Étienne-Jules Marey

Motion-Analyses by Étienne-Jules Marey

Born in March of 1830 in Beaune, Étienne-Jules Marey was a French scientist, physiologist, and chronophotographer. The results of his work were significant for the development of aviation, cardiology, laboratory photography, cinematography, and instruments for precise measurement.

Étienne-Jules Marey traveled to Paris in 1849 and enrolled at the Faculty of Medicine to study surgery and physiology. After qualifying as a doctor in 1859, he established a small Parisian laboratory in 1864 where he studied the circulation of blood in the human body. From these studies, Marey published the 1868 “Le Mouvement dans les Fonctions de la Vie”. This book discussed the importance of recording devices in biology, Marey’s graphic method, the origin of movement, muscle contractility and elasticity, artificial stimulations of movement, and descriptions of many medical recording devices.

Beginning in 1862, Marey perfected the first elements of his graph methodology, which studied movement using recording instruments and graphs. He succeeded in analyzing through diagrams the walk of man and a horse, and the flight of birds and insects. The published results of this work, the 1873 “La Machine Animals”, led Eadweard Muybridge and Leland Stanford to pursue their own photographic researches into animal movement. 

Although Étienne-Jules Marey admired the results of Muybridge’s work done at the Palo Alto studio, he was dissatisfied with the lack of precision in Muybridge’s bird movement images. Inspired by previous photographic work done by astronomer Jules Janssen, Marey, in 1882, perfected the ‘photographic gun’ with a revolving cylinder containing photographic plates that was capable of taking twelve exposures in one second. Using this instrument, he was able to shoot multiple images of a subject quickly from different angles. Later in the same year, Muray invented the chronophotographic fixed-plate camera which was equipped with a timed shutter. 

Unlike the motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge, who depicted movement as a series of discrete moments on separate, sequential negatives, Marey’s analyses of motion, captured by his chronophotographic camera, are characterized by multiple exposures on a single photographic glass plate. He made improvements to his invention in 1888 by replacing the glass plate with a long strip of sensitized paper. Marey’s first multiple-exposure “film” on paper, produced by moving the strip intermittently in the camera by an electromagnet at the speed of twenty images a second, was presented at the Academy des Science on October 29th in 1888. 

Two years later, Étienne-Jules Marey replaced the paper strip with a transparent celluloid film ninety millimeters wide with a length of one meter or more. A pressure-plate immobilized the film; a spring restarted the film when the pressure was released. All following cameras produced were based on the principles first applied by Marey: the intermittent movement of a sensitive film behind an objective lens  and the film’s static moments corresponding with the opening of the shutter. 

Between 1890 and 1900, assisted by inventor and photographer  Georges Demenÿ, and later by photographers Lucien Bull and Pierre Nogues, Marey made a large number of motion analysis filmstrips of high aesthetic and technical quality. These filmstrips were subsequently  processed and archived by the Cinématheque Francaise, the French non-profit film organization founded in 1936, and totaled over four- hundred original negatives, a collection which included the recording of a moving hand, self-portraits of Demenÿ and Marey, and the now-famous falling cat filmstrip, taken in 1894. 

In 1894, Étienne-Jules Marey published his collective research work under the title “Le Mouvement”. Towards the end of his life, he returned to studying the movement of more abstract forms. Marey’s  last great work was the observation and photography of smoke trails, partially funded by American astronomer and inventor Samuel Pierpont Langley under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institute. In 1901 Marey built a smoke machine with fifty-eight smoke trails; this machine became one of the first aerodynamic wind tunnels. 

The founding father of technical cinematic photography, Étienne-Jules Marey died on May 15th of 1904 in Paris. His research was continued by his assistants Lucien Bull and Pierre Nogues at the Marey Institute, built at the request of the International Society of Physiology by Marey to house a commission for the control of graphic instruments dedicated to physiology.  At this institute, Bull and Nogues made microscopic, X-Ray and high-speed analysis films.

Egyptian Arched Harp

Egyptian Arched Harp (Shoulder Harp), circa 1390-1295 BCE, Wood, Diagonal Length 82 cm, Soundbox Length 36 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt, spanning the period from 1550 to 1292 BCE,  is classified as the first dynasty of the New Kingdom, which was the era when ancient Egypt reached the peak of its power. This dynasty included the reigns of pharaohs such as Tutankhamun who ruled Egypt at a young age; Hatshepsut, the longest reigning woman pharaoh of an indigenous dynasty; and Akhenaten, the heretic pharaoh, who ruled with  his principle wife Nefertiti. Unique among the Egyptian dynasties, the Eighteenth Dynasty had two women who ruled as sole pharaoh: Hatshepsut, who ruled from 1470 to 1458 BCE, and Neferneferuaten, usually identified as Nefertiti, whose short reign extended from 1334 to 1332 BCE.

