Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Disney Parks [1]

World famous photographer Annie Leibovitz embarked about a decade ago on a campaign for Disney Parks that lasted 3 years, visualizing famous Disney scenes with celebrities playing the main parts. I intend to show a few more in the coming weeks. The first one is on the theme "Where You’re Always The King Of The Court", with an unlikely but very effective choice for tennis ace Roger Federer (King of the court.....) as King Arthur.

Copyright statement: images of advertisements considered fair use.

Creative Ads

Monday, June 01, 2020

Potpourri [53]

An overview of recent links that would have ended up as post topics in my parallel blog Art's Potpourri (stopped in 2017).

In general, I've been low on inspiration the past few weeks, and that also goes for this topic. But I found a few gems in the Toxel site yesterday (link) and decided to make this a once-off special Potpourri: all about Special Designs, and all from last month's posts in Toxel.

Octopus shoes (Special Designs)
Wine glass chairs (Special Designs)
Air vent covers (Special Designs)
Power outlet doors (Special Designs)
Time out hour glass stools (Special Designs)
Dinosaur bottle opener (Special Designs)
Giant wave billboard (Special Designs)
Stained glass Star Wars lamps (Special Designs)
Wine storage staircase (Special Designs)

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

My top 30 composers [9]: Number 6 - Jean Sibelius

Earlier this year, I posted a list of 100 favourite composers based on the  top 30 favourite composers of 56 Talk Classical bulletin board members (link). I did not post my own top 30 yet. Time to make amends. I'm posting the list in segments of five, in order to say something about the composers, with the top10 getting an entry by themselves. To prepare this list, I looked at how many compositions a composer has that I rate in my personal top 100, how many just one tier below that, and how many are still really worthwhile below that. I was handing out negative points in my head for (famous) compositions I don't like at all. For the final ranking, I asked myself: composer A or composer B - you can keep the works of only one of them. It is all not very scientific, and the ranking will undoubtedly change a bit from year to year, but it makes for a good snapshot of my taste.

At the sixth spot we find Finland's greatest gift to music, Jean Sibelius (1865-1957). Living in the transition period from romanticism to modernism, he carved out a unique spot in music history for himself. His collection of seven symphonies is among the most consistently high quality symphony cycles ever made. His violin concerto ranks among the very best in that genre, and his other orchestral output, including tone poems, suites and incidental music, is almost as impressive. His symphonic poem Tapiola from 1926 is my favourite in his work. It was also his last composition - the last 30 years of his life he had no works published.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Detroit

An Art Deco style poster for Detroit, the Motor City - how times have changed. No clue about the time (it does have a bit of a retro feeling), and of course combining beautiful cars and pretty girls is something from all eras.

Copyright statement: low resolution images of vintage posters deemed fair use.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Screenland August 1927

A magazine that has not featured yet - one of many started in the Jazz Age dedicated to the movies. Screenland was a monthly U.S. magazine about movies, published between September 1920 and June 1971. This cover features the lovely actress Clara Bow, painted by Anita Parkhurst (if I read it correctly).

Copyright statement: low resolution images of magazine covers deemed fair use.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Hejira

Another blast from the past: this album cover featured in the blog in 2007, one year before the re-start, and I never re-posted it until now. I quote the original text: "I was a painter first," Joni Mitchell once said. "I trained as a commercial artist, as well as a fine artist. So when I began to record albums, I thought album art was a great way to keep both careers alive." Hejira is probably her most beautiful cover. The cover art was put together from a number of different photos, including a studio portrait by Norman Seeff and shots by Joel Bernstein taken on a frozen lake.

Copyright statement: low resolution images of album covers deemed fair use.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

French landscape

Once more a new name for the blog. André Lhote (1885 - 1962) was a French Cubist painter of figure subjects, portraits, landscapes and still life. He was also very active and influential as a teacher and writer on art. This painting from 1912 is very representative for his style.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Bund (Friends of the Earth)

I have seen a lot of great advertisements on the theme of "save the animals", but this is one of the very best. The German organization Bund (Friends of the Earth) published this one, striking in its immediate message and with an excellent execution.

Copyright statement: images of advertisements considered fair use.

Creative Ads

Monday, May 25, 2020

My top 30 composers [8]: Number 7 - Richard Wagner

Earlier this year, I posted a list of 100 favourite composers based on the  top 30 favourite composers of 56 Talk Classical bulletin board members (link). I did not post my own top 30 yet. Time to make amends. I'm posting the list in segments of five, in order to say something about the composers, with the top10 getting an entry by themselves. To prepare this list, I looked at how many compositions a composer has that I rate in my personal top 100, how many just one tier below that, and how many are still really worthwhile below that. I was handing out negative points in my head for (famous) compositions I don't like at all. For the final ranking, I asked myself: composer A or composer B - you can keep the works of only one of them. It is all not very scientific, and the ranking will undoubtedly change a bit from year to year, but it makes for a good snapshot of my taste.

