Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Late 19th-century / Early 20th-century Representations

Thomas Eakins
The Concert Singer
1890-92
oil on canvas
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Édouard Vuillard
In Bed
1891
oil on canvas
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Henri Fantin-Latour
Poppies
1891
oil on canvas
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

THE GREAT FIGURE

Among the rain
and lights
I saw the figure 5
in gold
on a red
firetruck
moving
tense
unheeded
to gong clangs
siren howls
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city.

Henri Fantin-Latour
Zinnias
ca. 1897-99
oil on canvas
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Childe Hassam
Washington Arch, Spring
1890
oil on canvas
Phillips Collection, Washington DC

Childe Hassam
Improvisation
1899
oil on canvas
Smithsonian American Art Museum

ON GAY WALLPAPER

The green-blue ground
is ruled with silver lines
to say the sun is shining

And on this moral sea
of grass or dreams lie flowers
or baskets of desires

Heaven knows what they are
between cerulean shapes
laid regularly round

Mat roses and tridentate
leaves of gold
threes, threes and threes

Three roses and three stems
the basket floating
standing in the horns of blue

Repeated to the ceiling
to the windows
where the day

Blows in
the scalloped curtains to
the sound of rain

Edward Burne-Jones
Hope
1896
oil on canvas
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Max Klinger
Académie
ca. 1900-1910
drawing on green paper
British Museum

Camille Pissarro
Pont Neuf
1902
oil on canvas
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

Carl Fredrik Hill
Palace interior with statue of an emperor and tigers
before 1911
drawing
Malmö Konstmuseum, Sweden

POEM

As the cat
climbed over
the top of

the jamcloset
first the right
forefoot

carefully
then the hind
stepped down

into the pit of
the empty
flowerpot

Juan Gris
White Tablecloth
ca. 1912-16
oil on canvas
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Juan Gris
Still-life before an open window, Place Ravignan
1915
oil on canvas
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Juan Gris
Still-life with Newspaper
1916
oil on canvas
Phillips Collection, Washington DC

George Bellows
Tennis at Newport
1919
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

– poems are by William Carlos Williams (1883-1963), from Selected Poems, edited by Robert Pinsky

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Epithets of Apollo

Antico
Apollo Belvedere
ca. 1520
bronze statuette
Ca' d'Oro, Venice

Marcantonio
Apollo Belvedere
ca. 1510-27
engraving
British Museum

Agostino Veneziano after Marcantonio
Apollo Belvedere
ca. 1510-27
engraving
British Museum

Antoine Lafréry after Marcantonio
Apollo Belvedere
1552
engraving
British Museum

A HYMN TO APOLLO (CONTAINING HIS EPITHETS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)

Let us hymn Paean the great god, Apollo;
Immortal, gloriously formed, unshorn, soft-haired,
Stern-hearted, king, delighting in arrows, giver of life,
Joyous, laughing, slayer of giants, sweet-hearted,
Son of Zeus, slayer of dragons, lover of the laurel,
Sweet of speech, of ample might, far-shooter, giver of hope,
Creator of animals, divine, Jove-minded, giver of zeal,
Mild, sweet-spoken, sweet-hearted, gentle-handed,
Slayer of beasts, blooming, charmer of the spirit, soft-speaking,
Shooter of arrows, desirable, healer, charioteer,
Weaver of the world, Clarian, strong-hearted, father of fruits,
Son of Leto, pleasant, delighting in the lyre, resplendent,
Lord of the mysteries, prophet, magnanimous, thousand-shaped,
Lover of the bow-string, wise, stiller of grief, sober,
Lover of community, common to all, taking thought for all, benefactor of all,
Blessed, making blessed, Olympian, dweller on the hills,
Gentle, all-seeing, sorrowless, giver of wealth,
Saviour from trouble, rose-coloured, man-breaker, path-opener,
Glittering, wise, father of light, saviour,
Delighting in the dance, Titan, initiator, revered,
Chanter of hymns, highest, stately, of the height,
Phoebus, purifier, lover of garlands, cheerer of the spirit,
Utterer of oracles, golden, golden-complexioned, golden-arrowed,
Lover of the lyre, harper, hater of lies, giver of the soul,
Swift-footed, swift-voiced, swift of vision, giver of seasons.
Let us hymn Paean the great god, Apollo.