Arched harps were already in use during the Old Kingdom and remained the foremost string instruments until the end of the Middle Kingdom. From the New Kingdom onward, Egyptian arched harps co-existed with a great variety of harps in different shapes and sizes. During the later part of the New Kingdom, musicians experimented with new forms which could accommodate more  strings, eventually progressing from the arched bow harp with four or five strings to the classic full-sized arched harp with a leather soundboard and twenty-two strings. 

The smaller, more portable ancient Egyptian bowed shoulder harp became briefly more popular from about the reign of Tuthmosis III, who ruled from 1479 to 1425 BCE. The arched shoulder harp with the curved neck, preserved in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection, is dated from 1390 to 1295 BCE. This harp has twelve strings and an open, slightly waisted sound box, whose opening was once covered with skin. Rope tuning rings under each string gave a buzzing sound to the soft-sounding tone produced. Topping the arched frame of the harp is a carved head of a Nubian captive who appears to be bound by the strings of the harp. 

This type of portable, boat-shaped arched harp was a favorite during the New Kingdom and is shown in the hands of processional female musicians performing alone or in ensembles with singers, wind instruments, rattles, and sistrums, small rattling percussion instruments made of brass or bronze. Prior to the Middle Kingdom, depictions of harpists feature men as the chief musicians. Harps and other instruments were used for praise singing and entertainment at festivals, temple rituals, court functions, funerals, and military events. Today, arched harps derived from these ancient Egyptian forms are still used in parts of Africa and Asia

Horus

Photographer Unknown, Horus

Horus, in the ancient Egyptian religion, was one of the most important deities. The god appeared in the form of a falcon, whose left eye was the moon, representing healing, and whose right eye was the sun, representing power and the intrinsic substance of the heavenly bodies. Falcon cults were evident in late predynastic times and became widespread throughout Egypt. 

In the beginning stages of Egypt’s ancient religion, Horus was believed to be the god of war and the sky. As the religion progressed, Horus was seen as the son of Osiris and Isis, the divine child of the holy family triad. He is depicted as a falcon wearing a crown with a cobra, and later, wearing the Double Crown of the united Upper and Lower Egypt. The hooded cobra, worn by the gods and pharaohs on their foreheads, symbolized light and royalty. 

One of the oldest cultures in human history, ancient Egyptians are well-known for pioneering the fields of art, medicine, and the documentation of discoveries as mythological tales. The Egyptians mastered the integration of anatomy and mythology into artistic symbols and figures. The Eye of Horus was used as a sign of prosperity and protection, derived from the myth of Isis and Osiris. Comprised of six different parts, each an individual symbol, the Eye of Horus has an astonishing connection between neuroanatomical structure and function.

For those interested in the possible scientific speculation of the ingenuity of ancient Egyptians’ insight into human anatomy and physiology, a treatise, entitled “The Eye of Horus” by Karim ReFaey, Gabriella C. Quinones, William Clifton, and others can be found at the Cureus site, located at:https://www.cureus.com/articles/19443-the-eye-of-horus-the-connection-between-art-medicine-and-mythology-in-ancient-egypt

British Pathé, RMS Titanic

 

Artist Unknown, Titanic Moored at Dock, Gifs, British Pathé, 1912

These three colorized gifs were taken from the beginning of a film, jointly owned by British Pathé and Gaumont Newsreels, containing known footage of the RMSTitanic. Slightly different versions of this film are held by British Movietone and the National Film and Television Archive.

The three gifs depict the Titanic moored, probably on April 2nd of 1912, at the Thompson Graving Dock on Queen’s Island in Belfast, where the RMS Titanic was fitted out. In these shots, men can be seen walking beside the ship and smoke is seen issuing from the third funnel of the Titanic.

The British Pathé’s newsreel, just over six minutes in length,  covers several episodes in the story of the RMS Titanic’s final days. The captain of the RMS Titanic, Edward J. Smith, who perished when the ship sank, is shown on board the RMS Olympic, before assuming duty on the Titanic. Newsreel footage of icebergs and ice floes are shown to portray the scene of the disaster. Scenes of the rescue ship, Carpathia, nearing New York City with survivors, and scenes of the departing search and rescue vessel, Mackay Bennet, also are included in this Pathé footage.

At the forefront of cinematic journalism, British Pathé was a producer of newsreels and documentaries from 1910 to 1970 in England. The company blended information with entertainment for movie theater attendees who came to watch the news. Over the course of its sixty years, it documented everything from major armed conflicts and international political crises to the curious hobbies and eccentric lives of ordinary people.

