The Darmstadt Artists’ Colony

The Darmstadt Artists’ Colony

Between 1899 and 1914, the Mathildenhöhe (Mathilda Heights) of Darmstadt, a city in the state of Hesse, Germany, was the site of the legendary Artists’ Colony. It was founded by the young and ambitious Ernst Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hesse, who was the grandson of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and brother to Alexandra who married Tsar Nicholas II, the last Emperor of Russia. 

Grand Duke Ludwig was determined to turn his state into a cradle of modern design and art on the highest level. To attain this goal, he commissioned some of the most talented artists of the time to become members of the Colony, including Vienna’s distinguished architect Joseph Maria Olbrich, one of the Vienna Secession founders, and self-taught Peter Behrens, who would become Germany’s top architect in the decade to follow. 

Situated close to the city centre, the Artists’ Colony became a sensational experimental field for artistic innovations in which the sovereign and a group of young artists realized their vision of a fusion of art and life. Their intention was to revolutionize architecture and interior design in order to create a modern living culture with an integration of both housing and work space. The whole human life-style was to be reformed to gain in beauty and happiness as well as in simplicity and functionality.

Beginning during a period when art existed for the sake of its beauty alone, the progress of the Artists’ Colony was slow; however, after 1901, the program gradually became more rational and realistic. This change was evident, among other things, in the numerous buildings created on the Mathildenhöhe from 1900 to 1914. Though at first the artists concentrated on the construction of private villas, they later created apartment houses and workers’ homes in an effort to face the arising questions of their time’s life and housing.

The ensemble of the Darmstadt Artists’ Colony is considered today to be one of the most impressive records of the dawning of modern art. Its appearance is still marked primarily by the buildings of the architect Joseph Maria Olbrich, who notably created the remarkable silhouette of the Colony, facing the city of Darmstadt, with his Wedding Tower and the Exhibition Building, both completed in 1908. 

The Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt is basically an open-air museum where the artwork is present in the form of its buildings, fountains and sculptures. At the same time, Joseph  Olbrich’s 1901 Ernst-Ludwig House, the former studio house and spiritual centre of the artists’ colony, is now a museum that presents fine and decorative art from the members of the artists’ colony. The unique integrity of the building complex is today a first-class cultural attraction, and the lively. contemporary centre of the Darmstadt’s cultural landscape. 

Note: The original Artists’ Colony group, headed by Joseph Maria Olbrich, included painter, decorative artist, and architect Peter Behrens; decorator Hans Christiansen; decorator Patriz Huber; sculptor Ludwig Habich; visual artist Rudolf Bosselt; and decorative painter Paul Bürck. Between 1904 and 1907, the group was joined by ceramicist Jakob j Scharvogel, glass blower Josef Emil Schneckendorf, and book craftsman Friedrich W Kleukens. 

After Joseph Olbrich’s death in 1908, architect and designer Albin Müller led the group. Under Müller’s leadership, the group expanded with majolica craftsman Bernhard Hoetger, goldsmiths Ernst Riegel and Theodore Wende, and Emanuel Margold, a student of painter Hans Hoffman.

Mary Fraser Tytler-Watts

Mary Fraser Tytler-Watts, The Watts Mortuary Chapel, Compton, Surrey, England

Born in November of 1849 in India, Mary Seton Fraser Tytler was a Symbolist craftswoman, designer, and social reformer. She spent her early years in Scotland, being raised by her grandparents, before moving to England in the 1860s. In 1870 Tytler studied at the South Kensington School of Art, and later studied sculpture at the Slade School of Art in 1872 and 1873. Initially a portrait painter, she associated with the Freshwater art community on the Isle of Wight, becoming friends with Julia Margaret Cameron, a British photographer known for her soft-focus portraits of Victorian men.

Mary Tytler met painter George Frederic Watts, who was thirty-three years her senior, and married him in November of 1886 in Epsom, Surrey. After her marriage, Mary Watts worked in the fields of Celtic and Art Nouveau, producing pottery, bas-reliefs, metalwork, and textiles. Watts exhibited her work in The Woman’s Building at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago, Illinois. Through the Home Arts and Industries Association, she created employment in the rural communities; she also trained workers in clay modeling, which led to the establishment of the Compton Potters’ Guild in 1899.