– Epigram from Book 9 of the Greek Anthology, translated by W.R. Paton (1916-18)

Paton's translation in five small green volumes from the time of the Great War was the first bilingual edition of the Greek Anthology issued by Loeb Classical Library.  After a century, a new edition revised by Michael A. Tueller began to appear in 2014, but has not yet reached beyond the first volume (which also lacks indexes). The facing Greek text in the old Loeb edition shows that Paton as translator regularly re-used the same English word for original Greek words that differ from one another, though synonyms. Actually, I like the tone of Paton's translation  and even like the off-kilter repetitions  but it needs to be mentioned that they are unnecessarily untrue to the Greek. In the original, all epithets in any one poetic line begin with the same letter. Then the single-letter lines proceed line by line from the start to the end of the alphabet.

Hendrik Goltzius
Apollo Belvedere
ca. 1592
engraving printed on blue paper
Princeton University Art Museum

Jan de Bisschop
Apollo Belvedere
ca. 1663-68
engraving
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Jan Punt for Jacob de Wit
Proportions of the Apollo Belvedere
1747
etching, engraving
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Johann Carl Bock
Apollo Belvedere
ca. 1800
stipple-engraving, etching
British Museum

Fratelli Alinari
Apollo Belvedere
ca. 1893-1903
photograph
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Anonymous photograph
Apollo Belvedere in stereo
ca. 1890
mounted photographic prints
Victoria & Albert Museum

Carlo Albacini
Head of the Apollo Belvedere
ca. 1750-1800
marble
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Giacomo Zoffoli
Apollo Belvedere
before 1785
bronze statuette
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Stoke-on-Trent Manufactory
Bust of the Apollo Belvedere
1861
Parian porcelain
Victoria & Albert Museum

Benedetto Pistrucci
Head of the Apollo Belvedere
ca. 1820
sardonyx cameo
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Anonymous Italian gemcutter
Apollo Belvedere
18th-19th century
onyx cameo
Victoria & Albert Museum

Visual and moral range of the Nineteenth Century

Adolphe-Gustave Binet
Construction of the Eiffel Tower 
1888
drawing, watercolor
Morgan Library, New York

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Young women of Sparta
ca. 1868-70
oil on canvas
Brooklyn Museum

Gustave Courbet
The Wave
ca. 1870
oil on canvas
National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

Thomas Wilmer Dewing
Hymen
ca. 1884-86
oil on panel
Cincinnati Art Museum

William Holman Hunt
A Porter to the Hogarth Club
1858
drawing
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Max Klinger
Woman in diaphanous garment
ca. 1875-80
drawing
British Museum

Edwin Landseer
Portrait of Mr. Van Amburgh as he appeared with his animals at the London theatres
1846-47
 oil on canvas
Yale Center for British Art

"It was not worth while trying to impress a man of that sort.  If the world had been full of such men, life would have probably appeared to Jukes an unentertaining and unprofitable business.  He was not alone in his opinion.  The sea itself, as if sharing Mr. Jukes's good-natured forbearance, had never put itself out to startle the silent man, who seldom looked up, and wandered innocently over the waters with the only visible purpose of getting food, raiment, and house-room for three people ashore.  Dirty weather he had known, of course.  He had been made wet, uncomfortable, tired in the usual way, felt at the time and presently forgotten.  So that upon the whole he had been justified in reporting fine weather at home.  But he had never been given a glimpse of immeasurable strength and of immoderate wrath, the wrath that passes exhausted but never appeased – the wrath and fury of the passionate sea.  He knew it existed, as we know that crime and abominations exist; he had heard of it as a peaceable citizen in a town hears of battles, famines, and floods, and yet knows nothing of what these things mean – though, indeed, he may have been mixed up in a street row, have gone without his dinner once, or been soaked to the skin in a shower.  Captain MacWhirr had sailed over the surface of the oceans as some men go skimming over the years of existence to sink gently into a placid grave, ignorant of life to the last, without ever having been made to see all it may contain of perfidy, of violence, and of terror.  There are on sea and land such men thus fortunate – or thus disdained by destiny or by the sea." 