British Pathé’s roots lie in 1896 Paris, France, when Société Pathé Frères  was founded by Charles Pathé and his brothers, who pioneered the development of the moving image. In 1908, the company invented the cinema newsreel with its introduction of the Pathé-Journal and opened a newsreel office on Wardour Street, London, in 1910. These early silent  newsreels, issued every two weeks and running about four minutes in length, were shown in local theaters; sound was introduced beginning in 1928. The Pathé newsreels captured events such as suffragette Emily Danison’s fatal injury by a racehorse at the 1913 Epsom Derby and Franz Reichelt’s fatal descent by parachute from the Eiffel Tower in February of 1912.

Considered now to be the finest newsreel archive in the world, British Pathé is a treasure trove of eighty-five thousand films unmatched in their historical and cultural significance. The company also represents the Reuters historical collection, which includes more than one hundred thirty-six thousand items from the following news agencies: Gaumont Graphic, active from 1910 to 1932; Empire News Bulletin, a film library from 1926 to 1930;  British Paramount,  a collection spanning from 1931 to 1957; and Gaumont British’s collection  from 1934 to 1959. Included in Pathés vast library of film is the collected content from the Visnews service active from 1957 until the end of 1984.

The full footage of British Pathé’s Titanic black and white newsreel can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05o7sOAjtXE

All footage can be viewed on the British Pathé website. https://www.britishpathe.com/

Arcangelo Corelli

Arcangelo Corelli, Concerto in D Major Op. 6 No. 4, 1714, Performed by the Voices of Music Ensemble

Born on February 17, 1653 in Fusignano, Papal States, Italy, Arcangelo Corelli was a violinist and composer of the Italian Baroque era, whose  family were prosperous landowners, but not of the nobility. Known chiefly for his influence on the development of violin style and for his sonatas, Corelli’s “12 Concert Grossi “ established the contrast between a small group of soloists and the full orchestra as a popular compositional medium. 

Historical records of the poet Giovanni Mario Crescimbeni, founder of the celebrated Academy of Arcadians, state Arcangelo Corelli initially studied music under priests, first in the city of Faenza and then in Lugo, before he moved in 1666 to Bologna, a major center of musical culture. Plausible, but largely unconfirmed, historical accounts link his musical education with several master violinists, including Giovanni Benvenuti, Bartolomeo Laurenti, and Giovanni Battista Bassani. 

Although it is unclear exactly when Corelli arrived in Rome, it is known that he was actively engaged as a violinist in 1675. He played as one of the supporting violinists in three Lenten oratorios: one at the church of San Giovanni dei Florentini, one held on August 25th for a celebration at the church San Luigi dei Francesi, and one for the ordination ceremony of a noble Chigi family member held at the church Santi Domenico e Sisto. By February of 1675, Corelli was third violinist in the Chapel of San Luigi dei Francesi’s orchestra in Rome; by the following year Corelli was second violinist.

Corelli rapidly gain a reputation by playing in a number of ensembles sponsored by wealthy patrons at San Marcello al Corso, for whom he played in oratorios during the Lenten seasons from 1671 to 1679. In June of 1677, Corelli completed and sent his first composition “Sonata for Violin and Lute” to Count Fabrizio Laderchi, a noble in Faenza attached to the household of Prince Francesco Maria de Medici. Corelli’s “Twelve  Trio Sonatas (Two Violins and Cello, with Organ Basso Continuo), Opus 1”, dedicated to Queen Christina of Sweden, was published in 1681. 

From September 1687 to November 1690, Arcangelo Corelli was musical director at the Palazzo Pamphili, where he performed and conducted important musical events, Including conducting an orchestra of one hundred fifty strings for Queen Christina. A favorite of the great music patron Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, Corelli in 1690 entered into the Cardinal’s service where he performed in concerts at Ottoboni’s Palazzo della Cancelleria. Joining him at these concerts were the violinist Matteo Fornari, the cellist G. B. Lulier from Spain, and the harpsichordist Bernardo Pasquini, and other orchestral players.

Corelli had first met Matteo Fornari in 1682, and they soon developed an intimate relationship which lasted until Corelli’s death. Socially protected by Ottoboni and living discreetly among male friends, they devoted their time together to the pursuit of their music which included many performances played together. Their relationship became the inspiration for two compositions by their friend Giuseppe Valentini, who dedicated his trio sonatas to both Corelli and Fornari. During this period, Corelli quietly developed his best-known and most influential works, the orchestral “Concerti Grossi”, and also became one of the most renowned violin teachers, who taught such students as Gasparini, Castrucci, and Locatelli.

In 1702, Corelli went to Naples and performed a composition by the Italian composer Alessandro Scarlatti, a performance which was probably performed  in the presence of its regent, King Philip IV.  In 1706, together with composer Bernardo Pasquini and Scarlatti, Corelli was received into the Pontifical Academy of Arcadia in Rome and conducted a concert for the occasion. By 1708 he withdrew from public view and began to revise his compositions. A contemporary of both Lully and Handel, Corelli died in Rome on the 8th of January in 1713. 

