures. Despite his short life, his approach to the dynamism of form and the deconstruction of solid mass guided artists long after his death. He was one of many artists who died in the Great War - although in his case it was not by enemy action; he was thrown from his horse during a cavalry training exercise and was trampled to death. The self portrait shown above was created in 1905.

The Strengths of a Street (1911)
Modern Idol (1911)

Materia (1912)
Woman in a Café (1912) 

The antigraceful (1912)

Dimensional shapes of a horse (1913)
Dynamism of a Soccer Player (1913) 
Dynamism of a Cyclist (1913)

The Drinker (1914)

The Street Pavers (1914)

The Charge of the Lancers (1915)

Composer Ferruccio Busoni (1916)

 Copyright statement: images all in public domain.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Schubert's Winterreise

Image by myself (copyright Hennie Schaper)
 From time to time I will make a post under Classical Music specifically about one of my favourite works. The first one was Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde (link), here is the second one. Winterreise (Winter Journey) is a song cycle for voice and piano by Franz Schubert (D. 911, published as Op. 89 in 1828), a setting of 24 poems by German poet Wilhelm Müller. It is the second of Schubert's two song cycles on Müller's poems, the earlier being Die schöne Müllerin (D. 795, Op. 25, 1823). Both were originally written for tenor voice but are frequently transposed to other vocal ranges, a precedent set by Schubert himself (from Wikipedia). 
Postcard Vienna around 1910, public domain

1. What is it about?
In the words of Schubert himself: "Come over to Schober’s today, and I will sing you a cycle of terrifying songs,” Franz Schubert said to his friend Joseph von Spaun in late 1827. Schubert, suffering from a fatal illness, was aware that his time was short. “I am anxious to know what you will say about them. They have affected me more than any of my other songs.” 
Winterreise is a gloomy depiction of a wanderers struggles through the winter landscape, full of symbolisms. It has been described as having a dramatic effect not unlike that of a full-scale tragic opera. Particularly poignant is the final song Der Leiermann ("The Hurdy-Gurdy Man"): In the back of the village stands a hurdy-gurdy man, cranking his instrument with frozen fingers. His begging bowl is always empty; no one listens. The parallel with Schubert himself, dying of syphillis, is obvious.

Image based on a Friedrich painting, in public domain

2. Is there a website that can be recommended for more info?
Oh yes. Winterreise Online (link) is an absolutely brilliant effort by Iain C. Phillips. The site contains an extensive discography, lyrics (optionally translated into many languages), art work inspired by this composition, and much, much more.

3. Four recommended versions?

Difficult to pick just four, but here we go. In chronological order: [1] Hans Hotter and Michael Raucheisen on Deutsche Grammophon, recorded in 1943. Normally I am not interested in such historic recordings, but the sound belies its age, and the performance is awesome; [2] Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Gerard Moore on Deutsche Grammophon, recorded in 1971. DFD owns this cycle, no-one does it better. He recorded the cycle many times, woith a number of different pianists; this is probably the best one. However.... [3] Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Alfred Brendel on Philips, recorded in 1985. DFD's voice is less pure, but age had further increased his ability to get to the soul of these songs. This was my first CD of the cycle, and will always be special to me; [4] Matthias Goerne and Graham Johnson on Hyperion, recorded in 1996. Goerne is amazing in this cycle (his live recording with Brendel is also excellent), and this Hyperion series in which all Schubert's songs were recorded can not be praised enough.

4. Any unusual variations?

Picked four of these as well, all from my own collection. In random order: [1] Although Winterreise is generally thought of as a man's cycle, several female singers of name have recorded it. I have three in my collection: Christa Ludwig with James Levine, Nathalie Stutzmann with Inger Södergren, and the one I selected, Brigitte Fassbaender and Aribert Reimann on EMI; [2] The piano playing is such an integral part of the cycle that it seems weird to tinker with that, and yet.... I have an intriguing version for bass-baritone and string quartet by Alain Buet and the Quatuor Les Heures du jour on Muso. And then there is also... [3] a version for voice and organ by Taro Kato and Azumin Okamura on Doron Music. It seems a bit superfluous for practical reasons, but it works surprisingly well; [4] Dutch poet and song writer Jan Rot prepared a translation of the verses into Dutch. It is an amazing tour de force, which was recorded by Maarten Koningsberger and Roger Braun on Brilliant Classics - even that version can be found on the Winterreise Online website!
Image made with Photofunia

5. Favourite album cover art?
Many album covers for this work are not very imaginative - the usual romantic paintings or images of winter landscapes, or just a picture of the artists. There are a few I would like to highlight as being far better than most. 

Edwin Crossley-Mercer and Yoan Héreau on Mirare. The choice of a more surreal painting (by Claudine Franck) works very well here as it suggests the turmoil in the protagonist's mind.

Ernst Haefliger and Tomoko Okada on Camarata. The image is less artistic, but it zooms in on my favourite part where the wanderer depicted as Schubert himself) encounters the Leiermann.

Peter Harvey and Gary Cooper on Linn Records. A perfect example of effective minimalism with large amounts of white and an image of a crow, one of the symbols used in the text.

Copyright statement: posting lower quality album covers is deemed fair use.For other images, see statement under the pictures.

Tuesday, March 07, 2023

The Shanghairen

The Shanghairen is a magazine that does not exist. Wait, what? From their website (link): "The Shanghairen is a collaborative project gathering dozens of emerging and confirmed talents from Shanghai and the rest of the World. It's a tribute to the famous covers of "The New Yorker", "The Parisianer", "The Tokyoiter" and "Le Montrealer". All artists were given full freedom of style and topics to express their vision of the city." Many of these "covers" are very god indeed; I collected twelve of them for toady's post. The image above was made at the Photofunia site, which has no copyright issues.  











Copyright statement: although not mentioned on the linked site, one assumes that each creator has copyright on their creation. Linking to the site where all of these can be found and displaying them in relatively low quality is deemed to fall under fair use.

Friday, March 03, 2023

Vintage Sweden posters

Vintage advertisement posters are much sought after, and have been recognized for their artistic merit as well giving us a chance to look at days gone by. There have even been dedicated exhibitions of such posters in art museums. I like these nostalgic images and will post a few grouped per theme. Today's theme is South Africa, a collection of twelve travel posters which I am sharing without further information. The image above is created via Photofunia and is free from copyright issues.










Copyright statement: posting lower quality vintage advertisement posters is deemed fair use.