– from Typhoon by Joseph Conrad

Frederic Leighton
Study of a woman's head for the painting 'A noble lady of Venice'
ca. 1865
drawing
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Albert Joseph Moore
Canaries
ca. 1875-80
oil on canvas
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Edward Poynter
Study of two heads
1874
drawing
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg
Three Spartan boys practising archery
1812
oil on canvas
Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen

Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg
Via Sacra, Rome
1814
oil on canvas
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen

Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg
Interior of the Church of San Lorenzo fuori le Mura, Rome
1815
oil on canvas
Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen

Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg
Colosseum, Rome
1815-16
oil on canvas
Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen

"The old man warned us in his gentle and inflexible way that it was part of our duty to save for the underwriters as much as we could of the ship's gear.  Accordingly we went to work aft, while she blazed forward to give us plenty of light.  We lugged out a lot of rubbish.  What didn't we save?  An old barometer fixed with an absurd quantity of screws nearly cost me my life: a sudden rush of smoke came upon me, and I just got away in time.  There were various stores, bolts of canvas, coils of rope; the poop looked like a marine bazaar, and the boats were lumbered to the gunwales.  One would have thought the old man wanted to take as much as he could of his first command with him.  He was very, very quiet, but off his balance evidently.  Would you believe it?  He wanted to take a length of old stream-cable and a kedge-anchor with him in the long boat.  We said, "Ay, ay, sir," deferentially, and on the quiet let the things slip overboard.  The heavy medicine-chest went that way, two bags of green coffee, tins of paint – fancy, paint! – a whole lot of things.  Then I was ordered with two hands into the boats to make a stowage and get them ready against the time it would be proper for us to leave the ship."    

– from Youth by Joseph Conrad

Monday, August 21, 2017

European visions of Classical stories in monochrome

Anonymous French artist, Fontainebleau School
Pan cuts the reed Syrinx was transformed into
ca. 1550
drawing
Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Let the cliff clothed in greenery of the Dryads keep silence, and the fountains that fall from the rock, and the confused bleating of the ewes newly lambed; for Pan himself plays on his sweet-toned pipe, running his plain lips over the joined reeds, and around with their fresh feet they have started the dance, the Nymphs, Hydriads, and Hamadryads.

– Epigram from Book 9 of the Greek Anthology, translated by W.R. Paton (1916-18)

Anonymous French artist, Fontainebleau School
Procris and Cephalus
ca. 1550-1600
drawing
Morgan Library, New York

Antoine-Francois Callet
Jupiter and Ceres
ca. 1777
drawing
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Giovanni Battista Gaulli
Mercury leading Geography
before 1709
drawing
Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas

Giovanni Ghisolfi
Jupiter enthroned in clouds
before 1683
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

ON THE GRAVE OF ONE SLAIN BY ROBBERS

Zeus, Protector of strangers, let them who slew me meet with the same fate, but may they who laid me in earth live and prosper.  

– Epigram from Book 7 of the Greek Anthology, translated by W.R. Paton (1916-18)

Giovanni Ghisolfi
Jupiter battling the Giants
before 1683
drawing
Teylers Museum, Haarlem

workshop of Giulio Romano
Venus, Vulcan and Cupid
ca.  1540
drawing for fresco
Royal Collection, Windsor

Max Klinger
Apollo and Daphne
1879
etching, aquatint
British Museum

Max Klinger
Pyramus and Thisbe
1879
etching, aquatint
British Museum

Lucas van Leyden
Pallas Athena
ca. 1530
engraving
British Museum

Claude Mellan
Statue of Hercules from the Galleria Giustiniana, Rome
ca. 1631
engraving
British Museum

ON A STATUE OF HERACLES (CAST DOWN BY THE CHRISTIANS)

I marveled seeing at the cross-roads Jove's brazen son, once constantly invoked, now cast aside, and in wrath I said: "Averter of woes, offspring of three nights, thou, who never didst suffer defeat, art to-day laid low."  But at night the god stood by my bed smiling, and said: "Even though I am a god I have learned to serve the times."

 Epigram by Palladas of Alexandria (5th century AD) from Book 9 of the Greek Anthology, translated by W.R. Paton (1916-18)

Marco Marchetti
Design for wall decoration with Apollo, Muses, Astronomy, and Arms of the Grand Duke of Tuscany
before 1588
drawing
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Giacomo Piccini after Francesco Ruschi
Venus and Cupid
ca. 1640-70
engraving
British Museum

Jean Audran after Carlo Maratti
Galatea and Polyphemus
ca. 1700-1729
engraving
Teylers Museum, Haarlem