Mary Watts designed, built, and maintained the Watts Mortuary Chapel in Compton from 1895 to 1904. It is a chapel in an Art Nouveau version of the Celtic Revival style. The main structure is inspired by the 11th and 12th-century Romanesque architecture; but the terracotta relief carving and painting is Celtic Revival. Virtually every village resident was involved in the chapel’s construction, with local villagers, under Watt’s guidance decorating the interior with a fusion of art nouveau and Celtic influences. George Watts, Mary’s husband, paid for the entire project and painted the allegorical “The All-Prevading” for the altar just three months before he died in July of 1904. 

Mary Watts strongly supported the revival of the Celtic style, the indigenous artistic expression of Scotland and Ireland. In 1899, she began designing rugs in this style for the carpet company Alexander Morton & Company, which was Liberty & Company’s, the luxury department store, main producer of fabrics. Watts pioneered the department store’s Celtic style with designs for the Celtic Revival textiles, carpets, book-bindings, and metal work.

Mary Watts was President of the Godalming and District National Union of Women’s Suffrage Society and convened at least one women’s suffrage meeting in Compton, Surrey. A firm believer that everyone should have a craft with which they could express themselves, Mary Watts died at Limnerslease, her home in Compton, on the sixth of September in 1938. Her remains are buried in the Watts Mortuary Chapel.

Note: The Watts Mortuary Chapel at Compton, Surrey, is managed by the nearby Watts Gallery, dedicated to the paintings and sculptures of George Frederic Watts. The chapel is open Monday to Friday (8AM to 5PM) and Saturday to Sunday (10AM to 5:30PM). There is no entrance charge.

L’Horloge du Musée

Photographer Unknown, Gold-Framed Interior Clock, Atrium of the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France

On the eve of the 1900 World Fair, the French government ceded land to the Orleans railroad company, who, disadvantaged by the remote location of the Gare d’Austerlitz, planned to build a more central terminus station on the site of the ruined Palais d’Orsay. In 1897, the company consulted three architects: Lucien Magne, Emile Bénard and Victor Laloux. The project was a challenging one due to the vicinity of the Louvre and the Palais de la Légion d’honneur: the new station needed to be perfectly integrated into its elegant surroundings. Victor Laloux, who had just completed the Hôtel de Ville in Tours, was chosen as winner of the competition in 1898.

The station and hotel, built within two years, were inaugurated for the World Fair on July 14th, 1900. Laloux chose to mask the modern metallic structures with the façade of the hotel, which, built in the academic style using finely cut stone from the regions of Charente and Poitou, successfully blended in with its noble neighbours. Inside, all the modern techniques were used: ramps and lifts for luggage, elevators for passengers, sixteen underground railtracks, reception services on the ground floor, and electric traction. The open porch and lobby continued into the great hall which was 32 metres high, 40 metres wide and 138 metres long.

From 1900 to 1939, the Gare d’Orsay was the head of the southwestern French railroad network. The hotel received numerous travellers in addition to welcoming associations and political parties for their banquets and meetings. However, after 1939, the station was to serve only the suburbs, as its platforms had become too short for the modern, longer trains that appeared with the progressive electrification of the railroads.

The Gare d’Orsay then successively served different purposes : it was used as a mailing centre for sending packages to prisoners of war during the Second World War, then those same prisoners were welcomed there on their returning home after the Liberation. It was then used as a set for several films, such as Kafka’s “The Trial” adapted by Orson Welles, and as a haven for the Renaud-Barrault Theatre Company and for auctioneers, while the Hôtel Drouot was being rebuilt.

The hotel closed its doors on January 1st, 1973, not without having played a historic role: the General de Gaulle held the press conference announcing his return to power in its ballroom (the Salle des Fêtes).