At the seventh spot, we find German romantic grandmaster Richard Wagner (1813-1883). He was of course mainly an opera composer, although his orchestra piece Siegried Idyll and the song cycle Wesendonklieder are very worthwhile as well. Opera is a genre that I did not get into easily, but Wagner and Puccini were the ones who unlocked the door for me. Wagner's monumental cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen (four operas, fifteen hours, to be plaued in four consecutive nights) is one of the undisputed masterpieces of classical music and a clear personal favourite of mine. But most of his other mature operas are very good to excellent, especially Tristan und Isolde, Parsifal and Lohengrin.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

You don't Nomi

This 2019 movie about a movie (Paul Verhoeven's controversial Showgirls) has a nice punny title, but more importantly a well crafted poster that really stands out from the usual fare.

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

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Love is all

Recently I stumbled on a site (web.archive.org) that archives numerous web sites, and I found some of the posts of this blog from 2007, before the purge. One of them was a link to this video. My original post: "My, my, does this bring back memories. Picture this. The year is 1974, long before MTV, even before the now so famous video of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. In the Dutch TV programme TopPop, a new song is introduced not as usual by the band playbacking in the studio, but by a fantastic cartoon. The artist was billed as Roger Glover (yes, of Deep Purple fame), although the singer was actually Ronnie James Dio. The single, taken from the album The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast, was called Love is all. The Dutch loved it, and the song went straight to number one." Artrockometer: 4/6 "desirable", songs I would put on my MP3 USB stick.

Copyright statement: screenshot from video deemed fair use.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Keeping an eye on the Nightwatch

Rembrandt's Nightwatch is one of the most famous paintings made by a Dutch artist. The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam has now uploaded a fully zoomable 44.8-gigapixel digital image of the painting. The enormous canvas was photographed 528 times by curators, and then 24 rows of 22 of these pictures were stitched together to create this masterpiece of digital history (first seen at My Modern Met, link). The image above is a maximum zoom on one of the eyes of the little girl brightly lit near the centre of the painting.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Lake Como

As Europe is slowly coming out of the pandemic lockdown, thoughts are going once again to nice places for a holiday (even though this year may still be too early). One of these is the Lake Como in Italy, here depicted in a beautiful vintage poster from 1938 by Charles Avalon.

Copyright statement: low resolution images of vintage posters deemed fair use.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Braun precision trimmer

One of a series of advertisements for Braun depicting animals with stylized "haircuts" to promote their precision trimmer. Cute and effective. Great job by agency BBDO.

Copyright statement: images of advertisements considered fair use.

Creative Ads

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Flashback

Kampen, our home town since 2012, the Oudestraat and the old city hall. Probably taken around 1900. In the left bottom corner, behind the first carriage, the house where now our art gallery is located (ground floor, new front).

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Monday, May 18, 2020

My top 30 composers [7]: Number 8 - Antonín Dvořák

Earlier this year, I posted a list of 100 favourite composers based on the  top 30 favourite composers of 56 Talk Classical bulletin board members (link). I did not post my own top 30 yet. Time to make amends. I'm posting the list in segments of five, in order to say something about the composers, with the top10 getting an entry by themselves. To prepare this list, I looked at how many compositions a composer has that I rate in my personal top 100, how many just one tier below that, and how many are still really worthwhile below that. I was handing out negative points in my head for (famous) compositions I don't like at all. For the final ranking, I asked myself: composer A or composer B - you can keep the works of only one of them. It is all not very scientific, and the ranking will undoubtedly change a bit from year to year, but it makes for a good snapshot of my taste.

At the eighth spot we have the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904). One of the acknowledged grandmasters of the Romantic period, Dvořák forged a unique style by incorporating aspects of the folk music of Moravia and Bohemia. His oeuvre is wider than most great composer, there is not a major genre where he did not make a significant contribution (except organ music). One of his strengths is that even lesser works in his output are still well worth hearing (thinking of his early symphonies and string quartets for instance). My favourites are his symphonies 5-9, especially the famous 9th, his violin concerto (which I rate higher than the more famous cello concerto), the four symphonic poems, his piano trios, string quartets (especially the 12th), piano quartets and quintets, and the opera Rusalka.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Geometric sites

Geometric sites is a website by Raymond Thi, where he analyses famous and less famous stills from movies from a composition point of view. The site is well organized, with seperate sections for compositional tools like Symmetry, Vanishing point, Diagonal, and Triangles - as in the example from Metropolis shown above. A fascinating site, which can also teach you a trick or two about composition in general (such as in photography).

Copyright statement: a still from a movie, deemed fair use.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Vogue September 1936

What we have here is what in English is called "a double whammy", in this case a beautiful vintage magazine cover with a clear art angle, making ti doubly suitable for the blog. It is based on an illustration by Rene Bouet-Willaumez.

Copyright statement: low resolution images of magazine covers deemed fair use.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Trident

As posted before, my photography has suffered from lack of inspiration for half a year now. To continue this topic in the blog, I had to lower my standards and select shots I normally would discard. Here we have one of the bridges across the IJssel near Kampen. I picked a viewpoint where it looks like there's only three pylons instead of four. Oh well, I thought it made for a little bit interesting shot.

Camera: Canon IXUS 170 handheld
Aperture: f/5.0
Focal length: 17.7 mm
Exposure time: 1/640
ISO speed: 100
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Copyright statement: image created by myself. Copyright Hennie Schaper.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Cosmopolis December 1928

A new magazine for the blog, courtesy of the linked Art Deco blog. Cosmopolis was a Madrid-based Spanish magazine, for which I could find no further information.

Copyright statement: low resolution images of magazine covers deemed fair use.