Arcangelo Corelli left his large art collection of paintings, all his instruments and music, and all future proceeds from it, to Matteo Fornari who readied Corelli’s unpublished “Op. 6 Concertos” for publication with Estienne Roger of Amsterdam. By special decree from the Pope, Corelli was buried next to Raphael in the section of the Pantheon in Rome that holds the remains of painters and architects.

Arcangelo Corelli’s “Concerto in D Major Op. 6”, was published in 1714 in Amsterdam and dramatically affected the style of the baroque concerto for the next generation of composers. The reception of this collection, considered one of the crown jewels of baroque instrumental music, owes a portion of its success to the music publishing boom which began around 1690. Corelli’s signature violin sonata set, “Opus 5”, also widely published, appeared in at least forty-two editions by 1800. 

Corelli’s concertos are written in an expanded trio sonata style, in which the two solo violins and cello form a small ensemble within the larger tutti framework, which is performed with all instruments together. The fourth concerto, played in the video linked above, is noteworthy for its suave and serene introduction, the gracefulness of the dance movement, the exceptionally well-balanced counterpoint and harmony, and the furious concluding coda which flows out of the second ending of the last movement.

Note: The video is from the Voices of Music Lamentations of Jeremiah concert held in April of 2014. Played with period instruments and practice,, there isn’t any conductor present at the performance. Kati Kyme and Elizabeth Blumenstock play solo baroque violins; Shirley Edith Hunt plays solo baroque cello; Gabrielle Wunsch and Maxine Nemerovski play ripieno baroque violins; Lisa Grodin plays baroque viola; Farley Pearce plays violone; Hanneke van Proosdij plays baroque organ; and David Tayler plays the archlute.

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.

Baker’s Dozen

Photographers Unknown, Baker’s Dozen

“Because bread was so important, the laws governing its purity were strict and the punishment severe. A baker who cheated his customers could be fined £10 per loaf sold, or made to do a month’s hard labor in prison. For a time, transportation to Australia was seriously considered for malfeasant bakers. This was a matter of real concern for bakers because every loaf of bread loses weight in baking through evaporation, so it is easy to blunder accidentally. For that reason, bakers sometimes provided a little extra- the famous baker’s dozen.”

—Bill Bryson, At Home: A Short History of Private Life

Macrocosm of London

Rudolph Ackermann, William Henry Pyne, “Fire in London (Albion Mills, Blackfriars Bridge)”, 1808-1810, Colored Etching, Plate 35, Illustration from “Macrocosm of London”, British Library

The “Macrocosm of London”, published in three volumes between 1808 and 1810, was the result of an ongoing collaboration between publisher Rudolph Ackermann; cartoonist and illustrator Thomas Rowlandson; architectural draughtsman Auguste Charles Pugin; engravers John Bluck, Joseph Constantine Stadler, Thomas Sunderland, John Hill and Richard Bankes Harraden; authors William Henry Pyne and William Combe; and anonymous hand-colorists.

This publication “Macrocosm of London” tapped into the demand for highly-colored prints of real-life subjects that proved something of a publishing sensation during the Regency period in England. Its prints stand as a fascinating historical record of London life in the early years of the 19th century. Auguste Pugin’s fine architectural drawings captured the size and shape of the capital’s principal buildings, both externally and from within. The keenly observed figures drawn by Thomas Rowlandson depicted the vitality and color of both the rich and the poor in late Georgian society.

The Albion flour mill opened at the southern foot of Blackfriars Bridge in London in 1786 and became one of the most visible symbols of Britain’s industrial progress during the late 18th century. Designed in a Neo-Classical style by architect and proprietor James Wyatt, the building contained revolutionary steam engines engineered to the designs of James Watt and his partner Matthew Boulton. 

The sheer power of the engines, which drove twenty pairs of mills stones, promised staggering levels of output in the milling of corn for flour, which was needed for the seemingly endless demand for bread by London’s rapidly growing population. As such, the Albion mill was widely resented by existing millers in London who were still reliant on water or wind power, and who saw the arrival of steam as a death sentence for their trade.

On the 2 March 1791, the Albion mill was totally destroyed by fire, an event that caused much rejoicing in some quarters and some rumors of arson. Though poor maintenance was probably to blame, the burning of the mill was nevertheless the cause of a popular sensation in London which drew crowds of onlookers to the site for weeks afterwards. 

The catastrophe of the mill burning also stood as a useful literary metaphor for the potential harm caused by industrial progress. Most famously it is thought that poet William Blake was inspired by the burnt-shell of the building to portray his vision of ‘dark satanic mills’, contained in the preface poem “And Did Those Feet in Ancient Times” for his 1804 epic work “Milton: A Poem in Two Books”.

