Perhaps we need to be reminded of our own tininess, and that is why we find ourselves drawn to such works?Regardless, to my eyes, Aivazovsky’s painting of the sea remain very, very much among the best of the genre.
If most of us very honest and unconcerned with others’ opinions (this rarely bothers me; I’m part O’Hara, so pulling punches is simply not my MO), few of us will call many modern art pieces “beautiful”. (Of course, we must be willing to pass judgment, just as we do when deciding whether or not something is good for us to eat.)
First of all, I apologize for the lateness of this post. I have been having serious battles with my computer all week (we’re at around 18 kernel panic shutdowns thus far), and today has been no exception. Let’s just all say a quick prayer and cross our fingers that this post is not going to have to tide you over for weeks and weeks. 😉 Saving my work has become a serious tic now, though; this seems to me both good and bad.
There have been repeated threats that I was going to talk about an amazing resource for history lovers, art fans, architecture buffs, and really just about any living human being—the Library Of Congress’ Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC)—with you, and today seems like a good day to do so.
How this massive online source of art, photographs, old books, sheet music, and more came to my attention I really can’t recall, but it was a most fortuitous day. The collections offered are fairly astounding in their breadth and depth, and if you ever need something worthwhile with which to devour your time, the PPOC is it.
Last week, the Library Of Congress’ blog ran a brief post about American photographer Gertrude Käsebier (cass-eh-beer—oh, boy, dictionary writers are going to kill me now), who was one of the first female photojournalists. No doubt her place in the history of photography had much to do with this, but reading about her, there’s no doubt her personality did much to gain her success, as well. She seems to have been an extremely determined, almost single-minded woman; thus, even in the late 1800s, she gained renown for her work in an age when most women cared for family and home instead of running a business.
More than any of this, though, what drew me to her work was not only the era in which she worked—I suppose we could call it the birth of popular, publicly consumed photography in the States—but her subject matter and her reason for capturing it on camera:
After my babies came I determined to learn to use the brush. I wanted to hold their
lovely little faces in some way that should be also my expression, so I went to an art school; two or three of them, in fact. But art is long and childhood is fleeting, I soon discovered, and the children were losing their baby faces before I learned to paint portraits, so I chose a quicker medium. – Gertrude Käsebier quoted in “The Camera Has Opened a New Profession for Women–Some of Those Who Have Made Good,” New York Times, April 20, 1913, X12
Her comment about needing a “quicker medium” did make me chuckle, and you may find yourself doing the same! Continue reading
Since I have been unable to prepare anything whatsoever (other than many gallons of hot tea), I thought I’d share with you some more interesting thoughts from Jacques Barzun’s From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life 1500 to the Present, something I did (with a complete lack of brevity) a few months ago. There’s a lot of food for thought in the book no matter your bend, be it art, philosophy, theology, mathematics, or science—particularly as these things are so often intertwined with or affecting each other.
You may recall, from my earlier post, Barzun writing that
The Renaissance treatises declare that apart from his moral mission, the artist’s duty (and thereby his intention) is to imitate nature.
Something I—and any consumer of online media—see a lot is people using images without proper attribution of any kind. Not only is this unfair to the original creator and anyone wanting more information about said image, it’s wrong, and that is true even when an image is licensed under Creative Commons. Not only that, but many people don’t properly attribute Creative Commons-licensed images, which is also wrong.
When I wrote my post featuring thought-provoking words from Jacques Barzun a week ago, featuring the artists of which he wrote was important (and seemed sensible to me). Happily, many of these works are in the public domain, but even so, I obtained them from somewhere, and wanted you to find them while also giving credit to the host. Of course, if you find Creative Commons-licensed things online, it may seem difficult to figure out exactly how to properly attribute the works, because one must include the title, the artist, the license, the location—but fear not! A quick search turned up this infographic explaining the whole process in very simple terms! Continue reading
Fellow ArtFire-ian Azure Dandelion recently included my photography in three of her collections—three herb-themed collections I was quite happy to see simply as harbringers of spring. Due to some health issues, I’m a bit behind on my garden planning and work—normally my winter sowing is out in the yard by now—but last week I finally ordered seeds (they’re popping up at local hardware stores, too—everybody’s ready!) and they should be here any day. Hurrah! Planting season is so exciting to contemplate—particularly considering the winter we’ve had. Continue reading