In 1975, the Direction des Musées de France already considered installing a new museum in the train station, in which all of the arts from the second half of the 19th century would be represented. The station, threatened with destruction and replacement by a large modern hotel complex, benefitted instead from the revival of interest in nineteenth-century architecture and was listed on the Supplementary Inventory of Historical Monuments on March 8, 1973. The official decision to build the Musée d’Orsay was taken during the interministerial council of October 20, 1977, on President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing’s initiative. The building was classified a Historical Monument in 1978 and a civil commission was created to oversee the construction and organisation of the museum. The President of the Republic, François Mitterrand, inaugurated the new museum on December 1st, 1986, and it opened to the public on December 9th.

The Karnak Temple

 

Photographer Unknown, (Inside the Karnak Temple in Luxor)

Consisting of more than one hundred hectares, Karnak is an ancient temple precinct in Egypt located on the east bank of the Nile River in modern-day Luxor, formerly Thebes. The largest sector is the central portion which is dedicated to Amun-Ra, considered to be the supreme creator, the god of fertility and life.

In the southern central sector is a precinct dedicated to the goddess Mut, wife of Amun-Ra, the primal mother goddess who is associated with the waters from which everything is born. She was a patron deity of Thebes along with her husband Amun-Ra and their son Khonsu, god of the moon.

North of the central area is a precinct dedicated to Montu, the falcon headed god of war and embodiment of the conquering vitality of the Pharaoh. A very ancient god, Montu was a manifestation of the scorching destructive effect of Ra, the sun, which caused him first to be considered a warrior and eventually revered as a war-god.

To the east of the central sector, there is an area, destroyed intentionally, that was dedicated to Aten, the solar disc. The deity Aten was the focus of the monotheistic religion established by Amenhotep IV to worship Aten as the creator, the giver of life, and the nurturing spirit of the world. Horemheb, the last Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt, reestablished the priesthood of Amun and destroyed the temple area of Atan, the solar disc. A prolific builder, Horemheb constructed the Second, Ninth, and Tenth Pylons of the great Hypostyle Hall in the precinct of Amon-Ra at the Temple of Karnak.

The last major building program at Karnak was under the reign of Nectanebo I, a king of the Thirtieth and last Dynasty of Egypt. He built a large enclosure wall around the site along with another temple. He also started, but did not complete, a new pylon at the western entrance of Karnak. The rulers of foreign descent who took control of Egypt continued work at Karnak, creating a series of burial catacombs dedicated to Osiris, god of the underworld. When Rome seized control of Egypt, work at Karnak ceased, ending a span of two thousand years of construction.

Wat Samphran

Wat Samphran, a Buddhist temple in Amphoe Sam Phran, is located about forty kilometers west of Bangkok in Thailand. The seventeen story temple is known for its gigantic dragon which curls around the entire height of the building. The dragon contains a staircase, which, due to its poor condition, is no longer in use.

The founder of the temple, after a seven-day fasting meditation, realized the design of the structure. The 80 meters tall building honors the number of years that the Buddha manifested on the earth. A large figure of the Buddha resides on the third floor and a shrine to the Goddess of Mercy is located on the grounds of the temple.

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A Year: Day to Day Men: 26th of October, Solar Year 2018

Slow Moving Water

October 26, 1825 marks the opening of the Erie Canal.

From the days of the birchbark canoe, the early trade routes of the Northeast utilized New York’s waterways. The Lake Champlain-Hudson River Route and the Lake Ontario-Oswego River-Mohawk River Route were utilized by native Americans, fur traders, missionaries and colonizers. The birchbark canoes used earlier were supplemented by longer heavier boats rowed or pulled by several men, which by 1791 was able to haul a two ton load.

In March of 1792, the Western Inland Lock and Navigation Company came into being and improved navigation on the Mohawk River. Also in that year, this company built small canals 3 feet deep with locks of 12 feet by 74 feet around the falls and rapids of the river. By 1796, Durham boats with capacities of 15-20 tons were able to navigate the route. Although business was brisk, maintenance on the wooden locks and channels depleted revenue and the operation folded a few years later.