The Sator Square

 

Photographers Unknown, (The Sator Square; A Collection)

The Sator Square is a word square containing a five-word Latin palindrome in a sequence of characters that reads the same backward as forward. It is a five by five square made up of five five-letter words, consisting of twenty-five letters in total. These twenty-five letters are all derived from eight Latin letters, consisting of five consonants (STRPN) and three vowels (AEO).In particular, thr Square is a square 2D palindrome, which is when a square text admits four symmetries: identity, two diagonal reflections, and 180 degree rotation. As can be seen, the text may be read top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top, left-to-right, or right-to-left; and it may be rotated 180 degrees and still be read in all those ways.

The Sator Square is the earliest dateable 2D palindrome. It was found in the ruins of Pompeii, Italy, at Herculaneum, a city buried in the ash from the 79 AD Mount Vesuvius eruption. It consists of the five Latin words: Sator, Arepo, Tenet, Opera, and Rotes. Other Sator Squares have also been found in excavations under the church os Saint Marie Maggiore in Rome; at Cirencester in Cotswolds, England; at Dura-Europos in Syria; at the Valvisciolo Abbey, Latina, Italy; and as a partial inscription on a rune stone at Närke, Sweden.

“It seemed to him that the Square, itself the accidental masonry of many years, the chance agglomeration of time and of disrupted strivings, was the center of the universe. It was for him, in his soul’s picture, the earth’s pivot, the granite core of changelessness, the eternal place where all things came and passed, and yet abode forever and would never change.” 

–Thomas Wolfe, Lost Boy: A Novella

The Lumière Brothers

Artist Unknown, (Paris Scenes), Computer Graphics, Film Gifs from “A Trip Through Paris, France, 1896-1900”

The Belle Époque was a period in the history of Paris between 1871 to 1914, from the beginning of the Third French Republic until the first World War. The nostalgic term came into use, after the despair and deaths of World War One, for what seemed a simpler time of elegance, optimism and progress. This “Beautiful Age’ brought dramatic advancements in art, culture, and technology. 

In the field of architecture, Paris saw the construction of the Paris Metro, the completion of the Paris Opera House, the building of the Eiffel Tower, and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Montmartre. During the three Universal Expositions of 1879, 1889, and 1900, millions of visitors came to Paris to see the latest marvels in commerce, the arts, and science. Paris was also the birthplace of the Ballets Russes, the most influential ballet company of the twentieth century, and the new art movements of Impressionism and the experimental Modern Art.

One particularly important technological invention that emerged at this time was the projected motion picture, patented in 1895 by Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas and Louis Jean Lumière. With this new technology, the Lumière brothers captured contemporary life in 19th-century Paris, culminating in the priceless black and white footage we can still see today.

Shot between 1896 and 1900, the compilation  “A Trip Through Paris, France, 1896-1900” takes viewers on a journey back in time to Paris. In six minutes, it showcases several sites around the French capital, including still-standing landmarks like Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Champs-Élysées, and the ten-year-old Eiffel Tower. In addition to featuring specific locations, it also offers a glimpse of daily life, from a scene showing firefighters on horseback to footage of children playing with little boats in the Tuileries Garden.

In order to set a lifelike scene, film restorer Guy Jones slowed the footage to a natural speed and added ambient noise. When coupled with the video’s strikingly high quality, these alterations make it possible for people today to wander through the Golden Age of Paris.

The complete film “A Trip Through Paris, France, 1896-1900” by the Lumière brothers with restoration and soundtrack can be found, along with other restored works, at Guy Jones’s Youtube site:

https://www.youtube.com/user/bebopsam1975/videos

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.

James Stroudley

 

Leonard James Stroudley, “The Oarsmen”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 224 x 178 cm, Private Collection

Born in London in June of 1906, Leonard James Stroudley was a painter, printmaker, and educator. He studied at the Clapham School of Art from 1923 to 1927, and continued his studies at the Royal College of Art from 1927 to 1930, where he studied under painters William Rothenstein and Alan Gwynne-Jones. As a recipient of the first Abbey Scholarship in 1930, Stroudley was able to study for three years in Italy, where he was influenced by the paintings of Giotto and Piero della Francesca, and produced one of the last decorative cycles by a Rome Scholar prior to World War II.

On his return to London in 1933, Leonard Stroudley became a visiting lecturer at the Royal Academy School and exhibited at the Royal Academy and the Royal Society of British Artists, of which he was elected a member in 1934. Working through a series of influences, including cubism in the late 1930s, he achieved the incisive draftsmanship that is the core of his work. Stroudley’s drawings, both figurative and landscapes, from this period are technically brilliant and bear comparison with illustrative work of British sculptor Eric Kennington.

