The Quest for the Holy Grail - Golden Tree and The Achievement of the Grail
by Edwin Austin Abbey
No one before Bernini had managed to make marble so carnal. In his nimble hands it would flatter and stream, quiver and sweat. His figures weep and shout, their torses twist and run, and arch themselves in spasms of intense sensation. He could, like an alchemist, change one material into another - marble into trees, leaves, hair, and, of course, flesh.
- Simon Schama’s Power of Art. Bernini
Karaouiyine Mosque - Medina, Fez
The Karaouyine Mosque was established in 859 making it one of the oldest in the country and one of the most distinguished. The mosque name comes in a variety of spellings such as Qarawiyin, Karouine and Karaouine and has been thought of as the spiritual centre of Fez. As with most mosques, non-Muslims cannot go inside but can see a little inside from the main door.
My new-to-me artist of the day is J. Frederick Smith.
(1922 - 2010)
Relatively little is known about magazine illustrator and later, commercial photographer - but his easy-to-recognize style and knack for portraying women as soft, sensuous and playful, makes him one of my vintage favorites.
[Emile Friant (1863-1932), Cast Shadows (detail), 1891]
[In 1891, Friant presented four paintings at the Salon of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. One of these was Cast Shadows which he was careful to place prominently when submitting his works. He had already depicted young couples, outdoors and indoors, always carefully building his composition around an interplay of looks and hands. He did the same in 1891 but in a much more radical way. The protagonists are placed in front of a wall. The frontal light source, directed upwards, highlights the hands and faces. Beneath the dark clothes, their bodies are reduced to silhouettes. This treatment recalls an extract from Pliny’s Natural History recounting how painting was invented: “[Dibutade] was in love with a young man; when he left for foreign lands, she traced the shadow of his face, projected on to a wall by the light of a lantern”]
Tim Lewis‘ Pony is a bizarre and uncanny kinetic sculpture that was exhibited at 2009′s Kinetica Art Fair. Unsettling and uber-realistic, Pony looks somewhat like a surreal ostrich-esque creature composed of human arms, pulling a small one-seater carriage behind itself; motion-sensitive, and appearing to “walk” in a very eerie and delicately articulated fashion, it is another creepy and brilliant intersection of art and science, and a provoking piece of interactive sculpture. Its title also suggests a veiled commentary on the relationship between humans and animals