In 1817 the Erie Canal was established under the management of a New York State Commission. Federal funds were not legislated; so this canal and all subsequent canals in New York State were built and maintained exclusively with state funds. The canal was dug from Albany to Buffalo, 4 feet deep and 40 feet wide, with stone locks 15 feet by 90 feet. The locks were the limiting factor on boat size and their efficiency of operation dictated the allowable traffic flow.

Additional canals were dug from the Hudson River to Lake Champlain, from Montezuma to Cayuga and Seneca Lakes and from Syracuse to Oswego. This canal system proved to be so successful that almost every community in the state lobbied for a link to the system, resulting in a network of canals. These lateral canals proved to be of marginal value at best:

In 1836, an enlargement program commenced on the main Erie Canal system. The canal was straightened a bit, the channel was increased in size to 7 feet by 70 feet, and the locks were enlarged to 18 feet by 110 feet. This permitted boats of much greater size on the Erie, Champlain, Cayuga-Seneca and Oswego canals, and further diminished the importance of the smaller lateral canals. Most of the lateral canals were closed by 1878 with only the Black River Canal lasting until the eventual close of the entire system in 1917.

The growth of steam power on the canal and steel boat construction eliminated the need for a waterway as protected as the old Erie Canal. A twentieth century canal of grand dimension with cast concrete structures and electronic controls was begun. This Barge Canal system, utilizing canalized rivers and lakes and enlarged sections of the original Erie Canal, opened in 1918. Several of the old routes are still utilized today.

Archea Associati

Archea Associati, Liling World Ceramic Art City, China

The Italian architectural firm Archea Associati designed a new architecture wonderland in Changsha, China, in collaboration with the Human Architectual Design Institute. Liling is a county-level city, known for its traditional porcelain and firework industries, in the Hunan province of China.

Liling Ceramic Art City is a new city section entirely devoted to ceramic art. It is a city, where the relationship between architecture, urban space, the material made by the company and industrial tradition merge into one.  The concept for the Liling design was inspired by the client, a leading producer of ceramic materials, who wanted to site a museum and a hotel in this industrial ceramics processing area. The designed buildings seek to spotlight its features and varied colors and production styles.

The entrance gate leads to the project’s core, an open square which is surrounded by a hotel, restaurants and three museums: two about calligraphy and one about ceramics. Residences and commercial services are located in the north-east area. All the buildings are connected via walkways below street level.

Odessa

Artist Unknown, “Odessa”, 1930s Vintage Poster

This vintage 1930s travel poster was designed to encourage tourism to the USSR before the Second World War and the ensuing Cold War, which essentially closed off the Soviet Union to westerners.. Advertising flights and train routes through the Soviet Union, they were published by Joseph Stalin’s Intourist Company, founded in 1929.

Shah Mosque, Isfahan, Iran

Interior of the Dome at Shah Mosque, Isfahan, Iran

After the introduction of domes into then Islamic architectural designs  by Arabs during the 7th century, domes appeared frequently in the architecture of mosques. The Persians had constructed such domes for centuries before, and some of the earliest known examples of large-scale domes in the World are found in Iran. So, the Safavid Muslims, who ruled from 1501 to 1722, borrowed heavily from pre-Islamic knowledge in dome-building, that is the use of squinches to create a transition from an octagonal structure, into a circular dome. To cover up these transition zones, the Persians built rich networks of stalactites. Thus, came also the introduction of this feature into Persian mosques.

Santiago Calatrave

Santiago Calatrave, “Auditorio de Tenerife”, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary islands, Spain

The auditorium was designed by architect Santiago Calatrava who publicly presented his design in 1991. After site location changes and bureaucratic delays, construction began in 1997. The auditorium complex was finally completed in 2002.

The main hall or Symphony, crowned by a dome, has 1,616 seats in an amphitheater. The chamber hall, with 422 seats, reproduces the symphony hall amphitheater on a smaller scale. Much of the exterior srufaces are covered with white trancadis, mosaics made from cemented tile shards and broken chinaware. Colored trancadis act as decorative elements in the retaining walls of the plaza.

The building is famous for its great arc, which marked a first in the history of architecture. It is the only large arch supported by only two points, whose tip appears to be suspended, defying gravity.