After the Second World War, in which he worked with the Camouflage Unit, Stroudley taught at St. Martin’s School of Art and continued his lectures at the Royal Academy Schools. Though he continued to live in London, Stroudley’s later work, exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1955, indicated regular painting trips to the coastal areas of Kent and Sussex. Initially a figurative artist, his later works, starting in the 1950s, moved increasingly towards abstraction. 

Leonard James Stroudley, in addition to exhibitions at the Royal Schools, had numerous gallery shows, among which were the Walker Art Gallery in 1956-1957, the Apollinaire Gallery, the Arthur Tooth and Son Gallery, and London’s Reid Gallery in 1960. His former student, realist painter Peter Coker, paid homage to his teacher by including Stroudley’s work in the 1971 exhibition “Pupil & Masters” which was held at Westgate House in Long Melford, Suffolk.

Leonard James Stroudley died in May of 1985 at Wandsworth, London. His works are in the public collections of Bradford, Brighton, Coventry, and Rochdale, as well as many private collections. 

Top Insert Image: Leonard James Stroudley, “Undercliff Walk, Looking West from Rottingdean”, Watercolor and Penccil, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Leonard James Stroudley, “First Floor Front”, 1959, Oil on Canvas, The Esplanade, Rochdale, Greater Manchester, England

 

The Tempest

Benjamin Smith, “Act One, Scene One of the Tempest by William Shakespeare”, Untinted Engraving based on the Original Painting by George Romney, September 29, 1797, Published by J & J Boydell at the Shakespeare Gallery, Pall Mall, London

This engraving depicts the destruction of King Alonso’s ship caused by the tempest conjured by Prospero, seen on the right, who sent spirits to create the storm. Prospero caused the tempest in an act of revenge against his brother Antonio, one of the ship’s passengers, who had ursurped Propero’s position as Duke of Milan. Prospero’s daughter Miranda clings to him, begging for the lives of those on the ship. Prospero assured his daughter that he used his magic to prevent anyone from dying.

Benjamin Smith was a British engraver, publisher and print seller who was born in 1754 in London. He studied the art of stippling engraving under Francesco Bartolozzi,  one of the most famous engravers of the 1700s. During his career from 1786 to 1833, Smith engraved many plates from designs by William Hogarth, William Beechley, and George Romney. He also created portraits of the aristocracy such as the Marquis Cornwallis and King George III.

Employed for many years by J & J Boydell Publishing, Benjamin Smith was commissioned to engrave many plates for the Shakespeare Gallery and for the poetical works of John Milton in the years between 1794  and 1797. These are considered his best works and included the image above based on the painting by George Romney. Smith continued his engraving work until five years before his death in 1833, producing many works now in the collections of the British Museum and National Portrait Gallery.

One Thousand and One Nights

“One Thousand and One Nights” , a collection of Mid-Eastern folk tales, was compiled during the Islamic Golden Age, a period of culture, economic and scientific flourishing in the history of Islam.This period is traditionally dated from the reign of Caliph Harun al-Rashid in 786 to 809 and extended, by some scholars’ estimate, as late as the end of the 15th to 16th centuries. The tales have their roots in Arabic, Persian, Indian, Greek, Jewish and Turkish folklore and literature. Collected by various authors and scholars, the stories have been presented in many editions; some contained a few hundred tales and others included a thousand in poem or prose form. 

There are two main Arabic manuscript traditions of the “One Thousand and One Nights”. The Syrian tradition includes the oldest manuscripts, with shorter and fewer tales. Believed the purest expression of the style of the medieval “Arabian Nights”, it has been republished most recently in 1984 and is known as the Leiden Edition. The Egyptian tradition emerged after the Syrian tradition and contains more tales of more varied content, collected over the centuries, including up to the 19th century. This tradition includes 1001 tales and is known as the “Calcutta II” or the “Macnaghten” edition, published between 1839 to 1842. 

The first European version, translated into French by Antoine Galland from the Syrian tradition and other sources, was a twelve-volume work entitled “Les Mille et Une Nuits, Contes Arabes Traduits en Francais”. This work included stories not found in the original Arabic manuscripts but which later became traditionally associated with “Nights”, such as the well-known “Aladdin’s Lamp” and “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”. Since this first European version published from 1704 to 1717, many other editions have appeared through the years. In 2008, a translation of the Calcutta II edition was made by Malcolm and Ursula Lyons and published in three volumes by Penguin Classics. Although not a complete translation, it contains the standard text of the “1001 Nights”, includes the Ali Baba and Aladdin tales, and all the poetry.

The genre of the “One Thousand and One Nights” tales varies widely. They include tragedies, comedies, poems, historical tales, tales of love, and tales of erotica. Mixed with real people and geographic locations are sorcerers, jinns, apes, magicians, and places of legend. Probably the best known translation to English is Sir Richard Francis Burton’s “The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night”, a ten-volume version published in 1885. Printed during the Victorian era in England, it contained all the erotic nuances of the original material, complete with sexual imagery and gay allusions added as appendices. Sir Richard Burton avoided the strict obscenity laws of the Victorian era by printing an edition for subscribers only instead of a formal publishing.

The exotic atmosphere of “One Thousand and One Nights” lent itself easily to film, influencing Fritz Lang’s “Der müde Tod”, a parable fantasy of love and death with the figure of Death transporting the heroine to Persia, Venice of the 15th century, and China. In 1924, Raoul Walsh’s “The Thief of Bagdad” starred Douglas Fairbanks on a magical journey to win the hand of the Caliph of Bagdad’s daughter. The collection of tales also influenced the 1926 feature-length animated film “The Adventures fo Prince Achmed” by Lotte Reiniger The oldest surviving animation feature film, it contained exotic lands, magical adventures, flying horses, and a handsome prince meeting Aladdin. 

The gif images of Nyle DiMarco are from Ariana Grand’s “7 Rings”, the ASL Version, located at this site: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTkIsqdBCtk. This production was directed by Jake Wilson with cinematography by Matthew Tompkins. The ASL Version’s translation is by Nyle DiMarco, co-produced by Nyle DiMarco and Sami Housman.

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.

Edward Julius Detmold

Wasps by Edward Julius Detmold

Edward Julius Detmold, “Common Wasps”, From “Fabre’s Book of Insects”, 1935, Tudor Publishing Company

Painter, printmaker and illustrator Edward Julius Detmold was born in London in 1883 along with his twin brother Charles Maurice Detmold. Provided patronage by their uncle Edward Shuldhan, the two brothers studied painting and printmaking under the tutelage of their uncle Henry Detmold, also an artist. In 1898, at the age of 13, the twins exhibited watercolors at the Royal Academy, and issued a portfolio of color etchings that same year that quickly sold out and brought them notoriety. In 1899 Edward and Charles began illustrating books jointly, begining with “Pictures from Birdland”, which was commissioned and published by J.M. Dent. This was followed by a portfolio of watercolors inspired by Kipling’s “The Jungle Book”.

The brothers’ tandem success, however, was ended with the sudden death by suicide of Charles in 1908. Edward Detmold threw himself into his work, beginning with an illustrated ” Aesop’s Fables” that included 23 color plates and numerous pen and ink drawings. This began a decade of intense productivity, in which the Detmold’s execptional eye for the detail and complexities of nature allowed him to achieve his place among the best illustrators of the Victorian era.

Edward Detmold continued to illustrate numerous books, including Maurice Maeterlinck’s “The Life of the Bee”, Camille Lemonnier’s “Birds and Beasts”, his own “Twenty Four Nature Pieces”, and Jean-Henri Fabre’s “Book of Insects”. However by 1921, after witnessing the horrific results of World War I and feeling a disillusionment with his own art, he had reached the end of his zenith. Though Edward Detmold went on to illustrate one last edition of “The Arabian Nights” in 1924, he had effectively ended his career with the publishing of a literary book of aphorisms entitled “Life”. He retired to Montgomeryshire, England, and died in 1957, also from suicide.

Calendar

A Year: Day to Day Men: 2nd of December,  Solar Year 2018

The Craving of Human Touch in Form

December 2, 1933 was the release date of Fred Astaire’s first film, “Dancing Lady”.

“Dancing lady” is a 1933 pre-Code musical film directed by Robert Z. Leonard and produced by David O Selznick and John W Considine, Jr. It starred Joan Crawford and Clark Gable, and featured Franchot Tone, Fred Astaire, Robert Benchley, and Ted Healy and His Stooges, who later became the Three Stooges. It was also one of Eve Arden’s first uncredited appearances on film.

The film featured the film debut of extraordinary dancer Fred Astaire, who appears as himself, as well as the first credited appearance of actor and singer Nelson Eddy, a classically trained baritone who became the highest paid singer at that time in the world. The film was a box office hit upon its release, receiving many positive reviews from critics.

After appearing in “Dancing Lady” for MGM Studios, Fred Astaire returned to RKO Radio Pictures and received fifth billing In the 1933 Dolores del Rio film “Flying Down to Rio”. It was in this film that Astaire first danced with Ginger Rogers.Astaire was reluctant to become part of a dance team; however, the obvious public appeal of the pairing persuaded him. The Astaire-Rogers partnership, and the choreography of Astaire and collaborator Hermes Pan, helped make dancing an important element of the Hollywood film musical.