Reblogged with thanks to https://oznagni.tumblr.com

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A Year: Day to Day Men: 3rd of September, Solar Year 2018

Feet Off the Ground

September 3, 301 is the official founding date of the Republic of San Marino.

The Republic of San Marino is an enclave micro-state surrounded by Italy, situated on the northeastern side of Italy in the Apennine Mountains. Its size is just over 61 square kilometers or 24 square miles. San Marino has the smallest population, 33, 562 inhabitants, of all the Council of Europe’s forty-seven member states.

Saint Marius, a stonemason by trade who came from modern-day Croatia, fled persecution for his Christian beliefs during the Diocletianic Persecution, the last and most severe of the persecutions by the Roman Empire. He became a deacon and was ordained by Gaudentius, the Bishop of Rimini, a diocese in Italy. Saint Marius fled to Monte Titano and built a chapel and monastery there; its founding date was September 3rd in the year 301. After Marius’ canonization as a saint, the State of Marino grew from that monastery.

San Marino is governed by its constitution, the Leges Statutae Republicae Sanct Marini, a series of six books written in Latin in the late 16th century. These books dictate the country’s political system, among other matters. The country is considered to have the earliest written governing documents, still in effect. San Marino’s independence was recognized in 1631 by the Papacy.

Although traces of human presence from both prehistoric and Roman times exist in the territory, Mount Titano and its slopes are known to have been populated, with certainty, only after the arrival of St. Marinus and his followers. San Marino citizens, or Sammarinesi, make up more than four-fifths of the country’s population, with Italians composing most of the remainder. There is no official religion, although the majority are Roman Catholics, and the official language is Italian.

Because centuries-long quarrying has exhausted Mount Titano’s stone and ended the craft that depended upon it, the territory is now without mineral resources. All electrical power is transferred via electrical grid from Italy, San Marino’s main trading partner. The country’s principal resources are industry, tourism, commerce, agriculture, and crafts. Ceramic and wrought-iron articles, as well as modern and reproduction furniture, are among San Marino’s traditional craft products. Fine printing, particularly of collectible postage stamps, is a consistent source of revenues; and banking is a vital industry. San Marino adopted the euro as its national currency.

Ming Fay

Ming Fay, “Shad Crossing”, Detail, 2014, Glass Mosaic, Delancy Street Subway Station, New York City

On the Manhattan-bound platform of the F Line at Delancy Street Station, the mosaic mural depicts a cherry orchard that was originally part of the Delancy family farm, that was at today’s Orchard Street. On the Brooklyn-bound side of the platform, shad fish, which make runs through rivers every spring, represent the travel of immigrants across the ocean.

Ming Fay is a Shanghai-born and New York City-based sculptor and professor. His work focuses on the garden as a symbol of utopia and the relationship between man and nature. He is well known for his sculptures and installations. Ming Fay currently teaches sculpture at William Paterson University in New Jersey.

Spencer Means, “Balcony at Casa Calvet”

Spencer Means, “Balcony at Casa Calvet”, Barcelona, Spain

Casa Calvet is a building, built between 1898 and 1900, designed by Antoni Gaudi for a textile manufacturer which served as both a commercial property and a residence. It is located at Carrer de Casp 48, Eixample district of Barcelona.

Gaudí scholars agree that this building is the most conventional of his works, partly because it had to be squeezed in between older structures and partly because it was sited in one of the most elegant sections of Barcelona. Its symmetry, balance and orderly rhythm are unusual for Gaudí’s works.

However, the curves, the double gable at the top, and the projecting oriel at the entrance are almost baroque in its drama. Modernist elements are evident in the isolated witty details. Bulging balconies alternate with smaller, shallower balconies.

Jon Atkinson, “Casa Batlló”

Jon Atkinson, “Casa Batlló”

Jon Atkinson is a wildlife and travel photographer.

Casa Batlló was designed by Gaudí for Josep Batlló, a wealthy aristocrat, as an home. Gaudí used colours and shapes found in marine life as inspiration for his creativity in this building e.g. the colours chosen for the façade are those found in natural coral.