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made nine films together at RKO, including the 1934 “Gay Divorcee”, “Top hat” in 1935, the 1936 “ Swing Time, and “Carefree” released in 1938. Six films of the nine became the biggest moneymakers for the RKO studio, bringing the studio the prestige and artistry it coveted. The Astaire-Rogers partnership elevated them both to stardom.

Fed Astaire was given complete autonomy over the dance production. He is credited with two important innovations in early film musicals: Astaire insisted that a closely tracking dolly camera film a dance routine in as few shots as possible, typically with just four to eight cuts,  while holding the dancers in full view at all times. This gave the illusion of an almost stationary camera filming an entire dance in a single shot.

Astaire’s second innovation involved the context of the dance. Astaire was adamant that all song and dance routines be seamlessly integrated into the plot lines of the film. Instead of using the dance as a spectacle such as a Busby Berkeley routine, the dance was used to move the plot along. A typical Astaire film would include three dance routines in the plot: a solo by Astaire, a partnered comedy dance, and a partnered romantic dance routine.

Dragon Fish Shachihoko

Artist Unknown, Dragon Fish Shachihoko, Edo Period, Bronze, 160 x 86 x 43 cm, Private Collection

This bronze Shachihoko, or roof decoration, is in the form of a dragon fish with bushy eyebrows and whiskers, flared nostrils, a spiny dorsal fin, and four large pectoral fins. His body, covered with the scales of a carp, has a large flared tail fin. With only remnants of the gilding existing, the dragon fish has weathered into a green patina. 

Originally completely gilded, this Shachihoko would have adorned the gable end of either a temple roof or a samurai dwelling. Attributed with the power to control rain, this creature was thought to provide protection from fire. 

Source: brandtasianart.com

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A Year: Day to Day Men: 27th of November,  Solar Year 2018

The Lure of a Blue Room

November 27, 1920 marks the release of Douglas Fairbanks’s “The Mark of Zorro”.

“The Mark of Zorro” was a 1920 silent adventure romance film, starring Douglas Fairbanks and Noah Beery Senior’, based on Johnston McCulley’s 1919 “The Curse of Capistrano” which introduced the character of Zorro. The story was adapted into a screenplay by Fairbanks, under the name of Elton Thomas, and Eugene Miller.  “The Mark of Zorro” was the first film released through United Artists, formed by Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith, and Fairbanks.

Douglas Fairbanks played Don Diego Vega, the effete son of a wealthy ranch owner, who has the secret identity of a masked Robin Hood- like rogue, known as Zorro, or The Fox. He is the champion of the people who appears out of nowhere to protect and right wrongs. He has a love interest, Lolita played by Marguerite De La Motte, and is pursued by the authorities, including Sergeant Pedro Gonzales played by Noah Beery Senior.

“The Mark of Zorro” is a landmark in the career of Douglas Fairbanks and in the development of the action adventure film. This was Fairbanks’s thirtieth motion picture; and he used it to transition from comedies to costume adventure films, which is how most people remember him. The audiences responded with enthusiasm to Fairbanks’s  new persona, which allowed him to flaunt his considerable athleticism to its fullest advantage. Fairbanks’s stunts have lost none of their impact; no later cinematic superhero has ever been half so convincing as his Zorro leaping from rooftop to rooftop, and over the heads of his enemies.

This film helped popularize one of Americas’s most prominent creations of fiction; the enduring character of the superhero. It established the pattern for future caped crusaders with dual identities. “The Mark of Zorro” was remade twice: in 1940 starring Tyrone Power and in 1974 starring Frank Langella. The United States Library of Congress selected it in 2015 for preservation in the National Film Registry.

In DC Comics, it is established that “The Mark of Zorro” was the film that young Bruce Wayne saw just before the death of his parents outside the movie theater. Zorro is often portrayed as Bruce Wayne’s childhood hero and an influence upon his Batman persona. Bill Finger, co-creator with Bob Kane of the character Batman, was inspired by the Zorro played by Fairbanks, leading to similarities in costumes, the secret caves, and the unexpected secret identities.

Antonio Canova

Antonio Canova, “Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss”, Detail, 1787, Marble, Louvre Museum, Paris

“Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss” is a marble sculpture by Italian artist Antonio Canova, who was raised by his stonemason grandfather, Pasino Canova. Antonio Canova valued his independence as an artist, believing that art was above politics. However, through pressure by the French on the papacy, he was forced to accept titles and honors.

The marble sculpture is in a Neoclassical style but shows characteristics of the then emerging Romantic movement. There were two versions of this piece; the image shown being the prime version, which was acquired by Joachim Murat, Marshal of France and Admiral of France under the reign of Napoleon. After Murat’s death, the sculpture entered the Louvre Museum in 1824.

Image reblogged with thanks to http://abrighterhellas.tumblr.com